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About me

Go figure


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 15 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 15 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 15 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Go figure (Guardian)

Some of the particularly interesting bits:

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Deaths this year due to the conflict in Darfur

Deaths this year from active smoking in the UK

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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.

This 141st post was filed under: News and Comment.

Some recently published posts

The Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnels: eight years on / January 2020, 8 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / January 2020, 7 minutes long

Faber Stories / December 2019, 4 minutes long

My favourite books of 2016 / December 2019, 26 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / December 2019, 12 minutes long

Some random old posts

Review: Stonemouth by Iain Banks / January 2013, 4 minutes long

FactCheck / March 2005, 1 minute long

The BBC’s “Have Your Say” feature adds value / November 2008, 3 minutes long

What I’ve been reading this month / January 2019, 3 minutes long

You’re offended? Oh, bollocks! / April 2006, 2 minutes long

The Bushman / December 2004, 4 minutes long

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