the brilliantly leaping gazelle

Not so glib…

I was listening to ‘The World At One’ earlier, at er, one’o’clock, and was stuck by something Chris Leslie said, him being one of the not so magnificent seven former Labour MP’s who have resigned from the Labour party for reasons that seem reasonable as a headline, but upon closer examination get an ‘F’.

He argued rather self-servingly that he was accountable not to the Labour party, on whose manifest he’d campaigned on , resulting in him being re-elected with an an increased majority, but to his constituents, both those who’d voted for him and those who hadn’t. This seemingly noble and principled stance was totally exposed for the hypocrisy it was when he was challenged seconds later on whether he would stand down as an MP, and thus trigger a bye-election.

No he wouldn’t.

Like most people who didn’t vote for Brexit and want a second referendum, he believes in democracy only when it suits him. In fact none of the not so seven have announced the’ll be standing down. Their commitment to democracy is that strong!

It’s not what the county needs with only six weeks to go until we’re due to leave the EU was his limp excuse. It would be a distraction. But weakening the Labour party isn’t, the timing of the announcement itself isn’t itself a distraction, one that only fuel talk about further defections. And MP’s wonder why the public have such a low opinion of them?

A dog on heat has more principles.

 

 

 

 

Glib….

This is an instinctive reaction to the news that seven Labour MP’s have quit the Labour party

Wilst it is the job, nee the duty of Her Majesty’s Opposition to oppose the government, it’s quite rare for members of the opposition to oppose their party to this extent,

 

 

 

Much better than counting sheep…

This week has provided me with two examples of excellent and dire radio. As noted elsewhere in this blog, by radio I mean of course Radio 4 or the World Service. Anyone who suggests there is any other radio station worthy of their ears is clearly using their anus as a mouthpiece.

Let me start with the dire example first.

This occurred on last Sunday’s eddition of ‘The World This Weekend’on Radio 4 presented by Mark Mardell, who is someone I had hitherto held in high regard. However, last Sunday he interviewed Jacob Rees-Mogg concerning the decision of Nissan to produce their new diesel car in Japan instead of at the their plant in Sunderland. Whilst Nissan also announced that there would be no job losses at the Sunderland plant and indeed, that they were fully committed to producing cars at Sunderland, they nevertheless mentioned that the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s exit from the Europe was a factor in their decision-making. Mardell seized upon this point, conducting the interview with the same subtlety as one might plunge a live electrical cable into a bath that you were in. Whatever one’s opinions of Jacob Rees-Mogg – and mine certainly are not complimentary – he acquitted himself more than reasonably by the underhand tactics of calm, reasoned argument coupled with a grasp of detail, all which was in stark contrast to Mardell’s constant hectoring.

However, it was when Jacob Rees-Mogg mentioned the agenda that he thought the BBC had been promoting, namely accentuating the most negative and calamitous aspects of withdrawal from the European Union that Mardell quickly shut him up, only for Jacob Rees-Mogg to reiterate the point. This infuriated me so much that I nearly smashed my computer on which I was streaming the broadcast in anger at Mardell’s obnoxiousness.

Had I done so, I would have missed the rather excellent episode of ‘The Real Story’ that was broadcast on the World Service last night between 4am and 5am. Why was I listening to the radio at such a bizarre hour? You might well ask! It had been suggested to me that a way for me to get back to sleep after waking in the night, was to turn the radio onto sleep mode. No pun intended, but unfortunately, whenever I had tried this tactic something arouses my attention and puts any idea of sleep to bed. That one was intended!

I  woke up at 3am and there were a few programmes on the World Service that were interesting but not captivating.

That all changed with ‘The Real Story’, which examined the consequences of the Iranian Revolution and the grip on power exercised by the clerics. It presented challenging and conflicting viewpoints, all expressed with clarity and wonderfully moderated by Rithula Shah, from Radio $’s ‘The World Tonight’ She was everything Mardlell wasn’t, incisive and inclusive, affording all the participants the time to express opinions that are rarely heard on Radio 4. One of them being the assertion that whilst the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are dictatorships, none of them incurs the same level of hostility from the United States that Iran does. It was ambitious in its scope and it delivered. When it was over it was 5am, The World Service turned back into Radio 4 and the surreal poetry of ‘The Shipping Forecast

F.F.S!

If indeed, there is a special place in hell for those prominent Brexiteers who were unencumbered by a plan, as Donald Tusk today speculated, then would there also be special place in hell for those Remoaners, who bleat on about how their not bad losers but…

Brexit and the the politics of ‘if’.

Another challenge, this time to write about Brexit.

Here goes!

Someone said something today in response to something else someone said yesterday that they didn’t agree with.This in turn was immediately condemned by someone else, who said something they hoped would clarify things. It didn’t. Helpfully, someone else clarified that clarification, suggesting that if someone else did something different and that if that something led to something then someone else would be something. This would cause someone else to modify something but only if someone else agreed to it but if they didn’t, then some people would be happy whilst some other people would be upset, Both groups of people would make their feelings known to some other people who would try and make sure as many people as possible heard or read whatever it was that making one group happy but the other group less so. They would then try to simplify things, by making everything seem complicated. The people who thought the whole thing was a good idea along would interpret this explanation as a vindication of their position, whereas those who thought it a bad idea in the first place would interpret as yet another dire warning.

Then by some good fortune, the next day someone would say something which would start the whole process again. Keep on repeating and repeating and repeating…

Here’s a ‘photo I took yesterday of one of my favourite tree’s. Well, it’s one of my favourite tree’s at the moment, a few years ago, and no doubt in a few years hence, it was or will be different.

dp1

But there’s a Brexit connection. As indeed, it seems, there is with everything. This tree doesn’t care about Bexit. It won’t refuse to shed its leaves to reveal its breathtaking majesty because of the Northern Ireland backstop. Neither will it refuse to bloom until the nature of our customs relationship has been sorted ou.

It might, however, risk being cut down as cash strapped councils sell of land to property developers, in order to minimise the impact of the cut to the money given it by central government. Although given the park is in Dulwich, probably not.

Mind you, having thought about it, Dulwich is an expensive part of London, so a cash strapped council…

How happy I am with the world!

I was challenged earlier to write a blog on the subject of how happy I am the world.

Here it is!

 

Children are the future?

W.C. Fields famously said, “I like children, but I couldn’t eat a whole one.” But then he hadn’t met any explorers with tales of cannibals who eat human flesh. Had he done so they could’ve told him that human flesh when cooked tastes rather like chicken. Meaning that his misanthropic aphorism could’ve been fleshed out by adding “But if I were to add a nice sauce to them, I could easily manage one or two, depending on the size of them that is.”

I’m not suggesting that you should eat children to your diet, well not in the foreseeable future anyway. But given the chronic overpopulation of the world coupled with calls to reduce the growing agricultural pressures presented by a reliance on eating meat, our future may not be as foreseeable as we might think. Eating children presents us with a rather neat and elegant solution to this problem. Of course there will be moral and ethical issues to be worked through, but why is it that we quite happily eat some animals and not others?

These bred to be fed babies wouldn’t be normal human births, I’m not a monster, I’m not suggesting that babies be whisked out of the delivery room to be cooked whilst their mothers do whatever mothers would do if confronted with that situation. No, to do that would require a brutally extreme society based on ‘The Handmaids Tale’. Instead we could grow them in labs, we are nearly there with the science, so therefore wouldn’t eating babies be ecologically friendly, indeed the key to the survival of humankind?

The sentiments expressed above are in no way whatsoever related to what is happening at my house later this afternoon and only a demented wrongcock of the first order would suggest such a thing. Because this afternoon my house is going to undergo a visitation of vermin or, as other people might put it, hosting a children’s birthday party. But then I am a demented wrongcock, and never having much cared for other children – even when I was one – have selfishly decided to absent myself from the proceedings. I mean I adore the child who’s birthday it is but as I said to her a while ago “I’ve only got so much like in me so do you want me to share all of my like with other children and you or do you want to have it all to yourself?” No prizes for guessing what the answer was.

Instead I’m going off this afternoon to see a film, something that feels somewhat illicit, something naughty, because there are some things one never did, and going to a cinema in the afternoon was one of those things. This feeling of impropriety could’ve been compounded by the fact that cinema chain is in the middle of a dispute with its workers over pay and union recognition. This dispute has been going on for so long that I haven’t seen films there for nearly two years. I’ve visited other cinema’s but the quality of their disabled access is inversely proportionate to their distance from my house.

My needs are substantial and this afternoon I’ll have a substantial need to be out of this house and watching ‘The Favourite’ and being ever so solicitous of my own needs, that is precisely what I’ll be doing.

Unless they decide upon entertainment like this…

It’s always someone else’s fault…

I was going to post about another topic entirely, but I’ve just seen something in ‘The Guardian’ which has both angered me no end and is symptomatic of a growing trend amongst people to increasingly lay the blame for whatever misfortune befalls them at someone else’s door.

The article is on it’s front page, and is headlined;

Cycling UK angered by Highway Code’s ‘victim blaming’ helmet advice

Click-bait if ever I read it, with a sub-heading;

Group says driver education and safer roads matter more than protective clothing

Presumably the headline writers at ‘The Guardian’ know it’s bitterly cold where I am and knew I needed warming up and what better way to do that than to make my blood boil!

It continued,

Cycling campaigners have reacted angrily to a tweet from the Highway Code that said cyclists should wear helmets and protective clothing, saying the advice fuelled a culture of “victim blaming”.

The official Twitter account’s post encouraging people to wear “appropriate clothes for cycling” was met with negative responses from those who believe the suggestion to be ineffective. The code is published by the Department for Transport.

A spokesperson for Cycling UK said the recommendation led to a culture of “victim blaming” of cyclists and allowed careless drivers to evade responsibility.

“Helmets are only really effective in low-impact collisions, we need better infrastructure for cyclists and education for drivers,” they said.

“If you look at places like the Netherlands and Denmark, where there are more cyclists, it’s not helmets that contribute to low death rates for cyclists but roadscapes and townscapes that are designed to keep people safe.”

The article also thoughtfully included a video expelling why cycle helmets are not that good, together with some accidents waiting to happen, sharing ill-informed condemnation that contributed nothing of any relevance whatsoever.

Long before my brain injury, I had to cycle from East Barnet to Waterloo at least four times a week both in the morning rush hour – not great but at least it was downhill – and the return – at night, after a day at work and uphill – so I know a bit about cycling in London. The main thing I know is that I wouldn’t do it now. Not only because there are more cars, buses and lorries on the roads than before, not only because car drivers are driving faster and more aggressive than before. Not only because their is a bewildering array of traffic calming measures which have the opposite effect, not only because some of these come into force with little explanation – the new roundabout system at Elephant and Castle being an example. One of the reasons I wouldn’t cycle in London again – aside from me not being able to ride a bike anymore, that is – is cyclists themselves and their seemingly delusional belief that other road users have a kind of osmosis, one that informs them of a cyclists intentions without any need for the cyclist to indicate this.

What other possible explanation could there be that explains why cyclists perform manoeuvres without first checking it’s safe to do so? As a passenger in a car I’ve been constantly amazed at their foolhardy antics, swerving in and out between cars, riding two or three abreast but worst of all, sailing through red traffic lights. Why is it that cyclists expect every other road user to obey the Highway Code when they themselves don’t? And what is it with cyclists and epileptic fit inducing lights?  You know the ones like portable strobe machines? Or lights that are so small as to be as much use a cement football? And also to be clad in dark clothing, with no lights, on a dark night? Yes, I grant you, a helmet won’t do you much good if you’re hit by a car then, but then whose fault is that?

I’m not saying that other road users aren’t responsible for the lions share of culpability of accidents to cyclists but it’s never their fault! It’s always someone else’s fault!  Isn’t it ironic that so many of them have crash-cams now, to record the transgressions of others?

A misanthrope’s New Year warning…

One of the things I hate about New Years Eve celebrations is fireworks with music. I mean I hate fireworks to music at any time of the year but on New Years Eve it just feels more…wrong. For me it just reduces to whole thing somehow because the noise of the explosions should be enough. I know that not everyone feels the same way about this as I do, but that’s okay, I’ll allow them to be wrong.

Because they are.

And whilst I’m on the subject of New Years Eve fireworks, or indeed any celebration with fireworks another thing that annoys me is the excited squeals of delight from children as the fireworks explode. I don’t want to hear them or their irritating progenitors, as at least children have an excuse to be irritating but why must they do it within my hearing.

Because they do.

Another thing I find annoying about the New Years Eve celebrations televised on the BBC, is not that they have people herded like cattle into pens on the banks of the Thames, people who’ve paid for the questionable privilege of being treated in a way that would make people smugglers envious. It’s not that they always find some useless carbon unit to propose to some equally pointless oxygen guzzler, live on television for the entertainment of those watching. Every-time they say ‘Yes’, but just once I’d like them to say ‘No’

Of course I’d want them to say ‘Yes’ but later, in a private moment, away from the cameras, not as some piece of tawdry entertainment. I’m not wholly without feelings.

But  the thing I find the most annoying about New Years Eve is the false hope it offers, that simply by wanting the New Year to be better than the previous one, it will be. It won’t be, not this year, not least for the poor, and not so poor, in the UK. The wealthy will be fine, as they always are, protected by their wealth from the worst ravages of Brexit. All this guff about a hard or soft Brexit, about whether a ‘no deal’ is better than a ‘bad deal’, makes me think of a rapist being thought of as considerate because he wears a condom. It’s still an act of unspeakable violence with unknowable consequences for years to come.

The misanthrope’s advent calendar – day 25

The thing that I hate most about christmas – what I really, really hate about christmas – is that I hate chistmas. Whilst this might seem somewhat hypocritical, given I posted for all of this month about the things that I hate about christmas, nonetheless the question I have to ask myself is why do I hate it?

Christmas is meant to be a joyous time of celebration, good cheer and good fellowship, of gaiety and laughter, surrounded by family and friends, right?

Whats to hate about that?

I mean yes, I’m a misanthrope but where did that come from? I’m certainly not going to engage in some cod-analysis of my childhood to get answers; as such an exercise might be nothing more than a post event rationalization that provides a comfortable narrative.

Suffice to say that my childhood was certainly the root of it all, and telling a young girl a white lie about Santa Clause existing, is proof that at christmas miracles sometimes do happen.