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April 17th 2015
Recently a friend of mine sent me, and a few others, a link to a post someone had written about the Christian way to vote: not an endorsement of any particular party (I think the writer was American, anyhow), rather a list of things that Christians should consider when voting. To be honest I didn't find it particularly insightful, and I thought it was totally mistaken on the topic of the economy, but my friends found it useful, and one point that raised comment was that Christians should vote for what is good for the nation, not just what is good for them individually. I agree with this point, but I would have thought it was obvious. Until I realised that I might be quite unusual in not really being impacted by anything that any future government will do.
Of course, that is a severe exaggeration (it's how one ends paragraphs if one wants to tantalise readers, right?) and I am not naive enough to think that I am completely unaffected by government decisions. But, consider: I don't have children; I'm not (and never again will be) in education; I'm not receiving welfare and it's highly unlikely I will need it in the near future; I'm not self-employed and I don't own a business; I'm a very long way off retirement; I don't drink or smoke; I am not planning to buy a house or sell the one I'm in; I'm not going to receive inheritance soon (I hope!) and when I do it won't hit seven figures; it's a few years since I availed myself of the NHS (and when I do, I couldn't care less who pays the doctor who sees me); I don't work in the public sector or armed forces. And so on.
Financially, I'm well off enough that I don't need to worry about tax bands shifting around a bit, but I'm nowhere near rich enough to concern those who get concerned about such things. I would be affected by the state of the economy, as we all are, but evidence from the recent credit crunch indicates that I'm fortunate enough to be a lot less impacted by an economy on the buffers than many are.
All of which means that, even if I were electorally disposed towards selfishness - and I'd like to think I wouldn't be - I'd still have no reason to do anything other than vote for who I think is best for the country and the people in it. Indeed, I'm voting with an almost abstract detachment; as a man who's always enjoyed pure mathematics, there's something pleasing about that. I hope that doesn't sound unfeeling - as I write it, I fear it might - because my point is not that political decisions should be heedless of people's feelings; rather that I am in the privileged position of not having to choose between what I think is right and what I think helps me personally. When the next government makes parsnips compulsory and bans facial hair, of course, I'll really be kicking myself.
In other news, the new Star Wars trailer is out and I am very excited. "Chewie, we're home". Oh yes.
Tune in next time for my favourite film from every year since 1950. Seriously.

April 17th 2015
As promised yesterday - gosh, look how I'm updating two days in a row! - I've made a list of my favourite films from every year since 1950. The rules are simple: the year of release is based on what Wikipedia says, and I have to have the film on DVD. Some years were easy, particularly some of the early ones where I only have one film; others were very difficult because the year contained two films that I love (Forrest Gump vs. The Shawshank Redemption and The Truman Show vs. Shakespeare in Love are two where I've still not really made up my mind). Here you go:
1950 - Harvey
1951 - The African Queen
1952 - Singin' in the Rain
1953 - Roman Holiday
1954 - The Million Pound Note
1955 - The Seven Year Itch
1956 - The Man Who Knew Too Much
1957 - 12 Angry Men
1958 - Vertigo
1959 - North By Northwest
1960 - Psycho
1961 - Breakfast at Tiffany's
1962 - To Kill a Mockingbird
1963 - Summer Holiday
1964 - Goldfinger
1965 - Help!
1966 - Alfie
1967 - Bonnie and Clyde
1968 - Oliver!
1969 - Ring of Bright Water
1970 - Love Story
1971 - Diamonds are Forever
1972 - The Godfather
1973 - The Sting
1974 - Murder on the Orient Express
1975 - Monty Python and the Holy Grail
1976 - Rocky
1977 - Star Wars Episode IV
1978 - Superman: The Movie
1979 - Kramer vs. Kramer
1980 - Star Wars Episode V
1981 - On Golden Pond
1982 - An Officer and a Gentleman
1983 - Star Wars Episode VI
1984 - Policy Academy
1985 - Back to the Future
1986 - About Last Night...
1987 - The Untouchables
1988 - Big
1989 - Back to the Future Part 2
1990 - Goodfellas
1991 - Doc Hollywood
1992 - A Few Good Men
1993 - Groundhog Day
1994 - Forrest Gump
1995 - Sense and Sensibility
1996 - Romeo + Juliet
1997 - Good Will Hunting
1998 - The Truman Show
1999 - Three to Tango
2000 - Memento
2001 - Crazy/Beautiful
2002 - Catch Me If You Can
2003 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004 - Spider-Man 2
2005 - Walk the Line
2006 - Amazing Grace
2007 - Stardust
2008 - The Dark Knight
2009 - Zombieland
2010 - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
2011 - X-Men: First Class
2012 - Avengers Assemble
2013 - Her
2014 - Edge of Tomorrow

April 26th 2015
In the run-up to the election I have been writing a few politically-themed blog posts (albeit interspersed with film-based lists, clearly), and today I thought I'd ask a guest writer to turn their hand to some political analysis. Or, rather, turn their paw to it. Ladies and gentleman, Pluggy has been thinking about the general election and would like to share his thoughts with you (I helped with his spelling, which - much like Winnie the Pooh's - is sometimes wobbly):

Pluggy does his research

Hello everybody, my name is Pluggy and I'm a polar bear. Apparently polar bears aren't allowed to vote in the general election which I think is a bit unfair. My daddy says there are a few different parties to choose from, and teddy bears like parties so I thought I'd like to vote for the one with the nicest cakes, but apparently these are different kinds of parties and they don't sound so much fun to me.
Labour means working and my favourite thing to do is playing (my second favourite is sleeping) so I'm not sure that they would be the best. Sometimes I work like when I dust my garden or hoe my pond but I don't do it very often and I don't think I'd like to have to do it all the time. In fact, lots of my friends who are bears are very fond of sleeping and it sounds like labour would get in the way of doing that. Daddy says that Labour's favourite colour is red. I've got a red scraf but I can't remember where I put it.
I like the Conservatives because they're also known as the Story Party. I like to read stories like Mr. Clever, who is my favourite Mr. Man because he's got glasses like me, and I like to tell other people stories too. I had lots of adventures when I was little so I tell stories about that. Charlie Bear is very old and he's got lots of stories to tell about when he was a young bear which I like to listen to as well, although he does tell the one about camping quite a lot. I think he has a forgettory sometimes. Oh, Daddy says that the Conservatives are actually called the Tory Party, not the Story Party. I don't know what Tory means so that's not very helpful.
Liberal Democrat
The Liberal Democrats have got a very long name and it's a bit confuzzling. My full name is Pluggy Eater Thomas which is even longer but my friends call me Pluggy which is a much more sensible length, if you ask me. Anyway, I think 'Liberal' must be a good thing because if there's a liberal supply of chocolate then that's yummy. Apparently 'Democrat' means that people get to decide things, which I'm not so sure about because I think bears should get to decide some things, like the right time to eat plugs or have a snoozle. My friend Bobby Bear has a Good Ideas list and that's just the kind of thing that is useful to have if you want to make decisions.
I saw the UKIP man on television a few weeks ago and he didn't like immigrants, which means people who live here but weren't born here. I came here with Father Christmas from the North Pole so I think I must be an immigrant, and I want to stay here so I don't think I like UKIP very much.
Green Party
The Green party like flowers which is nice. I think they get worried about polar ice caps too, and I don't really know what they are but apparently you have to look after them otherwise lots of polar bears get wet. I don't like getting wet because it makes my fur all heavy and it takes a long time to get dry again. Daddy says that the Green party tried to stop people eating sausages every day, so Timmy doggie doesn't like them very much, but I don't think he needs to have sausages every single day. Overall I think the Green party have got some very good ideas about flowers and polar bears and not having sausages every day so if I could vote I think I'd vote for them.

what was I listening to?
The Very Best Of - Cat Stevens
what was I reading?
Blair - Anthony Seldon
what was I watching?
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