One suspects C. P. Scott would be annoyed with the sub editor who wrote this headline:

Liberal Democrats to fight next election as totally independent party

What's next from the supposed bastion of liberal journalism? Pope confirms Catholicism? Bear faeces found in woodland? Hazel Blears is short?

Note to journalists: In Australia, the Coalition parties have maintained separate identities and run independently despite governing together for the best part of the last century. In the UK, the last Liberal National / Conservative coalition effectively started in 1931, they agreed an electoral pact in 1947, and the Nationals eventually gave up and formally merged into the Conservatives in 1968. That was 37 years, not 6 months.

So in the incredibly unlikely event that history tries to repeat itself, it'll take 3 decades of perpetual coalition. I don't think that's at all likely myself.

Ye gods, they call themselves a quality newspaper?
In lieu of propper content, and because I'm a) doing more childcare than normal and b) getting addicted to the damn wii, have some links to posts by others that you should be reading.

Firstly, on the Atheist Bus campaign[1], three scientist bloggers, Dave Godfrey, Debi Linton and Strangefrontier who says:
Dear Christians on my friendslist, when you feel that atheist campaigners are generalising about your whole faith and railing against you, the real target is folks like Stephen Green. The problem is that he and others like like are so damn loud and have such a constant media presence, they drown out the normal, decent and sane* Christians. No matter what positive PR you throw out there, the attention will be given to some cunt shouting, "God hates fags!"
I especially liked Dave's line If he didn't exist I think the atheists would have to invent him, he's launched a case on which the crux is he has evidence of the existence of God. Well, like Dawkins, if you can give me some proof I'll change my opinion...

Anyway, next topic. Woolworths has shut down. Since he finished his degree, [livejournal.com profile] doctorvee has been working for them, in a number of branches, and I heartily recommend his series of posts on the history of the company and the experiences of working there in its dying days. Like him, I loved Woollies as a kid but found them fairly pointless as an adult, they definitely had no clue what they were trying to be as a chain, and Wilkinson's have definitely displaced a lot of their business in Yorkshire. I had no idea that the company had started out as the early equivalent of a pound store, they only dumped their fixed price policy because of rationing during the war.

Sad news however. Number 6 is dead. In an era where his "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered, I am a free man" speech has increasing relevence, it remains an iconic series and I really hope they don't mess up the reimagined version with Sir Ian as Number Two. RIP Patrick, you were great.

Cool news: Molecular Analysis Confirms Tyrannosaurus Rex's Evolutionary Link To Birds. They didn't die out, they evolved. Next time you eat a chicken dinner, that's one of T-Rex's relatives you're chomping down on ;-)

Want: Trends Are Cyclical: the Asus Eee Keyboard. It a complete fully functioning computer, all inside thin keyboard. How cool is that?

Have to say, I pretty much agree with Tim here, economic protectionism makes us poorer and damages our economy more than it benefits us. Buy British if you want, but if it's not the best deal, buy whatever, the economy benefits from the transaction regardless. ETA: Friday's More or Less is a politics special starring Vince! Yay!

Last up, [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat wants to declared this year as the International Year of True History to commemorate both Darwin and Galileo. She's wrong to call it "true" history of course, everyone knows that real history started at about 1600, everything before that is pre-history, but it's a nice idea.


[1] From which I've taken this icon, I yoinked the LJified version from [livejournal.com profile] strangefrontier but it was designed by [livejournal.com profile] jonworth_eu_fd who coordinated the intial fundraising campaign before it all got a bit bigger than anyone expected. I'd forgotten how good a blogger he is until I found him on Twitter, Labour party members that can actually write well about politics are worth paying attention to, methinks[2].

[2] On a similar line, [livejournal.com profile] blimpish_fd is back, one of the few Tory bloggers that doesn't make me want to shout at the screen at the idiocy and ignorance.
I'm awake, honest. I've had enough coffee to get me going again anyway. Doing some tidying up to my LJ, renaming tags, etc. This seems like a good enough reason to rename one of them, plus 2008 has ended so it's time to start a new 'life' tag for this year.

Appears I've posted less about what's been going on in my life this year than any other calender year that I've had the LJ. I guess being happy gives me less to write about, right? Completely skint, but there y'go, can't have everything.

I don't do new years resolutions, and, well, predictions are a bit of a mugs game, but, well, might as well.

UK: politics will dominate, likely election, bit of history explaining why )

Obama's honeymoon, potential pitfalls, hope he holds it together )

Europe, Referenda, Libertas and elections )

Meh, 7pm. Time to go pick the Shrub up from her Dad's.
Meme time:
-Choose a book genre
-Choose five books from that genre
-Tell me why I should read them.
Nice'n simple. I pick history:
  1. An Utterly Impartial History of Britain (or 2000 years of Upper Class Idiots in charge)--John O'Farrell

  2. Everyone should know at least the basics of the history of these islands )
  3. The Glorious Revolution (1688--Britain's Fight for Liberty)--Edward Vallance

  4. Pop quiz: When was Britain last successfully invaded?
    Well, have a guess. The late 17thC is )a crucial phase in British history, and this is an excellent primer into it.
  5. Battle Cry of Freedom (The American Civil War) James M. McPherson

  6. knowing how America came to be the way it is is essential for everyone ).
  7. The long 19th century--Eric Hobsbawm

  8. The modern world was created by the 19th Century, economically, socially and politically. Understanding it is probably a good thing. )
  9. John Stuart Mill (Victorian Firebrand)--Richard Reeves

  10. If you already think you're a liberal, you ought to have read this book. If you don't think you're a liberal, you should read this anyway )


OK, that was longer than I expected it to be. [livejournal.com profile] ginasketch's meme got me geeking about both books and history. Which has got me writing properly again. I'll try to keep it up. Guess I'd better cut the bulk of the text then...
So then. Apparantly Brits can't distinguish history from the TV listings and think Churchill is a myth. The whole story, which seems to have got everywhere, is from a dodgy survey concocted by UKTV Gold in order to promote their repeating of the first series of Robin Hoodie. [livejournal.com profile] paulgregory shares my scepticism and thinks it's full of crap and like me would like to see the actual polling data, because reputable pollsters make their data available and it sounds as if it's a push poll to me. Best bit? Apparently these are the
Top ten fictional characters that the British public thinks are real

* 1) King Arthur – 65%
* 2) Sherlock Holmes – 58%
* 3) Robin Hood – 51%
* 4) Eleanor Rigby – 47%
* 5) Mona Lisa -35%
* 6) Dick Turpin – 34%
* 7) Biggles – 33%
* 8) The Three Musketeers – 17%
* 9) Lady Godiva – 12%
* 10) Robinson Crusoe – 5%
Note that the ones I've bolded aren't "fictional characters" Mr crappy publicist, but actual real people from history. Arthur almost certainly existed, but not with the stories that have grown up around him and the "round table". Robin Hood? Buried about 5 miles from here. Well, one of the blokes he was based on is, anyway. Lies, damned lies, and dodgy surveys concocted by publicists.

Meh, fun stuff. [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking has a very cool book/kraken sculpture, just go look, it's very cool but hard to describe. And something I forgot to link last time, Charlie Stross has decided to make a UK version of the annual Mindset List prepared each year by Beloit College Public Affairs. Scary, people that start their degrees this coming September were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall...
Words fail me. Clarke dismisses medieval historians (Friday May 9, 2003):
I don't mind there being some medievalists around for ornamental purposes )
Who the hell [was] he? you ask, and why should we care about his dismissive opinions when it comes to education policy? He [was]'s the Secretary of State for Education, the guy in charge of setting education policy. As my friend Alix puts it:
History is relative. No one period of history has innately more value than any other.historical knowledge can be applied to any period, including today )
Putting Ruth Kelly, an avowed extremist Catholic member of Opus Dei, in charge of equality was bad enough, but putting someone who doesn't believe in the value of education in charge of education? Words fail me.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it ) has never been more true today. But then, we are talking about Charles Clarke here.

ETA: Um, yeah. Shows me for posting late at night and not checking the date or checking the Cabinet membership, my brain forgot he's not in the cabinet any more. Ah well. Still should never have been said.

ETA2: Clarke defends himself and denies making the statement. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bagrec in the comments.
Um, I don't know how to react to this. [livejournal.com profile] paulatpingu asks So how much do you know about American civic history?
On this quiz I scored 66%, which would place me in one of the top three American Universities when the same quiz was carried out there. Basically, even though I know very little about the specifics of US history, my general knowledge on the subject is better than most American college students.
The quiz itself is here at American Civic Literacy, my result?
You answered 47 out of 60 correctly — 78.33 %
Now, admittedly, some of the questions are about political theorists (Plato and Locke, for example), which both of us studied as undergrads. But, um, it's mostly about United States history and governance. From the breakdown of results by US college (they tested students in the Senior year):
1. Harvard University 69.56%
I, a Brit, score better in a test of US history, than the average senior at Harvard, the premier US university? And despite temptation, no googling, no look ups, just general knowledge and educated guesses.

I know there are smart, capable, switched on USians out there--a chunk of them are on my friends list. But seriously, if even the most educated know so little about their own history and system of government...

My brain hurts. Take the test, can you beat a Harvard senior?
Catching up, thanks for all the supportive comments during my travels yesterday, brain is now slowly waking back up
Guess what? Yup, it's that interests meme, round 3. I suspect this one will run and run, but hey, I'm enjoying writing the posts so we're good. OK, two batches, both from [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat at hers:
ancient civiliasations, black, thirty years war
And also in a comment on my last post on this subject:
Evolutionary theory, flimsy moral standards, jaded old goths
So, once more unto the breach dear Friends...
Ancient Civilisations - Im in Ur, makin ur pots )
Black - because moonless midnights are cool. )
Thirty Years War - defenestrate this! )
Evolutionary Theory - because geekery science rules )
Flimsy Moral Standards - It may surprise some friends to know I have moral standards )
Jaded Old Goths - Narcissism ahoy! )

Ah beejezus. I have something like 6 icons that would suit this post. Hmm...
Via [livejournal.com profile] nhw:

(YouTube link)

So very cool. Of course, there are still those who labour under the misguided belief that this was the last time England was invaded, completely untrue, England was invaded in 1688 as well; anyone from Brixham can tell you that...
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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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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