That damned revolting pedant.

Much of this post will be irrelevant to non-British readers.  I apologise in advance.

I am getting worried about the BBC’s syllogistic facilities.  From a BBC “South Today” news broadcast:

“Two ladies from our region are taking part in the world gliding championships in Australia.  Our success in the Women’s’ Football League shows what can be achieved”

Therefore, somewhat illogically:

British women are good at football.

Football is a sport.

Gliding is now apparently a competitive sport, rather than a pastime.

Therefore British women will be good at gliding.

I am not totally convinced.

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In a similar vein, why was the BBC so interested in the fact that “only” 42% of performers at the Glastonbury Festival were female?  All hail to the tweeter who stated that in his/her opinion the quality of music is more important than the gender of the performer.

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I am beginning to wonder if the BBC is trying to outdo Channel 4 in its “equality” stance. Sorry BBC, but having a continuity announcer from Ulster will never quite outdo the apparent Jamaican on Channel 4 (a channel that was set up to be controversial and forward-looking).

Both are equally comic to a listener brought up in the days when even a Dorset accent was deemed a hindrance to career progress.

Fathers’ Day

Apparently, according to TV advertising, it will be either “Fathers’ Day” or “Father’s Day” (depending on the advertiser) next Sunday.  I would prefer it to be the former rather than the latter, as I am statistically less likely to be chosen as the singular father to receive cards and gifts than I was to win £125m on the Euromillions Lottery yesterday evening,

I have spent many years as a distant father and   grandfather.  Circumstances separate us, but the love and care never fades.

Maybe, with the world’s population exceeding its resources, we could think about holding a “Not Fathers Day” and distributing free condoms.  Just a thought…

For statistical purposes, my first wife and I produced two children, thus replacing our generation.  They, to date, have produced one each, so my personal contribution to the world population is currently in equilibrium.  May I have permission to feel smug? 🤔

 

 

 

Now the Pedant is really revolting!

I think the UK media are getting carried away with the imminent D-Day commemorations and the presence of the US President in our country.

I just heard on TV that “veterans, including a 101 year old, will be visiting the beaches in Normandy with the Queen and President Trump, where they fought 75 years ago.”

I can quite believe that Her Majesty sneaked out of the palace and crossed the Channel for a sneaky pot-shot at the nasty Germans, but I cannot believe that of Mr. Trump.

I understand that the President has conveniently managed to avoid any military service whatsoever, quite unlike Her Majesty.

Recent Politics, and why I am fed up.

Note:  Much of the background information is for foreign readers, who have no idea what is going on in Britain…

With the ongoing chaos that revolves around “Brexit” (a term that I believe trivialises the actuality), my thoughts are that it might be a “Good Thing” if the British parliament could endeavour to adopt the system of many other European countries: that of collaborative coalition between parties. Instead we have two large parties and several smaller ones that will engage in limited coalition to achieve a specific target, but are mainly deeply entrenched in their own policies.

In the UK we historically had two parties: the Whigs and the Tories. They evolved in the 20th century into the Liberals vs the Conservatives (still nick-named the Tories). Then the Labour Party emerged, representing the working class. Eventually the labour and Conservative parties became the main protagonists, with the Liberals sidelined.

Early in my “eligible to vote” timeline, the Liberals combined with some disgruntled members of (mainly) the Labour party to form the Liberal Democrats. Later smaller parties such as Plaid Cymru (Welsh nationalists), the Scottish National Party and the Green Party began to emerge.

In the 1970s the UK population was unusually allowed (instigated by the Conservatives) a referendum and voted to join the European Economic Community (EEC). Since then, through various treaties, the EEC has evolved to become something more similar to the USA, and several former Soviet states have joined. Not only has this become a larger power bloc, but is perceived by the Russians (their own power bloc having in the meantime disintegrated) as a potential threat as actual military integration between the EU states becomes a possibility.

Later, as the idea of leaving the new European Union (EU) – which was beginning to look like the USA or the former Soviet Union – began to raise its head, UKIP (The United Kingdom Independence Party) arrived on the scene.

The UK held another referendum in 2016 about whether to leave the EU. It was narrowly won by the “leavers” at 52% vs 48%. The instigator of the referendum, David Cameron, having not achieved his expected answer made a cowardly resignation speech and left the problem to the new leader, Theresa May. Unfortunately she deigned (possibly having no idea) to outline how we would implement the decision, merely stating “Brexit means Brexit”.

Two years of negotiation between the UK leader and the EU leaders went on. Then the leaving plan was presented to Parliament and rejected. Parliament then voted in an unprecedented step to take over the control of “Brexit”, but failed many times over many weeks to agree on any way out; or if the UK should leave at all; or indeed anything!

Next week we vote for our EU representatives, even though we do not expect them to actually take up their jobs before we leave in October 2019 (the latest deadline).
This is yet another expensive vote that will only serve to indicate the will of the public.

It looks increasingly like there will be a second referendum, costing umpteen millions of taxpayers money, to decide whether the UK will still go its own way or if we will remain as EU partners, in which case the last three years have been a total waste of parliamentary time and taxpayers’ money, both of which could well have been utilised to better public use.

 

Parliamentary Etiquette

One thing that I do enjoy when listening to British parliamentary debates is the formalised speech.  Sometimes the best insults may be concealed behind the eloquence of the most fluent in this form of English.

It is archaic, but it has its own charm.  For example, in the House of Commons, one never refers to the House of Lords (the regulatory, or “upper” chamber of parliament), but to “Another Place”.

The Speaker of the House will call members to speak by name, but in all other circumstances, and by other members they are referred to as: e.g.”The Minister” or “The (Honourable) Member for Little Podlington and Sparrowbridge”, or if they happen to be on the same side, one can get away with: “My Honourable Friend”.

Apart from anything else, it’s a great test of memory when there are 650 people to remember together with their official titles if appropriate and the constituency they represent.

A classic example of the pedantry is a frequent declamation from the Speaker:
“Order! The Honourable Gentleman must not shout from a sedentary position.”, which can be interpreted as “Oy, you – shut your mouth and wait your turn.”

A wonderful example today of a minor rebuke by Mr. Speaker Bercow:
“We welcome the honourable member for X to the chamber, and we hope that she has sufficiently recovered her breath to ask her scheduled question”.
Or in other words: “You’re late, and you missed your turn.”

And you thought Chaucer and Shakespeare were difficult to understand?


By the way, I think that Mr. Speaker Bercow is looking very fatigued after the last two days of chairing parliamentary debates about “Brexit” that remind me of the old computer game “Lemmings”.   Instead of building bridges, our MPs have started digging holes in different directions and neither side now has enough bridge builders to get anyone out of the hole.


 

Beware – Brexit Politics: delete post if not interested.

All opinions expressed below are my own, and if any offence is taken, I’m sorry, but that is your issue.  Offence is never given, only taken.

I must congratulate the Attorney General, the Shadow Solicitor General, and any other parliamentary speaker in this afternoon’s London House of Commons debate on the expected leaving of the United Kingdom from the European Union for having created, ready for presentation, their speeches and propositions between midnight and 12:30 today, and still being capable of making public speeches.

One wonders how many of our elected representatives in the House of Commons today will have spent as much time studying the political and legal material that was released after midnight today before making their own statements this afternoon and eventually voting this evening, or whether many of them simply got a good night’s sleep before returning to spout their previously entrenched opinions?

I keep hearimg our MPs stating that nobody voted for a “no deal” exit from the EU.  Well, I’m sorry to disappoint them but I believe that Nigel Farage of UKIP and I were both of the opinion that that was exactly what we were voting for.  I know that was my expectation at the time.

Almost three years on and nobody can yet agree on what we actually voted for in 2016 – and some of our representatives want us to vote again with now too much, rather than too little, dis-information.

Much of the problem seems to revolve around the “Northern Ireland Border” (in fact the UK  border across Ireland.).  As I understand it, the current “no (hard) border” agreement was the idea of Anthony Blair, MP; a politician for whom I personally have never held any respect.  Does that make it sacrosanct?  If The Irish Republic is a member of the EU and the UK is not, surely The RoI  should be treated as any other EU member and EU borders should be respected?

l have even less respect for David Cameron, the Prime Minister who introduced the EU exit referendum and then walked away into oblivion when he was delivered the wrong result.

The UK must be either in or out of the union.  Mucking about with one treaty to honour a previous treaty is nonsense.  Treaties are made, treaties are broken, treaties are renegotiated.  They always have been, they always will be.

The Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, has just reinforced the above paragraph.  We can make a new treaty with the Republic of Ireland if necessary.

And the last thing I want is another referendum.  In that way madness lies.  Should we have “best of three”, “best of five”?

In conclusion, although she would never get my vote, I feel very sorry for Prime Minister Theresa May,  who is desperately trying to juggle the balls left in the air by two untrustworthy predecessors.

I will be happy to read any comments to this post, but I have said my piece and will not respond.