Posts Tagged With: david cameron

Thoughts on the EU referendum

brexit_-_Google_Search_-_2015-08-18_22.25.30

We interrupt our normal scheduled broadcasts to deal with the elephant in the room. Here’s my take on things.

DISCLAIMERS:

1. What follows isn’t a perfect extended metaphor – as Gareth pointed out, “It says ‘why is this stupid thing a referendum in the first place?’, but most people who think that are Remain, since not having a referendum allows remaining.”

2. I’m not a political commentator and don’t pretend to be. I’m just tired of the whole thing. I know where my loyalty lies – purely from my own perceptions of what constitutes common sense – but I’d really rather not have to do this, particularly when it’s ripped the country more or less in half. I don’t advocate Brexit but nor do I fear change: I accept that at some point (not now) leaving the EU may turn out to be the best option. But I’d rather it was decided by people who actually know what they’re talking about, which is not (from what I’ve seen) most of the country.

3. Yes, I will be voting on Thursday. You’ve kind of forced my hand really, haven’t you?

The Jones family needed a new car. Their old one, they decided, was getting past its sell-by date. It was still roadworthy, but it needed quite a bit of attention these days, and it was only a matter of time before it would need replacing.

Mum and Dad had talked for a while about what sort of car they should get. They’d asked friends for their views and Dad had looked in some magazines and had a brief search on the internet, but they hadn’t yet found the time to go to a dealership to have a proper look. All the while, the kids were whining. “When can we get the new car, Dad?” “What sort of car is it going to be?” “C’mon, Dad. All our friends laugh at us. Can’t we get a new car tomorrow?”

That was when Dad had his bright idea.

Illustration for the eureka moment.

“We’ll let the kids choose the car!” he said.

Mum wasn’t sure. “I’m not convinced by that,” she told him. “I love our kids to bits, but they’re not exactly experts. Why don’t we get an idea for the sort of car they want and then see if it fits in with what works best for the family?”
But Dad was shaking his head vigorously. “No, no,” he said. “It’s a great idea. They choose the car, the pressure’s off us. And it’s what they want. They’ll be thrilled that we’ve given them what they want! Everyone wins!”
“What if they have their hearts set on something we really don’t want?”
“We’ll overrule them.”
“That won’t make them happy.”
“I won’t tell them, then. Not until the decision is made.”
“Don’t you think they’ll be cross when they find that out?”
“Oh, only for a while.”

Mum still wasn’t sure. But when Dad had made his mind up there was no stopping him. And so one Saturday afternoon, the family – Mr and Mrs Jones, and their children, Simon and Celia, were off to the local dealer. Mum had said that they might want to consider doing a bit of online research first, but Dad thought that was overkill. “Just ask your friends what they think,” he said. “That’ll help you decide.”

They hadn’t even got to the ring road when the trouble started.

“A blue one.”
“No, a red one.”
“Blue!”
“Red!”

Simon wanted blue. Celia wanted red. Simon thought red was too close to pink, which was a girl’s colour. Celia thought this was a ridiculous argument. So for that matter did Dad, but he didn’t say anything, purely because he wanted to remain impartial.

RedCarBlueCarT1

They got to the dealer and were momentarily overwhelmed by choice. There were big cars and small cars and long ones and short ones. There were cars for families, cars for couples, sports cars and saloons. There were vehicles for the town and big, gas-guzzling off-road vehicles for the country, most of which would probably end up being driven round the town on the school run.

For a moment, the Jones family were wrapped in a congenial bubble of attentive silence. It was broken by Celia.

“That one!” she shouted.

The car was big and dark green and cost about as much as the annual GDP of Luxembourg. Mum hated it.

“It’s a bit…well, big, isn’t it?”
“But it’s got so much space!”
“Darling, it’s got space for seven people. I don’t think we’ll need that. Your Dad’s had a vasectomy.”
“But we can fold the seats down and go camping in it!”
“Celia,” Mum reasoned, “We all hate camping.”
“We might not, though, if it’s easier.”

Simon, meanwhile, had his eye on a flashy sports number on the other side of the lot. It was bright yellow and had mechanical doors.
“This one,” he said to his father.

Lamb

His father raised an eyebrow. “It’s only got two seats. What happens if we want to go somewhere as a family?”
“We can take it in turns to take the bus.”
“What if there isn’t a bus?”
“We can get two of them, then.”
“I’m not sure you’re really thinking this through,” said his father. “What about something a bit bigger?”

Simon headed over to the family car section, stamping his feet moodily. Meanwhile, Celia was looking at an estate.

“What about this one?”
“Well, it’s a Renault,” said Mum, “and they’re not always the most reliable of beasts.”
“But I like it. I like the name. It sounds foreign and exciting.”
“But you don’t really know anything about them,” said Mum, who was reasonably well-versed in the reliability or otherwise of Renaults.
“It feels right, though,” Celia insisted. “It feels like this is the right car for us.”
“I realise that, darling,” Mum said. “But we have to go on more than a feeling.”
“So you’re saying that my gut instinct is wrong?”
“No, just-”
“Forget it,” said Celia, folding her arms sulkily. “I get it, all right?”
“Celia,” Mum said, “I think you’re getting a bit cross, and I can understand that, but you haven’t considered the fact that I might know more about this than you do.”
“Well, why’d you ask me to choose then?”
“I didn’t,” said Mum, sighing a little.

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Simon came over. “I’ve found it,” he announced. “I think we should get that one.” And he pointed at a large four-wheel-drive jeep.
“It runs on diesel,” said Dad, who had been looking at the information card in the window. “Diesel tends to be quite expensive round here. Also it’s got a lot of mileage for a vehicle this age.”
“Yeah, but it’s cheap,” said Simon.
“Cheap doesn’t always mean good,” Dad explained.
“But we’ll have more money to do other things,” said Simon. “You can give us more pocket money if you’ve spent less on the car.”
“Ooh!” said Celia. “That means we can buy more things! There are loads of new magazines out that I’m interested in. I can get a subscription.”
“Yeah, and I can get – ”

Dad shook his head, trying not to make eye contact with Mum, who was staring at him very hard. He told himself that he’d made the right decision, letting the kids choose. Having them fantasise about money was preferable to having them fight, at least.

Unfortunately, that was what happened next.

“DVD player!”
“MP3 player!”

It didn’t take a genius to work out why Simon and Celia were arguing, which was lucky for Dad. Mum sighed and rubbed her temples, which had started to throb. People were staring. Dad took both his children by the collar. “Listen, you two,” he said, in a venomous hiss. “You’re embarrassing yourselves, and me.”
“And me,” Mum added, slightly put out.
“And your mother,” Dad added hastily. “Now will you please make a decision?”
“I WANT THAT ONE!”

Both children were pointing at different vehicles, both prohibitively expensive and entirely unsuitable for a family car. One was a two-door GTI, brand new. The other was a hearse.

Dad sighed.
“I don’t think you’re really thinking this through,” he said. “I don’t think you’re making the decision for the family; you’re making it for yourselves. You mean well but you don’t really know cars. You don’t really know how much money we have to spend or how much we’re likely to need.”
“We sort of know,” said Simon.
“You don’t really know, though,” said Dad. “You just think you do.”
“But we want to help!” said Celia. “It’s our car as well, isn’t it?”
“Of course it is,” Dad said. “But maybe the best way to have you help would have been for me to find out what you like and then make the decision in conjunction with your mother, rather than letting you make the choice. That’s our job, after all. Sometimes we have to decide these things ourselves.”
“So you’re saying our opinion doesn’t count?” asked Simon, hotly.
“No,” said Mum. “We’re saying that we know things you don’t, and understand things you don’t. That doesn’t mean we always get it right, but we can look at this properly. You two aren’t really trying to find the best car for the family anymore, are you? You’re just arguing about who’s right. That’s really what this is about.”

Celia said nothing. Simon shuffled his feet.

“Maybe,” said Dad, “I made a mistake in telling you that you could choose.”

Mum raised an eyebrow. It was a look that clearly said Now you’re getting it, doofus.

Sunset on the eve of the Autumnal Equinox, Sept 21, 2012, with the Sun setting due west at the end of westbound Highway 1 to Banff, Alberta. This is a frame from a 315-frame time-lapse movie.

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Look to your left (part 37)

In today’s news round up: stars of Doctor Who unite to commemorate the birthday of avant garde playwright Samuel Beckett.

Waiting_Dodo

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Catholic Church both issue joint statements in the wake of the revelations contained in the Panama Papers:

Cameron-Ted

And as preparation continues for J.K. Rowling’s hugely anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, we can bring you this exclusive production photo of the cast on a break during rehearsals.

Lennon

Enjoy your Thursday.

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Certain gases in the Praxis range

There will be many of you who, like me, have smirked at the recent news about David Cameron’s Photoshopped poppy. It’s not as bad as shagging a dead pig, but still. All the ‘oversight’ excuses in the world won’t wash.

Except I’ve done a little digging, and it seems everyone’s at it. Even in Doctor Who.

Doctor_Celery

 

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Pigs

Pigs. You couldn’t move for them yesterday. The revelation that Prime Minister David Cameron may (as we go to press) or may not have inserted his genitals into the mouth of a dead pig during a societal initiation set the internet on fire. The press had a ball. Twitter almost imploded. It was a good day to bury bad news, which was presumably the entire point.

Certainly it doesn’t come as a total surprise. It’s the sort of thing fraternities do. That it allegedly happened to Cameron is not in itself important – we all do stupid things when we’re young, and it has no bearing on his ability or otherwise to run the country. If nothing else it’s a good chance for the left to get its own back after all the Corbyn-baiting that’s been going on over the past few weeks (one particularly amusing image I saw yesterday features an exchange between the two at the Battle of Britain memorial service – Cameron is asking “Why weren’t you singing?”, to which Corbyn responds “I felt safer with my mouth shut”). At the same time, it’s telling when the general reaction is not one of revulsion and disgust, but a series of knowing winks. Or, as a friend of mine put it, “What does it say about you when someone says ‘that man fucked a pig’ and half of the country goes ‘Yeah. I figure he probably did…’?”

Anyway. This doesn’t translate easily into Doctor Who – the hastily concocted image at the top aside, of course. If I really wanted to I could do something with the space pig that appears halfway through ‘Aliens of London’ but I’m really more inclined to delve deeper into history – at the extended version of Peter Davison’s appearance in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, for instance.

Certainly when the story broke my first instinct, bizarrely, was to recall an early sequence in South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, in which this doesn’t quite happen:

Phillip: Say, Terrance, what did the Spanish priest say to the Iranian gynecologist?
Terrance: I don’t know, Phillip. What?
[Phillip farts on Terrance’s face, and both get into hysterics over it]
Terrance: You’re such a pigfucker, Phillip!
Phillip: No, Terrance, that’s the British Prime Minister!
Terrance: Oh yeah! [farts]

Still. It’s not the first time a reckless, irresponsible blue Muppet got one of his extremities caught up in a pig.

Gonzo

You see what I mean.

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Beg, borrow or steal

I can’t remember the exact circumstances under which Gareth and I were talking about Ico. Our conversations tend to take these spirally twists and turns through one thing or another, by degrees of separation. For the most part we will steer clear of politics and personal stuff, concentrating on film and TV and gaming, or a mixture of all three. We both love anything by Tolkien, although he is far less keen on the cinematic incarnations than I am. He knows a ridiculous amount about Doctor Who. I, on the other hand, can quote extensive passages from A.A. Milne, whom he has never read, so it all balances out.

If you haven’t experienced Ico, by the way, I recommend you stop reading this right now and go and find a PS2 or 3 and play through it. The whole thing is ridiculously good. On its release it was described by Official Playstation Magazine as being “the gaming equivalent of a Ken Loach film” – elegiac, slow and calm. Trapped in a windswept castle on a cliff overlooking the ocean, your only means of escape is a delicate, timid young girl who can open locked doors, but who must be protected at various points from apparitions that will attack her, while seemingly ignoring you.

As you can see at 1:30, the creatures that pounce on Yorda take the form of smoke monsters, and it was this recollection that prompted me to theorise that J.J. Abrams looked to Ico as a source of inspiration when he was writing Lost. Smoke monsters are nothing new under the sun, of course, but we might as well cite the PlayStation as a source of inspiration, seeing as they seemed to be drawing as many different ideologies and themes as they possibly could during the show’s run. So I mentioned this possibility to Gareth, and we went from there:

Gareth:
I heard about Lost, and the premise sounded interesting at first. But then I decided that it was going to be a series with no actual planned conclusion, and which was going to wander drearily along until they threw some disappointing nonsense together, so didn’t bother watching it. (Did I turn out to be right?)

[He did, of course, and I told him so.]

Gareth:
Something-doing-something-that-something-else-did reminds me. I recently listened to a Big Finish Who story from a couple of years ago. And it was one of the Lost Stories, in this case one of the Sylvester McCoy stories that would have happened in his next season, had it happened. In it, we had the Doctor being “taunted to death” by being told how he uses others to do his dirty work, doesn’t care about them, etc. Lots of phrases that were quite familiar from recent Who. And the same story had a sentient planet, and to communicate one of the humans gets taken over and acts as the mouthpiece. Only it needs to be a female, because … well, for exactly the reason in the recent Christmas Who.

Me:
I do remember reading The Writer’s Tale, in which Davies goes through the process for writing ‘Journey’s End’ (and particularly that excruciating beach scene). Nowhere at all does he mention BF as a source of inspiration. But you wonder; is he just looking at the stuff people are chatting about on the internet and writing about that? Look at it this way – at some point in our online group discussion, during the first season of Torchwood, someone (I forget who) said “What’s the betting on Jack turning out to be The Face of Boe?”. And while I know that’s not exactly concrete, a few months later – when ‘Last of the Time Lords’ was broadcast – we thought “Ooh, uncanny perception!”. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe other people were saying the same thing elsewhere and RTD and Moffat just nicked all the ideas.

Gareth:
There was some fuss with Babylon 5 and someone suggesting a plot idea that JMS was already planning, or so I vaguely recall. Being the US, he then shelved the plot for a while and went through legal wranglings with the poster so that he could use it without being sued. (Not that the poster would really have done so – but to cover themselves.)

[Later that evening….]

Gareth:
Spooky. Earlier, I was listening to a Now Show from 2007. (I have lots of News Quiz, Now Show, etc, and listen to them while falling asleep.)

Anyway, this one was talking about Tony Blair’s departure. They talked about his conversion to Catholicism, and explained it as him believing he would become a saint, describing various miracles he had performed. And they also mocked his “legacy” world tour, dragging his departure out for months as he went to visit everyone famous he’d ever known.

Then I thought, hang on – his replacement (not counting Gordon Brown) was someone disturbingly young, with a strangely spongy face and not enough eyebrows.

So, hmm, we were talking about where RTD gets his ideas from…

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