Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Column, January 1, 2008

HAPPY new year to you all and let’s begin 2008 as we mean to go on. Out with the old and in with the new.
And here are my suggestions.
Tolerance. Let’s have an end to that for a start.
Controversial I know, but than that’s what it says at the top of the page so I am in the words of the advert, doing what it says on the tin.
Yes, tolerance, way, way overrated and not, in my view, any great virtue and I’ll tell you why, because it lets other people get away with murder.
Oh we bang on about how tolerant and understanding we are and under our very noses people behave in the most beastly manner and we turn our failure to act upon their foulness into some sort of step towards sainthood.
This is all part of our British unwillingness to make a scene, so just as individuals we tolerate people jumping in a queue ahead of us, as a nation we do business with countries who behave in the foulest manner to their citizens.
So for instance there are only a select band of nations whose government sanctions the execution of children. Iran is one and we have pretty arm’s length dealings with them, well let’s face it, if we’ve got any infantry left after Afghanistan and Iraq, chances are we’ll be marching that way on the coat-tails of that other state executioner of children, step forward the USA, with whom we have a ‘special relationship’ – makes you proud doesn’t it?
So less tolerance of behaviour like that and more telling our special friends across the pond that until they stop killing kids they’re not our mates.
And let’s not tolerate things because of so-called ‘cultural differences’ eh? There are certain things which no matter how culturally different someone is, I’m not prepared to tolerate. The servitude and enslavement of women and children a start, execution of women who are raped for adultery and the execution of homosexuals will do as a starter. Your God might tell you this is the right thing to do, but he’s wrong, or more likely, the clergyman who tells you this is God’s will is mad.
Mobile phones – for one hour a day, one day a week, turn them off. See if anyone dies. If no-one does, then the next week do it for two days, three days the next and so on. Pretty soon the ringtone industry will go bankrupt and peace will reign.
Meetings. This is a plea to managers everywhere. If you are thinking of having a meeting that will go on for more than 20 minutes, don’t. Half of the people there will have lost the will to live, the other half will be using their mobile phones to do their Tesco on-line shopping.
Comedy Ring-tones. An oxymoron and the one thing that tempts me to re-think my views on capital punishment.
The professional Welsh. That small band beloved by the media who are wheeled on to represent us whenever some story breaks about us – usually a survey saying that we are the drunkest/fattest/most violent nation on Earth according to a survey of 50 people at Brent Cross shopping centre. The professional Welsh are the acceptable, neutered face of Wales. The sort that could be invited to be on the panel on Blankety Blank and trusted not to use the occasion to burn the Union flag.
Voter indifference. Also known as being bone idle. As the Yanks say, if you don’t vote, don’t bitch. For instance, there are thousands of parents currently fuming at Gwynedd Council’s decision to close village schools across the county. If they don’t turn out next election day to vote out the councillors who did that, then they have only themselves to blame. You might not have put them in power, but by not voting you allow them to remain in power.
The WRU. It might actually do us some good not to have anyone in charge at all for a couple of seasons. Just let the players sort it out among themselves. Stick a team sheet up on the door of the Millennium Stadium before match days, decide who’s bringing the half-time orange segments, and then hope enough of them turn up on match day. Alright, we might get stuffed a couple of seasons, but can you honestly say you would be able to tell the difference? And if we lose our fear of losing, who knows, we might find a way to start winning again.
Amusement arcades. Another oxymoron, and we can only pray for the perfect storm that would wash every last one of them from the sea-fronts of Wales. Can anyone, hand on heart, claim they are anything other than a means of fleecing children and the feeble-minded?
Welsh housing protests. Wake up, no-one can get on the housing ladder in Wales because no-one can get on the housing ladder anywhere. No-one can get a mortgage and houses over-priced everywhere. Pretending this is some sort of uniquely Welsh problem is starting to look a bit ridiculous.
Social, Welsh and Sexy. Any society which has to declare its sexiness is, by definition, not. More tiresome, professional Welsh.
Late night phone-in TV ‘quizzes’. Brought to you courtesy of ITV and Channel 5, who must be so proud to have created a new way of ripping off the sad, the lonely and the drunk.
Celebrities in rehab. Don’t they realise that their work will have more longevity if they actually die – worked for Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon. OK, there is the slight drawback of not being around to enjoy the adulation, but hey, that is, or was rock’n’roll.
24-hour licensing. Anyone noticed an outbreak of the continental café culture that was supposed to accompany this masterstroke? Anyone enjoying a late night stroll down the boulevards to enjoy a digestif with friends after a spot of supper? Or are you to busy dodging the vomiting revellers and too wary of the gangs of marauding drunks? Thought so. A bad idea, let’s pack it in.
ID cards. This government, all governments, could not run the security on a whelk stall and so they should stop pretending that all the personal information held on ID cards would somehow, be completely safe. There will always be some small cog who brings down the machine and we’ll all be even more vulnerable. If we’re not breaking the law the Government has no business in our business and our grandparents fought and won a war against people who insisted everyone should carry ‘their papers.’

There; that’s got that off my chest and it’s only day one of the year. Well, start as you mean to go on.

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