Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The problem with universal credit is....

Where to begin really?


Many years ago, when people claimed benefits of all types, all the money was paid to them. This included housing benefit for rent payments, council tax payments for paying council tax (believe it or not) and of course Jobseekers allowance or disability living allowance etc.

This scheme was changed eventually, because when you're living on benefits, you don't live, you exist. You don't have spare money and what you do have you really have to stretch to make it do, with living in these standards anyway. People would often under the way things were, avoid paying rent and use the money for food or paying other bills etc. It all got a little too messy, so a new scheme was set up whereby (and like how it is for me and millions of others) any housing benefit is paid straight to the landlord or housing owner, council tax benefit is paid straight to the council. So all the money that you recieve is yours to spend how you see fit.

In walks the Universal credit scheme, which the DWP is forcing all benefit recieveing people onto.

Universal credit is said to make people manage their money better, that it will give people responsability in paying bills etc. As we have seen in the past, this type of scheme does not work and even more so in this day and age. The amount of money people are expected to live on is already a laughable joke, so you're going to give them extra money and expect it all to actually go to the rent office and the council? I think not.

A number of times now, i've had to do 2 weeks worth of shopping and make it last a month, because the money just isn't there to be out looking for work and to then be able to live too. It's not too rare at one point in the month, nearly every month, to find my freezer empty and un-plugged and a few packets of noodles in the cubard or something like that. While i don't exactly starve to death, i do sometimes go a day or two without food (but that could also be down to the way i eat, which isn't exactly normal either).

If universal credit thinks that they're not going to make people homeless, they really need to think again. Many people will simply see that they have extra money in their bank account and it will get spent on shopping, paying bills and just general living expenses. If the scheme has any chance of working then the amount that a person on disability allowance or job seekers etc, needs to rise and much more than this 1% cap that was introduced by the government a few months back, while the month after, the very MP's who voted on this also put forward for a 33% pay increase for themselves. All in this together are we? I think not parliament, i think not.

This will be yet another thing that the DWP does and gets completely wrong, but will not admit to it. Like mandatory work programme and the countless back to work scheme's, they have failed, yet the DWP does and says nothing to admit they got it wrong. My main question to them would be how many lives do they have to ruin, before they actually work with us to get people back into work and stop working against us?

For people having to live day in and day out on a disability living allowance of just over £70 a week, while your adverage MP can claim over £100 a week just on food, how long will this continue?

I have said many a time that i would love to see the government work on a minimum wage or even better, see them trying to live on benefits, long term. Yet no MP, despite what they say, actually get's that we are not in this together. More and more i find myself thinking that it really is an us vs them situation and i honestly cannot say how long i can carry on like this.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Bullying and Healing Old Wounds - My reply

I don't think i've ever done a blog post reply... with another blog post. I've done it on youtube a few times, but i've never really been inspired enough to want to talk about a certain topic just because someone else has posted about it.

Yet this topic is slightly different.

I post this reply to Bryan Leffew (who yes, is part of the youtube channel DepFox that you may have noticed, i'm always raving on about) and his post on here called Bullying and Healing Old Wounds which you can read by clicking here.

I think it's best for you to read that post and then what i say next will make abit more sense.

You see, every now and again there'll be what i call a landmark case. By landmark case i mean something to do with bullying or homosexuality or racism etc, that makes people sit up and listen to a problem that happens on a daily basis. For weeks, sometimes months on end, my facebook gets clogged up with how against bullying people are and how they wouldn't ever stand for it etc, yet amazingly, if all these people actually did stand against bullying and worked to end it, then bullying wouldn't be a problem today.

While Bryan's case isn't a land mark case, it is still sad to read, especially if like me, you've seen their youtube video's, read their blog posts and had contact with them, because you see what kind of person Bryan really is. While ok not everything about him is online, or ever should be, the impression left with a few of us is that he's a grown man who used his past experiances to become the man that we all know and love today.

His dealing with bullying is slightly different to mine, certainly more intense with some of the things that happend to him, but reading about it, mentally putting myself sat on that bus watching little Bryan have his bag emptied and stuff thrown all over the place, has made me think that maybe it's time i explained my "adventures" with bullying, in a bid to show the world that bullying doesn't have to be such a bad thing and that it can be stopped, not fully, but in most cases.

See for me, bullying started at a young age, i think about the same time that i was discovering that i was gay. I first remember getting feelings for boys when i was in primary school, probably aged like 8 or 9 or something like that. My first crush was Aaron Carter. Remember him? The little boy who was like the 90's Justin Bieber, yup, he was the one i wanted.

The thought of him turned my little legs to jelly and although i didn't know what sex was at that age, i knew i was drawn to him for some reason.

My first sexual encounter was actually at a really young age too, i won't say with who, but lets just say, the classroom bully soon shifted his opinion of me and went on to defend me when people had things to say about me that he didn't like.

Anyway, bullying first started for me when i was in year 6 in primary school, so like what, aged 11 or 12? Something like that.... It started when a boy in the classroom was trying to put himself as the sort of, top dog in the classroom. We'd been set some work today in our books, i was just quietly writing away, hearing what the other kids were saying about me, but not giving them the satisfaction of letting them know i could hear what was being said, a sort of poker face if you please. All of a sudden this boy stood up, walked over to me and punched me in the side of my head, for no apparent reason. Not one person didn't sit there and laugh, i tried to carry on writing in my book, but my left ear was just ringing, the side of my face felt like it was on fire and i think for the first time, i felt fear. I remember that i started crying, i tried my best to carry on writing but my tears were running onto the page and making the ink run. After a minute or so of this, i decided to go to the toilet. At this time the teacher was out of the classroom, so wasn't aware of this incident happening and to this day, i don't think he ever knew. I washed my face in the school toilets and made my way back to class and tried not to think about it.

At the end of year 6 of course comes the time when the class would go their seperate ways, some would go to one high school, others would be moving from the area and of course i was set to follow in the footsteps of my brother by attending the same high school he'd just left. I remember sort of looking forward to high school, but also kind of giving off the wrong impression. On one of the "tester" high school days, where you're taken around the school with your future classmates etc, we were sent at the end of the school day to go and listen to the head teacher in the hall. No seating was provided, we were just told to sit in row's on the wooden floor. Of course after sitting like that for the best part of an hour can make your legs go numb. I remember the teachers saying about getting the busses etc, so trying to wiggle my toes, getting some blood flowing, but it not working, so of course when we had to stand up, i fell right back down again, kind of setting myself as the kid who's different.

My first year in high school wasn't too bad i must admit, i made some friends who i am still in contact with to this day. But i did start to notice certain other kids, who were getting friendly with some other friends of mine, that id had as friends since primary school and something about these kids meant i just didn't have time for them.

Kind of no suprise that at the beginning of the 2nd year in high school, one of these kids and two of his friends found me walking down a hallway by myself, pinned me by the neck and threw me against the wall, banging my head against the wall, spitting at me and punching me. I'd had my limit, i saw red, when he'd let go of me, instead of running, i heard my mothers voice in my head telling me to fight back. I grabbed him by the neck and pinned him against the wall, lifting him up off the floor, i calmly said that if he ever touched me again, he'd seriously regret it and that this was his warning.

I let go, walked back to the class room, shut the door and sat down and cried, like, really cried. It was still lunch break so there was only me in the classroom. I always remember there was a group of like 3 girls who were in my class walking past the windows outside when they saw me inside, one of them said "i think somethings wrong" and came around and into the classroom. I sat up and explained through tears what had happend. They gave me a hug and told me that i needed to see a teacher about this because it wasn't acceptable. I of course later told a teacher, but nothing was ever done about it, i think it was just put down to some sort of bullying.

At home later that year, my parents were getting a divorce. It meant that i'd have to move house, i'd be living with my mum and seeing my dad of weekends, which was fine, but it also meant that i'd have to move school, which i think by this point, i was happy with, because there'd been plenty of incidents that had happend to me, which i won't bore you with the details, but trying to come to terms with my own sexuality, while my parents are getting a divorce, bullying in school and of course, puberty happening, doesn't make for easy living.

My 3rd year in high school was going to be my first year in this new school. It was a new uniform, i didn't know anyone and let's face it, facebook wasn't around and nobody had a mobile, so keeping in touch with my old friends was just on impossable.

Things seemed to be going ok in the new school as time went on, i made some new friends, got introduced to new things and enjoyed the schools more laid-back approach to teaching. The head teacher at this new school, had been my brothers english teacher in the school i'd just moved from. My mother really liked him as a teacher so when she found out he was head, she knew it'd be the right school for me. My first time meeting him he made it very clear, that if at any point i needed help, go straight to him and he'd help me out as much as he could.

Later would i find out how great this offer was.

I guess the bullying first started in this school when in a classroom one day i'd told a friend that i was gay, i was sure of who i was and explained abit about how i'd come to the decision. I'd say within about a week, if there wasn't a kid in the school who didn't know, then they must have been living under a rock. News spread like wildfire. I did enjoy this new found fame for a small while, there was some kids out there who were in the "popular" kids groups kind of a deal, who would openly say to people of how they respected me for being so honest and how others should follow my example and be brave.

Only not all kids liked the news so much. Over the remaining two years at the school on near enough a daily basis i could be sure that i'd hear my name mentioned a few times, that some rumour would be going around about who i had a crush on and all that jazz, rarely there'd be an incident that would actually shock me. Like i'd had an in-growing toenail operated on, that'd been done in the morning and in the afternoon, i was back in school. That afternoon while in a que outside a classroom, a boy and his "mates" came over and asked about the operation, followed by the fat one (always the fat one) standing on my foot. It hurt like hell, but i kept my poker face on and after a few more comments, they moved on to someone else.

I always remember on a different day, walking down a corridor to a lesson and some boy who was like 2 years below me, spitting at me from behind. I didn't know about it until some other kids told me in the classroom and the teacher said "I think you'd best go and see the head". I made my way down to the head's office and he asked me to come in. I explained about the incident, he was shocked and angry. He helped me clean off my blazer and asked for as much info about the boy who'd done it as possable. All's i knew was what he looked like and that he was in year 9. He went through the schools computer system, infront of me and found a picture of the boy. I was simply sent back to the class at this point and he just said "I'll deal with it".

About an hour later and i was called back to the heads office, he sat me down in the office and informed me that he'd gotten hold of this boy and suspended him from the school for 2 weeks. His parents had been informed about exactly what had happend and that if he was suspended again, he'd be refused the be allowed back in the school and would have to be transferred to another school.

In 2004, i took my final exams and i'll always remember this, when i'd finished my final exam, we were allowed to go home. I began to walk home, only getting to the part where the path went downwards and you could no longer see the school, i stopped, looked back at the school and smiled with a tear in my eye. It was over. No longer would i have to hear people talking about me, no longer would i have to be bullied in any way, my life could now begin.

I honestly cannot explain to you just how much things have improved for me since the days of having to go to school, the outside world, as cruel as it can be at times, is no match for having to go to a place everyday and having to suffer with some of the biggest idiot's you'll ever meet. I honestly think that its having gone through bullying myself, that makes me feel like im able to connect abit more when people like Bryan, talk about bullying and what they had to go through. It's only since school that i can honestly turn around and say, it really does get better.

But having gone through the bullying, with it's focus mainly being towards my sexuality, do i feel there's a way to stop it? YES!!!

See, Bryan's bullying wasn't over anything specific, like his sexuality or such. I think, and i could be wrong, but because Bryan was seen to some as an easy target, he was set up on by the bullys. I've found with the bullys that if you have muscle, they'll never pick on you, if you're skinny, abit "geeky" or something about you is seen to be different, you'll be the target.

But how to stop the bullys?

First thing that really needs to change is the education environment as a whole. For me, the bullying came about over my sexuality because people didn't know about it. Students and some teachers if im honest, would all partake in jokes which forced the stereotypical gay lifestyle into the ears of learning kids. Nothing was ever taught about sexuality, even in the sex education lessons, it was all about how baby's were made and the inner workings of the vagina.

The gay community has a very rich and powerful history to it which needs to be taught. If we teach kids that being gay isn't a bad thing, we teach acceptence of the topic and bullying would stop. Not completely, but certainly alot in my case, because kids wouldn't be saying stuff behind my back like they were, if they were taught about what being gay actually was.

For Bryan's case, the bullying needed some sort of intervention, now this is where some change has happend. We now live in a day and age where parents themselves can go on anti-bullying courses, to try and teach them the sign's of if their child is being bullied and if they are, what to do. Teachers can now be more vocal in standing up against bullying. Of course not all teachers take action against bullying, but more do than ever before and it is making a difference.

While we can never fully get rid of bullying, i'm still of the opinion that we can reduce it alot by making change happen. One of the ways that we make this change happen is by us talking about what has happend to us in the past. I can't put myself into Bryan's place, my bullying isn't similar to what he went through and how he delt with it while it was happening, but you can tell by reading his post that he's beeing through alot with the bullying, both while it was happening and since.

But here's the secret.

Bryan today is loved by ALOT of people, be it for his looks, his personality, his life... whatever it is, people like him, but part of me thinks that Bryan had to go through the bullying to make him the person he is today. While he may not like to think about what happend to him or talk about it, it still shaped his charicter and it does raise the question. Bryan could well be a different person had he not have gone through what he did, so can the bullying really be called a bad thing? Without it, we might not have the Bryan that we all know and love today.

I'm a strong believer in that everything happens for a reason, like i said before, i do not regret the bullying happening to me at all, it made me the person i am today, where i can simply let the name calling and stuff just wash over me, where i now feel strong enough to actually tackle bullying head on when i see it happening infront of me (and yes, i've gotten involved a few times).

To sum it all up, although this is a long post, this is only part of what happend to me, i'm sure if he'd have wanted to, even Bryan could have had you reading for days if he was to explain everything that happend to him, but like Bryan does, i want others to speak of whats happend to them. To show to people who read these sorts of things that life really does get better, that just when you're ready to throw it all in and look for an escape from life, the best thing you can do is actually get on with your own life.

That's why i support the "It gets better" campaign and the NOH8 campaign to name but a few. Details of them are below. If you're reading this and going through the bullying, speak out about it.



Friday, 22 February 2013

Slow it down!!!

Recently i've found several cases in my social media life where some people have gotten into a relationship after knowing a person for 5 minutes, then begin clogging up my news feeds professing their un-dying love for this other person.

It's something which has really started bugging me recently because i'm usually one of the one's who these very people turn around to after every break up, heart broken, expecting me to be able to say those magic words and make them feel better... well, tough!

Look, different things work for different people, maybe getting together after saying hello to someone can work for some, for most people i know, it can't and never will. While meeting on social media may work for some, for many it doesn't.... so what is the right way? what needs to happen to secure a good relationship?

Far be it for me to give any relationship advice, as a single person, but i've seen now where people have gone wrong over and over again.... so here's some advice.

  • Take your time!!! - Too many people rush into a relationship, desperate to eventually feel wanted by someone, to feel loved. If you rush into these things, you do go in with your eyes shut and more often than not, you ignore the sign's that infact, you're dating a complete and utter twat. While you may think you're happy, remember that your friends around you and your family will usually only have your best interests at heart, so listen to them and look at how they are with your other half.
    I had a friend who not too long ago, couldn't bring her boyfriend out with her friends, because none of us liked him. She was sort of aware of this, but wanted to persue her chance of happyness with him, so kept blanking her friends advice to find someone she was more suited to, who loved her for her and not for what she could offer.
  • Know who you're going out with first! - Let's for a second stand back and look at what a relationship actually is. It seems to be a strong friendship, with more feelings involved than normal. It is a strong bond, wanting to have someone around, abit more than a friend would be etc. So why not start with the basics and build up a friendship with someone? Don't put an exact time limit on it, but if you've got feelings for someone who's been your friend for a while, then chances are you're going to be good at being in a relationship with them.
  • Know yourself - TOOOOOO many people i know couldn't tell you what they could bring into a relationship, other than thinking on their feet. Not enough of us spend time mentally getting ourselves ready for a relationship, so we have to figure out what we can bring into a relationship, while actually being in a relationship.... that doesn't work.

    Knowing what you have to put into a relationship helps you, becuase you can then spend more time getting to know the other person and knowing what they have to bring into a relationship.

So, to sum up.... If you're quick at getting into a relationship, it will be quick to be over, in most cases. Most importantly, a relationship should be about enjoying yourself. Getting excited about seeing that special person, looking forward to time you have together etc, all add's to the enjoyment of being in a relationship.

Out of all of this.... Never be afraid to be by yourself. Shockingly, i know of too many people who are in a relationship, just for the sake of being in a relationship, now THOSE sorts of relationships rarely work out.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Me vs WLC?

Today, a news story i was interviewd for only 2 days ago has finally made it online and been printed. Luckily for me, it's only in the local area, i don't think my 15 minutes of fame should begin on a national basis, you know how i like to work my way up these things....

To some reading the story it may come as abit of a shock that i would say such things about the council, or my beloved flat, but truth of the matter is, i do feel completely let down by the local council on this issue.

I think the whole thing can be summed up pretty well in the orig email i sent to the council, which has sparked this whole news story coming out in the first place....

I've been on the WLC website and i feel that you're the most relevant person for me to be asking about what the council is currently doing over my problem.
In 2011, I was over-joyed at getting my own council property. Since moving in I've since found out exactly how out of date some of the feature's are in this flat. I should explain that i live on Beechtree's, in the flats located at the end of the road on the left hand side.
I have found that the single glazed windows offer very little protection against the elements, they're prone to leaking and most of the seal's were missing when i first moved in, which where partly then filled in with some sort of cealent as a temp fix. I have found that despite having 3 storage heaters through the 1 bed roomed flat, i still find myself cold of an evening, even though they fully charge during the night and are kept on minimum during the day, so as to try and keep the heat for a boost of an evening when it's needed.
You can of course imagine my excitement when i receive news about how the communal area is going to be re-fitted, since the missing tiles on the floor, scuff marks up the wall and the fact that once every two weeks, someone comes out, floods the hallway and calls it clean, have resulted in mould growing, bad smells and just a general awful appearance. Then i read on in the council's news letter, to see that they were planning on removing the storage heaters, that I'd eventually be brought up to date with a boiler and a proper heating system, that most importantly, new windows would be fitted, which are double glazed.
In the December of 2012, work started taking place on the houses around here, i was impressed to see the work that had been carried out, but kept wondering when I'd hear that the flat's were going to be fixed up, under the presumption the work would be carried out while the workmen where in the area. News started getting to me about how in certain area's, people were being told that they had to have things slightly different than was first planned, because of a lack of funds, but yet, work was still carrying on around here, so it might still have been good news.
I called through to the council offices late December, to be told that the planning team were not available at the current time and could i please call back at a different date. I didn't mind, understanding that people do have to work and will sometimes become unavailable.
I left it until after the new year, because the workmen were finished here, they'd completed all the houses and for a week, the area looked abit better (Until of course window's start getting smashed and there's a return to normality for this area). I today, however, called the council offices, only to be told after waiting for the operator to get through to someone in the planning part of the council, that the money was no longer available. That during these times where it's cold and windy and while the houses here are fine with their central heating systems and double glazed windows, that in essence, the council do not have any plans for the flats on beechtree's to have any work carried out on them and that i should try and call back in the new financial year.
I'm left completely stunned by this. Since news first spread and the updates on how work was doing have been coming through, we've all been waiting for news about when we would have work carried out, yet now, the council don't even have the manner's to inform us that no work will be carried out.
Be it that it was bad finances, that not enough research was done as to how much it would all cost, or even if we were never planned for any work to get done, i feel that we are owed some sort of explanation as to why we will now be left with floor tiles missing in the hallways, windows that even when fully closed, still let in strong gusts of wind, heating systems that just can't cope with cold weather and no gas supply. I feel utterly let down by the council.
While I'm aware that work may well continue in the new financial year, I'm aware that the council now plan's to start work on the inside of people's homes, with focus on bathroom's and kitchen's, while still, we are ignored.
I feel very let down by the council at the moment and i can only express my disappointment at this news, while other's may decide to contact the council themselves, or as i presume many will, just be used to the fact that we pay our council tax, same as everyone else around here, and receive next to nothing back.
Thank you for reading.
Kevin Roberts."
Now the person who i'd written to doesn't really matter, he was the manager of housing or something like that, for the council, but it turn's out, this email was forwarded to the right person, who simply responded by saying....
"Dear Mr Roberts,
Thank you for your email below in relation to the Councils investment plans.
I’m sorry to read of, and can understand, your disappointment in relation to not being included in the recent programs.
Unfortunately, the Council has not yet agreed the investment plans in relation to the flats on Beechtrees.
I envisage the plans will be developed over the course of the next few months.
Once these have been agreed these will of course, be shared with tenants.
Kind Regards,"
So why allow the story to go into the press?
I've seen many times now in the past where the only way of dealing with the council has been for residents to take their story to the local press, it has created change. On this topic, while the money may not be available for the council to spend on the housing, it might just give them the boost they need in order to take some action, knowing residents are not happy over what has happend to them in the past, ie, being completely blanked.
This is the story that has gone into the press. To see the orig story, click here.
"Why did borough council ignore us? ask tenants.
THE council has carried out improvements to homes in Beechtrees while ignoring the flats in the same area.

That is the view of Kevin Roberts, 24, who has a council flat in Beechtrees, and is claiming the flats have had little work done to them since they were built in the 1970s.

Mr Roberts wants the single glazed windows in his flat replaced to double glazed windows and he would like to see new boiler systems installed.

He told the champion: “The council houses near my flat have had improvements done to them, but the flats have been ignored.

”I feel completely let down by this. Since these flats were built in the 70s, they have hardly had any improvements.

“The flats need doubled glazed windows as the single glazed windows I have in my flat can be drafty and leak.”

Mr Roberts also expressed his concerns about the communal areas at the flats in Beechtrees. He added: “The communal areas are awful to look at, and have mould on the walls. They have been vandalised as well.

”We pay for the communal areas to be cleaned, but the work is only done once every two weeks and all the cleaners do is flood the hallway.“

A spokesman for the borough council responded: ”Council staff always listen to residents when they raise issues with regard to their estates.

“The council has not yet agreed any major investment plans in relation to the flats on Beechtrees. These plans are being developed and we will be liaising closely with tenants to identify the best options.”"
I can't wait to see if this pushes the council into carrying out the work, which is in need of doing.
There's been pictures taken of the flat which i live in, along with some of the communal area's, which show the state it's been left in and continues to be in. So yes, i'll be posting updates on here to let you all know if there's been any changes since this made it into the news.
My response to all of this? We shouldn't have been left, with no updates and just no news about the fact that we appear to have been ignored off every list of properties to have work carried out and for no reason. We are left with storage heaters which are an expensive and awful way at trying to provide heating for the flat, the single glazed windows are a nightmare and living in this day and age without a gas supply, when the house nextdoor has one, is crazy. We have been let down upto now and i'll be the one to say it (as per the usual).
This story has only been put into the public domain to try and make change happen.

Friday, 15 February 2013

People to look up to.

For some years now i've been following the youtube channel DepFox.

The channel's video's go under "Gay Family Values" and are a very good effort at trying to show people that gay families do still operate in the same way as others. While their youtube channel isn't massive, their story was picked up and created into a film called "The Right To Love : An American Family".

I have a huge soft spot for this family, all of them by themselves are clearly some of the nicest people that you could want to have contact with. It thus, goes without saying that if i see people who say things against gay family's, i use their example and video's to try and educate others on what i see, when i see a gay family.

Truth of the matter is, most people reading this would just see 2 dads and their kids, a happy family unit just getting on with life as they can. Other's don't seem to be able to see that, much is the case of tory MP David Jones.

Look at this video i did of DepFox. It's their daughter singing btw....

I have noticed other people who seem to live their lives happily as a gay couple with children, but don't put it out there in public, which of course, is fine with me.

A few weeks back, a story ongoing in a soap opera... Corronation Street... led several charicters to a gay bar, which isn't a million miles away from where i live. Me being nosie, tweeted one of the actors and simply asked....

them "gay bar" bits, where is that bar?"
I recieved a reply within a minute or two....
via on canal st"
Great! I tweeted back a thanks and that was me left happy..... Only not for actor Charlie Condou....
See, someone replied to his tweet to me (bugs me when people do that at the best of times) and... well, this is what the person had to say over several tweets....
you are the reason that gay teenagers are killing themselves, you make it seem like being gay is a choice, you have no right to call yourself a fucking gay man, and you DO NOT deserve children you are the most pathetic piece of shit ever. to terrorize the fucking planet, I cannot believe you accepted that storyline it just shows that you will do anything for money and that is really sad, you have NO morals and I wish you nothing but the worst in life. one disappointed homosexual to you, you should have more respect for yourself and your boyfriend and you should have NEVeR accepted that storyline but then again you'll do anything for money cause you're a fucking cunt."
Now first of all with this, i will hold my hands up.... I don't know Charlie Condou, i'm not going to pretend that i do. Sure, I've tweeted him a few times in the past and he tweeted me back that night, but other than that... i don't really know him.
The reason for that is, he's an actor. I know of his work and i do have alot of respect for him... he's VERY good at his job! but with his personal life, i've not got a clue.
Now the storyline in the soap has been that the charicter Charlie plays was gay, but then fell in love with a girl and that's kind of where the storyline has been for the past few weeks now... I've heard there's developments on that, but again, i don't know.
The storyline for me, as a gay man, to watch has been really interesting. Ok it's rare for it to happen, but it DOES HAPPEN!!! Some people in life can go from straight to gay, just as gay men can decide they're straight. It's never a choice, you don't wake up in the morning and think "Hmm, today i'll be straight" or something like that and i think Charlie and the rest of the Corronation street people managed to get that point across, in that it wasn't just a drunken thing or.... anything like that.
It of course wasn't what i'd have done, because you know me, i'd love for there to be a happy couple on the street where nothing bad happens to them and they all live happily ever after in a cottage with roses around the door. I applaud the writers of the show because they saw a chance to do this storyline and ran with it.... and it turned out to make for some very good viewing.
Now, what SOME people can't get, is that Charlie is an actor. His soap charicter is in love with fellow charicter Maria, not him. No wait, that sounds nasty... I'm sure Charlie and Sammie (who play's maria) are very good friends in real life... but i'm on about in the soap... acting... feck it, lets move on.....
Of course, like any good actor or actress, im sure Charlie is open to people being critical of his work, speaking with him about things that could have been done differently or improvements to odd bits etc, but to recieve such vile comments? No need for it.
While Charlie didn't say anything about it, infact i don't even think he replied to the comments, i did. I felt absolutly disgusted that people could say that to someone who's just doing their job.
I didn't know (Still don't if im honest) that Charlie was gay in real life, or even that he had children. If these are true, then don't get me wrong, i'm sure he's a very good parent and... well i find it difficult to compliment people on being gay, without it sounding like a chat up line.... but im sure he's good at it anyway...
These comments come from someone who is trying their best to promote some song they have out. Laughable to me, that someone who's in the entertainment industry could be so dumb, but hey ho. For me, i don't hold an actor acountable for what they have had to act out, only if they've been awful at acting out something. I actually applaud Charlie for taking on this storyline (that's presuming he even had a choice in what happend to his charicter), it's something that i've never seen acted out before and gave a sort of light to the situation that people have found themselves in, in real life.
Hatred isn't needed, but this isn't even the point here!!!
Comments recently made by Tory MP David Jones said "I regard marriage as an institution that has developed over many centuries, essentially for the provision of a warm and safe environment for the upbringing of children, which is clearly something that two same-sex partners can't do."
"Which is not to say that I'm in any sense opposed to stable and committed same-sex partnerships."

Two huge problems with this one though.

Firstly, Marriage shouldn't be denied to people, marriage is about two people who love each other. Be them same sex or different skin colour, marriage is marriage. It has a different meaning to everyone who enters into it. To say that marriage is "essentially for the provision of a warm and safe environment for the up bringing of children" is a complete laughable joke to me. When my mother got a divorce, did she stop raising me because it was done outside of the marriage? NO!!!

The environment for raising children is down to the parents of the child. It has NOTHING to do with marriage at all since marriage is for the people who are in it and nobody else.

To say that gay couples can't create children is reason enough to oppose same sex marriage is a complete joke, because clearly, straight infertile couples get married, they can't have children, so does that mean that they wouldn't make good parents either?

This unbelieveably huge bit of knobrot is yet again blabbering on, living off the tax payer, while trying to deny them rights. It's reasons like him that i keep telling people to look at who they're voting for because in my eyes, it's pointless having people like this involved in politics because they simply stand in the way of progress.

So, to ANYBODY who feels that they don't know about gay family's, if you feel that allowing two people of the same sex to marry is only going to cause misery for everyone or that kids having same sex parents end up being bullied... then look again.

Gays have been able to marry in certain parts of the world now for years, has your marriage fallen flat because of it? No.

Gays have been able to adopt and have fertilaty treatment for years, has it caused your family to fall apart or for the gates of hell to be flung open? No.

Below, i post a video from Gay Family Values.

Watch it and then go explore their youtube channel. Having a closed mind on these topics is no longer acceptable.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The twisted fate on valentines day.

Above, is the picture of Lawrence King, Aka, Larry.

On the 10th of febuary 2013, i came across this posting....

Mom and Dad on Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 15:51
We should be celebrating your 20th birthday today. We love you and miss you very much!
Oxnard, CA

For those who have never heard of the Larry King case, it dates back to February 12, 2008. The day that Larry King was shot twice, by a boy who he'd asked to be his valentine. The twisted fate is that on valentines day, Larry life support machines were turned off.

As a person who came out during high school, i think i got a slight taste as to what Larry had to go through, the comments, people talking behind my back, slight physical things but never anything major in my eyes.

Larry's story was different to mine. He'd come out aged 10 and had fully embrased his femanine side, he'd even shown up at school wearing "womens" clothing, high healed shoes and jewlery. He'd been pushed around, threatend and used to bad things happening, even away from school.

I believe it's when Larry was two years old, he was adopted because his father had gone and his mother was addicted to drugs. Later in life, Larry was moved out of his adoptive home over alegations of abuse, something which the King family still deny to this day. Larry was living in a shared foster home at the time of his death.

To understand what Larry was going through, you have to kind of understand what his life was like. At school he was no stranger to being bullied and of course thing's away from school couldn't have been easy for him to cope with either.

On February 12, 2008, 15 year old Larry was shot twice by a 14 year old student Brandon McInerney, in the classroom. It's said that a day or two before this, Larry had approached Brandon and asked him if they could be valentines, in public.

We of course, will never know what was going through Brandon's mind when he was putting the gun into his bag and carrying out the killing, only Brandon can tell us that and to this date, he's still remained silent on this. It is worrying that Brandon would see this as the only way to deal with the problem he was facing, but before jumping to any conclusion about Brandon, we need to look a little more into his life.

His mother was a meth (drug) addict, his father, also an addict was also physically abusive at home to Brandon and his brother. One key person in the trial, who refused to speak, is a friend of Brandon's brother, who's vocal about being racist. I personally don't think that Brandon was a racist. He had spoken about being homophobic however.

Another thing that bug's me about this whole trial afterwards is that this was dropped as being a hate crime, it was said that this wasn't a pre-meditate murder, but if that was the case, why were Larry's friends told the day before the incident to say goodbye to Larry, as they'd never see him again?

It's true that on the day of the incident, two lives were ruined forever. Larry's friends and family would never be able to hold him again while he knew and Brandon's family would later only be able to see their child at visting times.

There is ALOT to this case and put simply, there isn't enough time to type about it all, let alone talk about it all on here, because much of it is still unknown and will remain unknown until Brandon speaks about what happend, himself.

This case for me, has been the time that i started to notice that there's still major problems within education systems that need to be addressed. Several teenagers have killed themselves because of bullying relating to sexuality. It is an issue that has seen little action in the years since Larry's killing and while Larry's story is far from being forgotten, it seems that lessons haven't been learned here.

I think we need to be taking a look at bullying and what it can lead to, in a little more depth than we already do. Teachers and people who work with children need futher training to be able to spot the sign's of bullying and how to deal with it when they see it happening.

More details of Larry's murder can be found by clicking here.

To sum up this whole mess, it happend because of 1 boy wanting to be happy on valentines day, the worst part is that he ended up taking his last breath on the day he wanted to be happy.

We shouldn't stand in the way of love and we need to teach acceptance of others. Then we can all move forward having learned from these sorts of incidents.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Humor: win some, lose some.

It's amazed me for years at just where the line is in comedy?

Does a line of what's acceptable and what isn't even exist? Who decides these things?

It's taken me on a very weird journey to come to the answer of these questions.

The truth of the matter, is that we all decide for ourselves what is funny. Sure there's different things that can have an effect on us, like being in an audience can make you laugh louder because you feel more relaxed to be able to do so. Like last week, i was at the filming of a tv show, it's a sitcom type set up and they needed an audience in to provide the laughter that will be played during the show when it airs on tv.

Some of the scene's, if watching at home on the tv, i would have thought "Ha, yeah" but not even smiled. Yet because i was sat there behind all the camera's and boom mic's, with over 200 other people, i laughed. Luckily for us, it turns out that some parts were actually side splittingly funny, to the point i had to wipe tears away because i was laughing so hard.... even on the 2nd take! Then of course i went and got the giggles, but thats for another time.

See, this video below, i REALLY enjoy. I don't enjoy it because i'm gay, or a bottom, but i enjoy it because A) them harmony's are brilliant and B) because it appeals to my.... adult? sense of humor.

Now of course, you could be sat there thinking "oh god, that is awful, the worse thing i've ever heard" which is fine by me, i understand that humor is different for everyone.

So how do you become funny as a person if you are on stage infront of so many different sense of humor's.

It's simple for me. I don't try to be funny, my job isn't to do stand up comedy, but between song's, sometimes over them, i will use my sense of humor and say some thing's that can be amusing for some people. Usually at a party, you're pretty sure to be able to point out the person who's dancing before everyone else, the person who's too drunk to notice what you're saying about them and of course the one's who have dressed up really nicely, to go and sit down all night.

Using comedy can lighten the mood, when people understand that you're joking with them, which 99.9% of the time i am, the odd time i can mean it, but still it comes across as being funny for some reason. While my objective isn't to offend, yes, some of what i say can cause offense.... but that's where people's standards come into play.

I think when it comes to humor we all judge things to our own standards and i think its a habbit we need to get out of. Jokes about dead celebrity's have been told since celebrity's have died, and as quick as we get them today too, so while i may recieve some jokes that i don't find funny, i rarely criticise them, for not fitting to my personal sense of humor.

When we take a step back, some people do still find these things funny, so if it works for them, hey presto, it's still called funny.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Rosie Cooper. MP goes wrong again.

Not that i don't respect other people's point of view, but i feel utterly disgusted with the state of politics in the area i live in.

The town i live in falls under the "West Lancashire" council. Rosie Cooper is the member of parliment (MP) for this area.

Rosie was involved in the whole claims scandle not too long back http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5390009/MPs-expenses-Rosie-Coopers-915-for-abandoned-flat-deal-as-claims-taken-to-wire.html is a prime example of what im reffering to here.

Somehow Rosie remained in charge of the west lancs area, for some reason unknown to me as i don't know one person who voted for her to remain in office.

The town i live in is in need of ALOT of work, yet what does Rosie do?

Your guess is as good as mine.

I recently wrote to Rosie with reguards to the Marriage Equality bill that was voted on, in parliment on Tuesday 5th Feb, 2013. My view was that the bill should be passed, that marriage is to do with people who are in love, not about denying rights to those who are in love.

On Wednesday the 6th, i recieved a letter from Rosie Cooper with an explination. Below is the full letter.

Something to keep in mind here, the vote didn't take place until about 7pm on the tuesday, yet i recieve this letter first thing on wednesday morning? Yeah, that wouldn't happen with Royal Mail, least of all when she must have been in london to vote, then come home, typed out the letter and then sent it.

Anyways, the letter states....

"Dear mr _________

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your views on the government's marriage (same-sex couples) bill; which was debated and voted on today in the house of commons.

I recieved correspondence from constituents expressing views for and against, urging a free vote and those who are neutral on this issue. I have given this subject a considerable amount of thought and listened to the different views on which have been expressed to me.

The labour party recognises that, in good consciense, people can arrive at different conclusions - and that is why the party gave its MPs a free vote. I have tried to come to a balanced view on this subject. This evening i voted against this bill.

There are several reasons for reaching this decision which i will outline below:

The proposals in this bill did not feature in any party manifesto at the last general election. Therefore, the electorate had no opportunity to question candidates on their respective views.

Nor have i been reassured by how the government conducted the consultation on this matter.

Although i share the views of some leading members of the labour party (who are themselves gay) that this bill was not asked for, not needed and a distraction from the vast array of political and economic issues facing families, i do see that those who argue for equality have a point.

This point coule bbe met by providing civil partnerships for heterosexual couples as well as gay people. As you will be aware, civil partnerships offer the same legal protections for gay couples as marriage does for heterosexual couples.

The state could then completely remove itself from the conduct of marriages - and marriage would become the preserve of the churches alone. This would recognise the sacramental nature of holy matrimony - something which the state has no business interfering in and simultaneously recognise religious as well as secular diversity.

Whilst the government talked about the protections for religious institutions from a 'quadruple lock', i am not convinced that these protections for religious liberty could be absolutely guaranteed, especially in the face of legal challenge.

The labour party has a proud record of legislating on equality, from equalising the age of consent to civil partnerships to abolishing clause 28. It is a record of delivery on equality whilst we were in government that i stand by. I loathe homophobia and the cruelties which have been inflicted on people because of their orientation, gender or race - but it is possible to uphold the importance of holy matrimony without holding those views.

On balance i was not sufficiently reassured that this particular piece of legislation would actually deliver the stated aims and objectives.

Yours sincerely

Rosie Cooper MP
West Lancashire."

Where do i begin really? My word...

First off, the timing of the letter is a joke and can only have been sent in advance of the vote.

But now lets go through it bit by bit, because clearly, mrs Cooper and 174 other MPs have got something wrong.

"The proposals in this bill did not feature in any party manifesto at the last general election" neither did the action taken over hundreds of people who took part in the riots of 2011, yes the government still got together and passed new rules over this which involved courts being open later and tougher punishments. Welcome to politics, where things can pop up and need to be delt with as and when.

The we come to the whole "Religious freedom" argument, which i have seen used many a time and here's the deal. Religion is nothing to do with marriage. It is state controlled for a reason, the reason being that if the church still had control over it, divorce would still be illigal, black people wouldn't be able to marry white people, preists could marry the alter boy and no fish on fridays.

Hiding behind the religion excuse is pathetic.

I cannot express my joy at being able to laugh in the faces of the 175 MPs who voted against this, because 400 of them are on my side.

For once, equality made steps forward. Since no, Mrs Cooper, civil partnerships do not give the same rights as marriage does, that's why it's called civil partnership and not marriage.

I think i'll be encouraging others to vote differently this time, it seems we have a very out-dated MP here who's days of being political are over.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

How in touch are you?

This post is more to provoke a thought within you, rather than actually make a point, although i'll be making several points as we go through this.

I of course want your brain to actually question about how in touch you are with thing's as they stand for what seems to be, an awful lot of british people, with the way things are at the moment.

For some time now, i've been pondering in my mind about how much people like political figures for example, actually have an understanding about me and my life. It's a question many of us ask, when looking to political figures, since these are the people who decide alot of things for us, infact, everything.

See as it currently stands, the MP's here in the UK decide how much people out of work can live on financially, they decide how to create an economy which is good for business to grow and thus, create jobs. They decide pretty much everything, but i'm damned if i can find one of them who has any sort of idea about what i'm currently having to live my life like.

Let me explain to you my life before benefits. While working, i'd earn about £150 to £200 a week, maybe more if i'd managed to have fitted more hours in. I'd spend my money on house keeping (Since i was living with my mother at the time), going out on days out / nights out and of course clothing, extra food bit's i wanted, presents for birthdays and christmas etc.

My life with benefits means that i can't afford clothing. The government think it ok for me to live on £49 a week. Living by myself means of course i've bills to pay, so night's out / day trips are all out of the window, unless someone else is paying. Christmas is hell on earth for me, because how can i afford presents for people when i can't afford much for myself?

Years ago, a lady whom i'm more than sure you've heard of, Margaret Thatcher was in as the prime minister of the UK. If i could and she was up for it, i'd vote her back in tomorrow. She was different.

Sure, she get's alot of down talk even to this day about some of her decision's, but when it comes down it, the woman knew her money. She'd grown up in a life that wasn't too different from mine. Money wasn't readily available, she'd had to work for her father. A famous scene in the film about her dementure "The iorn lady" is where she repeats the price of different brands of butter, to show to her other MP's that she was still in touch with the real world. Not many people know, but it is documented, that the incident did actually happen. Today, if you were to ask David cameron, or Nick clegg about the price of butter, i doubt the pair of them would know. Yet these two are in the highest position's to not only determine how much that butter is, but how much money i have, to go and buy the said butter (what's with all the butter?).

My point here is, is that these men would appear to have fallen out of touch with how thing's are in the current financial climate. Maybe, like the rest of us would be in their position, they're surrounded by that much work and stress about a flatlining economy, they don't have time to know all the prices of butter.... So why did Margaret Thatcher? Let's face some basic facts with her.... When she took to office, the economy was dying on it's feet, granted, not as bad as it is doing now, but it was in a bad way. Yet by the time she was forced out... i wanted to say left, but another fact is, she was forced out of parliment... the economy was back standing strong, people were back working and times were on the up.

Where is this government going wrong?

A very popular tv show format has been found. Commonly known around the world as "Undercover boss" the show takes the owner or manager of a company and places them as a member of staff within their own company. They will have to take on a new identity and sometimes a new look, so as not to be found out. They get to find how life is for people at the bottom of the chain.

This format, i would LOVE to see applied to this government because i genuinly believe it would make change happen. They would see that a tax on a spare bedroom, is pathetic. They'd see that living on £49 a week, isn't possable. They'd see that a lack of funding to council's have resulted in poor housing standards and awful neighbourhoods being created. They would see exactly what they are doing to this country. Yet not one of them would do it. Ok yeah, you'd find the odd MP who'd want to take part, but i highly doubt you'd find the prime minister living in a flat like mine for a week, with only £49 to his name.

But it's not just people in parliment who are living like that, living to their own means, commenting on how others live their lives, without having walked a mile in their shoes.

If people think that i'm happy living as poor as i am, then you are sadly mistaken. It is a big encouragement to get back into work and start earning some money of my own, yet the jobs are just not there like they once used to be. When people turn around and say that a person doesn't want to find work, i can assure you now, there's millions of people living on benefits that would much rather be out doing a hard days work, than sat in, day after day, looking for work.

Of course thing's will improve with the economy, they always do.

But my question to you is, how in touch are you? Have you tried to put yourself in another person's shoes before commenting on their life?

If you've not, give it a try, you might just be suprised.