Home Office petition

Grooming Gangs – Publish and be Damned

Home Office petitionWho’s afraid of Britain First? Quite a lot of people it seems. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to learn just how influential they are in the wake of the latest in a long and wearying line of grooming gang scandals. This particular kerfuffle is a little different though, as the action is taking place right in the heart of Whitehall rather than in some grey, far flung northern town.

It’s hard to know which is worse, the wholesale abuse of vulnerable young girls by grooming gangs, or officialdom’s complicity first in turning a blind eye and then actively suppressing the truth of this industrial scale exploitation.

Now it seems that Home Office Mandarins have determined that not even our elected Home Secretary should be permitted to see her own department’s report into the organised ruination of so many young women and girls. It goes without saying that if the Home Secretary is essentially being told to jog on by her own department, the unwashed rest of us have no chance when it comes to seeing this mythical report. Not in the public interest, you see.

Naturally, the usual suspects in the Twittersphere are happy to endorse this politically motivated suppression, arguing that “far right extremists” (cue scary music) will exploit the report’s findings for political ends. Of course that hoary old chestnut makes about as much sense as defusing a bomb that’s already detonated. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the far right are already exploiting the establishment’s complicity and cowardice by claiming that the institutions designed to protect us from harm are actively conspiring to let that harm to continue. You know you’ve stepped through the looking glass when Britain First actually has a point about something.

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Viking

The Great Scandinavian Nosedive

VikingEvery once in while, a corporation or institution makes a decision so astonishingly bad that average people wonder just how a bunch of high-powered and highly paid executives can be so monumentally stupid. These “teachable moments” used to come along once every decade or so, but now they seem to be happening every other week.

The latest catastrophe has been the instant backlash provoked by Scandinavian Air’s spectacularly ill judged marketing strategy of deriding Scandinavian culture as somehow fraudulent or not real, while at the same time encouraging customers to engage in yet more of the same cultural appropriation they’ve just been belittled for.

Now Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) are shocked to discover that the general public are not altogether happy with being told that almost every part of their cultural identity is somehow invalid, which is pretty much the same thing as denying that a huge part of them even exists in any meaningful sense. Not only is this obvious nonsense, but it’s just one more wearying example of the cultural and anthropological bigotry which has become a disturbingly acceptable part of media discourse in recent years. Boiled down, this pernicious form of psychological self-flagellation holds that pretty much everything in Western societies (and especially the Anglosphere) is somehow stolen from some other society and is therefore not real or worthy of respect.

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Reboots everywhere!

Woody and Buzz Show us the Way

Reboots everywhere!In an age of franchise fatigue and cash-grabbing reboots, it was something of an anomaly to witness multiple screenings and a crowded cinema a full fortnight after Toy Story 4’s initial release date. That was my overall impression as I settled down to watch the next instalment of this hugely popular series.

The movie was everything it should have been. It was a funny, poignant and witty joyride of madcap chases, endless peril and lovable characters.

At a time when once indestructible franchises are alienating huge numbers of their own fans, seemingly on purpose, I got to wondering how Toy Story 4 had managed to buck this frustrating trend. It didn’t take me long to figure it out because the answer was right in front of me, in Dolby of course.

To put it in a nutshell, Toy Story 4 is just, well…a heart warming Toy Story film. It’s an entertaining, charming and expertly executed movie about the adventures of a bunch of toys who we know and love already. All our old favourites are back in action, with some new creations to mix things up just a little. This effortless balance of old and new enables Toy Story 4 to tap into the reservoirs of affection the audience feels before they’ve even sat down. After all, what is Toy Story without Woody, Buzz and all the others?

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