Aspiblog Election Special

Some thoughts about the upcoming General Election, which was confirmed as happening while this post weas being created.

INTRODUCTION

Parliament has voted by 522 to 13 to accept Theresa May’s call for a snap General Election, which will take place on June 8th….

SETTING THE SCENE

This morning Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK put up a post titled “General Election Thoughts” most of which I am in agreement with. Here is a screenshot of the start to that post:

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 to this 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.

CLOSING THOUGHTS (& PHOTOGRAPHS)

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:

#MakeJuneTheEndOfMay

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.

Upcoming Local Elections

Politics and nature combine to form one YUGE blog post!

INTRODUCTION

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.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 Berry in 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…

POLITICAL SHARING

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:

TRUK

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:

coyne stopped amended

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:

WOI

Next, courtesy of DPAC comes a public service piece titled “Important information on how disabled people can enforce their right to travel on buses“. Although the title is on this occasion set up as a link, I also provide a screenshot below on which you can click to get to the original:

DPAC

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:

ss

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:

Sheffield Tree Action Groups

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.

PHOTOGRAPHS

To end the post here are some of my own photographs…

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The first bee I have caught on camera this year.

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Using a derelict shop front to explain the importance of King John to King’s Lynn’s history is sensible. My main quibble with the new statue of him being…
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That is bad quality work, not that it is of a bad quality human (though he was certainly that, in spades).

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The first ducklings of the year. I hope that some at least of them survive the marauding Herring Gulls (this is NOT a joke btw)

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I have bagged a number of peacock butterflies of late, but these light coloured ones fly both faster and for a greater percentage of their lives, so for the third time today this is a first of the year.

 

 

 

Tory ‘cabal’ lies to constituents, fights FOI to push through expensive deal

As a veteran of Norfolk County Council’s attempt to foist an unwanted incinerator on King’s Lynn (failed – we kicked up sufficiently much of a fuss about it that the dishonourable Mr Pickles, then the minister responsible for such things, felt obliged to intervene on our behalf) I offer both solidarity and encouragement – these scum can be beaten. We fought against the plan to build an incinerator on the edge of King’s Lynn not as NIMBYs (Not in My Back Yard), but as NOMPs (Not On My Planet)…

The SKWAWKBOX

Information has reached the SKWAWKBOX that had slipped beneath the radar until now. It’s of particular interest because everyone knows that Tories will screw over Labour areas without a second thought, but the usual assumption is that they will protect their ‘heartlands’, if only out of self-interest – for example, the ‘Surrey sweetheart deal‘.

But this case shows that they will screw over their own areas just as eagerly as soon as it suits them – as long as they think they can get away with it.

Even if it means lying to do so.

javelin park.pngIllustration of GCC’s planned Javelin Park incinerator

The case involves Tory-controlled Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), which has been involved for some years in negotiations for a planned waste incinerator – or rather, a cabal or subset of its Tory councillors have, as until a few weeks ago even most GCC councillors were unaware of…

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Super Sharing Saturday – Politics 3: Bits and Bobs

A selection of political stories from the last couple of days.

INTRODUCTION

This is the third and last politically themed post in this series that I have been putting up today (although I have held some stories that might be considered political back for the next post which will be the last – I will then create a page containing links to these specific posts for ease of reference).

TORY STEALS MOD SECRETS, USES THEM TO HELP ADAM SMITH INTERNATIONAL

This story, which shows Tories at their worst and most unprincipled was brought to my attention by David Hencke. To read the full story of how MOD secrets were stolen and used to load the dice in favour of Adam Smith International click the image below.

rajadasgupta.jpg

ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE ON TORY ELECTOTRAL FRAUD

Thomas G Clark who blog as Another Angry Voice has more on the Tory electoral fraud story, in the form of whistleblowers who have admitted to unknowingly assisting the Tories to commit electoral fraud. Click the image below to read the full piece.

PIP PIP

I have two pieces on Personal Independence Payments (PIP for short) for your attention. Firstly, DPAC are asking for people who would be willing to be involved in a legal challenge to changes to PIP. If you are able to help DPAC, or would like to share their piece please click on the screenshot below.

DPACss

The second PIP comes from 38 Degrees, in the form of a petition calling for people with mental health issues to be treated fairly under PIP. Please click the image below for more.

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

A situation that allows a party who gained 37% of the votes cast (under 25% of the electorate given the turnout) to form a “majority” government is obviously unacceptable. If you agree with this and are a UK resident please click on the screenshot below to sign and/ or share the petition, which is currently on 93,217 signatures, meaning that another 6,783will trigger a debate in the house. Just before putting up the screenshot link one final point for those who bring uop the orevious referendum on this subject: AV IS NOT PR

PR

ROWSON SKEWERS HAMMOND

To end on a lighter note, below, with a link to the original, is Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson’s take on Philip Hammond’s budget:

Martin Rowson cartoon 09.03.17

 

 

Super Sharing Saturday – Politics 2: Monroe Wins Defamation Case

An account of Jack Monroe’s splendid victory in a defamation case that centred on twitter.

INTRODUCTION

This is the second politics themed post in this series. In this case it deals with a defamation case that has recently been settled after 21 months. The plaintiff was food blogger and political activist Jack Monroe, while the defendant was someone who cannot be described in broadcastable language and does not deserve to have her name further publicised (the usual adjective used of her is in this context deeply offensive to trolls). 

THE BARE BONES

Jack Monroe launched the case over two tweets posted a few hours apart. The defendant had the opportunity to settle out of court for a mere £5,000 but chose to fight on. This resulted in an award to Monroe of £24,000 and the defendant being ordered to pay costs totalling a further £83,000. 

THE LINKS

I have three links for you about this case. First, by clicking the image below you can read Mike Sivier of Vox Political’s account (the picture is his as well):

Nathan Capone examines the implications of this verdict from a case-law point of view in this post.

Finally, for the completists among you, here is a link to the judgement in full.

PHOTOGRAPHS

As always, I finish by showing some of my own photographs.

1556
Lot 1556 in James and Sons’ March auction
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Lot 1557
1558
Lot 1558

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1559
Lot 1559

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1560
This will be the last item to go under the hammer in James and Sons’ March auction.

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Super Sharing Saturday – Politics 1: Skwawkbox Triple Header

Links to three pieces originally published on Skwawkbox.

INTRODUCTION

We are now into the politics section of my super-sharing Saturday, which will encompass this post, a post about the Monroe vs Hopkins case and will finish with a post containing the remaining political links.

1. SKWAWKBOX SWATS THE #MAYFLY

This post is merely the latest in very damning series of posts the skwawkbox has produced about Theresa May and the Surrey County Council sweetheart deal. It contains a very short video produced by Ealing Labour 4 Corbyn as well as the text. Link via the image as usual

el4c sweetheart deal.png

2. SKWAWKBOX EXPOSES DESPICABLE BEHAVIOUR BY BLAIRITES

Wimbledon CLP have been threatened with suspension over a leaflet that they intended to put out regarding a proposed new school. To read the full account on Skwawkbox click on the image of the “offending” leaflet below:

wimb leaflet p1.png

3. SKWAWKBOX ON AWFUL TORY BEHAVIOUR IN LANCASHIRE

This account features stories of intimidation up to an including death threats. To read about how the Tories are trying to take control of the town of Pendle by a combination of bullying, intimidation and gerrymandering click the image below.

tory threat

PHOTOGRAPHS

As usual I end with some pictures…

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These maps are going under the hammer at the end of our March auction.

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Autism, Work and Links

The launch of a new facebook page with NAS West Norfolk connections, a bit about yesterday at work and some very interesting links.

INTRODUCTION

For the benefit of new readers it is worth reminding people that I am both NAS West Norfolk branch secretary and #actuallyautistic. Although the the National Autistic Society (NAS) has some paid staff at its London HQ branches are run by volunteers and branch money comes exclusively from fund-raising. This post therefore starts with some news from NAS West Norfolk that I consider worth sharing before continuing with a bit about yesterday at work which will include pictures and ending with some interesting links.

THE LAUNCH OF A NEW FACEBOOK PAGE

NAS West Norfolk’s Sports Co-ordinator, Grant Cotton, creator of the Autism Awareness Cup, has created a new facebook page to link all his activities. It can be viewed by clicking the image below:

YESTERDAY AT JAMES AND SONS

Yesterday was devoted to imaging as many of those lots for the March auction that were not yet images as possible (a catalogue for this auction, taking place on the 27th, 28th and 29th of March, can be viewed here). Most of the imaging I was doing yesterday was of coin lots. Here some pictures…

248-a
This is lot 248 – a seven image gallery for you to look at

248248-b248-c248-d248-e248-f

249
This is lot 249 – a four image gallery.

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120
From here until lot 124 we are looking at hi-res scans. Although I produced my usual three-image galleries for these coins with on exception I am sharing only the main image.

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80
The exception – this New Zealand florin from 1934, where I choose to show the close-ups as well.

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124
Lot 124 – the last of the scans
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Lot 108 – the packaging indicated that three of these coins were special, so I did close ups as well as the main images

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108-c
The close ups

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Lot 107 – this time the packaging suggested that two of the coins deserved special attention, so they got it.

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The close ups.

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222
Lot 222
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Lot 223. This horrible plastic tub did not have a lid, so I rehoused the lot in a nice wooden box with a fully functioning lid (I did a ‘meringue’ style test on it, turning it upside down with the coins inside, making sure that it was not too high above a flat, clear surface when I did so).
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Lot 224.

LINKS

Most of these links are science related, so to clear the decks I shall start with the exception. This comes courtesy of Skwawkbox, and is a devastating indictment of Theresa May and her ‘sweetheart deal’ with Surrey County Council. I agree with the Skwawkbox assessment that this should be considered as resignation matter. As another blogger, Mike Sivier, put it when commenting on this same issue: “a turd by any other name would smell as faecal and this one sgtinks of big fat lie”. To read the Skwawbox piece click here.

SCIENCE 1: FROM LIVESCIENCE

Two very different pieces from the same source here. The first deals with small things (specifically spiders), the second with something very large (a nebula).

  1. Wolf spiders having threesomes (yes, you read that right). Female wolf spiders are noted for eating their mates after copulation, and it may be that if two males tackle the same female there is more chance of one of them not being cannibalised. For the full story please click on the image below:
  2. This piece is about the discovery of a huge new nebula and the attendant mystery of what its light source might be. For the full story click on the image below:

SCIENCE 2: WEIT (WITH AN ASSIST FROM YOU TUBE)

It is no great secret that I am a huge fan both of Jerry Coyne’s books (Why Evolution is True and Faith Versus Fact) and of the associated blog, whyevolutionistrueThus I am delighted to share with you the fact that a video series on  chapter one of Why Evolution Is True is now being created. Episodes 1-3 are available to watch (and highly recommended by this blogger!), and according to WEIT’s own piece about the series there are two more episodes to come (yay!). I have embedded the videos below (they run in sequence) – enjoy!