The Blood is the Life for 25-06-2017

Jun. 25th, 2017 11:00 am
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The Blood is the Life for 24-06-2017

Jun. 24th, 2017 11:00 am
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Well it's not Watergate....

Jun. 24th, 2017 08:30 am
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[personal profile] legionseagle
...except in the sense of the cover-up being worse than the original offence, but the strange goings on at Holman Fenwick and Willan's Christmas Quiz have livened up what was otherwise a rather dull crop of stories over at Roll on Friday.

(The most interesting thing which happened recently in the legal world prior to Quizgate was the merger between Bond Dickinson, a firm memorable for one associate complaining that "I have more chance of being savaged to death in the gents loos by a walrus than I have of making partner at Bond Dickinson" during a RoF Quality of Legal Life survey, and Womble Carlyle , a US firm, creating a "transatlantic giant" to be called Womble Dickinson which, as per a lawyer I bumped into at a recent course on digital rights confirmed, is as a result in the middle of a mass exodus of talent, since it's bad enough being expected to work US legal hours on a UK legal salary, but having all your peers at other firms singing, "Remember you're a womble" at you on every conceivable opportunity puts the cherry on top of the shit sundae.)

Anyway, Holman Fenwick are a traditional shipping firm, and those always have a bit of a reputation for excessive machismo, especially the "wet" shipping specialists, and as per people chipping in in comments, the partner in question has the reputation of being the biggest wanker in a tough field. When his team won the Christmas quiz by a large margin, it was whispered in the ears of HR that there might have been dirty work at the crossroads, and, indeed, it transpired that the quiz question and answer document had been opened on said partner's computer hours before the quiz commenced.*

Where things then took a turn for the worse is that the partner alleged that it wasn't him, squire, his computer must have been hacked. And while cheating on the Christmas quiz barely registers on the list of batty things I've heard of partners in law firms doing in my thirty-odd years in this profession (in no particular order, these include but are not limited to: ordering one's trainee to iron one's jodhpurs in time for hunting at the weekend, throwing a Company seal at the head of a trainee, ordering a trainee to mouth-siphon petrol out of another car in the office carpark during a fuel shortage, resulting in hospitalisation of said trainee, asking a dark-skinned and a light-skinned secretary at a Christmas party, "Well, girls, how do you feel about cafe-au-lait?", inviting two interviewees to a brothel as soon as the interview had finished with the words, "Well, now that's over, let's go and get our nobs polished" ....) allegations of hacking into partnerial computers** get the IT team really interested, officially because it threatens the integrity of client communications, but really I suspect because it gives them a chance to give the thing a right going over in the hope of being able to go "Good God, I'm glad you brought us in. The same person who framed you for the Christmas quiz must have also tried to frame you for the possession of porn! Look, this file here --and here -- and here -- there's terrabytes of the stuff! We'll have to extend the search to all your mobile devices too, I'm afraid."

Anyway, I'm going with "watch this space."



*HFM clearly take a Kingscote-like approach to security of examination questions and the like. It would never have happened in the Airedale Quiz league, in which I played for about five years.

** Which is usually like taking candy from a baby, tbf; I once many years ago took advantage of the habit one of our partners had of leaving his computer logged on and unlocked while he went off on hours-long gossip sessions with the other team partners to send round an email warning the department of the dangers of leaving one's computer logged on and unattended, and then departed on holiday before the fallout happened.

The Blood is the Life for 23-06-2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
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miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
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Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

You'll note that Norman Lamb has moved from probably standing to definitely not standing. He announced this with rather petulant article in the Grauniad, in which (among other things) he proclaimed the Lib Dems' second referendum policy as toxic. Now I agree, it is toxic. "First we'll negotiate brexit, then we'll set up a referendum, then we'll campaign against the deal we ourselves negotiated!" is an utterly ridiculous policy. The problem is, it was only in the sodding manifesto due to the insistence of people on the rump brexity wing of the party, of which Norman Lamb is definitely one. This was as far as the rest of the party, who just wanted "we will stop brexit" to be the manifesto position, could be dragged. Policy making by committee often comes up with soggy centrist compromises, and often that's a good thing and satisfies most people, but sometimes it's patently rubbish. This time was the latter. What I don't get is Captain Brexit blaming the rest of the party for it. Well, I do. He'd like us to embrace brexit. And that is not going to happen.

Anyway, the rest of the article sticks the boot in to members in various other ways, and alludes to, but doesn't actually acknowledge, the problems autistic people have with the idea of Norman as a leader, and frankly, just makes me glad he's not standing. At least he has the self-knowledge to know he's not right to lead the party as it currently is, even if he declares it in a rather Skinnerian way.

Principal Skinner asks a pertinent question

So the only likely runner at this point undeclared is Ed Davey. And there will be siren idiots voices whispering in his ear, saying:
Don't stand, Ed. Leadership elections are expensive, Ed. They are divisive and set party members up against each other, ed. It'd be easier all round just to crown Vince, Ed. You don't want the hassle, Ed. The party doesn't want the hassle, Ed. Lets just have a coronation, Ed.
To which I say, pish, tosh, bunkum, bollocks, and bullshit.

Yes, leadership elections are divisive, and do set members up against each other, and sometimes even cause resentments. Do you know what's even more divisive, and causes even more resentments? Not letting Lib Dems have democracy. Not letting us scrutinise each candidate and come to a decision on merit. Not having hustings at which we can put questions to candidates and examine their views and records and promises. Imposing a leader on us without us having a say. I can guarantee you that while a leadership election might be divisive, it's nowhere near as divisive as a coronation.

Now, Ed Davey told one of the BBC politics correspondents (I think Norman Smith) the other day that he would declare whether or not he was standing "on Thursday or Friday". He didn't declare yesterday. I'm hoping he declares he's standing today.

And if you'd told me last month I'd be crossing my fingers for Ed Davey to run in a leadership election, I'd have thought you insane in the membrane, crazy insane, got no brain. Just goes to show what a funny old world it is...

The Blood is the Life for 22-06-2017

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
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Is £70,000 a year rich?

Jun. 21st, 2017 03:35 pm
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
I think the argument boils down to two things: what you earn, and what you picture in your head as a rich person's lifestyle.

£70,000 is in the 95th percentile for personal income. This means that if you earn £70,000 you earn more than 94% (or thereabouts) of people. If you're earning more than 94% of your fellow countrymen, you ought to be rich, right? Like, if you're better off than the vast, vast majority of people, you should feel well off, or else how must the poor buggers on less than you feel?

The problem is, of course, that £70,000 doesn't actually buy that much these days. Like, it won't get you a mortgage on a decent house anywhere in the home counties. It won't buy you a new car and a couple of holidays every year after housing costs. It won't pay school fees for your little ones to go to private school once you've paid for housing costs either. £70,000 a year doesn't feel rich; and that's what the problem is.

If you look at the lifestyles our parents had, well, this is what my parents did in the 80s:
  • owned a home
  • bought a new car every two years
  • didn't go on foreign holidays but DID send me to private school
  • were in the pub three nights a week
etc., etc.

Now, I'm not saying they didn't work for that: they did. My dad had two full time jobs (mild mannered biology teacher by day, superchef by night) and my mum worked 9-5 too. They worked bloody hard. But the same amount of work in the same jobs these days would get you, if you were lucky:
  • a rented house that is one of three poky little Barratt boxes built in the back garden of the kind of house your parents owned
  • a second hand banger that you run till it dies, or a bus/rail pass
  • a cheap holiday for now, but only until brexit happens and then we have to pay visa fees and the exchange rate is knackered and oh look we can only afford Butlins
  • Pre-loading because the pubs are so bloody expensive, thank you alcohol duty escalator
Now most of the people I see arguing about this are either saying "£70k is mega rich, you're in the 95th percentile FFS" or "£70k is not that rich when you consider what you can buy" but not many are following both thoughts through.

How bloody scandalous is it that even if you're in the 95th percentile you are still struggling, and you are well worse off than your parents would have been on an equivalent income adjusted for inflation etc.? If 95% of the country is not getting a good enough income, that's a bloody disgrace and somebody ought to do something about it.

Anybody know any politicians?
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The relevant part (and the reason why I am posting this) will also be made bigger and bolder for those hard of thinking people. I thought I'd post the whole thing again though, just because it's periodically useful to do so.

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The Blood is the Life for 21-06-2017

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:00 am
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Happy Solstice

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:16 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
... especially to all those of us who fear the filthy day star and can now look forward to inexorably encroaching cool soft darkness for the next 6 whole months :)
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... and to nobody's surprise it is Vince Cable.

I like Vince, as a person. I like his stance on bees. I like his dancing.

None of those three things makes him suitable to be leader of the party, though. I mean, yes, he's got long service. And he did that one joke when he was acting leader that one time. But I'd really like something more than that to enthuse about in a potential leader.

Plus, there's all the things that make him unsuitable to be leader:
  • He's not a liberal, he's a technocratic centrist. This is fine if you are (shadow) chancellor; commendable, even. It's not acceptable in the leader. The leader needs to inspire. Technocratic centrism is the opposite of inspirational.

  • His stance on brexit is... at odds with the majority of the party's members and voters is probably the kindest way of putting it, and is already bringing out the "but we must appease the racists! We can't tell people they are wrong!" faction. If he wins, and maintains this stance, I predict a halving of our membership in pretty short order.

  • Tuition fees. OK, so he's not entirely to blame for the policy cock up (all those of us who voted for coalition, myself included, must take out share of that blame) but he is the person responsible for the catastrophic mishandling of the implementation and representation of it, and a big part of the reason Labour, why a party which introduced and then trebled tuition fees, can still point at them like an albatross round our necks.

  • The British Press, bless them, are not known for their nuance and balance. His name will be "Sir Vince Cable, the man who privatised the mail" - whether he wins the leadership or not, tbh.

  • Ten years ago he declared that by his own reckoning, he was too old. I do not believe he has got younger in that time.
All that said? I'll give him a fair hearing at hustings. He'll have his chance to impress me. I just don't see him doing it.

So far, to my knowledge, the field looks like this:

Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Norman Lamb, Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

If anyone else declares that they are definitely standing I shall go into my reasons further, but based on Ds&Ps, and subject to persuasion at hustings, I expect my ballot to look like this:
  1. RON
  2. Davey
  3. Cable
  4. resigning from the party
  5. Lamb
There has been talk that there might be an online ballot this time, rather than a paper one. If that is the case I shall lobby very hard indeed for it to have at least one free text box for write in candidates and/or voting RON. Voters should be able to express their displeasure at the options on the ballot on any and every ballot, this one included.

The Blood is the Life for 18-06-2017

Jun. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
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(no subject)

Jun. 17th, 2017 10:22 pm
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Dr Who is so much better without shit mummified monks in it.

The Blood is the Life for 17-06-2017

Jun. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
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The Blood is the Life for 15-06-2017

Jun. 15th, 2017 11:00 am
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On Circular Firing Squads

Jun. 15th, 2017 09:31 am
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One of the most depressingly predictable things about the lib dems is if/when a leader gets pushed out, the circular firing squad immediately forms.

This morning lots of people I care about are screaming "it's all YOUR fault, you bastards!" at each other, in an extremely unhelpful way. They probably all have something of a point, if I'm honest. But hurling insults at each other is just hurtful. And some of the rank hypocrisy on display from people who are saying things to the effect of "wah, those arseholes are being mean to me, when all I said was Tim Farron/Jo Swinson/Vince Cable/Brian Paddick should be eviscerated with pointy spoons and have acid poured in the wound" is frankly turning my stomach.

And we haven't even started the leadership election yet...

* sigh *

Shall we have a nice chorus of Wouldn't It Be Nice If Everyone Was Nice?

In praise of the emergency services

Jun. 14th, 2017 08:35 pm
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Kipling said it best:

The Sons of Martha


THE Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary's Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

They say to mountains, " Be ye removèd" They say to the lesser floods " Be dry."
Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd - they are not afraid of that which is high.
Then do the hill tops shake to the summit - then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

They finger death at their gloves' end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
They are concerned with matters hidden - under the earthline their altars are
The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city's drouth.

They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
They do not teach that His Pity allows them to leave their job when they damn-well choose.
As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren's days may be long in the land.

Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
Lo, it is black already with blood some Son of Martha spilled for that !
Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd - they know the angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the Feet - they hear the Word - they see how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and - the Lord He lays it on Martha's Sons !



By the way, Tim Farron, couldn't you have put off your politico-religious crisis until tomorrow? Respect, man. And speaking of religion, it seems that the death toll in what Monica Galetti (who is helping co-ordinate help and support efforts via Twitter) referred to as "Grendel Towers", would have been even higher than what it will undoubtedly be had it not been for the fact that it's Ramadan in June in latitudes 51 degrees north and counting, and so the local Muslims were awake and helped rouse everyone they could*, also sending water and other stuff from the nearby mosque.


*The tower residents report that the alarms did not work and neighbours hammering on doors was the best and first alarm they got.

The Blood is the Life for 14-06-2017

Jun. 14th, 2017 11:00 am
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Having blogged recently about how nice it's been the last couple of years not having to post about the stupid decisions Our Glorious Leader has taken twice a week, every week, I had this drawn to my attention this morning.

I'm sorry, Tim, but what are you DOING? The absolute worst possible thing you can do right now is water down our position on brexit. It's a colossal national act of self harm, in ten years' time you won't be able to find anybody who will admit to having supported it, our membership and voters are massively against it, and you want to tie us to it? Have you gone COMPLETELY Tonto? Why are you spouting the brexiteers ridiculous "will of the people" line? It doesn't make you look grown up, it makes you look weak and stupid.

Our USP at the moment, the one thing we have going for us, is that we are solidly anti-brexit. We already watered it down far too much in the manifesto. And you're throwing even that away? For what? We're not going to get any positive press for it, the press are uniformly hostile whatever we do. The only press we will get out of this is "See? Brexit is inevitable! Even the Lib Dems support it now!" That's not going to attract new members and supporters, in fact it will drive away lots of the existing ones.

And worst of all, it proves all our critics right: we look like weak, unprincipled fence-sitters.

Honestly, what is it with the lib dem instinct to, every time we manage to get a USP, throw it away? I'll never bloody understand it.
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