Monday, 3 December 2007

Values, teddy bears and a pound of flesh

I was originally going to call this entry “Hypocrisy, teddy bears and a pound of flesh” – but that would be judgmental (not good!), so I’ve amended the title.

Now that Gillian Gibbons is safely heading back to the UK, I thought that it was safe to blog about this. (The last sentence started its life as a joke, but as I type it I wonder…)

Anyway, Gillian’s story can be found over at the good old BBC. There was outrage in the UK, including from the Muslim Council of Britain; and there was some (limited as far as I know) protest in Sudan that the sentence was too lenient.

What judgments did we make? Did we wonder why a teacher wasn’t aware of the potential offence in a culture that she had entered? Did we think in terms of ‘fundamentalists’?

Next story – Wendy Alexander has apparently received illegal contributions to her leadership campaign (see BBC again). One aspect that really puzzles me – why do you need a fund to fight an uncontested election? Surely you just turn up on the day, vote for yourself without spoiling the ballot paper, and you’re in! Anyway, the donation was from someone not on the UK electoral roll and was, intriguingly, for slightly less than the amount where donations have to be made more public.

What judgments did we make?
Political sleaze?
Cannae run a raffle, never mind the country?
“Off with her head!”

Anyone spotted the connection yet?

I’m quite fond of quoting Burns, especially:

“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
Tae see ourselves as ithers see us."

Also, something about specks and beams.
One final question about these two cases – who clyped?

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