Monday, 4 January 2010

Year we go again

SO that’s it folks— tonight we’ll be seeing off 2009 with a load of fireworks, champagne and hugs with random strangers! How’s the year been for you? Politically it’s been one of the most bumpy in a long time! We lost more than a hundred troops in Afghanistan, faced a political crisis over MP’s expenses and sunk into the worst recession for years. Dictators like Robert Mugabe have survived another year and there were riots at the G20 summit and protests at the Copenhagen summit. But nothing really changed — the poor are still poor and we’re still wrecking our planet. All the while most papers were focussing on cheap shots at MPs rather than the real political issues. But there have been some good bits too! We saw off the back of George Bush and the arrival of Barack Obama. Mr.O hasn’t changed the world overnight, but he’s full of promise and things in the USA are beginning to look a bit brighter. Back here,my mate John Bercow became Speaker of the House of Commons and is starting to sort out British politics. Other brilliant moments included the decision to let retired Ghurkas stay in the UK after a campaign led by Joanna Lumley and the Liberal Democrats! So what about 2010? Well I know what I’d like to see — British withdrawal from Afghanistan and a decent deal on climate change. Will either of them happen? Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain. There’ll be a general election, probably on May 6th. And if it all goes wrong at least we’ll still have the pain of losing the World Cup to look forward to! Hope you all have a happy new year.
ON Christmas Eve, just as Pope Benedict was about to host Mass for a few thousand Catholics, a crazy girlie jumped past his security and pulled him to the ground. It was a violent attack which left a Cardinal injured but didn’t hurt the elderly Pope. It came just a week after another angry nutter managed to get close to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi – breaking his teeth and his cheekbone. Incidents like this show the risks that high profile public figures take. A good leader needs to be able to get close to his people, not separated by a thousand bodyguards and a sheet of bulletproof glass. But by doing so it’s never possible for security to keep them 100% safe and they take the chance that loonies will get them. I say fair play to the Pope and to Berlusconi! They’ve shown they care enough about their people to risk their own safety. I don’t envy their position. Thankfully most attacks I’ve had to face are written ones from odd journalists like BBC reporter Vaughan Roderick. While his snipes and one-sided reporting are as irrational as a punch in the face, they’re unprofessional rather than painful. But what connects all these people is an inability to connect with their target in a grown-up and sensible way. It would be nice to think they’ll all wise up in 2010 but I doubt it.
HOMELESS folk around Blackfriars Bridge in London got a shock the other night when they noticed none other than Prince William roughing it in a sleeping bag and woolly hat! The Prince hadn’t been kicked out of Buck House for playing his music too loud – he was trying to experience life on the streets and raise awareness for homelessness charity Centrepoint. Willy accepts that he can never get the full homeless experience. Most people slumming it on the streets don’t have a comfy palace to go home to or an MI5 agent watching their back. But still, he got a taster of the cold, discomfort and destitution that thousands in the UK face every night. And instead of dashing home at the first opportunity he finished off his night on the street by cooking breakfast for a group of young people at a Centrepoint shelter. Good on him! One day he’ll be King and it’s great to know he cares about people on the other end of the spectrum. Now all that’s left for me to say is a Happy New Year to all my readers and I look forward to a lot more fun with you all in 2010 (and maybe a couple of Daily Sport stunnas too!)
HAVE you put on a few pounds over Christmas? With all the turkey, mince pies and boozing it’s no surprise that we all gain an extra couple of inches round the waist! And personally I reckon that’s a good thing. My extremely good friend Katie Green and I are campaigning against the bizarre phenomenon of size zero models and their promotion of eating disorders. And we’re ready to take the fight into 2010! What better place to start than with festive food? Everyone, especially young people, should be enjoying their meals and eating healthily – not panicking about whether that extra roast potato will make them bigger than Kate Moss. So if your missus is going on a crash diet or your sister is starving herself to lose the Christmas pounds, just point her in the direction of Katie! The rate at which her 2010 calendars are flying off the shelves proves that ditching diets and putting on a few pounds hasn’t done her any harm!

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