Spent the last weekend at the spring Liberal Democrat conference just up the road in Harrogate. It's one of those events that holds a soft spot for me—my first one was 2 years ago, just 2 weeks after I'd met [livejournal.com profile] theyorkshergob, so I spent both evenings with her in Leeds—we both think we'd have ended up together regardless, but the ability to meet up in Yorkshire really did speed things up. Anyway, it was a damn good weekend.
Met Howard Dean )
Official Voting Member—the POWER )
Faith Schools—they're WRONG, damnit! )
If, like me, you want to see the end of faith schools, take heart from this policy, it's a damn fine step in the right direction, and much better than what any party had before. If you think they're a good idea? I refer you to the words of the Accord chair, Rabbi Jonathan Romain:
I want my children to go to a school when they can sit next to a Christian, play football in the break with a Muslim, do homework with a Hindu and walk back with an atheist - interacting with them and them getting to know what a Jewish child is like. Schools should build bridges, not erect barriers
Amen to that.

G'night all. Gotta take the Shrub to school in the morning, and Jennie's getting an 8am train back.
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.
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.
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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