Category Archives: Politics

Obama’s gift to Brown

Earlier this week, when Gordon Brown met Barack Obama he presented him with the gift of a pen holder, made from the timbers of the HMS Gannet, an anti-slave ship that was a sister ship to the HMS Resolute, which was used to make the desk in the oval office.

A well thought-out and meaningful gift no-doubt, but Obama’s gift to Brown has raised a few eyebrows.

The President’s gift to the Prime Minister was a box set of 25 DVD’s of classic American films.

A lot of people have used this to bash Obama’s diplomatic skills, and when compared to Brown’s gift for him it does seem a little insubstantial but I do think it’s a nice gesture. Hollywood film is probably America’s most popular and influential cultural export and its a nice idea to give something which represents American society. There’s a bit more information on the story here including the probable list of films.

It got me thinking though, what 25 films would I put in a box set to represent Britain, heres a quick list in no particular order.

1. Trainspotting
2. Brief Encounter
3. The 39 steps
4. Secrets and Lies
5. Four Weddings and A Funeral
6. Monty Python’s and now for something completely different
7. A Matter of Life and Death
8. Carry on camping
9. 24 hour party people
10. Goldfinger
11. If…
12. Look Back In Anger
13. Blow Up
14. Shaun of the Dead
15. A Hard Days Night
16. The Wicker Man
17. A Clockwork Orange
18. The Remains of the Day
19. The Crying Game
20. The Full Monty
21. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
22. Kidulthood
23. Bend it like Beckham
24. The Dam Busters
25. Dracula

There were a few others but I decided to limit myself to 25. I’ve tried to include examples from most of the major british directors and that cover a range of subjects that show britain. It’s not necessarily a list of the greatest british films, although I think many of them are, but it’s supposed to be a list which represents Britain, both past and present. Think I’ve missed anything or disagree with it? let me know what your opinions.

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Political Blogs

I’ve been researching political logs lately, and specifically how many of the more forward thinking political minds (or those with a half decent PR team) are using blogging and the internet to get their messages across.

A great example of an MP who has fully embraced blogging is Iain Dale whose blog uses a good mix of political commentary and information on the MP to be highly informative and also raise his profile amongst a group who may not normally be politically minded or have Tory sympathies. He’s also using RSS and Twitterfeeds to keep followers interested and keep them coming back to his blog.

As good an example of a blog as this is it can hardly be described as impartial though seeing as its primary aim is to interest people in Iain Dale and the conservatives. The internet, as the great tool of public free expression, is also being used by a good number of independent bloggers. They often use many of the same techniques as the pro industry backed outlets, such as the aforementioned RSS and Twitterfeeds but often also gain momentum by creating communities around the blog for like-minded individuals.
Some of the major Blogs in this category are Harry’s Place and Guido Fawkes’ Blog which both have strong liberal leanings and give a vociferous if not always PC account of the major political stories as well as opinion pieces. I have mixed feelings about them.

On the one hand they give a voice to a section of political thought which can be marginalised by the popular press. Socialist newspapers are pretty rare and anaemic occurences these days and if they were to write with the kind of gung-ho accusations that blogs can they would be simply sued into the ground. In this way Blogs fill a vital political void giving air to all viewpoints which might have too limited a readership for print. Perhaps more blogs can help against the horrifying trend to centrism in modern politics which makes both Tory and Labour near identical.

But on the other hand it gives a voice to zealots, madmen and racists a chance to gain supporters and legitimise themselves.

To sum up, blogging is no longer possibly changing politics, it has and will continue to, its forming communities and creating debate, which can only be a good thing, just as long as people remember that blogs can be unreliable and that the people writing them may not be all they seem.


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Filed under Blogging, Politics