Thursday, 20 May 2010

Coalition? House of cards?

I'm watching the stunningly dull collective news conference of the senior coalition members. So far, Clegg, May, Cable, Osborne and Cameron have said absolutely nothing.
It has been a bland blend of empty cliches.
And it should be pointed out that Vince Cable sounded as though he had been blackmailed, so limp was his enthusiasm.
This is just like Nick Clegg's announcement that his political reforms would be the greatest since the 1832 Reform Act. All that proved is that he has no idea about history and he has every idea to dress up an announcement that was a repetition of announcements from last week. And none of those were really great surprises.
So, in the national interest (yawn), stop playing the spin game so soon. Stop stay how great you will be and just get on with it.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

You call this news?

What is it about the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday that makes me so angry?

Well, I'll take this morning's edition as an example. It has run a story about some insulting remarks made by the man in charge of the Football Association's 2018 World Cup bid.

Now, what he said was insulting. What he said was stupid, it was offensive. However, he was engaged in a private conversation with a former employee who was also, according to the story, a former lover. The private conversation was, lo and behold, recording in order to sold to the paper.

It's a honey trap, it's disgusting and it's self-defeating. Does the Mail hate foreigners so much that it doesn't want them visiting England in 2018? Is the Mail worried about the English team losing to foreigners on home soil, about being shown up in our own backyard?

Of course not. It all boils down to one thing, the man in charge of the World Cup bid is a Labour Lord.

In the interest of petty party politics and vain self-interest, the Daily Mail has done more harm to the World Cup bid than any individual could ever do. When we fail to win the bid we should not blame the FA, we should not blame Lord Treisman, we should blame the Daily Mail.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

While we are on the subject

Has nobody talked about this crazy expressions, "a new politics" yet? Has nobody told the people using it that it doesn't make sense?

A new political code, a new political system, a new way of conducting political life. All of those has some sort of meaning.

"A new politics" sounds like it's referring to a make of East German car. It's an empty phrase that means nothing. This helps to explain its current popularity.

And currently, the media need something. There was much hilarity when Dave Cameron was reminded of his joke about Nick Clegg. However the headlines in the Express and Mail after the first debate ought to come back to haunt them. In one, he was virtually accused of being a Nazi.

Earlier this week, the Sun (yes, I know) had individual photographs of the new cabinet. Under all the Tory members were the details of their husbands, wives and the number of children they have. The details under the Lib Dem were grudging to say the least. Poor old David Laws and Nick Clegg were the only ones with no mention of their wives. We were told that Vince Cable wears the wedding rings of all his wives, even the one that died.

Through the press, we already know that Clegg is married (although the Sun no doubt enjoyed pointing out that he has foreign ancestry). We now know that Cable is a serial groom and that Laws has a really good degree!

Is the average Sun reader so sophisticated that they can pick up on the assumptions made about the Lib Dems in the cabinet. Nick Clegg is foreign. Vince Cable can't make his mind up about who is married to and Laws might still be single. Possibly in the Edward Heath sense.

On the other hand, all the Tories are wonderful family men and women and devoted parents too. Bless.

So much for the new politics. It's the same old nudges and hints. It takes more than a vacuous expression to change things around here.

Better late than never

Approaching 38, I am taking my driving test this Thursday.

This is only the second time I've taken driving lessons. The first was when I was 21. I failed the test and had no motivation for trying again.

I'm not sure what my motivation is this time but I'm doing it anyway. I'm cheating slightly by taking the test in an automatic. That doesn't bother me. If there's an easier option, one that cuts down on the time spent learning then do it.

I have brought the test forward by a week. I was originally due to take it the day before our holiday to France. We're supposed to be flying to Nice. The combination of BA strikes and volcanic ash means that we might have to take the car. I do not want my first experience as a fully licensed driver to be on a French motorway, thank you very much.

Assuming I pass, of course.

It's a minor point but important.

Sky News: giving it to you straight

Sky News has one of its breaking news banners at the moment stating that 22 people have been killed in the current Thai protests. The banner ends with the words:

No foreigners killed.

That's all right then.

Sky News, making Chris Morris look like a genius with every passing second.

It's been a long time coming

At last, after 13 years of hurt and pain, it's over. I can relax and look forward to the future without fear.

Yes, after 13 years of a Labour government, it's safe for me to watch and listen to satire.

For too long I've had to squirm as the party I voted for didn't do enough to get their message across and committed some fairly basic publicity gaffes.

So, listening to the News Quiz on Radio 4 was an absolute joy this week as the first ten minutes of the programme were given over to ridiculing the new Tory and Lib Dem coalition. Even the references to Gordon Brown were mostly sweet and gentle by comparison to those he has received for the last three years.

The first sign of this renaissance came on Thursday when Lucy Mangan wrote her list of 101 reasons to love our Tory government. Those who do not follow the link should know that she only got as far as 19.

It's called looking on the bright side. It'll get me through the next few weeks, at least.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Follow up and follow through

I promised myself a long time ago that I would get rid of my Facebook account. I finally managed it yesterday.
The reason for going in the end was the realisation that I could boost the number of friends quite easily but they would not be people I really know. Old acquaintances. Friends of friends. People you kind of know and add to boost your own numbers.
My real friends who are on Facebook, don’t really use it to communicate. The status updates and comment on my own were mostly coming from a handful of people. And a couple of those I don’t really know that well.
So I found myself getting upset by a couple of their comments about the election and took it badly. I flounced. I left. I quit.
I don’t need to know what these people are up to. If I’m interested, I’ll ask.
There’s something so irritatingly vain and needy about Facebook that I simply loathe.
Whereas blogging, on the other hand, there’s nothing vain about that (cough). Honest.