Role reversal

WASHINGTON - APRIL 17:  British Prime Minister...
One of these men is a ******* idiot, the other I have hope in

For the first time since I was about 12, I think I’d rather be living in the US than the UK.

I’ve spent all day with BBC News in the background and it’s depressing. So many jobs going, hard-working people being forced onto the dole pile and the pound diving lower almost every minute. My upcoming trip is going to be a lot more expensive than it would have been only 6 months ago.

However, one pair of statements really made my ears prick up.

First up was the Labour plan to exempt MPs from having to disclose their expenses. After all the fuss in recent months regarding those very people screwing us over because they knew they could hide it, what on earth made them think it would be a popular move with the voting public to legalise hiding such details?

Amazingly, though, their own MPs and Conservative opposition actually made loud rumblings against it and it seems it won’t get through – assuming they don’t find another way to bury it. Given the whole Freedom of Information thing, any fiddling would all come to light anyway. Just too late for us to to anything other than point fingers But to try and hide it all in the first place… pathetic.

Completely the opposite was Obama‘s first statement as President. All wages of high-earning White House staff have been capped. The giving and receiving of gifts (*cough*bribes*cough*) banned from lobbyists to members of the Administration. Outright. No more can lobbyists walk into an administrative position and work on anything to do with what they used to lobby for. Likewise, no member of staff can walk out and into a lobbying position against the Administration.

Sheer common sense, but unfortunately simple guidelines that have been ignored in the past. Now they’ve been put into place formally so that hopefully a reduction in corruption will follow.

Essentially, while our government throws a hissy fit about not being able to be secretive, the US government has announced a plan to be more transparent than it has been for decades. As the title says – this is a bit backwards to the last few years, isn’t it?

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A new beginning?

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 10:   U.S. President Geo...
One out, one in

Today is – I hope – a great day. After eight years of utter madness, a lunatic will hand over the reigns of power to someone who seems to actually be intelligent. Finally, finally, George Bush will leave the office of President of the United States. This day could not have come soon enough.

My impressions of Obama are good, but I’m always wary. One thing he’s certainly doing is living up to his promises of “change”. Guantanamo Bay will begin the shutdown procedure during his first week in office. This alone is a huge step in international relations as it was a clever loophole that avoided the Gevena Convention.

I only hope such things aren’t a little gloss on his first few weeks and that he doesn’t sink into the usual nonsense we’re used to from politicians.

Bush’s final speeches have been full of hyperbole and nonsense, either ignoring or twisting virtually everything he’s done over the last eight years. According to them, he’s overcome problems and managed a surprising number of achievements. No mention of the fact that he’d not have had to overcome so many of these issues if he’s not caused them in the first place.

But let’s not dwell on the past. Let’s hope for the future. I’m very happy to see a new face in the White House, especially one that’s come pretty much from left field. Obama seems genuinely intelligent and pretty honest – and also very keen to stamp his mark in a good way.

I wish him the best. Both out of relief and out of hope and partly out of belief. And I thank America for voting him in. It’s making me genuinely happy to see someone who’s at least not an obvious idiot in the most powerful office in the world.

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Good news and good parody

With every bit of news, there’s a flip-side. Thank **** that I’m not in the depths of depression I was four years ago when that **** Bush got another four years. Thank you, thank you the people of America (well, most of you) for voting for change. In fact, for many, voting for a change. Biggest turn out in a gajillion years, it seems.

You have to wonder how things had to get so bad for there to be such a turnout. Or was it simply that the person running against what was effectively Bush Mark 3 (and a psychotic headcase from Alaska) was just so different compared to previous nominees? Young, intelligent, not afraid to rail against the current system and – oh, yes – coloured.

Note, not black. He’s of “mixed race/parentage” yet of course he’ll be billed as being black. Why? Surely he’s half black and half white. As someone mentioned on their blog (sorry – Ive read so many today, I forgot who), how can you decide he’s black? If he had one great great great great great grandparent who was coloured and the rest of his family were all white would that still make him black? Where’s the dividing line? 25%? 12.5%?

And then there’s the simple fact of relevance. As a personal opinion, had I been a US citizen this past week he’d have had my vote regardless of whether he’d been black, white, short, tall, male, female or anywhere in between – as long as his personality and policies were the same. Sad thing is, there will be people who voted either for or against him based purely on his skin colour.

Anyway, it’s a happy time. The Bush ****-up will shortly be at an end (unless he opts to use the next 2 months to change the rules or declare war on Russia to make Sarah Palin happy) and hopefully the US will become a more respected nation.

In the meantime, click the link at the top for a giggle. And no, it’s not offensive. Unless you’re a Daily Mail reader. In which case, **** off.

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