Friday, 17 December 2010

17th December 2010 My week.

My first full week at home since retirement has also been my first week at home since my hip replacement. I've already lost track of what day of the week it is and I suspect that this will be typical as the lack of work routine leaves the days to blur into each other. I've managed to get back into the habit of reading - with a vengeance. I've read seven books in the last ten days and I've enjoyed all of them.

None more so than Started Early - Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson. I remember loving her debut novel Behind The Scenes At The Museum which was a nostalgic and intricately plotted look at generations of a family and I was surprised to discover that Kate has now moved into the crime genre and this is the latest of several crime novels that she has written. The novel is again intricately and quite brilliantly plotted and all the pieces fall perfectly into place at the end. There are many layers of character and plot and a timeline that shifts between a Leeds living in the shadow of the Yorkshire Ripper to one living in the current recession. I can see this novel transferring seamlessly to the small screen.

I've been reading about and listening to Bob Ainsworth's call for legalisation of drugs. This is something that I have argued in favour of for years. So much time and money is wasted in the war against them - time and money that could be invested in more beneficial areas like health and education. Chicago in the prohibition era demonstrated how banning alcohol created a huge demand that could only be fulfilled by a criminal supply and the city collapsed into corruption and near anarchy. Our police and customs officers are fighting a similar losing battle against the drug barons but if the market is suddenly legitimised they will have to look elsewhere for their income. OK there are risks to vulnerable users but with so much potential saving in public spending there should be enough to improve support for drug abusers.

I've also been reading all about the Julian Assange extradition case. If this was all about freedom of speech I could understand all the celebrities jumping onto the support bandwagon but Assange has been accused of rape. That's a pretty serious offence as far as I am aware and Sweden is neither renowned for huge miscarriages of justice nor somewhere that he might expect an unfair trial.Do all his supporters know him well enough to be convinced of his innocence or are they simply thinking that because he has been involved in the cable leaks this makes him an all round good guy? I hope that he is innocent of the charges but if the evidence goes against him it is going to leave a lot of media types looking pretty embarrassed.

This was the photo of the week. Waves from Lake Erie crashing onto the Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse created this beautiful frozen structure like something from Narnia.

Another who has been given massive media coverage this week is Jody McIntyre. Jody is the cerebral palsy sufferer who was dragged from his wheelchair by police at last week's student demos. The vile Richard Littlejohn created outrage with his column in the Daily Mail by likening McIntyre to the character Andy in Little Britain. Andy is a malingerer who is not really disabled whilst Jody is undoubtedly disabled and severely so. Littlejohn opens his big mouth too often with this sort of outburst. I have researched Jody McIntyre. He is a bit of a regular at protests be they Student Fees, Gazza or Tower Hamlets and is certainly proud of being an activist. He is capable of walking and wrote how he climbed to the top of Millbank Towers whilst his brother carried his wheelchair. But there's nothing wrong with that in a twenty year old. If he wants to express his views at demonstrations he is as entitled to do so as any other person and the police (even if they know him well as an activist) were wrong to manhandle him unless he was seen as a threat. Sadly Littlejohn will again be basking in the publicity he has created for himself. Let's hope that the hundreds of complaints to the press commission cut him down to size (I somehow doubt it).

I'll finish today with the uplifting story of a geeky bloke who has been with his girlfriend for ten years.He loves the muppets. He decided to propose. This is how he did it. He persuaded his local cinema to add this clip to the trailers when he took his Sara to the movies. I was left blubbing into a tissue.