December 13th, 2005


News below subject line: here

1) Today is Chrismahanukwanzakah. Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah to you all!

One of the last things I saw on CNN before I flew from ATL last time was Richard Branson promoting it. He cheerfully admitted that he couldn't pronounce it, not least because he's dyslexic. Rather a flawed concept for a promotion, I'd've thought.

2) The most recent British Social Attitudes report (PDF file) came out today; very interesting reading if, like me, you like that sort of thing. It's politics at the policy level rather than the party level.

Sometimes I wonder whether the concept of "a national character" has any merit. It's lazy prejudice to ascribe particular characteristics to people purely on the basis of their nationality, because every nation has people of every sort. However, if there were significant differences between the attitudes of inhabitants of one nation and those of another nation to the same question in the same context, that could be useful to know.

3) Which leads naturally into discussion of political correctness. People like to say "It's political correctness gone mad!" when artificial or laboured inclusiveness prevails over common sense. However, the government offers some practical and sensible, if nontraditional, advice, people scream "it's political correctness gone mad!" and the advice is rescinded.

Except it's not - it's actually really good advice, it's just not what people want to hear. In my view, it's "it's political correctness gone mad!" gone mad. Google suggests I might be the first person to say that.

4) Also pertaining to BBC News, I finally managed to get a comment printed in the Magazine section. Evidently it pays to comment in the style of Alan Hansen even on matters unrelated to sport. Subtlety does not pay.

I would be hugely amused if someone could get something I myself had written into next year's Golden Bulls after my criticism of this year's.

5) And finally, a screenshot from the website of the local newspaper about 48 hours ago. Seems that when Middlesbrough elected a former police chief informally known as "Robocop" as town mayor, they really were after 21st century justice.

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