Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The Ascension of Liz

I did a bit more research on the bird I saw killing a pigeon Sunday morning. I've decided it was probably either a peregrine falcon or a sparrowhawk. The RSPB has a list of similar raptors here and explains why those two are the most likely, given the urban environment where I saw it. Unfortunately I didn't pay attention to the color of its eyes, which would have helped clarify things, but my impression was that it had a piercing stare -- which would suggest the yellow eyes of a peregrine or sparrowhawk.

Now that we have that ironed out (sort of), let's talk about Liz Truss. Yes, we finally have a new prime minister, after weeks of lethargic campaigning and wrangling among the political classes. Boris Johnson has been dragging himself around like a bird with a broken wing for months now, so it's good to have someone new on deck, even if it's someone untested and not universally liked.

The weird thing about this selection process is how divorced it seemed from the British people. The selection of the prime minister is never done by popular vote -- rather it's done by party members, who tend to be older, whiter, male and wealthier than the vast majority of British society. British voters select the ruling party, and official party members (something like one percent of the population) then choose their leader. This time around, the campaigning seemed especially like inside baseball, at least to me. I never heard anyone on the street talk much about it or express a strong opinion. It seemed like the beating of a distant drum, taking place in, well, a foreign country.

I also don't have much of an opinion about Liz. She seems like a typical Tory, hating taxes and loving profit and shareholders. It makes me tired.

Jonathan Pie has some quite strong opinions about her, though. He's a fictional political correspondent played by comedian Tom Walker, and the New York Times has a video of him ranting about Truss and the state of Britain today. It would be funny if it also weren't true.

Yesterday I was walking to work and this guy was walking in front of me. Apologies for the crappy photo, because we were both in motion, but isn't that an ankle monitor on his left leg? I thought the whole point of those is that the wearer isn't supposed to leave the house. Maybe they can go to the store or out for essentials, or can be within a certain radius of home. I did not ask. Anyway, it's not something you see every day.

I took a second batch of the rescued slides to be scanned yesterday. So I'll probably have one more post of someone else's intriguing pictures. I know you can't wait! I uploaded all the scans I've had done so far to Flickr, so in the meantime you can check them out there. I'll add the new ones when I get them.

Dave and I watched a rather dreadful disaster movie called "Flood" on Amazon over the past two nights -- about London being inundated by storm surge during a hurricane-like tempest in the North Sea. The movie is about 15 years old, I think, and there was so much wrong with it that we found ourselves playing a sort of Statler and Waldorf role, mocking and grumbling from the sidelines. We had fun, but I'm not necessarily recommending it.


River said...

So you finally have a new Prime Minister. time to play the wait-and-see game. Wait and see what she does for the people. Wait and see what she doesn't do for the people. And so on.

Unknown said...

Your opinion of Truss as an insider/outsider interests me. A bit off topic buy I asked my partner's sister who lives in the north of England about her opinion of the Queen and royalty she snapped back, There now't to do with us. Irrelevant. I think the film I once watched sounds a bit similar to Flood. It was never going to win any awards and it was about sabotaging the Thames Flood Barriers when the river was about to flood. Sometimes cheap and nasty can be entertaining. If you were wearing a monitoring ankle bracelet, wouldn't you try to cover it up?

Tasker Dunham said...

I doubt it's likely to become the latest fashion accessory. Unlike the wonderful pyjamas that sparrowhawks wear.

Tasker Dunham said...

You've suddenly acquired a picture captcha for comments.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Truss is the latest in a line of dangerous leaders. Let’s hope her tenure is brief. The ankle monitors have ranges programmed into them. For example, that guy may have a 1/4-mile radius from home. I like the way he has it hidden in his sock. Amazing you even noticed it. I love trashing those disaster movies while I watch them. Earthquake 1974 was hilarious, unintentionally.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I watched the entire Jonathan Pie clip but it didn't make me laugh because it was so painfully accurate. This morning I listened to Johnson's departure speech on the doorstep of Number 10. So bullish, almost angry with not a whiff of apology for his lies, the parties and worst of all pushing this country into the mire that is Brexit. What an aresehole (American: asshole)! Ms Truss sounds worryingly like Mistrust.

Colette said...

It's interesting learning how different each country's governmental structure is.

Bob said...

We complain about our elected officials here, but at least we know we're the ones responsible for them if we vote them in. You seemingly have no real choice ... other than to vote out all of Parliament and start anew?

I think people with ankle monitors have a list of places they can go and if they travel beyond that line, the authorities are alerted.

Dov said...

I just call her Harriet Jones. Dr. Who fans will recognize the name.

Ms. Moon said...

Tom Walker is brilliant. I love his stuff.
Liz Truss doesn't look to me like the sort of person who would have a clue about being Prime Minister. I guess it doesn't matter anymore, does it?

Marcia LaRue said...

That guy with the ankle monitor has drumstick legs ... skinny legs and fat thighs!

Sabine said...

This was read to me by the man over breakfast, we had a bit of a laugh but only a very tiny one:

"Ms Truss says her father, a mathematics professor, has long struggled to comprehend her move to conservatism, believing, perhaps wishfully, she is a “sleeper working from inside to overthrow the regime”."

from: https://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2022-07-20/who-is-liz-truss-from-anti-thatcher-protests-to-bid-to-become-next-tory-pm

Boud said...

Tho people who say aren't women glad a woman got the job, we say no, not just any incompetent well connected woman, no.

I'm very concerned about the frightened messages I'm getting about people who already can't afford the fuel bill. I doubt if she knows how to fix other than advice to buy a kettle..

More and more I'm glad I left when young and built a new life here. We're in desperate times, but I can pay the bills.

Ed said...

Thank you for making me feel a bit better about our political system!

NewRobin13 said...

It always surprises me when I read that the people of England don't get to cast a vote for Prime Minister. I hope she doesn't turn out to be a stupid right-wingy nutcase of a PM.

Sharon said...

I think Republicans here would like that method for choosing President. But, only as long as the majority is Republican. If it's Democratic, they still want to be the ones choosing. Well, that's the way I see it these days. Actually, they probably just want to eliminate all Democrats everywhere.
That photo made me remember that I saw an ankle monitor on my former boss when I first started working for the non-profit I work for. He had it well hidden but I spotted it one day when he crossed his legs.

Margaret said...

It's depressing how powerless we are against those with money and privilege. It makes me tired as well. Weird to see an ankle monitor. I've never seen one although I'm sure there are many around here to have to wear them. They probably hide them under their pants.

Allison said...

The Brit form of government seems so odd to me, the way the Prime Minister is chosen. From what I have read about the energy bills, it does sound grim. I do hope the new PM continues to send munitions to Ukraine.

Linda Sue said...

Thank you Jonathan Pie- Truss is a fright. She also has a simian line in her palm in case you give credit to that pseudo science... I think One in thirty people have it and it can mean , generally,a clutter of thoughts, none of them clear or consistent. Truss seems to vacillate in her philosophies but has landed firmly on Tory ground , where she will be lauded, rather than questioned.
I hope that you have cashmere in your closet , I used to wear old cashmere sweaters when the heat was a couple of bob in the slot.

gz said...

For a comment on Liz Truss, read what Keith Flett writes..it is an interesting blog to follow anyway

Kelly said...

"not universally liked" But is ANY politician universally liked?

I'm so tired of politics and we're not even to the midterms yet. I don't have high hopes for our next presidential election.

The Bug said...

I saw where Truss had moved from liberalism to conservatism and it made me sigh. Maybe her father is right (per Sabine up there). Wouldn't that be amazing? Or at least interesting...

Steve Reed said...

River: Yes, exactly. I don't know enough about her to make any kind of judgement yet. (Except that I generally disagree with her approach to economics.)

Andrew: Yes, that's exactly how this process felt -- nowt to do with me! I like brain candy movies from time to time.

Tasker: I've heard other people say I have that picture captcha. It's beyond my control!

Mitchell: "Earthquake" is one of my FAVORITE MOVIES EVER! I've probably seen it, literally, about 50 times. I know the lines! As for Truss, as long as the British public insists on voting Conservative, these are the kinds of people we're going to get.

YP: I had the same reaction to the Pie clip. I think Boris has it in his head that he'll be back. You heard about his comparing himself to Cincinnatus, who apparently DID return to rule Rome as a dictator?

Colette: It's quite eye-opening to live here and see the differences firsthand!

Bob: That makes sense re. the monitors. Yeah, the voters can only choose to toss out the ruling party, in which case the winning party would then choose the prime minister. (Presumably Labor and Keir Starmer.)

Dov: I don't know my Dr. Who. I'll have to look that up! :)

Ms Moon: I'd never even heard of Tom Walker before this video, or at least he hadn't really registered on my radar. I don't know why Truss was seen as the better candidate.

Marcia: Ha! That's partly due to the angle of the photo, probably, but yeah, he was weirdly shaped.

Sabine: We can only hope!

Boud: It's going to be a tough winter for people who are already living close to the bone.

Robin: The jury is still out!

Sharon: Wow! That would give me pause! Was he an OK boss?

Margaret: That's what was strange about this one -- how prominently it was displayed! Yeah, the economic and political Gulf between the haves and have-nots is getting wider all the time.

Allison: She is apparently very anti-Russia, so THAT's good.

Linda Sue: She DOES seem like an inconsistent thinker, but I suppose we should allow people to evolve over time. (I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt.)

GZ: I will check that out! Thanks!

Kelly: I'm afraid the next American election could get violent, depending on how it goes.

Bug: Yeah, she apparently started out quite liberal. I doubt she's a sleeper agent (ha!) but it makes me hope she still has some liberal inclinations or at least can appreciate the liberal viewpoint, even if she has grown to disagree with it.

Jeanie said...

I saw that Jonathan Pie (Pye?) video -- they linked it in the NYTimes -- and sent it to my friend to see what she thought. She said he pretty much nailed it. Well, when you're in, you're in. And when you're out, you're out. Not like here.