Tag Archives: space

Government: The Final Frontier

One of the truly awful things about conference this week was music used for the video photomontages – all three of them – that they insisted on playing before the leader’s speech, all three of which were to the tune of the most vein-opening soft rock I’ve ever come across. Personally, I’d never heard of the first piece they played, although it did sound suspiciously like the sort of thing to be found on the soundtrack to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (which I’m ashamed to admit to owning). The second piece however was much easier to place: it is the theme tune to Star Trek: Enterprise.

My understanding is that this music was selected by Ming’s image consultant Gavin Grant. The question one has to ask is, what next? I confidently predict that at the next conference, all MPs will be forced to wear Starfleet uniform, colour coded according to what policy team they are in. Evan Harris will of course be forced to wear a red shirt. It would be nice to think that our “Lib Dem lovelies” ([c] The Sun) will be wearing 1960’s style Star Trek uniform (i.e. miniskirts so small you need an electron microscope to detect them) but we simply can’t be that lucky. The Liberator crew will be forced to wear Klingon costumes.

More worrying still is what this says about the direction our foreign policy may be going in. Star Trek has always at least flirted with what we now call neoconservativism – in the Next Generation the Prime Directive was always name checked, but most episodes were focussed on how the Enterprise crew found ways to get around it. The original series didn’t bother with such niceties: “we come in peace (shoot to kill)!”.

But Enterprise was a different beast altogether. Very much a product of its era, Scott Bakula even looks like George Dubya Bush. The third series – during which I pretty much lost the will to live (or at least continue bothering with it) – was concerned with the Enterprise going off on a dangerous and uncertain military adventure to find weapons of mass destruction following from a transparently obvious 9/11 type incident. United Federation of Planets? Who needs it?

Before we go around embracing its theme tune, Gavin should note that it was possibly the most reviled aspect of a most reviled TV series, which ended in miserable failure only four series. The omens do not look good.

Planet X

Spare a thought for the poor astrology community who, either way, will have their work cut out coping with the decision by the International Astronomical Union today. Either Pluto gets to remain a planet, and thus so will Xena and up to 50 other bodies circling the Sun, or it gets struck off the roster.

Despite the fact that Neptune, Uranus and Pluto were unheard of in antiquity, astrologers have gamely incorporated them into their calculations. This is effectively an admission that astrology was bunk until Pluto was discovered early in the last century. Now it looks as if those calculations were all flawed. What’s worse, they may have to contend with a planet named not after a Greek God, but a character from a TV show. The indignity of it.