Monday, 26 April 2010
You can’t escape the General Election. You can try, but people are talking about it. Everywhere.
I understand why people are ambivalent about the whole thing. I understand why people say, “there’s no point who I vote for, they’re all as bad as each other.” These people are wrong, but I do understand it. Some of our politicians might be corrupt and self-serving, but they’re the only ones we’ve got and it’s up to us to decide who would serve us the best.
I’ve found myself fascinated by it this time around, in a way that I’ve not been before. I think the introduction of debates has had a lot to do with this.
As any good West Wing fan will tell you, debates are exciting. With the right questions, you can get so much information about the candidates and their policies that I can’t believe we’ve never had them before. For the people who complain about the bias and manipulation of the media, the debates are the perfect answer. There is nowhere to hide. If a politician struggles to answer a question, we can hear it. There is no editing and no telling what the other guys will do. The debates transcend the press and level the playing field.
All of this is dependant on the public actually watching them though as press coverage of the ‘winner’ of the debates has been all over the place. Each paper declaring their man the victor.
British politics just isn’t that exciting. I know more about the American system than ours because I’m a massive West Wing geek so I’m trying to learn stuff. I think I almost understand what a Hung Parliament would mean now...we’ll see.
So on to the debates themselves. I think some commentators were worried that the debates would focus on style over substance. I don’t think that is what has happened. I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with a little style though. Why shouldn’t we have a Prime Minister who is capable of speaking well and motivating people and who is good at explaining his views to the public. They all sound like important skills to me.
In the first debate Nick Clegg had a pretty easy task. All he had to do was remember his name and not fall on his face and people would be impressed. We didn’t know anything about him. He was the leader of that little third party that nobody took any notice of. He probably should have just been grateful he was asked to take part, right? Well he pretty much showed everybody. He was confident, personable, and seemed to find it remarkably easy to explain his policies in a way that sounded refreshing and new. He had a harder job in the second one though. After being declared the winner of the first debate, expectations were higher and he did his best to meet them. Gordon had been doing his homework though and was much more authoritative and aggressive.
I still don’t know who I’m going to vote for… but I know who I won’t vote for. It’s pretty obvious; I mean I’m a teacher for goodness sake. Any political party who tells parents that if they aren’t impressed with their child’s school, the Government will help them build their own, aren’t going to get my vote. Also, any party who produced Margaret Thatcher are going to have to work really hard to convince me they’ve changed. So far they’ve done a rubbish job.
So, here are some places you can go if you need some help making up your mind.
http://www.skeptical-voter.org/ These guys have a great list of questions to send to your local MP candidates to see where they stand on stuff. Or it’s great if you just want to read some of the snippy replies people have received.
http://www.votematch.org.uk/ This is good if you have no idea what the different parties policies look like. You answer some questions and it analyses your answer and tells you which party your opinions most closely match.
And this is good if you’re, well, human…
To steal a comment from you tube - Dear Brain. I couldn't stop watching. I'm so sorry.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
A short one today but oh. my. god.
The Daily Mail. I'm not sure where I'd get most of my outrage from if it wasn't for them.
If you've never had the pleasure of reading it, here's a little song by way of an introduction.
In my last post I drew your attention to a "story" about the state of Sarah Brown's feet.
In the run-up to the election, it seems that this was important enough for publication. Now it seems as if
this issue is so vital to the voting public that a follow up should be written. They can't let
Samantha Cameron off without the same foot scrutiny... So here's the result.
Apparently Samantha dared to go out wearing black nail polish on her toes...
"With its funereal connotations, it is more associated with rock stars than politician's wives.
But joining her husband yesterday, Samantha Cameron wore black nail polish on her toes - just visible through her high-heeled wedges - perhaps proving that little has changed since her teenage goth phase."
Of course! Samantha Cameron, Creative Director of Smythson of Bond Street and wife of the Conservative party leader is secretly a goth! That makes complete sense! It's a good job we've all been made aware of this so that we can make a fully informed judgement on which party to vote for. I've been waiting for the journo's to ask the ladies to take their shoes off for weeks but now the Mail has kindly provided me with all the information I need.
Seriously. Editor with a foot fetish? Who knows.
They also linked "night time trips to the toilet" with cancer today here. The scientists they quoted quickly denied that's actually what they said here.
Monday, 12 April 2010
I’ve decided that the best way to force me to write more posts (even though I love it!) is to start a regular feature. So here is my first ‘Sunday Selection’. A round up of the things that have made me laugh or, more usually, made me wrinkle my face up in confusion or the beginnings of rage!
First up, Mr Nicholas Sparks.
You know, that American author guy responsible for such important literary gems as The Notebook & Dear John. He gave an interview to USA Today who, from the write up, couldn’t believe their look. You can have a read here. It’s amazing. Here are some highlights. When asked for his favourite book of youth he answers “A Walk to Remember” – which he wrote. When asked what he thinks of Pulitzer Prize winning (and all around awesome author) Cormac McCarthy he replies “horrible” and goes on to call Blood Meridian “pulpy”, “overwrought” and “melodramatic”.
And just when you think he can’t seem any more deluded or self-important, he compares himself to Euripedes, Shakespeare and Hemmingway. Because you see, Mr Sparks doesn’t write romance novels; he writes love stories. I can’t help thinking Nicholas has a little issue being a male writer in the romance genre. (Sorry Nick but that’s what you write.) By separating himself, he is belittling the genre his work belongs to, and, in turn, the other authors who work in that genre. You know, women. There is nothing wrong with romance novels, or even love stories, as long as they’re good. And many people, male and female, write better ones than Nick.
Thankfully, the internets promptly started mocking.
The General Election has been called and the world’s gone a bit mad.
Politicians keep popping up on our TV screens to inform us that, “this is not a personality contest”. The more I think about it though, the more I think this isn’t entirely true. Of course, policies are important and the promises our politicians make in the next few days have to form the basis of our decisions. The problem is, personality dictates how we deal with problems. So Gordon Brown’s complete inability to accept that he has done anything wrong is really starting to bother me. The army were never short of equipment. He has never raised his voice to a colleague, let alone threw anything at a secretary. The horrific pension situation had nothing to do with him. Of course politicians have advisors, but we don’t elect them. We elect leaders.
It could be, of course, that I’m just jealous that America has big Barry O. He hasn’t had a perfect run, but he is capable of standing up and admitting that he screwed up. That takes character. Just take a look at this video of Obama playing Horse with a pro basketball player in the same week he’s negotiating a historic nuclear arms treaty. He is relaxed, good-humoured and natural. It’s hard to picture any of our options doing this.
Also, just when you think the Daily Mail could be any more ridiculous, they come back with this story about Sarah Brown's feet!?
But now for some nice things. I saw Kick-Ass the other day and it's fabulous. Don't listen to the ridiculous scare-mongering, go and see it for yourself. I'm not going to go on as other people have said basically what I would have done, only much better! here for example.
I'll leave you with perhaps the geekiest video ever, but one I inexplicably can't stop watching. Just ace animal facts. What can I say, I'm odd.
And yes, I am aware that it's now Monday so Sunday Selection makes less sense but I've been attempting to play the guitar today and so I have extremely sore fingers. All the letters on the left side of the keyboard have inflicted great pain!
I'd love to hear any of your thoughts, just leave me a comment!