Thursday, June 28, 2007

Initial thoughts...

Not that excited by the new cabinet. I thought there might at least be a few (interesting) surprises. Alas, it was not too be. I spoke to a friend at the Home Office - they got hugely excited by the idea Jack Straw might be coming, then came to the thudding realisation that he was off to "the other bit" and they were left with an unknown. To be fair, nice to see that a woman has such a prominent position, but still. I think I would have prefered Jack Straw back in as Foreign Secretary - shown that Brown wasn't opposed to a dissenting voice. Justice seems a bit of a cop-out. I guess we shall see.

On another note, managed to hugely offend a (perhaps oversensitive) colleague by offering some constructive criticism of her recent work, meant to improve my workload. In fact, it added an extra two hours to it. Sometimes hard tactics work - the offending thing is now no more. However, the workmate is unlikely to ever speak to me again. Given that they annoy me, it's not too much of a problem. Still, I probably ought to work on being more constructive and less abrasive. It's just the last straw in a string of completely infuriating work-related issues. Argh. (Bangs head against desk.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Too much fun

If you haven't already, you really need to check out the Obama ringtones - Sadly unavailable to those of us unable to vote in the US Presidential elections, these are just incredible.

A lot of American liberal commentators (including JS down at the Daily Show) are heaping scorn on the whole thing but you know what? - they are *just so cool*. I think they're all just trying a little bit too hard to prove how cool they are. Seems like that's shutting the door after the horse has bolted. How hip-and-with-it can you actually be when even your supposedly intelligent liberal comment show conflates Al-J. tv with Al-Quaida? Because you know what guys: that's seriously uncool. At least try.

In other news, I would like to extend a plea to all of the people that get on my train at the end of the day and look like they've been off having fun. First it was drunken idiots coming back from Ascot and sporting feathers/top hats etc. Yesterday it was muddy, stoned people on the way back from Glastonbury. Some of us actually have to *work* for a living and we are categorically not having fun. Stop rubbing it in our faces.

Do I sound bitter? Yeah, well - I am.

Monday, June 25, 2007

In other news...

I'm actually pretty chuffed that Harriet Harman got the deputy leadership position. I've been trying not to have too much of an opinion on this (bizarrely, given that this is UK politics and I live in the UK) but she seems like a good thing. Obviously, I say this relatively. I think I am now under the impression that good people don't want to be politicians, so those that do are in some way necessarily flawed, but given that, I quite like the Brown-Harman ticket. She seems unashamedly feminist, without feeling insecure enough to qualify it. Of course, she is not perfect (nor is her track record) but it would be politically naive to expect perfection.

I have always had a somewhat irrational affection for Brown over Blair (perhaps it's the Scottish Pre. thing - I can be unjustifiably morally righteous myself at times) and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

In some regards, it's completely irrelevant - in terms of voting, let's just say that I will *not* be voting for Cameron (one of life's little certainties) and as much as I have flirted with the libdems, at the moment it just doesn't appear politically plausible. The LDs have squandered the opportunities for advantage they had and despite them being (de facto) the most left wing party around, I can't say that I'm committed enough to stick by them. Quite frankly, as long as Labour don't go completely barmy, it seems like the only responsible vote. Except that sounds horrid and isn't really what I want to say.

Yet another well thought out and completely coherent post then...

Ring of Fire

My first reaction to the recent news story regarding the “silver ring thing” ( and whether the wearing of such a ring should be banned from schools, was: Yes, it bloody well should be banned. I suppose my main reasons for thinking this would be:
a) What does a *ring* have to do with being chaste? Surely, chastity is one of those decisions that you make and decide to keep – the presence of a piece of jewellery is not going to be a huge factor as to whether this is going to work.
b) Perhaps the ring is a symbol of how chaste you are and maybe, in times of real temptation, the sight of it will keep you strong. IME, there is not really much temptation at school. Or, more importantly, the opportunity to carry that temptation through. By all means, put it on when you get the school bus home, but frankly, if you need it at school, you have some deeper issues that ought to be confronted first.
c) Having (fairly recently, although it is receding into the distance) been a teenager at a mediocre state comp, I can safely assure you that allowing one sort of ring is going to be a slippery slope. Remembering accidents that were downright gory (although entertaining back then because we were sadistic), rings are just not a good idea.
d) I’m not religious and even if I was, I wouldn’t like the idea of chastity. By all means, young women and men should be encouraged to have sex with people they really like and there is nothing wrong with wanting it to be special. However, too often, chastity is used as an excuse to debase women and to discourage a comprehensive (and important) sexual education.
e) Not only am I not religious but (ashamedly I have to admit) religious motivation has me stumped. I just don’t get it. As I have been told in the past, I am spiritually impoverished. On the plus side, it makes things like this gloriously straight-forward.
I have to admit, I thought that this point of view would be shared by my nearest and dearest, so that we could pour scorn on the whole procedure together. However, it was not to be. He thought it should be allowed as a religious symbol (apparently that kind of thing is to some Christian Evangelists) and that, on the whole, schools shouldn’t be allowed to dictate about jewellery. He amended this point to allowing “one ring per pupil”.

We have hit an impasse – he becoming more libertarian and I, more stridently authoritarian (I can’t help it, it’s my aspirational lower-middle class background) as I embrace republicanism – of the political theory kind, not, god forbid, the American sort. He’s wrong, but I’m inclined to be nice about it…