Monday, May 16, 2005

Two-Faced Turncoat

I was writing about politicians' accents in my last post and Peter wondered yesterday whether Patricia Hewitt (new Health Secretary) has been using Margaret Thatcher's voice coach. Hewitt's native accent is Australian although you'd never guess it to hear her now and she does now have the same slow, condescending delivery as Thatcher. God, she's a scary woman. I'd only find her not scary if I was holding a double-barrelled shotgun and shouting 'traitorous bitch' at her.

Not sure I should have written that last sentence. People are banged up in Belmarsh for less. But that brings me to one of the reasons I despise Hewitt. She used to run Liberty, an organisation I belonged to in the old days when it was called the National Council For Civil Liberties. Yet she now sits happily in a Cabinet that has introduced detention without trial and other civil rights violations, with more to come in the third term.

Way back at the Labour Conference of 1980, Hewitt, as delegate from St Pancras North, made an impassioned plea for a Labour Government to implement the socialist policies voted for by the Labour Conference instead of ripping them up and pursuing centrist or right wing policies determined by the leadership.

Three years later when Roy Hattersley and Neil Kinnock were rivals for the party leadership she wrote each of them an identical letter of support that included the phrase 'when you win' and asking to become their Press Secretary. She duly became Kinnock's Press Secretary.
That episode reminds me of Matthew Paris's famous joke that the reason there are so few women in politics is that it takes too long to make up two faces.


The newspapers are full of something called Sudoku. I have no idea what this is. Please don't write and tell me. I have no more wish to know than I have to understand the female orgasm.
But as someone with a lifelong aversion to numbers I have no wish to find my paper full of grids and numerals. Let's hope it soon goes away.

I was going to say that I can just about manage Bingo. But then I remembered that I was almost lynched in a large Northern Working Mens' Club for wrongly shouting House! It turned out I'd been marking the wrong card.
Just as Basil Fawlty apologised for Manuel by saying 'He's from Barcelona', my hosts explained to several hundred angry West Yorkshire folk 'He's from the South.' I was thus spared from being locked in a pigeon loft with a plate of mushy peas for the rest of the night. But I was so shaken and humiliated by the experience that I haven't played Bingo since.

Just had my first glimpse of the BBC's new virtual reality weather graphics. They finally get away from those arbitrary weather regions of which the sun and the clouds were never aware. This was a particular problem if you lived at the intersection of several regions. But now you can see much more precisely where rain is expected to fall.

I just hope that the excitement isn't too much for the weatherman Daniel Corbett. He makes Ian McCaskill of fond memory seem positively sane and provides some of the best entertainment on television. He's like an enthusiastic but mad geography teacher. I don't know what he's 'on' but I wish I could get some of it. Watch out for the ludicrous bits of folksy colour that he adds to the forecasts. One day, forecasting sun in the south, he said 'you could maybe visit your Granny in Brighton'.
'But I don't have a Granny in Brighton!' I heard myself say.
I'm sure that one day his head will explode, making a horrible mess of the weather map. It may well happen when he gets to use the new computer graphics to show a mini tornado over Daventry.


At 7:12 PM, Blogger zaphod said...

Having just spent a spell in hospital I got so bored that I came up against this Sudoku.

Easy enough but why?

Think I might have had more fun trying to chew my own leg off.

At 4:29 AM, Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

That awful idiot Toasty sent me over here.
Now I have another blog that I feel compelled to read.
And check the bloody archives.
Can't you people leave me alone?

At 7:01 AM, Blogger JayMaster said...

I think that Soduko is Japanese for "Hoodies keep away - for mathematicians only"

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Zaphod, sorry to hear you've been in hospital. Hope you are back to the radiant health portrayed in your pic.

vs, life's too short to check the bloody archives. Actually, it's too short to be writing this crap. But you're very welcome.

Jay, I've decided that the correct response to 'Soduko' is 'Sodutoo'.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

I saw my first Soduko yesterday, in The Scotsman, a newspaper so bereft of talent that they once used to employ me. Obviously I resisted any lemming-like urge to complete it, but was impressed by the claim that where others use computer-generated sodukos, The Scotsman's will all be hand-crafted by a Japanese Master. Beat that!

At 2:56 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Peter, The Guardian's sodukos were hand-crafted too, possibly by the same Japanese Master.
The Scotsman used to be regarded as one of the world's great newspapers but maybe that was before you left their employment.

At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Peter said...

Oh, I was only ever freelance. But freelanced a lot.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

I freelanced once but not on anything as august as The Scotsman.
This is more fun. At least you get to make your own typos.

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Peter said...

Blogging is the difference between writing what you want and writing what the editor wants.


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