Sunday, April 25, 2010

3 strange election "threat" stories/lies

Lie 1. a hung parliament will lead to economic disaster
This is trotted out by labour and tories alike and their lackies (or paymasters) in the press in some attempt to alter people's voting. This is bizarrely misguided.
I dont see why I would chose to vote for a scaremonger who said this,
or if I had already decided to vote libdem because
I can see Cameron for the sleaze he is and
am fedup with Brown's bumbling,
how is this _general_ statement going to alter my personal _specific_ decision?

My vote will be cast primarily because of selfish belief
in what policies might work for me
(including likely ones in a blanaced or libdem led parliament),
and partly because of the particular candidate
I am presented with in the constituency I vote in.
The line in the papers today (and much of the last week)
about not voting libdem because of the worry of
noone having a clear majority is more likely to make me vote libdem
(I wasn't going to - I usually vote green)
now just because it shows how stupid the alternatives are.

Lie 2. libdems will screw up the economy

Cameron, in a fairly mild Paxman interview, asserted with absolutelyu no arggument of substance, that Vince Cable is not the soothsayer. Excellent - I don't want a soothsayer in charge of the economy - thak you Cameron. Thatcherite/Reagan style laissez-faire governance, and Blair's refusal to reverse the trend of no-go regulation have led to the mess we are in - this is down to Cameron and Brown to present an alternative - neither of them have said anything whatsover to make a claim to fixing the underlying problems. Please go away and let someone new have a go - they actually cannot do worse than either of you and your legacies.

3. Cuts in health/education will not harm "frontline" services

Labour are brining in cuts already in health and education. Tories want to accelerate them. This is neither necesssary, nor is it possible without actually harming the health and education, and therefore economy, of the nation. The so-called efficiencies are not there to be made - we have had nearly 25 years of market driven efficiencies in the state health and education areas, and they are lean, mean, slick machines (unlike the government itself). If there is a place to make savings, it is in Whitehall, not in Hospital or School.
But I dispute savings are needed. Sell off the now largely owned state banks, and
think about sustainable economics instead. There are people up for election (clue: not red or blue) who have some ideas here that need trying.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

political posters for your home

This site is useful (thanks to Bad Science for pointing it out!):

Thursday, April 15, 2010

concentration camp

so I'm reading an amazing novel called Redemption Falls by the Irish novelist, Joseph O'Connor (it makes the Road look like a Bing/Bob road movie)...set just in and after the american civil war (there's a beautiful oxymoron - no war is civil, but civil wars seem to make other wars look like street fights) - in it, there's reference to
Andersonille prison camp

now I was always told that the lovely british invented concentration camps in South Africa during the Boer war, but it is clear that the chap who ran this camp shared a lot with the Nazis (he was hung, but claimed he was "only following orders"). I suppose people might claim the people in the camp were PoWs, not civilians....but it was a civil war, so what's the difference?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

nosegay stories

thinkin about Wallace and Gromit for a moment, I have to say that I think the story is a cover for an old gay couple - just look at Wallace for a second and think about it - he dresses up in funny old clothes, pretends to be a giant rabbit, has gentleman lodgers and his "relationship" with the (admittedly bi-) Gromit is never made that clear is it - ok so they have separate rooms, but so do lots of hetero- old couples I know:) - Wallace even has a fling with Feathers McGraw but then goes back to his faithful Gromit (who also has a fling with Fluffles of course in A Close Shave, but its clear to me even then that she is really just Gromit's bit of Hollywood star type poodle...

it is clear that when Wallace is "attracted" to female like Wendolene, she is a mother figure and when he falls for Lady Tottington (in "The Curse"), she is actually a guy in drag (you've never seen a real woman talk like that, have you? :-) And as for Piella Bakewall (reference to the "thinking man's crumpet" of the 1960s), she is also obviously a drag act - really

the whole thing is as plain as the pie on your face...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Why I shan't be voting labour (not that I did before)

Like many people, I suppose, I was quite excited when after the Thatcher/Major misery years, Labour finally took over under Blair. I hadn't voted for them (I generlaly vote for an MP not a party and there were good other candidates both Lib Dem and Green in my area) but I wished them well - as fellow travellers with apparently at least some common goals.

Ha. That was a gross, baroque and grotesque misunderstanding.

We now have a worse divide between rich and poor, we have used ill-gotten gains to boost the NHS and higher education, but the root cause of ill-health and societal ills (poverty, ignorance)are wosened because of the divide.

The underlying model of the economy was even more extreme laissez-faire free market than under Thatcher. This is now laid bare in all its stupidity, but noone is actually revisiting the alternatives or coming up with any novel approaches.
But there's worse.

Without any real justification, fundamental rights have been massively eroded by these idiots. Under Elizabeth the first and during the 2nd world war, the existing habeus corpus and right to not be held without charge was sufficient, but for obscure and ill-argued reasons, the UK now has one of the worst systems in the so-called civilized world of weeks of detention without trial.

The same sort of stupid technophobic and illogical thinking has led to a plethora of tiny right-erosions including annoying things like the digital economy bill and acts of moronic proportions like the loss of private data through criminal (well it ought to be) incompetence in government agency handling - despite this, a constant push to more and more centralisation of data and control.

We colluded with the CIA in torture - not only unethical, but counter-productive since it lends our enemies an actual justification (see under just war)

We continue to contribute to an unjust war in Iraq, and a pointless war in Afghanistan.

The list goes on and on, and just gets very depressing.

The Tories represent no alternative whatsover - their economic ideas are pathetic (see the recent chancellors-in-waiting debate on TV for how daft they are). They are clueless on class, and irrelevant on Europe.

I'd encourage people to vote with their conscience - we might gt a hung parliament, that might lead to a change in the voting system which might give a chance to some fresh blood to work its way into the moribund system.

We need some massive overhauling in society, economics and environment - none of the main parties has the ability or structure to tackle any of these other from the tired old postures of the past.

Time to die.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

city of music - 4 books on rock music & cities (especially London)

This is my view of these 4 books I just read about music - I love music- also I love london - I have lived in london (mostly) for 50+ years - I am from Camden Town - I went to Gospel Oak primary school - I went to the ROundhouse every sunday for over 10 years. I saw Dingwalls come and go and the Electric Ballroom at its ska best, and the Music Machine at its metal worst,, and all the pubs (hawley dublin castle, underworld etc etc) and dives and market nonsense and fun. Its still fun. Its still a live wire - don't believe any old farts who say "it aint like it used to be" - god, william gibbson namechecks it at the start of his fairly recent Pattern Recognition, even, because of the (serious - i.e. games, computing) new media design links -

Of these 4 books, Gillett is about why rock music comes out of cities and sounds the way it is and is scholarly, respectful and true.
Du Noyer's book is very good, but a tiny bit patchy (understandable - a complete work of this scope (entire history of london is more than 2000 years!) would be 10 times the size, but has some gems of much older links between east end music hall, via mime and the gay scene to glam and new romantic (think lindsay kemp, bowie, spandau) and on - this is a lovely cultural piece which is very london.

Barry Miles piece is fantastic - my mother used to go to the Gluepot woth BBC people in 1948, so it is awesome that this guy can mention that in the same breath as the Blitz and Heaven. I also LOVE that he has such a positive outlook on counter culture and its longevity. One thing about Gillett and Miles is that they both actually DID something (not just write) - Gillett of course was a great world music advocate and apparently relentlessly nice guy. Miles did Indica books (which ended up as Compendium in Camden, but now alas gone) and arranged many serious counter-cultural events too. Du Noyer and Kent are (mostly) journos, but both with v. good writing credentials.

I was very disappointed in the Apathy book - aside from it being an interesting personal piece, it is just that - it doesn't give a lot more insights into the stars that Kent hitched his rise (and fall) too (reminds me of Neil Gaiman:). He also admits without realising it to completely misunderstanding the different parts of london and the way they affect the different people (Stones, Bowie, Siouxie and the Banshees, Dr Feelgood) and why they are different from people from Manchester who he adopts at the tail end, and Bristol, who he seems ignorant of, or NY or the Laurel Canyon gang he fell in with for a while. Nevertheless its worth looking at if you were here or there then and can remember some of it.

But in reading preference order, I'd have them:

barry miles - london calling

paul du noyer - in the city

charlie gillett (rip) - the sound of the city

nick kent - apathy for the devil

Friday, April 02, 2010

category errors

when sam harris (e.g. see the google talk uses examples of religious groups
making immoral decisions, I think he is making a category error of the same kind that Nick Kent does when write about rock music (e.g. see this review of his apathy)

it isn't religion - its something anthropologists could easily describe and is a behavioural pattern.

it isn't rock music - its a lifestyle thing - basically NME in 1972-1977 was a lifestyle magazine - those of us who liked music (often the same bands, e.g. CAN, Zep, Pistols, etc) had criteria that we shared - critics like Kent were bewitched by personalities - sometimes, the personality was necessary for the individual to make that kind of music - often not - like the myth of van gogh's madness (in his letters to his brother he frequently described how it GOT IN THE WAY of his art), the destructive behaviour of the various megastars and burnouts he described is interesting, but not because it led to the music or the music was about it.

just so, the behaviour of cultures or social groups (e.g. to oppress women or to encourage suicide bombers) is not a feature of the religion - the religion is window dressing, life style etc - the decisions are made for social reasons

as a scientist, it behoves sam harris to do better - telling people that rational objective thought might lead to better moral decisions doesn't really help - it is like telling keith richard that giving up smack might make his playing in the stones more reliable. it is completely and utterly irrelevant.

it is beside the point.

it is a blues in Eb minor with lyrics from the koran and an album cover with photos from prophets in hell

it is bankers telling the government that increasing tax or NI is a bad idea.

it is beyond the pale, round the bend, up the wall, and thoroughly so.