Friday, 20 April 2007

It's Time to Move On

ITMA was the name of Tommy Handley's popular radio show in the forties. It stood for 'It's That Man Again' - a phrase drawn from newspaper headlines which appeared whenever Hitler made another territorial claim. We could have a new acronym now, ITMO, standing for 'It's Time to Move On'. In 2005 someone (I won't tell you who for fear of you moving on) said;
"Every time anyone hears Tony Blair say "time to move on" they should sit up and listen hard. It's a sure sign there's something he doesn't want noticed, doesn't want questioned, doesn't want probed. In fact, he uses it as a "get out of jail free" card to escape what he hates more than anything else - being held accountable."

And right enough, ITMO has become a constant gnomic catch phrase for Bliar, a sort of ersatz 'mea culpa'. Someone should stitch together all the sound bites from the myriad of times he has used the phrase, from the Iran hostage crisis and cash for honours, to the shameful victimisation of Dr David Kelly. It would go on for some time.

I'm not too keen on governmental prevarication and deception. At least, not when cynically practised by the government on the governed. It's not a matter of political predilection, but of democratic principle. A Sunday Times poll showed that fewer than one in five Britons believe Blair is honest. What is incredible is that probity apparently matters so little to politicians and the media, that he can remain in power (apparently solely to achieve the magic figure of ten years in office). And that we are so supine, apathetic or dissolute that we let him.

As, reportedly with the support of Jack Straw and other prominent Labour ministers, Parliament considers exempting MPs from the Freedom of Information Act, I'll leave you with an excerpt from Labour's 1997 manifesto;

'Unnecessary secrecy in government leads to arrogance in government and defective policy decisions....We are pledged to a Freedom of Information Act, leading to more open government...'

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Entropy. Doesn't it just grind you down?

Spring is traditionally about birth and renewal. Nature gets that right, but the rest of us are upended in the darkest recesses of our garages, fishing out cobwebbed parasols and rusting barbecues which we seemed to have put away only the day before yesterday. As, back aching, I scrape off the furred remnants of what might have been a kebab, slap paint over the rust patches on the Overton table, and rub raw linseed into desiccated benches, my mind dwells on the relentlessness of entropy.

Last week we drove through Glen Orchy in Argyll. It was years since I had last been there, and I had forgotten how stunningly beautiful it is, even though the water was low and the trees not yet in leaf. But there were cars and tents and camper vans round every corner. Most seemed to be young men, perhaps fishermen or climbers, but there was one group clustered round a camp fire playing guitars. Perhaps Paulo Nutini's mention of Orchy in 'These Streets' has attracted disciples although, for all we know, he may have been talking about the crescent in Paisley. If the glen is this crowded in April, August must be indescribable, those lovely banks one long, littered car park and human lavatory.

Mankind must be the finest agent entropy has ever possessed, barring possibly burnt kebab.