Archive for May, 2010

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The most dangerous people in the world

May 23, 2010

Imagine, if you will, that here in the UK we had a system of deciding school curricula at the county level rather than with the National Curriculum that we have at present. Different counties do things differently but one of them, let’s say North Yorkshire, does it by having an organisation, the County Board of Education, look at the syllabus for each subject on a 10-yearly cycle.

Last year, it was the turn of the science standards. The chairman of the board at the time was an avowed creationist, and fought extremely hard against the teaching of evolution and tried to allow for creationist theories to be taught as well. Some of his more explicit attacks were voted down, but (with the help of like-minded board members), some concessions were made and the teaching of evolution was watered down in the revised syllabus.

This year, it is the turn of social studies curriculum. The 15 member board have voted through a syllabus that involves teaching children the significance of Margaret Thacher,  why low taxes are important for economic progress,  the importance of organisations such as the Adam Smith Institute and the Conservative Christian Fellowship, and why the UN could be a threat to personal freedom.

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Libel reform – a letter to my MP

May 13, 2010

A number of people (including myself) appear to have doubts about my ability to do the things I say I’m going to do. For example, a certain young lady has every right to be dubious about the continued non-appearance of an application to do some stats processing that I promised to write for her ages ago (it is, however, nearly finished). My ongoing project (2 years and counting) to convert my CD collection into MP3s has so far failed to produce a single MP3, though it has produced a veritable forest of XML files and the amused condescension of my coding friends. So when, in the first post on this blog, I asserted confidently that my MP would soon be receiving a letter on the importance of libel reform, people who know me would have been entirely justified in voicing a certain skepticism about my resolve.

But you may cease your mockery – my MP will shortly be receiving the following letter, which is currently sitting next to me in a stamped addressed envelope which I’ll be posting about 5 minutes after posting this. I’ll report back if it gets a response.

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So… now what?

May 9, 2010

So the election is over and everything is done and dusted (apart from the small matter that we don’t have a clear winner and those left disenfranchised by the chaos at some polling stations are being encouraged to sue).

On the plus side, there was evidently not enough love for the Tories to sweep them into power in a mirror-image of Labour’s 1997 election, and Labour voters haven’t deserted in droves. The BNP were rejected quite convincingly, as were UKIP, and we have a voice for Green issues.

On the minus side, we lost Evan Harris (replaced by a lady from the Conservative Christian Fellowship which may or may not bode well) and, of course, the government which emerges after the horse-trading may not be terribly effective – so we might end up with another election in the near future.

So, what should we do now?

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