Are there any Dignitas clinics in Canada? I only ask because my parents are going to Canada next week for a holiday and they called me round this week and told me where all important paperwork in the house is kept. They are only away for 2 and half weeks. It sounded a little strange to me.
The last British man to have fought in World War 1 has died. He was 111. We must never forget the sacrifice that this generation made. Whilst I intend no disrespect to those soldiers who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan and their sacrifice is never to be underestimated, Harry Patch was 19 when he fought in the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, in Belgium in which an estimated 500,000 soldiers died.
The views of those who have fought should be sought when we consider war as an option. Patch did not speak about his wartime experiences until he was aged 100 and was strongly opposed to violent conflict, calling war "organised murder".
"It was not worth it, it was not worth one let alone all the millions," he said.
"It's important that we remember the war dead on both sides of the line -- the Germans suffered the same as we did."
We will remember them. We have to.
Back in a minute, just going to get a beer.
Oh that's nice.
OK, back to the typing.
On Monday the ghastly rag that is the Daily Express had a headline that was a complete and utter lie. The front page read “Now Pay £20 To See Your GP”. Well, you might think, that is very bad, the NHS is supposed to be free at the point of delivery. And so it should be but what the Express were referring to was a report from a think-tank that had realised a report that contained several suggestions on Primary care and the NHS in general and this was just one of them. It wasn't Government policy, it was just a suggestion that someone made. It's not even news, although that hasn't ever stopped them.
Whilst checking the Express's website to make sure I was quoting them correctly, I noticed the headline from Wednesday's paper. It is a classic of the genre. It combines perfect Express story elements, foreign people, the Government and Illness. The headline read “Migrants Man Swine Flu Helpline”. Nice.
The Daily Mail continues its constant attack on the BBC. As they have nothing to actually complain about the new plan is to tell it's readers how many BBC staff have been sent to cover large events such as the Glastonbury festival (excellent coverage), the Open Golf (great coverage I'm told) and Wimbledon (an event they love and demand that it stays on the BBC). What they are trying to do is insinuate that the corporation is bloated and wasteful, taking far too many staff who sit around on expenses. They forget to give you any context i.e. How many staff they have taken before.
They have also tried to make an issue of a staff reshuffle at Radio1 claiming that they are ageist because Jo Whiley, 44, and Edith Bowman, 35, have been moved from their weekday shows to the weekend. They have also tacked on the BBC's decision to replace Arlene Phillips on Strictly Come Dancing with Alesha Dixon.
Radio1 is a station with an identified demographic. They are aiming at 18-25s so they think, quiet reasonably, that the presenters should more closely reflect this target group. So no story there then.
The problem with the BBC's decision about Ms Phillips is that they have replaced her with someone who is not an expert in dance, if they had it would have been easily defensible but they went with a very pretty former winner. They have also employed Darcy Bussell and she knows a little about dance. Arlene Phillips is awful on the program. She is as natural on the program as Jordan's skin colour. We should all be glad that she and her awful simile and unnecessary hyperbole have been dropped.
You will note that the Mail have avoid pointing out that on News broadcasts that have 2 anchors, one will be an older man and one will be news totty, mostly. They haven't mentioned this because it happens on ALL channels. ITV and Sky News are the worst but the BBC doesn’t escape criticism for this.
At one point this week they wheeled out Selina Scott to put the stiletto in but she failed to say was that she was let go because she was so bad and completely lacking in anything that could, even charitably, be described as personality or charisma.
She went on and on about the Strictly issue but also bought in the Radio1 reshuffle (I'm sure that was the most important thing on her mind) but she also mentioned Holly Willoughby replacing Fern Britten on this morning. Now Britten needed replacing because she left and was not fired so this isn't really fair but this paper (yes I feel that Selina may have been prompted to mention this) doesn't like Ms Willoughby because they feel that she showed to much cleavage on the successful family show Dancing on Ice. In fact they didn't like her so much and found her dresses so offensive that after every show they had a picture of her on the front of their paper in the offending frock. “see, look at that cleavage. See how offensive it is. It shouldn't be allowed. LOOK AT IT!” and then on most other days they have pictures of other middle class, fragrant ladies, usually in a revealing frock or a bikini. Now, hypocrisy is a very strong word......
But I digress, the argument is that TV is obsessed with youth. It does seem that the Media in general is obsessed with youth and beauty but that is mostly the print media. Look at the programmes on the BBC, as this is the Mail's target, and I don't think that you will see a youth obsessed broadcaster. Radio1 IS aimed at 18-25 year olds, as is BBC3, and then you have CBBC and Cbeebies but the others aren’t. I could list the programmes on the channels but that would be boring so I won't but take a look yourself, Eastenders, The One Show, Coast, Panorama, Who Do You Think You Are. These are not youth programmes, they are ratings chasers and that is very different.
If TV was obsessed with youth how do you explain all the old men on it? Perhaps there is some sexism but I think that The Daily Mail is trying to find reasons to bash the BBC because they are a rival. The BBC tries to be even-handed and balanced, it fails and has started giving time to idiots with no experience or expertise of the subject being discussed but they are asked on simply because they hold an opposite, ill-informed, opinion.
If the Mail wants to get snippy about something may I suggest the rise in TV that aims not to tax the brain. TV for the stupid is a bigger problem. I don't mean that everyone should only watch documentaries on BBC4 but perhaps less of the One Show or Jeremy Kyle, that's all I ask.
A good week for British sport so a quick list of the successes. England beat Australia in the 2nd Ashes test. Tom Daley wins gold at the World Championship on the 10m board. Jo Jackson and Rebecca Adlington won silver and bronze in the 400m freestyle at the World Swimming Championships. Bradley Wiggins has finished 4th in the Tour de France
equalling the best Tour finish by a Briton matching Robert Millar in 1984. Mark Cavendish became the first Briton to win on the Champs Elysees in Paris and this was his 6th stage win. Oh and Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix, which was nice.
And so to the Award,
The Award for Moaning Irish Man of the Week,
This goes to Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair. He announced that his company would be cutting it's Winter flights from Stansted airport by 40%. He blamed the rise in Passenger Airport duty and the price of landing at the airport.
OK, let's run through these arguments, Passenger Airport Duty is only going up by £1 for those flights. The airport has to charge you something to land there otherwise they would make no money. Last year you run 28 planes during winter from that Airport this year it will be 24 so not such a massive difference from last year than. Oh and there is a recession on you fool. Oh and aren't you trying to convince European Safety authorities that it is a good idea to have passengers standing on a flight. Like they do on a bus or the tube. Oh yes, if Mr O'Leary get his way even a seat will be extra on a Ryanair flight.
The Award for Football Match That Made Me Smile of the Week,
Cristiano Ronaldo made his first appearance for Real Madrid this week and against which great world club side did this great event take place? Oh yes ladies and gentleman it was against Shamrock Rovers. They play in the League of Ireland and play at the council-owned Tallaght Stadium on the outskirts of Dublin. The final score was Shamrock Rovers 0-1 Real Madrid.
May have a little trouble on next Sunday doing Diana Watch next week as I’m going to be at my sister-in-laws wedding.