It’s the tories who owe us the apology

I’m sick to the back teeth of david CaMoron standing in the house of commons and lying to the nation. That might sound strong, but he is indeed lying: he is perpetuating the untruth that the tripple-dip recession this country is about to enter is not his and George osbourne’s fault. He still blames labour, shamefacedly claiming that he is cleaning up a mess they left. I’m sorry, but only a total ninny would buy that. Labour had to borrow large amount in order to clean up the mess they inherited in 1997. I may only have been 14 in ’97, but I knew enough to see how truly awful things were. Thus, to see caMoron try to pretend Labour owe us some sort of apology when they were on the verge of seing growth, and to se that smug asshole George osourne nodding beside him, galls me. If they had any honour they would resign.

Sahara Ablaze

I watch the news these days with an increasing sense of foreboding. Events in north africa seem to be going from bad to worse, and we europeans are being drawn into a conflict there which many respected commentators think will last for decades. I cannot help but think what a wonderful, mystical part of the world that is; I think of the sahara’s history and cultures, and about how so many manuscripts and mosques are now being set ablaze. The very name Timbuktu evokes adventure and travel to me, exotic ideas which capture the imaginations of so many wanderers. Thus I think I’ll send you here today, to the record of one such Englishman’s adventure in that city, and quote the following words, written in happier times:

[quote=”Michal Palin,”]Timbuktu remains well off any beaten track. There is an airstrip from which tourists are flown in and out, but it remains a city at the end of the road, centre of an administrative region but not much else. Yet its appeal remains almost as potent as it was for Laing and those who risked their lives to follow him. To the almost certain puzzlement of the locals, Westerners remain drawn to Timbuktu like moths to a candle. No other city remains as synonymous with the fabulous, the lonely and the remote. Timbuktu, la mystrieuse, they call it in the tourist brochures – a Holy Grail for the adventurous traveller.

It’s hard to remain unexcited as we glide slowly in to the little inlet at Kabara, the port for Timbuktu itself.


And so we watch as yet another piece of our collective heritage is torn apart in the name of religion.

Okay, I’m obsessed

WhenI I showed Lyn my blog entry yesterday, her reaction was ”You’re obsessed!” She was, of course, pulling my leg, but I do see her point: I do tend to harp on about certain subjects, and can probably get fairly repetitive. The Olympics caught my imagination last year, filling my had with questions and ideas. After all, it isn’t every day that one finds oneself in an olympic city. Yet that moment has come and gone, and the title of my blog is The Ill-Informed Ramblings of a Cripple, not The Ill-Informed Ramblings of an Olympic commentator. Time, then, for me to go back to writing more about crip-related things, or at least finding other things to enthuse over. Having said that, though, there’s no denying that hosting the Pralympics last year changed crip politics in this country quite considerably: we now have higher profile than ever as evidenced by channel four commissioning a crip-related chat show for friday night, and the fact that disability sport now has a higher profile than ever. There is some cross-over beween the two subjects then. And besides, I don’t think I could resist obsessing abou my favourite sketch for too long.

the race for 2024

I was thinking about the olympics again yesterday. It occurs to me that, after last year, we brits are now in the not unhappy position of observer: that is, now we have had our olympic moment, we can sit back for a while and let other counties bid. Given London is the first city to host three games, I don’t think the IOC will be awarding another olympics to London any time soon; and, if we ar honest, there isn’t really another city in the UK which is big enough or has the infrastructure to host such a massive event. Thus, our mission having been gloriously accomplished last summer, it’s time to sit back and watch others fight it out.

What interests me, though, is that it is indeed a fight: Hosting the olympics brings a great amount of prestige to a country. Despite the expense, the right to host the olympics is keenly fought over, as hosting them brings a sense of pride to a country. Moreover, I get the impression that, after last year, the competition is now even more intense for the other european capitals. I was reading last night that,among others, Berlin, Paris and Rome all plan to bid for the games of 2024, as does new york. I kind of think that they might be at least partly motivated by London-envy: both paris and new york lost to London in their bids to host the 2012 games, and I suspect all four cities would like what London had last year. Of course, they will also have their own individual reasons too: in 2024, as I touched upon here, it will have been a full century since paris last hosted the olympics, so Parisiens will want to catch up with their great rivals in London; Berlin will want to exorcise the daemons of 1936 and 1972; New York, as I note here, ha never hosted the games and I get the impression that they are extra eager to do so after what to them was a humiliaton in losing he bid to us; as for Rome, which last hosted the games in 1960, well, they too want a piece of the olympic pie.

Thus we have four major world cities, three capitals and one global business centre, all competing for the same event. Is it just me, or is that not potentially very interesting indeed? Who will the ioc go for, and how will the disapointed parties react? All four cities seem to have a vested interest in hosting the games: they all seek both the cudos and the financial gain. This is a source of national pride at a time when governments all over the world are going through rough patches, so any government will see it as highly desirable to win these games. Therefore, although they are still twelve years away, and we have the host of the 2020 games to resolve yet, we will see a very tight competition for the 2024 games start quite soon. It interests me that the IOC seems to hold an extraordinary ammount of power, given the importance of it’s decision to indevidual cities and countries. It also seems to me that their decision also gives us considerable insight into the prevailing attitudes to and tween various respective states My bet is sparks will fly over this. And we brits get to sit back and watch events unfold, trying to work out the geopolitical implications of the IOC’s decision.

Coolest snowman ever

Although it has largely melted here, I just had to share this with you. I’m not sure who mede it, but this has to be the coolest snowman ever!

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update on khaw, just fyi

I don’t want to say too much about this, because a) I don’t know much about it, and b) the odious bitch isn’t worth wasting typing time on, but I heard through the grapevine today that Claire Khaw has een arrested. You may recall this was the nutcase who advocated killing disabled people on radio 5. she was apparrently arrested with regards to a blog entry she wrote suggesting a woman called Jessica Thom who has tourettes might be faking the condition. Well, hopefully that’ll teach her not to spew her mindless bile then cynically hide behind the freedom of speech.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner…

My mum grew up in London, but I was born in rural cheshire. Growing up, we would often visit the city, as my greek grandparents lived in harlesden, but I never got to know it. Our visits to the metropolis were usually short, and, save for trips to the park, we seldom strayed far from the house. Thus I did not truly get to know the metropolis until I moved in with Lyn, three years ago. But get to know it I have, and I have fallen in love with it.

I just came back from a walk. The last two days were too cold and snowy to go ut, but today I thought I’d risk it. I headed towards Greenwich. There is usually something on at GAD on thursday afternoons, but today, as I realised when I got there, nothing was happening, so I headed on into the historic naval town. Going that way always makes me think historic thoughts: I become conscious that I am going through a very old landscape. At the same time, I never forget that I’m exploring just one minute part of a hug metropolis: a city the size of cheshire itself, a humming, throbbing labyrinth, endlessly diverse, full of life. A not so microcosm for the entire world; and one which indeed played host to the world last year.

I was thinking about the events of last year today. I truly am a lucky guy: I got to live in a city which was hosting the olympics; I was a Londoner when the world’s eyes were on London; a Londoner when London was at it’s peak. London may not see a summer like the one of 2012 for many years, so to be here during the olympics was something to look back on, something to be proud of. Not only that, but I got to see my girlfriend play at the ceremony marking the end of that golden summer. I can’t help but wonder how the fates conspired to arrange that: when you think about it, it truly is incredible, and also reminds me how lucky I am to have Lyn.

London has returned to normal, but for me it is still a special, remarkable place. To me, it is a place I’ll forever associate with the year 2012, as that is the year London showed me, and the world, just how great it can be: the place and time of this this and this. But the city still seems full of life, full of potential: an Olympic city in which you never know what is around the next corner. 2012 may be over, but london is still great and can achieve great things. I may be a cheshire lad used to the smell of manure, but I am now a Londoner too, and proud of my adopted city. It feels, I realised today, like home: not, perhaps, the home of my childhood, for that will always be up north; but the place of my adulthood, of my learning to live, and of my love.

Toward a united humanity

As you might have gleaned from my entry yesterday, I am something of a trekkie – I always have been (although I am still in two minds about the recent ‘reboot’). One of the things I love the most about Star Trek is it’s optimistic vision of the future: the star trek universe is one where humanity has come together to solve it’s problems; a place where the nation-states of earth have been abolished and we work as one unified people. This may sound naive, but I believe such a unified humanity possible, desirable and indeed vital.

I think I blogged about this revently, but I’ll say it again. It is true that no two people on earth are alike; we are all different. But at the same time we are all the same: we all have similar needs, desires and dreams. If you think about it, is the question ‘why do we cling to these arbitrary national boarders so vehemently?’ such a stupid one? What is stopping us coming together as a species to work towards a united peaceful future? That is why I see organisations like the European union as so important: The e.u arose from the wreckage of the second world war, when someone finally had the intelligence to see the bigger picture. In order to avoid repeating that horror, organisations that cross national boundaries must be established. I see the e.u as a step towards that future of a united humanity.

I’m not against a referendum on our membership of it per se, then, but fear that those who wish us to leave it do not see in terms of this big picture. For to want to leave the eu is a step backwards, away from that ideal. Those who advocate it surely see things only in terms of nation-states, an ‘us and them’ philosophy which, in the long-run, gets us nowhere. To see things only in terms of yourself, your family and your nation is forever to take a limited viewpoint. Moreover, if we take into account the facts of climate change and diminishing world resources, it is also a foolish viewpoint. Such problems effect us all, so we cannot afford to see tings in such limited, individualistic terms.

The time has come, then, to get hard on such people: they advocate a step backwards. We need, as a species, to grow up, to put aside essentially arbitrary national barriers. We need to talk to one another, trade more, exchange ideas; and we need to solve our problems, financial or ecological, together. That will certainly not happen if we leave the european union.

watching ‘The Trouble with tribbles’ for the first and second time

This may be an od thing to blog about, but I just watched the old Star Trek episode ‘The Trouble with Tribbles’, repeated on CBS. I had never seen it before…yet I had. I knew that episode well, but only due to the Deep space Nine Episode which revised the original. I loved watching it, and spotting the gaps into which the ds9 characters were inserted. Yet it struck me as rather odd: we have a piece of tv, made about forty years ago, which was retured to in a late television series, and I, as someone born after the original was made, only know it trough it’s later modernisation. When you think about it there are some quite complex structures at work, all symptomatic of a form of modernity where thing are endlessly revised and remade. I mean, I love the ds9 remake, so it strikes me as ironic to realise that I had never seen the original until this evening, especially given that I call myself a Star trek fan. You should have seen my reaction when I heard it was coming on – Lyn was quite bemused.