the brilliantly leaping gazelle

Puerile I know..

But the BBC is reporting this morning that:

Like she needed to, judging by the things he’s said and done!

What does this post say about me?

The news yesterday that Boris Jonson likes to make model trains and buses, and paints on to them happy, smiling passengers, made me think of a dark episode in human history when vans were similarly adorned with happy, smiling passengers to reassure those herded into them.

My mind made an instantaneous connection between them, so what does that say about me?

A real contest!

The problem in choosing the lesser of two evils is that either way, one chooses evil and thinking about this in relation to the Tory party leadership contest, the eventual winner will still be a Tory. It’s like a political ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, wherein you think that if befriend your kidnapper they’ll be nice to you. And conveniently overlook the fact that if the ransom isn’t paid, sooner or later their going to kill you.

And writing of death puts me in mind of a radically new way not only to run the Tory leadership contest, but also to increase public interest. Have a televised, fight to the death format. No weapons, no time limit and no rules. Then we’d see how much people wanted it. Just all the hopefuls, in an arena, until only one remained.

I’d watch that. They all say how much they want a real leadership contest, not a coronation don’t they?

Although if we applied it to the Labour Party, well, Jeremy Corbyn wouldn’t be odds on favourite. Now Tom Watson, he looks quite handy, although it’s a pity Dan Jarvis is no longer a Labour MP, seeing as he’s now Mayor of Sheffield. He was a Major in the Paratroop Regiment and he’s only 46!

We’re all a bit Saint Augustine

Remember those halcyon days a couple of months ago when parliament was on its Easter recess?  And because there was a void in the news agenda that needed to be filled, the media descended upon climate change to fill that gap. So that’s what climate change became; newsfill, this until normal service could be resumed and the media could instead focus on something less urgent, something less complex to understand, less impactful on every single aspect of life, returned. Something that could be endlessly discussed, with no opinion being as wrong as anyone else’s, and be constantly changing.
Something known, something almost reassuringly unpredictable.
Whilst the media presumes we are all transfixed by the current political turmoil and are discussing the merits or otherwise of various candidates for the conservative party leadership and what this will mean for the country’s relationship with Europe and itself, I can’t be alone in thinking that this isn’t the most pressing problem facing us today. That unless effective action is taken, and taken very soon, who becomes the next Prime Minister will be the political equivalent of re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Catastrophic climate change is presents us with such an overwhelmingly far more complicated set of interrelated circumstances, – and largely circumstances of our own making – perhaps it is no surprise that we find it far easier, more comforting to speculate on what is happening in terms of our narrow parochial interests.  Because catastrophic climate change requires a degree of insight and forward thinking that doesn’t come easily to most people. By that I mean that most people can only contemplate something thirty or sixty years into the future, anything beyond that is more existential.  So it was with no surprise that the news that Extinction Rebellion are planning drone protests today to disrupt the workings of Heathrow airport was greeted with wholly predictable fulminations by those who both want the changes needed to halt catastrophic climate change, but want others to make the change. So airline flights are bad because aviation fuel is dispersed high in the atmosphere and thus causes more damage, but cheap flights, well we want those!
It reminds me of Saint Augustine’s plea “Please God, make me good, but not just yet”

I’m a bit Eddie Izzard now

One of the great things about technology is that when it works it works seamlessly, despite one not knowing how it works or the or beginning to complex instructions that happen instantaneously needed to enable it to work.  This means that user is saved masses amounts of time by the simplification of the user interface.  When it works it’s kind of like a swan, inasmuch as what you see is elegant and effortless movement through water, what you don’t see are its furious underwater exertions to make it so.
When it doesn’t you end up a bit like Eddie Izzard.
I am Eddie Izzard now.  Because I am unable to log into wordpress using my own computer.  Why this is the case I’ve no idea and equally I’ve no idea as to how to rectify it.  This blog entry has been typed on my own computer, then sent to my own email address, which I can then access on her computer and then I’ve copied and pasted it into the blog post you are now reading.  No doubt when you are reading these words I’ll be engaged in a live chat with what one of what wordpress ambitiously call their ‘happiness engineers’ !
One thinks of Sheldon Cooper’s scornful dismissal of people who work in the Apple Store as being ‘geniuses’!

The immoral minority.

In common with anyone with an I.Q larger than the radius of their kneecap, I was not in the least bit shocked by Michael Gove’s admission that, as reported in ‘The Guardian’

“I took drugs on several occasions at social events more than 20 years ago,” he told the Daily Mail. “At the time I was a young journalist. It was a mistake. I look back and I think, I wish I hadn’t done that.”

But it was his assertion that he did it ‘on several occasions at social events’ being both so wonderfully non-specific whilst being candidly honest, which causes me to consider if he has a non-exclusive relationship with the truth. It is loose enough to allow for other revelations to emerge. How many is ‘several’ exactly? And how social were these ‘social events’?

And this only further confirmed my opinion of him as a self-serving opportunist who’ll say anything in his quest for power, when the BBC ran a story under the headline

Michael Gove: Cocaine ‘mistake’ a ‘deep regret’

Just once, wouldn’t it make a refreshingly honest break from all this faux-regret if someone said “ Yeah I took drugs and it was great, my only regret looking back is that I didn’t do more. God I miss those times.”

Because do you honestly think that the same journalists and cathode ray moralists who’ll condemn him haven’t – or are – themselves guilty of the same behaviour he is? Dominic Raab, another Tory leadership contender, realized this contradiction when he very subtly appeared to support him but slipped the knife in anyway. As ‘The Guardian’ reported,

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, Gove’s leadership rival, Dominic Raab said he did not believe the admission would have an impact on Gove’s chances in the leadership race. He said: “I certainly don’t see it barring him from this race in any way. I rather admire his honesty.”

Raab, who has previously admitted taking cannabis as a student, added: “It was a long time ago and pretty few and far between. I have never taken cocaine or any class-A drugs.”

He said class-A drugs were “a bit different” but added: “I’m not going to cast any further aspersions on Michael or anyone else who is just honest about being human and doing the things that some young people do – not everyone, obviously – and holding their hand up and saying: ‘I got that wrong, move on.’”

As someone so pithily observed about Dominic Raab, ‘he looks like he should be a sympathetic hospital consultant, as opposed to what he is.’ A Conservative leadership candidate.

J.F.K. and ‘The Peterborough Effect.’

Many years ago now, in what today seems like a hopelessly optimistic endeavour, someone had to ambitious idea of promoting Peterborough as a thrusting and dynamic place to relocate one’s business. Under the tagline of ‘The Peterborough Effect’, the advert starred Roy Kinnear as a Roman Centurion, to emphasize the town’s long history, by the somewhat rash decision to have all the dialogue in Latin!

Had everyone involved been paid in Roman money, then fine. But I’m thinking they weren’t. Probably they trouser large amounts of cash that could be spent on buying the kinds of stylish clothes and equally stylish garden furniture featured in the advert.

But I digress. For earlier this morning we saw another ‘Peterborough Effect’ only this time it wasn’t so much an advert on what the town could do, it was more on what the town couldn’t do. Bother to vote. I mean a 48% turnout?

And it’s not as if voting here is in any way an onerous activity. It’s made as easy as it possibly could be for people. I mean they might have go to a church hall or school, be greeted by a bored election official who’ll hand them a ballot paper and direct them to a flimsy booth to cast their vote. Voters abroad who’ve long been denied democratic free and fair multi-party elections that don’t involve a long journey to vote, and a threat of violence if they do, can only sympathise.

I find it staggeringly pathetic of people not to vote. It was only comparatively recently that women got the vote, although this gave rise to the widespread belief that women would vote the way men in their life wanted them too. Some men still think they can do that. Because who one votes for is nowhere near as important as taking an active role in the democratic process, because if one doesn’t vote, not only is your vote not cast, but worse, the that the vote of the people who do bother is worth more, because it’s counted and yours is not.

48% turnout indicates a worrying lack of political engagement at precisely the time when political engagement is needed more than ever. People cannot claim that the political process is in crisis, when they themselves are fuelling it! I’m reminded of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address as President and his challenge to every American to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,”

Hollow emptiness on the HollowayRoad.

I was to going to write a post all about ’ The Bandwagon Effect’ and how, after the success of the Brexit Party at the recent European Elections, this phenomena might be witnessed in the Peterborough by-election results. According to wikipedia,

The bandwagon effect is a phenomenon whereby the rate of uptake of beliefs, ideas, fads and trends increases the more that they have already been adopted by others. In other words, the bandwagon effect is characterized by the probability of individual adoption increasing with respect to the proportion who have already done so. As more people come to believe in something, others also “hop on the bandwagon” regardless of the underlying evidence.

The bandwagon effect occurs in voting: some people vote for those candidates or parties who are likely to succeed (or are proclaimed as such by the media), hoping to be on the “winner’s side” in the end.

I was going to write about that. However, after a counseling session, my partner suggested we find a café and stop off for something to eat. It being a great, and a visit to a café indicated it was only going to get better. However, my mood was immediately plunged into thoughts of the utter pointlessness of continued human existence by a bookshop on the Holloway Road that boasted ‘we buy any porn’.

Given my thoughts about the overwhelming benefits of human extinction for the planet, this merely reinforced that view. It may not be popular, some people might find it to be this or it may be that, but to me it is undeniably a fact.

It just is.


Laugh? I nearly shat!

Well that took no one by surprise, did it?

The news that, as ‘The Guardian’ had it,

Six of Change UK’s 11 MPs, including its spokesman Chuka Umunna, and interim leader Heidi Allen, have abandoned the fledgling party after its dire performance at the European elections.

Dire? That’s putting it mildly! For a party that received massive media coverage at its inception, and made pompously grandiose claims about how its formation heralded a new kind of politics and promised to shout its unequvoacal support for the EU, to receive a 3.3% share of the vote at the EU Elections is damn well unequivocal.

No wonder six of them are off, their dreams of sunlit uplands crushed by an uncaring electorate…hang on!

That’s right,….it wasn’t their fault! Oh no, they weren’t duplicitous, self-serving lickspittles and political chancers who’d turned their backs on their parties. It was the publics fault! Yes they’re the guilty ones! Blame them! We gave them a choice, but they chose the wrong choice! The public might think they knew what they were voting for, but we know better. We always know what’s best for them, even if they don’t always know it themselves. That’s why we’re joining the Literal Hypocrites, because we firmly believe in the right of voters to change their mind, based on what they know now, at a national level, it’s at a constituency level where we draw the line. We believe in demoracy, of course we do, everyone does, just not when it doesn’t suit us.

Well that’s a relief, glad we sorted ir out and least said soonest mended, eh? Just admit you were wrong and we’ll say no more about it. There, we’ll make it all better, we’ll pretend like it never happened, shall we? Leave it to us. Or not Leave!

Are you having a bubble?

Hang on! You mean to say that the failure or inability of the British government to offer a financial rescue package to British Steel is somehow linked to the European election results? You might have to explain that one to me, before I even begin to considider your preposterous proposition that the EU themselves might be in some way culpable for the 2016 EU referendum result.

This is how. As ‘The Guardian’ noted,

The government clings to its do-nothing approach, justifying its rejection of financial support, a bailout or public ownership of British Steel because these options would be illegal under the EU state-aid laws.

Yet the UK government conjured up billions of pounds to bail out banks through loans, guarantees and an extensive quantitative-easing programme. It brought the East Coast rail service and other lines back into public ownership. None of this was opposed by the EU.

If large parts of this country feel that the EU isn’t helping them, then why, they might reasonably ask, should they help it? I mean, it’s all well and good for the EU to enhance workers rights but that only matters if you have a job to work in. Equally, it’s great that we can live and work abroad, but if your poor and feel dispossessed, then are you going to try and find work abroad when you can’t find it here?  And the flip of that only compounds the problem. An poor and disposed person in Europe might be willing to work for a shockingly low hourly rate, and live in appallingly crowded conditions, because they might reason they’re better off here than there.

And an inevitable consequence of this is the strain it places on health, housing and education of communities whose councils are already suffering 40% funding cut. Another problem of free movement is that it reduces the responsibility of employers to train their employee’s. Why would they, when they can simply get a EU national to do the job and save themselves time and money?

And therein lays the problem why so many in Europe are disillusioned with the EU. The problem is the EU itself, and the perception that it only benefits the already well off, and if the EU isn’t aggressively challenging that perception, well whose fault is that?