Sunday, 2 August 2009

Barbecue summer- don’t make me laugh.

When is a barbecue summer not a barbecue summer? When it’s predicted by the Met Office of course.

As they’ve spent the past week pointing out with a Tour De France style display of back peddling of the sort usually put on by a junior government minister caught in an embarrassing situation, the Met Office didn’t actually say we we’re going to have a good summer. What they said, and you can probably hear the sound of a hair being split lengthways here, was that there was a 65% chance of it being a good summer.

After all we did have a couple of good weeks in early June and a rain free Wimbledon meant that Cliff Richard didn’t end up ‘entertaining’ the crowds on Centre Court. Anyway long range forecasting is jolly difficult and so we shouldn’t grouse when they get things a tad wrong.

As Brian Goulding, a spokesman for the Met Office told the BBC this week ‘seasonal forecasting is a difficult thing to do and this places some limitations on our forecast.’

Tell that to the marines Mr Goulding, actually, no, go tell it to all the families who in these environmentally conscious and recession haunted times opted for a staycation this year and as a result spent two weeks trapped in a caravan listening to the rain drum on the roof as their children wailed ‘we’re bored; there’s nothing to do.’

The British are a patient people, we’ll put up with just about anything from bent MP’s to trains that don’t even try to run on time, never mind customer service that is all but non existent; but having the weather forecast exposed as little more than so much over optimistic spin may well be too much.

You can be honest we don’t mind the rain, moaning about the weather is a national sport, tell it how it is and leave the spin and shifty evasions after the fact to the real experts; the politicians.

Oh David; you are a twit.

Its official, the silly season is well and truly upon us, noting else could explain the acres of newsprint devoted to David Cameron’s slip of the tongue during an interview broadcast on Absolute Radio last week.

He was talking about why he didn’t have any plans to join the growing number of MP’s who broadcast their thoughts to a breathless world via Twitter and said:

‘I think politician do have to think about what we say. And the trouble with Twitter is the instantness of it. Too many twits make a t**t.’

You got that right Dave, to his credit Mr Cameron issued an almost immediate apology saying ‘You always have to be careful what you say. If I’ve caused any offence I obviously regret that.’

As he enjoys a trashy novel on the beach this summer perhaps the Eton educated Mr Cameron might like to ponder a little maxim that was prominently displayed at my much less august alma mater ‘engage brain before opening mouth.’

Not such a nice guy Alan.

A few months ago I wrote an article on another site suggesting that Home Secretary Alan Johnson might make a future leader of the Labour Party. I was wrong.

A point proved this week by his shameful refusal to take action to ensure that Gary McKinnon, a rather sad young man suffering from Asberger’s Syndrome who hacked into the Pentagon’s computer system searching for information about UFO’s, would face trial in the UK rather than being extradited to the US.

Mr McKinnon’s guilt isn’t in question, rather whether a fragile man liable to self harm were he to be thrown into the bear pit of the US prison system wouldn’t be better served by being tried and punished on home soil.

The first duty of any leader is to protect the vulnerable; Alan Johnson has failed in that duty as has the government in which he serves; shame on him and on them.

Farewell Sir Bobby
On Friday the death of Sir Bobby Robson the former England football manager was announced and, for once, the tributes that followed from the great and the good of the game to dozens of ordinary fans were utterly genuine.

In the silly, self regarding world of professional football he was, despite filling his trophy cabinet with silverware over a fifty year career and later facing a horrific illness, a true original; a quiet and humble hero; a true gentleman of a type we may never see again.

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