Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Politics - Where i'm at.

Having found out i've had 344 hits on my blog, i felt compelled to write yet another. Do enjoy.

I like American Politics. I enjoy reading about it in the Sunday Broadsheets. It isn't a huge insight that i get, but enough to let me know how things stand over there. For example, at the moment the front runners to oppose Barack Obama in the forthcoming Presidential elections could be Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee, both because they have memorable names, and Michelle Bachmann who is a rather right wing, anti-gay, anti-atheist, anti-anything-that-isn't-republican-or-Christian. Yes, your guess is as good as mine.

Anyway, i won't be boring you with my thoughts about American Politics, instead i'm going to be boring you about British Politics.

I have begun to believe that i have become something of a floating voter. Perhaps even independent. I dislike the Tory's, their attitude seems to be the main problem, as well as being the party most distant to mine and my families beliefs (at least on my mothers side) of the three main parties.

You've then got the Liberal Democrats, who for a while i associated myself with, certainly at the local level of Government. However the coalition they're in has done them no favours with me, or the UK it seems. Government policy implemented in their term it seems will be tarred by the echo of "broken promises".

Which leaves Labour, the party i for quite a while associate myself with. I am a Blairite, which is not something many people will admit to these days. I will be honest however, and come out and say that with regards to policy and beliefs, Blair and New Labour were spot in terms of what i want. It seems however his image will forever be tarnished by the Wars. My thoughts on this however will be left to another blog.

New Labour wiped the floor with John Major's Tory party in 1997, reflecting the countries desire for change. Without wishing to sound like a party political broadcast, they offered hope of not just prosperity, but also care and supervision to any who needed it. As a result i grew up with good schools, good healthcare and good living standards. The man delivered.

However the good times didnt last forever. Enter Brown. While i was still a fan of the Labour party for the 2010 election, they had some obvious problems in leadership, beliefs and of course their performance in looking after the Economy, to the regular viewer, seemed laughable. However, given the state we were in and are in now, credit perhaps should be given where credit is due to Brown and Co.

However, i'm now left in a position of helplessness when it comes to choosing a party. Labour it seems have become slightly more Left than they once were. Tony Blairs "trying to please everyone, all of the time" approach appears to have been abandoned in favour of returning to Labours roots, the left, with the face of "Red" Ed Milliband.

I have no immediate problem with this. I think as a leader he is performing better and better each week at PMQs, often the benchmark of Prime Minister material. However, what leaves me and 54% of polled voters, is we're not sure what his policies and beliefs are yet. Blair took no time at all in amending the all important Clause 4 or Labours constitution, laying the ground work for his election campaign giving voters an idea of what is to come.

Ed hasn't made such a step yet. I think the "honeymoon" period is over in both Government and Opposition. Over a year on it's time for the mud slinging "You left us this" "But you're not sorting it out" business and starting moving forward. Ed needs to align himself and declare his intentions in order to really give voters an idea of what might be offered. Otherwise of the polls continue to show insecurity about what Ed is offering as opposition leader, he might just find himself out of a Job as Iain Duncan Smith did in 2003, and instead his brother David, taking his place opposite David Cameron.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Facebook? Facebroke.

I'm not sure who i'm speaking to any more really. I'm not sure how many of the originally thriving blogging bunch remain, so i may actually be talking to myself in writing this blog. However, i felt my last blog was a rare success so i'm going write another. Hopefully Mini will read it, his regular ramblings and ravings can be quite entertaining, so who knows maybe he'll read some of this, which might be more up his street.

Reading The Sunday Times today, more than a few articles concerned themselves with the perhaps seemingly trivial and teenage thing that is Facebook. I won't spend any longer explaining what Facebook is.

Some of the articles were concerned with the thick-as-a-plank jury member who thought only would be a good idea to talk about her case on Facebook to her friends, but also talk to either the plaintiff or defendant, i'm afraid the sheer stupidity of this story that has developed this week has not left enough room in my brain to remember who it was. "We're all wiv' ya luv" bullshit that belongs on Bebo. Perhaps naively thought Facebook slightly high brow, how wrong i was.

Before i thoroughly abuse Facebook, i need to point out that in the last month similarly special idiots have motioned on Twitter "Doing Jury duty...GUILTY!!" an similar stories.

The second crop of stories were to do with the idea that Facebook might be in decline. 6 Million American's reportedly removed their Facebook profiles last month, although as a friend points out, this is perhaps down to Exams.

Nonetheless, the Focus point in question was that the novelty has worn off....

I might be inclined to agree. I have been increasingly more and more involved on Twitter. Why? There's less bullshit like groups and vain pictures and groups. Perhaps its also because i am a bit self absorbed and like to document all i do on Twitter. But in reality it's because i consider Twitter to be as i mentioned, higher brow that FB. I can follow who i want: Friends, Sports and Intellectuals. It is this point that makes Twitter appeal to me, I choose who i want to enjoy my Twitter experience.

Further, Facebook has lost its appeal to its original audience of young people because of the increasingly large presence of embarrassing adults. I counted no less than 11 family members on there recently.

So are we moving into a new place, a migration. Perhaps. Most i think will stay because i think deep down they like the idea of people looking at pictures they've uploaded (i wont lie, i enjoy this), something facebook offers in no abundance.

I urge any readers however. Move our activities onto Twitter and Blogger. Failing this, return to the Forum.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


There are very few instances in my life i actually cry. I think myself to be rather hard when it comes to sentiments and feelings, as i'm sure a lot you do. Whatever reputation i have earned myself over the years it isn't being a softy that's for sure.

However, i do cry. Seeing my mother cry makes me sad, but i do not cry. However seeing my father cry does, something i have never understood, perhaps something to do with the childlike belief that is the invincible father. I do cry at funerals. I cried last year during the summer when i had received my poor exam results, was working 9-5:30, 6 days a week and felt a load of pressure upon my shoulders. Looking back i was perhaps suffering from depression, certainly exhaustion. I just wanted to be alone, i had problems that i wanted to sort out on my own. I put the then girlfriend Katy through it, and i'm ever grateful for her shoulder, but the truth is she deserves credit for sticking with me in a time when i was in a bad place. Something went wrong. I'm not sure what it was but it had gone wrong. Many evenings i would just come home from work, and cry. None of you will know this, but i feel maybe now is a time to share it.

I rarely however cry at films. I think maybe when i was younger i might had cried at Titanic. Interestingly i cried in the Lion King when Simba's dad died, again perhaps something to do with the invincible father ideal.

There's a film called Reign over me, with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle, about Post Traumatic Stress disorder and other psychological illnesses. I'm not sure why i cried during that film.

On Saturday, June 4th i cried at a film. I was watching Senna, the movie about the great racing driver.
I think many misunderstood him as a man, however the film was an enlightening look into the life he lead, one of honesty, faith and perfection. The truth is, while fully aware of his fame, he seemed very humble from looking at the footage in the film. Prior to the film, Championship rival Alain Prost seems to come off better, the bigger man, but this is perhaps not the case. What i saw of him, and what he said in the film fell not too far short of inspiring. The truth is, today there are few racing drivers that actually can come across as inspiring. Schumacher used to do it for me, but with hindsight, the great Schumacher has nothing on the astounding Brazilian, Ayrton Senna.

Of course, the film shows his death. It is built up hugely, the weekend of his death had footage lasting for what felt like half an hour. Rubens Barrichello crashed heavily in Friday Qualifying, but came out unscathed. Senna was moved, distraught, i am reading a biography of him at the moment, and he actually didn't want to race that weekend, he felt that scared for his life around the Imola circuit. The weekend would have been tarred anyway, as during Saturday Qualifying Roland Ratzenburger crashed heavily and died from his injuries later that day. Formula 1 hadn't seen anything like it for quite some time, so a lot of the pit lane were troubled by undoubtedly a huge tragedy.

Tragedy however struck again. After 7 laps Senna's crashed crashed heavily into Tamburello corner. He sat motionless. No marshal attempted to help the man. Both my mother and father saw the race, both horrified as they saw a man, lifeless within the cockpit, seeing the marshal's backing off. Everyone knew something was wrong. The brilliant Prof. Sid Watkins, the Formula 1 mechanic did all he could. In fact before the race Watkins had predicted "there's going to be a fucking accident", in response to the danger of the circuit. What killed him isn't known, although it was likely to be a suspension piece penetrating his helmet, and causing fatal stress wounds to his skull.

While the music and atmospheric conditions built up the tension during the film, something made it all the more moving than that. He was a hero, in Brazil and Worldwide. Laying in the Navy Blue overall's of his Williams team, surrounded by medical staff, we saw a great man fallen, helpless. The once touted invincible had succumbed to injury's received whilst performing his natural calling, racing a car. At the time millions watched, helpless themselves, as they saw a man losing his life.

The Senna film is different. Hero's are depicted regularly in TV and film. But what we were watching was something i haven't seen before. He was not fictional, he was a man. This is what i think moved me. Despite the accolades, the brilliance and the championships, he was not immortal after all. I can only hope he is remembered as the best ever. He was only 34.

Hero, villain or man he finally was at complete peace in the grace of God. Both men and hero's fall. Perhaps it is times like this, we realise that we all fall. We will all fall.