Posts tagged politics

Reasons to be fearful

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As your ‘umble scribe writes this post, part-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is now on day two of an extensive reshuffle of government ministers.

His first cabinet was chosen more for loyalty to Brexit than for talent and included some who had done a complete 180-degree turn on their pre-referendum stance in order to climb the greasy pole of political ambition.

The latter include the singularly untalented Liz Truss (whose biggest achievement as Trade Secretary was copying and pasting new copies of pre-existing EU trade agreements with third countries so they could continue in effect in a post-Brexit context. Ed.), who can now carry on filling in the ministerial My First Foreign Secretary’s Colouring Atlas where Dominic Raab left off, following the latter’s demotion to Justice Secretary.

The singularly unattractive Priti Patel remains as Home Secretary. The less said about that the better.

However, given the shallowness of the Tory talent pool, the most surprising appointment of the first day of Johnson’s rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic was his appointment of Nadine Dorries as Secretary of State for Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport. Nadine was put on Earth to demonstrate that potatoes are more intelligent beings than the Rt. Hon. Member for Mid Bedfordshire.

Part of the fragrant Nadine’s brief includes all things digital, including the minor matter of IT security. To gain an insight into the new Secretary of State’s attitude to this subject, I refer readers to 2 Dorries tweets from 2017.

Tweets read 1. My staff log onto my computer on my desk with my login everyday. Including interns on exchange programmes. For the officer on @BBCNews just now to claim that the computer on Greens [sic] desk was accessed and therefore it was Green is utterly preposterous  You need a pass to get that and 2 Everyone who has my login has a security pass

Cavalier doesn’t quite describe such an attitude to basic security and privacy.

Then there’s the whole question of gravitas – a necessary pre-requisite for public office, not that you’d know it with Bozo the Clown’s appointments.

A quick glance across the English Channel and North Sea to 2 European counterparts reveals some startling contrasts. Besides being French Culture Minister, present incumbent Roselyne Bachelot is an opera fan who has written a well-regarded work on Verdi. Monika Grütters, Germany’s Culture Minister was a university lecturer before entering politics and is still an honorary professor at Berlin’s Free University. On the other hand, Dorries’ biggest claim to fame (after her fiddling expenses) is eating ostrich anus on a so-called reality television show.

Thank you Viz

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When Viz comic first emerged onto the British media scene in 1979 its content was based on parodying British children’s comics, notably The Beano and The Dandy (both of which your ‘umble scribe read as a child. Ed.) – of the post-war period with the extensive use of obscenity, toilet humour, black comedy, surreal humour and generally sexual or violent storylines.

It is therefore no surprise that Viz has been taking aim at – and having fun with – part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his government of high-functioning imbeciles (the only funny-bone ticklers having a hard job mocking Bozo and his clowns are the satirists. Ed.).

Viz's targeting uses as its vehicle the long-running classic British Carry On film franchise series.

Spoof cinema poster for Carry On Covid

Nevertheless, there seems to have been some mis-casting in the Viz version: Sid James has more competence in his little finger than Bozo the Clown has in his whole anatomy, whilst Priti Patel is more noted for her lack of humanity than an ability to deliver a double entendre.

Priti good new stencil art

A new piece of stencil art has turned up on recent days on a wall at the junction of Russelltown Avenue and Whitehall Road in east Bristol on the building with the ever-changing messages (posts passim).

Merely as a matter of coincidence, it depicts one of those residents of Whitehall, SW1, namely one Priti Patel, an Estuary English elocution expert inexplicably elevated to the position of Home Secretary by part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, after she had previously been forced to resign in 2017 as International Development Minister for breaking the ministerial code by having secret meetings with Israeli officials while serving under Theresa May.

stencil art of Priti Patel holding hammer with the word vandals and the Conservative Party oak tree logo beneath

Since her return to high public office, the permanently smirking Patel has been accused of bullying her staff, resulting in the resignation of Home Office boss Sir Philip Putnam.

I can’t help speculating if the hammer in Patel’s hand was one of the reasons for Sir Philip’s departure.

At the foot of the stencil art the Tory Party oak tree logo and the word Vandals appear.

I have lived most of my life under Tory governments and for the majority of that time, particularly with effect from the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the Conservatives have not conserved anything. Indeed they’ve destroyed important ones like manufacturing industry (which used to provide millions of skilled, well-paid jobs. Ed.) and the trade union movement, whilst flogging state assets to their rich friends and supporters.

Given the party’s record of destruction, perhaps the claw hammer in Patel’s hand should have been replaced by a sledge hammer instead. 😀

Well said, Angus!

One can appease and/or try to reason with bigots; or one can respond like Angus. 😀

No further comment is necessary.

Text of 3 tweets reads: 1) Congratulations to Laura and Jane - this is peak wedding goals 2) Using mentally disturbed people to make themselves seem woke. Get a grip and concentrate on your trains actually turning up on time 3) Not sure how LGBTQ+ people make trains late, but I'll add it to my list of bigoted nonsense people have sent this account. ^Angus

Trump in Bristol

Yesterday while walking through Riverside Park into town, your ‘umble scribe encountered some street art which immediately reminded him of Donald J. Trump, a tax dodger and serial sexual predator who was inexplicably elected as 45th President of the United States of America.

Grafitti on street furniture in Riverside Park

Your correspondent believes it is flattering to its subject as is shown by a comparison with a photograph of the Orange One captured in a typical denigratory pose.

The Orange One courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

Sprinter helped by Google Translate

Krystsina_TsimanouskayaOne of the biggest dramas of the current Tokyo Olympics has taken place away from the competitive arena – the defiance of Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya against the repressive actions of the authoritarian Belarus state.

On 30 July 2021, Tsimanouskaya recorded video criticising officials from the Belarus Olympic Committee (headed by Viktor Lukashenko, son of Belarus’ authoritarian president, who was re-elected last year in an election widely regarded as fraudulent. Ed.), saying that they had forced her to run in the 4 × 400 m relay race, a distance at which she had never competed, without her consent, after other athletes missed anti-doping tests and were not allowed to compete due to a lack of tests, a factor which she also blamed on the Belarus Olympic Committee.

The following day Belarusian media reported the attempt to forcibly return Tsimanouskaya to Belarus, removing her from the Olympic village to Tokyo’s Narita airport. Tsimanouskaya’s grandmother warned her not to return while she was being transported to the airport in the company of Belarus Olympic officials. She said afterwards her family feared that she might be taken to a psychiatric facility if she returned to Belarus.

She then decided not to return to her homeland; and took action to prevent it happening.

In a video posted on Twitter by Bloomberg Quicktake, Tsimanouskaya drew the attention of police officers at the airport terminal with the aid of Google Translate stating:

“When I arrived at the airport, I used the Google translator to translate in Japanese that I need help. I came to police and showed the translation.”

The police then took her into protective custody at an airport hotel overnight.

On 4th August, Tsimanouskaya flew to Vienna’s international airport from Narita International Airport from where she took a connecting flight to Poland.

Since Tsimanouskaya’s flight from Tokyo, several other Belarusian athletes have spoken in support of her, whilst Amnesty International has reported that athletes are more likely to be targets of the Lukashenko government due to his the alleged president’s interest in sport.

In further repercussions, the International Olympic Committee has expelled 2 Belarusian coaches (shouldn’t that be minders? Ed.) after stripping them of their accreditation.

Free online waste & recycling webinars

Bristol Waste is organising a series of monthly webinars dealing with all you wanted to know about waste, reuse and recycling in Bristol but were afraid to ask!

Visiting Bristol Waste

Image courtesy of Bristol Waste

People can sign up to learn from experts about what happens to their waste and recycling once it is put out for collection.

Since lockdown Bristol Waste has been running these very popular online sessions so as to give residents the chance to ask questions, dispel any myths and find out how to be recycling and waste superstars!

Every other month, there’s a general Q&A session, where people can ask about anything waste related, alternating with a specially themed webinar concentrating on a specific topic.

There is a special recycling event planned for Recycle Week and people can also sign up for a ‘festive special’ to learn how to be more sustainable over the holiday season.

Follow this link to find out more.

The next Q&A session takes place on Wednesday, 18th August between 6.30 and 7.30 pm. Sign up via Eventbrite.

The Farage effect

One of the earliest social impacts exerted by the internet is the so-called Streisand effect, which Wikipedia succinctly defines as: “a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove, or censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing that information, often via the Internet. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt to suppress the California Coastal Records Project’s photograph of her residence in Malibu, California, taken to document California coastal erosion, inadvertently drew further attention to it in 2003.“.

After this week’s developments in British media life, your ‘umble scribe is wondering whether the Streisand effect is about to be joined by a new phenomenon which should be called the Farage effect.

Here’s the background.

Right-wing gobshite at the podiumOn Tuesday Nigel Farage, a former MEP who denies he’s a professional politician and perennial right-wing rabble-rouser, used his newly-minted show on right-leaning GB News (aka GBeebies. Ed.) to attack the RNLI for rescuing refugees attempting to reach British shores in flimsy and unsafe vessels who are in distress.

In particular, Farage stated that the charity, whose lifeboats are crewed by volunteers and which is funded by donations from the public, should case to provide a “taxi service for illegal trafficking gangs“.

 

Needless to say, Farage’s intemperate words and the awful bigotry behind them were intended to produce a reaction; and so they have, but it is one that the far-right rabble-rouser will not necessarily. appreciate.

As the Independent reports, normal weekday donations to the charity rocketed by over 2,000 per cent compared any other Wednesday in the year in an outpouring of public support. This comes after the charity revealed how its volunteers were receiving abuse s a result of the bile spewed by the likes of Farage and published harrowing footage of Channel rescues.

A grateful RNLI has since expressed its thanks to a generous public via a tweet earlier today.

We’ve seen a surge in donations over the past 24 hours – both in terms of one-off gifts and hundreds of you who’ve set up a monthly donation. We’re overwhelmed by and incredibly grateful for your kindness.

Screenshot on RNLI tweet

On the other side, there has been a minor backlash with some existing supporters of the charity withdrawing their financial and voluntary support, presumably fully paid-up members of the Farage Cult.

Will there soon be a Farage effect Wikipedia page stating it is a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt is made to denigrate the actions of a volunteer-run humanitarian organisation backfires spectacularly?

Please feel free to discuss in the comments below.

Update, Thursday 30 July: Today The Guardian’s website is reporting that donations to the RNLI actually increased by 3,000% stating:

The RNLI, which runs the UK’s network of volunteer lifeboats, said it received £200,000 in charitable donations on Wednesday – around 30 times its normal average of £6,000–£7,000 per day. During the same period, there was a 270% increase in people viewing volunteering opportunities on its website.

Faced with all the criticism from decent folk, Farage has since tried to downplay his racism and bigotry by claiming he has been proud to raise money for the RNLI. This is the equivalent of an arsonist in court telling the judge from the dock that he had deliberately started fires to keep the fire brigade in work.

Press gets it wrong – again

If there’s one characteristic of the English Empire’s free and fearless press and the news media in general that’s immediately apparent to anyone with more than one brain cell, it’s their usually remote relationship with the truth.

In the last week or so a new word has emerged – pingdemic – in relation to the coronavirus pandemic to describe the large volume of self-isolation warnings issued by the Covid track and trace app (aka pings (pl.), as derived from the computer networking utility of the same name. Ed.).

Thus the terms ping and pingdemic have become part of normal newspaper and news media vocabulary, as shown in this typical example from yesterday’s London Evening Standard.

Headline reads Ping threat to our food, tube and bins

Whoever wrote the headline Ping threat to our food, tube and bins has clearly not thought the matter through.

It’s not the pings that are the threat but the viral plague which is giving rise to rocketing Covid, aided and abetted by an apology for a government that has removed restrictions far too soon and relinquished – in exemplary Pontius Pilate mode – all responsibility for safeguarding people’s health in the rush to let all their rich mates resume making Loadsamoney again.

All news is to a certain extent manipulated, but if those that right it cannot even get the basic details correct in a headline, is it any wonder that there is deep mistrust in the media?

Still, never mind with all this gloom and doom. Immediately adjacent is a prime example of look over there in the form of the current 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.

The staff of the Standard clearly seem to have adopted the comment by Juvenal, the 2nd century Roman poet famous that the common people are only interested in bread and circuses (Latin: panem et circensis. Ed.) as editorial policy

Basic Welsh to be required for Welsh government jobs

Welsh government logoIn July last year, the devolved Welsh government published Cymraeg. It belongs to us all, its strategy on the internal use of the Welsh language, one of whose aims is to have one million Welsh speakers in the country by 2050.

As part of the strategy to achieve that goal, 2 announcements have been made in recent days.

In the first instance, the Daily Post has reported that a basic command of Welsh – a so-called courtesy level – will be required for all Welsh government jobs.

In future employees Workers will have to demonstrate language skills that include the ability to:

    • pronounce Welsh language words, names, place names and terms;
    • answer the telephone bilingually, greet people or make introductions bilingually;
    • understand and use everyday expressions and simple key words related to the workplace;
    • read and understand short texts providing basic information, e.g. in correspondence, or to interpret the content using available technology; and
    • demonstrate language awareness, including an appreciation of the importance of the language in society and an awareness of what is required to provide bilingual customer [sic] service.

Needless to say, there has been criticism, with Tory AS/MS Tom Giffard leading the charge (no doubt with the encouragement of his controllers at CCHQ in London SW1. Ed.) and claiming: “The Welsh Government is becoming a closed shop”.

In the second instance, the Daily Post further reports that 30% of children in Year 1 are be in Welsh-medium education by 2031, compared with 23% last year.

This will entail the opening of a minimum of 60 extra Welsh-medium nursery groups by 2026, in addition to the 40 opened over the past 4 years.

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