Thursday, February 5, 2009

Who'd be Gordon Brown?

So to seems the dispute over hiring foreign contractors in the midst of rising unemployment will reach a resolution today.  The whole thing shone a fascinating light on the depressing nature of political discourse in Britain.

Apart from allowing Xenophobes to raise their racist heads above the parapet with less fear of condemnation than usual, it showed just how little people understand about the way things work, and the knee-jerk reactions on which people base their decisions.

I'm hardly Gordon Brown's biggest fan - I believe he and Blair have betrayed 80% of what Labour ever stood for and their kowtowing to big business makes me want to vomit.  

But you've got to feel for the guy.  He makes a speech about British jobs for British people, and when a private corporation hires foreign labour, he gets the blame.  Sure, it's embarrassing for him, but to read both tabloid news coverage and pubic reaction alike, millions of people seem to think Gordon himself interviewed and hired each one of these greasy foreigners personally.  

The Lindsey refinery is owned by Total UK, part of a giant French oil company.  Gordon Brown is not the HR director or even the CEO of this company.  He's the Prime Minister.  He had nothing to so with hiring these people.  In fact, it was Peter Mandelson's intervention which helped solved the dispute.  

It's hilarious that the kind of people who believe government should stay out of business and let it do what it wants are the ones most outraged at the government when big business did what the hell it wanted, and will give the government no credit whatsoever for stepping in to help solve a problem they didn't create.

My favourite part of the whole thing though has to be the daily headlines in the Mail and the Express showing complete solidarity with the trades union movement - something they've spent decades trying to destroy.  "We might hate proletarian leftie scum, but not as much as we hate dagos and wops.  How dare they come over here and destroy the livelihoods, hopes and dreams of the unskilled British working class?  That's OUR job!"   

Fancy apologising to hundreds of thousands of former miners, steel workers and shipbuilders now, Mr Dacre?

Thought not.

Back to normal

Woke up this morning to find the rest of the country faces a day sledging and building snowmen while London bathes in grey, pissy rain, the snow having all-but disappeared.  Anyone outside London who thought we were making too much of it on Monday: this is why.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Let it snow, goddammit!

The snow in London was wonderful today.  People living outside London have been a bit irked by the media coverage of it, because they get snow all the time.  Well we don't.  It's the first time we've had snow like this since I've been living here, and that makes it exceptional.

The media have actually been excelling themselves in looking for the negative side of things.  Of course these days any concept or material thing is deemed only to have meaning if it has a financial value attached, so all we're hearing now is that the lost days at work have lost the economy £1.2 billion.

Then there's how shit we are at coping with it -  the BBC actually sent someone to Moscow to show us how, there, they have tire chains on cars and special machines and thousands of people to keep the roads clear in weather like this.  We don't.  Let's face it - the sudden drop in temperature and the weather front moving in from the Steppes or wherever is probably Gordon Brown's fault.

What a load of fucking crap.  How stupid and soulless do they think we are?  Britain - and especially London - rarely has snow like this.  Spending millions on something the Russians need because for them, it's a weekly occurrence, would be like spending millions on prevention of forest fires or meteor strikes in the middle of London.  Of course we weren't prepared for it, because it hardly ever happens!

And as for the economy, FUCK the economy.  Just for once.  For one magical, rare day.  Because everyone - every normal person - I spoke to or e-mailed today who was affected by the snow thought it was magical.  People smiled at each other and chatted in the street - this is London we're talking about, remember!  Overnight it was quiet as the countryside.  People went out and played, or stayed in and curled up under blankets and watched black and white films. People from Africa and children under eighteen, alike in the fact that they had never touched snow before, posed for photos as the flakes fell on their shoulders.  It was a day for snuggling up by the fire or getting wet-through from snowball fights, whatever your pick.  A lost day, a treasured day, an unforgettable day.  And we'll be lucky to have another one like it in this neck of the woods in my lifetime.

So can we please, just for two minutes, forget about finding the negative angle, forget about finding someone to blame, forget about the gut-instinct reaction to continually piss on the country's chips ever single day of the fucking year?

Everyone I spoke to today seems to think that would be a great idea.