Sunday, 8 February 2009

Nutt by name, Nutt by nature

So, in an attempt to spend more valuable research money on something really useful rather than fighting against AIDS, the head of the Medical Advisory Council has declared that horse-riding is no more or less dangerous than taking Ecstasy. Moreover, kids are no longer horse mad: they suffer from Equine Addiction Syndrome. 'Equasy', the Professor coyly calls it, leads 'users' to indulge in dangerous and harmful behaviour and encourages others, when meeting en masse at, well, a Meet, to engage in violence.(What does he have to say about 18-rated video games?) Apparently, you should seriously consider your risky behaviour every time you mount Dobbin. I think Nutt's behaviour, on the basis of creating such an absurd disorder and then asking the Medical Profession to take it seriously, should be assessed; having been subjected to numerous psychological evaluations he should be fired and a credible alternative appointed to his prestigious position. Honestly.

Is the Torygraph turning into a tabloid, we wonder? I find it more than irksome to see Jennifer Aniston goggling up at me next to actual news; and the intelligence that hormones cause a kissing 'suge' doesn't interest me over much either. Jacqui Smith's latest row, however, does. It seems that her royal frightfulness has claimed over £116 grand for a second home despite the fact that she'd been living with her sister.
If a benefit claimant gets overpaid by a £1000, s/he is hauled in front of magistrates and makes the front of the local rag. If Jacqui Smith does it, a spokesperson vigorously defends her 'honesty' on her behalf. What a country.

7 comments:

  1. Quite. But I imagine she thinks she deserves it for all the good she has done for the country.

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  2. It's an interesting concept, isn't it, to pay someone to bugger up your life for you.
    I think I loathe her more, if possible, than Brown himself.

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  3. Dear Miss Macseoinin,

    The Home Economics Secretary never professed any great talent or ability. I doubt anyone was more surprised than her to be propelled to such high office. Now she's there, all she can do is lie through her teeth and meet criticism with aggression.

    Brown, however, is a different kettle of fish. Here is a man convinced of his total intellectual and moral superiority, who also believes, on the basis of his weird upbringing, that he has an almost divine right to be PM and that he can do no wrong.

    Your initial instincts were correct, Brown is the one to loathe.

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  4. You are quite right: Brown's assumption of a messianic role is infinitely disturbing - it would be laughable were it not affecting our lives catastrophically. The man must go; if only we could persuade our MPs to return a vote of 'no confidence' before he does any more damage.
    But I find Smith curiously worrying in that she does appear so mediocre, so, well... banal. She seems to exhibit that kind of 'just doing my job' mentality that has characterized historically the worst of despotic regimes. Nothing that she says or the way in which she says it is memorable, yet she possesses almost limitless power (power which is increasing by the day). If she were passionate - yet misguided - there would be something upon which one could seize; but she is not. There exists only a curious blank flatness.

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  5. Dear Miss Macseoinin,

    Mediocre is a good description. The problem is that nothing in Ms Smith's education or experience has prepared her for the responsibilities of the office she now holds. Going through the motions is the limit of her capability.
    Faced with something like the Damian Green affair, she simply has no appreciation of the wider issues around parliamentary sovereignty or the importance of holding the executive to account. If the degree of judgement and wisdom that we are entitled to expect in a Home Secretary is absent, then the holder of that office has the power to inflict great harm, intentionally or otherwise.
    These were precisely the qualities that decided Gordon Brown to promote her to the post. He, for reasons of party political advantage, was determined to press ahead with 42 days. Ms Smith was the one who could be relied upon to unquestioningly follow his wishes.
    We live in interesting times.

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  6. Is that not a Chinese curse - may you live in interesting times?
    It is strange that Smith read the same degree as Cameron at Oxford - but whereas he is not afraid to allow his intelligence to show, the senior women in the Labour party seem to dumb down aggressively (Yvette Cooper's another example) and portray themselves as classless and background-less. I have the sneaking suspicion that Smith does know exactly what is going on but finds it much more convenient - and to her benefit - to either pass the buck or deny all responsibility. Such behaviour may spark volumes of derisory comment; I fear though that such comment dwells too much upon the person's appearance, manners etcetera and allows the real issues to be swept under the carpet. (cf GW Bush's frequent verbal hiccups: in private it is reported that he is extremely lucid, but employs a hokey, country-boyish mien to be 'down with the voters'. It's worth noting that his worst malapropisms tended to be uttered in speeches that outlined some new, utterly barbaric piece of foreign or domestic policy.)
    I fear that she is every bit as dull as she appears - but not as dense. Merely smug. I read recently an interesting expose on this kind of 'socialism' that attempts to eradicate everything to do with past precedent, and the writer stated that such governments burden under an oppressive layer of insecurity; because they have never historically been a part of a gilded society, they feel the need to eradicate it utterly. Smith did not care that parliamentary sovereignty had been broken, because it exists as a history of which she has no part and takes no account of her. Her actions seem motivated as much by revenge as the desire to control. Of course, fears build upon fears and phobias upon phobias; the government's insecurity is such that they will stop at nothing to stifle any form of individuality, as self expression and self possession run counter to the ideology of 'equality.'

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  7. Dear Miss Macseoinin,

    Our times are interesting in the Chinese way and, I suspect, about to become even more fascinating.

    What you say about Smith and Cameron both having the same degree and both from Oxford is, of course, true. I had overlooked that and it causes me to re-evaluate. From everything I have seen or heard from Ms Smith, I automatically label her as having insufficient mental capacity for her role. Clearly, that is unfair and it cannot be true. To what extent, I wonder, am I guilty of stereotyping her on the basis of her appearance? Perhaps quite a lot!

    Yet I would expect Cameron to have an appreciation and a sense of the value and importance of our historic rights and freedoms that I find totally lacking in Ms Smith. From where was that obtained? Obviously not Oxford. Eton probably gave Cameron a sense of history and tradition, if nothing else, but many fine parliamentarians do not share that background. Perhaps "upbringing" would have been a better choice of words rather than education?

    What you say about socialist insecurity resulting in an urge to destroy that which has gone before has its attractions. When Labour came in however, in 97, 18 years in the wilderness and the huge wave of euphoria that greeted them resulted most obviously in an attitude of arrogance. There was a sense of “we are the masters now” about them, rather than any innate insecurity.

    Certainly, in cases like the Lords reform and the fox hunting ban, pragmatism was replaced by something that could be said to result from the very motivation you suggest, particularly on the labour backbenches. But the only reason either of these measures were allowed to go through was that Blair used both as bribes to keep his troops in line and obedient. It is, of course, highly questionable whether Blair can be classified as a socialist.

    The belief that acts of constitutional vandalism are carried out on the basis of class warfare or ideological revenge makes those actions far more appalling than had they occurred through ignorance.

    Politicians are, of course human and subject to the normal frailties. Yet the suspicion that our government is not just incompetent, but motivated by envy, hatred and fear is not a pleasant one. Unfortunately, experience suggests it is all too true.

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Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat -Ralph Ellison