Sunday, November 27, 2011

Who reads policy documents anyways?

Sorry. I've been a bit shit at blogging lately. Not that I have an excuse. I just haven't been turning thoughts into posts.

And what have I been doing?

After a couple of months going through a "full time work commitments are for losers, I'm going to try being an artist" phase I realised that (a) I am not a creative genius in any way; (b)I do not have the self-discipline to turn myself into a creative genius; and (c) I like money more than I like to think I do, or at least regular doses of it.


For half the week I now work in a cafe and make coffee and such. This makes me contented in three ways. Firstly, you should know that it is very hard to find a decent cup of coffee in England. Very Hard. So when I make a flat white I get complimented on making the best coffee in the whole of Hastings, which flatters me for a second until I realise that my coffee would be pretty average compared to anything on Cuba Street or in Newtown. But my ego does appreciate it. Secondly, at the end of the day when the dishes have been done, the coffee machine cleaned and the tables wiped, I go home with no more baggage than a leftover muffin or quiche slice. The evening is mine. There is a certain satisfaction to that. Lastly, people are very polite and appreciative when they have just had a dose of sugar and caffeine. They drop coins in the tip jar and say thank-you as they leave. It is nice.

For the other half of the week, I teach GCSE English in an independent school about 15 minutes train ride north. I teach in a building that is a 700 year old abbey, right next to a 945 year old battlefield. On the days I am there, I am fed a hearty lunch. There are always biscuits in the jar, next to the tea and coffee in the staffroom. On the chairs always sits the latest copy of The Times newspaper. On Monday mornings there are assemblies where hymns are sung by the choir. I try to not say that my shoes cost £2 at the charity shop. I walk to classrooms through stone archways and narrow wooden staircases. My students thank me at the end of every lesson, listen to everything I say and I have to remind myself that they would learn just as much if I were not there at all.

Well, now look what's happened. This post was meant to be about the election and I got side tracked.

My vote is still being counted at this point. Last Sunday I downloaded my voting forms and sent them into the High Commission in London. My electorate is the one that voted Anne Tolley back in. And yes, you can blame them for that. I was going to allow myself 24 hours of political venting after the election result was announced, but I think it might turn into three years' worth.

But we can at least be heartened that John Key's presence has seen a rise in political satire... at least to me, from this distance it has. A lot of it has come through this facebook page.

Comedians are doing very well here in the UK. It's due to the recession apparently, in the same way that satire did so well in Margaret Thatcher's day.

I don't quite know why, but this impression of the BBC's political correspondent Nick Robinson had me in giggles.

But anyway, I have come to the opinion that David Cameron, the PM over here, is, well, a bit of a dick. He was asked in Saturday's Guardian a whole range of questions by well known Britons. Some people asked questions like "Do you wish you were less posh?" and "Did you go clubbing when you were in Ibiza?" which seemed like a waste of a question. Until I realised that those who asked more indepth questions usually got an insult in return: " Richard Dawkins just doesn't really get it", " I won't give a number, Michael, I'm afraid. It's not like one of your restaurant reviews." But there was this, from the artist I talked about here:

Eine, graffiti artist whose work Cameron gave to Obama as an official gift in 2010 Imagine it's your stag weekend, which is being organised by Silvio Berlusconi. There are five places spare on the coach. Based solely on their ability to have a good time, which world leaders would you invite (past or present, but they have to be living)? If you don't choose Bill Clinton, why not? "That is so difficult. I don't know that many past world leaders. I think you probably would choose Bill Clinton because he'd be fascinating to talk to. But God, that's difficult. I like Obama – I always enjoy chatting to him. My new best friend is the president of the Maldives. He's great. That's a weird mixture, isn't it? I like Sarkozy, we'd have fun. And I like John Key, the prime minister of New Zealand."

It's going to be a long three years.