Wednesday 27 April 2011

AV Alternatives

Political news coverage is rarely uplifting, but the forthcoming referendum on the Alternative Vote has produced something rather pleasing. Normally, MPs are forced to toe the party line, miserably agreeing with whatever their colleagues say, and automatically objecting to anything from those on the other side of the House.

At times, it can become so dreary. There seems little point in having all those seats, if there are only 2 opinions.

And that's the unexpected benefit of the current political climate: some MPs appear to be saying what they think.

Generally, the Lib-Dems seem to want AV, while the Conservatives don't. They argue about it - really argue about it - but are still able to agree on other issues. It's not unlike real-life, where honest folk can agree on some things and disagree on others - amazing!

And it got me thinking. If I'm honest with myself, I think AV is probably a fairer system, even though my political leaning is towards the Conservatives, who AV wouldn't benefit. Does it matter that I don't agree with everything one party says? Of course not.

Maybe we should go even further. Against my initial expectations, I like the coalition. There's a balance between the 2 camps that keeps both in check, with each having to justify what it does to the other, rather than just following their own agendas. And the Lib-Dems are too useful to sit in opposition - they're not just a bunch of nay-sayers - but I don't feel they're focused enough or tough enough to run things on their own against the other 2 parties.

Which leads me to my point. Two parties in power, balancing each other, and able to disagree with each other when it's needed. Perhaps we don't need AV - perhaps we need a new box on the ballot paper that says "Conservative & Lib-Dem Coalition".

That would be something I could vote for.

Monday 25 April 2011

Chapter One

I just closed my laptop and walked out of the room feeling genuinely upset.

After a number of false starts, the first chapter of Book 2 seemed to come together quite quickly today, and it was oddly harrowing to go back to Naysmith and Kim. Maybe it's because I now know what's going to happen at the end, or maybe just because that opening chapter was pretty rough on them. In any event, I felt bad about it until I spoke to Anna and realized that this probably bodes well for my opening chapter eliciting a strong emotional response in the reader.

Which made me feel good again!

Monday 18 April 2011

Aaron Sorkin

I recently watched "The Social Network" and was struck by how much I enjoyed it.

Obviously, the aim of most movies is to entertain, but a couple of hours on the story of Facebook doesn't bode well when it comes to great viewing.

So what made it so good?


Mr. Zuckerberg, do I have your full attention?

Mark Zuckerberg: [stares out the window]



Do you think I deserve it?

Mark Zuckerberg: [looks at Gage]



Do you think I deserve your full attention?

Mark Zuckerberg:

I had to swear an oath before we began this deposition, and I don't want to perjure myself, so I have a legal obligation to say no.


Okay - no. You don't think I deserve your attention.

Mark Zuckerberg:

I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try - but there's no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention - you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing.


Mark Zuckerberg:

Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

The screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin, best known for scripting "The West Wing" and "Charlie Wilson's War". On paper, I wouldn't have rated either of these, but there's something rather dazzling about the dialogue in all of them. True, ordinary people rarely quip so cleverly at one another, and the sarcastic sense of humour is much more polished than anything we experience in real life, but that doesn't matter. It makes no attempt to pander to the lowest common denominator and, as such, it's unashamedly brilliant.

I'm looking forward to whatever project he does next and, if there should ever be a bio-pic made of my life, I'd love him to write all my dialogue.