I came across some news recently which could turn into something very, very interesting indeed. Disney is currently working on a film whose central character is a communication user with Cerebral Palsy. Called Out Of My Mind, it will be an adaptation of a book by Sharon M. Draper and directed by Amber Sealey. Details are rather sketchy as yet, but the girl Disney has cast to play the central role is herself an AAC user with CP: the film is apparently going to focus on her as she struggles to get a decent education at a mainstream school. That, of course, is something many, many young people with disabilities have been through, so it will be fascinating to see how Disney handle it. I daresay this film has the potential to be quite revolutionary. Mind you, by the same token it could suck donkeyballs. Only time will tell.
This, frankly, is a statement of the obvious. To be honest I don’t want to get into this ‘beergate’ farce for fear of getting myself too worked up. The tabloid press have cooked it up out of nothing whatsoever, and it has reached a point where the police are investigating. The way in which these rags have attacked and victimised Starmer, in an effort to divert heat away from Johnson, is utterly sickening. We shouldn’t have this rancid, blatantly biassed dross polluting our public political discourse.
I don’t feel I can say much today. What can I say, apart from that I am very encouraged by the election results. Of course I posted my vote off a week or so ago, and it now looks like the Tories have been given the slap in the face they deserve. Whether these results will translate into a shift at the next general election naturally remains to be seen; but it really was pitiful to watch all those smarmy tories on tv this morning trying to defend Johnson and tell us that things weren’t as bad for them as they looked. Surely this is a sign that the whole country has had enough of the Tories – London certainly has – and the sooner those p’tahks are booted from office, the better.
I saw this BBC report yesterday evening and, truth be told, it broke my heart. Ukrainian kids with severe disabilities are being abandoned in institutions, more or less being left to die. With everyone fleeing the country due to the war, no-one is staying to care for them. It is truly, truly chilling. As it says in the report, under the right circumstances these young people could thrive as well as any, but they’re now being left to fester. I’m afraid this is yet another often overlooked consequence of Russia’s barbarity. My response to this report hasn’t changed from when I saw it last night though: these young people should be evacuated to the UK or another country with adequate support systems immediately.
Today we learned that Crossrail/The Elisabeth Line will at last open later this month on the 24th, so I’d like to take this opportunity to put forward a bit of a theory, or more like a hunch. This year, of course, marks the interception of quite a few special occasions: not only will Crossrail open, but it is also the Platinum Jubilee and the tenth anniversary of the London 2012 Olympics. All of that sounds to me like a reasonable excuse for quite a good pissup at least. But how could this occasion be marked? Might it be used as the opportunity to announce the next actor to play a certain character we all get excited about? After all, events this summer are bound to take on a somewhat patriotic dimension: if I was producing a certain long running film franchise synonymous with the UK and even linked to royalty, I would see it as foolish not to capitalise.
Just a hunch, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I genuinely can’t believe that Johnson is so far up his own arse that he thinks he’s Churchill. Just how pretentious and arrogant can anyone get? He’s obviously desperately trying to appear statesmanly and bolster support ahead of the local elections, where it looks like he’ll be trounced.
Today, I’m informed, is Eid, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but I don’t think it would really be appropriate for me to wish anyone Eid Mubarak. It’s not that I have anything against Islam in particular, and I certainly feel muslims have as much right to live in the UK as anyone else. It’s just that, as a committed atheist who has written so much about religion being such an oppressive, regressive force, it would be rather hypocritical to say those thoughts apply to some religions and not others. I deliberately did not wish anyone happy Christmas or Easter this year, my feelings about religion have grown so strong; it would be wrong for me to suddenly say ‘Eid Mubarak’, just because I want to appear tolerant and multicultural. At the same time I don’t want to seem intolerant or discriminatory, or say that I don’t hope our Muslim friends and neighbours enjoy the day. Of course everyone has every right to celebrate any religious festival they wish, as long as I have a right to call it an outdated, repressive, ultimately divisive form of social control.
It may have been one of the first things I came across this morning, but I just want to flag this up. It’s a Variety article about the struggle Barbara Broccoli now faces to recast James Bond. This is something I’ve been pondering quite a bit recently: how on earth are they going to replace Daniel Craig? Craig made such an impact on the franchise I think it’s a bigger ask than ever before. As the article says, the Bond franchise is arguably cinema’s greatest, longest lived phenomenon; culturally it is enormous. Even before Craig, it was unlike any other media franchise, but his five films took it to a new level. Craig added a gritty realism and depth to Bond unlike anything we had seen before. Frankly, I don’t see how he can be followed: whoever is cast, they will be starting from square one, trying to inhabit a character with greater cultural prominence than any other. The pressure to live up to their predecessors will be enormous. Part of me thinks it can’t be done and that they should leave the franchise there, but as Broccoli says that clearly isn’t an option. Either way I think it will be quite some time before we find out who will play 007 next.
I think this quite shocking news is worth flagging up. Disabled people and the families of disabled people will be hardest hit by soaring energy prices. “Families with disabled children who rely on specialist medical equipment say they are facing impossible choices as energy bills in the UK soar…Almost 2,000 families [of 5500 who took part in the bbc survey] said they feared their child’s condition would get worse as a result of rising prices.” By and large, apart from my powerchair and communication aid charger, I don’t use much more energy than average; yet there are thousands of people whose conditions mean they need a constant supply of energy, often just to stay alive. They will be hardest hit by these price rises, caused in large part by Brexit, but mostly by a Tory government which does not care about such people.
Thinking about Putin and Russia, you really have to wonder, just how warped and unstable does someone need to be to order your army to invade a sovereign country, completely unprovoked, and then try to argue that it is the rest of the world who are acting aggressively when we try to help that country defend itself? Not that I know any more about Putin than anyone else, but I really must say, the more I hear about him the less stable he seems. He is behaving like a dictator of old, clearly being needlessly aggressive yet portraying himself as the victim. He’s obviously mentally unwell but what worries me is that he’s now very very powerful. While his threats against the West might not amount to much, and Putin obviously thinks Russia holds much more sway over the world than it does, I think we should be very worried about what he’ll do next as his plans to dominate Eastern Europe become more and more strained and he becomes more and more desperate for some kind of victory. More to the point, though, is the question of what we can do to stop him.