Posts by marshlander

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    I went to an all boys' school and I would like to have done something useful such as woodwork or metalwork like many of my friends did or even cookery (it wasn't offered, so no chance!). However, some of us had to study Latin instead. I'm not suggesting Latin hasn't been useful occasionally, but I suspect woodwork and/or metalwork might have been useful more often.

    Incidentally, its funny how things work out. Music often came top of a poll of the least useful subjects at school before the National Curriculum embedded a strong practical component in the subject. I was excluded from taking music when it came to exam subject options. The music teacher and I didn't see eye to eye on a number of issues and he made it clear I would neither be welcome nor accepted if I applied.

    Having made my working life in music I am reminded of my professional dancer daughter who was told by the careers teacher at her school to "forget about all this dancing nonsense and think about a job with more prospect of work". She was even more determined than I was and has been working for over twenty years.

    Roman writers tended to emphasize the nobility of the “first people” who, as the Roman historian Tacitus noted, lived “for a time without a single vicious impulse, without shame or guilt, and, consequently, without punishment and restraints. Rewards were not needed when everything right was pursued on its own merits.”

    What used to be referred to as "history" we now often have to recognise as simply "story".

    In that instance Tacitus might might have begun his history with, "Once upon a time ...".

    one mans option of their union is as unique as the union itself. Your aware I’m speaking from experience of the NUM only.

    NUM, where a man could down tools over any issue and the workforce was expected out in support. The union by definition would steer proceedings. A day down was worth more to the cause, than a quick resolution from the management and turning coal.
    Since the miners strike 1984/5 unions have lost theIr power, although not their purpose. Having had the opportunity to join two further unions 1990 onwards, which I declined membership.
    So if your referring to me drinking kool-aid. Can you elaborate?

    If I had thought about it I could have extrapolated that you may have been referring to your experience in the mining industry. Until you raised the point I didn't know whether or not you have experienced other organisations than the NUM. I wasn't referring to you specifically. My comment was spurred by a general feeling that seemed to be surfacing in this discussion that unions do not support the people they represent and I wanted to challenge that. Maybe I was being over-sensitive and if so I apologise for any offence I have caused. However, partly through laziness, I didn't go back to check and name specific people. As with many other things I've written in the past it's a case of "if the cap fits, wear it". If I need to be specific in singling out individuals we are not going to have much chance of a discussion. I'm not going to be up for rational discussion if I'm busy licking my wounds. I'm not going to confront you directly on this or any other point because I don't know your life and experience well enough to comment in this medium and I'm certainly not going to pass judgement on specific people. Discussions like these are better had in real time and I would love to do that one day round a fire.

    As for referring to Kool-Aid it was a reference to people who swallow without question what they are told.…aid-mean-31d84449c8e953c6

    The Daily Express is notorious for its inaccurate annual predictions of weather-geddon of one sort or another and it is, to the best of my understanding, no fan of the trade union movement. The main burden of my argument is that unions are not the enemy of the people. They have done and continue to do a lot of good for the people they represent. Then again, my own experience is mainly in the arts and education sectors. My brother has lived and worked in the USA for decades. He has worked for management in the food-processing industry in HR and sees himself as a union-crushing crusader. He tells me that trade unions in the USA are run by the mafia and that he himself has had to sit at the table with members of the Mob to thrash out some agreement or other. We don't have much to do with each other and I have no idea how much truth there is in what he says.

    Like you mention with the NUM, Ford was another company that was notorious in the 1960s and 1970s for industrial unrest that regularly made the news and undoubtedly there have been others. I am guessing that where unions have been big enough to support full-time staff the dynamic has tended to be towards ideological rather than purely pragmatic solutions. On both sides I see at least part of the problem being a gradual detachment from the real lives of the people who do the work that keeps everyone else associated with an organisation in clover.

    When I left school I went to work for a small family firm of builders in London as a driver/labourer. We had a decorator who kept trying to stir up the the other tradesmen to action on one made-up pretext or other and he waved a union rulebook around often. He struck me as a rebel without a cause, but he was quite smart and wasted in that role. Had he got his way he would have lost us all our jobs. His understanding of trade-unionism and collective bargaining was very shaky despite his forceful personality. This was definitely not a "Ragged Trousered Philathropists" - type building operation.

    I suppose anything worthy can be subverted.

    Er, sorry ... coronavirus?

    I don't think my partner and I are very far apart. I suppose I am a bit further left and a bit further south than he is on the scale, but I doubt we'll need to argue. I always understood politics to be the art of compromise. To be able to do that we need to be able to listen to the arguments and work out whether there are points where our arguments can meet. Having said that though, we are facing some big issues where compromise is becoming increasingly less an option. Since the age of twelve I've been an activist of one sort or another. I don't suppose that's going to change much in the time I have left.

    I'm a bit taken aback by the anti-union rhetoric that some have shared on here. It seems some have swallowed the kool-aid served up with Daily Express tokens. Although it is many decades since I was a bona fide teacher I was active in one of the teacher unions. By far the biggest workload was in supporting teachers who had come under fire from management for an often trumped-up misdemeanour resulting from a conflict of personality. Fair employment practice came about after years of prolonged campaigning and struggle and a good union rep was worth their weight in gold in seeing that agreed procedures were followed. Too many members of management and school governing bodies were too quick to condemn and would try all sorts of tricks to undermine the agreed procedure. Our union also had a hardship fund and I was grateful for that on one occasion when my employer without notice docked three weeks' wages at a stroke when I had to take time off when one of my kids was born.

    Unions came about for a reason. Employers can easily pick off individuals. In a hierarchical structure workers need informed and recognised representation.

    If you have those sorts of skills and you are good enough at what you do you should be able to find work. Where possible I try to go to local independent tradespeople as a first resort if I need some work done that I cannot do myself. If that doesn't work out I look for independent people from the "tribe" as it were. Here's where it falls down.

    If I am engaging someone to do something, they need to be reliable, good at what they say they can do and worth their money. After all, they are usually strangers to me. I think there are probably checks and balances at work here. A traveller won't have a permanent workshop to maintain nor the sorts of overheads associated with bricks and mortar. But neither will they probably have the savings associated with access to accounts with their usual merchants and their travel costs will probably be higher. I get that. What I don't get is the number of people to whom I have tried to give work who seem unable to respond to messages or give reliable estimates of how long it will be before they can undertake the job I want done. It's not that I am completely incapable, but I don't have the confidence to take on some jobs by myself and would be more comfortable paying someone who knows what they are doing to finish the job safely.

    As an example, I followed up some of the interesting posts by someone on a boating forum who seemed to have some inspired and well-informed ideas, new approaches, satisfied customers and who posted lots of photographs of finished projects in his specialism. I got in touch by instant message and the response was not quick, except to say that yes, he could do the job I wanted done in a couple of days and even had a friend he could stay with near my home mooring. However, he would never give me a date as to when he could do the job. I've been messaging him for at least a couple of years now - I am quite patient. Eventually, back in January, I saw him online and took a chance to use the audio message function to call him. We had a long conversation. We talked about the job and we put the world to rights. He followed up with a message to say mine would be the next job he undertook after the present one which he estimated would take another couple of weeks. I have heard nothing since. He has, however, started posting again saying that he has restarted work and has a long list of jobs in his diary. Mine wasn't listed except as one of a category of similar installations for multiple clients. It seems I've been pushed down the list. In the meantime I have had to make some alternative temporary arrangements so I don't die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Unfortunately that is with a local trader who doesn't have marine experience and who also will not get back to me. It is very frustrating. I make a point of keeping in touch with my own clients and find it hard to understand why other self-employed people don't see it as a priority.

    Yes, the world since January is very different, but part of gaining customer confidence is keeping in touch with clients, surely? I do know many people treat tradespeople contemptibly and cancel at very short notice. I am not one of those people. If I have made an agreement I stick to it, even to my own detriment. I know I have lost tens of thousands of pounds over the years because of this, but I value being fair to other people and keeping my word very highly.

    I don't know if this resonates with you, but if you could establish an online presence and prove that you are reliable I would like to think that work may come to you.

    Despite all evidence to the contrary I still believe in being the change I want to see.

    Oh, and good luck!!!!

    I don't recognise any of the above from my childhood. I can remember times when my dad got angry, but a raised voice was enough to reduce me to tears. My parents never fought in front of us, because mum generally wouldn't take the bait. I do know that things he said or did managed to upset her though. I can only remember seeing my dad a handful of times before my sixth birthday. He was working three jobs every day. His own mother had walked out on the family and he and his siblings were taken into care because his own dad couldn't cope. He was determined to get his brothers and sisters out and make a home for them. He walked out of school on his fourteenth birthday and got a job at the local cinema. From that point on he took work where he could get it and saved until he could afford to rent a place and convince Barnado's to let him have his family back. It took him years, but he did it. He was terrified his own family would be taken from him if he didn't earn enough. This is why he was always working and I never saw him. It affected our relationship badly, but after I went to live with him about twenty years ago I had the chance to discuss it all in detail and finally understood how much he regretted being so fearful that he missed watching his own kids grow up.

    The messages from our government have been badly presented, confusing and horribly misleading. People need to hear a consistent message and be helped to see the reasons why. Lying has been so normal for so long that I no longer know whom to believe. In the absence of clear guidance, people will make their own decisions. When people in and around government think they don't need to heed the advice the rest of us are expected to follow we naturally question their judgement ... were they wrong? Are we stupid? If it's okay for them it can't be that bad, can it ...?!!!

    I don't know if Johnson or any of his mates in government have the intellectual capacity to think things through or the imagination to understand why people aren't listening, or whether there really is some darker plan at work. They brought these pressures on themselves with decades of drip-feeding us poison. However, Prepper, I would urge some caution in what we wish for. Once a government gives itself power to control something there always seems a good reason never to relinquish that power. The evidence seems to be piling up that many of this government's responses in this unprecedented situation have been ideological rather than empirical.

    We've missed a lot of opportunities. Particularly following Cameron's decision to call the referendum on European membership, the people of this country have been set at each other's throats. I don't think I've ever witnessed the like. The wearing of masks for the good of others, not to mention reasons of courtesy, is just one area of life that has been politicised to such an extent I fear you may be right that the immediate future does not look good.

    Look after yourselves, everyone.

    Wow, Steve, that sounds awful! I think I was occasionally smacked, but I can't remember a single incident of it happening. I can remember being sent to my bedroom while one parent sorted out whatever emergency they thought I'd caused. Mostly though, it was a good talking to. My dad had the voice and the look that was enough to deter. Mum managed to express her disappointment and I didn't like to upset her.

    School was barbaric. If no one owned up to a misdemeanour in class the whole class could be called into the gym at lunchtime, lined up, told to touch their toes and slippered. The head and deputy used canes. The deputy in particular seemed to enjoy a good run up to the target.

    I can't say that I am a huge fan of belief that doesn't at least have a modicum of empirical underpinning.

    I try to save respect for people. On the other hand, ideas, including religions, ought to remain subject to scrutiny. Respect for an idea can lead to dogma. Dogma can lead to tyranny.

    As for the taking of life, I hope I am never in the situation where I am tested to those limits. I'd like to think I wouldn't, but one never knows until called upon ...

    Doesn't it come down to honesty and trust in the end? Unfortunately we mostly live out our lives in hope and belief.

    Who knows who has done what and who else can really know our truth? Agents provocateurs have always been used to stir things up a little. My motive for attending any event may be benign or even honourable, but if I perceive someone wronging me at a given moment, because of their perception of my purpose, my instinctive response may be very different from my intention.

    With reluctance I tend to agree with Rough Trader that I would rather have a police force to do my dirty work for me. Having said that, though, law enforcement officers need to behave to very high standards in order to be able to keep our trust. We can only be policed effectively when we give our consent.

    In the past we have trusted that our "betters" know what is good for us. Unfortunately they have proven time and time again that they really only understand what is good for themselves. That's why it's so much easier to ignore them and carry on in hope that they'll do better next time. If our species is going to stand any chance of getting through the coming calamity we are all going to have to do better. Time isn't on our side.

    I have no experience of citizens' assemblies, but my instinct is to prefer such smaller, less hierarchical gatherings. However, human nature being what it is, how long would it be before we form tribes and pick up where we left off?

    Seems that just shows what a small and blinkered life you've led.

    Not necessarily. It more likely shows that different societies are policed to different standards. My daughter has had a lot of dealings with the police over the past seven years. She says they have always been professional and mostly considerate when being accused of something and, when she has clearly been the victim, willing to help. She was shocked when I explained the experiences I have had and why I wouldn't trust them an inch and why I do my level best to have no dealings with them whatsoever.

    cangaceiro I don't know the difference between the different law enforcement agencies in Italy, but when I was walking across Piazza San Marco in Venezia in costume during the cancelled days of carnevale in February I saw several kinds of security uniforms. They were gathered in little groups. Some were wearing masks, most seemed to be brandishing firearms. I was very nervous, but no one stopped or questioned me.

    :ahoy:  WritersPanic

    That's a cool introduction I am very jealous that you actually saw Jimi Hendrix. "Purple Haze" was the first single I spent my own pocket money on.

    In 1967 my mum took me to see The Monkees at the Empire Pool in Wembley, London. It was the first show I had ever asked to attend. I found out later that Jimi Hendrix had opened for them in the USA, but in London we had Episode 6 and ... (fanfare / drum roll) Lulu instead. I thought she was great. She's still great. I saw her a couple of years ago, fifty years later, wanting to hear her sing this time. I'm glad I went.

    Like you, when The Monkees came on nothing was audible, but the visuals were good ... Micky doing his James Brown routine and so on. Roll on three years and I was fifteen. Mum and Dad agreed to me going to the Isle of Wight Festival on condition that they were on the Island at the same time and that I checked in by telephone every day. The official festival ran from Friday to Sunday, but the music actually ran from the Wednesday onwards. I got there in time for the opening act on Wednesday. It was very hot and I knew nothing about keeping hydrated. By day five, Sunday, I was not a well boy. I managed to stagger to the phone box. Dad found me collapsed in a ditch by the side of the road. They took me back to the friends they were staying with and I was out of it for eighteen hours. When I came round at around midnight I said I wanted to go back because I hadn't seen Jimi Hendrix. They wouldn't let me. I let them convince me that he would have finished his set and I would have missed him anyway. Of course I could not know that they were running so late that I would easily have caught him. That would have been my last opportunity to see him play live.

    Thanks for posting that Prepper It took her a while to get into her stride, but I thought much of what she said from the statistics (assuming they are correct) onwards made a point and was interesting. I may have said before that I don't generally subscribe to heroes. They are only people like the rest of us and invariably fail just as spectacularly as the rest of us can. For this reason I have made no comment on the victim. The murderer, though, needs to be held fully accountable. This also means that the systematic failures that allowed him to kill Mr Floyd in front of the other members of his tribe (ie other police officers) should be fully investigated and addressed. However, we are where we are and a myth is apparently being created at speed. An effective media machine can change the narrative - ask Jesus. Heroes become appropriated and turned into figureheads. Follow the money.

    I don't know anything about Candace Owens, but I may look to see if she has other things to say because she is articulate and can construct an argument. I still think she has over-simplified her main burden and she appears not to take into account inequity and the relationships between power and powerlessness, but I do take the point about not assuming someone, by the nature of their appearance is immediately a victim.

    This whole sequence of awful events is making a lot of noise at the moment. I wish I could say it was creating a whole lot of light too, but I don't see much evidence of that.

    "All lives matter" is a trope. For me it's the same under these circumstances as straight people calling for "straight pride". "All lives matter" deflects from the actual issue that a significant number of people who look different from me leave their houses in the morning not knowing whether they will have to put up with "banter" or seemingly simple acts of mild or aggressive abuse. Unfounded accusations by members of the public who escalate a fear or a prejudice by calling out the police who call for backup when they decide a "suspect" is being uncooperative can make a situation go from 0-60 very quickly. All these things happen in a climate of fear because a person of colour is out walking their dog in the park, going for a run, driving to work or driving into a gated community as a consequence of their work. There are plenty of filmed examples of all of these. White people doing any of the above would be much less likely to incur suspicion.

    Personally I don't get the looting thing, specially the whole shitting on one's own doorstep thing, but then I've never been placed in that situation where I've been so powerless that I could get caught up in any expression of my rage. I've been on the receiving end of despicable behaviour by the police, but that is not the same thing, it is not systematic towards me and not an everyday occurrence. It's not an excuse, but if we criticise those who engage in the looting, let's not forget that white folks have systematically raped, pillaged and ethnically cleansed on a far more massive scale.

    Concerning racism, institutional or just plain everyday nastiness and prejudice, I have never experienced it and I don't think I get to define what it is. My place, if a person who has lived the reality of racist horror is trying to explain their experience, is to shut up and listen. Interrupting with excuses that we're not all racist and "whitesplaining" what is "really happening" piles on the hurt and confirms the fact that I haven't got a clue and I'm not ready to listen and simply accept that someone else is in pain. If I can't do that, I am part of the problem.

    I am not well enough informed to be able to comment on Black Lives Matter, but I do feel very strongly that black lives matter and until they do all lives clearly don't matter.

    I have never been able to accept a straight person's interpretation of what it means to be gay either. A straight person hasn't lived my life. I know what I have experienced. However, my white privilege allows me to wear a mask when I'm tired of trying to explain my reality again, again, again. I can only imagine the fatigue endured by someone who cannot walk out behind the mask of a white skin and always has to be on high alert.