Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why do so many people seem so clueless about the concept of monarchy?

Two "big" royal stories this week. Yes the "Willikate" betrothal grabbed the headlines, and while it was rather overhyped, I could recognise that it did indeed qualify as a news story. If we thought that was a lot of fuss over not very much, we only had to wait for Friday and the "Queen Camilla" non-story. In case you missed it (lucky, lucky you) Prince Charles was asked in an interview for US TV, whether his 2nd wife would be known as "Queen Camilla" once his mum finally pops her clogs.

"umm, err, we'll have to wait and see, I suppose that might be" is a rough approximation of his response. I can't be arsed looking it up to get the exact transcript. Now admittedly it was ITV News I was watching (I know, I should know better, but the mrs was watching that Jungle crap and the news followed it), but the sheer over-reaction to this effectively off the cuff response had to be seen to be believed. Alistair Stewart must have had to take his suit directly to the dry cleaners immediately after posting his report, he really was that excited.

Quite apart from this being deeemed such a huge story, worthy of major billing on the main evening news bulletin, there's another problem I have with this. Presumably, if you actually care even a jot what Camilla's title is, was, or will be in the future, you would call yourself a monarchist, or a supporter of the monarchy. Personally, I couldn't give a toss if they call her "Queen", "Princess", "No.1 Doris", or "The Royal Spunk-Receptacle". Clearly, there's a hell of a lot of people in this country who support the monarchy, yet have completely misunderstood what a monarchy actually is. You don't get to have an opinion, you don't get to have a say, you just get "ruled" by whichever chinless wonder happens to emerge first from the loins of the last one (legitimately of course, no bastards allowed!). That individual then gets to do whatever the hell they want, when they want, to who they want.

This is the same bunch of thickos that will opine "that Charles shouldn't be King, we should just skip him and give it straight to that nice young Wills". Someone should explain to them that there is a system where the people get to choose the Head of State, and if that person does something (or someone) they don't like, they can vote them out and choose another one. It's called a Republic.

Sadly if you tried this you would get a vacant, mouth-breathing stare back at you with a soundtrack of gurgling. Possibly followed by a punch to the chops. Personally, I think we should move towards a system of dictatorship. I'm sure I don't need to tell you who should be the dictator. Or what place there would be in my society for anyone who had ever given an opinion on who the next monarch should be or how we should refer to their preferred shag...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The heart of a country - according to Google

The Google maps Japan - China jetski adventure* got me to thinking about where Google takes you if you just ask for directions to a country. Interestingly, directions to both Scotland and Wales end on very remote lakeside roads (Loch Tay and Nant y Moch reservoir respectively), while England is a housing estate in Milton Keynes called Silicon Court.

Ireland is a bog in Co. Roscommon, while Germany actually has an official "Mittelpunkt" in the town of Niederdoria which is where Google will lead you.

*On the off chance you haven't seen this just ask Google maps for directions from Japan to China and scroll down to no.43 in the list.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Boris in shock resignation – urges Cameron to follow

Boris in shock resignation – urges Cameron to follow
from our blue rinse correspondent

London Mayor Boris Johnson today announced he was to step down from the post with immediate effect. In a move that has left commentators, supporters and opponents stunned, Johnson said “How can I possibly be considered to have a political mandate when only 45% of the electorate actually bothered to use their vote? Millions of hard-working Londoners are affected by my capricious policies and this situation really cannot be allowed to continue any longer”.

As some of the audience at his party’s conference in Birmingham started to wake up and realise that someone was speaking to them, Johnson added “And when one considers that the Conservatives and our coalition partners the Liberal Democrats only received 38% of the vote between us, one has to ask whether Dave and Gideon can possibly continue with their nakedly and blatantly far-right programme of cuts?”

Monday, July 12, 2010

Doing something about it

So it's official. I've joined the Labour Party. Since getting involved with various campaigns and issues in my teens I've been mostly apathetic with occasional ranting. At most elections in the last decade I've walked into the polling booth with a shortlist of 2 or 3 - I needed the pressure of actually standing with the sheet of paper and the short fat pencil to force me to make a decision.

It took the trauma of the 2010 election aftermath to clear the fog from my brain and make me realise that there really is only one way to vote in this country. I may not agree with everything Labour did in power and I may not agree with every policy the party has, but the best way to deal with that is to get involved and get my voice heard.

It's often said that if you don't get involved, you shouldn't be entitled to complain about stuff. So get ready for a lot more ranting from me in the future...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Joined up thinking in Edinburgh

Juxtapose 2 recent news stories and you see the complete stupidity going on in planning for the future in Edinburgh. On the one hand there is a strong possibility that despite the fact that Leith has suffered more than any other area during the tramworks, the line will initially end at York Place, and then be extended at some point in the future to Leith and Newhaven. On the other hand, the council grants outline planning permission for thousands of new homes, hotel beds and office desks in Leith. Joined up thinking?

What will happen to the cash paid by the builders of developments close to the tramline if it is not completed? Presumably the council will have to refund that money. Does anyone know how much it is? What proportion is it of the £55m supposedly required to complete the job properly I wonder?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Lost votes in the "Home of Democracy"

It seems there have been a number of places where people have been unable to vote yesterday. There have also been some stories of problems with postal ballot papers not showing up. We've been affected in my household. When my wife realised she would be away on business on polling day she applied for me to act as her proxy. She posted the application 1st class on the Thursday when the deadline was the following Tuesday. We subsequently received notification this week that the application was received too late. I suspect that it was delivered by Royal Mail before the deadline, but that due to the volume of applications close to the deadline, it was not actually processed until afterwards. Unfortunately I have no way to prove this, as the form was not sent by recorded mail, but it would be a rare letter that did not manage to travel barely half the width of the city in 4 postal days.

After several successive elections where we've heard much concerned comment about voter apathy and low turnouts, it does seem rather unfortunate that a 100% effort has not been put in to allow those who wish to cast their vote to do so.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Election night TV

Just checking out what time the different results shows start tonight and what's on to keep me occupied before they do. Discovered to my surprise that ITV still do an Election Night show. Thinking about it I probably shouldn't have been surprised, but still, I was.

It led me to wonder why they bother and then to wonder whether ITV had been wondering the same thing. I decided they probably had been, and this in turn led me to imagine the meeting where they discussed the alternatives.

Of course they would have to do something really big to grab the ratings away from BBC and Sky News. The obvious choice would be an after-the-watershed Corrie special like what Hollyoaks sometimes do. Several Rovers regulars haven't been seen for a while. Locals think they heard some of them mention a last minute break and therefore they could be stranded abroad due to the ash cloud. Meanwhile Fred the Butcher's new recipe sausages are flying out of the shop but for some reason Fred is evasive about his "secret ingredient". In the meantime Ken Barlow has parked his Rover 25 at a popular dogging location on a windswept Lancashire moor. Too late, he realises that the sphincter he's enthusiastically rimming belongs to Gail Tilsley. Cue the saxophone. The 2nd half of the episode will be shown 90 minutes later.

Filling the gap we start with the ITV News which leads on how last year's X-Factor finalists voted in Britain's Got Talent. Those that also voted in the General Election tell us how they cast that vote too.

Next up Alastair Stewart would be narrating yet another of those series based on footage from a camera mounted in a police car. Except that he's taken the hump at not getting to do an election show. So Notts County footballer Lee Hughes is doing it instead. Viewers in Scotland will miss this in favour of the first episode of the eagerly awaited 15-part fly-on-the-wall series following Rangers star Kyle Lafferty and his fiancee Tori as they prepare for their wedding. Shoppers at Braehead are outraged as Primark closes for 2 hours to allow Tori a private shopping experience. That bloke off the Postcode Lottery adverts is doing the voiceover.

Corrie fans now only have 16 minutes of adverts and 18 minutes of When Seagulls Attack to sit through before we return to Wetherfield for the exciting denouement.