Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I am the target

Reaching some age milestones are accorded special status, the 40th birthday, the joyous 60 year-old, for example. Hitting the half-century, in my case, has brought me into repeated life assurance advert-related contact with Parky himself, courtesy of Google targeted advertising.
Plebs are supposed to stalk celebs, but Parky -in yet another twist to his long and illustrious career - has gone for stalking the great mass of 50 to 80 year olds that he feels are in desperate need of no frills, no questions asked life cover.
Parky, you were the doyen of chat, king of Saturday night TV, the chat show come back kid - hey, you even reversed boomeranged back to the UK after taking Aus by storm. But please, from one Tyke to another, call off the cyber ad blitz. Otherwise I'll be forced to seek out the emu...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jeremy Paxman's War

Although Paxo gave some good insights into the way WWI affected life on the home front, the overwhelming coverage given to the Western Front gave a rather one-dimensional aspect to the series. He only seemed to mention the Dardanelles briefly and failed to give any coverage to the fighting that took place in Palestine, Mesopotamia and Salonika-Macedonia. It was on this latter front that, arguably, the Central Powers began to fall apart, after first Bulgaria and then Austro-Hungary sued for peace, leaving Germany, in Hindenburg's words to 'wage war alone against the world'. It was also irritating to hear him shoe-horn the phrase 'all in this together' into his commentary in a couple of places. The centenary is far too important for politicians - or those who comment on their activities - to use for their own narrow ends. Don't want Paxo to start a trend that Cameron - with his desire to turn the whole thing into a 'commemoration' - can use for party political tub-thumping in the run up to the 2015 general election.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Bishops are being pastoral again

So, the Anglican bishops chose St Valentine's day to have another go at gays in the church. In what they refer to as a 'pastoral statement' they state that those in same sex marriages can't be ordained and those gay clergy already serving can't enter into same sex marriages. Alright, we know they've got form in this area, but seeing as its now law, wouldn't you have thought the 'established' church (ie the denomination that's headed by the Queen) would accept the law as passed by parliament? Are the bishops so far removed from reality that they believe they can issue a pronouncement from on high that the rest of society will meekly accept?
And they wonder why their pews are getting emptier.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mind the Gap - Tonight it Starts in Leamington

At times a train manager's lot is not a happy one. Liaquat explained - several times - that the delayed departure of the 17.33 from Birmingham New Street to Oxford was due  to a 'driver shortage'. One was finally rounded up and we left Birmingham at just before six. The first stop was Leamington Spa. It was to be the last stop too. On arrival, Liaquat's best oratorical efforts could not detract from the plan and bitter truth: a complete power failure at Banbury meant everyone had to leave the train.
Somewhat shamefaced, I made my way through the throng of disappointed passengers. I'm here for a work-related meeting and was pre-booked into a rather shabby guest house. The Stucco's fine, but in place of Betjeman's oft-quoted chintzy chintzy cheeriness, I'm faced with grungy grungy carpet-stainedness.
Can't help but think that the delayed Brum departure was down to a premonition that had spread amongst the drivers. South of Leamington on this storm-tossed night, lay danger and peril for the traveler.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Casino, the Church and the Page 3 Model - Northampton Goes to Hell in a Handcart, For a Fee...

The decision by Aspers Casino to project a 30 foot tall image of a page 3 model on the front of All Saints' Church in Northampton has led to a bit of confused thinking by the Diocese of Peterborough. The image was projected without permission being sought and is intended to advertise a St Valentine's Day Strip Poker 'event' (touching, eh?) but the diocesan spokesman's response proved interesting - to say the least. He was "disappointed that Aspers Casino has sought to use a church building for advertising a commercial event without offering payment and without even having the decency to seek permission first". Presumably if they'd paid it would have been OK? What was that about a den of thieves - in Peterborough Diocese it looks like a den of strippers would be allowed in, or more accurately, 'on' the church - but only as long as they paid first. Fetch the cord, start the whipping...

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Without a human care in the world

Defending the Coalition government's decision to remove the clause imposing human rights standards on private care providers from the Care Bill, my local representative of the swivel-eyed loon faction saw this as a victory for cost and complexity reduction.
Ruling out basic standards of human rights for some of the most vulnerable in society, on the ground that it was too complex for the private sector shows just how far the government is prepared to sell its own people short so that it can promote the interest of corporatism. And the patients? Well, my MP felt they were more than adequately protected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the doughty and fearless regulator regularly shown  up in the media for its inability to spot dehydration or pressure sores in patients, or even signs of physical abuse.