Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Where Now?

The election is now well and truly over. Parliament meets tomorrow, the lady with the silly hat will read a speech she didn't write, a man in a silly costume will prance about with a stick (I'd have thought a key would be a more suitable tool for opening a locked door but what would I know), and the whole circus will be back up to full operating temperature in no time. The Prime Minister will exercise the mandate given to him by approximately 25% of eligible voters, and lots of people will continue to call him a lame duck. It's going to be an eventful time.

But there's a wee problem. The election being over has left me, and probably quite a number of other bloggers, with a feeling of aimlessness. Just what is it that I want to write about? Should I write about local issues, Westminster issues, or international issues? Should I just write what I feel like on any given day? I like structure (no, you can't tell from my writing) so this is a dilemma for me. I really want to decide on a direction for the blog and write with that in mind. I don't mean that I need a topic set in stone, just that I have a general theme which most posts relate to. There are many things I'd like to write about but I can't realistically cover them all. For a start, I really need to try to spend some time sorting out my life (new career suggestions welcome, I'm something of a rudderless ship at the moment). OK, so I'm navel gazing here, I admit it.

Anyway, here are some news stories I've been reading today. If the day had been much longer, I'd have blogged them all.
Independent: Karzai warns heavy-handed US troops as riots spread
BBC: Karzia condemns anti-US protests


Independent: Hundreds of civilians killed after protests turn to massacre
Bloggerheads: Jack Straw: humanity, practicality and reality
(Particularly of note from the above: The NewYorker, Outsourcing Torture.)
Craig Murray Weblog

BBC: More dead bodies found in Iraq
BBC: Rice pushes role for Iraq Sunnis

John Bolton and the UN
Opinions You Should Have: Report Links Bolton To Mafia, Elder Abuse, Prostitution; Sure To be Confirmed, Sources Say
I found this blog through a google ad on gmail. I'm almost certain it'll go in my blogroll after reading this one post. First line:
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported yesterday that nominee John Bolton has ties to organized crime and worked as a "crack whore" as recently as last Tuesday.

ID Cards
Nick Barlow: We have listened...and we don't care
BBC: ID card plans set to be unveiled
BBC: ID cards face Scots opposition

Campaign for Real Democracy
Independent: One or two reforms won't fix our democracy
Make My Vote Count Blog

These are just some of the stories I'd like to cover. There are lots more. What does my MSP think about blogging? How can Blunkett be back in government after resigning in disgrace? Is it a distraction to campaign for an elected House of Lords at the same time as campaigning for reforms of the voting system for the Commons? The forthcoming G8 conference in July. The French referendum on the EU constitution. The British tabloids and their obsession with spreading misinformation about immigration, and the possibly related rise in the BNP vote at the election. Murdoch's media empire. Wind Farms, nuclear power, climate change, and lifestyle changes. Are all MSP's numpties? Elvis or the Beatles? Marathon or Snickers? Chips or French Fries? Red lorries, yellow lorries? If I said you had a beautiful body would... OK, I'm tired, this is turning into nonsense, did I just use a Doctor Hook lyric?

In a nutshell, I'm not sure where I'm going with my blog. I'm inclined towards some of the international issues for any number of reasons. There are a number of very good blogs which will undoubtedly do a much better job though. I'll finish with a question and a marginally related anecdote.
ABC World News Tonight (with Peter Jennings) gets shown on BBC News 24. Is this really a "world" news programme? It only ever seems to have stories directly connected to the US when I watch it.
Marginally related anecdote
This was told to me by a Frenchman who was lecturer in the History of European Colonisation at Aberdeen University (sadly, his name has disappeared down a memory hole). Anyway, he had first arrived in Aberdeen on a Saturday evening. On the Sunday morning, he went out to buy a newspaper. As he was an International Relations lecturer he bought the newspaper who's title seemed most relevant. It was the "News of the World". He was, he said, somewhat surprised by it's content. (For readers from outside the UK, the News of the World mainly features stories about celebrities, sex, celebrity sex, and sex with celebrities.) The lecturer swore that this is a true story. I don't really know why, but I really hope it is.

A footnote: When I write a post like this I worry because there are links to serious stories which I feel strongly about as well as jokes or attempts at jokes. Some people might find this inappropriate. If so, I apologise, it isn't my intention to offend.

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