Update: lite

21, April, 2007

My sincere apologies for the terrible gap in updates. I recently moved to London, and although the sea of Internet access is everywhere, I have somehow managed to settle within a sea of broadband tranquillity.

Apparently we’ll get Internet soon, but well, they’ve said that before.

  • Lesson 1: Don’t get Orange broadband.
  • Lesson 2: First learn lesson 1.

Blair: Delighted by Oscar Success (You’ll be happy to know)

26, February, 2007

Dame Helen + BlairIt is perhaps inevitable that following any showbiz announcement The Right Dishonourable Tony Blair MP will somehow manage to manoeuvre his grinning face into the picture, be that metaphorically, or sadly as happens all too often with Blair, physically as well.

I mention this because while reading the BBC’s Oscars report today, the writer of the piece lets us know that even though Blair hasn’t actually seen the film, The Queen, we (as a nation), need to know that he’s pleased that Helen Mirren won the Best Actress award because of it. His spokeswoman said:

“We’re delighted Helen’s fantastic performance was rewarded with a well-deserved Oscar and look forward to the film being shown on ITV in the autumn,”.

Of course perhaps I’m being a wee bit cynical, the relevance may come from the fact that he’s in the film, although that is as a character, not as an actor. One would therefore expect to hear a quote from Michael Sheen, the actor who played the part rather than Tony Blair himself? It is after all a ceremony dedicated to cinema, not (as a general rule) politicians. The fact that the Prime Minister is portrayed in none to sweet a light by the film seems no barrier to his blatant ingratiation either. The close association with Oscar success it would appear; is far too desirable an opportunity for him to pass up.

That, combined with the apparent ease with which journalists are able to extract pointless statements from Downing Street’s press office on, and lets face it, some broad winning a foreign award, is a poor indictment of where politics in this country currently resides. That it’s easier to ring up the Prime Minister for a statement on the Oscars than it is to find and talk to an actor is really quite depressing.

Compare and contrast the speed and ease with which we hear about our dear leader’s praising of Helen Mirren’s success with oscar than we did following the botched execution of Saddam Hussein last year. The silence from Blair in the week following the hanging of the ex-president was deafening. Unfortunately for the country we see this obsession with trivia all too often in the present government. New Labour has yet to grasp that people are sick to death with all the posing and celebrity obsession all too often exhibited by our political class. Blair and Brown please take note: Dispense with the comment and opinion where celebrity gossip is concerned. Trying to prove that you’re down with the kids is not going to get you anywhere any more, and it certainly won’t win any elections, and that goes for the Tories too.

Cameron Hits the Zeitgeist

20, February, 2007

Guardian Front Page 20/2/07I sensed a disturbance in the force this morning. It doesn’t happen too often, my powers are weak, but it came across loud and clear today, or perhaps I should say; over the last week. A similar thing happened after Black Wednesday for the Tories, and recent example would be Cameron after his conference speech, or even Jade Goody after the first reports came in of her racist rantings.

I of course refer to when the future seems to have been plotted, and chaos theory goes out the window.

Politically in the UK, I feel that point has been reached, and that the next election is now Cameron’s to lose. Brown seems to be permanently on the back foot across the media spectrum, from left to right, even The Guardian is putting the boot in.

A narrative is now being played out and I think, like Harry Potter, the final chapter has already been written. Of course Brown is going to come out fighting, he may even make some headway. However it seems to be more and more apparent that the media sees Brown as a wounded beast, and as we know, the press like nothing more than finishing off a lame duck.

Lets hope Cameron plays it cool, keeps up with what he’s doing, and that Brown becomes the next PM, he’s one of the best votewinners the Tories could muster.


15, February, 2007

Guido in Prison, noooo!I’m in London for a job interview at the moment being as I am, in full “get a job mode”. There will therefore be a bit of a dry spell on the Blogging front for a day or so, followed by intermittant interruptions for the short to medium term. I’ll try my best to get on, and write a few pieces in spite of all that’s happening.

I am however still following events closely and as such I offer my support to the Elvis Presley of Blogging, the great Guido Fawkes! His passion for getting at the corrupt bunch of miscreants currently running our country is legendary, and I applaud it. However it may yet may get him sent to the tower.

Typically however, he has come out fighting!

Vol.1: What Grinds my Political Gears Today?

13, February, 2007

What Grinds my Political Gears Today?I must apologise to my loyal reader (Hi Mum) for the lack of updates over the last two days. I’ve been working hard on some business, so here’s one of my new “grinds my gears” pieces.

1) The arrogance of so many left wing politicians and journalists over the downing street petition really grinds my gears. Hacks like Steve Richards talk down to the million+ people who signed the petition by saying that they either don’t understand i.e. you’re too stupid, or mis-informed i.e. too ignorant. If that weren’t bad enough idiot politicians rail against the very idea as it challenges their personal ambition. What they’re saying there is that we plebians shouldn’t be allowed to have a say past election day, we’ve had our chance, so shut the hell up!

The fact that over a million people have now signed this thing shows a real depth of feeling, and even allowing for a few zealots with multiple email addresses , those numbers are huge and need to be taken seriously.

2) You know what else grinds my gears? Public transport. If we had a half decent public transport system perhaps we wouldn’t need road charging as there would be an alternative? you know who to thank…All hail NuLab and John Prescott for 10 years of joined up thinking. Huzzah!

3) State funding of political parties really grinds my bloody gears. Has there ever been a worse idea? That it is supported by Cameron boggles the mind, why the hell does he support it? It is an entirely un-conservative proposition. If the ideals of less regulation, free trade, and survival of the fittest are to mean anything we should not be supporting state funding in any way.

Would the Labour party, a national party with huge support have done as well if Lloyd George had propped up the withering Liberals with public money? Maybe not, but the idea is still valid. Like failing French industry supported by the EU (an egregious system that inflicts much harm on third world producers), new political movements too would be crowded out by the establishment. It must be rejected, and I will certainly protest against this when the time comes!

Prolific pointless printing is positively passé

11, February, 2007

CannabisThe big story of the day indicates quite a sad state of affairs with regard to national newspaper journalism. When such a wide selection of Sunday papers, including quality “broadsheets” like the Sunday Times cannot find anything new or interesting to write about after a week of searching is tragic.

The Cameron drugs “scoop” today was simply presenting old news as some sort of new revelation, and the prominence it was given accross the spectrum is utterly absurd. Why was it on so many front pages? Even on a slow news days you’d think someone would find something worthier to write about than this? Shove the story on page 25 where it belongs with the headline “Book reprints old news about Cameron and we’re letting you know”

Non-stories like this one really damage the idea of journalistic integrity, and do the paper’s no favours whatsoever, and I say that as a newspaper enthusiast, not just as a biased Conservative party supporter. It simply illustrates how pointless buying a Sunday newspaper is.

I think it’s time the sunday rags gave themselves a day off for their own sake. They could use the extra time to have a good think, and (fingers crossed) filter out as much of the crap as they currently inflict on the general public of a Sunday as possible.

Friday Evening Trivia Corner

9, February, 2007

Seeing as it’s Friday and many of you are likely either bored, winding down or finished, but with no time to start anything new…fear not. Here’s something to while away that annoying half hour between 5 and half 5 while you’re waiting to get away.

First, an awesome video that makes no sense at all:

Secondly, a completely random flash game. It’s pretty good fun, if slightly out of date. Points for spotting the egregious rosette error.

Downing Street Fighter

Click to play.

Normal service will resume tomorrow.

Message to America: Stop Shooting Yourself in the Foot

8, February, 2007

UK USAI’m a big of a fan of America. I love their movies, they produce some great music, and their ladies are on the whole very pretty. They are also successful, powerful, love small government (both democrat and republican), and as a nation appreciate the value of hard work. Then there is that most impressive of concepts, the pursuit of happiness and the American Dream.

I love that stuff and wish more of that get up and go spirit would take hold over here in Europe. However, and this is the sad part for us Yankophiles, the US can also be extremely arrogant, introverted, and selfish too.

That’s arse you may say, those traits only apply to individuals, not whole nations?! Well that may be true, and it is a sweeping statement, however from what I’ve seen over the last week regarding the whole furore over the death of Lance Corporal Matty Hull, the American military has been exhibiting those very characteristics.

They have been arrogant because they seem to care little for the troubles of others. Introverted because they either cannot or choose not to see the world from another perspective, and finally, selfish, because they always put their own needs before that of any other. What makes this situation particularly galling is that in this case it’s directed towards the UK, their closest ally.

Saying that, I do admire how America, and the American people especially treat their armed services, they certainly could show us a thing or two on the domestic front. However the way the Pentagon treated the family of Matty Hull and our MOD is shameful. Their guys made a mistake, and caused the death of one of our soldiers, if discipline is to mean anything they should be held to account, not wrapped up in cotton wool and insulated from the repercussions. Behaviour like that is slowly eating up any good will left in this country for America, and that’s an unsettling prospect from my perspective.

The problem is that general public opprobrium for a single unfortunate act (and it was an accident remember), feeds into the anti-American media machine that latches on to any misdemeanour and exploits it for all it’s worth. Whether that’s through greed or bigotry on their part the outcome is the same, damage to Anglo-US relations. It would be a disaster if these many small cuts turned into a real diplomatic wound between our two nations. Considering all that we do and achieve together, both now and in the past, for the UK to turn into another member of the anti-US European club would be greatly damaging.

The EU though perhaps a nice idea on the surface; is too neurotic to provide us with the support we need on the world stage, America on the other hand does, economically, militarily, and diplomatically. Our goals are very similar. The defence of the Anglosphere is put at risk by US military blundering both on the battlefield and behind the scenes, and America needs to realise that. It cannot continue to disregard its allies and expect our support.

There is good news on the horizon though. The first pieces of the post-Bush era are falling into place across the Atlantic. Many new and better Presidential candidates than the incumbent are firmly in the running, my two personal favourites being Giuliani and Obama. Lets hope that these new players provide a constructive debate on which direction a new American era needs to take. I sincerely hope that they’ll produce a more magnanimous and diplomatic America if elected, I also keep my fingers crossed that any new magnanimity from the executive will eventually rub off on the military too. I’d like it to be sooner, but I can’t see it happening for now, unfortunately.

A Thought on Immigration

6, February, 2007

I was thinking the other day about a friend I made at Uni. She was a second generation immigrant who had integrated seamlessly into the British way of life. She was great fun, and nobody who met her would think anything other than how she was a normal British lass trying to get on.

This I felt was in contrast to many other second generation immigrants we’ve heard a lot about on the news recently. With the most telling statistic bandied about being that 37% of 16-24 year old Muslim youth would like to see Sharia law implemented, compared to only 17% of the over 55 age bracket.

There are many reasons for this, and would take a lot of time to explain fully, more than the 15 minutes I’ve given myself to write this piece at any road! However with regard to my friend it would seem clear that the focus on differences and the lack of a common thread of identity could be very much to blame. She told me that her parents had taken on board many of our customs, to the extent that she had a traditionally (for Sikhs) male second name, Singh, as opposed to the female version, Kaur, as that was her father’s second name and that was what we did. I noticed a similar circumstance mentioned in the film Gideon’s daughter as well. With Bill Nighy’s character being a second generation Pole whose father had taken an English name, Warner, and ditched his own native one in order to fit in.

That would be anathema to the doctrine of Multiculturalism today as I see it. The native culture is given parity with the host culture. Thus it is not surprising that many a 16-24 year old disaffected Muslim youth will turn away from our own host culture when they disagree with something that the government, and by extension the country, is doing.

When I was growing up I came to the conclusion that Labour were just plain wrong on many if not every issue I believed in, so I turned to another facet of our own culture, Conservatism, which I tended to agree with. I suppose if I were a Hindu, Muslim or Pole, and I had the option, I may have chosen to fall back into that culture and away from the mainstream as it was open to me, and as valid an option as the rest. Which is what we see with the 37% of young Muslims who have decided that Sharia law is for them. While many will be Tory, Labour, Lib Dem or something else, they also have an alluring extra option to choose from as well.

Now that doesn’t mean its wrong every time, there has always been an eccentric bent to UK politics in some areas, and freedom of association is a great British tradition. However Sharia law is different. It is separate, and not only from mainstream British culture, but mainstream British-Muslim culture too. When I chose my political leaning that didn’t mean I was cutting myself off from mainstream British opinion, far from it, I was merely attuning myself to a certain branch. Being a Tory doesn’t mean I cant find common ground with anyone else in Britain, however believing in Sharia does. How many non-Muslims want Sharia? None. How many Muslims even? Not many. Deciding that Sharia is your thing isn’t something we should take lightly, it is a desire for isolation from mainstream society, and the consequences are dangerous.

Now I realise this isn’t a foolproof argument, and I welcome any comments readers may have. I’m certainly not suggesting that every immigrant arriving on these shores should change their name! However from my perspective I believe that we should not be actively promoting difference, but common value, and at the centre of those values should be our nation and its culture. The less people cling on to their differences; and instead engage with each other along common values and with a shared national pride, the less friction there will be.

“Good news everyone!”

5, February, 2007

No2FarnsworthToday I glimpsed a rare snippet of positive news amongst the usual milieu of depressing headlines. Namely the announcement by David ‘Basher’ Davis that if the Tories win the next general election they’ll scrap the IDiotic ID card scheme, joining the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, and a host of other parties across the political spectrum who are all opposed to it. With the exception being of course, New Labour.

Now I’m no blinkered optimist, just the normal type. I seriously doubt the Tories will win the next general Election, a hung parliament is the most likely outcome. However Cameron may be able to form a minority government with Liberal support given that he will most definitely be able to play the popular vote card. The Tories trailed 3% at the last election, but paradoxically, due to our very dated constituency boundaries; polled more votes than New Labour in England. If Cameron does manage to close that gap, then the democratic injustice would be too great a constitutional anomaly to ignore.

That being the case, there is a good chance that we’ll have a minority Lib/Con Cameron government staunchly opposed to ID cards come 2009-10. However, if through the hazy mists of a hung parliament a Lib/Lab government manages to rise from the ashes of Labour’s tenure, a likely condition of that government (unless the Lib Dems decided upon a particularly egregious soul-selling lunge for power), will be a demand that the ID card scheme be shelved.

Thus in the great scheme of things the odds are that those ID cards will be dropped quicker than a Turkey with a runny nose come the next election. Good news for everyone, as professor Farnsworth would say.