Nelly Neal

Reading Time: 1 minute
Nelly Neal
Nelly has been a teacher for over twenty years, working in a variety of settings across Primary, Secondary and Higher Education. She is passionate about education for all, with a specific interest in SEN.
Hailing from Liverpool, in the shadow of Aintree Racecourse, she is proud of her socialist roots. One of her favourite memories consists of her Nan, wearing Spitting Image slippers of Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock, staging a mock fight between the two to entertain her gang of grandchildren (Thatcher always came off worst). Socialism is in her blood and she is proud to have passed on the lefty, ranty genes to her two children.
You can follow Nelly on twitter

Cuppa Minute Interview – Francesca Testen

Reading Time: 1 minute
Francesca Testen, aka The History Twins

 

What’s your name?

Francesca Testen

Where are you from?

Outside Washington D.C.

What do you do?

I create comics, write fiction and non-fiction. I will be a freshman at the Univeristy of Glasgow in the fall studying history. I also pilot motor coaches and collect dog waste.

What’s your fave color?

Blue

Who is your fave politician?

Victor Emmanuel II (because he is a smart dresser whose facial hair resembles a majestic peregrine falcon in flight)

What was your fave political moment?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

And your worst political moment?

The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand

What’s your fave meal?

Rare steak, potatoes lyonnaise with hollandaise sauce, and green beans

Song that gets you up and going?

Words Fell Down by Kim Wilde

What would your superpower be?

flight and the ability to emit noxious odors (a power I have currently mastered) 😬

FT 🙂

Laura Lundahl

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Laura Lundahl

Laura Lundahl holds an American passport, but her heart belongs with the UK and Europe. She has a master’s degree from King’s College London in European politics, and hopes to return to the country she loves once the Tories and their immigration policies have gone.

The stereotypical youth voter in 2008, Laura nearly had to drop out of university because she was so involved with the Obama campaign. She has since managed campaigns against the immoral American healthcare system, as well as against the Capitalist greed that forces American university students to take on impossible amounts of debt. Most recently, she has focused her energy on immigrant rights on both sides of the Atlantic following several very personal experiences with the consequences of strict immigration policies.

Laura also believes in the importance of travel, having been to all fifty American states and nearly forty countries before the age of 30. She has also lived in four states, and four countries, and speaks three languages (one of which is a West African language). Her favorite place she has lived is London, as the diversity of that city allows a person to travel the world without leaving their street. Though rural Alaska is a close second – the mountains are stunning.

In her downtime, Laura is always on the lookout for a pub quiz or a new hiking spot, and she’d like to say a good read from her local library but as the Millennial she is, the phone screen tends to be too much of a distraction. Her guilty pleasures are “The Bachelor” and Taco Bell, or when she is in the UK, “First Dates” and Greggs.

You can follow Laura on Twitter

And on Instagram

I’d give you her Snapchat as well, but it’s just dozens of pictures a day of her cat in various (but equally adorable) sleeping positions, so…

Mhairi Hunter

Reading Time: 1 minute
Mhairi Hunter

Mhairi has been a councillor in Glasgow since 2012, representing Southside Central Ward which comprises Queen’s Park,  Crosshill, Govanhill, Laurieston, Gorbals and Oatlands.

A self-confessed SNP hack, she worked in SNP HQ between 1997-2007 before working as Nicola Surgeon’s constituency manager until 2016. In 2017 the SNP were elected to run Glasgow City Council and Mhairi was apply he’d City Convener for Health and Social Integration.

 

She is the organiser for Glasgow Southside SNP and was a local YES co-ordinator during the referendum.

 

Born and brought up in London, Mhairi first political involvement was joining the Anti-Nazi League when she was 13. Opposing Nazis remains a firm priority.

 

Mhairi is a carer for her elderly father, and also for her increasingly elderly dog, Charlie. She has very little spare time and what time she has she likes to waste on Twitter or binge-watching Netflix instead of doing housework or other useful activities.

 

You can follow Mhairi on twitter

Alternative Press Awards

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Alternative Press Awards

The Ungagged team are utterly delighted to have been nominated for Bella Caledonia’s Alternative Press Awards. The team have worked so very hard to bring you quality, fact checked news, views and opinion from across the left spectrum and knowing that our readers and listeners appreciate that enough to nominate us has been really heartening.

How you can help

Please help us to get more nominations so that we can grow our reputation and bring you even more quality podcasts, writing and news over the next year. All we’d need you to do is email Bella on bellasletters@yahoo.co.uk  with the subject line ‘Alternative Press Awards’ and let them know which catergory you’d like to nominate us for. It’s free to nominate us, and you can nominate us for as many categories as you’d like.

The categories are:

Podcast or Audio (any format)
Community Radio
Music Writing
Small Press, Micropress and Innovative Publishing
Media publishing in Scots
The John Muir Award for Environmental Arts – for an artwork in any media
Arts and Cultural Media
Political Columns or Blogs
Fanzines
Comics
Vlogs
Media publishing in Gaelic
Documentary Film
Best Campaign
Best Story Missed by the mainstream media
Best Sports Journalism

 

Thank you so much for your support so far, the Ungagged team appreciate every nomination!

 

Prick Knobinson, Royal Correspondant

Reading Time: 3 minutes
                          Prick Knobinson
Philip Richard (P. Ric., or “Prick”) Knobinson-Canute is a journalist best known for his weekly column, “Last Orders,” in the high end magazine, “Fox and Turf,” and also notorious for a feckless and chaotic career and life of alcohol abuse.

He became associated with the louche and bohemian atmosphere that existed in London’s Soho district, Glasgow’s Merchant City, and Milton Keynes, “Cock and Bull Bar,” the hang out for the new city’s literati, in the early seventies.

Early Life to Present:

Knobinson’s father, Lord Freire Knobinson-Canute was the hereditary Lord traditionally tasked to clear animal excrement from path the Monarch of the United Kingdom if they had to walk on public paths. This role was made largely symbolic in the late 20th century , though was more recently reinstated for Prince Philip’s 1998 visit to Liverpool. This reinstatement of the role (taken up by P. Ric’s older brother Arthur), led to the resignation of the Prince’s advisor for insensitivity after riots and Liverpool temporarily leaving the Commonwealth. This led to the famous Tony Blair brokered Liverpool Peace Deal on Ash Wednesday that year.

Knobinson’s mother was the Opera Singer, Dame Ethel Appleby, who famously said about the Beatles in the early sixties, “They are common Cockroaches for plebs.” Appleby left her husband in the late sixties, and joined the famous Andy Warhol led Operatic Society, “Quod Fabrication,” had an affair with Lou Reed, the singer with The Velvet Underground, and was found dead in Hotel Chelsea, New York, lobby after a session of snorting cognac with William Burroughs.

Knobinson attended Abbotts Chalmsley school for Boys in Chelmsford, for two and a half weeks, but the Principal ordered him onto a train back to London as he was, “Quite simply, uneducatable.” His mother home tutored him until he attended Cambridge, majoring in the Literature of Henry Miller, Anais Nin and William Wordsworth.

When he left University, he was given a job on The Times, through a contact of his Father’s. He reported mainly on Debutante events and Public School sporting events for around a year before, as he put it in one of his later columns for “Fox and Turf;”

“I discovered jazz, women, gin, hashish, vodka, wine, my penis and that my father had a huge stash of bonds lying around his study he didn’t even know were fucking there.”

He asked his editor if he could change the nature of his column to one of reporting on his Soho adventures. This was granted after money changed hands, according to his ex wife, the classic knitter, Estelle Lauder (an allegation he has always denied). Part of the alleged deal was that he use his Royal contacts to report on Royal events.

After his infamous interview with the estranged wife of Prince Charles, Diana Princess of Wales in which he caused her to cry and then slap him after he asked her why she “hated Britain,” he was sacked.

This led to him being hospitalised after what he described as,
“Six months of living in clubs, pubs and sleeping in the bedrooms, cars and wardrobes of rich and famous celebrity wives.”
Knobinson joined Alcoholics Anonymous, and then successfully sued them for a reportedly £1m for refusing him entrance to their groups after some of the meetings he was involved with transformed into riots.

Knobinson by chance, met Prince Philip, an old family friend, in a drinks reception at a polo match in Argentina (“I have no fucking recollection of how I managed to be in South America,” he wrote in 1992) who arranged a column in The Guadrion, which along with his “”Fox and Turf” columns formed the basis of a west end play based on his life, starring the TV actor Don Estelle in the leading role.

His new found fame earned him a late night TV chat show, “Jazz with Prick,” in which he interviewed famous jazz, pop, rock and blues artists over the course of a six hour drinking session. After three episodes, one in which he and the pop star Peter Andre drank seven bottles of champagne and a bottle of brandy, then drove a golf cart through a Tescos window to, “give access to the homeless” the TV company, “Shit-stir Productions,” went into liquidation.

Knobinson made a return to writing columns about the seedier side of life in the late nineties Lads Magazine, “Gonads,” while reporting on Royalty for Steve Wright in the Afternoon for Radio 2, then in 2008, The Sunday World.

He was absolved after accusations of phone tapping for the News of the World, when it was found that everything he wrote about Jeremy Clarkson, Prince Andrew and the Irish girl group B*witched was verifiable and in actual fact, had been videoed.

Knobinson has recently been employed by online magazine, Ungagged.

Right to be forgotten

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

By Laura Martin

 

On the 13th April the High Court in England and Wales ruled on two legal actions brought against Google for failing to remove search results relating to the historical criminal convictions of two businessmen. The case of NT1 & NT2 vs Google is described as a landmark ruling being the first time that the English Courts have tested the principles of the ‘right to be forgotten’.

The decision of Justice Warby is controversial and re-ignites the debate about the purposes of the ‘right to be forgotten’. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in May 2014 that data appearing in online search results which were inadequate, irrelevant, excessive or outdated be subject to erasure upon request to the search engine operator. This ‘right to be forgotten’ is underpinned by our fundamental Charter rights of data protection and our human right to privacy.

The CJEU ruled that the ‘right to be forgotten’ is not absolute and can be denied when the request conflicts with other rights (like speech) and interests (accessing accurate information). There is much concern over whether the High Court struck an appropriate balance between the fundamental rights of the businessmen, the interests of Google, and the wider public interest.

Internet search engines play a key role in the dissemination of information and facilitating communication. The ability to request erasure of data can be seen as impeding the critical function of search engines whilst unduly impacting our fundamental right to freedom of expression. Despite accusations to the contrary, the ‘right to be forgotten’ does not enable individuals to “re-write history”, it only enables individual to request their data be de-listed or hidden from search engine results. The information itself remained both on the Web, in Google’s index, and is available via the many other possible searches. Google also have an economic interest in maintaining complete search engine results. If the press had discovered that a private search engine operator had removed details of criminal convictions, there would be public outcry and backlash.

The businessmen’s data protection and privacy rights were also considered. The anonymous businessmen, NT1 and NT2argued that the search results were inaccurate and outdated contrary to data protection principles and disproportionately impacting on their ability to develop personal and business relations which are protected under the fundamental right of privacy.

Public interest considerations are vital when ruling whether the ‘right to be forgotten’ should be granted. Justice Warby afforded significant deliberation to the nature and scope of the public interest in having access to search results on the criminal convictions of the businessmen. NT1 and NT2 had been convicted of criminal offences over a decade ago and their convictions had been considered as “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Despite the purposes of criminal law being served, does there remain a public interest in the Google search results? Justice Warby believed so. The judge suggested that the public interest was heightened as NT1 failed to accept his guilt and show remorse in relation to his convictions. This reasoning undermines the purposes of criminal law and is unfair as both NT1 and NT2 were accepted as being rehabilitated. The existence of the search results subjected the businessmen to some form of additional punishment not prescribed by the State.

But some will point to the heinous crimes committed by individuals and argue that they deserve all forms of punishment and should not be afforded to hide their criminality. Rightly so, and the ‘right to be forgotten’ accepts that the public interest in maintaining search results fluctuates depending upon a variety of factors. The ‘right to be forgotten’ requires a case-by-case assessment of the public interest, allowing for the peculiarities and nature of crime to be considered. In this case, both businessmen had committed generally low level crime and cannot be considered as dangerous individuals. NT1 was convicted of conspiracy to account falsely whereas NT2 was convicted for conspiracy to intercept communications. The majority of requests are made in relation to low level crime committed by individuals in their youth.

Others have argued that by virtue of breaking the law, individuals should carry all the consequences of their misdeeds. Why should offenders be afforded the same rights and liberties as upstanding citizens? The reality is that criminal activity is inextricably linked with social depravation. Blanket denial of all ‘right to be forgotten’ requests of offenders, will disproportionately impact the lower class who make up the majority of requests for criminal convictions to be removed. Public policy and social justice considerations must be taken into account when individuals argue for blanket denial of this right to all offenders. Although these circumstances do not relate to NT1 and NT2 who can afford to challenge Google anonymously, denying the ‘right to be forgotten’ to all offenders who have spent their convictions will not only undermine the purposes of criminal law and affect the purposes of rehabilitation but would also disproportionately impact the poor.

NT2 won his legal action against Google with the High Court accepting that his data protection and privacy rights trumped competing interests. NT1 was denied his ‘right to be forgotten’ as his crime was regarded as “more serious” with his failure to show remorse amplified the public interest against de-linking the search results. The application of the ‘right to be forgotten’ to criminal convictions remains controversial. It requires much more than balancing freedom of expression, the right to privacy and data protection, and the public interest (which will always be difficult to identify). The case of NT1 and NT2 also engages public policy concerns and requires consideration of the underpinning purposes of criminal law when deciding whether an ex-criminal should be afforded ‘the right to be forgotten’.

 

Laura Martin

Reading Time: 1 minute

Laura Martin

Current PhD Candidate at the University of Strathclyde, specialising in data protection, privacy and workplace surveillance. My research focuses on whether the modern worker can be adequately protected from surveillance by data protection, privacy and the implied term of trust and confidence. I also lecture and tutor on various internet law, information technology law, and intellectual property courses at Strathclyde.

You can follow Laura on twitter

Introducing Our Royal Correspondant

Reading Time: 6 minutes

As the British Queen hits 92, Prick Knobinson introduces himself and his remit in this article.

     Prick Knobinson, Royal Correspondant

Welcome to my Royal column. That’s what I say regularly at night to the wife. She hates that.  The feeling is mutual.

Anyway, enough about me, I’m going to drink my daily bottle of London Gin while I talk to you about my favourite fetish, the British Royal Family, all of whom I have intimate relations with.  Well, I report on them.  Which is hard work.  Its like, “here we go again, another plaque unveiling, or another royal baby has been dropped,” one day, and, “fuck me if its not another affair we cant report on because Prince fucking Duke of York or Wessex will sue us if we publish the awkward pictures,” sort of thing.

I was delighted to see my old drinking partner, Prince Charles, voted in as the next leader of the Commonwealth.  His story, one of adversity and humble beginnings, is one that shows anyone can become what they want to be.

Charles, brought up in a council house, and who ran away to the Navy after he was given a boat, had no ambition beyond talking to plants.    It’s a testament to his determination in later life that he has at last, toppled his mother from the position she has held most of her life in the unanimous decision made by despots, puppet Presidents and dodgy “Royalty” across the Empire.

Its all go.

369 years ago, the British abolished the Royal family.  After a dreadful few months or so, the Royal Head was stuck back on (not literally, as the axe had fallen on his neck and lopped it off… metaphorically, as we found a new person to brighten up the pages of Ye Olde checkout magazines.)

How miserable we would all be if we didn’t have the Royal’s to brighten our lives here in Britain, and now hopefully soon in the new series of “Suits?”  Megan Markle will no longer be worrying about who her next series affair is, as the spoilers are out.  She is to marry the Prince with the wonderfully colourful Celtic hair colour.  If you aren’t interested in all of that shit, and hate them, you are just a miserable old bastard who has no sense of decorum, or are a democrat or some stupid thing that has no place in Britain.

So, some of my favourite facts about the Windsors…

1.    Prince Charles has got a huge collection of medals.  These range from doing things like not sinking the unsinkable boat he was given by his mum’s pals to stay away from wars on during the seventies, and for adding capital letters to stuff what he wrote for the first time when he was in Year 6.  He is also a General in the Army, an Admiral in the Navy (its nice he kept his navy career going , even when his only ambition was to be tampon for his now related wife) and he is a Chief Marshall in the RAF. His other medals are really those coins you buy for Queen’s Jubilees and Coronations and shit like that because he bravely attended those ceremonies.

2.    The Queen chose Harold Macmillan over Rab Butler as Prime Minister in the 1950’s and then Alec Douglas Home over Butler in 1963.  This was for two reasons.  One she didn’t really like Butler and two, she thought the Tories actually really had put forward a real butler as a candidate, and those are really just for lifting the corgi poo from the carpet.  She also chose to rid Australia of an elected representative, and Government, in the seventies.  Such is her prerogative, and that’s what a Monarchy is for, so fuck you, right?  Well, sometimes that is the attitude a leader needs to take.

3.    The Royal Family are Britishness all in one family.  They are us.  We are them. Except they have big houses, yachts, the freedom to go wherever they want to without a passport and never have to spend money.  And none of them are yet black, beige, catholic, muslim, jewish, or anything else that is supposed to be British. We all aspire to their clean living Protestantism.  All religions and colours in Britain should.  Being British is eating when the Queen eats and setting down your fork when she does.  When I was last at a royal banquet, I made sure I got all my food (literally, when she stops eating, the plates are cleared!) as soon as she started eating, I belted that food into me.  When it looked like she was stopping, I stuffed the roast potatoes and the meat they’d shot specially for the guests the week before with a fuck off big machine gun in their private shooting place in Scotland, into my pockets. I was the only one out of 200 people who managed to eat every bite, albeit eating the stuff in my pockets when fucking Prince someone or other was being verbally wanked over by some Masterbator of Ceremonies, or whatever his title was.  Poor Nicolas Witchell only had half a starter, a nibble of grouse and a floret of broccoli.  He’s a cunt anyway.  And the Royals fucking hate him. Charles cant bear the awful man. Anyway, meals with the Queen sum up the class divide.  The poor just aren’t that quick in grabbing stuff.

4.     The Christmas message and her speech to Parliament.  The Queen drafts her own speeches.  While she does, she serves us the necessary bland platitudes and the hit with the poor – the usual, “I kind of love you, but don’t touch,” stuff. Then comes the hard hitting message she reads out from her chosen Tory Government, which shows she is no push over and wants to get that austerity out there.  Its like, “I love you, you fucking trilobites, go beg in a food bank, I love my family and yours.”  If you think the Queen is all about family around a Christmas tree, well fuck you.  She can do politics like the rest of them and impose the bedroom tax on greedy poor people with too many rooms in their council houses, but loves them all the same, but don’t touch.

5.    The Royal Houses, with all those lovely spare rooms to walk the dogs. Paid for by a grateful British people.

6.   Our democracy.  Without the Queen, we would not be able to compare our democracy with others like Saudi Arabia or Swaziland.  We can do that and say how shit they are, as she kindly asks their despot leaders and Royals over for tea, and a right old Royal drink now and again, just so the Socialists and that lot can protest outside.  That’s really considerate of her… because the people in Swaziland and Saudi Arabia would be put to death or something for doing those things in their own countries.  Its protest by proxy. Expect Mr Assad for a banquet in the coming years, well, after he has completely crushed those who asked peacefully in 2011 for an election… and let’s see who on the left will protest that nice ophthalmologist.  They certainly don’t want to do that at the moment, eh?

7.    Equality.  The Queen sees all her subjects as her equals.  She regularly says in privy council meetings with her government, “I’m the top socialist in the country!”  We can’t report that, so I’m going to add, “allegedly” to that previous statement, because it is illegal to report or talk about any of her opinions and of course, she is exempt from the Freedom of Information Legislation. She thinks everyone will eventually have the same dole money as her. But I can’t say that. So I won’t.

8.   She strikes agreements with Parliament about her income.  There is no longer a Civil List of those who get our money, she now gets a “Sovereign Support Grant,” which means she gets more money.  Not her fault, of course… it’s just the way things worked out with her relatives, the Tories. She is allowed to choose how much tax she pays.  Charlie’s Duchy company doesn’t pay corporation tax, because if it did, it would go bust.  I mean, who would give that idiot anything to run with the same rules as the rest of us?   The man, for all his wonderfulness and regality couldn’t grow cress without giving the seeds a fucking speech and relying on the Royal fucking arse wiper to water the bloody things.

9.   The BBC.  The BBC, and the ITV channels love to report on the Royal family, as it isn’t real work.  Really, it isn’t, and a good Royal colour parade or sprog drop can help when we don’t want to shop on our tory friends for incompetency, scandal or thievery. Best of all is when they cark it at 120 years old  – then the whole country seemingly comes to a halt.  Well, so it seems if you aren’t in the know.  All sorts of illegal shit goes down when a Royal Highness hits the floor.

10.   They’ve stopped marrying their cousins to have children.  They marry outside Royalty, have children, dump the spouse and go back to shagging each other once the bloodline has a few different strands of DNA.

Let’s hope she gets a new Royal Yacht.

So, I hope you absolutely loved this piece of important stuff about the Royals as much as I enjoyed my bottle of juniper.  All stuff about the Royals is important.  I mean, if you don’t like having a hereditary head of state, why the fuck are you in our country?

We are all British now.

Except those who thought they were.

Until next time, God Save Her and all the rest of the Royals across the world, except those from Royal families not related to and shagging each other and each other’s spouses.

The bottle has been drained. Get another one.

Fuck off.