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    As, Misfits is ridiculous fun. Tell your mum not to censor!

    Whisht @whisht

    Last night in London we’ve had a terrible tragedy in a tower block fire, which will unfortunately result in the deaths of many people.

    I sometimes hear (here and elsewhere) that people don’t care about each other.
    Sometimes I think it might be true, but unfortunately its in tragic circumstances that I learn (again) that I’m an idiot.

    Local residents from every class, creed, and cultural background have been coming together to help. The very rich and the very poor. Its so spontaneous that coordinating services haven’t initially been able to really get what locals have been bringing to the right people yet its still coming.
    People aren’t being asked to bring clothing, food, toiletries etc they are just bringing what they have and what they think might be useful (including toys for children).

    There will be lots of things this tragedy brings up (fire safety; listening to tenants etc) but tragically it does show that people do care for each other when tragedy strikes.

    Obviously this happens across the world every day and is yet another reason why its stupid of me to doubt human nature.
    Its only when we’re convinced that others aren’t ‘people’ that our natural humanity is lost.

    apologies – just catching up on the news.



    Yep. Still burning after 24 hours. Utterly, disgracefully appalling – but as you say, simply everybody stepped up (except the dude from KCTMO who would have been better advised not to do the interview).

    London Fire Brigade. Just bloody magnificent.

    Anonymous @

    @whisht @pedant

    I heard about this HERE in Oz.  Such news rarely arrives.

    How utterly horrible. But yes, like the floods here, and this fire yonder, people are coming together.

    “the world is a horrible place. Much worse than ever before. I bemoan society.”

    Not always and not if you know where to look.

    @pedant Oh, I will be censoring. There are lots of…..well, beds banging (and it aint a horror series: well, not exactly)



    Anonymous @

    @nerys ? Whoo-hoo?

    We people need to stick together and have a drink .

    What about one with an earworm which means we can totally forget to open messages about nit-picky bills demanding we ‘pay up’.

    I totally have your back!


    (no, I haven’t lost it, yet).

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Have been reading about the Grenfell Tower fire with a sinking heart, and, like most, I hope, I am appalled. I just read this:

    I have great respect for the UK contributors on this site, and ask, therefore, if this captures the situation? Because it reminds me of “I, Daniel Blake”, in the sense of a corporate, bureaucratic mentality that has no respect at all for the people it is supposed to provide for.

    Has it really descended to this?

    Nick @nick


    I assume you’re talking about the lack of local government response ? If so, I found that very shocking when I read some of the news coverage. I like most people who work and are earning anything above minimum wage really don’t come into contact with any of the local authorities other than by the annual tax bill. I writing based on what I read rather than personal experience.

    I’m not going to try and defend the local council, but I will try and explain my understanding of the environment they work in.

    Each local council’s budget is different (some areas get a lot more than others in terms of central government money while other areas – Westminster where I live – are generally so wealthy that there are few social problems in the council area to deal with.

    Since 2010, there have been very large cuts in local government spending. These are broadly in the range 30 to 40 % compared to 2009 levels. Worst still a lot of money which is notionally spent by local councils is actually central government money (on Education, Policing mostly) which hasn’t been cut as much. I believe the cuts in local services are bigger than the budget reductions suggest as a result.  Demand for help is also increasing. Average wages today (inflation adjusted) are still lower than in 2008.

    So many local services (street cleaning, refuse collection, parking tickets, road maintenance) are all outsourced. It wouldnt surprise me that the actual number of council employees available to go and help in person is quite small. Crisis planning would have been one of the first things to go.

    I cant comment on whether local services are delivered in a corporate faceless style. It wouldnt surprise me if that was the case. There are a lot of people that need help and not many people to deliver it. It’s a stressful and unpleasant environment to work.

    The real culprit here, the aluminium cladding, is a long known issue. Solutions are available which are a lot safer. Planning requirements are old and dont require anything other than external fireproofing.  Proper solutions are more expensive. Councils and developers want the cheapest solution. The government isnt willing to increase costs for developers, especially when fire deaths in the UK are falling and the construction sector has seen little economic growth since 2009. UK Politicians doesn’t understand RISK and probabilities (probably). Rare events that kill a lot of people aren’t really factored into their economic analysis.

    Anonymous @


    Both Thane, Mr Ilion and I were immediately reminded of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ too.

    Yes, it’s descended. The society in which we live (and I know I banged on about this on Jim’s Blog regarding the way corporates think, the way individuals separately cognate etc) is degenerating fast. I know you love Australia but if you were to watch Q&A ( gosh knows how long that terrific panel show has been showing) you’d be heartbroken by the illusion of Politics and polis -what was once understood is disappearing: the heaving mass of foolish students in the 17 to 25 year -old bracket who are undereducated in certain areas are not making things easier.

    They lack understanding of the value(s) of health;  care (specific and general); the nature and need for compassion together with basic knowledge about the reason for local councils: state and federal services via taxes and seem possessed by a mean sense of spirit.

    Many of their parents (once proud socialists who believed in sharing; equality; charity) are hell bent on forcing right wing views down their children’s throats; desperate to explain to them that “they” must come first and anyone else, or anything else, later.

    I used to see  it converging in school parking lots, over parent coffee mornings; I’d hear it in loud cell phone conversations; even at university. Once UQ was a bastion of hope. Its market days abundant with leaflets asking for donations; fretting about difficult areas overseas but it’s now hosted by Young Liberals: “Lower Taxes, Buy a home NOW in a good area and Take Time For You. Shop for Therapy. It Really Works.”

    In another job I witnessed the foulest, most demeaning trajectory for many of our most vulnerable. It leaves me cold. I try to be hopeful. I pester my son, my friends, his friends and former colleagues who agree -and in their way do small things to redress a balance. It’s not really something you can redress, one feels. It’s like pushing a large rock all the way to the top and doing it over again. But persistence and love: the two, when met, are powerful.


    PS; Many despise John Pilger, but his Hidden Agenda is a piece which needs another read, me thinks.

    Anonymous @


    I cant comment on whether local services are delivered in a corporate faceless style

    Yes, I suppose that is rather the point, isn’t it?

    Did you yourself know about ‘I, Daniel Blake’?

    I recall @cathannabel you touching on that tender subject in a blog quite a while ago and I believe @pedant you did also?

    I may be wrong, though.


    Anonymous @

    dear lord @arbutus !

    In re-reading your post from 3 days ago I realise I didn’t congratulate your Son on graduating high school. I was talking to someone else a short while ago on the importance of really reading what a person posts and effectively paying attention, and it struck me that I had failed to comment.

    Oh my, we’ve known each other for such a long time! Both Thane, Mr Ilion and  I are gathered around the little lap- top and one of us has a sherry: we’re shouting, hectically:  “Congratulations to Arbutus Jn and also congrats to you BOTH as parents achieving what you have with him.”

    Sometimes it’s hard to balance it all out -isn’t it? The idea that we have so many different parts to play in our lives : RL/ Doctor Who -when RL, is the THING!

    So happy for you all.


    The PurIlions xxxooo

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @thane15 @pedant  I did indeed write something about I Daniel Blake immediately after seeing at the cinema.  It’s not a perfect film  but immensely powerful in its depiction of people trapped within a system that cannot and will not acknowledge them.  The Job Centre staff too are trapped – if they do try to step outside the system to offer help that isn’t prescribed, they are punished.  Most of the criticism of the film came from people who questioned (without any evidential basis for doing so) the plausibility of what happened to Daniel, and, most tellingly, of that happening to someone who was decent, hard working and honest.  It’s here if anyone’s interested – written in a white heat of anger…

    And of course this is not unconnected to the horror at Grenfell Tower.  It’s ‘social housing’, i.e. housing for people who don’t have real choice in where they live, for people whose voices are often ignored when they protest.  There’s too little of it (too much was sold off under Thatcher and the concept became stigmatised – I was in a seminar a while back with some younger folk, very well educated, in their 20s, and one of them asked what council housing was… ) and it’s in poor condition, and when council budgets are cut so are corners.  It’s not that anyone thinks, ‘they’re just povvos, so no worries if they get incinerated’, they just think they can get away with it and cross their fingers that nothing awful happens.  Well, it has, and something has to change.

    Anonymous @


    thank you for sharing that with us again -writing with anger, as white hot fury drives the truth about injustice and the foulness creeping into every crevice of society is essential. It must be let out: certainly the Greeks thought that about their own polis.  But what do we have? Hope, I suppose. And yet it’s insufficient.

    when @blenkinsopthebrave asked his question those are the thoughts which came immediately to mind. These thoughts were the point:

    [some] of them asked what council housing was… ) and it’s in poor condition, and when council budgets are cut so are corners.  It’s not that anyone thinks, ‘they’re just povvos, so no worries if they get incinerated’, they just think they can get away with it and cross their fingers that nothing awful happens.  Well, it has, and something has to change.

    Once again, it’s not the “how,” only, as to “what” happened  but why did it get to such a point when warnings were issued and the writing clearly drawn on the walls? The very same thing happened in Melbourne. Some years later only two states have made inroads into this particular building code. Brisbane isn’t one of them naturally. Home to one of the most corrupt state governments where the QCC does very little.

    The news from London is still pouring in and people here are angry, listening and asking “why?”

    That’s where (hope for) change germinates


    MissRori @missrori

    (sigh)  I expected the grisly news of the fire to be the top story on our American morning news shows yesterday, but instead it turned out to be something closer to home — the assassination attempt on Republican congressmen at a baseball practice.  No one but the shooter is dead as of yet, but there were some bad wounds.  It’s pretty much dominated our cycle here, even as another mass shooting that actually had casualties (at a UPS facility in San Francisco) took place later that day.

    I am hoping against hope now that Moffat is totally trolling about “The Doctor Falls” and it’s going to be a gloriously happy finale instead, because seeing the Doctor’s ideals lead to a happy ending is the story we need right now, not a tale of death and woe and failure…


    Bloody hell, give this girl a scholarship for anywhere she wants to go.

    Polly Neate, the CEO of a charity which campaigns against domestic violence called Women’s Aid, said other girls from the tower block had also turned up to sit their exams.

    “Girls from my 13 year old’s school who lived in #GrenfellTower lost everything and still turned up for GCSEs next day in night clothes,” she wrote on Twitter.

    nerys @nerys

    Wow! Amen to that, @pedant!

    Anonymous @

    @pedant @nerys

    Unbelievable. This is something for Thane to know! He doesn’t realise how fortunate and bloody lucky he is: to  have that kind of aspiration? Is inspirational.

    I’m going to tell his school!




    Missy @missy


    Thank you for that.

    Puro:  A lot of today’s youth have no idea just how lucky they are. But then how can they? That’s the problem.



    Anonymous @

    I don’t know which poster mentioned Stranger Things on Netflix. But I love it so far:

    2nd episode refers to “I have this great mix: Bowie, The Smiths, Joy Division” -great time setting and authentically creepy with laughs.




    *strokes chin* 😉

    Anonymous @

    ah hah! It was you @pedant. I didn’t recognise Winona -so perfect in this role.




    I know. Genuinely playing age, yet there are a complete of moments when Those Eyes shine through and I get all unnecessary.



    Christ my typing has gone to shit (two deadlines i a week will do that). Try again.

    I know. Genuinely playing her age, yet there are a couple of moments when Those Eyes shine through and I get all unnecessary.

    Missy @missy


    I had to smile. Who used to say that? “I’ve come over all unnecessary.”


    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    I wrote something last night about Grenfell Towers, in sorrow and anger.  You may spot an unattributed quote from the Doctor in there…



    I think it was Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do Have ‘Em.


    Superb piece.

    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    @pedant Thank you – it means a lot to me that you like it.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @cathannabel  something last night about Grenfell Towers

    A true and tender offering — thank you for the link.

    Damn these evil times.

    Missy @missy

    @pedant: As Osgood said: “Oh god, so it was.” He also said “I’m having a bit of trouble.” Lawks he was funny, nut irritates me now. Thank you for that.

    @cathannabel:  Nice one.




    janetteB @janetteb

    Gloomy days indeed. We certainly are living in “interesting times” as per the Chinese proverb. Grenfall Tower has burned its way into all our hearts this week but there are wider implications. This is where austerity leads, to almost incomprehensible tragedy. If there is one story that should be highlighted and told again and again is that of the trapped mother throwing her baby out of the window, not to safety but to the possibility of safety. There is no human on the planet who has empathy who is not moved to tears by such a story. It is the kind of human story that can change history and right now we desperately need to change the course this world is headed on. IT is time to put human welfare first.

    It is no surprise that this current series of Dr Who has been the most political in some time. So much that needs to be said and repeated and repeated..

    @arbutus I add to the congratulations. Finishing school is a major milestone. Good luck to Arbutus jnr in the years ahead. Finding one’s path after school can be challenging.




    Arbutus @arbutus

    @thane15   @janetteb   I was poised to pop in last evening, cocktail in hand, and then realized that everyone was talking about the latest episode which I hadn’t yet seen! So I fled the area, trying desperately to avoid spoilers.

    Thanks on Arbutus Jr.’s behalf and my own for your wishes (and for Puro’s delightful track on the music thread). I don’t think he realized quite what a milestone it is until it happened. I managed not to cry as he walked across the stage, but for some reason, I kept tearing up every time the words “Class of 2017” were mentioned!

    Things are settling down a bit now, and I can see I have a load of catching up to do around here. My thoughts have been with the people of London, they seem to have been hit hard by the vagaries of life lately. Just a lot of astonishing things going on in the world in general, too much to keep up with. Hugs to everyone everywhere.

    Nick @nick

    Another piece of terrorism, it seems, to night in London, with a van being driven into people outside Finsbury Park Mosque.  I had hoped something like this wouldnt happen, although I can’t say I’m surprised.

    Nick @nick

    To early to be sure yet, but it seems all too likely I’m afraid.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @nick, yes, I read about this. Coming so soon after Grenfell Tower does not seem like a coincidence. If there was one thing that came across in the coverage of Grenfell Tower it was that, when it came to the residents, race didn’t matter, religion didn’t matter, they all came together as…Londoners. There was this sense, through what I read and what I watched, that there was this fierce sense of a group of people who suffered together, and who came together, as Londoners, in resilience and anger.

    Of course, there are two groups who do not want this picture of humanity being more important than identity to get traction–terrorists and racists. So if Finsbury Park turns out to be an attack born of hate, I am not surprised. Saddened and dispirited, but not surprised.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @nick and @blenkinsopthebrave yes sadly it  seems that hate had struck again, and as Blenkinsop says it is about hate, about exacerbating division, mistrust and resentment. An eye for eye makes the whole world blind. There are some that want a blinded world. It is no coincidence that in the latest series especially Dr Who has been promoting a message of peace and unity. It reflects the growing concern about the divisions that would tear this world apart.





    Nick @nick

    @janetteb @blenkinsopthebrave

    You both describe exactly what I think and feel. I’ve started and restarted trying to write something in response to both of you

    Perhaps, because I’ve been out of the UK for four years – back for less than a year – I hadn’t appreciated just how much anger there is in the UK right now even as communities draw together. I think a lot is due to economics (the majority are poorer than they were in 2008. Post election this may change, but it was probably going to get worse; certainly worse if you relied on social welfare benefits).

    Some is due to being scapegoated (the poor, Islam, more recently brexiteer = racist). A lot seems also due to a widespread feeling of disenfranchisement, that other things (Brexit, deepest austerity for the poorest, growing elitism, immigration in particular) have exacerbated.

    I not really old enough to know how the 1970 to the mid 1980s felt to those living then. But the UK does seem to be following a similar trajectory right now.

    In many ways I’m not surprised. Our political and economic elite have run an laissez-faire import economy for the last 30 years. We import money (government and especially private borrowing), goods (a £5 to 10 billion per month deficit in trade goods going back years), people (easier and cheaper to import skilled and non-skilled people than invest here, especially as jobs growth has focused on London and the SE and not where it was needed most).

    I’m sorry to go back to politics and economics as it isn’t really appropriate, but it does feel to me that the one thing that is driving everything else.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    See the answer I gave some moments ago

    Which explains hypothesis testing quite nicely. But you are missing the essential point: hypothesis testing requires repeatable events. If your event is not repeatable then you are left with its effects; you can’t investigate it directly.

    And you will know that you had inadequate information and will know better next time

    Sometimes there is no ‘next time’. That’s one of the big differences between the scientific model and real life; life does not consist solely of repeatable events. Yes, you can work on your theory of bus flows, but the problem is that it doesn’t really help you at our particular bus stop.

    ‘Faith’ – trust. The difference between ‘faith’ and ‘assumption’ is that in both cases you accept something as true; in the case of ‘faith’ you are confident enough in either yourself or someone else that you accept something as true. In my original story, the reliance was partly on personal experience (or theory of bus flows), but also partly on anecdotal evidence.

    Now, in the hard sciences, anecdotal evidence would be considered a possible starting point, but only in the sense that you could use it to create a hypothesis for testing. In the social sciences, anecdotal evidence would need other kinds of supporting evidence to put it into a framework. In history and law, you have various systematic methods to try and cross check the anecdotal evidence.

    But in real life, anecdotal evidence is often what you’ve got.

    Actually, if you want a document translated you will look for a translator with a grounding in whatever the pertinent field is.

    So what, precisely, is your objection to starting Extremis in the Vatican? It’s stated clearly that the Veritas is the work of an early Christian sect. Therefore, by your argument, you will look for a translator with a grounding in early Christian sects – which means you’re probably going to be looking at the Vatican, Harvard Theological School, or Oxford (and will probably end up with some geezer in a dog collar).

    From the TV point of view, the Vatican is by far the most fun…

    And science does not use the word “prove” in the sense that you are using it (which is the mathematical sense).

    Sometimes, pedant, you live up to your moniker. Yes, experimental science regards all ‘proof’ as subject to future refinement – mainly because you could write a terrific history of science using all the various hypotheses that were later shown not to apply in certain circumstances. But ‘proof’, like ‘cell’, is a word with many possible meanings and you’re supposed to figure out which one I meant from the context.

    So you can quite easily use a scientific approach to prove if Liz 1 owned the ring,

    Well, if you’re going to be pedantic about ‘proof’, I’d have to point out that you’re using ‘scientific approach’ as a synonym for ‘systematic approach.’ Academic history uses a systematic approach and will quite happily use science for corroborating evidence; however, a historical investigation is generally not the same thing as a scientific investigation. The kinds of evidence are very different, for a start.

    Nobody has denigrated historians, translators or theologians. But all of them would benefit from listening to scientists.

    What was that you said about hubris? They already listen to scientists. The complaint is that certain scientists don’t seem to feel that they need to listen to other disciplines. 🙂

    Nick @nick

    @bluesqueakpip @pedant

    None of my business (other than its an interesting debate, which I recall from earlier). When scientists (at least some depending on the discipline) talk about proof, they also take the precision of the result into account.The experiment has not only to be replicable, but the outcome also has to be measured accurately.

    As an aside:

    When the guys at CERN discovered the Hoggs-Bosun (or any other new particle) they required that the measurement of the average (mean) of particles energy (mass) is within 6 standard deviations. For any reading this, who haven’t come across probability based analysis, that means the range on either side of the average energy calculated from the millions of individual detections, is extremely narrow. The high precision of the measure was deem proof that the data was showing more than some fluke random distribution and that a particle existed at that energy/mass.

    For the stuff I was doing, for example, using radioactive isotope ratios measured using a mass spectrometer, (determining the age of individual sample was one outcome) we were happy at 2 standard deviations (due to the ability to replicate the result and the intrinsic accuracy of the mass spectrometer and detector).


    @blenkinsopthebrave @janetteb @nick

    It is very easy to get sucked into a distorted perspective. I have been around the tracks enough times to remember the IRA letting off bombs without warning, including trying to assassinate Thatcher and her entire cabinet, but also detonating bombs in many places with no regard for civilians. The centre of Manchester was destroyed by an IRA bomb (and rebuilt with EU money). At the Hyde Park bombing of soldiers parading and playing music, everybody could remember the name of one of the horses – Sefton – but I bet within a month few could name his rider, whose story became unbearably, unspeakably tragic.

    We see the symbolism, when we should be looking at the people. Yesterday one of the imams from Finsbury Park Mosque saved the life of the attacker, who may otherwise have been lynched.

    Immigration isn’t new. It happens because the English won’t do the work and dates back at least to the Irish Navigators building our canals and then our railways; my Grandad lied about his age and travelled from Tipperary to join up in 1915, and stayed in active service until the 1950s but in my living memory you would see pubs with “No Irish, no blacks, no dogs” signs on their doors. And yes, that final insult was intentional. It is not a coincidence that Essex, where Mosley’s East End blue collar fascists moved out to after the war, is the UKIP heartland.

    Our crops are gathered by immigrants and yet a pub where Portuguese workers had gathered to watch their team during the Euros was besieged by knuckle draggers would would never consider doing the back breaking work that they do.

    Farmers are only now waking up to how screwed they are about to be.

    The one thing really noticeable about both the Brexit vote and UKIP’s support was that  – those rural areas aside – it concentrated almost exclusively in areas without large scale immigrant populations(1). Those areas where people have actually met and lived and worked with immigrants – Asian, East European, Jewish, South American – invariably vote of openness and inclusion.

    That is London, that is Manchester.

    And scumbag obscurantists of all kinds know this and are trying to destroy it.

    But they are trying to do it in the face of a government of truly breathtaking ineptitude and an opposition leadership that is only now trying to break out of it 1970s socialist straightjacket. This is what you get when the angry mob is allowed to hijack both of our to major parties.

    And so we have Theresa May declaring today “we have been tolerant of extremism for too long”. That would be the May who spent 6 years as Home Secretary (interior minister, for non-UKers) before becoming PM.

    I would give almost anything to have a grown up back in charge.


    (1) An exception, narrowly: Birmingham where a large Bangladeshi community we outright lied to by Leave and are now pretty damned angry.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @bluesqueakpip   in real life, anecdotal evidence is often what you’ve got.

    I think that may be the deciding factor in whether a discipline is called a “hard science” or a “soft science” (although from a long enough perspective, I suppose it’s *all* anecdotal, so “hard science” is really “malleable” rather than “hard”).

    Thinking about that after I caught a panel on “The Biggest Questions”, where I have to say, I favored the members who were hands-on practical — the neurology brain guy, and the Doctor working with patients waking from significantly long periods of coma.  The rest, I thought, was a weird kind of fun, and a good illustration of “pipe dreams” or a kind of competitive crossword duel:

    Loved the German guy; isn’t there a sort of Doctor-ish flavor about him?  Rapid thought, boundless enthusiasm, and flashes of humor.



    So what, precisely, is your objection to starting Extremis in the Vatican?

    Huh? I have never, at any stage, offered any objection to that. I thought it was very cool. I thought its juxtaposition with CERN made a clear and inventive illustration of the two approaches to knowledge without getting bogged down in it.

    in real life, anecdotal evidence is often what you’ve got.

    Anecdote is not the singular of evidence (nor is evidence the plural of anecdote). You can do the maths about anecdotal evidence. Clarity in the use of terms is not pedantry.

    To suggest that any and all forms of decision making in an environment of imperfect information is ‘faith’ is at best equivocation and at worst sophistry.

    The thing with bus stops is that experience depends entirely in epistemological framework:

    Many (many) moons ago I lived in Shoreditch, before it got trendy, and had to get a bus from Liverpool Street Station.

    I was leaning against the bus stop near midnight watching a bloke working his way up the other stops talking to people and moving on. I thought “Uh oh! Nutter alert”.

    Now, had he given up before he got to me he would have had one experience of London, and I would have been none-the-wiser.

    But both experiences were falsified when he got to me.

    When he got to me he said, in a rather thick Geordie (Newcastle) accent: “‘Scuse me mate can you tell me how to get to Hoxton?”

    “Yeah, no prob. Get the next bus here and it’s two stops”, I said.

    To which he said: “Thank Christ for that. You’re the first person who’s spoken to me!”

    We than had quite a fun chat about alienation and preferring a smack in the gob to being blanked (his view, not mine).

    There was no faith here – just doggedly sampling and finally getting a reading with enough Geordie friends to be able to understand him. Just the same as SETI listening in the blind for evidence of alien life.

    Never saw him again.

    Science deals with the empirical – from the Greek empiirias: through experience. If it can’t be experienced – that is, if it can’t be measured – it is not science, nor a matter for science. Uncertainty is nearly always a factor; faith is not a factor.

    Anonymous @


    Er? I thought it was the Higgs-Boson? 🙂


    Nick @nick



    janetteB @janetteb

    @pedant I thought the British Labour Party was escaping from its neo-liberalism straight jacket and re embracing some of those fifties socialist values and it was that ditching of Blairism and picking up of some Clement Attlee values that helped swing the election. Of course not all fifties values were good and neither was every idea of the Attlee government. We have moved a long way since then in terms of human rights and social understanding but the core ideas of free education and free health care and a government whose role is to provide for its population are what the Labour Party (and the Australian Labor Party) should be all about.

    My impression is that the divisions in British society really developed under Thatcher but there have always been divides, North/South, Upper Class/Middle Class/Working class Rural/Urban London/The rest of the country. Add to those cultural divides on the basis of religion and ethnicity and then clamp down the pressure with overpopulation, pollution, rising unemployment, diminishing benefits and services and bullying bureaucracy, (which it does regardless of government leaning) and the result is a powder keg. (I put pollution in there but in a sense I really just mean the ugliness of the built up environments because if I had to live in quite a few urban areas in England I would go mad.) Getting back to Dr Who I think the emphasis on tolerance and cooperation in this last series is in part a response to this. Of course anger is rising world wide and it certainly not purely a British problem, hence the growing strength of the far right, in Europe, the U.S and here in Oz. Media plays a huge role in fueling this anger as well and directing it away from the real culprits, generally manipulating that anger for purely self serving purposes.

    but that is enough. I am rambling. It is late and time I hit the pillow. (I dreamt of Romans and monsters last night.)





    I referred very specifically to the Labour leadership which is still fighting a war that was lost 30 years ago. They managed to effectively mask that they (the leadership, not the party at large) are firmly anti-EU (‘cos capitalist conspiracy, innit?) and this got them the overwhelming bulk of the Remain vote along with nearly all of those who wanted to vote “anyone but May”. Corbyn has show signs of learning, but the problem is McDonnell who if he were made of chocolate would eat himself, and who is wholly unreconstructed.

    Labour – even New Labour – has never been “neo-liberal” (a term 90% of users do not understand) and have always been what most other countries would recognise as social democratic (in the sense used in Germany).

    Blair’s government gave us:

    -A National Minimum Wage;

    -The Human Rights Act (which, among other things, give the UK a legal right to privacy for the first time ever);

    -Unprecedented investment in the NHS;

    -Unprecedented investment on education;

    -The outlines of an ethical foreign policy (eg Sierra Leone) before he pissed it all way backing GWB’s adventurism).

    -And Brown was nicely pulling us out of the post-credit crunch recession when the election was lost and Osborne’s slash-and-burn austerity turned it into the longest recession ever.

    But the 600,000 or so Corbynites don’t know any of that, they just call anyone who questions the Dear Leader a Red Tory (they call Tom Watson – another chocolate self-consumer – a Blairite and he tried to overthrow Blair!).

    And Corbyn still lost the election. I can think of four or five potential leaders (including at least 3 women) who would have won at a canter against the most incompetent Tory leader since Eden. And if Corbyn had been willing to enter a progressive alliance the Tories would have been slaughtered.

    Attlee would never have been a Corbyn supporter. He was too interested in getting things done.

    lisa @lisa
    Missy @missy

    @lisa:  Thank you.

    Wonderful!  I too enjoyed the Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing era.

    Not a bad choice of yours lisa – I second that. *thumbs up*




    janetteB @janetteb

    As a few other people mentioned Babylon Five over on one of the other threads I thought  I would mention the sad news that Stephen Furst, the wonderful Vir Coto, passed away the other day. His was one of the characters that made the series so watchable.

    “I would look up into your lifeless eyes and wave, as a warning that some favours come at too high a price.”

    (Wording is probably not correct as is written from memory and has been a few years since I last watched that but so unforgettable.)




    So this happened on Twitter (and may still be happening – it’s got a bit hard to tell!). If it doesn’t at least slightly restore your faith in humanity, nothing will.

    Phillip Pullman auctioned the right to name a character in his next book:

    janetteB @janetteb

    @pedant another reason to admire Phillip Pullman and all those who contributed.



    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Only a couple of hours left to bid…

    bid for character name in dr who novel

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