Martin Kirby Column; Blank Looks, Getting The Hump and Shower Power
FACEBOOK PROTESTS ARE THE EASY OPTION
Having been on protest marches in my time, I have great respect for those who try to get their message across by peaceful, lawful means. In my day, we often stood around in the cold for ages, waiting for enough people to turn up so that we didn't look silly.
Now the internet has changed all that. Protests can be arranged by using Facebook. In fact, it's so easy for absolutely anybody with access to a computer to join-in that you don't need to leave the comfort of your own home to get your message out there.
But as with the traditional form of protest, good causes are often hijacked by hangers-on who use them to promote their own agendas, or as a cover for a copper-kicking spree. Back in the day, we could point police in the direction of troublemakers and have them shoved-off the march before trouble started. But in the world of the cyber-protest, that isn't possible.
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Which brings me to an organisation known as 'Stop The Cull'. Having looked at STC's Facebook page, it's obvious to me that what started with a bunch of well-meaning animal lovers, upset at the idea of Badgers dying needlessly, has been revved-up into something much more sinister.
For example, Stop The Cull has denied printing posters which asked people to supply details of farmers but "agreed with the sentiment". So what does STC think such information would be used for then – sending farmers a Christmas card?
Also, the STC website doesn't miss-out on the chance to rope 'big bad Tesco' into the badger cull debate, which is not surprising. According to most protest groups, the supermarket chain is responsible for every catastrophe since the dawn of time. Famine in Africa, Global Warming, the world ends in December 2012…….you name it, it's all Tesco's fault. This time it's because Tesco sells milk supplied by farmers who support the cull.
Another thing I've never understood is why people organising a lawful protest need to hide their identity. There are plenty of photos currently doing the rounds that show anti-cull protestors engaged in peaceful public demonstrations but for a group needing publicity, they seem very shy, most of them preferring to cover their faces, as in this photo. I'd be willing to bet that many of the people using the STC Facebook page have only experienced the countryside on the internet and are simply following the crowd.
For the record, I don't like the idea of Badgers being killed as an experiment either. What if Brock is wiped-out in parts of Gloucestershire and cows still suffer from TB? Do we start eliminating rabbits and foxes?
But whatever your thoughts on badger culling, if you're going to protest, it's best done the old fashioned way. Only people who really care about a cause will turn up on a cold, rainy day to make their point.
LIKE IT OR HUMP IT
According to Gloucester city councillor Saj Patel, loose manhole covers in Barton and Tredworth "sound like a train" when cars drive over them – making life miserable for residents. (I thought you had to call them person-hole covers these days, but I digress).
Councillor Patel should visit Tuffley, where speed humps manage a similar job. These useless lumps of tar and grit were installed when a former council leader who was fanatical about reducing vehicles to walking pace, lavished taxpayers' money on his crusade.
The humps in Tuffley have never worked because boy-racers use them as jump-ramps and motorcyclists go through the gaps between them. The only purpose they serve is to wake the dead when lorries thunder across them, shaking the trucks' contents and making a noise like an Iron Maiden concert.
Worse still, due to the weather over the past 12 months, the humps are crumbling and our cash-strapped council can't afford to repair them. The sooner the humps crumble away completely, the better.
Here's a security tip; always leave your shower head in its highest position. Burglars will wonder who the hell lives in the house and leg it!