Boris Johnson is dangerous

Steve Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Beckett University, uses the concept of a “dark triad” of three personality traits… psychopathy, narcissism and machiavellianism” to describe Boris Johnson.

Taylor’s thesis is a litany of “unpalatable” behaviours and personality traits, that shouldn’t be anywhere near the seat of power, let alone sitting on it.

The Conversation

The ideas of Aspasia of Miletus are at the root of Western philosophy

Armand D’Angour argues in the The Conversation, the ideas of Aspasia of Miletus, Socrates first love, are at the root of Western philosophy.

Just another example of the phrase that may or may not have been said by Napoleon Bonaparte.

What is history but a fable agreed upon?

Quote Investigator

It’s not hard to see how or why patriarchy has marginalise Aspasia of Miletus. Interestingly the website Quote Investigator, who investigate the source of quotes, attributes it to someone else. Ironic.

Rocket scientist explains how we could move our planet

Matteo Ceriotti in The Conversation explains the plausible science of the new Netflix film, Wandering Earth (2019).

The science is interesting, but Ceriotti leaves the best for last. If there’s any human life on Earth when the sun starts to expand, the best thing we can do is move the entire population of the planet to Mars.

Personally, I’d much prefer moving to the moon, that way we’ll be floating through space like the team of Moon Base Alpha in Space: 1999.

Slow cinema

I’m not sure I agree with Andrew Russell’s thesis in The Conversation that “people are searching for ways to escape the fast pace of the modern world” and choosing slow cinema as a way to achieve this.

Slow cinema is all about tension and release. The filmmaker builds tension by making the audience wait. I suspect its popularity for a slower paced film may have more to do with peoples habit of bingeing through ten hours of serialised drama. Audiences have more tolerance than ever before for stories building over time.

Surviving climate change means transforming both economics and design

Joanna Boehnert in The Conversation makes the point “designers cannot design sustainable future ways of living on scale without a shift in economic priorities”.

National living wage is not enough to fix Britain’s low-pay problem

The key point of interest comes at the end of Tony Dobbins’ article in The Conversation. “The UK is increasingly now a low-tax, deregulated, market economy. Unless these causes of low pay are targeted by radically alternative policies, income inequalities will persist.”

As my mum likes to say “the rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer”.

It feels to me like the whole world is heading backwards. If we’re not already there, we’re heading for Victorian levels of inequality, eating our own tail, blindly making the mistakes of the past. We can’t see it or do anything about it, because we’re too busy trying to survive, and I’d argue that’s all deliberate.

We need to look up, look around and look back, we need to learn.

Tactical choices

I agree with Tom Quinn’s analysis in The Conversation about the Independent Group, their “likely endpoint is another merger” with the other centrists party, the Liberal Democrats. In the same way as the SDP merged with the Liberal Party in the 1980’s, it’s the logical outcome of a binary political system.

The Conversation

I voted to remain, and Chuka Umunna is my MP, so theoretically I should vote for his pro European platform, and return him to Parliament at the next election. I’m not sure I will. For me the only way forward is the solution offered by the Labour Party. We leave the European Union but maintain a strong trading partnership, that includes free movement, and regulation parity.

Labour and Corbyn have been criticised for their stand, accused of propping up right-wing Tories. I don’t think that’s what is happening. I think Corby is using our exit of the European Union as a way to further the manifesto promises of the last election.

I still think leaving the European Union is an act of social and economic madness, playing Russian roulette with five rounds in the six shot cylinder. The chances of us emerging alive on the other side are slim, but I am equally disturbed by the neoliberalism of European Union.

Two things come to mind when I think neoliberalism. The first is Thatcherism, a system of “dog in a manger” economics, obsessed with the vagaries of the market and privatisation, and a property owning democracy that either revels in Boomtown, or sleeps rough when the economy hits the skids.

The second thing that comes to mind is something said by Ken Loach. The European Union is a club for bosses. It may offer workers rights, minimum safety standards for consumer goods, free movement of goods, services, and of course workers, but all of those benefits are designed as much to enrich the wealth of the bosses, as mollify its citizens

Given a choice between a revolver with five rounds in the chamber, and cheaper food, I’m going to choose cheaper food. But if our food is going to be more expensive, perhaps that can be offset by cheaper utility bills, and cheaper transportation, when those industries are nationalised under a Labour government.

Just a thought.

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