All entries for August 2006

August 17, 2006

By the way (re Venables)

I appear to have been wrong about Venables.

Politics is everywhere…so why is everyone so apathetic?

My maths teacher in Year 7, making an ulitimately futile point to me, said that studying the obtuse angles of triangles and conducting simultaneous equations was not a complete waste of time because: 'Maths is everywhere'.
Going to a Catholic High School, the same point was made about God in R.E., whilst reading Shakespeare and Priestley formed valuable life lessons in English that I have since unfortunately neglected. The sciences and geography have similar levels of physical relevance, and history, as the study of the past, obviously provides importance lessons for our future.
Why then when I say that I'm studying Politics, the almost universal response is a sharp intake of breath, and more often than not an utterance of an 'oh dear'? It seems, not just in an academic sense, the public at large see fit to ignore Politics as irrelevant to their lives. All this does is widen the space between the politically motivated and the rest of society.
The mistake most people seem to make is to shove Politics into a party political and institiutional box. Although I'm a card–carrying member of the Liberal Democrats, I can fully understand the public's increasing apathy in this regard. Nothing annoys me more than career politicians, individuals who see personal gain as a necessary companion to any policy, reform or political action. The patriachal, hierachical system that still largely prevails especially in Britain is genuinely sickening (sorry to sound like a feminist), and the victims, are of course, those in society who are neglected in favour of populist policy.
This may prove to be the ultimate legacy of New Labour and Tony Blair, but all parties are partially responsible. Turnout is low because trust in politicans as human beings rather than self–interested androids is low. The role of sensationalist media hasn't helped, but this is preferable to the dewy–eyed reverence the great unwashed had for pre–war politicians.
However, these problems can be addressed. Primarily the solution is to recognise that all human relationships have a political essence. Whether it be one–on–one relationships, or small–scale systems of power (as I've come to find out in the voluntary bookshop I'm currently working in), there is always a degree of political friction.
Of course this is a simplified, naive approach, but national and international complications can, in my opinion, be related to more familiar day–to–day concepts. If the political climate can change, then more citiziens will take notice, but this requires 'politicians' of all ages to assess the real purpose of their professional lives.
If politicans can use the same system of rationale we use to iron out these small scale difficulties in the wider world, it might take longer to iron out problems, but at least the public might be able to relate the manner of politicians' behaviour to their own, normal, characteristics.

August 14, 2006

A Quick Question #1

At what age is it OK to start listening to Radio 2?

August 12, 2006

Beckham's international exit was, I'm afraid, inevitable

My first thoughts on recent happenings will not concern the foiling of a potential mass terrorist atrocity, or the Israel–Lebanon conflict, but something much more pertinent…the end of David Beckham's international football career.
Although my interest in football compared to cricket and rugby league has declined since Leeds were relegated and Chelski began to buy/win the Premiership, I still feel McClaren's decision to finally drop Beckham is enough of a sporting landmark to merit an entry here.
I should point out that it is entirely the correct decision. DB's performances in the World Cup were nothing short of embarassing, and he seems to be resting on the laurels given to him after the Greece game five years ago.
When you think that Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright–Phillips, even Steven Gerrard can do a better job on the right, the old argument of DB being 'the best dead–ball specialist in the modern game' starts to become irksome. The guy can't tackle, can't dribble and is 31. McClaren has to form a long–term plan leading not up to 2008, but at least to South Africa in 2010, and it is only right that DB is out of the squad completely.
However, before I completely declare my undying support for McClaren, he cannot get away scot–free. He was assistant to Eriksson for almost all of his tenure, and so therefore must have either agreed with the Swede's blind support for Goldenballs or else have been too weak to raise any objections. Either way, the FA's decision to choose him to manage the national team seems a bit poor, especially when they could have landed Scholari, Hiddink or O'Neill if they had a bit more PR tact.
The appointment of Venables also seems bizarre. I'm sorry but I don't really rate him as a coach. OK, he won the FA Cup with Tottenham, but what else? He got to the semi–finals of Euro 96 ON HOME SOIL, but save for one great performance against Holland, England were decidedly average, with poor performances against Spain and Switzerland and typically gutsy, but tactically naive displays against Scotland and Germany.
Since then, he has failed to take Australia to the World Cup, almost relegated Middlesbrough, under–perfomed with Crystal Palace, and I'm not going into what he did with Leeds! The cheeky Cockney personna doesn't wash with me I'm afraid, and I fear he will be too much of personality within the England set up. Steve McClaren will have his work cut out in the months to come persuading the press and the players that HE is in charge.
I suppose the first acid test is on Wednesday, when we play the 'European Champions'.... stop sniggering at the back!
Oh well, it could be worse, I could be an athletics fan….

August 10, 2006

Here we go again

Right, I've decided to start my blogs again. I know I've failed at least twice to keep up with them, but I'm detemined that this attempt will be third time lucky. I'm determined for two main reasons:
1. I will be 20 later this month. I know birthdays are generally a cause for wild celebration and merriment, but not this one. The thought of no longer being a teenager fills me with dread, because everytime I listen to 'Teenage Kicks' and 'Teenage Dirtbag' from the 23rd they will suddenly become retrospective accounts of my lost youth, rather than the here and now.
Being IN MY TWENTIES is a thought too scary to properly comprehend. Most estimates suggest that a male born in 1986 should expect to live to just short of 80. That means a quarter of my life has gone, and as I don't believe in a celestial postcript, although I hope there is one, I am mildly petrified.
As I might as well retire with my pipe and slippers, I thought keeping a diary to preserve my existence after my death seems to be a logical step. Making such a diary public in the form of a blog puts my mind at rest even further.
2. Although I pointed out in my orginal blogs that I wouldn't be political, I've become so angry with the world, and just about all its inhabitants, that my rants will have to encompase current affairs. Sorry to go back on my word, but hey I'm a Politics student!
OK, the next blog probably won't be for a while, as I'm off on holiday in a few days, but if the mood takes me, I'll put something on the slate.
Right, time for lunch, I'll be back…
Ed ;)

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