So, lunchtime today, we listened to Any Questions. Jennie's take is here ... ), but one of the topics that came up was the subject of the National Anthem. Because, seriously, this Govt has, apparently, just figured out that having the line Rebellious Scots to crush might not actually be the best idea in a song meant for all of Britain. Of course, the interesting thing in the story wasn't actually covered.

Not England, Britain nor the UK as a whole actually has a national anthem; I'll let Gareth explain at Anthem4England:
Surprisingly it is not the official UK national anthem as it has never been adopted by Royal Proclamation or Act of Parliament, and hence there is also no authorised version.
The order of the verses is disputed ... )and it has no legal status ... ).

One of the worst songs ever written

It's also one of the worst songs ever written, bloody awful to sing, completely uninspiring and dull as ditchwater. There is of course a less dull version, but even I'd not propose that to be officially adopted.

Given that England has no anthem, I'd personally favour either Land of Hope and Glory or Jerusalem, but neither is great, merely adequate. Perhaps we could commission a decent one? Or maybe the national sporting bodies could do it, but please, not Baddiel and Skinner.

As for Britain? No contest, can anyone really object to this?
Britons never shall be slaves... thy native oak... haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame... )
To thee belongs the rural reign;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine;
All thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine.

Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves:
Britons never shall be slaves.
... )
I sure as hell don't, and the anti-slavery/anti-tyranny message appeals to me on a number of levels. There is, of course, a different, valid objection. Lorna alluded to it here awhile back:
What really freaked me out was seeing St George's flag posters, since I generally associate that with an even more virulent brand of nationalism.
Personally, I view the surrendering of national symbols to the extremist bigots and xenophobes to be a problem. Many people want identity, they want to belong to something.

When I first started a politics only blog, I said in the first post:

I'm a Devonshire, Westcountry, English, British European. I can be, and am, proud to be all of these things, and it remains true today. There's a reason that site... ) will have symbols people identify with ... ) it persuades people who softly oppose your position to still listen to you. Taking an extremist view, even if it's one I would agree with ... )means that some people who would otherwise be sympathetic will ignore the actual point—they'll dismiss the messenger and thus ignore the message. ... )

Nothing wrong with symbols of identity

There's nothing wrong with symbols, of identity, of wanting to belong and feel part of something. ... ) I dislike categories because people like to use them in an exclusionary way—that's wrong. Being one thing doesn't prevent you from being another, and sometimes portraying it as if it does does more damage than it should.

The problem with political identity is that it sometimes gets hijacked by extremists, and then those that oppose them sometimes thing they also have to oppose the symbols they've stolen. I disagree; rejecting the symbols means that those who feel they belong sometimes go to those we object to, and thus we lose. Sometimes.

The biggest problems with British and English symbols of identity is that many of them, like the cross like flags and that awful dirge, are simply crap. I'd like to see the Welsh Dragon included on the Jack not because I have many Welsh friends, but simply because, well, Dude? Dragons are cool.
Did someone throw a bloggers gender awareness week thing and I missed the notification? Maybe I'm just noticing it a bit more, but discussions on objectification, stereotypes and dodgy attitudes seem to be everywhere I look at the moment. [ profile] andrewducker reposted The Rules yesterday and the comment thread at that link is worth reading. Following that, SB made a comment to my post and expanded on it at Steve' s about the sexism of the vid I posted yesterday. She's followed it up with two posts today, asking Ever Wish You Could Switch a Part of Your Personality Off? and then as a Follow-on from the previous post:
Men are biologically designed to look upon women's bodies as sexy = men are biologically designed to look on women as things, not people?

The latter being in response to Steve's follow on post:
these days I find myself being offended at it for all the wrong reasons. Adverts for random things that feature bikini-clad Barbie dolls and “oooh!” music don’t make me think “I really wish they’d stop objectifying women, because it’s detrimental to women’s rights and society.” They make me think “I wish they’d stop being SO STUPID and assuming I am also very STUPID and why do they think a bored-looking model can make sink cleaner sexy anyway?”
And that, essentially, is as close to my take on it as I can manage to enunciate.I'm aware that I'm priviledged )and that some issues, even ones I care about, don't always cross my radar )but we all look at things through prisms, mine is governance, not sexism )The video yesterday was all about stereotypes, that's one of the reasons the comedy worked )and the argument for gender equality has, essentially, been won, the pay gap has lessened in most like-for-like comparisons, etc. )besides which, sometimes it's the men who face discrimination )and this sucks, besides, outdated societal notions were bad for all of us )and I like that these days I can be out-geeked by female friends )

I'm not deluding myself, I've not got on rose tinted goggles; I know that discrimination exists, that sexism exists, that we're Not There Yet.

But ultimately I'm an optimist. Things are getting better, people are treated better, women in the workplace are just accepted now, and attitudes that they don't belong there are, culturally, seen as unacceptable by the overwhelming majority of the people that I come into contact with.

But then, I mostly come into contact with young(ish) professional(ish) educated types. The so-called opinion formers. something which leads me to believe that things will continue to get better, that society will continue to improve. We've got to monitor, we've got to watch, we've got to be vigilant, to make sure it doesn't regress, but the world today has changed fromt eh world in which my mother left school at 14 to become a shop girl.

And that's a damn good thing.

OK, that was about three times longer than planned, and I rambled, and I need to tidy it up. Gah!

OK, the other part of the post becomes a separate post. Later. Possibly. And I was going to throw in more links to studies and stuff, but, y'know, Google is your friend. Or Yahoo if your name is Iain.
OK, just got in, and rather than do my usual friends list read then attempt to update, if I update first I might actually get an entry in tonight, n'est ce pas? Anyway, a meme from [ profile] frightened that I've always liked the look of before anyway:
explain three icons and three interests. Comment and I'll demand explanations for yours.
She gave me:
Interests: "china miéville"; "george r. r. martin"; "steph swainston".

Icons: "Anarchist Fineas"; "Categories" (Captain Jack quote?); "Temptation".
And, well, I should've known someone would ask about dear old Fineas. Anyway, interests first. Curious that she choe the three authors, but not too hard to explain. China Miéville and the 'New Weird' )

Edit (before posting even), any idea how hard it is to write a post with lots of well researched links when your wireless craps out every five minutes? Yeah, this is fun. The above paragraph? 40 minutes it's taken me to get this far. The connection has been mostly fine for ages, but today? *kicks PC* Please to be imagining there are more links in the above (and below), because there was meant to be.
Steph Swainston and a book signing ). GRRM, board games and evil knights )
Now, those next two paragraphs? Half an hour. With many many kicks. I'm going to save a draft and reboot the machine. FFS.


Fineas von LandinghamFineas - Mad scientist anarchist with a taste for dropping bombs from blimps )

CategoriesOn the pointless nature of trying to define people by what they are, not who they are )

TemptationOn icon philosphy, and LJ sponsored communities )

[1]Thursday, June 7th with a mass signing at Waterstones Piccadilly (5:30pm - 7pm) with Steph Swainston, myself, John Lambshead, Andrew Dennis, Steve Savile, Eric Brown, David Devereux, Jon Courtenay Grimwood and Robert Holdstock. [ profile] tyrell is also planning to be there, [ profile] jantshira / [ profile] faeriecween? I know you both like Steph, pretty sure you liked Jon as well but I forget.

[2] Who, let's face it, should be on everyone's friends list, just because, ok?  Plus, she looked damn hot in the outfit she wore to Sin City Friday night, which is an added bonus in a friend I always think. Don't believe me? Reflections and Opinion. Go read. Plus, did I mention the dinosaurs? Yeah, she plays with dino bones for a living.

ETA: TWO HOURS this post took to get online and edited for my little tags not being closed errors. Two hours. Gah!
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.

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