Of Little Faith

My wife Tamara is reading H Is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald, the story of the author’s life with a goshawk.

Today Tamara asked me whether I knew the meaning of the word, creance, which she had read about in the book. I didn’t but I guessed that it might mean the act of behaving well. I guessed it from miscreant, which is the name of course for someone who does wrong.

Creance, Tamara told me, is the long piece of cord that a trainer uses to maintain control of a hawk in training.

But it got me thinking that there may be a connection with miscreant, so I looked up the etymology of the word.

And it turns out that a micreant is not only a wrongdoer but also someone who lacks faith.

And creance, which originated in the late 15th century comes from the French word créance which mean ‘faith’ – and describes the cord used to retain a bird of peu de créance – ‘of little faith’ – a bird which cannot yet be relied upon to return to its handler.

I love etymology and the connection between words.

The Editor WordPress Theme

I have just switched from the Casper theme to the Editor theme. Besides being very clean looking, the Editor theme has a couple of classes that enable you to style text. For example:

It has a class for highlighted text.

Before I leave the Casper theme to its own devices, I’ll just mention that the name Casper is a play on the word Caspar (as in the friendly ghost) and that was a play on the Ghost platform that is an alternative (one of very many) to WordPress.

The strongpoint of Ghost is that you can edit from the front end rather than in an Admin panel. That means of course that you can see the look of what you are producing as you produce it.

I have never been sold on what a breakthrough or advance this is. Sure, there are times that I have previewed a draft and realised that a sub-heading and a line of text with a photo followed by the same again looks cramped or ‘wrong’- but I rarely make that kind of mistake any more.

Experience teaches you what will look OK and what will not.

For those who think that having the ability to write from the front end in WordPress is something they really want to do, there are plugins that claim to do it and one (Front End Editor) that is in the WordPress repository that I have read is pretty good. I haven’t tried it though.

Maybe the ability to write from the front end will find its way into the core WordPress code as well. I think there is a chance that will happen because the push to make all themes ‘Customiser friendly’ seems to me to be a way to simplify theme formatting for people who are new to WordPress.

So, back to the Editor Theme. If you are a WordPress.com user then you can download it from there and use it on your self-hosted site like I am doing here.

Oil Divestment

I am impressed that the divestment movement is doing so well.

I still stand by the worry I have which is that for every stockholder that divests there must be a stockholder that invests (a buyer and a seller) and if the movement is to divest then prices will drop.

When prices drop, the value of the oil companies drop. The investors get nervous and that starts a cycle.

The risk is that the ones who step in to buy are the ones who don’t care what the companies do – so the worst traits and behaviour are given more free rein – more shortcuts – more Gulf Of Mexico oil spills.

Proportional Representation In The UK Election

According to Open Europe, this is what would have happened if we had had proportional representation in the UK election.

The Week reprinted a letter from Lord Leach of Fairford, Chairman of Open Europe, to the Times.

The letter states what would have happened had the German form of PR applied in the general election.

Under that system, any party getting less than five percent of the vote is not allocated seats. The reason for that is to prevent a huge number of parties with one or two votes each swamping the actual business of government.

We would have had the Conservatives with 275 seats, labour 229, UKIP 92, Lib Dems 54 and no seats for any of the other parties. That is, the SNP would not have got any seats at all.

The Open Europe website describes the organisation as follows:

Open Europe Today is the go-to source for real-time analysis on breaking European affairs, delivered by Our Experts as they unfold. We are a non-partisan and independent policy think tank, committed to crafting and putting into action solutions to the European Union’s most pressing challenges.

Election Deposits Lost

Candidates in a UK election pay a deposit and it is forfeited if they don’t get at least 5% of the vote.

If a candidate gets 5% or more then the deposit is returned to him or her.

The deposit for UK elections is currently £500 and I read in The Week that the Liberal Democrats lost £170,000 in deposits.