Plans to try out in London the Parisian scheme which allows cyclists to turn left at red traffic lights has been backed by the Government. Sanity at last. How many of the cyclists killed in London this year were jumping red lights and how many killed at junctions while being passed by speeding traffic, especially at left turns? Time to explode the myth that this practise is either dangerous or irresponsible.
The fact that crossing a red is a decision means it is the safest time. Only those who accidentally jump red lights are in danger. Which is very few, according to the accident statistics.
If drivers did not behave like Formula 1 boy-racers on a starting grid, cyclists would be safe at green. Until then, the safest time to cross is when traffic is stationary, or non existent. When the lights are red and the junction box clear, in other words.
It has also been pointed out today that the law gives right of way at a junction to pedestrians, which is not widely known. And that lights are there to control vehicles because they are the main danger. The moral argument is obvious and overwhelming. That cyclists are no more protected than a pedestrian and should therefore have right of way over vehicles.
As noted previously.
Posted by biginabox on August 12, 2015
The Jeremy Corbyn campaign has reached a decisive point. Putin’s regime has endorsed him as their preferred candidate for Labour leader. How Corbyn deals with this kiss of death will have a critical influence on his campaign.
Cosying up to Putin would be fatal. He could talk his way out of his statements on Hamas and other organisations on humanitarian grounds, but Putin is different. It is vital that Corbyn now realises it is possible to reject both corporate machines; The Kremlin Tweedledum and the Pentagon Tweedledee he has been fighting for decades. In fact, it is obligatory for a genuine progressive to do so.
Kissing the arse of the Butcher of Groszny and Minister for Homophobia will lose Corbyn countless votes. If he is to nurture the hope he has come to represent, and form the broad progressive alliance needed to gain power, Corbyn has to radically change a decrepit British political culture in four years. This does not mean playing Moscow off against Washington and ending up as the messenger boy.
Posted by biginabox on August 12, 2015
The Kids Company Affair graphically illustrates the failure of Dickensian, charity-driven welfare.
Camila Batmanghelidjh never intended to run a charity, the point of Kids Company was that it provided a model for effective child welfare which the state should adopt. Much as the National Health Service was based on the model of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society.
Charity stinks of charity. If society creates destitute children, its taxpayers should be prepared to pick up the bill, as in civilised societies. Unfortunately, Britain is currently an irresponsible, sulky, childish, child-hating culture, with the motto ‘Stuff You Jack, I’m All Right’. This is merely the latest condemnation of the charity culture which now sees the obscene spectacle of organisations competing with each other, and spending vast amounts of money on advertising campaigns.
Kids Company ran on a shoestring. It was refused a reserve fund by successive governments. When the private funder who had promised to match the government’s £3M reneged in the wake of allegations os sexual abuse, it had no option but to close. The truth is that it has been shamelessly exploited by David Cameron to gain political credibility, but its logical conclusion, that Britain hates its young people, is too near the knuckle for this government especially, who are doing more than any to smother the lives of the young under a massive burden of debt.
It is surely now time for a National Youth Service, to guard the interests of the young from the property speculators and other Gradgrinds trying to domesticate them from birth.
There are a smattering of organisations now which understand the genuine needs of young minds and bodies, and which are fighting a losing battle against the rod-wielding gutter press, determined as ever that pain should always be available as a means of controlling youth. But they can never hope to succeed while they rely on random patronage, and for as long as their methods and ideas remain unmonitored and largely untested.
Posted by biginabox on August 6, 2015
The crisis at Calais and the mass exodus from unihabitable countries is something we should have thought about when we were invading and plundering them 200 years ago, creating the wealth we enjoy, and which they now want a slice of – having paid for it in the past. What’s wrong with that? At least they don’t use machine guns against spears.
Wars and economic disaster drove these people here. We are as responsible for granting them asylum as we are for creating the chaos they are fleeing. However much that may be.
The fact is that any force hostile to Britain has a better chance of destroying it by crippling its trade than by killing its people with bombs. And by driving millions of people away from their homes, they are reversing the Human-shield tactic and using innocent, desperate people as long-range guided missiles, targeting ports and motorways, as well as social-services and the patience of the intolerant. Refugees are a weapon in the terrorists’ arsenal as well as a direct result of our interventions, inactions, and economic exploitation. And refugees are what they are. Not ‘migrants’, as the media insists on defining them. This is yet another abuse of language and dose of poison to thought. (See ‘Radical’.). People seeking refuge from global chaos are not ‘migrants’, they are refugees. The clue is in the word. Referring to them as ‘migrants’ hugely devalues their predicament, sanitising it for public consumption and neutralising as much sympathy as possible. And also tends to demonise actual migrants, making the entire ‘immigration debate’ even more toxic than it already is, and further refines the Newspeak Dictionary.
The solution is to stop the wars and make those countries habitable again. Which does not mean imposing yet another tyrant to treat the people like cattle. That is one reason they leave. One reason they come to Britain is the tabloid myth that our benefits system is free to all, and hands out homes to whoever asks for one, or two. A myth created by the same tabloids that are now demanding they should be treated like animals, as they were treated in the countries they are fleeing. Or logically, the tabloid demand is that Britain’s social services should be devastated in order to make them less atttractive to aliens.
The main lesson is that if you unleash global anarchy with war and corporate exploitation, this is the result. These refugees are the children of Shock and Awe. Britain’s responsibility in that disaster cannot be denied, unlike Germany, who last year processed over 5 times more asylum applications than Britain. So why is Germany now assuming more responsibility for the consequences of our war than we are?
Britain’s refusal to do its’ share in handling this crisis is a disgrace. Again it is the sploit brat of Europe, cowardly and sulky, hiding behind the skirts of the English Channel. Dumping all the reponsibility onto Italy, Greece, and Turkey, presumably. Let them solve the problem. The further away our wars are, the less we have to clean up the mess. One definition of Imperialism.
Posted by biginabox on July 29, 2015
While British Islamophobes are still paranoid about ‘Sharia Law’, and halal butchery daring to cock a snook at local parish bi-laws in parts of Bradford, they don’t seem to worry about a genuine threat to Civilisation being hatched by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
As well as pillaging vital social institutions like the NHS, it also intends to make business virtually immune from legal action through the ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ (ISDS). Which looks suspiciously like death of national sovereignty and democratic-credibility. The corporate takeover of the state would seem to be complete.
In this charming kangaroo court disobedient countries who have presumed to put the welfare of their people before the profit of the corporations will be made to answer before a self-selected judge and jury. No election manifesto post ISDS will be able to attempt to curtail the excesses of big business. Free politics will be shackled to the profit motive for the foreseeable future.
Posted by biginabox on July 16, 2015
The real question about this election is why was there so much hysterical Wishful Thinking based on opinion polls.
If the Straw-clutchers inside and outside the Labour party machine had spent more time overturning the lies that Labour brought the world economy to its knees, and that they ‘overspent’ on repairing a welfare system which was rotten from a decade of tory neglect, instead of trying to look like tories, they might have saved some face, in spite of Bumbling Miliband, the cartoonists’ friend. If they had confronted the bogeyman of ‘austerity’ with some backbone…
Did anyone, in their wildest dreams see Miliband waltzing into no. 10? Labour supporters will remember how they felt the day he was announced leader. They knew then that the game was up and the only hope was in fluke or disaster. The working electorate could not imagine Miliband as their boss. They could imagine forever having to tell him to zip his fly up and having to clear poptarts from his DVD drive. And now he’s dead. But so is Farage. And all over the country a lot of people are going to get very angry about housing. There will be more teargas on the streets – as in Brixton 2 weeks ago, and more direct action, unlike 2011. More like 1990.
The Labour brand might still be secure, but has it been betrayed once too often?
Posted by biginabox on May 8, 2015
Nicola Sturgeon, like her predecessor, is the best politician in Britain because she can be the most honest. She is not plagued by the equivocation and sense that everything they say is a hostage to fortune that riddles the others rigid. And if Miliband can give a nod and a wink to the long-embarrassed progressive Labour sympathisers that she might be what Clegg was supposed to be to Cameron, then it might be able to win the election
If Labour can further splice ‘regional self-determination’ into a wider progressive agenda, some sort of merger with the SNP is not inconcievable, maintaining British unity and local independence within a federal system. Stranger things have happened.
If Labour and SNP were the pioneers of this new contract, the party which emerged from the two would be a genuine progressive political force, something a lot of people have long been waiting for. With Surgin’ Sturgeon as its progressive Anti-Thatcher.
At the moment there’s a lot of very wild wishful thinking based entirely on the polls. Never underestimate the inertia of the British electorate, or their duplicity to pollsters. As in Major Vs Kinnock 1992. Unless the Mili-Sturgeon effect works, the soft underbelly of British opinion will flab on with the devil it knows.
The bookies, where people put their money where their mouth is, are probably a better indicator of the result, with a clear tory win on the cards.
Posted by biginabox on April 23, 2015
Abu Qatada (and Dickens and Ian Paisley.) All ‘Radicals’ according to the media. If there is evidence that Qatada has broken a real law (not some cowboy martial law left over from 9/11) stick him in the dock and lock him up for as long as it takes to make him a nice man. But don’t persecute him for being a ‘radical’. That is both an abuse of the language, and of millenia of British culture.
I realise that it is also a grand British tradition to persecute every radical from the Tolpuddle Martyrs through the Chartists and the Suffragettes, none of which ruled out violence as a means of change. But that doesn’t make persecuting radicals right. It just means that reactionaries are always afraid.
A society is judged by how it treats its enemies. This should be obvious on the day that Syria butchers its people while Ayatolloh Paisley, Grand Dragon of the Protestant Klan is peacefully dying in his bed, apparently ‘mourned’ by the media for his lifetime of hatemongering and incitement to acts of terrorism.
Abuse of the word ‘radicalisation’ should be pounced on by anyone who values language. ISIS are fanatical psychotics, not radicals. Tom Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft and Aneurin Bevan made all our lives better, they didn’t want to plunge us back into a new dark age. Reactionaries are not radical. And calling ISIS ‘radicals’ is to spit on the legacy of all progress, and help to slow it down by polluting the word – which is what ISIS and all reactionaries want. They want to be thought of as ‘radical’ and progressive, as the C20th fascists and Stalinists did. Pandering to their delusions is complete appeasement.
The reason nice middle class boys from Leatherhead are going crazy and joining ISIS is the same reason nice middle class people are going crazy everywhere. Nice middle class life is poison. A prison from SATS to the Retirement Community.
Why are there so few radicals out there who object to being labelled with this gang of psychos? It is so easy to use the word ‘fanaticised’ instead, and be right, instead of insulting every thinker in history who made our lives better.
This cannot be a mere slip. There is a sense that the nose of progress is being rubbed in the dirt.
Posted by biginabox on April 23, 2015
Posted by biginabox on February 17, 2015
General Purpose Blasphemous Doggerel 1989
All Gods are Bastards.
And all of their Prophets are Shits.
Every Man-Jack’s a necrophiliac
Infested with maggots and nits.
Gods Love to Destroy and wreak Vengeance,
Dealing Pain with a flick of a wrist,
And what is more, every Son of a Whore
Doesn’t even Exist.
We invent and then fear these shadows
Like children afraid in the dark.
But we roast any wight who turns on the light
Or even who shows us a spark.
We cower in terror of Nothing,
And nothing we get for our Pains.
For the Heaven that we crave is a box in a grave.
Nothing where Nothingness reigns.
The silence of Death is no stranger.
We hear it each night in our bed,
And remember our Birth and the first smell of earth
When we wake up well slept and well fed.
It is then that we truly fear nothing
And Nothing fears us, by degrees.
But the day comes and then the cruel world again
Drives us down on to our knees.
It seems Death is fine (for a visit)
But we’d give it a miss – given the chance.
Because under the loam, the retirement home
‘Dunlivin’ is booked in advance.
While we frantically plan for our post-life:
‘All those things that we never could share.’
We all know that our fate is not God’s Estate
But a stain in a graveyard somewhere.
Our powerlessness in this contract
Festers Ultimate Grievance , with age.
So we yearn for a Being – Allmighty, All-Seeing.
ENTER: ‘God’ – (PUFF OF SMOKE) – Centre stage.
And show after show he screeches
One line from the Stalls to the flies:
‘Just you tell Man his life’s a short span.
And to put bums on pews – or he dies !’
Grant us only the temperate frenzy
To say what we feel with each breath.
We ask little more, no eternal encore:
One full life scares the Hell out of Death.
Posted by biginabox on January 10, 2015