miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
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
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Arachnia Janeway)
[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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[personal profile] miss_s_b
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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missdiane: (Sound of Music Hot nun action)
[personal profile] missdiane
Some things you dismiss but they'll inevitably come cropping back up to nag at your brain. Short background: they are trenching around the outside of our building at work and there are a crew of guys that put sailors to shame with their cussing and aren't exactly the most eye-candy worthy of dudes (Joe quipped that Larry the Cable Guy was working and man, one of them really was a spitting image lol). 

Anyway, yesterday something Elaine said just kind of got under my skin, though it's something that's my issue. She joked that none of the guys outside are at all good looking enough to bother to tell our work friend Latisha to check out. The reason that it got me is that folks don't ever ask about that aspect of me. Whether I've been married (I think they're rather aware that I haven't), whether I've been in a long term relationship (I think they're assuming I haven't, which they would be correct), or whether I've been in a short term relationship (fyi, nope, nothing there either). I know I've mentioned about some actor or something being a hottie and such, but I guess it makes me wonder why no one asks. 

It's funny because I don't even really want anyone to ask because it's embarrassing but it makes me feel like there's something perceived as wrong with me since no one broaches ever the subject at all. I gave up on the concept of bothering to make any attempts at that stuff years ago but ages of social norms are difficult to completely dismiss. 

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
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Arachnia Janeway)
[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.

A little before and after

Jun. 18th, 2017 02:40 pm
missdiane: (Kitty checking out bird)
[personal profile] missdiane
The room upstairs that's going to be the hangout space/media room was pretty ugly and the carpet was horrible. I should've taken an even bigger picture of the hideous carpet.


Looks like there needs to be some touch-ups around the bottom due to having to clean up black carpet backing crud and the outlet covers need restored but other than that the room is starting to look MUCH more cheerful and clean. Emily got carpet tiles to have a base and her parents have plenty of area rugs to put on top to make it even more cozy. For as much work as everything has been, it was nice to see such good results. I wish we'd taken before pictures of the other rooms but none of them were all that dramatic of makeovers




missdiane: (Handbasket)
[personal profile] missdiane
Well certainly not the Father's Day any of us were hoping for, that's for sure. Got a call from Mom last night who was freaking out because Dad was dizzy (he does get spells) and it was getting worse and what should they do. Those calls drive me nuts because what the hell am I supposed to do from two states away? GO TO THE HOSPITAL (and good grief don't drive yourself there). 

Fortunately Mom was able to get the next door neighbor to take him and Sis and her hubby drove up too. What we suspect, which seems like is the case is that Dad the Doofus is severely dehydrated. He's one of those people that you have to constantly lecture to drink anything. His BP was still high after a few hours so they've kept him overnight. I called him this morning and he seemed tired but in good spirits. How anyone ever improves in a hospital when they're pestering you every few hours for blood and tests is beyond me. He had breakfast, which he said was actually really good and he grumbled when they asked him to make a lunch order since he wants to go home. I told him he needs to suck it up and stay through lunch so they can continue to make sure his BP gradually goes down. Sounds like he's going to have go to on meds at least for a while. He doesn't like that either but hey, you know what would have probably made it so you didn't have to? Drink water, dorkman.

I haven't called Mom to check on her yet because Dad said when he talked to her before me that she hadn't slept and he told her to go sleep so I'll pester her in maybe an hour or so.

Aside from that discomforting news, I've been super busy with helping Emily get the house painted and such. Her parents are still slated to move this week but need to confirm with the movers. Her family is still working but I've very much run out of steam since I was there painting on my day off on Friday until I had to go to the dermatologist in the afternoon (naturally I have a dodgy looking mole where the bra strap hits that I'm sure will be cancer because it's in a very inconvenient place). Yesterday morning Emily and I painted some more until I went in the afternoon to a vegan expo with my friend Michelle. Hopefully all goes well with her parents move this week since I know I'd be a mess trying to help move mine if the situation were reversed.

Ok, need to get moving and get some groceries for the week - things that I don't have to cook, preferably since the weather is hot and swampy.

The Blood is the Life for 18-06-2017

Jun. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
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The Blood is the Life for 17-06-2017

Jun. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Summer drinks?

Jun. 15th, 2017 01:26 pm
missdiane: (Minions - Agnes Big Eyes)
[personal profile] missdiane
I'm getting bored with plain water but since it's summer, hydration is key. Someone posted this on the food porn forum on FB I belong to and it looked interesting. Has anyone ever tried Switchel or Haymaker's Punch like this

Another thing I might do is get out the ol' infusion pitcher and do things like cinnamon and ginger water or strawberry mint. I also might get some raspberry syrup to add to iced tea. 

Anyone have recommendations for the best lemonade to buy? I'd make it but DANG do you have to use a ton of lemons to make a little lemonade. Not cost effective

Other ideas - non boozy and lightly boozy welcome. 

Tangentially related - just for fun, when I took all my glass down from above the kitchen cabinets and cleaned them, I decided to hang on to one of the depression glass sets and am using it for the morning coffee and cookie/biscotti

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
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
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?

The Blood is the Life for 14-06-2017

Jun. 14th, 2017 11:00 am
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miss_s_b: (Mood: Facepalm)
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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.

Keeping it green

Jun. 13th, 2017 08:39 am
missdiane: (Kitty checking out bird)
[personal profile] missdiane
[livejournal.com profile] spikesgirl58 brought up a good point on my previous post about turning old malls into living areas. There are places in cities where it's an all-in-one deal of living space, work space, shopping space where people don't need to leave and she's concerned about folks not getting outside. Fair point. Very fair.

However, there are solutions which cities are getting behind. It's called Urban Forestry. I know well about it because our folks do research on it and even have an entire curriculum about it. (Personal note...hm...looks like I need to poke Jason and his crew about getting the research stuff up on that site. tsk tsk!)

The experience that I've had - aside from good ol' Central Park in NYC is I've visited the High Line there too where they've taken an old railway line on the West Side of Manhattan and turned it into a rambling park. It is SUPER cool to be able to go from all the hustle and bustle down at street level and go up and walk along all the greenspace. More big cities are "going green" and finally getting around to recognizing the importance of having gardens, flowers, trees and just even grass for people to enjoy. I hear about kids that grew up in the city that have never been able to lie in grass. Even in places like Detroit, it's happening

Here's hoping that the trend keeps going. Literally a "grassroots" movement at its finest.
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Here's my current top ten:
  1. Jen Williams - I'm with Gadsden on this, Jen is the best political journalist in the UK right now. Mancunian focus, but covers national stuff too. Forensic with information, and does proper investigative journalism as well as straight reporting. If you only follow one from this list, make it Jen.

  2. Marina Hyde - absolutely brutal yet hilariously funny political columnist. I've never yet read a Marina column that didn't make me laugh, then think, then laugh again.

  3. Samira Ahmed - freelancer who pops up all over the place, often Radio 4. Her twitter feed is exactly the kind of blend of politics and geekery I adore - her recent visit to Bamber Gascoigne's house was a delight. Often connects geekery with politics, which is fab.

  4. Rosamund Urwin - Jobbing journo, mostly writing for the Evening Standard. Excellent spotter of details, possibly because she's just as much of a politics geek as those of us in it up to our eyeballs, and is therefore paying more attention and getting more right than many of the lobby hacks.

  5. Jessica Elgot - Grauniad politics correspondent. Jessica is where I go for straight Westminster bubble news, as it happens.

  6. Judith Moritz - BBC North of England correspondent. Was astoundingly good on Hillsborough, among other things.

  7. Susan Hulme - presents Today In/Yesterday In Parliament on Radio 4. Excellent coverage of stories some others don't pick up - recent example being the gay concentration camps in Chechnya.

  8. Isabel Hardman - writes for the Speccy on politics. Also very good on mental health issues. Not to be confused with Oakeshott, who is Wrong Isabel. Don't follow Wrong Isabel.

  9. Joanne Douglas - Yorkshire politics, with a focus on West Yorkshire, especially Huddersfield. Like Jen Williams, Joanne digs deeper and goes harder than most local paper political journos.

  10. Helen Pidd - Grauniad North of England correspondent. So dedicated to the depth of stories is she that she took in a Syrian refugee last year.
Yes, this is C&Ped and edited slightly from an earlier entry. And you're going to keep getting it until people pay more attention to the ladies on this list, and less to the ill-informed cishetabledwhitemale lobby hacks that dominate political commentary in this country.
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