A strange political graphic

Yesterday I voted, in the EUro-elections. You probably know which way I voted, but that isn’t my point here.

My point here is this extraordinary graphic, which the Labour Party and its supporters were plugging on social media, in the days before the vote:

The above graphic distorts the reality that although Tommy Robinson, Nigel Farage and Gerard Batten all favour Brexit, only one of them (Farage) is a member of the Brexit Party. They’re trying to lump them all together. Otherwise, why that distinctly Brexit Party turquoise colour? Why no reference to UKIP purple?

There was another one, featuring Brexit Party candidate Claire Fox, along with some rather distorting words about her belief in freedom of expression.

But the verbal trickery is not the biggest oddity of this and related graphics. It’s the pictures. A confident political party doesn’t fill the world with pictures of the people it opposes and fears. It proclaims the faces of its own leaders and heroes. I mean, I only discovered Batten’s actual christian name (I thought it was “Gerald”) while I was concocting this posting. It’s like they’re really trying to big up the very people they’re fearful of.

And a confident political party especially doesn’t proclaim the faces of the people it fears, while saying that it is against fear and wants fear to lose. This graphic is the politics of fear. I genuinely don’t get how they could have okayed this thing. Were they actually seduced by the triviality of “fear” rhyming with “here”? Was it that dopey?

Not that there is anything wrong with the politics of fear. I voted the way I did yesterday as much out of the fear of what I didn’t and don’t want, as I did because I am especially hopeful about what I did vote for.

What have Patrick Crozier and I been doing right with our podcasts?

For quite some while now, ever since August (I think it must have been) 2017, when we talked about World War 1, Patrick Crozier and I have been doing a podcast every few weeks or so.

Here is where to find them all, that first one in the series about WW1 being
here.

But what has anyone besides us been making of these podcasts? That’s if anyone has actually been listening to them.

Anyone besides me. I find it very helpful to record interesting thoughts, and in particular big questions, in this “public” form. Questions like: Why did the rulers of Britain decide that Britain should plunge into World War 1, in the horribly destructive and self-destructive (as it turned out) way that they did? And why, having discovered how destructive the war was becoming, did all those engaged in it not put a stop to it? What the hell were they thinking? I want to remember such questions until I have something approximating to answers.

But that’s just me. I’m terrible at note-taking. Oh, I take notes, but later I can’t even read the damn things, let alone store them in a way that enables me to get back to them. On the other hand, I love to have places, in something resembling “public”, where I can shove notes, and where others can, at least in theory, help me improve on them and flesh them out, or correct them when they’re wrong. Instead of me just forgetting everything.

Once I know other people just might be noticing what I have said or written, I find I can pay attention to it also. Books, these are things I can remember that I own and keep worrying away at, not least because they have big words written on them which I can see on my walls. My own thoughts, scribbled on scraps of paper, forget about it. As in: I forget about it.

All of that being part of why I so like blogging, and also doing these podcasts with Patrick.

But that’s just me. That’s why I like listening to these podcasts. Why would anyone else want to listen to them? I don’t know, but I’d love if if someone else were to listen to some of these podcasts, like them, and then tell us why.

This was why I was so pleased when someone else recently did say they’d been listening to these podcasts, and say that he did like them.

In a comment thread attached to this First Official Posting here, and in among a lot of jibber-jabber about comment approval and RSS feeds and suchlike, “Rob” (and I know who that is) mentioned that if I and Michael Jennings (the man who set up and is still helping me with this new blog of mine) were ever to do any more podcasts, he, Rob, would listen to them. I replied that Patrick Crozier and I had been doing some podcasts. A bit of a while later, Rob said this:

I have listened to the croziervision podcasts and like them too.

Big moment. Our very first positive feedback. Someone who took no part in these conversations nevertheless liked listening to them.

My question to Rob, no disrespect at all intended, is: Why? What have we been doing right? I’d genuinely like to know. Because then we can tell other people why Rob liked listening to these podcasts, and a few further people might like the sound of them, and tune in also, and then like the actual sound of them. A comment on this from Rob might even accomplish this automatically.

Could England make it the full set of four Euro-finalists? (Spoiler: yes it could)

Concerning Arsenal v Valencia, I liked this, from whoever was doing the BBC text commentating:

I know I said I wouldn’t do it. But Valencia have one minute to score five so I’m saying GAME OVER.

Arsenal are going to the Europa League final.

Indeed they are.

Chelsea, on the other hand, having drawn 1-1 in Frankfurt, found themselves drawing 1-1 in London. Chelsea needed to score, but even more, they needed not to be scored against, again, because they’d then have had to score twice more themselves. So, for Chelsea, it made sense to play it carefully and hope to win on penalties.

Which they did, and did.

Way back on April 17th, I quoted a BBC text commentator asking this:

Are we heading for an all-English Champions League final AND an all-English Europa League final?

Mission accomplished. It will be London v London, in Baku, and (as maybe you heard earlier) London v Liverpool in Madrid. West Ham, where were you when London needed you?

Catch up on the Chelsea Frankfurt game here.

By the way, I only just found out that “Eintracht” means “harmony” or “concord” or “unity”. So Eintracht Frankfurt basically means Frankfurt United. Tonight, united in grief. Or maybe not. Is there also a Frankfurt City?

Not again

Indeed. Spurs were cruising to defeat, but then, this:

One more goal and Spurs win.

Yes: Again. Moura scores a third at the death, and Spurs do win.

“That touch from Dele Alli through to Moura …”

“Unbelievable.”

But of course.

“If last night hadn’t happened, could tonight have happened?”

Good point.

LATER – Stephen Pollard:

Told my son he could stay up for the first half. If we stood any chance he could stay up for second half. So of course he had to go to bed.

How do I break it to him tomorrow? How do I stop him never speaking to me again?

Another good point.

I believe it

The word “unbelievable” is being used a lot, as I listen to them talking about this game, but I believe it. I mean, why would the BBC lie about such a thing?

That’s it. That’s the souvenir I wanted to have here. Match report here:

Roared on relentlessly by their fans, the Reds produced an incredible all-action display to claw back and then ultimately overturn their 3-0 deficit from the Nou Camp with an unanswered four-goal salvo in thrilling style.

I suppose “incredible” makes a change from “unbelievable”.

Tomorrow, Spurs need to beat Ajax, also against the odds, which as of now is unbelievable, but which nevertheless could happen. Then, Arsenal and Chelsea need to beat whoever they are each half way to beating in the other Euro-thingy, and it’s a full house for the UK. All four finalists British. That would be … unbelievable.

LATER: Just after 11pm, I googled “Liverpool 4 Barcelona 0” and got 289,000,000 results. Unbelievable.

And hello, what’s this? Google says that the Telegraph has this story:

Liverpool pull off incredible comeback against Barcelona to book place in Champions League final

But, in the actual headline, they changed “incredible” to “epic”. Why? Did some sub-editor have the same thought as I did? I mean, why would you put the word “unbelievable” in a headline about something you want people to believe did happen?

Two bad nights for Manchester – an amazing night for Spurs

Last night, United crushed in the Champions League by Barca, in Barca. And tonight – glory be – City knocked out by Spurs in a mad scramble of a game in Manchester. So, Spurs win without Kane. They’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Did you see that result coming? I didn’t, and especially not after City scored after about one minute. And then, after about three more minutes it was 2-2. Bonkers.

Are there any Mancunians who support both United and City against all comers? The way I support all the London teams? If so, such persons had a bad two nights.

Meanwhile, what’s happening at the top of the Premier League means that I am having to set aside my London-wide support for the duration. Man City or Liverpool are going to win it. But Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea are now competing for two Champions League spots next season. So, when Liverpool recently played Chelsea, I found myself, albeit with a heavy heart, supporting Liverpool. Chelsea lost, which meant Spurs stayed ahead of them. Hoo. Ray.

THE FOLLOWING EVENING: Well, I’m back to supporting Chelsea and Arsenal, against Slavia Prague and Napoli respectively, in the Europa League. Both are strolling it. Go, London! Asks the BBC footy feed:

Are we heading for an all-English Champions League final AND an all-English Europa League final?

Despite Brexit. It would be a lovely thing to see, but there’s a bit to do for that to happen. Like Spurs and Liverpool beating Ajax and Barca.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Why England are getting better at football

I’ve just watched England beat Montenegro at football, in Montenegro, 5-1. A few days ago England beat The Czech Republic 5-0, in London, and I watched some of that too. England are looking good.

Here is the most convincing explanation I have found of why. In the bit under the subheading “More ball-hoggers”, it says this:

You know that lad in school who never passed the ball? Turns out he was on to something.

Ashworth says English players are already more technical than he has ever seen thanks to a revamp of the academy system in clubs and a more consistent playing style with England.

But the FA wants to go further.

Peter Sturgess, the FA’s foundation phase coach for five- to 11-year-olds, has been telling coaches up and down the country that mastering the ball is his number one priority. Passing can come later.

“We are saying that passing is important but it’s not a priority for foundation-phase children,” he told BBC Sport. “The priority is building a massive connection with the ball so their individual ability on it, in tight and pressurised situations, becomes as good as it can be.

“You put 11 of those players together on a football pitch and they can play any system you want, because they have less chance of losing the ball.”

Ashworth and Sturgess just might be onto something. To have a good football team, start by having lots of “foundation phase children” who are good at controlling a football, with their feat.

LATER: Meanwhile, in Scotland.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

A device for measuring neutrinos being transported through Karlsruhe

Here:

It reminds me of the scene at the end of Starship Troopers (a scene which I may now be imagining (but I think it happened)) where the victorious Starship Troopers celebrate their capture of The Queen Bug.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

More healthcare technology in action

Yesterday, as already noted, I was out and about in London. And another interesting thing I photoed was this, also healthcare-related:

I photoed this photo with his permission, by the way.

I guess that the purpose of this gizmo is to enable the knee-joint to keep moving, while remain in its correct state, without putting any (or at any rate undue) strain on it, the strain being taken by the gizmo and the bits of limb it is attached to rather than (only) by the joint.

But, truthfully, I don’t really know. What I do know, just from looking at this photo, is that there is a definite plan in action, and that it is helping a lot, far more than one of those big old rigid plaster caste monsters would have.

Here is a close-up of the name of this contraption …:

… which enabled me to find some produktinformation. What the gizmo does is Führung und Stabilisierung des Kniegelenks. Which is, I rather think (guess), pretty much what I just said.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Talking about Brexit

Patrick Crozier and I have just fixed our next podcast, which we will record early next week. Read about and listen to earlier ones here, and in due course this next one will go there too. And for this next one, we will talk about … Brexit. I knew you’d be excited.

Many claim that they are bored by Brexit, and maybe many are. Although I suspect some are really just pissed off with not getting exactly what they want. (And who is getting exactly what they want?) Either that, or actually only bored with other people’s opinions, but not with their own. Me, I find the whole process rather fascinating, now that I have got over having been so wrong about it. I thought that Brexit would lose the Referendum, but it won. And I thought that once it had won, it would happen without too much fuss, because the Conservative Party leavers would mostly bow to the inevitable. As of now, that hasn’t happened, and doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon.

Brexit is a subject that Patrick has strong opinions about, which is good because although this will not stop me interrupting (I’m afraid I always interrupt), it may at least mean that some of the times when I do interrupt, he’ll interrupt back and shut me up until he’s finished the point he was making before I interrupted.

Here is a Brexit photo I recently photoed, of a bus driving around and around Parliament Square, saying Believe in Britain and LEAVE MEANS LEAVE, but with nobody in the bus apart from the driver:

They all left, I guess.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog