Welcome to Britblog Roundup #192, your weekly dose of all that’s best in British blogging.
The Financial Crisis and the Economy
Now that the government has in effect nationalised the banks, Owen Barder owns a bit of them. As a new boss, he’d like to tell the managers what to do.
Penny Red thinks the financial crisis gives a window of opportunity to destroy the ideology of patriachal capitalism:
To say that the very nature of financial markets, of patriarchal capitalism itself, engenders ideological violence against women – and by association, men – everywhere.
Fact: markets will seek to maximise profits. Fact: sexism sells. The image of the cackling city boy stuffing his bonus into a hooker’s disembodied garter – just the leg showing, never the face – has become one of the icons of hypercapitalist success. However you wrangle the incentives, an economic model spawned and nurtured in an atmosphere of male privilege will seek to make money by selling women’s bodies back to them, by selling them to other men, by exploiting women’s work and by hijacking femininity as a saleable commodity and nothing more.
Duncan Stephen and Cabalamat disagree about how important the prospects of economic growth would be in deciding whethner Scotland should be independent. Duncan says:
I wonder, though, if too much attention is paid to economic indicators when it comes to the debate on independence. Sure, things like economic growth are nice and desirable in their own way. But they surely cannot be the be-all and end-all.
But Cabalamat counters:
But while I would agree that absolute level of GDP per head is not supremely important, I do think growth rate is important, because if a society has low growth its because something is suppressing the entrepreneurial, creative, inventive etc talents of its people. And that’s wrong, not just because it makes people poorer, but because it suppresses people’s talents and drives the best people to leave.
Laura Woodhouse wants you to lobby your MP to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland.
Jess McCabe writes that Northern Irish women have been sold out on abortion. Incidently one of the comments to this posts notes that the majority in NI oppose abortion rights. Which is sad if true, but in the end democracy should trump abortion rights.
Laura Woodehouse is angry that Nadine Dorries is having another go against abortion rights.
Penny Red makes the point that many of those against abortion secretly dislike the idea of women being in control of their sex lives:
The real issue is women daring to have sex at all. What people really mind isn’t women evacuating the poor little embryos, it’s women daring to exercise sexual self-determination and getting away with it. In other words – in fact, in the words of several pro-choice websites – women deserve to ‘suffer the consequences of sin’. Of course, if a woman’s been raped then it wasn’t her fault she had sexual intercourse, so she’s excused.
HarpyMarx writes about the government’s proposals for changing the law on murder and how that affects women who kill their abusive husbands:
Generally, what is missing from these proposals on murder to re-examining the mandatory life sentence for murder. I do think there has to be more discretion and flexibility when it comes to murder verdicts.
One woman in the mag writes about all the usual myths and stereotypes chucked around regarding DV such as, “why don’t you just leave him”. Instead, she writes, why don’t people ask the simple but pertinent question, “Why don’t you just stop abusing her”.
Indeed. But we leave in a society that blames the victim/survivor and puts the onus of blame on them and this is reflected in the judiciary along with sentencing. It’s high time that changed!
Life outside the British Isles
The Daily Maybe looks at USAID’s policies on contraception:
Has anyone else noticed this? The US government’s international development arm, USAID, has banned aid for contraception and family planning advice in six African countries where Marie Stopes International (MSI) is the main (or only) provider of those services.
Archbishop Cranmer writes that the Iranian government are likely to execute Ramtin Soodmand. His crime? He converted to Christianity.
Clairwil looks at Sarah Palin from a feminst perspective and decides she’s not as bad as some people make out:
I’m not suggesting anyone go out and vote for [Palin] or start a fan club. I’m just asking the fucking bedwetters to acknowledge she’s hardly a new low in American politics and that she does have one or two good points.
Chameleon interviews the Turkish-German lawyer and human rights activist Seyran Ateş about her life as a Turk in Germany. Here Ateş describes her childhood:
I travelled between two worlds on a daily basis, torn by my thoughts and feelings. At home, I had to be the Turkish girl who was supposed to think and live in accordance with tradition. In school, I was confronted with German culture, in which I was granted greater leeway. Here I was permitted to develop my own independent personality, whilst at home rules were constantly being drawn up regulating how I had to be and behave as a Turkish girl. Within my family, I was primarily being groomed for my future role as wife and taught how to make life pleasant for my husband and guests. In school, by contrast, I was encouraged to learn as much as possible and undergo training in a profession to be able to live and autonomous life of my own choosing.
As they years went by, it became an ever greater source of torment that the German girls around me were allowed to do so much more than I was. They were free, whilst I was confined, as if in a prison without locks and bars.
This experience of migrating between two worlds made it seem as if I had two faces. Both physically and psychologically it felt as if I were two people in one.
In the course of a perfectly ordinary day I had to switch identities several times over: I woke up in the mornings as a Turkish girl and got ready to go to school. On the way to school, everything was neutral because I was on my own for the most part and thought about what the future had in store for me. I indulged in wonderful daydreams about how I would be able to live when I was older and enjoyed greater freedom. At school I felt German, even though I wasn’t allowed to do everything my German classmates were allowed to. What was more important to me was how I felt about everything I thought I wanted in life and how I imagined it would be. It was also interesting that I always felt much better on the way to school than I did on the way back home”
The War on Civil Liberties
Jonathan Calder is dismayed that Liberal Democrat peer Alex Carlile took the government’s side in the debate on 42 day detention. So am I.
Cabalamat writes on the government’s plan to require people to give ID when they buy a PAYG mobile phone. Because otherwise “someone somewhere might say something and the government won’t know who said it”.
Rachel from North London is angered by the latest looney nonsense coming from the government, attempting to link terrorists with pedophiles:
Jacqui Smith and Geoff Hoon came back with their giant database plan. They want access to absolutely everyone’s mobile and web records, including social networking sites like Facebook. Why? Because ‘ terrorists use such communications’.
Not monitoring this traffic is ‘giving terrorists a licence to kill people’, Hoon actually had the brass neck to say. He confirmed that the government is prepared to go ‘quite a long way’ with removing civil liberties ‘to stop terrorists killing people’.
Terrorists also wear clothes, Geoff, which might conceal bombs. They live in houses, which have blinds and curtains, which can be drawn to conceal their nefarious terrorist activities therein. Ban window coverings! Get your kit off! If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to fear!
I used to think the government were misguided but well-meaning people who just wanted to make everyone safer. Now I’m not so sure that it isn’t one big piss-take, that they’re not saying “let’s see what nonsense we can be the stupid public to believe this time”.
Ministry of Truth rants against Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT):
The only serviceable theory that explains exactly what ECT does to the brain that doesn’t rely on voodoo bullshit and woo is that it causes brain damage. although the both American Psychological Association and NICE have ruled this out on the back of studies that have shown that ECT doesn’t cause gross structural damage despite the fact that its more common side-effects, retrograde amnesia and induced cognitive deficits affecting intelligence are just the kind of things you expect to see from someone whose suffered a brain injury. This almost entirely ignores that fact that as our understanding of the brain develops so we are finding that its gross physical structure is but a very small part of the overall picture and that matters more is the complexity of interconnections between its structural elements, disruption to which cannot be adequately assessed by studying tissue samples collected during autopsy [or] by using brain imaging.
The Ugley Vicar has been visited by Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Personally, I’ve long since given up wondering whether JWs might just be right. My first encounter with them was in 1972, when they were still forecasting the end of the world in 1975, and might reasonably have claimed to have still been in with a chance.
However, I think any organization predicting the date of Christ’s return (unwise in itself) ought to operate on a ‘three strikes and you’re out basis’, and so having been wrong in 1914, 1925 and 1975, the JWs really ought to call it a day.
Cramner quotes the head of the BBC as saying that Islam should be treated differently than Christianity:
This is the widely-reported inference of statement made by Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, who is of the opinion that ‘because Muslims are a religious minority in Britain and also often from ethnic minorities, their faith should be given different coverage to that of more established groups’.
Hindus and Sikhs are also religious minorities also from ethnic minorities, but they are of the opinion that the BBC discriminates against them in favour of Islam. Yet it would undoubtedly be true to say that the BBC also treats them differently to the manner in which the corporation treats Christianity.
Vicar David Keen discusses how he prepares for and conducts funeral services.
Harpymarx writes about Camille Claudel, a French artist who was locked up in a lunatic asylum by her brother. Here’s one of Claudel’s sculptures:
Archbishop Cranmer notes that the SNP want the body of Mary Queen of Scots to be repatriated to her native Scotland:
Yes, while the world is in financial meltdown and Scots are being made unemployed by the thousand, the SNP shows it truly has its fingers on the pulse of the nation by demanding the return of the body of a queen they loathed and rejected while she was alive.
Kate Smurthwaite writes about three newspaper articles and what they say about the mindset of the people writing them.
Andrew Ian Dodge writes that Guy Ritchie and Madonna are splitting up:
Madonna and Guy have announced their intention to split before December. Now it has to be said housewives up and down the land will be more upset by this than some of the recent news about. I mean a bank failing is a shame but Guy & Madonna divorcing is a tragedy.
It seems that Madonna is not a big fan of the English lifestyle. She specifically does not like “pub culture”; one that her husband seems to be a big fan of. One seems to have missed the general vibe of her husband’s films and what they celebrated. His films were all about the sort that likes a drink down at their local.
And that’s it for this week! Next week Jackart will be doing it. If you have any nominations for next week’s roundup, send them to britblog (at) gmail (dot) com.