A Week in the World

Quite the week it’s been. Religion, politics, religious politics, meteorites and a public food scare have made for a fairly helter skelter division of attention. Irritating to me is that none of these issues are exactly a spark on the dry tinder of my imagination, but more generally curiosities. Ian Duncan Smith is engineering a date with the business end of a mob wielded pitch fork but that issue still needs to ruminate a bit. One more outdated comment from the DWP boss should do it.

I suppose the resignation of the Pope is the big fish, although oddly the one I care less about. Being as thoroughly detached from the religious world as I am, let alone the Catholic one, what was a seismic event to many was simply information to me. At most it makes me reflect on how strikingly ones world view can alter your perception of events. The look of shock and disbelief on the faces of many a Catholic was matched only by the scowls of those with a different agenda.

That agenda being the matter of Catholic abuse and the soon-to-be late Pope Benedict XVI’s various connections to it. Freedland eloquently summarizes this history for us, thus sparing me the effort, but for that matter so did many other news sources. As soon as the dust settled on the surprise of the announcement, the knives started coming out as those critical of the church’s awful record saw the opportunity for some questions to be answered.

Ratzinger’s alleged inaction, wilful ignorance, apathy or even outright complicity in the management of documented paedophile priests is not where the anger stops of course. As however beatified and revered this man was by the flock, many people indeed are more focussed on his regressive tenure with regards to gender equality and possibly most heinously, third world birth control. If I cared about the next Pope at all, it would be to hope that he will be less damaging.

That might sound quite uncaring about a figure or institution that wields so much global influence, and from one who supposedly cares about the impact of such things. But I’ve been trying for a long time not to wade into the issue of religion in too critical a fashion. If there is one thing I learned in this area, it is that ranting and raving about the backwards traditions of a religious organisation gets you absolutely nowhere. Change is sadly glacial and more internally propelled.

A similar pattern it seems for our beloved Labour party, although maybe in a slightly abstract sense. Or maybe this is just a bad segway. Several days ago Ed Miliband finally outlined a bit of what resembled detailed policy after months upon months of repetitively and solely bashing the government. This was a slight surprise given we were told by Labour sources that the speech would contain no new policies, but one could argue this was technically still the case.

The 10p tax rate is an old Labour wheel-greaser, scrapped only a few years ago by Gordon Brown, and the Mansion Tax is a problematic Liberal Democratic idea. Thanks be to Jenkins for highlighting some of the flaws in these grand plans. Though as underwhelmed as we continue to be by the junior Miliband, some are clearly impressed. Another clarion indication of that strange filter of world view is Poly Toynbee and her suggestion that here we have a new Lloyd George.

I profoundly disagree. Far short of visionary political radicalism, we have recycled and regurgitated policy and that only in the face of the desperate need to have something, anything, in the way of policy. That takes more wind out of the Tory sails than beating Osborne back to the 10p rate, as transparently expedient as the whole thing is. Have not the number crunchers already proved that lower income families do better out of the new 10k, eventually 12k, tax allowance?

Perhaps it was just Lib Dem Susan Kramer… well, she seems trustworthy, Baroness and all. I’m ashamed to say that really my economic chops end at the point my reliable information stops and what seems reliable to me is not Labour. That dastardly world view again, or maybe Labour really did screw the pooch on the economy and I actually legitimately don’t trust them. They’ll certainly need to do more than Ed’s speech.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that no one can agree on who is to blame for all this horse meat we’ve all eaten. Yes, all eaten, mwuhaha. It seems likely that during the unknown number of years this scandal was being perpetrated, most of us would have chowed down on some trace equine scrapings. Charlie Brooker does a wonderful job of illustrating the hypocrisy of our aversion to this notion in his Weekly Wipe episode of last week. Do have a look.

It’s hard not to feel a little violated when being fed X and it actually being Y, but if half a thousand pure horse burgers a day is what it would take to cause any bute related damages then we shouldn’t be terribly concerned. As for who’s to blame, this is a circus I’d rather stay out of before someone even points the finger at me. Government blames supermarkets, supermarkets blame councils, councils blame suppliers, suppliers blame suppliers and George Galloway blames government.

Hardly a surprise that last one, and as a side note I wish that festering sack of hatred and diatribe would stop being sent invitations to Question Time, he’s boring. From my perspective, sometimes blaming someone is a poor use of time. In this instance it seems more likely that the chain of food custody, as it were, was violated by orchestrated criminal elements, and it’s fair to say that everyone was just hoodwinked. Embarrassing yes, but it doesn’t call for endless cycles of recrimination.

I’d eat horse. Maybe this saga will pave the way for a new product on our shelves, but god help you all if I find any cow in my mustang burgers. Ultimately, it’s all a moot point. Not just the meat scandal, but Miliband, the Pope and all. Even though I haven’t yet encountered a single conspiracy theory, and all indications suggest it was really just a meteorite, I’m going to say Russia was just invaded by aliens. You read it here first.


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