The Lobby: Off-topic discussion

Hello and welcome to The Lobby! Your place to discuss subjects that just don’t fit in our other conversations. Make yourself at home!

Do you want to discuss an issue but can’t find the right place to post it? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere to chat with your community pals? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

As with any community or conversation it can – and does – wander off-topic. This is perfectly natural, but it hasn’t always been possible to do so on some of our posts because of the precisely defined nature of each subject.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we created this off-topic discussion area – The Lobby.

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So we’re starting fresh with what we’re affectionately calling “The Lobby 2”.

No comments from first Lobby have been deleted, and you can still link to comments, but you won’t be able to add new comments.

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Comments

Posted this one before, but I find it amusing:

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: Fear of long words.

Perhaps a bit too sesquipedalian for my liking, Ian.

As a final epitaph on the Cummings affair, my trawl through yesterday’s paper revealed several epithets that were journalistic rhetoric to add spice to their condemnation of the man. The worst was a reference to a “snivelling” Rose Garden performance. I was surprised at the amount of print space devoted to him a week after Mr Johnson made it clear that Mr Cummings wasn’t going anywhere. To sack him now would probably be even worse than keeping him for the PM. One interesting nugget did emerge and it’s mainly why I’m writing this. The day he returned from Durham, that evening in fact, he altered an article written some time before and added extra comments about the virus and his warning about it. He made subsequent additions to that later, so that he could point to the piece (in the Rose Garden) as being a harbinger which government failed to act upon. Now that is devious.

Just a couple of thoughts on the DC issue.
1. If DC’s trip were in contravention of the rules and his action was expected to persuade anyone who knew about it to follow suit and also break the rules then the more publicity it got, the more people would hear of it and the more people who would break the rules. On that basis, the media – papers and TV – who gave it relentless publicity would also be responsible for the consequences.

2. If highlighting the irresponsibility of DC’s actions landed on the ears of responsible, thinking, informed citizens then the publicity would reinforce their intent to act sensibly and not copy.

So would the irresponsible still act irresponsibly and the responsible still do the right thing?

As for the descent of millions of people into beauty spots, beaches, riversides and parks, I blame the Sun.
🙂

I felt sorry for BJ having to deal with the DC situation, but I now just feel let down. I expect that those in positions of responsibility should act with integrity and honesty and be prepared to admit when they are wrong.

It’s not easy to understand why a significant minority of the public take risks with their own lives and sometimes put others at risk.

Politicians of all parties (almost) never admit they are wrong. Until, maybe, they have left office and write their memoirs.

I see TM put the boot in yesterday. I wonder what her motivation was……?

I know they don’t, Malcolm, but I have a great deal of respect for those that do admit their errors and if possible take action to mend matters.

I’m not sure whether you can hold the press to account for doing their job, Malcolm; in a society with a free press we know both the consequences and advantages of the concept.

I’m sure that whether or not DC had made his trip, some other folk would also have been minded to break the rules. But the very poor examples set by DC and BJ make such bad behaviour much more likely to occur.

The actions of those in the public eye, including celebrities, are copied by many people. Thank goodness we have journalists to report on their wrongdoings. Journalists are classed as key workers during the current crisis.

Thankfully, there is a range of media covering various attitudes so we can absorb a range of opinions and make up our own minds on issues. Unfortunately there is no guarantee of such breadth of outlook.

Some sections of the media are very narrow-minded and, to a greater or lesser extent, motivated by special interests or commercial influences or controlling proprietorships, so we have to use our intelligence and common sense, which is why as a society we must work harder to ensure that everyone has a good education [the measure of which is not the number of people attending colleges of one sort or another or the number of exam passes].

Education is often seen as the answer to everything. DC and BJ have a good education, but that not prevent them letting down the citizens of this country. Good education is very important to our society but it does not mean that people will behave honestly and with integrity.

I certainly don’t condone the wrongdoings of the media and these are often condemned by others working in the field. The behaviour of journalists is not relevant to the case in question. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

The Nature or Nurture question is probably relevant, too; we, as humans, are genetically predisposed to be selfish, gain control over others and think only of ourselves. But how we are raised, and by whom, can have a very strong effect on how we behave.

Education starts at birth; there’s a wealth of research that confirms that a child’s personality is pretty well developed by the age of five. Interestingly, despite the bigotry and prejudice still rampant among sections of society, all the research done on families with two parents of the same gender has found that there’s no difference in how well adjusted the offspring of those parents are when compared with the once-traditional model.

Which is good news, considering that in the US and UK, married, heterosexual couples with biologically related children now form a minority of families.

My post above was simply pointing out what I see as two possible consequences of reporting. I was not suggesting reporting should be restrained.

It’s amazing what we can discover if we set aside our personal prejudices and look at the facts.

Based on personal observation, I believe that those who have had supportive parents do better in life, though I’ve also seen examples of parents that may not have helped by pushing their kids to try too hard. It would be interesting to know if high expectations can really be counterproductive.

Edit: This is a response to Ian’s post.

Your last statement is very surprising, Ian. I’d be interested to know why you think that is. I’ve always thought that those deviating from the heterosexual norm were quite small in number, which is why they have needed to make their equality/normality case so passionately and why, now, we make an effort to treat any family in the same way, what ever its make up. The current political correctness is quite scrupulous, even to the point where we look back a few years and banish commonly accepted toys, stories and sayings. That is because we recognise that deviations from the old norm are acceptable, but surely not suggesting that the traditional way of live for most of the families in this country has changed that much. Or has it?
With regards to journalists, it is interesting to read various opinions, bearing in mind the editorial nature of the newspaper in ones hand. The way these opinions are written, to emphasise a viewpoint, is often subtle, a subtle form of propaganda in fact. A judicious choice of adjective or adverb can add weight to an argument without being obvious to the reader. That adjective or adverb is just one word in the sentence which flashes past the eye. Many other adjectives or adverbs might make the sentence work just as well, but that choice of word, skews the text almost without seeming to do so. Used to extreme, as it was on several occasions last Sunday, it jumps out and challenges. Then, of course, the writer has failed and subsequent comment is questioned more closely. Reporting can be personal as well as factual, and it should, sometimes, be controversial and revealing. It should never be written to deceive or deliberately manipulate news by claiming that fact is fact and not conjecture.

I know what you mean, Vynor and you are absolutely right that choice of words can sway the reader. I often feel that we are far too politically correct but maybe if I had been targeted for not meeting the accepted norms I might have a different view. Thankfully that has not happened.

I have made disparaging comments about journalists in the past, but getting to know one well has given me an insight that I did not have before.

What I have never managed to understand is that presenting exactly the same information to people can result in very different opinions.

Vynor: not my words, but from New Scientist. The official statistics from both countries reveal that marriage is rapidly becoming a thing of the past but is enjoying a boom between same-sex couples.

That’s a very complex document and interesting reading too. I don’t get a picture of the number of mothers and fathers in the same household and that is perhaps where I misunderstood the thrust of what is being written. Certainly, locally, I don’t have the impression of many all male or female households, but I do see many more male relationships, without actually enquiring into how these operate. Less so on the female side, but perhaps these are more difficult to spot!

I agree, the importance of education is beyond question and intelligence no doubt aids the learning process, but intelligence alone without wisdom can be a dangerous attribute if left in the hands of a potential leader who puts his own power centered self interest before that of the people he/she governs.

Much has been written about collective consciousness.
Émile Durkhelm who led the field in studies on this subject wrote “The collective consciousness binds individuals together and creates social integration.”

At a deeper level, collective consciousness requires an awareness of ‘the other’ in a society and the degree of awareness would largely depend upon a child’s environmental conditioning which determines how his/her mind views its environment and society at large. Without awareness of ‘the other’ a child would be inclined to become more self centred and egocentric through unconscious need rather than through choice.

To recap, wisdom requires education, emotional intelligence, maturity, conscious awareness, and a degree of knowledge and understanding of the human condition.

I can understand why that is happening, Ian. I think until same-sex relationships gain wider acceptance across the country [beyond the cosmopolitan centres of gravity] the security of a formal tie will be desired by such couples; it guarantees legitimacy and defeats counter-arguments of a phobic nature.

I see it as a good trend as it cements society where there has been growing fragmentation and a loosening of traditional bonds. That loosening, among the heterosexual community, is itself a product of a sense of greater security and the gradual erosion of the historical condemnation of unmarried couples.

We are moving progressively towards a society where many different arrangements and structures will co-exist across races, sexes, and sexual orientation so that within the next decade no single form will be termed conventional. This should be accompanied by a general liberalisation of outlook that will condition responses to other issues. Whether it will put an end to all prejudice remains to be seen.

I believe that, to their credit, the media have played the leading role in advancing these changes, ‘normalising’ what had previously been seen as immoral or unnatural, and outlawing those who stood in the way of equality. Mind you, the media have no compunction over erupting against political correctness where they perceive it impinges on their freedom to castigate, shame and denounce personal behaviour as they think fit, but that is the other side of the coin that buys a free press.

I don’t know of any people in same-sex relationships, but have known two people who have changed sex. It’s none of my concern and good luck to them.

People can go off the rails. When I was a research student I shared a lab with an exceptionally bright and articulate Oxbridge graduate who was productive and also managed to find time to use his skills to support local community issues. We stopped exchanging Christmas cards a few years later but I know he got married, started a family and became an executive of a well known company. A seemingly totally normal and responsible person was eventually convicted of serious child prawnography. I only know because I looked him up on Google. I often wonder what has become of people I used to know but perhaps it’s better not to find out.

We have a couple of very good friends who are in a same-sex marriage. They’re both very high achievers, too, and very successful.

Same-sex couples have a distinct advantage over heterosexual relationships, inasmuch as each are equally in touch with both genders, males with their feminine side and females with their masculine side.

The percentage of homosexuals used to be about 11% but could now be more since it has become more acceptable as a normal part of society. This may explain one of the reasons for the increase in the number of gay marriages as there are presumably fewer partners available.

I don’t fully understand the reason for the minority difference but I hypothesise that when a planet becomes over populated nature will produce a means of reducing it to a sustainable level in order to maintain equilibrium, essential at both planetary and universal level.

Wavechange, obsessive indulgence in child pawnography is more a sociopathic psychopathology problem which is hard to treat and a serious problem in need of criminal investigation.

It’s long been known that pollution can cause fish to change sex: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3882159.stm More recently there is concern about the effect of chemicals reducing male fertility, as Duncan Lucas kept telling us.

I would prefer to see world population being kept under control by social responsibility rather than pollution and disease.

Social responsibility has not worked, never as far as I am aware, neither has disease, economic nor other reasons. State “control” seemed to work in China until they reversed their 1 per couple policy. Neither pandemics nor war has sufficient impact. Artificial means of control seems to me the only way to prevent the inexorable increase in world population – involuntary, that will cause a lot of dissent and worse. Meanwhile we strive to extend lifespan by medical and lifestyle interventions. Funny old world.

I expect that someone will chime in and suggest education, but that only works with those who are receptive. We won’t be around to find out the fate of the Earth but I have sympathy for future generations. I’m wondering what has been happening during lockdown. It seems conceivable that we might have a spike in births later this year.

For education to have any effect the recipients have to be properly motivated. It’s why state education in the UK is so dismal. And education in the UK is dominated by women but, more worryingly, slanted towards female achievement.

As a simple example, many primary school teachers place a premium on neat presentation, especially neat handwriting. Now, my handwriting is abysmal, yet I can write music legibly. But girls seem to be able to work more neatly out of the box.

Said a female scientist: “According to a 1992 article in Scientific American, women do better on precision manual tasks, and men are more accurate at target-directed motor skills, such as guiding or intercepting projectiles. This could explain why we have neater writing, but we throw like girls.”

Women and men are fundamentally different, perhaps never better shown than in this pandemic. Many of the countries coping well are led by women.

In short, men and women are complementary if not always complimentary.

TM didn’t do us much good. Myanmar doesn’t seem well led. Would Hilary have done better in the USA?

I think the best educators and motivators are the parents, at least initially. I suspect the foundations they lay down decide how most children develop. Parents have a lot to answer for and I can see no way to change that.

Welcome to Child Safety Week, the day in 1896 when Marconi applied to patent the radio, and the day in 1953 of the Coronation of the Queen in Westminster Abbey.

I was there! [in 1953, that is]. Not in the Abbey, but on The Mall. Probably the most memorable day of my life. There’ll never be another Coronation like it – without the Colonies we just don’t have the military and other resources any more.

I got a mug…

No criticism of Ian who has simply reproduced published information but if I recall correctly, Marconi’s patent related to wireless telegraphy and what we think of as radio came along later.

Ah. If that can be confirmed I can contact the folk who run the site, as I did when Derek pointed out they were somewhat US-centric when discussing the first nuclear reactors. They do change the entries in the light of comments.

I have noticed there’s no entry for the first patent on the Jet engine: while writing his thesis Whittle formulated the fundamental concepts that led to the creation of the turbojet engine, taking out a patent on his design in 1930.

They’ll hardly want to mention that they happily took the jet engine, Radar, the cavity magnetron and quite a bit more, yet couldn’t even give the UK a paltry bomb sight.

“…the day in 1896 when Marconi applied to patent the radio” A site giving brief details of what happened on a day is obviously intended for the public and I would expect that most people would assume that radio equates to a system for broadcast of speech and other sounds. What Marconi patented was a system for wireless telegraphy, and there is an account on Wikipedia.

It achieved transmission of morse code. The signals were at radio frequency, much like that generated by the ignition coil of a petrol-engined car.

I had not appreciated the US bias of the site but it does not surprise me. Wikipedia can be the same and I suspect that it is down to the nationality of whoever produces the first draft of a page.

A committee is twelve people doing the work of one

One to propose a motion, one to disagree, everyone to vote and one to record the decision in the minutes and one to keep members informed.

What about the lawyer who says you can’t do it, the accountant who says you can’t afford it, and the one who has come to the wrong meeting?

It was entertaining to see confusion on BBC when a guy called Guy turned up for an IT job interview and was, instead, taken to be another guy called Guy who was coming to be interviewed on a tv programme about Apple. The wrong Guy was interviewed about Apple but thought it was part of the job interview process. Took it in his stride.

At one time I worked in a small sub-department with around 20 staff and research students, five of them called John. It caused a little confusion when there was a telephone call for John.

Committees can spawn sub-committees and then there are working groups to look at certain issues.

Some years back I was appointed to an interim executive committee and our first meeting was largely to fix dates for future meetings. Once the consultant who had been running the show dropped out we made real progress.

If everything seems to be coming your way, you’re probably driving the wrong way.

I’m in shape. Round is a shape, isn’t it?

After a long dry period and days with not a cloud in the sky it was encouraging to see some cloud cover. Even the water butts seem to be wilting.

Getting the watering can out usually challenges the rain gods to act. This hasn’t worked recently, but this evening’s attempt might well do so. Despite the forecast I’ll be watering tonight just in case.

I was using the sprinklers for hours last night trying to revive all corners of the garden. There were some fluffy clouds this morning but no signs of rain. This is what happens if you cancel Wimbledon.

Yesss…I’m hopeful that we’ll see some rain but strong and persistent High pressure areas don’t usually end in torrential rain in the UK. However, as you say the forecast seems to say otherwise, so we’ll see.

If all else fails try this:

http://www.youtube.com – Native American – Music – Rain Dance – Wuauquikuna (Official Video)

Perhaps there should be a Which? Campraign
We can look at sun-soaked holiday destinations with longing, but I don’t think I’d want to live in those places where it is sunshine all day every day. I like the uncertainty of the – usually – variable British climate.

Or ask for help from our raining monarch, who was out on a pony recently.

What else would we find to talk about without our inclement changing weather patterns?

Brexit, COVID, Whirlpool, Amazon, ATMs (gone quiet), DC……….. All being well we can be celebrating the results of your rain dance tomorrow

The Ocado delivery man called early this evening, his first words “Another lovely day”. When I said I had being doing a rain dance today because the gardens were too dry, he said “I’ll tell them” and beat a hasty retreat!

I am still trying to figure out who “them” are but no men in white coats have appeared yet 🙂

I’m glad you did a rain dance for us, Beryl. Unfortunately the rain scheduled for early this evening was postponed. I can recommend living on the site of a former lunatic asylum because everyone except the neighbours may assume you are a little mad.

Our large holly tree will be pleased. It is shedding leaves by the barrow load at the moment in its defence against the dry weather. They are not the sort of leaves I want on the garden because they don’t decompose or improve the soil. The tree has its virtues though and I gave it a big drink on Tuesday evening.

Rain here was both later and less than forecast. Nonetheless, it did make an effort.

Everything has been watered overnight but it is dry this morning despite the weather forecast showing a 97% chance of rain.

After spending about 8 years as a volunteer in a former ‘lunatic asylum’ Wavechange, I came to the stark realisation most of the patients in there were the victims of people on the outside. Lunatic asylums are now thankfully a thing of the past.

I’m not surprised, Beryl. The way people treat others is responsible for many of the problems in the world.

I have a book about ‘our’ asylum, eventually renamed as a hospital and the picture it paints is very different from accounts of other institutions. I’ve met a number of people who had some connection with the hospital in the later years and they have been have been positive about how the inmates were treated and the running of the hospital. When digging the garden I have unearthed many pieces of brick. 🙁

Our local asylum has been converted into luxury flats.

We move on. Apparently the workhouse that inspired Dickens to write Oliver Twist was converted to flats.

Wonder if your flats are now being offered to asylum seekers, Beryl? 🙂

Nice one Ian 🙂

Maybe – if they could afford them!

Beautiful location, near the river but sadly not for Seniors unless you are content with living on the ground floor as the developer forgot to include a lift!

It never fails to amaze me how old and sometimes semi-derelict property can be converted into desirable residences. Warehouses, barns and even windmills are given a new lease of life, often preserving some historic features. It’s a pity that some buildings are allowed to deteriorate so much before they are rescued.

Welcome to World Bicycle Day, the day in 1979 the Ixtoc I rig in the Gulf of Mexico blew, spilling 3 million barrels of oil in one of the worst oil spills in history and the day in 1989 which marks the start of the Tiananmen Square Massacre as Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy supporters in Beijing

They keep saying the right person will come along, I think mine got hit by a lorry.

Alcoholism is the only disease that tries to convince you that you don’t have it.

It also tries to convince you there is a problem with those that don’t have it.

I sometimes go to my own little world, but that’s okay, they know me there.

Too true Ian it’s a comforting place, since we make all the rules.
I have a shaggy dog story to share this morning…
Many years ago, at the beginning of this century I bought a video tape of the Gilbert and Sullivan story Topsy Turvy. It is a film I have watched, with pleasure, quite often since I transferred it to DVD from VHS via a Panasonic HDD. Yesterday the disc failed and has lost its ability to play. Rather than go through the process of booting up old machinery and making another copy, I decided to seek one from Amazon. My search told me one was available for £30 and a couple of others further down the page at about £10 were out of stock. I gave up in disgust and tried the general Google web to see what was also available. Pointlessly, in an idle moment, I clicked on the Amazon site once more from somewhere in the Google search engine, and not directly asking for it. Up came the usual Amazon page and on top was my DVD ready to buy at £8. I had an option to by three used ones for less. Hopefully the new one is on its way to me. The shaggy part of this dog, is the idea that my original search – ask for Amazon, type in Topsy Turvy and view the result – led to a rip off being tried on. So, maybe, a direct search, is not the best way of getting what one wants. I didn’t log in at this point, so I was anonymous, but someone, in the Amazon system, found their way onto the top of the page where they created the impression that if I wanted this DVD it was only available there at £30. How did they do that?
Ps. During my first search I found a copy for sale at 800 and something pounds!

I occasionally search for books that are out of print and unlikely to be in much demand. I wonder if vendors put up prices if they people are taking an interest in what is on offer.

There’s one item that happened on today’s date, a riot in Los Angeles which took place seventy seven years ago today.

The US’ reputation for racism continues unabated, with the protests across the country, but it’s interesting that today marks the seventy seventh anniversary of the so-called Zoot Suit Riots, when a mob of 60 from the Los Angeles Naval Reserve Armory beat up everyone perceived to be Hispanic, starting the week-long Zoot Suit Riots.

The USA appears to be a culturally, deeply racist society, certainly not being helped by the current president. But what was surprising to me when I started to check how many riots there have been was that since 1945 they’ve had 74 major riots, many lasting for more than a fortnight, and spread across the entire country.

Our own experiences visiting the US have generally been positive, but then—we’re white. And the US’s own, much vaunted constitution was stripped, at least initially, of references decrying the slave trade. The US is also vocal in condemning alleged Human Rights violations of countries such as China, while seemingly unaware of the gross and continued Human Rights violations of its own people of colour.

It can seem to many as though the US hasn’t really moved on since the 1967 release of In the Heat of the Night.

Current events make good propaganda for countries like China. It is interesting to consider the unrest in Hong Kong with that in Minneapolis. Authority and mis-use of authority is a catalyst in both places. The protest in both is about the State. In one there is a fear of rights being taken away, in the other there is the fear that rights are missing and were never there in the first place. The governments supress this violence, but in America it is to keep law and order and in China it is to gain law and still maintain order from the population. Despite the differing motives, the result is the same. There is a state with rules and a population that is breaking them. Of course, most Americans and much of its government will condemn the brutality of the murder. Righteous anger is used by some to loot and pillage and any excuse would do for them but many are outraged by the actions of one police officer and simply don’t know how to express that anger effectively. Past injustice simply mounts until it explodes. It is likely that China will soon take military measures to tame Hong Kong and the world will protest and nothing will change. I wonder what America will do to change its racial intolerance? I wonder if the world will protest? Probably not. America, after all is a free democracy, China is not. Yet, as Orwell says “some freedoms are more equal than others.”

I suspect that’s it. When a US president repeats the words of Chief Walter Headley 1967 and says ” when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, a phrase used later by that noted reformist (sic), Alabama Gov. George Wallace, it does tell us that the US is truly in a parlous state.

China chose, in 1989, to preserve ‘social order’ through the use of the army. Trump appears to be simply siding with his fan base, and that’s a concern.

On my many visits to America I have always found the majority of black people very accommodating and amicable, their music meaningful, significant and sincere, their faith strong and unrelenting.

There seemingly still remains however, an ingrained deep element of injustice which impels them to rise up in support and defence of one of their own who became a victim of an officer representing the law, subsequently conjuring up memories of historically linked former days of maltreatment by their fellow white compatriots.

The timing of this unfortunate incident must have had some bearing on the effects of COVID-19 and especially on the people living in the poorer areas where repressed feelings of frustration, fear and dread, already heightened by the virus would find a release.

With one of our own hierarchy now residing in the US with a mixed race wife and child, one can’t help but wonder where their allegiance really lies and the wisdom of their decision to settle in ‘the land of the free’ where racial undertones continue to smoulder only to be set alight by one unfortunate fatality.

I suspect it’s a great deal worse than that, Beryl. Since the mid-2010s, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have considered white supremacist violence to be the leading threat of domestic terrorism in the United States.

They have a pretty awful history with Native Americans, anyone of colour and any form of racial equality, and one new phenomenon has been the rise of the “alt-right” movement: a white nationalist coalition that seeks the expulsion of sexual and racial minorities from the United States. In August 2017, these groups attended a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, intended to unify various white nationalist factions. During the rally, a white supremacist demonstrator drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring 19.

The US is a divided society, with the Democrats generally supporting equality and the Republicans prepared to allow the travesty of what Trump has done to pass unremarked.

Like many, we have friends and family over there and all the accounts from them suggest a culture of intolerance based on nothing more than physical appearance.

I have an involvement in a major world-wide youth charity there, and what strikes you is the uncompromising attitudes exhibited by the (almost exclusively white) adults involved.

What interesting is that “schools are still segregated based on class and race, which also contributes to race relations”. It’s worth remembering, also, that it wasn’t until the “Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that ended a racist preference for white immigrants dating to the 18th century” that non-whites were able to apply for citizenship.

I agree with you entirely about the nature of non-white Americans, Beryl; and I’ve always found that many white Americans possess a degree of entitlement and arrogance.

And perhaps the last word should go to that demagogue of the people, Adolf Hitler. Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, extolled America as the only contemporary example of a country with racist (“völkisch”) citizenship statutes in the 1920s, and N a z i lawyers made use of American models when they crafted their own laws in N a z i Germany.

There was a very revealing interview between Emily Maitlis and the former police chief of Minnesota [or Minneapolis city] on BBC TV’s Newsnight on Tuesday evening.

Ex-officer Derek Chauvin, who is now on a charge of 2nd-degree murder for the killing of George Floyd, had seventeen complaints against him over nearly 20 years of his service, all but one of which ended without disciplinary action. This was largely because, under the influence of the Minnesota [or Minneapolis] police officer’s union, which is led by an acknowledged white nationalist, all serious sanctions had been overturned or set aside by the arbitration board which reviews police disciplinary decisions. The former police chief did not know [or know about] officer Chauvin and was unaware of his conduct record. In an embarrassing moment, during which there were long silences, she admitted that, although she had personally instituted various reforms, they had been of limited effect and that she had been powerless to deal with institutional racism and unauthorised practices in connexion with arrests and custody. When it was put to her that, while neck restraint was a permitted method of initial control, it was unauthorised once the individual had been placed under formal arrest and handcuffed, she accepted that the police senior leadership were not aware of its routine unauthorised use. George Floyd was kept in a knee chokehold for nearly nine minutes while handcuffed and while shouting that he could not breathe. Three other police officers were in close attendance during the restraint and have now been charged with abetting murder.

I have been speaking to a former colleague who I kept in touch with after he retired – long before me. He lives alone but has been keeping with members of his family by daily video chats and doing some committee business for a society he runs. There is nothing special about that except that his 95th birthday is in July.

Good for him.

@beryl, I’m sorry to say the rain dance hasn’t worked for me. Back to tap dancing.

Handel does a nice line in Water Music…

I’m sorry I can’t faucet Malcolm but I think it’s on its way.

He certainly does but we don’t want it to rain for ever and ever!