Welcome to Britblog Roundup #201, your weekly dose of all that’s best in British blogging.
We’ll start off with The Yorkshire Ranter, who thinks the fuss about leaked counter-IED technology is overblown:
like so much government secrecy, this is much more to do with security from embarrassment (we spent $billions on technology that would have been cutting edge in 1940!) than security from anything else.
David Copperfield writes about the difference between British and Canadian policing:
I’ve been out here for just over a year now and a few people have asked me what the main differences between policing in the UK and in Canada. […] What I now have that I didn’t before, is discretion: I’m able to give each incident the attention it merits and I’m not bound by the need to meet government targets. If you add to that decent mobile IT systems, an arrest/charge procedure with 90% less bureacracy, and proper opportunites to do some proactive patrolling, you can begin to get an idea of what the job’s like.
Another place where the government’s “targets culture” doesn’t work is higher education, says John Naughton. Is there anywhere where it does work?
The Heresiarch writes about Lillian Ladele, the Islington registrar who refused to conduct civil partnership ceremonies on account of her Evangelical Christian beliefs.
Randon Acts of Reality says the ambulance service is overstretched:
On Monday the London ambulance service went to REAP 4. The REAP system runs from REAP 1 (no problems with the service) to REAP 5 (the sort of problems you get after all the power stations blow up and there are plague rats running on the streets of London).
We have never been at REAP 4, and if you ask the road crews in London they would probably say that we should have been at REAP 4 a couple of months ago.
Janine at Stroppyblog thinks USDAW aren’t doing enough to save Woolworths workers’ jobs.
Jess McCabe notes a downside to microlending:
Is it socially responsible for microcredit institutions – which frequently present themselves as a sort of alternative to charity, whereby investors get their money back with interest – end up with women being shamed, scolded, made homeless and ending up in debtors prison?
Philip Booth notes that the USA is getting closer to banning mercury fillings.
Jim Jay is not impressed by Post Office privatisation or the Labour Party:
With all these attacks on welfare claimants, wars, and privatisations I often find myself thinking “what we need is a Labour government” and then have to pinch myself in horror as I realise that’s exactly what we’ve got.
Natalie Bennett reviews The Cordelia Dream by the RSC at Wilton’s Music Hall:
This was quite the worst time I’ve had at the theatre in a very long while. About the only virtue of this production is that it makes the previous effort in the RSC’s new play series, The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes, look good in comparison — at least that was an interesting failure.
Guido Fawkes thinks Derek Draper is angling for some money from the Labour Party to launch a pro-Labour blog.
Conor Cruise O’Brien is dead, but when he was alive he wrote a biography of Edmund Burke.
Bill Jones talks about the class divide between Strictly Come Dancing and XFactor:
The two programmes are poles apart regarding presentation and mirror the division of our country into different classes and cultures: Strictly’s ‘Wimbledon’ contrasting with XFactor’s ‘Championship Darts from Purfleet’. I discovered that in this dichotomy, I am well into the middle class part: I enjoy the dancing but abominate the presentational style of XFactor. The former focuses on the dancing, or at least it has since the withdrawal of John Sergeant. The presenter Bruce Forsyth tells execrable jokes and, despite his catchphrase denials really is doddery. But he is an old time pro who presides genially over a genteel middle class celebration of ballroom dancing: Guardian and the Times stuff. XFactor, however is The Sun, Star, News of the World and People rolled into one in its appeal.
Andrew Ian Dodge wonders when politicians will be brave enough to have a go at legalising assisted suicide:
No politician, barring a very few, seems to want to get near this issue for fear of offending their more religious constituents. This is despite the fact that Britain can be seen for the most part as a mostly secular country.
As a result, the growing trend has been for sufferers to bypass parliament and go directly to the High Court to force action on the issue. The documentary to be shown on television is merely a stepping up of the campaign to aim directly for the sympathy of the public on this most difficult of subjects.
The subject of “death with dignity” has reared its head again in the British consciousness. It looks doubtful any change will come about in the law — yet one wonders how long politicians will be able to turn a blind eye to the subject. Death is, after all, an issue that affects every single citizen of their country.
Francis Turner thinks the NHS “helped” his mother to die:
The ambulance crew showed up because at o’dark thirty on Thursday my mother tried to go to the toilet and fell somehow next to it instead of on it. Father was unable to extricate her and called 999. When they showed up (quite promptly I believe) they quickly got her up from where she had fallen and gave a little first aid. They (and their superiors via radio) advised against taking her to hospital because they said she’d be no better off. Father says they predicted she would be dumped on a trolley in a corner and ignored for 8 hours before being sent home if she was taken to hospital. Hence she was put back in her own bed despite being seriously weak, cold and without a fit caregiver on call.
Britblog Roundup is a weekly compilation of the best of British and Irish blogging. For more details and some of its history, have a look on Britblog Roundup central, or on the Includipedia article for Britblog Roundup.
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.