Politics and Philosophy

Keep calm, and carry on

It was something of a foregone conclusion as to what subject my post was going to be dealing with this week. In the run up to the tenth anniversary of the September 11th 2001 attacks on the USA, internet forums and social media sites are positively alive with the rising tensions, and flaring emotions, of lively, and often heated, discussion. Everyone has an opinion and, given the nature of these events, there was no way I could let this day pass without expressing mine. I wouldn’t, in my darkest, most troubling dreams, ever imagine telling America that it should “get over” the events of 9/11, as some heartless bastards out there have done – 3,000 people were murdered that day, and it would be grossly inappropriate to suggest that everyone should simply act like they’d been dumped by a girlfriend. That said, I do, however, believe firmly that America needs to get past 9/11. It needs, at least for its own sake, to significantly recalibrate its sense of proportion. Read more “Keep calm, and carry on”

When a plan comes together

So what have you been up to this weekend? A spot of gardening? Went clubbing? Visiting relatives, perhaps? If you’re anything like me you’ve probably tried to do as little as possible, maybe even going so far as to achieving absolutely nothing at all. Well, if that’s the case, and you happened to be in Houston, Texas yesterday, there was something that might well have appealed to you (assuming, of course, that you’re up for achieving fuck all in a really big and pointless way). Around 30,000 people gathered at Reliant Stadium for a massive prayer rally, the sole purpose of which seems to be to beg, en masse, their invisible sky-gnome to wave his cosmic beard and magic away the myriad problems that the state, and indeed the nation, are unable to solve by themselves. Or, to put it less euphemistically, the problems that they’re too lazy, cowardly, or just too plain fucking stupid, to do anything about. Read more “When a plan comes together”

Dear Mr. Murdoch

For the past few days, the news here in our rain-soaked island paradise has been dominated by one, particularly large, story. It’s not a new story, in fact it’s been around for a little while, but this week it managed to achieve a certain measure of grotesque commonality with the funeral-bound corpse of King Henry VIII. I’m thinking specifically of how, as we were all basking happily in yet another warm and sunny day, possibly commenting to one another about what a lovely day it was, it unpredictably, and unceremoniously, exploded, leaving everyone feeling very, very sick. It’s a story that we can’t even refer to as “the elephant in the room” any more because it’s now “the enormous pile of elephant shit in the room” (the elephant having fled the scene in order to calm down, re-group, and work out who best to blame for the massive, festering pile of crap it left behind). Read more “Dear Mr. Murdoch”

Sarah Palin’s Vagina

Recently, the American right-wing (and by that I mostly mean Fox News) went and got its knickers in a massive twist over comments made by an aide to Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister. The comments related specifically to a request made by Sarah Palin for a meeting with Thatcher, whom Palin had previously cited as a role-model, during the former Alaskan governor’s forthcoming visit to the UK. The response itself, an emphatic “no”, was not the problem; it was more that the aide called Palin “bat-shit insane” that so enraged the Republitards (yes, I know, the aide actually said she was “nuts”, but he was just being polite). What baffles me most is not the reaction to any of this (it’s pretty par for the course, really), but the fact that no-one ever mentions how the only reason Sarah Palin is where she is today, the only reason any of us have ever even heard of her, is because of her vagina. Read more “Sarah Palin’s Vagina”

A Manifesto In A-Minor

About two weeks ago I found myself on the receiving end of a minor ticking off from my mum over having used the c-word in a Facebook status update. Ignoring the obvious fact that I’m 37 years old and, if I want to swear, then I bollocking well arsing will, I think I acquitted myself fairly well. I entirely agreed that it is a deeply offensive word to many people (to some, the most offensive) but, ultimately, it is still just a word and, as such, its ability to cause harm or offence rests entirely with how, and by whom, it is used … rather like the bar of soap my mum threatened to wash my mouth out with – it’s just a tool, and it can be used for good or evil. Read more “A Manifesto In A-Minor”

Vote Linda Gilroy: Spineless and Clueless

[The following is re-posted here from my old, now defunct, MySpace blog, and is primarily for the benefit of a local, Labour-supporting Twitter follower that I had for a few short hours before I criticised her local candidate of choice. As I said at the time, I’m not saying these things to be mean, believe me! I merely wanted to show how my experience of meeting Mrs Gilroy was very different from yours!]

When the Digital Economy Bill became an Act last week (after the briefest of discussions, and with a large majority of MPs not even turning up to vote), I felt compelled to email my MP, Linda Gilroy (Lab – Plymouth Sutton & Devonport) to make known my disgust that she had voted for such a draconian, undemocratic, and flawed piece of legislation. Read more “Vote Linda Gilroy: Spineless and Clueless”