+I was in London for a couple of days this week, mainly for the purpose of listening to Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou give Humanists UK’s annual Rosalind Franklin lecture, entitled Made in man’s image: How God’s body haunts us today. A brilliant talk, which I will return to shortly.
+Buried in the news this week was the story that the Equality and Human Rights Commission had been asked by the Muslim Council of Great Britain to conduct an inquiry into Islamaphobia in the Tory Party, after they had passed on to the EHRC 300 documented complaints. What was the EHRC’s response? Some woolly remarks about waiting to see what was happening with the long promised but not delivered internal party investigation. The EHRC didn’t give the same latitude to the Labour Party. No surprise there then. And no surprise either that this story has not become a featured story on the BBC News website.
+Is it ever right to rejoice in other people’s difficulties? I’m afraid I have to sheepishly admit that yes, it is perfectly OK in certain circumstances. It has brought a smile to my face to see the Barclay brothers, the tax-savvy creatures (that’s not libellous, is it?) who own the Daily Telegraph engaging in something akin to sibling sibilation. It’s great that their respective families are now fully exposed in the great public washing machine for the money grubbing press barons they are. The Johnson-loving readership of the Telegraph, many of it as old as the octogenarian twins themselves are a dying breed and their imminent demise is something much to be welcomed. Sooner the better. Ohhh! Dear!
+The fate of Flybe has served several useful functions. It has shown up the emptiness of Johnson’s government’s ‘commitment to the regions.’ It has shown up the emptiness of ‘taking back control’ post-Brexit. The government, post-Brexit could easily have manufactured an excuse to shovel some money Flybe’s way. EU governments do it all the time. It has shown up the vacuity of the argument that we need more runway capacity in the UK. It has revealed the contradictions in UK climate change policy. All these things would give anyone a headache, although I imagine Johnson has some Mogadon-like drug to keep his brain from getting frazzled.
The BBC interviewed a Cornwall resident who used Flybe to commute to London. If that’s what regional connectivity means, it’s as well that a major spanner has been chucked into the works. To aspire to a nice life in the country, remote from the great clogged-up capital, but to enjoy all the benefits of the city—it’s not something everyone by definition could attain, nor expect. Sometimes living on the fringe is no bad thing. The big difference between the awful dump that is Blackpool and the pristine perfection that is Scarborough (the original seaside resort) is that we don’t have a motorway right to the beach. Some locals think that turning the A64 into a motorway would be a good idea, but it would destroy everything that Scarborough is. Sometimes, surely, the harder a place is to access the greater the reward when one gets there. The idea that everywhere should be accessible in the shortest possible time is to assert that our regions should be homogenised, just as the pervasive presence of Starbucks et al drives out the local, independent provider. So, it may be surmised that the demise of Flybe and its role in ‘connectivity’ is neither here nor there so far as I am concerned. One day I may get to Tate St Ives and the visit may be all the more rewarding for having taken two days.
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