predicting how journalism will end

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Amazingly, The Guardian gave space to a software package and its abilities to predict the outcomes of the football season. Not only the outcomes, but the goal scorers, the time elapsed and the manner in which goals came about.
Most corking of which was a prediction that Nottingham Forest would win their last two games and beat Derby County in the play-offs. Forest have since fallen at the first hurdle.
The prediction was generous about Shrewsbury’s last two games, although not about avoiding relegation. Well, the predicted draw didn’t happen either and Salop are down.
I’m now looking for a software package to simulate a newspaper apologising for publishing rubbish.
Ditto, UKIP and their latest election posters.

Derby Silk Mill Rally

commemorating a struggle 180 years ago, when workers were locked out for months as part of a struggle to stop workers losing their jobs because they were members of a trade union, and where the labour movement learnt the value of collective action.
180 years ago, workers were locked out of the Derby Silk Mill and suffered for months whilst they fought for rights.
Every year, the city of Derby and trade unionists commemorate the struggle; and was pleased to be with tssa members at the rally again.
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Speakers included Derby’s Mayor and Glenis Willmott MEP.
(Bob Crow had been booked to speak.)

Elsewhere, there was quite a bit of street activity in the city centre.
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The Strome Arms

Strome Court was built as a sheltered housing complex.
Its communal facility is due an upgrade, in part to be accessible to people of all abilities, and in part to modernise & keep the court as attractive to future tenants.
Consultation on the future décor and upgraded equipment, as well as an extension to host 4 wheel mobile scooters, took place this morning.
There’s a good spirit at Strome Court where they are active participants in Meadows in Bloom.
They refer to their centre as “The Strome Arms”, but I won’t say why.
Meanwhile, it’s obvious that streets in the area are being abused as city centre car parks.

St.George’s Day in Nottingham 2014

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A larger march than last year, but perhaps more one-dimensional; certainly when compared to last month’s St.Patrick’s Day parade.
Morris dancing and folk music featured in the Old Market Square, but perhaps a reminder of why we English embraced the Beatles.
A tad harsh, and one colleague told me not to take the event it too seriously.
To paraphrase Boris Pasternak, “But if people love parties, they love excuses for a party. And nobody loves parties like the English” and people came to have a good time.
Some want a bank holiday for St.George’s Day. There is a breadth to celebrating England, with inspiration available from many, including George Orwell’s ideas from his essay, “The Lion and the Unicorn“. But maybe the focus should just be a tad more on doing more of the radical things that made England great rather than saying ain’t it great.

grinding poverty and brutal hatreds

Made the decision to go to Alan Johnson‘s event late. £11 to watch what surely I could have seen on TV some time. Yet when I arrived, it was a choice of front row or back. Having checked it wasn’t a Rob Bryden style event where people on the front row got picked on, I chose the front and got the middle seat. John Hess, BBC reporter and host for the event later told me sales were over 260.
People had chosen to go for a mixture of reasons, from it was on at Nottingham Playhouse to they’d read his account of his childhood, but behind it a genuine respect for this leading Labour politician. Part of this appeal, was his roots, described in his autobiography “This Boy“, which he says more accurately was a tribute to his mother and his sister, living in the grinding poverty of Kensal Town in what is now in the well-to-do Notting Hill.
He described the 50s as brutal, in its grinding poverty and in the brutal hatreds, including racist (there was the murder of Kelso Cochrane and the subsequent race riots in 1959), anti-homosexual and sexist (tolerated domestic violence and official bars to promotions for married women), that limited people’s lives, overlooked when people romanticise the past.
Alan said he didn’t want to overdo the Monty Python-esque – poverty, you don’t know the meaning of it – but questions started with would Labour ever again having leading members who weren’t anything but professional politicians, from PPE at university to SPAD, to MP, to Cabinet, (not knowing a real job) to which Alan could only venture that it was a problem.
The final questioner asked why, with all this professional expertise, had Labour felt the need to hire a foreign political advisor (reputably for a six figure sum) to win the next General Election. Again Alan kinda passed.
But he did find space in one of his answers to emphasise how Labour had made massive progress on public health, with a combination of local health facilities and cutting the waiting list meant that the life expectancy of the poorest at the end of our time had matched the life expectancy of the well-to-do at the beginning – it’s just that their life expectancy leaped by the same amount during those years.

Hug a broken hearted husky

The old husky lifted its head. The latest pups yelping as they came its way.
They seemed more excitable than usual and formed a heaving mass within seconds.
“It’s your anniversary” they shouted.
The old dog winced.
“Tell us! Tell us! What was it like?”
They were referring to the current British Prime Minister’s visit to the island 8 years ago.
The pups knew they were to be special.
Providing transport to others.
Making the world of commerce work.
And the grand-parent had been part of the team chosen that day as part of the best of the special ones.
“Was it to save the planet?” yapped the youngest.
“Aah well, now, you see…”
But the old timer could see the new parents had already started sniggering.
Had it really been that bad?
Yes, the pink faced man had been aloof, but surely he’d shown he cared.
He’d wanted to see the receding ice of the main glacier.
He’d said he was he to put the environment first.
‘Greenest government ever’
‘Would provide leadership in Europe for tackling climate change.’
Why shouldn’t they have believed him?
Why shouldn’t they have been proud?
20140421-193332.jpg“Get rid of the green crap” shouted the newspapers!
Why oh why had old timer waved the newspaper coverage around in those balmy days?
The photos showing the energy and enthusiasm of the pack.
Now the British investment programmes to tackle climate change had been cut to shore up the profits of their big energy companies.
Fracking programmes to burn more gas, encouraged.
Insulation programmes stopped.
Inshore wind farms ridiculed.
The British, it now seems, can’t even survive without weekly collections of non-recyclable waste, according to the one who ate more biscuits that this pack of huskies could ever manage.
Of course, no-one even reported on the status of the glacier now.
The Arctic Ice continued to melt away.
Oh the disappointment, Or was it shame?
“Are you crying?”
“No, no. It’s just a touch of hay fever, that’s all.”
The pups looked up confused.
“Time for bed kids” gestured the parents, who looked at each other to indicate that perhaps the joke had turned a bit sour.