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Punching low down : The Guardian attacks David Cameron over the loss of his child

politicians with man bun putin obama bush cameron

The Guardian’s view on David Cameron’s memoirs was widely read for all the wrong reasons. For those of you who missed the toxicity, this is the cut that spread like a virus over the web. The background to the editorial sniping at Cameron’s “privileged pain” is that the former Prime Minister’s son, Ivan, died in 2009 at the age of six.

David Cameron privileged pain Guardian

Revolting stuff.

Anoosh Chakelian assesses the nastiness for the New Statesman, the Left wing political magazine that once gave full throat to “a Kosher Conspiracy” and then like many Labour Party supporters wonders how anti-Semitism went mainstream. The NS apologised for that bigotry. And the Guardian has apologised for its:

“The original version of an editorial posted online yesterday fell far short of our standards,” a spokesperson for the paper has commented. “It was changed significantly within two hours, and we apologise completely.”

Says Chakelian:

Punching up has turned into punching anyone you disagree with, and it’s everywhere – normalising online poison that is bound to spill over into mainstream formats like the Guardian’s editorial pages.

In an extract of his memoirs published in the Sunday Times, Cameron notes: “Nothing, absolutely nothing, can prepare you for the reality of losing your darling boy in this way. It was as if the world stopped turning.”

His wife Samantha told the Times in 2017 her son’s death “overshadowed everything” and rendered the outside world “meaningless”. “Like anyone else in my situation, I just kept going. You have to deal with it, because you have no choice.”


Posted: 17th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Donald Trump turns Congress blue giving three f***s at City Airport

Donal tRump buttplug

Members of US Congress used swear words such as “asshole” , “fuck”, “shit” and “bitch” 1,900 times on Twitter in 2019. That’s a tenfold rise on 2016 – before Trump’s election, the number was 193.

Can we blame Donald “grab ’em by the pussy” Trump for the coarsening of debate? What about airport bookshops?

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, is upset that “three of the top 10 ‘Airport Exclusive’ books at London City WH Smith have ‘fuck’ in the title.”

Lamentable stuff – today’s politicians are just so unimaginative:

Posted: 13th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


A doctor writes on the joy of treating the old

Dr Sayed A Tabatabai tweets as @TheRealDoctorT. At work as a nephrologist in San Antonio, Texas, a student asked him: “Don’t you wanna see young patients? Isn’t it rough seeing old people, on so many meds with so many medical problems, all the time?” His reply is worth repeating:

“For old people,” wrote Ursula K. Le Guin, “beauty doesn’t come free with the hormones, the way it does for the young… It has to do with who the person is.”

Image: Barbara Hepworth’s Hospital Drawings (1947 – 1949)

Posted: 12th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


From Leicester to Galashiels and North Pickenham, cannabis is the drug of choice

cannabis oil

Would you hide a 1kg brick of cannabis in a place where it could go up in smoke in one huge hit? Two people in Leicester have bene arrested for allegedly hiding the stash in a barbecue.

In Scotland, a man has been found living with 700 cannabis plants in a former bookmakers in Galashiels town centre. He too has been arrested.

In North Pickenham, Norfolk, police arrested a man who claims the 693 cannabis plants growing in his garden shed were to ease his chronic pain.

In Sixmilecross, Northern Ireland, police found a “cannabis factory”. A local policeman tells media: “We will continue to do everything possible to prevent the supply of drugs and identify those involved while at the same time, make people aware of the real danger posed to their health and their lives by illegal drugs.”

But not all cannabis is illegal. It’s only illegal if the State doesn’t agree that you should have it. Patients can be prescribed medicinal cannabis by specialist doctors.

With moves to legalise the drug afoot across the UK, how long before police stop arresting people for growing the drug and there’s an amnesty for anyone who has been?

Posted: 12th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Public Library receipt shows how much cheaper it is to borrow than buy books

Public Library receipt shows  how much cheaper it is to  borrow than buy books

Save the libraries. They’re one of the few place you can go and sit without needing to buying anything. And you can read the books, too. But not everyone appreciates the library until the burghers say it no longer pays and it’s gone. Staff at the Wichita Public Library understand. They’ve come up with a great way to out a price on library services and show us their monetary value.

They write:


“Every time materials are borrowed from the Wichita Public Library (WPL) customers receive a receipt showing how much they have saved in that visit, the year to date, and their lifetime savings. The information is displayed on the receipt similar to the ways that retail stores show savings to club members or coupon users…


“So far this year, the highest dollar amount saved by a customer’s account is $64,734.12. And the highest dollar amount saved by a customer’s account since this feature was implemented is $196,076.21.”

Keep your local library up by using it.

Spotter: Flashbak, Open Culture 

Posted: 11th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, Money, News | Comment


Nine things American women were banned from doing in 1971

feminism

We’ve come a long way, baby. On Twitter @WPCelebratio compiled a list of nine everyday things American women were banned from doing in 1971 (via):

  • A woman couldn’t get a credit card in her own name. They often needed a man to co-sign for a card. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act put a stop to this discrimination in 1974.
  • Until the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, women could be fired for getting pregnant (or not hired if they were pregnant). Despite the act, pregnancy discrimination continues today.
  • Fight on the front lines – admitted into military academies in 1976, it wasn’t until 2013 that the military ban on women in combat was lifted.
  • Women couldn’t attend certain Ivy League schools. Harvard did not fully admit women into its undergraduate program until 1977, Dartmouth took until 1972, and Columbia waited until 1983.
  • In some states, women couldn’t say “no” to sex with their husbands. In 1993, the last two states (Oklahoma and North Carolina) withdrew their marital rape exemptions. But even today, several states treat marital rape as a lesser offense with smaller penalties compared to non-marital rape.
  • Until a 1972 Supreme Court case, unmarried women in some states were prohibited from purchasing birth control pills.

Readers’ responses are illuminating:

The Telegraph looked at what women in the UK could not do in 1918:

Applying for a credit card or loan in their own name

Working in the legal profession and civil service

Inheriting and bequeathing property on the same terms as men

Claiming equal pay for doing the same work as men

Prosecuting a spouse for rape

no images were found

Posted: 11th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Exhibiting nature: artist plants 300 trees on a football pitch

For Forest — The Unending Attraction of Nature

Klauss Littman planted 300 trees on the pitch at Klagenfurt, Austria as part of his For Forest — The Unending Attraction of Nature.

Using 300 trees, some of which weigh up to six tonnes, landscape architect Enzo Enea will cover the entire playing field with a mixed forest characteristic of Central Europe.

From the grandstands, visitors can admire the spectacle of the trees day and night (from 10am until 10pm). Admission is free. A sight that is as unfamiliar as it is fascinating and bound to stir up a range of emotions and reactions! Depending on the time of day (or night), the trees will constitute a constantly changing landscape that is shaped by the weather as well as the autumnal turning of the leaves. The installation is a clever play on our emotions when faced with what should be a familiar sight, placed in an entirely different context. With this monumental work of art, Littmann challenges our perception of nature and sharpens our awareness of the future relation between nature and humankind.

The project also sees itself as a warning: One day, we might have to admire the remnants of nature in specially assigned spaces, as is already the case with zoo animals.

Looks out for Wolves.

Littmann shaped his project on a 1970 drawing by Austrian architect and painter Max Peintner:

For Forest 02

What if nature becomes an exhibit?

Spotter: Flashbak, Kottke

Posted: 11th, September 2019 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Islington bans sale of fur – Hackney furriers rejoice

Islington fur advert

Islington Council has banned the sale of fur products – jackets, coats, merkins. Leather remains on sale – as do animals as food. The council says the fur industry is “cruel and awful”. Hard to argue with that.

Councillor Asima Shaikh tells us: “We also understand that it can be hard for consumers to be sure about the origins and production methods used in clothes and goods containing real fur.”

Can you have ethical real fur?

When Wearing Fur Was De Rigueur in London (1900 – 1950)

Posted: 10th, September 2019 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


Dentist promises sedation – GPs doll out uppers

Dentist promises sedation

Where America leads, the UK follows. Look out, then,. for a dentist advertising sedation. Rob Beschizza saw a sign of the times:

Driving near Pittsburgh, PA, my wife Heather noticed this excellent billboard featuring a woman saying “Scared of the dentist? No, I called and got SEDATED!”.

The chemical cosh is wielded with abandon. A Public Health England review at the end of March 2018 found that half of people prescribed strong painkillers, antidepressants and sleeping tablets had been on them for at least 12 months.

Drugs UK

The numbers of people being fed these drugs are huge:

Nearly 12 million people took drugs such as antidepressants, sleeping pills and painkillers between 2017 and last year,

Worrying stuff.

Posted: 10th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


The Pregnant Body in Japanese Woodcuts – 1800s

Ukiyo-e, or “pictures of floating worlds”

This Ukiyo-e, or “pictures of floating worlds”, takes inside a pregnant woman in mid-19th century Japan. There’s a lot going on in there.

Spotter: Illustrated Internal Bodily Functions in Japanese Woodcuts – 1800s

Posted: 9th, September 2019 | In: News | Comment


Legalised cannabis will give police less excuse to target black people

marijuana

When cannabis is legalised in the UK, it will be, says one writer, “dominated by white men in suits”. Why would big co. marijuana be different from every other industry? UK citizens will get to smoke weed legally when those in power decide it’s worth the effort.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained why recreational cannabis is legal in Canada: “To ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalise, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

The Canadian Government isn’t about freedom of choice. It simply wants to control the industry and the money that comes with it.

UK crime figures for 2017/18 tells us that black people were over 3 times as likely to be arrested as white people. Police recorded 35 arrests for every 1,000 Black people, and 11 arrests for every 1,000 white people. Black people had the highest arrest rates per 1,000 people in every police force area for which there was data. Why? “Black Caribbean people were 9.6 times as likely to stopped and searched as White British people.” Overall, 87.7 of conviction were for drugs.

Release, the ‘national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law’, tells us in a report: “Across London black people are charged for possession of cannabis at 5 times the rate of white people.”

While tens of thousands of people are being criminalised every year for low level possession offences, it is those from the black community who are a greater risk of criminalisation and harsher sanctions.

An LSE blog post explains the money:

The amount spent by Canadians on cannabis in 2017 was estimated by Statistics Canada to be around C$5.5 billion, with the black market in recreational use estimated to be around 90 per cent of that, or around C$5 billion (the remainder being legal purchases for medicinal use. This compares with spending of around C$23 billion and C$17 billion on alcohol and tobacco respectively. Statistics Canada estimates that legal consumer spending for cannabis will range between C$0.816 billion and C$1.018 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 (C$3.85 billion-C$4.8 billion annualised), with around 25 per cent of the market remaining illegal.

Smoking tobacco is bad for you. Smoking weed may have some health benefits. The cool kids have heard the message. Estimates suggest the global legal cannabis industry will grow to $66.3bn by 2023.

A poll in the Times found 47 per cent of people living in Scotland support the legalisation of cannabis – 37 per cent were opposed and 17 per cent unsure.

The rewards for whoever controls the marijuana industry are huge. The losers will be many,

Posted: 9th, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Watch Sinead O’Connor perform ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ On Irish TV

Watch Sinead O'Connor perform 'Nothing Compares 2 U' On Irish TV

This week, Sinead O’Connor performed Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ on Irish TV. She was spellbinding:

As a bonus, here’s the original version of Nothing Compares 2 U Prince wrote for The Family in 1985:

Posted: 7th, September 2019 | In: Music, News | Comment


Brexit madness: Labour and SNP unite to keep ‘tin-pot dictator’ in Number 10

boris johnson leave

So much for Boris Johnson’s being a “tin-pot dictator“, as Nicola Sturgeon First minister of Scotland, labelled him. The SNP, the party she leads in Scotland, has rejected his call for a General Election. The SNP, Labour, the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru will unite against the government or abstain in Monday’s vote on whether to hold a snap poll.

Just when you think you’re getting some movement – finally – on the Brexit referendum, the MPs block it.

Boris the tyrant wants a vote
Boris ‘the tyrant’ says can we have a free and legal public vote?

Ways to ‘defend democracy”:

  1. Shut ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ to anyone who vote leave (see LibDems)
  2. Call for another referendum to decide things ‘once and for all’
  3. Ignore the vote

Posted: 6th, September 2019 | In: News, Politicians | Comment


Designer makes pigeon shoes to attract birds

pigeon shoes japan

Japanese designer Kyoto Ohata attracts birds with her pigeon shoes. Ohata transforms her plain black pumps into wearable felt pigeons. She hopes birds will approach her to check out her pigeon feet as she strolls throughTokyo’s Ueno Park. As she says:

(translated) I like high heels as pigeons and I want to become popular with a group of pigeons.

pigeon shoes Japan
pigeon shoes Japan
pigeon shoes Japan
pigeon shoes Japan

Spotter: Neatorama

Posted: 6th, September 2019 | In: Fashion, News, The Consumer | Comment


Discovering John Locke: ‘Reasons for tolerateing Papists equally with others’

 John Locke

A newly discovered manuscript by John Locke (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) -“Reasons for tolerateing Papists equally with others” (1667-8) – sheds more light on the great English liberal and advocate of constitutional liberty.  JC Walmsley spotted the document and has published it online. The work deals mainly with the toleration of Catholics prior to the Epistola de tolerantia.

Frank Furedi provide context:

Today, religious freedom and tolerance of competing beliefs are seen as foundational values of Western societies. However, in historical terms, tolerance is a very recent cultural and moral ideal. Until the 17th century, the toleration of different religions, opinions and beliefs was even interpreted as a form of moral cowardice, if not a symptom of heresy. As late as 1691, the French theologian Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet insisted that Catholicism was the least tolerant of all religions. He declared that: ‘I have the right to persecute you because I am right and you are wrong.’

Locke’s words continue to resonate. Knowledge is about questioning. As he writes in An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding:

All Ideas come from Sensation or Reflection. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas: — How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from experience. In that all our knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself. Our observation employed either, about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds perceived and reflected on by ourselves, is that which supplies our understandings with all the materials of thinking. These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring.

Spotter: JOHN LOCKE AND THE TOLERATION OF CATHOLICS: A NEW MANUSCRIPT

Posted: 5th, September 2019 | In: News | Comment


John Glenn, Ham the Monkey and The Mercury 6 Story

The famous hand shake welcome. Ham the Chimpanzee is greeted by recovery ship Commander after his flight on the Mercury Redstone rocket, January 31, 1961
The famous hand shake welcome. Ham the Chimpanzee is greeted by recovery ship Commander after his flight on the Mercury Redstone rocket, January 31, 1961


John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth when he sat in a small pod atop a huge rocket and blasted into space. On Flashbak, you can see the story of how he got up there in photos. And why a monkey call Ham got there first – and one named Goliath didn’t…

Via: The Mercury 6 Flight Story In Photos

Posted: 4th, September 2019 | In: News, Photojournalism, Technology | Comment


Banned: Dairylea ad is too dangerous for kids

Like most of you, I’ve got Tango-induced tinnitus. But I won’t be getting DailyLea eye because the advert in which a woman is hit in the face by the cheese has been banned. The BBC says: ‘Parents of children with dairy allergies said it was “dangerous”, “disgraceful” and “insensitive”.’

On parent is Rina Cheema. Her son Karanbir “died after cheese was thrown at him at school in London in June 2017”.

A food fight can result in a fight for life. Why didn’t anyone tell the milkshakers? “Milkshaking’s power lies in the sheer ridiculousness of the situation,” said Vice, which featured instruction on how to make a milkshake to throw at someone with whom you disagree. “Someone’s thrown a milkshake at you! A milkshake! That’s silly as hell!”

DairyFree, naturally…

Posted: 4th, September 2019 | In: News, The Consumer | Comment


The teen who did not go blind from eating crisps, chips and sausages

blinded by chips and sausages

Hear about the boy “blinded by chips and sausages”? Or as the BBC’s headline puts it, a little more accurately: “Teenager ‘blind’ from living off crisps and chips.”

blinded by chips and sausages
blinded by chips and sausages

The tabloid’s headline conjures all kinds of images (see above). But the story is less bizarre. The 17-year-old has long-standing eating issues for which he sought help. And for that we can only feel sympathy. Things got so bad that the lack of nutrients affected his vision. His diet is a composite mix of: French fries, Pringles, white bread, the occasional slice of ham or a sausage.

Truth is that the sausage might well be the heartiest thing he ate. Sausage did not make the teenager blind.

The boy’s visit to the Bristol Eye Hospital is recorded in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr Denize Atan, who treated him at the hospital, notes: “His diet was essentially a portion of chips from the local fish and chip shop every day. He also used to snack on crisps – Pringles – and sometimes slices of white bread and occasional slices of ham, and not really any fruit and vegetables. He explained this as an aversion to certain textures of food that he really could not tolerate, and so chips and crisps were really the only types of food that he wanted and felt that he could eat. He had blind spots right in the middle of his vision. That means he can’t drive and would find it really difficult to read, watch TV or discern faces. He can walk around on his own though because he has got peripheral vision.”

Sausages are innocent. Mental health should not be mocked.

Posted: 3rd, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Strange But True, Tabloids | Comment


Carl Beech’s lies earned him £22,000 – Mohammed Banares is short-changed

carl beech nick

Carl Beech doesn’t have to pay back the £22,000 handed to him by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). He could feel a pang of guilt at his lies and dig deep into his prison overalls for spare change, leftovers from the compensation payout he received on the strength of Wiltshire Police’s support for his claims that he’d been tortured and raped by a ‘ring’ of child-killing VIP peadophiles. We know Beech invested £10,000 of his windfall as down payment on a £34,000 Ford Mustang.

What the man found guilty of 12 counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of fraud – prison sentence: 18 years – is unknown. Beech needed to provide no evidence of his ordeal for politicians and police to find it ‘credible and true’.

Not everything about police work is so subjective as believing in tales of VIP peados. It’s pretty easy to see what happened to Mohammed Banares, who, reportedly, lost both his legs in an unprovoked machete attack in Birmingham. The CICA priced his ordeal at £32,000. “I’m at the point of giving up. I was hoping that CICA would help me to recover,” he says. “The stress of what should be a straightforward claim has left me depressed and without hope. I don’t know how I will manage my life going forward.”


Posted: 2nd, September 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Football and betting: Stop using Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea to advertise your own sound morals

Stop promoting 1xBet or else. News is that the Russian gambling company has no licence to operate in the UK. The Gambling Commission tells the Sunday Times it has written to Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool, warning them to sever tis with 1xBet. The penalty for non-compliance, according to the paper: unlimited fines and up to 51 week’s prison. Spurs have terminated the deal.

The Sunday Times investigation into the firm’s global operations found that 1xBet was promoting a casino featuring topless croupiers, taking bets on children’s sports, advertising on illegal websites and cockfighting live streams emblazoned with the three club’s logos. In response to the findings, the Gambling Commission confirmed it had launched an investigation.

Some of the clubs’ top players, including Roberto Firmino, Willian and Olivier Giroud, have all fronted campaigns for the Russian company, which is now based in Cyprus.

xBet are quoted:

“We take very seriously the allegation that 1xBet’s brand has been promoted on prohibited sites, which is strictly against our policies, and we have launched an investigation. Pending the outcome . . . we believe it is responsible to temporarily suspend our advertising activity in the UK.”

Has the company been unlucky? The Times links to a wider issue, telling readers of a “growing backlash over the bankrolling of football by the gambling industry”. There is from our knowing betters. “Players need to start using their considerable power to reject gambling’s influence on football,” opined Church of England gambling spokesperson Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans in reaction to Wayne Rooney striking deal with betting firm 32Red. And this from Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling: “When will celebrities realise that involvement in gambling is not right or moral? Many people look to Wayne Rooney as a role model and yet he is prepared to sell his soul.”

When did Wazza become employed by Public Heath England?

Troy Deeney, the Watford skipper, had a word on the tosh about role models: “I don’t like the word role model, first and foremost. The role model should be in the house at all times… What are we basing the role model on? Because we’re in the limelight. I don’t like that.”

One thing you can bet on: politicians scurrying around for a cause and sense of purpose by which to showcase their sound morals and protect the poor from themselves will keep hammering football and footballers. It’s a dead cert.

Posted: 1st, September 2019 | In: Money, News, Sports | Comment


CPS release video of ex-Liverpool footballer Dean Saunders ‘refusing a breath test’

Dean Saunders, the football pundit who used to played for Liverpool, was jailed for 10 weeks for refusing to provide a roadside breath test. He spent a day in prison before being released on appeal.

Judge Sanders told Saunders: “Throughout these proceedings you have shown yourself to be arrogant, thinking you are someone whose previous and current role in the public eye entitles you to be above the law. In fact the opposite is true – someone in the public eye should expect a deterrent sentence when they flout the law.”

But Saunders is not in the public eye because he’s employed by Public Health England or the police. He’s an ex-footballer who makes to-deadline opinions about football. He’s not a role model for anyone other than his children.

Posted: 30th, August 2019 | In: News, Sports | Comment


Going Prorogue – MPs fight to be the least democratic

Stop democracy Brexit
A contender for the most ost absurd banner of all time: ‘Defend Democracy – Stop Brexit’

The Government’s decision to prorogue parliament means MPs have less time to debate Brexit before the UK is legally obliged to leave the EU on October 31 – with or without a deal. Between three and eight parliamentary days will be lost. A parliamentary session usually lasts for one year but the current one has been going on for two years. The new session is hailed by the Queen’s Speech in which Her Maj lets us know the Government’s plans. Boris Johnson’s move is a high-wire act to achieve Brexit by giving MPs less time to block no deal, topple the government via a vote of ‘no confidence’ and keep kicking Brexit into the long grass with the aim of stopping it. The UK was supposed to leave the EU on 29 March. MPs rejected the deal negotiated with the EU three times. So the deadline was extended until 31 October.

Many protesting against a “coup” are more than happy to support a coup against democracy when the vote went against them. People like Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. She tweets:

By suspending Parliament to force through a No Deal, Boris Johnson and the Government would remove the voice of the people. It is a dangerous and unacceptable course of action which the @LibDems will strongly oppose.

Noble stuff. the problem is that she also says she would do “whatever it takes to stop Brexit” and when she would implement Brexit in Parliament if voters backed it again in a second referendum replied: “No, because I was elected on a firm manifesto pledge for Scotland’s pledge in the UK and Britain’s place in the European Union and that’s what Liberal Democrats are here to do. That is the mandate that we have.”

Brexit coup prorogue
A ‘pro-democracy’ protester

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle is upset by Johnson’s entirely legal move. He tells the Mirror: “If the government tries to drive no deal through by stopping parliament from sitting, we cannot just rely on the courts and parliamentary process. We need a mass movement of resistance, with marches, civil disobedience and protests in every village, town and city of this country.”

And what about Jeremy Corbyn, a man who lead by asking what others would do and then does nothing? He’s written to the Queen asking for her to stop it all. How’s that for sticking it to the elites?

Posted: 29th, August 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Royal Mint needs Enid Blyton and Paddington Bear coins to make bankers appear human

Paddington coin

Do you know what’s on a 20 euro note? Yes, yes, the number 20. Very good. But what’s the picture of? It’s an image of “Gothic architecture”. Euro banknotes “show architectural styles from various periods in Europe’s history, but do not show any actual existing monuments or bridges.” They’re works of fiction based on the something familiar and hackneyed.

In the UK, we don’t have Euros, of course, preferring sterling and pictures of Prince Andrew’s mother – and nothing honouring children’s author Enid Blyton. The commemorative coin to mark the 50th anniversary of her death (a morbid plan) has been shelved because the Royal Mint’s advisory committee says Blyton is “racist”, “sexist” and “homophobic”. None of which is desirable. Fearing an unfavourable response, the coin to celebrate (?) the death of the best-selling children’s writer won’t be made.

So we’re stuck with British money featuring “people who have shaped UK society through their thought innovation, leadership or values”, such as the anti-creationist Charles Darwin.

Perhaps the bigger question is not how the Royal Mint choses certain people and non-people – Paddington Bear, Harry Potter, C3P0 and characters from Game of Thrones – to be on its commemorative 50p pieces but if those people want to be associated with the nastiness and horrors of banking.

Posted: 28th, August 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Carly Barton’s amnesty – a campaign for legal cannabis

carly barton carly's amnesty cannabis

Carly Barton was hit by a stroke in her early 20s. She discovered that cannabis alleviated the continual pain, what she describes as a “ridiculous amount of all-over pain – it just feels like you’re burning from the inside out, like my bones have been replaced by red hot pokers.” But cannabis was illegal in the UK.

Medics gave her strong painkillers. Over time she developed a tolerance to the effects of the legal opiates – “a cocktail of substances which included morphine and fentanyl.” She says: “I was struggling to feel the world as I hobbled along in a zombified state; this was not sustainable. I started looking at end-of-life clinics online.”

She became the first person in the UK to be legally given herbal cannabis . But with regulation comes increased costs. It cost £2,500 of her own money for three-months of pain relief. Her prescription comes from a private specialist. The NHS won’t provide it. “We are going to be put in a position where the rich are patients and the poor are criminals,” she told the Daily Mirror.

“I am going to openly break the law until I can access my medicine or they give me some kind of exemption,” said Carly in April. “I do not see myself as a criminal. There are two doctors who have prescribed it to me and now there is a vague law which does not seem to see it as a potential medicine.”

Carley’s Amnesty is a campaign she runs which seeks to allow other patients afflicted by chronic pain to use cannabis legally.

Posted: 28th, August 2019 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Haddon Salt was the king of fish and chips from Skegness to California

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yorkshireman Haddon Salt run a fish and chips empire that in the 1960s exceeded 500 stores. Kentucky Fried Chicken noticed the immigrant’s success. In 1969 the chicken mongers bought all of the H. Salt, Esq. Authentic English Fish and Chips outlets. The NY Times:

An initial Google search revealed that this shop was the last gasp of a once-sprawling fish-and-chips empire with hundreds of locations that started with an immigrant’s secret family recipe, flourished into an eight-figure deal with Colonel Sanders and ended in collapse.

It took several years and the research help of friends to track down Mr. Salt. We found him in a remote retirement community in Southern California’s desert. The rest you can see in the film before you.

For every icon there are those who were almost famous. And perhaps they, even more than their conqueror, have the lessons we need to hear.

Image: H. Salt Fish and Chips restaurant on Vineland Ave. in North Hollywood.

Spotter: Flashbak

Posted: 28th, August 2019 | In: Key Posts, News, The Consumer | Comment