Monday, 24 June 2019

Money for Old Rope

We went browsing in Nailsworth yesterday and visited a shop called Domestic Science. They have all manner of weird and wonderful things, mostly priced for the Cotswold Set.

I spotted this:

Is this, perhaps, where the expression money for old rope came from?

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Mike Oldfield's Wall of Death

Went to the Bristol Classic Car Show yesterday with a mate - it isn't in Bristol but at Shepton Mallett, near the Glaso site. Obviously it must at one time have been in Bristol. I won't bore you with images of classic cars, but I will show you a photo from the car park that amused me...

Also a photo of one of the entertainments at the show, which has given me an idea for next year's Old Sodbury Village Day...

I need volunteers though...

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Consequences of Getting Older

I'm usually first into work in the mornings, getting in just after 7am, between half to one hour before everyone else, meaning I open up the place. Yesterday I approached the front door, having both arms full of equipment and my keys in my right hand. As I approached the door I blipped my car key fob at the door and was rather surprised that the door didn't open. It then suddenly dawned on me what I'd done.

It was my eldest grandson's 7th birthday on Thursday and I bought him a fancy kids' watch from Amazon. Somehow I managed to order two of the damned things by accident and there isn't another grandchild's birthday till the end of the year.

I suppose it will grown on me. I'm certainly not paying £3.99 for the privilege of sending it back to Amazon.

Friday, 21 June 2019


Spotted this in a newspaper article last weekend:

"We are about to have yet another Old Etonian prime minister, chosen for us by an ageing, Jag-driving, 19th-hole-bothering Conservative gerontocracy with an imperial twitch and a growing passion for a no-deal Brexit. 

"The Old Etonian in question is the most cartoonish example of the caste: an entitled, amoral chancer who has repeatedly and flagrantly proved himself unfit for office. His sole qualifications appear to be impermeable self-confidence, a schoolboyish sense of destiny, and a character act that even Richard Curtis would have rejected as a half-worked cartoonist’s doodle."

A succinct description of Boris Johnson, who does not portray a single, traditional, Conservative attribute or value. If the Tory membership elect him, then a majority of them will have proven themselves an amoral bunch who are prepared to cast principle to the wind in pursuit (mistakenly, in my opinion, as he will not want to be remembered for being the PM who oversaw the dissolution of the Union) of their treasured Brexit - a Brexit that none can articulate the benefit of and are increasing admitting will be disastrous to the economy and jobs by virtue of the narrative having changed to 'the pain will be worth it'. Again, exactly how it will be worth it is left unanswered.

Brexiteers are fixated on principles in their arguments about Brexit - mainly the principle of sovereignty (although it only became that when all the other arguments were debunked), which they don't appear to understand when many bandy about words like 'traitors' in respect of the sovereignty of Parliament and the judiciary - yet principle will be the last thing on their minds if Boris is elected PM. There's the fishy stench of hypocrisy about their principles, especially when the only truth-teller and pragmatist among the candidates was eliminated at the 2nd vote.

Boris, thank heavens, doesn't have the drive, determination or work ethic to become a fascist leader (and we are increasingly slipping down the road toward a form of populist, anti-intellectual, right-wing fascism), but should he forge a pact with Farage in order to save the Tory party from well-deserved decimation, then he had better beware, as he will be cast aside in a coup by someone more cold, cunning and calculating.

In the words of George Santayana; "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Human Rights & Vaccines

Article 2 of \Schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act states:

Article 2: Right to life

1. Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which the penalty is provided by law.

2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:

a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence in order to effect a lawful arrest or
b) to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained, and
c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.

Now it can be argued that not vaccinating your kids can put the lives of others at risk, which is an argument for compulsory vaccination. However, some people react badly to vaccines and there have been cases of death or severe disability resulting from vaccination. Six million British people, mostly children, received the Swine Flu vaccine but tragically, 60 people in the UK suffered side effects, committing them to an incurable and lifelong condition. In Belgium you can jail for not vaccinating your children against polio.

It has been argued that compulsory vaccination contravenes the Human Rights Act and it's not hard to see why.

Again, especially in these days of the anti-vaxxer movement, the subject of human rights is a minefield with competing rights.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Human Rights

Continuing yesterday's thread of thought regarding Azimov's Laws of Robotics as pertaining to Human Rights; if the right to life is the first in an hierarchy of basic human rights, then that presupposes that the right to defend your life trumps someone else's right to life in the instance of your life being put in danger by someone else, such as in an attack.

Should any hierarchy not then start as follows:

  1. A right to defend your life.
  2. A right to life, except where it would conflict with the First Human Right.

In other words, someone gives up their right to life if their action results in your life being threatened by them. A justification for defensive war.

The right to defend your life would impact any rights pertaining to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. A veritable Zeroth Human Right?

Take, for example, any right to worship as you see fit. In some instances that may, depending on the religion one chooses, conflict with someone else's right to life. Therefore any right to worship should be subject to an exclusion in the instance of it affecting someone else's right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It is worth noting that many Islamic countries have their own version of human rights, but only insofar as they conform to sharia, which is a massive get-out clause.

The whole area is fraught with conundrums and nothing is as simple as it first looks. More tomorrow on lawful violence, which is no more than the violence of the majority...

Analyse and discuss....

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Free Speech

Some favour unrestricted free speech, others favour free speech within the confines of the law and others believe in free speech providing it adheres to cultural norms, which change with time.

I've been thinking about free speech for some time and am coming to the conclusion that what is permitted in free speech has to bound up with basic human rights.

Azimov's Laws of Robotics are worth quoting, including the Zeroth Law, which was a later addition.

0) A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. 

1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 

2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 

3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

The interesting thing about these laws is that they are set out in an hierarchy and provide guidance in the form of what happens in the case of conflict with other laws. This made me consider whether human rights should have the same hierarchy.

If one reads the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are 30 articles with not a hint of an hierarchy and hence there is scope for conflict between rights, which is where problems lie in regards to free speech.

I believe the starting point for any revised list of human rights should start with the right to life and any subsequent right should only be accepted on condition that it does not conflict with the right to life, etc., etc,.

I just performed a quick Google search on Hierarchy of Human Rights and found this interesting piece, which is worth a read.

Analyse and discuss...

Monday, 17 June 2019

Acton Court

Living not 10 minutes away, yesterday we decided to visit Acton Court, an old manor house dating from the 14th century and once belonging to the Poyntz family.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers

Stocked up on my favourite cheeses yesterday at The Little Cheese Shop in Chipping Sodbury. They sell cheese on behalf of other manufacturers as well as making their own.

I was somewhat amused to discover they do a brie cheese called Sod Brie.

Someone sent me this TV schedule clip...

Friday, 14 June 2019

Crossing Divides

There's a new initiative to get strangers talking to each other to increase social cohesion - it's called Crossing Divides. Think I'll engage with it and speak to some random strangers today about Brexit. They'll love that.

Given we've listened to amateurs for the last three years and they have achieved nothing, isn't it about time we gave experts anther punt and started to believe expertise has its place? Listening to some of these amateurs is like giving Anti-Vaxxers a platform and allowing them to develop policy for the NHS.