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Some items of potential interest

From time to time on this organ our contributors take turns to scour the internet looking for media reports as part of our general service to provide a ‘window upon the world passing by’ for our readers of a certain age who might otherwise have neither the time nor inclination to seek such items out for themselves.

As it happens this responsibility has fallen to me this week and today I wish to take you into my confidence. Sometimes, perhaps fifty percent of the time, this can be a thankless task because – to be frank – there is little going on of sufficient significance, relevance or absurdity.

Not so, however, today. The word’s media is currently bristling with fascinating ‘stuff’ and accordingly, rather choose one and leave it at that, I am going to provide a brief fly-past of a selection of items that have caught my eye. As it happens, though they could have been ‘borrowed’ from a wide range of newspapers, today I have chosen most of them as appear upon the website of The Independent.

POLITICS

Yesterday three of the British Establishment’s arch-Remainers – Nick Clegg, David Miliband and Nicky Morgan – took to the stage of a rice mill in Rainham, Essex, and thence to the airwaves – to launch yet another hare-brained assault on the EU Referendum result.

They cited as their justification a raft of the standard hypocritical not to say dishonest arguments we have heard many times before (e.g. the UK public didn’t understand what they were voting for; we’d be far better inside the EU than out; the young voted 70% in favour of Remain and – because it’s their future we talking about – this fact should have been given special weighting; and lastly the Government is cocking up the negotiations and failing to display any signs of leadership) but the truth is their intervention can be simply filed under the general heading beloved of the Establishment, viz. “The voters are thick, we know better and anyway democracy – which by the way is a crazy way to run anything despite the inconvenience that we all have to pretend to be subject to it – sucks”.

Here’s a link to a review of the initiative by the always readable columnist Quentin Letts that appears today upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL

THE MEANING OF LIFE

I guess I was about seven or eight years old when I first attempted to address the most crucial conundrum known to Man – viz. “Hang on, if the Universe began with a Big Bang (as we are told it did) then what was there before it took place – you cannot have an explosion unless something or things existed before then that somehow combined to generate said event … and, by the way whilst we’re at it, where was I before I was born and/or before the Big Bang occurred?”.

The great aspect of the scientific discipline is that it doesn’t deal in absolutes but in mere theories that appear to explain everything within the observable universe – at least until better ones come along (which is always possible).

There’s just about room enough in this approach to allow for the existence of a Supreme Being of some nature or another – but only just – yet practically zero for the notion that, at some point in the last two thousand years, said Supreme Being in one form or another visited the Earth and delivered a collection of books and statements that provide a finite and complete set of rules and facts that govern everything the human race has ever known and/or could ever know.

Which brings me to this piece by Andrew Griffin, spotted today upon the website of – THE INDEPENDENT

THE BURDENS OF BEING A ‘CHOSEN ONE’

One thing that has always puzzled me about the circumstances in which we humans being our lives and then where we end up – and this also touches upon the concept of democracy if you think about it – is that (obviously) someone like me was privileged to be bestowed both with an extensive understanding of the world, together with a set of unique and special gifts … and nobody else was.

As you can imagine, it’s not easy being so omnipotently endowed when you have to spent the vast bulk of your life surrounded by imbeciles, idiots, ne’er-do-wells, complete wasters and cyclists younger than you who frustratingly have been given equal status by some unseen and ill-informed authority – and yet it’s a burden that those of us of superior intelligence and abilities have to bear and for the most part do so with admirable restraint and equanimity, despite never quite having it explained to us why this should have to be the case.

Until now, perhaps. Here’s a link to a piece by science correspondent Josh Gabbatiss that appears today upon the website of – THE INDEPENDENT

THE WALKERS CRISPS MAN

It is actually quite hard to be successful in two quite different spheres of life but – like him or loathe him – Gary Lineker has managed it.

I say because, whenever my mind alights upon him (which admittedly isn’t often), I don’t think of him as a footballer who got lucky and found a niche for himself as a TV presenter, but rather as a broadcaster who used at some point in the past used to be a footballer.

There’s a small but deep significance in that statement which probably has something to do with the fact Lineker has spent as long (or longer) in the public eye as a broadcaster as he ever did as a soccer player.

Although I understand him to be a keen player and huge fan of golf – surely attributes that (you’d think) would assist any broadcaster covering it – his stint covering golfing Majors for the BBC was famously brief simply because the viewers just couldn’t accept a former footballer pontificating on another global sport.

Be that as it may, here’s a link to an interview with Mr Lineker by Jonathan Liew, a sports journo whose output I greatly respect, as appears today upon the website of – THE INDEPENDENT

About J S Bird

A retired academic, Jeremy will contribute article on subjects that attract his interest. More Posts