Sunday 21 January 2018

Brexitwatch; will incuriosity kill democracy?

When social workers make errors that result in harm being caused to a child, MPs often lambast them for being ‘incurious’. They failed to ask enough questions.

What then are we to make of MPs themselves? Last week a proposal was put that the government should have to publish studies on the impact of Brexit on the UK before Parliament takes a final decision on how and whether we leave the EU.

Incredibly, 320 MPs, yes 320, voted against this, and it was narrowly defeated. In other words, 320 MPs want to be sure they do NOT know the effect Brexit will have on their constituents and the rest of the people of the UK before they push it through.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow last week rightly warned that Brexit was endangering democracy in the UK. Unfortunately, among its biggest enemies are hundreds of MPs.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

'Secrets of the Centenarians': two more reviews

'Secrets of the Centenarians: What is it like to live for a century, and which of us will survive to find out?' Top of this reviews list in the Toronto Star.

And here is a review from the UK's Methodist Recorder.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

The artist David Bomberg and Britain's biggest ever explosion

Until February 4, the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester is hosting an exhibition by the British Artist David Bomberg (above is one of his pictures - Sappers at Work). In both world wars, Bomberg had a go at being an official war artist, but most of his pictures were rejected.

But the exhibition does feature two he painted of a huge Second World War bomb store in a former gypsum mine at Fauld in Staffordshire between Uttoxeter and Burton upon Trent. Nearly 15,000 tons of bombs were held there.

On the morning of 27 November 1944, the biggest man-made explosion ever in Britain ripped through the store, killing 70 people. A farm above the site just disappeared, nearly every house in the nearby village of Hanbury was damaged, while at Burton 6 miles away, 140 buildings suffered.

The Germans claimed they had hit it with one of the new V weapons, and there were also suspicions that perhaps it was sabotage by Italian prisoners of war or the IRA. But a secret inquiry concluded that shoddy work practices were to blame. It seemed that chipping away at a defective bomb with a brass chisel had caused an initial blast which was then followed by a second in which nearly 4,000 bombs exploded.

For more, see A Disastrous History of Britain.