Daily archives: August 17, 2011

Daily Blog 08/17/2011

  • These are bold claims, amounting to a thesis that Britain has been wrecked and transformed from a familiar, law-abiding spot to an alien hell hole in just three or four decades. But here is an odd thing, surely: go back precisely three decades and you get to the summer of 1981, scene of some of the nastiest riots in modern British history, when racially charged violence saw tracts of Brixton in south London and Toxteth in Liverpool burn for days.

    Seeking guidance, Bagehot decided to go off-line and read some books. From the shelves of the London Library, a gem: “Hooligan: A History of Respectable Fears” a calm and witty history of moral panics that have gripped England over the ages, published in 1982, and written by a Bradford University academic, Geoffrey Pearson (later at Goldsmiths). The book is out of print, so I trust I will be forgiven (not least by Professor Pearson) for quoting from it at length: it is a brilliant survey.

    Just what happens if we take a time machine back three decades, to the time before the revolutionary transformation identified by Melanie Phillips?

    tags: britain riots

  • IS THE west falling out of love with the car? For environmentalists it seems an impossible dream, but it is happening. While baby boomers and those with young families may stick with four wheels, a combination of our ageing societies and a new zeitgeist among the young seems to be breaking our 20th-century car addiction. Somewhere along the road, we reached “peak car” and are now cruising down the other side.

    tags: transport car

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

So So Gay!

A quick tip of the hat to So So Gay, who have used one of my pictures from last year’s Manchester Pride parade to headline their preview of this year’s events. To celebrate its 21st year, Pride’s starting this Friday and going on to Bank Holiday Monday. I should be photographing the parade, but finances mean that this year I’ll be missing most of the stuff going on in the village. Shame.

Michelle Bachmann is making Sounds of Soldiers relevant again

I started writing Sounds of Soldiers on November 1st 2008. It’s a near future travelogue satire on the presumptions and world view of technothrillers which takes place, mostly, after a big dumb war. Given when I started it, I always saw it as what could happen if “the wrong people” won the US elections.

Thankfully Obama won. His presidency may be turning out a huge disappointment, but just imagine how much worse it would have been if McCain/Palin had won. The simplified back story of Sounds of Soldiers was that McCain keeled over after a couple of years in one of the most stressful jobs in the world, Palin took over and the stupid just cascaded from there until the Americans were bombing their European allies and ordering their soldiers to run amok across the continent. This is mostly alluded to, but there is at least one mention of “the mad woman” taking over.

The mad woman was Palin, of course, but now Michelle Bachmann has come along as the Tea Party’s preferred Republican candidate and she may be even more scary. So Sounds of Soldiers is relevant again (well, Palin never went away, I guess Bachmann makes it more relevant).

Sounds of Soldiers is available from

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon DE
In print from Lulu