Saturday, February 17, 2007

my new blog can be found here

Friday, October 03, 2003

The End 

Dear all

Just to let you know that unfortunately the partially clothed civil servant is no more. Those of you who know me know why, anybody else guess.

Just to say its been fun and thanks to everybody who has commented or disscused things with me either online or face to face.

To those who I respect keep it up, to others get over yourself.


Sunday, September 28, 2003

The Daily Hate 

Reading the Daily Mail this morning (I was in a little chef and nothing sensible was available), I came across an article attacking Comic Relief because they dared to give money to a lesbian outreach group in Manchester. Why what comic relief spends its money on is any of the Mail's business or the Christian institute (who had obviously supplied the mail with the facts) I don't know.

Anyway what really annoyed me was a comment at the end that implied the gay groups don't deserve any help because Gays disproportionately middle class, white and have a degree.

No Mr. Mail homosexuality isn't determined by social class, it is just that the demographic you describe is also the most naturally liberal. Hence somebody from such a background is taking much less of a risk, both physically and mentally, coming out than say a working class black person. Therefore it is not surprising that middle class etc. Gays are more likely to admit to being gay when surveyed.

Now the whole point of the project that comic relief is funding is to try and reach out to women from ethnic minorities who generally don't have the access to a support network a white women might have.

But of course to grasp that would deny the Mail a chance of a good old fashioned queer bash.

Friday, September 26, 2003

compelled to vote for none of the above? 

Tom's comment on the problems of electronic voting, which are many and have been ignored by his own government in their mania to be seen to be doing 'something' about falling turnout, has lead to a debate about whether we should introduce compulsary voting.

One of the main reasons advanced as to why this shouldn't happen is that the non-of-the-above party would win hands down everytime. This begs two questions in my mind.

1) If we are going to force people to vote why give them a none of the above box? If we recognise the right of people not to vote, which is what a non-of-the-above box does, why force them to turn out at all wasting their time and the time of the votecounters etc. at the count?

2) More importantly in my humble opinion I don't actually think that many people would actually not bother to vote if they were actually forced into a polling booth. I personally think the idea that large swathes of the population does not care about politics is a myth. My experience of talking to people in Brent is that they do care just not enough to be bothered to get off their backsides and actually toddle down to the polling station.

Said is dead 

I was saddened by the news of Edward Said's death yesterday. Oliver Kamm has of course responded with an attack on him for not supporting the murder of his own people or something (I've given up reading his posts fully as they seem to be getting more incoherent by the day). Anyway my engagement with Said has always been on an intellectual level, as an undergraduate I studied his masterwork Orientalism and have been an admirer ever since.

Although Orientalism has many flaws, both as history and in intellectual consistency, his attempt to actually try and apply Gramsci and Foucault to the real world impressed me. More importantly his work opened my eyes, that of much of the rest of academia, to the problems inherent in being an oppressor trying to objectively study the oppressed (or subaltern).

Thursday, September 25, 2003

One path we don't want to follow Europe down 

Disturbing article in todays Guardian about two french school girls who have been suspended from school because they insist on wearing traditional Islamic headscarves. This is line with the very strict interpretation of the seperation of church and state enshrined in the French constituition.

Now I am all in favour of a constitutional spliting of the realms spiritual and secular on this side of the channel. I am either in favour of the scrapping of the whole concept of state supported faith schools and the ending of religious assemblies, (note despite what the Tories claim this is not actually lib Dem policy). However there is a difference between not using taxpayer's money to promote religion and state enforced atheism inside the school gates.

Although I find the idea of Muslim women covering themselves up at best the relic of more sexist times, and at worst a symbol of the continuing oppresion of women in certain parts of our society, I wouldn't dare presume to tell them that they can't dress as they want. Just as I wouldn't presume to stop somebody wearing a crucifix or cross to school.

The Liberal argument for secularism is that the state shouldn't favour any religion and therefore allow the flowering of an individual's beliefs, be they be in a 'god' or not, whatever they may be. Secluarlism which for a long time has been the battle cry of those minorities who have been oppresed by organised state religions, should not become an excuse for oppresion of the religious.


I was going to write something about the Lib Dem Conference but it seems Nick Clegg has beaten me to it. He might go far that lad you know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Kennedy Holding the Lib Dems back 

According to yesterday's Star, quoted in the Guardian Charles is holding the party back because of his drinking etc.
Now Mr. Graham has dealt with the issue of Charlies drinking before, and I must say at the victory party in Brent there were several MPs who had obviously imbibed much more than Charles had.

Anyway despite what those in the westminister bubble might think having a reputation doesn't seem to do him any harm. The idea that the party is succeding despite Charles is frankly laughable, he might not be the most energetic leader in the world, and compared to Paddy who is?, but he is liked by the public. As Brent showed that is a huge asset, Charles was on maybe half of our literature I didn't spot IDS or Blair on any of the Tories or Labour. In fact our poll day literature, especially the squeeze stuff was covered in pictures of blair because we knew it would win us votes.

Personally whatever his alledged personal failings I would rather have a leader who is a vote winner than a loser like IDS or Blair!!

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Off with their heads 

Well LDYS' attempt to sign up the Lib Dems to Republicanism has failed, which is probably a good thing as it would only have distracted the media from the real issues.

Although the sane part of me finds the idea of any kind of hereditary power offensive, I still for some reason have an attachment to the monarchy. I don't know if it is the last vestiges of my Tory upbringing but the idea of actually getting rid of the Queen just seems unthinkable to me. She is the Queen for godsakes.

Anyway apart from this subconcious attachment to Bess I would also have probbaly opposed the motion on the grounds that nobody has ever shown me a system that would work any better than our current one (give or take some very serious tweaks). Quite frankly what is the point of replacing one figurehead with another, I mean can you imagine how much Golden Ball's haircuts alone would add to the civil list.

Of courseJames would tell me that we don't need a Head of State at all, but has never come up with a model as to how it could work.

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