The Los Angeles Times reports that the International Contemporary Furniture Fair has just occurred at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Probably the most important work to be unveiled was the Solar Queen. This is a model of the British Queen Elizabeth II from Kikkerland with a waving hand powered by a miniature solar panel atop her black handbag. This is not to be confused with the Solar Queen Series of Science Fiction novels by Andre Norton.
Archive for May, 2010
The TV is burbling about how the ex-Treasury Secretary, Labour’s Liam Byrne, left a note for his sucessor which said: ‘Dear chief secretary, I’m afraid to tell you there’s no money left.”
Apparently this is in contrast to the previous Tory leader, John Major, who left a note for the incoming Prime Minister, Tony Blair, along with a bottle of champagne.
Champagne to bankruptcy. That about sum up the past 13 years!
Thanks to Mik Brown for bringing to our attention a Chinese idea for a train that does not stop at any stations?
A good idea? The Chinese think so and have created a video presentation demonstrating the idea. It is not a daft as it sounds. The idea basically is that the passnegers board a separate “connector cabin” which is picked up as the train passes. Simultaneously, passnegers who wish to get off board a connector cabin which is left behind at the station.
My view is that this drive dor efficiency is pointless. Making travel easier, quicker and cheaper merely means that we travel further. Many years ago a person might have walked an hour or so to their their place o work.
Today we travel by car or train and work 50 miles or more from home.
I can’t see the point of commuting when I can plug myself into the net from home.
Still, it’s a clever idea and perhaps it will be used until the inevitable accident where the connector car slams into the front of an oncoming train.
Oh dear. I am finding myself agreeing with the way that the UK is going.
I heard today that the plans to build a third runway at Heathrow airport have been scrapped. Good, all cheap air travel does is allow more people to travel to the other side of the world to see that the environment there has been ruined by things such as airports.
I heard that Nick Clegg is saying there will be tighter regulation on CCTV. Good, the UK is the most spied on society in the world. A free society is not one when the government watches everything you do.
I heard that they are designing a new Routemaster bus with an open back so that you can hop on and off. Good, this is a British classic and far more convenient than the curent buses.
A cynic would say that the Con / Libs are just announcing the good news first to make a good first impression. However, at the least they have some good news which is more than can be said for the ghastly burbling drivel spouted by Ed Balls this week when interviewed by Eddie Mayer on Radio 4′s PM. Mr. Balls waffle was staggering. This is a man who is standing for leadership of one of the UK’s great political parties. A potential future Prime Minister. Yet he could not think of a single thing to say.
Oops, there I go again attacking New Labour. I have this fear that the people of the UK will awake together and find we were dreaming. Pinch me someone. Is the New Labour nightmare really over?
Tags: anti-semitic, coalition, debt, efficient government, Gordon Brown, Hypocrisy, incompetence, israel, Labour party, leadership election, Lib Dem, Liberal Democrats, marketing, Millbands, new labour, New Labour Next Generation, nightmare of New Labour, peter mandelson, Polemic, prudent economic policy, racist, racist policy, railing against hypocrisy, settlement building, Talking Sense, tony blair, Tory, wasting money
Since this blog started in January 2008 it has been mainly polemic. Polemic, I believe, justly targeting hypocrisy. Two commons targets have been Israel for continuing a racist policy of settlement building while branding all criticism of this policy as racist (anti-semitic) and New Labour for spending most of their energy on marketing a supposedly prudent economic policy while wasting huge amounts of money, dragging the UK into massive debt and achieving very little.
Tony Blair is now gone, Gordon Brown is out of government and, while the spectre of Peter Mandelson lingers like a fart in the House of Lords the nightmare of New Labour is finally over.
So what now? Who will I complain about now? Nothing new is happening in Palestine / Israel and I don’t see a resolution to that problem in the near future. So who can compete with the ghastly liars and frauds that comprised the upper echelons of New Labour? Who can match Blair when it comes to grinning like a crazed muppet while lying through his teeth?
It’s true that New Labour Next Generation are even as I write manoeuvring for position. The Millbands appear in public shaking hands and chirpily angling for advantage. Perhaps the Labour Party will resist being pushed into an early leadership election with just Pinky and Perky but I am not counting on it.
Probably Labour are out of power for a few years yet so the question is: Are the golden days of railing against hypocrisy and incompetence over? Will the Tory/Lib Dem coalition deliver fair and efficient government? Should I be searching for a new domain name. Talking Sense perhaps?
Somehow I don’t think I’ll need to.
Tags: Adolf Hitler, bars, Bolesława Prusa, buses, Capitalism, Charles de Gaulle, choice, commercialism, communist regime, Eastern Europe, false individualism, Germany, hotel, Indian, london, Materialism, Nowy Swiat, pick strawberries, public transport, Restaurants, Route Master, Russians, Sheraton, statues, Trams, Warsaw, World War 2
Last week I visited Warsaw, staying at the Sheraton on Bolesława Prusa. A good hotel with plenty of marble. One evening I took a short walk north past the Charles de Gaulle statue onto a street named Nowy Swiat. Here can be found many restaurants and bars, probably frequented by the wealthy along with ex-patriots. After an excellent Indian at the Bhuda restaurant I took coffee at the Cafe Colombia while listening to an elderly American explaining to a couple young Poles how he admired the Russians because they had launched a military attack on a Russian cargo ship which had been commandeered by Sudanese pirates. “They picked on the wrong country!” he exclaimed many times.
On the aeroplane I had chatted to a Pole who had picked strawberries in Kent one summer in his youth. Sleeping in tents they had travelled from farm to farm. Now he was a business man travelling throughout Europe but he thought that perhaps he had enjoyed strawberry picking more.
The Russians will discuss World War 2 at the drop of a hat and he told me that when Hitler’s attention turned from attacking the UK to invading Russia this had been because the Russians had been massing an army on Germany’s eastern border. Proof of this, he said, were the thousands of Russian troops taken prisoner in the first few months.
This had never occurred to me. Like many Brits my knowledge of Eastern Europe during World War 2 is scanty and I had been taught that Hitler was a bit unstable and had invaded Russia merely because he wanted to take over the world. Of course this is Rubbish. With Great Britain at bay Hitler had turned his attention to a pre-emptive strike which, he must have hoped, would disable Russia.
Walking back from Nowy Swiat as the light faded I thought that Warsaw is in fact a great place to live. The public transport seems excellent and the buildings, though often blocky, are interesting and nature seems hell bent on tacking back the city with trees and grass growing everywhere. Almost as ubiquitous as the grass are the statues. I remarked on this to a Pole and was told cynically that the Russians love their statues. I got the impression that the former communist regime would throw up a statue at every intersection and I guess that after a while they must have run out of anything relevant and started building monuments to every petty bureaucrat. No offence intended to Charles de Gaulle who I’m sure played a great part in the history of Nowy Swiat.
I liked the mixture of the old and the new. The modern trams contrasting with those from the old soviet era; though noisy and drafty they have charm from having been designed before the obsession with efficiency ironed out every crease of character. I was reminded of the old open backed Route Master buses in London and how they rattled and shook.
Warsaw appears to have embraced capitalism and commercialism for it’s promise of a better future. It seems a city with a destination firmly in mind. Though not yet as rampantly commercialised as London, in some ways it is more advanced with taxis having TV screens in the headrest to beam advertising at the helpless passenger.
Unlike London, Warsaw has not yet choked on the obsession with materialism and the false individualism of choice.
Once the old trams are gone they will be missed.
Supporters of Labour in the United Kingdom appear incensed that they are no longer the party of government and are condemning the Liberal Democrats for forming a coalition with the Conservatives. Words such as despicable, treachery and deceit have been used.
Labour suffered a massive drop in support and polled far fewer votes than the Conservatives. The Labour party, Gordon Brown and the rag tag bunch of nobodies that formed the last cabinet are widely disliked throughout the country yet they now behave as if they have been cheated of power.
“I fear the lady doth protest too much”! Their allegations of betrayal and despicable conduct should be directed at their own leadership. Gordon Brown’s decision to bring the twice disgraced Peter Mandelson back into government placed the Brown premiership firmly in the “spin over substance” camp of Tony Blair.
Let’s just list the reasons why they are out of power:
- No party gained an overall majority.
- All parties are free to negotiate alliances as they see fit. The Liberals Democrats are an independent party and are not obliged to side with Labour.
- A Labour / Liberal Democrat coalition would not have achieved a majority and would therefore have no more right to govern than the Conservatives alone.
Labour lost, it’s called democracy – get over it.
Have been a little remiss and not seen much of Brighton Festival so far. However, I walked into town on Saturday and saw an ice sculpture on Hove Promenade. About the size of a large washing machine the block of ice had been embdeded with various items. As the ice slowly melted the item were revealed. Roses, some post cards and shells were in evidence. A note on the ground proclaimed: “This is a place to contemplate the passing of time as this giant block of ice melts to reveal the secrets that are hidden within it.” The work appeared to be a group named Beyond.
Further along was The Happy Egg. Your corespondent understands that as part of The Brighton Festival The Myst band will be living inside a 14ft egg on Brighton Seafront for a week. The egg had been surrounded with tree branches and attached to the branches were wishes written on luggage tags. Most wishes were for peace but one I saw was for The Myst to go all the way to the top.