November 6th, 2010


Whoniversaries 6 November

broadcast anniversaries

6 November 1964: broadcast of "Horse of Destruction", fourth episode of the story we now call The Myth Makers; departure of Vicki and first appearance of Katarina. The Greeks emerge from the wooden horse, Troy is sacked and Steven is wounded as the Tardis departs.

6 November 1976: broadcast of second episode of The Deadly Assassin. The Doctor is put on trial, realises that the Master is behind the assassination, and enters the dream world of the Matrix.

6 November 2009: broadcast of second episode of The Eternity Trap (SJA). Sarah destroys Erasmus and his machine with the sonic lipstick and rescues Professor Rivers. (But what about Lord Marchmont?)

6 November 2010: broadcast of The Last Precinct (K9).
pointless, repression

Phil Woolas and Richard Hazleton

Like a lot of people who were around in British student politics in the mid-80s, I am unhealthily gleeful about the voiding of Phil Woolas' election in Oldham East and Saddleborough by an election court. (Edited to add: After starting to write this entry yesterday, I went out for dinner last night with someone who had dealt with Woolas in a different capacity many years later, and was equally delighted by the result.) I urge anyone who feels the slightest twinge of sympathy for him to read the full election judgement (BBC excerpt, official PDF). It's all very well to have robust political debate, but to win an election by telling lies about your opponent's entirely fictional links with Islamic extremism is surely a different matter. I won't blame the Labour Party as an institution for this, and applaud the suspension of Woolas' membership, though note with interest blog entries from Chris Davies, written just before the judgement, and Jonathan Fryer, immediately after, illuminating the local political style.

The full content of the offensive literature is in the judgement linked to above, but I thought some might be amused by the text that caused the last unseating of an MP on these grounds, as a result of the North Louth election petition of 1911, Collapse )

Woolas will probably appeal, but I do not wish him well. Judging by the statements he made yesterday he has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. He said that:
"It is vital to our democracy that those who make statements about the political character and conduct of election candidates are not deterred from speaking freely for fear that they may be found in breach of election laws."
It is also vital that you don't win elections by smearing the other guy as a fellow-traveller of terrorists.

November Books 3) The Coming of the Terraphiles, by Michael Moorcock

Two grand traditions of British sf meet in this book, where the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond try to save the universe while dealing with the piratical Captain Cornelius and also with the Terraphiles, re-enactors of Old Earth culture who have rather garbled views of the activities of Edwardian England (it should be noted that both Doctor Who and a Dalek appear in the original Jerry Cornelius series). It's some way from being a standard Who novel, and rather closer to a normal Moorcock production if there is such a thing; having said which, the plot is relatively straightforward if not always elegantly expounded. There are some good rollicking descriptive passages, and Moorcock has fun with the misinterpretation of the rules of cricket perpetrated by the Terraphiles. It's more of a curiosity than a classic, but I enjoyed it.

Posted via LjBeetle
Lib Dem, libdem

Voting for Tim Farron

I wrote a while back that I was likely to vote for Tim Farron in the election of the next President of the Lib Dems. Having perused the candidates' election leaflets, I see no reason to change my mind. Indeed, the two elections are so similar - straight out of the ALDC school of QuarkXPress - that it's rather easy to compare and contrast and to see that Tim basically has the harder edge. For example, take the "3 reasons to vote for me" given by each candidate:
Susan Kramer Tim Farron
1) Susan will work to keep our party strong, unified, distinctive and try to its core beliefs. 1) Tim is a campaigner with a track record of winning against the odds. He took a safe Tory seat and converted it into the highest Lib Dem vote share on the UK mainland.
2) Susan will listen to you, take your views and ideas to the party leadership and get answers. 2) Tim listens to the voice of grassroots members. He is best placed to make sure that the leadership and ministers listen to you.
3) Susan will travel up and down the country supporting your local Lib Dem campaigns. 3) Tim is an outstanding communicator with the media and public. He will get across the positive messages about the distinctiveness of the Liberal Democrats.
It is notable that all three of Susan Kramer's statements are in the future tense, while Tim Farron starts with the past, moves to the present and switches to the future only halfway through the third point. It's also notable that the future tense statements are all pretty woolly, and you would have to wonder why any candidate thought any of them was actually worth making as part of staking out your own ground. Note also that while the second of the three points is very similar for both candidates, Tim edges it by a) putting it in the present tense and b) pointing out that as an MP he has easier day-to-day access to the leadership.

That's all a matter of style, I suppose. On substance, Susan Kramer has more (though not a lot more) to say about using the position of President to service the party membership, and Tim Farron is crystal clear that he sees the role as another potential public platform for a senior Lib Dem to use. If I were more active in the party, perhaps I would have a sense of things going wrong that Susan Kramer could fix, but I'm not so I don't; and my ballot goes off with an X in the Farron box.

World Heritage sites

I've seen a couple of people doing this: go thorugh the list of UNESCO world heritage sites and note the ones you have been to. I count 83, so only 828 more to go... rather shamefully, there are two in Brussels (this and these) and one in Antwerp that I have not seen. It's just as well that so many old capital cities are on the list or my tally would be considerably lower...

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