Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tribune appeal

Time to support the cause, as Paul Anderson says.

Excerpted from the mag:


Tribune's recent success in putting the magazine's future onto more secure ground and improving circulation has suffered a serious setback in the form of threatened legal action for libel.

In spite of our best endeavours to check the accuracy of a story, we got it wrong. And in spite of publishing a full apology we have been obliged to meet substantial legal costs and damages. In our edition of 29 July 2005 we wrongly stated that the Conservative Leader of Westminster Council, Simon Milton, had offended the gay community in that borough by opposing the flying of the rainbow flag. In fact Cllr Milton is on record as supporting the liberalisation of planning law to enable the rainbow flag to be displayed in establishments in Westminster.

Tribune accepted that the article was defamatory and at the earliest opportunity we published an unreserved apology to Cllr Milton in the same prominent position within the paper as the original article. However, the demand for damages was pursued and the outcome, including costs, was a substantial bill to Tribune. Although Cllr Milton has allowed us time to pay, this is a highly damaging blow at a time when, with scant resources, we were planning a period of continued growth and development.

Many thanks to the following for their generous assistance: lan Aitken, Tony Bodley, AJ Hurt, Barry and Ann Camfield, James Dickens, David Fearnhead, Michael Foot, Simon Fowler, Margit and Geoffrey Goodman, AJ and T Hesp, Peter Jones, Kenneth May, Nicholas Mole, Lawrie Nerva, Keith Rennolds, Tricia Sumner.

If you feel you can help Tribune overcome this current problem and help ensure our survival please send donations urgently to:


Monday, January 23, 2006


If you're a swing voter, that is. I'm serious, people. If there are any Canadians of voting age out there reading this, who feel that the Liberals have run themselves ragged during their 12 years in power and are out of fresh ideas, for the love of God please don't give your vote to the Conservatives. Realistically they're going to win anyway, but you don't want your vote to be the one that gives them a majority, do you?

Popular thinking on this is that the Tories will by-and-large treat economic issues in a fairly similar way to the Liberals. As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and the Libs have managed to wipe out that nasty budget deficit for the past eight years running.

But what about social issues? you ask. I have to admit that the idea of a Conservative government bodes pretty badly for defending abortion rights, gay rights, native rights, workers rights, women's rights, and the newly won (and long fought-for) gay marriage rights. But think about it, the possibility of getting the NDP into official opposition would be the perfect antidote to the Tories running roughshod over our cherished social democratic values, especially when you consider they will be duty-bound to form alliances with the Liberals and the Bloc to push through important social reforms. Think about it, people: a genuine, united left-wing opposition, not the tired old status quo of the Liberals focusing all their energy on shouting down the Tories, while the New Democrats are marginalised as beardy weirdies and the Bloc is a broken record for separatism.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy that the Conservatives look set to win. I do believe that the Liberals will come back to power after a term, and if we're really lucky, there could even be a Joe Clark-esque watershed moment that will see the Tories booted out even before their four years are up. But I won't count my chickens before they're hatched. No, the only good I can see coming from a Conservative victory today is that it will plunge the Liberals into a period of opposition (the degree of which remains to be determined) that they haven't experienced in over a decade. While it's by no means ideal for the country in the short term, in the long run I'm confident that the next few years will provoke a period of reassessment and restructuring within Liberal ranks. Perhaps most importantly, it will give them enough of a kick up the ass to realise that yes, the public is genuinely angry and disappointed with them, and no, they're not immune to being kicked out of office just because they're the Liberal Party.

And that, in the words of Forrest Gump, is about all I have to say about that. I'm bitterly upset at having to give up my right to vote, what with no longer being a Canadian resident and all. But I will be watching what happens today (and over the next four years) extremely closely from across the pond.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, in Etobicoke: It looks like poor Michael Ignatieff will be in for a white-knuckle ride today, as he bids to become Liberal MP for the blue-collar Ontario constituency of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. With controversies raging from the fact that (a) he appears to have been "placed" as the chosen Liberal representative for the riding by the party at the expense of local candidates, who were deliberately ignored; (b) he has no prior connections to the area and doesn't even live there (although he says he'll move there if he wins); (c) he's spent much of the past 30 years living in the great Satan to the south that is the United States; and bizarrely (d) seems to have got the local Ukrainian community up in arms over comments written about their country in his book on nationalism, Blood and Belonging. Seems the northern Irish weren't the only ones to find fault with Ignatieff's mid-90s musings, then. It's become enough of an issue that Ignatieff has included this "reassuring" picture on his official campaign site. Nice.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

7x7 Challenge

Jumping on the bandwagon, moi? What did you expect?

7 things to do before I die:

1. Go to Tahiti.
2. Do my part to rejuvenate the Liberal party in Quebec.
3. Appear in a music video (some teenage dreams never die).
4. Get a column.
5. Get filthy rich.
6. And donate huge quantities to anti-poverty/homelessness/AIDS organisations.
7. But still keep enough to buy an alpine retreat in the Rockies.

7 things I cannot do:

1. Get over my fear of spiders. My flatmates will attest to this.
2. Stand people who talk over me when I clearly haven't finished.
3. Come to terms with the fact the some of the people I have known since childhood have now joined the Conservative Party.
4. Fully understand the complexities of macro-economics.
5. Kartwheels.
6. Demonstrate any kind of ability at team sports.
7. Sing!

7 things that attract me to London:

1. The westward view down the Thames from the Millennium Bridge. I never tire of it.
2. Feeling you're caught in the eye of the storm. Not always a good thing, but addictive nonetheless.
3. The diversity of those who live here.
4. Living history, whether its the Ashes glory tour or the aftermath of 7/7.
5. The fact that good bands actually come touring here more often than Halley's comet.
6. The anonymity.
7. The sense of opportunity.

7 things I often say:

1. That's just ridiculous.
2. Oh for fuck's sake.
3. Meow.
4. Gin! Giiiiiin.
5. C'est des choses qui arrivent, là (roughly translated as, "Shit happens").
6. Do you want bhajis with that?
7. I hate everything.

7 books that I love:

1. Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)
2. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
3. The Buddha of Suburbia (Hanif Kureishi)
4. Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi)
5. Divorcing Jack (Colin Bateman)
6. The Edible Woman (Margaret Atwood)
7. Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)

7 movies I watch over and over again:

1. Jesus, have I even seen seven movies?
2. Those who know me know that I'm not a big film buff at all.
3. But suffice it to say
4. Since first meeting my boyfriend
5. I have been subjected to repeat viewings of several movies
6. Some of dubious quality
7. Including Zoolander, FUBAR, Zatoichi and Dawn of the Dead.

7 people I want to join in too:

1. Paul Anderson (just because I know he never will)
2. Hak Mao (oh, turns out she already has)
3. Gene at Harry's Place
4. JoBlog
5. Neville!
6. Nick Cohen
7. Eric the Unread

Friday, January 06, 2006


Dominating the headlines on Channel 4 news last night was Charles Kennedy's frank and candid admission that he has been fighting a drink problem for the past 18 months. The Lib Dem leader handled the whole thing with a good deal of dignity and essentially said what needed to be said to put an end to all the incessant tongue-wagging. Jon Snow said it broke a British taboo and was a media first for a politician. The political story of the evening, in fact.

Until, that is, "Gorgeous" George Galloway stepped out of a limousine a few hours later to walk into the house in the first episode of this year's Celebrity Big Brother. It was car-crash television from the moment Michael Barrymore walked in, but George Galloway?! Three things strike me here:

1. To steal a phrase from a Harry's Place commentator, "whore, whore and thrice whore." Will Galloway stop at nothing to get on TV? The man seems pathologically incapable of keeping a low profile.

2. The Anywhere But Bethnal Green and Bow tour is taking on epic proportions of silliness. The speaking tour, Senate appearance and challenging various people to arrest him were all at least vaguely related to his political stance, but Big Brother? He himself said that his only reason for appearing on the show was "the chance to show a large and different audience what I'm really like". It's pure bloody egotism! I don't know why I'm surprised, but the sheer audacity of this caper is outrageous.

3. The chief of programming at Channel Four is a genius. Think about it. Who normally watches Big Brother? The same people who read Heat and Now! magazine. Who would normally rather stick pins in their eyes? Everyone else. In particular, those who prefer a political fight to a celebrity brawl. Harry's Place readers. And now, who's going to be watching Celeb BB? All of the above. You've really got to hand it to C4.

All that's left to do now is to sit back and enjoy the ride.... I'm personally predicting that Galloway will be one of the first to be evicted, if not the very first. Nobody in the house knows who he is, and in the context of Big Brother, he's got two strikes against him already: he's "old" and he's "serious". A death knell when you've got the likes of Jodie Marsh and Dennis Rodman to impress. Oh but I hope, I hope, I hope that the viewers keep him in for at least a week. I mean if this doesn't horrify his supporters, what will? Befriending a dictator? Been there, done that.