Thursday, 18 January 2007

Starved of love?

A report on R4s Today programme today told of a man complaining about the medical treatment his wife, who was in a long term 'vegetative' state had received.  His principal complaint was about her being included in a drug trial following permission being granted by a Court whom the family had petitioned to allow her not to be kept alive.  After discussing his unhappiness about the drug trial, the man spoke of how dreadful it is that it took 2 weeks for his wife to die once food and water were withdrawn.  He compared her protracted death to the experience of animals whose lives in similar circumstances would be painlessly ended.
Of course at one level he makes a valid point in comparing the legality of human and animal 'medicalised' deaths but I think there's one really significant factor which he seems not to have considered.  And that is that if he loved his wife and also wished to spare his family this dreadful experience of watching a slow death by dehydration and starvation, then his moral duty, imo, superceded the strictures of the law.
I know it seems harsh and I do realise that such severe stress can put people's moral compass off balance, but to criticise medics who choose to obey the law rather than take the personal and professional risk involved in actively ending a life - and a life with which they have no personal connection - whilst himself standing by and watching someone he knew and loved die such a dreadful and inhumane death when he too could have brought matters to a speedy conclusion is utterly incomprehensible.
Or is it just me?

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Yes he does, No he doesn't

Just when we thought it couldn't possibly get any worse, Donald Rumsfield's replacement, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says:

"I would confess I'm no expert on Iraq"


"I'm no expert on military matters"

So, won't Bush loan you his XBox then Robert?

Iraq Plan Draws Criticism, Mockery On Hill, President's Plan To Send More Troops To Iraq Meets Opposition From Both Democrats...



Just a query

Has anyone ever had a round robin Christmas letter from some distant cousin whose children haven't achieved an instrumental Grade 8 or a First at Oxbridge, who hasn't had a new superdooper kitchen/bathroom/conservatory, who's bought another old banger instead of a new soft top Mercedes, whose dog didn't win at Crufts or learn to bark Bach?

Of course it's only very distant cousins who think that my life will be made more joyful by knowing that they've acquired an American style stainless steel fridge or that their never-seen daughter's boyfriend recently had a trial for Aston Villa. 

Why send these paeans of self-valediction to people not seen for 30 or more years - unless of course, they remember that the recipient has always had a cruel snigger itching to escape?

Or is it only me?  

Friday, 12 January 2007

Top Tour Tips anyone?


Next weekend I'm off to spend a week cruising down the Nile, visiting all the usual sites of interest including, rather oddly in my opinion, the Aswan Dam.  I wonder if anyone else has done this trip and whether they have any tips as to what I really oughtn't to miss and what's really not worth leaving the poolside for?

Dancing on points

The subject of the English National Ballet dancer, Simone Clarke, is a popular topic on the General Politics message board currently.  The Guardian revealed that this woman is a BNP member and she's received much condemnation for her political views. 
This evening, or possibly this weekend, she's to make her first appearance on stage since the Guardian revelation and some groups opposed to the inherent racism of the BNP Party intend to picket the performance. 
BNP supporters feel that their members are unfairly hounded and persecuted by anti-racists to the extent that they sometimes lose their jobs and that such politically motivated persection is an offence aganst democratic principles.
I too have from time to time faced the knotty problem that some artists whose work I admired held views or supported causes that I abhor and as a result I have considered the issue of whether continuing to buy and enjoy their output compromises my own principles in any way.
My considered opinion is that it might or might not, depending on whether the work has any relation to the problemmatic belief or action.
For example, Philip Larkin was something of a racist, he was also a sexual voyeur and had (imo) unacceptable views about women and about 'ordinary' people.  The thing is that I didn't know any of this from his work, which I knew and loved long before I read any of his collected works or letters.  He didn't write odes which denigrated Johnny Foreigner, he didn't write poetical porn, he didn't write diatribes against the working classes or women.  His views were something apart from his work - and imo we're all entitled to think whatever we wish to think - it's when what people think has a negative impact on other people that we need to concern ourselves with it.  Actions therefore, imo, speak far louder than words.
Take for example the teacher 'hounded' out of his job for belonging to the BNP - according to the BNP.  This person as a form tutor or Year Head had daily contact with children to whom he was an authority figure.  He would also have had to relate to pupils of ethnic minority heritage and to the white indigenous pupils who are growing up in a multicultural country.  That alone would give me cause for concern.  But this man also wrote articles for StormFront; the National Front website; was a supporter and admirer of Hitler and all his works; and was a total denier of the Jewish holocaust.  He was an active proseltyzer on behalf of racial hatred and intolerance.
Such a person ought not to be in a position of trust and influence over children imo and it's right that he should have been asked to leave teaching.
But this dancer isn't in any such position.  She merely dances.  Not only does she not proselytize for racism or for the BNP, but her membership was not a matter of public record until the Guardian infiltrated the Party and gained access to membership details.
In my opinion this is disgraceful.  The BNP, despicable tho it and it's leaders are, is still a legitimate British political party and she has every right to belong to it, as much as anyone else has the right to join any other legitimate political party. 
Unlike many other theatre people, she didn't use her fame, such as it was before the Guardian put it's oar in, to campaign for the BNP, she hasn't put her name to any public appeals for funds, she hasn't demonstrated in support or opposition to any political policies.  She's merely a member.
We saw no public outcry when the ilk of Kenny Everett and Jim Davidson loudly and very publicly campaigned for Thatcher, no-one blinked when Blair was publicly supported by the likes of Melvin Bragg and Glenda Jackson - nor even when they got safe seats or were made a Peer or Dame on the strength of it.
Simone Clarke is misguided in her political affiliations imo, and given that her significant other is a person of immigrant heritage one might suppose that her brains are in her feet.  But she has every right to think as she does and to belong to any political party she chooses.  Attempting to force the hand of the English National Ballet to fire her is anti-democratic and an infringement of ALL our civil liberties.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Felix at 6 months old

My but it seems longer than a month since I posted anything here and I'm short on time right now too, but here's a couple of pictures of my current best boy.  He's sitting up, altho not with any confidence, and he's wriggling his way around the floor.  Put him in his walker and he's like Stirling Moth.

Success, 3 cheers for Felix!


Oooops, overbalanced by naughty teddy


Stirling mothing