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A wilding

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  1. I was also musing about the repeated use of the phrase "in private" above. To me "in private" means something like "at home with your family" or "having a meal with a few friends". It does not mean "at a large tax payer funded event in a government building".
  2. Nice goalpost move. But to answer that: do you understand that people might have issues with requiring omerta from journalists over a male politician with the ultimate responsibility for law enforcement making jokes in a large crowd about date rape drugging women?
  3. Because it was made at a Number 10 party for journalists with many journalists present?
  4. Maxwell had, by many accounts, a screwed up childhood. She supposedly had a close but dysfunctional relationship with her father, a domineering and very successful crooked businessman who ultimately killed himself (probably) when his frauds began to catch up with him. This may well be a factor in her behaviour.
  5. I have been reading a history of my local town and was very much struck by one chapter that is sort of relevant to this thread. In the mid 19th century the town was desperately in need of piped water and a sewage system. Life expectancy in the town was years less than it should have been, and there were frequent disease outbreaks. Proposals to build such a system were made, cue resistance such as: Outrage at the mere idea that town residents should be taxed for any purpose whatsoever. Rubbishing of the science demonstrating the link between poor sanitation and disease ("sanitation science is yet in its infancy ..."). Demands that reports on disease outbreaks were edited to remove any mentions of links to insanitary conditions. Packing town hall meetings with opponents to the scheme. Various rule bending political manoeuvres. I guess nothing changes. But it is perhaps hopeful that, with the need for action increasingly stating them in the face, all this only caused a delay of about 10 years.
  6. So the Torygraph newspaper has officially gone full on MAGA: Only Donald Trump can save the free world now After all Trump never cosied up to Putin when he was president ...
  7. Late to the party, but I thought I would chip in. I did enjoy this film, despite its many flaws. I thought that it was actually pretty historically correct at a high level. Of course most of the detail was changed around or outright wrong; a lot had to be left out because of time constraints, with the film still feeling rushed; and the idea that Napoleon returned from either Egypt or Elba because of Josephine is nonsense. But it was a film, not a documentary. For example take Waterloo. Most of the main points were there: the armies facing each other across a valley, Wellington needing to hold on until the Prussians arrived, the start of the battle being delayed by the wet ground (though the rain had actually happened the day before), Wellington's admission that it was a damned close run thing. The fighting on the two previous days was left out, but it would surely have been impossible to fit it in. Where I felt the film fell down the most was in the portrayal of Napoleon. Joaquin Phoenix does a good job of creating him as somewhat petulant and full of bathos, certainly one facet of his character. The tempestuous, slightly dysfunctional relationship between him and Josephine was also reasonably well done (though marred by the false note of him slapping her). But we saw little in the portrayal to explain how Napoleon achieved what he did or how he inspired such loyalty. Still, as I said, I personally enjoyed it. Though Mrs W was a bit annoyed that her favourite Napoleonic character Désirée Clary (an early girlfriend of Napoleon who went on to become Queen of Sweden) didn't get a mention!
  8. I was sort of covering that under "sometimes even try to act on <their paranoid conspiracy theories>", but you are right, my list was not comprehensive!
  9. While I agree care workers need to be paid more (why be a care worker when you can earn just as much working in a supermarket?), I doubt that it would lead to a rush of people going into it resulting in general upwards wages pressure. Care work has its own challenges. For anyone not aware of what is involved, it is not just a matter of spoon feeding unattractive people and wiping their bottoms. You need to cope, for example, with clients who shout for help whenever they are left alone for more than a few minutes; who continually spout paranoid conspiracy theories at you and sometimes even try to act on them; who bang things together just to make a noise for hours at a time; who throw food around (and sometimes even their own sh*t); etc, etc. This is of course an increasing problem much more widespread then just the UK. I am not sure what the solution is, though possibly some of the stuff around automation they have apparently been trying out in Japan might help.
  10. Will happily second any Josephine Tey recommendation. She still has a following in the UK. If you like the Grant books, I would also suggest tracking down her two other crime books, Miss Pym Disposes and Brat Farrar.
  11. I have finished the last (for now apparently) book of The Thursday Murder Club series, The Last Devil to Die, and have been ruminating over it. The series combines two widely disparate elements. On the one hand a light hearted crime caper series with a high body count and numerous twists; on the other hand a serious novel about old age and death. Both these elements are well written and well done in themselves, but to me they just don't combine well. For example in this last book compare and contrast (spoiler) the difference is jarring, to say the least.
  12. I have a fair amount of recent anecdotal experience of the care industry as a 2nd hand user able to pay premium rates (i.e. with carers reaching the higher rate tax bracket if they chose to work enough hours). The carers we have used fall clearly into three categories: - Motivated and very capable ethnically British women (always women), generally middle aged with lots of experience, generally with relevant qualifications. - First or second generation immigrants, highly motivated, sometimes have difficulties with English and understanding English attitudes and approaches, sometimes having difficulty establishing a bond with their clients (though not always by any means, I have heard some interesting African and Caribbean life stories second hand!). - Young ethnically British women, unqualified, apparently pushed into the job or just needing the money. Lazy and corner cutting at best, abusive and criminal at worst. We had one who through neglect caused a client a fracture and then tried to cover it up and pretend it had not happened. Another outright stole, and was stupid enough to leave a clear online trail to prove it. And to repeat, these were people being paid way over the minimum wage. So frankly I am rather sceptical of the idea that applying sufficient pressure will push UK people into care work. You need to have the vocation as well as incentives.
  13. Since we have been talking about the water companies on and off here. Thames Water, my local water company, is already so loaded down with debt that approx 10% of my bills immediately disappear offshore as interest payments. However, this summer Thames Water declared that it had received £500m in new equity funding to assist with badly needed essential maintenance (e.g. less raw sewerage being poured into rivers). Good news for once. Except that now it turns out that this funding was actually just another loan to the company from its offshore owners. For which the company is paying 8% interest. It is now apparently £18b in debt. You have to wonder how long this can go on.
  14. The Tory party has lurched significantly to the right in the last half a dozen years. It now contains hard right figures such as Cruella Braverman, who would never have got near a cabinet position ten years ago. By current standards Cameron is definitely on the left wing of the party.
  15. Even in total war a country needs people to keep the lights on as well as fighting soldiers. How many of those 12Mn US soldiers actually saw front line combat? But it is probably a political question is much as a military one. What casualty rates can a democracy absorb without collapsing? WW1 Britain and France probably give the upper limit, and they were mature stable countries.
  16. My take: Corbyn is an elderly idealist, incapable of making the smallest compromise. His values were set in stone many years ago and he is not open to changing them no matter what has happened since. He will not say anything he believes untrue, but has has just enough political nous to remain silent sometimes. Of course Piers Moron's motives are hardly pure here either.
  17. So Cameron... Quite a clever attempt by Sunak to change the political narrative, give a "back to the adults" vibe, and signal a shift centrewards. While putting Cameron in a position where he can't actually do much to push the Tories back to the centre. But what was Cameron thinking? Okay he is probably a bit desperate because his post PM career has suffered from having the albatross of calling that stupid referendum and then mismanaging it so badly around his neck. But his only claim to dignity came from his immediate resignation afterwards. And now? Every foreign dignitary he meets is going to be sniggering "Brexit" at him behind his back! He is lumbering himself with prime responsibility for putting lipstick on the pig that he himself allowed to escape from its sty.
  18. From where I am sitting, that fits most of the current cabinet.
  19. "Is it a book that you would want your wife or your servants to read?"
  20. They may be quite genuinely trying to look after your best financial interests. The rental market is indeed insane right now. We are looking after someone's estate that includes a flat 1 hour out from central London. The tenant recently gave notice after a year. We lined up another tenant to move in for a 10% higher rent. A month later, before the old tenant had moved out, the new tenant started getting awkward and wanted some extra conditions before signing the contract. The letting agency said drop them, you can now up the rent by a further 10% and easily find an alternative tenant willing to pay that and not quibble. We did and did.
  21. I was once staying in some ridiculously high end US hotel (a long story, it was a business trip, there was a mix up with my hotel booking, nearly everywhere was full and the client company had to find a last minute bed for me). However all was not well at this hotel, the staff were unhappy and working to rule or something. I was having breakfast in a palatial dining room, but my pot of tea did not arrive. Eventually some sort of head waiter in a resplendent uniform arrived at my table. "I am most terribly sorry about this sir. We are just microwaving it for you now". Wince.
  22. But privatisation was a good idea right? It was going to "lead to much needed investment".
  23. Well to engage with the substance of this: ASoS is widely considered the best ASoIaF book. However if you look "north of the wall" in the ASoIaF threads then you might see that there is a theory that it threw ASoIaF of track, and that the series has never recovered from it. (As you will know, the later books have come out at increasing intervals and are considered weaker by many people.) Basically the idea is that rearranging the plot to create a strong mid series ending in ASoS messed the story up. This relates to the "five year gap" issue. So your confidence that "the best is still in store" for your series may be misplaced!
  24. Its a sad world. There are users and exploiters out there, and so people generally ignore phone calls from unknown numbers, brush past people accosting them in cities, and yes, also ignore random people on the internet praising some product. And people sometimes get tired of such approaches and get sarcastic or rude. And occasionally this leads to honest genuine people getting rebuffed, but most of them understand the world that we live in and understand. So my answer is that you probably do indeed need to "post stuff here for a few months on many other subjects just to create an illusion of credibility before recommending something". Because that is something that an influencer would not be willing to make the effort to do and so weeds them out. Though I would tend to give doing so a more positive spin and call it building up social capital. This site is after all a community where members tend to know a fair bit about each other, not least whether their tastes in literature are likely to align. If doing that does not seem worth while to you, then you might do better just posting your opinions on a site such as Goodreads.
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