The Blog

What Kind of Week Has It Been? 23 May 2014

This week has proven that in a land of lily-livers, the man who doesn't look that yellow is king. So it is for Nigel Farage, who must have a pretty healthy liver for all that pub canvassing he does. Despite being shown up that he's just not up to the job time and time again, some voters don't seem to care. Despite being a 15 year veteran of the European parliament whose press man is a former Daily Express commentator, his cover as a political and media outsider remains studiously unblown. Despite the party's attempt at a Croydon Kokomo going hilariously tits up with the organiser calling the place he once stood to represent a dump, their poll numbers don't shift an inch. He can say what he likes, and that's what people seem to like, any challenge or hilarious hashtag hijack only augmenting his power against that nasty media having the impertinence to report UKIP's words and actions. And why? Because everyone else is so tainted, he's being humoured. Because this guy's words are inaudible through the sound of crushed dreams, and this guy struggles to do what we humans call smiling. Neither of them have had the guts to call out his blatant racism either, their weasel words only making Farage look more and more like a pioneering conviction politician.

This is presumably why Washington DC hotshot and Obama staffer David Axelrod is over here, given the task of making Ed Miliband more...something. There's something oddly apt about Axelrod's first interaction with the press being the report Axelrod can't spell 'Miliband', not that Ed could say much, given his problems with unfortunate spelling in the past. Ed may be a tad worried at the precedent set at Old Trafford, as the bolshy Louis Van Gaal has replaced the well-meaning but timid David Moyes at Man United. Depending on how Labour does this weekend, he may have backbenchers throwing a Yaya Toure before long.

It's not just new leaders though that are worried about the European elections, oldest swinger in Italy Silvio Berlusconi also seems to be terrified of a comedian he's compared to Pol Pot. He had a lot less to say about whether he called Angela Merkel "an unfuckable lardarse", but it was fun hearing Jeremy Paxman ask it anyway. Silvio, never a man to let the truth get in the way of a good ego, also claimed he was dismayed at his international reputation, and that he wanted to be Father of the Italian Nation. Baby Daddy is probably more likely.

Silvio might have a knack for making a comeback, but he hasn't got a thing on Kim Jong Un's girlfriend, who apparently has been unexecuted. If that's not a demonstration of Kim Jong Un's power, I don't know what is. But the big question is, can he play golf like his da? At the other end of Asia, the much more sensible and outward-looking Israelis have got themselves in a spot of trouble with Stephen Hawking boycotting the country, because of all that stuff the state does to Palestinians. Criticism from International NGOs or the UN tends to run off Israel's back, but when the world's pre-eminent scientist and comedy cameo maker criticises you, it's cause for concern.

"Cause for concern" is not necessarily a phrase you'd need to keep in mind when going to buy a burrito, but it is if you live in Texas, where these characters from Grand Theft Auto have become poster boys for what a stupid, stupid country the US is. And also, Chipotle's company policy on carrying weapons in store. Or at least, it was Chipotle's policy until the photo went viral. Now it's not.

At least the burrito-mongers were up for changing in the face of America's intractable gun problem, but several fine examples of a plus ca change world were on display this week. In Belfast, at the Whitewwell Metropolitan Tabernacle (it sounds like a secret 17th century drinking society, but it is in fact a church), veteran pastor James McConnell archaically vitriolic comments about homasaxuals, lisbians and Moslems are being investigated by the Police. The Sunday Times Rich List was released on, umm, Sunday, followed by the inevitable couple of days of news stories about the list and the people in it. Apparently, it's important we know just how many houses the Duke of Westminster has, but a bracket at the side telling their tax burden would be much more useful. Sunday night was also TV BAFTAs time, and Sarah Millican won many plaudits for wearing the same dress she did last year, as referenced in her equally lionized Radio Times column last week. In spite of this though, cue yet another few days of pictures of female actors having their curves poured into something or other. Newspapers should maybe pour their energies elsewhere.