Wednesday, 11 February 2009

How old was Titian when he died?

Surprisingly such a seemingly simple question is worthy of discussion at Prime Minister's questions! The problem is Gordon Brown referred to him as living until at least 90 when in Davos, and Cameron, under the impression he had died at 86 decided to mock the Prime Minister.

The truth is that no one knows how old Titian was when he died, as the Encyclopedia Britannica states:
"The traditional date of Titian’s birth was long given as 1477, but today most critics favour the later date of 1488/90"

Meaning that when he died in 1576 he could have been anything from 86 to 99! Was Gordon Brown wrong? Possibly, but so was David Cameron. Unfortunately Cameron added to his ignorance by choosing to mock the Prime Minister when there are far more important issues in the world, and Cameron's woes have since been compounded by it being discovered that a member of the Conservative Party had changed the Wikipedia entry to fit their version of the facts.

Conservatives rewriting history! At least we don't have to rely on Wikipedia to remember how bad it was under the previous Conservative government!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Cameron & Voderman Show...I'm lost for words

Whilst it all happened over a week ago, I only just discovered the buddying up of the new double act of Carol Vorderman and David Cameron. I am absolutely lost for words. Whilst I appreciate she is perceived as the face of maths in this country, that is exactly the problem: the public thinks someone with a third class degree who can add up is a maths genius!

Whilst I have always found Vorderman one of television's most annoying 'personalities', I think on this video she reaches new lows:

Whilst we should always be striving for higher standards of education, it doesn't mean we can just make things up. Unless my ears deceive me Cameron's dolly-bird states in response to whether exams have got easier(at approximately 1 min 25):
"...where in 1988 for instance, if you had been failed at A-level maths, in 2006 you would have achieved a grade B or C"

Possibly one of the most misleading statements by a 'genius' ever: surely getting zero percent in 1998 would by no means mean you get a B or C in 2006. Obviously the finer points are unnecessary when you are playing to an audience who believe Britain has gone to the dogs, but if you are interested in following up the study the duo are happy to point you in the right direction ("one last year, one a couple of years ago").

Hello Comrades! I've joined the Labour Party

I am now a card carrying member of the Labour Party...or at least I will be the moment my membership pack comes through the post. Whilst I swapped my allegiance to the Labour Party a couple of years ago (from the Lib-dems), now feels like the right time to throw my weight behind my party of choice: ready to pledge my support in the real world and online. Whilst I'm willing to post leaflets along with the next man, social media provides a great new opportunity for individuals to support the party, a fact that is recognised by the team. Whilst social media won't win the election on it's own, it will definitely play a part.

Whilst I'm sure there are a million and one ways to help New Labour online, I have decided that I will start small. Very small in fact. Attempting to convert the only Tory I know (or rather the only one who is a Tory to my face). I have decided to contact him on a daily basis to emphasise the positives of the Labour Party and the negatives of the Conservative Party, until he eventually breaks down. I have to admit it will be a hard task, after all he comes from Ken Clarke's constituency, and Clarke is (at least to the general population) a nice Tory.

Advice on Tory-to-Labour conversions always welcome.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Twitter draws me back into politics

I first signed up for Twitter over a year ago, and then proceeded to post approximately seven posts in the first 12 months. The reason was simple, I could do without the Twitter noise in a life that was already suffering from severe information overload. However, after seeing the popularity of Twitter with fellow social-media-bods I decided throw myself back in head first: an ethnographic approach.

As I expected it is mostly information that I could do without:
"Lying in bed listening to Radio 3 and wondering whether I need coffee more than I need to lie here."
Not quite the same calibre as the same Bill Thompson's interesting BBC stories. It is however quite addictive, and I have slowly been drawn in not only to the world of social media, but also to the world of politics.

I love politics, and political discussion (hence this blog), but rarely have time to give it the attention it deserves (hence the emptiness of this blog). I was lucky throwing myself back into Twitter at the time I did, a time of Twittering amongst some of the greats of the New Labour Party: Alastair Campbell joined on Wednesday, whilst John Prescott joined back in January (albeit he still isn't following anyone). Following some of the comments and the links, I can't help but get a good feeling by Labour's grass roots Go Fourth campaign. When Labour were elected in 1997 you couldn't have paid me to vote for them, it was all about spin. Now I'm starting to believe that they could get a fourth term, and the first vote from me in a general election, by being open and honest....but maybe I'm just an incurable romantic.

Twitter is background noise, but maybe that is what I need for background subjects: those subjects I am interested in but don't have time to give my full attention to.