• Reply to a stupid chain email about petrol prices

    The original email that was forwarded by Gerry is at the bottom. Its not worth reading.

    Hi Gerry

    Yes I find this interesting for all sorts of reasons although probably not the ones the authors had in mind!

    [this is going to turn into a very long and rambling email so feel free to stop reading now and go and make a cup of tea - but I find things like this (the message you forwarded) quite thought provoking and worth a little effort to work out - what follows is my first thoughts, which are certainly neither correct nor complete, but may help]

  • The future is here now

    In 1969 Theodore Roszak, considering the emerging youth counter culture which flared briefly and threatened the status quo, wrote. "If the resistance of the counter culture fails, I think there will be nothing in store for us but what anti-utopians like Huxley and Orwell have forecast - though I have no doubt that these dismal despotisms will be far more stable and effective than their prophets have foreseen. For they will be equipped with techniques of inner manipulation as unobtrusively fine as gossamer. Above all, the capacity of our emerging technocratic paradise to denature the imagination by appropriating to itself the whole meaning of Reason, Reality, Progress and Knowledge will render it impossible for men to give any name to their bothersomely unfulfilled potentialities but that of madness."

    In the event of course the counter-culture turned out to be a flash in the pan quickly treated with the tools of disconnection - fragmentation, marketisation, isolation of the core, and assimilation of the mass. You can't rely on the young to stay the hard course of revolutionary change - they are too easily distracted.

  • Un-cooperativisation

    Just suppose - you were in charge of a system that managed the financial affairs of a society. Suppose that this system, whilst appearing to benefit everyone, in fact acted as a slow but inexorable wealth pump that channelled wealth and benefits into the hands of those that were in control. Suppose it also incorporated mechanisms to keep the vast bulk of people secure in the belief that the system was benign and operating in their own best interests.

    Now suppose that over time some of the difficulties and inherent contradictions in the system started to come to the attention to some of the people. Suppose that the idea that your system was not in fact the best possible system in th best of all possible worlds was starting to take root and voices were being raised questioning the efficacy and purpose of your financial system.

  • What is a Claim?

    Claim (noun)

    1. a statement that something is true:   "There were claims that he had lied."
    2. an official demand for something you think you have a right to: "a claim for compensation"

    So in my simple way I thought that a "no claims bonus" was a bonus that I got for not having made a claim (sense 2)