Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Awful politicians and their 1972-81 Doctor Who counterparts

Winner: any game where you get to compare Boris Johnson with a giant maggot is well worth playing.

Well done to Sarah Dempster for bringing this satirical fun to Twitter!

Of course, you may not agree that the politicians mentioned are as awful as all that, but the comparisons are – well, see for yourself:

That’s Kate Hoey looking rather like Scaroth of the Jagaroth there.

And here’s Sajid Javid’s impression of a Sontaran warrior…

… followed by a flattering comparison for Priti Patel – with Eldrad, owner of The Hand of Fear.

Next, a rather obvious comparison between Nigel Farage and a Sea Devil…

… but the attempt to link Matt Hancock with a regenerative Fifth Doctor is inexcusable. Foul, I say!

The thread gets right back on track with this link between Theresa May and Dalek creator Davros. They could have been separated at birth!

… and while the comparison with Styggron of the Kraals is accurate, I’ve lost track of who the human being actually is.

Dominic Raab and the Melkur? Well, he is a bit stiff…

… and we’ll just have to call her ‘Adric’ Foster from now on.

This one’s a ‘gimme’: Boris Johnson and a yeti:

Rather wonderfully, other people have taken up the baton and made their own links:

This one could run and run (like Doctor Who itself, in fact)…

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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As Rosa Parks is celebrated in TV drama, real life shows we have slid backwards

Iconic figures: Rosa Parks (Vinette Robinson) meets the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) – at just the right time to shine a light on rising real-world racism.

As an iconic TV drama celebrated a black woman who changed the world by sitting down on a bus, RyanAir dragged our entire culture backwards by throwing a black person out of their plane seat, on the insistence of a racist.

The BBC broadcast one of its most powerful and moving episodes of Doctor Who in years on the evening of Sunday, October 21. Entitled Rosa, it was about the moment when a black woman took a seat in a whites-only section of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and was arrested for it. This led to the Montgomery bus boycott, in which black people refused to use the service – and to the capitulation of the bus company to their demand (to be able to sit wherever they wanted) around one year later. From there, the American civil rights movement grew and attitudes changed radically.

The TV drama made perfectly clear the reasons for change. As iNews put it in its review, “Last week… the Doctor and her team had to survive on a ‘cruel’ planet full of monsters. And yet that alien setting could never match the reality of deep south America; of the shock of Ryan [Tosin Cole] being slapped by a white man in the street and threatened with lynching; of the tension of seeing Ryan and Yaz [Mandip Gill] do something as banal as sit in a restaurant; of the danger suggested by the camera lingering on the holster of a cop’s gun; of the thematically bold spectacle of the Doctor sitting in the white section of a segregated bus, while Ryan has to sit at the back.”

For This Writer, a crucial scene took place beyind a trash bin, where Ryan and Yaz discuss the need to do nothing to provoke the racists – because you never know who will react with violence.

That sentiment was proved by the racism of a passenger on RyanAir flight FR015 from Barcelona to London Stansted on Friday (October 19).

The bigoted white man unleashed a furious, foul-mouthed racist rant at a disabled black woman that shocked other passengers.

But rather than put the racist in his place, RyanAir staff removed the victim of his vicious attack from hers.

It seems the tirade began when the lady was unable to move out of the racist’s way fast enough, to let him sit down in his window seat.

I was going to quote some of the confrontation – but why encourage others reading this to do the same? The racists came out in force to support Sajid Javid after the Vox Political article about his racist tweet a couple of days ago, after all.

RyanAir has said the perpetrator has been reported to the police. He should have been removed from the plane before it took off.

Making matters worse, it seems the 77-year-old victim was a member of the Windrush generation who had been returning from a holiday abroad that marked the first anniversary of her husband’s death.

The Windrush generation are – as has been well-documented, here and elsewhere – victims of institutional racism by the UK’s Conservative government, which destroyed papers conferring on them their British citizenship and right to all the benefits it provides – and then tried to deport thousands of people on the grounds that they could not prove their right to stay in the UK.

Was this incident yet another indication that culture is backsliding into racism, bigotry and prejudice?

If so, then the Doctor Who episode could not have been broadcast at a better time.

It shone a spotlight on the primitive attitudes of the racists and made it clear that the only place for attitudes like theirs is the history books.

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Tories unleash flagship scheme ahead of conference – to abolish your rights!

Slavery in the UK: This image was part of a campaign against it - but the Conservative Party wants to extend it to include you.

Slavery in the UK: This image was part of a campaign against it – but the Conservative Party wants to extend it to include you.

One has to marvel at the twisted logic of modern Conservatives; right before their last party conference in the run-up to the general election, they can normally be expected to be trying to bribe us all with tax cuts and benefits (maybe they will come later).

Instead they are promising to remove the safety net that keeps us free of exploitation by – what a surprise! – the Conservatives and their friends.

It’s not a new plan – Vox Political reported on the policy back in March last year, when Theresa May announced that they would scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights if they win the 2015 general election. They aren’t saying anything different now.

Back then, she claimed it would be “in the national interest”, and now Injustice Secretary Chris Grayling is saying more or less the same thing, dressing it up as an attempt to return power to the UK.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “Decisions like ‘do prisoners get the vote?’ or ‘can you send brutal murderers to prison for their whole lives?’ seem to be outside our control. I want our supreme court to be supreme. Decisions that affect this country should be taken in this country.”

He did not mention all the other rights you are likely to lose if the Conservatives are allowed to get away with this.

The European Convention on Human Rights was co-drafted by the UK – in fact by the Conservatives’ greatest Prime Minister, Winston Churchill – just after World War II. It states that nation states’ primary duty is to “refrain from unlawful killing”, to “investigate suspicious deaths” and to “prevent foreseeable loss of life”.

VP commented in March 2013 that “the Coalition government has been reneging on this obligation – wholesale – since it came into power”. Look at the Department for Work and Pensions’ work capability assessment for Employment and Support Allowance, and the thousands – possibly tens of thousands – of deaths related to it.

Article 4 of the Convention prohibits slavery, servitude and forced labour, so removing it would give the Tories free hand to impose their Mandatory Work Activity or Workfare schemes on us – despite the fact that these schemes are worse than useless at getting people into employment. The real reason for them is that they are a money-making scam to ensure the businesses involved support the Conservative Party.

Article 6 provides a detailed right to a fair trial, which is something Mr Grayling has been working hard to take away from you for a considerable period of time. It’s where you get the right to a public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within a reasonable time (the Coalition’s secret courts have removed this right already), and where the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is enshrined.

Article 8 provides a right to respect for another person’s “private and family life… home and… correspondence”. This has been violated, of course, by the Tory-led Coalition’s recent Surveillance Act.

Article 10 provides a right to freedom of expression, so removing it would allow the Tories to censor the Internet and remove blogs such as Vox Political, leaving only their own propaganda.

Article 11 protects the right to freedom of assembly and association, including the right to form trade unions. Obviously the Tories would love to ban the unions, but removing this would allow them the ability to ban anti-government demonstrations and it is probably why Boris Johnson bought his water cannons.

The Human Rights Act 1998 (brought in by the Labour Party) is the UK legislation that makes the European Convention binding on this country, meaning that breaches of it may be remedied in British courts, rather than the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. It is only appeals against the decisions of the British courts that go to Europe.

Grayling doesn’t like the idea of impartial foreigners ruling on whether his government’s politically-motivated human rights violations are legal.

That’s why he said; “I want our supreme court to be supreme. Decisions that affect this country should be taken in this country.” He wants absolute power over you.

Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney-General who got the sack during the summer, described the Tory attack on human rights as “incoherent”. It is widely believed to be one of the reasons he got the push.

The Tories are also determined to tie this policy in with anti-European Union rhetoric, even though the ECHR is nothing to do with the EU.

The Guardian‘s story on Grayling’s announcement includes a coda in which Savid Javid, our Sontaran* culture secretary, tried to reassure people that Britain could still prosper if it leaves the EU, despite the possible loss of hundreds of billions of pounds worth of trade deals (as reported in this blog previously).

But that’s another fact they’d rather you did not know. Misdirection is the only way forward for modern Conservatives.

Remember “There will be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS”?

*It’s a Doctor Who reference. Look up pictures of Javid and a Sontaran and you’ll spot the resemblance.

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Sajid Javid, the man who trivialised the WWI centenary, shames himself on the economy

Sajid Javid? No - this is The Collector, from the Doctor Who serial The Sun Makers, but it's an easy mistake to make. This charmer's game was extorting taxes from human refugees who had fled the death of the sun to live under artificial heat sources on Pluto(!) - but revolution triggers a recession in which he literally shrinks down to nothing, disappearing into the commode he appears to be sitting on. If only Mr Javid would do the same!

Sajid Javid? No – this is The Collector, from the Doctor Who serial The Sun Makers, but it’s an easy mistake to make. This charmer’s game was extorting taxes from human refugees who had fled the death of the sun to live under artificial heat sources on Pluto(!) – but revolution triggers a recession in which he literally shrinks down to nothing, disappearing into the commode he appears to be sitting on. If only Mr Javid would do the same!

They say the secret of great comedy is timing, and Sajid Javid’s speech lambasting Labour’s ability with the economy could not come at a better time – to make a fool of him.

Javid heads up the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – you know, the government organisation that offended everybody earlier this week by denying everybody but the Prime Minister a chance to write a personal message on the wreaths laid at a First World War centenary commemoration in Glasgow.

Having made one faux pas already this week, Javid was set to ram his foot even further down his own gullet with his speech knocking Labour.

According to the Telegraph, he was planning to say that Labour’s “basic instinct” is to spend money, the party’s economic policies will leave Britain £500 billion worse-off, and this will be the equivalent of two-thirds of national income in 2035, while the Conservative approach would make it the equivalent of one-third of GDP.

The speech met with scorn before it was even made, over on alittleecon. In an article headlined Tory Minister Sajid Javid plucks some numbers out of his arse, author Alex Little pointed out:

  • Sajid Javid does not understand economics; national debt is merely an indicator of how much a government wants the economy to be funded by the private sector or the public. As government debt is issued in the form of bonds, all of it represents somebody else’s savings and more government debt means more private savings, while the economy is funded by the public sector.
  • Whether a low debt-to-GDP ratio is better than a higher one depends entirely on how it has been achieved. A fast-growing, dynamic economy can have a high level of government debt, while a slow-growing economy could have a very low debt-to-GDP ratio.
  • His timescale covers the next 20 years, making his claim a nonsense from the start. The electoral cycle is only five years so, for Labour to win in 2015 and continue winning until the date Mr Javid uses, they’d have to be doing something right!
  • Of course, Labour has not produced any spending plans yet and, when they arrive, the totals are unlikely to be hugely different from the Tories’ (although the way the money is used may differ greatly). So Mr Javid has (as Mr Little rather indelicately puts it) plucked some numbers out of his arse.

Mr Javid’s week is going very well – he has ruined a major ceremony with the behaviour of a schoolboy, then followed it up by showing that his understanding of economics – wasn’t he Financial Secretary to the Treasury before moving to the DCMS? Coupled with George Osborne as Chancellor, this could explain much – is worse than that of a schoolboy. And it’s only Wednesday.

Let’s all hope he goes for the hat trick.

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Clueless Cameron – as tired as his policies?

Tired old Tory: Is this David Cameron or Ken Clarke? [Picture: BBC, augmented with help by Ian Davies]

Tired old Tory: Is this David Cameron or Ken Clarke? [Picture: BBC, augmented with help from Ian Davies]

David Tennant’s outstanding run as the title character in Doctor Who began by ending the career of fictional Prime Minister Harriet Jones with just six words to an aide: “Don’t you think she looks tired?”

The character had been PM for a very short time but had made serious errors of judgement. In that respect – and that alone – she is the David Cameron of the Doctor Who universe.

Cameron and his cronies are currently wheeling out a succession of policies that they want us to believe are new. The latest of these, according to the BBC News website, involves extended opening hours for local doctors.

That’s right – he’ll be piloting a £50 million scheme in nine areas of England where surgeries will be able to bid for funding to open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Perhaps he’s hoping that our memories have suffered rapid ill-health recently, because this is nothing but an old Labour scheme, painted blue.

Labour offered GP practices extra money to open later in the evening and on weekends, and most surgeries tried it out – until lack of demand meant funding was reduced and hours cut back.

Many surgeries still offer out-of-hours appointments – so it seems unlikely that there is any need for Cameron’s version at all…

… unless he is considering making an appointment for himself. Look at the image. Don’t you think he looks tired?

Other policies introduced during the Tory conference include the indefinite extension of Workfare for the long-term unemployed, which is nothing more than an underhanded plot to make it seem that joblessness has dropped, allowing the Bank of England to raise interest rates, as this blog revealed yesterday.

And the much-touted but low-paying married tax allowance turned out to be even lower-paying for the low-waged who are already receiving help through tax credits, which are due to be phased out in favour of Universal Credit, paid to people whose incomes are low after tax. Their higher after-tax income means their UC will drop by £130, making them just £70 per year better-off.

Meanwhile, the ‘free school meals’ policy unveiled by Coalition partners the Liberal Democrats has also left a nasty taste in peoples’ mouths. It turns out that the number of people receiving such help is about the only indicator of low-income households available to school authorities, and is part of how schools show regulators that SAT results are not their only priority – they are doing their best in areas where parents are out of work. Losing that marker means schools in challenging circumstances will be unable to demonstrate their situation and will suffer as a result.

That leaves just the new tax on plastic bags in England, which is an idea the Coalition stole from the much-maligned Labour Welsh Government – another Labour idea the Tories have adopted (and this should serve as a warning sign for Labour: When Tories adopt your policies, you have drifted much too far to the right of the political spectrum).

Clearly the strain – of trying to dream up new policies that will make his party look good – has taken its toll on clueless Cameron.

Don’t you think he looks tired?

This wage-induced slavery is not science fiction

Would you want to live in this kind of Britain - where the rich and privileged live it up in huge high-status dirigibles while you and I toil in dirty, pollution-spewing factories? If not, you need to do something about it - now.

Would you want to live in this kind of Britain – where the rich and privileged live it up in huge high-status dirigibles while you and I toil in dirty, pollution-spewing factories? If not, you need to do something about it – now.

A few years ago, an entertaining TV drama presented an image of a Britain very similar to ours – but with a few significant differences.

The rich no longer lived in the cities, but swanned around overhead, flaunting their wealth in giant dirigibles. Working people seemed perfectly happy to put up with a military presence on every street and a curfew in the evening, because their mobile phone technology had developed into ear-‘pods’ that downloaded the latest (and undoubtedly pre-approved) ‘news’ directly into their heads.

It was both amusing and chilling when the day’s ‘joke’ came down the wire and everybody laughed at once. Good little robots.

Of course, the Doctor saved the day – but not before thousands of these characters were turned into Cybermen (let’s face it, they were halfway there already) and many more had been killed.

Good thing it’s just fantasy, isn’t it?

Except…

Isn’t this exactly what ‘bookmanwales’ was telling us in his comment on the recent Vox Political article about David Cameron’s intentions?

“Whilst you can make the information available for people to see what is happening they are not interested,” he wrote.

“’Can I afford the latest iPhone?’ ‘Can I get totally p**sed at the weekend?’… and ‘How cool does my new car look?’ are at the forefront of most people’s minds.

“The pursuit of personal pleasure has overtaken simple reason. It matters not that you have to work 8 or 16 hours a day as long as you possess these luxuries.

“It doesn’t matter if you see no family or friends, doesn’t matter if you sleep all day when you are off. You have the things that matter because TV tells you having those things matter.”

It’s only a small step from that to “It doesn’t matter if your employers take more and more for themselves and give you less and less, literally looking down on you from a great height; doesn’t matter that it costs more and more to buy the status symbols you want and they give you less and less purchasing power; you are doing what matters in the best possible way because that is what they tell you”.

So we come to the announcement over the weekend that wages, here in the UK, have declined faster and further than almost anywhere else in Europe – and the fact that nobody batted an eyelid.

Adjusted for inflation, our hourly wages have fallen by a massive 5.5 per cent since mid-2010 – that’s the fourth-worst decline among all of the 27 EU nations, recorded in the country with the sixth-largest economy in the world (some say seventh).

Only Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands had a steeper decline – and their economies stand at 36-40th, 49th and 17th in world rankings.

Meanwhile, according to Michael Meacher MP, chief executives of the FTSE-100 – the top British companies – have increased their own pay to 133 times the diminishing national average.

They’re laughing at you. They think you’re beaten; that you’ve been brainwashed into conditioned helplessness and into believing that your status-symbol phone or car or television actually means something. Meanwhile, they have been taking everything.

And, as long as you carry on playing their game, their way, they’re right.

The rot starts with the government and it is with the government that you must start to change it. Nobody else will do this for you; you must stand up for yourself or your bosses and corrupt officials will walk right over you. Government sets the conditions in which populations either flourish or are repressed. We describe repressive governments as tyrannies, despotisms, dictatorships.

How would you describe the government of the UK?

Take a good, hard look at your own MP. Have they represented your interests? Are you better-off, now, than you were when they were elected in 2010? Don’t try to excuse them by saying times have been hard – that’s clearly nonsense, otherwise those FTSE-100 executives wouldn’t be enjoying such monumental pay hikes. If they are members of the Coalition parties, have they done anything to safeguard your interests against the crippling damage done by government policies? Anything at all? If there are members of the Opposition, have they vowed to redress the balance by restoring the rights and powers that have been stripped away from you – not just in the last three years but the previous 30 as well?

No?

Then get rid of them and put someone in their place who will. It’s not rocket science!

Join the political party of your choice, link up with like-minded people and make a difference. Stop believing you are free, just because a politician tells you so. Freedom can never be taken for granted. People have had to fight for it down the generations and these times are no different.

Or would you rather go back to sleep and play Angry Birds (or whatever is the new fashion) until they come to euthanase you?

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: Our hard work has put some people up among the stars; isn’t it time to ask why we are still in the gutter?

(The first Vox Political book, Strong Words and Hard Times, is available now in paperback or as an eBook, including a large ‘footnotes’ section in which you can actually connect to internet links containing supporting evidence – if you’re reading on a device that supports this kind of activity.)

Even the ‘children’s drama that adults adore’ can have cultural relevance!

Like half the world these days (it seems) I am a big fan of Doctor Who.

I’ve loved it all my life; I grew up watching it. It was my escape from the greyness of a 1970s childhood, my relief from the unrelenting falsity and greed of a teenage 1980s, my retreat from the harsh realities of my early working life in the 1990s, and now I get to enjoy it with a new generation of fans in the 21st century.

That’s how it is. If you don’t like it, I don’t care.

You may be wondering why I mention this on a blog that has been overwhelmingly political in most of its content.

Shows like Doctor Who – fantasies, if you like – have a quality that many other entertainments lack: They can put a mirror up to the modern world by comparing it with the past. The result can be astonishingly effective, if done skilfully (and I don’t think anyone would argue that Doctor Who isn’t done skilfully).

The thought occurred to me, earlier tonight, that a travelling companion from the 1950s would be perfect for the Doctor, in the current national climate.

In the 1950s, the UK was just beginning to emerge from a period of enforced austerity, caused by the actions of other people (the Nazis, the Japanese military, Mussolini’s fascists). Rationing was commonplace but was beginning to disappear. Money was short – the government’s debt was more than twice as much as the country made every year – so household budgets were tight. The welfare state and the NHS were in their infancy. Millions of people worked on mind-numbing jobs in factories because there was no other work available. People made their own entertainment. Radio ruled the roost, television was an upstart that had only just been born when the plug was pulled at the start of World War II, and was only beginning to get back on its feet. A trip to the cinema was a highlight of the week – maybe the month. The pub was the centre of a community’s social life, along with the church. Marriage was sacred and a ticket to respectability.

Contrast that with the present. The UK is now in a period of enforced austerity caused by the actions of a very small minority. While we don’t have rationing, money is short in many households. The government’s debt is not as much as it was then, but the poor have less money in real terms, while the rich have more, so most household budgets have tightened. Millions of people are unemployed and the nation’s manufacturing base has all but collapsed. The welfare system and the NHS are being stripped to the bare minimum. People choose their entertainment from digital deliverers, the TV, radio, cinema, or computer games and are much less social, so pubs are much less full, except when people can find a reason to go out (and then they’ll probably overindulge). Religion is on the wane and marriage is almost irrelevant.

A good TV show like Doctor Who could get a lot of material out of that – while still delivering the weekly dose of excitement, adventure and (occasionally) cold-blooded horror that we all love so much. It could show us how we’ve changed – and not always for the better.

And it could do it gently. And it’s never been done before (has it?).

I think there’s a lot to be said for that.

So, Mr Steven Moffat: How about it? Good idea?

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