miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
Look at this post on Lib Dem Voice. Look at it. It makes me want to weep.

Loook! Look at all the lovely lovely power we get! And it only comes with the TINY strings of a total lack of democratic accountability - the mayor that Manchester didn't want, and voted against, will be elected, but it's OK because (s)he'll be totally hamstrung by the appointed committee (s)he's serving on!

It's not another tier of government! The combined authority you were paying for anyway is just being dragged into the light, rather than being abolished and turned into an elected assembly as actual democrats might be expected to want.

No mention that the billion pounds of spending will actually involve cuts, of course, because it's less than would have been spent on those areas anyway by central government.

If the Stockport Lib Dems are this easy to buy off with mention of a few baubles of power then frankly, we deserve all the "would sell their grannies for a sniff of power" crap that the media and the other parties have been throwing at us for the past four and a half years.

Grargh. Really angry now.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Liberal)
This one being my partner, [personal profile] magister, who used to work in immigration and was so incensed by Nick's speech last week that he resigned from the party. He posted about his reasons for doing so here, and he has just texted me to tell me that he has received confirmation of cancellation.

After Shirley Williams on the NHS, after Julian Huppert drank the home office kool aid on DRIP, after secret courts, after this, I really am genuinely wondering if Clegg is systematically going for properly pissing off what remaining pockets of support we have left in a perverse attempt to see how low we can go.

Still waiting for Greg Mullholland to tell me pubcos aren't all that bad, or Lynne to go all patriarchal, mind. If either of those happen, it'll be ME sending my card back in pieces.
miss_s_b: (Default)
There are some people whose emails I always want to read - parents, partners, daughter, close friends. There are some people whose emails it is important for me to read - my PPCs, my treasurer, my council group leader, stuff from work, or from region. Maybe 1% of the email I get falls into both of those categories; 95% of the email I get does not fall into either one.

I use gmail labels extensively, and this has worked very well for me. So, while I was in Devon, I put the vacation responder on. I'd seen other people do it. How hard could it be?

The reaction of most people not covered by the two categories above (hereinafter referred to as "those on the list") was astounding to me. Huge numbers of them seemed to take the vacation responder as a reason to send me MORE email. Whereas the people on the list, they generally sent me less email. So the overall effect of vacation responder was to increase the amount of crap and decrease the amount of nice and/or useful email.

Now perhaps I shouldn't have said "Don't worry, I'll be checking my email when I get back" but "if you email me during this time it will be automatically deleted and you'll have to send it again when I come back so don't bother". Perhaps I should have used the vacation responder in conjunction with actually turning email notifications off - but then I would have missed the ones I actually wanted, or were important for me to get.

Or perhaps I should just delete my entire email address and start again from scratch...

The thing is, I now have an inbox full of shite I don't want, have undoubtedly missed some stuff I *did* want, and am intensely annoyed, and thus I want to do something about it. I'll certainly not be using the vacation responder in the way it's currently set up again, but in general, there are decisions to be made. And this is where you come in:

Poll #15723 What Should I do About Email?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 11

What Should I do About Email?

View Answers

Skip inbox for everyone except *list*
7 (63.6%)

Set up separate email address for people on *list*
4 (36.4%)

Kill it all with fire and move to a place where email can't get me
0 (0.0%)

Something else
0 (0.0%)

Do feel free to repond on twitter as well as in comments ;)
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
I wasn't going to blog about the whole leadership thing, because what good would it do? I am desperately, desperately sad that the party's response to our disastrous showing in the recent elections has been to turn inwards and fight each other, but it's not like I can't recognise the symptoms of self-harm, and I realise that trying to tell a self-harmer to stop doesn't make a lick of difference if you can't do something to stop the pain that self-harm is a response to.

So why did I decide to blog about it after all? Because Matthew Oakeshott has fallen on his sword, and the mainstream media* have leapt to the conclusion that the leadership crisis is now over.

There's a few inconvenient facts that fly in the face of that conclusion:
  1. Oakeshott going does not stop the various local parties who have already scheduled EGMs under 10.2(f) from having those meetings. I am aware of nine, so far**. That's nine local parties who have actually scheduled EGMs. I have heard rumours of many, many more who might be doing so. This is way more serious than some bloke who nobody took seriously anyway wasting money on some polling.

  2. LDs4Change may have views coincidental with Oakeshott's - and they may have gone about things in a similarly half-arsed, stupid, and unconstitutional way to the methods he uses - but that does not mean that they are, or were, run by him; or that because he is gone, they are gone. As Nick Barlow said on twitter: LDs do not need an agent provocateur to be angry with the leadership***.

  3. Oakeshott going does not solve the quite legitimate concerns that many have about Clegg's leadership. If anything, it makes Clegg feel vindicated, makes him dig his heels in, and thus makes change from his various problematic positions less likely.

If the party is to survive this without being seriously damaged, this boil needs lancing, and it needs lancing NOW before things get even more pus-filled and manky. And I can only see one way for that to happen. Clegg needs to call a leadership election himself, and then stand in it. Do the John Major option. Tell the party to back him or sack him. If the recent poll for Lib Dem Voice is accurate then the party will back him and all this will go away. If the poll's not accurate then all this, and Clegg, will go away.

Either way, we cannot afford to let this fester for much longer. The poison is seeping into all sorts of places, and I, for one, do not wish to see people I love tearing each other apart any longer.

* and several of Clegg's more ardent supporters...
** although only Cambridge have announced it publicly.
*** and lets face it, even those who agree with Oakeshott think he's a prize arse who nobody listens to, and who is the kiss of death for any campaign he gets involved in.
miss_s_b: (Default)
I don't LIKE negative campaigning. I would much rather tell people why they SHOULD vote Liberal than why they shouldn't vote UKIP (or Labour, or Tory, or whatever). But apparently Ed Milliband has been saying UKIP are not the answer. I beg to differ, Mr M, I really do. I can think of several questions to which the answer is "UKIP".
  1. The majority of which party's supporters think that all immigrants and their families should be "sent home" even if they were born in Britain?

  2. Which party's small business spokesman wants to clamp down on illegal immigration - unless those illegal immigrants are employed by him?

  3. Which party are even the tabloid press calling racist and bigoted now?

  4. Which party has a candidate who thinks people like me can be turned straight by seeing other "GLBT whatever" folk shot?

  5. Who's that bunch of old rich cis het able-bodied white men who, despite their privilege, have an enormous persecution complex such that they think being asked perfectly reasonable questions is totally unfair?
Now, I'm not going to tell anybody not to vote UKIP. I'm a liberal, and I think people should be able to vote for whoever they want to, no matter how stupid, ill-informed, venal and despicable that candidate might be. So, you vote UKIP if you want to. Just bear in mind that if you do, I will judge you, and my judgement will be of disappointment at the very least.


This post started off as trying to be silly and ask ridiculous questions to which the answer was UKIP, but I got so cross at the actual real things to which the answer is UKIP... Seriously, how can anyone with an ounce of feeling for their fellow human beings even consider voting for these people?

miss_s_b: (Default)
As blogged about by Zoe and Caron the latest wheeze to come out of the Cornerstone wing of the Tory party is for the rozzers to be able to put all sorts of restrictions on a person if they are found giving a child anything that relates to sexual activity or contains a reference to such activity. I thought I might come up with a list of examples of perfectly innocent things which a child of my daughter's age (10) might reasonably be given which relates to or contains reference to sexual activity.
  1. Pretty much any chart single - even stuff by wholesome boy bands.

  2. Books about impending puberty - such as the one Holly has which tells her which bits of her she might reasonably expect to grow and change over the next couple of years, and why this happens.

  3. A DVD of the children's movie "Hotel Transylvania", which I took Holly to see at the cinema. It has several references to sexual activity, and one character who finds it amusing to systematically sexually assault other characters.

  4. Anything explaining what child abuse is, or what to do if it happens to you.

  5. DVDs of any of the last several series of Doctor Who. Many many references to sexual activity, including the conception of one recurring character.
I could go on but I'm sure you get the picture. And all this is without even going into the fact that Holly is a big fan of Old Harry's Game (lots of references to sexual activity, albeit mostly in the "eewww humans do icky things" vein) and ancient horror movies from Hammer and Amicus (yeah, that's inherited).

The thing is, I'm probably not going to be subject to a sexual control order. I'm a reasonably respectable white person with a job (for a given definition of respectable, anyway), so I'm not on the list of usual suspects that the rozzers like to target with these sorts of things. But if you're lower down the pecking order than me, and the sort of person the police like to stop for, for example, bag checks anyway...

I do NOT like the police being given powers which are so open to abuse. Sure, most of the force are great guys and gals who are just doing their jobs. But enough of them are powermad little Constable Savages who like to exercise the power they have unfairly that this new power would cause untold misery to those who are already under the bootheel of oppression.

Down with this sort of thing.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Vyvyan Twos Up)
I've only been nominated for the Big Botty, not even won it, still hoping I don't, and already the ribbing has started:

Sam Phripp: "She's a darling of the establishment. Tut tut."
Andy Emmerson: "I heard Nick telling people how much he loved Jennie and how he wanted her to work for HQ"
Sam Phripp: "I heard he said she was always on message in volume over time... True story."
Andy Emmerson: "In fact I heard Jennie was personally fed lines for blogging from the establishment; people like Clegg"
Richard Morris: "I heard Nick is thinking of changing his surname to Rigg in a kind of tribute"
Andre Whickey: "I heard Jennie only didn't get made a Baroness because Clegg wanted more independent-minded people in the Lords"
Richard Morris: "I also heard he thinks of himself as just keeping Sheffield Hallam 'warm' until Jennie is ready to stand"

You're all swines :P

Andy Emmerson: "are we included in your announcement that you're taking a job as a Clegg Spad?"
Andre Whickey: "the economy motion will be called "the Jennie Rigg motion" so it will pass... "

I'm sure the hilarity will continue on twitter for some time to come...
miss_s_b: (Default)
So Sarah Teather announced, via an article in the Observer, that she will not be standing again for her seat in Brent. Various people expressed various emotions on receipt of this news. The Lib Dem Voice comment thread, at time of typing, is approaching 200 comments. Despite the attempts of various people to inject notes of sanity there has been a massive proliferation of straw men in that comment thread, which can basically be divided into two camps: the Sarah Is a Great Loss and the Sarah is Not Such a Great Loss camps.

I fall into the latter camp. My stated position is that because of her vote on same sex marriage, after many years of cheerfully using lots of LGBT activists to work for her, I feel that I would rather spend my limited leaflet delivery time on another MP/candidate at election time. I agree with a lot of her OTHER positions, but because there are MPs/candidates who share those positions AND voted the way I would have liked on same sex marriage I would prefer to donate my time to those people.

For this I have been accused of being a single issue politician (because I am talking about this right now means it is the only thing I have ever cared about), sexism (because Sarah is a woman and I don't want to deliver leaflets for her, despite the fact that I have also publicly condemned Gordon Birtwhistle, John Pugh, and all of the other MPs who voted against), racism (because Sarah has been an anti-racism campaigner therefore if I don't want to deliver leaflets for her I must be racist), obsessed with sex (because equal rights for LGBT people is only ever concerned with sex and not human rights or anything) and of WANTING DISABLED PEOPLE TO DIE (no, I don't get that one either). And pretty much everyone who has said these things has ALSO gone on at great length about the "vitriol" being flung at Sarah.

To make that clear: saying you'd rather deliver leaflets for someone else = flinging vitriol. Accusing someone of being sexist, racist, and a eugenicist? Fair comment. As for the single issue politician thing... If I was FORCED to be a single issue politician I would be the most vocal (and probably the only) campaigner for Colin Baker to be permanently recognised as the best Doctor Who. If only because that's SUCH a minority campaign that it needs all the help it can get.

Anyone who doubted the importance of leaflet delivery in the Lib Dem psyche? I think today has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's more important than pretty much anything else. It's just a shame that we're all spending valuable leaflet delivery time arguing about something that's not going to be changed by any amount of invective on any side.
miss_s_b: (Who: SixAppeal)
[profile] sassyscot pointed me towards this travesty on the Torygraph website.

For the avoidance of doubt, the correct order in a chart like this should be:
  1. Colin Baker

  2. Circa 60 other actors, including Peter Cushing, Joanna Lumley, Arabella Weir, Derek Jacobi and Mark Gatiss

  3. David Tennant
Poor form at the Torygraph, given that their article didn't even mention the best actor to play the role. Still, what does one expect from a rag like that?

ETA: as Andrew quite correctly points out in the comments The Torygraph article is even more of a travesty than I thought because it calls itself "the top ten time Lords" and yet all of the entries are for the doctor. Whither Anthony Ainley, Lalla Ward, Timothy Dalton, Don Warrington, etc.etc.etc.?
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
Andrew Hickey on twitter has predicted the following:
[I] expect Clegg will announce 'moderate' 'centrist' (i.e. horribly illiberal) 'compromise':
"There are those who think we need to ban the internet entirely. Others want to force you to watch porn. But Liberal Democrats in the positive centre just want to tattoo the foreheads of porn-watchers with 'I am a perv': a sensible compromise that, we feel, properly reflects the mainstream, centrist, liberal consensus"
Let's see how right he is, shall we?

My prediction is that while Andrew's tattoo suggestion is probably a bit unlikely, Clegg is clueless enough about the internet to think that there might be a workable compromise, when in reality the proposed filters will not do what they say they will, will block lots of things they say they won't (examples of things currently blocked by existing porn blocks: The open rights group; the guardian; anything LGBT+, including support sites for teenagers; text based fan fiction; and this blog), and will cause huge headaches for all concerned for years to come.

There is no easy off switch for harmful content. The only way to deal with harmful content is education: teach people what is and isn't harmful and how to cope with it; teach parents how to teach their children. But of course we can't trust people to do that, can we?
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
I see variations of the words in the title of this post multiple times a day. Most often they are followed by a link to the offending article, and that really grinds my gears. I never click the link. Never. D'you know why?

Because EVERY pageview is a pageview they can sell to advertisers.
EVERY discussion that mentions them, whether positively or negatively, is buzz that they can sell to advertisers.

Why do you think the Daily Mail is the biggest "news" site in the world? It's not just because people approve of the crap they write. It's because people DISapprove of the crap they write, but still link to it saying "isn't this awful crap in the Daily Mail awful crap?". It's the same reason the BBC keep inviting known racist and bad historian David Starkey back onto Question Time: because every time he's on, twitter explodes with fury about whatever racist stupid inaccurate thing he said this time. It's buzz. It's eyeballs.

Now, I am perfectly happy for the ideas mentioned in Daily Mail articles to be demolished for the illiberal, homophobic, transphobic, racist utter bullshit they most often are. More than perfectly happy; I think it's extremely necessary. But to do that by linking to them, by sending them eyeballs, by creating buzz about them? That totally defeats the object. I want the Daily Mail and it's poisonous worldview to die. For that to happen we have to not only attack the ideas they promulgate, but also stop giving them the traffic they desperately want.

The Daily Mail doesn't care if you read it nodding with approval, or read it in a fulminating rage. They only care that you read it, and that you make them money by so doing, either directly or indirectly from advertisers (and I'm not even going to go into the total illogicality of the people who actually BUY the damn rag to tut over it and say how awful it is).

I realise that I am probably being a bit of a Canute here, but can those of us who stand against everything that horrible organ stands for PLEASE stop giving them what they want? That'd be lovely.
miss_s_b: (Mood:J'accuse)
I'm composing this on my phone so it's going to be quick and dirty, but I have the following things to say:

1, asking someone to consider what impact their words will have is not censoring them or banning anything
2; being told you have hurt someone is not fun; but it's better than hurting people
3, people with privilege are used to not considering other people's feelings and get upset when they are asked to consider other people. On one level this is understandable because considering other people is work. But it's nowhere near as much work as living with total lack of consideration all the time.
4, if you use a word that upsets people without knowing it will upset people that is qualitatively different from knowing it will upset people and using it anyway.
5, you are perfectly free to say whatever you like BUT THAT IS NOT THE END OF IT. Once you have said what you like other people are free to react how they like and judge you how they like in consequence of what you have said.
6; there is NO point 6
7, All words cause reactions. If you don't like the reaction your words cause it might behove you to consider your words more carefully in future, especially if you're getting paid for writing them; rather than railing at people you have upset for reacting in am entirely predictable way.

This post brought to you by today's twitter storm. Further reading:

miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
I intended this slot to be for Youtubes of Monty Python and daft jokes, but nothing today is going to beat the silliness of the former minister for health, who wants to ban Frosties.

Yes, childhood obesity is an issue.
Yes, Frosties are high in simple carbohydrates.
Yes, it'd be nice if people chose to eat things the establishment approves of (from the point of view of the establishment, anyway).

Why the instant Labour response to anything like this is bansturbation is beyond me, though. Surely it's treating a symptom rather than a cause? People choosing unhealthy foods is not a cause of poor diet, it's an expression of it. If you wanted to treat the cause rather than the symptom, though, you'd need to look at why people choose frosties over (say) muesli:

- because they taste nice
- because they're much cheaper
- because they're used to them.

Banning frosties won't solve any of those things (black market frosties would still be cheap; that's how markets work). If you want people to choose "healthy" foods, you need to:

1, educate them on what healthy foods are (people are mostly fairly well informed on this) - the traffic light food labelling scheme is part of this too.
2, make healthy foods cheaper and/or more convenient than unhealthy ones. You can do this by either taxing unhealthy foods, or subsidising healthy ones (commence argument about which is preferable now). The problem is that the reason unhealthy foods are cheap is because good quality ingredients aren't, and that's not a simple thing to solve.
3, make sure that all public utilities which sell food (schools, hospitals, canteens, etc) offer a variety of healthy foods so people can get used to things other than frosties.

And that's without even going into how unworkable such a ban would be. If you ban a specific product, the manufacturers will bring out the same product under a new name. If you ban a certain percentage of sucrose, the manufacturers will find other, potentially much less healthy options (fructose, for example). And even then, how do you stop people adding extra sugar in their homes?

Like most Labour proposals, this is ill-thought out and if it is ever to work will require massive bureaucracy for a tiny gain.

Still, now they've demonised nicotine, alcohol, fat, salt and sugar, it'll be interesting to see what's next. Puritanism is never satisfied...
miss_s_b: (Who: SixAppeal)
Colin Baker is going to be on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I hate that bloody show. I watched it when lovely Brian Paddick and lovely George Takei were on it, and I hated the show, I hated Ant and/or Dec and I hated the concept, even though those two guys were great.

This year Colin is going to be on it, so I thought "Oh bugger, I'm going to have to watch it again". But there's a complicating factor. Also appearing? Nadine Dorries. One of the very few people on this earth I cannot think of a civil thing to say about. If I watch it, I know I'm going to get the stressed Eric vein and homicidal urges. But there's Colin. Lovely, lovely Colin.

So, I turn to you, oh wise and all-knowing internets:

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 23

What should I do about I'm a Celebrity?

Watch it no matter how painful
0 (0.0%)

Watch the first episode and if it's too painful then stop
9 (39.1%)

For Christ's sake, are you insane? Why are you even considering watching it?
14 (60.9%)

miss_s_b: (Default)
I was unaware that "in full consultation with" meant "we'll tell you how far we're prepared to go and if that's not good enough for you, tough shit", but apparently that IS what it means...

I am not going to conference because of accreditation.
I know a reasonable (not small) number of other people who are not going to conference because of accreditation.
The party leadership are trying to paint us as a small number of malcontents who are being utterly unreasonable when all they want to do is make us hand over our entire life history to the rozzers. Even after everything that has been in the news since FOREVER about how institutionally untrustworthy the police are, and how if anything goes wrong they will close ranks and cover it up - not just the recent news about Hillsborough, but pretty much every death in custody ever, etc. - they still wish to paint mistrust of the police as an unreasonable position to take.

This is not how liberalism works.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Belligerent Wheel of Fortune)
Today, everything is frustrating. There are THINGS and STUFF that are IMPORTANT and everybody else seems to be concentrating on things that are not important* and it's WRONG and people are making stupid facile blog posts** and even Alan Rickman can't make tea properly*** and we're still living in a shitey unfair world and I want to blow things up.

I blame hearing lots of news stories about that tosser Assange after having watched an explodey film yesterday.

* like putative cabinet reshuffles and other Westminster Bubble bollocks
** like this one
*** see tomorrow's linkspam
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
A conversation just occurred in this house:

James: Oh for fuck's sake!
Me: What??
James: "Soccer star Fabrice Muamba's recovery has sparked a group of Christian MPs to try and reverse an ad ban on saying that worship works. Three Christian MPs are trying to overturn an advertising ban on claiming that ‘God can heal’." (Source)
Me: Please tell me one of them's not Tim Farron
James: "Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem) say that they want the Advertising Standards Authority to produce "indisputable scientific evidence" to say that prayer does not work"
Me: Oh for fuck's sake.

I really like Tim Farron, but sometimes he makes it really difficult for me to do so.

Firstly, the very idea of indisuptable scientific evidence is a contradiction in terms. The whole point of scientific evidence is that it's disputable. That's how science is made. The difference between a scientific paradigm and (for instance) a Christian doctrine is like the difference between Lib Dem policy and Tory policy. A Lib Dem policy is proposed by an activist (scientist), run past FPC and FCC (the ethics committees), experimented upon (consultative sessions), examined from every angle (peer review), and finally voted upon at conference (becomes accepted as a paradigm). A Tory policy goes like this: one of the top rank Tories has an idea, possibly after a very expensive meal with David Cameron (God issues an edict via holy book/prophet/visions/whatever).

Just like there is no such thing as an indisputable Lib Dem policy, there is no such thing as indisputable scientific evidence. But that does not mean that there is not Lib Dem policy that pretty much everybody agrees on, and that's how science works too. For instance, pretty much every Lib Dem agrees that imprisoning people without charge for long periods of time is a bad thing; there might be the odd one that thinks there ought to be exceptions to this priciple, but mostly, we are in accord, and we don't bother discussing it much because it's something we all agree on. Similarly there is no indisputable scientific evidence that I exist; but I think we can work on the assumption that I do, given that I'm typing this blog post, and although it might be fun to try and prove that I exist, it's not really a valubale use of anyone's time. There is no indisputable scientific evidence that computers or blogs exist, for that matter. But pretty much everybody agrees that they do. Science, like Lib Dem policy, is all about consensus, not people doing what they are told*.

With all that in mind, we can see that the very idea that there might be indisputable scientific evidence that prayer does not work is a bit silly, and that's even before we go into the difficulties of proving a negative (it seems quite appropriate to me, especially in this case, that the logical fallacy which covers saying that something must be true because it hasn't yet been proven false is called the argument from ignorance). However, in the realm of disputable scientific evidence, there are some things that Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem) might find instructive.

There are HUGGINS of scientifc studies that have been done by Christians to try and prove that prayer DOES work (example article talking about this phenomenon). And not one of them has made a reliable conclusion that prayer is anything other than a placebo. Every one that has purported to do so has been found to be cheating in some way. Now, in terms of the Advertising Standards Agency, they generally require proof of a positive: that is, in order to advertise a thing, you must be able to prove that what you are saying is true. Why should Christianity be held to a lower standard than L'Oreal or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter? If prayer actually works, Christians, I think it's up to you lot to prove it, not to demand that the rest of us prove that it doesn't.

Apart from anything else, it flies in the face of your own stated principles. Christianity is supposed to be about love and compassion and stuff, right? In what way is it loving or compassionate to give ill people false hope that you talking to your invisible friend on their behalf will have any measurable effect? Surely that's cruel and evil, not loving and compassionate?

I really have no beef with Christians who believe in God and want to worship him and all that jazz, SO LONG AS THEY DON"T IMPINGE ON MY NOT WANTING TO JOIN IN. I am utterly pig sick of the current vocal minority of Christians in this country and the rest of the Western world who are trying like blazes to impose ridiculous Christian doctrines on the rest of us, and shore up the stupid privelege that Christianity has in our legislature all the while trying to claim that they are being discriminated against; and I am incredibly sad that someone who is the president of a supposedly Liberal party keeps trying to enforce Christian conformity on the rest of us.

Tim, please, you're a nice lad and a good speaker, but Just. Stop. It.

*this is, of course, why the entire activist base is so pissed off with the leadership trying to be religious instead of scientific, and going their own way instead of listening to Conference. This isn't what we signed up for. It's also not what this blog post is about, though, so...
miss_s_b: (Default)
There's an article in the Grauniad in which Cardinal Keith O'Brien describes the plans to equalise marriage rights as madness, and lays into them in various other ways. I'm just going to post my reactions here. It is possible that if your belief system differs from mine, you might find this offensive. I figure that given how offensive I find the Cardinal's bigotry, this is acceptable collateral damage. Anyway here's my reactions to what he says:
  • Gay marriage is a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right - if it was a universally accepted human right, gay people would already be able to marry. That's what universal means. The fact that gay people can't marry means that it's NOT universal, and this is what we're trying to fix.

  • all the legal rights of marriage are already available to homosexual couples - this is a flat lie.

  • Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father. - ah! So not only are The Gays evil, but so are single mothers. Nice! And since when is marriage all about the children anyway? There are many, many childless het couples who are childless because they want to be. They marry because they LOVE EACH OTHER, not because they want to pump out babies.

  • Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledge their fidelity to one another? - indeed, why not?

  • Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that “no one will be forced to keep a slave”. - yes, because allowing people who love each other to get married is exactly the same as slavery.

  • changing the definition of marriage is trying to redefine reality - yes, because a man who spends most of his time trying to persuade other people to talk to his imaginary friend, and that we should all do what his imaginary friend says, has SUCH a grasp on reality.

  • Objecting to gay marriage risks one being labelled an intolerant bigot - that's because one IS an intolerant bigot, Keith.

Seriously, what is these people's problem? How in the name of Cthulhu does it hurt existing marriages if other people are allowed to get married too? Surely it strengthens the institution of marriage if more people can do it? Did all this bollocks get spouted about mixed race marriages? I bet it did. And I further bet that Cardinal Keith wouldn't dare say that about mixed race marriages now, and possibly even thinks that such racist thinking is wrong. There's a clue in that as to why people now think your position is bigoted, Keith.

The only reason for wishing to deny the right of marriage to anyone other than one man one woman couples is because you think it's a badge of honour which should only be granted to people you approve of. That's the very definition of bigotry, Keith, you fuckwit.
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
So, apparently the choices on this were picked by party members via the LDV members' survey. I don't recall ever being asked who my choice was, which leads me to believe that the question must have been asked in the survey I had technical problems with. Now, I'm not wearing a tinfoil hat here, but I can't help but wonder who else got technical problems on that survey because, seriously, party, you think Mark cocking Littlewood is more deserving than Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir or Helle Thorning-Schmidt or Michele Bachelet?


Nine nominees and the one woman is Hillary bloody Clinton. Sometimes I truly despair.
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So the Lib Dems took a battering last week. A lot of postmorteming is going on, and the consensus seems to be that what happened with tuition fees is the issue, and that we cocked up. Well, when I say "we", I mean those of us who had votes in parliament and toed the government line.

I still think that the leadership don't get what the problem is. People know that we are the junior partner in the coalition. They know that we couldn't be expected to enact Lib Dem policy on tuition fees because the Tories would never have let us abolish them. Bleating on about those facts is only making things worse. To an extent, it's not even what happened with tuition fees that's the problem in itself. The problem is that all our MPs signed a personal pledge to vote against any rise in tuition fees, and then most of them voted for it. If all of our MPs had signed a pledge to vote against naming the colour of the sky blue, and then had voted for it, our leadership would now be debating the blue sky problem and wondering how to win back the trust of people who like looking up in the daytime.

Let me spell this out in very small words: the problem is, as I said before it even happened, that, with twenty-one honourable exceptions*, our MPs broke their word. We ran our whole damn general election campaign on no more broken promises, we're not like all the others, vote for us and things will change because we're honest... And then we broke our word.

It doesn't matter if most of our MPs breaking their word made things better than they would have been if they'd kept it. People really, genuinely believed that we were different, and in that one simple act of word-breaking, our MPs undid decades of hard work by thousands of Lib Dem councillors, activists, and those MPs who kept the pledge. They cost the jobs of hundreds of Lib Dem councillors, and they cost lots of areas of the country a good working council. They cost us the AV referendum. They cost us our USP: what made us different in the eyes of the electorate is gone, and the voters think we did it for vainglorious reasons, and no amount of saying but we didn't! It's not fair! is going to change that.

Now, I know that Labour and Tory politicians break their word all the time and they don't get this level of punishment. That's because people expect it from them. They didn't expect it from us, and now they do. Can you blame them for reflexively thinking Oh well, better the devil you know? The electorate now think that we are exactly the same as all the others. It's not just the trust of students we need to win back, it's the trust of everybody, because everybody saw us do it.

It's going to be incredibly difficult. It may take decades (again). And I don't know what all the steps involved will be. I do know what the first step is, though. The first step is for the Lib Dem leadership, and Nick Clegg in particular, to actually acknowledge what the problem is: people are upset that you broke your word, that they are right to be angered by it. The second step is to apologise. Apologise unreservedly and without qualification. Any, and I mean any attempt to qualify an apology, to dress it up in fancy words, to say that what we pledged to do would have made things worse, and that we did the best we could, and anyway look at all these OTHER promises we've kept, you can't be cross about just ONE... That's just going to make people angrier because it will make them think you still don't get why they are angry. And that's going to make things so much worse for us mere footsoldiers. We've all been tarred with your brush, and until you acknowledge what the problem is, it's going to keep happening.

It's a very simple sentence you need to say, oh Glorious Leader: I'm sorry I broke my word. And you need to say that sentence over and over again until people believe you, and even then it probably won't be enough because they'll think you're only sorry because it's cost you votes, not because you realise it was wrong.

Only when people believe that we all know breaking promises is bad and wrong and hurts people can we start to rebuild trust with the electorate, and no amount of trying before that has happened is going to butter any parsnips.


* Step forward Annette Brooke, Menzies Campbell, Michael Crockart, Tim Farron, Andrew George, Mike Hancock, Julian Huppert, Charles Kennedy, John Leech, Stephen Lloyd, Greg Mulholland, John Pugh, Alan Reid, Dan Rogerson, Bob Russell, Adrian Sanders, Ian Swales, Mark Williams, Roger Williams, Jenny Willott, and Simon Wright. I'm sorry that you are suffering, along with the rest of us, the fallout from this.

Sherlock News

Sunday, May 8th, 2011 06:16 pm
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So, the writers for the next series of Sherlock have been announced. Mark Gatiss is doing Hound - no surprise there, given his Hammer geekery - Moff is doing Scandal in Bohemia - which is slightly worrying, as his female characters do tend towards the tropey - and Steve Thompson, yes, THAT Steve Thompson, the eejit who wrote the racist, sexist, cliché-filled episode of last series of Sherlock and last night's less than whelm-inducing episode of Doctor Who, has been given The Final Problem.

I'll say that again, just in case you missed it: Steve Thompson is writing The Final Problem. The most iconic tale from a stable of iconic tales has been handed to a moron.

I think today is just going to be a day for *headdesk*ing, isn't it?
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On this weekend, when we're all still hurting and nursing our wounds, on this weekend you choose to run a piece by the slimy moustache-twirling villain of the Tory blogosphere telling us exactly what he thinks we should do?

On a weekend when we have been told by the electorate exactly how toxic agreeing too much with the Tories is, you run a piece which has the tone of fatherly advice to errant children from one of the most underhanded Tories going?


Right at this moment in time we need to be seen taking advice from tribal Tories like we need a hole in our collective heads. The electorate have told us what they think of this road. Please don't persist in dragging us down it. Please. I know you're a big famous website and I'm only a little solo blogger, and you think you know better than me, but do try to think what message this sort of post sends out to the voters. Please.

ETA: oh Gods it gets worse. Apparently: "Iain Dale is saying on twitter he wrote it for the Mail & is slightly bemused (amused?) by it turning up on LDV!" So it's not just a poisonous article, it's a poisonous article originally written for the Daily Fail???

* headdesk headdesk headdesk headdesk *
miss_s_b: (Default)
Because with the removal of the RSS button and the status bar, both of which I use a lot (and so does my wife), and the fact that extensions now opens as a webpage, instead of an options dialogue, we are only seeing downsides...

Thankfully the add-ons to put the RSS button back and reintegrate a statusbar have already started arriving, so the problem is easily fixed, but it's still annoying.

Dreamwidth Livejournal Blogger Facebook Tweet this Delicious Flattr this LibDig Bit/ly StumbleUpon
miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
... And this is News because....?

It's perfectly legal. Sure, the health police object, but they object to beer and cake and chocolate too. We're LIBERALS, FFS. If someone is informed of the dangers of an activity and they still choose to do it, THAT'S THEIR CHOICE.

Bloody prurient curtain-twitchers can bog off, in my view.

(posted during my fag break at work)

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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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