Welcome to edition 160 of Britblog roundup, the weekly roundup of UK blogging! I’d probably best start by apologizing for the lateness of this week’s roundup, I’ve been very busy with my Includipedia website and other stuff.
Our first item is by Chris Dillow, who isn’t impressed by Margaret Hodge’s pronouncements on nationhood and diversity, or the tendency of out “betters” to try to dictate how we think and feel (not that they’ll ever be successful at doing so).
Devil’s Kitchen isn’t the least bit impressed by the government’s latest strategy on introducing ID cards — is anyone these days, apart from the contractors who will make a fortune implementing it? — and quotes The Nameless One as saying:
So I still have to pay for an ID card to access services that I am already entitled to and have already paid for. Jesus Christ, that is a bit of a mind fuck. It is like Tesco saying “I know you’ve just bought your weekly shop, paid for it ‘n’ all, but we’re not going to let you take those goods until that you are entitled to and have paid for until you have signed up for a Clubcard. Oh, and we are going to charge you a small fucking fortune for the Clubcard as well.”They’d be out of business within a week.
Abby O’Reilly at the f-word thinks it’s wrong that mothers are discouraged from breastfeeding in public:
A recent poll of 3,500 mothers across the UK by Kamillosan Chamomile Ointment has revealed the extent to which these negative attitudes have permeated the national consciousness, with motherhood no longer something to proudly embrace but rather something that should be carried out without offending the so-called angelic sensibilities of a country that apparently could not stomach a bit of tit.
More than one fifth of the women who participated claimed they have left their babies screaming from hunger rather than opting for the alternative of feeding them in a public place. Many women fear that they would be judged for their decision to breast-feed, with 38 per cent of new mums banishing themselves to lavatories as they anticipate a negative reception in a public space.
Incidently in Scotland it’s been illegal since 2005 to prevent women breastfeeding in public places. The punishment is a fine of £2500, although personally I think people who break this law should instead be obliged to wear a placard around their necks saying “I object to babies being healthy and properly nourished, because I have ridiculous sensibilities about showing a bit of tit. Please punch me in the face, because that is what I deserve.”
Also at the f-word, Louise Livesey is angry that Thomas Cook couldn’t get her name right:
So I said it should be booked under “Dr Louise Livesey” (that being my name). Apparently they couldn’t do “Dr” only “Miss, Mrs or Ms”. After much heart-rending conversations they said they’d book it in with one of those titles (Ms to be precise) and then get it changed as soon as possible and ask the company to sort out their booking system. And so in good faith I booked. The invoice arrived with the correct name on it. The flight tickets, however, have arrived in the name of “Miss Louise Livesey”. Yes that’s right apparently not only can I not be a Dr I can’t be defined by anything other than presumed marital status.
I imagine Thomas Cook’s computer system was set up to allow only a small number of titles, which didn’t include “Dr”. As a result, they’ve pissed off — and possibly lost — a customer. Which highlights how these days every company is an IT company.
Nosemonkey, aka J Clive Matthews, has a new directory of EU-focussed blogs. He’d like the help of Britblog roundup readers in suggesting blogs he’s missed.
Andew Ian Dodge is unimpressed by Britain’s health food industry:
I have to say that supermarkets in the US are far better at catering to healthy alternatives that in the UK. Even in the biggest supermarket in the UK the choices are limited and unimaginative. What I am most perturbed by is the lack of decent non-white bread here in the UK. You have choice of bog standard stuff or odd harsh ones; no decent pumpernickel or rye to be had.
The alternative is to go into those wonderful healthfood stores. You know the ones staffed by people with dubious cleaning habits lathered up with cheap patouli. These places spend more time going on about how “right-on” they are than actually stocking anything interesting.
I must say this doesn’t agree with my personal experience — my local corner shop sells a wide range of breads. (Then again, I live in the sort of area where this may be more likely to be true).
Jonathan Calder reminisces about the TV programmes Gophers! and 1990.
Stuart Syvret things that the root cause of the Jersey child abuse scandal is the oligarchical power structures on the island (he’s probably right):
This Saturday, at noon in Jersey’s Royal Square, a rally will take place to express acknowledgment and recognition to the victims of child abuse.
It is an opportunity for Jersey to show to the world that 99% of its people are caring, and that they will not tolerate such things happening again.
On many occasions, during the present international focus on the child abuse tragedy in Jersey, I have been asked by visiting journalists: “Why are your politicians so inept? And why is the Jersey media so servile and supportive of the island’s establishment?”
And as the veneer of respectability has been peeled back to reveal the festering midden beneath, visiting, real, journalists have asked “Can the Jersey establishment and its media sink any lower? Can it dig itself into even deeper holes?”
The question asked is – ‘is the Jersey oligarchy willing – or even capable – of learning lessons – or is it doomed to carry on – to laughter from the world press-pack – insisting that black is white and heaping compound errors and yet greater disgrace upon itself?’
Also on Jersey, there was a political rally their last Saturday (the 8th), at which Montfort Tadier gave this speech:
If [Jersey People] were so satisfied with the government, why were they constantly speaking out against them: on issues such as the Waterfront, when public land worth millions of pounds was given away to private developers? Why were they protesting in their thousands at the introduction of GST, a regressive tax which asked old age pensioners to pay 3% extra and their milk, bread and tea and single mothers to pay even more for basic essentials such as nappies, children’s clothes and food? […]
We [Jersey people] are demoralised and frightened. Demoralised, because we feel as if our opinions do not count and frightened, because we fear we may lose our jobs if we say the wrong thing. […]
The island’s politicians, judges, policemen and business leaders are also drawn from a small pool, with many being relatives or lifelong friends. For example, Frank Walker, the island’s chief minister, was until recently chairman of the company that owns Jersey’s only newspaper, the Evening Post. The bailiff, the equivalent of the Speaker in the House of Commons, is also the head of the judiciary. The attorney general, whose job is to give the bailiff impartial legal advice on prosecutions, is his brother. And so the list goes on.
Quaequam blog says that Nick Clegg is more hardline than Chairman Mao:
Who was it who originally talked about letting a thousand flowers bloom? I believe it was a certain Mao Tse Tung. I don’t recall Mao being known for being a particularly weak leader. Why is Clegg inviting us to draw comparisons with him and the great despot? What’s this obsession with being seen to be tough (again)? And isn’t it generally Lib Dem policy to, wherever possible, let a thousand flowers bloom?
Unmitigated England looks at a 1952 edition of Country Life, when you could buy a “a country house near Wimborne in Dorset with 3 sitting rooms, 9 principle bedrooms and 3 bathrooms” for £9,500.
Philip Wilkinson at English Buildings tells me a little-known fact about 19th-century history, that the Chartists had a sideline in property development:
So what does all this have to do with English buildings? Another issue espoused by the Chartists was the lower classes’ access to land. Chartists believed that one solution to the well-being of working people was to give them access to land that they could cultivate. The Chartist Co-operative Land Company was formed and five estates of bungalows were built, each dwelling set in a 2- to 4-acre plot, and allocated to applicants chosen by lot. One such development was at Staunton. Although the land company was short-lived and the bungalows were sold off, many of the original buildings survive, and their design – two wings on either side of a central, gabled section, is unmistakeable. The kitchen was in the middle, with the bedroom and sitting room on either side. The photograph below shows one of the bungalows looking rather like it must have done when built.
Susanne Lamido is being affected by passive smoking — with a difference:
We all know the effect of passive smoking but what about passive smoking of marijuana, weed, hash, wacky baccy, ganja or whatever they call it nowadays. Well apparently I’m getting stoned on it. That’s the medical opinion anyway. Not only does it cause me to cough from a dry throat but the smell is so powerful it actually wakes me up. It’s like an early morning alarm clock when the young man who smokes it is around.
And that’s all for this week, folks. Next week’s Britblog roundup will be by Clairwil, and nominations should be sent to the usual address, britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.