Thursday, 18 December 2008

Big dissapointment of 2008 (part 1)

Prawn Cocktail flavoured Pringles!

When I first heard about their existence , my mouth salivated at the very thought of it.
A perfect blend of the heavenly Prawn Cocktail flavour and the devilishly moorish Pringle.

However when I got to taste them, it was just meh.

Not strong enough to leave an impression. Us Brits were bought up on stronger Leicester (and Market Harborough) based crisps...

Insulation - dull! Rail - cool!

I was about to break my blogging drought with a piece about how our Roll back Beeching could really catch people's imagination and should be the centre of any February 2009 General Election campaign but I see that Nick Clegg has just launched the Green Road out of the Recession. The main points in the order used are:

  • A five-year programme to insulate every school and hospital, with 20% completed in the first year
  • Funding insulation and energy efficiency for a million homes, with a £1,000 subsidy for a million more
  • Building 40,000 extra zero-carbon social houses
  • Buying 700 new train carriages
  • Reopening old railway lines and stations, opening new ones, electrifying the Great Western and Midland mainlines and beginning the Liverpool light rail network
  • Installing energy and money saving smart meters in every home within five years

These are all good solid actions but are, I would argue, in the wrong order. Whilst insulation and energy efficiency are all well and good, they are not exactly headline items that will set the public alight with debate.

I would say they fit too easily into the dull and worthy mould of people's expectations of the LibDems and is the kind of thing people expect us to say that allows them to safely switch off and ignore without fear of missing anything.

Our proposals on new rail however (the fog of the MSM notwithstanding) could get people talking as it's something they can see would have a positive effect on their everyday lifes. Regardless of any money- or planet-saving benefits of better insulation, new and better rail would actually make peoples' lifes better and improve their wellbeing and more importantly people will see that.

Also, I think the issue of rail is one those issues that feeds into the public's disaffection with politicians in that the public can see something so glaringly obvious that needs sorting with such an obvious upside to a solution which they also think will get overwhelming public support, they can't understand why the politicians never do anything about it (or maybe it's just me who gets annoyed). Labour have been in for 11 years and have not even tried to fix something that's obviously rubbish and blights so many people's daily lifes.

I think there is pent up frustration here that we could tap in to.

I think, the proposals on zero-carbon social houses (whilst less sexy) do fall somewhat into this camp as tightening enery efficiency rules on new builds (we should do this for all new builds) is such a no-brainer, I think some people (well me) don't understand why it hasn't been done. I believe something similar was in the Labour 1997 manifesto but was dropped in short order by Blair when they got in.

In summary, I think the rail proposals should be the headline and the other more boring bits should be there in support to show we have a full programme if asked.

Why not try and make this a central issue? The establishment parties can't (and won't) compete on this issue (and if they do, even better for the country) and I'm sure we'd have overwhelming public support on this.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Final word on Oliver Postgate

Just a couple of Postgate-related things.

He wrote about why Childrens' TV matters a few years ago and I completely agree with what he said. Unimaginative kids' TV is just another nail in the coffin of a thoughtful nation (along with over-testing at schools). I find what the BBC woman said both depressing and depressingly unsurprising.

The second thing is something I knew I saw ages ago and it made me laugh. I'm sure I saw it more slickly done as a poster image with a white background ont' net at the time but all I can find now with my googling skillz was this. It challenges the NASA version of the moon landings...

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

RIP My childhood (Oliver Postgate)

Sad news. Oliver Postgate has died.

They kept playing bits of his narration on the Today programme this morning. The whole house (well, there are only two of us) stopped to listen everytime.

I still do a mean impression of Bagpuss, the mice and Professor Yaffle!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Paddick of the Jungle

Cobden's Comments has finally broken the self-imposed vow of silence (is that embarrassed silence?) of the LibDem blogosphere on the subject of one B. Paddick in the jungle.

I have nothing to add to what he said except to add a follow-up Daily Mail article on the subject for your further embarrassed cringing.

Yes, I know it's the Daily Mail but the fact it comes across as eminently believable (to me) just goes to show just how badly our former mayoral candidate came across during his fortnight in the jungle.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Downmarket Lapland on the Hampshire-Dorset border

I know this shouldn't be funny but (any animal cruelty and family days out ruined notwithstanding) it is!

I particularly like the polar bear!

I put me in mind of a real-life Grundy World of Christmas. Ah, I appeared to have given away that I may occasionally listen to the Archers! The shame...