South Park Me

Political Grandees and the House of Lords

[ Originally posted 21 October 2013. Last updated 16 July 2016. ]

In the hagiography that greeted Mrs T's death, other politicians of her era emerged out of the woodwork. I was intrigued. How many of these old fogeys were still knocking about? The oldest I was certain of was Tony Benn (88). I also knew
Peter Tapsell, Douglas Hurd, Shirley Williams, Norman Tebbit (all 83), Dennis Skinner, Nigel Lawson (both 81),
Roy Hattersley and Michael Heseltine (80), were still alive. But who else? My findings threw up some interesting names...

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South Park Me

Brandy

"spirits distilled from other liquors" (especially wine), 1650s, abbreviation of brandy-wine (1620s) from Dutch brandewijn "burnt wine," earlier brand-wijn, so called because it is distilled (compare German cognate Branntwein and Czech palenka "brandy," from paliti "to burn"). The Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania, site of the 1777 Revolutionary War battle, supposedly was so named 17c. by the Dutch explorers for the color of its waters.
In familiar use abbreviated as brandy as early as 1657; but the fuller form was retained in official use (customs tariffs, acts of parliament, etc.) down to the end of 17th c., being latterly, as the spelling shows, regarded as a compound of brandy + wine. [OED]
[Source]

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South Park Me

Candidate

"person who seeks or is put forward for an office by election or appointment," c. 1600, from Latin candidatus "one aspiring to office," originally "white-robed," past participle of candidare "to make white or bright," from candidus past participle of candere "to shine." Office-seekers in ancient Rome wore white togas.

[Source]

This entry was inspired by an earlier one.

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South Park Me

Thesaurus

1823, "treasury, storehouse," from Latin thesaurus "treasury, a hoard, a treasure, something laid up," figuratively "repository, collection," from Greek thesauros "a treasure, treasury, storehouse, chest." The meaning "encyclopedia filled with information" is from 1840, but existed earlier as thesaurarie (1590s), used as a title by early dictionary compilers, on the notion of thesaurus verborum "a treasury of words." Meaning "collection of words arranged according to sense" is first attested 1852 in Roget's title. Thesaurer is attested in Middle English for "treasurer" and thesaur "treasure" was in use 15c.-16c.

[Source]

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South Park Me

Quarantine

1520s, "period of 40 days in which a widow has the right to remain in her dead husband's house." Earlier quarentyne (15c.), "desert in which Christ fasted for 40 days," from Latin quadraginta "forty," related to quattuor "four". Sense of "period a ship suspected of carrying disease is kept in isolation" is 1660s, from Italian quarantina giorni, literally "space of forty days," from quaranta "forty," from Latin quadraginta. So called from the Venetian custom of keeping ships from plague-stricken countries waiting off its port for 40 days (first enforced 1377) to assure that no latent cases were aboard. The extended sense of "any period of forced isolation" is from 1670s.

[Source]

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South Park Me

Countries and States I've visited

(via [profile] jhall)


Create Your Own Visited Countries Map


28 countries which include Bahrain, Ireland, Netherlands, and Qatar where I didn't exit the airport and I know most people wouldn't count them, but I do so. :-P The closest I've been to the southern hemisphere is Singapore in the summer of 1989 (1.17N). And I've yet to hit up Latin America, Africa and Oceania.



Create Your Own Visited States Map


19 states + DC which includes Tennessee which I've just flown through and a couple that I've just driven through. I'll be spending a weekend in Nashville this month for a stag-do so I guess this list will be more *legit* than my countries visited.



Create Your Own Visited Provinces and Territories Map


Four years in Canada but just the three provinces visited. I'll be returning to Toronto (and Canada) for the first time in 11 years this September for a college mate's wedding.



Create Your Own Visited European Countries Map


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South Park Me

UK spam calls on my US number

Until about a month ago I hadn't received a single spam call on my US number. Since then I've registered myself as a British voter residing abroad (which meant I shared my US contact info including my telephone number with gov.uk). Soon after I did this, my UK bank found out I had moved to Washington even though I hadn't told them. And since then I've also received a handful of spam calls from the UK - often, the same number appearing as a missed call on my phone minutes after a similar call to my UK mobile number (which I use on a separate handset). Until now I have not registered for anything in the UK using my US contact details. All of the evidence I've gathered so far is circumstantial but I find it hard to believe it is purely coincidental that this has all happened only after I changed my voter registration status.

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India Flag

If David Foster Wallace penned cricket scripts, they'd've been titled, Kohli as Religious Experience

What I wrote on 25 April 2016:

"The Indians are playing a lot of shorter-format matches in the first half of this year, but they've got 14 Tests scheduled from June to December. Kohli is the only player who averages over 50 in ODIs and T20Is. My biggest hope for him is to become the first to average over 50 in all international formats. He currently averages 44 in Tests and if he can keep up this form and translate it into the longer-format, there's a chance of that happening."

After his latest marathon effort at the crease and with a match to spare, the Indian Test captain averages 50.53. In a year where the political and sporting outsider has challenged the orthodoxy, one legend-in-the-making has offered a constant reminder of all that is still well with the established order and the greatest iteration of its greatest sport. Thank you, sir, for the entertainment. Long may it continue!

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South Park Me

The Labour Party: history repeating itself?

There's an interesting short essay available for free from the London Review of Books authored by emeritus historian Dr Ross McKibbin dated October 1991. It reflects upon a re-assessment of the Wilson and Callaghan governments, in light of Thatcherism, and in anticipation of the general election that took place in April 1992. Two extracts in particular caught my attention, as each could easily have been re-written for the current turmoil afflicting the Labour Party. Plus ça change...

"The Labour Party has been peculiarly disabled in the last ten years because so many of its own members have written off its history. Thatcherism was in practice distinctly vulnerable to attack – but not by a party which had denied its own past. How people choose to ‘remember’ the Wilson and Callaghan governments is consequently something to which the Labour Party should urgently attend: only if they ‘remember’ them benevolently (or at least not malevolently) can Labour hope to re-establish itself securely as a governing party. Yet there is still no evidence that the Labour leadership wishes to attend: on the contrary – as Mrs Thatcher did with the Heath government – they seem either to pretend that the Wilson and Callaghan governments did not exist or that they were mistakes for which the Party must endlessly atone."

[...]

"If an ideological alternative to the Conservative Government is to be made acceptable to the electorate, both folk memory and the Labour Party will have to change their minds about the 1964 and 1974 governments and the Labour Party will have to do it first. The Labour Party has committed the cardinal rhetorical error of any political party by apologising for its own past: the Conservatives may ignore their own past, but they never apologise for it. Labour has done this partly because of the utopianism of many of its activists – to them the best is always the enemy of the good – and partly because of a certain timid and innocent defensiveness. Labour always plays the game by other people’s rules. A measure of this defensiveness is the extent to which the Labour Party is happy to be thought the ‘caring’ party but is plainly less happy to be thought the ‘competent’ party, even though there seems no logical reason why it could not be both. It thus apologises for the Wilson and Callaghan governments because the activists said they fell below perfection while those in economic and cultural authority said they failed. But there are entirely adequate justifications for these governments which the Labour leadership should start making. Although it seems scarcely possible, the majority of the electorate still believes that the Conservatives are more ‘competent’ economic managers than Labour, and this basically means that they think the Tories are more fit to govern. We can be fairly certain that as an election approaches this belief will become more intense – much to Labour’s detriment. The Labour leadership must, therefore, assert that the Wilson and Callaghan governments were more ‘competent’ than their predecessors and successors, which they were, and sound as though they mean that as a compliment, and also recognise that their policies, though indeed imperfect, were better suited to a sluggish, rather uncohesive society than the alternatives. They might then be able to argue that the rather rough-hewn social democracy with which the Labour Party is historically associated has worked very much more in the national interest than anything else we are likely to have. And that we are more likely to have a productive capitalism under Labour than under its principal opponent. A Labour Party which restores itself to its own past might, having perceived its strengths, accept its weaknesses: namely, that under our present institutional and constitutional arrangements its spells in office may be fitful and unrewarding."

If you read the rest of the essay or other writings by McKibbin it is quite clear that he isn't a Blairite (or Brownite) by any stretch of the imagination. As such, perhaps someone ought to send every Corbynista a copy of this essay to illustrate their folly in repeating the mistakes of the last generation by denying the many great achievements between 1997 and 2010.

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