smokingboot: (Default)
That was wonderful. Who knew the Loire was so interesting and beautiful? And I want to write about it, but am so tired from the operation yesterday. I will try again later.
smokingboot: (Default)
About to head to the Loire for a bit, after health issues I'm too tired to talk about. Not serious issues, just painful ones.

It's been busy but fun, with friends and art and Arturo Ui. Took a mate to the Tate, where he found himself enraptured by Turner, Constable, and Gainsborough. I found myself staring at my once beloved pre-raphaelites and not really seeing them, same with Richard Dadd's Fairy Feller's Master Stroke...

No, instead I found myself gazing fascinated at Stanley Spencer's Cookham Resurrection: Jesus in a white doily dress holding babies, his father behind him, children playing in coffins, a man who appears to have wooden trousers, paddle steamers to Heaven... I don't know quite what I am seeing here.
http://www.tate.org.uk/tate-britain-mobile/tour/resurrection-cookham

Then it was time for The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. This versions's the one with Lenny Henry, and it was well acted and crafted with plenty of audience interaction. The disturbing part for me was right at the end, where a corrupt vote is being forced, and few give their support to Arturo. The smiling thugs tell us that if we just sit, we are essentially abstaining, and if we want to specifically not vote for Arturo, we must go stand in the centre of the stage. So about 20 of us did just that.

And even knowing it was just a play, I felt...uncomfortable. It made it easier to imagine what it must have been like, what it's still like, for conscientious objectors, how hard it is to say no.

I am a little sombre. Tired perhaps, with too much to do today. Taking this laptop to France with me, where I hope to rest and read back through all the entries I have missed.

And now, time to get moving.
smokingboot: (helmet)
Increasingly I'm interested in trying one of those ancestral DNA test things...Deep ancestry interests me, as does genealogy to a dilettante extent. My scampish retired detective uncle is trying to do some factual research on our history - no mean task with the plethora of counts, wars, tin mines, lost fortunes, brick factories, women with hatchets sticking out of their foreheads and other strange tales that pass for background in our family. His idea was to present each of his 4 siblings with a family tree; he'd best get a move on as his elder brother is dead, his eldest sister is aged, and his eldest niece is impatient.

So far as I understand it, he seems to think we could be descended from Sephardic Jews who fled the edicts of Queen Isabella the Catholic after her conquest of Andalusia, and found their way from Granada to the Alpujarras. But this is at odds with the whole legend of our ancestor the knight who fought in the crusades, or indeed the family's background in Jaen. The Spanish habit of double naming can be at once useful and confusing. There are two oddities in the hyphenated and ever-lengthening family name: One is Olascoagga, and one is Italaiturre. The first I can find easily enough because it is Basque, the second makes no sense. Ostensibly it could mean the Tower of the Italians, but I can find no such surname anywhere, nor is 'Italai,' a word outside of Lithuania to describe Italians. When I asked what led my mother and aunt to consider these names connected to us, they looked blankly at me; apparently Gran told them or something... I suspect misspelling, mishearing or misunderstanding. Anyway, it's my uncle's riddle to sort!

Dad was studying genealogy too, though I think his was more about finding relatives, the aspect that interests me least. His widow was going to send me the material, but never did. Maybe I should ask her, but it's been a couple of years - she's probably thrown it out. And we never exactly got on.
smokingboot: (Default)
Less than two days back and I'm a bunged up snuffler once more. It's really odd. I wonder if I am developing an allergy to England. Local Council elections have an element of Alice through the Looking Glass about them; Somehow the SNP getting 431 seats and the Tories coming in second at 276 translates into some kind of Tory win in the eyes of UK mainstream media. I am not at all surprised at the demise of Labour; Labour unionists might well become Conservative unionists if they want to stay in the UK, and turn away from info about food banks and the like, because factual history is unfashionable right now. I don't know and I give up trying to work out why some turkeys vote for Christmas.

The thorny question of my next project is still bugging me. There are options but few really captivate me. I wonder what it takes?
smokingboot: (dreams)
Granada seems the same as ever but isn't; three protests in a week, one attended by my Aunt Fatima regarding the lack of facilities in the local hospitals. Her son was one of the policemen keeping an eye on the march. She has always been the most jolly and relaxed of my aunts, looking after her children, grandchildren, in-laws, husband, and siblings... so perhaps it makes sense that she should be an avid supporter of women's rights groups. It's just a new revelation from her. I had no idea, and hope she pursues it.

My mother is in such fine fettle I can't believe she's 78. She puts it down to pollen and royal jelly, but takes at least 5 vitamin supplements a day. There were just two troubling moments when she had to sit down because her sciatic nerve was playing up, but beyond that she was like some kind of gazelle bouncing around the city.

The Termagent is very old now, and even more crotchety because she can barely walk. She was full of criticism and terrible stories about how dreadful everyone was. 'Don't you dare pay for his drink, he needs to stop cadging off everyone...She tried to poison me you know...I remember their toilet was like the black hole of Calcutta...' Her main issue with me was about my chest. My mother and I were spending the evening with her when she leaned across and put her hand on one of my breasts.

'What do you want all this for?' She said, 'Who needs this much chest? I am almost flat, probably because you have my tits! And your mother's tits! And the next door neighbour's tits! You have all the tits in Granada!'

Her comments might lead strangers to believe I look like this:

artemis vatican

I can only assure folk that I am quite a normal size, it's just that all my mother's female family turn into magical bird women. In any case, my aunt was not to be stopped in her opinions.

'Mine are fine,' she said, and abruptly pulled up her top.'See? You don't need all that!'

'I like mine as they are,' was the only answer I could think of, and pulled my top up too.

My mother eyeballed us both. 'You are two rude crazy women,' was her cool rejoinder, and she steadfastly refused to join our boob parade. Her older sister cackled like a drain.

It's good to see the termagent laugh. 85 now, She falls asleep three or four times throughout the day, and can't bear any cold at all, but she still behaves as badly as ever. Some times she is harsh and miserable, other times her mischievous grin sparkles like an imp in a bottle.

There was much more, perhaps I will recount it later. The day calls, I must get on. Hello Blighty. Try to relax, OK?
smokingboot: (Default)
It worked! Little girl happy, adults happy too. Good food, good wine, great company, capybaras and dinosaurs, a splendid weekend all in all. And I got to look at Bidford-on-Avon as we passed pretty houses backing onto the river. For a moment I thought 'Hmmm...' It's charming for sure, but English small towns are often full of English small minds, and I'm worn out with those. The election swings into gear, and suddenly Theresa is the only person who can see us through the hazardous enterprise of Brexit (makes me wonder why, if it is so very hazardous, people voted for it in the first place) and/or Jezzah will make it work in proper socialist style...a mighty hope considering he hasn't made anything else work. He almost entirely queered his pitch with me by being an elusive outer whilst giving a lacklustre yay to the EU when pressed; But the three-line whip was the last straw, an irredeemably stupid thing to do. I have Corbynista friends who are frustrated by my determination to have naught to do with him, but there you go.

In the meantime, the day is bright, the apple tree is blooming, I have a new laptop courtesy of Larians, and my job really is to collate wedding photos for Mum. Hopefully there is somewhere in Granada that will print them off from a memory stick.


See you on the other side DW. Still feels weird.
smokingboot: (Default)
I was just trying to entertain her; gifts people have sent me, a glass bottle painted with blue fronds/waves/winds, the message stuck inside it, a book of poems and sketches and unfilled pages...She was bored with adult talk and somehow the act of mere talking about the message turned it into an ongoing story. Who sent it and why? If only we could get it out of the bottle! But we never could... She made out the compass map on the inside and the words, 'Set Me Free.' She gave me a message in a bottle to throw into the river in the hope it would get back to the captive. She wondered if there had been any response. I had assumed she would forget, but no. So before we trek into Warwickshire to see her Mum, I have tried to create a clue, a message that, according to absent minded Boot, turned up on the doorstep and was put somewhere safe, the exact whereabouts forgotten - miraculously, I will have found it, and bring it to her tonight.

The clue is ready, in a little envelope. Here is the stamp:
Edited to add: Oh for god's sake! DW must needs have a URL, and it won't add the image from its own hosting capacity! If anyone knows how I can just upload an image, I would be grateful to learn...


It's as good a depiction of part of the Richmond coat of arms as I could manage. Here's the original:

purple beaked griffins

Heraldic griffins with purple beaks and a portcullis between them are well beyond me. As it is, the Richmond swan looks as though it's wearing sunglasses.

Where will the clue take her? Richmond Park. What happens then? I have no idea. By the time we get to the end of this story she is likely to be half way through her teens.
smokingboot: (individualism)
It is never a good sign when a writer writes about writing. And here I am, a few things crowding in on me tonight. Finding a new thing to write about, a new thing to burn about even, seems so hard, no research igniting me. There's that topic, perhaps ever more appropriate, the spirit of place, the once, future, and never England, the evocation of the land half known. Oh but talk about the road least travelled, this is the reverse... a constant motorway of authors racing off to find Nostalbion. It's like 'All gone to look for America,' with morris dancers.

I know a poet/mystic whose talents are extraordinary. He is a man of age and grace, as well as a well known rescuer of elderly badgers in Glastonbury.I envy him his words, his world.

The story of English Eerie as a genre is, I am convinced, based around a rapid displacement off the land and into cities for the population long ago. The ghosts we see in the wheatfields are us. Stories of Devizes and its madness make me laugh or just raise my eyebrows, but they interest me because they shouldn't be real, and yet they were part of my life, a personal mythology, our own Hookland. There's no real reason for anyone else to find them interesting.

Hookland is this: http://folklorethursday.com/urban-folklore/970/#sthash.3Xy445DO.dpbs I know what Southwell means by mythic circuits, but sometimes I suspect that it's all that we are becoming, all done. Then I look at the words of the cunning man from Glastonbury, his poetic freshness and wisdom, and realise it's far from done. But he is driven by his love of it all, and I do not have that.

Where then is the story?
smokingboot: (snail)
Hmm, a thing.

Given all the increasingly interesting evidence of Trump/Russia collusion, and Russian interference in the US election, I wrote to Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, to ask if anyone was investigating the same possibility re Brexit. There have been reports of 'anonymous' donations coming to the Leave campaign via the DUP, etc, etc.

I got a message back from Mr Bradshaw yesterday: '... As far as I know, a number of Parliamentary committees are looking at aspects of this, as is the Electoral Commission. If you google Russian interference EU Referendum – you will probably find some useful articles about it. I am also aware of a number of journalists and news organisations who are running their own investigations. I am doing what I can to help and encourage this process. It would be extremely helpful if you could write to [your MP], asking him to put your concerns to the Cabinet Office Minister, Ben Gummer. The more MPs who raise concerns and ask the relevant questions the better...'

Which I will do. I have taken a bit of time to think about it, though, and to ask myself this question;

If I liked the referendum result and thought it was good for the country, would it matter to me if that result was due to another country's illegal interference? Would I care about it being espionage in such circumstances?
I hope my answer would be the same as it is now. If the country genuinely wants Brexit, it should get what it wants, but there should be no doubt that this is the country's desire, and re-iterated lies about how united we are becoming do not add any credibility to the situation. We need to be sure that there has been no undue illicit manipulation of the process, and we must be very certain that the same cannot be applied to the election.
smokingboot: (Default)
Saturday saw me at Windsor. I wanted to go see if one can get into the Great Library, wanted to feel the ambience of the place. To some extent it was a ghost hunt, one of the places where Queen Elizabeth I is still seen by her royal relatives, particularly when war is imminent. Observed by George VI repeatedly in the early days of WWII, she was also spotted by Edward VIII and poor George III, the latter now a ghost himself, seen staring out of the windows beneath the library.

So much for my hopes. Windsor ambience was of a small smug town full of visitors and businesses dedicated to winkling cash out of those visitors. I arrived to see queues at least two hours long, and abandoned my intention, deciding to visit the Long Walk instead. For sure it is a fine view of the back of the castle, but I found myself frustrated with the seeming tameness of it. So out into the deer park I went, where the herds rustled back and forth, and young princes were beginning to sport fine tines. It made me think of the park's famous ghost, Herne the Hunter

(...Sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree and takes the cattle
And makes milch-kine yield blood and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner...) Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 4, Scene 4


The story goes that he saved Richard II from being gored by a white stag and was badly hurt himself, whereupon a wizard appeared and saved him; the healing spell entailed having antlers tied to his head, and meant he could hunt no more. The white stag was Richard's royal badge, thought to have been inherited from his mother, or a pun on his name, long before poor old Herne got involved, so clearly stories are blending here...Anyway, the king was grateful, but then other servants and huntsmen, jealous of the preference, fitted poor Herne up for a theft, and he was dismissed, at which point he went and hung himself from an oak in the park, haunting it forever after. Queen Victoria had the tree cut down in an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss his spirit. Later, it was claimed she herself materialised as a furious spirit, when at Wallis Simpson's request, Edward VIII sent workmen to cut down spruce trees Victoria and Albert had planted. Observers saw her racing across the park towards them, waving her arms and moaning in a way she would have considered thoroughly unseemly on the part of Herne. The moral of this story is not to cut down any of the park trees because generations of phantom gardeners take it personally.

Moving back to Herne, he was given new life as a pagan entity, not just through the work of various covens in the mid 20th century, but via a TV show called Robin of Sherwood, where Herne turned up now and then as a kind of oracle guide character. Beyond the Richard II connection, the idea of healing and accompanying taboo is very old, so there could be something in the folklore memory of a shaggy deer-skinned man with horns dancing round the oak tree.

Herne
smokingboot: (just other stuff)
And once again FB is full of people claiming that Easter is in fact based on the festival of Eostre, goddess of Spring, rabbits/hares and eggs.

It is cute, but there really isn't a basis to support it, apart from this passage in Bede's Reckoning of Time: 'The first month, which the Latins call January, is Giuli; February is called Solmonath; March Hrethmonath; April, Eosturmonath [...]Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated 'Paschal month' and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honour feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate that Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance...'

In English traditions the hare did become connected to Easter, and I wonder if there is a semantic mix up, an association with the old vernal equinox - which would have been in March - and the old name, Hrethmonath.

The desperate need to make Easter something else through linguistic fancy is just irritating: First there was Easter as Ishtar, then that got poo-pooed so it became Eostre, and once this has been dispelled it will be some other name with vowels separated by an 's', Easy-peasy, goddess of spring vegetables or Asinine, god of donkeys whose fertility festival was actually on Palm Sunday, then stolen by the Christians...I swear I could write an entire book of these things, and someone somewhere would turn it into a meme and use to to 'so there' Christians.
smokingboot: (Default)
A fine bright sun
warms the garden and the world.

Happy Easter!
smokingboot: (Default)
Yesterday would have been Olivia's 100th birthday. I was invited to a celebration last night, and decided to make the most of the day by spending it in the British Museum. My membership is a greatly appreciated present! No queues, free exhibitions and the members room which really is just a quiet canteen... Sometimes I like to wander round and just see what takes my fancy. It's a magic house where the rooms keep moving around and changing, a place you get lost between worlds.

This time I got lost betwen British Watercolours, Hockney's etchings and an exhibition on American Art. The former was not as turgid as I expected... Some interesting stuff by Moore, Sargent, Ravilious, and once again that sense of a genius loci haunting so much of our culture, a place that seems ordinary but isn't. We are a displaced people, hoiked from country to town, and we grew out of that trauma to a place of comfort and vague disquiet. Moore's representation of the London skyline stayed with me:


As above

This then was the reality of war, ghosts among the ruins of London. We don't understand because we have made our history a movie forever on loop about the glories of conflict, and we have stopped paying attention to the truth in art.

The American exhibition was full of Warhol, Lichtenstein etc, lithographic experiments, bold bright games of colour. There was threat and beauty there too, behind the blondness of it; Monroe's face over and over again, even down to fridge magnets exemplifying the consumerism and blankness, the repetition. Good, yes, very good, but attempting to read Warhol's diaries was an exercise in staring at water. Nothing really there... He is only his product. I suppose from that point of view, he made himself a fine example of his art. Few of these works truly arrested my attention apart from Kiki Smith's Wolf Girl, and that mattered more than anything else though I don't know why.

As above

Hockney's etchings were meant to be accompaniments to Kavafi's works re Alexandria, They were simple, sometimes beautiful often uneasy.


And then it was time for remembering Olivia, and all her work on the Sacred Feminine, the fun and wisdom and mischief of her. There were old friends from way back, including a marvellous lady who gave me a postcard a friend had made of their May morning procession. The man with the antlers is Rick Gibson, who died years ago.
Rick, Rae Beth, Obby Oss

My favourite story came from this lady, who spoke of a night in a pub where Olivia charged her with creating a play for everyone there, the re-telling of the story of Demeter, Kore and Hades. I was Kore/Persephone, and Hades symbolised my eating of the forbidden pomegranate by feeding me a black jellybaby. The pub was rapt; Olivia had gone off with Rick to watch a boxing match.

It has just occurred to me that I spent my day among kindly ghosts. Now comes Easter and Life...And the hope that Dreamwidth can cope with these images in one entry.
smokingboot: (snail)
Back in the 90s I had a job in the South Korean Embassy. I was considered an odd choice, for I had much considered wrong/ugly in South Korean tradition. I was the daughter of two different nations-considered-races and I had freckles. Worst of all, I was left-handed. They didn't notice this latter till I started work.

'If we had seen it, we would never have hired you,' said one employee obligingly. Left-handedness meant at best stupidity, at worst demon possession. Still they kept me on, and the attache I worked for even went so far as to compliment 'these mongrels who are smart and healthy, and live a long time...' Yes, he meant me. He wouldn't have been surprised to see me gallop up to him covered in mud carrying sticks in my mouth. Others told me that in Korean his words would translate as a witty and elegant compliment...then laughed at my unimpressed expression. I did not find him a charming employer

My left-handedness and mongrel ancestry did line me up for demeaning work, so when Seoul demanded research into bringing South Korean public hygiene into line with EU standards, the challenge ended up on my desk. And yes, I had contact with the famous Mr Toilet; if you are ever in Seoul and you find a nice public loo, I have played my part in supplying it. Please don't feel you have to think of me in situ.

The diplomats were funny. One dismissed Princess Diana as being 'too tall with a big nose.' I had the interesting experience of watching Fergie leap out of a car and race bow-leggedly to a meeting with one of our bemused attaches, followed by her bodyguards. According to others who watched her and Prince Andrew dine, they both had dreadful table manners, lots of grunting and food swilling round laundromat mouths.

One day was not so funny; an attache came in waving some piece of paper, his face its equal in whiteness. The news was secret and therefore not generally known around the embassy til that afternoon; North Korea had nuclear capacity. Whether they had developed something or bought something or tested something, whether they had the works or just part of an on going deal, or whether this was just a scare I never knew. One thing was certain; everyone took it deadly seriously.

Decades later, maybe it's all a boast. It's a bloody poor country apparently, maybe its weapons are old hat. Maybe the fierce old guard are gone and Kim Jong Un is just a wee round gadfly. But I'd not stake much on that... I wouldn't stake much on that at all.

Spring

Apr. 10th, 2017 08:41 am
smokingboot: (Default)
Its here and it's a beauty... after a weekend of hanging out with excellent company, I saw the moon rise white as a lily in a deep blue sky, no tinge of grey or black. I would have taken a photo, but there's no point in trying to capture something so simple and sublime. Sometimes it's just down to experiencing themoment. I cannot believe how gorgeous the world around me is.
smokingboot: (individualism)
How can I wake early to all the birds singing and feel so happy in the light of what is happening in the world?

I feel guilty... but there's no point compounding it with hypocrisy. On a personal level, I am happier than I have been for a long time.

News reached me yesterday; I have been trying not to think about later in the year, when the man who tried to kill me was meant to leave prison. Trying to mentally prepare myself for this has been difficult. He has no idea where I am and yet I have not been able to lose the feeling he would try to find me. Separating this out from typical PTSD-type behaviour is difficult. Yes,it is symptomatic of the disorder. But the truth is, I listened to this man, and I don't think that had ever really happened to him before. He might want to be listened to again.

Anyway, Larians contacted the Detective Superintendent in charge of the case without telling me until he got a response yesterday. The man's earliest release will be late 2018; the D.I gave no details, but we can extrapolate that something has gone wrong, and considering the past,it's probably a failed drugs test. And I am torn. Because it means the guy is further from rehabilitation,and I should feel sorry for him. I kind of do.

But again, I demean myself if I fall into hypocrisy. I don't want him out. I feel that I should want him out, but can't help myself, nor do I really want to. I would be happiest, safest, if he served the full term.But that is a terrible thing to wish on anyone.

Often I have wondered if I should visit him in prison to encourage his rehabilitation. It stays with me, the feeling that I should help in some way. But the truth is, no good must be seen to come out of what he attempted; the lesson must be of unqualified disaster,or it results in reasoning along the lines of 'I attempted the worst, but out of it I gained a friend...' God knows if, on his next bender, he wouldn't incoherently use it as a reason to find another 'friend.' No. I do no good by visiting.

My thinking self agrees with this,my emotional self finds it strangely hard, but my instinctive animal self is completely content. I have to listen to this part of me,it kept me alive.

And yesterday was beautiful, my heart lightened with the news as I bimbled around Chislehurst, exploring the caves and wandering among the trees. I wish life was like this for everybody.
smokingboot: (Default)
For Syria, for St Petersburg,for all of us XXX

Doves
smokingboot: (Default)
There's a new Livejournal agreement...I can't work out if LJ is now a Russian company or not, nor can I really make sense of the terms and conditions because the translated document isn't legally binding, and I can't read the original Russian!

So I will write here on Dreamwidth and try to cross post. But it's such a nuisance cos, as others have said, the image hosting is not so great here. I lose a lot. And mine is a paid account!

Anyhooooo, if anyone wants to find me, I am definitely on Dreamwidth, and Smokingboot goes on.
smokingboot: (head off)
A mere pittance to help Tory MPs like Andrew Rossindell get over what he called the national humiliation of pink passports. Apart from bringing up questions about his inabilities in colour recognition (the current passport is an unambiguous burgundy) one wonders what is so very humiliating about the colour pink. What will make this man's passport dignified or macho enough? Let's cover the damn thing in sequins.

Tell you what; if he had conniptions over not-pink passports, god alone knows what he'll do if/when they become non-unicorn passports. It might be worth it just to see his face
smokingboot: (anger)
And we're threatening war with Spain over Gibraltar. Spain hasn't said much, it's just that the EU has given them veto powers on the matter...("After the UK leaves the union, no agreement between the EU and the UK may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without agreement between Spain and the UK.") Well of course those fecking far right idiots now driving the Tory party and the Government are suddenly all foaming at the mouth at the chance of a war, any way to recover that sense of being the biggest dick in all the world.

Gib should have been mentioned in the article 50 letter, because we do not get to impose our assumptions on the world. It looks like neglect because it was neglect. In our very first negotiation, we forgot to mention Gibraltar. No-one knows what will happen to Gib, whether it will have a hard border with Spain, what tariffs or taxes may rise or whatever, but of course the club was going to stand by the club member. Probably very good for Scotland's chances of independently joining the EU without being vetoed. Meanwhile,tick-tock tick-tock goes the two year clock.

These people are idiots. Dangerous idiots. War? Gunboats in the water? Is that really all we have?
If I was Argentina, I'd be facing a huge temptation to wait til Blighty pours all its efforts into Mediterranean buffoonery, and nab the Falklands. Then we have Britain sending its warships all over the seas, haemorraghing money and probably lives too, weakening the nation in all other aspects of global trade and negotiation, even assuming the EU itself doesn't get involved, that Scotland stays within the UK and Northern Ireland decides to suffer alongside all this. For Fucks Sake.

I saw some nasty bastard's tweet depicting a nuclear strike on Spain, and I felt physically sick. Shame on anyone for giving these people ascendancy and confidence in their hideous racism. In Croydon, a gang set on a poor guy who told them he was an asylum seeker. He's fighting for his life. The good news is that 6 people have been arrested, that there is still decency and outrage. God alone knows what will happen if these fascist lunatics get the war they crave. I fear for my relatives working here. Of course war will not happen - I say 'Of course,' - But there are circumstances where Larians and I would have to discuss me going to be with Mum.

And all,all of this predicated on an internal party dispute, because the tories decided to barter with their hard right rather than keeping them in check, and now the tail wags the dog. Thomas Jefferson said "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government ... An informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy.' But our citizenry have not been well informed. We have been lied to, humoured in ignorance, encouraged in scapegoating... and this is the shameful result.

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