Tag Archives: Tony Blair

May 24th

On this day in 1988 the British parliament really outdid itself when it enacted an amendment to the 1986 Local Government Act. Yes, I know it sounds dull. Local government amendments? What now? But this was no ordinary amendment. This was Section 28, which made it illegal for local authorities to “intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”, or this little doozy, “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

This is quite literally what was not happening in Britain in the 1980s

Yes, everybody, back it in the Thatcherite “golden shower” years of the eighties, the government was really worried that local authorities were actively trying to turn all our children gay. I mean obviously, I remember my school days earlier in the eighties when I was promised a nice flat, a car and £30k in my bank account if I would just stop worrying and learn to love the muff, but I’m not convinced that was actual promotion. In fact I’m not convinced that it happened at all. What was happening in the 1980s was that many – mostly Labour and Liberal – local authorities were actively seeking to ensure that homosexuals were not discriminated against and that children who were struggling with their sexuality were given support in schools and outside groups. Of course to someone with the mindset of a prehistoric fucknuckle, this translated as “OMG! They are trying to make our children gay! Oh no, will no one think of the imaginary grandchildren I will now never have because Tarquin prefers bumming Nigel to making sweet procreative love to Camilla!”. They reacted, as all reactionaries do, with the sort of mental over-reaction that would have made even the most prudish of Victorians ask “Are you sure you’re not being a bit previous, old girl?”.

Of course, the government were aided in their attempt to make gays pay for being gay and probably giving AIDS to innocent new-born babies, by the right-wing media, whose enthusiasm knew no bounds when it came to inventing stories about those dreadful predatory queers. As far as I know, they never went to so far as to claim that Islington Council were giving lessons in muff diving and their neighbours in Haringey (HarinGAY!) were teaching impressionable young, pert and terribly firm boys how to give the best blowie in history whilst receiving up the bottie, but virtually nothing was beneath them during this period. As a result the amendment was enacted and for the next fifteen years in England and Wales (but only twelve in Scotland), anyone gay was allowed to be gay, but only if they shut up about it and didn’t “promote” it.

Sane voices wondered how on earth

Turning men gay since 1956

one “promoted” ones sexuality and how on earth one convinced someone to change their sexuality by virtue of letting them know a little too much about the alternatives. But sanity wasn’t in fashion – it rarely is – and so we spent a decade and a half wondering exactly what would get one convicted under this amendment. Therein lay the real problem – in the period before its repeal there was only one case brought using section 28, the Christian Institute took Glasgow City Council to court for funding an AIDS support charity. The Christian Institute failed to have their charges taken seriously – people were unsure what they could and could not do with regard to anything vaguely to do with homosexuality and many erred on the side of caution. As it was, the amendment covered local authorities and not schools, but a lot of support for gay students disappeared, because schools were worried about what might happen to them if they were seen to be supporting gay pupils. It was ridiculous, damaging and utterly heinous that something so draconian and illiberal should take place in an allegedly civilised and modern country at the end of the 20th century.

As time went on, the amendment became less powerful in people’s minds and less of a deterrent to sanity. By the time it was repealed

Margaret Thatcher's nemesis

most schools and local authorities had ceased to pay any attention to it. This was great, but its place on the statute books was a blot on the conscience of this country. The new Labour government first tried to get it repealed in 2000,but failed when the Lords refused to pass it. Scotland, which by now had a devolved parliament of its own, binned it immediately. It wasn’t until 2003 that we finally got rid of this hateful piece of legislation. It should, however, be noted, that our current bum-faced overlord David Cameron was very pro-Section 28, that is until he got a whiff of power and decided it would be good for him to like the gays. In 2000, when he was not yet an MP he attacked Tony Blair for trying to repeal the amendment and called him anti-family and accused him of wanting to promote homosexuality in schools. In 2003, when he was an MP, he continued to support Section 28 and tried to get parts of it retained. By 2009 he was apologising on behalf of his party for ever having introduced the legislation, but let’s face it, he spent years being anti-gay, so all the stuff now is nothing but lies and bollocks.

So, there we have it dear readers. Back after a break with a little bit of politics. If you like this piece, please feel free to say so and if you will also sign up to become a gay, I will send you a free gift*. A promotion if you like.

*Free gifts will only be sent upon receipt of video evidence of suitably hot gayness.


Today is the birthday of Eric Cantona, footballer, philosopher and shit hot kung fu kicker of facesty football supporters.

I am not a man. I am Cantona

I really like Eric, which is odd given he played for Manchester United, or the Scum or ManUre as they are more commonly known, and I really do not like that team at all. But Eric is a man who sort of stands head and shoulders above other footballers. Being French helps, but so does the bat shit stuff he comes out with in interviews. The most famous being the one that was said in the press conference following the kung fu kick “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.”

Since retiring from football, he has acted – really rather well – and gives the impression of a fully rounded man, whose life has as much meaning away from football, if not more. His Gallic charm is, well, terribly charming and M. Cantona manages to become more attractive and more interesting with each passing year.

And of course there is that kung fu kick. Class.

Joyeux anniversaire, Eric. Les mouettes à Brighton parle bien de vous.

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March 20th

On this day in 2003 the US,  the UK, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and so started the Iraq war or the conflict or Operation Iraqi Freedom or “That fucker dissed my dad and he’s got oil,we’re going in!”

 

The Black Death turned doctors into scary bird creatures

The war itself was declared the day before, despite the fact that most of the world said it was wrong and we should all take a chill pill and do a bit more looking for those alleged weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that UN Resolution 1441 was in no way a permission to go to war and despite the fact that somewhere between six and ten million people in 800 cities across the world had protested against the will to go to war against Iraq. Basically George W Bush and Tony Blair had made their minds up that they would do what they wanted to do and to hell with what anyone else thought. Most of us knew at the time that the reasons for us going in were a lie and if we didn’t know then we know now. Some thought that the lie was fine because Saddam Hussein is no more and that matters more than legality, truth, honest, morality and anything else you’d like to throw into the pot. Others of us think that getting revenge for your dad, lying to the people who elected you and thinking that you have the right to decide which alleged human rights abuses you’ll get all fighty about based on oil is a fucker’s trick. And never the twain shall meet. Probably.

 

Now, we could explore this in minute detail, but you all know what happened and what’s still happening, so instead we’ll look at another, well it’s not so much a lie as the result of a bunch of academics – albeit olde worlde ones – putting their heads together and coming up with a clusterfuck of stupidity.

This day in 1345 is the day when the Black Death was created. Allegedly. That’s right, learned scholars from the University of Paris came to this conclusion because on March 20th 1345 there was a triple conjunction of the Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius. To be fair to them, I looked this up in my Dummies Guide to Astrology and it does confirm that when Saturn, Jupiter and Mars get all conjuncted up, there will be an outbreak of the sniffles, and if they do it in the 40th degree of Aquarius, then those sniffles will turn into the black death. If they do it in the 42nd degree we all get over it within a couple of days but have to be wary of a rather explosive dose of the trots.

The thing is that along with the planets doing their righteous dance, the black death also required the existence of rats and fleas

Matthias Grunewald seems to have thought that one of the symptoms of plague was "turning into a frog"

aplenty and as luck would have it, there were shitloads of the fuckers around in the fourteenth century.  Disease probably spread along the Silk Road and then the rats got on ships to go on their holidays and spread it all around Europe. There was a delightful Schadenfreude in this spread and it went as follows. Italy finds itself all infected with people dropping dead in the streets, throwing up blood and being covered in buboes (swellings, hence bubonic plague) and black spots. The Italians are, as one can imagine, shitting it, and over in Spain they’re laughing at them. “Ooh look at you! If you were good like us God wouldn’t kill you with the Black Death!”. And then what do you know! Oh dear, the Spanish are dying. Now the French are laughing and then, merde! They’re all carking it and the English are … etc.

 

Basically the Europeans all thought they were too pious and good to get it and enjoyed the suffering of other countries and regions until of course they got it. It was a bastard of a pandemic. We don’t for sure how many people died, but scholars (not the shitehawks who were all “oh when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars”) estimate somewhere between 75 and 200 million. It took Europe 150 years to recover from it in terms of social demographic losses.   It was awful in other ways. People in olden times were all about being punished by God, so rather than see the disease for what it was, they saw it as God’s judgement and as such they had to find someone to judge themselves. Enter the beggars, the lepers, the so-called witches and of course the Jews. There were persecutions, murders and torture. What was so nice about this was that even if you escaped the plague you had a really good chance of being different enough to be murdered anyway. Ain’t life grand!

The plague hung around for centuries, popping up every now and then to keep the population on its toes. The last great outbreak in England was in 1665 and we all know that the next year Samuel Pepys got rid of it by getting drunk as a skunk and burning London down.

So there we have it, boys and girls. March 20th is a day for lies and nonsense!

 

Today is the birthday of Little Miss Firecracker, Holly Hunter. She is probably best known for her role as a mute piano player in The Piano where she plays the piano and has sex with Harvey Keitel, but for me she shines brightest in the aforementioned Miss Firecracker, Raising Arizona, Broadcast News and O Brother Where Art Thou.

She’s tiny, quirky, sweet, funny and every bit of her Georgia upbringing is still present in her voice. I like her because she’s tiny (5’2″ apparently) and feisty and sometimes I’d like to be her. She is also a woman who lives her private life out of the public eye. She has

Cute little policewoman

two children, probably twin boys, but their names and ages and in fact anything about them is not up for public discussion. There are a lot of people in the public eye who could learn a bloody lot from her.

 

She’s been around as an actress for 30 years and yet manages to still give off a youthful feel, not through the sleight of hand of cosmetic surgery, but through being full of life and spirit. She may actually be some sort of pixie or elf. I am almost certain that she s a minx.

And that is all really. I just like her and I like watching her in films where I don’t have to see Harvey Keitel’s bare arse going up and down. Happy birthday Holly Hunter. I think you’re just lovely!

Oh, I also like her in Crash, but that’s because it’s a films for perverts.

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March 3rd

On this day in 1857 the second opium war began with Britain and France getting into a gang and going off to have a bit of a war with

The French and British PMs (pictured) liked to get off their tits on opium, but only when there were Chinese people around. Yet another reason for their stupid war

China. It would be wrong to think that the opium war was all about opium, because it wasn’t; it was about other very important things as well. These were: that the British would be allowed to trade in China without having to pay all sorts of duty; that a British ambassador could live in Beijing;  that the Chinese would make sure they did all of their political documents in English as well as Chinese, although they could just stop doing them in Chinese if they felt like it because English was more important; finally, that the Chinese would up the coolie trade so that Britain, France and the US could make better use of not-quite-slave labour.

 

For reasons that are unfathomable, the Chinese weren’t overly enamoured of these demands, but when it came right down to it, the thing that really got them terribly cross was the whole opium thing. It was illegal in China and they didn’t want it being imported into their country because they didn’t want a country full of smack heads. The French and British thought this was very closed-minded of them and demanded the right to sell their stash all over China, but not to the coolies, because they didn’t want any drug addicts working for them thank you very much indeed.

So, the war was basically all about cupidity and pretty much revolved around exploitation and pimping drugs. Long before Lucky Luciano and his mates Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were trafficking drugs, the British and French were full on pushers. To be strictly fair to them, they weren’t deliberately trying to turn everyone in China into smack heads, they just wanted to make obscene amounts of money and weren’t overly fussed about the collateral damage. And, of course, they were pretty racist when it came to non-white foreigners and despite plenty of evidence to the contrary they pretty much thought the Chinese were on the sub side of human.

This feeling of innate superiority was  only heightened when the war was won the next year, with the Russians and Americans coming on board to get some of the spoils. It’s nice to know that when it comes to utter cuntery, we’ve been leading the field for at least 150 years.

Also on this day in 1931 the US finally decided upon its national anthem and chose the Star Spangled Banner, much to the dismay of everyone who didn’t have a singing range of one and a half octaves. Everyone agreed that it was lovely an’ all, but “you can’t sing

This flag was intact until Xtina started singing

that shit” The unsingingability of the anthem is regularly shown at public occasions, not least the annual Superbowl, where  a diva who likes to warble a lot is generally invited to sing it before the players stick on their helmets and do their best to perpetrate actual bodily harm on their opponents. The need that certain female popstrels have to trill and shriek and hold notes for a stupidly long time whilst making their voices go all quavery, is something that modern science has yet to explain, but the need is deep, even if their memory of the lyrics is a bit sus – Christina Aguillera we’re all looking at  you, madam!

 

For those Americans wondering why the song is one of the hardest songs to sing in the whole world, it might interest you to know that the original tune was written by some drunks in London and had different words. The line “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” was originally “you might think you can sing this, but we know that you can’t” I haven’t included the whole of the refrain, because the previous line was something utterly filthy about a maiden aunt and I don’t want to sully your minds with filth.

So, there we have it. The US national anthem, a lovely song, impossible to sing and written by drunks. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Well, you could …

Today is the birthday of physics hotty, Professor Brian Cox. Brian was originally a pop star, but when Tony Blair used his group’s hit single Things Can Only Get Better as his campaign theme tune, went on to win and then go all loop-the-loop and swivel-eyed and a bit warmongery, Cox felt so bad about being a small part of it that he gave up pop and decided to become a swot. Within about a year he became a very clever and pretty professor and once Tony Blair was out of the way, he started doing television shows about

Coxy getting all mean and moody for the laydeez

science that in turn made many women who really should know better, a little moist and all of a flutter.

 

Coxy, as I like to call him, seems like a decent sort and I’m very much looking forward to his new series about some science stuff or other at the weekend. When he is not doing science on the telly, he sends his spare time travelling around in his time machine and beating up the Morlocks.

So, happy birthday Brian Cox, I hope it has been a very happy one and that you enjoyed your cake. Now get back to your equations!

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February 28th

On this day in 1849 the SS California arrived in San Francisco. It had left New York 4 months and 22 days earlier and was the first steamboat service from the east coast of the US to the west coast.

The SS California

The steamboat was a postal packet as well as a passenger service, so on its arrival, lots of people got letters from friends and relatives with up-to-the minute information about their doings and any births, deaths and marriages that might have happened. Of course it sounds like a terrifically lengthy time to be travelling on a steamboat, but the Panama canal hadn’t been constructed at this point, so the ship had so sail all the way down to the tip of  South America, round Cape Horn and then sail and paddle its way up to San Francisco. This was in the days before luxury ocean travel, so there was not much in the way of entertainment on board. Luckily most passengers were used to living slow and dull lives, so they brought along sedate distractions to amuse themselves along the way. Quoits were played on the deck, books were read in cabins and some of the faster passengers amused themselves with Sudoku and looking up rude words on the Urban Dictionary site.

Not all the passengers who arrived at San Francisco had been on board since New York. A large number of men boarded in Panama where they had headed en masse to catch the boat and get to San Francisco for the gold rush. They were only on board for the last 40 days of the trip, but they ruffled quite a few feathers. To put it bluntly, they were rather uncouth and the more well-to-do passengers were a little scared of them. For a time quoits became a thing of the past because the gold rushers spent a lot of time on deck and the posh were scared of catching uncouthness off them. There were a dozen women on board, who worried that they might be taken advantage of by the ruffian influx. Chief among the worriers was a Mrs Clara

Mrs Vanderlied favoured the clothing of an earlier generation

Vanderlied. She was a large and stately widow with a face that looked like the blueprint for the gargoyles of European Gothic cathedrals and as such it was more likely that the prospectors would look to each other’s bottoms for sexual release than worry her, but she complained to the captain that they had been giving her the glad eye. As a result of this silly woman’s imagination, the new passengers were forced to spend most of their time in their dormitory style cabins. Posh games resumed and the ’49ers, rather than hold a grudge against the aesthetically challenged Mrs Vanderlied, sought the company of the wilder passengers and set up Sudoku tournaments with them.

On reaching San Francisco, the 49ers made their way to the Californian gold deposits, the mail was delivered and other passengers went about their new lives on the west coast. Mrs Vanderlied’s fate is a little lost in the mists of time, but it is thought that she lived to a great age and became the inspiration for Picasso’s cubist portraiture.

The SS California stayed in service until 1895 when it unfortunately came a cropper off the coast of Peru.

Today was the birthday of Robin Cook, who died at the age of only 59 in 2005. For much of his political career, and especially in government, Cook was seen as a figure of fun by many. His physical appearance, he was quite small, he had a not instantly attractive face and he was – oh sin of sins – ginger, was the root of this piss-taking.

He wasn't the prettiest of men

In government, he served as Foreign Secretary from 1997-2001. After the general election he was moved away from the Foreign Office to become Leader of the House. While this was still a cabinet position, there is no doubting that he was demoted. Tony Blair was worried that Cook was too pro-European and would push for membership of the Euro. Cook remained in government until 2003 when he resigned over the issue of the forthcoming Iraq war.  His speech, which was broadcast live on British TV, was the only speech ever in the history of parliament (at that time) to receive a standing ovation. It was impassioned but contained no recriminations, just his own belief that the war was wrong, that there should be a vote on it and that the British public should be listened to. As Shakespeare didn’t quite say, nothing in his political life became him like the leaving of it.

In an age when we know that just about everything politicians have to say to us is cant or spin, Cook’s speech was a rare moment of hearing a politician speak and feeling nothing but respect for him. From that moment on, to anyone with even a shred of decency, Cook ceased being a joke and became a man to be admired.

All were agreed that he would almost certainly have re-entered government under Gordon Brown, but on a walking holiday in 2005 he suffered a massive heart attack and died. British politics is the poorer for his absence. We wish him a happy birthday and leave the final words to his epitaph, chosen by his wife and sons: “I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of parliament to decide on war.” It wasn’t enough, but not through want of trying.

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