Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why do people entrusted with our money like to make silly decisions, then make it seem like they are doing us a favour? A couple of years ago the famous Routemaster buses could be seen gliding through the streets of London. An icon of the city. Globally recognised just like the celebrated red phone box. Then some smart alec decided the buses were to be pulled off the streets. Citing health and safety among other spurious reasons why we were better off without the eponymous buses. Now the buses have been  reinvented and reintroduced on our roads. At a whopping bill of £7.8 million for 5 units. Mathematics has never been my forte but I reckon that comes in at about £1.3m per bus. What a wind up.

Boris Johnson was in his most ebullient element yesterday while introducing us to our new expensive run around toy. Informing us how our lives will suddenly turn brighter, glamorous and our bank balances as lush as the rainforest  by catching a glimpse of the new Routemaster on our streets. Well not exactly in those words but something pretty akin to that.  I think all they needed to do was refit the old stock. Add new features like eco- friendly engines for example.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kew Gardens

I have never been the greatest fan of end of year awards.  Im all for celebrating excellence and all that but the nomination and voting process in most of these awards are highly questionable. Take this year`s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. The panjadrums at BBC Sports wanted to know the best sportsperson of the year so they asked  Nuts magazine. Among other exclusively male readership publications. So it isnt surprising that this year`s award list is made up entirely of men. Of course whoever wins the award will be a worthy winner. But the process is flawed. This casts a shadow over the whole affair. You have to be in it to win. Who is to say,  if the nomination process was more representative and a sportswoman was in the mix, she wouldnt come up trumps.

So I really dont know what to make of this news that Kew Botanic Gardens has just been voted the best visitor attraction in the country at the British Airways travel awards. Kew Gardens best visitor attraction in Britain?  I lived in Ealing which is just round the corner from Kew Gardens for a long time. Even though I passed the Gardens on my way to Richmond on a regular basis, I was never interested in it.

Why tourists head west in droves to sample the horticultural delights within Kew Gardens beats my imagination. Typically, one would have thought the major attractions in and around W1 would top the list of tourist attractions in the country. But then we dont know how British Airways got the nominees. All we have to do for now is celebrate Kew Gardens as the place to be for any savvy, in-the-know tourist.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

EURO Bill Veto

It was Harold Wilson who said a week is a long time in politics. What a truism its proved to be over the years. Barely two months ago David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy were on first name terms now the bonhomie has turned sour. I actually heard  Cameron refer to Sarkozy as Nicolas in a speech he gave sometime in October. Odd I thought. Normally we hear leaders addressing fellow leaders by their appellation. But it was hard not to notice Sarkozy blanking out Cameron last week in Brussels. We saw this video of Cameron walking towards the French President, who promptly cold shouldered him. Fair game to Cameron who behaved more dignified and lightly tapped Nicolas Sarkozy on the shoulder and went on his way. We all have friends like that. You know the kind of friend that thinks you are the best thing since slice bread as long as you agree with his opinions or wishes and help in fulfilling his needs. Once your wishes and opinions are at variance with his,  you are undesirable. He blanks you out.

However that there are no permanent friends or enemies in international politics or any level at any level of politics for that matter. The existence of our present government is a testimony to that There are only national interests. So Mr Sarkozy can sulk all he likes for now. Personally I'm not for or against Cameron vetoing the EU proposal. There are pros and cons to the argument. What the country needs is a simplified details of what the issue is, what impact such proposals might have on Britain and why we cannot accede to it. The Prime Minister has to get the message across to the British people himself. Not in a condescending or patronising manner but like I said in a simplified but detailed manner. Then and only then can we be in the best position to decipher whether he made the right call or not.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Silvio Berlusconi Turns Popstar

It didn't take Silvio Berlusconi long to find an outlet for his boundless energy and occupy himself. Barely a fortnight after stepping down from his position I hear he has released an album of love songs. Well, according to reports the ex Italian Prime Minister penned the lyrics to the songs sang by Mariano Apicella , a popular Italian singer and a friend of his. I haven't heard the songs yet, but anyone who has heard the songs should please let me know if I they are worth adding to my iPod playlist.

What next to expect from Silvio then? Judge on Italian  ex-factor?  A contestant on Italy`s Got Talent? Big Brother? The world is his oyster in this regard actually. Given that he owns a large swathe of the Italian media that should not be hard to arrange. Im not a great fan on reality television shows but one along the lines of Im An ex Prime Minister Get me Out of Here would be great to watch. There is no shortage of  possible contetants for such a show these days due to the wind of change blowing all over Europe and beyond. The spectre of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown jostling for our votes to win the contset is quite an appealing if not interesting one.