Friday, May 19, 2006

Bits and bobs

Awfully sorry for the lack of posts here recently. It's been an emotionally charged week chez EC1 Cruise Control, but here are a few random news items that have filtered through into my sub-conscious over the past few days:

  • Illegal immigrants: I'm as disenchanted with the current government as the next person, but honestly, is it really such a shocker that John Reid has echoed David Roberts of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) in saying that he can't put a precise figure on how many illegal immigrants are in the UK? Isn't the whole deal with illegal migrants that they're, err, illegal, and therefore avoid detection by government organisations? Yes it's far from ideal, but the way this has been portrayed by the tabloids as a huge and unique failure of the British government is - I feel - wildly out of proportion. Every country has this problem, not just the UK. Stop trying to create a story where there isn't one.

  • Melanie Slade: And speaking of non-stories, this one's a humdinger. It's been less than two weeks since 17-year-old Theo Walcott was selected to be part of the England squad for this year's World Cup, despite the fact that he's never even played a Premiership match. So far, so sensational, and with the last teenager to play for England having become something of a prodigy in his own right, I can fully understand why the media have been devoting so much coverage to Walcott. But his girlfriend? I'm not easily shocked, but I have to say that I'm pretty disgusted at the way in which the Sun, Mirror et al have chosen to zoom in on Ms Slade and dissect everything from her looks to her potential PR earning power, even getting the likes of Max Clifford to speculate on whether she could become 'the next Colleen McLoughlin'. All without the poor girl so much as saying a word. At the end of the day, tabloids are only interested in selling units, but to manufacture a person's celebrity status and importance (did anyone care about George Best's string of girlfriends when he was still a teenage player for Man United? How long have Walcott and Slade been together, a month?!) and then disguise it as news in such an overt way is really breathtaking, not to mention insulting in the extreme. It's encouraging to see that she's told the press to leave her alone while she gets on with sitting her exams, but the sweet tone of her statement suggests that she won't be averse to flogging the odd soft drink or ringtone come July. No reason why she shouldn't, but the whole debacle sets a dreadful example to a generation of girls whose sole ambition is to become a footballer's wife.

  • Big Brother: "Hello, my name is Richard, I'm Canadian, and I'm a sexual terrorist." Great, now I have to watch the bloody show to make sure he doesn't make the rest of us look like idiots. Oops, too late.

  • New Statesman poll: So it turns out that Maggie Thatcher has surprised editors at the New Statesman after she bagged fifth place in their readers' Heroes of Our Time poll. From a quick scan, it looks most people voted her in because "she changed everything". Hmm, yes, but not necessarily for the better... Also, the intimation that "Margaret Thatcher told it like it was, in a way that so few politicians seem able to do nowadays" doesn't bode well for the popularity of Labour at the next election, if this is common thinking among NS readers. (Kind of a valid point all the same, though, even though I despise the woman.) Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Bob Geldof and John Pilger round out the top five.


At May 22, 2006 12:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pilger in the NS Top Comrades Poll: hardly a surprise but still has put me off my lunch:

"July 7 bombs - nah, it was all Blair's fault etc etc." Pillock.


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