miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
Lots and lots of partisan people who would probably be unlikely to vote Lib Dem anyway are saying things like I couldn't ever vote Lib Dem; they won't rule out coalition with Labour/the Tories.

You all know me.
You all know I am not backwards in coming forwards, and will happily call a spade a spade.

I, personally, will not rule out voting for a coalition with either the Tories or Labour.

That's right. Even now, even in this poisoned, febrile atmosphere, I would do a deal with either the red devil or the deep blue sea.

To agree to a coalition with either of them, they would have to agree to the following three things, for me:
  1. No brexit. At all. It's completely stopped.

  2. STV for all elections from this day forth, no exceptions, no referendums, just implemented.

  3. Useless waste of space of a leader to be replaced.
Without all three of those conditions being met as an absolute minimum, I, personally, would not vote for coalition with either Labour or Tories. I'd also quite like there to be a lot of stuff about guaranteeing the rights of immigrants and disabled people, and stopping the shafting of the poor, but those three things are the absolute minimum of the contents of an agreement I would consider. And for a coalition to happen, we have to call a special conference and two thirds of the attendees have to vote in favour of the deal offered. I'm not the most typical Lib Dem, but I'm not so far from the mainstream that I think that more than two thirds of the party would opt for a lesser deal than that.

We have learned from the coalition deal we voted through in all innocence last time, and I suspect that quite a lot of the party is a lot more cautious than it was.

So yeah, I'm not ruling out a coalition... but equally, I don't think it's very likely. Do you?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
I'm not convinced that it's to do with brexit, despite her speech. Labour have rubber-stamped or abstained on every single vote. She was getting brexit through with no trouble whatsoever, aside from noisy shouting from us and the SNP. Yes, she is gambling that Corbyn's crapness will give her a big majority. But it is a gamble; there's no certainties in politics.

There is one thing that's standing out to me, though... up to 20 tory MPs are under threat of prosecution. TMay has a working majority of 17. If even half of those look like successful prosecutions, that's potentially majority wiped out. TMay is going to know whether or not these MPs are guilty.

Calling an election now means that they won't be MPs by the time prosecutions go through. They'll quietly retire, and the news media will not pay as much attention to prosecutions of ex-MPs. The polls have the tories on a stonking lead. I think she's calculated it's worth the gamble. I'll say this for her: she's got massive brass balls. Whether that's enough... I hope it isn't.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
... and we don't get to choose, the membership of the tory party gets to choose.

I'm sorry, what did you say? All sound is being drowned out by the roaring flames of hell, and this handcart has incredibly squeaky wheels.

Margarine Thatcher

Thursday, July 7th, 2016 10:24 am
miss_s_b: (Politics: FU)
Saw somebody on twitter referring to Andrea Leadsom as "Margarine Thatcher". It may or may not have been intended to refer to this:



... but that's certainly what it made me think of.

You're semi-evil. You're quasi-evil. You're the margarine of evil. You're the Diet Coke of evil. Just one calorie, not evil enough.

How I would reform PMQs

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 05:07 pm
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
Wednesdays always make me really depressed about politics. The unedifying spectacle of PMQs, and the journos frantically fapping about who "won" and "lost" when it's plain for everyone to see that everybody loses from this example of Westminster theatre. A parade of non-questions not-answered with added shouting and wankery... The entire British public and most non-Westminster politicians view PMQs as the horrific embarrassment it is. Some journos and Westminster politicians are dimly aware of this, but none of them seriously tries to do anything about it, Bercow's occasional chidings of the chamber aside.

Political gameplaying can maybe, sometimes, be justified as a means to an end (and I'd debate that most of the time). Political gameplaying to be enjoyed as an end in itself, for the entirety of PMQs, week after week, for entire parliaments? That's not democratic accountability, that's just being 650 arseholes shouting.

Luckily for them all, I am here to offer my unsolicited opinions like a sealioning mediocre cis white man. PMQs should be reformed in the following ways:
  1. If the PM doesn't give a proper answer to a question, the speaker should pull him up on it and not let him leave untill he has given a proper answer, even if it's "I don't know".

  2. Any shouty arseholes get thrown out of the chamber. Yes, even Cameron. The more shouty and arseholey they are the longer the sanction - several days of not being allowed to vote would soon stop this happening.

  3. Interventions should be taken by the speaker, so that lack of shouty arseholeness doesn't mean lack of challenge to lies at the despatch box. He's supposed to be chairing anyway. Chair properly, Bercow.
Now, that's probably not going to be a panacea, but it's a start.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Oh dear)
... am I missing something, or is it really just the tories going "we've cut council budgets so much they can't afford street sweepers any more, so we're hoping that telling you it's the queen's birthday will make you saps do it for free"?

I mean, I'm all for moar pictures of Boris looking a total twat:



... and the Gove picture is just a gift:



... but do they really expect us to fall for this?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Post Feminism)
So Mike Fabricant* tweeted a tweet expressing his dislike for Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in colourful and over the top terms. And Twitter exploded. And now he has reluctantly apologised, apparently under threat of having the whip withdrawn**.

I am very uncomfortable with this.

I quite regularly say that various people give me violent urges. I am - or was - under the impression that everybody knows I never actually would rip someone's head off and spit down their neck, or tear their arm off and beat them to death with the soggy end. Such "threats" are so clearly over the top and unlikely that it's obvious I am indulging in hyperbole, surely? We all remember the Twitter Joke Trial, right? We all thought it was dead obvious that Paul Chambers was only kidding. And I would say the same applies to Mr Fabricant's "threat" to punch Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the throat to save himself from brainsplosion. Mike Fabricant might be a total arsehole, but I think it's vanishingly unlikely that, were he booked to debate on TV with Yasmin, he would crush her windpipe in front of the cameras. If only for self preservation.

But even if he were likely to follow through on his "threat", I still don't think that's reason to stop him fom saying it. I would rather arseholes say arsehole-ish things so we can point and laugh at them*** and recognise them for the arseholes they are than that they silently think arsehole-ish things and we all think they are not really arseholes.

I am also deeply uncomfortable with him being forced to apologise under threat of being sacked. If he apologises of his own free will that shows he has learned that being an arsehole hurts people and hurting people is bad. If he is forced to apologise like a reluctant toddler, all that teaches him is that he can't express his views without suffering opprobrium, not that his views are the problem. If the Tory party think his tweet was unacceptable they should take some disciplinary action****, not threaten him with disciplinary action unless he makes an apology he clearly doesn't mean.

I am a big defender of freedom of speech because misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes are people I want to avoid*****, and to avoid them I need to know who they are. If we ban them from expressing their views then it makes them much harder to spot. I'd like misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes to feel perfectly free to spew as much bile as they like.

Of course I'd like it even more if society didn't reward them with airtime and newspaper columns and positions of power for being misogynists and racists and homophobes and transphobes, even while po-facedly shaking its head and making them fauxpologise, but I realise that's a pipe dream.



* you have NO idea how hard I have had to try to avoid childish purposeful misspelling of his name throughout this post
** according to Cathy Newman, anyway.
*** or shake our heads and tut disapprovingly, or whatever.
**** I am bang behind freedom of association, as well as freedom of speech, and if I were the Tory party I'd sack Fabricant for being an unrepentant arsehole, not make him pretend to repent like that makes everything OK.
***** Some days I have enough spoons to want to debate with them, but not today.
miss_s_b: (Default)
Our Environment Secretary thinks that if you "have to" destroy ancient woodland to build something, you can offset that by planting lots of trees elsewhere. This is so utterly wrong-headed I barely know where to begin. I mean the clue about the importance of biodiversity is in the name - bioDIVERSITY. IT'S NOT JUST TREES, OWEN. The fragile ecosystem of ancient woodland might have trees for its foundation, but it's insects, birds, fungi, ferns (oh God, you wouldn't believe how important ferns are), flowering and non-flowering plants... Some trees won't even grow unless a woodland has been established for a century. Some small mammals can only live in woodland where there is an established balance of the plant and insect food they need. All of these things depend on each other, and this cannot be replaced by a monocultural plantation of trees, however native those trees are.

This blinding stupidity on the part of our environment secretary is illustrative of a wider problem within the thinking of people who are not Liberal by inclination. Not just biodiversity, but diversity in all areas is seen as a box-ticking exercise. So to replace woodland you only need plant trees. Bollocks to the other forms of life, we've got trees, that's a woodland, right? To have diversity in the government you need more women. It doesn't matter if those women are from the same tiny, public-school-educated, Oxbridge upper class set as the men, cos they're WOMEN, right? Diversity means having x number of people from y groups which are considered underrepresented. So you need some women, a black person, a gay, maybe if you're REALLY right-on a trans+ person... but if you don't think like a Liberal the actual PEOPLE don't really matter as long as they fill a quota.

This is BULLSHIT, people. Utter, stinking, steaming bullshit.

Every single person is an individual. Sure, they might be a part of some group or other, but that does not mean they are representative of that group. And more often each person is a member of more than one group. If I am going to be a token on a diversity agenda, do I tick the box for woman, or LGBT, or Northern, or low income, or poly? Or, more likely, in the case of a box ticker, do I tick every single one of those boxes so they think they've filled their diversity quota and every single other person in the room can be a rich cis het white man?

I keep saying this, but I'm going to say it again: diversity is not an end in itself, it's a means to an end. Biodiversity in woodland is important because if you don't have it you have a monoculture, and monocultures are at massive risk from disease. Ash die back and Dutch Elm disease are but two examples. If your woodland is composed entirely of one type of tree and that tree gets a disease, the entire woodland dies and you get environmental collapse. If you want an example what a huge problem monocultures are, take a look at what will happen to the banana supply if the Cavendish banana fungus that has been spreading really takes hold... Similarly, if you don't have diversity in government, you get monocultural thinking. You get a breed of politicians who all look and think and speak the same, and that's very prone to the intellectual equivalent of a devastating disease.

We have had a political monoculture in this country for far too long and intellectual Dutch Elm disease has taken hold. Owen Paterson's bone-headed remarks about biodiversity merely illustrate this problem. We need to break the system open and acheive true diversity and then all the good that comes from that will follow. Hopefully that will include not having an environment sectratary as clueless as Owen Paterson ever again.
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: 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: (Politics: Democracy)
And thus I am taking some time away from the internet - twitter, blogs, the lot - until it calms down. I have no wish to get in between people gleefully installing Thatcher Memorial Dancefloors and people pompously taking the moral high ground and sneering. I'll wait till the next big news story is announced and the mayfly attention of the internet moves to that before I come back, just for my own sanity.

I suspect I'll be doing the same again as and when her funeral is announced, too.

Laters.
miss_s_b: (Politics: FU)
Eric Pickles is apparently going on Desert Island Discs this week. We know this because he tweeted such, and asked for song suggestions. Leaving aside the fact that one is supposed to choose songs which have some special personal meaning, not crowdsoure it, many people have been making suggestions to him, some less polite than others. I can think of none more appropriate than this one, from my beloved father. I've bolded the most appropriat passage, in my view:
I am the man, the very fat man,
That waters the workers' beer
I am the man, the very fat man,
That waters the workers' beer
And what do I care if it makes them ill,
If it makes them terribly queer
I've a car, a yacht, and an aeroplane,
And I waters the workers' beer

Now when I waters the workers' beer,
I puts in strychnine
Some methylated spirits,
And a can of kerosine
Ah, but such a brew so terribly strong,
It would make them terribly queer
So I reaches my hand for the watering-can
And I waters the workers' beer

Now a drop of good beer is good for a man
When he's tired, thirsty and hot
And I sometimes have a drop myself,
From a very special pot
For a strong and healthy working class
Is the thing that I most fear
So I reaches my hand for the watering-can
And I waters the workers' beer


Now ladies fair, beyond compare,
Be you maiden or wife
Spare a thought for such a man
Who leads such a lonely life
For the water rates are frightfully high,
And the meths is terribly dear
And there ain't the profit there used to be
In watering workers' beer
Any of you lot got a better suggestion?
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)
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miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
Frankly, I don't give a fart in a high wind about the top rate of tax. If they reckon they can get more out of rich folks by taxing them in other ways than income then they probaly know what they're doing, and I'm never going to be a top rate tax payer, so I don't really care. What I DO care about is how they've funded the various tax cuts, including, I notice, a nice big cut in corporation tax for all those big companies who donate to the Tory party:
Duty on all tobacco products to rise by 5% above inflation from 18:00 today - the equivalent of 37p on a packet of cigarettes.

No change to existing plans on alcohol duty. [this means that beer duty will still rise at above inflation rates and that the supermarkets will still be at a massively unfair advantage compared to pubs]

New duty on gaming machines at a standard rate of 20% and a lower rate for low-prize machines of 5% of net takings. [because pubs make a little bit of profit on bandits, and we must find some new way to squeeze an industry before it dies completely]
Also random new taxes on "black beer" and angostura bitters (because that's going to raise literally, PENCE< the amount of it we sell in this country)

...

I reckon it's time to start jobhunting, don't you? I don't think my job is going to exist much longer.
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
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miss_s_b: (Default)
... whose latest entry prompted me to remember this picture comparison from our local pub paper:

Eric Pickles Peter Griffin

Personally, I think it's an insult to Peter Griffin, and I really hate Family Guy. But then we're still picking up the pieces from Pickles' reign of terror in dear old Braddy, so...
miss_s_b: (Default)
miss_s_b: (Default)
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About This Blog

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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