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...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I, more than likely, will not be able to post as I wish, due to my live-commenting commitments at other sites. But let me get the ball started on Sundries for the Royal Wedding of Prince William of Wales (will he be created a Duke today or soon?) and Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton of the Home Counties.

I'm watching the BBC coverage, and it might interest you Americans to know who are the journalist equivalents of Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer, who will be covering the wedding via NBC.

Huw Edwards is the long-time news presenter of both the morning shows and News at 10 O'Clock. His Welsh accent is warm, instantly relaxing the viewer. I do miss him.

This is Sophie Raworth, the head afternoon newsreader of the BBC. She came after my time in the UK, but she seems to have been given plumb duties at the Abbey.

Is the Royal Wedding garnering the same kind of intense enthusiasm that Prince Williams' parents wedding did thirty years ago? No.

Look at Hyde Park. In 1981, you couldn't MOVE in London because of the dense crowds. Hyde Park was packed to the gills. Not so much this morning. Just look at those gaps! I don't even recognise the park.

But look how the Prince and Princess of Wales' marriage turned out. If this low turnout is a harbinger of anything, it's that this couple will be given far more breathing room to live. That can only be a good thing.

First guests have arrived.

Everyone looks excellent in their morning suits and hats, just as expected. And whoever could be that dishy chap behind the RAF officer? In another shot, you can see Douglas Hurd behind him, so perhaps a son.

More later. Hopefully!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Meet Britain's greatest double-act...

...since everyone's very beloved Morecambe and Wise. At least, according to the front page of Thursday's rubbishy tabloid, "The Sun", who actually may have riffed the idea (to put it politely) from a fellow blogger.

In fact, what was most striking about yesterday's truly cosy-as-chips photo call and dual press conference, was that the Prime Minister looked far more enamoured of his Deputy, than the other way around. See for yourself next time, when traipsing around the front pages of the British dailies. The look on Cameron's face speaks volumes -- whereas Cleggy just looks bemused by Cam's attention towards him, like a Quarterback being wooed by the swotty student government president.

If I could, I would have a word in David Cameron's shell-like and whisper, "He's just not that into you" before things really get serious.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yes We Cam

It was once said of monarchy, that there is no more stark dividing a line between yesterday and today, than when a King dies.

The phrases, "out with the old and in with the new", as well as the peculiarly British idiom, "yesterday's news" are witnesses to the fact that in any field of governance, what was is always immediately forgotten in the light of what is.

In fact, so strong is the pull of power, that it can draw in a disparate set of people, previously impossible to imagine as working together, because a crown, a mitre, or a sash is difficult to reject.

These two concepts of past power and the need to join forces to achieve power neatly sums up the preceeding five days lived by the British people.

It has been a tense, often bewildering time for a populace used to seeing one Prime Minister leave Number 10 Downing Street within minutes of hearing voting results, indeed with moving vans parked at the back, ordered by the PM's wife on the Friday BEFORE an election -- a custom characteristically British in modesty and lack of presumption, as well as innately tongue-in-cheek. But post-voting day Friday came and went without this age-old tradition being enacted due to a change of leadership: a leadership, furthermore, immediately accused of squatting like an old age pensioner not quite right in the head, hazy about his next move when finally given the sack by his old boss, the butt of jokes and sneers even by his erstwhile supporters.

Meanwhile, the presumptive leader was seen scrambling in undignified haste, trying to sell to his own troops, not to mention to those of his potential ally's, the idea of joining forces (to use that noxiously noble phrase) for the good of the country.

This might be all very well in Germany, with their singular lack of electoral humour (or any other kind of humour) or in New Zealand, who have dumped their Anglo-Saxonic "first-past-the-post" voting system for proportional representation; in any case, a cheery nation more comfortable with sheep than with the heady decision-making of what is still a world power -- but it is not common in the UK, and is certainly not the British Way.

It is this lack of clarity that is at the heart of the British liking of tradition.

In a world where uncertainty is the rule, tradition provides a helpful steadying hand. The play may be a tragedy or a comedy, the actors may change roles from one moment to the next, but at the end of the day, everyone exits, stage left.

As everyone knows, nature abhors a vacuum. And that's precisely how media came about, to fill it.

The rumours of who, what, where, and when allowed television and print media to have a field day with speculation, and half-truths, vividly revealed in tweets via Blackberries to their attendant followers.

One moment, we were being tweeted at that talks had gone swimmingly between the leaders of the Conservative and Liberal-Democrat Parties, only for others to counter-tweet that the Lib-Dem leadership had basically stabbed the Tory one in the back, by horsetrading its way unto power with the losing Labourites.

Who's to know what really transpired at the end of the day, because journalism is not history. It's merely short-term hearsay.

What we do know is that negotiations broke down between Labour and the Lib-Dems, allowing for the Conservatives to resume talks (perhaps now clearer about what they could offer) finally able to form a coalition government, the first in Britain for 70 years since Labour PM Ramsay MacDonald was given the nod so to do by none other than George V, the present Queen's grandfather.

Unlike that heady time, or during the Alec Douglas-Home appointment, the Queen herself didn't play any kind of role in choosing the Prime Minister. This was truly a more hands-on approach by the leadership of all three Parties.

Yet, so sudden was the decision to resign effective immediately his charge of Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, this Tuesday, that it is said David Cameron didn't realise he was about to become PM until three minutes after Gordon Brown started on his way to Buckingham Palace, having received a tardy phone call from Number 10! Goodness only knows where the third member of this poli-sci comedy, Nick Clegg, was at that moment. Perhaps in the shower shaving his peachfuzz baby-face or picking out another orange tie to wear for his close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Let me just say that the Rt. Hon Dr James Gordon Brown gave a moving, and gracious exit speech in front of his old digs, his red-headed wife at his side.

His wife, I like a lot. She's long been known to soothe the savageness of that beast, Gordon Brown. If "The Queen" is ever remade about this election, I hope they choose Cynthia Nixon to play Sarah Brown. Her partner, Christina Marinoni could even play Gordon Brown, with a bushy salt-and-pepper Scottish wig, as she already has a nice array of neckware to offer.

At long last, Britain had its head of government, and whilst awaiting his arrival at hallowed Number 10, I had predicted in real-time that "Dave's" maiden speech as PM would be drowned out by the jeers and fingers-up by Labour "supporters" just outside the gates -- a prediction I am sad to say, was fulfilled all too vividly.

For if there is anything you can count on, it is the abject sore-losership and sour grapeyness of those on the left-of-centre politically. It's almost as if they believe that they have a Fate-given right to perpetually lead a country, and should the opposite occur, the cruel, unfair and deluded world needs to hear them squeal in toddler-like distaste. All those of you who remember the Inauguration of President GW Bush in 2001, looong loooong before Iraq, will understand what I mean.

Elections will probably be called as soon as Autumn (September-October?) because this hastily assembled coalition may soon see its first fissures before Summer recess.

But never mind.

Today, Britain can at last go back to doing what it does best. Put the kettle on, and worry about today, tomorrow.

Good luck you two. Err, three. No wait! Four. I think.

UPDATE: Sigh. You win some, you lose some.

Related Reading

Conservative Party Leadership (September 23 2005)
RIP Ivan Cameron
When They Were Young

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Resolute And Messy

A quick compare/contrast of two very different powerful men's desks.

Outgoing British PM Gordon Brown's workmanlike desk, with his boys' finger-paintings hanging on the walls and a nice photo of his wife ON his desk.

And then there's this minimalist-with-a-passion desk favoured by the US President, Barack Obama.

I don't know about you, but I know which one I find less creepy.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thank You, Massachusett(e)s

At 11:40 PM EST on 19 January, almost two hours after the losing Democratic candidate for Senator from Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, gave her concession speech, this is how the two most prominent Bostonian newspapers' front-pages looked like.



Nope. No sore losers here. Just media, the bitter clingers of hate.

Congratulations, Senator-Elect Brown!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Because Every Monday 8

Should start out with a laugh.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Because Every Monday 7

Should start out with a laugh.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Because Every Monday 6

Should start out with a laugh.

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