Thursday, November 30, 2006

Impartial Politics in Belfast

A brilliant panel on Question Time. Martin McGuiness, David Trimble, Jeffrey Donaldson, Mark Durkin, Peter Hain. All sitting round the same table. (Funny, though, that if you put them in a line-up and said "Spot The Terrorist", I bet every innocent bystander would pick out Mark Durkin. By the way, two of this panel have an alleged terrorist history - which two? You may be surprised.)
Best thing about this question time - seeing these disparate politicians sharing a stage and actually talking to each other without any posturing. (Look - sharing a table with Sinn Fein/ DUP/UUP/Tories/Labour isn't really that hard... )
Worst thing - the question "Is Russia fit to be a sovereign state?" quickly descending into a playground argument about northern ireland. An easy truth - when you can have an argument about Russia and stick to arguing about Russia, you've made it. The very second you need to say "And being a Chechnyan in Moscow kind of reminds me of being a Catholic in Belfast" or "And being a Chechnyan in Moscow kind of reminds me of being a Protestant in Belfast"you have lost the point completely.
Any road up, it continues to be fascinating, seeing David Trimble and Martin McGuiness sitting almost next to each other. Maybe between these aging men there might be a solution to this problem?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Left, The Even Lefter, and the Wardrobe.

Wow! Jack Dromey's toys are well and truly out of the pram. I've just watched his interview with Jermey Paxman and I think this is the first time I've seen a member of the Labour NEC lose it so publicly and so irreversibly. Unless you count Time Team, of course.
It appears that Jack Dromey was unaware of loans of large amounts of money to the party. Which would be fine if he wasn't Treasurer. Tony Blair explains that he's not actually the treasurer in law, the chair of the NEC is. Well, fine, but you'd think they might have mentioned it to him. "Oh, look, some Tory bloke's lent us a few quid. Well, a few million quid. Doesn't matter, just stick it in the biscuit tin." Dromey has been signing off the accounts, perfectly legitimately, for years but it seems that loans don't necessarily appear in them. I must remember that the next time I look at my bank statement.
Unfortunately for all concerned, Jack Dromey's wife just happens to be in the Cabinet. I can't remember off the top of my head what Harriet Harman's job is this week, but I seem to recall that she's quite important. Although, it seems, suddenly less important than she was yesterday. At her own request.
I should clarify my position here. Tony Blair is a good thing, and New Labour is a good thing (forbye the Iraq war, which still makes me angry). I've worked in great depth with the SWP over the years, but still I have no time for their literally reactionary attitudes. The SWP made me angry on a daily basis, whereas New Labour only makes me angry about once a week. At the same time I have no doubt about the SWP's sincerity and commitment. New Labour just makes me ask questions.
The only certainty I hold in all of this is that a Conservative government would be much, much worse. And I can produce evidence.
Nice wardrobe, by the way.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What have the Serbs ever done for us?

The death of Slobodan Milosevic was a bit of a slap in the face, wasn't it? For all sorts of reasons. Depending on your point of view the late Serbian leader either met his god too late or met him (or her) too soon, before the shackles of earthly justice could be fully tightened. Either way, we in this world will never be able to hold him to account. We might have a shot at his wife and son, though, if the Serbian government gets its way and holds his funeral in Belgrade.
His trial was due to end in the next few months, which is a problem in itself. His trial should have been measured in days rather than years. I have a great deal of respect for Carla Del Ponte (nicknamed 'The Whore' by many mainstream newspapers - can you believe that?) but the complexity of this case and the interference being run by Milosevic's supporters made it a virtually impossible task. So perhaps his early death was the only just outcome.
Next up - Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. If for no other reason than to prove that the West acted to protect Muslims in that war. We bombed Serbia extensively to protect the people of Kosova. We are actively prosecuting the perpretrators of the Srebrenica massacre, which will be made easier if we can hear the testimony of Mladic.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Night At 'Gerry Springer - The Opera'

Last Thursday I got out of work as early as I possibly could, ran a few red lights to get to the childminder, whipped the small boy into the car, ran a few more red lights, pushed him up the stairs into the house, deployed Shrek as he demanded ("Threk! Don-key! Cat! Now!"), gave him some food (does yoghurt count as food?), left him alone and got changed into - What? What the fuck do you wear to go to the opera? Oh, some jeans and a nice jumper. That'll do nicely.
The small boy is two-and-a-half years old, which by some co-incidence is exactly the same time since we've been out. Anywhere. Let alone the opera.
His Mum gets home just in time and just knows exactly what to get changed into. How the fuck does she do that? Must be why I married her. So she could look fantastically at home in the opera thing and I could look like some bloke in jeans and a jumper.
So we arrive at 'Gerry Springer - The Opera'. We look forward to a feast of soprano and vibratto, a smorgasbord of bass and tenor. Instead, we get "What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fucking fucking fuck!!" Sung beautifully. And the odd "cunt". And Satan giving the baby-boy Jesus a hard time. Even the word "And" sung by a classically trained cast brings tears to the eyes. Not to mention the poor fuckers with the chocolate lesbian relationships.
Get home, contrast this with the complete acquittal of Nick Griffin and the partial acquittal - and complete demonisation- of Abu Hamza.
Both cunts, but only one is going to prison. Griffin, you are a lucky fucker.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bye, Graeme!

An extremely interesting evening, football wise. Chelsea drew, Liverpool drew, ManU and Arsenal lost. I'm beginning to suspect that Roman Abramovich has signed one of those pact-with-the-devil things; whenever Chelski don't win, nobody else does either. Big up the Russian Federation.
And also, Sol Campbell was substituted by Arsene Wenger. The Arse can dress it up how they like, but the Formerly Godlike (ie, when he played for Tottenham) Sol has been deemed surplus to requirements. That is, he was shite tonight, and West Ham weren't. And it appears that Sol, having been subbed, took the Mercedes 4x4 home before the second half started. Not cool.
Don't even get me started about Joey Barton.
I tend to think the main story of tonight is likely to be the demise of Graeme Souness. Oh, has he not gone yet?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Glad to be gay?

I'm a sucker for phone-in radio programmes, and tonight I have been thoroughly enjoying Stephen Nolan on BBC radio Five Live. Well worth searching out on your internet/digital radio thing.
His subject this evening - how do you deal with a gay child.
One phone-in punter, a bloke of indeterminate age, said he would banish all his children if one of them turned out to be homosexual. A mother, whose son had recently come out to her after years of worry, didn't pretend to understand his sexuality but certainly did understand his fear of revealing himself.
Maybe it's a generational thing, but I find it difficult to get exercised about a person's sexuality, and perhaps the Lib Dem leadership election might back me up. Not that I have any sympathy for the Lib Dems. Oh no.
To return to the original question, how would I feel if my son told us he was gay? My answer is, I couldn't give a fuck. I'd be much more worried if he was too scared to talk to me.
And, in other news, it's a great day to be a Dundee United supporter. 3-3. Fucking fantastic. I'm proud to be an Arab!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

George - You Have Been Evicted.

Hello, and a very belated Happy New Year.
This week, I have been mainly exercised by George Galloway.
The Yanks may remember Gorgeous George from his spat with the Un-American-Activities-Committee (I know its not really called that) a few months ago, when he defended his right to meet Saddam Hussein and describe him as 'indefatigable'. He was also quite rude to a few Senators, as I recall. We all thoroughly enjoyed that here in the UK.
The Brits will now mainly remember George for being evicted from the Big Brother House, and for his worryingly life-like cat impression. And for his infinite capacity for self-delusion.
I personally mainly remember him from Dundee in the Seventies, when he was almost alone in the UK in agreeing with the PLO, and for which he was absolutely right.
(It is true that when I recall the Big Brother thing I will mainly be getting annoyed about the English media using the phrase 'the Glaswegian George Galloway'. Its not even close to being a Glasgow accent, for heaven's sake. Bloody hell.)
Anyway, I mainly hope he will take the SWP down with him. The fact that they were taken in by him is a bit of a worry for them, and they may wish to revisit their PR company. Mostly, though, the people of Brick Lane and its surrounding constituency may well wish to review their vote at the next election.
Also it's worth noting that he's been paid out of the public purse for taking three weeks off. I'm pretty sure Tower Hamlets' teachers, councillors, bin-men, planners, nurses, doctors, would not be allowed three weeks in the Big Brother house at your expense.
Tonight I have mainly been very annoyed. Does it show?
One further thought - George now seems to think that all publicity is good publicity. It isn't.