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Archive for January, 2011

Room With A Restricted Worldview

21 January, 2011 1 comment

People have different standards for what’s morally acceptable. I get that. And many people find it difficult to accept that the moral standards and societal norms they grew up with have changed. I get that too. That’s why I sympathise somewhat with Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the Cornwall B&B owners who this week were forced to pay compensation to a gay couple whose holidays they ruined by discriminating against them and refusing to honour their reservation.

The Bulls are no doubt sincere in their beliefs as they were willing to risk legal sanction rather than violate them. But while they’re entitled to their private views, a judge has quite sensibly ruled that they’re not entitled to run a business that interferes with the rights of others to be treated equally. The Bulls will now be free to decide whether they wish to run a business from their home or to refuse to allow gay couples to stay there. They are free to do either but not both. Read more…

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Off with her head? Not likely!

11 January, 2011 Leave a comment

Arnold Machin’s iconic image of Queen Elizabeth II has graced every British postage stamp since 1967 and is believed to be the most reproduced image in history. Recently, it began appearing in British newspapers reporting fears that it was soon to disappear.

It appeared that if the government  sold off Royal Mail as they are desperate to do, there was a danger that the queen’s head would no longer appear on stamps. To a certain type of English person (think Al Murray‘s pub landlord character), that would amount to someone defecating on everything it means to be English.

Luckily, the government stepped in and announced that they would be amending the postal services bill to ensure that Her Majesty’s likeness would forever remain on stamps. Hurrah!

This seems to me like the sort of governmental subterfuge perfected by Sir Humphrey Appleby. Create a false issue that will spark concern and protests and then resolve it, appearing to be patriotic heroes while hoping nobody notices that there’s something much bigger and more important going on.

Of all the possible concerns that our British cousins should have about the selling off of another national asset, it seems to me that what future stamps will look like should be near the bottom of the list. Issues like potential increases in costs and decreases in efficiency and accountability should probably rate higher. And I’m sure they do with most people. But you wouldn’t know it from reading the newspapers.

New Year’s Revolutions

4 January, 2011 1 comment

Ah, what better time to re-evaluate one’s life than when the year is brand spanking new and full of possibilities? Well, if you ask me, a few days later, as it’s probably counter-productive to attempt difficult lifestyle changes in the middle of a long weekend.

So now that the new year has properly started and normal service has been resumed, here are some of the things I intend to accomplish over the next twelve months:

(And yes, I mean revolutions. I’m not just resolving, I’m revolving. Or revolting.)

Read more…

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