RIP Margaret Thatcher – A PM that will be remembered for generations to come.

Margaret Thatcher pictured with children, Carol and Mark

Margaret Thatcher pictured with children, Carol and Mark died today aged 87.

Rest in Peace Margaret Thatcher. The PM who still divides a room full of people, and indeed the whole of the United Kingdom down the middle, I doubt John Major or Gordon Brown will ever have that effect.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not a fan of some of her actions and I’m under no illusions, some of the things she did caused deep, irreversible damage, however she did have a fierce loyalty to her country and its people, a quality no one in the cabinate today possesses.

Recent documents have revealed a human side she hid, she shed genuine tears and felt real responsibility for loss of life in the Falklands. By contrast, Tony Blair will never feel anything for those lives lost in Iraq.

Its a tough balance make a decision you believe is for the best, then backtrack at the first sign of public resistance; the media will swoop on you for being weak, confidence will falter and, if it was the correct decision after all, you’ve just made the country a worse place for the people who voted for you by not pushing through the resistance. Carry on regardless, despite public outcry and accusations of arrogance, not listening to the people and being out of touch will surely follow. It seems to be that a politician can never really win.

Lets try to remember historical context while making judgments on her decions, many of which we will judge out of context given the time thats passed. Lets try and stay balanced and respectful to someone who dedicated her life to her country.

Desperate Money-Grabbers Friends Life Refuse Payout on Critical Illness Policy Because of Unrelated ‘Pins and Needles’

Anyone who follows me on twitter (@stuartfoxmusic) will know I’ve been quite vocal about the finance company, Friends Life and the case of Nic Hughes. Friends Life refused to pay out on a critical illness policy due to a long forgotten case of pins and needles.


Insurance Nightmare: Nic Hughes died aged 44 while still fighting with Friends Life over their refusal to pay out on his critical illness policy

Friends Life, obviously frantically looking for a way out of paying when Nic became terminally ill as I believe they do in all cases, went through all his medical records, even though they had been given full access to them on application. Nic had even encouraged them to access his records since he had suffered with some illness in the past.

Finding nothing relevent to his terminal illness that they didn’t already know about, they did see that, a long time ago, Nic had told the Dr. he’d had pins and needles.

This was a well known side effect of an illness (unrelated to his death) that Nic had already disclosed to Friends Life. Nic had also been advised to cut down on his alcohol intake. This was standard advice and as he was already drinking well below the healthy limits he didn’t dwell on this.

These two irrelevant and historical medical notes were used as a pretext to refuse payout and cancel the policy when Nic became ill. Following this decision, both Nics consultant Dr. and GP condoned the decision.

In a letter from Nic’s Dr. shortly after the decision by Friends Life, he wrote: ‘I wish to state categorically that neither of these two events are related to his current diagnosis. I also wish to stress that 10 or 20 units of alcohol per week are within the Department of Health’s recommendations of safe levels. Again, I do not understand why these two pieces of information have somehow been used to deny him a payment under his Critical Illness Policy.

‘I think it cruel and highly distasteful that that the above two irrelevant details from his medical history have been used as some sort of pretext to deny him a payment on his Critical Illness Policy.’

Nic’s best friend, Kester Brewin started a campaign to try and persuade Friends Life to do the right thing. A petition on currently has over 62,000 signatures and the twitter campaign has attracted celebrity support from Stephen Fry and Miranda Hart among many others. The huge petition was handed to Friends Life, who refused to send any management representative to receive it and still refuse to sit down with Nic’s widow and her twins to discuss the case.

Their PR response to a this major issue has been laughable, @friendslifetalk, once an active twitter feed on the subject of finance related issues simply fell silent and stopped tweeting two months ago when 1000’s of people were using @friendslifetalk and #nicsfight to express their disgust and ask them to at least talk to the family about this.

After complete silence since the 5th of december 2012, they start tweeting on the 5th of Jan, 2013 about pension research. After major social media outcry and coverage in all of the mainstream press, this what they use to break their silence.

This obviously sparked 100’s of responses to their tweets asking, in disgust what they were doing about Nic Hughes. They fall silent once again.

Any marketing and PR training manual can hold this up as a perfect example of how NOT to deal with a social media PR crisis. Their ‘Damage limitation’ is actually increasing the damage to their brand 10 fold as they are showing themselves to be spineless, disorganised bullies.

So why am I so angry at Friends Life? This is testament to how business is done these days. There is no regard for human life, there is no regard for the wellbeing of people, there is no common sense or sense of decency in any business. The same goes for government. Decisions will be made in the full knowledge that those decisions will ruin lives or severely reduce quality of life for affected parties. This is for the greater good (read, greater profit) according to morally bankrupt thieves like Friends Life.

Friends life must not get away with this disgusting behaviour. They could find a detail like this in ANY insurance policy so the truth is, no one is really insured under the current system, especially if you are with Friends Life.

If you want to know more, or help out by letting Friends Life know what you think then follow the social media links above, or use the following info:

You can sign the petition here:

And you can contact friends life to tell them to do the right thing below:

Phone: 0800 000 080



Why internet censorship is dangerous.

A Downing Street source has confirmed that UK Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron will consider requiring UK ISPs to block access to pornography websites.

Naive Tory MP, Claire Perry has been leading the campaign to force Internet Service Providers to automatically block adult sites unless the customer chooses to ‘opt in’ to these services. Ironically she last gained notoriety for subjecting her colleagues to a foul mouthed rant in which she described, in graphic detail the sexual services she would perform for house of commons speaker, John Bercow in return for being allowed to speak in the chamber during a debate. The sexual outburst from Perry, former banker and mother of three, lead to a lively ‘blowjobs for questions’ debate.

The Tory stance on this type of issue is very dangerous. The campaigners who would see adult sites blocked are part of the fast increasing group of people who seem to think, ISP’s like broadcasters have absolute control of what is allowed on to our computer screens. This simply is not how the internet works.

This ill thought out campaign is part of the ever increasing mentality among the UK public (fueled by the nanny state government) that everything is someone else’s fault.

Why on earth would a parent give their child unsupervised access to the internet if they had absolutely no understanding of it; the chances are, if the kid is smart he or she will be able to work around any ISP level block anyway. The most determined children will, if left un supervised go where ever they want online, opt in or no.

There are already several ISP’s and third party companies who offer tools to block unsuitable sites and monitor your children’s online activity. Many of these services are a lot more effective than an ISP level block would be, but apparently the great UK unwashed are too lazy to actually play an active interest in the content their kids are exposed to. They don’t want to take the time to fully understand new technology that is, these days a vital part of life and education. Like everything else seems to be in this ‘something for nothing’ nanny state, its all someone else’s problem and they had better sort it out.

Information should be free for everyone to access and parents or guardians should guide children’s exposure to information online.

Every child is different; there are scenes of torture and murder in the Harry Potter series of books, there’s imagery that could potentially disturb and upset some children everywhere from Shakespeare to Meyer and there are a tonne of internet sites that are just as potentially damaging to the wrong eyes, if not more so than those containing adult content.

Lets look at some of the sites that David Cameron thinks are OK for kids:
One of the many websites operated by the Westbro Baptist Church.

One of the first things you see on this site is this statement: “The Jews Killed Christ!  They Have Never Repented! …”

This organisation believe the late Steve Jobs is in league with Satan, The US president Obama is the antichrist sent to deliver America to Hell, and that god hates, pretty much everyone in the world and at some point in the near future we will all be punished violently and unpleasantly.

And here’s what they have to say about the United Kingdom, yes – this applies to all of us:

The UK is a “…a nation of filthy, degenerate souls.”…
…..”God hates fags and God hates fag enablers; therefore, God hates the United Kingdom! By Gods authority (not yours), we will continue to warn you that you have indeed become His enemy – and that the utter destruction of your nation draws nigh.

Let me ask you this, would you prefer a 14 year old boy, struggling with being different and coming to terms with his sexuality to read all the content on, or watch a couple of soft core porn movies?
Official website of the Ku Klux Klan, That says it all really, they have an open letter to white youth telling of how there is a race war on against them that only white solidarity can overcome.
This anti-Semitic website promotes holocaust denial and Nazi ideals. We’d all better keep an eye on this site to find out what the sneaky Jews are going to do next.
This site directly contradicts the proven science of evolution taught to children in schools. Creationists believe that things like dinosaur bones (which prove our planet is older than just a few thousand years) were placed by God as a test of faith to us Humans. Some who subscribe to the creationist belief teach children a distorted and invented version of natural science to explain their theory that the earth is, in fact only 6000 years old. Imagine if your child read this information and believed it, it could lead to the questioning of everything taught in school. Worse, imagine a child becoming convinced that the evidence of evolution and the worlds true age was placed by God as a test that, if failed would secure the ‘unfaithful’ individual in question a place in Hell.

How about some more innocent looking sites, these are definitely ok for everyone to look at uncensored right? Maybe not under the Tories thinking.
They have an easily fool-able age verification system that, once bypassed will let you view soft core pornography, racist rants, gory accident scenes, and religious hate speech.
Yes, I think yahoo answers is potentially more dangerous to kids than porn! Why? Search for ‘how do I give a good blow job’, ‘how do I kill myself’, ‘is it OK to hate blacks’ and a host of other questions and you get explicit, largely moderated replies. You can also ask any question about your own health and receive advice from unqualified strangers. Take the wrong advice seriously and it could cost your life. Who’s fault is it if a chile feels they can’t talk to a parent about health issues? Its not the internet’s fault, but the internet may well pose a danger following the disinterest of a parent in their child’s wellbeing.
Yes, my own site! I express opinions here that may be a little angry and may not be 100% balanced. Its up to the reader to take this into account and accept my rants for what they are, one persons opinion. Its also up to the reader of this blog to take what I have to say on board, along with what other people have to say about said issue, and form their own balanced opinion. Spoon feed a stream of censored, sterilised, government and corporation approved content to kids and adults alike and soon we’ll loose the ability to make our own decisions on opinions offered on line, we’ll just blindly believe them, partly due to the laziness that the Tory ‘Nanny State’ is nurturing.

The danger here is that if you start blocking some content a minority group think may cause harm, you start having to block it all because the next group of ill informed do-gooders will come along and use the adult content block as ammunition to fuel their own campaign against a controversial blogger or a church’s website.

You can’t just demand the government / ISP’s control what your kids are allowed to do online. You have to control what your kids do yourself, after all, you are the parent. Kids will be exposed to things, on line or in real life. They’ll hear and read things that need explaining and putting into context, this is a parents job to do, it is not the job of the government to censor these things in the first place so no parenting has to take place.

In trying to suck up to the lazy, ignorant parents that think that they shouldn’t be responsible for moderating what their children are exposed to, they are allowing the ‘nanny state’ mentality to grow. More and more UK citizens are becoming institutionalized, the result being that we will all soon be unequipped to survive in a free, democratic society.

Gambling and religious sites are more potentially harmful to everyone than adult sites. You can easily obtain translations of writings and teachings that preach the need to murder any nonbelievers of a particular deity (this material can be found in relation to many faiths by the way, not just the one you are thinking about).

There’s a lot of vile and upsetting content online, and these sites are, according to Claire ‘Blow Job’ Perry and David ‘ooh, yes please’ Cameron ok for kids to read, but a pair of naked breasts could corrupt the young forever? Ok lets get a grip people, you Tories have never lived in the real world so stop trying to pretend you understand anything.

Its NOT ok for Kids to watch porn, its not ok at all, but it IS up to parents to control the media that is available to their kids via the Internet, TV, Library, Newsagents… whatever.

Will Blogs that express one persons opinion start to be considered dangerous, will comments on the news of the day be removed because they have the potential to corrupt young minds?

Will the news itself be censored for kids because its too upsetting for them to read or watch?

Where will it end? Lets bare in mind at this point that Syria, Iran and China control online content and broadcasting like this. Are the UK heading in that direction? If so, before we know it our internet will be a government controlled propaganda portal that anyone who dares to exercise freedom of speech will be banned from.

A Much better idea is to encourage ISP’s to provide parents with the tools and education to monitor kids usage and block sites manually that the parent feels may be unsuitable for the individual child.