Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

Linkblogging For 29/04/10

Posted in linkblogging by Andrew Hickey on April 29, 2010

Music post shortly. For now, here are some links

Alex Wilcock reviews the CD version of Genesis Of The Daleks given away with today’s Torygraph.

David Mathewman on talking about immigration. The more this campaign goes on, the more I want to grab *EVERYONE IN THIS FUCKING COUNTRY* with the exception of a few people like Mr Mathewman, by the throat and scream the actual truth about the appaling, inhuman way we actually treat immigrants in this country, until they *SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH THEIR HATRED*. David’s recent “Why I Am A Liberal Democrat” series is essential reading, too.

Leonard Pierce on the South Park Mohammed controversy .

Andrew Rilstone talks sense on ‘bigotgate’.

Vote Germany in the Pop World Cup!

A Beginners’ Guide To The Election Part 2 – What The Parties Stand For

Posted in politics by Andrew Hickey on April 29, 2010

A bit later than I thought, here’s the second part of this. Before I start, some people were interested in exactly what happens in a balanced parliament situation – here’s a report from the Hansard Society (pdf) that sets it all out.

I’m going to try here to set out what all the major parties in the UK General Election believe, as simply as I can. I’m going to try to avoid words like ‘socialism’ or ‘capitalism’ because I want this to be useful to as many people as possible – I genuinely know quite a few people who don’t know even what the most basic ideas of what the parties stand for even at this late stage. It should also, though, help my foreign friends understand things a bit better. If you’re a member or supporter of one of the parties listed and you think I’m being unfair or inaccurate (within the very simplistic way I’m doing this) please leave a comment.

The Conservative Party are the simplest party to explain. They believe that, more or less, the way things are is the best way they could be. They think that the people with power at the moment (not just politicians, but religious leaders, business leaders, banks and so on – ‘important’ people) are the people who should keep power. This also means that even though it’s not actually their policy, a lot of them think that middle-aged white straight men deserve more power than anyone who isn’t a middle-aged white straight male, though some individual Conservatives, including their current leader, don’t think that. The Conservatives are also called the Tories, and over Britain’s history they have been in government most of the time. Their leader is David Cameron.

The Labour Party are the hardest to explain. They used to believe that working people deserved to get a better share of the money than they do, and that government should make sure of that, but that otherwise it would be better to give people more freedom. Labour governments brought in the National Health Service, created the Open University, ended capital punishment (hanging) and legalised homosexuality and abortion. (Many of these were Liberal ideas originally, but Labour brought them in). However, after the Conservatives were in power for eighteen years, the leaders of the party decided that people didn’t want a government like that any more, and Labour became more-or-less identical to the Conservatives. There are some slight differences – they brought in the minimum wage and civil partnerships for gay people – but otherwise they have behaved almost exactly like the Conservatives (increasing the gap between rich and poor, supporting the Americans in illegal wars). Many Labour *members* though still hope the party will go back to the way it used to be. Labour have been in government for the last 13 years, and their leader is Gordon Brown.

The Liberal Democrats are both Britain’s oldest and newest party, being formed in 1989 from a merger between two other parties, the Liberals (Britain’s oldest party) and the Social Democrats (a new party formed by some ex-Labour members). We believe in freedom – that the government should not interfere in you doing what you want with your life. We realise, though, that you can’t be free without enough food to eat or somewhere to live or medicine if you’re sick, so we think the government should do what it can to make sure everybody has those things, even if it means interfering a bit with rich people’s freedom (by taking some of their money away) to make sure poor people have them. We also think it’s worth making sure we have a better environment for everyone, because the freedoms not to choke on fumes or to have your home not be flooded by dangerous weather are also important. We also want a fairer voting system, to give everyone the freedom to have a say in how they’re governed.
We also want to make sure that *everyone* has more freedom, so we support gay people, and transsexual people, and disabled people, and other people who have a hard time at the moment, and we want to make sure they have the same rights as everyone else and can also do what *they* want to with their lives.
The Liberal Democrats have never been in government, although the Liberals were a long, LONG time ago, and Nick Clegg is our leader.

The Green Party want to protect the environment, and to share money out more so poor people have more and rich people have less. They share a lot of the same ideals as the Liberal Democrats, but we think some of the ways they want to do things won’t work properly, while they think we’re too similar to the Conservatives and Labour and not radical enough. The Greens don’t have any Members of Parliament at the moment, but are hoping to get some. Caroline Lucas is their leader.

The Scottish Nationalist Party and Plaid Cymru are nationalists – they believe that Scotland (for the SNP) and Wales (for Plaid Cymru) should become separate countries. As you would imagine, they don’t have many MPs (Scotland and Wales don’t have many people in compared to England), but they both have a lot of members of their respective assemblies (the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly). Alex Salmond leads the SNP, and Ieuan Wyn Jones leads Plaid Cymru.

There are *lots* of smaller parties in Northern Ireland, where the major mainland parties don’t stand. Roughly speaking the Unionist parties (those that want Northern Ireland to stay part of the UK, mostly Protestants) will support the Conservatives in Parliament, while the Republican parties (those that want Northern Ireland to join with the Republic of Ireland, mostly Catholics) will support Labour, but some Republican parties (like Sinn Fein) won’t take their seats in Parliament because you have to swear allegiance to the Queen. The Alliance Party, which tries to work with both communities and bring them together, are formally linked to the Liberal Democrats.

Racist UKIP The official name of this party is the United Kingdom Independence Party, but I refuse to refer to them as anything other than Racist UKIP, because I was threatened with legal action for saying they are racists. Racist UKIP’s policy is mostly centred around not liking foreigners, so they don’t want to be part of the European Union and they want to stop any foreign people coming over here and get rid of some of the ones who already are. Other than that, they’re mostly the same as the Conservatives. Their leader is Lord Pearson Of Rannoch , and they don’t have any MPs in the Commons but do have members in the House of Lords.

The Bastard Nazi Party, officially the British National Party, are a party that formed mainly to hate black people, though in recent years they have branched out and now hate Muslims too. Their leader is DickIbegyourpardonNick Griffin, and they are bastard Nazis. They don’t have any MPs at the moment, and if you vote for them you are scum.

Linkblogging For 28/04/10

Posted in comics, linkblogging, music, politics, science by Andrew Hickey on April 28, 2010

Sorry for lack of actual content – proper posts tomorrow. For now, some links.

First of all, I don’t plan to discuss Brown’s ‘gaffe’ today, where he was polite to a bigot to her face and then grumbled about her behind her back, without realising his mic was still on. It’s the kind of thing that every single politician in Britain has done, and Brown just got caught. It was fun to joke about on Twitter, but it should not have dominated the news in the way it has. This, however, is important. This illustrates exactly why we need to change the rhetoric surrounding immigration. Meanwhile Justin at Chicken Yoghurt shows precisely how disgraceful it is that this disgusting hypocritical war criminal who has destroyed the lives of millions DARES to criticise someone else for bigotry.

(I must look into how you change party policy on immigration, in fact, and work towards getting ours changed. )

David Brothers says what I’ve been saying for a long time about ‘canon’

Laurie Penny reviews a couple of books on the way the Baby Boomers have destroyed their children’s lives.

Tom at It Took Seconds examines John Cage’s 4’33 and also links to this very thorough examination of the piece.

And a good piece from Language Log absolutely demolishing the fallacy that ‘men don’t listen’

Finally, if you’re using Spotify (and yes, unfortunately, the free software clients are still not up to much, so I’m still reliant on the proprietary client – one of only three non-free pieces of software on my machine, along with Inform 7 and the nonfree rar for unpacking cbr files) you can add me to the social whatsists and send me music or something. as well as seeing all my playlists in one place.

My Friend Tilt Thinks I May Have Hit On The Winning Lib Dem Policy

Posted in comics, politics by Andrew Hickey on April 26, 2010

Linkblogging For 26/04/10

Posted in comics, linkblogging, politics by Andrew Hickey on April 26, 2010

Again, apologies to my foreign readers for so much of the current content being political. It’s only going to last until Thursday of next week, when the election happens, though. I promise to spend the whole next four years after that just talking about Batman.

UK Election Trend look at the different possibilities and conclude a Lib/Lab coalition is still most likely, while the Independent says Clegg has ‘hinted he could work with Labour’. James Graham, in Comment Is Free, says the same. Now will you all PLEASE stop screaming about how Clegg is Cameron’s bestest ever friend?

A wonderful thing here – the entrants into a competition for text adventure (‘interactive fiction’) games that had to be written in a total of 140 characters or fewer (except for whitespace). Most are written in Inform 7, but some are in perl, or even sed or awk, and all are playable…

Jim Jepps (a Green) talks about members of other parties he admires – Lib Dems, Labour and far left.

The Honorable Lady Mark wonders which ‘home’ the Bastard Nazi Party want him to go to.

And Grant Morrison talks about the return of Bruce Wayne

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