State of the SB

Jun. 27th, 2017 11:22 am
miss_s_b: (Mood: Drama queen)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Hate everything.
Having cashflow problems, some of which are my fault, and some of which are other people's fault, and all of which are beyond my control and therefore incredibly frustrating.
Cashflow problems meaning I am having to cancel on commitments, which I hate doing.
Politics in general is full of arseholes who keep arsing.
Work is frustrating, because I can't do the things I need to do for various stupid reasons (also beyond my control).
Have had no sleep and lots of pointless arguments with members of household, which means I am dangerously low on spoons, grumpy and frazzled.
And to top it all, my right tit is a big scabby painful mess.

Here's hoping you lot are all a bit happier...

Great Orme Tramway, Llandudno

Jun. 25th, 2017 03:52 pm
loganberrybunny: Beware of Trains sign (Beware of Trains)
[personal profile] loganberrybunny
Public

And at last I remember to post a photo from my Llandudno trip over a week ago! This is the Great Orme Tramway, the historic cable-hauled system that runs (surprisingly enough) up the Great Orme on the western side of the town's bay. It is, I believe, the only remaining street-running cable-hauled tramway in Europe outside Portugal. The cars are still the originals from 1902; I'm sitting in the back of one as it travels upward, and we've just crossed with No. 5 going in the opposite direction.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Great Orme Tramway, Llandudno, June 2017


The Blood is the Life for 23-06-2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

You'll note that Norman Lamb has moved from probably standing to definitely not standing. He announced this with rather petulant article in the Grauniad, in which (among other things) he proclaimed the Lib Dems' second referendum policy as toxic. Now I agree, it is toxic. "First we'll negotiate brexit, then we'll set up a referendum, then we'll campaign against the deal we ourselves negotiated!" is an utterly ridiculous policy. The problem is, it was only in the sodding manifesto due to the insistence of people on the rump brexity wing of the party, of which Norman Lamb is definitely one. This was as far as the rest of the party, who just wanted "we will stop brexit" to be the manifesto position, could be dragged. Policy making by committee often comes up with soggy centrist compromises, and often that's a good thing and satisfies most people, but sometimes it's patently rubbish. This time was the latter. What I don't get is Captain Brexit blaming the rest of the party for it. Well, I do. He'd like us to embrace brexit. And that is not going to happen.

Anyway, the rest of the article sticks the boot in to members in various other ways, and alludes to, but doesn't actually acknowledge, the problems autistic people have with the idea of Norman as a leader, and frankly, just makes me glad he's not standing. At least he has the self-knowledge to know he's not right to lead the party as it currently is, even if he declares it in a rather Skinnerian way.

Principal Skinner asks a pertinent question

So the only likely runner at this point undeclared is Ed Davey. And there will be siren idiots voices whispering in his ear, saying:
Don't stand, Ed. Leadership elections are expensive, Ed. They are divisive and set party members up against each other, ed. It'd be easier all round just to crown Vince, Ed. You don't want the hassle, Ed. The party doesn't want the hassle, Ed. Lets just have a coronation, Ed.
To which I say, pish, tosh, bunkum, bollocks, and bullshit.

Yes, leadership elections are divisive, and do set members up against each other, and sometimes even cause resentments. Do you know what's even more divisive, and causes even more resentments? Not letting Lib Dems have democracy. Not letting us scrutinise each candidate and come to a decision on merit. Not having hustings at which we can put questions to candidates and examine their views and records and promises. Imposing a leader on us without us having a say. I can guarantee you that while a leadership election might be divisive, it's nowhere near as divisive as a coronation.

Now, Ed Davey told one of the BBC politics correspondents (I think Norman Smith) the other day that he would declare whether or not he was standing "on Thursday or Friday". He didn't declare yesterday. I'm hoping he declares he's standing today.

And if you'd told me last month I'd be crossing my fingers for Ed Davey to run in a leadership election, I'd have thought you insane in the membrane, crazy insane, got no brain. Just goes to show what a funny old world it is...

Election/UK latest, part 578

Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:20 am
loganberrybunny: Election rosette (Rosette)
[personal profile] loganberrybunny
Public

So, where are we? First of all, Theresa May is still Prime Minister. There were times in the last two weeks where it looked odds-on that she'd be gone by the end of the day, but she's made it through to the Queen's Speech. Assuming that passes (which it will, for reasons I'll get to) May is probably safe for a while. The summer recess is looming, and MPs won't be back at Westminster until October.

On the Labour side of things, Jeremy Corbyn is also safe. His reply to the Queen's Speech was much more effective than most of his Commons performances in his early days as Labour leader. The terrorist attack at Finsbury Park Mosque the other day won him sympathy, as he happens to be the local MP and is generally seen to have handled matters well and sensitively on all sides.

The Liberal Democrats' search for a new leader looks likely to end with them choosing an old leader: the 74-year-old Vince Cable. The previous favourite for the job, Norman Lamb, has ruled himself out of the running, largely on the grounds that he feels his attitude towards Brexit is not sufficiently pro-EU to be accepted by the party's membership and core supporters.

The discussions between the Conservatives and the DUP over a formal deal are still ongoing, with various sticking points being rumoured – one paper claimed that the DUP wanted £2bn of spending on Northern Ireland, which has 3% of the UK population. However, the DUP will not bring down the government, since that would almost certainly mean another election, and they will not stomach PM Corbyn,

The aftermath of the horrific Grenfell Tower fire continues to make the news, with the latest revelation being that Camden Council's tower blocks have flammable cladding – against the specification the council gave to the contractors. So far about a dozen blocks around the country are said to have failed tests, though precise information is not easy to come by; I suspect at least some of that is deliberate, to avoid anyone with ill intentions getting ideas.

And then there's Brexit. It was on 23 June 2016 that the referendum on that was held, and things continue to be very, very uncertain. Almost every opinion poll shows an almost 50/50 split on whether the Leave vote was a good idea or not – almost nobody seems to have changed their mind in 12 months. This is going to be the running theme of the coming administration, even more than security.

The Blood is the Life for 22-06-2017

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Is £70,000 a year rich?

Jun. 21st, 2017 03:35 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Arachnia Janeway)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I think the argument boils down to two things: what you earn, and what you picture in your head as a rich person's lifestyle.

£70,000 is in the 95th percentile for personal income. This means that if you earn £70,000 you earn more than 94% (or thereabouts) of people. If you're earning more than 94% of your fellow countrymen, you ought to be rich, right? Like, if you're better off than the vast, vast majority of people, you should feel well off, or else how must the poor buggers on less than you feel?

The problem is, of course, that £70,000 doesn't actually buy that much these days. Like, it won't get you a mortgage on a decent house anywhere in the home counties. It won't buy you a new car and a couple of holidays every year after housing costs. It won't pay school fees for your little ones to go to private school once you've paid for housing costs either. £70,000 a year doesn't feel rich; and that's what the problem is.

If you look at the lifestyles our parents had, well, this is what my parents did in the 80s:
  • owned a home
  • bought a new car every two years
  • didn't go on foreign holidays but DID send me to private school
  • were in the pub three nights a week
etc., etc.

Now, I'm not saying they didn't work for that: they did. My dad had two full time jobs (mild mannered biology teacher by day, superchef by night) and my mum worked 9-5 too. They worked bloody hard. But the same amount of work in the same jobs these days would get you, if you were lucky:
  • a rented house that is one of three poky little Barratt boxes built in the back garden of the kind of house your parents owned
  • a second hand banger that you run till it dies, or a bus/rail pass
  • a cheap holiday for now, but only until brexit happens and then we have to pay visa fees and the exchange rate is knackered and oh look we can only afford Butlins
  • Pre-loading because the pubs are so bloody expensive, thank you alcohol duty escalator
Now most of the people I see arguing about this are either saying "£70k is mega rich, you're in the 95th percentile FFS" or "£70k is not that rich when you consider what you can buy" but not many are following both thoughts through.

How bloody scandalous is it that even if you're in the 95th percentile you are still struggling, and you are well worse off than your parents would have been on an equivalent income adjusted for inflation etc.? If 95% of the country is not getting a good enough income, that's a bloody disgrace and somebody ought to do something about it.

Anybody know any politicians?
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
The relevant part (and the reason why I am posting this) will also be made bigger and bolder for those hard of thinking people. I thought I'd post the whole thing again though, just because it's periodically useful to do so.

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The Blood is the Life for 21-06-2017

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Happy Solstice

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:16 am
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Arachnia Janeway)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... especially to all those of us who fear the filthy day star and can now look forward to inexorably encroaching cool soft darkness for the next 6 whole months :)

It's rather warm

Jun. 21st, 2017 01:34 am
loganberrybunny: Drawing of my lapine character's face by Eliki (Default)
[personal profile] loganberrybunny
Public

By British standards, we're having quite a heatwave this week. I was in Llandudno on Saturday and it was packed on the beach, the pier and the Great Orme. If I remember, I may post the odd photo later on. Tuesday was the fifth day in a row that somewhere in the UK reached 30 °C, which is the longest such sequence in June for 22 years. Wednesday will certainly extend the sequence to six days, but that will probably be the end of it. I'm not sure whether we'll get thunderstorms here in Worcestershire -- the bulk of them are forecast to be a bit further north -- but I'm certainly looking forward to a cooler weekend!

miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... and to nobody's surprise it is Vince Cable.

I like Vince, as a person. I like his stance on bees. I like his dancing.

None of those three things makes him suitable to be leader of the party, though. I mean, yes, he's got long service. And he did that one joke when he was acting leader that one time. But I'd really like something more than that to enthuse about in a potential leader.

Plus, there's all the things that make him unsuitable to be leader:
  • He's not a liberal, he's a technocratic centrist. This is fine if you are (shadow) chancellor; commendable, even. It's not acceptable in the leader. The leader needs to inspire. Technocratic centrism is the opposite of inspirational.

  • His stance on brexit is... at odds with the majority of the party's members and voters is probably the kindest way of putting it, and is already bringing out the "but we must appease the racists! We can't tell people they are wrong!" faction. If he wins, and maintains this stance, I predict a halving of our membership in pretty short order.

  • Tuition fees. OK, so he's not entirely to blame for the policy cock up (all those of us who voted for coalition, myself included, must take out share of that blame) but he is the person responsible for the catastrophic mishandling of the implementation and representation of it, and a big part of the reason Labour, why a party which introduced and then trebled tuition fees, can still point at them like an albatross round our necks.

  • The British Press, bless them, are not known for their nuance and balance. His name will be "Sir Vince Cable, the man who privatised the mail" - whether he wins the leadership or not, tbh.

  • Ten years ago he declared that by his own reckoning, he was too old. I do not believe he has got younger in that time.
All that said? I'll give him a fair hearing at hustings. He'll have his chance to impress me. I just don't see him doing it.

So far, to my knowledge, the field looks like this:

Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Norman Lamb, Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

If anyone else declares that they are definitely standing I shall go into my reasons further, but based on Ds&Ps, and subject to persuasion at hustings, I expect my ballot to look like this:
  1. RON
  2. Davey
  3. Cable
  4. resigning from the party
  5. Lamb
There has been talk that there might be an online ballot this time, rather than a paper one. If that is the case I shall lobby very hard indeed for it to have at least one free text box for write in candidates and/or voting RON. Voters should be able to express their displeasure at the options on the ballot on any and every ballot, this one included.

The Blood is the Life for 18-06-2017

Jun. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

The Blood is the Life for 17-06-2017

Jun. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Quick update

Jun. 16th, 2017 01:31 am
loganberrybunny: Drawing of my lapine character's face by Eliki (Default)
[personal profile] loganberrybunny
Public

I said I'd make a fuller post about the election when things had settled down. I still intend to do this, but we may be waiting a while yet! Even apart from the Grenfell Tower disaster, which will have political consequences but as yet unclear ones, the "simpler" political stuff has been all over the place -- this last week really has been a long time in politics. Tim Farron resigning as Lib Dem leader was one I didn't see coming, for example.

I'm very pleased with S7 of MLP:FiM so far. We've had one classic episode ("A Royal Problem"), two excellent ones ("Rock Solid Friendship" and "Parental Glideance") and most of the others have been at least good. A shame we went into the hiatus on a weakish note, but never mind. I'm looking forward to the show's return. And yes, I've seen the EqG specials. Decent time-passers all.

Summer has mostly arrived here, in that rather uncertain way Britain specialises in. Not terribly warm air, but with so many hours of sun a day if the skies are clear it feels very nice by mid-morning or so. It does look as though the fair weather will last through the weekend, which makes a nice change.

The Blood is the Life for 15-06-2017

Jun. 15th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

On Circular Firing Squads

Jun. 15th, 2017 09:31 am
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
One of the most depressingly predictable things about the lib dems is if/when a leader gets pushed out, the circular firing squad immediately forms.

This morning lots of people I care about are screaming "it's all YOUR fault, you bastards!" at each other, in an extremely unhelpful way. They probably all have something of a point, if I'm honest. But hurling insults at each other is just hurtful. And some of the rank hypocrisy on display from people who are saying things to the effect of "wah, those arseholes are being mean to me, when all I said was Tim Farron/Jo Swinson/Vince Cable/Brian Paddick should be eviscerated with pointy spoons and have acid poured in the wound" is frankly turning my stomach.

And we haven't even started the leadership election yet...

* sigh *

Shall we have a nice chorus of Wouldn't It Be Nice If Everyone Was Nice?

The Blood is the Life for 14-06-2017

Jun. 14th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
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miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Having blogged recently about how nice it's been the last couple of years not having to post about the stupid decisions Our Glorious Leader has taken twice a week, every week, I had this drawn to my attention this morning.

I'm sorry, Tim, but what are you DOING? The absolute worst possible thing you can do right now is water down our position on brexit. It's a colossal national act of self harm, in ten years' time you won't be able to find anybody who will admit to having supported it, our membership and voters are massively against it, and you want to tie us to it? Have you gone COMPLETELY Tonto? Why are you spouting the brexiteers ridiculous "will of the people" line? It doesn't make you look grown up, it makes you look weak and stupid.

Our USP at the moment, the one thing we have going for us, is that we are solidly anti-brexit. We already watered it down far too much in the manifesto. And you're throwing even that away? For what? We're not going to get any positive press for it, the press are uniformly hostile whatever we do. The only press we will get out of this is "See? Brexit is inevitable! Even the Lib Dems support it now!" That's not going to attract new members and supporters, in fact it will drive away lots of the existing ones.

And worst of all, it proves all our critics right: we look like weak, unprincipled fence-sitters.

Honestly, what is it with the lib dem instinct to, every time we manage to get a USP, throw it away? I'll never bloody understand it.

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