Saturday Spectacular

Some stuff about Proptional Representation, some stuff about public transport, some stuff about “Save Trosa Nature” and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

In this post I am going to be sharing stuff relating to three topics, and also displaying some of my own photographs. The weather here is so spectacular at present that not only am I creating this post while sitting outside, I am wearing a t-shirt. I shall move on to my first set of shares, which are themed around…

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

The First Past the Post (FPTP) method of deciding elections has had its day. It works reasonably well when two parties hoover up almost all the votes (though even then, as in 1951 when the Labour party got more votes than any party ever in any British General Election still ended up in opposition because of how those votes were distributed), but when the two biggest parties as is now the case in Britain command just 65% of the vote between them it is an epic fail, with barely more than a third of the votes cast being enough on occasions to hand one party a “majority”. I have two images, both found by way of twitter, and a link to share with you.

THE ARTICLE

The article to which I link is in the Guelph Mercury, and takes the form of a blistering opening letter to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau criticisng him for going back on his election commitment to electoral reform (Canada is one of only two democracies besides Britain which still uses FPTP – the other being the one that is so dysfunctional that Mr “Grab ’em by the pussy” was able to secure the top job).  To read this piece in full please click on the image below, which is taken from it:

Trudeau

The two images I am sharing point up the flaws of FPTP in two differing ways:

fptpfailFPTPbad

If anyone wishes to bring up the 2o11 referendum on voting reform thinking to use that to make a point, I suggest you think again: the sole alternative that was on offer then was very nearly as flawed as FPTP – AV IS NOT PR.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

I have a number of items to share here, some bad, some good. I will start with my journey to work yesterday morning. At 8:43AM (cutting it close, but manageable if no further time is wasted), a bus pulled into bay C at King’s Lynn bus station bearing the legend Fakenham X29. After it had disgorged a handful of passengers the driver told us we had to wait, and then a manager told him he had to take the bus into the parking slots in the centre of the bus station as it was being replaced with a single decker. For the run between King’s Lynn and Fakenham this would be adequate, but at Fakenham this bus becomes the 9:35 to Norwich, and single-decker is guaranteed to mean standees on that section of the route as that bus is the first of the morning on which old folk travel free. The end result of this was that it was just after 8:50AM when the bus actually got underway. As you will be seeing later, there was an incident on my return journey of a different kind.

A London Underground Worker Has Been Sacked For Helping a Pregnant Colleague Who Was Being Assaulted – Courtesy of Evolve Politics – 

This story, headlined as above on EvolvePolitics and ‘pressed’ by me on to my London Transport themed website is shocking in many different ways. Firstly, even without the actual evidence, which is pretty damning of London Underground bosses, in the event of an incident between staff and passengers the default position should be to side with staff. Secondly, London Underground claims to have a ‘zero-tolerance’ attitude to attacks on its staff. Thirdly, I consider the arrogant refusal of London Underground bosses even to contemplate the possibility that they might be in error to be very disturbing. On my way home from work yesterday, before I saw this piece, I witnessed a piece of unpleasantness on the bus in which I was travelling. I will summarize this incident in bullet point form:

  • Due to weight of traffic, rather than attempt to pull into the stopping zone outside the train station the driver stopped just before the station to let people off.
  • Just after he had started moving again and went past the station a passenger who had wanted to get off at the station and had failed to notice the stop started having a go at the driver about him not stopping.
  • The passenger continued this for the rest of the journey to the bus station. 

To make matters worse, the drop-off point at the bus station is only about 200m from the train station anyway. While I have been known to write in uncompromising terms to the offices of public transport companies I never target the staff who are actually attempting to deliver the service. This incident I have referred to is trivial compared to the one at the heart of the EvolvePolitics piece, which I link to, by way of the image below.

Having just referred you to one excellent source of political stories I now turn to another for a rather pleasanter story…

Part of Britain’s Railways Was Just Taken Into Public Ownership – Brought to you by The Canary

Kerry-Anne Mendoza’s magnificent creation, The Canary, has come up trumps again, with this story about a tiny part of our rail infrastructure (titled as per the first part of this section heading) coming back into public ownership in 2018. Obviously, it is a very small step in the right direction – towards a fully publicly owned and publicly accountable transport system – but it is a step in that direction nonetheless. To read the story in full please click on the image below:

Part of Britain’s railways was just taken into public ownership

I will end the public transport part of this post with…

A Trip Down Memory Lane Courtesy of Time Out

This is a fantastic photo archive showing the history of public transport in London since 1863 (when the world’s first underground railway line, then called the Metropolitan Railway, commenced operations). It has already featured on my London transport themed website. To view these pictures in their full glory please click on the one below which I have selected to act as the link.

This picture is headed as follows in the piece: Metropolitan Railway Guard Eva Carver. Mrs Carver can be seen dressed in uniform holding a lamp and flag by a staircase at Hammersmith Underground station, Metropolitan and Great Western Railways.

SAVE TROSA NATURE

I have links here to a recent blog post on this subject and to a nature website with strong connections to the subject matter of this section, and also to end this section and segue into the photos that end this post with a link to a post on facebook. 

The Blog Post

I reblogged this post when I first saw it, and now I am sharing it again. As with many of Anna’s nature themed posts this one features the meme she created based on some words I posted as a comment, and it is that that I use as the link.

The Website

The website, linked to in the blog post above, is called artportalen is about the species you can find in Sweden. To take a look at this site for yourself click on the image below:

The Segue Link

The facebook post to which I am linking contains a picture of an Apollo butterfly, a species which I observed on an island in the outer reaches of the Stockholm Archipelago but never on the mainland. The area around Trosa apparently is home to this rare species. To view this post and the picture featured there please click on the photograph below, which is my own.

DSCN8219

PHOTOGRAPHS

Finally to end this post:

butterfly1
These photos start and finish with butterflies.

upperpurfleetDSCN5108fb5fb4DSCN5111fbsDSCN5113blackbird4DSCN5115flyingbirdbusbirdssquirrelonchurchroofbirds (1)blackbird3bird2blackbird2birdmoorhen2fb3fb2fb1moorhensquirrelblackbirdgullsbeebutterfly3butterfly2

Dan Snow Films His Walk To Work In London

A video from twitter this morning showing London folk going about their daily lives.

This video, shot by Dan Snow and posted by him (@thehistoryguy) on twitter as a counterblast to Fox News’ coverage of the aftermath of yesterday’s tragic events in London. I will not name the person this disreputable organisation used as I choose not to give them extra publicity. As a clue, this person recently lost a lot of money in a libel action brought by Jack Monroe. Here is the video…

 

Hjälp naturen att finnas till/Save Trosa nature

Anna is once again championing the cause of saving nature – English text follows Swedish in this post…

Annas Art - FärgaregårdsAnna


For english text, look below Swedish text

Hos Artportalenkan du hjälpa naturen att finnas till. Det kan låta konstigt, men för att övertyga myndigheter om att naturen existerar och i allra högsta grad är skyddsvärd behövs alltid nya inrapporterade observationer, som tydligt kan påvisa att naturen fortfarande finns nära oss och behöver finnas kvar även i framtiden.

Du kan hjälpa till med detta. Det behöver inte vara sällsynta arter eller arter från ett speciellt område. Alla observationer räknas som viktiga och hjälper till att ge en total bild av naturens liv i olika delar av Sverige.

Gå in på Artportalens sida och sök ett område eller arter du är intresserad av att veta mer om. Då kan du se vad andra har rapporterat in och lära dig mer om hur du ska gå till väga. Du behöver inte ha foton på dina fynd, men det är väldigt roligt att…

View original post 332 more words

Email Address Changing

Details of an upcoming change to my principal email address.

NEWSFLASH

My email address of 17 years standing will cease to exist on May 31st – the provider has made the decision to abandon that side of their business. I am doing my best to minimise the problems that such a change will cause. I will obviously keep checking my old email account and until it officially ceases to exist, but I would appreciate it if people who need to email me could start using what will be in due time my principal email address (you can use the version below as a button to start an email if you so desire):

thomasavsutcliffe@gmail.com

 

Some Thoughts on Autism

A post about autism featuring some of my thoughts, a petition that I urge you all to sign and share, some highlights from other blogs by autistic people and some of my own photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The origins of this post lie in a quote from a post on includedbygrace which I include here as a combined screenshot and link to the original.

Angela

Since seeing that I have seen several posts on autistic blogs that I wish to share with you, come across a petition that is so important that I feel I must share it and ask my followers to sign and share it as well. Also, the imminent approach of April has prompted me to think once again about…

AUTISM AWARENESS, UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE

I am more than a little ambivalent about ‘autism awareness month’, and my misgivings are twofold:

  1. To be worth anything awareness must be the most basic of starting points, and needs to lead on towards understanding and ultimately acceptance (see the quote from includedbygrace in the introduction). 
  2. If you consider autism during ‘autism awareness month’ and not for the rest of the year that is simply not good enough. Autistic Spectrum Conditions affect those who have them every day of every month.

This leads on the role of…

AUTISM CHARITIES/ ORGANISATIONS

As someone who is both #actuallyautistic and involved in the running of a local branch of an autism charity I am obviously supportive of some of these organisations. However I am very firm in saying that such charities or organisations must be dedicated to improving the lives of autistic people, and that they should make conscious efforts to include #actuallyautistic people in the running of the organisation. 

There is one very large organisation based across the Atlantic from me which I shall not name (both because I am not a fan of naming and shaming, and also because I do not wish to give them any more publicity) who promote themselves as an autism charity but are in actuality nothing of the kind. They did fairly recently amend their homepage to remove from it references to seeking a cure for autism, but it did not require much scrutiny for it to be obvious that this was not a leopard changing its spots but a leopard trying to con people into believing that it had changed its spots.

I conclude this section by re-emphasing that awareness is not a final goal, it is merely the starting point on the following path:

AWARENESS – UNDERSTANDING – ACCEPTANCE

SOME AUTISM RELATED SHARES

I am now moving to sharing some other stuff I have found, starting with…

A VERY IMPORTANT PETITION – HARRY’S LAW

This petition, calling for an urgently needed change in the guidelines used at hospitals when dealing with autistic children, to be known as Harry’s Law, contains a video as well as a lot of explanatory text. I shall embed the video below the screenshot that I am using as a link. I urge all of you to read the text, watch the video and sign and share the petition. 

Harry's Law

UNASHAMED

Here I am linking to a post on elephantsneverforgetsite, and I am using a screenshot of the end of the post as the link.

elephantsneverforget

THE SILENT WAVE

It is hardly news by now that I am a big fan of thesilentwaveblog, and there have been several excellent posts from that quarter of late. We start with a post titled “Conformity does *not* make life “less difficult” for Asperger’s / autistic people”, which I link to by way of the splendid picture that heads it.

My next share from this splendid blog is a collection of autism related online quizzes. I sampled one of these quizzes, and may check out others in due course. The language used to convey the implications of your result is not always well chosen. I was told at the end of the one I did that I almost certainly “suffer from an Autistic Spectrum Disorder”. No – I have an Autistic Spectrum Condition – what I suffer from is the attitudes of people like whoever deemed that an appropriate form of words. Once again, I use an excellent graphic from the original as the link.

My third link from this source is to an excellent post about being diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition in adulthood. The title of the post is “Relief and grief ~ the reality of adult Asperger’s / autism discovery”. It must be stated that of the two emotions referred to in the title of this post relief comes first in more ways than one – it is the more significant, the more constructive, and certainly in my own case was very much the dominant one. Once again I am able to link by way of a headline picture:

I complete both the silentwave tribute and the sharing section of this post my once again pointing readers of this blog to the marvellous “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people” which you can visit by clicking the link below:

SOME PHOTOGRAPHS

I end this post with a few of my own photographs, which in terms of what is relevant to this post the following in common:

  • All were taken by an autistic person (me), and
  • All feature one of that autistic person’s special interests.
967-a
All of these pictures are in fact close-ups of parts of lots that will be going under the hammer in April, and the special interests to which they relate are public transport, science and nature. All of the lots that these images relate to are numbered between 968 and 985.

 

976-a976-b982-a983-a983-b983-c

984-a
As one of my favourite science blogs says “It’s an amazing world of science…let’s go exploring!” You could start by clicking this image to visit them.

985-a

 

Booking a Trip to Scotland: British Public Transport Daftness Exposed

A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:

tickets
Can you see what it is about these tickets that even before I go any further reveals an element of daftness in British Public Transport?

BOOKING THE JOURNEY

Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn? 

The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.

KL-Ky
Note the difference in price between this ticket and the one from Peterborough (almost £60!!)
Peterborugh-Kyle
Given the immense price difference, the booking from Peterborough was bound to leave my up on the transaction (as you will see after these pictures in point of fact to the tune of some £50)
Outbound
My outbound journey.
return
The suggested return journey (don;t worry parents, I can also get back leaving on the later train from Kyle, at 12:08 and arriving home around about midnight)
KL - Peterborough
Even were I to rely on train for the King’s Lynn to Peterborough and back section of the journey two anytime day singles (the max I would have had to pay), would have set me back a mere £24.60 as opposed to price difference on the all-in-one of almost £60, but….

I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn. 

You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:

ticketholder

Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.

library

Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…

DSCN5103machineoo

I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?

Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:

plaque

Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig. 

I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)

traveldocstickets

 

 

Four Political Pieces

Four political pieces and some pictures.

INTRODUCTION

As well as the four pieces mentioned in the title I have some pictures to share. 

TORY ELECTION FRAUD

Although the Biased Bull****ting Conservatives (BBC for short) are still not giving this story much coverage, and have had the cheek on one of the rare occasions when they did cover it to use the word ‘mistake’, which is one thing it most certainly was not, other sources including Channel 4 have been giving it proper coverage. The Skwawkbox blog, noted for the regularity with which it beats mainstream media to the breaking of stories, and this piece, under the title “THE ‘LONGEST CONFESSION NOTE IN HISTORY’? CONHOME ADMITS WHAT CCHQ WANT TO HIDE”. The image below links to the piece on Skwawkbox.

conhome.png

THE #GIDIOT

The piece by David Hencke that I link to at the end of this section details yet more public transport problems facing Britain, and especially northern Britain. It is titled “Is George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse about to hit the buffers?” Many of my readers will already be aware that the Downright Dishonourable Member for Tatton (in Cheshire), aka the #Gidiot, aka Gideon George Oliver Osborne has just been named as the new editor of the Evening Standard, a purely London based newspaper. Before providing the link, as usual by way of an image, I shall give in bullet form my objections to this latest example of Westminster and mainstream media getting cozy (btw although I firmly believe that Osborne should not be allowed to be both MP and newspaper editor, I can’t help wondering whether if he arrogantly stays on as MP he might not end up making what in view of his constituency I shall call a ‘Hamiltonian’ exit from parliament – unfortunately Tatton does seem to get more than its fair share of bad ‘uns!).

REASONS WHY AN MP SHOULD NOT BE AN EDITOR

  • One of the concerns highlighted in the Leveson Report was a degree of unacceptable closeness between the press and Westminster. In view of this it should not be possible for a current MP to also be a newspaper editor.
  • Conflict of interest several ways – between the role of MP and that of editor, between his southern based newspaper and his northern constituency, and between his role as editor and the several other important roles that he has had the arrogance to take.
  • It demonstrates contempt for his constituents by yet further reducing the amount of time he can spend attending to them.

Additional to the above, the Downright Dishionourable Member for Tatton has zero qualification for the task of editing a newspaper.

Click on the image below to read the David Hencke piece.

Great_Bentley_station_geograph-3890553-by-Ben-Brooksbank

Picture of Great Bentley station by Ben Brooksbank

STANDING UP TO A MEDIA MOGUL

From a newly minted media menace to one of much longer standing, namely Rupert Murdoch – embedded below is a video from 38 Degrees titled “How to stand up to a media mogul”. It is very short – enjoy!

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE

I recognize that this is a thorny issue. I will start by making two things clear:

  1. The future of Scotland should be decided by the Scots.
  2. Extending from my first point, while as a Sassenach I can express no personal opinion on whether Scotland should or should not vote for independence I can say for a certainty that if I was a Scot I would be voting for independence.

My link in this section is to an STV piece titled “Sturgeon refuses to rule out wildcat independence vote”, and I link to it by means of an image.

PICTURES

These pictures were all obtained by means of the scanner. These are pictures of 18 hammered coins which will be going under the hammer in April, and other than myself you are the first people to see them.

G1G2-aG2-bG3G4G5G6G7G8G9G10G11G12G13G14G15G16G17G18