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A wilding

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  1. That is really what "woke" means? Surely it is much more about treating people equally whatever their race or gender?
  2. In my experience that is a racing certainly in the UK. Private health insurance is a mugs game. They will happily take your premiums, but if you develop anything chronic and expensive they will get you off their books in any way they can and while you are probably too ill to do anything about it. The 0.1% don't do health insurance - they simply pay for treatment as they go.
  3. As for this new CPTPP deal that the UK has signed up to, it is basically similar to the discredited and eventually thankfully scrapped TTIP. It enshrines corporate sovereignty. The ultimate authority for our environmental, food standards, and related laws is now no longer the UK parliament, but an unelected offshore corporate friendly "arbitration" organisation. I can't help but compare how quietly and unilaterally the government has just given away UK sovereignty with all the arguments about whether the UK should belong to the EU ...
  4. Bit of a change of subject, but it has just been brought home to me that it is not just the police and the NHS that are having to cope with the fallout of the gradual disintegration of UK society. It is public librarians too. For a while now I have been noticing that whenever I visit the library they are generally trying to support people who are obviously falling through the cracks, but on my last visit one really stood out. While browsing I half noticed an educated sounding but oddly tentative woman go up to the desk pushing what I vaguely assumed to be a pram. She said "Hello again", and asked if they had a socket where she could charge her phone - no - and if she could leave her stuff there and use the toilet - yes. Wandering past the desk a couple of minutes later, I saw that she had left not a pram, but a shopping trolley full of a great pile of miscellaneous possessions. As Mrs W said when I told her about it "she can't have been homeless long, it had not all been stolen from her yet".
  5. I know "health and safety gone mad" is a favourite bogey man of the right, but when has this country really ever had heavy handed ones, or even looked liked it might? Building safety regulations? Wastewater regulations? Food standards? Financial regulations? Surely any dispassionate look at the facts shows that any errors tend to be the other way. And I frankly can't see Starmer changing that.
  6. It is not really a stupid question. Because it might be very difficult to tell whether it is down to Musk deliberately favouring right wingers or is just another symptom of Twitter slowly falling apart.
  7. Agreed. Galvanism was used by Shelly to provide a veneer of science and plausibility to her story in the same way that 1930 SF writers used the ether and 1950/60s comic writers used radioactivity (see the original origin stories of many Marvel superheroes).
  8. On a totally different subject, I see Sunak is defending his pension tax breaks for the rich on the grounds that they "will reduce NHS waiting lists". That is just so stereotypical of the Tories. A few years back we had the campaign slogan "leave the EU so we can spend an extra 350 million a week on the NHS" which has now morphed into reality as "help the NHS by giving tax cuts to the rich"
  9. Well if there was ever any doubt that Cressida Dick needed to go, this report has laid that to rest. And yes, Mark Rowley has a mountain to climb, but to do him justice he had already started trying to climb it well before this report came out.
  10. You just beat me to thread creation. On civil liberties: they are also having another go at their"Online Safety Bill", aka snoopers charter to give them full access to monitor everything anyone does online. On the budget: Free childcare is obviously good. But I note that it is only going to "start" being phased in in over a year's time, i.e. probably not until shortly before the next election. Which means they can smugly hand over something popular but unaffordable to whoever wins that election. I suppose we can't really object to the tax increases by stealth (thresholds not increasing in line with the 10%+ inflation), which were carefully not mentioned. But at the same time the budget gives a massive tax cut to the 1% with the pension changes, hidden behind the fig leaf of encouraging consultant doctors not to retire early. Not only in upping the maximum pension value (full disclosure - I had been keeping a wary eye open not to reach it), but still more by increasing the annual contribution limit to 60K. We obviously could not expect anything to rein in the ultra rich or profiteering companies. So all in all this felt like quite a clever budget. I suppose that was to be expected since Hunt is one of the very few Tories left over from the pre Brexit populism days.
  11. Just in passing, and speaking as a layman; does anyone really still take auditing seriously? I certainly get the impression that numerous companies have failed despite having being audited, and that the audits essentially seem to prove nothing. They do rather feel like a convenient money-spinner for the big 4 accountancy firms, or perhaps a foot in the door.
  12. I do feel for Brace slightly. It seems clear that she was simply toeing the BBC line which is basically equal deference to both sides - to the wife who made credible accusations of repeated abuse backed up by injuries treated in hospital, and to the husband who has not even had the face to issue a denial himself but instead put up unnamed "friends" to claim off the record that it was just a once off. Of course she should have had the courage to say what she thought, especially as an ambassador of an abuse charity, and she can justly be despised for making herself part of the problem.
  13. And Lineker has just been tweeting again: I bet that one has got right up Braverman's nose.
  14. I have been reading Early Riser by Jasper Fforde. I am not sure that I have seen Fforde mentioned here before. He is a British fantasy writer whose books might generally be described as Alice in Wonderland crossed with Terry Pratchett. I am not generally much of a fan but Early Riser is a bit different, possibly partly because he apparently had some sort of breakdown in the middle of writing it and ended up with a different book to the one he had originally intended. The book contains the skeleton of a good SF novel. It is particularly notable for the thoroughly worked out worldbuilding, of an alternate Earth the same as our own except that it is in the grip of a long running ice age, and that nearly all humans hibernate through the (extremely harsh) winter. The risks and strains of hibernation (or worse trying to survive winter awake) mean life expectancy is low. Society is slightly matriarchal and has a frontier feel with a constant struggle to maintain the population. The action mostly takes place over one winter, a time when generally only a handful of misfits are awake keeping things running until the spring. However, on top of this SF, we get the usual Fforde weirdness, with lunatic people and events being treated entirely seriously and with a kind of internal logic. This combination of SF and zaniness is surreal and oddly compelling. You need to read carefully not to miss things. This was one of those books that I will be mulling over for some while - which given it is partly about dreams invading people's minds is somewhat ironic. (And I guess I should mention that the setting is a country called "Wales").
  15. It is an interesting scenario I suppose. You work remotely from a different country. You check in one weekend only to discover you have lost all access to the company systems. You then find yourself unable to contact anyone. Who do you try to get in touch with, by what means, in what order, and on what timescale? I imagine it would take a while before, everything else failing, you fall back on attempting to tweet the famously irascible CEO and owner! Edit: of course in any normal large company, there would be well defined contacts you could get hold of. But it does not surprise me that apparently Twitter no longer has them.
  16. So that is your justification for why he was fired without being told he was fired, and then had Musk (who had clearly never heard of him until then) quiz him about what he did online, then start getting at him about his disability, and finally set trolls on him? As for "not doing any work since they brought his company" - your only source for that is Musk saying that because he was disabled then he can't have been doing any work!
  17. And are you wondering whether the cave rescue guy actually was a paedophile as well?
  18. I think that if anyone s playing 4D chess right now, it might just be Starmer. Perhaps he has hired Sue Gray with the deliberate intent of provoking Johnson's die hard supporters into filling up the political bandwidth with complaints that Johnson was stitched up, and by implication that they think it was perfectly okay for him to party away while the country was in lockdown. That will not play well, and will also drown out whatever Sunak might be trying to say.
  19. Say what you like about the new England team, but whatever they are, they are not boring!
  20. I would not beat yourself up. I would think that it is quite likely that your sister told you what she was planning (and possibly even exaggerated it) deliberately to get a reaction out of you. So not interfering and playing her game was the correct move. Now you just need not to get wound up about her doing that sort of thing. I am going through something a little similar as it happens. My annoying relative has just been saying that they are happy to go ahead with the solution to our family inheritance issue "in good faith" provided that it is clearly understood that everyone was mean and that I (and others) repeatedly lied to them. I am having to sit on my hands and resist firing off an inflammatory reply. At least no more accusations of being abusive though!
  21. I will grant you that Johnson has buckets of charisma. But behind the facade is an empty narcissistic shell. His genius, such as it is, is portraying his true character as a joke for laughs.
  22. Quibbling but: For it to be a tragedy for someone to be brought down by their flaws they need to have strengths that, without the flaws, might have enabled them to go on and achieve great things. Now Cameron I might just give you, but the idea that Johnson or Truss had such strengths is one that I seriously balk at.
  23. Well anything is possible. But: There have been multiple well documented cases of respiratory viruses suddenly jumping from animals to humans before Covid. Many scientists had been saying for years that it was very likely that such a jump was going to cause a really dangerous pandemic before long. (Including one or two that I know personally, and to the extent that they had done some limited prepping for it.) There had been several near misses before Covid. The Wuhan market was just the sort of insanitary environment where such a jump is likely to occur. The Chinese hierarchical setup is one where cover up at all levels is the instinctive reaction to any situation. So their response to the outbreak proves nothing.
  24. Stick with premium bonds. You get used to being posted a letter every other month telling you that you have won £25 quid that they have reinvested for you.
  25. I can think of a few historical examples where that sort of approach did not go well. Wallenstein or Sejanus for example.
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