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Archive for the Category "Politics"

When Hansard goes bad Jun 10

Yesterday I tuned into Hansard – via the ever-useful TheyWorkForYou.com – to read the maiden speech by new Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert. It was very good and you can read it too. All fine so far.

I made the mistake of carrying on reading. The next speaker was the Labour MP for Stirling, Anne McGuire. She began:

I congratulate all Members who have delivered their maiden speeches. I was going to say that my contribution would be an older maiden speech, but one of those adjectives would not quite be appropriate. I shall now launch forward while leaving Members to work out the meaning of that remark.

Please send the mind bleach.

The Saturday List: TV PMs Mar 27

As I’ve been working my way through the House of Cards trilogy recently (what better way to get in the mood for a General Election?), this week’s list is fictional British Prime Ministers from off of the telly. Minor spoilers for old dramas follow.

  • From House of Cards:
    • Charles Henry Collingridge – Margaret Thatcher’s successor, who makes the mistake of leaving Francis Urquhart unpromoted
    • Francis Urquhart – F.U. himself, a ruthless right-wing PM brought brilliantly to life by Ian Richardson
  • Maureen Graty – the British PM who appears briefly in the sixth season of The West Wing, played by Pamela Salem – and as far as I know, fact fans, she’s the only actor from either Doctor Who or Blake’s 7 to have appeared in The West Wing
  • Michael Phillips – Robert Bathurst’s occupant of Number 10 in the BBC sitcom My Dad’s the Prime Minister
  • Tom Davis – second PM (and the first named) in The Thick of It, although he’s not seen on screen
  • From the Doctor Who universe:
    • “Jeremy” – the PM during The Green Death – assumed to be former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe
    • “Madam” – there’s a female PM on the phone in Terror of the Zygonspossibly Shirley Williams
    • Joseph Green – MP for Hartley Dale and acting PM in World War Three, although he’s actually Jocrassa Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen in disguise
    • Harriet Jones – Penelope Wilton’s MP for Flydale North, she is Prime Minister in The Christmas Invasion
    • Harold Saxon – John Simm as the Master, perhaps having benefited from the Doctor’s quiet overthrowing of Harriet Jones
    • Brian Green – played by Nicholas Farrell (also of To Play the King), he was PM during Torchwood: Children of Earth
  • Kevin Pork – in Whoops Apocalypse, portrayed by Peter Jones
  • Ros Pritchard – Jane Horrocks’s eponymous character in The Amazing Mrs Pritchard (which prompted a lot of discussion on Lib Dem Voice)
  • From The Pallisers:
    • Joshua Monk – Liberal PM in Trollope’s The Duke’s Children, played by Bryan Pringle
    • The Duke of Omnium – from Trollope’s The Prime Minster, played by Philip Latham
  • Michael Stevens – Anthony Head’s PM in Little Britain
  • Harry Perkins – the star of A Very British Coup, Ray McAnally’s socialist PM is almost the diametrical opposite of Francis Urquhart (the book was by Chris Mullin, subsequently a Labour MP himself but standing down this year)
  • Jim Hacker – last but by no means least, Paul Eddington takes the title role in Yes, Prime Minister, one of the best sitcoms ever made

And here’s a fact I stumbled across while checking the information in this list – the replica House of Commons often seen in TV dramas since the 1980s was built for the ITV adaptation of First Among Equals and is now owned by TV writer Paul Abbott.

The Saturday List: Lib Dem Constituency Songs Mar 13

In honour of my writing this from Lib Dem spring conference in Birmingham, today’s (short) list is Pop Songs That Name Constituencies With Liberal Democrat MPs. It’s also inspired by the first entry on the list, which – bizarrely – was being sung outside the conference hotel in the early hours last night.

Despite our 63 MPs, few constituencies are likely to appear in song lyrics because they contain qualifiers (mainly compass points). So Brent East, Leeds North West, Bristol West, Cardiff Central and Oxford West and Abingdon are unlikely to feature.

I’ve managed to come up with six. Any additions in the comments please.

  • Jackie by Scott Walker – Twickenham
  • From Rochdale to Ocho Rios by 10cc – Rochdale
  • Boston (Ladies of Cambridge) by Vampire Weekend – Cambridge (there must be more that mention Cambridge)
  • Winchester by Emmy the Great – Winchester
  • Chesterfield King by Jawbreaker – Chesterfield
  • Taunton Exhibition by The Bus Station Loonies – Taunton

All right, I got the last couple from Google.

All posts in this series:

Category: Geeklife, Music, Politics  | Tags: , ,  | 7 Comments
The Pod Delusion 3: Gordon Brown’s speech Oct 05

A quick plug for the third episode of The Pod Delusion, the podcast what I’ve been doing stuff for.

This episode asks whether atheism is just for the middle classes, what’s available on Freeview and whether quack iPhone apps are worth the money (clue: no). My contribution is about Gordon Brown’s keynote speech to the Labour conference – mostly on the content but with a bit about the rapidity of online reaction.

You can listen on The Pod Delusion website or use the player in the sidebar on the left (people from the future: if I’ve redesigned and it’s no longer on the left, sorry). You can also subscribe via iTunes. Win.