miss_s_b: (Self: Profile)
2010-05-21 12:17 am
Entry tags:

[sticky entry] Sticky: Introduction & Comment policy

Hello! There now follow some handy hints on how to make the most of your Reading My Blog experience:
  • If you don't like my colour scheme (I am aware that many people don't) add "?style=light" to the end of any url to get a different version.
  • If you want to know more about me, click here
  • If you haven't got a dreamwidth account you can still log in and comment or participate in polls with openID.
  • Other platforms I am active on are listed here.

Comments Policy:
  • Anonymous commenting is enabled, although anon comments may be screened before publication; please, if you comment anonymously, give yourself a name/pseudonym. It gets very confusing talking to two anons at once.
  • I don't censor comments unless pushed VERY hard. Red lines include racism, misogyny, homophobia, unjoking advocation of violence, and being horrible about (or to) people I love.
  • 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: (Politics: Liberal)
2015-05-22 11:29 pm
Entry tags:

On that Ryan Coetzee Article

Ryan Coetzee has written an article in the Grauniad in which he details why he thinks we did so badly in the elections. Perhaps unsurprisingly his answer isn't "hanging on the every word of an overpaid soothsayer who sold us a pup of a slogan". You will be likewise be unsurprised I have some disagreements with his conclusions.
About four weeks from election day it became clear that The Fear was hurting us. We tried everything we could to counter it: fear of a Tory minority government in hock to its own right wing, Ukip and the DUP; fear of Tory cuts to welfare, schools and other unprotected departments; ruling out participation in any government that relied on SNP support; offering ourselves as the only guarantors of a stable coalition. All of it was trumped by The Fear, and on a scale we didn’t see coming.
Yes, we tried every other form of fear we could think of. But we didn't try hope.
We made a coherent, liberal case to the voters...
No we bloody didn't because you told us not to. We were the rizla trying to slip between the tories and labour, and those who wanted the "tory" value of strong economy voted tory, and those who wanted the "labour" value of fair society voted labour.
...offering both a strong economy and a fair society.
SEFS is and always was a total bag of arse. It fails the standard test (who would campaign for a weaker economy and a less fair society?) and it's meaningless bollocks. Ask the average voter what they thought of it and they'll shrug and go "it's all right". It's not distinctively liberal. It's Rizla-slipping in slogan form.
My tentative conclusion is that it is probably not possible to succeed electorally in coalition government under first-past-the-post while remaining equidistant from the two big parties. If we can’t win the fight for proportional representation, it may be that we have either to stay in opposition or pick a side.
We are NEVER going to succeed by aligning ourselves ANYWHERE on the left right axis because it's already crowded. We need to persuade people that the axis that matters is the Liberal authortarian axis because we bloody own it.
There are three options for the party now: remain in opposition unless we can change the electoral system, even if a coalition opportunity presents itself again, allowing us to be whichever version of our liberal selves we like; seek once more to reunite the left by merging or aligning with Labour, thereby creating a path to power for liberal ideas; or rebuild, take the next chance to be in government, and do it differently in the hope of a different outcome.
Does it have to be us that changes the electoral system? I don't care who does it, as long as it gets done, and there's a LOT of pressure for it now. And once that happens, all bets are off.

Look, clearly Ryan wins the argument from authority here, because the party pays him an awful lot of money to do what he does, and the party doesn't pay me anything anymore because I got made redundant, there being no funding left for my job now we have been massacred. So you can dismiss this as bitterness if you like. But I think people will vote Liberal Democrat if we give people a reason to vote FOR US. And "we're a bit less profligate than Labour, and a bit less heartless than the tories" isn't a reason to vote for us, it's entirely negative. Until some overpaid soothsayer comes up with something the voters can latch onto that's distinctly us, we're screwed.

Of course, up until 2010 we had "you can trust them to do what they say", and look how well THAT'S going now...
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
2015-05-22 10:13 pm
Entry tags:

It's #WorldGothDay - so obviously I want to talk about the Hugos.

So of course all the actual goths are hiding. They wouldn't want to be associated with something so mainstream as World Goth Day.

I (who, of course, am not a goth in the slightest) am working my way through my Hugo packet*. I am now decided how I am going to vote in 13 of 17 categories. The Graphic novels this year have some really, REALLY awesome stuff in - two of the four I've read have made me want to engage with anything else in the series. I need to read the rest of the novels to see if anything can beat Ann Leckie. And I've committed a heresy against my Whovian religion by deciding that the Orphan Black episode nominated is better than the Doctor Who episode nominated (I really didn't like Listen).

Who all else here is Hugo Voting? What have you really loved (or really hated) so far in what you've read/seen?

a million thank yous to Mary Robinette Kowal, without whom I would not have a Hugos packet. I will totally buy at least one of your books and read it as soon as I have a job again.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
2015-05-22 11:08 am
Entry tags:

Why I'm supporting @timfarron for party leader: a list

- he's a gut liberal. More than that: he's a heart and soul liberal.
- he's a passionate and inspirational speaker, and we need passion and inspiration right now.
- he recognises his fallibility and owns his mistakes.
- he seeks advice on subjects he is not expert in rather than bluffing.
- I have seen him change and learn; every time I have seen this happen he has been consistently, instinctively Liberal about how he applies new information.
- he knows how the party works both structurally and culturally, and his time as president shows how well he connects with the wider membership.
- he upsets the Daily Express.
- he supports a Yorkshire parliament.

At the beginning of all this I was determined to stay neutral, and weigh things up as the campaign went on, and give each candidate a fair hearing... I like Norman Lamb, I really do. His work on mental health in particular has real personal value to me. BUT he doesn't have some of the qualities that I think our leader needs right now. Don't get me wrong, whoever wins we will have a capable leader whom I will support; but right now I think it's Time For Tim.
miss_s_b: DCI Gill Murray looking disapprovingly at her phone (mood: not important)
2015-05-21 10:52 pm
Entry tags:

In which I post drunkenly about chocolate

Those of you who know my allergies will know that I can't have chocolate. What you may or may not know is that my chocolate allergy is racist. Whatever it is about chocolate I'm allergic to is in the brown bits. I can eat WHITE chocolate til it comes out of my ears. It's very annoying, even apart from the fact that I abhor racism and all it's workings, because of course most of the depth of flavour and things are in the brown bits, and white chocolate is mostly just fat and sugar.

Anyway, having tried all the white chocolate I can (tesco own brand is horrid, Sainsbury's is yummy, Green & Blacks is OK, Montezuma's is AMAZING) I just have a couple of questions:

1, who is Mr Ritter?
2, what sport did he play?
3, why is his white chocolate with whole hazelnuts in it so yummy?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
2015-05-20 11:58 am
Entry tags:

If you were elected as an MP, what text would you choose to swear your oath of allegiance on?

Prompted by this article on the BBC news website and the ensuing discussion on twitter.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 14

What book would you swear your Oath on?

View Answers

On Liberty
4 (28.6%)

The European Convention on Human Rights
5 (35.7%)

A traditional religious text (Koran, Bible, etc.)
1 (7.1%)

A less Traditional religious text (Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Principia Discordia, etc.)
1 (7.1%)

Something Else which I shall detail in the comments
3 (21.4%)

I'm not sure what the rules are for courts, these days. I suspect they're a bit more stringent than parliament. I know most courts let you choose a religious text if you are going to swear by almighty God to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God, but I don't know if you get a book to hold if you're affirming, or what they do with people from polytheistic faiths... Google gives me an article about the situation in Norn Iron and a .pdf of what happens in courts martial, but nothing concrete on English law other than lots of people saying it needs reforming...
miss_s_b: (Default)
2015-05-19 06:11 am

A question about that Game of Thrones spoiler from someone who doesn't watch the show

... or, indeed, read the books. Trigger warnings for much of what is under the cut.

Spoilery McSpoilerpants )

I'm genuinely interested in why this particular instance has been the straw that broke the camel's back for so many, including geek girl website the Mary Sue.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
2015-05-15 04:54 pm
Entry tags:

A quick question re sexism in the lords

We all know that a when gentleman who is married gets elevated, his wife becomes a Lady, but when a lady who is married gets elevated her husband gets precisely knack all - this is, of course, why the beloved Hon Lady Mark is known as such.

Now we have same sex marriage, what happens to the wife of a baroness or the husband of a Lord?
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Fangirling: Columbo)
2015-05-14 03:31 pm
Entry tags:

Just one more little blog post today...

I received a DM from a friend on twitter today, which read:
Probably a really stupid question but err… would a filthy leftie treehugger be welcome in the LDs?
to which my response was
Well they made ME chair.
You don't have to like everything the party has ever done (or proposes to do now) to join. We're a democratic party. While obviously you need to have some areas of overlap just to fit in, if you don't like party policy, you can work to change it. I know, I've done it and succeeded.

I'm not saying it's easy, and you've got to put evidence in front of people and persuade them, but at least it's possible which is more than I can say for either of the labservative parties. You join them, you fork over your money, and you do as you're told. You join the Lib Dems and we want you to contribute - yes money, although not very much; but also ideas and arguments. We thrive on arguments.

If that sounds like the sort of thing you could join in with, you know what to do.
miss_s_b: DCI Gill Murray looking disapprovingly at her phone (feminist heroes: DCI Gill Murray)
2015-05-14 12:11 pm
Entry tags:

One of the Differences Between Us and Labour

I read Dan Hodges' controversial article in the Speccy, and one bit jumped out at me:
In the final days of the 2010 campaign, Balls telephoned an MP friend. ‘I’ve just had Alicia Kennedy [Labour’s deputy general secretary] on,’ said Balls. ‘She says I might be in trouble in my seat and I should get back there. What do you think?’

‘Get back there now,’ his friend said. Balls did and clung on by 1,101 votes.

This time, no call arrived. There are some in the Balls camp who think that was no accident.
The fascinating bit is not the conspiracy theory (yawn) but the idea that a top rank Labour MP might have to ask for permission to campaign in his own damn seat. I'm just going to repeat that: a top rank Labour MP might have to ask for permission to campaign in his own damn seat.


Now, I'm the first to be jealous when a coachload of Labour activists turns up in a seat just because that's what they've been ordered to do, while our activists are all failing to even get on the coach*, but are they so used to centralised orders that a shadow cabinet member with a 1000 majority won't try to defend his own seat unless he's told to? That's just terrifying.

IMHO the ideal is probably somewhere between the two, but if I have to choose I'll go for catherding over mindless automata EVERY time.

*because one of them wants to drive, and one wants to go on the train, and one says it's OK they can cycle there from their house, and one refuses to come because nobody asked them specifically they were only asked in a round robin email, and several would rather do it on a different day to the day the coach is available, and several more turn up after the coach has left because they're running on goth time and then get offended the coach didn't wait for them...