Britblog Roundup No 154

Welcome all to your weekly gathering of the big, the bad, and the curious – the best of the British blogosphere – as nominated by you. (Remember – if you see a great post drop a line to britblog AT gmail DOT com – so it can get in next week’s; the more the merrier.)

Going to start this week with something serious, considered and long: Chameleon’s review on Redemption Blues of Seyran Ate?’s The Multicultural Fallacy (Der Multikulti-Irrtum). The child of a Turkish father and a Kurdish mother, the author has lived in Berlin since age six, but “Because of her uncompromising stance on the plight of Muslim women and girls in contemporary Germany, she has been forced to remove her name from both doorbell and post box and has no official address. As she pointedly writes, she lives in a country where freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution, yet she has no choice but to live in hiding, punished for speaking her mind with overt hostility and even death threats.”

Since the original is in German, I’m sure I won’t be the only one who needs to read this detailed review and commentary to get a sense of what is obviously an important book. You might want to make a cuppa before you sit down to the post, but it’s worth the time.

After that, I promise, the posts get shorter, and, to begin with, highly practical. I’m always a fan about people blogging about actually doing things, rather than sitting at their computers, so here’s a short selection from this week:

* Pluvialis is an accipiter neophyte – in other words she is training a goshawk. But training a bird to accept a hood isn’t a simple process: “Quite reasonably, my goshawk knows that she has a much better chance of a) flying to my fist for food, or b) chasing and killing and eating something if she can see.”

* The blogger at was at a 700-strong public meeting about plans for a Glasgow park. To say it got heated hardly seems to cover it. The anger seems to have arisen in large part due to one of those “consultations you have when you aren’t consulting” – not sure if the London Borough of Camden learnt from Glasgow or vice a versa, but sadly I know all about those…

* Dorothea on Conserve England is growing parsley – and sets out just how to do it.

* Jess on The F-Word is teaching herself shorthand – and steaming at the sexism in the textbook. (I have to sympathise – when I learnt shorthand many years ago I failed several tests through spluttering over their contents – one about how secretaries (with of course female pronouns) should always be pleasant and accept unreasonable requests such as picking up the boss’s dry-cleaning comes to mind.

* And Rob on A Comfortable Place is marking essays (he’s an OU teacher) and reflecting on plagiarism. It is, he concludes, not a technical problem, but a moral one. In fact it is now easier to catch people out.

Then some politics on a big scale: on LonerGrrrl a Dear Mr Postmodernist letter – cutting hardly cover it.

Back to more traditional Britblog fare (if you want to skip the Westminster and related politics scroll down and you’ll find the point it stops in CAPS):

On the Ministry of Truth, a detailed, factual summary of the circumstances around Peter Hain’s resignation and analysis of what’s wrong with the law. It will tell you things you didn’t know, and bears not a trace of yah-boo politics, a fine example of the way the blogosphere can fill in gaps all too often left by the mainstream media.

And Rachel from North London, who of course has good personal reasons to be concerned, asks some searching questions about the Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee and the background to the 7/7 enquiry.

On Barkingside 21, a deconstruction of the government’s “commitment” to renewable energy.

On Dizzy Thinks a post (written before Hain resigned), with a suggestion that an advert for a post dealing with “legacy issues” means a reshuffle of departments, not just ministers.

On A Blog from the Back Room, the writer has a view on the theory that it would be good for Labour to lose the next election. But this writer likes to take the gentle, subtle approach: “I give a huge raspberry. It’s idiocy. It’s piffle. It’s nonsense dressed up in a clowns outfit and made to do a jig in the market square before an audience of appalled merchants and townsfolk.”

Meanwhile, on Our Kingdom, the home blogger has thoughts on Brown’s “personality problem”. “To be a driven politician today demands a personality defect. My guess is that the Brits are still sufficiently not so Americanised that they can live with this.”

Getting Londoncentric (and making up for what one columnist this weekend described as derisory coverage of the London mayoral race), at Harry’s Place an exploration of the attacks on Ken Livingston – yes it is a rightwing conspiracy, but then Ken does leave himself open on many fronts.

And on Belsize Liberal Democrats, news that the first English female councillor, Reina Emily Lawrence may be about to get a blue plaque. About time, I say!

And just down the road (promise these Camden posts were nominated, I’m not getting parochial) on Suz Blog we learn that “gobshite merchant” is now an acceptable council-ary word – and thus by definition “parliamentary” I wonder? In case you are wondering about the term “gobshite”, Suz explains.

Back to the national: On the Action on Rights for Children blog a series of videos about CAF forms, now being filled in for every child.

And on a blog that might be said to be taking alliteration just a little too far, Gavin’s Gaily Gigest, reflections on Gordon Brown and your organs – not for those of a delicate constitution who are eating breakfast, I’d suggest.

On a Livejournal, Advancing the Sum Total of Human Knowledge, a post for Blog for Choice day concluding that not all those campaigning against abortion rights are crazy.

Finally in this section, in the “people shouldn’t play games with toys they don’t understand class” – is Guido’s run-in with a Telegraph journalist.


Blood & Treasure is unusually serious and sombre in contemplating J.G. Ballard’s autobiography, and why now would be a good time to read it.

And Dr Roy on Early Modern Whale has been travelling through time to visit a recovering chess addict, who thought about the game even, shock horror, in the pulpit. A modern computer addiction panic anyone?

The Magistrate is going back to the old days, rather more recent ones, and reflecting on one of his horror cases. He might have plenty of bad things to say about the state of the courts today, but clearly there have been some improvements.

Turning to the music side Liberal England is waxing lyrical about the virtues of Spencer Davis, complete with a 1966 clip from YouTube. They don’t do hairdos like that any more – mmmm….

And Peter on Unmitigated England has a great photo of a phone box as you’ve never seen one before – well except perhaps after a _very_ long night out.

Meanwhile Stumbling and Mumbling tries an economic analysis of the effect of the departure of a Blue Peter host.

And staying on the childish side, Juliet on Musing from a muddy island a reflection on the difficulties of parenting in the age of the ‘child-safe’ internet filter.

And to finish, who better than the inimitable Diamond Geezer? Okay, you might say that this belongs in politics, but it has that great virtue of being seriously funny, to pull it out of the pack.

And that’s it for this week – a bumper week for nominations, so please do keep them rolling in next week, when the roundup moves to Westminster Wisdom. (At least that’s the most recent rota I can find – if I got it wrong someone please advise.)


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  • January 28, 2008 - 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I think that’s right! At least I hope so- great roundup!

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  • david ware
    January 30, 2008 - 5:09 am | Permalink

    natalie–a great roundup indeed. Some real food for thinking here, not the least of which is the coverage of the public meet to discuss Pollok Park and the GoApe! proposal. Our local city council has been guilty of the same sharp practice–“what? Objections? The period for filing them was six months ago!”–and it may be a characteristic of elected local government, most of whose members have no problem shorting due process if it means expedient and not-obviously-crooked resolutions. Is it the result of drinking city tap water? Sigh.

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  • February 1, 2008 - 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Thanks – some great blogs I hadn’t come across before.

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  • Mark Woodward
    October 8, 2009 - 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Belsize Liberal Democrats get it wrong. Harriet Harman gets it wrong…& I am not speaking of Mrs Thatchers missing name. The first female councillor in England was not Reina Emily Lawrence, although she was the first female councillor in London, elected Dec 1907.

    The 1907 Act allowed unmarried & widowed ladies to stand for election so long as they were ratepayers. In October 1907 Mrs S E Woodward was elected to the borough council in Bewdley & was the first female councillor in the country. So no plaques for Reina unless it states that she was the first female councillor elected in London!

  • September 8, 2016 - 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Great article, sir! Thanks!

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