Not Everyone Knows Who Patrick Stewart is.

I went over to the Excel Centre and the docklands for a look around today. (I know, I know, but when you get around in a powerchair and don’t need to be in payed employment, you can do these sort of things) I was curious to see how easy it is to get from the Emirates air line and thus the o2 to the new Elizabeth Line station. Getting over the river is easy enough, and there I took a nice trundle along the dockside. It’s strange to think that, not that long ago, that area was a hive of industry and activity, with huge ships lining the dockside and men in their thousands hurrying around to load and unload them. It is now quiet, the water still apart from a new canoes and sailing boats.

Anyway, once there I thought I would pop into the Excel, just to check out what was going on, if anything. It had been quite some time since I had last been there – since well before the pandemic. As it happened the place was rather busy, with some kind of medical conference in action. I rolled into the building a bit further, along it’s wide central boulevard.

Pretty soon, though, I was approached by one of the security staff, who asked me where I was going. I replied to her that I was just on a walk, with no particular destination, at which point I was told that I wasn’t supposed to be in there today and better leave.

Of course I started to leave immediately – I had had no idea those were the rules. Before going, though, I mentioned to the security person, who was rather friendly, that I had once met Patrick Stewart there. To my surprise, in reply she asked me if Patrick Stewart was a friend of mine – she had absolutely no idea who he was – but before I could explain, I thought I ought to get going. I was, however, stunned: imagine not knowing who the great Sir Patrick Stewart, captain of the USS Enterprise D, is. It was so remarkable that I immediately decided it was worthy of a blog entry.

The rest of my afternoon was spent finding my way to Custom house Station, then getting the Elisabeth Line home. It was, in the end, quite easy, and I have now found a new, rather cool route to get on to Crossrail. Nonetheless, I’m still rather perplexed to find that not everyone knows who Patrick Stewart is.

A Crass, Sickening Spectacle

I’ve had a busy day. I was out and about for most of it, which means I wasn’t at home to watch Prime Minister’s Questions. That’s probably a very good thing, to be honest. These days, even the shortest clip of PMQs is enough to fill me with rage. The way Johnson and his Tory mates deflect every question, blatantly refusing to give anyone a straight answer and instead trying to turn everything around, is just sickening. PMQs is supposed to be one of the cornerstones of our democracy, where, every Wednesday afternoon, parliament holds the Prime Minister directly to account by asking him to justify his actions and policies. Yet now, we have a pathetic pantomime where the charlatan we have for our prime minister pompously deflects anything put to him, answering every question with an accusation solely intended to appeal to his supporters, and completely refusing to take responsibility for any of the enormous problems he and his party have caused. It really is a crass, sickening spectacle which ultimately achieves nothing, and I’d rather just go for a walk.

Hypocrisy Seems too Mild a Word

One of the things which infuriates me the most about the Tories is that they have the gall to boast of ‘delivering the COVID vaccine’ and ‘overcoming the pandemic’, when we all know that it is the NHS which we have to thank for that, an institution to which the Tories are fundamentally ideologically opposed. They would have privatised the National Health Service decades ago had they been able to, but now that we all owe our wellbeing to it, the Tories are claiming to have always supported it; or rather, they are trying to steal the credit owed to an institution which wouldn’t exist, had they had their way. Had it been up to the Tories, we would all now be trying to survive under an ultra-capitalist, American-style healthcare system where the best care is reserved for the wealthiest while the rest of us are left to be scammed by insurance companies.

It really is sickening. The word “hypocrisy” seems too mild for such brazen two faced word duplicity. My conviction that the Tory party should be removed from power and disbanded is now stronger than ever. None of these self-serving, credit-stealing scumbags should be anywhere near government. It was despite, not because of the Tories that we got through the pandemic; the vaccine roll out would have been a catastrophe were it not from the NHS, and had the Tories been left to it. To hear them now claim credit where they deserve only derision, contempt and ridicule boils my blood.

All We Can Do Is Watch

There’s not much I want to say today. It has been a mad, hectic sort of day, to be honest. Yesterday’s street party was cool, but nothing really noteworthy. I am, of course, keeping an eye on the news: The current Tory farce would be hilarious if I didn’t loathe the vile scumbags so much. They may be destroying themselves, but they’re taking the whole country down with them. All I really have to say today is, if Boris Johnson is still Prime Minister at the end of this week, or even tomorrow morning, then there is something very, very wrong with our political system. All anyone can do now, though, is watch and wait.

Platinum Jubilee Saturday

I have had quite a good weekend so far: yesterday afternoon I went over to Charlton Park to watch my friends in the Blackheath Mighty Eights cricket team for the first time this summer. Unfortunately the Eights lost, having batted first and set a woefully low target of 109, but it was still a great, quintessentially English, afternoon.

Then, yesterday evening, of course I settled down to watch the Platinum Jubilee concert. I had heard that Sir David Attenborough would be participating in it, so I was optimistic to see if anything awesome or noteworthy – the type of thing I get obsessed with for months or years – would come up. In the event, I must admit that I wasn’t really taken by it. Attenborough was involved, of course, but he just gave quite a short, pre-recorded speech about conservation. And if you think I’m going to write pages of analysis about the queen ‘meeting‘ a CGI Paddington Bear as I did with Happy And Glorious, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. As amusing as it was, and as well as Her Majesty acted, it just wasn’t in the same league as when she parachuted out of a helicopter alongside 007. The rest of the concert was just a few musical hits really, and nothing to get my teeth into.

Today promises to be interesting too, overcast though it is. There is some sort of local street party here later, which should be worth a look. If anything particularly cool happens, expect an account on here tomorrow.

Not One Of My Better Ideas

Going up into central London today probably wasn’t one of my better ideas, to be honest. At around midday I was at home, wondering what to do with the afternoon. At such times I usually just go up to Stratford for a trundle around the Olympic Park, but today I thought it would be cooler to check out all the Jubilee festivities. Getting there would be easy enough: a few stops along the Jubilee line takes me to Westminster, and from there I could roll into St. James Park and see what was going on.

As soon as I got there though, I realised I should have stayed at home: the park was thronging with people. I could barely move. There was scaffolding and fences; the crowds were kicking up dust from the paths which got into my eyes. These certainly weren’t the conditions for the kind of nice, leisurely stroll I usually enjoy. Nonetheless I pressed on, eventually finding the Mall.

From there I had a walk around the area, taking in Whitehall, Downing Street and Trafalgar Square, before finding my way to Green Park tube station and returning home. Believe it or not it had been years since I last went up there for a walk, but now I’m not so concerned about riding the tube or encountering Outists in Parliament Square, I think I’ll go more often. As I said a few entries ago, I really want to get to know central London a bit more. Today really wasn’t the best day to start my exploration though.

Better an Anachronism Than An Autocracy

I’ve obviously been thinking about the queen again today. There was an event celebrating the Platinum Jubilee in Charlton Park earlier, which I went to. Of course, we all know that the concept of a monarchy in this day and age is a bit of an anachronism: the idea that someone can hold a position, political, social or otherwise, simply because they were born into a certain family is totally outdated. Yet I think most people still have a soft spot for the queen. I for one am not one of those numpties who rails against the monarchy just to sound provocative or rebellious; I understand that the issue is far too nuanced just to cry “Down with Liz!” For starters, being a constitutional monarchy is part of the cultural identity of the UK; it’s part of who we are, setting us apart from other countries. For another thing, I’d rather have a queen as our head of state than a president with unchecked authority. Can you imagine how sickening it would be if Boris Johnson was our president rather than Prime Minister, doing as he pleases as if the country was his personal possession? The scumbag is bad enough as it is, but at least he has to answer to the queen. That holds him and all other governments in check. In theory at least, our monarchy acts as a regulatory body, making sure governments never go too far.

That’s why I think we should keep things as they are with regard to the queen. As many other people have already pointed out, for seventy years, she has been a rock of stability for the country. A mother or grandmother figure, most people don’t know anything else. Whether the situation will change when someone else takes the throne though, remains very much to be seen.

‘City’ Indeed

Bradford won it’s bid to be UK City of Culture last night, so let me first congratulate it’s citizens on their win. I’m sure 2025 will be a marvellous year for them. My knowledge of geography being what it is though, I just looked up Bradford on a map, and I’m sorry, that is not a city. As far as I’m concerned, cities have to be big, impressive places, but I could probably get from one side of Bradford to the other in my powerchair within half an hour. It is tiny, and qualifies as a medium-sized town at most. Mind you, if I’m going to get into that debate, I must admit that, compared to the vast, bustling metropolises I encountered in India, London is barely more than a sleepy little English village, so I suppose it’s all subjective. Whatever it’s called though – town, city, village or farmstead – it’s great to see a northern community getting it’s time in the limelight. As I and so many others keep saying, London and the south-east get so much investment and attention, while the rest of the country gets largely forgotten about. It will be fascinating to see what a relatively small yet extremely diverse community like Bradford does with this award.

Immeasurable Stupidity

I was brought up using metric measurements. Although I sometimes refer to distances in miles, the truth is I have no real idea how long a mile is. At least with the metric system I know how long a metre is, and that a kilometre is a thousand metres. That, to me, seems sensible, as does having the freezing point of water at zero degrees and it’s boiling point at a hundred. These basic, logical figures are what I grew up with, and I’m sure the same goes for the vast majority of people born after, say, 1980. Why oh why, then, are the Tories now talking about bringing back imperial measurements? Do they not realise that it would be completely foreign to most people nowadays? More to the point, it would make doing trade or working with any other country a thousand times more complex. The tories are obviously desperate to distract everyone from the fact they are a bunch of rule breaking scum, as well as to throw some red meat to their core vote, so they’ve introduced this anachronistic idea to appeal to them. Yet that does not stop it being an act of utter stupidity.

Whether anything will come of this moronic scheme of course remains to be seen, but if it does I think we should all keep using the metric system. I certainly plan to. The Tories want to look like they’re taking the country back to some kind of golden, independent past which never really happened; so rather than fall for their con I think it’s now more important than ever that we continue to use the measurements we were educated using, and which are used by our European neighbours. At least then we will show that we won’t be duped by a charlatan who should have resigned days ago.