June 10th, 2004

breaking bad

Thoughts on the current electoral conundrum

Edblog had to look after his kids on his own for three days, while his missus was away. He commented, as all do when put in this situation: 'It made me appreciate how hard it is to be a single parent'. Talking about that, we realised that you don't hear so much poisonous criticism of the demonic 'Single Mother' as you used to a few years ago. One might forget that people used to propose that children be taken away from single mothers and given to 'normal families' to adopt. One might forget that women who were abandoned, pregnant or with young children, and single handedly shouldered the job of raising those children, were treated as if they were committing an evil act rather than an heroic one.

Now, the fact I don't hear this is partly because I don't read the Daily Mail. But it's partly because discourse has moved on. And it's partly because the political climate has changed. There may not be enough help for those raising children in difficult circumstances, but there is massively more than there used to be. The people in charge of our government no longer regard mothers as enemies.

But this progress is not inevitable. Everything could be turned back. Homosexuality could be reviled in public once more. Abortion could be made illegal once more. Childcare provision could be rolled back. Minimum wage and maximum hours legislation could be repealed. Free health care could be downgraded. All this could happen; other things that seem unthinkable today could happen; we can see what has happened in America over the past four years. Some of these changes are likely short-term outcomes of the defeat of the Labour government. Others are long-term consequences of any drift in our political climate further towards a mid-Atlantic neo-conservative model, which would arise from the replacement of our Government with one that was more pro-American, more pro-market, more intolerant.

For this reason I would never cast a vote which might lead to the reinstatement of a Conservative government in this country. However, I also find myself greatly opposed to the war in Iraq. I find the current government too right wing, though less so than its rivals. For this reason in today's election I have decided to vote for the Labour incumbents in the local elections, and for the Green candidate in the Euro elections.
breaking bad

Get back to where you once belonged

I like stories about time loops. There are two main types. In the first type, a period of time repeats itself, which 're-sets' the memories of those caught up within it. But someone caught in the loop comes to realise this repetition, and has to take an action which breaks the loop and frees time. Groundhog Day is an example of this. There were X-files and STTNG episodes on this theme.

The second example is that a person goes back in time, without resetting their memory, in order to change events. Twelve Monkeys, Terminator and the Prisoner of Azkaban are examples of this kind of story. There are several ways this can work. The effort can be futile, or successful. The outcome can be mutable or fated. Occasionally the time travel is accidental and the challenge is not to change events (Back to the Future, City on the Edge of Forever).

Here is a site about time travel and movies (gacked from archbishopm's links page ).
Here is a blog all about free will, which has a discussion about the time loop in Azkaban.
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