Friday, January 27, 2006

Exams, Damn Lies and Statistics

Exams now all over and done with; A big cheer for that - I am gladly anticipating the recommencement of university proper. I think despite my initial misgivings my Industrial Society was the best. I answered questions on working women; whereby my thesis was that things had gotten pretty bad for women; as pre revolution they had been able to do good jobs for moderately good pay; including jobs such as spinning which could be done in the home. These jobs where then mechanised taken out of the home and in various over ways made the sole preserve of men, pushing women either out of work or into really menial proto-industry. I answered a question on Education and literacy, saying why it got worse and why it didn't matter; finally I answered on on the Standard of Living - namely explaining why historians believe it got worse nowadays - a nice meaty historiographical piece.

Now it is my intention to get lots of reading done during the next week - a bti of preliminary for my new modules, and also a bit on A-S England so I can talk to Nick Higham about it. That is the plan anyway.

It turns out that Simon Hughes is gay, I get the impression that the Lib Dem community is singularly underwhelmed by this "Revelation". Unlike The Sun which has indulged in a number of particularly dodgy borderline homophobic puns; "Limp Dem", "Another one bites the pillow". They are just bitter because they weren't told earlier; and with coverage like that would you?

Finally I am just browsing the stats for this blog for the first time in ages. Apparently 52.94% of the people who have found this site have done so with the search term "Mark Oaten" there were also searches for "mark@oaten" and "lib dem rentboy leadership". People have also been searching for "Courgette Golden Dawn" "We'll drink a drink to lilly the pink"(I get a few lilly the pink related searches actually). People searching for "People who died for what they believed in" where directed towards this entry on the film Downfall. Whoever searched for "women's role in early britain 500-1066 ad" was probably disappointed. I'm fiddling with my side bar a bit - I do know it currently duplicates information; I am planning to scrub the second set.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Any Questions

Just listened to Any Questions; available here on listen again. If you didn't know it was a special featuring deabte between the three candidates for the Lib Dem leadership. As you will know if you pass your eye to the right (on my blog anyhow) I intend to support Menzies Campbell. This discussion softened my opinions on both other candidates namely Christ Huhne and Simon Hughes. However, in two crucial ways Campbell solidified my faith in him.

Firstly; against an admittedly friendly audience his was the most assured and confident voice. If I thought that then it is quite possible that the electorate at the next election will think that. It is not just a case of his being assured in this context; it is the fact that he the Right Hon. Sir Menzies Campbell QC OBE MP is a statesmanlike figure he sounds like and acts like a minister. Thus I think he; not the chap in the yellow taxi, nor admittedly experienced but unknown "Cameron", would be the one to bring the party an authority and credibility which it now needs. AFAICT people still recognise Lib Dem policies as positive and intelligent; thanks to Charles Kennedy they also see it as being a down to earth - sometimes too far down party; I am hoping that Ming can make people treat the party seriously and see the party as a trustworthy candidate for government.

Secondly Ming seems to fit my ideas of how the party should exist best; concentrating on traditional Liberalism that appeals to the historian in me; he snuck in references to Beveridge and John Stuart Mill and Keynes; all of them heroes in the development of Liberal Britain. His adherence to the center - anti authoritarian - left is appealing; and rings with what I understand liberalism to be. Consistently on policy he rang true.

Overall it was a good showing - relatively little major disagreement; I think though what Huhne said was good he underperformed really - the bloggers 4 Chris crowd will point to the quality of what he said, but I think he allowed himself to be ignored somewhat; and some of his best statements were so obviously in agreement to everyone else so as to be pointless. I think the whole affair was a good showcase for the Lib Dem front bench of tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mark Oaten and Exams

Well those two exams are done with; yesterday I had The Body In Society which was a bit sticky in places - I'm not a big fan of questions set so vaguely; I like broad but not so broad that ones head falls out, or something like that - I'm going to stop this sentence now. Todays exam was A Liberal Nation, and was much better - nice questions that I could set out nicely and, hopefully, answer well. I am glad they are over with though. I have a week to go before the next one; which could be quite nasty - being a spot of economic history; I may have to remember numbers.

I am looking forward to this evening; seeing everyone from MSCM again is always always jolly (although I have seen a fair handful already what with one thing and another).

Lastly I want to point out that Mark Oaten, who I am sure is a wonderful person but who always strikes me as a fascist toad of a chap, has dropped out of the Lib Dem election race. Which is actually, as Sellers and Yeatmen would say A Bad Thing. Why oh why?? I hear my thrilled audience ask; because what we want (read: I want) is a competition, not left versus right, because that doesn't exist obviously, but between attitudes in the party. The differences are minor in most regards; however if there is no electoral option given to the party the economic liberals will never be quelled. Anyway heres the link to the BBC story, the official announcement is at three.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yorkshiremen and Mingers

It is very good to be back in The Great Puddle; especially now the girls are around again. I went out last night, to celebrate being back I suppose, I had a very good time despite the fact that anyone I knew from before that evening went home early. I started the evening with a desire to not drink too much and thus not spend too much. Needless to say I failed miserably in both regards, spending too much money on a variety of tipples; including the excellent Boggart's Best they were doing in Font (which by the way not only serves damn good beer but look after it well).

My loan installment appears to have come through I am glad to say - tomorrow I am going to do a little minor shopping - and pick up Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum and a collection of Saints lives I have been recommended. Today I got to see a few people from Church who I had not seen for what seems a very long time; and it was grand to do so. I have done a little revision today, but you'll be glad to know I didn't let it get in the way of my education.

Today I have researched the candidates for the Lib Dem leadership bid; making use of the BBCs video content to catch the speeches made at the hustings in London, my leaning is very much towards Ming*. This article makes clear some of the advantages he has over Hughes, although some of the arguments in favour of Hughes are very compelling; my father reasons that a vote for Hughes is a clear vote in favour of what the Meedja calls either the "left of the party", "Yellow Bookers" or "Social Liberals", so whoever wins will have a clear direction. I will almost certainly detail my trauma over the next few weeks possibly in great detail; far greater detail than anyone could possibly care about.

I also have been researching the origins of Yorkshire County Anthem Ilkla Moor Bah 'Tat** prompted by a discussion of the same, whilst crossing the same. It is a well known fact that the words of While Shepherds Watched can be sung to the same tune; it is less well known that that is the song for which the tune was originally intended. The Wikipedia confirms this. I cannot find confirmation for the suggestion that it was common practice amongst Yorkshire Choirs to learn tunes to comical or non sensical words; using the real words only on a Sunday and in formal performance.

*Which by extension would possibly make me either a Mong or a Minger; my preference being for the former - camp space opera references beat toilet humour level punning anyday.

**[On] Ilkley Moor Without a Hat; and according to some versions without any Trousers eithe

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bradford for a Bit

I am coming towards the end of a pleasant time knocking about at home; I wouldn't say I've done much exciting but enjoyable nonetheless. I have been making slow and steady progress on revision. Boring as I have been finding it. I've done my usual trick of trying to bump into people when I can; but not put enough effort into it; which I will regret slightly when I am back in Manchester - I don't intend to return for some while. It has gotten to the point where I am definitely favoring Manchester over Bradford - even my brief stay after New Year which I thought might have been crushingly dull was good fun; and I got to go for a drink with Andrew and with James, so I kept busy. I return to Manchester on Saturday, hopefully tomorrow I'll give blood. I intend to drag others along with myself.

Well nothing interesting to report today; nothing I can mention, I hope I have more for you soon.

Sunday, January 1, 2006


I am now in Manchester - A new year back in The Puddle. Two major things have happened since my last missive, two major parties in fact. One family affair; which was very jolly indeed, all the more so because it was hosting both my dads sister and brother's families. And the latter was Ben's New Years party - at which very little sleep was had; this was very very good fun; meeting friends and strangers - and a handful of occasional acquaintances from a few years back; Overall summery - just debauched enough; and a good way of starting the year.

I don't know why I am attaching much importance to 2006, I am usually pretty skeptical about new years as being a pretty arbitrary point. It is quite easy to look back this year and see definite progress and movement. I am established at Uni; and have had quite a troublesome last semester. I moved into a period of extensive singlehood; which I haven;t been particularly distressed by, and has been quite a good thing at times. I have made a whole raft of new friends and acquaintances; and last night I got a blast from the past in the form of some people I had never really expected to see again. It also helps that it was a good do last night; and that today was quite bright and cheerful when I was waiting for my train out of Mytholmroyd.

P.S. This is the best documented year of my life yet; being the only one where I have kept up somesort of journal (i.e. this) up throughout.