In the comments section a certain Howard Reed cited Paul Mason’s five point policy plan, which is as follows:
1/ If Theresa May calls an election today, a progressive alliance can beat the Tory hard Brexit plan. Here’s how…
2/ We set up an independent website to show how tactical voting can beat the Tories and grassroots cross party alliance promotes this
3/ Labour has to guarantee Scotland a) right to remain in Single Market b) second referendum
4/ Labour should offer *today* Caroline Lucas to be in shadow cabinet, form Green/Red alliance, stand down 1x further candidate for Greens
5/ Libdems need to decide: with the progressive forces of Britain or in a perpetual flip flop with the Tories. You have 15 minutes.
The first two of the five points are scene setters, and very uncontentious. Point 3 is the one that the Labour Party, or at least some elements thereof, will find hardest to accept, but SNP support will only be forthcoming if it is honoured.
The fourth point is obvious, and those who remember my Fantasy Cabinet, a response tothis piece on Tax Research UK, will realise that I am 100% in favour. For the fifth point, the ball is in the Lib Dems’ court. One mistake can be forgiven, especially given some of the comments May has made in calling for this election. However, precisely in view of those comments, a second decision in the space of seven years to throw in their lot with the Tories would put them utterly beyond the pale.
SOME FURTHER LINKS
In addition to the Tax Research UK piece that inspired this I have read a number of other cracking pieces about this upcoming election.
From Evolve Politics, this excellent piece: “The Left MUST put aside its differences and form an alliance, or usher in a One-Party State“.
In my own constituency there is only one party with the support to have even the proverbial “cats chance in hell” of unseating the Tory who bar the years 1997-2001 has held the seat since 1983, so my General Election vote is already decided. Something else that this snap election has done is demonstrate once again that FPTP is a relic from the past that needs replacing asap. My final words in this post (other than picture captions) take the form of a social media hashtag:
New £1 (in circulation since March 27th, but this was the first I have seen, last night) – obverse
New £1 – reverse
New £1 – both faces
Comparison pic – new £1 and Britain’s only other dodecagonal coin, the brass threepenny.
Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.
An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well.
The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…
DERBYSHIRE VERSUS NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling.
The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…
A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…
Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subjectI said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough councilwebsite turned up the following information about who was standing:
In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.
Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland.
The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website indyref2.scot, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message“.
I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…
ENDNOTE – CRICKET REVISITED
During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled.
Politics and nature combine to form one YUGE blog post!
In my part of the world there are local elections happening on May 4th, so I thought I would use some thoughts about them as the starting point for this blog. I will go on from that to sharing various interesting and important stuff, and of course there will be some of my own photographs.
Although my polling card is safely in my possession I have yet to receive any communication from any of the candidates, and can therefore talk only in general terms. I will definitely be voting. Since I became of voting age more years ago than I care to reveal I have only once failed to vote in an election I was entitled to vote in, and that was in the first election for Norfolk Police Commissioner. I will not be voting for any right wing parties or individual candidates. After their massive betrayal of those who voted for them (myself one of them) in 2010 the Liberal Democrats have much ground to make up and at this moment the odds against me putting my cross in that particular box are of the “write your own ticket” variety. While it is possible that I will be impressed by someone standing as an Independent candidate it is not very likely. This leaves me looking at two options:
Labour – if the candidate is of the right type and not someone who will use their entire campaign to bash their party’s twice elected leader I may be induced to vote for them.
Green – this party stands for many of the things that I believe in, and I am not going to hold the entire party to account for a mistake made by one of its co-leaders (Jonathan Bartley endorsing “light it up blue”, which readers of this blog will realise is an absolute guarantee of an entry in my bad books). If they can find a candidate with the qualities shown by Sian Berryin her campaign for London Mayor and subsequently in her work as a Greater London Assembly member I will certainly by influenced in this direction.
I will probably be voting Green because I see the way forward as being in a red/green partnership, and I think the Green side of that partnership needs strengthening. Also, a Green vote has the merit of being a vote cast unequivocally in favour of Proportional Representation.
After this start it is time for some…
I start with a piece by Richard Murphy titled “Time For a New Political Party?”, in which he looks at a suggestion originally made by Richard Dawkins in a piece in the New Statesman. While I would say that the launch of a new political party should be delayed until FPTP is replaced with PR (under FPTP the Tories have a built-in advantage that would only be strengthened by the addition of a new party) I believe that Professor Murphy is pretty well on the money with his suggestions about this new party. Please click on the screenshot below to access this post, and if so inclined add your voice to those commenting on it:
Next, from the Skwawkbox comes the most recent piece on the story I have dubbed Coynegate – the massive breaches of the Data Protection Act by right wing candidate for Unite general secretary Gerard Coyne. To read this story, titled “EXCLUSIVE: COYNE TELLS BBC HIS LABOUR DATA USE ‘CONCLUDED’. IT ISN’T.” please click on the image below:
My next link is to the homepage of the We Own It Campaign’s website. To find out for yourself what they are all about click on the screenshot below:
The focus, including my photographs is about to shift to Nature (note to my many fellow autistic bloggers although you do not feature in this post I have some of your finest stuff bookmarked for use in the very near future), and the turning point is a campaign against the large scale felling of trees in and around Sheffield. I have two links in connection with this. First, for the benefit of those of you who use social media, a Thunderclap, which you can boost by adding your own connections on facebook, twitter and tumblr. I link to it by way of the screenshot below:
The second link on this subject is to the page that lists all the campaigns in and around Sheffield that are now grouped under the umbrella of Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG). I link by way of a screenshot once again:
The last piece of shared content for today before moving towards my photographs comes to you from Sweden, and has a section to itself:
ANNA INTRODUCES EMMELINA
Anna is a Swedish blogger who needs to no further introduction to readers of this blog. As for Emmelina, that will have to wait for the moment. Yesterday Anna put up a post about a very curious little creature she had photographed on her door, which she called “Who’s This?”I thought that the little creature was a stick insect, but the reveal when it came today was far more interesting. It turns out that the creature is actually a moth that resembles a stick insect. Here is a link to the piece in which Anna reveals the identity of the creature. Finally, revealing the Emmelina part of the title, here is Wikipedia on Emmelina Monodactyla.
To end the post here are some of my own photographs…
Lots of autism related links, some photographs, some science links, some public transport links and a bonus section revealing explosive news concerning Unite leadership challenger Gerard Coyne.
I have many things to share today and some of my own photos to put up. I have a few science and nature type links to put up, a few public transport links, and first and foremost some important stuff about…
For this section of the post I am using #RedInstead of any other colour I might use. Links will appear in bold and underlined.
My first link comes courtesy of Erin Human, and is titled “What is Ableism?” I am using the feature image of the post as the link.
Next we come to a piece which will help to explain why this section is entirely in red, courtesy of AmericanBadassAdvocates, titled “#BOYCOTTAUTISMSPEAKS #REDINSTEAD | MEMES AND THINGS GALLERY FROM AROUND THE WEB”. Please click on the image below, selected from their gallery, to view the full post.
Followers of this site will need no introduction to thesilentwaveblog, featured here with not one but two fantastic posts:
First of all, by way of a counterblast to one of the nastiest phrases used by those who insist on pathologizing autism comes this post, titled “Autism didn’t ‘steal’ me”. Click on the image below to read the piece:
The second offering is titled “Asperger’s / autism, socializing, and respect”, and once again the link is by way of the image below:
Next, and penultimately, we have a newspaper article and a response. The article, published in the Merced Sun-Star under the title “Autism awareness brings dozens of Merced County families to Livingston” can be viewed by clicking the image below:
AmericanBadassAdvocates founder Eve Hinson made a brilliant response to this article. A click on the screenshot of her comment below will take you to the blog post in which I first saw it.
Originally I had not been going to include this, but a development that occurred while this post was under construction caused me to change my plans. First, a quick clarification: The “Coyne” of “Coynegate” is not the eminent evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne who remains a firm favourite of this blog, but the much less well known Gerard Coyne, right-wing challenger for the leadership of Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union.
Mr Coyne has run a dreadful campaign, and the only question would appear to be whether he will finish a distant second or suffer the humiliation of coming third behind left-wing challenger Ian Allinson. The incumbent, Len McCluskey, will retain his position by the proverbial country mile.
However as documented by The Skwawkboxblog, as well as running an appalling campaign, Mr Coyne has (with the assistance of high ranking Labour right-wingers) perpetrated a breach of the Data Protection Act on an enormous scale (involving comfortably enough people’s data for it to be considered a criminal breach, opening the way to a huge fine) and Unite, who might otherwise be considered for legal purposes a receiver of the illegally accessed data have today told him that he is on his own.
I finish this section, and the post with links to the last two Skwawkbox pieces about this issue:
From this morning, a post titled “BARRISTER: COYNE’S DPA RECKLESSNESS COULD COST HIM – AND UNITE – £MILLIONS”, accessible by clicking on the screenshot below, which introduces said barrister and the first two paragraphs of his opinion:
The even more explosive post that went up while this one was under construction, titled “EXCLUSIVE: UNITE WASHES ITS HANDS OF COYNE OVER #DPA BREACH”, accessible by clicking the image below:
These are merely the last two of a substantial number of posts that The Skwawkbox have done about this issue, and I urge you to read some or all of the others as well.
Some stuff about Proptional Representation, some stuff about public transport, some stuff about “Save Trosa Nature” and some photographs.
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…
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 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:
The two images I am sharing point up the flaws of FPTP in two differing ways:
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.
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:
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, 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.
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…
If you’ve been watching Fox you may have been told that London is defeated and demoralised.
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 Skwawkboxblog, 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.
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.
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!
I recognize that this is a thorny issue. I will start by making two things clear:
The future of Scotland should be decided by the Scots.
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.
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.