The Blog

What Kind of Week Has It Been? 28 February 2014

As it was, David Cameron went up to Scotland anyway and even held a cabinet meeting there, possibly to prove he knows where it is, possibly to find out what sort of place could have made Michael Gove the way he is...

When you see the febrile terror of the Ukraine (Russian sympathisers, fascistic nationalists, protest riot police, Presidents on the run, exiled Presidents back, a heavyweight boxer and a politician/mega rich confectioner) and the looming tension unfolding in Venezuela (Chavez-shaped hole in the dam), all of a sudden you feel quite lucky that all we have to endure here is the occasional stultifying, pre-meditated debate about Scottish independence. So it was on Sunday night, when Nick Robinson stepped out both sides' Oil-themed itineraries, swipes and counter swipes on the news with such precision that all concerned could have stayed in bed on Monday and saved everyone a case of deja vu.

As it was, David Cameron went up to Scotland anyway and even held a cabinet meeting there, possibly to prove he knows where it is, possibly to find out what sort of place could have made Michael Gove the way he is.

The Northern air must have got to his head a bit, because sources close to the PM have indicated he's considering making a solo run at the next election and ruling out coalescing again. A brave, but potentially hubristic move considering the current fine electoral balance. And if it backfires, Nick Clegg, who gave up the best years of his life to a loveless marriage only to be sacked off, would have call to add 'smug' to the list of unfortunate character traits started by one of his own ministers.

It's not all roses with Labour either though (although, in a technical sense, I suppose it always is), as on the other side of the House Harriet Harman appears to have brought on Paedogeddon. How Paedophile Information Exchange could get headed paper made up let alone affiliate with the National Council for Civil Liberties seems insane, but so is thinking this story is anything but a Daily Mail hatchet job. The Daily Mail, of course, being paragons of virtue on things like this.

Newspapers taking things out of context is nothing new, as Dara O'Briain had to explain 140 characters at a time this week. Headlines abounded that BBC edicts around all-male panels had irked O'Briain, because he really seems the Andy Gray type. The articles itself explained of course that he merely wouldn't have made it public, as now any woman on a panel show may be thought to be there through compulsion rather than merit.

Speaking of which, CNN's compulsion for newspaperman of no merit Piers Morgan has expired due to ratings that would make Baywatch Nights embarrassed. Piers' failure to crack Stateside has been attributed to his (in fairness very laudable) outspoken views on gun control, on a US audience more generally not taking kindly to an outsider chipping in on 'Murrican issues, or the fact he's just an irredeemable git. Twitter seems to be leaning towards the third option. But not even Piers Morgan is the funniest example this week of a news show sinking without trace.

And since we're on the subject, back in Ireland John Waters, one of the leading charioteers in Ireland's current homophobic circus, has taken an indefinite leave of absence. Meanwhile one of his associates, Breda O'Brien, has been confusing religious freedom and immunity from having your stupid opinions challenged again, saying her opposition to gay marriage has had a "chilling effect". Chilling. In Uganda, homosexual witch hunt lists are being drawn up, Arizona has come dangerously close to codifying turning gay people away at shop counters into law and Irish teachers can't so much as nod in the affirmative about their sexuality. But Breda O'Brien is feeling insufficiently appreciated.

Finally this week, we bid a fond, sad farewell to Harold Ramis, movie polymath and bespectacled Ghostbuster, who has passed away at age 68. Such was his influence, Barack Obama quoted Caddyshack (which he directed) in his tribute. If heaven exists, I'd like to see how the reunion between him and Rodney Dangerfield will look like. Oh wait, I know.

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