Archive for August, 2016

Biggins should not have been turfed out of the Big Brother House

Monday, August 8th, 2016

I am sometimes invited to visit Big Brother’s Elstree set for Bit on the Side and was there last Thursday. The current series of Celebrity Big Brother is not among my favourites; most housemates don’t seem to have attended charm school, if they did, they should ask for their money back.

There have been unpleasant, aggressive scenes, Stephen Bear may now find work as a pantomime villain impossible, it’s a role more usually associated with a twinkle in the eye, he uses alcohol to energise his vitriol. Why wasn’t he kicked out for throwing a mug and breaking a mirror? Behaviour that would not be tolerated in the Crooked Billet, Bald Faced Stag or any other hostelry, should not be tolerated in the BB house. Heavy D – a name which conjures-up more than his character offers, lacks finesse, sophistication or even a modicum of self-respect. These guys are not role models, more a rogues gallery. Some women in the house seem enured to them – Lewis and Bear in particular;  there’s no accounting for taste!

Which brings us to Christopher Biggins – removed because of an inappropriate comment relating to the holocaust and ‘theories’ about the onset of AIDS. He made a concentration camp “joke” to Katie Waissel as she waited for the bathroom, saying: “You better be careful or they’ll be putting you in a shower and taking you to a room.” The comment was not broadcast. He also seemed to blame bisexuals for the spread of AIDS.

It’s wrong to use the holocaust – something uniquely evil – for humour, especially to someone from a Jewish background. But Biggins apologised profusely to Katie, clearly didn’t mean to be malicious and has now said he will visit Auschwitz in the autumn. As a Hackney resident, I’ll invite him to our next Holocaust Memorial at the Town Hall and to visit Hackney and East London synagogue.  His agent is Jewish, his best friend is Lesley Joseph – he said something stupid without thinking.

Compare his fulsome apology with Ken Livingstone’s response to outrage after telling a Jewish journalist: “You are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren’t you?” He made no effort to apologise whatsoever, after.

Conspiracy theorists spout nonsense on any number of things – the giveaway is in the word ‘theorists’ – you can have a theory on anything really, apart from the moon being made of cheese, although apparently, Neil Armstrong had a particular penchant for cheese and pickle sandwiches – according to one such theorist.

I don’t think for one minute Biggins was right about bisexuals, but again, he was not seeking to be malicious, threatening, throwing mugs at mirrors, abusing, ranting or bullying. The house is not a microcosm of society – it contains more egos than you could reasonably fit into the House of Commons and Lords put together. If only we could have George Galloway back, playing the cat, licking cream from Rula Lenska’s generous hand: such innocent times!

Biggins – who won I’m a Celebrity – should not be demonised for making a mistake. The Jewish community has a great sense of humour – go to any hospital ward, ask nurses about the amazing wit and wisdom shown by so many members of the community, often in extreme adversity – it comes from hundreds of years of persecution, an unsettled diaspora, even now, some living in fear in certain countries. You cannot make jokes – or even amusing asides – about the Holocaust. But you can learn from your mistakes, as I’m sure our celebrated Hackney resident, Christopher Biggins has done.


Little Englanders – let’s think again and stay in the EU

Friday, August 5th, 2016

We’ve now released our take on the Referendum – Little Englanders – please share it, hum it in the shower, whistle it to Nigel Farage (not in the shower) or Boris. Here’s the link:

We’ve already seen the serious damage the THREAT of Brexit has caused – a slump in the pound, reduction in industrial output, huge fall in consumer and business confidence….it looks like those 600 economists were right! Our reputation as a progressive, modern, forward-thinking democracy has suffered – our European friends and neighbours can’t understand our logic; nor can many of us!

It was like ordering a food from a restaurant without a menu! No one talked about whether we were going to remain in the single market – and if so, what we would pay for the privilege. Or even how we were going to negotiate. Anyway, what’s the point of being an outsider in a club, but still have to pay membership fees?

Many farmers, Cornwall residents, holidaymakers abroad finding the pound worth much less than before, and others swayed by misleading claims on the battle bus, now want to stay. As the economy deteriorates, the torrent will turn into a flood. No Parliament can tie the hands of its successor, our new PM should allow us another vote when we actually know the terms for Brexit, we can make a final decision then.

One of the few to come out of this shambles with any credit, is Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England. The 0.25% cut in interest rates may or may not steady the ship. But not if it’s the Titanic.

Would you ask a starving man to go on diet, a turkey to vote for Christmas, a vegetarian to work in a butcher’s? No! Let’s make sure we know what we’re letting ourselves in for before we vote again, instead of lies about money going to the NHS, lets properly analyse where we’re going – all of us. And ensure arrangements are in hand for each constituent part of the U.K. to reach a consensus. For if we do invoke Article 50, we will lose more than our credibility and respect. We’ll lose Scotland – and possibly, Northern Ireland, too!

As a couple of comedians – no, not Michael Gove and Boris – once said “that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into….” We need a way out – but not of the EU!