Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Homing in on Jacqui

I’VE got a lot of problems with Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Thanks to her department, our civil liberties are disappearing quicker than a burp in a blizzard. There’s a CCTV camera on almost every corner and you can’t pop out for some chips without being stopped and searched. There’s even a law to stop you taking photos of police—which means every US tourist in London could get arrested. With compulsory ID cards and a national DNA database they’ll be able to follow your every move. They even want to spy on your phone calls and e-mails. And you can get locked up without going to court. With all this going on, is it really a good use of time to obsess about who Jacqui lives with and whether she fills in her expenses properly? Instead of panicking about the erosion of our freedoms, some commentators go mental about her claiming that her sister’s place is her “primary” home and her other place is her “second” home. Until very recently ministers were required to register their London home as their main residence. So by all means let’s shout about Jacqui’s approach towards our personal freedom. But when it comes to whinging on about her parliamentary expenses, count me out.
An exercise in diplomacy
MISTER Brown was in the good ol’ U.S. of A on Wednesday visiting congress—which is the same as the British parliament, but with an American accent. His was underlining our “special relationship” with our US buddies. He met superman Obama and then made his big speech. Some felt it was over the top, but I think it was good. But congress thought it was fantastic. In fact, they gave him standing ovations DURING his speech which is like cheering a football player before he scores the goal. There’s now a dispute about how many standing ovations he got. One commentator said it was five. Others say 19. Having watched it, I think the higher number is right. But 19 standing ovations. That’s less like an audience and more like an exercise class. Gord will be pleased. He single handedly managed to unseat the whole of the US congress just by telling them he loved them. I’ll try it t next time I’m going through security at JFK airport in New York. Maybe then they won’t make me take my shoes and belt off.
What a Faye day
EVER felt you’re being followed? I did, last Monday, when 20 sixth-formers trailed me into the Commons. After a conference with politicians discussing policies and telling the MPs what they think, they wanted to watch “the proceedings of the House”. Among this happy band of pupils there was one particularly feisty lady by the name of Faye Roan from Liverpool. Faye and the others asked challenging questions about politics and the media. She and her teacher Miss Cavannagh are a credit to their educational institution.
Maggie caused a coal lot of trouble
TWENTY-FIVE years ago the miners’ strike began. It was a dispute about a lot of things, but mainly a stand-off between the National Union of Miners and the Tories. As the Frankie Goes To Hollywood song at the time went: “When two tribes go to war, one is all that you can score.” And so it was with these two tribes—Margaret Thatcher versus Arthur Scargilll. The strike went on for months but eventually, the miners lost. Many were delighted. They thought Scargill was a nutty lefty who’d ruin the country. Others said miners had every right to defend their livelihood. A quarter of a century later, it looks like they were right. Thatcher ruined the mining industry, leaving the shafts to become unusable. Now we import coal from abroad, when millions of tons lie under our feet.

No comments:

Post a Comment