The years of
political argument – first about Scotland leaving the UK and then about
the UK leaving the EU – have left our politicians struggling to cope.
The resulting breakdown of traditional positions has lead to party
members being so confused as to be supporting opposing views – at the
the SNP leadership’s current position that Brexit going ahead will boost
their case for a second Scottish referendum. So do they support Brexit?
No they are trying very hard to stop it – so weakening their own case
for a re-run of the vote.
we have Labour pledging to get a better deal from the EU – and then
planning to campaign against the improved deal on a remain ticket. A
crazy plan that has left the EU side questioning the sanity of the
Labour top team. Their position is so wacky that the party will have to
allow a free vote to get round the cock-up.
Not to be left out we have LibDem politicians demanding a second referendum for the people to be heard but then vowing to ignore the result if it was another win for Leave. Why bother?
we have politicians from all parties who keep telling us – with a
straight face – that they know no one wants to leave the EU without a
deal. Totally ignoring the national ballot carried out earlier this year
where the Brexit Party took the most MEP seats and formed the largest
single party. They campaigned to leave – no matter what. And if the vote
had been under Westminster general election rules they would have won
hundreds more seats than LibDem, Labour and Conservative combined. Yet
politicians know that the people don’t really want it.
Finally we have the Irish backstop farce
where the key issue is maintaining free access between the ROI and the
UK. The EU took the position that the UK had to provide a solution using
the slogan – you created the problem you have to fix it. In
response the UK has agreed to maintain the present open border. The most
it can do without any powers to control the ROI side of the line. Irish
politicians – you would hope – should be prepared to do the same. But
it seems they cannot do that without the permission of the EU – having
given away their sovereignty in exchange some nice shiny euros. So this
farce is an EU creation that politicians are trying to make the UK solve
– without any powers to achieve it. Difficult is do-able and impossible
will take a bit longer.
from Westminster we have the BBC headlining every bit of news that
favours remain or stokes up leaving fears. Hardly the best way to
convince millions of pensioner customers that they should pay for even more years of being told that they don’t know how to vote. Logic has certainly taken a holiday ..
– After much horse trading and secret deals the top eurocrats have
agreed – probably – on who will become the next EU presidents. The
changes are – at the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is to be
replaced by Ursula von der Leyen; at the European Council Donald Tusk is
to be replaced by Charles Yves Jean Ghislaine Michel; at the European
Parliament Antonio Tajani is now replaced by David Sassoli; at the
Eurogroup Mario Centeno has been in post since 2018 and at the European
Central Bank Mario Draghi is to be replaced by Christine Madeleine
Surely all those Grandads
who believe in continued EU membership will know all about the
excellent qualities of these fine presidents – but for the rest of us
it’s more like … Who? or How did they get that job? Interestingly
there was no news about the future role of Michel Barnier even though he
was lined-up for a top job only a few weeks ago.
BBC Sinks Even Further
– Despite clearly expecting plenty of negative feedback on the plan to
means test TV licences the BBC has continued to fire more and more
bullets at its own feet (snowflake warning; metaphorical language – no
BBC staff or members of the public were physically or mentally harmed).
The announcements of the salaries of both on-screen talent and senior BBC staff triggered plenty of reaction. And not much of it was in support.
the sheer pointless waste of sending the main evening news presenter to
Lyon to interview the BBC sport presenter also in Lyon seemed to go over
the heads of the executives responsible. Apart from the benefit of
providing Clive Myrie with free tickets to the football match and a stay
in Lyon on expenses the whole segment was just one more source of
ammunition (another metaphorical). Given the situation the BBC might
also have reconsidered the need to relocate morning weather forecasts to
Wimbledon during the tennis – but it is likely that Carol is a tennis
fan so would have resisted missing her days at courtside; with pay.
as this posting was being prepared came the news that the BBC is facing
a legal challenge over its impartiality and biased coverage. It’s hard
to see how this can succeed – given the resources that the BBC can throw
against it. But having threatened millions of pensioners with a loss of
benefit every unjustified expense and biased report is going to be
jumped on – by lots of critics.
afternoon’s announcement that from 2020 UK residents over 75 will have
to loose £154 from their pensions to pay for BBC excesses will not be
greeted with much joy or support. Especially when the BBC clearly makes
little attempt to produce quality content in the most cost-effective
live sporting events have excessive numbers of pundits and reporters
before, during and after every event. Some of these pundits taking away
millions for just asking other pundits what they thought of the game. A
game that the viewers had most likely just seen for themselves.
the BBC’s lead TV channel – BBC1 – is full of tired shows like Escape
to the Country – which today has reached Season 17 Episode 37 for the
second time – or daily quiz shows like Pointless; where today we have a
repeat of Season 19 Episode 33!
To quote the BBC’s own blurb – The
BBC is the world’s leading public service broadcaster. We’re impartial
and independent, and every day we create distinctive, world-class
programmes and content which inform, educate and entertain millions of
people in the UK and around the world. And that means that UK tax payers – including pensioners – are funding television, radio and online on [in] more than 40 languages.
Coming so soon after that disastrous last place in the Eurovision Song Contest
– where the BBC paid more that any other broadcaster to take part – the
Beeb’s claim of world-class content has again been put into
perspective. Australia’s public service broadcaster – SBS – has
consistently produced better for less; much less. But then it does have
to try harder – with no licence fee income to pay for programmes that
are unappealing or expensive.
the BBC may not be any better if the channels presently paid for by the
TV tax were switched to commercial funding. But the Corporation is, in
effect, operating a business model that looses over £3,500 million per
year – the amount it gets from taxation to make the books balance. Much
of that loss is down to corporate obesity. Time for a corporate slimming
Everyone who cares is already fully aware of what happened last night. And there are more than enough comments and opinions flying around to render anything extra from Grandad superfluous. So just adding our bit to the chorus of thanks for a great effort by everyone involved.
Looking forward there is still that play-off for third place but that can only be an anti-climax after the earlier rounds.
And as the football euphoria dies down we have the prospect of witnessing some dangerous games being played by politicians of all parties on both sides of the Channel. A wrong move here would mean that we will all suffer – and for well beyond the 2022 World Cup …
It’s hard to believe but the situation for England is unchanged one week further on – continued dry, sunny weather and still being in contention at the FIFA World Cup.
With lawns around the nation baked yellow, burning moorlands, political turmoil and bumper exposure for Budweiser we face the final two games for the four teams that remain.
Clearly everyone backing England want the final match to be on Sunday – especially since the alternative is a pointless match to determine a meaningless third place on Saturday.
What more can be said but … Come On England!
England is enjoying that rare situation of having a football team still in the FIFA World Cup and a continuous spell of dry, sunny weather. A combination that is both exceptional and one that puts a strain on the nation’s drinks supplies. Clearly a situation that the beer and soft drinks suppliers did not allow for in their sales projections … even though closures at the carbon dioxide suppliers may have contributed to the threatened shortages.
At the football England’s progress has been made that much sweeter by a degree of schadenfreude at the early departures of Germany, Argentina and Portugal. However tonight’s game against Colombia may be too tough a barrier to England’s hopes of a quarter final place. But a win tonight – along with forecasts of continued warm weather – could clear out the remaining stocks of drinks Chez Grandad well before the weekend.
Today the Grandads Technology Centre (GTC) received its latest upgrade. A DVD player with the ability to play Ultra High Definition (UHD) blu-ray discs and Super-Audio CDs via its sole UHD television.
This technological advance at the GTC comes at the same time as the BBC are streaming UHD versions of some FIFA football matches from Russia. And have just announced that much of this year’s Wimbledon tennis championships will be shot in UHD (2160 pixels high) with access via iPlayer.
However this technological advance only serves to show the weaknesses rather than the strengths of the world’s largest broadcaster. Most UK broadcast channels are transmitted as standard definition (576 pixels high) and even though the BBC’s (and ITV’s) main channels are available in HD (up to 1080 pixels high) the vast majority of the channels on Freeview are not; including those part owned by the BBC. Worse still some of the programmes, for example the never-ending repeats of Dad’s Army, are so old that they are in the square format used in the days of analogue television.
The problem for the BBC is its scale and scope. At one extreme it is using the latest technology – for a very limited audience – while at the other extreme it is providing most tax-payers with broadcasts using standards that are long past their best. Low-tech may be justified for transmissions to distant countries – but not within the UK.
For example, to enjoy the optimum experience of Wimbledon in UHD the BBC says audiences need a 40 megabit per second Internet connection. A speed much beyond what is actually available for most UK viewers at present. And sadly the UK seems extremely unlikely to have a powerful enough broadband network able to provide the capacity needed for everyone to watch Eastenders or Corrie in UHD at 40mps in the foreseeable future.
So for now getting something new and appealing, that will test our 4K TV, will have to be sourced via UHD blu-ray discs – despite them retailing for around £20 each. At least then we can repeat some new material rather than shows that have already been repeated ad nauseam on TV.
Tomorrow sees the first part of seven and half hours of live TV coverage this week marking the culmination of the Eurovision Song Contest for 2018. As usual Britain hopes that its entry will attract enough votes to avoid the final being another night of national embarrassment in front of a huge audience.
If you think that this introduction looks familiar – that may be because it is a direct copy of what was posted here two years ago. Grandad could have also said much the same for 2017 – but didn’t bother.
Everything has become so predictable. The British entry is attracting long odds in the betting (150 to 1) meaning that it is positioned somewhere in the mid-20s in the field – again. Graham Norton will be providing the UK commentary – again. And trying to sound as positive as possible about the British entry even though he must know that there is no way that they can win – again. Meanwhile the BBC are putting out free Eurovision party packs again – despite not being able to support St George’s Day; or it seems any of the national days around Britain.
So a safe bet that we face another year of national embarrassment – but at least the BBC can be consoled by the knowledge that no heads will roll and they will not need to find a venue for the 2019 edition. To quote Mr Norton OK… That’s three minutes we’ll never get back, but look at it this way: We’ll never have to hear that song again.
In the next few days the BBC are due to announce their shortlist of songs for the 2018 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Then, following the pattern of recent years, a Eurovision You Decide show will allow a public vote to select the final entry. This year the show will be on Wednesday 7 February in Brighton and makes an attempt to gain some much needed credibility through employing 2015 winner Mans Zelmerlow alongside Mel Giedroyc.
But even before the BBC’s shortlist is known the bookies are rating the UK down in 24th place with regular front runners Sweden, Russia and Australia occupying the top three slots. Given our recent poor performances, the lack of incentive for ambitious artists to enter and the political climate, such a low level of support at the bookies is to be expected. Especially when we hear that Sweden has scheduled five national song heats just to get down to a shortlist; with other nations having even more entries to pick from. While the tiny Italian enclave of San Marino (population 33,000 or one tenth the size of Croydon) has scheduled four heats…
With Australia hoping to launch a separate Eurovision Asia Song Contest the smart money is backing them for the top spot this year – assuming that they don’t suffer from another reversal at the hands of nationalist / political voters.