All entries for Tuesday 05 October 2004

October 05, 2004

Fair Trade in the Union

Writing about web page http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/boar/?article=3286

Considering we were encouraged to come to this course with an agenda, I thought I might as well try to promote mine and do this media diary on Fair Trade. I'm starting close to home with our own dear Union which in January passed a policy stating that all tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and sugar must be Fair Trade produce.

In a nutshell, Fair Trade is about ensuring that growers of crops such as those mentioned above get more money for their produce (ie. enough to sustain a more comfortable lifestyle) as well as using a portion of the money for community development projects in the growing areas. Fair Trade produce carries the Fair Trade mark:

More information can be found at the Fair Trade website.


Churchill's grandson in Dido fan shock

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3712102.stm

Okay, in spite of the fact that this sounds like a headline from Pivate Eye, it is actually a genuine story from the BBC's website. Nicholas Soames, the Tory spokesman on defence has said that he 'admires' Dido 'very much.' This apparently, is part of a concerted campaign by the Tory brass to prove how modern, relevent, and touchy-feely they are. Now I personally wouldn't shed a tear if the Tory Party at this moment sunk into perpetual and unlamented oblivion, however, there must be some opposition to the government so I'm going to go out on a limb here and offer advice to them on the unbelievably remote possibility that any person of the remotest consequence in the Tory Party is actually reading this: don't try to be something you're not.

Everyone knows that the Tories are hard-hearted bastards who are out solely for the good of those with a bit of cash stashed away somewhere, yet this has not historically stopped people from voting for them. Indeed, for some inscrutible reason, people voted for the Tories in massive numbers when they were led by a psychotic, power-crazed right-wing ideologue with (to quote François Miterrand) 'the mouth of Marilyn Monroe and the eyes of Caligula.' People aren't going to be impressed by the new 'touchy-feely, modern' image partly because they don't believe that Michael "something of the night" Howard would ever be touchy-feeley unless he were in the process of sinking his fangs into your neck, but also because that hasn't historically been the Tory Party's function. All of the major political parties in this country may be fighting over a scrap of ground not big enough to lie down in at the moment, but there isn't any real reason why they should resemble each other or even try to outdo each other by proving how 'down wid da yout' they all are. Because, to be perfectly honest, the spectacle is not only sad, but quite disturbing too.


"Univeristy Challenge" – the follow–up

Okay, so now the show's gone out (and as I'm sat in Open Access supposedly reading The Prince for my European World seminar tomorrow), I thought I might as well go into more detail about University Challenge than I was able to in my brief plug last week.

First thing's first, for everyone who didn't see it, we lost, 265–100 to UCL. And before you say anything, the reason we lost was not so much that we were no good, but that UCL were excellent. When you watch the show, you can shout out all the answers at the TV (or maybe that's just me), however, when you are actually there, there's the dreaded buzzer, and if you know the answers to a starter question, it doesn't avail you a jot if your opponant buzzes first. It's actually one of the two very annoying things about being on the show, just getting beaten to the buzzer and then hearing your opponant give the answer you were about to give and getting the 10 points.The other very annoying thing is when you know the answer to one of your opponants' bonus questions and you have to grit your teeth and keep quiet.

Having said that, it was a great (and unexpected) experience to be on University Challenge which came about when I just went to a qualifying written quiz for fun. From there, it snowballed until I found myself sitting in a chair in a studio in Manchester being given the third degree by Paxman. Recording was quite a weird experience, especially having to do re-takes afterwards with everything re-set and having to buzz in roughly the right place to answer the same question again. Another even more surrel moment was when Paxman had an argument with his ear piece over the pronounciation of the word 'apostasy' – a*pos*tasy (which is correct), or apo*sta*sy (which isn't) and, after having what looked like half an argument with thin air, snapped at whichever hapless person was on the other end of the link "well your granny's Welsh" to the great hilarity of all those there present.

Oh yes, and before anyone says anything, no, we weren't sitting on top of UCL.


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