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.

Tory Mps Taken to Court by Electoral Commission Over Campaign Expenses

A contribution to the developing story of the Tory election expenses scandal. I provide three links to detailed accounts of the story so far and make a brief mention of an old case that relates to this subject.

INTRODUCTION

This is a story that has been running for months. As well as the Electoral Commission’s involvement, nine different police forces are investigating various MPs. In this post I will provide links to three versions of the story (all tally closely, and all are from national newspapers) and then quote a case from the past which indicates how seriously this kind of thing has been viewed.

THE STORY SO FAR

Here are the three links:

  • For the Guardian version click here. Note, that as often when dealing with a controversial story the Graun has switched off its comments section.
  • For the Independent version click here.
  • For the Mirror version click here.

THE FRANK GRAY CASE

This case is almost a century old (I read the details in Iain Wilton’s “C B Fry: An English Hero”, where it featured because Fry was involved in the subsequent by-election). The culprit was Frank Gray’s election agent, who played fast and loose with campaign finances. Gray was as shocked as anyone when he found out what had been going on, and held his hands up. The judge in this case while praising Gray for his honesty and co-operation still considered it necessary to debar Gray from seeking public office for a period of seven years.

I never like to put up posts without a picture, so here (with apologies to any such creatures who take offence at being associated however loosely with Tory MPs) is a snail from this morning…

Snail - edited
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A Music Workshop for Autistic People

An account of attending a music workshop organised by NAS West Norfolk, with plenty of photos, also some important links.

INTRODUCTION

This afternoon I attended a music workshop organised by NAS West Norfolk. The title of piece of this post, acompanied by many photographs, is about this workshop.

OUTWARD BOUND

Having established to my own satisfaction the location of Scout Hut 12, Beulah Street I walked out of town along Bawsey Drain as far as Lynn Sport before heading across the open grassland to the scout hut (my direction finding was up to its usual standard, so no hiccups). Although I was under some time constraint I got a few photos on the way…

St Nicholas Chapel looking splendid.
St Nicholas Chapel looking splendid.

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AT THE SCOUT HUT

First up, “hut” is something of a misnomer – it is quite a substantial building. There were many things worthy of photographing there…

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After a brief meet and greet upstairs it was downstairs again to the room where the action was taking place. Fortunately, the music making was being done largely by computer – I would not have inflicted myself playing an actual instrument on anyone (there were some real instruments there but I was careful not to be assigned any of them). In the first session which was group playing I had first stringed instruments and then a couple of keyboard instruments (in computer program form)…

The computer I used to make music.
The computer I used to make music.

The second session involved recording ourselves making percussion type sounds from non-instruments – the results were not nearly as appalling as you might expect.

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These were the twelve things I used to extract percussion type sounds.

I have a few more pics from the building to display…

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HOMEWARD BOUND

For the walk home I headed down to King Edward the Seventh Academy, along to Tennyson Road and through to Seven Sisters, finishing up by heading along the riverbank. Here are the pics from that section of the day…

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LINKS

Not so many links as as I sometimes have, but still enough to split into sections.

THE LABOUR LEADERSHIP ELECTION

Two links in this section:

  1. Mark Steel has produced a typically amusing ironic piece in the Independent by way of responding to the decision to refuse his application to register as a supporter.
  2. Vox Political on another Blairite grandee who has proven unable to resist sticking his oar in, on this occasion the ignoble Lord Mandelson

MAINLY AUTISM

I am including in this section a petition calling on the government for a full assessment of the impact of welfare cuts on disabled people. My other two links are to an online publication called The ASD Times. They have been kind enough to include some of my stuff, so here a couple of links the other way:

CONSERVATION

Two links in this section…

  1. A call to keep the pressure on South African Airlines to do the right thing and refuse to carry hunting “trophies”.
  2. Mark Avery tackles a by-product of driven grouse shooting – traps.

ATHEISM

Two links and an infographic here…

An Extraordinary Test Match

A personal account of the Lord’s test match, some infographics, links and photographs – enjoy.

INTRODUCTION

I have a selection of infographics, photos and links to share, as well as my main piece.

AN EXTRAORDINARY TEST MATCH

England 30-4 in the first innings. After England recovered from this dismal start to reach 389 early on the second morning New Zealand spent the rest of day 2 compiling 303-2. By the end of day 3 England were two down in their second innings and still nearly a hundred runs in the red. Day four saw the big momentum swing, the creation of three individuals, Cook, Root and especially Stokes. The last named scored the fastest hundred ever in a Lord’s test match. This meant that England closed the day with an already substantial lead. By the time England were all out on the fifth morning (yesterday), New Zealand needed 345 for victory in 77 overs. Two wickets went down without a run, but the really decisive blow came later in the day and was struck by that man Stokes (the most obvious man of the match in test history) who cleaned up Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum with successive deliveries. Thereafter, although the New Zealand lower order showed plenty of fight it always looked like an England win, and the eventual margin was 125 runs.

I do not withdraw my earlier criticisms of England’s selection policy, and I point out that it was not until deep into day four that the possibility of an England win showed up an anyone’s radar. Also as an aside New Zealand won the toss and chose to put England in, and even though they did take early wickets, as such a course of action requires, they still ended up beaten.

I hope that the second test match lives up to this one (a pity that there are only the two rather than a proper series – ICC please note that two tests DO NOT CONSTITUTE a proper series).This will require England not to adopt a “what we have we hold” approach.

INFOGRAPHICS

I have a variety of infographics to share this time, starting with a couple from people in favour of keeping the hunting ban…

FHB Keep The Ban

I take a very strong line on disability rights both here and on aspitweets and my next infographic is in keeping with that.

DHC

Those of us fortunate enough not to have had to use a food bank may wonder what exactly they provide – check this scary infographic to find out…

Foodbanks

My last two infographics both relate to a smear campaign being run by the Daily Mail against Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham (which has naturally influenced me in his favour!)

DMAB

ABXs

LINKS

I shall start with an anniversary, courtesy of Faraday’s Candle. The birthday girl is astronaut Sally Ride.

Having started on a science theme, two more links, the first of which introduces the second. The twin themes are asteroid strikes and probability:

1) Intro piece

2) The whole shebang

THE IRISH GAY MARRIAGE REFERENDUM

I found the result of this referendum very exciting, and I was not the only one, as these two links, one from the Independent and one from Patheos make clear in their different ways:

1)Indy

2)Patheos

TWO FINAL LINKS

My last links both refer to important social issues, one to our railways and one to the bedroom tax. First of all, I thank the Liverpool Echo for this article about the much loathed bedroom tax. Secondly, The Mirror provided this marvellous article about Network Rail.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND SHARING

Just before putting up my final few images I would urge you all to share this post or at least the parts of it that appeal to you. My thanks to all of my followers.

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These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom's "The Caspian Gates" which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.
These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom’s “The Caspian Gates” which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.

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I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.
I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.

The Hanse Festival

INTRODUCTION

For those who do not know the form with this blog, I will start with the bit that gives the post it’s title, I will also be sharing some good links and as part of the post there will be pictures…

THE HANSE FESTIVAL

I did not get to see much of the Hanse festival because of being busy with stuff for the Great Centenary Charity Auction, of which more in later posts. However, I got a few good pictures, and got to take part in a community breakfast outside the guildhall.

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The first of many pictures featuring the Kamper Kogge or aspects thereof.
The first of many pictures featuring the Kamper Kogge or aspects thereof.

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There was a very enjoyable concert in King’s Lynn Minster, featuring music from composers with Hanseatic associations (Handel, Telemann, Bach etc). As part of this, the group playing the music had been working with children at Whitefriars School, and had developed the catch line “Crazy composers making music for you and me” which added an extra element to the festivities. Here are some more photographs…

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LINKS

Just a few links today. First of all, following on from a piece about a music performance, here is something from Charlotte Hoather. Having devoted this post to a community celebration, the Hanse Festival, here is a piece from a community coming together in the effort to save their library, the folk of Hale, Greater Manchester. The Independent occasionally provides good stuff, and this piece about cavemen and gender equality is an example. Last and in the chief place is a link to a wonderful open letter to Katie Hopkins written by Kevin Healey.

CLOSING REMARKS

I hope to have all enjoyed this, and that you wlll share either the whole post or this bits that you have particularly enjoyed. My final remark comes in pictorial form:

TY3

A King’s Lynn Walk

As usual, before getting to the main part of the blog I have some links to share…

First of all, a story in the Mirror about housing benefits profiteers (i.e. big landlords) accompanied by a link to list of 20 of West Norfolk’s worst offenders in this regard:

KLWN HB

A shocking story from the Independent about a scientific peer reviewer who in the year 2015 said that women should get help with their research from men.

Shocking but not in the least surprising to anyone who knows anything about destructive Dave the debate ducker and his mate Gideon is this story about the effect of Tory cuts on the disabled from the New Statesman.

Now, some political dynamite from Vox Political in the form of story about how the Labour and Green party candidates were omitted from 480 ballot papers sent out to voters in Hull.

Katie Hopkins has been at it again, and is the subject of another petition on change.org demanding an apology to the autistic community for her latest offensive remarks. Please sign and share.

My last story is of a good outcome to a horrible event. The people who attacked and almost killed Malala Yousafzai have been jailed for life, and here is the story courtesy of BBC News.

THE WALK

This afternoon I went out for a walk, which turned out be full of glorious spring sights. The first camera moment came within minutes of setting forth, as I was crossing over the upper Purfleet, in the form of this Moorhen…

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The Great Ouse rarely fails to provide some decent opportunities for pictures, and here are some from today…

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Neither Hardngs Pits nor the Nar provided much of interest, but the parkland areas (the Walks and the Recreation Field) certainly did…

Opportunities to photograph the South gate with no traffic interfering are not common.
Opportunities to photograph the South gate with no traffic interfering are not common.

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The loco pulling a goods train.
The loco pulling a goods train.
Tree sculptures, at the Tennyson Road edge of the Recreation Field.
Tree sculptures, at the Tennyson Road edge of the Recreation Field.

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A front-on view of the loco showing a couple of trucks as well.
A front-on view of the loco showing a couple of trucks as well.

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Between Tennyson Road and Bawsey Drain there were a few small things of interest…

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Bawsey Drain provided two examples of a mother duck taking her little ones out on the water and some small birds of the beautiful but frustrating (because they are so hard to capture on camera) variety…

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I took the way home that leads via two ponds and a section of river to the Railway Station and thence home. This last stretch provided some further duckling pictures and as my final shot of the day a blackbird…

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One duckling that is already a fine swimmer.
One duckling that is already a fine swimmer.

Two Very Hectic Days

As usual, before getting into the main meat of this post I have some links to share with you.

LINKS

First of all, I urge everyone to sign and/ or share Joanne Fowler’s petition about the treatment of her 93 year old father.

The only other link I am sharing with you today is courtesy of Vox Political and while I would the first to acknowledge that Tory lies are no longer (if they ever were), the stuff of headlines, the scale and extent of the lying that Mike Sivier exposes is even by the standards of the political home of Mr Shapps/Green/Fox scandalous as the full post reveals.

When I wrote my intro to the Mike Sivier piece it was going to be the last link I included, but this story from the Independent about food banks, which I picked up via twitter was too important not to include – it exposes the sheer nastiness of how the DWP conducts itself these days.

TWO HECTIC DAYS

I was aware that Thursday and Friday were going to be hectic, since I had decided to attend an evening meeting in Norwich (of which more in a later post) in between two work days, and on the Friday evening I would be calling in at my parents house to pick up the post since they are currently away in Greece. What I did not factor in was losing half an hour at Castle Meadow, central Norwich not because a bus failed to show, but because the bus did show but failed to stop! This is at a very important stop, and with me approaching the bus with the fare already in my hand ready to hand over. I absolve Norfolk Green as a company of any blame for this incident, especially given the high standards of service I have generally received over a decade of being a regular user of their buses, but they clearly have at least one rogue driver. This meant that instead of arriving at my desk at 9:30 and being able to ease into Friday’s work I arrived on the dot of 10 and had to get stuck in rather quicker. Also, the down-time immediately post work was reduced by the necessity of getting a haircut (being on the rostrum with Antiques Road Trip filming and having a jungle on top of my head would not have been a great idea!).

Thursday was taken up with imaging in the main, although I did get a press release out early in the day, and created a poster near the end of they day. This was to advertise an antique Enfield-Snider percussion cap rifle which will be in the May auction (n.b. it is of a calibre that is no longer manufactured and hence can no longer be used as a firearm)…

poster

Much of the rest of Thursday’s imaging was mundane stuff, but some is worth sharing…

252 252a 253 253a 253b 255 255a 255b 341 341a 535 558a 558b 719 719a 719b 721 721a 721b

Friday morning was taken up with imaging lots for a Timed Bid auction, conducted via www.the-saleroom.com, not many of which were of any great interest. In the afternoon, in between starting to load the van ready for going down to the Racecourse on Tuesday, I imaged a handful of lots which needed special attention…

This gold coin, lot 218 in our May auction, was a particular challenge as it had to be imaged through plastic casing.
This gold coin, lot 218 in our May auction, was a particular challenge as it had to be imaged through plastic casing.

218a 218b

The only other imaging I got done in the afternoon was of the Soviet Union badges which comprise the last three images of  this post.
The only other imaging I got done in the afternoon was of the Soviet Union badges which comprise the last three images of this post.

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