Robert Hampton

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20th March 2013

A cheerful post

Sorry for the delay in posting this next retro-blog. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I have been rather busy.

Over the ten years that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve always been a bit hesitant to talk much about big news stories. I’ve always believed that this isn’t the reason people come here, so I refrain from commenting unless I have something useful to say. That may be why my reaction to the Boxing Day Tsunami is just nine words.

Natural disasters seem to crop up quite a bit, with Hurricane Katrina and the New Zealand Quake both getting a mention.

Disaster of a different kind struck London on 7th July 2005. As a railway enthusiast and regular commuter, it struck a chord with me:

Tonight I was on the evening rush hour train out of Liverpool Central towards Hunts Cross. It’s a busy train and is always standing room only. As we barrelled through the tunnel towards Brunswick, I realised that if someone on board was to detonate a bomb, there would be carnage, and escaping from the tunnel would be difficult.

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7th November 2012

Barack O’Drama
Posted by at 11.03pm | In the News | No responses

Barack ObamaCongratulations to President Obama, who won a well-deserved victory. It was a close vote in the US, but we can collectively breath a sigh of relief that this intelligent, level-headed, moderately liberal man has been given another four years, and the chance to finish what he started.

Although Obama’s victory is great news generally, it is especially welcome for marriage equality campaigners in the US. The President declared his support for gay marriage back in May, and some commentators were worried that this would damage his chances. In fact, the opposite his true: Obama has been re-elected while his opponent – who made “traditional marriage” a cornerstone of his campaign – has lost.

Elsewhere, four states held referenda on same-sex marriage legislation. For the first time, the electorate voted pro-gay in all four votes. The talking point that marriage equality is not wanted by the public has been demolished, and I suspect that the President’s endorsement has maybe helped change a few peoples’ minds, or nudge undecided voters in the right direction.

I remember waking up on a cold morning in November 2008 and hearing Obama’s victory speech on the radio. I don’t mind admitting I teared up a little bit. I didn’t feel the same euphoria this time around, but the speech he made in the early hours of this morning is definitely worth a watch. Obama is gracious and articulate with a dash of soaring rhetoric – we desperately need a figurehead like this on this side of the Atlantic.

Much as I like Ed Miliband, I can’t imagine him delivering a speech like this.

6th November 2012

I’m Robert Hampton and I approve this message

Mitt Romney once asked why aeroplanes don’t have opening windows. He once strapped his dog to a car roof for before a 12-hour drive. His gaffe-laden visit to London made Boris Johnson look statesmanlike by comparison.

Don’t let him anywhere near the White House, unless it’s on a guided tour. If you’re American, do the right thing today and vote for the competent incumbent instead.

12th May 2012

If you love Obama so much, why don’t you marry him?
Posted by at 7.53pm | Gay | No responses

Obama on a UnicornThis week has been a rollercoaster ride for gay rights advocates in America. On Tuesday, an unpleasant and discriminatory anti-marriage law was approved by voters in a referendum in North Carolina. Less than 24 hours later, President Obama, presumably tired of the splinters he’d been getting from sitting on the fence, finally confirmed what almost everybody suspected: he supports marriage for same-sex couples.

This was big news in the States. The ABC network, which conducted the interview, went to extreme lengths to safeguard their exclusive, and then interrupted their normal schedule to carry the newsflash.

It’s a largely symbolic announcement: the issue of who can or cannot get married is largely decided by the individual states, and an intervention by the federal government would be difficult for many different reasons. Even so, for Obama to make a statement now is a brave move. Few issues arouse more passion than LGBT rights, and same-sex marriage in particular is guaranteed to get people riled up. The numbers are moving in the right direction, though: Gallup’s figures show that 50% of Americans support same-sex marriage – down slightly from 53% last year, but a significant increase from the 27% who were in favour the first time the question was asked in 1996. That is a massive shift in just 16 years.

Just before Obama’s announcement, the Guardian crunched some numbers and concluded that the President’s re-election campaign has nothing to fear from his announcement. That’s not a view shared by other pundits, but whatever the numbers say, there’s little doubt that Obama is on the right side of history. As gay people leave the closet behind forever to live openly and proudly in society, the question of equal marriage rights is a matter of “when”, not “if”.

The endorsement of the most powerful man on earth is also a welcome boost to the gay rights issue elsewhere in the world. The timing is very apt for us in the UK, where reports are circulating that the coalition government’s same-sex marriage plans are in turmoil and could be postponed. I have some more thoughts on the pro-marriage campaign here in the UK, but I will save them for a future post. In the meantime, you might want to check out the new campaign (Out4Marriage) which has been set up to complement the existing C4EM petition.

2nd May 2011

Bin There, Done That
Posted by at 10.07am | In the News | No responses

I am against capital punishment and a strong believer that all criminals, no matter how heinous their crimes, should be tried in a court. In the case of Osama Bin Laden, I think I can make an exception.

I remember being slightly numb with horror as I watched the events of 11th September 2001 unfold on my TV screen. The families and loved ones of those 2,977 victims may now feel that some measure of justice has been done.

It is not the end of the war on terror by any means. But for now, America can celebrate a victory. Congratulations to President Obama on winning the next six elections (note to self: need to check that’s how the US system works).

Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate. I was too busy killing Osama bin Laden

31st December 2009

2009? More like Woo! Thousand and Nine!

Was this year an exciting way to say goodbye to the decade? Here’s a reminder of what happened on planet Hampo this year (part 2, hopefully, follows tomorrow):-

January started out with one of my favourite shows being revived. Despite being up against EastEnders and being hosted by Ben Shepherd, the Krypton Factor did well enough to be recommissioned for a second series. We found out Who would replace David Tennant, and a year later we still haven’t actually seen him in the role. ITV’s latest attempt to ape the success of Doctor Who was Demons which failed spectacularly; the only creative thing about it being the number of different excuses the writers found for Christian Cooke to remove clothing.

In the wider world, various eras were drawing to a close, as Woolworths closed its doors, Tony Hart kicked the bucket and Dubya left office. Meanwhile, yours truly had an enjoyable night in London Theatreland.

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25th March 2009

Yes We Can… travel to Nottingham from Liverpool South Parkway
Posted by at 7.46pm | Trains | 1 response

And the award for most contrived use of a Barack Obama quote goes to… Merseytravel, for their ad in the current issue of RAIL magazine:-

Merseytravel Advert from Rail Magazine (Issue 614)

20th January 2009

Hail to the Chief
Posted by at 5.00pm | In the News | No responses

From this moment onward, George W Bush is no longer US President! 🙂

4th November 2008

Dear America
Posted by at 11.22pm | In the News | No responses

You have a big chance to make history and, at a stroke, make up for 8 years of chaos and blundering on the world stage. When I wake up tomorrow morning, I expect Barack Obama to be President-Elect, otherwise I’ll be… really quite upset. Thank you.

23rd April 2008

Presidential… Pardon?
Posted by at 1.33pm | In the News | No responses

When I saw this story I had to double check that I was reading the Guardian and not the Onion: President Bush has appeared on Deal or No Deal.

“Howie, I don’t know if you’re free to come to Washington any time soon but I have to reach an agreement with Congress on the federal budget. How’d you like to host a $3 trillion Deal Or No Deal,” Bush joked.

But wait! It gets better:

While Bush was on the game show, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain were appearing on the World Wrestling Entertainment’s popular Monday Night Raw programme.