Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Contractual Christmas Post

Back from Essex at last, it's been an interesting Christmas. Watched about a year's worth of TV in the space of a few days and missed probably the only thing I actually wanted to watch (Peter and the Wolf) which is a strange inversion of the way things should have been.

Christmas celebrations in CambridgeOddity of the year was the enormous ham that my Dad won in a raffle and everyone who entered the house had to be taken to the ham in order to gasp, and oooh and say "That's a big ham" and then try to pick it up.

My Dad's Mum came over again, she hasn't had a clue who I am for years. She kept asking my Dad whether he'd received her Christmas card which wasn't doing his anger management much good - particularly as he'd addressed and sent them all anyway. She did provide the comedy moment of the season though with a classically loud fart delivered with a look of terror and then rather expert attempt to pretend nothing had happened. This provided much needed relief for the gathered throng. Big Sis had tears running down her cheeks.

Talking of my Dad I also feel I'm letting The Specials down still having a relationship with him and I have "If you have a racist friend" playing in my head for much of the infrequent occasions I see him. However my relationship with him is marginally stronger than with Terry Hall so, sorry lads, not realistic I'm afraid.

Incidentally, how was I meant to respond when he announced in a loud angry voice that New Labour were run "by a bunch of Scottish Queers" followed quickly by "at least their not Irish Queers I suppose, that's one thing at least." I'm not sure querying the Scottish bit was necessarily getting to the root of the problem in hindsight. Lenin would be spinning in his tomb at my lack of rock like intransigence I'm sure.

Whatever, I actually rather enjoy a family Christmas, although I notice all the AWL bloggers seem to have a party line of hating their families - so I'll try not to go down that route. One of the best things about Christmas (aside from the Turkey) is it's such a great time of year to feel sad. At least it is as long as the rest of your life is going along reasonably okay.

I always find myself thinking of the dead. Richard Green, my best friend at primary school, died in a car crash about this time of year and I enjoy reminiscing (to myself) about him. Which leads me on to thinking about Gareth who I used to walk home from secondary school with every day who was shot to death the year after I left school (in Newport, Essex, if your wondering). He was such a lovely chap and thoroughly harmless which made his murder so difficult to deal with at the time.

Of course it leads me on to thinking about probably one of the greatest influences of my life. My Gran (Mum's Mum) who died three years ago at exactly this time of year. Unlike the other Gran she kept her faculties right up until the end, which I think she thought was rather a mixed blessing. In her final years she went through a real reassessment of her life. Turning away from God, and even going back over her early political career.

The very last conversation I had with her we discussed her experience standing for election in Sawbridgeworth as the first ever female council candidate (she didn't get in). It was the '45 election and as the Labour candidate she was constantly asked on the doorstep "Are you a Communist?" and she'd vigorously shake her head and say "Oh no! Oh not at all." Well she confided to me how wrong she felt she was and how she wished she'd told them all "Of course I am - nothing else makes sense." It's interesting the regrets we have later in life.

It's also been difficult being away from a proper Internet connection and therefore you've missed out on some stunning Xmas blog posts I'd planned... never mind, perhaps next year.


The Sentinel said...

Considering Lenin has never put food on your table or put a roof over your head, but your dad has, I would be more worried about what he thinks.

As for his comments about New Labour being run by a "bunch of Scottish queers" is he really that far off the mark?

After all, Labour are top heavy with the Scots (nothing wrong with that) and the highest legislative priority for Labour, above everything else, above all the problems we face in this country and by their own admission, was to lower the age of buggary to 16. Why for god's sake?

I didn't see any 16 year old boys protesting for or demanding this law.

In any case, it was regected at the House of Lords twice and had to be forced through with anti-democatatic legislature that Labour had already wheedled in to cater for this event.

Anonymous said...

Your Gran sounds wonderful. If you can, perhaps you could do a whole post dedicated to her some time? She was a female pioneer, and all too often the memory of them is lost and has to be laboriously recovered by historians (if indeed it is possible).

Jim Jepps said...

Just to be clear I love my Dad and I don't love Lenin...

...but I do completely reject homophobic concerns about trying to ensure inequality between gay and straight and I'm for the complete abolition of the outdated, oligarcic and elitist institution of the house of lords which simply serves as an anarchonistic reminder of how political favours are bought and sold in this country.

On my gran it's difficult because she's my gran I can't be objective. I do believe she was a wonderful woman who was strong with a fierce intelligence. She had great tragedies in her life and great joys... I may take you up on the idea Natalie... I'll draft it and see.

The Sentinel said...

Its a fair point about your dad!

I do not agree with the existence of the House of Lords in its current configuration either; I do think the principle of a check and balance over parliaments decisions is sound however; but it certainly needs to be restructured to be representative of the people.

I do find it interesting that the bill allowing buggery to be performed on 16 year old boys (that is the term for it) was considered to be the most important piece of legislation that this Government should press, over all the many pressing issues we face.

Of course homosexuality cannot be legislated against on the grounds of common-sense and for the simple fact that most people in this country do not wish for such legislation. After all, it is a human trait.

But can "homophobia" can be legislated against on the same grounds? After all a phobia is by definition an irrational fear; an impulse reaction of which one has little or no control. It is a human trait also. Can we really criminlise that?

Or it is a really a device to stifle debate around the issue? It has been used widely by the police as such, including one young man taken to court for calling a policeman's horse 'gay.'

Laws are, traditionally. generally formulated to bring to account obvious antisocial trends and sometimes intrinsic human failings; sometimes to take overwhelming popular concern for an issue into the realms of legal accountability or conversely to defer or diminish such liability in certain circumstances.

Considering this law regarded 16 year boys, should not the impetus for its introduction have come from that section of society?

And as I said I did not see any mass uprising of 16 year old boys demanding the right to be buggered. If I missed it, then could you please give me some reference it.

Jim Jepps said...

You can't legislate against bigotry - but you can disregard it when legislating which is why I believe in equality of age of consent for gay and straight.

And incidently if people below the age of consent want to have sex (of any description) they don't usually wait to be given permission - I know I didn't.

The point is why was a gay teenage boy considered too young to have sex whilst his straight class mates were not? Bigotry.

NB there are lots of lovely sexual practices gay men enjoy - no one would want to confine themselves to anal sex alone would they? It'd get dull wouldn't it?