Wednesday, April 30, 2008

29.6%

All right thinking people will see if their hopes and dreams have been realised by about 5pm on Saturday. Here are the numbers.

Not a fantastic position to be in, but better than we could have hoped for even a few weeks ago.

I'm going with The Boy Named Sue on Saturday.

If you pray, say one for us?

Fifteen years looking at pages like this one

*starry-eyed positivity alert: beware*

As Bill reminds us all.

I've been working full time on web-related projects for about nine years now, and I spent a good deal of time on web-stuff for the three or four years preceding that.

As someone who has tried to develop and supply new services in this area, I never cease to be amazed at the speed of innovation and the hunger among users for the very latest stuff. They want it all, and they won't pay for it - and they often get it as well, blast them!

In so many ways, that CERN release has changed so many aspects of our lives, our work and the economy in a way that would have been impossible to predict.

When it gets to 20 years, maybe there should be some big public holiday to mark it, or something?




OK. You can go back to moaning about politics and stuff now.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Low Standards

The London Evening Standard - part of the Associated Newspaper group - under it's current editor, Veronica Wadley, has conducted a no-holds barred campaign against one of the mayoral candidates for the city elections that will take place later this week.

Every day has seen fresh 'revelations', smears and innuendo. And - as I've pointed out myself on a number of occasions - Ken is pretty far from being the ideal Labour Party candidate for this job. But there is reporting, and there is smearing. And The Standard dived over that line a long time ago.

The result appears to be too close to call.

But if Ken Livingstone loses, there will be no doubt that the Evening Standard's relentlessly negative targeting of his campaign has been the decisive factor. It will be a display of political muscle-flexing that hasn't been seen since notorious 'it woz The Sun wot won it' crowing of the early 1990s - a tabloid campaign that resulted in five calamitous years of John Major's government.

If Ken Livingstone loses, the only realistic winner will be Boris Johnson. And it would be reasonable to assume that The Standard will be in no position to criticise Boris for any failures that are likely to happen on his watch. Londoners would have an obvious riposte if they did: "But you told us to vote for him!"

And those mistakes WILL happen .... be in no doubt about that one.

So, one newspaper may be able to exercise enough power to gift the management of a city to a pet politician. And if that happens, that same newspaper will be in no position to scrutinise one of the EU's most powerful men.

For far too long now, the Standard has been allowed to avoid measures to break its monopoly. There is barely a position on the political spectrum that would not agree that this monopoly is bad for London's politics, bad for consumers, and bad for jobs. And just to illustrate how much of a monopoly it is...
  • London has a larger population than at least ten of the twenty-seven EU member states.
  • It only has one paid-for newspaper covering the whole city.
  • The Irish Republic - a nation with only a bit more than a half of London's population - has ELEVEN daily paid-for newspapers.
I expect that Ken will want to apply a bit of fresh elbow grease to sorting this problem out if he's elected. And Boris would - frankly - be mad to take this monopoly on.

But it's the right thing to do. And it needs to be done. Badly.

A smartarse post for a Monday morning

Further to this conundrum over at Philosophy, et cetera, I'd like to point out that Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking is a load of badly-written pseudo-scientific claptrap.

Everyone who wants to stop smoking should read it. I did. It helped me do it where lots of other methods failed. But there I go again! Passing the buck from meta-ethics to meta-epistemology!

Gah!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The myth of democracy?

Eric has nodded me towards this one:

6. The myth of democracy

Politicians preaching democracy as a value forget the two things wrong with democracy: the "demos" bit and the "cracy" bit or, in other words, the people and the system whereby they are supposed to govern themselves. By and large, even in systems with advanced educational resources, the people cannot do better than take their news and opinions from the likes of Rupert Murdoch (and according to Nick Davies's Flat Earth News, the British Government employs some 1,500 press officers whose job it is to manipulate the people). This is when things are going well. When they are not going well people naturally suppose that disagreement deserves death. It is tempting to think that the only solution is the Hobbesian sovereign with his monopoly of power, but as John Locke said: "This is to think that men are so foolish that they take care to avoid what mischiefs may be done them by polecats or foxes, but are content, nay, think it safety, to be devoured by lions."

For Icelanders, Scandinavians and Europeans, with our long parliamentary traditions, democracy may be the least bad system of government, but it is a long way from being any use elsewhere.

I'm rushing to get to this before Norm does. He's going through Simon Blackburn's list of myths and commenting on them. Things aren't looking bright for Blackburn so far (look at Normblog entries for today - the final tally is still being completed). But - as I type - Norm hasn't got to democracy yet.

Blackburn seems to be making three fairly fundamental errors here:
  1. In his first sentence, he's assuming that democracy = direct democracy. It's interesting that he presents democracy as some myth that is preached by politicians here. A fairly basic understanding of the distinction between direct and representative would dissuade him from writing that sentence.
  2. His highlighting of Rupert Murdoch's influence, and the claims - interesting as they are - of Nick Davies in Flat Earth News - would suggest that media distortions make any effective democracy impossible. He doesn't recognise here that this is a continuing dialectic in which things are getting better. People are more sceptical of the accuracy of news reporting than they ever have been. The barriers to entry are lower than they ever have been, and the kind of real monopolies that the Citizen Kanes of this world can enjoy are very much a thing of the past. Just to clarify this, I'm saying monopoly in business terms. There is no question that commercial monopolies are as strong - and getting stronger - than ever before in this sector. But there is a level of pluralism in the media (and you're looking at a small limb of it here) - the real issue here - that could only have been dreamed of a fifteen years ago. This should not quieten any demands for lower levels of media concentration, or for more public service standards in the media. But things are getting better, not worse.
  3. The final para is probably the most annoying though. In 1974, Portugal, Spain and Greece were all military dictatorships of one kind or another. Today, we Brits look at some elements of their democratic settlement with envy. Eastern Europe was not a democracy in any recognisable sense of the word, and even at the most basic - visible - level for us Britishers - this country was a great deal less democratic than it is now. Institutions have had to respond to inexorable demands for accountability, and for the application of basic liberal standards. And I've not mentioned anywhere beyond the boundaries of Europe yet.
Like many of other claims Blackburn has made in this article, his take on democracy is a very odd one. I hope he hasn't got a teaching job anywhere...?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Catastrophic flexibility

I have a largely observed rule on this blog that I don't get into the rights and wrongs of the 2003 Iraq invasion, as I think that - for someone like me to do so so - it is counterproductive.

But I thought Peter Wilby's argument yesterday was a very odd one. Yes - of course WWII was largely a continuation of the 'great powers' struggle that had dominated Europe since before Westphalia, with the new complication of the emerging United States as a dominant actor in the European stage. And there is the limit of my willingness to say anything authoritative on the wider historical context.

But the one lesson of WWII that surely unites almost everybody was that the rearmament limitations and the curtailment of Germany's expansionist ambitions that were imposed at Versailles should not have allowed to become a matter for pragmatism or flexibility.

That the international community as it was composed at the time - the League of Nations - needed to be able to assert itself effectively. It failed to do so and the result was a catastrophe.

In the run-up to 2003, Iraq was able to repeatedly frustrate attempts at weapons inspections - a demand that the UN was making unequivocally. Close observers of Saddam regularly reported that he believed that liberal democracies weren't capable of asserting themselves in this way.

I understand (and largely agreed at the time with) the argument that "...invading Iraq is a mistake because it probably won't be the success you think it will." It's a view that I held - and hold - with little enthusiasm.

But the experience of the WWII provided a justification for over-reaction in the face of suspicions - not inaction. It weakens - not strengthens - Wilby's anti-war position.

Humph RIP

Humphrey Lyttelton (quoted from memory)
"We're coming to the end of the show, and Samantha has to nip off now. She's off to meet her new Italian gentleman friend who works in an ice-cream shop.

So, while she's licking the nuts off a large Neapolitan..."

Friday, April 25, 2008

His Nibs

Here's Mr Glavin's Normblog profile.

He's alright, Terry is.

Proof:
Q: What would you do with the UN?
A: No men allowed for five years.
And....
Q: Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?
A: It would appear that capitalism will not soon collapse under the weight of its own contradictions after all.
And....
Q: What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger?
A: 1. Blog about things that you actually know about and that no one else blogs about. 2. It's not necessary to have an opinion about everything. 3. Don't hector me about not taking my own advice.
But, best of all....
Q: What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate?
A: Social-democratic internationalism.

Page 123

Norm gave me this one to do.
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.
Nearest book: Birthday by Alan Sillitoe

P.123 - sentences 6, 7 and 8 read as follows:
"An open grey cardigan showed a white blouse buttoned to the neck with a purple brooch, a grey skirt below. He focussed on her face, uncertain why such coercion was necessary, noting the serene aspect of someone who had come through the test of a lifetime, a glow of innocence yet authority from a person few in the room could finally know.

After the first surprise she liked what she saw, as if part of getting back into a world which little resembled what she had known before, which she had inhabited for as long as many people in the room had lived, to go by stones near George's grave, of those who had been born and had died in the time spent caring for him."
(The length of Sillitoe's sentences, it's not always certain you will find an eighth one on any given page!)

Who to pass this on to? Well, let try...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Libertarian parables

... over here:
Mayor:thief :: juror:vigilante
Oh, and I'm tempted to turn the comments off on this post because life is just too short.

A house divided

This is interesting (continuing the things aren't as bad as they seem for Labour theme)
Summary: The democrats may be fighting like cats and dogs, but the result is a huge turnout - so the 'fractious' downside is more than cancelled out by the 'wide awake' upside - and whichever Democrat candidate goes forward can expect their voters to turn out.
This raises an interesting question about the conventional wisdom on political unity. Voters, we are told, don't like divided parties. They want

But have voters expectations changed in recent years? In the same way that they have become more demanding consumers, expecting more by way of interaction and response from the suppliers that they choose, is it also the case that they are less likely to be the passive consumers of politics that conventional wisdom has cast them as?

Also, the past decade has seen a huge transformation in the way that advertising works. I've commented on this before: Advertising has to be much more subtle these days. The kind of media virus approach outlined by Douglas Rushkoff increasingly has seen corporate bodies abandon their adherence to the corporate message.

(OK - I'm not that much of an expert on the ad industry, so I'll stop there: But you get my drift?)

But all of this raises the question: Is Labour's disunity going to be an electoral disaster? Or is it the case that a public - disenchanted with the nuanced and opaque alternatives that they are being offered - could be seduced by a movement that offers a good old blood-and-guts argument?

In terms of 'Labour Hold' messages on election night, could the rising tide of public interest float more boats than the stormy waters sink?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Perspective

In the comments here, Planeshift says....
"I wish Brown would stop trying to make himself media friendly and stop listening to the spin doctors. The guy is never going to come accross as one of the lads, or the life and soul of the party and the spin machine should stop trying to portray has somebody else.

He should just forget about publicity stunts and be the quiet introverted "intellectual" he seems to really be. In fact he should just stick 2 fingers up at the media (literally actually, he should go on the TV and say that the press can go fuck themsleves), accept that the media has already decided King David should be crowned the winner of the next election.

He should spend his remaining time in office carrying out as much of the constitutional reform he probably secretly knows is necessary as it is possible for him to do so in 18 months."
My id agrees with all of that apart from the certainty of Labour's defeat.

And in the Guardian today, John Harris - in an uncharacteristically 'not-bad' article says...
"...stepping back from received opinion, perhaps the public hasn't come to quite the swingeing conclusion on the Brown government that so much of the commentariat would like to believe."
Meanwhile, if you want to lay against the Tories, have a gander at Political Betting. I'm of the slightly unformed opinion that the bookies are more worth listening to on how the next election will go than the pollsters.

According to these figures, here are the probable outcomes of the next election:
43.7% - Tory win
29.9% - No overall majority
26.5% - Labour win
On balance, I'm glad I'm not going to be a Tory on the evening of the next election.

However, much less pleasant reading can be had looking at the League One promotion odds. Swansea are up already. There is one other guaranteed promotion spot up for grabs, and then one promotion slot for the winners of the play-offs.

Forest are three points off the guaranteed slot with two games to go (though the recent formbook is on our side). Betfair are offering about 13/8 on us. But Leeds may have the 15 points that were quite rightly docked at the start of the season given back to them.

The fuckers.

The White Shite.

Therapeutic

Remember when Tony Blair was on his way out, and he started being a bit more willing to speak his mind ("feral beasts of the media" etc etc).

Well, now it's Bertie Ahern's turn...

Ideas: The pinch point

Busy. Nothing original for you at the moment. But here's Will Davies on groupthink, and the effects of academic efforts to combat plagarism.

(You may have seen this already - it's a few weeks old - if so, apologies).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Open the door, get on the floor...

Jools Holland's programme was on just now.

This lot were on. What a fine tune it is too.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Gadgie

On form.

Plan 59


Here.

Via David Thompson.

Groupthink

Not wanting to add too much to Freemania's take (with links to others) on David Edgar's piece in the Saturday Guardian about lefty apostates, I've only a couple of short observations:
  1. If lots of other people are saying it, it probably isn't worth saying. I don't think that politics is a suitable setting for the development of a personal social circle or peer group, and the most annoying blogs and bloggers that I've found tend to be the ones who try and cosy up to like minds. There is no fun in discussing anything with people who agree with you very much, and groupthink is a poison. So the more 'apostates' the better, I say. Oddly, the Euston Manifesto decent left association seems to be widely misunderstood, (if sometimes amusingly and weirdly obsessively by Flying Rodent Malky Muscular). I've never met a group of people who vary as widely on so many things, apart from broadly agreeing with the statement that they signed.
  2. It's really annoying when someone urges you not to argue a position because solidarity demands that you shouldn't. Solidarity is where you do something together. Like strike, or some other direct action where unity is a tactical necessity. Arguing is completely different. Rival social forces respond to concerted actions. Arguments are, in themselves, feeble things - until they help to shape some social force that can actually carry out an effective direct action. Groupthink, and me-too arguments (I'd include joint-letters to newspapers or petitions in this) actually delays the shaping of such social forces.
All of which means that David Edgar is really very right wing. Yay!

These are probably slightly daft arguments that I'll regret making once I read the comments. But I'm making them anyway. Whaddaya think?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Asset subtraction

Is supporting someone by agreeing with them, or helping them to get their point across, the same as giving them a political advantage of some kind?

Having worked around politicians and civil servants for a long time (admittedly, often at a distance), I've always been surprised at how much they believe this to be the case.

As Chris says, it isn't.

Next week: Why getting more signatories on a letter to the editor weakens the case that is being made by the letter - while at the same time, it increases the likelihood of the weakened case being published.

Two out of two

A few weeks ago, I tried out that idea about going to see a film without reading the review (just look for a film that has have four stars or more from a the BBC Movies review pages, and avoid having the whole thing ballsed up by any expectations). And be careful - DON'T read anything beyond the star-rating.

I suppose it's a bit like that 'look away now' warning they give you on the Saturday evening news, before Match of the Day.

Well, last time, I think I enjoyed The Orphanage a lot more than I would have done if I'd read the review before going to see it.

And, yesterday, I think I enjoyed 'Son of Rambow' in much the same way. It was a complete surprise, and a very good one.

Two out of two. It works. Try it yourself.

Which side are you on?

I've been busy, so I missed this post by Gracchi on politicians and their private lives. He is responding to Tim Montgomerie and Matt Sinclair.

I'm very much on Gracchi's side of this argument, but I think that there is a much more powerful argument that he fails to make:

Our constitution, such as it is, specifies MPs as being the people who should make the big policy decisions that will effect us all. They get their legitimacy from us when we vote for them, and they need our approval every 3-5 years to continue in that post.

Politicians have rivals. People who we would probably prefer not to supersede politicians, but people who don't really care what we think. They are, in no particular weight or order, commercial vested interests, professional commentators, minority groups within the general population, bureaucrats, and representatives of foreign powers.

These people often conduct themselves in highly complex sub rosa ways. They hire deniable PR companies, they attempt to influence people in subliminal ways, they commission dubious research, they are able to call upon sympathetic journalists to distort issues massively. This paragraph could hextuple in length without even scratching the surface of the kind of latitude that non-elected political influencers enjoy in their daily competition with politicians.

But here's one example that I've not seen articulated in the blogosphere before - until I visited the absolutely bloody excellent Labour and Capital blog, that is: The way that fund managers make decisions about their shareholdings. Often decisions that can be made off-the-cuff without any accountability or scrutiny - and decisions that act against the public interest (or, indeed the interests of those shareholders). Just one example.

So, call for more scrutiny of politicians - their private lives and their decision-making processes - if you like. I'm in favour of some improvements in the transparency and quality of parliamentary decision-making myself.

But, if you make those demands without making commensurate demands upon the many rivals that politicians have, you need to remind yourself which side you are on.

And, like Tim M, and Matt S, and the many liberals that ignore the narrative of history as a clash of social forces, it is not on the side of democracy.

Within liberal democracies, it is the real dividing line between the left and the right. Am I wrong?

Bored

Should go to bed instead of farting around moving files.

Here's a relevant LOL


humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Friday, April 18, 2008

CSS

I'm not a web-designer myself, but I work in that area (I sell web-development services that include design). But I don't use this blog as part of this work.

But, every now and then, I see something that everyone interested in web-design should look at.

And this site about how CSS can re-clad the same content in different websites is very nice. The 'under the sea' design is really worth a look.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One paragraph

Ok. You are projecting yourself as a left-ish thinker. You've been accused of being too relaxed about the need for social change in the country you live in, as opposed to the projection of the value of that country abroad.

You have a paragraph to make a convincing case to the contrary. To show that you understand the nature of the social problems that you think need confronting, and an idea of how those problems can be addressed.

Would it be this paragraph?

There are plenty of things wrong with the existing order here in the UK, and plenty of worthwhile fights left to fight. We need, for example, to free people from the oppression and misery of living on sink estates; break the hold of crime and violence over our young people; restore their belief in the value of education and self-improvement; provide child-care for single mothers to enable them to work; provide homes for all our citizens and residents; integrate all our ethnic and religious minorities into our citizenry; and so on. My personal belief is that the UK’s social problems are caused more by lack of education and opportunity for those lower down the social ladder, and by deficiencies in popular culture among the population at large, than they are by poverty or inequalities in wealth. I view, for example, the fact that our Labour government is committed to the target of half of all school-leavers going to university as more inspiring than any number of radicals writing about public ownership of the means of production. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush…
My paragraph would be very different. More to the point, reader, what would your paragraph look like?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Grist

I've been too busy to blog recently. But one of the reasons that I keep posting here is to keep an index of stuff that I've read - otherwise I'd probably have shut NTaH down by now.

F'rinstance, there's this on politicians pay. Bit of a curate's egg. If you've been here before, you'll know what I think.

If you haven't .... sorry. No time at the present.

And this (also via Stumbling and Mumbling) is very good too. Broken families and the failures of modern liberalism. Or why those failures are overstated.

Twopenn'orth

At the risk of disrupting an argument by arriving late, I'm not sure I'm in full agreement with Gadgie in the continuing spat about Marko Atilla Hoare's diagram. None of the positions I'll outline will come as any surprise to regulars here, but never mind: Increasingly, the purpose of this blog appears to be to make points that I think are important, but points I can't get anyone else to engage with.

My mild disagreement is located in his point no: 1 (most of the others are fine).
"Hoare argues that democracy is a necessary precursor to the establishment of social justice through the introduction of a welfare state. Fine, but it isn’t a sufficient condition. There has to be a left party prepared and able to take power to implement measures and that has to be built, it won’t just emerge because of the existence of liberal democracy. And, even if a left party gets into power, it can be constrained by the power of other institutions, such as big business, and by international politics and economics."
I'd argue that the trajectory of liberal democracy (as long as there is a common and widely held view that this democracy should be strongly representative in character) is to ultimately constrain those forces that compete with those representatives.

A left party can be reasonably effective if it's focus is upon improving the quality of democracy at home, mainly because most of the left's aims will be achieved - as long as our democracy deepens. And when I say 'deepens' I do stress that this means that it deepens while the representative character grows stronger at the same time.

This independent representative group is - I would say - also more likely to make the right decision on behalf of the whole country when it thinks (as Gadgie wants it to) about the kind of globalism that it supports.

My worry is that liberal democracy isn't deepening in its representative quality, and that this needs to be something that the wider left needs to recognise and focus upon - a lot more than it does at the moment.

The Labour government since 1997 hasn't done anything that would suggest that it acknowledges this, and the Tories - in their current incarnation - are even less .... er .... Burkean. They would take us back to the pre-1997 stalemate over the EU, and they would capitulate to the demands of commercial publishers by disembowelling public service broadcasting.

That makes for three factors that should concern us all:
  1. A hyperactive and over-responsive government that is prepared to promote sub-optimal policies (and legislation) in order to retain the image of forward motion
  2. An even less responsible and accountable media, and one that is even more poorly resourced than it is currently - thereby strengthening what is easily the greatest centralising factor in the modern state.
  3. The withdrawal of one of the largest players from what has been the most successful supranational democratic institution that the world has ever seen. Anyone who thinks that the impoverished moral resolve of the UN is a cornerstone issue (and I think that this is one issue that largely unites us decents*) looks to the EU as a model for what is possible in the long-term.
All of this aside, I'm broadly not very impressed with Hoare's diagram and the thinking behind it, and I think that the charge made by both Jura Watchmaker and Gadgie about Hoare not having a critique of domestic politics is spot on. The degree of relaxation in almost all quarters about the speed at which power has been centralised in liberal democracy over the past forty years baffles me.

JW puts it another way:
"...the term “homogenous citizenship”, when defending his vision of an egalitarian society. Homogenous? Hoare’s support for an “ultra-liberal immigration policy” aside, this reeks of the aculturalism that I associate with Burkean liberal-conservatism. The last thing I want to see is a homogeneous society. It would be the social equivalent of thermodynamic heat death."
That focus on political and cultural pluralism neatly sums up everything that I think socialism is about. I'd just prefer it if more democratic socialists saw it that way. Currently, this perspective seems to be the sole preserve of a fairly small subset of the more extra-parliamentary left.

*I hate that word too.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Francis Sedgemore on....

... the new Burkeans

(This isn't displacement post no2 - I meant to link to it a few days ago - honest!)

Bottled beers - update

Today, I should be working. I've got tons of crap that I've got to do, and I should be getting on with it. Which means there may be the odd bit of displacement blogging going on today. I'm really going to try and make this my last post today, but I can promise nothing with so much tedium in store for me:

So. In preparation for hours of shitwork, I nipped out to the nearest supermarket and came back with a selection of bottled beers. A good while ago now, I posted a round-up of bottled beers here, and I picked most of today's stock from the better bottles on that list.

However, I also got a bottle of something called St Edmunds by Greene King (4.2% abv), and it's good enough to warrant a displacement blog post. It's unusual in that it's an English ale that has been developed specifically to be drunk colder than room-temperature. And it's very clean and drinkeable. It's fresh and not as bitter as almost any of the others. It's also less gassy than almost any bottled ale that I've tasted. I could will drink it all night. My only worry about this kind of thing is that - when something as inoffensive as this comes out - it starts to get copied by everyone. One day, all bottled ales may taste like St Edmunds. It's almost as good as the St Peters. 9/10.

Here's a reminder of the others:
  • Fursty Ferret; OK. Not bad. Slightly too bitter - noticeably bottled taste, but OK. 7/10
  • Rebellion; red colour, hint of bonfire toffee. Hard to drink more than one bottle. OK. 6/10
  • Spitfire; Good. A bit dry and bitter, could have a fresher finish, but quite drinkeable. 8/10.
  • Waitrose 'Green Man' Organic Ale; Quite light. Good taste, whiskyish hint, a bit gassy, but drinkeable enough. 8/10.
  • Timothy Taylor Landlord - 'stong pale ale'; Actually only 4.1% and nothing much wrong with it. Maybe a bit gassy, but maybe all bottled beers are gassy? 8/10.
  • WychCraft; 4.5% from Wychwood. Hoppy smell. V.good. 8/10.
  • Marstons Single Malt; 4.2%. Nice, beery taste. Slightly smokey - noticeably nice after the WychCraft. 8/10.
  • St Peters' Organic Ale; 4.5%. The king of bottled beers. Clear, bright and drinkeable. Just the right balance of bitterness, sweetness and dryness. 9.5/10
  • Marston's Pedigree; 4.5%. Darker than most, heavier than most, not as good as the draught version. Not very drinkable. 5/10 at best.
  • Badger 'Golden Glory' - 4.5%; Very fruity & sweet, peach aroma. Delicious on first taste. Probably couldn't drink too much though, but if you plan to have only one bottle, this is it. It's a bit acidy, but if you worry about after-effects, you'd never drink any beer in the first place. 9/10.
Footnote: I decided only to review <5% abv beers as these are the only ones I buy.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ho Ho Ho Frenchy (again)

The government are going to try to use social networking sites to engage with the public.

I hope it works. I hope it isn't another Lt Hauk moment.

Personally, I'd say that this is something that government shouldn't do - and shouldn't be seen to be doing. It's the role of civil society to create a civil conversation that government can eavesdrop upon.