Monday, October 14, 2013

in search of a labour red-top

I crave certain things in my political landscape. A commitment to social progress and suitable support for all parts of society, of course. This is actually pretty widespread in all colours (although the shape this support and progress takes can be very different) and particularly at the local levels, where politicians are hard put to avoid their population. However, I also crave political balance and opposition, at all levels, and this is harder to find. 

The popular voice is overwhelmingly conservative, with socialism confined to embattled, closed populations. This popular narrative of conservative values (including its insidious variations, for example that everyone believes socialism, pretends liberalism and actually acts conservative) is open to all.  But when everything belongs to everyone, the most "reality-based" attitude set wins for everyone who cannot afford the luxury of belief or pretence. And thus the socialism of the people is lost in the new honesty of the reality TV generation. 

I wondered if my position was hiding the narrative of popular socialism from me, so I went looking for a Socialist tabloid, but I couldn't really find a successful one. I wonder if the problem is that little about the concerns of socialism lends itself to feel-good, group-bonding, slap-em-out, shout-em-down headlines. We have The Star, The Mirror (and their local variations) but they are struggling. I had this idea about ordering and reading it, but... when the Star reports that over 100 people recently applied for a £13,000-a-year job to be a refuse collection operative in Wrexham, what can I do with this information? Only feel worse about the world.

Monday, October 07, 2013

the robots are at the door

I'm bringing the casual cover up to speed during a gap in the regular web editor's continuity.  Like all web systems, ours has its little quirks, and though I did a couple of intensive sessions on the way in there are always the odd bits that come out in dribs and drabs as the days go by. 

This morning I caught myself typing the words, "the robots are drawn to the more popular pages or those that have comments on them already, especially if those comments include images or links" by way of explanation following a more than usually unfortunate alert message dropping into the approval box. I adjusted the comprehensibility of the message while handing out disapproval to this comment (and another, considerably less offensive, message selling - a first for me - a gas-powered outdoor heater) reflecting on the sad truth of the matter.

Our CAPTCHAs are quite good. They're probably not robots.