June 8th, 2008

Invader Zim - Curse You!

Angus Gets Annoyed with Labour (Again!) (Rants about Terror Detention Limits, ID Cards, etc)

It says a lot on how far the government has drifted from it's left-wing roots when I find myself more and more agreeing with the Conservatives and looking forward to the day when the current Labour establishment get a big boot out of government.

I never thought I;d say it but I'm even agreeing with John Major (former Conservative Prime Minister) on his remarks about the War on Terror being blown out of all proportion and the goverment using the whole thing as scaremongers. The so-called 'Terrorist Threat' the UK is a so-called target of today is nothing compared to what the IRA ran here for decades on a much more sustained and constant level - yet the measures the government are trying to impose (42 day limit to hold a terrorist suspect without charge, etc) are so much more draconian.

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(From The Times Online; Friday 6th June 2008; 42-Day Law Will Help Terrorists, Says Sir John Major)

Sir John’s attack is one of his strongest criticisms of Labour since he left office after the general election defeat of 1997. He broadened his critique from the issue of 42 days to wage an all-out attack on Labour’s conduct of the War on Terror since 2001. Sir John said that ancient British rights were under threat from a government that embellished the case for going to war in Iraq, was complicit in the rendition of suspects to the American internment camp at Guantanamo Bay and presented the public with a misleading case for introducing compulsory ID cards.

He writes: “If we are seen to defend our own values in a manner that does violence to them, then we run the risk of losing those values. Even worse, if our own standards fall it will serve to recruit terrorists more effectively than their own propaganda could ever hope to do. The Government has introduced measures to protect against terror. These go beyond anything contemplated when Britain faced far more regular – and no less violent – assaults from the IRA. The justification of these has sometimes come close to scaremongering.”

Sir John cautioned against the creation by Labour of “an intrusive State with authoritarian tendencies”. He added: “This is not a United Kingdom I recognise and Parliament should not accept it.”

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I've been arguing for some time that the way parts of 'The West' have reacted to the 'Islamic Terrorist Threat' is helping the so-called threats recruitment no end. Putting into effect draconian laws - the forerunners of which have effected mooe innocents than that actual terrorists, including dawn raids and an innocent being shot in his home as it was being raided - seeming to target a subsector of our society (thus raising even further racial tensions and distrust in some areas which will only help alienated some people far enough into looking *for* something which will defend them and help them fight back against an unjust agressor) and a host of other things are doing anything but helping with the issues at hand. Invading countries under completely false pretenses and misleading information isn't heping matters much either!

It even seems that the 42-day limit is being initiated by the government as it's not something that MI5 has asked for (MI5 'Has not asked for 42 days'; BBC News Online; Sunday 8th June 2008) - so it's going ahead without the direct request of our countries security agency.

On top of all this the ID Card Scheme - which is supposed to start being implemented this year at the cost of billions of pounds which could be better used in Health Care, Education and other humanitarian areas which would be thousands of times more beneficial - has been the focus of renewed attacks and worries from a multi-party group of MPs in the Home Affairs Select Committee (ID Cards 'Could Threaten Privacy'; BBC News Online; Saturday 7th June 2008).

In one bright spark at the moment though is Clinton bowing out of the Presidential race (which in my mind she should have done weeks ago) and Obama looking all-set to start running his Presidentail campaign. Not only do I think he is the right man for the job in the States I think his election will benefit the world stage too. Obama has a lot of love out here in the international theatre and especially amongst a lot of disenfranchised and African communities. If Obama gets elected it will bring America a lot of goodwill - and in some areas which have been fairly anti-American recruitment ground before now too. I hope he manages to make it to the finishing post but don't envy the guy. Apart from having to fight a political battle he's also going to have to fight against the innate - and sometimes overt - racism that some parts of America and the establishment have. It will be a glorious day to see Obama as President but there's a long way to go before he gets there.
Old Friend

D&D 4E

Initial sales have been very good for us. Maybe not as good as D&D 3E but then there was a bigger 'buzz' factor with that makeover plus Dungeons & Dragons players didn't have the knowledge that the previous edition is still going to be supported via various 3rd Party Companies so 2E was effectively dead, whereas as 3/3.5E will carry on in a limited capacity whilst WotC and some other companies concentrate on 4E and the future.

Saying that, we've still sold *a lot* of copies. We brought pretty heavy based upon pre-order figures we received and I think we're now down to the last16 or 20 gift sets and need to reorder all the individual core books on Monday as we have less than a dozen of each (I think possibly only 6 PHBs) left after two days of sales.

The initial feedback we've had from people at D&D Day at London Dungeons on Friday and also in the shop/friends who've read - or started reading - the books has been overwhelmingly positive. I've heard two people moaning about it but one of those is someone who generally moans about anything that changes so we weren't so surprised about that :p

I've only had a brief look through the PHB so far and I will admit that it looks interesting. From the snippets I'd heard before release it sounded like a lot of changes had been made and it certainly looks that way from the brief flick through I've had so far. The system seems to have got a lot of praise from non-D&D players too which has been interesting. I'll be keen on hearing what some mroe of my older die-hard D&D friends and customers think of it as it certainly has moved away from some of the more recent expectations of the game system.

We've also seen a very big upswing of sales of pre-painted D&D miniatures and dungeon floor plans/map packs in the last two days. But with the game also focusing more heavily on miniature play this wasn't really all that surprising.

Unfortunately I will probably have to leave reading the book for a while longer as I have to gen-up a character for Dom's Dark Heresy game which I'm joining on Tuesday night - and I haven't read more than the first few pages of that book yet!