Sunday, May 17, 2020

17 May in Liberal England history

I enjoyed doing this for 18 April - whether my readers enjoyed it as much is another question - so here is a survey of what has concerned this blog down the years on 17 May.


Hard times in the Shropshire hills. Stiperstones primary school was to close and Bishop's Castle residents were planning to block the road in a protest against bus cuts.


I previewed A Very British Scandal as the first episode was about to be shown.


"Boris Johnson moos 'like a cow' and devours cakes on bakery visit" ran my Headline of the Day.

You can't say we weren't warned.


Talking of Boris Johnson, I blogged about his failure when mayor to publish a report on air pollution near London' schools.


Included in a Six of the Best, Down at Third Man was worrying about the future of English cricket:
"The players coming in during the next few years come from a generation deprived of free to air cricket. This generation will have come in on the echoes. Soon it will be a privileged generation: in the main sons/daughters of club cricketers and sons of parents able to afford a very expensive education, or sons able to win scholarships to such institutions."


I went to Woodhouse Eaves, which had once been a sort of health resort in Leicestershire's Charnwood Forest:
Today, the first hot day of the year, the countryside was alive with hikers and Scouts, giving it something of the atmosphere of its 1930s heyday.


UKIP supporters, I suggested, were not that keen on the UK. They were English Nationalists.


I quoted Christopher Hitchens and his praise for Karl Popper's insistence on the importance of argument:
It is very seldom, as he noticed, that in debate any one of two evenly matched antagonists will succeed in actually convincing or "converting" the other. But it is equally seldom that in a properly conducted argument either antagonist will end upholding exactly the same position as that with which he began.


Lord Bonkers reacted to the headline "Fox blasts British overseas aid plan":
It was clearly set out in the Coalition agreement. Now clear off down the garden and leave our dustbins alone.


I quoted something I had written for the Guardian website back in 2006 (when it paid much better than it does today):
When [Charles] Kennedy stood for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 1999, the West Highland Free Press - a radical newspaper published in his own constituency - remarked that people in London were beginning to ask what it had been asking for 15 years: what exactly does Charles Kennedy stand for? 
Though he won that contest and went on to lead the party for nearly seven years, we never really found out.


Those were the days. I wrote seven posts on 17 May 2009 and most of them were about politics.

In one of them I argued that:
the causes of the anger over MPs' expenses go beyond indignation at what has been done with our money. That anger is so great because this affair has laid bare what an unequal society we now live in.


Michael Gove wanted to tell teachers what they should wear:
No doubt this is meant to appeal to Tory voters who like tradition, but in reality there is little tradition of teachers dressing smartly. The traditional dress for teachers was the academic gown, which was designed precisely to distance education from the world where a good business suit matters. 
Less grand teachers wore a tweed jacket with leather patches and a worried expression.


Embed from Getty Images

I asked why people could not forgive Ming Campbell for being old:
If a comedian or journalist had made similar reference to the fact that a politician was a woman or was gay or was Black, it would have finished that comedian or journalist's career. Yet in our society it is perfectly acceptable to make fun of people for being old.

The idea that the state should decide the speed at which people walk their dogs is ridiculous.
I still hold that view today.


there is a law that people accuse others of the faults they most fear in themselves, much as those who make most fuss about homosexuality are supposed to be repressed homosexuals themselves.


Iraq Body Count estimated the number of civilian deaths in the country since the start of the invasion at somewhere between 9,148 and 11,005

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