On Equality

The school that provided most of my formal education, George Green’s School, was in Poplar; its motto was “Fideliter”. Today it is located on the Isle of Dogs, also in dockland. It has an additional motto that it uses “All different, all equal”. Continue reading

On Diversity

These days we are supposed to celebrate diversity. I have tried very hard to understand what diversity is, but so far I have failed to understand diversity. Continue reading

Striving for Perfection

There are many ways that humans can be oppressed; the means of oppression are threats to survival, poverty, threats to freedom and corruption and these threats in all societies are present, but as societies become more prosperous the risk of each threat changes. Continue reading

If you destroy life supporting forest you make death bringing smoke.

What happened to London in the 1950s is now happening in Singapore and Indonesia. Burning, in this case the illegal burning of tropical forest in order to clear the land, has created, as burning always creates, smoke and the smoke has settled in a haze around Singapore and parts of Indonesia. The governments of these nations have issued health warnings, recommended that people stay indoors and do not engage in heavy outdoor activity. Singapore is blaming Indonesia for failure to control and prevent the illegal burning of forest.

We need clean air to breathe. Everyone knows that and everyone mostly ignores that. The imperative of economic growth, the making of money and the belief that because nature provides resource humans can exploit it until that resource no longer exists prevails over the simple knowledge that we need to breathe clean air. If you burn life supporting forest you create death bringing smoke.

In places in Singapore and Indonesia the air quality is 371 on the pollution standards index.  The scale on the PSI ranges from perfectly clean air (0) to unhealthy (+200) through hazardous (+300). The air quality is Singapore is now worse than hazardous. PSI levels above 400 will be life-threatening to ill and elderly persons. And healthy people may experience adverse symptoms that prevent them from living their lives as normal. Older folk may remember the song, written about a different kind of smoke, but just as relevant.

Purple haze all in my eyes

Don’t know if it’s day or night

You’ve got me blowin, blowin my mind

Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?

Even if the haze clears rapidly, the particulates in the atmosphere will add to global dimming and to the Asian Brown Cloud.

A Short Legal Analysis of the Law Relating to Homes In Multiple Occupation

This is a difficult area of law, where the law is ill defined. It is an important area of law because homes in multiple occupation (HMOs) need to be safe and the law attempts to make them safe by having very harsh penalties for contravention of the law, but without making it easy for landlords to understand what the law is. It places landlords in a difficult and sometimes impossible position. The applicable statutes are badly drafted and in important aspects unclear, which is an unsatisfactory state of affairs where the statute imposes criminal sanctions. Continue reading

Look Upon These Works and Despair

There is a growing feeling among those who think about things that the proposed High Speed 2 Rail line will not do anything more that spending a great deal if public money on getting people from the centre of London to the centres of Manchester and Birmingham in half the existing journey times.

Those in favour of HS2 claim that the £33 billion project will (a) provide employment – but this is not a special factor because any £33 billion government project will provide employment (b) help the economies of the North of England  but the new rail link could just as easily hinder those economies because it can carry people away just as fast as it can bring people there.

Like many other large government projects, the HS2 project seems more about vanity. Like Ozymandias’s project future generations will “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’

All civil wars start with some local demonstration which builds into full blown conflict. On lookers cheer on one side or the other until they are dragged into the conflict or stand aside seeing their favourite fail. In some cases, such as in China, the authorities are too strong for a popular uprising to succeed. In other cases there is a bloody revolution which succeeds in the overthrow, in the name of ideals, but often loses the plot like the revolutions in France and Russia lost the plot and ended up replacing one autocrat with another more violent and less humanitarian autocrat. Continue reading