Friday, May 29, 2009

Allen and Miliband: South Shields' Arse n Elbow experts

After her obviously heartfelt sympathy for those suffering from bingo tax, Tory hopeful Karen Allen has picked another populist target in beer tax, but I would bet that she has never been in the Cranny. If she had she would know the real reason why it's losing business.

It's a shit hole.

Decent people don't drink there. It's windows are regularly smashed. On sunny days like today it's customers will be standing outside intimidating passers by and laughingly casting sexual innuendo at children.

Complaints have been made to local councillors and the police so it's surprising that our local MP David Miliband is also equally clueless to the Cranny's shortcomings when he says that the pub is the lifeblood of the community.

Obviously local knowledge is neither candidates' strong point, but at least as a former resident of South Shields Allen should know something or know someone who does.

Thinking outside the box

Judging by the response in the Gazette you'd think the old police phone box was a holy relic, not a neglected and rusting piss post for dogs. If Councillor Gibson and the local people thought this was such an important feature, why did they allow it to deteriorate and not raise money for it's upkeep? Why do many people expect the council to do everything for them?

What happened to taking the initiative and taking responsibility?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Beam me up

I've not long returned from seeing the new Star Trek movie, a 're-imagining' of the original series. Loud, fast, colourful, tons of action and with a hefty pinch of tongue in cheek. The science is nonsense, so is the plot and the skirts are back in the Sixties. After the tedium of last week's Wolverine, the new Trek is a real hoot.

It won't win any Oscars and will offend some die hard Trek fans, but the general consensus of people leaving the cinema was positive. It's fun and doesn't mess too much with the original franchise despite some slight changes to the Trek universe.

Best thing? Something that hasn't happened after a movie for a while - I'm still grinning like an eejit.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Flying off the handle

Reactionaries of all colours will be spewing self righteous rage after it has been revealed that the Foreign Office has asked for tenders for a contract to provide charter flights for the Foreign Secretary. Some of the perennially offended will play the environment hypocrisy card, hand-wringing over the damage to David Miliband's climate karma by choosing to fly instead of sending a hemp-powered email. Others will agonise over the expenditure.

And as if by magic, Matthew Elliott of Tory black ops propaganda front group the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"David Miliband would do a better job if he remembered he is there to serve the people, not live a life of luxury at our expense."
This cynical approach illustrates the utterly partisan position of the Taxpayers Alliance. By the time such a contract comes on stream there's a fair chance that David Miliband may not be Foreign Secretary, either through reshuffle or change of government. Perhaps the Taxpayers Alliance think the Foreign Secretary would better represent our country by arriving on a flight after being packed in with drunken stag and hen bender tourists?

It's no fun working away from home and family for any length of time, and a job like Foreign Secretary will no doubt require a lot of hours in hotels, airports and on planes. No matter how luxurious the trolls at the Taxpayers Alliance think it is, being away from your family for extended periods can be soul crushing.

I'm no fan of David Miliband. His role so far as Foreign Secretary has proven to be one of ethical corruption and dishonesty. To be fair though, I doubt we have ever had an honest and moral Foreign Secretary, which suggests that the role could be something of a poisoned chalice.

But he's our Foreign Secretary with a job to do for a nation which has always punched above it's weight, no matter how much we disagree with his moral vacuum. I don't begrudge flying our representative around if it means he is fit to fight in the shark tank of foreign politics, and can quickly get back home to his family afterwards.

Happy Birthday Pete Seeger