16 June 2012

Jobs for the boy

How superior we thought ourselves when Azerbaijan hosted Eurovision and, in the words of Mark Lawson:
The host regime hardly enhanced their reputation for democracy when it turned out that the national entertainer given the chance to perform to a global audience of 120 million while the phone-voting took place was Emin Agalarov, the son-in-law of President Ilham Aliyev. Say what you like about Britain but, if Humperdinck had triumphed, we probably wouldn't have had the Cameron and Clegg kids lined up on the 02 stage as the 2013 interval act.
Imagine getting such an important job simply because you're related to someone in power! Meanwhile in the UK:
The Prince of Wales has been awarded the highest rank in all three military services by the Queen. [He] becomes a Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.
which is, of course, entirely based on his experience and merits.

12 June 2012

Equal marriage consultation

Now that the Church of England has produced its response on the proposal to enable same-sex couples to marry, rather than just have a civil partnership, it might be time to remind any concerned readers that the deadline for consultation is only 2 days away (14 June). There have been signs that the Government is going lukewarm on the proposal, so it might be helpful if the result of the consultation shows that most people don't agree with the Church's view on this.

The consultation is at this address: It doesn't take long to fill in, unless you are particularly verbose.

The differences between a civil partnership and a marriage aren't very many or very great, but they can be important. Most people already refer to civil partnerships as weddings, and the partners as husbands/wives. The Government's proposals will close the remaining differences between the rights that the two relationships give. The proposals don't mean that the Church of England will have to offer same-sex wedding ceremonies. In fact, they intend to specifically ban any religious organisation from doing this, even if they want to. It's hard to see why the Church of England is so opposed to something that actually will have very little effect on its practices.

For me, it's a simple question of equality. Unless you believe that being gay is a sin and a perversion, surely you have to believe that gay people should have the same rights as anyone else.

But make up your own mind. Here's the Church's statement, and here's the view of the former Dean of St Paul's, who disagrees.

But remember, you've only two days left to comment.

02 June 2012

Big Ben for President!

There's a lot of these around today, but what do you call them? I bet you're thinking Union Jack, but some of you, or some part of you, is thinking No, that's wrong, it's the Union Flag, it's only the Union Jack when it's on a ship and the wind is from the west and there's an A in the name of the month.

To which I say Bollocks, it's the Union Jack. That's what we the people have decided to call it, whether it's on a ship, or in the design of boxer shorts, or tatooed on my hairy fat arse. That's how language works. It's the people who decide what words mean, not any experts. Most people - despite the whingeing of retired admirals - call this flag the Union Jack, so that, by definition, is what it's called. So, sod off with your "Union Flag" nonsense. You should be happy that we like the flag so much we give it a cute name.

The unusual amount of swears in this post may suggest that I'm not a happy boy at the moment. That's true. This weekend I'm feeling as lonely as a shy vegan in Buenos Aires, what with all the Union Jacks and red white and blue bunting around. These are hard times to be a republican. No-one wants to be seen to be attacking an elderly woman, and by the time her useless son takes over the business he too will be frail and old, and will have an excuse for his irrational and petulant ways. We'll probably have to wait for the next generation for an incompetent monarch to restore the institution to its natural state of being reviled.

But someone has to say it, this weekend of all times: having a royal family is ridiculous and wrong. It's the ultimate in social immobility, the clearest possible demonstration of the class system that means clever working class kids may, if they're lucky, become teachers or lawyers, while stupid - really stupid, too stupid to be entrusted with a real job - upper class kids end up in the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, what do you call this?

Big Ben, you probably think, unless you're a retired admiral, in which case you already penning a letter to The Times insisting that Big Ben is the name of the bell, and it's a terrible offence, worthy of hanging, to call the tower anything other than The Clock Tower.

Bollocks again, I'm afraid. If we want to call the tower Big Ben, that's what it's called. But today I've read that some lickspittle MPs want to rename it the Elizabeth Tower.

Oh, I give up. You call it that if you want to. You'll probably get your knighthood if you're the lucky MP whose name is top of the list of supporters. But I'll still call it Big Ben. So will most of the people in this country and billions of people around the world.

Grouch over. Enjoy the long weekend!