population

Blair's Big Brother Binge

Blair's Big Brother Binge If you thought genuine concerns over security and welfare motivated the deceptively named bills in Tony Blair's final Queen's speech, in all likelihood you believed him when he reassured us of his noble aims to rid the world of the genocidal threat presented by Slobodan Milosevic, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. With one dead, another at large and the third awaiting his fate in death row, Blair's speech writers have had to find some new daemons to justify even more...

Conspiracy Theory Slur

act of working in secret to obtain some goal, usually understood with negative connotations. ... Conspiracy (crime) and conspiracy (civil), an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future ... Conspiracy (political), a plot to overthrow a government or other powers ... Conspiracy theory, attempts to explain the cause of an event as a secret, and often deceptive, plot by a covert alliance ... Many defenders of orthodoxy can simply shrug off all challenges ...

The Misery Industry

In the run-up to New labour's historic 1997 electoral victory, thespian extraordinaire Tony Blair launched his rallying soundbite " education, education, education ". Any brief exposure to modern teaching techniques as they have continued to evolve since would reveal the necessity to revise that slogan to " edutainment, edutainment, edutainment " . ... Outside the bustling edutainment sector with semi-privatised unis offering students free I-pods and advertising the prospects of vibrant night life and...

Shameless Celebrity Promotion of Personality Disorders

Letter to the Independent (on Sunday) ... Judging from the Independent on Sunday's feature on Stephen Fry's high-profile outing as a bipolar-defined person, we can look forward to a new season of personality disorder awareness raising. If we believe the hype, until the mid 1990s human beings labelled with the new generation of behavioural disorders lived in the dark ages condemned to a life deprived of media-filtered awareness of their plight, a burgeoning support and counselling sector and a new range...

Two add Two equals Five because Four is a Racist Number

Racism, or more correctly in most cases xenophobia , is matter of ethics. It seems fair to conclude that racism has no place in any caring society because nobody benefits from being victims of prejudice based on arbitrary ethnic distinctions. In the real world prejudice is a natural by-product of extreme variations in wealth, rampant materialism, heightened social competition and growing duplicity (namely the contrast between our anti-racist rhetoric and selfish behaviour). I doubt the Hotel Ritz has a...

Globalitis: Why Economic Migration is not always Good News

This Wednesday's Independent (UK edition, 26/07/06) ran a front page story spilling over to page two under the heading “ Outstanding: Official Verdict on school that shows the success of immigration ”. It featured a fabulous inner London primary school with twenty six pupils and twenty six languages, all apparently excelling academically and growing up bilingual in a dynamic multicultural setting of tolerance and mutual understanding. With pictures of such charming and talented children, how...

Managing Public Opinion

The Strange Case of Twelve Islamophobic Cartoons ... Over the last week the publication of a cartoon portraying the prophet Mohamed as a terrorist has dominated the Western European media sparking a phoney debate about freedom of expression from the very people who misled us about the recent invasion of Iraq. On one side we have the ultra-PC brigade preaching the virtues of tolerance and feigning sympathy with the Islamic community. On the other we have a motley crew of Guardian-reading libertarians, a...

We Care about those who disagree

Samantha Stasy is a loyal Labour MP who genuinely cares about the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of her constituents. Every week she holds a surgery providing local electors with a forum in which to air their grievances. " I believe it is essential to stay in touch with our electors, listen carefully and help them overcome their problems or refer them to professionals who can ." ... Samantha: " Hello, Mrs Contrary, I've read your e-mail, taken on board all your comments and fully sympathise...

The Arbitrary Extension of the Autistic Spectrum

Over the last twenty years we have witnessed a semantic shift in the concepts of autism and the wider autistic spectrum. The former may assume three broad definitions: ... A mental condition devoid of a theory of mind with which to relate to other human beings. In this sense we all start life in an autistic state and gradually develop progressively more advanced theories of mind. Early attachment with one's primary care-giver and bonding with real-world friends clearly play a crucial role. However, ...

Reclaiming Word

If you own a computer, you probably have some form of word processor. Whether you need to type a report at work or a letter at home or maybe just a short shopping list, chances are you think you need Word or rather Microsoft Word TM . How could we possibly manage without WordArt, ubiquitous in nursery schools and on church noticeboards worldwide? Don't messages look so dull if left in a dated serif font? Isn't it just wonderful that we can highlight text in bold and change its colour? And just in case...

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