These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 17, 2006.
Friday, 17 March 2006
Hobbyhorses and elephants
The expression "ride a hobbyhorse" was recently the subject of some confusion, indignation, metaphor mixing and not a little mirth. (Is "hobbyhorse" one word or two? I've seen both "hobbyhorse" and "hobby horse" many times. Today I am going to plump for one word rather than two, for reasons that will become clear later.)
Most of us have hobbyhorses, and I am no exception. Mine is as stubborn as a mule: grammar schools, the destruction thereof, the consequences of this destruction for education and social justice, and the hypocrisy of the destroyers. Bee buzzing around in my bonnet, I will allow myself a quick canter and point out Tom Utley, who states what Basil Fawlty called "the bleedin' obvious" in today's Telegraph:
That truth is that parents go on ruining themselves in order to pay school fees because the great majority of the 100 best schools in the country are independent. In the A-level league tables, only nine of the top 50 schools in the land are in the state sector - and every single one of those nine is a selective grammar. There is only one comprehensive school in the top 100. This is the elephant in the room that my fellow Old Wet, Ruth Kelly, chooses to ignore when she promises, with David Cameron's complicity, to put an end to selection.
Tom Utley is quite right, and nothing further needs to be said - for now - on the subject of grammar schools. However, I would like to draw attention to Utley's use of an expression that one hears a great deal these days: "the elephant in the room". This expression is self-explanatory and very appropriate, although it is in danger of being overused. Increasingly, however, I have seen a variation on this, namely "the purple elephant in the room". This is silly. An elephant in a room does not need to be purple for you to notice it; common or garden grey will do. Or pink if you have had a few too many. But a purple elephant is gilding the lily.
Gilding the lily, writing two words where one will do, and all forms of tautology should be avoided if you are a woman. This is because we - apparently - use far too many words as it is. "Research" has shown that women use, on average, 20,000 words a day and men use, on average, 7,000. Or was it words and gestures, or was it 10,000 for men? Who knows? Whatever it is, "research" has shown it, and this means that we women must cut down. Which reminds me of an old joke:
A husband was trying to prove to his wife that women talk more than men.
He showed her a study which indicated that men use about 10,000 words per day, whereas women use 20,000 words per day.
His wife thought about this for a while. She then told her husband that women use twice as many words as men because they have to repeat everything they say.
Her husband looked stunned. He said "What?"
Posted on 03/17/2006 5:43 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 17 March 2006
More Proof of Eurabia- Hamas to Attend EMPA
No coincidence it is an official Eurabian organization, the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA), that is providing first contact with Hamas. David Horovitz writes in the Jerusalem Post, "PLC Hamas member to attend EU parley":
In what appears to be a first crack in the formal European Union position against contacts with Hamas, the EU's Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) is set to host at least one newly elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the victorious Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform List, The Jerusalem Post has been told. The EU formally brands Hamas a terrorist group.
Five PLC members are due to attend the EMPA's main annual gathering in Brussels at the end of March, a spokeswoman for EMPA said, including Mahmoud Ahmad al-Ramahi. Ramahi, an anesthesiologist from Ramallah, is the PLC's secretary-general and, though not a Hamas member, ran at No. 8 on the Change and Reform List.
One European source told the Post that EMPA was prepared to host Change and Reform List members so long as they were not self-declared Hamas members. But an official EMPA spokeswoman said the PLC had selected its own delegation, that it was hoped in Brussels that none of the delegates would prove to be Hamas members, but that it was "not clear" what EMPA would do if one or more turned out to be Hamas members or affiliated with Hamas.
Israel - on whose behalf Majali Wahabi, a former Likud MK now with Kadima, has attended previous EMPA events - is not sending any delegates to the gathering, because it is on the eve of the elections here.
In a more overt, though potentially less significant, sign of warming European attitudes to Hamas, the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly decided Wednesday to invite a Hamas member of the PLC to its next session, in April in Strasbourg, France.
The Council's Parliamentary Assembly has no institutional connection to the EU. EMPA, by contrast, is an EU body. Set up in 2003, it brings together parliamentarians from the 25 EU nations and the EU's 10 Mediterranean partners: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, the PA, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
The fact that the current president of the EMPA is Josep Borrell Fontelles, the president of the European Parliament, gives the nature of participation at this month's parley additional EU weight, some sources said.
But they stressed that even were the European Parliament itself to hold contacts with Hamas, this would not necessarily represent formal EU backing for such a dialogue. They noted that at the height of the second intifada, the European Parliament passed a resolution urging the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, to no practical effect. Nonetheless, they acknowledged, hosting one or more members of the Hamas-backed List for Reform and Change would constitute a degree of European legitimization.
Posted on 03/17/2006 8:17 AM by Andy Bostom