Archive for Not the Nine O’Clock News

A Sketch to Make the Blood Run Cold

Posted in Television with tags , on July 8, 2014 by telescoper

I’m assuming that the writers of Not The Nine O’Clock News didn’t know in 1980 what we now know about Rolf Harris. The joke was really just about the BBC trying desperately to get kinds to participate in a crappy programme. But still..


I Believe

Posted in Politics, Television with tags , , , , on November 7, 2012 by telescoper

I had decided to post this if last night’s  US Election result had turned out differently, but then thought I’d post it anyway.

Those of us of a certain age will remember the sense of incomprehension that spread around the world when Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States in 1980 and were bracing themselves for similar trauma last night if Mitt Romney  had won. I’m sure I’m not the only person breathing a sigh of relief this morning. In deference to the losing candidate, I’ll echo the title of the song with a piece of Mitt Romney’s most inspirational rhetoric:

“I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.


Anyway, lest you all get carried away with the euphoria of a second term for Barack Obama, I’ll say that although I’m glad  the electorate stepped back from the apocalyptic vision of a Romney victory, this is very much business as usual – with all that entails. Here is the late Gore Vidal’s summary of American politics (written in the 1970s).

 There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt — until recently … and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.

Riots: the only solution…

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , on August 11, 2011 by telescoper

Looking at the news feeds during my last evening in rainy Copenhagen, I see that the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Milliband, has weighed in with an armful of brand new platitudes he obviously acquired during the riots, including a dig at so-called “academic” studies into the causes of violent disorder.

I think this is a big mistake. A serious academic study would undoubtedly reveal a deep sociological  connection between mob violence of the type recently experienced in England and the soccer hooliganism of the 70s and 80s.  The pioneering research discussed in the following news clip offers a radical suggestion for solving the problem of youth violence.