[sticky entry] Sticky: Introduction & Comment policy

Friday, May 21st, 2010 12:17 am
miss_s_b: (Self: Profile)
Hello! There now follow some handy hints on how to make the most of your Reading My Blog experience:
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Comments Policy:
  • Anonymous commenting is enabled, although anon comments are screened before publication; please, if you comment anonymously, give yourself a name/pseudonym/some form of identifier. If you don't your comment will not be unscreened.
  • I don't censor comments from people I know unless pushed VERY hard. Red lines include racism, misogyny, homophobia, unjoking advocation of violence, and being horrible about (or to) people I love. Anons tend to get a lot less leeway and a lot less benefit of the doubt; sorry. My blog, my rules.
  • If you want to point out cock-ups I have made, please direct them to Pedants' Corner; likewise if you want to ask me something off the topic of the post please go to this entry - this saves readers' scrolling fingers.
miss_s_b: (Self: Innocent)
... can somebody explain the Scottish education system to me? Like, what are the landmark exams? How would it affect a theoretical 13 yr old hypothetically moving from England? Currently, when she goes back to school in September, she'll be starting her 3 year GCSE courses, this totally hypothetical 13 yer old, if that helps...
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
The electorate were misled. Don't get angry at them; persuade them to get angry at the lying arseholes that sold them this crock of shit and told them it was shinola.

The shittiness of the crock of shit is already becoming apparent, but there's no use screaming I told you so at people who already feel crap because they were duped. Telling people they were wrong when they know they were wrong only leads to them doubling down and blaming immigrants, "benefit scroungers", women and LGBT+ folk even harder.

Don't tell them they were wrong, tell them they were tricked. Tricked by the same Bullingdon Boys they thought they were sticking two fingers up to. And then tell them what they can do about it, if they want to.

Show them that there are some politicians who will tell them the truth.
Show them that there is a better way.
Show them liberalism.
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Friday, June 24th, 2016 06:18 am
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So the pound is in freefall, and the markets haven't even opened yet.
The Nikkei and the Nasdaq have both suspended trading.
We've embraced xenophobia and nationalism.
We've given Nigel fucking Farage what he wanted.

How do I explain this to my daughter?
How do I forgive my mum for voting leave?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
Yes, they use indelible pencils in polling booths.
Yes, these are better than pens because they don't run out and are harder to chemically erase.
Yes, it's very funny that there's a bunch of tinfoil-hat-wearing people who don't realise either of the above facts.
Yes, it would be easily testable by taking in your own eraser and trying it for yourself in the polling booth, and yes, there are far easier ways to alter a ballot than erasing the mark placed there by the voter (putting another mark to spoil the ballot, for example).


Doesn't it say something about how low trust in our democratic processes has got when there are so many people willing to buy into this?

That makes me sad.

Anyway, go vote Remain. I have. You know it makes sense.
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miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
A woman is dead.
Her husband is a widower, her children are motherless, her colleagues and friends are mourning.
The vast majority of the profession to which she belonged is mourning, because we recognise that it could have been any of us.

And yet, and yet...

There's something unspeakable about certain of the tabloids, you know the ones I mean, the ones who use this to decide how they are going to cover an atrocity, who are today saying "don't politicise this". Quite apart from the fact that everything's political, when a politician gets assassinated in the act of being a politician by a man with known extreme political views who actually screams those political views while he's killing her... I honestly think it's not that big a leap to say that this was a political act.

Certainly no less political nor as big a leap as EVERY SINGLE TIME a black or brown person does something, leaping to blame it on Islam.
Certainly no less political nor as big a leap as saying someone has a history of mental illness like that's an explanation, when it's well proven that mentally ill people are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators of it.
Certainly no less political nor as big a leap as positing mental illness as a shield from political opinions, like mentally ill people can't, or aren't allowed to, have political opinions.

The guy who killed Jo Cox has been described as "polite" (because shooting, stabbing and kicking a person while screaming "Britain First" is awfully polite) "not a violent man" (apart from that whole shooting, stabbing and kicking a person while screaming "Britain First" thing) and the inevitable "a loner who kept himself to himself" (because everyone who needs some alone time is to be feared and mistrusted). Despite the fact that he subscribed to an apartheid magazine, spent time on fascist websites, and made a gun using instructions he obtained from a Nazi book club that he splashed lots of the very little cash he had on, here are some words that much of the mainstream media are shying away from using:

White supremacist.

Choosing not to use those words when they are clearly appropriate is just as political as using them, especially when in the act of carefully not using them you instead cast aspersions about the mentally ill.

This happened less than seven miles from my house.
This happened less than seven miles from where I was manning a street stall last weekend espousing the very views that the shooter hated.
I may not be entirely objective about this. That said, there are things we could do.

- We could enshrine it in law that every time a newspaper prints a lie, they have to put the correction in the same size font on the same page, or if it's a lie about someone with a protected characteristic, they have to take up TWICE as much space for the apology as they did for the lie.
- We could make political adverts subject to the advertising standards agency, so that when they broadcast provable lies, they have to stop doing it, or at least be fined.
- We could make it so that rather than "balance", the thing broadcast journalists have to strive for is truth.
- We could, as individuals, say "no" when family or friends or colleagues say something bigoted and wrong, rather than letting it slide to avoid fuss.

We could.
We could, but I bet we won't.

I look at what happened yesterday, and I look at some of the reactions to it, that she deserved to die, that all politicians deserve to die, that this was all staged for a poll boost for remain, and I wonder what we're becoming. As Sarah said on twitter the other day, before this even happened, this is our 1930s moment, and we're failing. How far down the slope do we have to slide before someone puts the brakes on? I wish I knew. I really wish I knew.

I mourn for Jo Cox.
I mourn for politics in Britain.
I mourn for the open, friendly, welcoming, generous country I used to think I lived in.
I want that country back.

Jo's family are raising money for three charities - the Royal Voluntary Service, Hope Not Hate, and the White Helmets. If you can afford to, please give something.
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miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
I acknowledge that people who are "concerned about immigration" think that the immigrants are causing the housing crisis.
I acknowledge that people who are "concerned about immigration" think that the immigrants are causing people to have zero hours contracts in low paid shitty jobs.
I acknowledge that people who are "concerned about immigration" think that the immigrants are swamping the NHS.
I acknowledge that people who are "concerned about immigration" think that the immigrants are bleeding the benefits system dry.

The problem is they are completely, objectively, provably wrong about all of those things.

The problem is that in "acknowledging their concerns", we validate them, and let them believe that they are right.

Underinvestment and policy cockups which make people suffer are not the fault of immigrants who can't even fucking vote, they are the fault of successive governments and the people who vote for them.

If you want a health service that's not bursting at the seams, if you want your local fire station to stay open, if you want disabled people to have a decent standard of living because benefits give them enough to subsist on, at some point you're going to have to realise that immigrants who pay more into the system than they take out, and who just want to quietly get on with living their lives and contributing to our economy are NOT THE FUCKING PROBLEM here.

You blame immigrants because you don't want to face up to your own complicity in voting for successive governments that have done this shit because you want European levels of public services with USA levels of taxation, and then "acknowledged your concerns" and cracked down on immigration so hard that we are actually deporting nurses now because they don't earn enough.

Stop being such racist arseholes, open your eyes, and take some fucking responsibility.
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miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
Since I have got myself a proper job, I can afford the odd little luxury. One of the pubs I used to work in was the local posties' pub of choice, so I have a fondness for posties and keeping them in work. Thus I started getting some subscription boxes. This is the fourth in an occasional series of me reviewing them. None of these are paid reviews, I haven't had special freebies, and I don't do sponsored content. WYSIWYG.

Today I am reviewing:

Spooky Box Club.

What do they offer?

A monthly box of goth tat interesting goodies and trinkets for people who are totally not goths at all. If you're in the UK the price is just shy of £25 when you factor in postage, which puts this definitely in the luxury category AFAIC. They do post worldwide, and have prices in US$ and things as well, but obvs the postage is more to non-UK places.

What do you actually get?

A purple box printed with bats and stars, full of stuff which fits that month's theme. Themes have included bats, ghosts, aliens, graveyards etc. There is always a posh lolly, and usually some form of bag with gothy decoration, and also normally some form of jewellery. Then a random assortment of other things which fit the theme; for instance this month's box is gardening-themed (appropriate for the month - here's a link to someone's instagram unboxing pic) so you get a (very sturdy) flower press, and a template for making seed packets so you can distribute your garden goodies to friends, among the other things. The bag this month is a six inch square hip bag which attaches to your belt, so you can carry things around while gardening (or perhaps in other circumstances) without wasting a hand.

There's normally ten to twelve items of varying sizes. They're all usually of excellent quality, whatever they are. There's normally a good variety of things too, it's not all notepads and greeting cards, although you do get some of those. I've not yet had a single item in any of my boxes (three so far) where I've looked at it and thought "well that's a bit Poundland", which seems to be something of an issue with this type of box. Particularly impressive so far have been the bats-and-carnivorous-plants tote bag, which is amazing quality, and the graveyard nail decals.

What's good about it?
  • The items you get are almost all custom made for Spooky Box Club, so they're not things you're going to run across in your local goth tat shop.
  • The items are always interesting and of good quality, and fit the theme well.
  • It comes from Bradford, so me buying it is supporting local business and ethical shopping and stuff.
  • The customer service is excellent; friendly and efficient.
  • The packaging: the box it comes in is both sturdy and pretty, and I have taken to using the boxes for general storage. You also get little theme-appropriate glittery confetti in each box (purple and black foil bats, or little translucent ghosts, for example) which I have taken to saving for crafting things.
  • Some of the proceeds from each box go to supporting a charity appropriate to the theme (for instance the bat box helps the bat conservation trust).

What's not so good about it?
  • It's probably a bit expensive, really, if I'm honest. I don't think Sarah is profiteering by any means, especially given the quality and amount of stuff you get, but having £25 a month to throw away on Nice But Not Essential Things is a luxury not everyone can afford.
  • the lead time, while understandable, might be a bit frustrating if you want goth tat NOW. You can solve this by getting one of the previous boxes from their shop, which also has many of the previous box contents available singly, but this is way more expensive than subscription price. If you're going to do that the bat box is the cheapest (and IMHO the coolest, but then I have always loved bats).
  • The website is a bit poo, and almost put me off making my first order. I'm glad it didn't.

How easy are they to contact if you need to change something or if something goes wrong?

Very easy, friendly and efficient.

Value for Money?

This is difficult. Objectively, £25 a month is a lot of stuff you don't actually need. However the quality of stuff you get is so good, I genuinely think it's worth it. YMMV.


Get this box if:
  • You're totally not a goth at all, honest, even though all your friends keep accusing you of gothness. Yes, Mr Eldritch, I am thinking of you.
  • You want a little box of Nice Things, some of which will be unexpected and make you go "oooo that's cool" once a month.
  • You've got the disposable income to treat yourself in this way.
Don't get this box if:
  • You're not into bats or skulls or spiders.
  • You would be offended by the odd bit of Wiccan (or similar) content every so often - spell candles and such.
  • You need to keep your money for essentials - this is definitely in the treats category.

Marks out of ten: 8/10.

I really like this one; it seems to me definitely better value than the various boxes of geek tat, which always seem to contain things from franchises I don't like as well as ones I do. Your mileage may vary, OfC, but this definitely gets my seal of approval IF you have the disposable income for it.
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miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
There is a wealth of research out there backing up a bit of common knowledge: people do not trust politicians.

All politicians of every party and none will acknowledge that they try to present the facts in the best light to suit their position. They'll cherry-pick, they'll play down unflattering facts and big up flattering ones. They'll misdirect. Few, however, will admit to outright lies, despite the fact that some at least can be proven to be actively promulgating falsehoods.

This means that once a "truth" becomes common knowledge about a certain type of politician, it becomes very, very hard to shift. The tories, for instance, have a reputation for economic competence which is completely counter to the facts. Lib Dems are considered wooly, pie-in-the-sky and impractical, when in my experience we are almost manically obsessed with facts and evidence. And UKIP, certainly among their supporters, have the reputation for telling inconvenient truths that other politicians would prefer to stay hidden, when, in reality they... well, to put it kindly, they are the cherry-pickiest and most misdirecting of all of us.

In part this is one of those irregular verbs: I tell inconvenient truths, you twist the facts, he lies. In part it is that it is human nature to test facts against one's own experience and opinions and reject those that don't fit. And most humans also have the enviable ability to hold two (or more) completely contradictory "facts" to be true - one only has to look at the immigration debate. Lazy immigrants coming over here working all the hours God sends Stealing Our Jobs and lounging about on benefits that we taxpayers pay for.

What interests me is that when all politicians are held to be untrustworthy, which I think we can accept is the case, why do the electorate then decide to put the tiny amount of trust they have for politicians as a class into the ones that are most often found to be liars? I guess the question I am asking is: if all politicans are liars, why are some lies more seductive than others? Why do people want to believe the self-evident bullshit of a Donald Trump against the more finely crafted horseshit of a Hillary Clinton?

I don't have an answer for this, and if I did I suspect I'd be very rich indeed.
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About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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