But it’s not Unix!

Picture of Matt WeinbergerA friend recently posted on Facebook this video in which tech columnist Matt Weinberger explains, in a minute and a half or so, why he switched to a Surface Book laptop running Windows 10 and never looked back. The main reasons are more new games (many games don’t even make it onto the Mac or iOS) and such features as being able to highlight things with a stylus, which Apple only offers on the iPad Pro which does not run desktop applications. Towards the end, he concedes that, yes, it is Windows and he has experienced his fair share of glitches and bugs that require a restart. I’ve been a Mac user on and off since 2004 and mostly on since 2011 and the thing that stops me going back to Windows is really quite simple: it’s not Unix.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Should we ban harmful bequests?

Image of two donkeys, both wearing saddles and a turquoise-coloured harness with the names Dixie and Noddy above their noses, on a sandy beach.This week, a woman who had been cut out of her late mother’s will in favour of three animal welfare charities lost her legal battle to claim a large share of the estate. The Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeal ruling that Heather Ilott, in her 50s with five children, should be entitled to some £160,000 of the estate which is worth around £500K such that she could purchase a house; this ruling reinstates a County Court ruling that she should receive only around £50K. The mother, Melita Jackson, had severed ties with her daughter when she left home to be with her boyfriend, whom she later married and to whom she remains married; attempts to reconcile the pair all failed, with both blaming the other. There is a longer article on the legal aspects of the case, written after the 2015 Court of Appeal ruling, here.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


If in doubt, blame Corbyn

A map showing the locations of the remaining grammar schools in EnglandThe other day I saw an exchange on Twitter between some Labour activists in which Jeremy Corbyn got the blame for Theresa May’s announcement that the ban on new grammar schools was to be lifted. The logic was that Corbyn had opened the way for May to become Prime Minister with his lacklustre performance in the Brexit referendum campaign, without which David Cameron, who favoured academies over grammars (although the manifesto pledge was to allow good schools, including grammars, to expand), would still be PM and none of this would be happening. I said that all this was on the cards from the moment the Tories won the last election, and Corbyn was not Labour leader then; Ed Miliband was. The reply came, “I see, blaming Labour leaders is OK as long as it’s not The Great Leader?”.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Melanie Phillips has her history wrong

The front cover of Melanie Phillips's book "Londonistan: How Britain is creating a terror state within". It has an image of four Muslim women in niqaab, one of them pushing a child's buggy, and another giving a V-sign to a journalist.There is an article in the Times today (paywalled) in which Melanie Phillips proclaims that the Scots and Northern Irish have no right to secede at the expense of the “authentic”, “ancient” British nation and that Brexit “expresses the desire for independent self-government by a sovereign state based on the history, institutions and cultural ties that constitute a nation”, while the EU, which “reduces nations to the status of provinces”, is attractive to “weak nations and provinces as a way of boosting their status and income”. She provides us with a history lesson as to why Britain is an authentic nation while Scottish and Irish nationalism are “rooted in romanticism and myth and hatred of the other”, i.e. the English or Protestants as in the case of Ireland. However, she makes a number of major errors in history, glossing over the linguistic and ethnic history of the UK in order to dismiss the rights of the Irish and Scots to call themselves nations. (More: Craig Murray.)

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Why should disabled people work for peanuts?

A bowl of monkey nuts, i.e. peanuts in their shells.Last week Rosa Monckton, wife of Dominic Lawson (son of Nigel and former editor of the Sunday Telegraph when it emitted four of Will Cummins’s Islamophobic rants in as many editions — and before anyone accuses me of an ad hominem, the BBC mentions her connections to Princess Diana and she mentions Lord Freud’s descent from the great Sigmund, so …) and former chief executive of Asprey & Garrard, jewellers to the Crown and various sporting institutions, wrote an article in the Spectator calling for disabled people to be ‘allowed’ to work for less than the minimum wage as this would allow them the ‘dignity’ of a paid job, and that the minimum wage makes it difficult for employers to hire them. She claims that work is essential for fostering a sense of human dignity, quoting Freud as saying “love and work, work and love, that’s all there is” and a DWP green paper as saying that the “evidence is clear that work and health are linked”, but that employers are not charities and cannot be expected to pay minimum wage if the employee’s net activity amounts to a loss. Her comments have provoked outrage in the disability community, and rightly so. (More: Jonathan Hume, Neil Crowther, Rob Greig.)

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Big hospital or small unit, bad care is bad care

Matthew Garrett with his parents either side of him; his mother is holding a dogOn Wednesday night, Channel 4 aired a Dispatches special, Under Lock and Key, which exposed the abuse and neglect of patients at St Andrew’s hospital in Northampton, an enormous campus which started out as a Victorian asylum and now functions as a charity, though drawing most of its income from NHS contracts. The programme interviewed the families of three people who had spent time in St Andrew’s along with two young former patients, now happily in supported living; the third had died of untreated complications of an anti-psychotic drug he had been prescribed, one of four people to die of similar causes within seven months in that ward. The programme did not have access to the hospital itself, which has only issued a bland statement (Google cachéd version, as they have since made it private) denying but not addressing the accusations made, and relied on the word of the families, some recordings of family visits and video calls, an MP who had helped one of the families, and a few words from the former patients themselves, Matthew (right) and Fauzia. (You can see the programme, if you are in the UK, at the link above for the next month or so. More: Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Leo Andrade @ the Guardian)

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Short memories

A black-and-white image of a soldier loading or readying to fire a cannon, with another soldier behind him, against red curtains, with Bush 'singing' underneath at a lectern with the presidential seal on it.One of the signs that you’re getting older is that you start to become aware that there are adults who weren’t even born when you became an adult, or at least don’t remember the things you remember strongly from your formative years; adults who don’t remember the music which defined your coming of age, for example. I knew I was leaving young adulthood behind when I realised that some of my young adult friends weren’t born when albums like Parklife, Automatic for the People or the less-well-known (but memorable to me) Mirror Blue or Swamp Ophelia came out (both 1994). I’ve already mentioned on here that today’s young voters, and even more so those who will be first-time voters in 2020, do not remember when Tony Blair came to power and John Major was defeated, which felt like a huge turning point in not only British politics but the national atmosphere. However, it’s more disturbing that people seem to have forgotten the politics of just 10-15 years ago, which should surely be fresher in people’s memory. I’m talking about the new fashion for praising George W Bush, who apparently is starting to look noble and statesmanlike compared to the current president. And he wasn’t. (More: Afropunk.)

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Milo is just a professional jerk

Milo Yiannopoulos, a young white man with unnaturally white hair, with a sleeveless T-shirt showing a gun in rainbow colours with the slogan 'We shoot back', standing in front of a lectern with the slogan "Trump/Pence: Make America Great Again" on it.Last week Milo Yiannopoulos (AKA Milo Andreas Wagner), once the darling of the “alt-right” and of a sizeable chunk of the American Right, suddenly fell from grace as a result of someone drawing attention to things he said in a podcast a year ago which appeared to defend sexual activity between ‘boys’ and men. This has resulted in a book deal with Simon & Schuster being cancelled, his invitation to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) along with Donald Trump and his vice-president Mike Pence being rescinded and a number of senior staff at Breitbart, the far-right propaganda/hate/’news’ site he is associated with, threatening to resign unless he is sacked. The developments have, some say, exposed the hypocrisy of the American Right who are willing to tolerate men abusing women and even young girls, but draw the line when the target, even theoretically, is boys.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Foreign criminal scum!

Front page from the Sun newspaper, with the headline 'American strangler dumped on Britain'The Sun are OUTRAGED this morning because an “American strangler”, as they call him, has been deported from the USA to this country after serving nearly 40 years in a New York state prison for strangling his girlfriend when he was 16 (she was 14). I immediately suspected that the man in question was British, and was right; he is, however, also an American, which is an usual feature of such cases. Dempsey Hawkins, born in 1959 in London to a British mother and American father, was first eligible for parole in 2000, but it was denied every time (every two years) until last year, when deportation to the UK was made a condition of his release. He was met by his cousin, a professor he had never met who wished to remain anonymous when interviewed for the New York Times article, but appears not to be subject to any supervision. According to the Sun, he now lives in Cambridge and works at a Mexican restaurant.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Time for a rethink on third rail?

A British passenger train, painted red and white, with overhead wires which have been blown down by a stormLast Thursday a major (for this country) storm brought strong winds and rain, bringing down trees and power cables across coastal areas and central and eastern England and Scotland. Virtually all the major railway networks suffered serious disruption, the main exception being the southern region — not just the actual Southern network, serving Surrey and Sussex, which is beset by ongoing industrial disputes, but the south-eastern and south-western networks that serve Kent and the Hampshire/Dorset region respectively. This area wasn’t as badly hit by high winds as places further north, but even if it had, rail disruption would have been less, for the simple reason that they use ground-level electrics, not overhead power lines.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Review: Has Political Correctness Gone Mad?

Picture of Trevor Phillips, a middle-aged Black man thick-rimmed, black wearing glasses, with his hand pressed up to his face.Has Political Correctness Gone Mad? at Channel 4

Last night Trevor Phillips, the Daily Mail’s regular Token Black Man who has had two similar documentaries on Channel 4 in the past few years, had another one, this time arguing that “liberalism and a fear of offending minorities are stifling legitimate debate and have laid the ground for Brexit and the rise of populist leaders like Farage and Trump”. As befits his new role, he has been given the space for a long article in the Daily Mail, or at least on their website, in which he proclaims that he knew political correctness had gone mad when he was accused of being racist for saying critical things about former US President Barack Obama. In the programme, he asks various members of the public to grade the offensiveness of certain phrases which use some well-known offensive words or make offensive statements about disabled people, Muslims or whoever; he also discusses the movements to ban speakers such as Germaine Greer from speaking at universities, claiming in the DM article that “while our rulers seem to have all the time in the world to debate who should use which lavatory (in deference to the transgender lobby), they dismiss anxieties about overcrowded schools or doctors’ surgeries as merely a bigoted dislike of migrants”. You can watch the programme for the next 29 days at the link above. (More: Malia Bouattia, Michael Hogan @ the Telegraph, Poppy Noor @ the Guardian.)

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Why is age discrimination in housing allowed?

Someone holding up a poster featuring phrases commonly found in house/flat rental ads, including 'No DSS', 'DSS welcomed', 'Friendly warm house', 'Non-Smoker', 'No fix, no fee! Affordable rates' and many others in large and small lettering.This blog entry is by a friend of mine who is being evicted from her father’s flat where she has been living for some time. She has long-running mental health problems and is a wheelchair user and was told in December to find a new place to live within three months. She has appealed on Twitter for help finding accessible places to live which will take Housing Benefit in the London area but, despite the tweets being retweeted hundreds of times, has received no leads to suitable places, much less offers; she has also found none on the websites which specialise in accessible and DSS-accepting properties. It’s painful to read of this struggle as there are in fact plenty of suitable properties, but they are reserved for older people.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Blair not the man to lead Brexit fightback

Picture of Tony Blair wearing a dark suit with a pinkish/purple tie with a microphone attached, standing in front of a blue backgroundThe former British prime minister, Tony Blair, today gave a speech in the City of London in which he declared that Brexit could be defeated if the people who opposed it “rise up” (the BBC have a video of part of the speech here). In the speech, hosted by Open Britain (the successor to Britain Stronger In Europe), in keeping with his previous positions on the subject, he is expected to say that “the people voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit” and while “the will of the people” should be respected, that opinion might change when the true costs of leaving the EU become clear:

Our challenge is to expose relentlessly the actual cost, to show how this decision was based on imperfect knowledge which will now become informed knowledge, to calculate in easy-to-understand ways how proceeding will cause real damage to the country and its citizens and to build support for finding a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


On the “Muslim Luther” fallacy that won’t die

TV still of Graeme Wood facing from the side, with the words "Many have called for a 'reformation in Islam'" at the bottom, and the BBC Newsnight logo in the top leftLast night on BBC’s Newsnight, there was a two-minute slot by a Canadian journalist called Graeme Wood, who claimed that the rise of the “Islamic State” was equivalent to the Christian Reformation spearheaded by Martin Luther. There is meant to be a counter-argument from Tariq Ramadan on tonight’s programme (BBC2, 10:30pm). He says:

It’s part of a convulsion within Islam no smaller than the Reformation was in Christianity. When historians write about what happened, they won’t see it as a narrow local movement but as a global intellectual movement that remade the Muslim world. In the 16th Century, Martin Luther’s Reformation harnessed the power of the printing press and rising literacy. He told Christians to read and interpret scriptures for themselves, without the mediation of a priestly class that was obedient to Rome. Today’s radical Islamic movements are telling their followers to read the Qur’an for themselves and to ignore the voices of mainstream clergy. The result is a movement of power to the people.

For these Islamic Protestants, the power of liberation is not the printing press but the Internet. They follow their new authorities on YouTube. These new authorities are less, not more, inclined to live harmoniously in the modern world. This isn’t new. Remember, Martin Luther was radical too and the Reformation he started was a bloodbath. Many have called for a “Reformation in Islam”, hoping to make it more compatible with Western norms. But these calls are at least a decade too late. The reformation is already here and it’s called the rise of the Islamic State.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


How prevalent is FGM in the UK really?

A poster showing a young white girl with a black sweatshirt with a red and orange triangle badge, saying "Wear the Red Triangle, Help End FGM. We are the generation to end FGM, Forced Marriage, Dishonour Based Violence".Last Monday was apparently FGM Awareness Day, and that means there were a lot of FGM stories in the media with vain attempts to interpret figures in a new way to make a story out of them despite their lack of statistical significance. This year it was the ‘news’ that a charity revealed that FGM victims present to the medical services every hour, or rather that a case of FGM was either discovered or needed treatment 8,656 times between April 2015 and March 2016. The BBC headlined this as “FGM victims need medical attention ‘every hour’ says charity”, when in fact the figures do not indicate that at all. The BBC mentions that no successful prosecutions for FGM have ever occurred in the UK, which the Home Affairs Select Committee (a parliamentary committee) has called “a national disgrace” in a report last October, but nobody appears to be considering why this might be the case.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Who are ‘Liberty GB’ anyway?

Picture of Barbara Ntumy, a Black lady with long, braided red hair extensions wearing a shirt showing large white flowers on an orange backgroundYesterday Channel 4 News broadcast a conversation involving Jack Buckby, the “outreach officer” and former parliamentary candidate for ‘Liberty GB’, and Barbara Ntumy, deputy president of the London Metropolitan University students’ union and a member of the NUS’s Black students’ campaign, in which Buckby handed Ntumy an application form for resettling a Syrian refugee and told her, “put your money where your mouth is … take in a Syrian refugee; I hope you don’t get raped”. The suggestion stunned her into silence for a few seconds before she told him she lived in a one-bedroom house and didn’t have the financial means to do so, but he probably did. But the question remains: what was he doing there?

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Citizenship is not just a visa

A picture of Simon Danczuk, a middle-aged, balding white man wearing a white shirt, dark blue tie and grey jacket with his lips turned down, standing in front of some old brick housesToday three members of the notorious ‘grooming gangs’ who raped and sexually abused girls in the Rochdale area lost an appeal against deportation to Pakistan. Two of the men, who were jailed in 2012, have been released on licence after serving part of their sentences; a third received a 22-year sentence and will remain in prison. All were born in Pakistan and were naturalised as British citizens; one of them came to the UK in 1967, aged 14, and has four children (presumably adults given his age) in the UK. His appeal includes the claim that his conviction is unsound because it was a “conspiracy” of all involved, that the jury was all white and that it was “fashionable to blame everything on Muslims these days”, a defence that was unsurprisingly rejected. The local MP, Simon Danczuk, has demanded that “foreign-born criminals should not be able to hide behind human rights laws to avoid deportation”.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Trump has no business in any parliament

A protest at an airport, with a woman holding a sign saying 'USA: Refugees Welcome'The speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, has made himself unpopular (again) with a number of Tory MPs for announcing that he will not allow Donald Trump to address the Commons if and when he makes a state visit to the UK later this year. That he is has been invited as soon as he took office is a scandal; previous US presidents who made state visits did so after years in office. But Tory MPs insist that he has broken with convention by taking a ‘partisan’ view rather than maintaining neutrality or (as where there is a tie) voting with the government, and that maintaining relations with the “democratically elected leader of our closest ally” is vital.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Trump’s election is no ‘rejection of elites’

Picture of Donald Trump with an angry look on his face, raising his middle fingerIn yesterday’s Observer, there is a piece by one John Daniel Davidson, identified as “a senior correspondent for the Federalist” who lives in Austin, Texas, defending Donald Trump from claims that he is a fascist and offering the standard defence that his election represents “a rejection of the elites” and that the real divide in America today is not between “fascists and Democrats” but between “the elites and everybody else”. He claims that Trump’s supporters cheer at such actions as ripping up trade deals, threatening Mexico with invasion and withdrawing from a deal to accept refugees Australia refuses, alleges that “For years, millions of voters have felt left behind by an economic recovery that largely excluded them, a culture that scoffed at their beliefs and a government that promised change but failed to deliver”, and alleges that the protesters and the “elites” do not understand why Trump and his policies are popular. It’s a familiar argument, also articulated on this side of the Atlantic by the Daily Telegraph columnist Charles Moore who claimed on the BBC Radio 4 Media Show the other week that BBC news programming is characterised by ‘groupthink’ on issues such as climate change (!) and immigration which blinded it to the popularity of Trump and Brexit and the reasons behind it, and a staple of the Right going back at least as far as the Bush years, and it’s wrong.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts:


Time for Europhiles to divide and rule

Black and white picture of Jeremy Corbyn taken from the right, standing in front of a lectern with a microphone, with a camera pointing towards the audience from his left.So, in the last few weeks Jeremy Corbyn has shown his true Euro-Sceptic colours, issuing a three-line whip to order his MPs to vote in favour of the government’s bill to trigger Article 50 (which, of course, he knows a large section of his MPs will simply ignore) while a number of Labour MPs and Labour-associated columnists (most recently Mark Seddon in the Guardian) running scared of the working-class Brexit vote in the North, which in places voted heavily for leaving the EU (he cites Easington, County Durham, which voted 57.5% to leave), which it fears could turn towards UKIP, much as working-class Americans voted for Trump even as their leaders (e.g. union shop stewards) advised them to vote for Hilary Clinton. He puts this down to yet another campaign to undermine and remove Corbyn. I’m not convinced.

Continue reading

Possibly Related Posts: