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Mr Bumble?

On My MindPosted by Hooton Roberts Sun, August 05, 2012 12:46:34
Why is Boris Johnson so popular? He appears as the oafish bumbler with bedraggled hair and an air of being unprepared but I have never believed that routine. Moreover, I see a fiercely ambitious, conniving, publicity hungry man of inaction who would rather delegate any responsibility unless it involves a free meal or an appearance to camera.  When you examine the jobs he's had; journalist, editor of a magazine, MP and Mayor of London, these are not jobs that fall into the laps of bumbling oafs. Rather they are sought-after by a feverishly ambitious person, determined to self-publicise themselves into contention.  But suddenly he's become Mr Popular. Admittedly 50% of those who bothered to turn up at the last Mayoral election in London i.e. one every five people, did actually vote for Boris but even then when you're popular with 20% of the electorate you can't be THAT popular can you?  It was this electoral victory that made me take back what I'd said about the USA voting George W in twice. There was a time I ridiculed that nation for also having the 'Jerry Springer Show' with its regular gawp at dysfunctional families. But we eventually got Jerry AND now we have Jeremy Kyle. It now appears as though Boris is being championed as a successor for his party's leadership once the current incumbent messes up so badly he's forced to quit. But will 'Mr Bumble' actually take on this challenge or merely delegate it? Only time will tell. But have YOU been taken in?

Sorry

On My MindPosted by Hooton Roberts Thu, September 15, 2011 23:08:54
As pop music has dictated - "sorry seems to be the hardest word."
But it's not really; it's become all too easy to say. People say sorry all the time but do they really mean it?

Perhaps they're sorry because they've been found out or caught? Perhaps sorry is another way of saying 'if only I'd been more devious and covered my tracks better'?

Rupert Murdoch didn't say sorry at the phone hacking enquiry. He did say that the whole experience was the most humbling of his life. My response to that would have been to ask what the SECOND most humbling experience of his life was. After all, up until the enquiry, it would've been at number one. The ensuing silence would have been a truer indication of how sorry (and humbled) he really was.

Police & Thieves

On My MindPosted by Hooton Roberts Mon, August 08, 2011 10:58:28

The police complain but they don't explain.

The police label rioters as feral and are very quick to condemn those of cause trouble on the streets of North London. However, they're not as quick as it to explain what actually happened on the previous Thursday when somebody was shot dead. Even a quick rundown of the sequence of events would help. But they state that there's an investigation underway, and any comments might affect the findings of that investigation. Will they never learn? 

Some people wanted answers and some people wanted to know the truth. However, some people just wanted to steal, rob and start a fight. There's no excuse for that, and we shouldn't be looking for excuses for people who are criminals, and who are up for a scrap at the drop of a hat.

However, politicians are very quick to dismiss people without realising that, whatever damage has been done and whatever the cost is in the millions, it's nothing compared to the damage that they've done when they make cuts in services and cuts in those sectors trying to bridge the gap between the poor, the helpless and the vulnerable and the very rich and judgemental.

The social costs won't be determined for several years but, surely, it's obvious that something is not right already? 
So, perhaps, rather than just making some arrests and some sweeping statements without any evidence we should be asking what really happened, why it happened and what can be done to stop it happening again. But without using the phrase "lessons have been learned" because, a brief glance at history suggests that they haven't. Again. 

Housing Benefit

On My MindPosted by Hooton Roberts Sun, July 03, 2011 14:24:33

Following the Housing Benefit concerns reported today

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/uk-14004551

I'm concerned about the the long-term social cost of the government's intentions.

I'm also concerned that the private rents of these 'expensive' homes are not set by the tenants that live in these properties. Neither are they set by the government (local or national) or by an independent body that monitor the rising costs. They're set by private landlords. So who is to blame for rising costs?

Then I'm concerned that there is a short-fall in social housing because since the 'right-to-buy' started over 30 years ago, how much of that money has been re-invested back into building social housing?

Finally, I'm concerned at these people who claim for two homes when they only need one and expect taxpayers to cover the additional costs of their homes near their workplace when they should be made to live in halls of residence. Yes, MPs.

Top Gear

On My MindPosted by Hooton Roberts Tue, February 01, 2011 23:37:56

Top Knobs

Top Gear has upset the Mexican ambassador by making rude comments about his homeland.

Richard 'The Hamster' Hammond stated that a car made in Mexico, the Mastretta, was "just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat."

His co-presenters, James 'Shit Hairstyled Beer Seller' May and Jeremy 'The Twat' Clarkson also described Mexican food as "refried sick".

Clarkson also stated that he was confident he would not receive any complaints about their comments because the Mexican ambassador would be asleep. Yes, I can see why he thought that as that's my status within minutes of Clarkson appearing on my TV.

However, surprisingly, the ambassador wasn't asleep and has complained.

Last week, Top Gear won a National TV Award for most popular factual show. Who votes in these competitions?

But, more intriguing, where's the uproar? Presenters making flippant, rather stupid and ignorant remarks should be hauled over the coals, shouldn't they?

I'm sure they won't be getting any golden balls of chocolate delight at the Mexican ambassador's reception.

Big Society

On My MindPosted by Hooton Roberts Fri, January 28, 2011 01:17:09

Big Society is on its way. We’ve all been wondering what it is and now, as the cuts slash their way through public services, I’m beginning to get it.

As jobs in libraries, social services, social care start to disappear, there are calls for more ‘volunteers’ to step in and plug the gap that will be created. This is what Big Society is all about; doing something for nothing.

And who are these volunteers going to be? And who has the time to do this volunteering?

Of course, the jobs that are lost must be dead easy because anyone can volunteer to do them. The government are even suggesting providing a bit of funding to keep you going; not much though because there’s a recession and what with the deficit.

That’s quite insulting though, isn’t it? Suggesting that some jobs can be done by volunteers and for a small cost?

Well, excuse me as I'm insulting in return but couldn’t politics work in this way? After all, anyone can become a politician, can’t they?

Within a few months, this government have ensured students will start work with massive debts around their necks and that some public servants are perceived as worthless.

Why shouldn’t the politicians experience this too? Rather than pay them, can’t they be volunteers? Then, they too, can be a part of Big Society.

They could be given loans whilst in office that they pay back after their political careers when they cash in with directorships, jobs as consultants and advisers. Then, of course, there are always the memoirs that they pump out without fail. These are often the big pension pay-out that old politicians seem to bank on.

Saying that, you look at Alastair Campbell and John Prescott and realise that perhaps those books haven’t sold as well as they hoped for.

One (Campbell) appears to be willing to appear on any TV show he can including ‘A Question Of Sport’ (was professional bullying ever a sport?) whilst the other (Prescott) is selling us car insurance. What a fine legacy for a pair of great statesmen!

So, with politicians having to survive on loans, they won’t be able to afford those second houses will they? But, all is not lost. They could be provided with halls of residence close to Westminster. Well, when I say close, I mean a bus ride at the very least.

But who will run these halls? Volunteers of course! But who has the time to volunteer for this kind of work; the House of Lords and retired politicians?

Well, why not? After all, "we’re all in this together".

So, there you have it; a Big Society led by the very same people trying to convince us to buy into it, well, volunteer for it.

FE(der)RAL

On My MindPosted by Hooton Roberts Sun, January 23, 2011 00:05:26

The recent dismissal of some student demonstrators as ‘feral’ by political leaders is yet another instance when this word has been used to demonise the younger members of society.

It’s particularly galling when the Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, says that word and then you consider that he used to be a member of the infamous ‘Bullingdon Club’; a society of privileged, wealthy, reckless young bucks who thought little of undertaking petty pranks of vandalism and destruction for the thrill of escaping the clutches of the police and authorities.

But isn’t that what growing up and being young is all about? Don’t most young people go through phases of rebellion, petty shoplifting and involvement in political demonstrations? Ask the politicians themselves what first drew them to politics.

Yes, there were people at the demonstration there to cause trouble and start a riot. Yes, with some irony but much more annoyance, one in particular was a privileged young rich kid who appears to have nothing better to do. I’m surprised the Bullingdon representatives haven’t sent him an application.

But not everyone there was out for trouble and we mustn’t be led to believe that by either the politicians, the police or the media, because that is just plain lazy on ALL their parts.

I went to demonstrations in my youth and the same happened then; it was always a minority, and when you’d been to as many demonstrations and football matches as I had by my early twenties, you could spot these wankers anywhere. Which was odd, because, by that time of the late 1980s and early 1990s, many of these events were also attended by the local police who would be taking photographs of us and filming the ‘demonstrators’ or ‘fans’. You’d have thought that if I can spot potential ‘aggro’, they could too. Perhaps the photos were a bit grainy, eh?

Then, police resorted to the ‘thin blue line’ or mounted horses to ‘control’ the crowds. A wall of chubby, uncompromising policemen with identification numbers hidden from view. When the demo was over, they’d probably end up reminiscing, fondly, over a warm drink about how this reminded them of the miners’ strike but without all the overtime.

These days, they’re using a new practice called ‘kettling’; the idea behind this being to contain a crowd within a confined area, against their will, whether they’re a trouble-maker or not, and detain that crowd for hours. It’s a bit like being trapped on an overcrowded train that doesn’t stop or serve drinks to appease the angry mass. The only difference is that if you complain on the train, you don’t get arrested or beaten up.

I honestly thought that those days of ‘police brutality’ were over. How naive of me! I thought that one of my favourite jokes was no longer applicable – How many policemen does it take to break an egg? None; it fell down the stairs.

Now, there are outlets such as You Tube to display footage or the extreme actions used by the police, but the authorities are adamant that the police are correct to do what they did to curtail this anti-social and potentially-damaging behaviour. I don’t disagree with force being used to deal with serious offenders who are determined to ruin the intention of the event for their own ends. However, to suggest that everyone involved in a demonstration is somehow guilty and, therefore, should be made to experience and endure this treatment seems unjust. And I hate injustice.

However, that’s another argument for another time. I’m still confused as to why young people are always demonised and made out to be some force of evil who, some believe, have it all too easy. How many times do we hear that their exams were easier than ours, they have more luxuries by comparison, they expect more, they’re lazy and always sleeping their life away and they’re bad mannered? Come on, people. That’s ALL teenagers, isn’t it?

Weren’t YOU like that? If not, maybe that’s the problem. Young people have a lot to deal with and if they do expect more and have more luxuries, then that’s our fault for spoiling them and not teaching them the value of things and the appreciation of circumstances. Our fault; not theirs.

Their exams aren’t easier; that’s a myth. I hated exams at school AND after school in colleges and universities because they expect you to remember everything you’ve been taught, almost parrot fashion. I would have loved assessment as it would have played to my strengths rather than just awarded high grades to people who can remember things.

There is a good reason why younger people need their sleep. Their bodies are working overtime to deal with all the changes they’re going through. Puberty and development into an adult is a very difficult and significant stage in life. Of course, you’re going to be tired with all that activity; even when you’re asleep, your body is going through all kinds of processes. So sleep while you can; before the mournful clodding of real life catches you and ties you down to direct debits and the false promises of politicians.

Somewhere between David Bowie’s ‘All You Pretty Things’ and ‘Changes’, the answer most probably lies. And Bowie never used the word ‘feral’ in those songs.

So, let’s not demonise our youth; let them flourish and decide for themselves. History always teaches us that the human race continues to make the same mistakes because we have to experience the inevitability of our failure for ourselves.

Instead, let us examine WHY people were demonstrating to cause this upset and torment?

People took to the streets to demonstrate against politicians who went back on their word. Their WORD, ladies and gentlemen; something that we, the normal people or the little people, give as our own personal guarantee. We had to endure the griping of politicians who signed a pledge NOT to increase tuition fees and then, within six months, went back on that pledge, even stating regret at ever signing it.

If you were THAT remorseful, you’d call another election so we could reappraise our own minds and opinions, you’d do the decent and honourable thing. Or is that the right honourable thing? Come on, what if we regret our initial voting decision, and insist that you tell us the truth this time? Can you appease us?

And please remember that you’re lucky that this isn’t France because, if politicians try this sort of stuff, they have been known to get a very rough ride.

Of course people are angry. I’m livid. Not that you lied; I expect that from politicians. We feign disappointment and surprise in equal measure when we discover that a politician has been lying or deceitful in their actions. But, let’s be honest to ourselves, we KNOW they lie. Another old gag; you know when a politician is lying to you because their mouth is moving. That’s not the reason for my ire.

No, I’m cross because there seems to be an endemic acceptance of failure these days. There is no punishment if politicians fail. And I am talking here about immediate punishment.

What do I mean? Well, allow me to explain. If you or I go to a job interview and assure the panel of prospective employers of our capabilities to do the job and then get that job, we are assessed on our performance.

If, after six months, it transpires that we’re out of our depth, unable to do the job or that we lied about our capabilities, we can get sacked, or demoted or undergo a disciplinary action; there are consequences to our actions.

However, politicians rise from the ashes like a shit-stained phoenix to carry on with their woefully incompetent and misleading ways.

There’s no immediacy involved. Sure, they might lose a post but they remain a politician and, yes, we can elect them out of their seat but that’s only if we remember by the next election time. By then, they’ve have ample opportunity to feather their nests and line up employment without ever having to worry about the consequences of their actions or the fact that they’ve misled people. After all, they can always say that they made the best decision ‘at the time’ and hope that time presses on and stops looking at them and pointing.

The worst case scenario for them is that they lose all chance of employment and are forced to receive a massive advance in order to write their memoirs.

It’s been done before; Tony Blair as Prime Minister and the hundreds of thousands who marched to say that they didn’t want to enter a ‘war’ with the USA against Iraq. Once again, the politicians knew best and did what they thought was best at the time. That all blew over, didn’t it?

So, now there are demonstrations and the politicians suggest that the police have a difficult job as it is without all these trouble-makers. Yes, because you keep cutting their resources and manpower and introducing laws that anger people. But to call young people feral and not address your own failings and deliberate lies is wrong.

My other annoyance is that the people who make these decisions to charge for higher education, in many case, received a free education. Education should be seen as an entitlement rather than a luxury. An educated nation is better than an uneducated one, it stands to reason, and it can only be a good legacy for a country that no longer appears to make anything that we strive to better ourselves in preparation for the hardship ahead.

If the politicians who voted yes to the increase in fees and not just them, all those politicians who agreed to this move away from free education over the decades, were THAT committed to this premise, then I would expect, at the very least, that they refund the state, the cost of their own individual education in terms of how much it would cost today. That money could be accumulated to provide a bursary for those people who cannot afford to pay for further education and spend the majority of their adult life with a state-imposed debt weighing them down.

You talk about setting an example and yet you allow lying and false regret to cover your own inadequacies to hide those falsehoods. Yes, fine examples, just don’t expect my confidence or vote at the next election.