The Plastic Hippo

February 28, 2014

The great gates of Kiev



By any stretch of the imagination, it has been a difficult week for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Setting aside allegations of electoral fraud, the poisoning of his main political opponent and the imprisonment and torture of a woman Prime Minister, poor Viktor has been getting a lot of bad press lately. Imagine being a democratically elected leader and being forced to flee your native land with only a large Antonov transport aircraft stuffed with gold bullion for comfort. Fortunately he is now under the protection of Putin and continues to claim legitimacy even as Russian troops mass on the border with Ukraine. The people of Kiev and the western provinces might include right-wing fascists armed with Kalashnikovs but they can all spot a crook when they see one. (more…)


February 26, 2014

Pie in the sky

Filed under: History,Law,Media,Politics — theplastichippo @ 3:59 am
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Daily Mail January 1934

Daily Mail January 1934

As far as I am aware, there is no statute under English law that allows a conviction on the grounds of guilt by association which, all things considered, will come as something of a relief to newspaper editors, MPs past and present and a variety of celebrities.

The Daily Mail has a long association with fascism, false allegations, bigotry, hypocrisy, shockingly inaccurate reporting, downright lies and a rather unhealthy obsession with pictures of pre-pubescent girls in bikinis. The self proclaimed arbiter of taste and decency in Middle England and their extensive legal team know the boundaries of the law and know that guilt by association is not a legal thing. Ludicrous smear campaigns against people the Daily Mail don`t like very much is, however, well within the law. Little wonder that the tawdry rag in the repulsive form of editor Paul Dacre and, by implication, the current Viscount Rothermere who owns the voice of Britain without paying any tax in the UK are implacably opposed to any regulation of the gutter press as recommended or not, as the case may be, by the Leveson report. (more…)

February 24, 2014

Here is the 10 o`clock aggregation

Filed under: Law,Media — theplastichippo @ 11:28 pm
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Image via

Image via

You have to admit that we have been spoilt rotten recently with the salacious details of celebrity court cases where soap opera becomes indistinguishable from the legal system, but one largely unreported court case will have major implications for the fourth estate and for anyone tempted by self-indulgent social media.

The case of Svensson and others v Retriever Sverige before the European Court of Justice might not have contained lurid tales of dressing rooms, hotels, Rolls Royce`s, massive egos, drugs, coitus and irrelevant emails about phone calls from alleged former Prime Ministers but it does indicate the direction of travel for the appallingly named “new media”. Svensson and others earn a crust at Goteborgs-Posten. For the record, Retriever Sverige is not a breed of Scandinavian dog and Goteborgs-Posten is not the organisation that Pingu`s dad works for. (more…)

February 23, 2014

The Saatchi Olympics

Filed under: Media,Politics,Sport,World — theplastichippo @ 4:09 am
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Image via Laurel Brown

Image via Laurel Brown

After all the hype and all the manufactured enthusiasm, there will be some people who will look back at the XXII Olympic Winter Games with a slight sense of disappointment.

The British media, particularly the BBC, will remain in deep depression following the “failure” of the Men`s Curling Team to win gold and in so doing let the nation down by “only” collecting a silver in a rather obscure, minority sport. Only last week we were all expert hydrologists with an encyclopaedic knowledge of floodplain management and coastal defence. This week we are all allowed an opinion on the intricacies of Slope style and Skeleton and the massively popular brushing of the Curl. Next week the BBC`s expert commentary team will enjoy a well earned rest following the gushing and shouting “Oh” fest. It might be best not to dwell on the disappointment being felt by speed skater Elise Christie.

Vladimir Putin has probably got the hump as well. Having had his showcase roundly upstaged by events in Kiev and casting a nervous glance as the Ukrainian people get rid of a corrupt, authoritarian oligarch even in the face of rattling Russian sabres, the Putin games will be remembered for the footage of brave Russian Cossack security men attacking feminist protestors with whips. The “band” Pussy Riot could stage a spectacular PR and marketing coup by inviting Yulia Tymoshenko to join them on stage for a squawk during any forthcoming tour of Russian Orthodox cathedrals. Although not as comprehensive as the complete dismantling of Hitler`s warped bigotry by Jessie Owens in 1936, Putin`s faith in the manly Russian Ice Hockey team took a knock when they didn`t win a medal or even beat USA, a nation where states like Alabama, Utah and Texas have homophobic legislation even more draconian than the Russian Federation. If Vlad is disappointed, consider the hapless opening ceremony technician tasked with pressing the button to make the rings get bigger. I imagine that a gulag in northern Siberia is considerably colder that a Black Sea holiday resort at this time of year. (more…)

February 21, 2014

Last orders

Park Tavern 9-00am

Park Tavern 9-00am

In those far off mid-summer days, when the sun was shining and England had a manly test cricket team, this blog mused on the sudden and mysterious closure of the Park Tavern on Broadway North in the sleepy, picturesque village of Walsall. The mystery is now solved; the boozer is to become a granny farm.

Granny farming has become rather lucrative since both national and local government abandoned any responsibility for the care of senior citizens in their twilight years. Caring for pensioners is expensive and time consuming as they do tend to go on and on about how they defeated fascism, how they created the NHS, how they fought for employment rights, a decent education for their children and how much tax and national insurance they have paid since starting work in factories, mills and coal mines at the age of seven. No longer paying tax and now claiming state benefits; Derby and Joan are becoming something of a burden on an economy that requires greater profit margins and increased bonuses for bankers. (more…)

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