Tag Archives: Tony Blair

Selfseekers and Politicians

On 27th July 1965 Edward Heath became leader of the Conservative Party and so began the period when he and Harold Wilson alternated occupancy of 10, Downing Street.  Although these two party leaders certainly didn’t have the stature of Gladstone and Disraeli it is just about the last time in British politics when the two party leaders were almost evenly matched and this generated an interest in politics that has been sadly lacking since.  Probably the best thing about Heath and Wilson was the Mike Yarwood show!

Around about 1970, to my eternal shame, I even joined the Young Conservatives but I like to think that I quickly came to my senses and I didn’t renew my subscription when it ran out at the end of the first year.

Since that time I have had a complete disregard for politics and politicians but like everyone else has had to suffer a succession of greedy and incompetent Prime Ministers none of whom have contributed anything of value to our society.  Thatcher destroyed our industrial power base to transfer false wealth to her husband and other Tory cronies, Blair lied his way through ten years of power, Brown will probably go down in history as Britain’s worst ever Prime Minister and Cameron is currently setting about destroying the public sector and its services whilst lining the pockets of the bankers and his private sector pals.

I’ve forgotten one of course, John Major, he was ok – he liked cricket!

A Life in a Year – 27th July, Selfseekers and Politicians

On 27th July 1965 Edward Heath became leader of the Conservative Party and so began the period when he and Harold Wilson alternated occupancy of 10, Downing Street.  Although these two party leaders certainly didn’t have the stature of Gladstone and Disraeli it is just about the last time in British politics when the two party leaders were almost evenly matched and this generated an interest in politics that has been sadly lacking since.  Probably the best thing about Heath and Wilson was the Mike Yarwood show!

Around about 1970, to my eternal shame, I even joined the Young Conservatives but I like to think that I quickly came to my senses and I didn’t renew my subscription when it ran out at the end of the first year.

Since that time I have had a complete disregard for politics and politicians but like everyone else has had to suffer a succession of greedy and incompetent prime ministers none of whom have contributed anything of value to our society.  Thatcher destroyed our industrial power base to transfer false wealth to her husband and other Tory cronies, Blair lied his way through ten years of power, Brown will probably go down in history as Britain’s worst ever Prime Minister and Cameron is currently setting about destroying the public sector and its services whilst lining the pockets of the bankers and his private sector pals. 

I’ve forgotten one of course, John Major, he was ok – he liked cricket!

A Life in a Year – 15th January, Wikipedia goes Online

I inherited from my dad a love of books and knowledge and over thirty years or so I assembled an impressive personal library of reference books consisting of encyclopedias, atlases, great works of literature, almanacs, dictionaries and gazetteers.  If I wanted to know something or carry out a piece of research I had a bookcase full of scholarly volumes that would almost always provide the information and the answers.

I still have the books but add to the collection less frequently now because if I want to know something now I almost always use the internet because somewhere here is lurking the answer to absolutely everything and my favourite is Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that went online on 15th January 2001.  The name is a combination of the Hawaiian word for quick, ‘wiki’, and ‘encyclopedia’. It is actively updated in over one hundred languages, the English language Wikipedia contains over one and a half million articles and there are eleven other language editions with over one hundred thousand articles each and over fifty languages with over ten thousand articles each.  This absence of language barriers, and the fact that anybody with an Internet connection and a web browser can edit its contents, has Wikipedia termed as a ‘sum of public human knowledge.’

It is one of the most popular websites on the internet (Google is top) and is used by around sixty-five million people each month and I think I use it almost every day.  A very common criticism of Wikipedia however is its inconsistent and unauthoritative submission framework because, dangerously, the encyclopedia allows anybody to edit its pages, even anonymously.

I have been caught out myself by this and to be safe all information from Wikipedia really needs to be cross referenced and independently verified because citing Wikipedia as a reference work is usually frowned upon in most academic circles as my son Jonathan discovered when he was at University.

But it is not only Wikipedia that can sometimes be inaccurate and in  2005 the scientific publication Nature performed a comparison of the accuracy of Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica and it found that the amount of errors per article in Wikipedia and Britannica were roughly the same. However,  the severity of errors in Wikipedia were worse because although Encyclopedia Britannica suffered mostly from fact omission, Wikipedia suffered from inaccurate information, mischief and lies and  the open nature of the online encyclopedia has lead to some embarrassing and damaging instances in which article pages have been edited or revised to contain false information.

The entry for Tony Blair for example was edited to state that his middle name was ‘Whoop-de-do’ and I always thought it was ‘lying bastard’.