Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Identity crisis grows

IDENTITY card plans have caused anger for years. First they wanted everyone in Britain to carry one. Then they saw sense and scrapped the scheme.But now they’ve gone for a bizarre halfway house where ID cards aren’t compulsory but people can buy them for 30 quid! After shelling out seven tenners for a passport, folk in Manchester,where the pilot scheme is starting, have the option of making it a round 100 by buying a useless ID card as well. Labour plan to extend the scheme to Cumbria, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cheshire next year. So if you Northern lads have a few quid left to burn after Christmas, forget the pub! Get yourself another piece of plastic to prove to your landlord you’re who he thinks you’ve been for the last 10 years. I suppose the only person who really could do with proving he exists is Santa Claus. But he doesn’t need ID to get into the country, he can get a herd of reindeer and 10 billion quid’s worth of presents in and he hasn’t even got a passport!
THE troubled Sun newspaper had a curious pop at me for using electricians from Mid-Wales to fix my electrics in my London flat. Their reporter, Lynsey Haywood, implied I wasted money by getting Welsh chaps to fix some electrical problems down in the Big Smoke. Now, let’s think about this. Which do YOU, dear Sport reader, think is cheaper? Sparkies from central London — or my guys from Montgomeryshire, one of the lowest paid regions in Britain? The Sun seems to believe you can get electrics fixed for less in Britain’s capital than you could with Welsh electricians — even including the travel! Perhaps they think Mid-Wales is more costly than Monte Carlo, so their tiny journalistic expenses allowance won’t stretch to a visit to find out whether the place is inhabited by multimillionaires and Pamela Anderson. Just so you know, a pint in my local pub is just over two quid. Rents are a fraction the price of the Big City… as are wages. Daily Sport writers know the real salaries people get OUTSIDE London. What’s bad is the story caused local electrician Chris Lewis to get so upset about how he was, in his words, “completely misquoted” that he offered to resign from his job. That’s NOT good, Lynsey! I don’t mind people having a bit of fun at MY expense, but how would young Ms Hayward feel if someone caused HER so much grief she felt like resigning? As one journalist to another, I suggest there should be limits. It’s wrong to pick on people who don’t know how the press will use their quotes. It might be good to show more respect to decent people like Chris, who deserve better from papers like the Sun.
THERE was scandal in the Irish parliament this week when fiery Green Party MP Paul Gogarty stood up and shouted “f*** you” to rival MP Emmet Stagg. The outburst came during a heated debate on the budget, and the passionate Mr Gogarty went on to declare: “We are screwed as a country because of the wrongdoing of others!” Gobby Gogarty quickly apologised — but the story took a startling twist when it turned out he hadn’t actually done anything wrong! Official rules ban Irish MPs from using the words “scumbag”, “communist”, “fascist” and “hypocrite”. But apparently the f-word is perfectly fine! The rule book is now being reviewed to give it a 21st century update. It’s the end of a flipping era.
THE race for the Christmas number one single used to be very competitive. But ever since The X Factor appeared it’s almost automatic that the winner of the show tops the Xmas charts. Now, non-fans of the contest, have organised a mass buying of the track Killing In the Name, by heavy metal band Rage Against the Machine. But I know who’ll get my backing this year. The British Army Rifles Regiment band recorded Love Farewell, as a tribute to fallen comrades in Afghanistan. They’re selling copies to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity. It’s a great cause. Go and buy it. If enough of us get a copy maybe the government will do their own Christmas tribute to the troops next year…by bringing them home.
FOR ages the African nation of Eritrea has been ruled by a nasty government. People are locked up for “crimes” like criticising its leaders. Now its footy team has legged it while playing in Kenya. The government called for the players to return and also accused them of “betraying their country”. Hmmm… don’t try that approach with your kids— or next thing you know, they’ll defect and end up playing football for Eritrea

1 comment:

  1. I think it's you, James (to reply to your tweet here). But I agree with him re his targets. ID cards: waste of time. The Sun is a nasty paper written by nasty parochial people, and they would stitch up an electrician just as much as someone advised by Max Clifford. He got to RATM a bit late didn't he? but the sentiment - bring the troops home - is a worthy one.

    OK the other two items are a bit weak. Who cares about swearing in the Irish Parliament after Dick Cheney's more celebrated use of the same word? The Eritrean football team story deserves a little more context: Kenya's hardly the flower of democracy either and his last sentence is pathetic.

    Less mad than usual, I'd say.