The Plastic Hippo

December 29, 2013

Christmas in a parallel universe



The really nice thing about December is that the festive season offers various opportunities to indulge in activities collectively described as “traditional”. The requirement to eat too much, drink too much and then argue with your nearest and dearest is compulsory. Being completely baffled by the Dr Who Christmas Special is as traditional as watching the Queen read a script and the traditional January salutation “did you have a nice Christmas?” is gradually being transmogrified into “so, you survived Christmas then”.

Sadly, in these enlightened times, very few of us still paint ourselves blue and jump over open fires to celebrate the winter solstice. Fewer still slaughter a sacrificial goat in the traditional hope of keeping sabre-toothed tigers away or to encourage the return of the warm shiny thing that travels across the big blue thing just above our heads. Tradition, like language, is constantly evolving and it is a blessing that buying enough food and drink to last until doomsday because the shops are shut for a day is not further complicated by the need to purchase those hard to find gifts such as frankincense and myrrh. Gold and lamb chops, however, continue to retain their traditional charm. What better way to celebrate the birth of the saviour of humanity than the gift of an already time-limited obsolete gadget, a bottle of scotch and the onset of obesity. (more…)


December 24, 2013

Ring out, wild bells

Filed under: History,Literature,Music,Society — theplastichippo @ 10:10 pm
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The larder is bulging with buy one get one free boxes of minced pies and the fridge is packed with poultry and trimmings; the last thing we need is some Middle Eastern, homeless refugee giving birth to yet another scrounging baby.

One day this child might grow up to become some ranting lunatic demanding equality, an end to war, freedom for all and might even suggest that the greed of individuals is less important than the benefit of the many. God forbid that this should come to pass and even more horrific is the thought that this anarchist should reside in Hackney, or Handsworth, or Govan, or Byker, or Moss Side, or Walsall or Westminster. A revolutionary daring to question the rich being rich and the poor being poor should not be something to spoil the adoration of our Christian decency when pushing each other out the way to get to the discounted brandy butter. (more…)

December 20, 2013

Accomplished mission creep

Filed under: Law,Politics,World — theplastichippo @ 1:22 pm
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PM detained in military coup

PM detained in military coup

To use a phrase that trips so readily and so lightly from the lips of an obfuscating politician; “let`s be perfectly clear about this”. David Cameron unequivocally, unquestionably and uncategorically did not say or mean to suggest or in any way infer either directly or indirectly in any tactical, strategic, operational scenario that the UK`s armed involvement in Afghanistan is a “mission accomplished”.

Similarly, the Prime Minister cannot possibly be considered as being in contempt of court by voicing his high regard for a witness in an ongoing criminal trial or by agreeing that he is on her “team”. Contempt is a very serious matter and only the most irresponsible of commentators would offer (more…)

December 18, 2013

Eight days a week

Filed under: Health,Media,Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 3:36 am
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Image via

Image via

Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS and Medical Director of the NHS Commissioning Board, is undoubtedly a very clever man. The former cardiac surgeon has undertaken a thorough, detailed examination of hospital mortality rates at weekends and has diagnosed that consultants need to work seven days a week. Funny that; I thought the NHS already worked seven days a week.

Sir Bruce might believe that consultants still spend the majority of their time playing golf only to occasionally descend upon a hospital in the form of James Robertson Justice to shout at and belittle junior housemen. The reality, however, is rather different and it does not require a god-like consultant to diagnose that a drunk with a pint glass embedded in his noggin on a Saturday night is not very well. (more…)

December 15, 2013

Missing the point

Filed under: Media,Politics,Society,Sport,World — theplastichippo @ 2:15 am
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Image via

Image via

For the first time since the dawn of creation, God will pull rank and force his way through the crowds to have his photograph taken standing next to the latest arrival in heaven.

The passing of a frail old man in poor health undoubtedly brings profound sorrow it but can hardly have come as a shocking surprise. The understandable outpouring of grief for a life ended after 95 years mistakes the pragmatism of mortality with the relevance of legacy. Those weeping at the departure of the man are missing the point; what Mandela did and what he stood for will live forever and should be embraced with joy.

The media, both “legitimate” and “social”, have reacted with the predictable emotional equivalent of a volley of baton rounds fired into a township. (more…)

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