Posts tagged with ‘UK’

Christian values: what are they?

Genuine question. A little background: there has been a little storm in a teacup today over a particularly silly article in the Telegraph outing Richard Dawkins as having ancestors who were slave owners in Jamaica. If you’re really interested, you can read Dawkins’s comments about it here. But what what got my attention was something […]

The chill wind of austerity

Gosh, it’s been a depressing week in British politics. Austerity is such a grey, foggy, Victorian sort of word. They’ll be talking about retrenchment next. And you don’t have to be an expert in the fine details of the budget to realise that there’s no way the government can cut total spending by 20% without […]

Horsetrading and backroom deals?

We’ve heard a lot in the last fortnight about horsetrading and haggling among our politicians, and some commentators profess to be deeply offended by it all. But surely negotiation and compromise is how policy is always arrived at: it’s just not usually so obvious. Even within a normal single-party majority government, there must be disagreements […]

Election debrief

Going in to this election, it became clear that whoever was in government would have to raise taxes and cut spending, but no politician was willing to spell out the details. So the best we voters could hope for was a government which shared our priorities when making those decisions. On that basis, the result […]

Why I like STV

I’ve been mulling over the various flavours of voting reform available and I’m most tempted by Single Transferable Vote — which is, as it happens, also the system favoured by the Lib Dems at the moment, although that’s not particularly why I like it. No, what I like about it is that it allows you to […]

Voted.

Well, I voted Lib-Dem, for several reasons but not least because the higher their share of the national vote, the stronger the case for voting reform. If a split centre-left vote results in the Tories winning this constituency, I will be kicking myself, but it probably won’t happen here. And the fact I had to […]

FPTP makes politicians lie to us (hypocrisy update)

Yet another leaflet through the door, this one from the Conservatives, folded so that on one side it says, in great big shouty letters: Honest Politics? on the other side, it quotes the Lib Dem leaflet as saying “Only the Lib Dems can beat Labour here…” with a big arrow pointing at the quote and […]

First Past The Post makes politicians lie to us

Here are some direct quotes from leaflets delivered in this constituency: Labour leaflets: ‘Only Labour can keep the Tories out here’ ‘It’s a straight choice between Labour and the Tories round here’ Lib Dem leaflet: ‘Only the Lib Dems can beat Labour here’ Conservative leaflet: ‘Only the Conservatives can beat Labour here’ All of them accompanied […]

A permanent swing to the Lib Dems?

There’s a post over at FiveThirtyEight suggesting, basically, that since first past the post tends to lock us into a two-party system, the Lib Dems could take the pragmatic (i.e. deeply cynical) decision to quietly drop the issue of voting reform and instead concentrate on cementing a place as the major left wing party in […]

More on voting reform

I think this statistic is very telling (from ten days ago, so the exact number has probably changed… but the point stands): The Lib Dems climbed to a high of 33% in the voting intention polls this week, and it seems that this figure could be higher if Clegg’s party were perceived by the majority […]

#bigotgate & proportional representation

Two passing observations on the election. Firstly, on Gordon Brown’s little faux pas today. Clearly being caught describing a voter as ‘a bigoted woman’ makes him look like an idiot, especially since she hadn’t actually said anything especially bigoted. On the other hand, I’m curious about the ethics of the news organisations using a recording […]

Interesting idea in BNP manifesto

I never thought I’d find a thought-provoking idea in the BNP manifesto — it’s not a party of deep, lucid or original thinkers — but I did think this was, if not a good idea, at least an intriguing one: 30. Outlaw the conducting or publication of opinion polls in the last three weeks of […]

A passing thought on the Nutt business

Politicians are always quick enough to invoke ‘scientific advice’ when they want to deflect responsibility for an unpopular policy decision, like the availability of different treatments on the NHS, or the mass slaughter of animals during a foot and mouth outbreak. And as long as they actually are acting on good scientific advice, fair enough. […]

Speaking as a dumbed-down chav…

I am endlessly fascinated by the people who are, by their own account, in a constant state of simmering rage at having to overhear other people’s uncouth language. This comment was in response to an article in the Sunday Times:* Dave Russell wrote: Couldn’t agree more abouyt the dumbing down of the nation. Just listen […]

Links

LRB · John Lanchester: It’s Finished Why the UK is completely fucked. One of the better articles I've read about the economic meltdown; I'd like to believe that its conclusions are too melodramatic, but it has a horrible ring of truth. (del.icio.us tags: economy UK )

Some names for IRA splinter groups

Funereal IRA Eel IRA Ambiguity IRA Frivolity IRA Campanology IRA Imbecility IRA Diagonal IRA Confessional IRA Digressional IRA Irish Rational Divination Army Irish Fashionable Celebration Army Wiry Publican Calibration Army Fiery Snatching Lubrication Sarnie

A European Obama

There’s an Associated Press article you can read all over the web including, for example, MSNBC, titled Europe has a long wait for its own Obama. I’m not going to comment generally on ‘Europe’, or even in detail on the UK, except to say that the most obvious difference is the relative recentness of large-scale non-white […]

A ‘Christian nation’.

There was the first of a three-part series on TV tonight called Make Me A Christian. A group of volunteers, including a lap-dancer and a Muslim convert, are given a three-week course in Christianity by four ministers of various denominations. I watched about 20 minutes of it before I lost patience; it’s an idea that could make an interesting […]

Lies, damn lies and religion

There’s an article in today’s Times about the rapid decline in church attendance in the UK. The particular angle they’ve chosen to take is that within a mere 30 years, the number of people going to mosque every weekend will outnumber those going to church. This is illustrated by a dramatic graph with the Christian […]

Marginalia on the word ‘cunt’

In a generally interesting post about Obama, Hillary and all that stuff, Sherry says this: I have to admit it’s true that Hillary Clinton has never been called a nigger but I suspect Barack Obama has never been called a cunt. I think the difference in the way that word is used on each side of […]

The Century of Revolution by Christopher Hill

The full title is The Century of Revolution, 1603-1714; i.e. the century in question is the longish C17th from the death of Queen Elizabeth to the death of Queen Anne. I guess most centuries are centuries of revolution somewhere, and in one way or another, but the C17th was the only time the English have had an actual […]

Yay for Blasphemy!

Or, to be more exact, yay for legal blasphemy. We’re not quite there yet, but the House of Lords has voted to abolish the offence of blasphemy in British law. The current situation, with special legal protection for the Church of England, was obviously ludicrous in a modern multicultural society; but then in a country […]

Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch…

Wales beat England at rugby this afternoon, which (don’t tell my father) I quite enjoyed. I keenly support England when they’re playing South Africa, Australia, New Zealand or France, but against other teams I often find myself rooting for the opposition. I guess it’s largely support for the underdog (today was Wales’s first win at […]