UK Elections on the HorizonWritten by Birmingham UK Com
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Looking back over last few months it is difficult to see what Labour have managed to get right. The National Education Targets for raising standards in our schools have been all but abandoned as Labour realise that this is neither an election winner or remotely likely of ever being achieved. The Iraqi war continues to be as unpopular as ever and with little chance of any quick fix. Leading up to next election bitterness between Tory and Labour leaders is likely to get worse rather than better.
Labour promised a better NHS and an improved education system. After years of Labour, general perception is that nothing has changed. If anything it has got worse. These are serious issues for Labour government that will cost them dearly in terms of votes. This election could be a close run thing after all.
So what is wrong with Britain? What are big issues? Crime is still seen as a big problem in UK. The NHS is in a mess. In some hospitals number of nurses from overseas outnumber those from UK. Our public transport is amongst most dangerous and expensive in world, rich get richer, minimum wages stay pitifully low and number of immigrants show no real signs of decreasing in any great numbers. The immigration issue is already a political hot potato which will cost Blair even more votes.
So, who will you vote for when time comes? If you stay at home then you can’t complain about who wins – Voting at least gives you that right!
From Birmingham UK Com the community website where everyone is welcome. http://www.birminghamuk.com
Doorstops and PaperweightsWritten by Terry Mitchell
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Second, imposing decency on cable and satellite channels would cripple, or possibly kill, an entire industry. In addition, burgeoning IPTV technologies, which would likely be strapped with same regulations, would be stymied. Think of damage it would do to economy. Thousands would be laid off or not hired. Many people subscribe to cable or satellite TV because they want access to something that is more edgy and is free to go a little further than broadcast TV. That's main reason that broadcasters are pushing so hard for decency standards to be extended to cable and satellite. Although they've been trying to compete by pushing envelope with our own programming since advent of cable and satellite, they know they are at a disadvantage with good portion of public that desire programming with more artistic freedom. If cable and satellite TV were suddenly held to same decency standards as broadcasters, a huge number of their subscribers would pull plug. Scores of cable and satellite set-top boxes would be reduced to doorstops and paperweights almost overnight. Third, and probably most important, regulating of cable and satellite TV would represent a slippery slope toward other, even more serious kinds of censorship. History has taught us that, without strong restraints, governments will stop at nothing to restrict free speech and expression of their citizens. These restrictions are often based on rather whimsical criteria. If government entities can get away with censoring material delivered as part of a private contract by means of privately owned equipment, then what's to stop them from censoring books, videos, newspapers, magazines, and even internet? The First Amendment, you might say? Well, no, if First Amendment could be interpreted in such as way as to allow censorship of cable and satellite TV, our last line of defense would be broken down. Nothing could stop government, as flood gates would be opened to just about any kind of censorship they wanted. Therefore, with First Amendment having been breeched, we would have a constitutional crisis of monumental proportions. The one that people talked about in reference to Watergate would seem like child's play by comparison. Video stores, bookstores, and libraries could be busted for carrying indecent material, even if it couldn't legally be ruled obscene. Websites could be shut down by thousands for being deemed a bit too risqué. If a government official didn't like something you wrote in a newspaper, magazine, or book, you could get slapped with a hefty fine or thrown in jail. Now you might think I'm exaggerating a little and that none of this stuff could ever happen in United States, but would you be willing to take that chance? Now, with all of that being said, I seriously doubt that this proposed regulation of cable and satellite TV will become a reality any time soon. It would be better if legislation would just pass and courts would strike it down and thus reaffirm First Amendment. However, that's not way I think it will play out. I believe there won't be enough votes because of constitutional concerns on part of majority of legislators, so Stevens, Barton, and company will have to back off for now. What I suspect, though, is that decency hawks in Congress will try to use mere talk of regulation to intimidate cable and satellite operators into practicing more "restraint", as Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a likely presidential candidate in 2008, calls it. However, that's a just a euphemism for "censor yourselves or we still might get back to trying to censor you later." Of course, cowering self-censorship is most insidious form of censorship there is.
Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, and trivia buff from Hopewell, VA. He also serves as a political columnist for American Daily and operates his own website - http://www.commenterry.com - on which he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in mainstream media.