Monday, 20 April 2009

the Human Factor and Oliver Twist

I awoke and could hear what I interpreted as a nearby house alarm but it seemed to continue on and on as I dozed and came too several times and there I wondered and then I realised what it was and that from 8.30 until 9.48 the buzzer had been my unpacked disconnected alarm clock, but with battery, in the one of the travel bags, somewhere in the house. Just as well the neighbours on the side of the house are away and there is the open patio space on the other.

It has been a leisurely day and commenced with opening and sending a Christmas card and the decision to write an overview of the year, something I used to do, but stopped two years ago. There was no attempt to be comprehensive, and it proved a longer than had time for experience, as I attempted to distil priorities and summarise.

I made do with soup and then there was another letter and card and decisions to sort out this and that, a visit to the Council's environmental centre to dispose of accumulated rubbish, but the pong from the decaying prawn heads and shells was such that I decided to do the supermarket first and acquire some air freshener, but before that I took my suit to the dry cleaners, also my main car wearing coat, but the label was machine washable so it came back via the post office and supermarket where a lot of time was used finding the air freshener, which proved essential once the rubbish was in the vehicle.

It was not until just before the new five day production of Oliver Twist that I felt the need for food, Chinese style chicken wings, a generous carton followed by a puff pastry mince pie. The Oliver Twist is yet to compete with the most recent film production strangely omitted from the Daily Mail Role Replay information which mentions the original 1948 film and the 1968 musical. Oliver Twist is the story of the Male Supremacist nature of early Victorian society ranging from the attitude of the mother of Oliver Twist and the abuse and exploitation of Nancy and the way the ready way in which the upper and middle classes relished sending street children who committed offences to the gallows, on prison ships to the colonies or to hard labour in prisons, or the workhouse. The pervading attitudes of those are still heard on daily chat shows such as five live.

I was then looking forward the last Spooks as there was no advance showing last week but fell soundly asleep. I woke again in time of a gem of a programme about three women who went in search of their parents, two fathers and one mother. The two fathers were found through the Salvation Army service both with positive outcomes but sadly the woman who has spent nearly two decades trying to find if her mother is alive and two years actively enquiring since the death of her father had by the end of the programme failed to make any progress. The national release of a photograph tonight will hopefully produce the breakthrough for her.

I have written before about the power of this drive to know and how society makes this difficult by allowing mother to register births without information about the name and known circumstances of the biological father

Of course there will continue to be deceptions with false information provided and circumstances where the information is not known or where the circumstances are tricky, but as with adoption there should be opportunity when a young person reaches adulthood to be given the option to obtain the available information, with advance counselling provision if requested. The secrecy is often from the best of intentions and there are sometimes other children or family members whose protection is just as significant at the time, but the power to know should carry a right. The kind of crude bestial justice which is part of the Muslim faith in many countries and supported by national laws in relation to the behaviour and position of women, and as used to be and still is the attitude towards the female in predominantly Catholic nations and which underlines the hypocrisy of the male attitude to the Mary's in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, is symptomatic of male supremacist societies. The way the House of Commons is organised with the gladiatorial combat of Prime Minister's Question Times is another and oh for a Prime Minister with the self confident guts to refuse to perform for their party and for the benefit of the medias, for opposition leaders with similar self confidence, guts and integrity.

And what is this nonsense of the latest sound bite politics of the Liberal Democrats, power to the people, regardless of consequence in terms of justice as fairness, Hullo just as it is fair, is it? for English families to pay for the Scots to enable their children to go to University without the mill stone of charges or for the elderly to retain the value of their savings when they require residential care or comprehensive care, we are now to support the reactionary Liberal notion that it is OK if those who are interested in power holding decide to introduce fascist approaches to the running of hospital or schools, or reintroduce poor law type institutions, of course liberals don't, so why spout the claptrap echoed by Paddy Ashdown and no doubt the assembly of other former party leaders rejected by heir own members or the country at one time or the other, and two men again after the party demonstrated as all the major parties do their ageism. The hypocrisy of attitudes towards, children, the old and the female has not changed although in society in general there is change with recent examples the Queen demonstrating what a better job she has done than any man or that splendid engineer project coordinator for the St Pancras enterprise. This is not an issue of physiological prejudice but of attitude and approach.
This work of tracing missing parents is one role for the Salvation Army who apparently is able to trace 80% of the 4000 requests for help each year and merits greater public recognition. The figures mean over 30000 quests have been solved in the past decade alone.

I then finished the evening with a poor Le Carre type spy traitor film based on a Graham Green, The Human Factor, the last film of the Man with the Golden Arm Otto Preminger and a screen play by Tom Stoppard. The film has nothing original in terms of story and characterization and is light years away from series such Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The double Spy, is Nicole Williamson an actor who has never been convincing or impressed me with a cast of many talents, Richard Attenborough, Robert Morley, Sir John Gielgud and Derek Jacobi and I could have been better employed with my time but once commenced I felt obliged to see it through.

Yesterday was the penultimate programme about the Queen featured the number of official visits, a Royal Garden Party and an aborted visit to open the new Arsenal Football club and broadened to other family members with Charles and Camilla travelling to organic farmers and them meeting farmers in a local pub. The Garden party was interesting because it is regarded as a treat for those who will not make it to an investiture. People dress expensively and queue for half an hour to get in but are given free entry into the Palace and a scrumptious tea of fine fare before being gathered in lines for a family walkabout in which individuals are pre selected to have a few words said to them by the Queen. On hot days as the summer of a year ago, so distant now St Johns was much in demand. Those who are considered VIP's have their own Marquee and a special walk walkabout session. The one important conclusion from the series which has its last episode at Christmas is the serious effort which the firm makes to fit in and understands contemporary society at all levels. It is difficult for anyone wanting to do the job and to attempt consistent professional perfection for decade upon decade. The nature of his task was wonderful portrayed by one stupid woman who drags her mother and son around the country to wave flags and get a close up of the Queen. At one level she was awful cringing embarrassing and one wondered how many of the flay wavers were of this ilk, but she also fulfils an important constitutional function that our brings in he tourist need for the public flag waver, and in fairness I would rather have her as Queen follower than yet another idiot giving credence that those waste of space personalities to contribute nothing to society except their lack of substance.

At last someone has said in the media what I have long suspected, that just as those behind the TV telephone competitions were able to fix outcomes with thousands continuing to phone with no chance of winning, the question has been asked of the X Factor and were thousands prevented from phoning in order to fix the outcome? How could a margin of 1% change to 10% so quickly? Did the earlier votes still count?

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