MP’s reply says mind your own business

Democracy1You’d be aware that the Albion Alliance has been urging people to write to their own MPs and potential MPs in their constituencies to get them to commit to a referendum on Europe. One such writer received a reply:

“There is a strict Parliamentary protocol which prevents an MP from intervening in matters raised by the constituents of other MPs. I would be grateful if you could let me know your full postal address to confirm you live in the Gloucester Parliamentary Constituency boundaries in order for Parmjit to look into your concerns.”

If you analyse this, you’ll see a few key things in the reply:

1.  If you write to an MP on his/her view on a referendum, he can just turn around and say that as you’re not in his constituency, he/she needn’t reply.

2.  If I do live in his/her constituency though, then he/she is bound to address the matter.  But if I ask about a national matter such as a referendum, I’m told that this is a party matter and to write to the party.

Thus, either way, the MP or potential MP [PPC], avoids having to comment on his/her stance on a referendum.  End of story, tail between legs, go home and take your pills.

This is the idea, this is how the system has been progressively set up by a succession of laws, none of which are designed to give you a say and in fact, are designed to remove you from the policy making process.

Ordinarily, under previous administrations, it has not been a major issue because our sovereignty has not been the N1 issue in people’s eyes.  However, a headline in a national daily on the news stands the other day loudly proclaimed that the EU had “stitched us up”, that we’d had a snow job done on us.  Perhaps the EU is moving up the priority list.

Whatever can be done to reverse this situation?

It’s very, very difficult.

1.  For a start, there’s little homogeny in our own stance – it’s like a rowing eight, with each oarsman pulling in his/her own way.

2.  There is also the frustration factor which they’re banking on – that people in Britain will simply take this rebuff and go back to grumbling in the corner, so they think.  They’re banking on it not being an issue of sufficient importance in enough people’s minds for them to have to worry about it.

As Kevin Barron, Labour MP for Rother Valley, said:

We are the state’s representative in our constituencies and we should not be frightened of taking decisions on behalf of our constituents, because that is to the general good.

3.  They are banking on the fact that it is the British way to grumble a lot, write letters to the editor and leave it at that.  Revolution and riots is not the Anglo-Saxon British way until something has gone on for so long that the national mood suddenly turns savage.

Then we angrily throw out one party and put in the other, somehow believing that that is effecting change.  Sadly, it’s not.

4.  They’re also banking on the established principle that people will happily email a complaint but when one has to supply full address and phone number, this is a big stick which often shuts us up – we’d prefer not to bother and we subside.

The crux

The crux is whether these tactics will work on us this time round.  Will we, in fact, go back in our shells and let the day to day concerns once more take over our week or will we take the plunge and write a letter, if necessary, with our address?

Albion Alliance

This post is not on behalf of AA. It is my personal statement, my personal reaction.  I can understand people’s reticence to do anything proactive, especially in the early stages.

Obviously, if we all wrote to our MPs and PPCs, if we continued to write, if we pointed out that it was not good enough to say that the MP could not comment on this matter, if Albion Alliance really was publishing replies and commenting on them, as it is, we would eventually make a difference.

So I’m asking my readers to at least do this – to take the plunge and to write.

We have no other mechanism left to us, save direct action in the street and they surely know it might come to that and they have the means now to suppress it.  You’ve all seen the attempts at protest thus far.  You’ve seen the lines of police and all the other paraphernalia of mass confrontation.

I’m asking my readers to take the milder course – to write, a long British tradition – and to not let up doing this.  I’m asking you to urge your own friends and contacts to whip off a letter and get a reply.

Meanwhile, other channels within our country will also be pushing hard for this referendum.  We simply can no longer afford to sit back and do very little at a personal level.

Thanks to all who have acted thus far.

Maths at Nine


Let’s start with the problem but it has to be said that the reasoning behind the solution is complex, unless you are a mathematician:

Al Turing and Bertie Einstein, two layabout mathematicians from West Brom, are told that integers x and y have been chosen such that 1 < x < y and x+y < 100.  Turing is given the value x+y and Einstein is given the value xy.  They then have the following conversation.

Einstein:  I cannot determine the two numbers.
Turing:  I knew that.
Einstein:  Now I can determine them.
Turing:  So can I.

Given that the above statements are true, what are the two numbers?

For all you non-mathematicians out there, some hints:

1.  First of all, xy cannot be prime.  It also cannot be the square of a prime, for that would imply x = y. For example, xy cannot be the product of two distinct primes, for then P could deduce the numbers.  Likewise, xy cannot be the cube of a prime, such as 33 = 27, for then 3×9 would be a unique factorization; or the fourth power of a prime.

2.  Einstein’s statement implies that xy cannot have exactly two distinct proper factors whose sum is less than 100.  Call such a pair of factors eligible.

3.  Eligible sums:  11, 17, 23, 27, 29, 35, 37, 41, 47, 53.

4.  Goldbach’s Conjecture states that every even integer greater than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two primes, to deduce that the above list can contain only odd numbers.  Although the conjecture remains unproven, it has been verified empirically up to 1018.

Answer shall be given once the speculation reaches a wall.

Late evening poetry reading – seven selected pieces


Let’s begin this evening’s readings in outer space:

Jams O’Donnell presents Marzials [1874]:

And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks – “Stop,”
And my heart shrieks – “Die.”
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them — and fled
They all are every one! – and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
And dizzy me dead.I might reel and drop.

Super.  Keeping it Celtic for the moment:

Brummie based Scots expat teen Maureen McGlashan’s Stupid Cupid:

chav_scum_girlYou know you’re such a cupid
You’re so cute you know
Your enemies are f—ed
When you happy slap them.

To me you’re not stupid
Well not much anyway
And I love you, you know, Troy
We’re so well suited.

My blues they’ve been booted
Well over the line
And we’re all alone
And it’s our own time.

Poignant. Chav life must be bliss.

Unable to escape that Celtic themes, McGonagall’s Tay Bridge Disaster:

Sheer magic.  Now, to the other side of the pond –  Sam Jones’ Love Guppy:

You have the finest rosebud’s taste.
Without you my life is waste,
I’ll stick to you like Elmer’s paste.
You’re my love guppy.

I’d break through a citadel.
I’d fight with a raging bull,
Though winning would seem improbable.
You’re my love guppy.

My love’s as strong as the mid-ocean ridge.
You shine like the rainbow bridge
or like that light inside my fridge.
You’re my love guppy.

For you I’d consume haggis,
or lose the joys of Bacchus,
or live in sin with Mike Dukakis.
You’re my love guppy.

What woman could resist that?

And finally, Rumsfeld’s classic Known Knowns:

This post is dedicated to real poet Dearieme’s latest:  Cool on Mushrooms.

In Gish is a great example of the type


Cherie’s comment about Lillian Gish:

Cute, demure and sophisticated. Some of the best qualities in a woman.

… has to be tongue in cheek or else she’ll have half of womanhood down on her – the now outdated half.   Of course, Cherie said “some of the best qualities”.  I’d like to reiterate some things said about Gish and introduce some others from various sites:

1.  She was inspirational for men in one way and for women in another.  ”With her death,” Katharine Hepburn told Entertainment Weekly, ”all the things that made me think, ‘Oh, I want to be an actor,’ disappeared.”  That’s a big statement.

2.  Director D.W. Griffith may have developed the close-up, but it was Gish who figured out what to do with it, bringing a naturalism to screen behavior that stood in subtle contrast to the vampy histrionics of Theda Bara or the stagy simpering of Mary Pickford.

She movied movie history onwards and upwards.

3.  The heroines Gish portrayed — especially for Griffith, her discoverer and mentor — were fluttery, waiflike creatures assaulted by cruelties straight out of Dickens. However, the actress herself was sensible, gracious, and, according to screenwriter Frances Marion (The Champ), ”as fragile as a steel rod.” After her pure-hearted persona fell out of synch with the party-hearty 1920s, Gish blithely absented herself to the New York stage and occasional character parts in movies.

She was therefore strong inside and this comes out further:

She was actually one tough cookie who took complete control of her career in the early ’20s and crafted some of the best movies of the age. Nobody could sway her from her self-appointed course. With a Botticelli face, she had the mind of a good Queen Bess, dictating her carefully thought-out policies and ruling justly, if firmly.

4.  She’s a great role model for women and men alike: there is the balanced, compassionate grace of that rare person fully at ease with life. ”I’ve never been in style,” Gish once said, with her usual serene clarity, ”so I can’t go out of style.”.

5.  This fragment form Wiki says a lot:

“D. W. Griffith took his unit on location—he told Gish that he thought the crew would work harder for a girl. Gish apparently preferred to remain in front of the camera rather than behind it, since she never directed again. She told reporters at the time that directing was a man’s job.”

That was a measure of the respect he had for her and her compliment to men in return.  Who got his/her way in the end?  She did, of course.  She always would.

6.  This is a post in itself but Gish became one of the leading advocates on the lost art of the silent film, often giving speeches and touring to screenings of classic works. In 1975, she hosted The Silent Years, a PBS film program of silent films.

She’s right.  Silent film was an art form and the clarity and production values of the nitrate film had reached a peak by the time of the talkies.  It was not out of tune honky tonk pianos which accompanied the film, it was often lush orchestration, in the spirit of John Barry.  The acting requirements were different, the whole thing was different.

As I say, that’s a separate post.

7.  Her personal values and poise were admirable: Gish and D. W. Griffith [were] so close that some suspected a romantic connection, an issue never acknowledged by Gish although several of their associates were certain they were at least briefly involved. For the remainder of her life she always referred to him as “Mr. Griffith”.

Mutual respect, professionalism and at the same time, all the obstinacy and other faults of womanhood and why not?

8.  Sense of humour, sense of proportion:

“You know, when I first went into the movies Lionel Barrymore played my grandfather. Later he played my father and finally he played my husband. If he had lived, I’m sure I would have played his mother.”

“Young man, if God had wanted you to see me that way, he would have put your eyes in your bellybutton.”

“The older I get, the more I believe in what I can’t explain or understand, even more than the things that are explainable and understandable.”

“You can get through life with bad manners, but it’s easier with good manners.”

To sum up – she got what she wanted her own way, she’s revered today, she made a statement about the power of women without ever making a statement, she wasn’t shrill about her rights nor a manhater.  She used men and used her charms to do it with, reserving decency to temper the inflamed hearts of men.  It’s because they knew she liked them and respected them too that men didn’t stand in the way of her ambitions.

Contrast that with the shrill nagging of the feminist whose only reaction from me is to stonewall her at every opportunity.  If she hates me, then I’m going to block her.  Simple.

She wasn’t a slatternly woman like some of the vamps and yet her career lasted far longer than theirs.  She got men on by a combination of her inner reserves and her accentuated look – not for her letting it all hang out with the mistaken notion that the only way to attract a man is to show flesh or act coarsely.

Gish – same gender, different approach.  Instead of lecturing, preaching and rewriting history to misrepresent women, she simply showed women the way forward.

Your humble blogger doesn’t have many human heroes to date but Lillian Gish is most certainly one of them.  Fortunately, there are some current day women who are in the same league and I’m lucky enough to know one or two.

Skynet LHC sends beam round faulty machinery


Oh brilliant [not]:

The collider was designed to accelerate protons to energies of seven trillion electron volts apiece and smash them together in tiny fireballs in an effort to replicate and study the conditions of the Big Bang.

The first time protons circled the collider, on Sept. 10, 2008, the event was celebrated with Champagne and midnight pajama parties around the world. But the festivities were cut short a few days later when an electrical connection between a pair of the collider’s giant superconducting electromagnets vaporized.

Subsequent work revealed that the machine was riddled with thousands of connections unable to handle the high currents required to run the collider at its intended energy.

Physicists and engineers have spent the past year testing and making repairs. While they have not replaced all the faulty connections, they have patched things up enough to allow the collider to run at less than full speed.

tower-of-babelAh right – let me see if I have this right.  Seven trillion electron volts are being sent round a piece of machinery where … what was it now … “the machine was riddled with thousands of connections unable to handle the high currents required”, in an attempt to replicate something which is a figment of the imagination – the Enlightenment theorists’ alternative construction on how they prefer the world to have begun, a true Dawkinesque departure from reality and from sanity?

I see.  Hmmmm.  Yes, of course.

Er … why?

Was I ever asked whether I’d like to run this risk or not?

For the answer to that, one need only look at the diagram to the left and we see the arrogance of Man who always feels he can triumph over nature and over his Maker but never can.  He can’t because he’s missing some vital circuitry in his psyche which his ego won’t concede and therefore his pride becomes paramount.

Has anyone ever heard of Skynet?

And raising this question is “standing in the way of progress”?  Not unlike us naughty conservatives wishing to stand in the way of the unsustainable socialist panacea of CCTV society, everyone on the dole, single mothers encouraged to dislocate utopia001families even further, letting men completely off the hook, where violence and ASBOism characterizes the new tolerant, compassionate society, where the policeman is your friend [not], where the State manages to b—er up anything it touches and where prices spiral upwards despite throwing millions out of work?

That kind of progress?  Feel free to tear my argument to shreds.

In which James is not entirely surrounded by water


Chapter 9, in which piglet is completely surrounded by water.

Blinking heck and I slept right through it

One dead, dozens trapped in “biblical” floods.

British soldiers conducted house-to-house searches for those trapped by floods as deep as 2.5 metres. Troops also dropped down on lines from Royal Air Force helicopters, breaking through rooftops to pluck people to safety.

Er, right. Let me mosey on over to the window and look out on the raging flood a moment. Oh gosh – it is a bit wet down there. Well, I’ve enough food for the weekend and beyond, so here’s looking at you, kid.