Welcome to edition 232 of Britblog Roundup, the weekly summary of all that’s best in British blogging.
Dave Cole discusses the OpenLeft website, and thinks talk of “left” and “right” is meaningless:
I couldn’t give a fig whether I am ‘left-wing’ or ‘right-wing’; I would rather do what I think is appropriate. The terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ are meaningless in current political discourse as they are relative to the user’s position, non-exclusive, change over time and are far too large.
The term left wing could include the BNP, the SWP, George Galloway, black bloccers and James Purnell. The term right wing could include the BNP, UKIP, Edward Heath, Andrew Rosindell and James Purnell.
If I have to give my political positions a nomenclature, I will give them one that doesn’t tie me into a crescent where far left and far right meet at the top. We’ve all see the political compass; even that is over-simplifying things. Two people could both be in (say) the top left corner (”left authoritarian”), you could end up there for nationalist, religious reasons or internationalists, atheist reasons and have very different approaches to politics and society.
Andrew Ian Dodge talks about crime in Britain:
In the UK, there are 2,034 offenses per 100,000 people, way ahead of second-place Austria at 1,677. The U.S. has a rate of 466 crimes per 100,000 residents, Canada has 935, Australia has 92, and South Africa has 1,609.
Prodicus thinks the EU is a Stalinist plot:
In the miasma of Brave New World euphoria following the defeat of European fascism, the members and fellow travellers of the Communist Party across the continent were ordered to leave the Party and join more electable parties, and continue their work under cover.
In the east, Stalin had already established his dictatorship of fear and loathing. Western Europe posed more problems, not being a unified state, but there was another way, achievable in the longer term. A number of socialist monsters were brought to birth in the ashes of Europe. One was the EU.
As are British schools:
Malign as the EU has become, the most insidious post-war development in Europe has been the British Labour Party’s education strategy. They have trampled on, twisted and subverted the public’s desire for education for children and young adults, and have indoctrinated with Socialist philosophy all those not fortunate enough to have parents who could afford to buy a liberal education outside the State’s monopoly system.
Jackart thinks the police look like thugs:
I saw two coppers in London, looking more like paramilitary thugs than people whose job is to protect the public. I would have taken a picture, but I would have got arrested immediately and had a knightstick rammed up my arse.
Chris Bertram also discusses photographing the police:
The latest episode of police harassment of street photographers is recounted by Henry Porter in the Guardian. There just seems to be an endless loop around this stuff: police officers stop/arrest/intimidate photographer, fuss in the press, lobbying of politicians, earnest denials and issuings of revised guidance by senior police, continued botherings despite guidance.
Raedwald uses Kensington High Street to make a strained analogy:
My local government hero is Daniel Moylan, Conservative former deputy leader of Chelsea and Kensington Council. Daniel cleared Kensington High Street of all the repressive torture-apparatus of the inefficient State; the lights that command, the cattle-pen barriers, the rigid class distinctions, the myriad of State orders, instructions and peremptory signs that disfigured our streetscape, and has given us a highways space that is safer and faster for all its users. It is a triumph of Toryism; in place of the State telling everyone what to do, Daniel left it to the free market and for users to negotiate directly with eachother over the goods, in this case highway-space.
Freeborn John looks at the Middle Ages:
How much suffering can one short, forgotten phrase contain? “Caristia” is a Latin word, but Caesar wouldn’t have understood it. It came into use in English records during the Middle Ages, meaning a “dearth”, or shortage. Manorial records sometimes refer to a caristia of labourers. […] During the Middle Ages, some years so many men died that it affected the level of wages. A moment’s reflection on what the reality of this must have been like gave me my opening sentence.
Mark Thompson wonders how low can we go? in terms of combined labour-Tory vote share:
General elections in the UK used to be about two parties. Labour and the Conservatives. In 1951, 93.1% of voters plumped for red or blue. We have gone from 90 odd percent voting for Labour or Conservative in the 1950s to only around two thirds […] Frankly, if support for the two main parties combined at a general election ever dropped below 50% then it would be game over for First Past the Post irrespective of whether (or probably even because) one of the two parties could form a majority government.
BenefitScroungingScum spots some inconsiderate parking:
When we arrived in the car park the disabled parking to one side of the entrance was empty. Well, empty apart from the woman in the car parked across 3 or 4 spaces. Roland waved at her in that gesture universally known to drivers but impossible to describe which loosely translates to ‘move yer arse’** The woman in the car gestured back to indicate we should wait as she was waiting to pick something up.
Personally I’ve have parked right in front of her, to cause her maximum inconvenience.
Flying Rodent thinks bloggers are snarky, semi-literate smartarses.
Norfolk Blogger thinks the press don’t understand elections.
Molly Lavender looks at glamour calendars:
There are five in particular which have caught my eye, although there may be more in existence. These are: The Big Breast Calendar, Bum Titty Bum Bum, Hot XXX Bums, Legs and Butt Serious. […]
One man blogs about how he starts the day:
Downstairs now. Whoever is first will feed the cat, a treacherous exercise as he winds himself round your feet, mewing and pleading to be fed. Then it’s a small glass of fruit juice to wash down my pills (2 a day), a quick check to ensure there aren’t any dead animals (mice usually) in the living room and I grab the car keys, unlock the front door and drive to work.
Jonathan Calder talks about The Night Climbers of Cambridge:
the courageous (or foolhardy) nocturnal exploits of a group of students climbing the ancient university and town buildings of Cambridge.
The Half-Blood Welshman notes the last veterans of WWI are dead.
Londonlee reminisces about The Osmonds.
Jim Jay asks are the Tories still the nasty party? His conclusion:
Plenty of those more traditional Tories, particularly in rural areas, tolerate the new slick Cameronites because they think it will get them elected and they don’t really commit them to anything. There’s a lot of them about and, no doubt, one day the real internal political clashes will take place for the soul of the Conservative Party.
Of course, one could say the same thing about Tony Blair’s relations with the Labour Party.
Molly from the Green Party talks turbines:
Bob Crow, whose RMT union is representing the workers occupying the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight, asks with understandable frustration why money can be found to keep RBS afloat when the much smaller sum that would be needed to keep this industry of the future in Britain is denied.
Dean Walton saves a suicidal woman.
Cath Elliott doesn’t think rape alarms are very useful:
while a rape alarm may make a woman feel safer, it won’t in fact actually make her any safer
Kate Smurthwaite says male sports get disproportionate coverage.
Elizabreth Chadwick writes on medieval attitudes to sex:
Have you had sex with your wife on a Sunday?’ You shall do penance for four days on bread and water.’
Gweem is a hairy woman.
Diamond Geezer’s local pub has closed.
The Anonymous Prosecutor is pissed off at the CPS’s Dilbertesque Optimum Business Model. Having worked at large bureaucratic organisations myself, I believe every word of it.
The british government talks shite on the DNA database (whoda thunk it?):
In its attempt to justify the largest possible database, the government has resorted to some questionable science – claiming, for example, that people who are arrested and cleared are as likely to commit future crimes as those who are convicted. Ben Goldacre has convincingly demolished their case, as have professors Keith Soothill and Brian Francis. Goldacre calls the consultation paper – which draws on work by the criminologist Prof. Ken Pease (to whom we shall return) – “possibly the most unclear and badly presented piece of research I have ever seen in a professional environment”.
That’s all for this week — nexct week, Britblog Roundup will be hosted by Jackart at A Very British Dude.