Sunday, 25 January 2009

Diana Watch

Ah, young love. Seeking nothing but the simple pleasures in life. Eating Chinese take-away. Sat outside the hospital. In the rain. I’ve put my work shoes away for a week and it feels good.
Lets be honest, that’s a phrase I use to often, there has only been one story this week. That is, of course, a model of the new first family that fits within the eye of a needle. I believe that President Obama is the first black man to have this honour.


One of the things that I have noticed this week is that during the coverage of the swearing in (do you think that they practised first?) was that very few people used the term “Black” and used “African American” instead to describe his race. Does this mean that I am wrong? I’m not sure anymore. I feel like the man in a Chris Rock sketch rapping along to Dr Dre but missing out the N word when anyone of colour is a around but bellowing it out when alone. It can be confusing for a bleeding heart liberal.

There has been a mighty fuss at the end of this week about the BBC not showing the appeal from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) which is a group of charities that get together and run mass appeals for major disasters. The reason sited by the BBC for not showing the appeal was the fact that it was for Gaza and showing it after the news, as is usual for such an appeal, might seem like a lack of impartiality because the news may have contained articles about the Israel/Gaza war. Now the debate isn’t that interesting but what is quite interesting is the fact that the decision has been cover constantly on the main news programs on the terrestrial channels, News 24 and the BBC website. The BBC news website even had a click through link to the DEC website. So without showing the appeal itself they are making sure that everyone is aware of the appeal and giving them easy access to it. I don’t think that that has happened by accident, someone at the BBC is having a bit of a chuckle to themselves and people should really stop having a go. They have raised the awareness of the appeal by going on and on about it without having to show it.

There is to be a drive to recruit men to work with children in Nurseries and general child care. This is, obviously, a good idea. Children get to see both sexes doing the care thing and therefore their attitudes are set before anyone can notice. The only problem I can foresee is the excellent and positive attitude of the British mainstream media, oh and most of the public. As a male nurse I can assure you that a vast number of people do have a 70’s attitude towards these things. As Scroobius Pip said “not every man who plays with a child not their own is a Paedophile, some people are just nice.”

Now that racism has been ended by the election and inauguration of Barack Obama perhaps now we can concentrate on sexism, sorry but I’ve been listening to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 in order to avoid George Lamb on 6music. Did you know, for instance, that there is a pay gap of 17% between man and woman in this country for like for like jobs and that the conviction rate for rape stands at just 6%. I know it is a hard crime to prove but are 94% of woman who decide to go through the humiliating process of reporting a rape lying? The incredibly misogynist response in the press to proposed changes in the Murder and Man slaughter laws giving women an equal footing in the press a couple of weeks ago was also rather shocking. The basic premise of the headlines and editorials was that the changes in the law would mean that woman who killed their husbands would get away with it. As it stands at the moment men can claim that they snapped and killed their nagging wives in a moment of madness, woman, however, are more likely to premeditate the killing of an abusive partner and therefore aren’t able to claim provocation. The proposed change would alter this, fairly I think. I really don’t understand how woman can work for newspapers like The Mail or The Express as they are always unpleasant towards their sex.

Let us hope that 2009 will be a good year for science as it has lost out a little bit in the last few years, what with newspapers turning against it, flawed reporting in most outlets and a President who clearly didn’t believe in facts. It has started quite well on both sides of the Atlantic. President Obama has lifted the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and over here there is a lot of hype around the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s masterwork “The Origin of Species”. Also the Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills committee has criticised Prof John Beddington, the Government’s chief scientist, for failing to challenge ministers over their policies on cannabis and homeopathy. They went as far as to accuse him of defending the government’s reclassification of cannabis and it’s funding of 4 homeopathy specialising hospitals despite a complete lack of evidence. Oh my, some sense has reached our centre of Government, bring it on I say.

You know that at some point I would get round economics at some point didn’t you. 2 things this week, 1, the ONS has realised the spending figures of you and me, well probably not me as I’m a tight arse, for December and can you guess what? Oh yes, you’re right, spending in December was up 1.5% on the year before which, as I’ve mentioned before, was a record. So new record spending then! See I told you that it wasn’t your fault.
The other thing that I wanted to mention was the small town of Lewes in East Sussex which has introduced its own currency, the Lewes Pound. It is worth the same as the British Pound but it can only be spent in about 400 local shops thus keeping all the spending local and not in big chains. Brilliant! This is a scheme that could be rolled out to every town in the country, oh yes.

Shall we do some awards now as it is Burn’s Night and I’ve got Haggis to eat. Have you ever seen Haggis? It looks horrid, but it tastes fantastic. Significant other also found a poem of his on the BBC website entitled “Cock up your Beaver”. Oh come on that’s funny.

The Award for Rather Mean Sentencing of the Week,

This goes to a court in Thailand that has jailed an Australian novelist for insulting the Monarchy, which is sort of fair enough as it is their law, don’t agree with it myself but there you go. His book had sold just 7 copies.

The Award for Fun Spoilers of the Week,

This goes to every single news outlet that published the identity of the Stig, the Top Gear test driver. Do you understand that we all think that you are now spoilsports with no sense of humour? Part of the fun is not knowing.

The Award for Surprise Return of the Week,

This goes to Kenneth Clarke. Who would have thought that a pro-European who has openly supported the Governments VAT cut and has said that taxes will have to go up, whoever is in charge, openly disagreeing with David Cameron. Oh my, this could be fun.

The Award for Picture That Will Definitely Make You Smile,


Look! He’s leaving! Is there anything more sweet?

That will do for this week I think. Went to see Frost/Nixon this afternoon and it is fantastic, really well acted and a great script. Go and see it. Significant other also says that Slumdog Squarepants is fantastic but not, as advertised, the feel good film of the decade but it is great.

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