Saturday 10 December 2016

Thoughts on Saturday #1


I used to like Question Time on the BBC. I loved shouting at the TV, disagreeing with the panelists and ranting on Facebook with like minded (or not so like minded) friends. Then we had Brexit.

David Cameron and Brexit have a lot to answer for, not least that QT is now so boring. Blah, blah, Brexit, blah, blah! Just SHUT UP I want to scream.
Whatever way you voted I am sure, like me, you have heard everything that can be said about Brexit. Everyone and his dog has told us why people voted to leave, or remain. We've heard their conjectures on what may or may not happen. They've blamed everyone from Merkel and the EU to young people and the elderly. Those who voted to leave have been called racist and stupid and those who voted to stay are moaners, undemocratic and unpatriotic. Really the biggest fools are those who took us into a referendum without a plan.
So now I do not watch QT and I have no-one to shout at. What I also miss are those 'I didn't know that' moments too. When the panel argue discuss a topic and someone says something that makes me think 'I didn't know that'.

I had a 'I didn't know that moment' when I read about Time Magazine's Person of The Year. Amongst those shortlisted were Nigel Farage and Donald Trump. Exactly, just like you I thought why them? What could possibly make either Person of the Year?
I was Time Magazines Person of The Year in 2006, You were too. Well, maybe not you personally but You was. The Person of the Year in 2006 was You. It was given to all those who contributed to user-generated content on the internet. That was me and it may have been you.
Other Persons of the Year include Adolf Hitler, Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Clinton (and all Presidents of the USA since 1927), Joseph Stalin. The award is not for the best or nicest or most outstanding person but is for 'better or for worse the person that has done the most to influence the events of the year'. I didn't know that.

The Science Museum has bought the space capsule that returned Tim Peake safely back to Earth. I do wonder how much they paid. Whether it was expensive depends on who's money it is. If it's from private donations then it doesn't really matter how much it cost but if it is from from government grants then I want to know. I googled it and couldn't find out how much was spent but did learn that the science museum is funded by government grants and charitable donations. So that's OK then. The museum say that it will encourage young people to want to go into space and be involved with space travel. Maybe that's true. I like the idea of us having it and being able to see a real Soyuz and not a virtual or replica one but I'm not convinced that having it in a museum in London will encourage children in Wales, or outside the capital, to get involved.

All over the news on Wednesday and Thursday was the Sugar Tax and the ban on junk food being advertised around programmes aimed at children. The argument for is that advertising influences children. The argument against is that advertising doesn't influence children. Well that's sorted then. The brands, arguing against the tax and ban, could save their advertising money and use it to reduce prices of their products and we could all afford to buy more. The government says the point of a tax is to encourage us to buy less junk food and less sugary food. It won't stop me buying a bar of chocolate or a dessert if I fancy one though. The cynic in me thinks it's just another tax on the poor.
The outcome is that it is now impossible to buy a soft drink that does not contain chemicals (sweeteners). They are promoted as healthy but I really am not happy with giving these to Bear, or any child, as we have no data of the effect long term. I am sure I read ages ago that sweeteners cause obesity, they make us crave more and do not satisfy us so we end up looking for sweet stuff to eat to satisfy those cravings. There are others that were in food stuff for decades before they were finally banned.
I do not like any processed products when there are perfectly good natural ones available that humans have been using for hundreds or even thousands of years like butter and olive oil. Will the sugar tax reduce the mount of sugar we ingest? Possibly because we will all be eating manitol oAcesulfame K instead. I doubt it will stop obesity because it's not just one thing that causes obesity. People like take aways, a fry up, or chips too. I like crumpets or toast with lots of butter and there's not much sugar in that.

And finally the Turner Prize. What is that all about? Is it designed to be controversial just so it hits the headlines? I guess it is. I wonder who the eponymous Turner was, maybe it was the artist, J M W Turner. Turners, The Fighting Téméraire, was my late mum's favourite painting. She was pretty good with a paintbrush herself.  The thing is I quite like the controversial stuff, I liked the bricks* that the Tate bought back in the 70s for thousands of pounds. Anyone could do that the media and public bellowed, yes they could but they didn't. An artist did, so there.

The Fighting Téméraire J. M. W. Turner  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As it was I did watch a little bit of QT this week until the dreaded B word was mentioned. Oh and Trump got The Person of The Year. So far 2016 has been a funny year. Lets hope we look back and laugh at it.

So until next week when I may find something to really rant about, have a good week and don't forget you can comment below, just be nice and not rude.

*The bricks at the Tate are Equivalent VIII by Carl Andre



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