Posts Tagged ‘EastEnders’
The remaining Lib Dems apart, are there any EU fans still out there? I must admit that there have never been many amongst our allotment gang, but for many years it has felt as if we were the outnumbered Luddites as people like Kenneth Clarke talked of the joys to be had if only we would all become true Europeans and forget all the rule Britannia nonsense. Now even he seems remarkably subdued on the subject.
Back in 1997, William Hague predicted that being in the Euro would be like ” being trapped in a burning building with no exits”. He was derided then, but suddenly seems like a prophet to beat them all. Every news bulletin brings dire warnings that unless the Euro crisis is resolved quickly the world economy will sink. But every day also brings evidence that Europe is not the united entity it is cracked up to be. In reality only Germany has the financial clout to rescue the sinking ship but it is a role that the German people are reluctant to adopt. Even if they did, the resulting increase in political power for Germany would be way beyond what many of the other member states are willing to stomach.
The truth is that Brussels is a bureaucratic facade hiding an empty interior. There is no single authority mandated or able to take charge. Yes, there has been much talk of sovereignty but what does that actually mean? At the time of the Euro’s launch Chris Patten, former Tory chairman and now chairman of the BBC, said that sovereignty ” in the sense of unfettered freedom of action, is a nonsense”. He added that; “A man naked, hungry and alone in the middle of the Sahara desert is free in the sense that no one can tell him what to do. He is sovereign then. But he is also doomed”. Having defined sovereignty in this way, Patten was then easily able to prove that it was a useless concept, not something for Eurosceptics to worry about. He has been proved right in this instance but what many people feared was a sovereignty in which institutions and politicians have absolute authority to act. In the new Europe who is Caesar?. No one, there is an expensive talking shop attended by member states, all of whom are determined to retain their identity and right to run their own affairs.
Unfortunately they are now all part of one currency, a marriage of unequals if ever there was one. There is only one body capable of making progress, something called a troika. It comprises the European Commission, the European Central bank and the International Monetary Fund. But this unwieldly group has no central authority, no ability to take and enact urgent decisions. And as George Osborne has rightly pointed out, time is running out for Greece, Italy, Spain and others.
As someone who believes that leaving the EU would be a plus for these islands, I can hardly pretend to shed tears but we will not be immune from the fall-out of the looming disaster. However, one cannot help noticing that, despite the final proof that the good ship EU is sinking and has no captain, the bureaucrats are continuing to pour cash into senseless self-glorification.
Brussels is about to open a £15.5 million “parliamentarium” which shows the daily lives of MEPs. It also plans a £90 million “European House of History” to be built by 2014. Small wonder that Marta Andreasen, a Ukip MEP, has attacked the continuing “shambolic waste of money driven by vanity”.
The truth is that MEPs have no real powers to deal with real crises such as the monetary one. If we had no representation we would lose little and gain a lot. Of course it is distinctly possible that the whole edifice will come tumbling down and our leaders will be able to drop the various excuses they continually trot out for refusing the British people a referendum!
WEEKEND QUIZ; 1. What is saxifrage? 2. In Eastenders which character killed ‘Dirty Den’ in February 2006.? 3. Who hoisted himself on to Sinbad the Sailor’s shoulders? 4. How much are you paid if you hold an honorary post? 5. Which UK act first scored the dreaded “nul points” in the European Song Contest? 6. What can be a five-card game, a smooth, woolly surface or a sheep? 7. Which club did Will Carling play for? 8. Which Australian movie director links “Romeo and Juliet” and “Strictly Ballroom”? 9. Whose music albums have included “An Innocent Man”? 10. “Englander” is an anagram of which country?
Sunday is the day for our deep-clean of all the coops and sheds and it was a pleasant change not to be doing it to the background of chattering teeth. Our pin-up weather lady, Eno, forecast a mild spell and mild it is. It meant that we gave more attention to our tasks and switched from straw – which is a disastrous bedding material given the mites that come with it – to wood chippings which last week had frozen into a solid lump. But one thing we didn’t change was the new anti-fox railings. We live in an urban environment but foxes are now a constant threat, a fact confirmed during the days of snow when the footprints of the wretched creatures were very apparent each morning.
It has to be said that, in common with most poultry keepers, we hate foxes. If they manage to get into a run they will kill every hen. On the face of it they are not only scavengers but, like the people that used to hunt their rural brothers and sisters, they clearly love the act of killing.
We have a mxied recation to fox hunting. On the one hand there is clearly a need to keep the creatures under control. On the other we find it hard to understand why those who hunted them found it necessary to dress up in red coats and to smear blood on novice hunters. It is hard to escape the conclusion that there is a blood-lust involved. Presumably the practitioners voted for Cameron on the assumption that he would honour his pledge to restore the sport’. They are likely to be dissappointed for hunting is not an election winner.
An even stranger ‘sport’ is bear hunting. Several of us watched the three-part BBC series featuring Gordon Buchanan who travelled to Minnesota to join up with a researcher who has devoted many years to the study of black bears. Gordon was initially astonished to find that his host had developed techniques which enabled him to feed wild bears by hand and to establish a rapport that guaranteed that when he entered a forest quietly calling that “I’m here bear’, massive and widely feared creatures would present no more danger than the average domestic Tom.
However there was a sad punchline to the documentary. Having learned to befriend and place locating collars on a number of Bears, Gordon suddenly learns that it is perfectly legal to shoot Bears in Minnesota, in fact he visits a shop which sells every conceivable type of gun designed for slaughter. He then visits the home of a local hunter whose dining room is packed with mounted severed heads. The reason given by the family is that Black Bears are dangerous and must be killed.
Gordon persuades the husband to accompany him to meet Bears close up and the man is astonished to find that they don’t attack on sight. He is clearly moved by the skittish cubs and the fate that awaits them. But one is left with the suspicion that, harmless or not, the hunter simply loves the act of killing. Build a ladder-house, wait and whoopie, another head to sever. Yet by his own admission the hunter had never been nearer than a rifle-shot to one of these beautful creatures.
Whilst there are some tenuous arguments in favour of fox hunting it was hard to imagine any case whatsoever for what the citizens of Minnesota do. Perhaps it would be easier to understand if they openly admitted that they get their kicks from the power of a gun.
I am really still a don’t know’ on hunting of any kind. If it is part of the food chain I guess that it can be justified, but if it clearly has no purpose other that to supply sadists and hooray-Henries with a kick it is surely vile.
Maybe Dickens can help us. In Oliver Twist the great man penned the words “there is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast”. I can buy that for antiques and treasure but for harmless vulnerable creatures? My self understanding says no. Or am I missing something?
A MANIFESTO IS PURE FICTION!
An interesting letter came yesterday from a reader. it lists a series of brokem prmises made by the coalition. Clegg pledged not to raise tuition fees but did, Cameron said that the NHS was protected and it is collapsing under massive changes, Osborne and Cable pledged to curb bank bonuses and they haven’t. The list goes on.
I guess my correspondent could have also listed the things that were not mentioned yet are happening. Such as? Selling off the Forestry Commission ad Forensic services could well head that list.
But how do the public see it? We will find out shortly in the Oldham and Saddleworth byelection. If after all the scandal of the Woolas disqualification Labour still win, the coalition is in deep trouble.
EASTENDERS GETS TACKIER BY THE DAY!
When ‘soaps’ first appeared the idea was, I thought, to cheer us up with positive tales of everyday life. Now they seem to have assumed a darker hue, particularly EastEnders which seems to regard Christmas as the perfect occasion for depressing scripts.
This time around the writers have excelled themselves. Not content with featuring a cot death they decided to make the cot death mother go slightly mad and then do a baby swap. First to attack was the Mumsnet website which described the script as cynical and ill-informed and likely to reinforce misconceptions about bereaved mothers as “deranged and unhinged”. That was merely the vanguard of the attack and already over 6000 complaints ahve been received.
Beryl Hilton, TV editor of ‘Heat’ magazine was amongst them. The show was, she said, guilty of bad timing – the new year is when people think about their families. It felt gratuitous and queasy. Ms Hilton reflected the view of many viewers when she added that “the grimness of EastEnders has become a joke even by its own standards”.
Woukl we be right in thinking that this ill informed rubbish was written by a man?
YESTERDAYS QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. They were children 2. Wings
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Which organisation was once headed by Lord Fiske? 2. Which government minister’s house was bombed by the Angry Brigade?