Who’d You Wanna Be?

I rarely watch films these days. I don’t seem to have the patience any more. I think it has something to do with me having become a mother and realising how precious my free time is, and that watching a film is often quite a poor return on a couple of hours I could spend doing other things.

By other things I mostly mean reading and eating biscuits. Such are my priorities.

As for actually going to the cinema, if it’s warm and dark I almost inevitably fall asleep. So when I do want to go and see a film, it is a rare and wondrous thing to my family who are all resigned to going without me. Mainly because it’s cheaper to let me go to sleep at home.

I am not a film snob, by the way. I have, it is true, seen my fair share of films shot in the back of a cupboard where everyone mumbles into their vests. I am also good with sub titles and have no fear of Art. On the other hand, I also like ridiculously stupid films whose only role is to entertain you and allow you to escape from the grinding monotony of cleaning toilets and worrying about the imminent collapse of the government.

My key criteria for a film is that it keeps me awake and wanting to stay awake, even if it is warm and dark.

On Friday I went with the tribe to our local multiplex to watch the new Ghostbusters film.

Initially I had grave doubts about the film. I do not see the point of remaking perfectly good films just for the sake of it. There was nothing wrong with the original Ghostbusters. It’s a great film and one which stands the test of time. I wasn’t excited at all when they announced they were going to remake it.

I thought dark thoughts about Spiderman, and how I really enjoyed the first couple of films with Tobey Maguire, and then I enjoyed them less and less, and then I had a small tantrum when they needlessly remade them about six months after the first films had come out.

That, I thought bitterly, was probably what would happen to Ghostbusters.

Then there was the whole hoo ha about it getting a female cast, and I thought dark thoughts about tokenism, and how even though it might work they would probably find a way to fuck it up so that it became like The Female Eunuch but with jumpsuits and ectoplasm, and it would set back feminism by about four hundred years.

As the time for release came nearer, and more and more people were throwing their toys out of the pram because it was either a ‘desecration of a sacred memory of one of the finest films of a generation,’ or because, ‘girls can’t do that shit.’ I began to get really angry and root for the film to succeed despite all my misgivings.

Because love the original film as I do, it is hardly Krzysztof Kieslowski. It was just a fun movie made to make people laugh and stop them wanting to eat their tax return in protest at the fascist nature of form filling. Similarly, anyone who says ‘girls can’t do that shit,’ immediately brings on the red mist, particularly when what they’re actually saying is that ‘girls can’t pretend to hunt pretend ghosts as well as boys can.’

Right.

So I thought about going to see it. Seriously thought about it.

Then I read some reviews. First up I read a review which gladdened my heart by telling me that it was not just a straightforward remake, so it had something other than girls in jump suits to offer as ‘new.’ Second up I read the biggest bunch of misogynistic bullshit comments by people who were seriously, viciously affronted by a film, a film in which people pretend to do things for other people’s entertainment. Comments where people were actually threatening violence against the actresses in the film just for being in a film they didn’t like.

Then I read a review by a woman who took her small daughter to see it, and was absolutely blown away by the fact that the little girl came out of the cinema and talked excitedly all the way home about how she was going to be a physicist when she grew up. Finally I saw footage of lots of little girls all dressed up as mini Ghostbusters and I thought: ‘My God. I would have been so excited to do that when I was a child. So very, very excited.’

I wanted that for my young self. Don’t get me wrong, I was not oppressed into wearing pink and sewing a fine seam as a child. I was a tom boy. I climbed trees, wore my brother’s cast off clothes, had a bow and arrow, fought dirty and was constantly covered in scabs. I had my girly moments too, and I’m lucky that my parents were liberated enough to let me flit between both identities.

But in retrospect, all the tom boy stuff was acknowledged as not my own. Even the word tom boy is about men.The best I could do was borrow stuff from boys. I wasn’t allowed to own it. I wasn’t allowed a pen knife when my brother got one, because it was for boys. I wasn’t allowed a Hornby train set (I appreciate now that this was probably down to the prohibitive price, but you know). I had a Batman car toy, but was considered a bit weird, because it was a car and a boy’s toy.

Wouldn’t it have been brilliant if I had just been able to have that stuff because it was just ‘stuff’ and not gendered? (Equally so for my brother, I might add, should he have wanted to play with dolls or wear frocks). Wouldn’t it have been amazing to be able to just walk into a toy shop and buy a Ghostbusters’ suit and be a girl, and not have anyone make stupid comments about it or to have to get it from the ‘boys’ aisle?

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if a girl wanting to be a Ghostbuster was not something that made people so angry they issued death threats against people?

So that’s what made me decide to see it.

And the film?

Oh, the film was magnificent. I bloody loved it. It was funny, and sharp and clever. It was absolutely daft and utterly escapist and it made me laugh my socks off. I stayed awake throughout the whole thing, and to the very end of the credits until the lights came up and I would and will go and see it again. It made me want to be a Ghostbuster. Hell, I have even developed a complete crush on Kate McKinnon, who totally stole the show for me. It was terrific fun.

I guarantee you that if they had remade it with men in the title role, at least 80% of what people are moaning about, would not even be being mentioned right now. How depressing is that?

The solution though, turns out to be the most pleasurable direct action I’ve undertaken in months. If you want to be part of the positive change, pay for your ticket, go and sit in a dark room and allow yourself to be entertained for two hours. What a joy.

For those of you expecting politics, I can only say that this, to me, is politics. Until people just allow other people to be exactly who they are, regardless of sex or race or religion, it’s political.

Women absolutely should be allowed to be the lead actors in films. They should absolutely be allowed to be paid the same money as men for those roles. They should absolutely not have to get death threats for ‘daring’ to be a different gender. They should be allowed to make films that are entertaining. They should be allowed to be physicists, or Ghostbusters or whatever the hell they want, and we should live in a world where a child can announce what they want to do with their life and it not be a  ‘surprise’ or a ‘shock’ or pooh poohed because of gender.

Also, people should make more films that don’t make me fall asleep.

 

 

 

Spinning Straw into…Slightly Mashed Straw

Dear Blog Readers

Yesterday we walked about five hundred miles (a nod to the Proclaimers there), spending the day exploring Chiswick, Turnham Green and Chiswick Park. We ate amazing pho in a Vietnamese cafe and the children climbed trees in the park. Most satisfying.

Love from Mrs. Boo

I have noticed a trend in modern society (said Mrs. Methuselah). It’s what I call the Rumpelstiltskin syndrome. It involves people repeatedly asking other people for things which are impossible to achieve/have, short of some kind of magical/religious intervention. The person asking, knows that they are impossible, but simultaneously holds the belief that if they ask enough times, and shout loud enough, that the impossible will suddenly become possible and they will get what they want.

They stubbornly cling to this belief regardless of how many times they are disappointed in the outcome. They refuse to change their mindset, because clearly it cannot be their thinking that is in error, it is in fact the fault of the minion failing to provide the service/goods that is the problem. If only they had been more creative, worked harder, thrown more resources at the issue, it would have been resolved to their liking, and all the straw would have been spun into gold.

I partially blame Alan Sugar and The Apprentice for this. He’s always barking ridiculous orders at people in nasty suits and expecting modern day miracles before firing people into the outer darkness if they don’t achieve them within five minutes. I also think it has a lot to do with the fact that another symptom of modern society is that we have fostered a belief in children that they are brilliant no matter what they do or say, and that anything is possible if we just try/shout hard enough.

Failure is a naughty word, and yet failure is an inevitable part of life’s rich pattern, and is also proven to be a very effective means by which we learn to  be flexible and pick ourselves up and start again.

In my opinion, the referendum was a gigantic failure.

Have we learned from it? Have we fuck.

No. Not one, single, solitary thing.

Politics is still all about the in fighting and not about the looking outwards. Soon, the only people left in politics will be the lady who pushes the tea trolley round Westminster and Geoff who looks after the car park, and they’ll be at each other like knives by tea time.

It’s still all about short termism, and not about making long term, achievable plans. Instead, when the wheels fall off, (see the economic situation today. We are at 2009 levels of growth. By growth I mean shrinkage, obviously), we merely reset the goal posts and say that we have had to rethink our strategy. Yep, that’s right. We still believe it is possible to spin gold out of straw, we just need another month to figure it out. How are we going to figure it out? Well, we’re going to see if shouting louder, having pointier index fingers and blaming even more people for our own mistakes will work. Because, you know, it worked so brilliantly for us last time.

Just ask Hitler. (Sorry for breaking the internet there – I just couldn’t resist it)

It’s still all about scapegoating whichever vulnerable party we can find to stand still long enough, to pin the blame on. I myself, have a long list of people I blame for the ills of society:

People who refuse to believe that Austrian blinds are the work of the devil.

People who stone clad houses. Particularly people who stone clad houses in the middle of a terrace when none of the other houses are stone clad.

People who patiently wait for the bus for twenty minutes, get on the bus and only then look for their bus pass/money.

People who stop dead at the top/bottom of escalators and look around wonderingly as if they’ve just arrived in Narnia, then tut when people crash into them.

The inventor of the Fig Roll.

I do at least, realise that these beliefs are not enough to build an actual government on. I could probably run the local council, mind you. My by-laws would become things of legend.

Today’s rant was prompted by an article in The Guardian where they report that Angela Merkel has met with Theresa May to tell Theresa that she cannot have free trade across Europe if she is not prepared to accept  open borders.

WHY IS THIS NEWS?

WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

ARGH. STAB. ARGH.

This is not news. This is fact. It has always been fact. It has been made clear by the EU right from the start that we will not be able to have all the sweets we want without paying for them in some way. This was never negotiable.

It is so bloody obvious that I do not even have the words to talk about it. We as a nation have nothing to barter with and everything to lose here, and still our politicians keep spinning us the lie that the straw in our hands will become gold through their ability to be silver tongued charmers. Really?

I might have just about bought it if we had someone negotiating for us like, I don’t know, Shakespeare, or even Stephen Fry at a pinch, both good with words. But who have we got? We’ve got Boris Bloody Stupid Johnson, who has been roundly humiliated in every single press conference and meeting he has held since his appointment as foreign secretary and who has all the persuasive powers of a damp sponge, David Davis who still hasn’t shown anyone any proof that he even has the most basic grasp of what he’s being asked to do, and Theresa May. Theresa May, whose idea of turning on the charm is to impersonate the iron lady herself, and who has all the charisma of a police cell after a raucous Friday night.

But you know, Theresa is going to keep on shouting louder, pointing harder and blaming everyone else until we get what we want, because you know, that’s how the world works.

In fairy tales.

 

 

 

The hardest question to question

Dear Blog Readers

Yesterday was a meandering day spent trawling the highways and byways of Ealing for treasures and eating delicious lunches with some of our best beloved friends. Nothing much happened of any note, which is what made it such a wonderful day.

Love from Mrs. Boo

When I was a bright young thing I thought it was very important indeed to not only be busy all the time, but to have drama in your life. Drama, so I believed, was what showed you that you were really living. If you weren’t up to your neck in some kind of problem or other, or teetering on the edge of calamity in your social/love life, what was the point? If your adrenalin surges were more like ripples on a mill pond, you might as well be dead.

In later years, worn out by childbirth, and the thousand small emergencies children thrust into my path every day that were clearly not emergencies at all unless you were only as high as the kitchen table, but which, nevertheless had to be taken seriously and fixed before those emergencies escalated to all out crisis and utter melt down, I went off adrenalin rather.

Nights spent pacing the floor, glued to a small child by Calpol and snot wondering whether you should call NHS Direct will do that to you. As will your child crying inconsolably for five hours because they don’t think they know how to be a grown up because they don’t know how to have a bank account and they only really want to live in a tent in your back garden and marry daddy.

I learned to cherish solitude in a way I never really did before children, also quietness, and peace. If there is one thing, apart from sleep that I wish I had given more credit to before the days of children, it is peace. It is vastly under-rated in my opinion. Long gone is my desire to be dancing the night away, seeing and being seen. Long gone is my desire to be in the middle of things. The edges are much nicer than I ever imagined.

Although all credit to the children to pushing me into areas of resourcefulness I never knew I had or needed. It turns out that I am not only much more pragmatic than I ever gave myself credit for, but I am also really good at answering questions on the fly. Even if, at times, those answers were a wing and a prayer held together with a bit of angel spit and a lot of chutzpah.

I was thinking about this with regard to Prime Minister’s Question Time yesterday. It was Theresa’s first stab at it, so I paid more attention than usual. I have, in the past, tended to avoid it, because Cameron’s smug face and his utter failure to do anything other than sling insults, jeer, and wobble his jowls around make me want to punch the telly.

I still can’t watch it, it turns out.

Firstly, the school teacher in me wants to make John Bercow do his job, and actually enforce order instead of just feebly sitting in a big chair with that stupid half smile on his face. I loathe the way that MPs, for the most part, totally fail to actually listen to each other. Not to give credit where it isn’t due, but no wonder people like Leadsom start their jobs by asking if climate change is a ‘real thing’, if nobody can hear anyone when MPs are actually in the house, and unless the debate is a hot topic, nobody actually bothers to turn up at all. There is too much hot air. It’s a wonder the Houses of Parliament don’t actually take off.

Maybe they’re anchored by a really big string.

Secondly, I know politicians never actually answer any question that are put to them, but seeing the PM doing it repeatedly is absolutely no fun at all. It is a damn good job it’s not called Prime Minister’s Answers, because none will be forthcoming. Although we could probably sue.

Imagine living with a politician…

Mr. Theresa May: ‘Darling, would you like toast?’

Mrs. Theresa May: ‘Well, I’d be prepared to think about the concept of toast as one that pertains to me.’

Mr. Theresa May: ‘Look. I’m putting some toast on for myself. We’ve got a four slicer. I only want two. I could pop a couple of bits in for you. Would you like me to?’

Mrs. Theresa May: ‘It’s something I’d be willing to put on the table.’

Mr. Theresa May: ‘The kitchen table?’

Mrs. Theresa May: Stares into the middle distance: ‘There are other tables…’

Mr. Theresa May: ‘I’m asking you, for the last frigging time. Do you want toast?’

Mrs. Theresa May: ‘In an austerity government, one is forced to live within ones means for the good of the country.’

Mr. Theresa May: ‘Oh bugger off Theresa. I’m going to the pub instead.’

Thirdly, nothing is resolved. Prime Minister’s Question Time is just like watching a rap battle. It’s all style, no substance and the only bonus is slightly clearer diction in the battlers, as long as you can hear them over the jeers of the back benches.

It is alright for me to crave peace. I’ve done my stint. I don’t sign up for dangerous missions or emergencies. It’s alright for me to opt not to go to a meeting but to stay at home within reach of the biscuit tin. I’ve earned my stripes.

It is not alright for the government to do this. Their job is to deal with dramas and crises, and to surf the adrenalin waves of politics so that we can all carry on raiding the biscuit tin.

It is not alright for the government to fail to provide answers at a time when we need them more than ever. Even I provide answers, and our dramas are minuscule by comparison. I’d be willing to go in and coach the house on the topic of answering questions under fire while being stared in the eye by a toddler with an unwavering desire to win. The indomitable will of a toddler, and their willingness to repeat questions to infinity due to the fact that time is a meaningless construct to them, make Jeremy Paxman’s interview style look milksop by comparison. As for Corbyn, my children could wipe the floor with him.

It is not alright for them to make a lot of noise, but to offer no substance. This is not a high school balloon debate about who wants to be stuck in a wicker basket with Pol Pot, Margaret Thatcher or Stalin.

It is not alright for them to play at this, when the welfare of the country is at stake.

I’m not expecting Theresa to have answers to everything, after all, she’s only been in the job for a week. It would be brilliant however, were she to exceed expectation and actually answer some questions. I’d even take whether she’d like toast or not at this point. Anything at all.

It would be equally brilliant if she were to actually answer questions truthfully. I’d be totally fine with the answer: ‘I don’t know, but I’ll find out.’ I use it all the time. It’s alright to say I don’t know, when even to the most casual observer it is clear that you couldn’t possibly know what you’re being asked. It would restore an enormous amount of confidence in our politicians for me if one of them, not even Theresa, would say: ‘I’m buggered if I know.’

What irritates me most about all this is the fact that during PMQ’s the whole purpose seems to be to ‘look’ busy, just like my children when they know I’m about to ask them to hang the washing out, or unload the dishwasher. Their reasoning is that if they ‘look’ busy, I will fall for it, and think they ‘are’ busy, and will do the job myself. I accept this behaviour in children, although it never works. I find it impossible to tolerate in the government.

Normal Service Will Be Resumed When We Vote for Owen

Dear Blog Readers

Yesterday was a very sticky olidee day so we tried to spend a lot of time indoors. We went to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at Tate Modern and ended up in the choir stalls of St. Pauls for evensong, where it was very cool, and I am ashamed to say I fell slightly asleep. I woke up in that jerking, embarrassed way, being watched by a beady eyed disapproving lady who knew all the words to the psalms. In my defence, I did not snore.

Love from Mrs. Boo

And now to politics, of a kind. Although I vote that we rename politics, squabbling for cash.

I have cast a brief and withering eye over the shenanigans in the Labour party (also, is it just me, or does the word party seem increasingly wrong here?) in the last day or two.

My children are mostly old enough to get themselves ready for a family day out now. Apart from me having to repeat myself nine hundred times before we leave the house, and inevitably refrain from killing one of them when they have equally as inevitably discovered that they have forgotten something just at the point it is massively inconvenient to go back.  Having said that, they are also old enough to accept that we won’t go back, and if they moan about whatever it is they have forgotten, it is entirely within my rights to tie them to a sapling and abandon them.

When they were small though, there was that awful period when every journey was an absolute chore because of all the stuff and things, and constantly having to round up escapees, and them unpacking bags as you’re packing bags, and them piddling themselves on the door step just as you are congratulating yourself that you are all sorted. One of them would casually get undressed, or throw a shoe into the washing machine. One of them would start crying (me, usually), and one of them would pronounce they had an itchy head and you wouldn’t have time to check for nits, but you would be worrying about it all day.

By the time you were ready to leave, you would be four hours late, whatever you were planning to go for would be forgotten or over, and yet you would go out anyway, because otherwise you would just sit on the bottom step of the stairs tearing your hair out while small children stare at you in wide eyed fascination because ‘mummy is poorly.’

It passes. You never think it will, but it does.

Apparently, despite the Labour party being older than the hills, for them it doesn’t.

When the Conservative party imploded, they sorted their house out in fairly sharpish order, fully aware that a united party would come out of things looking way better than one still arsing about in the hall with one shoe on, shoving its sister into the shoe cupboard roaring: ‘NO! You find it!’ Even if they didn’t have a bloody clue what they were actually doing.

You would think that Labour would, at this point, have had a good look at what the Tories were doing and thought: ‘Shit. They have a point.’

But no.

They are currently being taken to the small claims court, thanks to the Trade Descriptions act, by disgruntled members who were promised the chance to vote and then denied it. They are taking each other to court as soon as anyone opens their mouth to say anything that anyone else disagrees with. They are still failing to come out with anything coherent to say to soothe the ruffled nerves of millions of people who are desperate to see a strong opposition to both Brexit and the Tories, and their leadership race still has two months to run. A leadership race that should not have been necessary in the first place.

Angela Eagle has stepped down from the race today. I wonder if she will be using her Angela banners to launch that Slimming World campaign I was talking about? It seems a waste otherwise. Maybe she’ll hang them in the downstairs toilet in her house. It seems to me that Angela has done a bit of a Leadsom on everyone. ‘Oooh, I will stand. I have the courage of my convictions and am sure I am the right person for the job.’ Spool forward a week: ‘Oooh. I won’t stand now if you don’t mind. I’ve got a bit of a bad leg, and it’s hot, you know? I’m sure Owen Smith is the right person for the job.’ What was the bloody point of all that effort and aggravation? Angela is the child who keeps unpacking the bag as you’re packing it. What a monumental waste of time. Although at least Theresa May can now step down the spies she’d posted to inform her every time Angela was about to make a speech.

That should save us a few bob.

So now we have Owen Smith running for leader against Corbyn. Owen used to work for  Pfizer, on a board that worked to try and persuade the government that patients needed more choice under the NHS, i.e. the choice to buy outrageously expensive pharmaceuticals from Pfizer and privatise chunks of the NHS.

Owen says that this is not actually true. He is, he says, devoted to the NHS being free at the point of use. He has a poster of Nye Bevan over his bed to prove it. He’ll show you it if you buy this slightly used paracetamol from him. An absolute bargain at £14 a packet.

Owen also says that the reason we should vote for him is that he is a ‘normal’ man.

He is normal, apparently, because he has a wife and three children. He is normal because he drinks beer and listens to Bruce Springsteen. He is normal because his wife has the normal job of being a primary school teacher.

This statement has caused a fair amount of outrage in recent days. Owen has responded by saying that this is not actually true. Apparently it has been taken out of context. Much like reports of his work at Pfizer.

‘This has been taken out of context,’ will no doubt be the tag line on Owen’s campaign banners. These will be made by horny handed men of the soil, toiling at the coal face of normality, woven from the hopes and aspirations of the normal, working man. Like Owen. A vote for Owen is a vote for normality.

Owen wants us to believe that he is the child standing quietly at the door, shoes on, coat buttoned up, hanky in his pocket, clean face, waiting patiently for mummy to finish dealing with the other naughty children so that we can go out and win.

That’s not normal, Owen. Trust me on this.

 

 

 

It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good

Dear Blog Readers

I am still on me olidee. It’s bloomin’ ‘ot. Yesterday we went beach combing on the Thames and I found some Norman pottery shards, which I appreciate is like Time Team finding a lot of low walls, but it made me happy.

Love from Mrs. Boo

In the real world things are going from bad to worse. I may as well scrap the idea of having a nice Mini for my next car, and start looking at the efficiency ratings of the hand cart versus the tumbril, because it looks like we’re going to hell one way or the other and I might as well get it done quickly.

It did not surprise me therefore, when the government voted overwhelmingly to renew Trident yesterday.

My husband is of the opinion that our country needs strong defences and that Trident can be part of that. He is sanguine about Trident and thinks it is practical, particularly given that we have just pissed off three quarters of the known world, and the quarter we haven’t pissed off likes to collect weapons like other people collect Panini football stickers.

We have not fallen out about our difference of opinion. But I disagree with him.

I grew up in the Seventies, which was mostly brown and burnt orange, with lumps of desiccating dog pooh, a penchant for racist comedy, American tan tights and a competition to see who could nuke each other the fastest. It was not a happy time.

It was followed (surprisingly) by the Eighties which was mostly neon pink, with a penchant for leg warmers, phones the size of house bricks, Findus Crispy Pancakes, and a competition to see who could nuke each other the fastest.

It was marginally better, but only because I was able to drink by the end of the decade, and people had begun to realise that you didn’t need quite so many nuclear weapons to blow each other to shit.  Just one or two would do it, and you could spend the money you saved on sweets.

At school we studied cheering little gems like Where the Wind Blows, where we watched the terrifyingly mundane couple Jim and Hilda make ineffectual shelters against nuclear fall out, using old doors and blankets. And then they died.

We watched Threads in which we follow the aftermath of a nuclear war in Sheffield. I won’t be accused of posting spoilers if I point out that it did not end well. Also, I doubt that the butler did it.

We read Children of the Dust. I had nightmares.

We watched Mad Max beyond Thunderdome. It explained that nuclear war would turn us into feral pack rats ruled by Tina Turner’s wig. We would be forced to re-enact Scrap Heap Challenge for no prizes, and parliament would be replaced by a rudimentary cage fighting technique until Mel Gibson could save us.

We were marginally cheered by this at the time. Mel was at the height of his powers and had yet to descend into the alcoholic, anti-semite with the Lord on his side that he is today. He was more Ray Mears but with better defined muscles and a gimlet stare that could make you go weak at the knees.

Like Obi Wan Kenobi before him. He was my only hope.

And that hope died.

Mel was a long way into the future in the early days of my cold war life, where I spent night after night torturing myself into wakefulness about what to me, seemed the ever present reality of nuclear war.

Teachers did not help. I remember one chap telling us, after we had watched Where the Wind Blows and were all catatonic with stress, that there was no point worrying about the shelter building stuff anyway, as we lived far too near a major communications centre, so should war be declared, we would all be heaps of irradiated ash within five minutes of the strike.

Happy days.

And yesterday our government pledged to spend £31 billion renewing four Trident submarines to ‘defend’ us against ‘threat’.

Four? This morning that was what really struck me. Four of them. It seems criminally wasteful at every level.

I have already blogged about what is in my opinion, the shameful waste of money that could be better spent on hospitals, schools, doctor’s surgeries, nurses bursaries, training GPs, looking at our business infrastructure, building mental health provision, supporting SMEs and keeping libraries open for a start. It seems obvious to me that now, more than ever, we need our own money invested in our own country so that we can survive. If we don’t start doing this, what’s the point of having Trident? What are we defending? What will be left of us to save?

It breaks my heart that time after time, sad ministers with crocodile tears in their eyes deliver swingeing cuts to services, fail to deliver on promises and yet here we are, happily spending £31 billion.

The biggest waste of all? The likelihood is that those submarines will never be used. I used to go out with a boy whose dad had the job of decommissioning nuclear submarines ‘safely’. That was in the Eighties too. How long will it take before our four, state of the art, subs need decommissioning ‘safely’?

What even is ‘safely’ in something that can irradiate us all for millennia safely or dangerously?

And if they are used? Will we really feel the benefit?

My answer. Go and watch Where The Wind Blows and get back to me.

 

 

 

See You Next Tuesday, Mr. Hunt

 

A postcard from me olidee.

Dear blog readers,

The sun is shining, the bird is on the wing, and I spent a large part of yesterday afternoon playing crazy golf and drinking cocktails on the roof of a car park in Stratford (London) with good friends and mad children. The rest of this week will be spent making similar memories to shore up against my ruin.

Love from Mrs. Boo

Back in the real world:

With all my in depth political analysis of Theresa’s cabinet last week I forgot to mention dear old Jeremy Cockney Rhyming Slang Hunt.

I think, to be honest, this was a bit of unconscious deletion on my part. Having spent much of this year campaigning on NHS matters, I have had to spend a great deal of time thinking about him, and it has never proved either fruitful or pleasant. If Jeremy spent as much time in his role as the Health Secretary doing things, as he does trying to avoid doing things, our NHS would make that widdleewee thing that they fix everyone on Star Trek with, look completely outdated. He is, to my mind, the single worst thing to have happened to the NHS in its entire history. That includes the invention of that weird, pinky grey paint that it seems compulsory to paint hospital corridors with, San Izal toilet paper and split back nighties.

It was widely reported last week that Jeremy had been given his marching orders, at which news, all but the most rabidly hallucinogenic sections of our society let out a heartfelt sigh of relief. I have read somewhere that even minions in his own department understood it to be true, to the point where they cleared his desk.

This was not a difficult job. It was mostly dust, a few horcruxes in the shape of furry gonks wearing comedy scrubs and a photograph of Jeremy, straddling the weeping figure of a neurosurgeon, both thumbs aloft, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the legend; ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps’.

Even Jeremy thought he’d been sacked, but managed to actually climb out from under his bed long enough to be reassured he was still going to have the onerous job of ruining one of the few institutions we have left that still make us the envy of the world. He fears daylight but in a shady corner of the cabinet office managed to tweet, ‘rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated,’ much to the disappointment of everyone but Louise Mensch, before crawling back amongst the dust bunnies to play Top Trumps with his imaginary friend, Charlie from Casualty, who told him he’s doing a great job and to carry on and not let the nasty people shout at him, because all the fictional doctors love him, even if the real ones don’t.

Since then he’s announced he’s going to force all junior doctors to accept his new contract and had a meeting in parliament about how much more of the NHS the government can privatise under the noses of the public before they start to get restless and figure out that the table cloth has been being pulled out from under the tea set for months, in the biggest con trick ever played on them.

Naturally Jeremy was not at the meetings. Charlie told him he didn’t have to go, because he’d probably find all the excitement a bit much for him. He sent his deputy instead.

It’s a unicorn.

A more common creature to spot in the Houses of Parliament than Jeremy these days.

Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold

I couldn’t write this morning as I usually do. There were a number of reasons, first and foremost of which was the fact that I needed to get our tortoise into chokey and then pack the car, so that I could drive us to London for our holiday.

I suspect I could have managed to squeeze a blog post into the mix too, except that the news about Nice just made me too sad to find humour in the morning, and when I went downstairs to find that our neighbour has had the tree protection order on the row of trees between our garden and his own overturned, and is chopping down every other tree, I was bereft. So instead of writing, I drank my coffee and had a little weep.

So much has been lost in recent weeks.

I am in a more sanguine frame of mind now, after an afternoon of walking the Thames path around Kew with the kids. London is my happy place. It is the place where I feel most myself, and after feeling so adrift for the last few weeks, it is good to be somewhere that feels like home.

I think the large Bloody Mary I had with my lunch helped a lot too, to be honest.

So we are here, and ready for a week of wonders.

And the country? Well, it’s hanging in there by a thread.

I take comfort in the fact that Sadiq Khan is one of the few politicians I actually like, and should the zombie apocalypse happen while we are here, he will probably have something comforting to say, and possibly useful to do. I have followed him on Twitter, just in case.

In the meantime, Theresa has been busy at Number Ten, having Larry the cat stuffed for posterity, even though he isn’t dead, changing the curtain pelmets and evicting all the Cheese Strings from the fridge. She’s also continued to build her cabinet.

As I watch, I am becoming increasingly convinced that she has a plan, if not for the country, then certainly for herself, for it looks very much like a case of politician’s revenge is a dish best eaten cold to me.

Gove, for instance, is out on his Plug from The Bash Street Kids, ear. ‘That’s what you get for being a turn coat’, said Theresa, briskly, as she ejected him summarily from a third floor window. He is now being punished in his wife’s dungeon for failing to take the country by storm as she instructed him he really wanted to do.

As an aside whenever I look at his face I feel sorry that Spitting Image is no longer on our screens. They wouldn’t have had to do much to his face would they? They could have just done a direct copy, like a death mask.

Then there’s Steven Crabb whose star was set to soar into the firmament when he took over punishing the poor and needy at the Department of Work and Pensions when Ian Duncan Smith’s whip arm was too tired to do any more flagellating. Ian has had to try and claim PIPs for the RSI it brought on. Sadly, he hasn’t qualified, and is now living in the gutter, eating scrambled egg out of a shoe with a comb.

Steven rejoiced at this, and despite being found wanting in the Tory leadership department, was still very keen to make his mark in Theresa’s new cabinet. As we know, he is very fond of funding medical research into curing homosexuality with distilled essence of Jesus’ tears and a hint of electrodes, and had hoped for something in the Department of Trade and Industry where he could channel his talents for scientific innovation.

Sadly, it turns out that he is even more fond of sending suggestive sexual messages to women who are not his wife. Theresa clearly disapproves of infidelity as much as she does back stabbing, so Steven has not so much soared, as plummeted. It is to be hoped that Ian Duncan Smith might budge up and share his shoe, but it is unlikely. Generosity is not a strong trait in the Tory party.

Then there’s poor Angela Eagle. I know Angela is not in the Tory party, but I am beginning to wonder if Jeremy Corbyn is actually paying Theresa to send out a juicy bit of Tory news every time Angela tries to hold a press conference, or even just open her mouth in public. It’s either that or the fact that Angela might have tried to chat Theresa’s husband up at a cross party Christmas do one year, and has never been forgiven. There’s definitely something fishy going on. I don’t think Angela’s actually managed to finish an entire sentence in front of a member of the press since last Friday without Theresa finding some way of butting in.

My absolute favourite piece of revenge though, has to be reserved for what Theresa has done to Mrs. Loathsome herself, Andrea ‘all men who want to work with children are paedophiles,’ Leadsom. Andrea has not been defenestrated. Her punishment is much, much worse than that. Andrea is now in charge of agriculture and fisheries. Andrea now has to spend her time in cabinet dealing with enraged farmers who are about to lose their EU subsidies, and enraged fisherman who are about to realise that they were always going to get a better deal in the EU than out of it and who will now be reduced to what they can catch in a shrimping net off the end of Bridlington Pier.  Andrea will not know what hit her, and hopefully the very least of what hits her will be Bob Geldof wielding one of Boris’ secondhand water cannons.