The Blog

What Kind of Week Has It Been? 21 September, 2012

Doing for the week's news what Orange phones are doing for ridiculous rebranding.

This weekend I'll be attending a seminar the Irish President is organising to try and get Ireland's young people energised and excited about the future of the country and how they can shape it. It's a conversation every country should really be having, but in the UK what is it the future head of state and his subjects are obsessed by? Yup, Kate Middleton's norks.

It turns out Prince William is starting as he means to go on when it comes to press interference in his marital life, and given his family's previous with French photographers (and, indeed, with nudey pics) his annoyance is understandable. The injunctions, shutdowns, raids and general Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction-style vengeance and fuuuurious anger, however, is a wee bit over the top, and not all that effective either. Best summing up the hypocritically impotent, vaguely tribal outrage is The Sun (sure who else?) who in Tuesday's paper ran the front page "FIND LE RAT" in reference to the (French! Bloody French!) man who took a mile-away picture of Kate's breasts. On the third page were the up-close perky nipples of Amii, 26, from Birmingham.

While we can only hope we will one day live in a world where everyone doesn't completely lose their gubbins over the Middleton girls' body parts (remember this?), it seems Dick Cheney's daughter can't live in a world without Czechoslovakia. In an interview on Fox this week, Liz Cheney claimed that the President is turning his back on allies all over the gaffe, from Israel to the country that hasn't existed since New Year's Eve, 1992. Her thoughts on the President's stance on Persia and Babylon are unclear.

Not to be outdone, brylcreemed Scrooge McDuck and Presidential pinata Mitt Romney got it even more wrong when he committed a cardinal sin of politics: he said what he actually thought in a room of rich people where he didn't realise he was being filmed. As the sound of 50K dinnerplates clattered so did Romney, more or less committing the grand slam of assclownery: portraying his wife as someone who needs to be rationed to the public lest they get annoyed at her, portraying Palestinians as geopolitical Daleks and 47% of Americans as lazy-ass moochers. And in an amusing twist, the researcher on the secret recording was one James Earl Carter IV, President Jimmy's grandson. I just wish Jeremy Beadle was alive to see this.

Mitt Romney is a cautionary tale for any politician who regurgitates what they're told without thought for a narrow purpose, but in the UK Michael Gove is planning on making that national policy. With his new proposals for the O-levels the test on the day will now become the most important element of the syllabus. As usual with education, the what and the when of what is taught takes precedence over the how and the why.

Meanwhile in Ireland the Battle of Free Education trundled on this week, as Clare and South Tipperary County Councils inexplicably decided to link the conferral of education grants for college students with their family's payment of the notorious Household Charge, essentially a modern day Poll Tax. Students scrambled immediate protests and ended up getting the policy reversed, thankfully without the need for mounted police or tridents. Donegal County Council stayed out of the education debate but found themselves rather pathetically backing away from the gay marriage debate, which they were due to discuss on Monday and pass a resolution supporting same sex unions with full legal rights. At least they were expected to, until the governing Fine Gael party decided to amend the resolution with wording as vague and non-committal as a Krusty The Clown endorsement.

Such mealy mouthed nonsense would not fly with George Entwistle, the new DG of the BBC (but not at TVC, because of cuts to their acronym budget) and straight-to-the-point chopsbuster from an early age. At age 6, George wrote to a man he would eventually replace chastening him for shorter programmes because there was too much coverage of the budget and it made his brother cry. That's all very well and good, but next year when George Osbourne is crunching numbers and legally sipping some alcohol, he better not postpone Horrible Histories now he's a grown up.