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.
miss_s_b: (Default)
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
miss_s_b: (Default)
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?
miss_s_b: (Default)
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)
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Vince Cable)
Andy Hinton detailed this in an excellent post nearly a week ago. With quotes and everything. Yes, Vince used the words graduate tax, but I used the words Richard Littlejohn this morning, and that doesn't mean I approve of him or are proposing him as a solution.

Can we all please stop believing the myths we are spoonfed by the old media, even when it's about what our own Vince said, and actually LOOK at what was said? It would make life so much easier.

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miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
No spoilers here, just a question. Why do people think that everything the Doctor says is the truth? There are some times when he is CLEARLY joking...

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miss_s_b: (Arse!)
Ankle did not miraculously get better overnight. Went to the hospital, had x-ray, no fracture (I told them there wasn't a fracture, and that seemed to be what spurred them into sending me for an x-ray). After 3 hours of buggering about they put a tubigrip on it, and told me not to use it for 48 hours and then gradually bring it in to use, with no running, climbing or other heavy use for at least 3 weeks.

That's fine, I said, just hand me my crutches and I'll be off...

Oh no, I can't have crutches. Apparently I might use them AFTER the 48 hours, and that would delay my healing. Or, more likely, they think I would nick them and not bring them back. So I'm mildly frustrated, because I've got tubigrip in the house, and the only reason I went to the hospital at all was to get some bloody crutches so I can get about for the next couple of days. So I spent 3 hours in Halifax hospital to get something I could have done myself in a couple of minutes... Still, my dad has lent me a walking stick. That's a small crumb of comfort.

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miss_s_b: (Default)
... But will defend to the death your right to say it.

This is one of those maxims I unswervingly advocate. It's a founding principle of my moral structure. It's why I detest and decry No Platform stances.

I found it tested to the limit this morning when I heard Peter Hitchens on Start the Week referring to himself as reasonable, along with many other unsupported and unsupportable assertions which went completely unprobed by old Jug Ears Marr.


I am therefore going to make a small amendment. I abhor what you are saying, but will defend to the death your right to say it as long as you are saying it at a reasonable hour when I have had chance to wake up. Otherwise I reserve the right to get into a frothing rage and scream obscenities at the radio for your total, utter vacuous selfish pompous ARSENESS.
miss_s_b: (Default)
... I'm going to be good and not go and stalk Sam West tomorrow. I can't afford to, for one thing (£20 on tickets is a couple of rounds of drinks on thursday even at London prices, I'd wager) and for another thing it's going to be difficult to sort out the Shrub-sitting, and Ian will just be difficult.

And I'd only sit there and stare and go red anyway...

Stupid self

Had a lovely time watching TG with [livejournal.com profile] puddingcat last night; we practically laughed ourselves sick.

Hurrah for the cricket!

* happy dance *

Watched the last bit of Castrovalva this morning - hurrah! for Ainley!Master flashing bare flesh!

I did pants at climbing this afternoon, don't know why. Am going to go and soak in a hot bath and try not to think too much about the chipmunk that they've cast in Ant's part for season 29 of Who, or the fact that I've just chosen Sandi Toksvig over Sam West.

* smoochies for [livejournal.com profile] crashmatt anyway for the offer *

You'll have to come over for a drinkie one evening.


Friday, February 17th, 2006 06:38 pm
miss_s_b: (Default)
- Good vibes and stuff being sent out to:
- Briargate and the gang who are off to Petrolheads tomorrow

- puddingcat on her trip Down South

- everyone who is by now converging on Chez NannyO - See you tomorrow :D

- Only 25 lengths of the pool today :(

- Much giggling over lunch over the "35 essential recipes" in the Indy and the pretentiousness of most of them, coupled with the oh-so-knowing earthiness of the others.

- apparently, I'm capable of murder, although I'd guilt-trip myself afterwards:

Maybe you could...

You scored 12% Cold and 66% Level-Headed!

In a pinch, you could do it, but you'd need a damn good reason to. And you're not going to be too happy afterward.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 1% on Cold
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 76% on Level-Headed

Link: The Can You Kill a Man? Test written by notmarkflynn on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

- If I DO decide to kill someone, it'll probably be This person. Bras are RACIST??? Mr Head, meet Mr Desk.

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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