Over the past few days I’ve been busy. I’ll continue to be so over the next few days. Here are quick links to some of the things that have caught my eye lately.
Following up my recent post about David Cameron, not only were the voting slips in yesterday’s Ealing Southall by-election labelled “David Cameron’s Conservatives”, but his post-defeat soundbite has him repeatedly saying: “I would have liked to have done better”. It appears his ego is writing cheques his party can’t cash. Oh yes, and suck it up, Guido.
It’s less personally satisfying—indeed, it’s causing me actual physical pain to type this—but The Devil’s Kitchen makes a good and important point well here.
Only in Pollyworld could a belief in academic selection and a cordial distrust of health and safety paranoia be considered “outrageous”, whereas routine anti-Semitism and consorting with men like Yusuf al-Qaradawi (“[A Muslim who converts to another religion] is no more than a traitor to his religion and his people and thus deserves killing”), is not even worth a mention.
Even when I lived in London I didn’t vote for Ken Livingstone—I think one year I might even have spoiled my ballot paper; if I lived there now then just thinking about the awful choice of candidates for mayor facing me would probably make my head explode.
My scientific approach to writings on any subject that, at first scan, appear fundamentally bogus is simply not to bother reading them in any depth. Fortunately, when it comes to health scares, around which such bogosity is sometimes fatally non-obvious to laypeople, there are doctors like Ben Goldacre who can be bothered to point it out in detail. (Admittedly, part of his motivation in this case was that he wanted to get the words “fuck” and “shithead” into the British Medical Journal, but that is in itself something to be admired.)
If you haven’t seen them before then these impossibly macho and non-work-safe covers for Harry Potter books are funny. Actually, they’re funny even if you have seen them before.
Regulars here know that, even if (because?) I don’t get any myself, I am politically relaxed about both sex and drugs. The recent ministerial confessions about cannabis use therefore strike me as comical. Tim has a go at the accompanying plans to change the law around the drug, but there is something I’d like to welcome about this discussion: even if the proposed change in the law is in the wrong direction the arguments being used to justify it do seem at least to be vaguely motivated by scientific findings, rather than by wanting to be seen to be “doing something”. I’m not even sure if legislation “against” cannabis is much of a vote-winner any more anyway.
And, according to my dad this morning, the latest (August) edition of PC Answers—that’s “PC” as in “Personal Computer”—gives PooterGeek a rave review. Perhaps my mum wrote it.