Month: June 2017


The Divine Right Of Kings Falters At The Ballot Box

First thoughts on the UK election of 8 June 2017.

As a result of the vote, do people sense they have the power to change things – that they actually can make a difference with their vote?

Does anyone not think it was a misjudgement by the Conservative leadership to think they could so easily carry the election.

Does anyone not think it was hubris for the Conservative leadership to call an election at all when they did not need to?

The result undermines the belief of those core Conservative voters who have for many years, perhaps their whole lives, believed in something akin to the divine right of kings – the right of the Conservatives to govern because ‘they know how to govern’.

On the showing at this election, capping the performance of David Cameron at the Brexit vote – they have shown that they do not know how to govern any more than does any other party.

A threat to the throne would cause normally core Conservative voters to rally around the Party, but this foolish error of judgement could mean a loss of core Conservative voters at a future election.

But where would they go?

Is this the first, faltering step towards a European model of proportional representation?


But Is It True

Repeat a lie often enough and people will begin to believe it.

The moon is made of cheese

The moon is made of cheese. I mean, how many times would I have to repeat that before people began to believe it? And if I were king or prime minister or president with all the channels for disseminating information at my disposal and I said it, how long would it take before people began to believe it?

Come on, think about it. The sentence ‘Repeat a lie often enough and people will begin to believe it.’ is an example of a sentence said often enough. But is it true? Will people begin to believe a lie said often enough?

‘Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire’, is the other side of the coin. Accuse a man of something and unless he is proven beyond all doubt to be innocent, then some people will continue to believe there is some truth in the accusation.

That is as much a criticism of the dark, suspicious part of people’s minds as it is a saying that there is always something behind every suspicion.

And perhaps the lie perpetuated as truth appeals to the same part of people’s minds.


The Etymology Of Haversack

We were talking about rucksacks and backpacks, discussing whether the two words are interchangeable. I said I thought I detected a division in the use of the words. I think we use backpack for something smaller, urban, probably zipped. And we use rucksack for something bigger, more for the countryside, with a drawstring.

The talk turned to haversacks, a word that is British English and going out of fashion, a word for a bag carried on the back or over the shoulder, used especially by soldiers and walkers. I guess the shoulder bag is the equivalent today – or did that grow out of the messenger bag – a bag stretched to fit a laptop or large envelopes and packages.

I wondered what the etymology of haversack was and I wondered whether it was to do with havermout, which is the Dutch word for oatmeal.

And so it is:

Haversack: Mid 18th century: from French havresac, from obsolete German Habersack, denoting a bag used by soldiers to carry oats as horse feed, from dialect Haber ‘oats’ + Sack ‘sack, bag’.


Show Me All The Tops In Green

With our attention spans dwindling to zero, and with online shops wanting to deliver a frictionless experience, the keyboard and mouse have surely got to go. It’s just too much effort to tap the keys.

It will have to be done by voice. Commands and questions by voice.

We ask the computer to take us to Amazon, or Gap, or East, or whatever and then we ask for what we want.

‘Show me all the tops in green, size 12’
‘Home in on the one with the boat neck.’
‘I’ll have that one and the one in taupe.’

And that’s how it will go.