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And we start today, tastefully enough, with an obituary
Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb everest has died. This means that now the most famous New Zealander in the world is ... a dead bloke. The BBC Website responded with a “Have Your Say” page. I like the idea of letting the public comment on stories but they always pick the wrong stories. It never says Have Your Say: Is Gordon Brown A Cunt? Instead it’s have your say on the death of Sir Edmund Hillary. What’s to say – he climbed a mountain, now he’s dead.
Bird flu has been confirmed in three mute swans found in Dorset. They might have been diagnosed much sooner if they’d just told someone they were feeling ill. It’s the H5N1 strain which I think means they caught it off that little dustbin-shaped thing in star wars. The health protection agency is warning anyone who may have come into contact with a swan to come forward. You’d think you’d know wouldn’t you. I mean either you did shag the swan or you didn’t. If there’s any Bill Clinton-esque gray area over whether you and the swan were just friends, you want to stop taking all that LSD.
And yesterday’s planned love-in on nuclear power went ahead as planned. The number of reactors approved was officially “several”. And with the prospect of government subsidies not ruled out, there’s every chance we could all be paying to have our house prices thrilling boosted by the proximity of dangerous radioactive isotopes. Ministers said the companies running the plants would have to bear the full cost of storing all nuclear waste. Except that nuclear waste hangs around for ten thousand years. So if you were a responsible company you would fulfil your duty to shareholders by run the plant til it stops making money, paying huge dividends then declaring bankruptcy. And if you were an irresponsible company you’d run the plant til it stops making money, pay huge bonuses to the board and then declare bankruptcy. So it’s win-win as long as you’re on the board and you’ve got lots of stock options, like, ooh, Gordon Brown’s brother.
The other frightening thing is the way the government is acting as though approving a few nuclear power stations has somehow solved the carbon emissions crisis. Greenpeace estimates the new stations will contribute to a 4% decrease in carbon emissions by 2025. Listen ... that’s the sound of a hundred million Bangladeshis breathing a big sigh of relief.
Still in politics
And it appears not everyone is quietly screwing the public over to make a tidy buck. No Tony Blair is very loudly screwing the public over for his tidy buck. He’s taken a half-a million a year part time job with an American Investment bank. Half a million a year for a part-time job? How are his colleagues going to feel when they see him swanning out of the office at lunchtime with his Rolex clinking on his wrist.
The only officer to have been charged with a crime of any sort over the Abu Ghraib debacle has been quietly cleared and sent on his way. Lt Col Steven L Jordan was the only person in any kind of position of authority to be convicted over Abu Ghraib and he was only convicted of talking about the case when it was supposed to be a secret. Now he’s been cleared even of that. And the thing is none of the papers picked up on it – I had to dig that out of the Washington Post. You listeners are pretty lucky I do such a lot of research for you.
In International Politics
George Bush has announced that he believes a peace treaty in the Middle East will be signed before he leaves office. He has such a good track record on predictions that no doubt Ladbrokes are no longer taking bets. I mean remember when he said we’d find WMD in Iraq, when he said the US army would be welcomed as liberators and when he said one little pretzel can’t hurt me.
In an important development in the on-going ten year international inquest into the death of Princess Diana it was revealed today that she once receive a nasty note.