Alf Bentley

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Alf Bentley last won the day on 24 November 2016

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About Alf Bentley

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    First Team
  • Birthday 29/02/16

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    Male
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    Floating through space and time
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    Situationism (passive & active)
    Words and verbosity
    Music with passion
    Consuming mind-altering liquids to defray the tedium
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    Richard III took his helmet off

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  1. Some interesting maps and analysis of which voters and areas went for Macron and which for Le Pen: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/macron-won-first-round-french-election-will-facele-pen-second/ https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-french-election-maps/ Very, very similar to the division between Leave and Remain areas in the Brexit referendum (and with East/West Coasts v. Rust Belt for Trump in USA): - For Macron: Paris (massively, like London for Remain), other large prosperous cities (Lyon, Bordeaux, Nantes), regions of the West where economy is doing well, Celtic fringe (Brittany) - For Le Pen: Mainly working-class regions where heavy industry has gone/declined (North, Lorraine), areas of high unemployment & social problems (Marseille & South), areas with fewer qualifications & less modern industry Whichever country you look at - UK, USA, France - there are massive divisions within each nation, which are reflected in national politics: contentment/complacency/liberal internationalism v. discontent/anger/despair/protectionist nationalism
  2. Right, confession time.... They weren't hypothetical examples. They were all real, if slightly disguised events: (1) James Bulger's mother; (2) My mother (with my 2-year-old brother); (3), (4) & (5) Me, in my worst 3 parenting moments; (6) Ben Needham's grandparents. - Clarification re. (4), the liquid laxative: What 5 seconds to move the bottle would have meant would have been my daughter's food burnt, when I was confident (wrongly, as it turns out) that, in the unlikely event that she grabbed the bottle, she wouldn't be able to open it because we always put the medical safety lid on securely. To my mind, that is in the same category as (3), the fall from the bed - an understandable, if complacent error of judgment, combined with a bit of bad luck. - Clarification re. (5), the wine: My daughter was 2 at the time and asleep in a high-sided cot that she could not escape from, on the 1st floor of a locked house: the chances of an intruder, sharp objects, climbing cabinets and filling baths were zero, effectively. What I did feel guilty about at the time, even though I only left for 4 minutes, was if she woke up crying and I didn't come....but then, as @winchesterton points out, that could easily have happened anyway. If I'd gone to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, I wouldn't necessarily have heard the monitor. Likewise, if you're asleep at night, you don't necessarily wake immediately.... Btw, though I've had my issues with drunkenness, I've never got legless while in charge of a child and wasn't seeking to do so on this occasion. I'd just had a bad day and had promised myself a couple of glasses of wine. Some people seem to be quick to jump to harsh judgment of the errors of others. Maybe they are - or will become - perfect parents, unlike me? Maybe they will never take their eyes off their children, 24/7? If so, they are untypical of the parents I've known - almost all of whom would have stories similar to mine. Likewise, I've been to family-friendly pubs and they haven't been full of parents who never take their eyes off their children. Many check on their kids occasionally, but spend much of their time talking to friends, maybe watching a match... To clarify, I think the six examples quoted involve misjudgments and imperfect conduct - of the sort that nearly all parents will be guilty of very occasionally. To me, examples (2) and (6) - my baby brother escaping from his playpen & Ben Needham's grandparents not noticing that he had wandered off - are errors not too dissimilar from the error of the McCanns: a bit of complacency and inattention, of the kind most people are guilty of. Funny enough, I find the McCanns' misplaced confidence that their children were in a safe place easier to understand than them being prepared to risk their children crying for up to half an hour without them hearing....but people are human and make mistakes. They then got horribly unlucky - and I feel for them, as well as their daughter. If anything, my mother was over-attentive - but on the occasion quoted she made a mistake, as humans do. Similarly, nobody ever criticises Ben Needham's grandparents, do they? Apparently they were renovating their house, their grandson was popping in and out from the garden and they didn't notice for a while that he had wandered off....and sadly got involved in a fatal accident, if the police are correct. Should we loudly condemn them for their inattention, too? Perhaps one or two of us could accuse them of throwing their grandson under the bulldozer? No, there's something about the McCanns that causes people to condemn them vitriolically, in a way they don't condemn others....Is it the fact that they are middle-class and self-controlled? Is it that they have been in the public eye so much, that people get angry and uneasy? As there's no solution to the Madeleine disappearance, do they just want them to get off their TV screens? I find the psychology of the people who pick them out for condemnation interesting.
  3. I had to check that as I thought they'd gone bust. Turns out they do still exist, after a relaunch, but on a much reduced scale - mainly in London.
  4. Here's another continental pin-up whose looks and politics should appeal to you lads.
  5. I hope and believe that you're right. But we clearly have a growing problem at the moment: shortages, some EU nurses apparently leaving, 23% fall in applications for nursing degrees since the bursary was removed...and an aging population and knock-on problems from a social care crisis. Hopefully we'll quickly negotiate an agreement over reciprocal EU/UK residency rights, will restore the bursary, will continue to issue visas to qualified EU and non-EU citizens, and will increase the number of UK citizens taking qualifications (though that will take 4-5 years to feed through). None of that has happened yet, however....
  6. According to Wikipedia, they were eating 55m away, not "hundreds of metres", although they had to go a longer way round to get to the flat and didn't have a view of the street windows. One or other of the group checked on the kids every 30 mins or so. I'm not denying that they made a misjudgment, but find it interesting that the scale of that misjudgment tends to be talked up. I'm also interested in the circumstances in which people think parents should be condemned. If you, @Wookie or @The Doctor or anyone else feel like it, what are your opinions on these hypothetical scenarios: 1) A father is paying for his 3-year-old daughter's toys at the cash till and there's a complication. Suddenly, he realises his daughter has gone. An alert staff member notices her leaving the shop with a suspicious man. Lucky escape! 2) A mother is cooking in the kitchen. Her 2-year-old is securely in his playpen in the lounge. After about 15 minutes, she receives a phone call. An acquaintance has just seen her son 400m away. He has somehow escaped from the playpen, walked 200m down a main road with no pavements and then another 200m down pavements to the village shop, where she finds him. 3) A mother sits her 1-year-old at the back of a bed ready to change his nappy, then realises she's left the nappies at the other side of the room. He's not crawling yet so she feels safe to leave him for 10 seconds while she crosses the room for the nappies. But he chooses that moment to crawl for the first time and falls head first onto the carpeted floor. She rushes him to A&E. Thankfully, he is unhurt. 4) A father is dashing about making food for his 2-year-old, who is safely crawling around the lounge floor. Out of the corner of his eye, he notices the bottle of laxative on a shelf lower than it should be, but is confident that the medical safety lock will be on. 20 seconds later, he dashes back in to find his son taking a glug from the bottle. It makes the lad vomit but no harm done, thankfully. 5) A mother sees her husband off for his night shift. She puts her daughter to bed. She has had a truly shitty day and is looking forward to a couple of glasses of wine...then realises she's forgotten to buy any. She waits until she is sure her daughter is sound asleep, then, after locking the door, pops to the off-licence across the road for a bottle. Within 4 minutes she is home. Her daughter is still sleeping soundly. 6) A father is doing a bit of decorating. His 2-year-old has been coming and going from the garden, but no problem as they live out in the country. Then he realises that he hasn't seen him for a while. Frantic when he finds that the lad is not in the garden, he is so relieved when he finds him outside a neighbour's house, watching the bloke work on his extension. Which of these parents would you condemn - and would it change anything if the outcomes had been different?
  7. Has there been any announcement of plans to restore the bursary? All I can see is coverage of the 23% drop in applications for nursing degrees due to its removal: e.g. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/02/02/students-turn-backs-nursing-degrees-wake-government-decision/ Corbyn has called for it, but we all know that he's unlikely to be in No. 10. Some action is urgently needed. Also, whatever else Brexit leads to, I seriously hope that they quickly reach a reciprocal agreement guaranteeing residency for EU citizens performing such jobs (& for Brits on the continent). If not, even more EU nurses might leave: an aging population; EU nurses leaving; 23% drop in applications; 4+ years to train up extra nurses.....we need urgent action or this could become a real disaster.
  8. I'd agree with @MattP in recommending Andrew Neil (Daily/Sunday Politics & This Week) or Andrew Marr; interviews/analysis that provide deeper insight than most. The problem is that most politicians avoid tricky questions, spout party slogans or talk in jargon - and few interviewers cut through. Some politicians from across the spectrum who explain their ideas more honestly: Alan Johnson/Chuka Umunna (moderate Lab), Clive Lewis (left Lab), Vince Cable (Lib Dem), Caroline Lucas (Green), Ken Clarke (Europhile Tory), Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory Right), Douglas Carswell (thinking ex-UKIP). I don't watch that much politics on TV. Internet is a great resource for analytical articles, so long as you can find the quality analysis among the bland generic guff. Good writers, I'd say, include: Jonathan Freedland (moderate Lab), Owen Jones (thinking hard left), Tim Montgomerie/Fraser Nelson (Right). I'm very interested in economics/economic policy; in that area, I'd recommend Larry Elliott (Guardian) who's a lefty, but a proper economic analyst & pro-Brexit, which makes it interesting. Will Hutton is good, though his soft left, pro-EU stances are more predictable. Internet is great for general info: e.g. 2015 election results by constituency: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results What you say about "years of experience" helping is partly true - being a sad old git who's spent years paying attention to politics has some benefits....but internet is a great alternative to that. You can just Google sources for all sort of info: What is the UK budget spent on? What are the parties' past records on tax / public services / unemployment? What happened at previous elections? I suppose you just need to question how reliable or neutral the source is - official stats? site with a political bias? etc. I think you need a similar critical mentality with politicians interviewed on TV or whatever.....What specific promises have they made (as opposed to meaningless rhetoric) & are they believable? What questions/issues are they avoiding and why? Preferred party or tactical voting? Matter of opinion. Some take a purist stance, but I favour tactical voting if it might make a real difference and your preferred party stands no chance. If you're in Newhaven, that puts you in Lewes constituency, I think. If so, Labour probably stand no chance whatsoever there in what is a Tory/Lib Dem marginal (Tories won it off Lib Dems last time; Lib Dems will be looking to take it back) - if Brexit is a big issue for you either way, you'll have 2 very different options there....but you might want to vote for your preferred party regardless... Vote by party or candidate? For general elections, I'd always vote by party, not candidate, except in really extreme circumstances (e.g. a massively important national figure you want to see elected/booted out, or a candidate who is corrupt or useless). National politics is still very party-dominated. I do take more account of individual candidates in council elections - and sometimes split my votes across a couple of parties, choosing their better candidates. The consequences of this election seem really unpredictable - probably much more so than the result. I assume that the Tories will win & gain a load of seats from Labour. I assume the Lib Dems will gain a few from the Tories & Lab - and May will get the larger majority she wants. But what consequences that has for Brexit aren't obvious. It would probably give May more room to compromise in negotiations with the EU, so might lead to a softer Brexit & a closer relationship with the EU.....but if lots of the new Tory MPs are Eurosceptics that might not be true. If Labour do as badly as polls suggest, you'd normally expect the leader to resign but internal party politics means Corbyn might not....so the future could get brighter or darker for Lab or might just stay the same (gloomy!). I reckon that it's likely that this election will go down as one of the most important in British history - for our relations with Europe/world, the future of our parties / possibly a massive realignment, the future of our society re. tax, public services, immigration, living standards. It really could have a much bigger impact than usual as we're heading into uncharted waters (biggest time of change since 1945?). I find it hard to predict how different election results will affect that, though.
  9. .....And I've got a 12-inch cock, despite not being a black man. I'll get my coat..... No, instead, like a true Paddy navvy I'll get my pick and shovel, get back into my hole and continue digging...
  10. I understood your original point (I think): that the title risks unintentionally encouraging people to see Yorke's complaint as an unjustified quest for black victimhood. I understood that there was no suggestion of malice. I understand the risqué nature of the Ali G character/catchphrase and criticisms that they conceal offensive attitudes or are open to abuse by people expressing offensive attitudes....making it unwise, in your opinion, for that catchphrase to be used to introduce a balanced debate. As Buce's original post clearly DOES introduce a balanced debate, I just see that title as a validly attention-grabbing rhetorical question. It is clear from his post that the issue is being taken seriously. It may just be down to generational differences in communications, seeing as Buce and I are both old gits and at least a couple of other (presumably younger - 30s?) posters agree with your point. Don't worry, we'll be dead soon and the world will be yours! I need a lie-down.....
  11. Fair enough. Maybe I'm a bit out of touch with what can cause offence....and "ironic humour" always risks misinterpretation, I suppose. I'm of Irish parentage, but wouldn't be offended at someone titling a thread "Drunken Irishmen?" or "Thick Paddies?" and then launching a balanced debate about the Irish. Mind you, these days Irish people face a lot less racism than black people or those of South Indian origin - and Anglo-Irish like me even less....so point taken. I now look forward to you and me both avoiding all tongue-in-cheek comments that might be deemed derogatory to women.....
  12. It's all a matter of opinion, ultimately, but I didn't see a problem with the thread title. If @Buce's original post had just ridiculed Yorke, maybe, but it didn't. It raised the subject for debate in a balanced way. Surely we can handle a humorous/flippant title leading to balanced substance? Those who see no problem would have expressed that view even if Buce had used an ultra-serious title.
  13. Some decent analysis on whether the terror attack will have any impact on the election: https://www.thelocal.fr/20170421/what-impact-will-champs-elysees-terror-shooting-have-on-the-french-election And some good analysis on potential scenarios for the second round (between the two candidates who get most votes in Sunday's first round): https://www.thelocal.fr/20170420/french-presidential-election-the-six-unprecedented-scenarios-facing-france-from-patriots-vs-globalists-to-armageddon
  14. We don't need pinko commies like you coming on here with your lefty solutions! First you're advocating sensible policies to integrate NHS and social care, now you're making reasonable suggestions about employment practices......and you're worried about Ken's drinking?!?
  15. I suppose it's the extra cost associated with the 2.5% element of the triple lock. Inflation has gone back up for now, but for a couple of years both inflation and average earnings were well below 2.5%......so, by getting a 2.5% rise, pensioners were getting a rise well above inflation and average earnings at a time of austerity. I've just checked and state pensions amount to £92.1bn annually. So, increasing them by, say, 1% above inflation or pay every year must be costing almost an extra £1bn per year. On the whole, I'd tend to agree that it should be adjusted (e.g. get rid of the 2.5% element of the lock - just guarantee the higher of inflation and average pay). But the funds freed up should go to other government spending, on young people, health, social care, infrastructure....not on funding the government's £50bn (?) bill for leaving the EU, offsetting loss to the Treasury due to Brexit or slashing deficit/debt to offset the higher interest we'll have to pay on UK sovereign debt.