These Britblog Roundups are getting erratic.


This one, for example, is a week late. The previously scheduled one never appeared. Nonetheless, pressing on, let’s start with what really matters. The arrival of British fish and chips in Poland.


An unapologetic feminist and trade union activist is unimpressed with an organisation which wants to save lives by reducing abortions:


Awwww.  So basically, in a nutshell, the stories in this book/pamphlet/anti-abortion-religious-tract boil down to: I was young.  I didn’t know what I was doing.  I had an abortion.  I lived to regret it.  But then I found Jesus.  The end.


Always good to have a happy ending.


If you stupidly decide not to destroy your children before they are born, you at least can give them a fate even worse than death: social obliteration at school when they turn up on a bicycle sporting mudguards made from recycled plastic milk-bottles.


Or you can horribly stereotype them. What I don’t understand about these rantings against gender stereotyping is that the feminists who write them must have been stereotyped as children, yet as if by magic they grew up as feminists. If they were strong-willed enough to resist the blandishments of silly pink girlie stuff, maybe everyone else can be too?


If your vile children somehow survive all these humiliations and grow up, there’s still one other way to get rid of them. They can be executed for being gay in some countries – and the shameful UN will do nothing about it


On the other hand, they may get their own back on you – and mutate into revolting students. Try this one, where students are discussing whether the UK ‘really’ has a coalition government:


But the student wasn’t having any of it. What was true didn’t really matter in one sense, they argued, it was the perception of that reality that was important


Yup, who wants to learn musty old facts, when we can have so much more fun validating our perceptions? Then there’s this:


Students are right to be angry. Students are right to protest. If anything we need more energy, not less, in these movements to help them show the rest of us the way.


Er … and those of us who slave away to pay for these so-called students are right to believe that they need to get their little runny noses back in their books. If not, the deal’s off.


Pub Philosopher reminds us of the time when there were not so many male students around:

One hazy morning in 1917 the senior mistress of Bournemouth High School For Girls stood up in front of the assembled sixth form and announced to her hushed audience:

"I have come to tell you a terrible fact."  Only one out of ten of you girls can ever hope to marry. This is not a guess of mine. It is a statistical fact.

"Nearly all the men who might have married you have been killed. You will have to make your way in the world as best you can. "The war has made more openings for women than there were before. But there will still be a lot of prejudice. You will have to fight. You will have to struggle…"


How good for ‘the Left’ and its struggles are cooperatives? Not good at all when the horrid Coalition government talks about them? Lo! Politically Rambling Jane brings a fine new verb to our language – to re-vigour:


If the left is going to re-vigour itself, it has to embrace these new ideas of ownership. They shouldn’t be seen as a threat to socialism or whatever, it should be seen as a way to bring in real local democracy. We shouldn’t become set in a thought that the state is the answer to everything, there are ways to reform areas of life so that we can provide real face-to-face democracy, real control and thus, real self freedom.


It doesn’t help when the left and those supporting worker’s rights, seem to conflate meanings and undermine the cause of progressive movements such as the cooperative/mutuals movement.


Talking of being angry, the brilliant Heresiarch (the best writer in the UK blogosphere?) identifies a new crime: being English.


What has been on trial is the possibility of humour itself, the right of a freeborn Englishman to be facetious as and when he feels like it, about any subject whatsoever. Against that age-old national instinct to make light of adverse circumstances – the spirit that got us through the Blitz – we now find a new and alien notion that there are some things that are beyond joking, that even an obvious joke must be treated seriously. Because it’s no laughing matter.


Because you can’t be too careful. Because any imagined threat, however patently absurd, must be ritually investigated. And the person making the joke must bear the responsibility for the time-consuming and costly process of investigation, even though the possibility of such an investigation never crossed his mind, just to drive the message home that You Cannot Make Jokes About Terrorism.


See also the Ministry of Truth on Gareth Compton’s fate:

The construction of the joke is one that, if well executed, has a least of chance of working when delivered to a English/British audience precisely because, within that culture, it cannot reasonably be taken seriously and works, as such, precisely because in Britain we don’t routinely stone people to death.

By the same token, its a joke that would certainly fall flat on its arse in some parts of Islamic world, where stoning remains very much on the cultural/judicial menu, but as we’re not in Iran that’s rather a moot point.

Contemplating telling jokes on Twitter? Stumbling and Mumbling nails it:


The desire to protect fragile purified identities (all pure things are fragile) leads to a demand for protection, which bolsters the self-importance of the police, security and judicial professions. And their self-importance in turn helps to legitimize the excessive sensitivity of the easily offended.


There, though, a wonderful irony here. One form which a purified identity can take is radical Islamism – the belief that adherence to a single book can ward off the jarring elements of modernity.


In this sense, Ms Alibhai-Brown and the pompous, humourless security professionals have something in common with the terrorists they oppose.


Maybe there just are other ways to deal with such things, even if they involve fevered British diplomats and the always-intriguing subject of megachiropteran oral sex?


Brian Barder can always be relied on to explain some not-so-obvious constitutional points. Such as, what is a Queen? And he even jousts with Tim Worstall over what to do about the long-term unemployed.


Another tireless blogger is Neil Craig. He manages to get a nice letter from Freeman Dyson, whose brilliant ears set a superb example to all would-be scientists. And when he is not wildly defending Slobodan Milosevic in Comments at this very site, he lays into the Scottish National Party:


I am forced to the conclusion that this is incompetence rather than deliberate fraud. It is nonetheless as gross as such incompetence can be. The attempt to cover up by pretending it was intentional is then dishonest. Either they are incompetent liars who have no belief in their party’s philosophical goal or they lying incompetents who have no belief in their party’s philosophical goal – I go for the latter.


Mark Pack warns us not to believe all the hype about social media. Which has had a faster take-up? Dull old radio or the cool iPod?


At the time radio hit 50m listeners in the US the US population was around 132 million, making radio’s penetration 38%. Currently the world’s population if around 6.8 billion, so to hit a similar 38% figure the iPod would have had to have got to 2.6 billion users. Kind of makes the iPod’s current take-up levels look rather puny compared to what radio actually achieved


Are you cross about security searches at airports? Know your place! Just accept them! So says a Magistrate: 


A lot of the remarks seem to express indignation that important travellers can have to speak to oiks in uniform. Those ‘oiks’ don’t make the rules.


It’s a bit like the pompous fools who react to being stopped for speeding by asking the officer why he isn’t out catching burglars instead of harassing motorists. The officer won’t answer the question, but he will be more likely to write a ticket than he was before it was asked.


Some public sector workers help save lives in a different way:


Little two-year-old Timmy with a cut to his head will be called into an examination room where I’ll assess him to make sure that he isn’t going to drop dead from an undiagnosed fractured skull. I’ll then clean the wound, glue it shut and then educate the parent (or Timmy if the parent is a bit dim) about how to look after the now neatly glued wound.

I’ll also tell them that if Timmy decides to have a seizure or collapse unconscious they should think about bringing him back as the head injury is obviously a bit more serious than I originally thought.

I then type up the notes on the computer system (because we are a paperless system. Mostly), discharge the patient and then call in the next one.

Repeat that for the rest of my twelve and a half hour shift.


Penultimate, but not least, an interesting posting by Slugger O’Toole about Roger Fenton, the first war photographer. Was one of his most famous photographs – a road in the Crimea conveniently littered with cannonballs – staged?


And to conclude, some thoughts from Counting Cats about the lassitude of the long-distance libertarian blogger:


Hmm, I appear to be out of steam all of a sudden. Am I speaking like a crazy person? Does this make any sense?

I just feel that one reason the socialists succeeded was that they created structure for themselves; little jobs here and there, sources of income, an ability to sustain a network. We can only get so far with volunteering, battling the inevitable psychological disincentives to keep churning out articles day after day without anything in return but the satisfaction of keeping going.

Blogs are good. But is it time for something a bit more organised that can make a name for itself and become a bit of an institution?

Good question.


Send your contributions to the next BBRU to britblog @ gmail dot com. Who knows, it may even appear at some point. Or not.