Tuesday, 19 May 2009


I am sat blogging in my room wearing a t-shirt that says "Obama is my homeboy". This should be noted.

Today I came home I sorted through my post to find a leaflet from the British National Party. Obviously with all of the European elections in two weeks, all political parties are seeking votes, we last week had a flyer from UKIP. To see in my house a leaflet from the BNP made me shake with horror, had my local area come to a point where such a evily subversive party were allowed to walk on the streets. I feel like I am in Germany in 1933, receiving in the post a note signed by Adolf Hitler. Britain should be panicing when such hate mail is allowed to fall through letterboxes freely.

The other night they broadcast a Party Political Broadcast which I missed. I have just now watched it on YouTube. The first thing that grabs you is the amateurish nature of the film, my GCSE Media students could make a better film. The camera is shakey, the boom mic is in view, the party activists stumble over most of their words, it is stupidly bad. As Charlie Brooker points out in his blog about it, it is obvious why it is so bad, no proper media company would touch them, no matter how much money was offered. The most chilling thing is the words Nick Giffiths says, noting at once that his party would not support funding for projects "in minority" communities. Firstly, he is advocating a politcal areana where some are ignored and unsupported. His party constantly talk about the (white) majority who are forgotton by Westminster, so he wants to forget about a group himself- he is simply playing the same game. But the most chiling thing is that he is advocating starting ghettos. Hitler famously did this with the Jews in Germany, where minoriy groups were walled into parts of cities, monitored and forgotten. Obviously Griffin is selling himself on removing immigrants from the country, of "sending them back home", forgetting the fact they are home (most of "them" were born here and are second generation at least), anyone with an understanding of the movement of people and logisitics would realise this is not possible. What would end up happening if, god forbid, the BNP took power would be the realisation that this can't work and a second plan would be hatched which would involve another "solution"- see where I am going.

The fact is that extremist parties always grow in popularity in a time of political strife, and in particular economic problems. Before the recession we had heard from them in a growing manner, but now there is a surge in their place. No doubt when times are better we will give them less time and spot-light. The fear however is that people in Britain do not realise what they are letting into their houses through the letter box, on the TV and in theirs.


Friday, 1 May 2009

No one on the corner has swagger like us...

Poetry is an expression of the soul. I think we can all agree with that fact, and one of our greatest institutions in Britain has been the position of Poet Laurete. I mean, what is cooler than a National Poet? Even though historically it was to proclaim and celebrate royal events, it has become a way for the nation to express itself.
Today the third such person of this role of my life time was announced. I have always thought that the Prime Minister or President you were born under defines your life in some way (Thatcher and Reagan- two reasons to fight the establishment in whatever way you can.) I think that is also true of whichever P.L. you were born under. The holder of the chair when I entered in 1982 was Ted Hughes. He might not have been the greatest husband, but I am also sure that living with Slyvia Plath wasn't sunshine everyday. He was a great poet; he reflected Britain and Britain needed him. As a teacher I appreciate the work he did to establish a Children's Laurete.
The next person to take this position was Andrew Motion. He was modern, he was interesting but the biggest problem was he was unknown outside of the world of poetry and publishing. Don't get me wrong, I liked the work he did but he was a quiet Englishmen in a time when British poetry was being dominated by people like Benjamin Zephaniah. The greatest thing he did was to set an end to his term, to turn the job from a lifetime role to a set amount of years- perfect for the ever changing nature of the world.
Today Carol Ann Duffy stepped into the role. Anyone who did their GCSEs and A Levels in the last 15 years will know her and that alone is a perfect reason to choose her. She is modern (writing updated versions of fairytales and rap poems). She is electic (a writer of children's books). She is a she. Apparently 10 years ago her name was mentioned but it was decided Britain wasn't ready for a women ( a fact I bulk at seeing that two years before Hughes passed and therefore passed his role to Motion Britain was defined by the legacy of one woman whose image was worldwide- Diana- it would have made perfect sense to give the people a female voice.) We have been overdue this step. we in Britian as word readers and word teachers are still stuck in a long hang over of Dead White Men (tm) when the world has moved on: Appartheid has ended, Britain and Germany have both had female leaders, America now has a black President...Britain has a female poetic voice. I actually means a lot.