Tag Archive: History


A Few Stray Dogs

‘How much do you think you are worth, boy?/Will anyone stand up and say?/Do you think that your life is worth nothing/Til someone is willing to pay?’ Graham Kendrick.

I just had a real stray dog of a thought, bit of a sick animal.  I was thinking about Nero, playing the fiddle while Rome burned.  I thought maybe he didn’t do the wrong thing.  Maybe it was the right thing to do.  Was there anything else he could have done?

Then I thought wait a minute, he was a ruler.  There must have been something else he could have done?

But we aren’t all Nero, and rulers.  Man, I must be sick.  I’m thinking for some of us it might be exactly the right thing to do.

I think all I really mean is that I wish people wouldn’t pull worst case examples out of the hat and use them to put pressure on people where the comparison is completely inappropriate.

We can pray.  Of course we can pray, if we are religious.  I was going to say Christians then realised Christianity isn’t the only religion that encourages and advocates prayer.

There was a bit of a dialogue going on a few years ago, between ‘prayer changes things’ and ‘prayer changes people’.  The latter position says that, even if your circumstances and situation don’t change when you pray, you will change, and maybe consequently your situation will as well.

I had a conversation on the phone yesterday with a lady from my credit card company.  We got talking about coincidences because the number of my new card was similar to the number of the other new card which I didn’t receive.  I asked her if she had unsettling coincidences in her life as I had in mine, and we mentioned phone numbers. She said that her phone number was almost the same as her friend’s number, but with the numbers reversed.  I told her about my Skype number, and that one of the options offered was the first three numbers of my landline followed by the last four of my critical method lecturer’s phone number.  I rejected it, just stopped trying to get a number, then decided I’d quite like it, but when I looked again a few seconds later, it was no longer available.  Strange.  Instead I ended up with another one, which had the first two numbers of the last part of his number reversed, and the last two numbers of the last part of his number reversed, all in the last part of my number.

That number has lapsed now, I might have to start with a new one.

So I’m assuming a lot of people are subject to these ‘coincidences’.  Coincidences?  And what are they doing to our minds?  And what aberations are they causing in our behaviour and reasoning?

I’m thinking about the marches and demonstrations.  Maybe I shouldn’t be.  But is that really the best and most effective and responsible way to express discontent and dissatisfaction?  Especially in the internet age, when networking and communication about these things can be obvious and open, as a march is.  Surely internet action could be given the same kind of news coverage as a march? I think it should be.  For a start, there were thousands of police at the march yesterday, and have been and will be in attendance at other marches and demonstrations.  That is thousands of man hours and probably tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pounds.  Does that help us economically?  Or does it add an extra drain?

I wouldn’t like to condone violence and damage to property in demonstrations, but I do realise there is discontent among us, the little people, at the bottom of the pile, while the big business and banking employers march off with tons of wealth. Sometimes anger comes out violently, with everyone, to some degree or other.

I think the news agencies need to make a big shift away from the sensationalism of demonstrations and that internet action needs to be highlighted instead and positively encouraged as an alternative.  And if people want a family fun day out, maybe a march isn’t the best thing?  Perhaps something which would add immediately to the quality of their lives and maybe to the economy would be better?

That isn’t a stray dog, and I didn’t have this in mind when I started, but I think it is a brilliant and responsible and progressive idea and am sure other people must have had it as well.

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Question Time 28/10/10, BBC1

This is the link to the recording on BBC iPlayer.  It should be available until about 11.30 tonight, but I’m not sure, as the availability information on the site is inaccurate.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vn1d0/Question_Time_28_10_2010/

Please download it and you will have it for another 30 days, thereabouts.  Or record it, using whatever device you have.  I use Replay Media Catcher from Applian.com.  It doesn’t always catch immediately, when it does you will know because it will have ‘mp4’ in the streaming information.  Until then it isn’t capturing.  I don’t know if it is the device or my computer.  You need to refresh the page to start again.

The reason I am drawing your attention to this is that it features the historian I wrote about in my first post in May, Simon Schama.  He is now the advisor to the government on the teaching of history.  Given that he, along with his media colleagues, have been involved in a political cover up, I personally find this concerning.

I will edit this later with the original audio I managed to capture from that programme 6 months ago, if at that point my blog still exists.  I am anxious to get this posted now though, so that those of you following my blog, if you are reading before you go out to work or whatever (I’m sure there must STILL be some people who approach the day that way), you might be able to get this copied or downloaded or at least have all day to be ready to do so.  I think it is important.  I have been aware of enough involvement around myself, or involving myself, at least, to believe this is significant for reasons this particular blog has not made you aware of, though I still have the copies from my Premier blog which was closed down.

Please take this seriously and get the recording.  I will add more later.  If you are outside of the UK you will need to acquire a UK computer number, it’s called unlocking your VPN.  It is completely legal, as is everything else I have suggested in this post, according to the people who sell it.  Enter the terms in a search engine and find what suits you.  There are some which specify that they unlock iPlayer, among other things.  I suggest you make sure you know this before you purchase.  The company I use has a download cap of 2gb per day, though you don’t physically lose the ability to download at that point.  You may wish to find another.

I like what I have seen of Simon, though I did find myself outraged by the deliberate and studied childlike flutter of his eyelashes as he was introduced.  Everyone on TV does that, though.  In this programme he is constantly working at developing and maintaining a persona, which appears awfully scatty and expansive.  He is referring to and replicating the style (or lack thereof) ofmy blog, and assigning a completely false personality and motivation to the way I communicate, and saying I am not a credible witness, because I am morally disgusting and not a reliable source of information either.   I assume he is doing it to protect himself, but I don’t know, obviously, not having spoken to him.  But when I email, people don’t respond.  So here I am feeling disgusting and blogging instead.  David Dimbleby keeps referring to him as an adviser to the government, and after one of the later references he makes, Simon responds with a Shakespearean gesture which immediately put me in mind of the speech from Julius Caesar, ‘I come not to praise Caesar, but to bury him’.  It would be awfully patronising of me to think of someone as being sweet and vulnerable just because they are small in physical stature.  I’m only 5’1″ myself.  But my impression 6 months ago was that Simon only let slip by accident something they were all aware of and were involved in, at least on the Newsnight programme, and they were all angry with him and embarrassed, and are they testing me and my reaction, or are they really out to make Simon the sacrificial lamb, or scapegoat?  They ALL KNEW this.  He was just unguarded in mentioning that he knew the day that Gordon Brown was going to resign.  But their reaction said very clearly that they all knew.  The two days’ lead up to the resignation was nothing more than theatre, whatever the motive for that.  But the media already knew.  I’m repeating it to try and get my own mind to deal with it and stop the flashes of light which say ‘told you, the media is a propaganda organ, nothing more nor less’.

Unless someone wipes it from my computer, I have my own permanent copy of the programme which I will send to anyone who asks for it.  WordPress has an independent internal messaging system independent of the comments facility and you can contact me that way.  I think you need your own account, but I’m not sure.  Signing is very simple, though, it only needs your email address, and you might not even need to register a blog, but if you do, you can keep all of it, or any parts you want, in private mode.  So don’t let that put you off.

Have a nice day!  I mean it, that’s a sincere wish.

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