Monday, September 24, 2018

Mock the week

Dara O'Briain has a weekly rant about Labour supporters complaining of BBC bias. 

I suspect that Labour supporters are not fussed about a satirical show being satirical. The problem is the news programs which have almost universally adopted the Blairite hate campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. 

Andrew Marr was practically alone in trying to report accurately on the NEC retreat over the examples which had been tacked on to a definition of anti-semitism. The examples have been used by the Netanyahu government to forbid any criticism of Israel. 

BBC news has persistently construed opposition to Zionism as "anti-semitism". 

Every time Labour is ahead in the polls the news refers to this as "disappointing". 

Bog-standard Blairites like Alistair Campbell seem to be constantly giving their opinions - as if anybody cared.

And an attack on Jeremy Corbyn is an attack on all socialists

Friday, September 21, 2018

Python moves in a mysterious way.

Consider (or run) the following program:

family = ["Paul", "Nick", "Niall", "Peter", "Michael", "Liz", "Beth"]
print (family)
print (sorted (family), "is defined as the list sorted")
print (max (family), "is defined as max of the list")
print (min (family), "is defined as min of the list")
#one way to make a list
for family in ["Paul", "Nick", "Niall", "Peter", "Michael", "Liz", "Beth"]:
print (family, "is a family member")
#add rafa and theo
family = ["Paul", "Nick", "Niall", "Peter", "Michael", "Liz", "Beth"]
print (family)
print (max (family), "is defined as the new max of the list")
#to be continued

Peter was the max of the family until Theo and Rafa came along!

I am more interested in manipulating strings than numbers. One of the exercises is to write a program to solve quadratic equations. That would be like writing a program to do crosswords or soduko so you have no fun!.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tobias Ellwood

I hate Tories. I think it's in the genes.

However Tobias Ellwood tried to do something useful. That makes him unique among Tories.

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The moon magazine

Did you know that the United States spends more on its military than the next ten nations combined? 

With just 4% of that budget, or $30 billion/year, the UN estimates we could end world hunger. With 20%, or $150 billion/year, we could give every person on Earth safe drinking water and sanitation—simultaneously slashing disease and infant mortality rates and boosting productivity. 

Might providing food, water, and sanitation to the people of the Earth not provide better security than threatening them with ever more horrific weapons?

In fact the article is full of "did you know" moments. Here is another:

U.S. elections are the worst among Western democracies and ranked 52nd, out of 153 countries worldwide in the 2016 Perceptions of Electoral Integrity index. The Perceptions of Electoral Integrity study measures things like how difficult it is to vote; how reliable the vote collection and counting methodology are; how much influence money has in determining outcomes; etc.
There are other possible measures of democracy, of course. Unfortunately, the United States doesn’t fare as grandly as we imagine in any of them. The British-based Legatum Institute ranks the United States 18th overall in “prosperity” and 28th in “personal freedom.” The U.S.-based Cato Institute ranks the United States 24th in “personal freedom” and 11th in “economic freedom.” The Canadian-based World Freedom Index ranks the United States 27th in a combined index of “economic,” “political,” and “press” freedoms. The CIA-funded Polity Data Series gives the U.S. democracy a score of 8 out of 10, but gives 58 other countries a higher score. Finally, researchers at Princeton and Northwestern University conclude that the United States is more accurately identified as an oligarchy, “in which the wealthy elite largely determine government policy,” than a democracy. No doubt most citizens would agree.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018


The gutter press has highlighted the case of a police officer who was disciplined ostensibly for using the phrase "whiter than white". Predictably they called this "political correctness gone mad." The story elicited a knee-jerk response from the far right on social media.

This story is deliberately trivialising the issue of racism in the police force. The number of deaths in custody is at a ten year high. Those who died were disproportionately from ethnic minorities.

The Sun and the Mail decided that death in custody
was not a story. The "whiter than white" one was front page material.

The term "whiter than white" could be used quite innocently or ignorantly but in the context of policing it is designed to raise a snigger from officers who understand full well the intention behind it. According to the BBC black people are four times more likely to be beaten by Met police officers than white people.

The story is here

Socialist Reviews 

Friday, September 14, 2018


West Sussex County Council has announced that from next year they plan to cut their entire Housing Related Support budget, a decision which is likely to mean the closure of every homeless shelter in West Sussex and the loss of support for many vulnerable and elderly residents at home.

This will cost money down the line when the homeless victims of this callous policy develop social and health problems which the Council is legally obliged to deal with.

They blame central government for their disgusting cuts to homeless services. Tory Council blames Tory government. Beelzebub accuses Satan? 

Thank God, Labour are fighting back with a campaign  #supportpeoplenotcuts Charities cannot make up the inevitable shortfall although we know they will do their level best. With the Council stabbing them in the back it will not be easy.

Socialist Reviews 

First Order

Not THAT First Order.

My first order from Bertram Trading Ltd - a major bookshop - arrived yesterday.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Amazon Reviews

Amazon Reviews 

Click here to read more 

Apparently, Amazon does not differentiate between book and other reviews, so you will find a review of my shoes here too!

The Faithful by Juliet West

It is hard to imagine a time when "Fascism" was not synonymous with evil. It is in such a time that this novel is set.

It tells the story both of adherents to the British Union of Fascists and of a young man who turns his back on them to fight against the Spanish Fascists.

Some of the characters have a sympathetic enough reason for supporting Mosley: there is the mother who wanted to save her son from war and calculated that Mosley was the best chance to do so. However, the book also charts the disillusionment of the loyal Fascists and the growing realisation of the consequences of the increasingly racist policies of Mosley's "New Party".

It is a revelation to hear Fascist ideology not couched in foreign accents but in upper-class and even aristocratic British ones. The thuggery of the Blackshirts is not emphasised but rather the reasons for the attraction of Fascism -  the theory that a corporate state would bring an end to class conflict. 

The narrative follows the characters into the Second World War. Suddenly the Nazi bombs weren't falling on Spanish Reds but on British homes. It brought about a different perspective.

The background to the story is factual but the characters are fictitious. It is a book which brings history alive. 

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Chuka Umunna burns his boats

Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party. Chuka Umunna's chum Prince Charles was not elected. The right wing hope to ditch Jeremy Corbyn without the embarrassment of a leadership election. 

70 percent of Daily Mirror readers disagree with Chuka Umunna's assessment of the Labour Party.That is because it is nonsense.

The right made a song and dance about the refusal of the NEC to adopt all the examples tacked on to the international definition of anti-semitism. When the NEC retreated by adopting all the examples, the right just continued with their offensive offensive.

By denouncing Labour as "institutionally racist", Chuka Umunna has burnt his boats. It is clear his future lies with Tony Blair's fictitious moderate party.

I don't know if Tony Blair is thought of as a moderate in Iraq or as a mass-murdering war criminal. It is clear that Chuka Umunna thinks he would be better off with Blair, with the trademark austerity and privatisation of Blairism, than with the Labour Party he calls "dogs". We will just have to manage without him.

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Mary Don't

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