Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Breaking: pound shop Oswald Mosley to undergo trial by TV (licence)

"Nigel Farage has threatened to stop paying his licence fee unless the BBC apologises for reporting that he had "blood on his hands" over the death of a Polish man in the wake of the EU referendum."

If you think that a broadcaster has seriously defamed you, I think the correct response is "see you in court", not "I'm probably thinking about not paying for my TV licence."

Come on, Nige, I'm sure you and your rich mates can have a whip round and get you lawyered up. Defend your reputation properly, man. Or are you scared you might lose?

Monday, 18 September 2017

Ask another silly question

They're coming thick and fast now. After "Is it time to place our future in Boris's hands and prepare for new leadership?" (no, obviously), here's another question with an even more obvious answer.

Who should you trust to give an accurate assessment of how much the United Kingdom pays the European Union - the head of the UK Statistics Authority, or Michael Gove, a man who believes that it's possible for all schools to be above average?

Please tell me that there's nobody left who still needs help working out the correct answer.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

What lurks beneath the smirk

It's easy to criticise a public figure for having a "gaffe" or a "car crash interview." But most of us, if we're being honest, couldn't have done much better.

A lot what we think of as success is performative, especially in these days of self-branding. The skill of coming across as warm, persuasive, interesting, confident and fluent may not always be a reliable indicator of being well-briefed, of having good ideas, or of being competent, but it's still a skill, and one that few of us have reliably mastered. I know in my heart of hearts that most public figures performing below par in a "car crash interview" are probably doing about as well as I'd do on a good day. It's easy to mock, especially if you disagree with the person in question, but generating a convincing public persona is hard.

The gaffes you can enjoy guilt-free are the ones when a public figure blurts something damning that's consistent with both the character they usually present and what they actually do.

Which brings us to George Osborne who, apparently, won't rest until Theresa May is “chopped up in bags in my freezer” and his rival for Arrogant Smug-Faced Git of the Century, Martin Shkreli, who's been on Facebook, offering $5,000 for a strand of Hillary Clinton's hair for reasons I'd rather not know about.

So their fantasies and obsessions are as toxic as the things we already know they've done to people less powerful than themselves, and the way they bear themselves in public. On one level, there's no mystery here. Hiding beneath the arrogant persona of a weirdly callous, self-satisfied bastard is a weirdly callous self-satisfied bastard. No hidden depths, just surface, like the guy in American Psycho.

What does puzzle me, in these days when image is king, is how a person can get so far in life while still rocking the crazed stalker/psycho killer look. Given the way we speak of an unbalanced aristocrat as "eccentric" and a mentally ill person on a bus as a "loony", I suspect that the halo effect of already possessing a large stash of cash plays a role.

Anyway, on to my musical interlude of the day. Bet you can't listen to this without picturing George Osborne adopting that strangely David Byrne-like power pose:

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Sweet as a nut

"Poundland Nutters: Mental health row over 'offensive' sweets"
Offensive Poundland nutters? Never mind mental health rows, Ukip should sue them for copyright infringement. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

A firm, but fair, refugee policy

This, from Hayley Dixon in the Telegraph, is so ripe with (unintentional?) irony it's fit to burst:
British holidaymakers say that they have been abandoned starving on a hurricane-hit island as evacuation planes leave half empty because they have no permission to take "refugees" from the UK.

Anger is growing over the "disgraceful" Government response to the disaster as families of those on one of the worst hit islands say there has been no information and no help despite the growing lawlessness and the fact they are running out of their last scraps of food and water. 
The father of one of the British refugees complained that:
"They are just trying to survive. They are being told to go to the airport each day but the Dutch and the French are just looking after their own, if you have got the wrong passport then you don't fly. "
I'd have thought that a Brit, of all people, would have understood that it is the right and duty of every sovereign nation to create a hostile environment for people who end up in the wrong place with the wrong passport. British refugees should count themselves lucky that the French equivalent of Katie Hopkins hasn't suggested machine-gunning stranded Brits yet.

And if you still think refugee British holiday makers have it bad, spare a thought for the residents of British territories in the Caribbean. Facing a hungry, uncertain future in the shattered wreckage of their homes and communities, the British government has decided to send them Boris Johnson to make their misery complete. Now that's what I call a hostile environment.