Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I read the news today, oh boy

Four good news stories from the last few days:

From Monday it is possible for gay couples to register Civil Partnerships in the UK, which give them equivalent rights to married people. The British are so good at getting round this stuff; only the press, and then only the most sensationalist press actually used the phrase “gay marriage”. And indeed, from everybody I have spoken to abou this, it was not as if the British gay community were ever particularly wedded (!) to the term or concept of marriage as it exists within our culture.

This is great news as far as I am concerned. I would say ‘long overdue’ but I think perhaps we needed to wait; the backlash would have been far greater and more dangerous ten, let alone twenty years ago.

To me, civil partnership and marriage is about defining next of kin, property rights and children. Romantic partnerships are things which happen inside individuals and communities; no rings or sheets of paper could make [...] and I stronger and he is as much part of our family as Adrian, my actual factual brother-in-law – at least to those members of the family whose opinions and support matter. Religion only enters into marriage in so far as religion enters into every aspect of the lives of someone who is religious - such a person could not conceive of marriage outside the institution of church (or whatever), but then they couldn't conceive of spending Sunday mornings (or whenever) outside the church either, or eating forbidden foods, or wearing clothes which aren't consistant with their beliefs.

The Turner prize was awarded to Simon Starling on Monday. I used to defend it, I am not opposed to conceptualism or installation art; some of that stuff is very interesting. Perhaps I am getting old, but I am decidedly unimpressed by someone telling me that they merely did something. To me, art has to be about an interaction between the artist and the audience – and as, Oscar Wilde said, art’s role is to conceal the artist from view and act like a mirror on the audience. Recent Turner winners have been all about the artist, not the art. The way we respond to art – in the widest sense of the word – should tell us something about ourselves on some level. I look at Shedboatshed and sense that someone is trying to bullshit me.

However, the BBC News website did a Mock Turner Prize, the winner of which was this very interesting photograph (tin foil falling into a pan of water). I really like this. I have to say none of the other shortlisted pictures were outstanding, but there was some interesting stuff in there. I certainly think our own Pete Mentalas ought to enter if they run it next year.

Also on Monday, people with progressive health conditions including MS, cancer and HIV have been awarded protection under the Disability Discrimination Act from the point of diagnosis. As I understand it, previously they were only protected one impairment had manifested itself, so if you were sacked once word got out you were ill, you would have little or no protection. So that’s great.

And yesterday David Cameron has been elected leader of the Conservative Party. I am really pleased about this and was impressed by his speech. I cannot imagine that his politics will ever seduce me, but we desperately need a viable opposition and he sounds like he might actually achieve it. Least of all, he described as scandalous the under-representation of women and ethnic minorities in the party. In the last election there were more Conservative parliamentary candidates called Philip than there were female candidates...


pete said...

Hi Goldfish,
I do wish I had a patron des arts to sponsor my artistic leanings, but alas.....
The photo of you in windswept Scarborough(?) reminded me of a study for a Millais painting. Talking of which I hope you don't mind me giving you another of my bookmarks, something to lighten up your dark days a little:


pete said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
pete said...

Apologies after painting/ it should read /paintingov.html

I tried to post it above but it truncated the address!


Anonymous said...

I am all for having a viable opposition, Goldfish. However, having lived as an adult through the Thatcher years, I can't but feel that one bloody Tory is as bad as another.

marmiteboy said...

I had to switch off Radio Five Live the other night because I couldn't stand listening to another bigot bemoaning the fact that the minority groups were undermining our society. By this they obviuosly menat that they did not agree with the civil partnership. What I fail to understand is why people get so upset about this. How is it going to affect their narrow minded little lives? Is the introduction of the civil partnership going to make it illegal to be straight? I cannot bring myself to repeat what was said the other night (unfortunately most of it in tbe name of religion. I for one am very pleased about this change in the law because in means some very good friends of mine can have a ceremony next year and legalise their relationship and show the world what they mean to each other.

As for Mr Cameron's election. 'm a dyed in the wool anti-Tory and don't think Cameron is the answer to the Tory party's problems. We are in need of a credible oppossion, mainly to keep Blair's increasingly monetorist policies in check. But a party who has a straight, white, middle-aged Yorkshireman as their head of diversity leaves me wondering if they are capable of change.