Monday, 25 October 2010

"We didn't expect them to do what they said" moan former Labour voters who voted Lib Dem

After five months of Lib Dem / Conservative coalition, a bunch of Labour voters have finally thrown the last of their toys out of their respective prams.

"It's just not fair. I know Nick Clegg said before the election that savage cuts were necessary, and that the Lib Dems would cut the deficit sooner and faster than Labour, but I never expected him to follow through on it" said one voter who said he was going back to Labour because he wanted to "feel nice about being roughly on the left of politics but never achieving anything".

Many former Labour voters who swung to the Lib Dems at the last election are said to be fuming that the policies they voted for, like a higher income tax threshold, a pupil premium and scrapping of ID cards were actually becoming law. "If I'd know these headline policies from their manifesto were going to become law, I'd never have voted for them" said another disgruntled voter who didn't want his name used because he couldn't spell it.

One former Labour voter, however, was genuinely happy with his Lib Dem vote. "They appear to be about to break their pledge on tuition fees which is just like what Labour did in 2001 and I remember being Labour in 2001 and they were such fun times. Yep, I'm staying with this lot for the time being. The tuition thing is like a home-from-home."

Latest poll ratings show those going back to Labour being 50% petulant, 27% media influenced and 100% disinterested in the facts.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Glorious Things Of Glee Are Spoken

There's been a right to-do and a hoo-ha about an advert for the new Glee Club that recently opened in Nottingham.

They put up an advert on the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre saying "OMFG The Glee Club Is Finally In Nottingham" and two whole people have complained. The shopping centre has decided to amend the advert. The local newspaper has picked up the story.

So, is that advert offensive and is complaining the right thing to do in this particular situation? My opinion is a big fat "no" to both, and especially to the second.

"But Lloydie, you believe in God and go to church, surely you must be fuming?". Erm, no. Firstly I make no apology that I am liberal in my faith. I'm not unquestioning and I like things that way. Even if the "G" in this collection of four letters refers to God (which I acknowledge it often does when these four letters are displayed together), I rather like the acknowledgment of a higher being in a paid for advert. It's much better than ignoring God entirely, and when it's done in a gleeful (pardon the pun) expression of excitement for one of the joys of life, I think that's just fine.

The other issue I have with the "religious argument" is that this should be so far down the priorities of people with faith that thinking of complaining shouldn't even occur to them. There are so many massive priorities for people with faith in the world right now. There are people losing their jobs, fighting wars, committing violent crime and sleeping rough on the streets. What about dealing with that first? If real faith tells us anything, it tells us to deal with the real issues.

"But using the F-word in public can't be condoned can it?" not in a large advert, no. But Glee haven't done this. As someone suggested to me earlier today, this sign could quite easily mean "Oh Marvelous Glee Finally" especially given the text next to it. No child would be corrupted by this sign, in this reasonable context, and no religion offended.

I'm very liberal when it comes to swearing. I don't see it as a massive issue because a swear word is only ever a symptom of an emotion. It's a particular sort of expression which some people have learnt to find offensive. There is little emotional difference between someone who says "sugar" and someone who says "shit" when they're using it to mean the same thing (be it frustration, anger or otherwise). If we really care about what people have to say we should examine the emotion behind the words, surely?

"But swearing isn't exactly very clever is it? I thought you enjoyed the rich variety of the English language?"

I do, and whilst swearing is part of that, there is so much more to language that just that. Maybe, one can argue, The Glee Club could have been more inventive with their poster? That's certainly a fair point but it misses out the massive amount of publicity this poster has now got them and it's here that those complaining about the poster have totally shot themselves in the foot.

I'm going to declare my interest now. MissImp, the improv comedy group of which I'm a member, are going to be performing a monthly residency at The Glee Club starting this Wednesday 13th October. This is why I'm so delighted with the media storm and why, if you really are offended about something, you should be careful how you complain and to whom you complain. All this fuss is just more publicity for an organisation who truly care about comedy.

I often think those complainy-types should go and read the book "Don't Shoot The Dog" by Karen Pryor. It's about reinforcing the positive behaviour you want to see in others and it's a brilliant read. By highlighting the OMFG, you're only giving it publicity, thereby letting more comedy fans know about The Glee Club. Whilst the small part of the population who choose to be offended by such a small thing frustrate me, I'm also very grateful to them for promoting a really fantastic venue in Nottingham.