27 September 2011

To Degree or not to Degree

To have a degree is a good thing.  I will say that at the start because I am not suggesting that having a degree does not help your career, it educates you in the field you wish and indeed can be a necessity when you come to pursue that career.

If you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, whatever, a degree is a necessary in the path you have chosen to take.

What I don’t like is the mentality that some people have, to those of us that don’t have a degree.  That we are automatically considered stupid, or not as good as the people who have one.  I am not sweeping tar brush over all people with degrees, but there is a percentage of people that do think that way.  I come across them regularly.

I chose not to go to university.  I got decent grades at school and after leaving, the pull of a wage was too much for me and I got a job instead.  I became an office junior, the lowliest office position as has to be said.

I know myself well enough and the choice I made for myself then, I don’t regret now.  I have never aspired to be a doctor, teacher etc and I have always valued being happy in my personal life over any career aspirations. 

I worked my way up through the ranks over the years and now I work for a partner in a large well respected firm.  I am happy in what I do and am happy that I got there on my own.  I’m not in a job with a massive wage, my career doesn’t contribute to society like a doctor or a teacher, but it's what I want and enjoy.

I’ve had people say to me “Ah but if you have gone to university, you would have a degree and think where you could have been now” or on a more condescending note “Oh you’re more little intelligent than I gave you credit for, having no degree and that”.

From someone who is actively using their degree in a career that they have worked towards, I can take that to a certain extent.  What really gets on my wick however are the people that went to university, got a degree, good one or bad one, and then don’t use it.

I have met people, and know people who went to university, got a degree and now work in a job, unrelated to the degree in any way, shape or form.  Most of the time this is in a job which is lower down the payscale and position of my own. 

Now of course in this day and age, any job you have is better than having none.  If that is the job you can get, then all well and good.  But don’t then turn around to me, who has a better job than you and look down your nose at me because you have a degree and I don’t.

21 September 2011

The Death Penalty Itself Should be Executed

When it comes to the rights and wrongs of the death penalty, everyone has their own opinion. I’m against it.

At this point in the conversation those who are “pro” death penalty would bring up one of the most famous cases (in England that is), of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley who were found guilty on the 6th May 1966 and as such, escaped the death penalty by a mere matter of months.

Their guilt was irrefutable and given the horror of their crimes, they were the perfect candidates for the death penalty.

The thing that sticks in the back of my mind, no matter what the perpetrator has done is this. The taking of another’s life cannot be justified, even in a Court of Law. I don’t believe we should have such power over each other, even when governed by Law.

The last public hanging in England was on the 26th May 1868, the convicted being a Michael Barratt for bombing. The final hanging in England took place on the 13th August 1964 with Peter Anthony Allen and Gwynne Owen Evans for the murder of John Alan West.  The last woman to be executed was of course Ruth Ellis on the 13th July 1955. 

The death penalty was actually still in force until 1998, but only in terms of treason, piracy with violence and certain military offences (mutiny for example).

Since the abolition of the death penalty, instances of cases have arisen where the person in question was found not to have committed the crime and was given a posthumous pardon. Doesn’t do them much good now though, aside from their families getting their respect back.

I won’t start bringing up name after name but one that springs to mind is Timothy Evans who was convicted of murdering his daughter, only for it later to be found after his death that the crime had been carried out by John Christie.

I read about this particular case in a copy of “The Hangman’s Tale” by Syd Dernley who was an assistant executioner who had assisted with the famous Albert Pierrepoint with carried out the execution of Timothy Evans.

Others to mention would be Derek Bentley, who was wrongly convicted of the murder of a police officer and Mahmood Mattan, again wrongly convicted and was in fact the last person ever to be hanged at Cardiff Prison on the 3rd September 1952.

Some people will say that the lives of a few innocent people lost does not outweigh the benefit and deterrent that the death penalty was. The death penalty was indeed a strong deterrent in it’s day, but then you can look at America now, where several States have the death penalty and you could argue quite well that the death penalty there is now little or no deterrent.

Which brings me to the inspiration of my blog today. Troy Davis.  He is due to be executed at 7.00pm (Georgia time).  There is so much doubt as to what actually happened the night that the police officer was killed.  No forensic evidence, witnesses who have retracted their statements and others who have implicated another for the killing.

All of this leads to reasonable doubt.  You cannot kill a man when there is a reasonable doubt that he didn't do it.  Yet that is exactly what is going to happen tonight.  

Troy Davis has been on death row for twenty years and has been subjected to more than one last minute cancellations of executions.  He has offered to do a polygraph test but this has been denied too.  In the UK if he had committed this crime, he would either be out by now or would be nearing the end of his sentence.

This man should not be executed.

First, a Little Rant

I do have a blog post I want to put on here tonight but first, a little rant.

Sometimes I feel that being on Twitter is setting yourself up to be discriminated against.  We, as a Twitter collective are all lumped together, by people who have never been on Twitter and therefore don't know what it's about, as being people who do nothing but tweet what they had for breakfast, who follow millions of celebrities and are generally brainless.

I have had this argument with various people, all of which have never been on Twitter.

I have come up with this "conversation" as an alternative example which either proves my point, baffles or alternatively I am told I am a little bit mad.  The last one is probable.

Person One: I don't like apples.
Person Two: Have you ever had one?
Person One: No, they taste of sardines.
Person Two: What are you talking about?  They are juicy and delicious!
Person One: Well that's not what everyone else says so I am not trying one.

Twitter by the way, does not taste like sardines.

12 September 2011

Trophy Hunting - Are we Really Still Neanderthals?

Millionaire banker Sir David Scholey, a so called "nice guy" according to the Guardian has been pictured recently, after one of his trophy hunting holidays, posing over the corpse of a lion he killed, for sport.

He is quoted saying:
“I have been hunting all over the world for many, many years and I have always hunted within the legal arrangements of the country concerned.  
“All the animals I hunt are wild beasts and even I have felt threatened by them at times.  The lion I killed certainly wasn’t an endangered species where I was hunting it."
Trophy hunting and Canned Hunting is taking place in South Africa, Nambia, Botswana, Mozambique where people essentially can pay to shoot animals, either by trophy hunting in a large area or by canned hunting, as described in the link.

The amount of animals available to these trophy hunters are vast, but include elephants, lions and leopards.  Interestingly and also more telling are a number of websites I have researched, all readily accessible and a click away, which I won't name, giving a link with a Rhinosaurus on the front, an endangered species, as a link to their brochure.

I asked in the the title, are we still Neanderthals?  But really, that title does not apply to these trophy hunters.  The Neanderthals killed to eat, used the furs to keep warm, in essence, to survive.  The trophy hunters do it for the blood lust, the thrill (apparently) of killing an animal greater and stronger than yourself.  The cowards way, with a bullet, with no hope of the animal fighting back.

Going back to what (Sir) David Scholey, said, he claimed that the animal he killed wasn't on the endangered list.  With trophy killers, poachers and an ever decreasing availability of land for the lions to use, how long will it be before lions are on the endangered list?  That day is edging closer every day.

Humans are the most dangerous animal on the planet.  If we are not careful, we are going to lose all these amazing animals which will end up as nothing more as a head mounted on a someone's wall or an exhibit in a museum.  It is time for people to be proactive if we want to help conserve the wild animals on this planet.

Join the causes, donate to the charities, speak your mind rather than going "It's not my problem, why should I care".  These animals have just as much a right to the planet as we do.  Do we really want to be left in a position where nothing wild is left in the world?