Suarez Vs. Aguero – A Simple Choice


17 goals and 14 goals respectively, and it’s only December. But who is the Premier League’s top dog? Liverpool’s temperamental terrier or City’s charismatic  centre forward?

The debate of Suarez Vs. Aguero is one  that has raged following its first mention on the dull, boring and predictable football review show, Match of the Day.

Some plump for Suarez, whilst those of a sky blue persuasion vote for Sergio.Those that vote against the Uruguayan, do so by  remarking on his questionable behaviour;  the race row, the biting of fellow professionals and the constant diving that comes with a player who has experience of playing on the continent.

I understand the reasoning for writing off the pint-sized forward on the account of his annoying and unprofessional approach to the beautiful game. However, nobody can doubt his natural ability, forward-thinking outlook and attacking prowess.  His 17 goals (to Aguero’s 14), despite missing the start of the Premier League season, speaks for itself.

You will also have to go a long way to find a forward who works harder for this team than the Kop’s Uruguayan messiah. He tracks back, runs further and wins the ball back more than most that boast his ability.

I don’t think you can underestimate the ability of the Liverpool player, however, whatever he can do, his Argentinian counterpart can do. Aguero’s natural finishing ability is second to none. He also works hard, has immeasurable technical ability and speed with the ball that most in the Premier League can only dream of.

So who is better? The answer is simple. I’m not sure why it’s even a debate. Both of the players are world class, of that there is no doubt. However, Suarez edges it.

Why? Again, it’s simple. Suarez has made many sides look like they belong at the wrong end of the Championship as opposed to the Premier League, as has Aguero. However, whilst the Argentinian has the likes of Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri and David Silva, Suarez has Henderson, Allen and Lucas.

Luis Suarez, has been tearing teams apart single handedly, whilst Aguero has the help of some of the world best. For me, this is why the Liverpool forward is the victor in this debate.

Question is, where are David Moyes and Manchester United going to find a player of that quality to put their season back on track? Will they test the Uruguayan’s questionable loyalty?

Making Good Of The Bad: How To Rejuvenate A Dilapidated High Street


here is always something said about the economical situation that we currently find ourselves in. The doom and gloom headlines have been in newspapers, every day since late 2007, and show no sign of letting up anytime soon, with the latest budget announcement being greeted with the usual moans, groans and tabloid mockery.

Despite the constant column inches on the failing economy, which often provokes thoughts of a post apocalyptic world, there is never any suggestion or ideas put forward to improve the situation, other than ideas from politicians, that seem to frequently involve taking more money from our already depreciated pockets.

Now, I would never claim to be knowledgeable in the way of politics, but there are some simple solutions that politicians are seemingly overlooking.

The government consensus is that if we spend more on the High Street, then we will slowly work our way out of the mess we have engineered ourselves. However, all this suggests is that, David Cameron has not ventured around towns such as the seaside town of Torquay.

A quick walk through Torquay would reveal a vast t array of empty space, left by companies who have gone into liquidation, with a large proportion of occupied space being taken up by charity shops.  A strong indicator of a country in recession.

Many of the shops in which we had taken for granted and in which we would have spent our disposable cash on payday have now disappeared. Woolworths, Blockbuster’s, HMV, and Jessops are just some of the big retail names disappearing from the High Street after falling on hard fiscal times.   These were the typical shops  a Brit’  would have previously indulged in a cheeky Saturday purchase after a hard week at the office.

Now our choices of where to make that guilty purchase – should the purse strings allow – are highly diminished.

Further more, the outlook of the High Street is a depressing one. The empty spaces left make the towns up and down Britain look outdated and run down.

Well, why not use the empty spaces to inject energy and life back into towns, whilst encouraging new businesses and young entrepreneur’s? This is something all sides of government are keen to do, according to their stances.

My proposal is a simple one. Shops left empty for a period greater than three months should lower their rent prices dramatically. Then new businesses, youngsters and Entrepreneur’s should present their business plans to the local council, with the winner gaining the empty space at a reduced price, which of course would come with clauses, that would ultimately benefit the local community.

For example, if a local artist won the space to set up a gallery, they would have to run an open workshop once a week which would allow local primary schools to come in and learn from the artist. Then, once the gallery became profitable, the rent would increase in correlation.

Everyone would win from such a scheme. The artist would get his gallery, the exposure, his own business and the chance to make money. Meanwhile, the local council would inject energy into the high street, with residents and schools benefiting from the workshop, whilst the council or owner of the property would receive income for a previously unoccupied space.

Now I’m sure that this idea, when presented to government would be greeted with red tape and bureaucracy , but surely its a concept that should be explored given the plight of our decrepit towns and cities?

Useless Uni Proves More Hindrance Than Help


In this economic climate, you don’t need telling that it’s hard to find a job. Although, many of the news outlets delight in telling us on daily basis.  But in an on-going struggle that has lasted the best part of five years, the younger generation find it increasingly difficult to find a job – largely thanks to the mess created by the elders we are meant to respect.

But the government is never far behind in suggesting solutions to the young, in a bid to find a job. Go to uni, get an apprenticeship, and get some work experience under your belt. All intended to be useful advice, I’m sure, but put into a real world scenario, it’s all more or less, completely useless.

I have been out of work for four months. All by my own design, so I have little room to complain, but it’s all very frustrating. However, there is a trend to the rejection – suggesting that the government leaders and the job sector (if it could be melted down to make one entity), need to hold a meeting and make the advice and expectations of an employer more tangible.

Let’s start with university. I would recommend it to anyone for the life experiences and social experiences alone; you certainly return home a different person, one way or another. Yet, if you put aside the new crippling debt for fees, is it worth it when taking into consideration future job opportunities?

No it’s not. Not even close. Gone were the days where a degree automatically granted you a good job. We live in a world where over half of the younger generation – 30 and under – have degrees, it’s a vastly over saturated market.  So then they look to your job history. They decide that your previous experience of working in a café or behind a bar is not relevant to position and that for those reasons, your degree now counts for little. Surely though, people deserve praise for holding down a job and subsidising their income whilst in full time education? Nope, sorry, not in this job market it doesn’t.

So then, with a good degree you’re still no closer to where you wanted to be because you had the audacity to earn some money to help pay for living, rather than working for free in a relevant industry, because you couldn’t afford to at the time.

With degree in hand, what are you meant to do now? How about another government suggestion in the form of unpaid work experience?

Many of our parents can tell us how working for free before being offered a job and working their way up the company is how they got to where they are. Although, sadly – once again -thanks to many of their life decisions, this is no longer the case.

There are still many work for free work experience placements to be had, perhaps too many.

But unlike years ago, there is no job to possibly be had by proving yourself, due to the financial complaints of the economic climate. I once worked for over a year at a Football League club as relevant work experience whilst at university. However, the club went into administration and as a result, there was no job to be had. Same can be said of a London based radio station that I supplied sports and movie reviews for. Administration hit them hard too.

Now on my CV it looks as though I had two yearlong work experience stints, after which I was never offered a job. Now, that leaves it open to suggest that I wasn’t very good at the job and therefore not good to employ, or I like to move from opportunity to opportunity, putting to question my loyalty. Not being there when an employer glances at my CV, these are possibilities that they could think of, meaning my well-intended work experience could work against me.  Once again leaving you open to condemnation rather than praise for your hard work.

So it would appear that you’re left with the option of apprenticeships. I looked into many in Central London. I could undertake an apprenticeship in Journalism easily enough, although at an astonishing £2.50 and hour on average, I’d need a relative, a very rich relative. These days, apprenticeships are the way into my desired career. Although, with no rich relatives to speak of and at the age of 24, living away from home and working for £2.50 and hour is not doable. After all, that is over a half lower that the national minimum wage. So, suddenly with the introduction of much advocated apprenticeships it has opened the possibility of some sectors of work becoming elitist. Styled so only those who are well off, ever dream of such a career. It’s a sad day indeed when  jobs become only for the rich and elite, as if there wasn’t enough of a class gap already.

The government advice is meant well. Although the advice given for the younger generation in its current climate, isn’t particularly helpful or tangible

For this I would suggest none of it. If it is a job you’re are going for and not the experience, I’d forget university. Unpaid work experience and apprenticeships are not doable in this economic climate. I’d forget it all. I’d find a paid job at a company I liked and work hard to prove myself and get promoted. In the age where uni is fashionable, this route is bizarrely frowned upon, but I can’t help but feel I’d be better placed than taking the government approved career path that my life has found itself on.

 

”Super, Wicked, Cool television,” it is not


The recent ad campaign for The Undatables made me cringe. Terrible television designed to give the public something to laugh at, at someone else’s expense, or so I thought.

However, after tuning in to the Channel 4 fly- on- the- wall documentary about people with varying disabilities as they go through the ups and downs of trying to find love, I found that it offered a little more, even if it still sat a little uncomfortably with me.

I had originally vowed not to watch the show after discovering its premise.  However, a friend recommended I did and knowing him to be a smart person, I indulged in what I thought was to be a waste of my free time.

That being said, Channel 4 approached the documentary with sensitivity and maturity that I did not expect. It showed the difficulty
that some people with disabilities face when trying to find love, whilst leaving them with their dignity. The documentary left me entertained and pleasantly surprised about the approach.

However, the show still does not get my blessing. Why? Because the documentary entices audiences who watch the show for the wrong reasons, not always with intention or through fault, but it definitely happens.

There is no doubting that much of its audience tuned in last night to mock what they don’t understand. To laugh at the kid with Torrets,  or to giggle at the guy who says things an old age pensioner would say on a date, due to his Autism. Much of the audience last night would be looking for a laugh, that’s certainly  the angle Channel 4’s ad campaign took in the lead up to the show.

There were some amusing moments, ones that made you laugh, that wasn’t because you were laughing at them, but when  I knew the reason most of the audience tuned in, it began to make me feel very awkward for laughing in the first place.

That of course is not the only reason people watch it. Pity is another driving force.

People pass  pity and judgement without really understanding their true differences or the difficulties they face. I am actually guilty of feeling sorry for them myself, wanting to hunt them down and give them a reassuring hug, however, as someone with a disability, I am well aware that these people aren’t after pity and would not thank me for it, but the way these shows are edited, it’s an emotion they force out of you.

These shows whilst claiming to educate people on disabilities whilst sharing insight are somewhat of a false claim.  They open the people up to mockery and pity, something they face on day-to day basis, they don’t need that exposure on a national level to help with that.

The lack of education on the disabilities within the show is highlighted by the woman who’s job it was to help disabled people find dates.  The feedback for one of the daters was that the other person in question was not interested in a further date, but that she did find him ” super, wicked cool.” Good to know i’m sure, but a rather demeaning and embarrassing thing to say to a 26-year-old, Autism or not.

Of course this is not the only show to broadcast that aims to show difficulties of the disabled, with a view to treating them as equal, only to be seen as achieving the opposite.

BBC3 – a channel that wishes to be Channel 4 with its controversial shows – twice aired shows with the idea that disabled people were as equal as able bodied people.  In 2010 it aired Dancing on Wheels, a programme that showed people competing in a ballroom dance competition in wheelchairs (including some celebrities, such as winner, Caroline Flack). Again, this was designed to make disabilities seem equal and almost inspiring. However, they lacked the one key component of dancing is mobility, the one thing an individual in a wheelchair lacks, it seemed like a cruel joke and awkward joke.

Again, the motivation of those watching would not be to basque in the beauty of ballroom dancing in wheelchairs, something not possible, because no one had  experienced it before. People were tuning in to laugh and pity.

Not satisfied in the awkwardness of broadcasting a show about mobility with contestants who lacked that very thing, they also aired ”Britains top Model,” a show searching for a model with a difference, the difference being disability.  Contestants with Cerebral Palsy, missing limbs and other major disablements.

Again, was this a cruel joke? An industry known for perfection, not even allowing curvier women to feature as they are not viewed as being beautiful enough, yet they were searching for a disabled model, someone far from the perfection the industry has come to expect.  It also made uncomfortable viewing as their disabilities didn’t allow them to reach some of the desired positions and poses, bringing with it many tears.

Whilst both channels should maybe receive praise to shed light on issues faced by  disabled people, it has the opposite effect. The fact is though, people tune into the shows for the wrong reasons, pity, laughter and intrigue, whilst they seem to fail on educating the audience.

The reasons for shows are admirable in their idea, but t hey have the reverse effect, a damaging effect for people with enough negative stereotypes to deal with, without lazy programming to make it worse, for that reason such shows have a long way to go to be considered ”Super, wicked, cool.”

Castration Nation: Why India’s protest for castration makes sense


This week has seen the condemnation of India as an angry nation used forceful protests to try and change the growing number of gang raping’s and sexual assaults in the country, by proposing the castration of those who are found guilty of sexual crimes.

Whilst many believe this to do damage to their improving image as a growing economic  powerhouse, as the country shows a fondness for draconian punishment, I can’t help but feel they may be on to something.

Sexual assaults of all forms are never far away from the headlines. In recent weeks there has been intense focus on ‘pedophiles’  in the wake of the scandal surrounding former TV personality, Jimmy Savile. However, I’m not about to to join the villainisation of a man who cannot defend himself on the account that he is dead. In fact, I believe people should ease up on the Savile bashing altogether.  He may be guilty of his crimes, but further column inches do nothing but cause pain and distress to his family, who themselves are victims that will never get their own answers to the revelations.

Though, the  amount of coverage given to the story does illustrate the interest and  hatred we feel for such heinous crimes as the criminals in question willingly and knowingly remove dignity and basic human rights from their victims.

Recent protests have taken place in India following the gang rape and subsequent murder of a 23-year-old woman. The protests which started off violent,  are now of a more somber nature following the victims death and have taken place to push home the locals desire to bring in chemical castration to curb the issue of sexual harassment in India.

Whilst I think the castration should be a considered  option, I would suggest the first port of call for India would be to tackle their cultural view of women.

However, I am fully behind the further research and deployment of chemical castration on those found guilty of such crimes. These measures, whilst extreme, would go a long way towards preventing re-offending. Only today, I read of a criminal that has gone missing from a detention center. The person in question  had been convicted of at least  4 sexual crimes, had chemical castration been deployed, they would have prevented a catastrophic and life changing experience for three of his victims.

It’s still baffling to me and many of the general public that the UK and US are yet to effectively use chemical castration as a deterrent for sexual offences. Whilst America has chemical castration in the law of at least 9 of its states, it is  unclear how many times, if ever, castration has been used.

So what’s the reason behind the lack of use of some ‘draconian’ punishments? Human rights. Yes, the most notable reason is the belief that the use of castration breaches a persons basic human rights.

I would argue that committing such crimes would result in the loss of human rights with immediate effect. Prison and other deterrents aren’t meant to be a comfortable haven for criminals, although many reports seem to indicate that prison may be exactly that for some of those convicted. The idea that individuals that commit such heinous acts should be afforded human rights, is a laughable matter given that they show no regard to the human rights of others.

I believe for this reason, chemical castration as a deterrent should be seriously considered.

A job for the disabled: Comedian Wanted…


I have often joked that I should have been a comedian. The major flaw is that I’m not really very funny. That being said, I would probably make more money from comedy  than I do from writing,  as people with blogs continue to depreciate the art…

My argument is simple, at the very least – as someone with Cerebral Palsy – I would be guaranteed a laugh as I walk onto the stage. That’s half the job done right there.

There are other advantages to the disabled if being a  comedian is their chosen career path. The material is endless. Everything in life seems to open itself up as potential material when you add a disabled person into the mix, whether it’s literal or by a clever use of connotations from the stereotypes given to them.

The Army are a prime example. They are our nation’s finest and fittest men, meant to strike fear into people  in order to preserve the peace. The issue being, that with the branding of our ‘special forces,’ I can’t take them seriously.

The connotations aren’t great given the common use of the word ‘special’ these days.  I can just picture a load of people in wheelchair’s and with walking aids, charging, or rather hobbling and rolling into battle. I don’t think wheelchairs are necessarily built for the rugged terrain of war. Fear, indeed.

Finally, you can’t  get in trouble for being offensive and insensitive, if you are disabled, you could say  that my jokes are blue badge approved. By that logic, I cant possibly cause offence.  All of this points to a potentially successful career in comedy, if you overlook my previous admission that I’m not the most humorous of people.

Comedy and disability are a contentious issue, and often is something people try not to talk about for fear of awkwardness. There are those that are too easily offended and those that are offended because they feel they should be.  By this I mean that they have been forced by media and society to believe that all jokes about disability or differences must be wrong, not  that they  necessarily believe in that view.

Take the whole Frankie Boyle and Jordan saga. ‘Katie Price’ got upset when Frankie Boyle joked about her blind son. To single out someone like that is wrong, especially an individual who has not themselves chosen to be in the public eye. However, to mock someone’s disability for the sake of comedy (in the right setting and context), is not wrong. Once you disallow one type of joke, it’s a slippery slope to a whole range of jokes being banned. In my opinion you can’t draw a line in comedy. However, there is no shortage in people ready to cry outrage at any joke at the expense of the disabled or any minority group.

Ask anybody with a disability, they know how to laugh at themselves more than anyone, and will be the first to laugh at jokes offered by comedians at their expense. Those that  do get offended on ‘the behalf of the disabled’ are doing  so to make themselves feel better, not because they suddenly care for disability rights.

It is when you remove  the boundaries of comedy the issues arise. Everyone now realises that racism is an arrestable offence and rightly so , however, you can say vile things to someone with a disability and nothing will happen. It’s  bred of the the same sort of ignorance as racism, but is met nowhere near as harshly. For what reason?

The ignorance behind some of the things said  is truly astounding.  A lot gets said by people who don’t understand or are ignorant to your issues a disabled person faces, it makes it easy to walk away because you have heard it all before.  But, every now and  then, it’s impossible.

One morning a woman walking her children to school declared  “it must be difficult to walk like you’re drunk all the time.” At the sound of her childs chuckle, I told her that she was ignorant and thanks to her, her children would be full of the same ignorant views, who would then pass it on to their children. Her response?

“I give money to children in need, I gave them a fiver.”

Just in case your wondering, that is the standard fee to be able to mock the disabled, so she was in the right….

It also, in itself proves why I dislike Children in Need. No one can dispute the money it raises. However, they do it through pity, without educating about disabilities and the issues faced. As this woman proved, education is just as important as the funding such nights provide.

Still, that’s not the most offensive thing. My least favourite thing is when people get caught making fun of the disabled, and instead of offering an apology, they protest that it couldn’t possibly be true because they have a disabled relative.

No you don’t, if you did you wouldn’t be so ignorant. Plus, the amount of times I hear that defence,  it’s statistically impossible for everyone to have a disabled relative, you now just sound like the racist who has a black best friend.  At the very least, if you insist on subjecting me to your prejudice views, try  to memorise a real disability that your fictional relation could have.

There is a fine line between comedy and being offensive. It can be done with the very same joke. But, like everything in life it’s the parameters and setting that decide the outcome. It’s how you use joke, not the joke itself that can cause offence.

I’m a fan of comedy. I’m a huge fan of those comedians with enough balls to mock the disabled. However, those who mock outside the parameters of comedy should be met with the same punishments as those who are racist, after all, it is born of the same sort of ignorance.  Should it not be met with the same consequences?

I urinated on a war memorial but at least I managed to tie my shoe laces…


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There is no doubting that this summer, the glorious summer of 2012, did a lot to change the perception of disability. Paralympic athletes previously used to competing in front of a handful of spectators at regular meets, got to display their talents in front of 80,000 spectators a night as the British public brought tickets in their droves, following a successful Olympic Games that left them craving more sport.

However, whilst there has been some shift in perception of disabled people of all degrees, there is still a long way to go. The one thing that is often forgot when tackling prejudice of any kind, is that being over the top in acceptance and encouragement of their differences and the strict adherence to political correctness can often be more offensive than those who deliberately set out to mock.

As a disabled person, it is often embarrassing when it becomes apparent that people are being so nice, that it verges on  pity. People are so scared of passing opinion on a person with a visible disability, that I often feel I would be able to anything without proper recrimination, because it would be deemed unfair to punish me for something that is ‘not my fault.’

Indeed, in a society who love to wrap  a minority of any kind up in cotton wool,  I have often believed that, as someone with a severe physical disability,  I would be able to drop my trousers in public and urinate on a War memorial  (a despicable act), and all I would receive is a congratulations for successfully managing to tie my shoe laces by myself, before leaving my house that morning.

That may be a drastic example for many, but it is an effective illustration of how being scared to pass opinion on a certain type of person can be just as insulting as actually insulting or punishing  the individual in question. 

A few weeks ago, I got the bus to town. A regular event for many people on a daily basis. However, I remember this particular trip as one woman declared me as an inspiration, bizarrely, this is nothing new for me.  What was it I did to get such an accolade? I got on a bus alone. That’s it, nothing more, nothing less. A woman with whom I had no prior knowledge or conversation walked right up to me and declared me an inspiration. By her way of thinking, going outside alone and living a normal life had made me some sort of hero. What’s the alternative? Sit at home and wallow in self pity?

This is a strange situation to be in, as you never know really what to say or what is expected of you? This woman thought she  was doing right, passing compliment and in her own way offering an acceptance of my differences. However, it serves as nothing more than an insult, shrouded in political correctness and social niceties. After all, anyone born into my situation would continue  life as I have, it’s not like we are given a choice.

To declare me an inspiration is doing a disservice to the very meaning of inspiration, I’m a moron. I’m like any 20-something – year-old who spends too munch time eating, drinking and watching Jeremy Kyle. One New Years Eve, I got so drunk, my belt broke, my change scattered all over the floor when I fell over and when I stood back up, my jeans were down by my ankles, boxers showing to the town, before being carried to my taxi by a complete stranger. Am I an inspiration now?

To be called an inspiration in that context was an embarrassment to myself and the woman in question. There is certainly a very fine line between acceptance of someone’s differences and being patronisig. Worst of all, people pass this pity fueled compliment because society  leads them to believe it is the right retraction. Not  necessarily because it is their belief. 

There is no doubting that sport did a lot to change perception of all kinds throughout the summer of 2012, but there is a long way to go to ensure that people watch disability sport for the right reason. Something echoed by  the woman who sat in front of me at the Olympic Stadium:  “aww bless,” she said, on the final night of the Paralympics  as a gold medal winner crossed the finish line. I wonder if she said: “aww bless him,” when Usain Bolt crossed the line for his gold medals?