Sunday, 26 September 2010

Diana Watch

Just when you think you are going to have a quiet week where nothing much happens, how else can you explain the current media obsession with the athlete’s accommodation in India for the Commonwealth Games, then up steps a World leader and World leading loon.
 Thursday saw the opening of the new session of the UN in New York and this is a good time, if you are a loony World leader who is still allowed in the UN building, to make a bit of a name for yourself.
 Many fondly remember Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, friend of Cuba, hater of America, lover of Power, Oliver Stone documentaries and really long Presidential broadcasts, taking to the podium sometime after President George W Bush and declaring that he could still smell the sulphur.
 So the parking was terrible, as usual (it’s quite a popular event), and the Central hall at the UN was a buzz. Who would be the star turn? Would Chavez do his old “US devil” material? Would Raul Castro be as funny as his brother whose Donald Duck impression is legendary? Has Mugabe moved beyond, slightly dodgy, close up magic ending with his rousing version of “My Way”?
 There was palpable excitement as former Miss Tehran, semi-finalist on “Fundamentalists Got Talent (for denying the Holocaust)” and, now, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad strode purposely to the lectern.
 Mahmoud, 36, 24, 36, is best known in diplomatic circles for his after dinner speaking with which he makes enough money to fund on orphanage for injured sheep in down town Jerusalem, which he swears blind doesn’t exist. His usual subject is great cricket anecdotes 1975 to 2005 so many were keen to hear his take on the recent brouhaha between England and Pakistan, which, if you are interested, started after a disputed prawn cocktail at the 2 teams' pre-series curry and fish and chips night. Why people can’t just split the bill 50/50 is beyond me. That’s how the Boer War started you know, well that and an argument over tipping. William Gladstone said 10% and Paul Kruger said 15; the rest is made up history.
 Anyway, the President began strongly. A string of fantastic one liners about Iran being ready for dialogue based on “respect and justice” and that the “UN was loosing credibility with its continued sanctions against his country.” 
 However the real fireworks of the act came when the beats kicked in. His recent conversion to the joys of hip hop was one of his states better kept secrets but it soon became clear, as his DJ dropped some phat grooves, that he has skills.
 As the bass boomed out the US, British and several EU delegations show that they were no fans of Public Enemy. He worked through a selection of their hits but it was his reworking of “911 is a joke” that really blow the roof of the joint.
 As people walked out his rhyming became really creative, “inside job” and “Mohammed is God”, and “Secret plot to support Israel” with “your plans for getting us to give up our nuclear aspirations will fail.”
  As the rhythms faded and the dry ice cleared Ahmadinejad collapsed to his knees as an assistant came out and placed a cape across his shoulders. He then leapt back on to his feet and stood with his fist in the air. The band struck up, a surprising tight horn section now you ask, and he left the stage with a glint in his eye and the look of a man who had made his point.
 Most of the audience, that stayed, agreed that he was hell of a showman but many said that the reasonable points he made, such as comparing the nearly 3000 people that died in the attack on the twin towers with the hundreds of thousands who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, were some what lost in the paranoid rhymes. 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Diana Watch

Basically we should just write this week off. We were never going to win. Most of the papers care not for the crimes carried out by or covered up by the Catholic Church and neither do the television news programs. They have God on their side so that is such a massive positive that all other things are swept away. That is the right God by the way, not one of those funny foreign Gods.
Try this thought experiment; a Muslim leader wants to come to Britain for a bit a stroll around. He has been accused and has been shown to be, with documented evidence, to have known about and actively helped to cover up sexual crimes committed against children. Do you think that he would have got a visa? How much fuss would the Murdoch press and his TV news channel have made about that? You just have to look at the Fox news coverage of the not-a-mosque-that-isn’t-at-Ground-Zero story for a bit of a hint.
Do you think that the Mail and the Express would run glowing editorials about what we can learn from him and what an all round good egg he is? Do you think he would be allowed to compare a significant number of people in this country to Nazis because they think that his unpleasant views on homosexuality, abortion, woman, other religions, contraception, reporting crimes to the Police and how important people who believe in the same sky fairy (but only if they worship it in the correct way) are and should be listened to more than others, are wrong and harmful?
To be honest we are winning anyway, there are only about 5 million Catholics in the UK, which leaves about 60 million of us that aren’t. In a fight I think we will have them.
Their numbers are also declining (as are the circulations of the papers that support them credulously but so are ours) so if we wait around a while and let them continue to shoot themselves in, what seems like an extraordinary number of, feet then they will, hopefully, dwindle away to nothing and we can go about our lives, living them in an inclusive friendly way without these nasty little bigots having a say.

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Again stolen from the BBC website.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not anti any religion, you/they have as much right to worship who or what you want as I do to not do it, but the double standards, hypocrisy and outright lies of the Pope, the Vatican and most of the British Press is becoming a little wearing.
Modern Religions have not given us our morals, these existed before these religions, the oldest of which is about 2000 years, and they merely wrapped their philosophies around them. The general principles of being nice to each and not killing others make basic evolutionary sense to preserve the group.
Whilst we are at it, lets have a look at those 10 Commandments shall we?

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'
TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'
THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'
SIX: 'You shall not murder.'
SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'
EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.'
TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbour's house; you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour's.'

The first 3 aren't even about morals, just God. No mention of marriage being about between a man and a woman, nothing about dodgy employment decisions against woman.
The continuing argument from the Churches, especially the Catholic one, is that Atheists have no morals and are bad people and, as I would imagine that most people who read this ARE Atheists, we know that this is just blatantly untrue.
During his sermon at Westminster Abbey, following being on the front of every paper all week, he said to an audience made up of the Prime Minister and various Ex-Prime Ministers, various leading politicians and other important types, that the Church was being side-lined. That after having private meetings with all 3 party leaders.

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Sorry about the ranty style today, when the week started I really wasn't that fussed about Popey coming here. OK, I didn't think we should cough up the money for it but I wasn't to upset about it. Now however, you have no idea how filled with righteous anger I am now.

Let's do some awards to help dissipate my rage,

The Award for Making Sure Your Child Hates You and Will Definitely Get Bullied,

Congratulations to Jamie and Jools Oliver on the birth of their healthy new son.
Just one little thing, and I know that it is a little lazy to have a cheeky shot at celebrity baby name, but Buddy Bear? Really? That is what you want to call him? Sure?

The Award for Most Deserved Coming 14th in a Survey of 117 Towns of the Week,

The high street of Dorchester has been dubbed a “clone” after we came 14th in a survey of the country’s blandest high streets.
Obviously this has offended local shop keepers but the survey is quite right. Whilst there are a few independent shops, if you came here you wouldn't be enthralled by the dazzling range of artisan stores, unless you really like mobile phones.

I think that will do for today. Significant Other has written a review of our weekend at the End of the Road festival here. My podcast is here.
Have a lovely week, the Pope goes home today, I think, which will make it nicer for everyone.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Diana Watch


Yesterday at the Dorset County Show my nephew asked “what are those?” pointing at a bull that was walking away from us.
 What am I supposed to say? He is 8 and inquisitive and clearly doesn’t know, so there is only one thing to do, go for it.
 “They are testicles.”
“What are testicles?”  Ah, crap, I thought he’d just be happy with that, “Ummm, they are its sex organs.” The predictable response was indeed forthcoming, “What are sex organs?” In for a penny, in for a pound, “Well it’s where it makes sperm that it puts inside the mother cow to make baby cows.”
“Oh fair enough” he said. Well that was easier than I thought. So if my brother and sister-in-law get some interesting questions in the next few days I would like to say in my defence that I was answering an honest question honestly. And they were massive bollocks that I was hoping very hard that he wouldn’t notice.

I have to admit to being massively angry this week. The press are still giving almost blanket coverage of the Pakistani cricket betting thing whilst most of the papers are trying very hard to ignore proper news such a very fulsome investigation by the New York Times (NYT) into the most guttery of Britain’s gutter press, the News of the World.
 This terrible waste of a tree was caught hacking into the mobile phones of various famous and influential people, most significantly at the time Princes William and Harry, and a private investigator, Glen Mulcaire, and the paper’s royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, were found guilty of these crimes and imprisoned.
 The Editor at the time was Andy Coulson, he resigned saying that he knew nothing of these events, a stance that he continues with in his new job as David Cameron’s press chief.
 However the NYT begs to differ. They say that he did know what was going on and this was confirmed by an ex-NOTW journalist, Sean Hoare, on Radio4’s PM program who said that Mr Coulson sat in on several meetings were the illegal hacking into the mobile phone voice mails of Politicians, Royals and celebrities in general. 2 men with competing versions of events, that tell very different stories, 1 of these men is lying. Personally I have a view on which one it is most likely to be, even though that does mean having to trust a NOTW journalist which is quite a hard thing to do, but I repeat the words of many people, if Mr Coulson feels that Mr Hoare is lying then he can sue him for libel. So far, nothing.
 Questions have also been raised about the Metropolitan Polices handling of the investigation. They only investigated the Royal phone interceptions properly, which resulted in 2 convictions, but seemed reluctant to get involved any more. They also seem to be less than forthcoming when asked for information.
 The most outspoken not particularly well informed person is probably former Deputy Prime Minster John Prescott who has started to make quite a bit of fuss about Scotland Yards avoiding of information giving.
 Mr Prescott did have his phone hacked but is not having his requests for details answered. The Observer claims that Scotland Yard holds two invoices that contain the Mr Prescott’s name. They appear to show that News International, owner of the News of the World, paid Glenn Mulcaire for his help on stories relating to the deputy PM.
 As a result of the Met Police’s general unhelpfulness and these new allegations Mr Prescott is calling for a judicial review into the Police handling of this case.
 As the NYT says “Scotland Yard had chosen to notify only a fraction of the hundreds of people whose messages may have been illegally accessed — effectively shielding News of the World from a barrage of civil lawsuits.”
 A House of Commons committee did look into the case shortly after the initial allegations were made and described the News of the World executives of “deliberate obfuscation.”
 There is a code of silence that exists within most of the British press when it comes to criticism of other newspapers so it is very hard to find this story being covered in anywhere but the Guardian, although the Independent is now running it.
 The BBC were very slow to pick up on it and were it has been covered in newspapers it is being done so in a way that suggests that this is party political muck raking because those who are making a fuss at the moment are left wingers such as Labour MPs and the Guardian.
 Others are saying that this is just anti-Murdoch hatred from rival news organisations. Education Secretary Michael Gove was right on message this morning on Andrew Marr’s program when he said both of those things. Those making the most fuss are Labour people and the NYT is only publishing this story because it is part of a circulation war/anti-Murdoch.
 The thing is, we know that more people than the 2 Princes, no singing now, have been hacked because there have been some private prosecutions against the News of the World but part of their settlements was that they most hold their silence, see also here, and that leads to the question, if it was only the Royal correspondent of the paper doing all of this hacking why did he target Graham Taylor, Alex Ferguson or Max Clifford, they are not very Royal.
 I’m sure if 3 no balls in a cricket match are serious enough for the Police to investigate, surely this must be.

To cheer us all up how about some deeply poor taste advertising from China,

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Diana, the lingerie range.

The other thing that really upset me this week was the resignation of Christopher Myers.
 Mr Myers was, up until this week, a special advisor to Foreign Secretary William Hague but was forced to resign after an internet based whispering campaign about his and Mr Hague’s sexuality.
 The awful blogger Guido Fawkes found out that the two men shared a twin room in a hotel whilst out campaigning and decided, like any bigoted idiot would, that they were definitely gay. He talked around the subject and made excuses along the lines of asking about tax payers’ money but his basic thrust was, the Hagues have no children and William spent at least one night in the same room as another man so he is defiantly gay. Tosser!
 If you are wondering how much of a tosser he is, there is a section on his website called Totty Watch, massive tosser (possibly literally.)
  So upsetting did the Hagues find this rumour mongering that they felt the need to release a statement much not only denied any Gayety but also told the world why they have had no children.
 So might say that this was a little na├»ve and a bit too much information, and I would agree, but it does go to show how upset they were just because it amused some bloke called Paul. Oh and it cost a man his job!

Ok, some awards now,

The Award for Over Looked British Sporting Success of the Week,

This goes to England’s Woman’s Rugby team who are playing in the World Cup finals today against New Zealand.
The game is being played as I type this so I don’t know what the score is but never the less, COME ON ENGLAND!

The Award for Just About The Best Tennis Shot You Will See By Just About The Best Player Ever of the Week,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Roger Federer,


Ooh, before I go I bring you news of more local news think outside the box. Southampton football club have banned anyone but their own photographers from selling pictures of their home games. Local papers are not willing to pay for them so they have been coming up with novel ways of illustrating their coverage of the games. So far we have had one paper using Court Style artist’s impressions and the Bournemouth Echo used pictures from the 80’s when AFC Bournemouth played the Saints. My new favourite however goes to The Swindon Advertiser which has used little subbuteo men to show what had happened.

Here are some pictures from yesterday’s Dorchester Show and thank you to everyone on Twitter who helped me recover them after I accidentally deleted them, it was much appreciated.
 No Diana Watch next week as we will be at The End of the Road Festival. Have a lovely couple of weeks.