Merry Christmas, Santa!

December 17, 2013

-Hello Santa!

-Oh hello! What are you doing out of bed this late?

-We wanted to see you!

-Ssh! We don’t want to wake up your parents.

-Okay Santa.

-What did you say your name is?

-Tracy.

-I wasn’t asking you Tracy, I was talking to your bear!

-Hehe! His name is Polo and he is a polar bear! Do you know any polar bears at the North Pole?

-Of course I do! But Tracy, it’s very late. You and Polo should go back to bed.

-But why were you putting the presents in your sack Santa?

-I just realised, I brought the wrong ones. I have to take these back to the North Pole. I’ll be back with yours in a bit.

-But how will you do it before waking-up time? We looked at the globe at school and the North Pole is a long way away.

-I can bring presents to all the boys and girls in the whole world in just one night! So I don’t think I’ll have any trouble nipping back with yours. Now go back to bed!

-Okay Santa. Good night.

-Good night.

-Santa, where are you going?

-I said, I’m off to get your presents.

-But don’t you have to go up the chimney?

-No, Rudolf and the other reindeers are waiting at the end of the road. So I’ll walk.

-Oh okay. Good night Santa!

-Ssh! Good night. Merry Christmas!

-Merry Christmas Santa!

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The true face of Ukip

December 8, 2013

Nigel Farage is the official face of the right-wing UK Independence Party (Ukip). But usually a nicer face than the one below:

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

Thing is, Farage has to be careful what he says. If he talked like how many Ukip members and supporters felt, most of the public would be horrified and would never even entertain the idea of voting for Ukip.

But other Ukippers don’t have Farage’s public focus, and they are free to discuss their vile philosophy more openly.

Take, for example, Victoria Ayling,Ukip councillor on Lincolnshire county council. The Mail on Sunday has obtained video footage of her making some unsavoury comments.

At one point she says: “We must basically [re]patriate those that shouldn’t be here. That’s not quite policy yet. Maybe I should soften it a bit … OK, send them back.”

At another point she says: “OK, I just want to send the lot back, but I can’t say that.”

In the message she was recording that was intended for a wider audience, Ayling said immigration had to be controlled, that a points system should be introduced and that immigrants should be encouraged to speak English. That bit is standard Ukip talk. But the “send them home” rhetoric is more reminiscent of the BNP or National Front. Ukip has regularly had problems with candidates expressing extremist views. Many have been low-profile, but in September the MEP Godfrey Bloom left the Ukip group in the European parliament following a row after he jokingly referred to women as “sluts”. He had earlier been in trouble after being recorded referring to “bongo bongo land”.

The Beloved Leader Nigel Farage supports Ayling, saying “Farage said: “While this comment looks odd and unpleasant, there may be a context here that is slightly different to the way it appears.” But that’s pretty weak. The context is quite clear: Ayling was making a video to voice her opinions on immigration. And while I totally back her right to say these things, I also think it’s important that potential Ukip voters learn exactly what kind of party and people they want to vote into power.

You can watch – and hear – her voicing her opinions on the Daily Mail website. If you think Ukip is a sensible, mainstream political party, please go watch the video. I’d love to read your remarks in Comments.


Peaches made me think: what do I actually know?

December 5, 2013

Mooching round the internet last night, going where the links take me, I discovered that Peaches Geldof had tweeted the names of the women who let Lostprophets singer Ian Watson molest (and attempted to rape!) their babies.  It’s a foul, incomprehensible thing that the mothers (and Watson) did.  And I’d like to know these women’s names, if I know them or might meet them.  But the law says their identities must not be revealed to the public for a good reason: to protect the victims, those babies.  Peaches tweeted their names anyway.

Okay, so apparently she deleted them later (probably after her lawyer explained the seriousness of what she’d done); but that’s no good, the horse has escaped the stable and has galloped halfway to John O’Groats by now.  Oh, and Peaches apologized  “for any offence caused”.  So that’s alright then?

Anyway, in her opinion piece in the Guardian, Marina Hyde refers to the case of “the idiot who famously sprayed ‘Paedo’ on the door of a Newport paediatrician in 2000.”  Now, I’ve heard of this story, but it’s always been embellished with gruesome detail: the paediatrician’s house was fire-bombed and he (she?) had to flee from a mob waving pitchforks and flaming torches. Marina Hyde offered a link to the story so I clicked it, interested to see what monstrous details this version of the story may mention.

The Link took me to a BBC News Wales piece whose writer actually quotes the paediatrician:

Paediatrician attacks ‘ignorant’ vandals

A hospital paediatrician has hit out at vandals who forced her to flee her home after apparently taking her job title to mean she was a paedophile.

South African-born Yvette Cloete – a 30-year-old trainee consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, south Wales – said she planned to move home after returning to find the outside of her property daubed with the words “paedo”.

She said she can not rule out the possibility that the paint attack was connected with her job at the hospital.

And that’s it, pretty much.  No firebombs or lynchings, no angry mob.  There’s even a photograph of her front door, captioned “The front door was daubed with yellow paint”.  But the door looks pretty red to me, Ms Cloete must have fixed it before the BBC got there.

paediatrician-door

I’m not saying that what happened to Ms Cloete was insignificant: to find the word “paedo” sprayed on your door would be pretty disturbing.  But the reported story is a hell of a lot less lurid than the versions I’d previously heard and read.

And this gets me thinking: what exactly do any of us know?  I don’t mean what we’ve heard or been told – what do we know?  Not very much really.  That’s something we should carry with us, so next time you hear a story you can reflect: so-and-so says this, somebody else says something else, and at the end of the day I still don’t know a thing.  Something to give us pause when we sit in judgement of others, or when others sit in judgement of us.

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