No, it’s not George Campbell saying sorry for being a bit of a bigot. In fact, this week’s blog will be featuring a different Liberal, so allow me to hand straight over to your Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Nicholas Clegg, who has a song he’d like to sing to you:
Nick Clegg’s Song
Though that original, genuine Nick Clegg song still isn’t quite as good as the parody Nick Clegg song that a very clever person put on YouTube.
The ‘Shall we accept Nick Clegg’s apology?’ referendum will take place on Thursday 4th October. Meanwhile, Nick Clegg is, at the moment, more or less on my doorstep during his party conference in Brighton. And I don’t begrudge it him, it’ll probably be his last.
Of police and plebs
One of my favourite political scandals of the year, dubbed ‘Gategate’, erupted this week when government chief whip Andrew Mitchell abused a police officer who wouldn’t let him cycle along Downing Street.
The alleged swearing was good fun but definitely not up to The Thick of It standards; Mitchell’s persuasive argument, “I’m telling you, I’m the chief whip and I’m coming through these gates,” was closer to the mark – and hence the expression, I’m the emperor and I want dumplings.
The King and I
As a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, I sometimes stop and wonder what I’ve got myself involved with.
This week, the Jewish Chronicle ran a story headlined: Board of Deputies secures Jordanian monarch. “Splendid!” I thought, “We’ve captured a serial human rights violator and can ship him off to The Hague forthwith.”
But no, it was not to be. In fact, King Abdullah II of Jordan is to be the guest speaker at the Board’s Annual Dinner, which will have a theme of “world peace.”
Let me just get this straight: a Jewish organisation which got sniffy about Zimbabwe’s human rights record only last year, is now welcoming with open arms a Middle Eastern despot who this month introduced online censorship to Jordan and arrested dozens of peaceful campaigners for “slandering the royal family,” and whose policy of racial discrimination against Palestinians has left 2,700 of his (former) citizens stateless?
Yes. That’s right. And they want to hear his views on world peace.
Perhaps the JC article should have been headlined: Bigoted anti-democratic nutjob to address Board of Deputies. But then that wouldn’t really have been news, would it?
And now for the return of…
“We want to make sure that everyone has a fair advantage.”
“There is no such thing as silly questions but there is a lot of problems that can come out of those questions if they are not left unanswered.”
“Due to the wisdom of people much higher up the university food-chain than me, the week now starts on a Thursday.”
“Now, Tim Bale’s textbook. There’s not really another one like it; well there is, but not quite…” [Not written by a former colleague, anyway!]
“We’re not just trying to bring these two spheres together and bridge them. We’re trying to create a new species.” [Er what?]
“OK, my dear friends: contender states and economic nationalism… it’s awesome!”
“Now this is Galileo. It actually looks like it’s a picture of Muhammed or something.” [And this is how the riots in the Middle East started…]
“We’ll be looking at specific European countries. One week, we might be looking at Belgium. The next… I can’t think.” [He can’t think of more than one European country? That bodes well for a lecturer in European Politics…]
“Are there any questions, bearing in mind that I’ve very deliberately not mentioned some things?”
[In the last few minutes of a seminar on ‘International Political Economy’] “And now we have some time left to talk about political economy.”
An appeal for a missing person
Where’s Wally? celebrated its 25th anniversary this week. The series consists of a series of images in which children are expected to search for the eponymous Wally, and was the inspiration for the Seti@home project where individuals donate their computers to join in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Wally’s name varies slightly between countries: in Wales, he is known as Wali. In Iceland, he’s Valli. In Norway, he’s Willy. And in Sweden, he’s Hugo. (Why do they always have to be different? -Ed.)