Number 253 is your last Britblog Roundup for 2009, so let’s see what we’ve got in store…
Mark Pack looks forwad to the leaders’ debates in next year’s General Election, when “worms” might be deployed. What are worms?:
The “worm” is an instant poll tracker which wriggles across people’s TV screens, showing the net negative or positive reaction of a small group of the public to what is happening on screen. Running a worm across a politician’s speech or a debate between politicians has become a not uncommon feature of political coverage across many democracies. Known in the US as dial groups (because a group of people is each given a dial to twist towards positive or negative), worms have often been the cause of controversy there.
The liberal Democrat leader, captain Clegg, seems to be getting into the spirit of the election campaign:
Hmmm. I wonder if that imagery would work for the Pirate Party? Speaking of the Pirate Party, it’s one to watch in 2010. According to advertising agency JWT anyway:
While critics dismiss them as just a bunch of kids proclaiming their right to free file-sharing, this grassroots movement is broadening to embrace issues of the digital age: censorship, privacy rights and civil liberties on the Web.
Weggis thinks Brown’s for the chop:
The back pages of the tabloids and football chatrooms are rife with rumours that the manager of UKFC, Gordon Brown, is to be sacked. However, the changeover is not expected to take place until next May and Mr Brown will not be informed of the decision until after it is announced.
Greenman was not impressed with the deal at Copenhagen:
So, a pathetically weak “deal” that is not binding and basically, if not improved on, condemns large number of humans and other species to perishing as temperature change exceeds 2 degrees in the direction of 3 degrees and beyond.
Nor was James MacKenzie, who blames the left:
This betrayal was therefore delivered by the most left-wing American president since FDR, a notionally communist regime (although more accurately an authoritarian capitalist one), the more left of the main Indian political blocs, the most left-wing Brazilian government in modern times, and a South African president promoted by the South African Communist Party over his predecessor.
Clearly none of the various forms of vague leftism on offer are going to save us.
Molly Scott Cato has a different take on it:
From rhetorical bravura to rhetorical bravado, in one short speech Obama demonstrated that, like every other US President, he is utterly controlled by the economic actors who dominate his domestic politics.
The F Word asks why the success of the England women’s cricket team doesn’t get more recognition:
In March, the England women’s cricket team won the World Cup in Australia. This was followed by victory at the Twenty20 World Cup in June. Yet the media attention given to the women’s cricket team relative to that given to the men’s team is almost non-existent.
Philip Wilkinson looks at Lincoln Cathedral:
Lincoln is my favourite of all the English cathedrals – for its stunning hill-top setting (a site equalled only by that of Durham cathedral), its graceful silhouette, and its absorbing Gothic interior so packed with detail that there’s always something new to see no matter how often one visits.
Backwatersman listens to the Christmas service from King’s College Cambridge:
I do think it’s a great mistake to try to be too original at Christmas. “I know, let’s do something totally different this year” is not a sentiment that finds any echo in this human bosom. So you may well be planning to listen in today to the service of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Cambridge (3 o’clock on the Home Service).
Weanwhile, Dungeekin imagines what a New Labour carol service would be like:
Please be seated. There, wasn’t that lovely? Now, the New Labour Christmas is, as you know, a time for children – and by that, of course, we mean that we’ve borrowed the money for the hall, the decorations and the food and your kids are going to be paying for it for the next thirty years.
Now, you’ll see that there are some differences between the New Labour Christmas and the traditional Tory Toff christmas. Obviously the Nativity Scene doesn’t have any Wise Men, because we discovered the one bearing Gold was actually an investment banker so we taxed him, and the other two are locked up in Belmarsh under terror legislation.
There’s no star because of regulations on light pollution, and you’ll also note that there are no cattle in the Nativity scene due to an unfortunate outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. Oh, and there aren’t any Shepherds as their Enhanced CRB checks haven’t come through yet. Finally, Mary and Joseph are currently in Campsfield House Detention Centre pending deportation back to Nazareth.
Peter Ashley stopped by a snowy wood that reminded him of a poem:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Paul at Liberal Burblins saw St Alban’s tower on TV. Twice.
Georgian London looks at relationships in the 18th century:
The idea that 18thC swains and shepherdesses met at the country fair, then married after a few chaste kisses is not impossible, but in reality is highly unlikely. The openness of courting in England in general (outside particularly religious communities) was observed with both astonishment and approval by Continental travellers, who noted young unchaperoned couples eating picnics together on Sundays in London’s various pleasure gardens. Any reader of Samuel Pepys is aware of the amount of grappling a young woman could expect if caught unawares, or if she had led a man to think she might permit it. I think Sam was rather enthusiastic in his approach, but he certainly sheds light on the interaction between the sexes in the late 17thC and it appears women were not exactly put on a pedestal, unless they were worth a very great deal of money.
What happens when a woman calls an ambulance for a cup of tea? Find out in Random Acts of Reality:
Our ‘patient’ was an eighty year old woman who got up and opened the front door when we arrived. Trying to be as polite as possible I asked her what the problem was. ‘My carer hasn’t arrived, I need a cup of tea’.
Natalie Bennett looks at the exhibition for the Centre for Medical Research and Innovation.
Derek Wall isn’t a fan of the SWP:
am not a fan of the Socialist Workers Party to be frank. The Party clearly has a control freak tendency. Building the SWP as a Lenninist vanguard is more important than building for wider political change. It used to be that you would organise an anti-cuts meeting, trade union campaign, peace movement and a small number of SWoppers would swop in and take it over.
The Daily Maybe discusses slogans:
All too often a catch phrase is given far too much heavy lifting to do and they are usually loose enough to mean all things to all people.
Rumbold looks at “honour” killings:
History provides only a partial answer. For hundreds of years, Europe was blighted by men (and women) fighting each other to defend their ‘honour’, whether in the classic duel, or ambushes, and so on. Yet that phenomenon doesn’t exist now, as a result of centralising states (which cracked down on duels and feuds since they threatened public order), and a shift from a culture that prized martial prowess to one that put more emphasis on learning and culture (and a few other factors). So in the end it was the combination of the state and contemporary opinion that reduced the need to defend one’s ‘honour’ through violence. Can the same thing happen to ‘honour-based violence? I hope so.
And that’s all for this week. Next week’s roundup will be by Jackart of A Very British Dude.