Thoughts on York

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:30 pm
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Posted by Lee Howgate

So, what was the most enduring memory of the York Liberal Democrat Spring Conference? Tim Farron taking on the Tories in a rousing final speech, or Nick Clegg in blistering form on Brexit? The feisty debate on faith schools, or the brief flirtation with unilateral nuclear disarmament, cunningly timed to coincide with England’s Grand Slam decider?

Or was it York itself, magnificent in the spring sunshine, giving us the perfect backdrop to the #libdemfightback?

Well, for me, the abiding memory is being a part of a vast hopeful army of conference newbies, who, like me, had chosen to get up off the canvas of 2016′s despair and do something- anything- to stop the world lurching into hate-filled extremism.

You can’t bottle “essence of York spring 2017″. But if you could, you might be intoxicated by the scent of a new libdemmery. One that had a heady dose of optimism, energy and hopefulness. But also a hint of something bloody, a visceral sense of patriotism that Tim Farron captured by announcing “I want my country back”.

It isn’t very Liberal Democrat to beat your chest and go on about being proud of your identity, is it?

And to be fair to Tim, any beating of chests was metaphorical rather than literal. 

But there was a sense of a shifting of the plates. Of corners being turned. And of normal, sensible, not very politically ambitious people suddenly catching fire in the common effort to do something to save their country.

And it was beautiful to be a part of- like a Springsteen gig when everybody stops being a proper grown-up and melts into the euphoric aspiration of “Born to Run”.

Well, OK, it was a bit like that.

But the Boss is £75 a ticket, and first timers at conference certainly pay a lot less to get their kicks.

And there are probably less subcultures in Springsteen-land than at a LibDem conference, where the first-timer is enticed by the rival stalls of the Green LibDems, Friends of Syria, Friends of Palestine, Christians, Secular-Humanists, and, most bizarrely, leather handbag salesmen. I felt sorry for these guys, who could have turned their leather making skills to great profit if only they’d thought of ventilated footwear. So close, and yet so far… 

Which might be the party’s fate once again in the first-past-the-post system. But we’ll see, we’ll dream, and we’ll hope a lot more folks will join us.

“Who’d have thought it would be radical to be sensible?” Tim asked, using a nice line that crystallised the moment British politics finds itself in in this week of Article 50, Momentum vs Labour and the unlikely alliance of John Major and Tony Blair. 

A lot will depend on how many decide to defend that sensible, free and open Britain that felt alive and strong this past weekend. Because, as ever, activists are not enough.

It’s the hearts and minds of voters, and non-voters, that will decide whether Britain survives as a decent, liberal nation. If it is to survive at all.

* Lee Howgate is a Lib Dem activist who lives in South Devon. He is a senior leader at a large comprehensive school in Cornwall, and formerly worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with experience in Russia and the EU. You can follow him on tumblr where he posts as leetheliberal

Undercover Friday 7

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:42 pm
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Posted by Tim Harford


You might have missed…

“Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy” is airing on BBC Radio 4 in a run of 15 daily programmes just after noon. (This project has been such fun to work on.) Loyal listeners will already be subscribing to the podcast, however – and if you’re enjoying it, please spread the word. I meet a lot of “More or Less” listeners who aren’t aware that “Fifty Things” exists.

The Problem With Facts – my long FT Magazine feature (or here on my own website) has been doing the rounds. Thanks to everyone who has been sharing it.

Given the horrific attack in London yesterday, I found myself revisiting a piece I wrote about the real costs of terrorism. These attacks are always so appalling; we need to remind ourselves that that’s by design. They’re meant to appal us and they are aimed at provoking an over-reaction.



Book recommendations

I’ve had a productive reading week this week.

I enjoyed Richard Nisbett’s Mindware (UK) (US) – it’s a good overview of various thinking tools and traps such as hindsight bias, dialectical reasoning, various statistical errors and techniques. However it does feel pretty familiar if you enjoy this sort of thing; I was also struck by how the fact that Nisbett, writing in 2015, cites a number of psychological studies that have since failed to replicate. A sign of the times in social psychology?

My praise for Caroline Webb’s How To Have A Good Day (UK) (US) is similarly tempered by the fact that again, some of this stuff is familiar and some of this stuff does not replicate. Still, I found it a very valuable book – I had a meeting this week that would have gone very badly but instead ended up going very well, and Webb deserves all the credit for that. She does a great job of taking familiar insights from psychology and economics, and turning them into practical nuggets of advice. Bravo.

Even better is Designing Your Life by Burnett and Evans (UK) (US). I don’t even know why I picked up this book, to be honest. It would have come in very handy when I was 19, or 23, or 29, and staring down the barrel of painful life and career decisions. Right now I’m lucky enough to have a life and career where no big changes seem needed. And yet – the book was still useful. And I’ve already handed copies to two friends contemplating a career change. It’s really a very useful and fresh take on thinking about careers, creativity, family and work-life balance. Very, very good.

Finally, a nod to Maria Konnikova’s brilliantly-written The Confidence Game (UK) (US) which I’ve recommended before but found myself dipping into again. Fascinating science and great storytelling.

Oh – and finally finally, I recently had the chance to play Roll For The Galaxy. Lots of fun – and while a little complex for younger children they do love the buckets of dice. Check it out. (UK) (US) – or my local store Gameskeeper.


Column news

My “Undercover Economist” column has moved from the FT Magazine to the Saturday FT newspaper. If you like to read online, it’s here – and you can click “Add to My FT” to be updated whenever it appears. (I’ll continue to post my writing on after a delay.) This week’s column contrasts two different types of innovation:

The idea that developed economies can A/B test their way back to brisk productivity growth is a seductive one. An alternative view is that what’s really lacking is a different kind of innovation: the long shot. Unlike marginal gains, long shots usually fail, but can pay off spectacularly enough to overlook 100 failures. The marginal gain is a heated pair of overshorts, the long shot is the Fosbury Flop. If the marginal gain is a text message nudging you to finish a course of antibiotics, the long shot is the development of penicillin. Marginal gains give us zippier web pages; long shots gave us the internet.

FT subscribers can read the whole thing here.



My book “Messy” is available online in the US and UK or in good bookshops everywhere.

Free email updates

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Posted by Phil Plait

artist concept of a black hole in a starry background

A black hole with three billion times the mass of the Sun has been found hurtling out of its parent galaxy at 8 million kilometers per hour! What could give it that kind of incredible boost? Turns out, it's something even more incredible: The two supermassive black holes that merged to form it in the first place.

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Posted by Tim Worstall

One of the more amusing sights at present is the various European Union bigwigs demanding that Britain sign up for this or that or we’ll not get a trade deal as we leave in that Brexit process. The latest insisting upon something is Jean-Claude Juncker, here insisting that we’ll not have that trade deal unless we agree to pay £50 billion into the EU coffers. All of which leaves us with an easy answer really, no. It’s an easy answer because no trade deal is just fine for us. We would actually, as Patrick Minford has been pointing out, be better off without one:

Britain must pay a divorce bill of ‘around’ £50billion to get a trade deal with the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker has warned.
The European Commission president insisted Theresa May would be made to ‘honour’ the UK’s commitments when Brexit negotiations get under way next week.

Britain must, of course it must, obey the law over whatever it is that it owes. But that’s not quite the same thing as agreeing to pay £50 billion into the EU’s pot:

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Juncker described Brexit as “a failure and a tragedy”.

He promised that Brussels will approach the negotiation of Britain’s withdrawal in a “friendly” and fair way, but warned that European institutions were not “naive” about the process.

He confirmed that the UK will be presented with a bill of around 60 billion euro (£52 billion) after Theresa May formally kicks off withdrawal negotiations under Article 50 of the EU treaties on March 29.

“It is around that,” said Mr Juncker. “But that is not the main story. We have to calculate scientifically what the British commitments were and then the bill has to be paid.”

Legal advice in the UK is that there is indeed a bill which should be paid. Perhaps £ 2 or £3 billion is one number floating around. There is also the point that the EU has considerable assets, many of which we Brits paid for, so we should be able to get a share of that back. And again reasonable numbers floating around of £10 billion perhaps mean that the net payment should be to us, not away from us:

It’s an invoice that Mr Juncker insists must be paid.
“You cannot pretend you were never a member of the union,” he practically spluttered.

True, but we also don’t have to pay for the future of an organisation we no longer belong to.

However, there’s one thing that makes this all rather easy. Which is the nature of the threat being made. Cough up or you won’t get a trade deal. But no trade deal is just fine for us. It would mean reversion to WTO rules (yes, I have checked this with said WTO, the UK was a member, is a member and will be a member) and again, that’s just fine for us. The pound has already fallen against the euro by more than the tariff barriers would be so that’s taken care of. And as Patrick Minford has been pointing out if we do the sensible thing and use Brexit as the time to move to unilateral free trade with the world then this will increase GDP by 4%. We’ll actually be richer with no deal rather than one which insists we maintain the EU trade barriers with the rest of the world.

Another way to put this is that it’s worth giving up tariff free exports to rEU in return for tariff free imports from the entire globe. So threatening us with no trade deal without payment of a £50 billion bill isn’t a threat at all, it’s an opportunity.

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Posted by Neil Mudd

The second film event in the disrUPt project involves an impromptu choir practice, a spot of banner making and a timely screening of Amir Amirani's film about the worldwide protest movement We Are Many.
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Posted by Joan Walmsley

In order to “incentivise employers to think differently about their recruitment and skills decisions and the balance between investing in UK skills and overseas recruitment” (Lord Nash in the Lords on Tuesday) the government has decided to introduce an Immigration Skills Charge, a tax of £1000 per employee, per year, paid in advance by an employer wishing to recruit a skilled worker from outside the European Economic Area.

It does not apply to everyone, of course. Exceptions have been made for a variety of post-graduate scientists (including social and humanities scientists), research and development managers, and higher education teaching professionals.

Two groups that have not been exempted are professionals in health and social care. We know that both of these sectors are heavily dependent upon recruiting professionals from all over the world. We know only too well, from report after report, of the dire financial straits of the NHS: three quarters of NHS trusts are in deficit; nearly every A&E has limped from crisis to crisis this winter; we are short of nurses and retention is awful; hospital doctors’ rosters are unfilled; and GP practices can’t replace retiring doctors. The staff have become the shock-absorber for the NHS.

It is in this climate that the Government has decided to tax health and care employers for every worker from outside the EEA who is on a tier 2 visa. Because it is a tax, the Government does not have to calculate the cost and has chosen not to do so. The British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) have done the government’s sums for it – and it’s over £7m a year. A £7m disincentive to hospitals desperate to recruit staff, who are unable to fill essential posts from within the UK and the EU. £7 m less to spend on front line services. You couldn’t make it up!

And so where will this money go? Into the Consolidated Fund, from where an unspecified amount will go to the Department for Education and the Devolved Administrations to help fill our skills gap. There is only a hint that some of it might find its way to upskill the health workforce – but no guarantee that it will go to training health professionals.

The Government refuses to grant an exemption to health and social care, but seems to believe there is a more acute need for research and development managers. Few, if any, of them will be helping to save lives in hospital or caring for those in need of social care.

The NHS is not a business. Unlike big commercial employers, a hospital cannot pay the tax out of its profits, it will simply increase the deficit. And, of course, the NHS and care employers already put enormous resources into the clinical training of their own workforce, so this is a double charge.

Lord Nash told the House of Lords that the government had not done a formal impact assessment because it didn’t have to. I think they didn’t do so because it would be politically embarrassing.

* Joan Walmsley is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords

andrewducker: (Default)

Interesting Links for 24-03-2017

Mar. 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Posted by Mike Smithson

Over the last few months, as those who follow the site will know, I have been writing posts and tweets about the YouGov Brexit tracker which come which comes out two or three times a month. The actual question is “In hindsight do you think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU?”

The overall picture is that the gap between those who think the outcome was wrong has and those right has narrowed and for the last two surveys it has been level-pegging.

One of the features of this that always seems to get attention is the number of current UKIP supporters who declare that they think it is wrong in hindsight for Britain to have voted to leave the EU.

When this was just one or two percent it could be just put down to polling respondents clicking the wrong boxes as can happen with multi question online survey forms. In the most recent polling the UKIP numbers edged up and the this week’ YouGov polling has 7% of current UKIP supporters saying they believe it was wrong for Britain to vote LEAVE.

So I thought I would produce a chart showing how this is going and here it is at the top ofthe post. The numbers are, of course, small and this is measuring a subset with all the dangers that that entails but the fact that we see the pattern in the chart, I suggest, says something. I’m not quite sure what.

Mike Smithson

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Posted by Ben Andrew

When Farron announced that we were pushing for another referendum on Europe, I agreed with those who accused the Lib Dems of ignoring democracy because we didn’t like the result. While I still sympathise with these criticisms, I have eventually come around to the party’s position. Or at least – I think that there is a strong principled case for it (I still have some practical questions).

This case is based on accountability. Election results are not the be all and end all of democracy, they are part of a wider process. In a General Election, this process involves political parties making their case to the British people, and the public choosing which party they like best. Crucially, the people then judge how well that party has followed through with their promises, and hold them to account at the next election (as we know only too well in the Lib Dems).

Of course, I understand that you can’t have referendums every five years, but there still has to be some mechanism of accountability to make a vote democratically viable.  Otherwise, campaigners can just say whatever they think will get people to vote for them, whether it’s achievable or not. The alleged “£350 million for the NHS” was the most infamous case of this, but Leave campaigners also hedged their bets wildly on the single market – much more significantly in my view. The Remain camp lied too (Osborne said that he would introduce an emergency budget after Brexit, Cameron said that he would stay on as Prime Minister) but as we lost anyway, these lies aren’t as pressing from a democratic perspective, as we know they didn’t change the result. 

The bottom line is that democracy without accountability is not real democracy. Brexiteers like Gove, Johnson and Farage were not in power during the referendum campaign, and did not expect to be in power on the 24th of June regardless of the result. So they were able to say whatever they thought would win votes for Brexit, without worrying about the follow through. Maybe these lies and hedged bets tipped the referendum result – maybe they didn’t. The only way to establish this is to have another referendum, once we know what kind of Brexit we are going to get. If the Remainers won that referendum, that wouldn’t be an establishment stitch-up subverting the will of the people. It would be an indication that the form of Brexit which we’ve ended up with isn’t what people wanted. It’s called accountability – and it’s completely legitimate.

As I said, I remain unsure about the practicalities of this. Would there be enough time for another referendum? Would the public buy into it? Would the EU give us a terrible deal to encourage us to vote it down? But, in principle, I have come around to the argument that a referendum on the terms of Brexit would not be a subversion of democracy.

I happen to think that the Brexiteers would win again – but perhaps recent political events have turned me into a pessimist.

* Ben Andrew works as the Development officer for the Liberal Democrats in Sutton. He is in charge of organising events, fundraising, and energizing volunteers in the local party. He has been a member since the 2015 election, and is particularly motivated by Electoral Reform, Mental Health and Criminal Justice.

The Alchemist at Trinity Leeds

Mar. 24th, 2017 09:12 am
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Posted by Phil Kirby

Holly Spanner reviews The Alchemist at Trinity Leeds…
Alchemist /ˈalkəmɪst/. noun: alchemist; plural noun: alchemists.
“A person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process”
Nestled among twinkling lights above the ...
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Posted by Tom Arms

The EU is worried about losing their American nuclear umbrella.

The UK is worried about losing their European market and their seat at the European top table.

Britain has nuclear weapons. The EU has markets. Is there a fit?

If so, the result could be a tectonic strategic shift with far-reaching political repercussions.

My sources say there is enough of a fit for Prime Minister Theresa May to be thinking of offering to extend the British deterrent to EU countries in return for Brexit concessions.  This is most likely to be in cooperation with the French.

The reaction of the strategic eggheads ranges from “not incredible” to “logical,” to “totally unrealistic” and then “utterly crass” with a lot of “no comments” thrown in for good measure.

No comment was what the British Ministry of Defence said. No reply was all I could elicit from The Foreign Office and Downing Street. But The Department  for  Exiting the European Union, was more forthcoming. It referred me to Mrs May’s 18 January  Brexit strategy speech in which she said: 

The third …reason I believe we can come to the right agreement is that cooperation between Britain and the EU is needed not just when it comes to trade but when it comes to our security too.

Britain and France are Europe’s only two nuclear powers. We are the only two European countries with permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. Britain’s armed forces are a crucial part of Europe’s collective defence.

…After Brexit, Britain wants to be a good friend and neighbour in every way, and that includes defending the safety and security of all of our citizens.

A quick phone round the embassies and European ministries of foreign affairs elicited more no comments, until I came to the Poles where a spokesperson said: “Yes that’s right.” The verbal reaction was quickly followed by an email with the more diplomatic “no comment” line.

Dr Ian Lesser, Vice President at the German Marshall Fund, said it is “not incredible” that Britain is considering using its nuclear deterrent as part of the Brexit negotiations. He added: “But it would certainly be controversial.”

Dr Lesser thought it was more likely that what would emerge would be an Anglo-Franco-German relationship which would tie the EU more closely to NATO in such a way that Britain still had a seat at the top table in Europe.

The possibility of Britain extending its deterrent is made credible by President Trump’s comments about America First, Nato obsolence, reluctance to defend cash-strapped NATO members and even cutting defence costs by providing nuclear weapons technology to allies.

The onset of Trump-style American isolationism has prompted talks about greater European defence cooperation, including—at the suggestion of the Polish president– a German-funded European nuclear deterrent. This was firmly and immediately rejected by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Strategists in Europe and America have historically opposed the dominance of a single European country. Germany is currently the number one political and economic power, but it lacks the military capability to project its influence.

One of the roles of the American nuclear umbrella has been to protect Europe while at the same time allowing the ultimate deterrence to be controlled from outside Europe, thus preventing the emergence of the one overbearing  European state.

A perpetual fear of Europeans during and after the Cold War has been  that America would “decouple” itself from Europe by withdrawing or weakening its nuclear umbrella. This would leave the EU vulnerable to nuclear blackmail from Moscow.

The UK outside of the EU would also be politically removed and there would be a continuing link with the US as the Trident missiles used to deliver British warheads are American-made.  Any deal would require American approval.

An Anglo-French nuclear deterrent  would be only 515 nuclear warheads. The US has 6,970. But Britain and France currently look a lot more reliable.

This article is also published on Look Ahead Tv

* Tom Arms is a Wandsworth Lib Dem and produces and presents the podcast

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Posted by Tim Worstall

An Indian nuclear power plant has contracted what is being described as smallpox in a bizarre disease outbreak.
The Kakrapar Nuclear Power Plant in Gujarat has been shut down as officials attempt to work out what is corroding leaking pipes inside the complex.
Experts have said the pipes, which are made from a rare alloy, have contracted a smallpox-like virus which is spreading throughout two Indian Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) at Kakrapar in Gujarat

Officials have been desperately trying to work out what is causing the strange symptoms, but after a year, they are still none the wiser, according to NDTV.
Just over a year ago on March 11, 2016, a unit started leaking and had to be shut down in an emergency due to the amount of water gushing from it.
Several weeks after the leak it was revealed four huge cracks had formed on a coolant tube which was blamed for the incident.
As a result, tubes were exposed to high temperatures and a heavy load of water, which caused them to corrode.

Dunno which of the two the Indians use, zirconium niobium (like the Russians) or zirconium tin (everyone else). But the combination of heat, water and atmosphere does produce corrosion. And it’s dangerous because the corrosion itself can then go bang.

But it’s not smallpox and it’s not a virus.

Isn’t that great?

Mar. 24th, 2017 07:49 am
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Posted by Tim Worstall

A pasty crimper posed as a porn star to swindle £35,000 out of a lonely pensioner, a court heard.

That the world does that division and specialisation of labour thing enough that someone is employed solely to crimp pasties?

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Posted by Caron Lindsay

Congratulations to Peter Pilkington, elected to West Somerset District Council with an amazing gain from the Conservatives last night. In a ward that we didn’t stand in last time.

There was another good increase in vote share from a standing start in Herefordshire:

Another by-election in Blackburn will have to be re-run following the disqualification of the Labour candidate.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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Posted by Antony Hook

Tim Farron has shown British politics the meaning of political leadership. On Brexit, his fight for the public to be allowed a further say and against ultra-Brexit that no-one voted for has been bold.  In contrast, the leader of the supposed official opposition has dithered.  The unelected Prime Minister pursues a course she herself described as a catastrophe.

Too much of our future is falling under the Brexit axe, which people were reassured by the Leave campaign would not happen.

So, straight after business in the conference hall was concluded on Saturday, Tim Farron was able to join a large group of EU campaigners in the party for this photograph, taken by the skilled hands of Jonathan Wallace:

We are proud to be British and European and proud to fly both flags.  To my mind, both the Union Flag (or Union Jack if you prefer – there are a lot of views about what the proper name is) and the European flag today represent freedom, justice, the rule of law and peace between nations.

If you are interested in doing more to campaign on European issues you may like to join LDEG, the Liberal Democrat European Group.

* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

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Posted by Tim Worstall

This is alarmingly self-referential but this is also the one major thing that every student should know. Everything else pales in comparison when we consider economics and economic stories:

Our world has, over your lifetime, undergone the greatest reduction in poverty and misery in human history. Heck, more people have been lifted out of poverty over that time than in all the rest of human history. That’s a story that every college student should know by heart.

And again:

If you care about people, the economic growth over the last generation is one of the most important stories in all 5,000 years of human civilization. Every economic issue discussed in our recent election cycle pales in comparison.

Or as I am quoted saying:

But bugger me, it is working. Ain’t that fucking grand?

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Posted by Tim Worstall

The world’s most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian.

The documents are the first indication that the powerful commission wants a complete ban and cite “high acute risks to bees”. A ban could be in place this year if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states.

Bees and other pollinators are vital for many food crops but have been declining for decades due to habitat loss, disease and pesticide use. The insecticides, called neonicotinoids, have been in use for over 20 years and have been linked to serious harm in bees.

But whether it’s fake science or not this is entirely ridiculous:

There is a strong scientific consensus that bees are exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides in fields and suffer serious harm from the doses they receive. There is only a little evidence to date that this harm ultimately leads to falls in overall bee populations, though results from major field trials are expected soon.

However, the European commission (EC) has decided to move towards implementing a complete ban now,

Ban before the results of the trials? Now that is fake…..

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Posted by Tim Worstall

England supporters who engage in sick chanting are finally facing serious action after the Football Association moved to ban those who brought more shame on the nation during their friendly against Germany.

The FA’s patience with the Three Lions fan base snapped following the singing that marred Wednesday night’s game in Dortmund, which took place hours after Britain suffered its worst terrorist attack in more than a decade.

Nine months after England were almost thrown out of the European Championship for rioting in Marseille,

What were they doing? Throttling Belgians? Pushing a wall over onto Italians?

Err, no, they sang a song:

supporters ignored repeated warnings to ditch the odious chanting for which they have also become notorious by performing the song ‘10 German bombers’ in front of what was a television audience of millions.

Wouldn’t say it’s a great song, the joke rapidly becomes repetitive and so on. But no, this is an outrage apparently.

There were 10 German bombers in the air,
There were 10 German bombers in the air,
There were 10 German bombers, 10 German bombers,
10 German bombers in the air.
And the RAF from England shot 1 down,
And the RAF from England shot 1 down,
And the RAF from England, RAF from England,
The RAF from England shot 1 down.

These verses are then repeated with one more bomber being shot down each time, the 10th verse becoming “There was one” and “shot it down”, until the number of bombers reaches zero. The last two verses of the song are:

There were no more German bombers in the air,
There were no more German bombers in the air,
There were no more German bombers, no more German bombers,
No more German bombers in the air.
‘Cos the RAF from England shot them down,
‘Cos the RAF from England shot them down,
‘Cos the RAF from England, RAF from England,
‘The RAF from England shot them down.

The FA should FO, nu?

And it’s even possible that the Telegraph should FO too:

“The chant, which mocks German casualties during the Second World War, “


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Posted by Simon Sharwood

First we'll get non-digital Leia and Han Solo: Young Adult with Chewie and Falcon back-story

Disney CEO Bob Iger has told a conference that the company is contemplating “what could be another decade and a half of Star Wars stories.…

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Update on the Dreamhack server

Mar. 24th, 2017 03:29 am
[personal profile] sophie posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
Hi all,

As you may know, about 2-3 weeks ago the Dreamhack server died. Since then, [staff profile] mark and I have been working on getting its replacement going, and updating a few things.

It should be ready to go in a few days, and I wanted to make a few notes for when it comes back up:
  • Firstly and most importantly, you'll need to re-apply for a Dreamhack if you want one, and you'll be set up as if you were a new user. Any changes that you pushed to GitHub will be available, but any other data you may have had will be gone - apologies for that.

  • I do still have email addresses for everybody who had an account when the server went down, and I'll send out a one-time email to everybody when the server is up to point them to this post. After that, the only people who will receive emails about Dreamhacks will be those who have applied for one.

  • The address you need to use to log into the server via SSH will be different from the Web address domain. The email you receive when applying for a Dreamhack will state this clearly.

  • The new server will have an increased quota. The earlier quota of 500MiB was enough at first, but since then the space taken by a base install of Dreamwidth has risen to 270MiB. In light of this, I've raised the quota to 750MiB.

  • You won't need to do a one-off compilation of the stylesheets and JavaScript any more unless you make changes to them - the new-user script will automatically do that for you, and your Dreamhack will have working CSS out of the box.

  • Each user will automatically get a test database called "test_dreamhack_<user>", accessible using the same database user and password as the main database. You'll still need to configure it properly yourself for now, but the installer will at least copy the required files to $LJHOME/ext/local/t for you to configure. Later on I'm hoping that it'll be possible to have it configured automatically.

  • The official email address to contact me has changed - you should now use my Dreamwidth email address (sophie at dreamwidth dot org). Automated emails will come from this address, so if you had the previous email whitelisted you may want to whitelist this new one instead.
Thanks for your patience with this - there's a lot that's been going on, but the new server should be ready to go very soon! Watch this space. :)

If you have any questions, please leave a comment! I'll answer any questions you might have.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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