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Go figure

Hold up!

See that little date above?

This post was published years ago.

My opinions have changed over time: I think it's quite fun to keep old posts online so that you can see how that has happened. The downside is that there are posts on this site that express views that I now find offensive, or use language in ways I'd never dream of using it today.

I don't believe in airbrushing history, but I do believe that it's important to acknowledge the obvious: some of what I've written in the past has been crap. Some of it was offensive. Some of it was offensively bad. And there's may be some brass among the muck (you can make up your own mind on that).

Some of what I've presented as my own views has been me—wittingly or unwittingly—posturing without having considered all the facts. In a few years, I'll probably think the same about what I'm writing today, and I'm fine with that. Things change. People grow. Society moves forward.

The internet moves on too, which means there might be broken links or embedded content that fails to load. If you're unlucky, that might mean that this post makes no sense at all.

So please consider yourself duly warned: this post is an historical artefact. It's not an exposition of my current views nor a piece of 'content' than necessarily 'works'.

You may now read on... and in most cases, the post you're about to read is considerably shorter than this warning box, so brace for disappointment.

Go figure (Guardian)

Some of the particularly interesting bits:

2
Number of times Peter Mandelson resigned from government amid allegations of sleaze before reappearing as European commissioner in August

£150,000
Mandelson’s annual salary (not including $1,900 a month housing allowance)

For me, this is one of the worst aspects of Blair’s government. People are forced to resign if they get caught (unless your initials are TB – well, AB actually – how did he ever become ‘TB’?), but you don’t have to resign for long. Disgraced ministers should not be rehired if you want a “whiter-than-white” government. But Blair doesn’t want that… He wants a government that will, to all intents and purposes, let him do what he wants unchallenged. It’s very wrong, and bad for the country.

2
Number of racist jokes Tory MP Ann Winterton has told at after-dinner speeches

2
Number of times Winterton has been sacked from prominent positions in the Tory party as a result of her fondness for racist jokes

…but then the Tories aren’t much better. But at least they don’t seem to have done it quite as often in recent years.

17,124
Maximum number of civilian deaths in Iraq since the war began (Source: iraqbodycount.org)

100,000
Minimum number of civilian deaths in Iraq since the war began (Source: Lancet report)

Which ever figure is right, it’s far too high. There was no need for an immediate invasion, and even if a case had been made for regime change (which would have been illegal anyway, but let’s just suppose) then time could have been taken to plan an acute strike to kill of Saddam and a minimal number of his aides. There was no need to go and destroy much of a beautiful country, leaving children as orphans and families as homeless.

100,000
Deaths this year due to the conflict in Darfur

106,000
Deaths this year from active smoking in the UK

700
Deaths from passive smoking in the UK

When faced with figures like these, even my opposition to a public smoking ban begins to waver. But I stand firm. I agree that there is a case for banning smoking in many public places, but I don’t see why the government should deny people the liberty of going out and having a smoke now and again. However much I dislike it, and however much harm it is doing to themselves. It should only be banned in places where it causes significant harm to others (such as poorly ventilated restaurants).

21.4
Grams of fat in a McDonald’s chicken Caesar salad with dressing and croutons

7.7
Grams of fat in a standard McDonald’s hamburger

It’s popularly known, but worth mentioning again in the light of the recent campaigns attempting to portray McDonalds as a healthy option.

95p
Price of a 500ml bottle of Dasani, Coca-Cola’s new drink that was withdrawn from sale after it was revealed to come from a tap in Sidcup, Kent

0.03p
Price of 500ml of tap water

One of my favourite stories of the past year. Finally, a major triumph over corporate cynicism. Though I suppose it wasn’t, really, because it wasn’t withdrawn until it was found to be carcinogenic. But I can dream, and bask in happiness.

11
Number of times John Peel, who died in October, was voted Melody Maker’s DJ of the Year

I always liked John Peel. Certainly one of my favourite radio presenters, though I admit that I know him more for his Radio 4 work that his Radio 1 work. He was one of the few presenters who seemed interested in his listeners, and a genuinely caring man. A sad loss.

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