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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Blog 89 Fabricant’s Taliban tendency!


I mean

W H A T?!?!?!?!?!

Here I am in that parallel universe again. In my world, abuse and encouraging abuse is not good. But in this other place – the real world - the media, the PM and some others seem to think Fabricant’s own special brand of misogyny and public encouragement of violence is ok. Shouldn't this behaviour be hideously unacceptable – from anyone - let alone a publicly funded, supposedly well-educated, high profile figure? Aren't we condemning this sort of thing in other parts of the world?

A few weeks ago Cameron was on the trendy bandwagon ‘solving’ the Nigerian school girl kidnapping by tweeting a selfie (in the wake of people with more moral credibility doing the same). In that situation Neanderthal behaviour towards educated black females was unacceptable.

In response to Fabricant’s Taliban-esqu reaction to Yasmin Alibhai Brown we are told that really it’s a non-story. After all Fabricant is just a bit of a character.What does that mean? Is a Fabricant in fact a Bladerunner type Replicant only weirder looking and less use?

Also – there was that sort of apology.

When my children were little I explained to them that an apology with a ‘but’ doesn’t really count. Either apologise or don’t and take the consequences.

Fabricant’s ‘but’ was so hot on the heels of his half-hearted non-apology as to render it void. Considering how Theresa May was carpeted for a too brief apology I wait without much hope to see if anyone is going to take Fabricant to task for his disgusting tweet followed by transparent lack of sincerity.

Then there was the (also belated) claim that it was a joke. P – leeeease. I don’t claim to be an expert but in the comedy clubs I’ve played and the festivals and comedy competitions I've had a little success in, the requirement for a joke is usually that it is funny on some level.

Are we really trouncing the Taliban’s attitude to women and education while accepting that a Tory MP can threaten violence to an intelligent outspoken Asian woman in this country because she irritates him?

Yes that is a rhetorical question because I know we are. In the bizarre circus of the real, this kind of double think goes on all the time.

I recall a few months back a young nobody tried to encourage others via facebook to join in riots. No one responded because he was a nobody. However, he was pursued by the police – as Fabricant has not been – and received a custodial sentence - as Fabricant wont. Fabricant’s gross comment appears to have added to the abuse received by Ms Brown but nothing AT ALL it seems, is going to happen to him as a consequence.

In my parallel universe where people are supposed to be subject to the same laws, moral standards and sanctions, this makes no sense.

Fabricant formed the urge to punch an intelligent educated black woman just the way the Taliban get the urge to shoot them. Then he was moronic enough to tweet his vileness, which just adds to the ongoing normalisation of misogyny.

I’m fairly sure that in the vicinity of this asinine Tory arsehole I might get the urge to kick him but I wouldn't advertise the fact! That would be silly.

This week’s recommended blog from the archives – by way of light relief and contrast;
Blog 3 Depressed Poet’s society.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Blog 88 Cut off their Eds...

And do it now.

I don’t like to repeat myself BUT... here we are again. Ed proves once more that the Sun most definitely does not shine out of his derriere.

For heaven’s sake. When are the labour party going to get it?  Most people got it about a week after Ed was elected leader.

Those who cling on to the fantasy that it’s just an image problem, are living in lala land. Ed has that absolute knack for always getting it wrong. It’s ingrained. And this is at the point where not many people are paying attention to him. Getting the new Axelrod was a waste of time, money and effort. True the wheels are off but the engine is also knackered.

The only answer is OFF with their Eds.

That has been the answer to the unasked question for many months. A new spray job may fit in this world of superficiality and gloss but it won’t make the carburettor run. We are suffering from a whole generation of politicians who think policy doesn’t matter as much as PR.

The electorate don’t ‘get’ Ed because he doesn't ‘get’ them.

The fiasco of lil ol’ Ed posing with the Sun newspaper (part of Axelrod’s attempt to ‘people-ise’ ED?) just reeks of not getting it on a cosmic level. Put it in the sack along with eating bacon butties in public, going into Greggs or posing with a pint to try and look normal. Thus emphasising his inability to do just that.
But posing with the Sun newspaper?

Re the Brazil footy stunt - put to one side that I have no interest in football. Disregard the fact that I actually think it’s an abomination to have spent sick amounts of money so that rich boys can have a kick around in a poor country and even richer boys can make money on the air play and poor people can lose even more money on-line gambling etc etc etc. Ignore all that and you still have a PR disaster. The Sun is a rag. The Sun is a rag with a reading age of (about) 10 which still thinks it’s ok to have boobs on page 3.

There is little point re-writing the many ways that Ed is un-electable – instead I refer you to blog 50 - Ed Milliband – political semolina.

I think the folk of Liverpool have shown admirable staying power in maintaining their moral disdain for a tat tabloid that libeled the dead of Hillsborough for the sake of attention grabbing headlines.

But then there is side-kick Ed, fumbling and thugging his way through parliamentary question time with as much finesse as a drunken rhino.

I don’t want to care. It is many years since I parted company with the Labour party (see blog 39 - What is the point of Newcastle City Council). Blair’s presidential style repulsed me though it was the illegal invasion that was the final straw – and boy oh BOY the size of those chickens that are coming home to roost!

But I digress.

Watching the party’s abysmal efforts is more painful than it should be. I can’t help it, I just don’t want them to be that crap.

When are the upper echelons of the Labour machine going to realise that they have to win this election. Even with the coalition in the state it’s in they just can’t sit back and hope the other side will lose. Because that is what is happening. And that is why even those who realise that Ed is an all-time liability don’t want to rock the boat, upset the apple cart, create waves. Well listen up – the boat is leaking and listing, the apples are rotten and there is a tsunami of shite coming labour’s way if it doesn’t wake up and smell the coffee (…even for me I think that is complete OD on the analogies).

It is time (as previously stated on this blog) for Harriet Harmon to shake off the cobwebs, step forward and tell the boys to go play with themselves while she sorts things out.Yes she was associated with Blair – all-time toxic monster BUT when Ed did the only worthwhile thing he has done since he came to prominence – i.e. apologise for the illegal Iraq invasion – she went along with it – to the public chagrin of the elder Miliband. Some credit there.

What a combo. Frauline Angela, Madame President Hilary and Mrs PM Harriet.

The time is now. Once we hit September in about 10 weeks and there is nowt on BUT the 2015 election, it will be too late.

More importantly, I will make a prediction (I would bet but us Methodists don’t) - if the Labour party do not rock the boat, make waves, upset the apple cart, turn over a new leaf, shake a leg, take the bull by the horns, grasp the nettle, use a new broom, ring the changes yada yada yada - they will not convince a substance hungry electorate they are fit for office.

This week’s recommended blog from the archives is

Blog 21 Save the Emperor’s Genitals...

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Blog 87 My Richard Branson date. (Plus – Vodophone are stalking me!)

Today – Tuesday 10th June - yikes!

Well – to be exact – I am meeting a sales rep at the virgin media shop in Edinburgh to discuss the hitherto unheard of possibility of yours truly – PANTS sufferer (see blog 53) getting home internet access.

If truth be told the pressure is on from daughter no.3. Said teenager has done happily without TV for the whole of her life and much other modernity that her contemporaries feel are essentials – but lack of internet is becoming a bug bear. Plus she seems to think I promised this as a sop to uprooting her to a new home (I do not recall!)

My worries are many; microwaves all around me for one. Possible invasion of mind altering viruses via said waves. Alien attack through my laptop. Though I half suspect my little third-hand Toshiba would implode if such thing were attempted. It sometimes packs up if I type too quickly – as if in protest at the unseemly haste. I think I have a computer with a Jane Austen complex!

But add to my internet-less-ness my soon to be mobile phone-less-ness and things start to get tricky.
A couple of weeks ago I cancelled my Vodophone contract. To be honest – it was an awful contract taken out in haste at phones-4-u. Many an ear-bashing have I suffered at the hands of daughter no.1. Much tut-tutting and sighing and rolling of eyes and ‘why didn’t you let me sort it out-ness’ was endured by me, leading to a feeling of a certain lack of dignity. Anyway – after months of dreadful bills I rang to cancel. The effect – as I am sure you will know if you ever did such a thing – was that suddenly everyone who worked at Vodophone wanted to be my bestist friend. They still do. I keep getting phone calls from zesty young people who insist of chatting to me as if we are bosom buddies – all first names and smiley voices and howz-the-weather-where-you-are?? It’s a bit crazy in a not nice way. And all they want to know – by the way – is why I am leaving. When I say it’s because the contract’s been rubbish they try to sell me a contract MORE expensive than the one I am trying to escape from, on the basis that they are doing me a favour and it’s a much better deal. At which point I wake up screaming – or wish I could.

SO anyway – I cancelled - though I am still getting Vodophone phone calls and texts like a really horrible stalking ex-boyfriend situation.

My new flat has Virgin wiring. SO – thinks me – maybe I should check this out. I’d even heard rumours that one could get a land line without the horribleness of having to have anything at all to do with BT (see the BT [and other]cartoons by going to the posts in ‘view my profile’ in the right hand column).
So I hauled my techno-phobic butt into the shop on Hanover Street, with some trepidation I might add and also with a sore shoulder. I was lugging a cheap self-assembly bathroom cabinet I’d just bought from Argos in a bag that was made originally to carry a dragon egg (ok that’s a loooong story for another time). There I met a very nice sales rep – though I am aware that they are always nice at point of sale. It’s what happens afterwards that counts.

But the deal sounds do-able. The broadband / mobile phone package seems suitable for a penniless writer though I may have to forgo the landline for now – albeit that it was a fraction of what BT charged and if owt went wrong they fix it for free. Free mending stuff sounded like the most marvellous idea to me until I recalled that that’s how it should be and how it was BEFORE BT was privatised and started putting huge charges on for doing things they used to do as part of the service.

Anyway – I digress – as almost always.

So – back to the shop, undaunted by the really embarrassing RBran ad that seemed to be constantly playing. Surely SURELY someone at Virgin is going to tell Rich that starring in ads for your own company is like doing the dad dance at weddings or loudly singing along with Away in a Manger at your grandchild’s school nativity play!

I’m very nervous. The 21st century does not suit me. I’m not sure the 20th did either. Anyway, let’s see how this brown girl encounter with technology turns out...

This week’s recommended blog from the archives is;

Blog 49 Dog Pooh in Scented Bags!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Blog 86 Edinburgh is Tram-endous

OK – if half a dozen newspapers haven’t used that one a. why not? b. they have unexpected levels of diffidence and self-control.

Ich bin ein Edinburger - most definitely now because I travelled on the new trams on operation day 1. Yes it was slow and crowded and Saturday was too hot and it messed up the buses but it was good to try the thing out.

Justifiably, it seems, there has been much grumbling and scepticism about the tram system.
But if you put to one side that the whole thing is three years late and horribly over budget it is still odd. Then ignore that the disruption put businesses out of business and caused strain on others during development. Even if you bypass the issue of the tram not going to the places it was feted to go to, it’s possible you are still missing the central nuttiness of this scheme.

Surely everyone gets that public projects of this kind attract dodgy financial intricacies. Companies bid at a level to get the contract and then behave as if they have a licence to print money. Thus has it ever been. What is surprising is that the public bodies commissioning the work haven’t worked that out yet and put, for example, rigorous penalty clauses in place or prosecuted companies for willfully misleading the contracting party. But something always seems to go weird with common sense when public money is involved.
Also timescales. Apart from the Olympics (which also had that escalating budget kookiness) how often does a contractor state that – such-and-such a job will be done on Monday 10th June and it’s all done by midnight on Sunday 9th??? I mean apart from NEVER.
And small businesses? When the local dignitaries get a sniff of a prestigious project with the sweet hum of ‘legacy’ and kudos and all that jazz, are they really going to be bothered if Mr sandwich shop or Miss boutique can’t pay the rental because no one can get to their door due to years of excavations? I think not.
No – what is really bizarre and truly strange about the tram system, the thing that leaves me goggle eyed and scratching my head, is that Edinburgh didn't need it.

Of all the places on the planet that had public transport sussed it seemed to me to be Edinburgh. And I should know. I lived in Northumberland for about a decade where the buses are shit and expensive and turn up when they well feel like it. Buses in Edinburgh are (were) absolutely bloody marvelous. There is that bus tracker system which is brill. In Northumberland you found out a bus wasn't coming when rigor-mortis set in. Edinburgh buses are cheap, reliable and clean; they go to everywhere you could possibly want to go and they are usually on time. It’s a veritable BUS HEAVEN.

Tomorrow – at The Persevere in Leith I hope to dust off an old performance poem about just how crap travelling by bus south of the border was. In a piece called ‘I’m a survivor’ – I will pay back-handed homage to the new trams and the lunacy of public transport mentality in what is (still) the UK.
So yes – I had a go on the tram. I can’t say it wasn't a pleasant, fun experience and novel. Everything was new and gleaming though it was slightly nerve-wracking going uphill. In fact, toiling uphill I felt the urge to get out and push! Then it was odd going slowly slowly down. And that bell! I got off at my stop, Balgreen, and it was all jolly pleasant. But what I still don’t get is...

This week’s recommended blog from the archives is;

Blog 38. I Did It!