Turns out Prince Harry is in Afghanistan fighting the good fight.
Any person who says anything along the lines of "if the press kept this from us, what else are they keeping" must be isolated and denied access to society immediately, with no right of appeal.
People so dumb are dangerous and must be removed for the safety of others.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Turns out Prince Harry is in Afghanistan fighting the good fight.
I was driving to work the other week when I heard on the radio the name of the new James Bond film - Quantum of Solace. What a silly name I thought, not at all James Bond like. Flemming would not be pleased. That very evening, I picked up For Your Eyes Only, Flemming's James Bond book of short stories, and what should my next short story be entitled? Quantum of Solace. Of course.
As the story is purely Bond sitting on a chintz sofa one night after dinner listening to a story being told by the Governor of Nassau, it's hard to know just where all the car chases, explosions and sexual encounters are going to be shooed in for the film, but we'll see. Perhaps in the film the maid will come in, drop the tea-tray, inadvertently show her knickers, before a helicopter full of Russians crashes through the window and the Governor explodes. Or something.
This I was reminded of last weekend when another coincidence, involving the same book, happened. Mr Scribbles and I were in Paris and he had chosen a place called the Rotonde on the Boulevard de Montpannasse for our Saturday evening meal. The very next day Mr Scribbles was reading the short story From a View to a Kill in said book and what did he read? That Bond had lunch at the Rotonde when he was in Paris because "the food was good enough".
It also says that Bond stays at Terminus Nord "because he liked station hotels and this was the least pretentious and most anonymous of them." Guess what? Had Sunday lunch there on previous trip. How fabulously glamourous is this?
Coincidences come in threes. Next visit to Paris, perhaps I'll be reading The Spy Who Loved Me and Daniel Craig will spot me across a crowded bar and come and talk to me about Octopussy. Then maybe my husband will get jealous and point to the gold on my finger and then beat the living daylights out of him and say no, when Craig asks for a Dr (etc...).
(Lenin and Trotsky were regulars at the Rotonde too, which is why Mr Scribbles chose it)
It woke me and that's the beginning and end of my story, but here's a few choice quotes of other people's accounts of our very own 5.2.
"It felt like the roof was going to fall in. There were people coming out in their dressing gowns wondering what it was."
"I thought I was probably going to get killed."
"All my cupboard doors flew open and the whole house shook, it was unreal. I can't believe it."
"I experienced the Dudley one and this was more severe."
"The windows were rattling and the blinds were visibly moving. It sounded like the roof was coming in." "
"There is slight structural damage, cracks and a couple of chimneys damaged."
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Birmingham's links with jihadism continues, as scary looking Parviz Khan, the man who plotted to kidnap and behead a Muslim soldier, gets jailed for life.
On a local radio station today I heard an interview with one of Alum Rock's councillors, who knew Khan, saying that we needed more action and less talk from the government to win the hearts and minds of Muslims. Whilst making it clear that this was a dreadful and shocking thing, he continued to say that the government must engage with the "grievances" of such people, then finished with the usual flourish along the lines of "the longer we stay in Iraq" etc... you know the rest.
No, Mr Councillor, whoever you were, what we do with these people is bug their houses, track their movements, show the evidence in our courts and then jail the would-be-murdering scum. That's what we do. Lock them up. Not sit around with them and have a cup of tea and a chat.
Not yet heard from the famous Cllr Salma Yaqoob on this. Seem to remember she was very vocal when these arrest took place. As I recall she got her fizzogg all over the TV quite concerned about how this would harm community relations - not the murder plot itself you understand, but the press reporting it. She didn't want trial by media, you see.
Well, I hope Salma’s happy that in the end they were they were tried by Leicester Crown Court, and the evidence was so strong against Pavid Khan and his co-defendants that they all pleaded guilty. Clearly, we now see, the danger came not from freedom of press but from the men who were arrested. Fancy that.
Just as I lament the state of Birmingham's current council, we lose Councillor Dick Knowles. Councillor Knowles is the main reason that I am not ashamed to call Birmingham my city.
Birmingham was a shit tip and then Dick came along and worked hard for many many years to make the city an enjoyable place to be.
Next time I'm in 'Brindley Place', Dick, I'll raise a drink to you.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Let me count the ways.
ONE: John Lines, Cabinet Member Against Housing, is not the only one who is "scared" by the recent judgement that the council must include homeless people on their homeless lists. As someone who works for an MP and constantly has to deal with the tide of misery caused by the council's housing "policies", I'm pretty damn terrified myself. The idea that the council should be providing housing according to need, as opposed to housing according to cost-to-the-council, will be so painful to them that I suspect that emergency meetings are taking place as I write to determine how they can handle this matter in the worst possible way, causing the upmost distress and pain to Birmingham citizens in need, whilst blaming it all on the Government.
TWO: Talking of handling things in the worst possible way and then blaming the Government, how about BCC's handling of the implemntation of the Single Status? When woman have not been paid as much as men for equivalant job roles for decades, then why not right the injustice by cutting everyone's pay? Using equality law to make huge wage cuts across the board. Sounds like a plan.
THREE: Race relations. Our friend John Lines again, calling asylum seekers "scumbags" and reinforcing the myth that the majority of people who seek asylum in this country are not fleeing from persecution but running greedily towards shit council estates and a life on the dole.
FOUR: Erm, housing again, how about having warden-controlled places of sheltered-housing for pensioners, then putting drug addicts, alcoholics and people with mental health problems in the properties as well - what a hoot! You could have druken groups running amok amongst the homes of the elderly. Just what any vulnerable 80 year old needs. And just think how it solves the problem of the frequently empty sheltered-housing properties becoming a problem to your statistics. Government's fault though, obviously.
FIVE: People now think that Manchester is better than Birmingham. We've gone from shiny, innovative, energetic city to dull, angst, groggy city, crippled over things like libraries and fanatasy underground transport systems.
SIX: I could do more, but I'm too depressed now.
No small irony that I have been too busy in my job working for an MP to write a post on the recent controversy about MP employees.
The media, of course, missed the point. The bad thing that Derek Conway MP did was not putting his sons on the payroll, but paying his sons a considerable wage that they could not possible have earnt given their student status. He used public funds to directly fund his children through higher education. That, dear media, is what he did wrong, not that he employed flesh and blood necessarily.
And what was worse even than that was that their "wage" consisted of considerably higher figures than are to be found in my wage packet. That hurts, people, that really hurts.
And so does the fact that now all MP's staff members are in danger of acquiring a reputation for being scroungers, with bank accounts gorginf on public funds, when all we do is ponce around plush offices, typing a letter or two before slinking off for an afternoon at Selfridges.
Even my mom phoned me up to complain about the wages her MP pays his staff, forgetting that her daughter works for an MP, or perhaps concluding that if all MP's staff are as useless a person as me, then we are all definitely being overpaid.
It's galling, because quite frankly neither I nor my immediate colleagues get paid enough for what we do. The needs of the constituency are too great and the staffing allowance too small to allow equality of wage with work load/responsibility. And the crashing great disaster that is Birmingham City Council currently creates enough work to employ me five times over.
I dare say it's OK if you are the MP of Poncey-Upon-Avon, stuffed full of horsey, welly-wearing constituency types, whose biggest constituency issue is the overgrown hedges on Poncey Street, but for a constituency with the problems of the one I work in has, being able to employ only four members of staff is a real problem.
In an office that tries to help people under threat of being 'removed' back to places like Zimbabwe, tries to help families from being evicted because of mistakes in their benefits, tries to help estates plagued by thugs and ignored by the police, tries to help homeless new mothers having to sleep on friend's sofa's, tries to help fathers of disabled children having a nervous breakdown because of the incomptence of social services, tries to help council tenants who live in rat-infested, cold and damp properties, tries to get the mentally ill the professional support they need before the commit suicide (... I could go on), what you really don't need is underpaid, overstreched staff, who might make mistakes because they are having to rush through everything they do because the workload is so overwhelming.
But, no. Rather than a work weary soul who has just had a month of hell, sometimes feeling like the only thing that stands between some people and their own ruin, I now feel like a freeloading party-reveller whooping it up at the tax payer's expense.
And what makes this all extra exra extra annoying is the bloody media acting all wide-eyed with shock over politicians employing relatives and having some dodgy things on expense accounts, when if the media is about two things it is about nepatism and making hay with expense accounts. Pot to Kettle.
I hope there is an overhall of MP's allowances and expense accounts because when they really look at what MP's have to do, and how underfunded the role is, then they'll have to put the money up. Bet the press will report that responsibly. Not.