Sunday, 11 April 2010

Diana Watch

There really is only one story that I want to talk about this week. It is one of the most talked about and life changing events of the week (well in our house anyway). It could alter the way we live our lives for years to come. If we do not act now, history will judge us to have failed.
 As of July a Scrabble rule change will mean that you are allowed to use proper nouns! You will be able to put company names and the names of celebrities.
 A company spokesman said "This is one of a number of twists and challenges included that we believe existing fans will enjoy and will also enable younger fans and families to get involved." I'm sorry? What?
 Why do you think that young people need to be patronised by making the game easier? It is fun because it is hard, that is the point. Do we encourage children to play football by making the goals bigger? Do we get children to play “Battleships” by making the board smaller? Do we make teenagers seem more clever by making GCSEs easier? Ok, bad example (and I’m not sure if that is actually true) but my point still stands; making things easier does not make them more appealing. It does, however, make them less valuable. Have you ever been allowed to win by someone else, at anything, not just games? It is a totally empty feeling, even children understand this and they are stupid.
 JFK said “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard” He could have been talking about playing Scrabble.
 They also said that the changes will “introduce an element of popular culture into the game". Why is that a good thing?! I don’t want to have my scrabble board looking like a copy of Heat magazine. I want it to look like a scrabble board.
  Significant Other and I have discussed it and this is a rule change that we will not be implementing in the Norris household.

Ok, I suppose there was something else of some importance that happened this week. Gordon Brown has been to see the Queen and asked her if he can have an election and she said Yes (Do you think that she has an option? Could she say “No, cos I think that you will loose and I don’t want that twat Cameron in charge”? It seems unlikely).
 A clear Tory policy has emerged of not telling the truth about Nation Insurance. “We will not implement this 1% NI rise because it is a tax on jobs.” No, you will only raise it by 0.5% won’t you and “a tax on jobs”? Now this is a revelling line.
 What they mean by this is that it is a tax on businesses (rich people who fund the Tory party) but they have no problem with a rise in Income tax because that only affects workers.
 James Caan (out of off of Dragons Den) pointed out on Newsnight that the 1% rise will cost about £15 a month per employee. Will that stop a business employing a person? He said not. If they want a person they will employ them. He also pointed out that the NI rise only comes in when the employee earns about £20,000, how many shop workers earn that much? The job that I applied for at Millets (and didn’t get) paid £6 per hour, I don't think that I would have earn that much. So is the Tory plan nonsense and are their business friends only trying to preserve their profits? Yes, yes they are.
 The business men who queued up to side with their puppet, did I say puppet I meant Party, and say that Gordon Brown was wrong didn’t really fool anyone, despite David Cameron referring constantly to them.
 One of the people supporting the Tories was Sir Stuart Rose of Marks and Spencer whose company, this week, posted a health profit for last quarter of the year and estimates that it’s full year profit will be between £620m-£630m. Not really struggling then in the recession. They probably can afford an extra 1% on employees earning over £20,000 and not really notice it.
 Combine this with their calls for a reduction in Health and Safety legislation to make it easier for companies to kill you, their lack serious plans for increased regulation of the City and plans to reduce Inheritance Tax and you have to ask yourself, whose side are they on? I don’t think that it is yours.

 They are also a little hypocritical (I know this will come as no surprise) over income tax. On Tuesday the new top rate of income tax came in to force going up to 50% for those earning over £150,000. The Conservatives criticised this ferociously and, with various business groups, said that high earners would leave the country. Well they had one years notice and it seems that they haven’t.
 Despite this friend-protecting rhetoric they have no plans to reduce it.

 Whilst we are talking about tax and benefit changes can I bring your attention to these?

 Mothers will now be able to donate all or part of their maternity leave to their husband/partners. At the moment mother can take up to 52 weeks of fathers get 2 weeks but now the mother will be able to take 6 months and then go back to work and the father/partner can take the next 6 months.

ISA limits have been raised to £10,500 per year (so good for small savers then).

Sick notes have now been replaced with Fit notes. Instead of just being signed off sick your GP will be able to suggest what work you are fit for. Whilst there are a few problems with this, GP are not Occupational Health specialists for instance, overall this is great. Research seems to suggest that the sooner people get back to work the quicker they get better.

Now, as I have said before, I am no fan of Labour. I have watched my civil liberties disappear faster then the Twin Towers came down since 2001, they have taken us into 2 wars, 1 of which may be illegal and the Digital Economy bill is a disgrace but all of the above ARE great things and they should be applauded for these things.

And while I’m talking about Government achievement, the economy may do much better than predicted. 
According to the OECD the UK economy may grow at an annualised rate of 3.1% for the second quarter of 2010 which is much better than most other countries in the G7.
 Let me continue, if I may, with more slightly dull economic numbers.
 Many analysts say that The Markets are “jittery” about the possibility of a hung Parliament or the Countries credit rating being downgraded over the size of the deficit (this is so unlikely as to not be worth talking about). If this is true then The Markets are reacting in a very strange way. They are going up. The FTSE closed on Friday at 5770.98, up 58.28 points on the day. For the year they are up from their lowest point of 3968.40 points, that is a rise of 68%! Does that sound like a market that is concerned about how Labour are running the economy to you because it certainly doesn’t to me.
 Sorry, that was a bit dull but the points had to be made.

The scary thing about the pre-election is the blood lust that the 2 main parties have got up for cutting things.
Alistair “those aren't his real eyebrows” Darling said that they would have to cut harder and deeper (he was also writing porn dialogue at the same time) then anything done by Margaret Thatcher. Really? Fuck off. You are a Labour chancellor. What are you doing trying to keep up with the Osborne’s?
 And then they all try to hide other cuts in euphemism, “We will make efficiency savings”. So you are absolutely sure that these are not cuts then because when big companies merge they make “efficiency savings”. Shortly afterwards an awful lot of people loose their jobs and those that remain have their terms and conditions shredded. So I ask you once again, are you absolutely, completely and utterly sure that these “efficiency savings” are definitely, definitely not cuts?

The Award for Using Words in an Article That Only Newspapers Use,

There are some words that don’t get used enough in modern day English, such as bobbins and poppycock (which is my favourite word in all of the language), and there are some words that are only used by tabloid newspapers. The word “romp” for instance is only used by red top newspapers when they are referring to sex, i.e. “The footballer romped with the model”
 The mighty Daily Mail has decided to bring back a word that hasn’t been used in its correct context since Queen Victoria sat upon the throne. They claimed in an article about the New Dr Who assistant Amy Pond “that viewers were left scandalised” by her short skirt. Scandalised? Really? By some legs?
 Now I would link to the original article but I’m not clever enough and the Daily Mail on-line is like the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984, it is constantly changing things that have been printed to closer reflect the views of it’s witless commentators (and the Google Cached thing doesn’t seem to work for that paper). The article no longer includes that word because they probably realised that it has been used since the “Lady Chatterley” trial.
 I would just like to say to people who were upset, or indeed scandalised, by the sight of Karen Gillan’s (not even bare legs, although that might be the issue, oh I don’t know) legs that they should avoid nearly all female professional sport and it is probably best if you stay indoors for the summer (especially around May the 6th sort of time).

The Award for Trying to Get Something Really Rather Wrong on to a Plane,

Two women have been caught trying to smuggle a dead bloke in a wheel chair on to a plane at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport. It really is as simple as that.
 They claimed that he was asleep and put sunglasses on him and then attempted to board a plane.
They also travelled to the airport in a Taxi. That is how observant taxi drivers are people, you can pop a dead bloke in one and they won’t notice.

The Award Sticking Your Head In the Sand and Placing Your Fingers in Your Ears,

 For the third week in a row I am forced, mostly by their own stupidity and trying to make out that problems don't exist, to mention the Catholic Church.
 Now I am not a religious man, well actually I am an atheist, and the activities of the worlds various religions are not of a great deal of interest to me except if they are justifying flying planes into buildings or telling AIDS ravaged countries that condoms actually make the problems worse or….., oh ok, I do take a bit of any interest but the Catholic Church is really trying to push the boat out at the moment.
 The Associated Press is reporting that it has a letter that is signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, in which he resists the defrocking of a convicted sex offender.  Cardinal Ratzinger said the "good of the universal Church" should be considered in such cases.
 Rev Stephen Kiesle was convicted in 1978 for lewd conduct with two young boys in San Francisco and was sentenced to 3 years probation. His diocese, Oakland, had recommended Kiesle's removal in 1981 but it didn't happen until 1987.  Cardinal Ratzinger took over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the department that deals that sort of thing, in 1981 and this letter was written in 1985.
 So here is another bit of evidence that shows that Cardinal Ratzinger was aware of the abuse and attempted to cover it up and what did his spokesman, Rev Federico Lombardi, say? Why he tried to play it down of course, saying “The press office doesn't believe it is necessary to respond to every single document taken out of context regarding particular legal situations."

Let’s end with a song to lift your spirits as I have gone on a bit this week.
I know that everyone else of a skeptical bent has linked to this or embedded it and that I am a little behind the curve here (as I am with so many things, I hear those Beatles are pretty good, you should check them out) but here is The Daily Mail Song by Dan and Dan,

Have a good week. The sun is out and the sky is blue, enjoy yourselves whilst you can as soon we may have a Tory Government.

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