Archive for March, 2010
Tomorrow (1st April) it will be a year since Ian Tomlinson died after being attacked by a police officer. As a veteran of nice peaceful good-humoured CND demonstrations, I was shocked by the brutal policing of the G20 protests generally.
There are three scandalous aspects to this affair:
- Mr Tomlinson was attacked from behind, with no apparent provocation, by a heavily armed officer (every time I see it it looks worse)
- The Police initially said they’d had no contact with him – only when the film emerged did they change their tune.
- One year on, wouldn’t you know it, no prosecutions or disciplinary action has resulted against the unnamed Policeman. And this, gentle reader, is the biggest scandal of all.
So the estimable Charlie was right and hunting is back on the menu. Happy is the candidate who posted on this subject the day before!
A cynical person might think that this is an attempt by Labour to manufacture a story to reconnect with their ‘base’. You know- those lightweights who harbour reservations about all the privatisation, warmongering and erosion of civil liberties. Just as well I’m not cynical, isn’t it?
I’ve just finished reading A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz, and it was great fun! It’s a sprawling witty Aussie saga – my one cavil would be that it’s maybe a bit overlong and the quirky charm drags a bit in places. A cracking read overall though – my favourite part was where a thinly disguised Rupert Murdoch meets a sticky end!
My viewing of TV, cinema and theatre is severely curtailed by this campaign thingy. I did watch a toe-curling documentary on Silvio Berlusconi, with the usual cameo role for his grinning sidekick T Blair. Oh, how Mazzini and Garibaldi must be spinning in their graves!
As for music, well, how great an invention is the MP3 player? Mine has been working its way through the Bowie back catalogue, pausing more frequently over the splendours of Ziggy Stardust. Is the title track about Hendrix? Who knows?
A rumour has reached my ears that there may be a ‘big’ hunting story this week. I’ll be very glad to see this at the top of the political agenda. The Tories’ intention to ‘hold a free vote’ (i.e. repeal the ban faster than you can say Bullingdon Club) is symbolic of the way things will go if we let them back into government.
I’m from a farming family on my Mum’s side, and lots of my relatives hunted (a few still do, alas). I’m happy to report that my siblings and I have always been vocally opposed to this particularly nasty blood sport. These days we just don’t talk about it at family gatherings, but I’ll get back up on the barricade if bicycling Dave makes me!
“It’s the most miserable job in government. Anything you do right, no-one’s going to know for 15 years. Anything you do wrong, they know immediately”
Malcolm Rifkind, former transport minister, reminisces about the job.
(Wonder how Stephen Byers feels? Do let us know, Steve)
Still in Chile – this week’s award goes to the wonderful Pablo Neruda, whose battle with leukaemia ended just ten days after the bombing of the Moneda Palace (see Allende). I can’t claim to be familiar with the entire obra, but I know some bits and bobs and the guy was sound on politics and ecology, which makes him a Green! My favourite lines are:
“Siempre los ricos fueron extrajeros/Que se vayan a Miami con sus tias”
Just think bankers and you’re on the right track!
By a feat of remarkable prescience, our next newsletter contains a reference to Labour ex-Ministers who feather their nests in the private sector. And yes, Patricia Hewitt gets a (dis)honourable mention!
It beggars belief that, after the sleaze scandals of the past year, our elected representatives still think it’s OK to supplement their salary (paid by us) with inducements from the rich and powerful. Before I leave the subject of Ms Hewitt, may I remind you all that my old boss now sits on the board of a company called Cinven. Never heard of ’em? Ah but you’ve heard of the company they own….BUPA! That’s right folks, the former Secretary of State for Health now advises a private health provider on how to undermine the NHS! You couldn’t make it up, could you?