Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: World

Death of Jacintha Saldanha

What two radio jockeys thought or claim was a prank proved tragic to Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse in King Edward VII Hospital. She was 46, married to Benedict Barboza and mother of two children, Junal Nevile (16) and Lisha (14). She was found dead around 9.35 a.m. GMT on 7/12/2012. The jockeys Mel Greig and Michael Christian of 2Day FM, claimed on phone they were Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles. They wanted information about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy. Jacintha Saldanha took the call and transferred it to duty nurse who gave the required information. The incident got publicity to radio station and caused embarrassment to royal family and hospital. Many people were outraged at the invasion of privacy of a pregnant woman. The jockeys were happy about the publicity they got.

After the death of Jacintha Saldanha the outrage increased. The jockeys disappeared. Lord Glenarthur, chairman of the hospital, wrote to Southern Cross Austereo, owner of 2DayFM, condemned the hoax for humiliating two caring and dedicated nurses the consequences of which were tragic beyond words and asked him to make sure that the incident will not be repeated. Rhys Holleran, Chief Executive of Southern Cross Austereo, held a press conference in Melbourne. He said the radio station had done nothing illegal. He was wrong. The jockeys committed at least two crimes, impersonation and cheating. These are crimes even if they are committed by many radio stations and have gone unpunished for a long time. The jockeys had recorded the conversation and the management of radio station had approved it before broadcast. Besides jockeys, people who approved the broadcast are guilty of crimes. They all should be prosecuted.

Mitt Romney loses

Willard Mitt Romney lost U.S. Presidential election. This election did not have a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) or anyone who had served in the military as presidential or vice presidential candidate from Democratic or Republican side.

It is said that the proportion of whites in American population is decreasing. It is 72%. If it had been 76% Mitt Romney would have won. The counter-argument is that in 2008 the white percentage was 74% and Barack Obama won with higher percentage.

Mitt Romney had offended the British when he went to London when Olympics were nearby. Prime Minister David Cameron said hosting Olympics in London was different and it is easy to run an Olympics in the middle of nowhere referring to Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 which Mitt Romney had organized. London Mayor Boris Johnson addressed a crowd and asked “There is a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes we are.” The crowd said “Yes” every time.

Mitt Romney offended Russians by saying Russia is America’s geopolitical enemy number one. The Chinese where apprehensive about the trade policy he will follow. The Palestinians were offended about the statement about their culture.

Barack Obama was more popular in USA and abroad. In a poll conducted in 21 countries Pakistan was the only country that did not want Barack Obama to win.

Mitt Romney changed his position on issues. When he was governor of Massachusetts he was seen as liberal. When fighting for Republican nomination he was seen as a hardliner. During presidential debate he seemed moderate. Someone said “Mitt Romney is not pro-choice. He is not anti-choice. He is multiple choice.” That was in the context of his changing stance on abortion.

Before the counting began many analysts said the contest was too close to call. The election day may turn into election week or election month. Some talked of the possibility of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney getting 269 electoral votes each and U.S. House of Representatives electing Mitt Romney and President and Senate electing Joseph Biden as Vice President. It was an anti-climax. For sometime Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had a close race. Barack Obama won Ohio. Then at 11.18 p.m. Eastern Time Wolf Blitzer on CNN declared Barack Obama the winner.

Mitt Romney’s statement that he did not care about 47% damaged him. Two Senate candidates created more problems. Todd Akin talked of legitimate rape. Richard Murdock talked of a child conceived due to rape as a gift of God.

Mitt Romney had tried for nomination in 2008. This time he got nomination but lost the election. Republican hardliners may have been miffed at his changing positions. Some may not have voted for him because he was a Mormon.

Herman Cain, Rick Perry, John Huntsman, Michelle Bachman, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were Mitt Romney’s competitors for Republican nomination. Ron Paul did not concede defeat. It is of academic interest what would have happened if Mitt Romney had chosen Rick Santorum as his running mate.

Some are concerned about the money spent on presidential election. The president is not directly elected by the people. It is better for U.S. Congress to elect President and Vice President for 4-year terms whenever the vacancy arises.

House of Lords

House of Lords consists of 26 Anglican bishops (Lords Spiritual), 92 hereditary peers, life peers and peeresses and judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Law Lords).

There is talk of reforming House of Lords. On 10 July 2012 David Cameron’s government introduced a bill in House of Commons for reform of House of Lords. Its size was to be reduced from 826 to 450. It will be called Senate and 80% of the members will be elected. The demand for reform is from Liberal Democrats who are in coalition with David Cameron’s Conservatives. More than reform it is replacement of House of Lords with another house.

House of Lords is a unique feature of UK. It is different from upper houses of other countries. Its members are not elected. It is part of British tradition.

House of Lords should remain as it is or should be abolished. Having elected members in House of Lords does not make sense. There is no point in having members elected for one time 15-years terms.

UK is a combination of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. House of Lords represents aristocracy. If aristocracy is abolished there is no need for another house for democracy.

House of Lords had many powers which were significantly reduced in 1911 and 1949. In 1999 the number of hereditary peers was restricted to 92.

It is strange that UK wants to imitate USA which has Senate. In USA, Senate has two representatives from each state. This is done to protect the influence of small states. Continental Congresses and Congress of the Confederation were single houses. In House of Representatives the number may vary from one to 54. In Senate there is no domination of small states by large states.

There is no need for upper house in legislatures if the members are directly or indirectly elected. One directly elected house is enough. Many times upper house is used to accommodate people who cannot get elected directly.

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