Category Archives: Current Affairs

Margaret Thatcher and Death Parties.

Originally published on The Daily Touch

On the 8th April the Twitter hash tag #nowthatcherisdead started trending, sending a jolt of panic through Cher fans worldwide. Thankfully those who did not suffer heart attacks were on hand to inform everyone that it was in fact Margaret Thatcher who had died.

The whole thing initially resembled the death of Michael Jackson. From the moment news broke the Twitter-sphere predictably exploded in a torrent of jokes, vitriolic remarks, and hash tags. Everyone spewing out their own addition to the list of puns so they could say “I thought of this first”, “Thatcher? More like Twatcher #awesome #impopularonline”.

Even in death Margaret Thatcher has managed to dramatically split opinion. Her life and political career has been both commended and criticised. Many of those on the critical side have however taken things to rather questionable levels.

Over the last few days many cities across the country have experienced people taking to the streets to celebrate the demise of the Iron Lady in so-called “death parties”. Participants chant along to the 1939 Judy Garland classic “Ding-dong the Witch is Dead” (causing utter confusion for those off to the cinema to catch Oz: The Great and Powerful) swigging from bottles of Prosecco or Adsa’s own Cava, depending on how they fared in the BBC’s Class Indication Quiz.a-reveller-holds-a-sign-to-celebrate-the-death-of-britains-former-prime-minister-margaret-thatcher-at-a-party-in-brixton-south-london-april-8-2013

If your local high street is not hosting a fun-filled Thatcher funeral extravaganza, fear not. Odes to Thatcher’s demise are everywhere. Yesterday as I walked past the local suspicious hippy shop I discovered that their window display, usually containing a shrine to the Russian feminist band “Pussy Riot”, had finally been replaced. The new exhibit included a poster exclaiming “Thatcher is Finally Dead!” adorned by a few empty bottles of champagne. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were against the death penalty. Surely if they were, celebrating someone’s death as if it symbolised their “just deserts” is somewhat contradictory.

Many people hold legitimate grievances with Thatcher’s policies. I’ve seen Billy Elliot and things didn’t seem great back then. Yet glorifying her death seems a rather childish form of criticism. While Thatcher’s death has brought her policies back into question in a big way simply coming to the conclusion that she was a “bitch” and a “whore” does not provide the nation with much to build on.

Maybe she was a bit of a bitch. She has been called it by countless people. Those in her own party, those in opposition, and citizens all across the country. These insults provide nothing new to the opinion there is of Margaret Thatcher. They do however provide something new to the opinion of those criticising her. Anyone who reacts to someone’s death by organising a street party so they can bellow slurs about the deceased to the Wizard of Oz soundtrack is not someone I want to know.

Assuming that everything is going to be a-okay now she is dead is short-sighted. Her policies and their effects will not be wiped away just because she is gone. People’s legacies can last longer than their lifespan. So it is probably best to re-cork that wine, pack up the party-poppers, and approach politics from a different angle.

Waist-High Walls and Indiscriminate Shooting: Video Game Violence.

Video games are violent, sometimes disgustingly so. This is an undeniable fact. One brief glance at the new releases and you will see games like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; a game based around a system allowing you to slice and dice your enemies as if you were playing Gordon Ramsey and upon discovering your wife in bed with a selection of fruit and veg had gone to fetch your favourite knife. This makes it hardly surprising that video games are the first point of call when it comes to locating the blame for catastrophes such as the Columbine school massacre. Is this really fair though? I, like many others, grew up playing video games almost religiously and have not once felt the urge to casually meander into anyone’s house, proceed to smash all of their pots, steal all their jewellery then pop down to the local shop and use it to buy my groceries for the day. Okay maybe I have imagined it, but surely if video games are that corrupting playgrounds would be full of children bringing their pets to school in order to pit them against each other cat vs. guinea pig in a grim battle to the death so they can win a portion of their opponent’s lunch money. Or have I misunderstood the Pokemon series completely?

One of the most frequently coined arguments is that videogames desensitise children from the harsh consequences of violence. Prince Harry was recently condemned for likening the killing of enemy troops in Afghanistan to playing the popular videogame Call of Duty; simply adding credence to the already persuasive argument from David Icke that the royals are really a psychopathic bunch of lizard-people in disguise, biding their time until the opportune moment so they can destroy us all. Perhaps we would feel more comfortable if Prince Harry curled up in the foetal position and wept himself to sleep each night.

That said many games do feel as if they are simply being violent because they can. Maybe they are worried that if they allow 10 seconds to pass without some kind of death resembling an explosion in a Dolmio factory the player will get bored and go do something productive. Video games such as Gears of War, Call of Duty and their critics alike make the mistake in assuming that the public are all a bunch of drooling wet sponges only able to register enjoyment when presented with various depictions of death served up to us in the most violent possible way. What we perhaps need is some kind of system whereby only those old enough to play games of a violent nature are allowed to purchase them. There could be different levels of rating and everything, and who knows; if it works well enough we could extend this measure to films too!

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Makes you wonder where all the praise comes from, a voice in his head maybe?

What is wrong with horse meat?

People have been in uproar about their delicious microwave lasagne meals ever since it was discovered they had been tainted with this evil. It was as if Lindus had promised them a feast of caviar, quail eggs, and honey, only for the poor individual to peel back the thin protective film and reveal a great big steaming turd. Is it really that bad? I mean, it even has its own Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horse_meat for all those interested). Plenty of countries across the world consume horse. It doesn’t even look all that different and, judging from the shock reactions of the public, it doesn’t taste that different either.

Should we even really be surprised there is horsemeat in food? When you have paid 12p for a burger you can hardly expected the cow to have been lovingly guided through a luxury spa, fed Greek yoghurt and massaged by a harem of young beautiful men until it dies from having enjoying life too much. When I pay such prices for food, I am simply glad it contains meat. I eat the food shouting loudly at myself in order to distract from thoughts of pink playdough shooting along conveyor-belts in a drab grey factory, manhandled by workers wearing plastic rain-macs bashing the substance until it takes the shape of a hockey puck.

The problem is not that we have sat down to Sunday dinner and eaten a nice plate of Sea Biscuit’s thigh with a side of chips. It is that we have been told that Sea Biscuit was in fact Daisy the Cow or Dolly the Sheep. Granted the blame for this could be traced back and back until the baton is being passed around in a circle like some kind of primary school playground game. The problem is that the supermarkets have advertised food as one thing, yet have delivered another. It raises questions about whether you can really trust the packaging. Who knows, maybe those crisps you ate were made from the back end of a dog. Thinking about it, Nesquik balls did look suspiciously like rabbit droppings, and that bunny did seem smug.

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Don’t they look fabulous, and tasty?