Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson - Controversial To The End!

The King is dead - well the much celebrated 'King of Pop' anyway!

In the unlikely event you have been hidden away in a cave and not heard the news, singer, dancer and musician, Michael Jackson, passed away during Thursday evening (UK time) from what is said to have been a heart attack.

The media, of course, are questioning if this was brought on by the excessive use of painkillers and whether one such drug was administered by his 'personal physician' a short while before his death.

Whatever the outcome, MJ ended his life as he had lived through most of it - in chaos.

He is a spectacular advert for not pushing your children into the world of showbusiness at an early age. His life seemed to be, at best, unrelated to reality, and at worst seedy and questionable. Both his unhealthy fascination with young people and his obsession with changing his appearance through the use of the surgeon's knife clearly demonstrated a mind that was not at ease within it's own framework.

Commentators are saying we will all remember where we were when MJ died. Personally, I will not.

He was unquestionably a great entertainer and had a knack of grabbing the headlines whenever he wanted. That is as far as it goes for me - but then I do not share the fascination for celebrity misfits that many people do.

It could be argued he was seen as a role model by many of his fans but surely a lifestyle like his is not something to be envied or aspire to?

It seems that Jackson has departed this earth as he lived his life - in a huge mess that others are going to spend years cleaning up.

R.I.P. MJ!

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 22, 2009

UK Policing -A Change For The Worse!

Last time I checked, we were living in a free society where the right to demonstrate was just that - a right.

When it was peacefully carried out, it was unhindered by the police - intervention only came about after a public order offence was being, or likely to be committed.

This disturbing video report in the Guardian newspaper shows how police tactics have now changed for the worse and we should, perhaps, start examining our own society more closely before we start to criticise those in other countries.

Judge for yourself....

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, June 20, 2009

PM Wants To Teach Not Lead!

Speaking in a peculiar but presumably honest interview in today's Guardian, Gordon Brown has said he would like to go into teaching when he leaves office. He has also admitted to being a poor communicator and admits he has lacked the ability to forward plan because he has had to concentrate on dealing with real time matters.

Not exactly great qualifications for teaching!

He also admits (I think understandably) he has been badly hurt by the recent attempts to force his resignation and:

"I'm not interested in what accompanies being in power. I wouldn't worry if I never returned to all those places - Downing Street, Chequers...And it would probably be good for my children."

Why then, did he fight and scheme so hard to take over the leadership from his predecessor, Tony Blair?

He also said:

"To be honest, you could walk away from all this tomorrow"

So why doesn't he?

Maybe it is because this interview reads as nothing more than a last ditch attempt to drum up support based on the nation's sympathy vote; he has, after all, tried everything else.

What we certainly do not need in these times is a leader who openly admits he is not up to the job.

I am finally coming round to the idea that it is time the removal men were called to Number 10!

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's So 'Transparent' They Think We Can't See Through It!

With what has turned out to be rather bizarre timing, the government announced on Tuesday, their plans for a broadband tax on phone lines in the UK, to guarantee all of us are able to surf the internet at the highest possible speeds.

Today, the Commons authorities have published over a million documents on the internet relating to the expenses claimed by our politicians over the past four years.

According to the Prime Minister:

"My principle in this is the maximum transparency - it's got to be consistent of course with security but I think people have got to be as transparent as possible"

The released documents are so "transparent" that most of the interesting detail has been blacked out and cannot be read.

Of course, the censored sections have nearly all been revealed by the Daily Telegraph revelations already. So what is the reasoning behind such an action?'ve guessed!! That convenient excuse for hiding embarrassing facts, has been brought into play again.

Apparently, it is to protect the politicians from their constituents knowing their home addresses. However, this also makes it difficult to see which politicians have 'flipped' their homes over the four year period.

One of the people who brought the original Freedom of Information request targeting MP's expenses summed it up thus:

"I can see that avoiding embarrassment has been the key motivating factor of what's been deleted"

It makes me wonder, how much of the proposed super fast broadband will be conveniently blacked out when 'transparency' proves it could be embarrassing!

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The 'Dud Missile' Of An Iraq War Enquiry

Yesterday afternoon, our failing prime minister, Gordon Brown, finally announced what many have been demanding for years - an enquiry into the Iraq war. So far so good.

The fully independent enquiry is to be held in secret, will not report until after the next general election and will not apportion any blame. Now that is all bad!

After the recent scandal over MPs expenses when the prime minister promised a more transparent government, does he really think the British public will have any trust in such an enquiry? Has he not been told of his party's total crash in the polls?

Many questions about the legality of the Iraq war still remain unanswered, even though the original claims about weapons of mass destruction have been proved false.

A secret enquiry where no-one ends up taking responsibility is about as much use as a cat flap on a submarine.

The families of thousands of dead Iraqis and those of the 179 British service personnel killed as a result of the conflict, deserve much more than just another high profile cover up!

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Planet Earth to Collide with either Mars or Venus!

We're all doomed!

Computer simulations have predicted that our planet Earth might collide with either Mars or Venus- but not for at least another billion years!

By that time, we will probably already have destroyed ourselves by one of a multitude of perils like Swine Flu, nuclear stupidity, global warming, another crap government or boredom from watching the contestants on series one billion of Big Brother!

Roll on the collision I say!!

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Perils Of A Big Majority!

Predictably, the Labour party have been well and truly trounced in the European and local elections; they have suffered the worst results in living memory.

Predictably, the Conservatives have gained a massive power base and are looking good for when the country eventually goes to the polls in a general election.

Sadly, apart from a few isolated cases, the alternative parties have only managed to make moderate gains and there lies the problem....

We do not need another government holding power with a massive majority. We have lived through that cycle of events since Mrs Thatcher's Tory government came to power all those years ago.

Innovation and a fair society does not come from having big majorities. It only comes when the political parties have to work together and take the best of each other's ideas.

We should have learned by now that big majorities just bring arrogance, deceit and abuse of the democratic system.

If anyone should ever be tempted to doubt that fact, they only have to watch what is happening in UK politics now!

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Voting - An Exercise In Freedom!

Twenty years ago, this week, the demonstration for democracy and freedom of speech took place in Tiananmen Square in China. Few will forget the iconic picture of 'tank man' who stopped the military armour by refusing to move out of its way.

It seems ironic that today, when we are supposed to be exercising our own freedoms by voting in the local and european elections, many of us will be too apathetic to place our crosses against the name of our chosen candidate. We are so used to living in a free society, we tend to take it all for granted.

After weeks of hearing the stories of greed and arrogance by our politicians, it is almost understandable some of us will be reluctant to vote for anyone, though to remain silent, will only play into the hands of the major political parties.

From my own point of view, I went to the polling station and voted for those whom I had actually met, while they were campaigning hard on the streets over the last few weeks.

Needless to say, they were not from the complacent 'big three' political parties.

Time for change!

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

PM Brown Takes Low Blow From Blears!

If the wheels on Prime Minister Gordon Brown's bus have not yet fallen off, they are certainly wobbly to the point of collapse.

Following yesterday's rumour that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is to leave his cabinet, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, has now followed, using perfect showbiz timing (some might question what she ever did anyway).

Of course, both women have been severely criticised recently for their dubious use of the expenses system and both were tipped to be removed from their positions in the cabinet in the next few days. But, while it might be almost believable that Ms Smith's intentions are honourable, in the case of Ms Blears they are most certainly not.

To walk out so publically just a day ahead of tomorrow's polling, is nothing short of a treacherous act, aimed at toppling her leader over the cliff edge, on which he is presently balancing. She is, by her action, hoping to kick-start an open revolt amongst Labour MPs to force the PM from office. It could be that she will succeed.

Tonight, it was reported, that the signatures of over a hundred MPs have already been collected, in a sign of no confidence in their leader.

Blears' actions have been described by one political commentator as being "Deliberate, calculated and with intent".

Whether Brown goes or stays - and I really could not care as they all seem to be odious individuals who command no respect - I just hope that Blears, by displaying such disloyalty, will never be seen performing in the political spotlight again.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Queuing For The Right To Die!

Today, I was shocked to learn that over eight hundred people in the UK have added their names to a waiting list - to die.

They are queueing to attend special clinics in Switzerland, where the law permits assisted suicides and where they will be helped to end their lives with dignity.

Of course, most of these people are suffering from terminal illnesses and they do not want to remain in the UK where the present law forbids assisting in the ending of a life. They do not want to cause undue suffering on themselves or their loved ones, by waiting for the inevitable to run its course; they want to end their lives while they still have some control.

The House of Lords is presently debating whether UK law should be changed to allow assisted suicides to be made legal here. The reality, is that for years, many doctors have been assisting in speeding up the ending process. It is not done officially but is achieved through prescribing heavier than needed doses of drugs to those with little hope of living a quality life and who deserve some compassion and humanity.

Predictably, many of those of a religious nature are outraged at the possibility of assisted suicides becoming legal. They frequently argue their point, by mentioning the 'word of God' and by saying no-one has the right to decide their own end - except, of course, the Good Lord himself.

I do not know whether there really is a God or not. For me it is purely an academic argument.

I do know, there is a suffering that many people do not deserve to experience and if they can find a peaceful way to end their pain, they should surely be given the ultimate decision over their own destiny.

The act of suicide is not, as many would argue, a cowardly one.

To decide to cross the point of no return takes incredible courage and determination. It is not an attention seeking exercise but a final act of desperation and we should, surely, try to respect the views and the wishes of those who feel they no longer have a choice.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, June 01, 2009

Britain's TV Talent

This weekend saw the largest audience for a UK TV show since 2004. It has been described by many as "car crash television" and by some as being "a freak show". Whatever the various opinions expressed, there is no denying that the final of Britain's Got Talent (BGT) attracted a peak audience of 19.3 million viewers.

It can only be described as a massive success for the ITV network, where the average viewing figure for a Saturday night is normally around 5.3m. If you combine the peak rate advertising revenue to the income from phone-in voting at 50p per time. it must have been television's version of winning the lottery.

Despite what we are told, BGT is a mongrel in the history of TV talent shows; it is not, as we have been led to believe, an original format but is instead a mish mash of various shows that have gone before.

Where it scores over its predecessors, though, is that it has had a huge amount of money invested in it and has high production values and massive publicity and hype.

The three judges have no obvious qualification for judging 'talent' but head judge, Simon Cowell, has always demonstrated a huge talent for tapping into the naivety of the British public while at the same time, exploiting the massive earning potential of the successful participants at the top of the competition.

The show's producers, under the control of Cowell, have successfully manipulated the various senses within each of us, by letting us share the ridicule, amazement, sympathy and embarrassment carefully woven into each episode and subsequently judged by the panel. The balance between entertainment and discomfort has often been a delicate one.

We enjoy the guilty pleasure of being the voyeur when a ten year old contestant stops singing in the middle of a live performance, has a semi tantrum and insists on being able to start over.

We love the feeling of guilt when we judge a contestant on her plain looks and then, when she starts her performance, are left mouth agape because she has a truly amazing voice.

Personally, I wish that TV entertainment did not have to rely on exploiting such feelings within us but then 19.3 million people think I am wrong!

Bookmark and Share