The Phoney Forever Culture War Continues …

Yes, I posted a Union Flag. Correctly named. and even the right way up. That must mean I love my country, right? Because the the only way you can possibly love your country is to wrap yourself in the flag, isn’t it? Oddly enough, right now I don’t really love my country very much at all, but that is mostly because of the kind of people who keep telling me I don’t love my country if I don’t love the flag. They’re every-bloody-where. …


The “Culture War” Mic Wright so eloquently talks about simmers on like a persistently grumbling appendix, and as a counterpoint to the inadequacies of the ruling party(1). Oddly, now there’s a bit of vaguely positive vaccine news, or they’re announcing the “absolutely final, for definite, not going to change” (^Yeah…riiight^) plans to come out of lockdown, all the shouting about the Culture War has gone a bit quiet, hasn’t it? …


Can we Stop Showbiz for the Ugly bleeding into actual Showbiz, please?

The first thing I saw when I switched the telly on this morning was Ed Balls cooking dinner. And Rachel Johnson. Thing is, it bothers me. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel a bit uncomfortable watching them capering about on cooking shows. It didn’t bother me for long because I switched over fairly quickly, but it did for the moment I lingered.

I get that there is an element of “humanising” politicians (1), and those who talk about politicians and political culture becoming increasingly distant from most people’s everyday experience may have a point when they say that this…


As this story is released, the UK’s transitional deal with the EU will end, and we will step out, blinking and dazed, into a strange and unfamiliar world. For many of us, first the EEC and then the EU has been a low background thrum in our lives since childhood. The United Kingdom joined the EEC a couple of months before my third birthday, and confirmed our continued membership a little over two years later, just as I was about to start school.

All through my school life, as we learned metres alongside feet and inches, there was a sense…


The thing that was supposed to set us free, has done anything but

One of the great pillars of the neo-liberal worldview that has been the dominant socio-economic driver in the UK over the last four decades is about the benefits of choice. It’s almost been a mantra since the days of Margaret Thatcher, and her political successors have gone with it, in some cases to an almost insane degree. It has affected almost every aspect of life, from education, to healthcare, to transport. …


Normally at this time of year I’d be sitting here talking about trivia like Left Hander’s Day (which is 13 August), as well as rolling my eyes at the pictures on social media and the websites of the Daily Mail and the Express showing nubile 18 year old girls pictured mid-leap as they celebrate their A Level results.

Not today.

Today, Gavin Williamson, The Secretary of State for Education, sat during an interview and used the words:

“…people being over-promoted into jobs beyond their competence.”

Leaving aside the clanging irony of one of the most mediocre Cabinet Ministers in living…


The Trump Campaign goes batshit rogue, yet again

Source: David Mulder / Flickr Creative Commons

These are apparently the words of Courtney Parella, a member of the Tangerine Amin’s campaign team overnight after Facebook finally grew a pair (1) and removed a post claiming that children were “almost immune” to the coronavirus. Twitter has also blocked it, according to The Guardian overnight. The only real shock is that it’s taken this long for the social media platforms to properly respond to what, in this case especially, is pretty much criminal negligence and irresponsibility on Trump’s part. Again.

But let’s leave aside Trump’s Olympian levels of asininity aside for just a moment and concentrate on those…


Over the last couple of days, there has been a steady stream of stuff on Twitter about food poverty, including this little gem from an unfortunately all too familiar source of risible bullshit.

Just for starters, lets break this down. The cost of those potatoes doesn’t include:

  • A peeler to peel the spuds
  • A knife to cut them up (though the knife could double for peeling and scraping).
  • Oil or fat in which to cook the chips. Which probably probably means oil because chip pans are very much frowned on now. A litre of vegetable or sunbflower oil is just…

The Great Day has arrived. The day when the pubs can throw open their doors and welcome in all those thirsty drinkers who’ve been deprived of a brew all these long, dry lonely weeks. Unless of course they bought any from a supermarket (which most have). Or brewed their own (which some did). In fact, in the first month of lockdown, most of the reasonable estimates were that alcohol sales had gone up by around 30%, so it’s not like people were quaking under the oppressive yoke of enforced temperance.

All those people who said they were dying for a…


Are metrics making us stupider?

(this is still in a draft state. It may change a bit. I don’t know yet)

In computing there is an old saw: GIGO — Garbage In Garbage Out. It’s effectively just a more concrete example of the idea that however good your logic may be, if you base it on flawed premises, the outcomes are never going to be satisfactory.

Over the last generation or so we have seen the use of metric-based systems increase around us. Whether it’s league tables for schools(1), hospitals, or universities, just to pick three, the tacit assumption of their effectiveness borrows from the…

The Cult of Stupid

No, I distinctly said, “CULT”

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