“I had a headache for five days in that week.” During the parliamentary recess in February this year, MP Helen Goodman set herself the challenge of spending just £18 a week on food. She had received lots of messages from constituents worried about the bedroom tax (which hadn’t yet come in) and decided to see for herself what it would be like to survive on the resulting lower income.
Democracy, huh? Yes, I know we knock our politicians when they don’t listen to us, but last night in the House of Commons the majority of MPs reflected public opinion, by taking a course of action that was, subsequently, unpopular with a vocal group in public and the media. But … Continue reading →
Today is the 65th birthday of the National Health Service. The NHS: helped deliver me. Not easy, given I had infected blood, even in my mother’s womb tried so hard to keep my father alive after his terrible accident treated 10yo me when I got hit by a car. I … Continue reading →
The (British) Welfare System began its embryonic life in the English Poor laws of 1536. Time passed, perspective altered, society changed, and – eventually – The National Assistance Act (NAA) was enacted in to law in 1948. The fundamental purpose of the NAA was to establish a social safety net for the less fortunate members…»
Eighteen out of our twenty-nine Conservative and LibDem Cabinet ministers are millionaires.
Tomorrow they get a tax cut of more than the average gross annual salary.
I offer these facts with no additional comment.
During the course of a piece of research (I’m currently researching, in unrelated projects, international legal mechanisms, and architectural follies) one line of enquiry led me to look at the forthcoming retrial of US citizen, Amanda Knox, in Italy. As I read up on the case, I was surprised to … Continue reading →
The Government has announced that it is going to spend a very large lump of taxpayers money to build a nuclear power station in a very remote, but very pretty, part of the north Somerset coast. Hinkley C will cost £14bn to build (and fuck knows how many £bn to decommission, … Continue reading →
Dear Coalition for Marriage, Thank you for putting your leaflet ‘Witney For Marriage’ through my letter box. I have read the contents thoroughly, and consider myself to be better educated. I was unaware that this issue – the redefinition of marriage, to allow homosexuals/lesbians to become legally ‘married’ – was such a contentious one. I…»
Do our current crop of useless twats politicians think we are completely stupid? Or do they think we are just a little bit stupid? Theresa May (who is capable of redefining the word ‘contemptible’ without expending any effort at all) has said that if the Conservative party wins the next election, the Conservative party would…»
So, the people of Eastleigh, last week, gave the Conservative party a massive humiliation and pushed the Conservative candidate in to third place, in the by-election. And as a result, the (oh look, he’s a Conservative) Foreign Secretary, William Vague Hague has said that the voters were being (and I quote) ‘indulgent’. What amazing people…»
This morning my Decree Absolute landed on the doormat. That, as such, isn’t the subject of this post. The British legal system is. I would like to say that from the initial contact with Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (as it is now known), right through to the very final step in the process, …
I’ve just finished reading an article, in the Economist, about the state of Britain’s roads. Apparently, over the last two years, the number of insurance claims made, by motorists to cover the cost of repairing their vehicles, that have been damaged by poorly-maintained roads, has risen by 30%. That’s a 30% rise in two years, …
There is a very interesting libel trial going on in the High Court; it’s been playing out for a couple of days; is scheduled to conclude early next week. I have been following the trial via the commentary of a couple of correspondents who are sitting in the public/press gallery, and describing the proceedings via the Twitter…»
Do you remember Mr Cameron’s declaration to have a ‘bonfire of the Quangos’? And Mr Pickles carrying out, in a hatchet-like way, the axing of dozens of ‘needless organisations’? Well, one ‘needless organisation’ that Mr Cameron and Mr Pickles got rid of was the National Equine Database (NED). NED was set up to fulfil several…»
I have two questions that arise, one directly, one indirectly, from the horsemeat in the foodchain scandal. Our Conservative Government (who stand firmly under the standard of ‘less regulation is the way forward’) have said that the food industry, as a result of this horsemeat in the foodchain mess, needs to be better regulated. And…»
“Mainstream culture,” as a concept, needs to die. A little pre-history. The Diamond Sutra, a sacred Buddhist text and the world’s oldest surviving printed book, was produced in China in 868 AD. It took another couple of hundred years before moveable type was invented, and another four hundred years for the printing press to be [...]
This speech, in honor of Aaron Swartz, pretty much sums up why I work on the web. This is why it’s worthwhile. Aaron was part of an army of citizens that believes democracy only works when the citizenry are informed, when we know about our rights—and our obligations. An army that believes we must make [...]
I grew up in a culture of counterculture politics. My parents met in Berkeley during the early seventies, which should tell you pretty much everything you need to know; they were, separately and together, involved in Vietnam protests, equal economic and political rights and liberties, tenants’ rights, and the environmental activities around Peoples’ Park. It’s [...]
In these times of national austerity, when the government is cutting public budgets across the entire fiscal landscape… I see nothing wrong with £1.2m being taken out of public funds so that public servants (Government Ministers) could go to the London Olympics, free of charge. Nothing wrong with this at all. Because, as our Prime…»
The geniuses, the nonconformists, the hackers, writers, lovers, activists and revolutionaries. Those should be our heroes. Aaron Swartz was someone to look up to. I didn’t know Aaron, but know plenty of people who did. The memories of him, his life and work all paint a humanist picture of someone who understood what was right, [...]