Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Looting at Ukrainian Crash Site

No words can describe the callous disregard and disgust here, but it also shows how little the Russian  separatists regard the international community, and indeed the friends and relatives of those killed. If the Russian government wants to show solidarity with those relatives and the countries they represented, then he can do no worse than put the appropriate pressure on the pro Russian separatists

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monty Python. The Last Performance

Last night, my brother and I went to the o2 Arena  in Greenwich and saw the last ever Monty Python performance. Their stage show, Monty Python (Mostly) Live, or Five Down, One To Go, showed they had not lost their touch and were still the uber brilliance that they usually have been!
Graham Chapman's contribution was dealt with by using scenes from the TV Series, his Colonel being a case in point! Plus some good extra jokes and ad libs were thrown into familiar sketches. That said, for someone of my generation it felt weird seeing some of those moments I had seen while growing up, being repeated in front of me by (usually) the same actors.
Then there were the Ad Libs, which were brilliant gems in themselves. Fav moments inc John Cleese getting Jones and Gilliam into giggles during the chocolate sketch. Eric Idle vainly trying to keep his false moustache on during the "wink wink" sketch and then tearing it off! John Cleese spotting a wobbling counter during the Dead Parrot sketch and moving it. Michael Palin saying "There's a good joke coming up if you remember it!" When Cleese forgot his lines, after going into a diatribe against Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail, to the delight of the 15,000 strong  audience.  Good also to see the argument sketch (a fav of mine), the filmed excerpt of Prof Brian Cox by the River Cam, disagreeing with the lyrics of the Galaxy Song before Prof Hawking ran him over in his wheelchair, the finale, the insulting goodbye cue cards on screen, and much more.
When they did "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!", one felt one was present at the end of Python and it was a good chance to actually say goodbye and thankyou for forty-five years of anarchic humour. Really up to standard and will be much missed, it was good that they had the closing credits of: Graham Chapman 1941-1989, Monty Python 1969-2014, and then "P**s Off!" Oh what I wouldn't do to be told to "P**s Off!" by Monty Python! ;-)

Saturday, July 05, 2014

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared

Billed as the Swedish answer to Forrest Gump, it looks fascinating and, I for one, would love to see this film, especially given the humour (well it's more like Forrest Gump meets Guy Richie, meets John Le Carre) and the amount of Twentieth Century history that is mentioned!

Friday, July 04, 2014

Andy Coulson Sentenced

At last, the family of Milly Dowler and others have had some justice.But I think the comments of one of the father of one of the 7/7 victims, whose phone was hacked, Graham Foulkes, says a great deal:

"We still can't understand why anyone would think that cheap headlines or a good way to get a story would be to invade somebody's life at the deepest and darkest point of their life,"

And many who have suffered needless intrusion from feral aspects of the print media can agree to that, as can those who have looked on in horror at what has unfolded! But Graham Foulkes's comments say much about Andy Coulson's skewered sense of morality, that, even taking into account he was in a high pressured job, he would do something like this! It also again raises question marks over David Cameron's judgement, that time and again he was warned about Andy Coulson and he ignored those warnings, having initially acted on the advice of George Osborne with regards to Coulson's appointment.
That said it is good that both Cameron and Osborne have apologised, but with more questions being asked, and Coulson facing a second trial, the saga and results are far from over!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Political Leaders and Image: Cameron, Miliband, and Clegg

The film below, courtesy of the JFK Library, is that of a TV Debate in the United States which changed Western political history, although people seem to be only vaguely aware of that fact!
It was in Sept 1960 and was the first TV Presidential debate, in this case between the then Vice President, Richard Nixon, and one of the two US Senators from Massachusetts. Most people who watched this believed that Kennedy won the debate!

That said, many who listened on the radio thought Nixon had won. The rationale behind this is believed to be down to Kennedy's good looks and polished manner, and Nixon being insecure about TV makeup, and there is some consensus behind that!
That is not to say however that Kennedy was not lacking in policy and ideals, history shows that is far from the case, or indeed that Nixon was not shifty, as splendid at some aspects of foreign policy as Nixon was, Watergate is clear marked in history as a shadow of his legacy! It does show the start of a disturbing pattern of image over substance in politics!
If media image as it exists today, existed for over two hundred years, would George Washington have survived due to his having bad false teeth, or William Wilberforce with his slight frame, or William Taft with his build, or Clement Attlee with his reputation of having a dull personality. Granted spin existed then, but how would they survive today!
When we look today at our Party leaders, how much does image play! So David Cameron looks Prime Ministerial according to some people! Does that weigh over his relationships with the Murdoch press and his handling of the economy, the NHS, Education etc..? Nick Clegg comes across to some as agreeable. Does that mean we should ignore the way his Party have rolled over and let damaging Tory policies through Parliament time and again! Ed Miliband, according to some "Just looks weird!" So, does that make him a bad person, and should voters and politicos value that above the way he has led the agenda on Energy policy, stood up for the NHS, and took a moral lead over the Murdoch Press and therefore did not stand up for the wrong people!
Two articles today point out the unfairness of the attacks on Ed Miliband. One from the Telegraph's, Peter Oborne, which (especially considering it is from a Tory), should put Dan Hodges to shame, but then Oborne is an opponent with decency who, while misguided, cares about this country. The other article comes from Andrew Grice of The Independent
The next general election has much to play for, and will decide much on where this  country is going politically, not just for the next five years, but for the next generation. Yes Ed Miliband has made mistakes, he would be among the first to admit them, but he has also made some sterling successes and has much integrity. It would therefore be a shame, if we made the wrong decision next year, by voting on perceived image, over policy and the wellbeing of many in this country!

A Day in the Life of a UKIP MEP!

This deserves a full fisking! So here goes

00:08: Then why stand for the European Parliament?

00:20: But Nigel, you have been an MEP for a long while now, surely you know your basic geography with the building!

00:38: Clearly not a UKIP fan and recognised her immediately!

00:46 I wonder if there is something about people's sense of security when they have to overtly show their patriotism in such a way?

01:14: Childish, and Ode To Joy is also one of the finest pieces of classical music ever composed! If you are that anti, don't attend the European Parliament!

01:25 That would make more sense if we were in a Euro Superstate, we are not!

01:43-01:49: Major cringe factor and highly patronising!

I knew that UKIP MEP's role in the Euopean Parliament was a joke, how sad to see it confirmed on screen, and how embarrassing for those of us who are British!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cameron and Juncker

David Cameron has made a monumentally foolish move this week by his attacks on Juncker
He picked the fight in order to appease the Euro-skeptics in his Party and to perhaps curry favour with some aspects of the media. That was the wrong reason to do such a thing. He then also made a similar mistake as Thatcher did in 1979 over the UK's contributions to the EEC. As Roy Jenkins recalled in later years, her argument wasn't wrong, but her manner put people off! The Right seem to have this singular failure with regard to European politics, by thinking that haranguing gets one somewhere in terms of credit at home. It doesn't, it is self defeating and creates more problems for the future. The PM, by his actions this week in order to cheaply get support, has shown to his European colleagues he lacks judgement. But then, one wonders when one considers the Andy Coulson affair (where he also made a cheap decision for an easy result) if this is a dangerous flaw!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dowler's Sister Calls For Regulation!

Not from a celebrity, but from a member of the public, a member of a family who suffered from a gross intrusion of tabloid privacy. Something those who frequently attack Hacked Off and give the papers they defend as journalism of Woodward and Bernsteen or Owellian standards, should consider when making their points!