Saturday, 29 May 2010

Feeling Virtuous

I've kept a promise to myself and started running again. Only baby steps and baby distances but it makes me feel virtuous and marginally less fat. It also allows me to stuff my face without feeling quite so loathsome. The idea is to lose a bit of weight (well quite a lot really) and to be in decent shape for the start of the rugby season which will be my first full season of refereeing after last year's partial dalliance. I will be abandoning my precious Aston Old Edwardians to officiate on Saturdays and my long term ambition is nothing grander than to referee at the same undistinguished level as I played. Rather as when I played I intend to compensate for a lack of talent by being physically fit - my Dad rather looked upon this as cheating!
Other things are making me happy at the moment. All university assignments are now with the judges and cannot therefore be worried over. Some of us are making the first tentative steps to producing a literary magazine at university and that is rather exciting. I submitted a poem to the Spectator yesterday and although it will surely be swiftly rejected it was an act of courage (by my timid standards) to send it off at all. I think I might officially start calling myself a poet. This should consolidate the view of most who know me well ie. what a wanker.
I'll tell you what else cheers me - the fall from power of the benighted and charmless New Labour machine. Alastair Campbell - now he really is a wanker. That bloke on Sky News should have put one on him. The bizarre shape of our new government does not please my eye but almost anything is preferable to the amoral Mandelsonian mendacities of the past few years. Jolly good riddance to the entire shower of shit. Now what would cheer me up even more is a return of proper old fashioned-conviction politicians like the ones we had when I was a lad. In those days we had a posh bloke called 'Tony' Benn who played on the left wing. He was an old boy of Westminster School. That school's current prominent politico alumnus is the identikit Euro-Liberal midfielder ('the boy's got a good engine, runs the channels well')Nick Clegg. I would cross the road to hear one of these two speak (indeed have done so) - guess which one. In fact within the space of seven memorable days in 1979 I heard both Benn and Keith Joseph give speeches. Bloody brilliant both of them. Barking mad in many respects but you could sense the intellect and conscience at work in both. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be. Who are the modern equivalents - answers on a postcard please - and if anyone says David Cameron and Ed Balls, I promise I will cry.
Enough of such geriatric whining. Another cause of happiness - the bastion of the non-PC, climate change denying, unreconstituted boorishness that is The Spectator. Most particularly God bless the organ that cossets between its covers Rod Liddle and the inexcusable Taki. Last week Liddle quite gloriously described Lord Triesman's nemesis as 'a fat ginger slapper.' In that same edition Taki goes off on one about the deserved fall from influence of the American Wasp class and rejects fashionable explanations for this - 'bullshit. The Wasps lost it because third and fourth generation money does not try as hard, nor does it elbow its way to the top.' Spot on. And he nails our new governing classes, 'The powers that be which replaced the dinosaurs are politically correct bores and busybodies.' That's the sort of stuff the grumpy old man demographic wants. Try it at
What ese? Well since you ask, I was in Paris last weekend for the Heineken Cup final, Toulouse and Biarritz. Great occasion, great company, great stadium, great trains, very expensive beer. This also made me happy.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Sorry, it's the election

I wasn't going to blog on the election because there is so much out there already but inevitably there are a few things to get off my chest.
First comment: what a pity that the exit polls proved so accurate. This totally spoils the fun and generates a lot of useless speculation. Should be banned so that the tele coverage is more enjoyable.
Took a very distinct dislike to Jack Dromey the new Erdington MP (and husband of Harriet Harman) when he gave a quite staggeringly sectarian and dishonest interview to Jeremy Paxman. Apparently the result was that the Tories lost. Even Paxman seemed gob-smacked, which I suppose is one good thing to come out of it.
I thought I followed politics but somehow I have missed the conversion of so many socialists to proportional representation. Seems they've believed in it all along and the failure to do anything about it for 13 years is a mere oversight. Easily done I suppose.
In 2005 Labour (under that nice Mr Blair) got approx. 37% of the popular vote, beating the Tories by 4% (?check this). This time The wicked Conservatives got 37% and beat the sainted New Labour by 7%. Blair got a majority and a 'mandate to govern', Cameron has not. Shit happens but these are statistics which don't get enough press.
Stayed up all night and went to bed for a brief kip feeling vaguely disillusioned. Awoke to the refreshing sight of all three party leaders doing a passable impression of statesmanship. Some people are complaining that Brown should resign but that would be premature just yet. We'd end up having another election very quickly. Cameron (who readers will know I don't particularly like) was, when he spoke at 2.30pm, the best I have ever seen him. And Clegg did the most impressive thing of all by saying nothing. Real features of the results were the distinct local variations showing how local considerations can have an effect. PR of the pure 'party list' variety would completely negate this. Be careful what you wish for.
People not being able to vote. Scandalous. Sheer bloody incompetence.