...a blog by Richard Flowers

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 3317: Mysteries of Doctor Who #22: How Many Limbs Does Alpha Centauri Have?



Centauri, the funny-shaped Federation Ambassador to Peladon, is described as an hermaphrodite hexapod. That means he/she/it walks on six legs. But we can clearly SEE six more tentacle-like arms waving gaily out the front.

The rest is simple maths.

Of course in a completely different TV series, Londo Mollari, the funny-shaped Centauri Ambassador to Babylon 5, lets slip that the Centauri there have six prehensile, er, tentacles, sticking out the front too. And along with their four other limbs that must make them very nearly related to Alpha.

Though that probably makes Alpha even RUDER than she/he/it looks!

Actually, the fact that we can’t SEE the six feet on the floor, leads to the assumption that rather than being naked under that fetching yellow shower-curtain, Centauri is ACTUALLY wearing a floor-length dress with a bit of a ruff at ankle height. He/she/it likes a bit of rough, says Daddy. It’s green a tight collar. So it’s like the Centauri equivalent of a flesh-coloured roll-neck pullover. Very Nineteen Seventies!

Why not check out Daddy Alex's preview, and then go and see for yourself!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 3316: Lord Blarimort's Lesson for the Nation


Addressing the Chilcot inquiry, the former Middle Eastern Invader warned of the danger to the World:
"If you let dangerous maniacs get their hands on weapons of mass destruction they WILL go around attacking people. After all, I did!"
He's right about one thing: there ARE some people in the World who are mad and dangerous and refuse to comply with the "club rules" that we need to live by if we are all to live together.

Lord Blairimort is one of those people.

Because the beginning, middle and end of everything about Iraq is this: IT WAS WRONG.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 3315: Millennium's Falcon


It's Daddy Richard's birthday! And what could be more fun than playing with some Lego.

Time to take my diary into a whole new dimension! Movement! Run VT!

Happy Birthday Daddy!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 3314: Holocaust Memorial Day – You May Avert Your Gays


It's UNSUBTLE isn't it, to have to bring up the Equality Bill when we're remembering the ultimate HORRIBLE consequences of NOT just treating people as people. And yet here we are: STILL not learning the lessons of history.

Let's be fair, six MILLION Jewish people being murdered for NO REASON is way more than the quarter of a million Gypsy/Romany people being murdered for the identical NO REASON and the quarter of a million differently-abled people being murdered for not fitting into a BONKERS and completely-ignorant-of-how-evolution-works EUGENIC stereotype and the we-don't-actually-know-how-many gay people murdered that we DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW because when the surviving Jews and Romany and Polish Slavs and black people and prisoners of war and the rest got liberated the Allies DIDN'T liberate the gay mommies and daddies because being gay was STILL A CRIME!!!!!

But it shouldn't be the SIZE of your holocaust that matters, but the fact that it happened AT ALL. That some people could pick a community to blame and vilify and ultimately destroy is WRONG. IT doesn't matter whether that is a community of millions or one of hundreds. Every single person is uniquely different and that should be a reason for CELEBRATION not an excuse to put people in boxes. And then LITERALLY put some of them in boxes.

So now, the much trumpeted Liberaling of Britain revealed by the British Social Attitudes Survey, shows that since we've gone from the heady days of Conservatory Section 28 and Colin and Barry on EastEnders to swinging modern Civil Partnerships and, er, Christian and Syed on EastEnders so the public have swung from two in three agreeing that cuddles between people of the same gender is always wrong to ONE in three agreeing that cuddles between people of the same gender is always wrong… oh, we have a LOOOOOOOONG way to go.

And yet STILL the Bishops of the Church of England whine on about wanting SPECIAL RIGHTS so they don't have to follow the same laws as everyone else, just because they BELIEVE that they have a right to be NASTY. Suppose they demanded the right to fire people just because they weren't WHITE enough. No one, but no one would give them even a SECOND before ticking them right off. But if they want the special right to treat people as second class because they aren't heteronormative enough…


Steps towards treating people AS people have been made, sometimes in the face of the government kicking and screaming and having to be dragged to the European court and made to behave like a grown up. And, mark you, that's the CURRENT Hard Labour Government, never mind the preceding Conservatories. But it's FRAGILE and the forces of Conservatism are bringing their full evil might to bear. It would be all too easy for Mr Balloon – with his history of throwing bones to his right wing nutters, and his alliance with homophobic Parties in the EU Parliament – to cave and bring in Section 28 II this time it's personal… again!

So the BEST way to remember the Holocaust and all its victims is to ask yourself this: what are you doing to stop it ever happening again?


Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 3309: Captain Clegg Leads the Agenda – Mr Balloon is Labour's Mini-Me


If you want something doing, ask a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT.

Last week, Captain Clegg put the Prime Monster in a tight spot about the Iraq inquiry and now Mr Frown finds he'll be facing questions and answering for his actions BEFORE not AFTER the Election.

This week, Captain Clegg skewered Mr Frown AGAIN, with a timely question about the Royal Bank-that-we-own of Scotland funding the foreign takeover of yet another British institution.

And all Mr Balloon can do meanwhile is COPY Lord Blairimort and bring up his very own "Jamie Bulger case" as "proof" that Great Britain is "broken". Again.

Frankly, this "broken Britain" guff is beyond BORING and getting INSULTING. If you WANT to see a "broken" country… go and look at HAITI.

When Lord Blairimort seized on the tragic fate of little Jamie Bulger, it was with the express purpose of reinventing Hard Labour as a party that sounded tough on crime, sounded tough on the causes of crime; it was about taking a perceived weakness and turning it into a strength.

Obviously it was not just WICKED and MANIPULATIVE to use a horrible – but extremely RARE – crime for personal political gain, it was also a TOTAL FLUFFING DISASTER for law and order in Great Britain, because it led directly to a decade of Hard Labour Home Secretaries trying to appear MACHO in order to outflank the Conservatories ever further to the RIGHT. As a result, far from being the person who makes Britain feel SAFER, the Home Secretary has seen it as his or her job to SCARE people more and more and more. And look where THAT'S got us!

The Conservatories have merrily followed Hard Labour out there, clearly with the idea that "opposition" means "the same but more so". In contrast to Hard Labour though, they are ALREADY the "hang 'em and flog 'em" party – so, when Mr Balloon tries to get tough, far from being a clever piece of repositioning, he is singing to the choir, he is preaching to the converted, he is giving them some of what they want. Rather than reaching out to a wider electorate, it is his OWN SIDE he needs to convince. He is speaking from a position of WEAKNESS.

After messing up the marriage bribe policy and with his recent run of poor performance in the House, is the HEAT starting to get to him? We've seen it happen before, remember, when Mr Frown first became Prime Monster and before the election-that-never-was, a wobble over Grandma Schools turned into a full blown melt-down. And here he is, propping up to old, failed, Conservatory Core Vote strategy all over again.

He's not EVEN announcing any policies that would address monstrous events like this. Do not get me wrong, I think that the Government is already FAR TOO intrusive and NANNYING, but if Mr Balloon's speech is:
"We should stop this sort of thing! Something must be done! And I for one will make sure that the Government does LESS to stop it!"
…then someone needs to check his logic circuits.

This isn't opposition; this is HECKLING.

You've seen it all before, but once again the REAL opposition to this frightening Hard Labour Government – and their Conservatory Mini-Me – is coming from the LIBERAL DEMOCRATS.

You can see it in the way that Mr Frown's hand was forced, so that he wrote to the Chilcot Inquiry saying he was ready to face them sooner, lest people start to ask awkward questions about why he's getting special treatment.

You can see it from the way that Mr Brendan Barber, Head of the TUC, is respecting Captain Clegg for pointing out that the Government itself was helping to fund food megacorp Kraftwerk's takeover of British confectioner and bastion of good business practice Cadbury's. A genuine case of Mr Frown being as effective as a CHOCOLATE CHASTITY BELT. (Actually, I don't know what that means, but I heard it on Blackadder and it sounds good.)

You can see it with the Conservatories too. When their Ms Caroline "Magic" Spellman was on Questionable Time asked about Conservatory married couple tax allowance policy, she wasn't responding to Hard Labour's Mr Liam "Father Dick" Burn but to Captain Clegg's arguments that it PENALISES BEREAVED and ABANDONED mothers and offers no help to families who aren't RICH enough for one parent to quit work.

They're not just LOVE-BOMBING us; they are FRIGHTENED of us, because they know that we are SERIOUS and they know that we are spotting the BIG ISSUES and getting the answers RIGHT.

I don't need to remind you that Mr Dr Vince "the Power" Cable was first to warn about the BUBBLE BURSTING; AND that he was RIGHT to say that the Banks needed cutting down to size. Even the President of Americaland is on board with THAT one now!

But perhaps you've forgotten that we were FIRST to spot MR Frown's ten pence tax takeaway, hitting the poor to give a tax break to the better off. No wonder Mr Balloon is so keen to COPY him!

On issue after issue, from Green Taxes to Gurkahs (Captain Clegg was campaigning for them more than a year before Mr Balloon jumped aboard) the Liberal Democrats are right there, leading the way, not necessarily taking the POPULAR choices, but making the RIGHT ONES.

Yes, even on Iraq. It seems very FASHIONABLE nowadays, especially among a certain class of Conservatory commentator, to say that our opposition to the illegal Middle Eastern invasion was "populist". As though the Craven Conservatories in Parliament – including Mr Balloon – who voted to go along with Lord Blairimort's war were somehow doing the BRAVE thing. They were not.

The Country WAS divided, but the majority (slightly) were FOR the War. Despite a million people marching to say "not in my name" the "popular" option was to to support the invasion. And the Liberal Democrats took a hit in the opinion polls too. But we didn't oppose the war to be "popular". We didn't, like Mr Balloon and his chums, just jump on the bandwagon, cheering the Hard Labour warmongers on, and never mind the evidence – not Mr Alistair Henchman's made-up dossiers, the REAL evidence that Mr Hans Blix and Bumsidaisy was finding (or rather NOT finding) in Iraq. No, we opposed the war because it was WRONG. And now a LOT of people can see that, and they agree with us.

Do we get everything right? No, of course not. But you've got to admit a PRETTY GOOD batting average.

Start with your PRINCIPLES. Consider the EVIDENCE. State your policy CLEARLY and PLAINLY. Explain the costs. Make your CASE. And in the end, most people see that you got it RIGHT.

That's why the Liberal Democrats are setting the agenda for 2010.


Day 3309: Millennium the Poster Boy


Anything Mr Balloon can do... I can do BETTER!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 3305: the Naked Truth – How Scottish Justice wastes HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of POUNDS on LITERALLY NOTHING!


So it's 2010 and the VICTORIAN ERA is still well and truly in full complete-lack-of-swing here in ye Olde Grande Britannia, as Mr Stephen Gough, aka the Naked Rambler, is released from Prison only to be re-arrested six paces later. Again. Because he's still NUDE!

Apparently he could spend the rest of his LIFE in and out of jail (well, "out-for-a-matter-of-minutes") as this cycle goes on forever!

And it COSTS a bleedin' FORTUNE to keep him (in the buff) in chokey.

Yet the Sherriff has the NAKED CHUTZPAH to accuse HIM of having no concern for the public purse!

Murderers, terrorists, MPs even… we don't send them to the Big House for the whole of their natural lives. And yet this man seems to be a worse criminal than ANY of them! What COULD he have DONE?

Well, Mr Rambler first became famous for his naked hike from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2003.

He was arrested several times over the course of his odyssey.

Nevertheless he completed his journey in 2004 and hailed it as a success!

In 2005, he announced his intention to repeat the epic voyage.

And got arrested again.

In 2006, he flew back to Scotland to appeal against the charge of indecency. Stripping off while on the plane in order to appear in court naked.

He was sent to prison for four months.

The following April, he successfully defended himself against the accusation of breaching the peace on the grounds, get this, that no one had ACTUALLY been alarmed or disturbed.

Yes that's: "naked man in NOT ACTUALLY FRIGHTENING shocker"!

But he remained in jail awaiting further contempt hearing… because he wouldn't get dressed to appear in the dock.

By November 2007, after nineteen months in jail already, he was found guilty of contempt and sentenced to another three months in jail.

January 2008 and – still naked – he is released from prison. He gets SIX PACES before he is re-arrested and banged up again.

December 2008 and it's the same story. He's taken back to court, appears naked – quelle surprise – and is charged with another breach of the peace.

Are our court officials REALLY so easily startled? Goodness knows how they cope with a REAL crime; they must just SWOON a lot.

Six months later and it's not so much déjà vu (with it ALL still on vu of course) as a revolving door policy at the court.

Sherriff Richard McFarlane, presiding, even pathetically claimed he had "no choice" but to send Mr Rambler back into clink. Yeah, because you should ALWAYS go for the Nuremburg Defence when quashing a man's liberties.

And then the good Sherriff starts on about MONEY! As though Mr Rambler had a penny in his pockets. Or even had pockets for that matter.
"Would you like to estimate how much it has cost as a drain on the public purse to keep you in prison?

"You don't care about the public purse or the public generally."
Message for you your worship: YOU are the one pouring the public's money down the toilet by insisting that it be spent on keeping a man in prison when he is NO THREAT to anyone.

Keeping him in prison for wearing nothing, that's literally keeping him there for nothing, has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds already.

But never mind THAT because actually there's something more important than JUST wasting public funds because you're scared of his gentleman's area.

SERIOUSLY, what is more offensive: a glimpse of WINKEY or a MAN'S LIFE in CHAINS?

And in fact, we are ALL in chains. Because this farcical law applies to us ALL.

Equating NAKEDNESS with BADNESS harms every single one of us.

We have SERIOUS intimacy issues in this country because we are always being told to cover up, put up barriers between each other. We have SERIOUS body dismorphia hang ups in this country too, with people OBSESSING over being too fat or too thin or too the wrong colour or too airbrushed (er)…

Some even go so far as to assert that a naked people must be a "threat to the children". ("Oh won't somebody think of the children!") Because OBVIOUSLY naked people MUST be exactly the same as PAEDOPHILES. And as soon as you can make THAT connection then WHOAH! anything goes! So long as it STAYS ON, obviously!

That is why it is USUAL at this point to wave a big surrender-flag of disclaimer and say something like "but being naked isn't about the SEX! (shock! horror! cover the fluffy elephant's eyes!)".

But I'm NOT going to say that because I'm not willing to surrender!

I have had a "TALK" with my Daddies.

Sometime being naked IS about being "sexy". Whatever THAT is. And we can't go around saying "the sexy sort of naked is the bad sort", because that just gets us into even MORE of a fuddle. For hundreds of years society and the church used that sort of brainwashing as their best means of CONTROL – 'cos controlling the most INTIMATE aspect of people's lives makes it SOOOO much easier to control the rest.

Sometime being naked IS about being sexy. And that's got to be all right. And sometimes it's NOT. And that's got to be all right too. And sometimes DRESSING UP is about being sexy. Apparently.

(And I'm only TEN so that's as far as "THE TALK" with Daddy has got, so far!)

What I'm saying is that it all seems MUCH TOO COMPLICATED to just say "you've got nothing on so you're BAD!"

The Law is locked up in a PURITAN CHASTITY BELT because it was written by people so SCARED, so AFRAID, so buttoned-up TERRIFIED of their sexuality that they made their PIANOS wear DRESSES! Is it any wonder, this country is SERIOUSLY warped!

So here is the test. If you are a Liberal Democrat, it says on the front of your membership card:
"we exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society… where no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity."
This man is enslaved by conformity.

We EXIST to save him.


In New Zealand, naked bicyclists get off with a safety warning. Isn't that better all round?


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 3299: The Not-at-all-sexed-up Dossier Did NOT Mislead, claims Mr Alistair Henchman… so THAT'S all right then(!)


Lord Blairimort's enforcer, Mr Alistair Henchman, is at the Chilcot Enquiry defending the Iraq Dossier.

That dossier: "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction – The Assessment of the British Government" (pdf), aka the SEPTEMBER Dossier (NOT the subsequent FEBRUARY Dossier "Iraq – Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception and Intimidation", aka the "Dodgy Dossier", which was a complete fabrication*) is the one that said Mr Saddam still had Weapons of Mass Destruction and could launch them within forty-five minutes.

"I don't believe the dossier in any sense misrepresented the position," said Mr Henchman.

Apart, obviously, from being COMPLETELY WRONG.
Asked about weapons of mass destruction, he said their alleged existence became such a "central issue" because of the sense of the "serious and credible threat" they posed to stability in the region.
But to the best of my fluffy knowledge, Great Britain is not IN the "region".

And the ONLY possible justification for Great Britain going to war under INTERNATIONAL LAW is an attack on GREAT BRITAIN.

According to Mr Henchman, Lord Blairimort had "a fundamental view about this."

Aren't we supposed to be AGAINST fundamentalists?
On the 45-minute claim, which was retracted after the war, he said the dossier "obviously" could have been clearer about it referring to battlefield munitions. But he insisted that Mr Blair had put forward a balanced argument in the House of Commons on the issue and the 45-minute claim was only given "iconic" status by the press.
But this claim doesn't JUST appear in the Prime Monster's foreword; it appears FOUR times in total – it's in the Executive Summary, and gets its own (black humour) bullet point; it's in Chapter 3 "The Current Position", listed as one of the "main conclusions" and repeated in section 5 of the same chapter under "recent intelligence".

In none of these cases is it qualified as referring only to "some battlefield munitions"; none of these cases clarifies that this is from ONE uncorroborated source of information; not once is the word "maybe" deployed.

We know NOW that Mr Saddam didn't HAVE any Weapons of Mass Destruction. There was nothing capable of being launched within forty-five DAYS let alone minutes.

Oh, you may claim that it's EASY to say that with HINDSIGHT.

Well the UN inspector, Mr Hans Blix and Bumpsidaisy, was saying it AT THE TIME – saying there was no evidence of WMDs and asking for more time to conduct more inspections.

And the LIBERAL DEMOCRATS were saying it AT THE TIME – saying that in the absence of ANY evidence this was an ILLEGAL WAR.

And this is why this sort of war IS illegal.

If you are FRIGHTENED of the FOREIGN GENTLEMAN living… well not even next door, but in different town altogether… you can't just go round to his house, beat him up and throw him out and then say: "oh, I really, really BELIEVED at the time that he had a GUN and he could have threatened his neighbours in that town, some of whom used to know me a long time ago."

And yet that is EXACTLY what Lord Blairimort DID do, and what he is now – it would seem – claiming as justification.

Doing his best to cover Lord Blairimort's fluffy bottom, Mr Henchman insisted that Lord B had wanted a DIPLOMATIC solution.
Lord Blairimort was clear that military action against Iraq should be regarded as a last resort if the diplomatic process failed and war only became inevitable when efforts to get a second UN resolution collapsed."
Sorry, let me just get that right – the war became inevitable because the UN wouldn't agree to a resolution that would allow the US and UK to go to war?

Isn't it time we just stopped PRETENDING and admitted that the invasion of Iraq was an ILLEGAL and COSTLY mistake, a hideous, ghastly mistake that cost the lives of thousands and thousands of people.

Dwelling on whether the dossier represents what people BELIEVED was the position is neither here nor there. IT WAS WRONG.

If you broke into someone's house because you "really, really believed" they were a threat you would be arrested and sent to prison.

What Lord Blairimort did was tens of thousands of times worse.

*Remember: it would be VERY WRONG to assume that the British Government might in any way have made up any of the intelligence in the September Dossier just because they completely made up the contents of the February Dossier.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 3297: Mr Balloon Preaches Politics of Envy


Can you believe Mr Balloon would say that a successful, popular British producer (and exporter) ought to have their operations squished in order to benefit less well-performing operations?

Restricting the people doing best in order to give a helping fluffy foot to their less-commercial rivals… wouldn’t he call that a bit, well, SOCIALIST in any other context?

And yet he DOES say this:

I think sometimes there are sort of territorial extensions … into areas where, frankly, they are in danger of sort of squashing the smaller commercial operators.

Who’s he talking about? Oh, it’s the BBC of course.

Yes, restrictive practices! Yes, handouts to the underprivileged (multi-megacorporations)! Yes, deal a blow to those free market wheeler-dealers who say a body that does what it does well should bally well be left to get on with DOING it well!

Yes, this is CLASS WAR, Conservatory style!

If it ain’t broke, hunt it down and kill it!

And he comes close to accepting the TERRIFYING idea of turning the licence fee into A GENERAL TAX – oh I’m sure he’d SAY he was “abolishing” the licence, but he’s still have to raise the money. So he’d have Master Gideon raise OTHER taxes “to pay for the BBC” and THEN promptly not pay Auntie Beeb as much as he was raising “in order to cut the deficit”.

I mean the advantage is that if you didn't have all the paraphernalia of the licence fee arrangements, you could actually make it much lower because you wouldn't have the administrative costs.

Yes, you could save LOTS of money by not collecting it. I wonder if he’s thought of suggesting that Sky could save money if THEIR subscriptions were collected though general taxation as well.

And what does he know about broadcasting anyway?

Oh I’ve worked in television,” boasts Mr Balloon.

Oh, what do you act? DO you direct? Do you design sets? Sew costumes? Rig lighting? Fix make-up? What?

Name us ONE television programme you’ve had a fluffy foot in the making of! Saying you “work in television” is like saying that Mr Edward Timpson is one of those people who makes shoes by hand. You know: cobblers.


Day 3295: Harriet’s Hit and Run


Did Harriet Harman engineer the snowplot silliness?

Radio Four’s Weekly Political Review* did their review of last year and after twenty-five minutes of talking up Conservatories and down Hard Labour, suddenly Mr Peter Riddler remembers there might be a BROADER spread of political opinion and asks:

So, the Liberal Democrats… Jackie Ashley, has it been a good year for Captain Clegg?

And La Ashley replies:

Well no, but I’ll say who has had a good year: Harriet Harman…

So much for the Guardianista insight, but you must admit 2009 aside, 2010 has started with a GOOD WEEK for Harriet the Harminator.

At the end of the week, Mr Frown is wounded. Again, Mr Millipede is derided. Again. Mr Balls, the schools bully, has lost some of his grip. Mr Lord Sideous (Senator Mandeltine) has been sidelined. And the only real winner is Harriet.

And, of course, she miraculously gets to keep her driving licence by admitting to a lesser offence when the more serious charges of “driving using a mobile telephone”, “driving away from the scene of an accident” and “driving under the influence of delusions of grandeur” were all dropped by the Justice Department. How very fortunate for the former Minister in the Justice Department.

She said she’d be back!

Ask yourself how it happened. Wednesday sees Buff Hoon and Patricia Blewitt lose the plot.

That reminds me: does the Prime Monster read my diary? Decide for yourself!

Millennium Elephant: Thursday Morning – coup is a snowstorm in a teacup

Mr Frown: Thursday Evening – coup is a storm in a teacup.

Talk about blowing a good GAG!

But anyway, as I asked before, what were they even THINKING? Surely, they can only have believed that picking over the scab of Hard Labour’s bitter internal divides was a good idea if they had reason to believe it might WORK.

Which must mean that SOMEONE had given them reason to believe that those six cabinet ministers might GENUINELY be ready to resign.

But who could have DONE such a thing? Let us, as Monsieur Hercules Porridge might say, apply the little grey cells. Look at the motives – who benefits?

Could it be someone who WANTED to get rid of Mr Frown? The week’s events have only succeeded in locking Mr Frown into the Downing Street Bunker for good. Well, until the election anyway. Not a win for the “anyone but gordon” ABGbies.

Could it be someone who wants Mr Frown’s JOB? The person who is, after Mr Frown, most damaged by this week is actually the person many would expect to benefit MOST from a regicide, the Secretary of State for everywhere else, Mr Millipede.

Mr David Millipede looks – and more importantly is widely BELIEVED – to have WANTED to topple Mr Frown and then MUFFED his chance. Again. He left it far too late to offer his support and was far too mealy-mouthed when his statement finally came. And only referring to “the Prime Monster” rather than Mr Frown by name didn’t help either. Rumours that “” was ready to roll out are reminiscent of Mr Michael Portaloo prematurely installing telephones in anticipation of another leadership challenge that never happened.

In contrast, Ms Harman is widely reported to have seized the BULL by the HORNS, or more literally, seized the PRIME MONSTER by the SHORT-AND-CURLIES, going directly to Downing Street and staging a CONFRONTATION with the Mr Frown, at the end of which she secured MORE POWER and a BIGGER ROLE in the General Election campaign.

Well, yes, that COULD be a poison chalice, but it also advances her chances of standing for Leader should Mr Frown happen to fall under a LANDSLIDE.

So how about someone who wants Mr Frown to stay in post, or in the firing line, until after then General Election when he gets, er, fired, but needs to position herself to be ready to take advantage. Let’s just say “could be…!”

Or is that all a bit too clever?

*That thing that they broadcast on Saturdays, also known as “the Saturday Morning Shouty Show” whenever Daddy is forced to listen to it.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Day 3293: Snowstorm in a Teacup


Sometimes that Mr Balloon has all the luck. He's all ready to launch the Conservatory election campaign when he falls flat on his airbrushed face because he forgets his own Party's policy on tax and marriage (it's one of, what, four that he has to remember?).

And no one's going to notice because the very next day two of the so-called Big Beasts of Hard Labour decide to shoot the Prime Monster in the foot. Again.

And you've got to ask how badly off ARE Hard Labour if their "Big Beasts" are Mr Buff Hoon and Ms Patricia Blewitt?

I mean, for all this talk of Conservatories preparing posters, images of that pair beside the slogan "even THEY think we can't go on like this" are less likely to provoke a revolution than baffled cries of "who?" from the general public.

Just WHAT did the conspirators think they were DOING? Talk of this being the "last window of opportunity to change the leader" is blithering nonsense – the last window of opportunity was six or seven MONTHS ago, before the Party Conference season (so the new leader can have one big platform speech and then go directly to the country). The election campaign has ALREADY BEGUN. Once you've ACTUALLY started to cross the CHASM it's a BIT TOO LATE to start hacking at the ropes holding the bridge up.

I mean never put it past people in public life to do something BRAIN MELTINGLY STUPID, but surely even a heartbeat's consideration by ANYONE would lead you to notice that this couldn't have ANY POSSIBLE good outcome. IF they DON'T hold a vote, the Prime Monster is frit, and it reminds everyone that he's never faced even an INTERNAL election to get his current job; if they DO hold a ballot then too big a victory and people will claim it is a fix (thanks to his Mr Stalin reputation) and too narrow a victory and people will claim he's lost his mandate. And he might just LOSE…!

In which case who, pray tell, did they think could take over? Postman Pat and his black and white DRUGS POLICY? One of the MILLIPEDES (it's too early to say which)? Mr James the Scarlett Pimple-purnell?

And incidentally, this surely HAS to be the end for any ambition that the senior Millipede has to lead his party. This is the third time he's been led up to the bring of showing some BOTTLE and EACH time he's fumbled the decision. As candidate to be ditherer in chief, a Mr Frown II (this time without the gravitas), that's fine, but is that REALLY what the defeated and demoralised Hard Labour fraternity will look for in their next, er, Big Brother?

But then the catalogue of second-raters and also-rans crawling out of the Cabinet woodwork to off the Prime Monster their full support reveals just what a WRECK of his Party Mr Frown is going to leave behind when he finally goes.

I realise that this kind of ATTRITION is almost INEVITABLE in Governments that go on way too long: the Conservatories under Mrs Queen Maggie had the same problem, as one by one she saw off the Grand Figures of her Party like Mr Willie Whitelaw, Mr Michael the Hessleswine or Mr Nigella Lawson or even Mr Sir Gerffey Howe, leaving behind the distinctly B-Team likes of Mr Major Minor and, well, most of his Cabinet.

But the only figure of ANY substance – even if it IS mostly SHADOW – is First Lord Sideous (aka Senator Mandeltine).

Speaking on the Newsnight Show, the First Lord High Everything Else told Mr Paxo: "I don't need to threaten anyone in the Cabinet," before adding: "They all already know that I know where they live."

After him we've got puffed-up, over-promoted maroons like Mr Johnson & Johnson, the hilariously invisible Mr Benny Hill or the sinister minister Mr Jack Man'O Straw. And that's without even mentioning Nectarine-tinctured Non-entity Mr Peter Vain.

The idea that a CABAL of Mr Bob Aimless (Defence), Mr Wendy Alexander (International Development), Mr Jim Murky (Scotland) and led by Ms Harriet the Harminator could topple Mr Frown isn't even SATIRICAL. Does anyone even know who these people ARE?

Lord Sideous again: "The whole Hard Labour Party are united in wanting Mr Frown to lead us into the next General Election."

But that's really not the point: the HARD question is do they really want Mr Frown to lead them for the four years AFTER a General Election. Obviously not.

Hard Labour are finished and they know it. They're not even waiting for the General Election to BURY them before starting to FALL APART.

Like the Conservatories before them, Hard Labour are probably over for a political generation.

That means it's up to the Liberal Democrats, once again, to be the EFFECTIVE Opposition.

Because if Mr Balloon has all the luck, then that's bad luck for EVERYONE else!


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Day 3289: Mr Balloon Speaks: I Can’t Go On!


Conservatory Leader, Mr Balloon, has admitted that he’s not up to running a country at war and will be having to go begging to Captain Clegg and whichever unlucky troglodyte ends up in Mr Frown’s shoes as leader of the THIRD party after the election annihilates the Hard Labour Government.

Yes LUCKY us! We have been privileged to be addressed by the Conservatory Cowardy Custard in waiting, and he’s broken the SHOCKING news that he’s going to start campaigning for the 2010 General Election. Like he’s been doing since it was the 2007 General Election.

Let the Lovebombing Commence or “Fly My Pretties” as Mr Balloon almost certainly wouldn’t put it unless he thought he could get away with it.

By a curious twist of completely making it up, I have here for you the text of an early draft of WHAT HE WAS REALLY THINKING as he did his usual shtick for the cameras. Possibly.
“My future serfs,

“It’s a brand new year.

“It’s a new decade. At least that’s what Gideon tells me, and I’m FAIRLY sure he can add up. Anyway, I believe in Year Zero.

“This time always comes with smug self-satisfied complacency. I‘m sorry did I say complacency, I meant hope.

“Hope for me, anyway

“But in 2010, I can do more than just hope. The next general election is no more than 153 days away and thanks to Lord Ashcroft – tax position subject to negotiation – I can BUY that election.

“Let's make this the year for change. Change. Say it with me. Change. Change you can believe in. If it worked for Barry O… I’m willing to black up. I’ve seen the Black and White Minstrels. Heck, at Conservatory Conference I’ve seen the Bullingdon Boys DO the Black and White Minstrels. Er. No, forget I said that.

“So let's make this the year for change: the year when the positive defeats the negative. That’s why I say we can't go on. No, not negative at all there. We can’t go on. Look, I’m going to be saying ’we can’t go on’ eleven times, so just remember I’m being positive even when I’m being really negative. Okay then?

“We can’t go on with the same irresponsible economic policies – we need NEW irresponsible economic policies.

“We can’t go on with an old-fashioned left-wing class war on aspiration – though I hope to goodness Hard Labour DO… or at least I can keep on PRETENDING that everything that they say or do is a Class Attack. After all, just because I’ve never held a responsible government position or indeed ANY sort of job other than doing PR for the failed ITV Digital company and carpet-bagging for Norma Lamont on Black Wednesday, that’s no reason to infer that I got where I am because of my background rather than my talents. Remember you don’t HAVE to be posh to be privileged. But I certainly am. Posh, that is. AND privileged, now I think about it.

“We can’t go on with the old style of politics that divides our country instead of uniting it – setting people against each other with accusations of a ‘broken society’, urging homeowners to turn vigilante.

“We can’t go on with Hard Labour's bureaucracy, running everything from Whitehall – it’s about time we handed over even more power to the big City institutions that have done SO WELL for us – well those of us who can get non-executive directorships lined up, anyway – institutions like the banks, the insurance brokers, the pensions companies…

“We can’t go on in these difficult times with a weak Prime Minister and a divided government – that’s why I promise – a cast-iron guarantee, if you like – to be led around by the nose by the Euro-nutter factions and splinter groups on my back benches rather than risk any confrontation.

“We can’t go on with another five years of Mr Frown… When I say “another” five years, remember that Mr Frown’s already been Prime Monster for five years… At least that’s what Gideon tells me. And I’m FAIRLY sure he can add up.

“This is no time for more of the same. Still, that’s what I’ve got to offer, so here we go.

“We need change to get our country back on its feet.

“And it’s the modern Conservative party that has the plans and ideas… the evil plans, the mad ideas… the chutzpah, the brass neck, and the sheer bloody good fortune to have the election fall into our lap to bring that change…

“We are starting our campaign to win the general election today. I know I’ve announced the launch of our campaign before. You can be sure I’ll announce the launch of our campaign again. Don’t say I haven’t learned anything from Lord Mandelbrot! So long as Baldy Nick at the BBC keeps buying it, I’ll keep shovelling it.

“So, it’s finally time to announce our actual plans. Almost.

“Until then, you can have some more soft soap. Or warm handwash in these days of Swine Flu.

“First, we need change in our economy, because – all together now! – we can't go on like this.

“Britain needs responsible economic policies that deal with our debts, so we have stability to create jobs and keep mortgage rates and taxes lower. Which means’ your stuffed, ‘cos there’s no way Gideon can manage all of that! Or ANY of that, really.

“Since I started speaking today, more than half a million pounds has been added to the national debt. And that’s just by the Conservatory advertising agencies! Imports from Columbia can be SO expensive… er, I’ve heard.

“Anyway, that’s why we’ve been clear – by which I mean almost completely opaque – about our intention to cut public spending, and clear – by which I mean as vague as possible – about where some of those cuts will come – from something or other to, ooh, whatever it is. Oh, I know teachers and old people: they can foot the bill. No, forget I said that too.

“But that’s not enough just to deal with the deficit. So we’re back to being a bit stuffed. I’ll just call it an ‘economic miracle’ and hope that someone else rescues the economy.

“Anyway, the mission that drives this party is building a stronger society. No, don’t laugh.

“We are progressive Conservatives. No, I said DON’T laugh.

“Our goal is to create a fairer, safer, greener country where opportunity is more equal. Though we’ll settle for a richer, richer, richer Conservatory Party where you oiks pay for us to keep all our opportunities.

“We will protect the NHS – we will protect it from government interference… by privatising it!

“We will protect schools… by privatising them!

“We will protect welfare reforms… by privatising them!

“We will… oh look you get the picture…

“But don’t worry, we’ll be tough on crime, tough on the causes of… thingie. Alcoholics, drug addicts, people in debt. We’ll lock em all up. It won’t solve anything, but it looks terrifically tough. Michael Howard always used to think so. Do you remember thinking what he was thinking? No, neither do I.

“A decade of big government and blunt, bureaucratic control has undermined responsibility and made our social problems worse, not better.

“We are determined to forge a new direction. And I’ve worked in PR. I know about forgery.

“We will encourage people to take responsibility for their actions.

“Obviously I don’t mean IMPORTANT people; that’s why I oppose EU banking regulations and proper reform of the House of Commons. Who wants their MP to be actually accountable, when fewer MPs, which means larger constituencies, could put them more under the control of the Whips’ Office instead.

“No, I mean ordinary little people. They can take responsibility. And so they can take the BLAME.

“Within months of a Conservative victory there would start the most radical decentralisation of power this country has seen for generations.”

“I know what you’re thinking: will we start by reversing and repealing Mrs Thatcher’s Local Government Acts then? No, of course not. Conservatory centralisation and QuANGOcracy is GOOD for you! That’s while I’ll begin by introducing NEW ‘Bonfire QuANGOs’ to run the Bonfire of the QuANGOs. Then we’ll be having a Bonfire of the Bonfire QuANGOs. And we’ll need a whole SPECIAL COMMISSION to run that! It’ll bring REAL opportunities back to people.

“And Government will enter a new era of transparency. You can see my policies. You can see right through them!

“These are the changes our country needs.

“These are the changes that will help get Britain back on its feet.

“But I know people have heard this sort of talk before.

“Yet nothing ever happens and nothing ever changes.

“So why now?

“Why should people trust this change?

“I’ll tell you why! It’s because people are MORONS! Yes, I really believe it. If you suckers will watch Britain’s Got Talent and think it’s a GENUINE SURPRISE when Susan Boyle looks like the Honey Monster and sounds like a choir of angels, then you’ll believe I’m for real too. Especially if Mr Roger Stavro Moredick has the Scum tell you so over and over and over between now and polling day. Oh please, Roger, I’ll give you BBC3 if you make it so!

“We have shown over the past four years that we can make change happen. Look how much we’ve changed by NOT having Conservatories in government. Just imaging how much we can change by NOT having Conservatories in Government for the NEXT four years!

“So believe in me, and believe in the leadership that I have shown.

“Leadership that is modern, strong, decisive, united!

“And how can “leadership” be “modern”? Leadership is leadership – so by “modern leadership” I mean “not the old sort of leadership”… or basically “not leadership”. Er.

“So how can our leadership be simultaneously “strong” and “united” – you may think that either you have a strong leader and a SUBSERVIENT Shadow Cabinet or you have CONSENSUS leadership and a united Shadow Cabinet, but you can’t have both unless you have the Stepford Shadow Cabinet… oh…

“And HOW can I claim my leadership to be decisive? Well look at this very SPEECH! Here I am, rowing back from that “age of austerity” drama that I was pushing before Christmas. THAT made everyone very depressed. So I’ve DECISIVELY decided to do a complete U-Turn and go back to being Mr Sunshine. For the moment.

“We have argued for fiscal responsibility from day one of my leadership.

“Remember how Mr Deadwood responsibly called for slashing of banking regulation or when Gideon responsibly announced he was slashing taxes for dead millionaires? Remember when we were responsibly spending more on hugging huskies before we responsibly said we couldn’t afford it any more.

“We have argued for social responsibility from day one of my leadership.

“Remember how I said we should hug a hoodie? Remember how I said we should blame the hoodies for the broken society? Remember how I said MIXED MESSAGES were BAD!

“And I’ve ALWAYS said that marriage is an institution that is so important to our society – unless it’s between gay daddies in which case it’s a matter of conscience and my voting record is clear on where I stand, which is completely the opposite of what I say nowadays – but marriage is under threat and it can only be supported with a ten pound
bride bribe. That’ll keep the family together.

“We have campaigned consistently to put the environment and civil liberties on the political agenda.”

“Oh no, no, sorry – I’m thinking of the Liberal Democrats. They haven’t dropped their Green policies during the recession. In fact their Green Tax Switch is even MORE important for them now, because they’ll be using that to help fund a substantial cut in tax for lower and middle earners. Something we in the Conservatory Party couldn’t consider doing because it wouldn’t benefit ourselves. Er.

“Still, when the expenses scandal broke, we were the first to pay money back, we paid the MOST money back. We had to. We were the WORST! Er. We were first to publish our expenses online. Apart from those Liberal Democrats who ALREADY published their expenses online. And we were the first to commit to cutting the cost of politics. Not actually REFORMING politics. That would be SILLY when we’re going to win! Whether you want us to or not. Isn’t First Past The Post grand!

“Anyway, over the past four years, we have always tried to work with other parties rather than looking for political dividing lines where none exist.

“Remember that, voters: We’re JUST like the people you REALLY want to vote for. We stand for change. But only into something the same.

“We backed Lord Blairimort’s invasion of that Middle Eastern Counry – Iran, Iraq, can’t remember which – and we backed renewing Trident even though we could have inflicted a damaging defeat on the Government. We just thought we were better off stirring up damaging dissent on his back benches.

“And we backed Mr Frown’s spiralling house-price bubble and credit boom too!

“And we worked with the Liberal Democrats to get justice for the Gurkhas jumping on the bandwagon at the last minute when it looked like I could get my picture taken with Ms Joanna Lummey! Lor’ Bless Her!

“We called for TV debates more than four years ago…just as Hard Labour did in the four years before THEY actually had something to lose. And we have stuck to that whether ahead in the polls or behind in the polls. Our consistency on this issue has been… well totally irrelevant, actually; it’s Mr Frown’s desperation and Lord Mandelbrot’s sly cunning that has made it happen.

“In that spirit of unity, of a greater purpose than the simple pursuit of politics, I have an announcement to make.

“I can announce today that if we win this year's election, I will invite leaders of the main opposition parties to take the blame for every single British soldier that dies in Afghanistan.

“After all, I don’t see why I should! I mean I’ve been there twice but I’ve still no idea where it is. Apparently we’re at war with the Toblerones. Or possibly Alka-Seltzer. Anyway, I’m jolly sure that we should be doing exactly whatever it is we’re doing there and I’ve always supported the War on Whoever, whoever it’s actually on. So I think the other parties should agree with me too. Even the ones who don’t agree with me.

“Anyway they can have this special access to my Special War Cabinet on Privy Council Terms just like being on the Privy Council. Which they’re already on. And which already also gets the War Cabinet briefings. So basically they get nothing. And I get to cover my nicely Saville-Row suited arse.

“When a nation is at war, it needs to pull together. Pull together. Pull that chain and flush those other Parties.

“I am determined that with a Conservative government, it will.

“Because we can't go on like this. I told you there would be eleven of those.

“So there are some of our plans.

“Our plans are not timid – but the truth is they can’t be. They have to be INVISIBLE or you won’t vote for them, no matter HOW stupid I think you all are.

“A better NHS; an aspirational economy; a big society; a new politics…and a load of old HONK.

“We have a four year track record of covering up the worst in our party; now I’m determined to do the same in Government.

“We are all in this together – and by that I mean YOU are all in it together; me and Gideon and the other multi-millionaires, we’ll be just fine thanks – and we know that if we – YOU – all pull together then this country can have great hope for the future. For us.

“You may now sit.”


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Day 3288: DOCTOR WHO: The End of Ten, Part Two

New Year’s Day:

The first grew too old, his body wearing thin; the second confronted the Time Lords; the third realised his own mistakes before facing death by radiation; the fourth was visited by each of his companions; the fifth gave his life for a single ordinary, extraordinary person; the sixth saw his own future; and when he became the seventh he crashed his TARDIS. Paul McGann doesn’t count. The ninth survived the Time War and burned in the TARDIS.

The tenth was all of these things, and with “I don’t want to go” uniquely his own.

The perfect conclusion.

“The End of Time” was the perfect capstone to all that Russell Davies has brought to the series: a big, batty, crowd-pleasing, Master-pleasing spec-tac-u-lar mixed with small beautiful moments of pure driven emotion to break your heart. And one last magic-Rusty-diamond plot device of making no sense whatsoever.

Finally, though, Russell writes a part two that is actually right: one that pays off the set-up in part one, indeed pays off things set up going back to the noise in the Master’s head from “The Sound of Drums” and even the Doctor’s tear for the Time Lords in “The End of the World”.

In fact, even if you aren’t going to take this as the Time Lord Invasion of Earth from Lawrence Miles’ almost perfect not-quite-Doctor-Who novel “Dead Romance” and their plan to “ascend” being, basically, “we will become the Celestis, and thank you again Lawrence” or “we shall steel the future from humanity and become floaty energy-beings gods as per “The Book of the War” and saying Gallifrey is “only the outer edge of the Time War” sounds very like Larry’s concepts of the moving fronts, with secure centres, while in the end the Houseworld is left time-locked just like Utterlost – even apart from all that, you can still go the full Lawrence Miles and spot a link or nod to each and every story of the Russell era… I’ll start you off in a post-script.

But this is much more literate than that – Mark Lawson’s review in the Guardian is quite right to spot all the allusions to (David Tennant’s) Hamlet, even if he clearly hasn’t watched the broadcast show, merely read the speculative spoilers in the Telegraph. And yet it’s much more contemporary too, full of snappy movie references, but with a uniquely Doctor Who twist!

So let’s do Star Wars, but with Bernard Cribbins as Luke Skywalker. Let’s do the cantina scene but as an excuse for a gay pick-up. Let’s do the radiation-in-a-glass-box ending of “The Wrath of Khan” but with ship already out of danger. Let’s do as many endings as the Return of the King, but make us care each and every time. Let’s blow up the ship – and kill the crew – like it’s the end of a season of Blake’s Seven, but we know that they’re both coming back.

This is where you need a movie-quality director like Euros Lyn, to give the big moments the big-screen magic and at the same time to draw in the focus on the quieter, contemplative moments.

The weaving together of dangling plot threads to make a satisfying whole is done with such ingenuity as to make it look planned from the very beginning. (Yes, I’m a sucker for “The Curse of Fenric” too!) By cross-linking the flashback in “The Sound of Drums” with Davros’ rescue as described in “Journey’s End” we get a way for the Time Lords to return that actually makes sense without betraying the whole thrust of the series’ continuity since we learned that the Time Lords were lost.

Dalek Caan had to punch a hole in Time in order to rescue Davros from inside the Time War, and it drove him bonkers and blew his casing to bits. But the Time Lords already have their very own hole in Time, the Untempered Schism, a perfect backdoor escape plan so long as you can find some poor patsy to play homing beacon on the other side. And it still drives / drove / will drive / has always driven him bonkers.

The Doctor’s relationship with Master reaches a new intensity here. The Master has totally won, done away with the whole human race and succeeded in placing the Doctor in literally his own place: the full Hannibal Lecter, bound and gagged and tied to a trolley. (The hilarious scenes of the comedy cactusses cacti bouncing him down the steps drew cries of “is this Russell trying to torture David through his last story”… which the big man later confirmed during Confidential!). But even then, the Doctor still tries to talk him back to the light side.

And nor will the Doctor accept the proposition that if the Master wants to kill him, he should kill the Master first. Not even to save the six billion humans alive (and I loved the macabre implication that the Master has possessed, violated, the dead as well). Though he snatches up that gun fast enough the moment he hears that the Time Lords are returning.

The Master’s Plan is to possess the Time Lords the way he’s possessed the human race. But then he does that ‘why don’t I just tell you all my plans so you can work out a way to defeat me?’ that he vowed not to at the start of this body. And he does it to Rassilon, of all people, who does indeed listen and foil him with a flick of the wrist But it was brilliant that the Lord President dismissed it with a contemptuous wave of his gauntleted (in a very Buffy the Vampire Slayer way) hand. And brilliant that it was all the Time Lords’ plan all along anyway.

So, ironically, the conclusion sees the classic Pertwee-era theme of the Master and Doctor joining forces to defeat a greater enemy that the Master has raised and underestimated. Perhaps death has turned him all traditional. And yet it’s done with greater subtlety than ever before. There’s no crass agreement of terms, just the mutual request to “get out of the way” as first the Doctor defeats the Time Lords without having to kill the Master and then the Master saves the Doctor in order to take his revenge. It’s almost the conclusion to “The Final Game” that Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks planned to be the third Doctor’s final adventure, though without the metaphysical “the Doctor and the Master are the same man” bobbins and without the Master losing his edge by “turning good”. He seems to disappear back into the Time War with the High Council, but who knows if that means we’ve seen the end of him.

I’m assuming here that the five Time Lords who actually set foot on Earth are the (surviving members of the) High Council. In fact, the Lord President’s address to the assembled Panopticon, when he says the High Council must vote, may imply that the High Council of the Time Lords means all the Time Lords, and that the five or six around the council table are the Inner or perhaps Supreme Council (depending on whether it’s “The Invasion of Time” or “The Five Doctors” that you’re taking as your template… and may the Time Lords have mercy on your soul).

And yes, Timothy Dalton is The Lord President of Gallifrey, Rassilon – maybe even that Rassilon, awoken from his slumber in the Dark Tower like an evil King Arthur come at the hour of Gallifrey’s greatest need, or resurrected like the Master.

The portrayal of the glove-of-evil™ wielding, spittle-flecked maniac that we see here is not actually inconsistent with the rumours and stories of Rassilon’s cruelty that the Doctor speaks of in “The Five Doctors”, nor yet with the genocidal xenophobe given delicious voice for Big Finish by Don Warrington.

But I’ve seen it suggested that the Doctor is using the name insultingly, as in: “you’ve become as bad as Rassilon, and I’m imprisoning you in your Black Tower forever”, and that works just as well.

Left open-ended was the identity of “the woman” who was helping Wilf, although she’s revealed as one of the Time Lords, one of those weeping for what their world has become. Apparently, in the commentary, Julie Gardner refers to her as the Doctor’s mother – but nothing on screen confirms this. I prefer the rather beautiful theory that I’ve read online: she is Susan. She says of herself that she was “lost so long ago” – as Susan was in “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” – and the Doctor’s significant glance when Wilf asks who she was is not to Sylvia (the mother) but to Donna, who is Wilf’s granddaughter. To me that gives a better closure, to the past series and to questions of what happened, than introducing a character we have never before seen, to whom we’ve gained no emotional connection.

In the end, it seems so right that the greatest threat to the universe, the universe of the Tenth Doctor, the Lonely God, the last Lord of Time, should be the Time Lords themselves – the answer to his prayers; the root of his nightmares.

And after all the rumours of the “giant reset switch of doom™” Russell effectively says: “no, they can never, ever come back”.

And yet – and quite right too – the Doctor’s death isn’t caused by the huge great events that he crashes through, not even the fall from the glass ceiling, which he also crashes through. It’s the consequence of one small act of kindness – Wilf saves some poor soul who’s trapped inside the nuclear power source for Naismith’s Immortality Gate, and is in turn trapped himself.

I said last week that this needed to be about something, and it was: it was about knowing when it’s over; it’s about saying that sometimes “goodnight sweet prince” can be better than “rage against the dying of the light”. Not that this Doctor doesn’t rage against it; he’s positively petulant about it at times, almost throwing a tantrum when the time comes. But he still steps unflinchingly into that death chamber.

The whole point was saying that the Time Lords had lived too long. That’s a double-edged point when you think metaphorically of all power corrupting, but also in the series’ terms of the way that the Doctor’s people and planet had become debased from a world of omnipotent demigods in “The War Games” to a bickering committee in an airport lounge in “Arc of Infinity”. A universe without gods is better because gods can fall.

But at the same time, the Doctor is spared because ultimately he is able to surrender his view of the big picture and give in to the small events. Sure, it might kill him from time to time, but he can walk away from that and if it’s death for one self, still his next life will be a better man because of the lessons learned.

Were the last ten minutes self-indulgent? Well, yes… but actually that’s entirely in character for this incarnation of the Doctor. He’s always been self-indulgent, whether it’s with his girlfriend Rose, or breaking the Laws of Time, or running away from a date with destiny (in the person of Ood Sigma). The Ninth Doctor had a death wish; the Tenth loves his life just that bit too much. Holding off his regeneration long enough to say farewell is exactly what ten would do, even if the effort of it blows up the TARDIS in the end. And in fairness, it’s what we wanted too. A last lap of glory. A Doctor’s reward.

(Though, okay, maybe Martha married to Mickey is a bit of an indulgence too far – yes, it gets two companions out of the way in a single scene, but really it’s not where either of them were headed after “Journey’s End”. Nor does giving Donna a winning lottery ticket really seem like the Doctor’s style. Unless it’s a reciprocal in-joke with “Nan’s Christmas Carol”.)

And finally, we end where we began, back on the Powell estate. It seems perfect to arrive on New Year’s Day 2005 – when the very first teaser for the returning series aired. “It’s Almost Time… but not yet”.

And then, thirty seconds later, he was gone. And we have a whole new Doctor – with legs, and arms and eyes (two) and nose (had worse) and chin (blimey!) – to look forward to. And I’m totally sold on Matt Smith already. What an entrance.

The future is going to be awesome. Fantastic. Brilliant. Geronimo!

The preview trailer can now be found here.

As promised, the official Lawrence Miles “let’s reference all the stories of the new series” game:

Rose – the Doctor materialises the TARDIS on the Powell Estate in 2005 and promises Rose a great New Year.

Aliens of London/World War Three – there’s a Slitheen in the Space Bar; flying over the English coastline… with missiles!

Boom Town – there’s another Slitheen in the Space Bar.
Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways – Gallifrey appears to be littered with crashed Dalek saucers; the regeneration itself.
The Christmas Invasion – there’s a Sycorax in the Space Bar with Captain Jack; the eleventh Doctor still isn’t ginger.
Attack of the Graske – there’s a Graske in the Space Bar with Captain Jack.

School Reunion – Sarah-Jane Smith

Army of Ghosts/Doomsday – the Immortality Gate comes from the same spacecraft buried under Mount Snowdon referred to by Yvonne Hartman.
The Runaway Bride – Donna’s memories include the Empress of the Racnoss; Donna finally gets married.

Daleks in Manhattan/Evolution of the Daleks – “The Devil in Me” plays in the Space Bar scene.
The Lazarus Experiment – the Master’s Ring bears the logo of Professor Lazarus’ Laboratory.

Human Nature/The Family of Blood – the lovely Journal of Impossible Things scene
Blink – the Lord President refers to “the Weeping Angels of old”.
Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords – umm, no, nothing coming to me here.
Voyage of the Damned – Midshipman Alonzo Frame “meets” Captain Jack.
Partners in Crime - there’s an Adipose in the Space Bar.
The Fires of Pompeii - Donna’s memories include the Pythian Sisterhood.
Planet of the Ood – the planet of the Ood.
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky – there’s a Sontaran trying to shoot Martha and Mickey
The Doctor’s Daughter – when offered a revolver, the Doctor says “never”; there’s a Hath in the Space Bar.
The Unicorn and the Wasp – Donna’s memories include the Vespiform.

The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End – Wilf refers to the incident with the paint gun; Donna’s memories include Davros .
The Next Doctor – is Matt Smith.
Planet of the Dead – he will knock four times.
The Waters of Mars – slightly naughty, could it be Ood Sigma intruding from this story into the end of that one.