Oh, the temptation to write one of my long, pontificating posts is too much! The British media have been having a field day recently with the MP's expenses 'scandal'. I'm bored already. Since when has it been a surprise that politicians are not honest? Next week the Daily Mail will be horrifying us with a similar scandal regarding estate agents and the Daily Star will shock us with their revelations about used car salesmen!
Flippant remarks aside, what really worries me - what always worries me - is how the media drive public opinion. They treat us like a great bonedheaded lynch mob, ready at a moments notice to grab our pitchforks and take to the streets, baying for blood. Fed on a diet of soaps, celebrities, scandals, half-truths and lies, instead of being insulted, instead of asking questions, instead of examining the bearers of all this information, we react predictably. Heads must roll, someone must be blamed. So what do the British people want, when emotions are running high, and common sense low? A general election! I thought revenge was a dish best served cold? It would be funny if it weren't so serious. After 9/11 and the global economic crisis, we should know by now that a crisis in one country can have huge unforeseen repercussions in others. Who is laughing hardest, journalists or the BNP?
I have to admit though, now the Telegraph has lifted the stone on the story, some real creepy crawlies have been revealed and the worst in my opinion is this man, Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons. It made me cringe just to see him trying to wriggle himself out of the mess. Some are calling him a scapegoat but he was the one who tried to block the newspaper reporting the details of MP's expenses - hiring lawyers to do so with taxpayers money! As Speaker, he is supposed to be impartial, but when he verbally attacked Kate Hoey, above, in the House his fate was sealed. I didn't know anything about him before this, but now I wonder how on earth a man like him ever rose to such powerful position? As I said to Mark though, there seems to be a man like him in many organisations, busy maintaining the status quo and undermining progress.
Sky News were waiting outside when the Speaker resigned, catching whoever they could for a comment, and some strange faces emerged. Anthony Howard, above, was interviewed. His teeth remind me of a sketch in the Simpsons when Lisa is shown The Big Book of British Smiles! Below him I didn't catch the name as I was too busy marvelling at his hairdo - where on earth do you go for a crinkle cut style like that?
Speaking of funny hairdos, I went out to sketch some elusive cows yesterday afternoon. I spotted some cows in a field near to me, two years ago. But as Mark and I were just setting out on a long walk, I thought I'd go back the next day to sketch them instead. Too late, they were gone! Last year, Mark sent an e-mail to say he'd spotted them as he was walking to work. I went out that afternoon and again I missed them! So when he came home on Tuesday evening and said they were there again, I didn't hold out much hope but it was third time lucky! Too bad I haven't been sketching recently bacause I really felt it. The first page was hopeless and only these two are worth showing - and they were tidied up and had some shading added when I got home. It was lovely though, sitting in the field and enjoying the sunshine (it would have been too hot today). The cows didn't take any notice of me but then one of them suddenly got very curious, staring at me for ages giving me a nice still model. Yes, they really do seem to have a little fringe on top with a centre parting!
For all these sketches I used two new techniques - blending with a Q-tip, which gives it a different feel to a tortillion or a tissue, and taking out highlights with my Jakar eraser, which I used for Kate Hoey's hair and the pinstripes on Anthony Howard's suit.