inulro: (Default)
One of the nifty things about growing up in a country that is traditionally not very good at the summer Olympics is that the CBC and CTV showed (what seemed to be) a random lot of events with participants from various countries, and the roundup at news time was about which countries had the most medals and highlights from throughout the day.

Over here, nothing but Team GB this and Team GB that. Non stop. Mostly no mention even of which countries got the other medals. Radio 4 this morning couldn't stop saying how many medals Team GB has got with ZERO mention of where that is in comparison to other countries. Even if I was British I'm pretty sure I'd be completely fed up with that (and thoroughly embarrassed by how parochial my supposedly world-class news outlet is) by now.
inulro: (Default)
I wake up to the Today Show, Radio 4's flagship news programme.

This morning, in light of the pieces on the vote to refuse to settle unaccompanied child refugees[1] and the smears being told about the junior doctors' strike, I was crafting a post about how I increasingly feel like I live in a corrupt banana republic and that the government and media are just taunting us all about it now.

Then the news came in with the Hillsborough verdict.

I've only watched two major news events unfold live on television - Waco and Hillsborough. I'd been in the UK for maybe 6 months at the time - straight off the boat, really. I didn't mean to watch a football match, but my then boyfriend and I were making lunch in the kitchen/lounge area of his flat & one of his flatmates was watching it & we all ended up glued to the TV for the afternoon, switching between BBC and ITV (I can't recall if they were both showing the match or if one of them switched to live news coverage). It was horrific.

And right away, the victim blaming started. I kind of fell for it at first - football hooliganism was still A Thing (foreign students were warned not go to to matches for fear of violence) and I naively thought that there must be basic safety standards & enforcement in place so the only possible explanation must be the one we were given. I was straight off the boat, remember. I learned. Fast. After all, I continued to live in the north for another 7 years after that.

So while it's great news that the verdict of unlawful killing was delivered, it sucks beyond suckage that it has taken so long. Add to that two major high street shops going into administration because they've been raided by asset strippers, continuing cost of living crises, etc and it's obvious that we really are governed by hate-filled sacks of shit.

What's even more depressing is that people keep voting for them.

I'm sure I started this out with a point other than "today is depressing and people are stupid", but I've lost it.

[1] Not only was my other Prime Minister[2] there to personally welcome a plane load of refugees, in Canada I could join with a group of like-minded individuals to sponsor a refugee family.
inulro: (Default)
I'm not even going to try to wade through any of the UK news sites to try to find any actual news, and suspect that any other sources from the Anglosphere or Europe will be as bad.
inulro: (Default)
I didn't stay up all night to watch the election results - I prefer to go to bed and wake up to whatever semblance of a Brave New World we get. Plus, I'm coming down with a cold so last night was a straight to bed after work night.

I didn't vote yesterday - I am a lazy postal voter and voted last week.

I haven't been posting about the election, but I have been thinking about it, and don't like most of my half-baked conclusions. If ever an election made me want to leave the country, this is it.

I got supremely pissed-off about the fear-mongering on the part of all the parties. If the best thing you can say about yourself is "if you vote for the other guy we're doomed", then you can't have much to offer.

Hung parliament/coaliation: If MPs aren't able to work together to do constructive things in a difficult time, then, quite frankly, we deserve to become a third-world backwater.

Then there's proportional representation. I've a few thoughts:
-"it's too complicated" - so voters in every other European country are really that much smarter than we are?
-"it would give seats to the BNP". Yep, it would. In a mature democracy, this would mean that the mainstream parties would have to face the BNP head-on and have mature, reasoned debate about immigration, Europe etc rather than just saying "we know best/because we said so". PR would give a voice to other interests that don't get a look-in now. For example, I don't want to live in a country with a Green government, but I'd like to live in one where there's more of a Green voice in the decision-making process.

In short, I have more faith in people than the political parties or the media do.

I have no idea how it took me this long to realise just how little scope there is for change in the first-past-the-post system, probably because I grew up in one as well (though one that varies from being a 1-party to a 5-party state).

The elephant in the room - the budget deficit. UK PLC is broke, people. Stop whining and accept that there's going to be a lot of belt-tightening. (This is the where I can't get past being Canadian - the idea that Deficits Are Bad mmm-kay was beaten into me from birth). If you can't afford it, you can't afford it, whether you're a country or a person.

The icing on the cake: I wake up finding that people were turned away from the polling stations because of long queues, and all I can think is "what is this, Zimbabwe?"
inulro: (Default)
I had to make a trip to the newsagent for work purposes at lunch today.
On entering the shop, I was presented with a wall of tabloid (and possibly other) newspapers whose headlines ALL read something to the effect of:

BRITAIN IS TOTALLY CUT OFF FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD! OH NOES! IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD!

FFS. The volcanic ash hasn't put a stop to Eurostar, ferries, or shipping. I suspect they think that easy-to-get-to package holidays are the extent of the world.

Although as Simon Calder points out in his nifty article here, Eurostar's completely full.

I particularly like the end:

And I was lucky enough to find a berth on a cargo ship sailing from Gothenburg to Immingham, where I hope to arrive at 4am on Saturday. Now that's a sentence I never thought I would write.

I'm almost looking forward to a Brave New World where travel is always that much of an adventure.
inulro: (Default)
If the Vatican has just vetoed two candidates for ambassador from the US because they support abortion rights and stem cell research (here), what do they do about countries where such things are non-controversial and anyone chosen to be ambassador would be in favour of them? Do such countries have no formal relations with the Vatican?

Seriously, lazy and enquiring minds want to know.

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