Top Ten Tips for Unsuccessful Blogging

It seems de rigeur for bloggers these days to, at some point, post about their Top Ten Tips on how to create “the ultimate blog”, thereby causing everyone on the planet to visit thrice daily, subscribe to your feed and post themselves naked to you.

Typically, these posts are penned by the authors of blogs that people read. This is where this one is different. This blog never gets read. We are the self-styled World’s Least Popular Blog. With that in mind, if anyone were to do the exact opposite of everything we have done, then all of the above will come true, with the possible exception of people mailing themselves naked to you.

So, to the list.

1. Have A Good Old Rant
Get your grievances off your chest. Ignore social niceties. You’re not ranting at a person, you’re addressing the Universe. People like being shouted at. Being showered with phlegm is refreshing.

2. Ignore What Everyone Else Cares About
Your blog is for you to introduce yourself to the world. It’s the electronic equivalent of hijacking every major TV station in the world and shouting “Everyone listen to me!” instead the Nine O’clock News. This is what you care about. You don’t care what everyone else cares about.

3. Use Impenetrable Language.
The English language is a wonderful thing. The sad fact is that only a small percentage of the thousands of available words are in general circulation. Try to employ some of the wonderful but unloved words in the 90% of the dictionary that no-one ever visits. People like to be reminded of their ignorance.

4. Ignore Transient Trends
You don’t care about the reams of bytes documenting the nocturnal manoeuvrings of people who are famous for no reason, or about the results of some pointless new survey. You have no time for the miscellany of existence. You care about the big words; Society, Justice, Responsibility, Truth. Write about that. Britney Spears can shave her head clean off as far as you’re concerned.

5. Write the first thing that comes into your head
As with the answers to stupid quiz questions, the first thing that pops into your head is most likely correct, so go with it. With blogging, just start typing and don’t stop. Sure, you can spell check it after, but don’t you dare edit out all that invective you just typed. It’s out now, it can stay out.

6. Ignore Comments and Feedback
If you write what you want, albeit without intending to insult, and people comment on your invectives, ignore them. You’re writing for you, not for them. You didn’t ask for their opinion. You’re telling them what you think.

7. Whine to your friends about your lack of traffic.
If you have the good fortune to work in a tech-savvy office place, complain to your coworkers about how little traffic you get. They really, really like that. Plus, it makes them much more willing to help you with your work.

8. Trash Religion
Religion is so last millenium. If people would only wake up and realise that there is no such thing, we’d be on to a winner. You have no time for people whose eyes are fixed on paradise in the future at the expense of the reality of now.

9. Don’t write about News
The internets are full of webpages all discussing the same piece of news. Try writing about something that no-one knows about, like what you had for breakfast, or how close the girl next door came to being caught with her boyfriend last night. People don’t want News, they really don’t.

10. Don’t offer any solutions
When you’ve finished ranting and have sorted your thoughts, don’t write them down, or write them down and tell the reader that’s the rest is up to them. You’ve told them the facts; let them decide what they ought to do. You’re not giving out free lunches here.

Remember, you need to do the opposite of the above tips, OK? Just want to make that clear. If you screw it up and end up creating a blog that’s as unpopular as this one, you can link to this one, even call your blog the World’s Second Least Popular blog. Just don’t blame me.

Aye, Rabbie, ye’ll dae fer me yet!

I was going to offer some thoughts on how I became such a cynical old grump so early in my life, but I actually know perfectly well why. I am faced with the daily spectacle of the sculptured lines of the thoroughbred racecar that is “the Utopian ideal” being dashed to a crumpled, fiery mess on the Armco of reality.

Most people seem to deal quiet happily with this, but, as a Champion of Freedom of Justice and wielding, as I do, the Twin Swords of Truth and Beauty (yes, I do have a permit), I cannot let this stuff slide.

The disturbing thing about today’s car crash is that it concerns my homeland. While it is, largely, a place of spectacular beauty, bursting at the tartan seams with tim’rous beasties and sonsie-faced chieftains, I, as something of a returning ex-pat, see bits of it with an outsiders eye. These are the bits that trouble me.

The thing that triggered this post nearly made me crash the Righteous Chariot. Not really, but it sounds better, plus it continues the car-crash plot device used so deftly above. As I piloted said Chariot along the jeweled highways of this bonnie land, I met a bus coming the other way. So far, so good. The bus, however, was not in service. OK, so? Aye, reader, here comes the rub.

Instead of simply reading “Not in Service”, the high heid-yins of First Bus (Scotland) have decided that the natives would feel less aggrieved at the lack of service if the message read “Ah’m no’ in service”.

I’m no doubt in somewhat of a minority among my fellow countrypersons (save The ‘Boy, who has already voiced his displeasure) but this use of “Scottish”, instead of the more widely relevant English, jars with me. I come from what I consider to be a well-spoken home and have been well educated at my parent’s expense. I therefore opt to converse in correct English, that having been what I was taught.

It is then, perhaps, no surprise that on hearing a broad Scots accent, I immediately assume that person to be educationally inferior, an assumption that has no basis in fact whatsoever. As with all accents, those that sport them range from the wealthiest tycoons and university fellows to the Burberry tracksuit-clad dropouts in the dole queue.2.

I have not been able to reconcile this at least partially correct position, that’s what bothers me. Being a man of words, it grates when those words are butchered. But the purpose of words is to communicate, so there is little point being all precious about the ways when the means are achieved.

And so to the opiate of the Central Belt masses: football3. The problem here really has very little to do with football, the game, and rather more to do with religion, the universal excuse. If your family indoctrinated you in the ways of the Vatican, you have to support the Green Team. If you don’t, you have to support the Blue Team (or the Dark Red Team).

Either way, you now have a socially-accepted reason for singing bigoted songs at each other, marching down the street and glassing people in pubs because they’re wearing the wrong colour jacket. Having been given the choice of imaginary friend, I chose a small dog called Gerald who never, in any circumstances, caused me to glass anyone in a pub and never complained when I left him on the train.

This nation has been ruled from afar for a great deal of its history, which has been a cause for complaint over the years. The fact that, when left to govern ourselves, we have traditionally fallen back to the tried and trusted political technique of glassing each other in pubs for wearing the wrong tartan is conveniently ignored.

Having been allowed a modicum of self reliance, I can understand that the nation feels the need to flex its historical muscles and shed its imperial skin in order to move forward. I would like to think that the country that invented pretty much everything4 could learn from its own divided history and move forward into the shortbread-tin sunset, without having to glass someone on the way.

I’m sure that all countries are the same, its just that this country is mine5.

! Oh, Robert [Burns], you’ll do for me yet! I’m referring to the poet’s use of Scots in his work, and how its use by Modern Scots people, for me at least, somewhat soils his work.
2 Wow, all the stereotypes are coming out today.
3 Other than actual opiates and drink. Oh, and claiming benefits.
4 Well, every good thing!
5 Which hopefully goes some way to explaining the tortured meanderings of this post.

Can Islamic and Christian law coexist? Should they?

Image from BBC News
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams – who has to have been a Unix Sysadmin at some point – says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK “seems unavoidable”. His comments have attracted a great deal of criticism and hostility from all faiths and political leanings.

Britain used to have the largest Empire in the world. While those days are long gone, the Commonwealth of nations that used to comprise the Empire retain strong links with Britain. Additionally, Great Britain is an EU member state. This means that, since we’re one of the richest members of either of those two groupings, we get more than our share of immigrants.

To make my stance clear, I have no problem with the concept of immigration – to a point. I am all for people coming to this country, obeying our laws and paying their way. Society benefits from change. A society that deals with change in a positive way is a rare and wonderful thing.

I’m generally against people who come here to enjoy the benefits of our welfare state without making any effort to earn those benefits. This goes equally, if not more so, for British people who fall into this welfare-sponging category.

This rather unilateral stance doesn’t help those people who are maimed, or irretrievably stupid, or who face death if they go back to their own country. Society generates these people, so it is the responsibility of Society to look after them.

Britain is predominantly Christian country and our rules are based, in part, in the statements made in the Bible; thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal and so on. It is also an immensely traditional country, traditions that have acquired the weight of law over the centuries.

We now have a good proportion of people who do not recognise the British Rule of Law first and foremost. In the case of Muslims, their Sharia law is derived from the Koran and the life of the prophet Mohammed. Since the system of belief seems to be synonymous with their system of law, their obeyance of Sharia law will inevitably find them in violation of the law of the land; Britain in this case.

I am kinda on the Dr Williams’ side when he says that certain elements of Sharia law may need to find themselves into British law. However, this is Britain and the addition of Sharia law should not weaken British law. Where the two are in conflict, I think that British law should prevail. If someone has come to a country, they should accept that sacrifices have to be made.

Having written that, I can understand that Muslims view Sharia law as inviolable. If the situations were reversed and there were a Christian enclave in a Muslim country, I doubt that that country would alter their system of law to accommodate other beliefs.

Image from Wikipedia
I think this stems from the fact that Islam is a more rigorous religion. Christianity is much more relaxed in it approach. Muslims are required to pray daily, observed certain restrictions in diet and attend the Hajj at least once in their life. Christians have no such requirements.

In conclusion, I think that elements of Sharia law would doubtless strengthen British law, due to its roots in the strict Islamic faith, but this should not be to the detriment of the British system of law and the absolutes that it’s citizens understand. Likewise, we should welcome those elements of immigrants’ society that enrich our own, but reject those that do not.

And if you don’t like it, you know where you can go.