The Next dystopian family

    This morning I was greeted by the above delightful email from Next.

    A rather embarrassing NEXT ad.

    Can it be that nobody involved could see how sinister this is? A blandly beautiful family all reduced to bland unthreatening ciphers by a pseudo-uniform. It's like propaganda from a dystopian near-future sci-fi film.

    The world's quite enough of a dystopian fantasy as it is. I don't fancy turning my family into one, thanks.

    Liberalism, business and success

    Every single person who'd attack Steve Jobs on any of these grounds is, demonstrably, worse at business than Jobs. They're unqualified to assert that liberal values are bad for business, when the demonstrable, factual, obvious evidence contradicts those assertions.

    It's a choice whether you, or anyone else, wants to accept the falsehood that liberal values are somehow in contradiction with business success at a global scale. Indeed, it would seem that many who claim to be pro-business are trying to "save" us from exactly the inclusive, creative, tolerant values that have made America's most successful company possible.

    via dashes.com

    In America, the right are trying to make out that left-wing values are incompatible with business.

    In Britain, the left are trying to make out that business is incompatible with left wing-values.

    And people wonder why I hold so many politicians from all sides of the fence in contempt.

    Piegate: the people who rise

    I'm quietly fascinated by this "piegate" animated Gif of the attack on Rupert Murdoch yesterday:

    Mostly, I'm fascinated about the fact that the only two people who rise to their feet on the "inquisition" side of the room are both women - I'd be fascinated to know if that's just conincidence, or if there's some difference in the psychology of men and women that cause the different reaction.

    Behind the Protest

    Swung by the anti-cuts demo happening in London earlier, to do a post for OM&HB. What really struck me on the way back to the office was how much stuff was just being discarded into the street as the protest went by. It reminded me a little of the way that avalanches shed rocks and other debris…

    Abandoned call for rescue

    Slightly ironically, given the nature of the protests, there were a bunch of public sector workers right behind the demo, doing their best to clear it up as they went:

    The protest cleaners

    That said, some signs of the protest’s passing will take a little bit more effort to remove:

    Stand on Mr Cameron

    Food & Light

    Spent much of today working on some recent photography. Here's a couple I'm really pleased with:

    IMG_6751 - Version 2

    The dinner at my nephew's christening.

    IMG_6586 - Version 2
    The chandelier at a house we visited in Florida.

    So, wait, politicians aren't allowed to have sex?

    Britain is a strange place, sometimes. Sally Bercow, wife of the speaker of the House of Commons, has caused outrage - OUTRAGE - for posing in a mildly salacious pic (above) and admitting that they find sleeping in sight of the Houses of Parliament to be a bit sexy.

    When John and I were first courting we used to walk along the South Bank and look at the Houses of Parliament. I never realised then how sexy I would find living under Big Ben with the bells chiming. 
    Politicians as a breed aren't particularly sexy but I think politics can be sexy because power is an aphrodisiac.

    And outrage results. The Times [£]:

    The apologies did little to impress MPs. One Tory minister said: “There are limits but this goes too far. This is a fierce challenge to the dignity of Parliament. The sooner we are rid of the both of them, the better.”

    Yes, the dignity of Parliament is impugned when married couple have sexy time. Chaste MPs only, please!

    Even Guido Fawkes, who is a watcher of totty himself, pitches in

    The discontent is growing and coming from higher up the Tory ladder

    Members of the Tory party, I hate to break this to you: your leader has many children. He has, I suspect, been induldging in sexy time. With his not-unattractive wife

    OK, I get it. People don't like John Bercow. But this isn't political debate, or a matter of his competancy. This is salacious gossip, mixed up with some good old puriance. 

    Married people are allowed to have sex. It does not damage anyone or anything's dignity to talk about it a little. Move on, people. 

    Rock the demo

    This is rather good, and I have no memory of taking it:

    City Poly? Before the removal of the University/Polytechnic divide, then.

    And a band on a truck - all demos should have a band on a truck…

    Stuff your loans!

    I'm busy scanning and editing some photos I took on a student demo back in 1989, inspired by this weeks' events. I remember this photo vividly:

    Stuff your loans!
    I am, however, slightly shocked at how dated it looks. Students look rather different these days…

    I'm aiming to have the full set up on One Man & His Blog at some point tomorrow.

    Update: Now up.

    Brunch: the finest meal of the weekend


    Fashionably Recessional

    There was a small debate on Twitter this morning, possibly triggered by Glynn, about the relationship between hemlines and the economic conditions. He found this reference:

    Almost anything can be an economic indicator. Back in the 1920s, the economist George Taylor conceived the hemline index, finding that skirts got longer as the economy slowed. These days, there's been talk of a haircut index, with short locks signaling a market drop.

    Now, this season seems to be all about maxi dresses. And this story about stars shearing their locks short just popped up on a fashion blog.

    Double dip recession anyone?

    Where Were You When Gordon Brown Resigned?

    IMG_2534Well, two of the major parties that went into this General Election were promising change, and they have delivered on that promise, but not in a way many of us expected. 

    Gordon Brown has stepped down, and New Labour slips from power 13 years after it swept to a landslide victory. When New Labour came to power, I was sat at home, celebrating. When Gordon Brown resigned, I was, rather prosaically, in my car, driving home from work and listening to Radio 4. While I feel no sadness in the political passing of Brown, I’m not exactly celebrating the arrival of Cameron in No. 10 either.

    As I tweeted once I was home:  .bbpBox{background:url(http://a1.twimg.com/profile_background_images/1930642/header.png) #9ae4e8;padding:20px;}p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px}p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6}p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px}p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px}p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block}

    Appear to have left work under Labour and arrived home under the Tories...less than a minute ago via Tweetie

    The truth is, no-one really knows what this coalition government will bring. We’re in unexplored territory, and that’s intriguing.

    I have, despite myself, really enjoyed the days since the election. The possibility of something different has opened up in British politics - and, while that potential may turn out to be illusory, we are very much just at the end of the first act. We have plenty of drama ahead - the revelation of the full cabinet, the deals that have been done of policy to pull this coalition together, the fight for the soul of the Labour party in the leadership election - and thus have a long way to go until we know what the new status quo is.

    If your heart and soul is in the Labour Party, you have reason to be despondent tonight. For the rest of us, well, we’re living in interesting times. Somehow, a party with a large, working majority never seemed very interesting to follow. This curious alliance of the centre left and the (claimed) centre right? This should be very interesting indeed.

    My (Personal) First Reactions to the General Election

    I've become something of an internal hung parliament myself.

    The journalist in me is delighted.  Think of all the stories that will emerge from this situation - the political deals that will be done, the knife-edge votes, the constant possibility of a fallen government. Oh, and a second election within the year - two at the outside. Brilliant

    Another part of me - the part that wants to buy a house and start a family - is a little nervous that we don't have a majority government, that the massive deficit will not be addressed properly, and that the markets will panic, harming the economy. A related, but far from identical, part of me is gutted that the LibDems didn't make more progress in the polls.

    And a last, but vocal, part of me is glad that whatever emerges from this mess will be a government that will have to govern by consensus and debate, rather than just pushing their own, narrow agenda through with their majority.

    As soon as a few of these parts of myself manage to form a coalition, I'll let you know. ;-) 

    Labour Goes Keywording

    AdwordsThis amused me - this is the feed from Boris Johnson's blog in my feed reader. Note the partial feed. Tsk.

    Also note: the keyword-based feed advertising inserting an ad for Labour in the Tory mayor's feed.

    Bonus note: does that mean if I'd clicked through, a small amount of Labour money would have gone to Boris? 


    Holborn's Burning (Briefly)

    OK, I admit it. the title's a bit of an exaggeration. But we had the excitement of a small fire here at EG towers this afternoon. As best I can tell, a pile of bags of shredded paper somehow caught fire just outside our Holborn office, leading to smoke, fire extinguishing and the arrival of the fire brigade:

    The building security guard actually tried to stop me taking the last photo. Apparently photos of burnt paper in the foyer are a security risk…  


    A Comparison

    I am annoyed.

    On Saturday night, some lackwit managed to clip my (parked) car, scraping and cracking my front wing. The damage isn't significant, and experience has taught me that even if it was, reporting it to the police is utterly pointless. So the culprit will get away scot free.
    On Sunday evening, I made a mistake driving through an unfamiliar area, and ended up in a bus lane by accident. There's a bus lane camera right there, so I'll probably end up £60 poorer for an honest mistake. 
    And the contrast between the two is exactly why so many people in the UK are feeling a rather significant lack of justice right now. Damage to someone's property: no punishment. Mistake with no impact on anyone else: £60. Britain in 2009.


    Brown in the Bunker

    Oh, I just knew that there would be European Elections / Gordon Brown / Downfall mashups kicking around: