This is a Britain that has lost its Queen – and the luxury of denial about its past

“Yet I sympathise with those who feel the Queen’s loss. Under her reign, many latched on to the stabilising sense of cultural continuity. To lose that is to feel disrupted and uncertain. For me, it’s a familiar anxiety – Britain’s empire by definition redrew boundaries, and swept aside generations of tradition. Our parents and grandparents were recruited to Britain for its benefit, the terms and conditions of which my generation are still trying to make sense. We know how it feels to lack cultural continuity. Others in Britain enjoyed it at our expense.
If continuity is an abstract subject, the other trappings of royal symbolism are more concrete. There were pompous reflections last week with the idea expressed in the Economist’s obituary that the Queen ‘came from good Hanoverian blood’. If that sounds like a white supremacist idea, that’s because it is.” Afua Hirsch does not get to opt out of processing memories that many refuse to acknowledge.
www.theguardian.com

The warning signs are there for everyone else to see

“For a party that prides itself on the economy, the Tories have a shocking record of running it. Our economy has the slowest growth in the G7. We have got greater regional inequality than almost any other developed nation. Food banks now do the job of Government in providing for families—families that are more often than not in work.

Government could start solving this crisis by providing solutions, like closing tax-avoidance loopholes or creating a windfall tax for energy companies. But instead, we get endless bills paying lip service to a manufactured culture war. The priority isn’t the economy. It seems to be things like protecting freedom of speech, and yet the Tories are the ones who banned schools in England from using sources that are not overtly pro-capitalist. They are cracking down on freedom of assembly and protest. They are privatising Channel 4, when the Culture Secretary didn’t even know that Channel 4 receives no public money, so the argument is not financial. And as the Member for Rhondda touched upon earlier on, when we consider, that the Culture Secretary was a key focus of a Channel 4 documentary once about the influence that Christian fundamentalism has on UK politics, it becomes even more concerning that this decision is political and it’s personal. It is not professional.

But most terrifying of all, however, is that the Government literally wants to get rid of the Human Rights Act. And that begs the question: for whom do they think rights have gone too far? Do you know how scary it is to sit at home and wonder if it is you—is it your rights that are up for grabs? We have witnessed Windrush. Our economic strategy is to open our doors to the rest of the world when we need their hard work and then chuck them out 50 years later without a word’s notice. We tell our own citizens that their safety cannot be guaranteed in Rwanda, but we are perfectly happy to ship asylum seekers, people fleeing war and persecution, over to Rwanda as though they are cattle to be dealt with by someone else and despite knowing that this plan costs more than it will ever save.

This is just little England elites drunk on the memory of a British empire that no longer exists. We have the lowest pensions in Europe and the lowest sick pay. We pretend minimum wage is a living wage when it is not. We miss our own economic targets time and time again. We are happy to break international law. We are turning into a country where words hold no value.

And over the last 12 years, I fear we have been sleepwalking closer and closer to the F word. And I know everyone is scared to say it for fear of sounding over the top or being accused of going too far, but I say this with all sincerity. When I say the F word, I am talking about fascism—fascism wrapped in red, white and blue. And you may mock and you may disagree, but fascism does not come in with intentional evil plans or the introduction of leather jackboots. It doesn’t happen like that. It happens subtly. It happens when we see the Governments making decisions based on self-preservation, based on cronyism, based on anything that will keep them in power, we see the concentration of power whilst avoiding any of the scrutiny or responsibility that comes with that power. It arrives under the guise of respectability and pride, that will then be refused to anyone who is deemed different. It arrives through the othering of people, the normalisation of human cruelty. Now I don’t know how far down that road we are. Time will tell, but the things we do in the name of economic growth—the warning signs are there for everyone else to see, whether they admit it or not.”
Mhairi Black

Twitter buyout puts Mastodon into spotlight

“Mastodon is used to publish 500-character messages with pictures, polls, videos and so on to an audience of followers, and, in turn, to follow interesting people and receive their posts in a chronological home feed. Unlike Twitter, there is no central Mastodon website – you sign up to a provider that will host your account, similarly to signing up for Outlook or Gmail, and then you can follow and interact with people using different providers. Anyone can become such a provider as Mastodon is free and open-source. It has no ads, respects your privacy, and allows people/communities to self-govern.” Eugen Rochko preempted the planned aquisition of Twitter by a mere 6 years.
joinmastodon.org

Die beste Instanz

“Wir führen diese Debatte über Rassismus auf einer total primitiven Ebene. Es handelt sich um ein Menschenrecht. Schutz vor Diskriminierung ist ein Menschenrecht.”
Natasha A. Kelly

“Ich würde mir wünschen, dass wir wegkommen davon diese Ereignisse, wie sie jetzt auch im WDR passiert sind, immer als Einzelfälle zu diskutieren. Und es ist ja heute immer wieder aufgekommen, daß es sich um strukturelle Probleme handelt, die nach ’45 nicht einfach aufgehört haben. Und ich glaube es gibt ‘ne Situation, in der man sich in Deutschland sehr, sehr stark wünscht, daß nach ’45 ein besseres Deutschland entstanden ist [sic]. Aber der Wunsch alleine erzeugt noch nicht die Realität. Und da brauchen strukturelle Probleme strukturelle Lösungen.”
Max Czollek

Gemeinsam mit ihren Gästen formuliert Enissa Amani eine bemerkenswerte Antwort auf die vom WDR am 09.11.2020 erstmalig ausgestrahlte Sendung “Die letzte Instanz“, deren Umgang mit dem Thema Rassismus bestenfalls als naiv zu bezeichnen ist.

They stormed the Capitol. Their apps tracked them.

“The location-tracking industry exists because those in power allow it to exist. Plenty of Americans remain oblivious to this collection through no fault of their own. But many others understand what’s happening and allow it anyway. They feel powerless to stop it or were simply seduced by the conveniences afforded in the trade-off. The dark truth is that, despite genuine concern from those paying attention, there’s little appetite to meaningfully dismantle this advertising infrastructure that undergirds unchecked corporate data collection.” Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson show the ease with which supposedly anonymised data from your smartphone is re-identified. From nothing to hide to nowhere to hide—we are all Americans now.
www.nytimes.com

Nine lessons

“Too much of our political debate just insults people’s intelligence and just suggests that every facet of Brexit you don’t like is purely a feature of only the Prime Minister’s version of it, rather than intrinsic to leaving.” Sir Ivan Rogers advocates the need for serious substance to replace plausible bullshit.
news.liverpool.ac.uk

Brexit — the story so far

by Swanpride

Honestly, this whole mess has been ridiculous way longer. I mean, so far the story kind of like this [sic]:

UK: Yeah, your stupid little project, we don’t want to be part of it.
EU: That’s okay, we will do our thing over here and you can do your thing over there.
UK: We have changed our mind, we want to join after all.
France: Not sure if that is a good idea.
UK: Pretty please?????
EU: Okay, we kind of convinced France.
UK: Great. Now do what we want or we leave.
EU: What do you want?
UK: We don’t want to be in the Euro.
EU: Done.
UK: But we want the right to do Euro clearing in London.
EU: Done.
UK: We want a rebate.
EU: Done.
UK: We don’t want to be part of Schengen.
EU: Done.
UK: We want to expand the EU to the eastern European countries.
EU: Done.
UK: And we want Turkey to join.
EU: Eh…not sure about that one…I guess we can talk about this, depending on how Turkey develops…
UK: And we want extra rules for immigration because of all of those Eastern Europeans coming to us.
EU: But you wanted this. And you don’t even use the options you already have to control immigration.
UK: Otherwise we leave!
EU: Okay, if you want to. There is nothing more we can give you! Plus, we are kind of busy over here with a refugee crisis. You know, you could help, too? You were the one messing around in the middle east for centuries after all.
UK: You cause too much immigration! And you want Turkey to join! We have voted to leave.
EU: Yes, we noticed. Well, you know the rules, no trade negotiations until you trigger article 50 and then we first need to talk about how we entangle the UK from the EU [sic]. Than we can talk about trade.
UK: We need some time to discuss this.
EU: We aren’t in any hurry.
UK: We have now triggered article 50.
EU: Great so now we can talk about the divorce.
UK: But we want to talk about trade.
EU: First we need to clear up a number of important issues. So what is your suggestion?
UK: —
EU: How about this?
UK: No, totally inacceptable. What we want is our cake and eat it too.
EU: That is impossible.
UK: Go whistle.
EU: Ticktock.
UK: We have talked among ourselves. We want a transitional period or we won’t get done in time.
EU: Well, we might if you don’t delay all the time…but okay, provided that we made some progress. So what is you suggestion.
UK: We want all the advantage of the single market and the customs union while following our own standards and no free movement.
EU: That is impossible.
UK: YOU ARE BLACKMAILING US!!!!!
tvtropes.org

This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 license.

Die AAA-Bürger

“So wie Alibaba und Amazon wissen, wofür sich ihre Nutzer interessieren und was sie als Nächstes kaufen könnten, will der chinesische Staat aus den Datenspuren seiner Bürger ableiten, wie sie sich in der Vergangenheit verhalten haben und in der Zukunft verhalten könnten und sie nach einem Punktesystem entsprechend bewerten. Wer zum Beispiel über das Internet gesunde Babynahrung bestellt, soll Pluspunkte erhalten. Wer sich hingegen Pornos ansieht oder zu viel Zeit mit Computerspielen verbringt, muss mit Abzügen rechnen.” Da trifft es sich gut, daß Felix Lee nichts zu verbergen hat und ein solcher Umgang mit Nutzerdaten überhaupt nur in China in Erwägung gezogen wird…
www.zeit.de

With thanks to Michael August

Swipe my race: If you’re only dating someone for their skin colour, you should consider why

“I don’t think the stereotypes evolve as quickly as society evolves. I don’t think we get enough varied stereotypes as society is varied, because society is moving so quickly. Especially in a city like London. We’re so diverse, all of us, and the stereotypes don’t keep up.”

Wie, Du bist nicht bei Whatsapp?

“Wer Whatsapp liebt, sollte besser nicht weiterlesen, oder vielleicht gerade dann, denn Liebe macht ja bekanntlich oft blind.” Boris Pohler, selbst Lehrer und Vater von zwei Kindern, bennent den Preis für die Verwendung des weit verbreiteten Dienstes und erklärt, warum jeder Nutzer gegen deutsches Recht verstößt.
blog.pohlers-web.de

Terrorists don’t scare city cyclists. We already have to deal with cars.

“If there’s one group of road users virtually immune to being cowed by a lowly act of terrorism involving a motor vehicle, it’s cyclists. We’re reminded every day—through rolled-down car windows, on too-narrow roads, via social media—that we “share” the roads with people who actively hate us and that our interests (including safety) come behind theirs. Every one of us knows what it’s like to stare death in the grille. Daily riders have all had drivers aim their cars at us as if they were about to plow us down, whether because of run-of-the-mill inattention or out-and-out road rage. This reality is priced into our decision to ride.” Eben Weiss alias Bike Snob NYC offers the urban cyclist’s perspective on the latest terrorist threat.
www.washingtonpost.com

Teaching humility in an age of arrogance

“Everything from the ads we read to the political news in our Facebook feed is tailored to our preferences. That’s incredibly useful for buying shoes and finding good restaurants. It is easier than ever to get and share information, but the information we get often reflects ourselves as much as it does anything else. Less noticed is that this has an effect not only on how we regard others, but on how we regard ourselves.” Michael Patrick Lynch suggests we take greater care to balance humility and conviction.
www.chronicle.com

Don’t feel sorry for refugees — believe in them

“We take in so few refugees worldwide. We resettle less than .1 percent. That .1 percent benefits us more than them. It dumbfounds me how the word refugee is consided something to be dirty, something to be ashamed of. They have nothing to be ashamed of. We have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity. There are 65.3 million people who have been forced out of their homes because of war. The largest number in history. We are the ones who should be ashamed.”
Luma Mufleh

Katz-und-Maus-Spiel der Polizei mit dem Rechtsstaat

“Es ist schlicht und ergreifend nicht wahr, dass die Kritik an Hamburgs Polizeiführung nur von einer ‘militanten linken Szene’ komme, wie Innensenator Grote Glauben machen will. Dass es letztere gibt und dass sie extrem gewaltbereit ist, bezweifelt niemand. Doch wenn Grote sagt, es gebe zwar viele, die auch friedlich campen wollten, aber ‘wir können sie nicht von potenziellen Gewalttätern trennen’, dann ist dies schlicht und ergreifend ein Offenbarungseid. Denn genau das ist nun einmal Aufgabe der Polizei. Man stelle sich vor, die Polizei würde mit ähnlicher Begründung Bundesligaspiele verbieten, weil sich im Stadion auch Gewalttäter aufhalten.” Andrej Reisin formuliert seine Kritik an der Vorgehensweise der Polizei vor und während des G20-Gipfels in Hamburg.
www.daserste.de

Conversations

“Welcome to this introduction to Conversations. It is gonna be a great introduction. It’s gonna be fabulous. Other instant messengers have fought Conversations for many years, but they couldn’t beat it. Just couldn’t do it. Total loosers. They’re all dead now. All the other messengers have failed. Forget WhatsApp, okay? Signal …total disaster. Threema is so bad, it’s not even a real messenger. It’s fake. Threema is a fake messenger. Converstations has got to be the best messenger in the world. It’s huge. OMEMO. You’ll love it. Best protocol. Tremendous. Absolutely fantastic. Nobody has messengers better than Conversations. This messenger is so big, you can even see it from the moon. And I am going to make you pay for it. It’s true. Important people tell me that Conversations is so great, it’s unbelievable. So great, it’s beautiful. Conversations is the best instant messenger that God ever created.”
conversations.im

Why are people so angry? Blame modernity

“The modern world’s cherished ideas of liberty, equality and prosperity are more popular than ever before. The problem is that it is difficult for the vast majority of the human population to realise them.” Pankaj Mishra appearing on yesterday’s BBC Newsnight programme.

The swedish kings of cyberwar

“Among the many questions posed by Scandinavia’s embrace of mass surveillance is one that has lingered at the margins throughout the Snowden debate: Are advanced democracies any different than their authoritarian counterparts in seeking to gain broad access into the private lives of citizens?” Hugh Eakin shines a light on the underreported activities of Sweden’s FRA in spying on people everywhere.
www.nybooks.com

With thanks to Michael August

We let technology into our lives. And now it’s starting to control us

“Our concern about government snooping sometimes distracts from self-awareness of our complicity as consumers of products so ubiquitous they have become everyday verbs.” Rachel Holmes is joining the resistance, because the so-called neutral platforms in reality facilitate hate against women, racism and homophobia.
www.theguardian.com