Sunday, 5 December 2010

So Bribery is OK Then?

Ah, the children of Dorchester how my respect for you grows. Wednesday night saw the town’s late night Christmas shopping event. Charity stalls and the like lined the street (and one stall from some church or other that claimed to be “Radically Inclusive”, what the hell does that mean? Am I a member against my will?), good cheer abounded, live music played out and it was fun.
 Half way up the high street was a puppet show. A puppet show that was trying to link the virgin birth of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ and….. wait for it…… the X factor. A bit of a stretch, “and Jesus had the X factor” well, that’s a no from me what do you think Cheryl?
 Despite the lure of free mince pies it had basically attracted three under 5’s, some cold looking parents and a dog from the Save the Greyhounds stall just down the road. Dorset County Museum, on the other hand, which had some people dressed up as Sci-Fi characters was rammed.
 Now some may say that this is because it was very cold and the people were just in the museum because it was warm, I on the other hand would like to think it was a proof that Dorchester’s children care far more for Daleks and Darth Vader than they do for the sky fairy.

So we wanted be hosting the World Cup in 2018 but lost out to Russia, bit of a shame but hey, we would only have complained about it endless anyway.
 So what was it that lost us the bid? If you read the Daily Mail, which I really hope none of you do, then it may have been the video presentation to FIFA from the FA that was the problem.
 The video attempted to show how the Premiership is the biggest and most supported league in the world, and this lead, in the words of the Mail to a “very un-English presentation”. By this they seem to mean it has lots of people who aren’t white, well that’s the insinuation from the photographs they have chosen to illustrate the article with.
 The article opens with “Gosh, didn't we look global. So multicultural, so diverse” and then goes on to complain about the lack of clichéd stereotypes in the film and as we know, there is nothing that the Mail likes more than a clichéd stereotype.
 They also complain about the soundtrack of the piece which is Elbow’s One Day Like This. To quote the Mail “Someone remarked that the lead singer sounded as if he was yawning.” Now, they can be as racist as they like (obviously they can’t that is just a joke) but I will not except any form of criticism of the lovely Guy Garvey. You have pushed me too far this time Daily Mail! I am writing a stern letter to your Editor, now where is my favorite green crayon?
 The other theory is that it was the British press that lost us the bid. Note how few people are saying, “maybe the bid wasn’t very good or maybe FIFA wanted to go to Russia because they hadn’t been there before”.
 Anyway back to the villain of the peace, our press. We have a free press in this country and this, when all things are taken into consideration, is a good thing so if the BBC wants to run a program that claims that FIFA officials took bribes then it damn well should and if the Sunday Times wants to claim that too then hurray for them.
 Both organizations were attacked for running/broadcasting their pieces, some going as far as to call them “unpatriotic”. Is exposing corruption unpatriotic or do these people want us to turn a blind eye to illegality?
 If this week has shown us anything it is that the British Establishment (I don’t think I have ever used that phrase before) really doesn’t mind a bit of bribing if it directly effects us. Corruption when it is by Afghans, bad, corruption by FIFA, we’ll turn a blind eye to it, they might give us the World Cup.
 It is an all pervading attitude as well. One of the things to come out of the Wikileaks thing was that British Trade ambassador Prince Andrew doesn’t mind a bit of bribery and is rather resentful of it being investigated. It is reported by Tatiana Gfoeller, Washington's ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, that “he railed at British anti-corruption investigators, who had had the 'idiocy' of almost scuttling the Al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia" and he criticized Guardian journalists - "who poke their noses everywhere" - for investigating the deal. Should we investigate corruption? Apparently not because we are involved. Good to know.

 Some awards now for this chilly week,

The Award for Clearly Being Set Up By Your Daughter of the Week,

Celebrity fainter and not a Doctor Gillian Mckeith claims not to have a television yet a producer Nick Johns claims that she wanted a DVD player so that she could watch the X-Factor because she was missing it but that is just an aside. No, no, the fun part comes in an interview with her daughter. Skylar McKeith-Magaziner was interviewed on This Morning and was asked about whether or not her mother had seen the program before to which she answered "No, we don't actually have a TV, so I've just seen some clips, but she has never actually seen the show." Fair enough I suppose but it might be an idea to do a little research, although Gillian is not renowned for doing research. Do you see what I’ve done there, I’ve insulted her work!
  Anyway later in the interview Skylar says “Um, well, I kind of forgot about the bushtucker trials”, so she had seen clips of the trials but neglected to tell her mother. Oh that is funny.

The Award for Mass Straw Man Creation of the Week,

This week saw the launch of a campaign by some Christians called “Not Ashamed” which claims that Christians are being discriminated against or barred from involvement in public life. It is supported by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey. That is LORD Carey. He is 1 of 26 Bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords simply because they are Christian bishops.
 Anyway, what evidence did they present? Umm, none. Obviously humanist groups thought that this was slightly silly. The British Humanist Association said “The increasingly desperate attempts to work up a victim narrative of “Christianophobia” by these activists have no basis in reality. The assumption behind it is that there is a groundswell of discrimination and persecution of Christians in Britain, but this assumption is false. Time and again the various claims of discrimination against Christians that have been tested in the courts have been assessed by impartial judges and found baseless.”
 “Discrimination against non-Christians is in fact far more widespread than discrimination against Christians, and Christianity is still overly privileged in the UK. In almost one third of our state schools, preference is given to Christian parents in admissions over non-Christians, and to Christian staff over non-Christian staff.”
 Not a surprise that they think that this is silly but what about other Christian groups? Surely they will be on side, well no and stop calling me Shirley. (RIP Leslie Nielson)
 Christian think tank Ekklesia said that there is ‘no evidence’ to back up the ‘Not Ashamed’ campaign.
 Ekklesia Co-Director Jonathan Batley commented, “Christians should not be ashamed of our faith but nor should they be afraid to listen to others and learn from them.  What they should be ashamed of however, is the reputation that they are developing for exaggeration, misleading people and discriminating against others.
‘Since 2005, when we first predicted the growth in claims of 'persecution', we have been closely examining individual cases and what lies behind them. We have found no evidence to back up the claim of the 'Not Ashamed' campaign that Christians as a group are being systematically marginalised in
Britain. We have found consistent evidence however of Christians misleading people and exaggerating what is really going on, as well as treating other Christians, those of other faith and those of no faith in discriminatory ways.”

Well that will be enough seriousness I think.
This week saw the death of Leslie Nielson who I was a bit of a fan of but what clips to show? How about many?

Have a great week. Oh and don’t forget the podcast, you might like it.

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