Band Aid Hypocrisy

Someone had the idea of trying to clone Band Aid from DNA fragments found in the fossil of the old one…

Sirs,

I do love it when multimillionaire, millionaire and millionaire wannabes all get together to sing a song telling poor people to give money to even poorer people.

It really pulls at the old heartstrings.

Paul Harper

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Misguided calls to extend the poppy display

Much noise is being made by people too lazy to get to the Tower of London during the last few months who now, suddenly, what to see the Remembrance Poppy Display before it gets removed from the 12th November.

Sirs,

Calls are being made to extend the superb poppy display at the Tower of London beyond the 11th November.

I disagree. It is the difference between respectfully commemorating something and wallowing in it.

If people want to see it again, then a similar idea could be implemented in the lead-up to the centenary of the end of the war in 2018.

Despite the Standard leading the calls for an extension, they printed it:

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Turning off traffic lights at night. D’Oh!

Some idiot is – seriously – proposing that Central London traffic lights be turned off at night to save energy and improve traffic flow. If that doesn’t deserve a rant at the Evening Standard, nothing does:

Sirs,

Of all the lame-brained ideas I have heard lately, turning off traffic lights at night is by far the stupidest. Though I suppose it will give our A&E departments something to do when it would otherwise be quiet.

If they want traffic to be self-regulating, traffic lights should be set to flashing yellow like Zurich does. At least that way drivers know they are approaching a junction and should take care.

Turning them off is a recipe for disaster.

Which got printed as:

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Clegg’s Conversion of Damascene Proportions

Rather disappointing that the Evening Standard doesn’t seem to think their readers would understand a “conversion of Damascene proportions”, which is what I wrote, but I suppose at least they printed it.

The original:

After four and a bit years of being political and media whores, this newly-found LibDem morality isn’t fooling anyone. Declaring PMQs a farce after spending that time hogging the front bench limelight every Wednesday lunchtime is a conversion of Damascene proportions.

From tonight’s paper:

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Needless to say, I much prefer my version!

London’s civilised voting patterns

Quick letter to the Evening Standard – not that I expect it to be printed after I moaned about their editing of my last one…

Sirs,

London deserves congratulations for showing the rest of the country that a multicultural, multiethnic and diverse city like ours can vote against the national trend towards xenophobia and intolerance.

It makes me proud to be a Londoner.

Paul Harper

Hysterical and unconvincing reactions to UKIP

The Evening Standard emailed me, asking for a couple of hundred words on the reaction to UKIP candidates’ comments in the run-up to the 2014 European elections. They didn’t use the first version, here is the second:

Recent UKIP comments about Lenny Henry and Islam have prompted reactions from politicians, media and Twitter motormouths alike that range from unconvincing mock outrage to headless-chicken hysteria.

Unfortunately, this is merely highlighting the total lack of a coherent message on the part of UKIP’s opponents.

All that people are hearing are the UKIP comments, which they are starting to believe because they are not being presented with an alternative.

This means that UKIP is setting the agenda, deciding timing and getting all the publicity. But merely disagreeing with UKIP is not enough: pointing and hysterically shouting “he’s wrong” is playground politics at best and people are not convinced by it.

As someone who thinks that immigration is usually beneficial to the country, and that membership of the EU has more advantages than disadvantages, the lack of a convincing political campaign along those lines is very disappointing.

When are the mainstream parties going to start presenting a positive message? Or are they just going to let this joke party and its comedy leader set the tone for the whole election?

I was then asked about Clegg launching the LibDem manifesto and replied:

There was one major problem with Clegg’s launch of the LibDem manifesto: nobody was listening. It went largely unnoticed by the public because he has so little authority now that people don’t notice when he or his party is talking.

Him taking on Farage in the TV debates only worked for die-hard LibDem supporters. For everyone else, Clegg lost those debates and lost badly. They did more harm than good because they gave Farage an aura of credibility well beyond what he deserves. They were a huge mistake.

In one of the biggest edits I’ve ever had, that lot got boiled down to this in the paper:

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Crimea: Why the fuss?

I am really not sure that I understand what the fuss is about Crimea or why those in the West – most of whom have seceded from someone else in their history – are being so belligerent about it.

Where’s the problem? It’s not as if it was imposed against the will of those directly affected.

Personally, I think it is a mistake to join a state run by mafia gangs and asset thieves, but it is a mistake the people of Crimea must be free to choose to make.

It’s none of our business, really, we should just calm down!