"..a bardy view!"

Bardiness 400- Speakers’ Corner……

Speakers-Corner-006This is my 400th Bardiness post.

In a democracy where the ballot box is the measure of freedom, sometimes the common man needs to voice his concerns beyond the electorate system. The internet has given a voice to the silent, and blogs have given a platform to the unheard. Those voices are all shouting now, and the noise is deafening.

Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park is a place where those with a point of view can stand up and express themselves. Some will get an audience, some will not, and some will get heckled. It has been designated a space for freedom of speech for over 165 years.

Anyone can turn up unannounced, and talk on any subject. As recently as 1999 a ruling by Lord Justice Sedley in his decision with a case involving the UK Director of Public Prosecutions, described Speakers’ Corner as demonstrating “the tolerance which is both extended by the law to  opinion of every kind and expected by the law in the conduct of those who disagree, even strongly, with what they hear,”

This ruling famously established in English case law that freedom of speech could not be limited to the inoffensive but extended also to “the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome, and the provocative, as long as such speech did not tend to provoke violence” .

That Right, accorded by Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, also accorded the right to be offensive.

What is a blog then…if not a virtual Speakers Corner? A place where we can be “irritating, contentious, eccentric, heretical, unwelcome and provocative”, providing we don’t provoke violence or hatred? There may be many blogs inciting the latter two, but Bardiness stands by English Law, and the European Convention of Human Rights.

This post is an expression of the fundamental principles of freedom of speech. Bardiness may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but there are countries in the world which won’t even allow the leaves in the pot, never mind allow them to brew and be poured.

Perhaps in the future “Englishness” will become synonymous with “freedom”.  Archaic words along with lost Latin meaning  tolerance, courage, dignity and self-respect.

They say that every Englishman is born free. Living free however is a constant battle and something we must fight for everyday……

Freedom in death is freedom too late.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

(Shakespeare HenryV scene III)

March 3, 2016 Posted by | Arts, Culture, Education, History, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Euphoric Novel Calendar for 2012….

This is post 80 for 2011, which averages 6.6̅6̅ a month. That’s a periodic number by the way, and the line above the numbers after the decimal point is called a vinculum. Which means recurring.

In this case “6” repeats a further 15 times. Indigestion springs to mind, but a good dose of liver salts should cure the problem for those of my readers who suffer bilious attacks after each of my indulgences.

Thanks to Microsoft Word I am able to utilise the symbol in this post. I rarely use MS Word unless I am writing a letter, and most of the time I use Notepad. From which I copy and paste into TypePad which I can then arrange, edit and add images to my heart’s content.

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December 28, 2011 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, General, Humour | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Philippines – Drowning in a Storm of Semantics…

Most of the 1000 fatalities in the southern Philippines typhoon and flood disaster this December lost their lives "due to the process resulting in primary respiratory impairment from submersion or immersion in a liquid medium". That is the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) definition of "drowning".

Apparently many drowned because they couldn't swim. There is barely no research to back up this statement, but according to the Philippines Daily Inquirer newspaper, it is based on anecdotal evidence. Lifeboat volunteers were asking children bobbing up and down in the sea, surrounded by dangerous logs and clinging on for grim death "Can you swim?"

The suggestion is that if they had the basic skill many would have survived.

What is the implication I wonder? Here you have one of the worst disasters to hit the Philippines for many years – a disaster which experts had been warning about regularly; a disaster compounded by illegal logging and deforestation; uncontrolled slum dwellings along river banks; over population; and instead of addressing all of those factors, the victims are blamed because they carelessly failed to learn to swim! How inconsiderate!

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December 26, 2011 Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, General, History, Politics, Science, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is imitation the best form of flattery – or just downright plagiarism?

So there I was contemplating my navel – as we do – and it occurred to me that all my words written in so many places are just whispers on the ethernet wind. I've been laid low with a trapped nerve in my rear and consequently am somewhat immobile. I tell you, it's no fun, especially when just going to put the kettle on sends me into spasmodic agony. Anyway – far be it for me to complain – there are plenty folk out there with more serious problems.

But this period of physical inactivity has given me time to spend analysing the internet. For example, courtesy of Copyscape – a site which identifies copying and plagiarism -  I've discovered that whole sections of my work have been hijacked with impunity. There are travel sites in South America which have used my "Trek-Philippines" intro as their own. And don't get me started on the Philippines, where an abundance of sites have stolen my words.

I've come across respected global news media which have nicked my stuff. Take this for example about Audrey Hepburn: "Feminine beauty can be defined both within and without. Yet there are few women who exude both. Marilyn Monroe – stunning, flawed and vulnerable. Rita Hayworth, stunning, confident and – vulnerable. Sophia Loren, stunning, strong etc."

Well, excuse me, but those are my words and thoughts, first published on Bardiness.

And what about: "Whether you are careering in a bumpy multi-coloured jeepney along chaotic streets, or trotting gently in a horse drawn calesa through historic avenues; scuba diving in some of the world's finest waters or taking on the challenge of a mountain trek, the Philippines has everything to offer the adventurous traveller…" First published on Squidoo in 2007. This has been used in abundance around the web, by so-called "reputable organizations".

There are scores of other examples. Now don't get me wrong. The saying that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" is a compliment of sorts, but it is a 19th century proverb not designed for the 21st.

I don't mind people using my stuff, but an acknowledgement would be nice or a backlink, or even a request to use it. After all, it's my work, so why should others assume they can take it for free?

I could of course visit all these sites and express my legal rights, that's what the Creative Commons License is designed for. But the prospect of spending time on this fills me with more agony than my current ailment.

I went to one today, a site which looked like a legit outfit, and gave them a piece of my mind, but it was just a "blogger" site. How many have already copied my stuff from there for example? Where is it now? That's the big question!

March 11, 2011 Posted by | General, Squidoo, Travel, Weblogs | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Mayon Pays Tribute to the Fallen

Regular readers will know that the Mount Mayon Volcano is a regular subject here. This week  she rumbled once again, with ash rising to over 1000 meters. Whilst the current alert level remains at Level 2, locals are warned to prepare for evacuation if things get worse. Mayonerupts

Around the same time an earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale occurred shaking Agusan del Norte, further south in Mindanao. Whilst the two are unlikely related, it highlights the volatility gendered by the country's position on the Pacific Rim of Fire, and even small earthquakes can trigger volcanic activity and vice versa.

However, it also demonstrates Mayon's growing unrest, and over recent months there has been substantial cause for concern. This was the most powerful explosion since July.

When Phivolcs (the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology) were asked if the alert should be raised to Level 3, they replied "Wala pa po" (not yet).

Magna is very close to the crater now, and if the unrest continues an eruption is likely within weeks.

I've always regarded this volcano as a living entity, a romantic view perhaps, but anyone who has stood beneath her cannot but be moved by the awe-inspiring presence.

Mount Mayon is without doubt the most perfectly formed volcano in the world. Although many argue that Mount Fuji should hold that title, Fuji is not as accessible, and the cone is not as perfect.

This new activity occurred as the world was remembering when the guns fell silent on the 11th November, 1918 and the First World War ended. Cannons resounded to mark that day. I'd like to thing that Mayon was marking it with her own unique and personal contribution.

A superb tribute, and as the only volcanic eruption in the world at the time, who knows if it's resonance was more than coincidence?

For those interested, here are the Philvocs alert levels for Mayon and other volcanoes:

Level 1: Abnormal, Low level unrest; Slight increase in seismicity. Slight increase in SO2 gas output above the background level, very faint glow of the crater may occur but no conclusive evidence of magma ascent, phreatic explosion or ash puffs may occur. No eruption imminent. Activity may be hydrothermal, magmatic or tectonic in origin. No entry in the 6-km radius PDZ.

Level 2: Increasing unrest, moderate unrest. Low to moderate level of seismic activity, episodes of harmonic tremor, increasing SO2 flux, faint/intermittent crater glow. Swelling of edifice may be detected. Confirmed reports of decrease in flow of wells and springs during rainy season. Unrest probably of magmatic origin; could eventually lead to eruption. The 6-km radius Danger Zone may be extended to 7 km in the sector where the crater rim is low.

Level 3: Increased Tendency Towards Eruption, relatively high unrest. Volcanic quakes and tremor may become more frequent, further increase in SO2 flux, occurrence of rockfalls in summit area, vigorous steaming/sustained crater glow, persistent swelling of edifice. Magma is close to the crater. If trend is one of increasing unrest, eruption is possible within weeks. Extension of Danger Zone in the sector where the crater rim is low will be considered.

Level 4: Hazardous Eruption Imminent, intense unrest. Persistent tremor, many “low frequency"-type earthquakes, SO2 emission level may show sustained increase or abrupt decrease. Intense crater glow, incandescent lava fragments in the summit area, hazardous eruption is possible within days. Extension of Danger zone to 8 km or more in the sector where the crater rim is low will be recommended.

Level 5: Hazardous Eruption Ongoing. Occurrence of pyroclastic flows, tall eruption columns and extensive ash fall. Pyroclastic flows may sweep down along gullies and channels, especially along those fronting the low part(s) of the crater rim. Additional danger areas may be identified as eruption progresses. Danger to aircraft, by way of ash cloud encounter, depending on height of eruption column and/or wind drift.

November 12, 2009 Posted by | Mount Mayon Volcano, The Philippines | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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