Saturday, 4 April 2009

I know it isn't politic to say, but I really can't stand Jacqui Smith


Despite the whole taxpayer funded porn fiasco, I'd hate the lady anyway if only for her association with the positively draconian Home Office whose policies make me want to string her up from the Tower Bridge. But more on that later...

Another beautiful Saturday and I'm stuck inside. I've got a chapter deadline in two months, and having done little more than five minutes worth of work in the last two weeks, I've come out to the middle of nowhere to put my head down and catch up on two weeks in two days. No distractions, no noisy upstairs neighbours, no, um, kitchen to distract me (ha ha ha ha) - no other distractions, apart from myself that is. Every time I look up from my shiny macbook, I'm confronted with my own face (because there's a large mirror hung on the wall - not because I'm hallucinating). Sure I like my face, but it's a bit strange to always see yourself looking back at you, every time you're trying to understand why 18th-century Frenchmen were so blood-thirsty...

Not only that, but I may have accidentally brought along a few distractions in the form of a few films and a thick stack of magazines. I think I may have a magazine obsession. It's not healthy. I have only one sibling, a younger brother, and when we were little he wanted to do pretty much everything I wanted to do and naturally, my mother encouraged him as it meant we could be shuttled around simultaneously. He's into his own hobbies now, thank god, but it's funny how a two way relationship eventually developed. Two things my brother loved when he was younger: Calvin and Hobbes and Wired magazine. I think my brother has sadly grown out of both, but luckily for the family name, I'm keeping the torch alight. I adore Calvin and Hobbes and I was also rather heartened to discover that Wired has just launched a UK version of the mag. I'm not a huge techie, but for some reason I really like Wired. It's beautifully put together and the features are interesting. I stopped reading newspapers apart from the FT and most fashion-y magazines because I always felt cheated and vaguely disappointed after flipping the last page over. Like I'd just invested all this time and energy into reading the whole thing only to be filled with thoughts of the world's impending destruction, children who'd been raped at the age of 2, or fashionistas who needed to get a serious grip on reality. I like the FT, the Spectator, Wired, and the New Scientist because they don't make me feel like I've wasted my investment of time and brain space. I'm interested in the world and its happenings, but I want to know what's important - without the doom and gloom bollocks that sells other papers and tabloid mags.

Take the whole Jacqui Smith expenses fiasco. Predictably the Guardian half-heartedly defended the Home Secretary and the reporter focused much of her attention on a possible Labour mole in the fees office - as if we should all be shocked at the moral reprehensibility of the mole who leaked office secrets. The Telegraph got Boris to deliver a rousing denunciation of Labour over-spending in general, not just expenses. It was only the Spectator's Rod Little who made the point with panache, humour, and a relatively bipartisan attack on the sheer ridiculousness of tax payers effectively subsidising MPs living expenses. That old US saying, "no taxation without representation" obviously holds no weight on the other side of the Atlantic... And just because it pisses me off, but what in the world did Jacqui Smith's husband have to apologise for? As far as I'm concerned she is responsible for putting through her own expenses, or at the very least, approving what goes on the expenses. Why are any TV or internet bills going through her expenses? Surely the only things that ought to be paid for by taxpayers are for expenses that directly relate to the business of being an MP: travel and related expenses, the second house allowance (which obviously needs a serious overhaul), and that's it. I don't see how it's her husband's fault - even if he should read my last post on porn and cease use immediately. Though I imagine if Jacqui Smith were my spouse, I'd resort to porn too. Surely there's one positive: at least he wasn't using taxpayer money to claim expenses for prostitutes...

Enough distraction. Back to work.

4 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Your argument against porn could apply to anything the brain gets a kick out of. Life itself might be thought of as a set of addictions to various pleasures. That's why I'm a Gorilla-Buddhist who has trained his mind to experience without pleasure. I can look at as much human porn as I want without it affecting my brain.

Phoenicia said...

You're so silly, Gorilla!

Not anything the brain gets a kick out of, don't be ridiculous! And I'm not ranting against porn either (or other addictive behaviours), just trying to highlight an interesting aspect of brain function.

ciao-paolo said...

I'm with Gorilla Bananas on this one. I detect a decided anti-porn sentiment in your previous post. I also think your anti-alt-sex, you little neo-Puritan you.

But that's what I like about you. You read the FT and yet still keep the home fires burning for Calvin and Hobbes.

Home fires? Do I have that expression right? No matter.

I'm surprised The Economist didn't make your list of essential periodicals. I've lately abandoned my FT reading for The Guardian as I'm wholly dispirited by opinion makers in the comment section rushing to defend bonuses made by all those masters of economic destruction.

But now the Guardian is getting on my nerves too for different reasons. Perhaps it's time to take up the collected works of C&H and just let the rest hang.

It's late, I've lost my phone and lost sight of whatever point I set out to make here. End of distraction. Back to work.

ciao-paolo said...

oh well maybe one more distraction.