Saturday, 21 June 2008

Stop the BNP

I attended part of the "Stop the Fascist BNP" (British National Party) demonstration this afternoon before running off to West End Live where I was singing with the Chorus (for the fourth year I think).

FrontAlthough I have attended a few demonstrations, this was my first of this type and I have to say that I was left a little dubious. I think about 3000 people were in attendance of what seemed to be organised mainly by unions and as is all too often the case, irrelevant "causes" found themselves grafted onto the main theme of the event.

I was pleased to spot a few (not many, sadly) rainbow flags. The photograph of the Pink Paper was in attendance but left with very little material of relevance. There was also a reference to sexism and homophobia on a particular set of placards and the leading float was also (rather incongruously) festooned the rainbow flags, reference to IDAHO and the pink triangle (see pictures).

While I completely agree that it is important to fight the BNP and their narrow minded ideas, I was also taken aback by the systematic links made between this party and the fascist and Nazi ideologies. I have to say that my ideals of fairness rebelled against this and that I felt a skeptical (I will not even mention Godwin's Law) but having now done some very quick reading up on Wikipedia, I must admit that there is probably some truth in this.

What particularly took me aback though was the calling out of the names of certain concentration camps by someone on the leading float (in answer to which the crowd lustily chanted "never again!"). I found that distasteful and belittling of what happened in the camps as nothing even remotely similar is likely to ever take place by the doing of what is after all a very marginal party.

The crowds used the same "never again" when the BNP's name was called which I thought particularly idiotic since the party is still in existence...

Mixed feelings.

You can view the very few pictures I took of the event here.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Gay Quire


The quire of the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great where the blessing ceremony of two gay priests took place last week-end and relaunched the quarrel about gay clergy in the Anglican Church.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Foiling George Bush

Far the past couple of weeks, I have been on the job market again after two years being self employed. I have sent out close to a hundred copies of my CV to recruitment agencies with responses from only about five. Not a great success rate but nothing unexpected considering my previous achievements in this matter.

I am not really expecting to hear from two of the said agencies. One of them was supposed to contact me again to schedule a registration meeting but the silence has been deafening since then, even after I gently nudged them. The other wasn't really for me (the seem to specialise in underpaid admin jobs in healthcare).

I had an appointment to register with another agency at lunchtime today. I have been registered with them a couple of times before and I am always dealing with the same consultant. We've "known" each other for about 5 years now, I think. It is rather amusing to have that sort of ungoing acquaintance with someone in that big maelstrom that is London.

I will have to cancel the registration meeting I was going to have with this fourth agency (although it is conveniently situation just up the road from where I live) because of what happened with the remaining one.

My jobsearch has exclusively been taking place online. I am registered to a few job alerts mailing lists and know a job listing site which I checked regularly. Among all the adverts for job I had to trawl through, I spotted one that sounded interesting. A six month contract as an Editorial and Marketing Assistant for the renowned tourism organisation.

I sent my CV by email to address specified and quite unusually received a phone from a consultant about this job about 30min later. I was invited to come and register the same day and was informed a day or two later that I would be having an interview on the following Monday. That was yesterday. At 10 O'clock.

Knowing that I would have to cross central London (the interview was taking place at the agency which is located near Broadcasting House and Oxford Circus) on a bus at rush hour I have given myself plenty of time to be there when I had to. And an inspired idea it proved to have been since George Bush was this week on his farewell tour (hopefully not one à la Barbara Streisand) and had decided to have breakfast with his mate Gordon. This meant that Whitehall had to be closed down to traffic and huge concrete blocks deposited in the middle of the road to be sure no car come any where near Downing Street unsolicited.

The result was a mini traffic jam on the Embankment and twenty minutes to go from Westminster Bridge to Trafalgar Square when it would have taken me 5 to get there by foot. Thanks, George!

The interview itself went swimmingly well. This is probably the easiest interview I have ever sat on. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, the interviewers, (the future bosses) were nice and not only did I seem to answer their question satisfactorily they even starting answering for at one point, saying that I was the candidate with the most skills in the lot they had seen.

As I mentioned during the interview, the job felt tailor-made for me, bringing together elements of my past experience at work and as a volunteer, as if someone had gone through my CV and drawn the Job Description from it. Something truly ideal to have on my CV to consolidate and "officialise" lots of skills acquired in an ad hoc way along my 8 years in this country.

After the interview I have a short copywriting test and I was soon on my way home; hopeful yet weary. I have been in interviews before where things had gone well (admittedly not that well) and still managed not to get the job. My impression was reinforced by a phone call from the consultant giving me some very positive feedback from the interviewers (including about the bit of copy I had to produce). She also told me to expect a phone call at five O'clock this afternoon with the verdict.

It looks that despite his successful attempt at, once again, showing how talented he is at creating chaos, I have managed to foiled George Bush's evil plans. The phone call was duly received at about 5:30 and I have been offered the job which I have accepted. I am started Monday.


Update on 21 June at 23:31:
I received a phone call from the agency yesterday at 6pm, informing me that I would be starting on Tuesday after all because my new bosses hadn't quite got round to organising a desk and everything needed for me. Sounds promising!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Bike Week


Londonist have posted a short article about Bike Week which is starting today in the UK.

They forgot to mention the World Naked Bike, whose London edition is taking place today, but to illustrate their article they have use the above picture, which I took at the Cans Festival last month.

Petition Against Iris Robinson, Homophobic MP

It all started by a Nothern Irish MP's comments in reaction to a homophobic attack. Lots of people were not impressed and Mrs Robinson MP is now being investigated by the police and might possibly be sued too by a local activist, who, like this youth worker, is not impressed.

In the meantime, the MP's psychoanalyst friend, whom she claimed can cure people of their gayness rides the media hype with (surprise! surprise!) the support of the Christian Institute.

If you are feeling (justifiably outraged by this sad story, you can click here to sign the petition to the Prime Minister to reprimand MP Iris Robinson for her recent comments. You have until 9 August to do like the 3748 people who have already signed as I write this.

Pass this on...

Friday, 13 June 2008


“The power of the executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgement of his peers, is in the highest degree odious, and the foundation of all totalitarian government.”

Winston Churchill

Thursday, 12 June 2008

David Davies' Resignation is a PR Stunt

I am against the 42 day thing and other "erosions of our civil liberties" (all the more disgraceful coming from a Labour government) but I think that David Davies' stand down from his seat as an MP is nothing but a stunt and not a very clever one at that.

First there is the cost involved in all this, the wasted money; then there is the wasted time for his constituents who noe find themselves without an MP for however long it will take for Davies to be re-elected.

And that the bigger point, He has a majority of 5000, the Lib Dems have already said that they wouldn't put up a candidate and I don't think Labour should bother either (if nothing else but show up Davies), so Mr Davies is guarranteed to be re-elected... He is not taking any risk whatsoever. Unless perhaps the electors wake up and realise they have being conned.

Would he not have been better able to carry on raising the issues he wants to raise by staying in his position in the Shadow Cabinet, rather than becoming a backbencher?

Wouldn't it have been better for him to allow the media and the public to keep on focusing on those said issues, rather than focusing him?

oh, wait....

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

42 Days

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin

42 day detention without charge