Thursday, December 22, 2011

On wanting mutual respect

I saw a condescending advert in the local paper the other day from one of the trade unions.  It was about Holly & Ivy and what they want for Christmas.

Holly & Ivy, apparently, are public sector workers, who have worked hard this year.  For Christmas they want the pension and the recompense they’d been promised, as well as “some mutual respect.” 

“Is that too much to ask?” the advert whined.

Well, maybe.  Respect is not a right, it is earned.  Implying that private sector workers don’t work as hard as you (when many of them work harder) is not a way to earn it.  Neither is throwing your toys out of the pram and striking when your ridiculous demands for triple pay are not met.

‘tis the season to be greedy, apparently.

Meanwhile, many of my friends in the NHS will, as a matter of course, be working on Boxing Day.  They won’t be paid triple, although they might earn it.  Funnily enough, they don’t have to bleat about wanting mutual respect, either – because most of us admire what they do and they have it already.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There is a quote from a vicar in this Telegraph article which made me chuckle:

“I went to look, and it was an absolutely huge stash of cannabis. I had to nip over to the rectory and grab a Tesco carrier bag, and there I was, at 10am, in a dog collar, spooning this stuff into the bag, trying to maintain my equilibrium.”

I was going to say that I shouldn’t condone taking things out of context, but I have realised that no clarification was offered for what he did with his haul of cannabis.  I was just assuming that he was clearing it from church property and disposing of it in a legitimate manner.  Given the gist of the article (which is worth reading in full) one perhaps shouldn’t blame him for needing the “medicinal properties” of the leaves he found.  For the record, I don’t condone drug use either, but I do have very little time for the perception that vicars lead a leisurely lifestyle and only occasionally work on Sundays.  Some of them do, sadly, perpetuate that perception (and should really get off their backsides and get on with what God has called them to do) but on the whole it seems to me that the life of a vicar is manic and demanding – and not just at Christmas…

Friday, December 02, 2011

A more light-hearted start to Advent

In more ways than one at the moment I could be accused of losing the plot.  After my barrage of tweets yesterday about the BBC, the unions and Clarkson’s comments it’s probably time to chill out for a bit.

I am still annoyed that I can’t watch the trains on the One Show, and don’t like living in a society where – as one commentator put it – folk call for those who advocate being taken out and shot to be taken out and shot.  But I’ll put that aside for now.  Advent has begun, Christmas is coming and I have found a YouTube video which put a smile on my face….

Thursday, December 01, 2011

On living in a Communist State…

This morning, I looked back at my Twitter feed for yesterday and decided that I’d quite like to watch The One Show on iPlayer with my breakfast.  Not, of course, for reasons you might think.  What I had seen on Twitter were references to a report on the ‘Megatrain’ and given that I am a ferroequinologist, I thought I might find it quite interesting.*

Unfortunately, I discovered that yesterday’s show wasn’t available, so I watched a bit of Alex Salmond getting excited about Scottish Independence before reading the BBC News Page.  And there I discovered what everyone else had seen on Twitter about the One Show – that Jeremy Clarkson had made some controversial comments.  Is that why I cannot watch it?

Apparently he said that those on strike yesterday should have been lined up and shot.**  But does anyone really think that he genuinely believes that, and would have actually shot them given half a chance?  Or was it just a bit of classic exaggeration, designed to make a point?

Television, especially comedy, employs the latter a lot, and often to good effect.  And, offensive though his comments may have been to some, the underlying idea that he doesn’t have much time for those on strike is a fair point.  After all, most of us have graciously accepted that on average we now live longer, and on average we have to pay more for everything.  Including our pensions.  So why should a group of men on six figure salaries attempt to hold the country to ransom?***

I am struggling with the BBC’s apparent censorship of yesterday’s One Show.  After all, there are lots of potentially offensive things on TV.  Plus, in this case, we’re talking about an iPlayer episode, the content of which has been plastered all over the news.  So you should be able to make an informed choice about whether or not you wish to see it.

Unfortunately, the BBC has denied us that choice.  They have decided what we can and cannot hear about yesterday’s strikes, and have decided to protect my ears from Clarkson’s comments, even though my eyes have been unable to avoid them on their news page.  Why haven’t they gone to the same trouble in the past with other offensive comments?

The question is, of course, whether the episode would have been left on iPlayer if Clarkson had instead said “anyone who votes Tory should be lined up and shot.” 

Meanwhile, the sad thing is that in trying to make a point, and in limiting free speech, the BBC have also denied me the chance to watch a report I’d have been genuinely interested in.


*Yes, really

**I’m sorry if you found reading that offensive.  Please feel free to complain about this blog and campaign for its removal.

***I am, of course, talking about the Union bosses.