Dennis hopper dies

I would just like to express my sadness at the passing of Dennis Hopper. He was a true Hollywood legend. As an undergraduate, I had the good fortune of making a presentation about ‘Easy Rider’ with Steve Metcalf; I caught a glimpse of what an unusual kind of guy Hopper was. One story goes that he had a fistfight in the cutting room with the director. Hopper will be missed greatly.

link

Lyn’s Ipad

Lyn got her new Ipad on Thursday, and I must admit it really is an impressive piece of technology. Although I have a natural dislike of macs, having been brought up onn real computers*, the ipad has a tendency to make my jaw drop. I find myself asking, how did they get so much technology into something so small? The graphics are amazing, yet it has an incredible touch screen. One must take your hat off o Steve jobs and his team.

For Lyn, however, the ipad is something even more important. It has a text-to-speech ‘app’, so Lyn can use it as a communication aid. Of course, she has only just started to use the thing, but she’s already quite effective. I don’t know what it’s got in terms of word prediction etc; I’ll ask her later. The cool part is, though, this means I can now use her old SL40 lightwriter, which is quite cool as it can text! We’re both very happy with things now; I actually can’t wait for Lyn to let me have a go on the ipad myself!

*A real computer is one you can customise, tinker with, actually open up and so on.

the return of segregation in education

I am, of course, quite concerned by what Michael Gove, our new education secutary, has planned. I think Tory plans for ‘free schools’ add up to a two-tier system, where rich families, who have the time and the inclination, can set up nice new schools, creaming off the best teachers. Meanwhile, those who can’t afford it are left in schools which will get worse and worse due to the fact that recourses are being diverted away from ordinary schools. In effect, not only will we have segregation in terms of disability, but segregation in terms of class. It takes us all the way back to the mid nineteenth century, to systems which reinforced the class divide. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong today. Why should some people get a better education than others, simply because their parents are richer than others? And why should we sit back while a party which did not get half the vote imposes their backwards, elitist, intolerant views on all of us?

Mark Twain’s autobiography to be puublished

My brother just sent me this fascinating link. Mark Twain’s autobiography is to be released. Apparently, he worked on it in the last ten years of his life, but stipulated in his will that it was not to be published until a century after his death. Twain died in 1910, sio here we are, with this remarkable voice from the past. The first question I find myself asking is, how did twain know that he’d still be remembered after all this time? More intriguing, though, are questions about what this book can teach us about life a century ago. Its as if the words are still freshly written, as very few people will have seen them; words from another age – one before the horrors of the twentieth century. I can’t wait until the first volume comes out.

nobody trusts this government

George Osborne published his budget thing today. All the pundits are saying it’s the tip of the iceberg, and how there are more, deeper cuts to come. It really pisses me off how the Tories are, by cutting services, punishing us all for a problem caused by the financial sector making riskier investments, while, by doing away with the proposed tax, those investors get away Scot free. I also hate how they lie about the state of the economy they inherited: it wasn’t a mess; it was doing okay. The fact is, as I was discussing with one of Lyn’s friends the other day, most people felt that they could trust brown economically; you felt he knew what he was doing. You can’t say that of Osborne – I even have my doubts about whether he can count. Almost everyone I talk to holds a similar opinion: nobody trusts this government economically.

Anyway, the sun is shining. Time to go enjoy it with my fiance while it lasts.

big news

I am not sure if this is the best place to announce this; I haven’t even told my parents yet. I suppose blogging about it is the best way to let everyone who needs to know know. Yesterday was Lyn’s birthday, so last night I dropped the big question. I love her utterly and can’t imagine not living with her. I recently realised that I want to spend the rest of my life with her, so last night I asked her to marry me. She said yes, so I’m now very happy.

pots and kettles

This morning I want to address something which has been playing on my mind for a few days. I recently got into an argument with a couple of Tories. In the course of the debate, the matter of privilege came up. Apparently, we liberals are hypocrites because we are biased against privilege.

This argument really, really irritates me, mostly because it’s so stupid. As I understand it, liberalism means tolerance – the belief that no one person is better than anyone else. Hence one asks: ‘why should a disproportionate number of old etonions become prime minister?’ Yet, according to certain people, this means I have a bias against the upper class.

In other words, they’re accusing me of discrimination in order to defend a system which discriminates. We all know that the things the Tories promote – lower taxation for the rich, a reduced wealth fare state, less regulation in business – is designed to perpetuate the class divide. They are the ones discriminating in terms of wealth; liberals like me see everyone as of equal worth, and hence we need to redress the balance so everyone has a fair chance. The class system is unjust as, no matter how brilliant you are, if you are born into a working class family it will be very hard to succeed. Yet Tories would just describe it as their own fault. They’re the hypocrites, not us liberals. It is not discrimination to point out the inequalities in the system.

well done England

I have something more positive to write here today. Congratulations are in order for England’s cricket team after they beat Australia in the twenty20 cup final in Barbados. I cheered out loud when I heard that on the news. However, it must be noted that the bbc reported it after the other sports news, and spent only a few seconds on it. It’s a magnificent feat, yet football always goes first, even though it’s a winter sport. I have also yet to see any actual footage of the game – I presume sky have it and refuse to let anyone else broadcast it. It sickens me how sky have pumped so much money into sport, ruining it for those who refuse to pay their extortionate prices. I’m also fed up of football always taking precedence.

Anyway, well done England!

Sorry, but…

I cannot help it. I know I said yesterday that I’d try to avoid writing about politics on my blog, but politics seems to be the subject most on my mind these days. I was listening to David Milliband’s speech to the labour party earlier, and I was impressed: under labour we all did very well. After 13 years, it’s natural that people wanted a change and thus bought the hollow promises of the Tories; yet people forgot, it seems, what a dire state we were in before 97, and just how better things got under new Labour: working parents tax credit; more civil liberties; more people going to university than ever before. Their ethos was communal, so things became fairer. People also forget that it’s only because of brown’s actions that this recession isn’t a depression. I’m now very concerned that, because of their individualist ethos, the Tories will now put this at risk. I know I can’t do too much – I believe in democracy after all – so the best I can do is to continue stating my opinion to whoever will listen, in the hope that public opinion will force an election sooner rather than later. I’m no revolutionary, but I firmly believe that the current government must go before it’s too late.

on blogging

My blog has probably become too political of late. Its supposed to be about other things too, like life here in south London, but the truth is I’m shit scared at what CaMoron will do. I’m angry that, ass soon as they got in, they gave themselves a 5 year fixed term, as if it was their right to rule. They don’t even have a proper mandate. I get very wound up about it, probably partly because I feel so powerless. I probably go back to writing about things more specific to me soon – we still haven’t resolved the issue with the pub – but the odd political tirade will be unavoidable.