Category Archives: across the pond

“The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks”

“The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks”

It’s a gorgeous sentiment, from a beautiful and talented actress.

It almost feels like the tide might be turning, like those ridiculous hate-filled arguments against gay marriage are finally being exposed for the small-minded poppycock that they are.

I count my blessings, not often enough, that here in the UK Civil Partnerships became a fact of life with little more than a few placards at Parliament and some snippy opinion columns from the same people who hate anyone who isn’t straight, white and morbidly dull just like them.

We managed that, and the hippy-dippy state of California was thwarted by the rich, white old people in Orange County (and their ilk) and uh, the Mormons.

But it’s going to be okay, because you’ve got Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine already on board. As Mark Morford notes in this article, the tide of ‘what’s the big deal?’ is getting bigger and will eventually sweep aside the bigotry and disgusting intolerance of the past.

If, as Patricia says, this truly is the age of Obama, it would be nice to see his administration spending less time defending DOMA and more time actually implementing that change we’re supposed to believe in.


“I serve at the pleasure of the President”

Barack Obama really is the President!  He’s won me over, albeit slowly.  I thought his inauguration speech brought some much needed pragmatism to the hope/change theme that’s served him so well.  Even a little bit of predecessor smackdown despite the enforced camaraderie of such an occasion (you know, where the word bipartisan suddenly becomes noun, verb and the Holy Grail itself).

I’ll admit that my biggest jealousy towards the man is his newly tricked out Blackberry.  If they can put nuclear launch codes on his start menu, or whatever, why can’t my Blackberry Storm handle simple tasks like allowing me to answer a freakin’ call?  It hasn’t tried my patience too severely as yet, but if the next software upgrade doesn’t fix the remaining kinks, I’m going to be shoving it somewhere unpleasant in Vodafone’s immediate vicinity.  Probably best I don’t start ranting about their Macphobia, because dammit, I was ready to betray Blackberries for a swanky little iPhone.  I would have done it too, were it not for 02’s utterly pathetic excuse for coverage in this particular pocket of North London.

In other news, I’m gritting my teeth and booking a glut of driving lessons.  The most annoying part of this drawn-out process is that I can drive perfectly well if I just have to think for myself.  It’s when I’m awaiting instructions for the route that my control freak brain gets sluggish.  I’m well aware that I have to grin and bear it because it’s the only way to get through the test, but believe me when I tell you that it’s actually easier to pootle around in a gigantic train than it is in a Mini.  Fewer idiots in your way at least.  Still, the test is provisionally booked for mid-February, let’s see how it goes.

“a change would do you good”

So, Obama did it.  I’m not providing a link, just click on anything that’s on the internet and you should stumble across it.  I like him a lot more recently, and I thought his acceptance speech was fantastic.  John McCain’s concession was befitting the man we knew before this messy election, before he was ground up in the cogs of the Republican machine.

I was wondering if his nomination had been a half-hearted gesture on the part of the Republicans.  He’s never been ‘their’ guy, incapable of motivating the base until the already-missed Caribou Barbie joined the ticket.  Is it possible that the strategists knew they had no chance of winning against the superstar Democratic choices, and after the disaster of Bush Jr?  So they let an old dude win through, with none of their own big hitters ready or eligible to run, so that if he lost it was no biggie?  Not like he’ll be able to run again in four years, and they haven’t had to change the party significantly (though it seems some shifting will be necessary if they’re to get back in power?)  I hope and pray that Sarah Palin does at least consider running in 2012 because 1) Tina Fey and 2) while the prospect of her with actual power terrifies me, I just find her hysterical and oddly compelling.

It’s over at last.  It was lovely coming home on the Tube, seeing so many wildly different faces poring over their free papers and smiling or nodding at the huge OBAMA WINS spreads.  The world definitely feels like a slightly better place today, even if it looks like California just screwed itself on gay marriage.

“Everywhere tradition draws circles to define”

Unsurprisingly, the world and its commentators have jumped on Sarah Palin like starving dogs on a hunk of sirloin.   It’s sexist, and I’m hardly the bra-burning feminist type who thinks every jibe at a female figure in the public eye is sexist.  I’ve said it before about some of the attacks on Hillary, and I think the McCain campaign was at least smart in grabbing the headlines by appointing her to the ticket.

Some would argue that it’s a cynical attempt to secure the PUMAs, those disillusioned women voters who thought the day had finally come when a woman could seriously run for President.  While there’s an element of that in play, it’s a worthwhile reminder to the Obama campaign that they don’t just inherit another candidate’s voters by default.  In a perfect world maybe that would be the case, but the level of personal investment in the primaries this time around makes it unlikely.  Joe Biden also has to be pretty damn careful in the VP debate, because patronising Palin the way many think Hillary was patronised will only irritate smart women even more.  I think that aside from the bounce-deflating headlines (seriously, doesn’t Denver seem a lot longer ago than last week?) the best part of having Palin on the ticket is the vital mobilisation of the Republican base.

Let’s be clear, I wouldn’t vote for Sarah Palin because our politics are pretty much polar opposites, but to the gun-totin’, baby-sparin’, God-pimpin’ redneck wing of the GOP she’s pretty much the best thing since sliced bread – especially since the top of their own ticket has made a career out of shunning the base in a particularly ‘maverick’ way.  As we saw with Bush and perhaps with Reagan and Bush Sr, winning swing voters and undecideds pales in comparison to getting your base fired up and out to the polls en masse.  There are just such a lot of rank and file Republicans waiting to be inspired to the voting booths, something that never seems to be quite so strongly the case with Democrats (something the primaries have been stark evidence of).

I just wish that for once, a female candidate could run in the same race as the guys get to take part in. If Obama’s child had a genetic disease, or John McCain had a grandchild being born out of wedlock, would their fathering skills be impugned with the not-so-subtle undertone of ‘what can you expect when a woman’s too busy with her job’?  I think not.  Whether Palin changes the race or not, she’s certainly made it more interesting.  I for one practically dozed off at the ‘old white guy’ announcement of Biden on the Dems’ ticket – so much for not having business as usual eh?  I think the Obama campaign set themselves up by not seriously considering Hillary, and I’d almost enjoy seeing them pay for that if it didn’t mean the risk of another 4 years of Republicans in the White House. Oh, and one last thought, the Obama supporters carping on about her lack of experience?  At least being a governor is an actual executive position.  Not to mention that she actually tried the job out for five minutes before hitting the Presidential campaign trail.  People in glass houses and all that, eh?

“bound to catch the heavens if they fall”

Shock, and indeed horror.   It seems that the Democratic primary system is once again throwing out a winner who can’t win the general election.   The election is close between these two, it’s not like Obama is the runaway winner, and yet Tomasky is still whining that we didn’t just pack up and go home after Iowa, basically.  I could like Obama, and any Democrat winning is the ideal outcome.  But in a year like this it should be impossible for the Republicans.  I honestly don’t think you can blame the protracted primary battle, if anything it’s increased Obama’s strength as a candidate.  All the same issues would have arisen, but at least Hillary pulled her punches on a lot of it, something the Republcians would feel no obligation to do.

While I’m here, referring to her campaign as ‘the Clintons’ is sexist.  I’m like, the definition of a non-feminist and I can call it as misogyny, so what does that tell you?  Oh, and Obama basically walks out of his church of twenty years, throwing every one connected with it under the proverbial bus.  So why is that just reported as fact and nobody is calling him on it?  Shouldn’t there be discussion over why he didn’t consider this at the start of the campaign?  Or why he’s changed position on this issue pretty much every time it’s been raised?  What is the influence of the church on his thinking and his policies, does it matter to him or not?  Not vital, but certainly important.  It’s just sort of sliding through as a non-event, but I’d like to see what would have happened if Hillary had the same problem with, I dunno, a rabid band of man-hating Methodists.

Ach, never mind.  At least she won Puerto Rico.  Vamos a hangear!!

“I’m no superman”

Interesting points about the superdelegates, and the whole point of them in the first place.  It’s that time-honoured American tradition of checks and balances, the ‘saucer that cools the coffee’ as it were.  If they simply confirm the existing pledged delegates’ frontrunner, then they’re a token gesture and ultimately pointless.  Instead, they’re intended as a counterpoint of calmer heads, frequently ones already successfully elected as Democrats, a balance against the kneejerk choice of the Democratic base.  After all, the candidate won’t win nationally if they’re too much of a lefty, that middle ground is the key – and being labelled as super-liberal never helps the Democratic nominee.  The person that the hardcore Dems choose, in other words, may not actually be the best electoral choice. 

So Hillary is still in with a chance, and deserves to be.  That is all.


“Just a fool to believe I have anything she needs”

Bloody hell, Patrick Swayze has cancer.  I’m not going to get into that mawkish bullshit, if he can get through this fantastic, and if not then grief is for those who knew the man personally. 

The part that depresses me personally is yet another sign of how freakin’ old I’m getting.  Idols are supposed to face mortality only from drugs or other forms of glorious hedonism.  The guy from Dirty Dancing, also responsible for one of the finest drag queen portrayals ever, getting sick?  That’s depressing.  If your idols are getting old, you’re getting old.  I used to have posters of Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe inside my wardrobe door for God’s sake!  Now I love Rob Lowe’s perma-tanned self for slightly more artistic reasons, but it’s like watching entire eras slip away from me.  Surely it’s bad enough I’ve started tutting at teenagers and all too often saying things that my mother used to say to me (albeit to the cats, but still..).

All the very best Patrick Swayze, I’m sure the interwebs will be brimming with support for you, and this child of the eighties just wanted to add her tuppence worth.