Friday, October 24, 2008

Politics and the Cosmos

click photo to enlarge
The UK press has carried a story for the past few days about a couple of politicians, one from each side of the political divide, who have been enjoying the hospitality of a Russian oligarch. More specifically they were seen being entertained on the billionaire's £100 million luxury yacht in the Mediterranean. The suggestion has been made that one of the politicians was soliciting a donation for the party coffers. Whether that's true or not I don't know. However, their presence in the company of this man does represent an unsavoury characteristic of too many who enter politics, namely the way they are dazzled by money and the power and toys that money brings.

Perhaps I was naive in my youth, and maybe an unhealthy scepticism has infected me as I've aged, but I always had the impression that many British politicians were in parliament because they had political principles that they wanted to help to put into practice. Today, it seems, more and more politicians see the well-paid position of a minister or MP as a stepping stone to an income stream beyond the wildest dreams of the man in the street: money from directorships, adviserships, etc that can fund a lifestyle of travel, large houses, fine dining and luxury goods. The "high life" of influence, consumption and pleasure seems to be their ultimate goal.

Well, I've no alternative advice on how to secure influence, and consumption of that sort is beyond my experience. But, I can suggest a path to the achievement of pleasure at minimal cost that doesn't involve keeping the company of Russian billionaires. Buy a packet of flower seeds - I recommend Mexican Aster (Cosmos bipinnatus "Sensation Mixed") - sow them in a sunny spot, water them when it's dry, and enjoy watching as they grow from tiny seedlings to a mass of large, colourful blooms with delicate feathery foliage. Pleasure a-plenty is to be had from this modest past-time, and further pleasure is to be had by photographing them, as I did today!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/60
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On