Survivors: scarily prescient

BBC One’s new drama series Survivors is a remake of the late Terry Nation’s original sci-fi TV series from the 1970’s. With the tag line ‘one virus, millions dead, a few survivors’ it is an apocalyptic vision of the collapse of society as we know it. All the old social norms and assumptions no longer hold true. We watch in horror as the survivors are quickly forced to adapt to a new way of existing in an anarchic world.

An appropriate theme for the first decade of the 21st century and, with the global financial catastrophe still unfolding, it coincides uncannily with real world events. This is disquieting fiction. As I watch, I find that part of me is actually making plans thinking ‘Well, should I stock up on water and basic provisions, just in case?’

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Greater Manchester Future Transport claim that “80% of peak-time weekday journeys within Greater Manchester would not incur the congestion charge.” A very appealing statistic. Vote Yes for a charge which hardly anybody will pay anyway. This seems too good to be true. And, like most things which seem too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

Here’s why. Continue reading

“We are not pirates, we are tax collectors”

You might recognise this quotation as coming from the Somalis who are regularly boarding oil tankers and demanding huge ransom payments before they are allowed to continue their voyage.

It could quite easily be something the proponents of the Manchester congestion charge would say. There are striking parallels. The ships’ owners are going about their lawful business, having paid all their dues. Then they are obliged to pay a further sum en route. This money goes directly to improve the living conditions of the pirates’ families and fellow townspeople.
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Topsy-turvy times

According to today’s Guardian,

Bank of England governor Mervyn King today warned that the recession in Britain will be deeper and longer than expected, and signalled interest rates will have to fall further to stop inflation dropping far below its 2% target.

At first I thought this must be a misprint (not unheard-of at the Guardian, afer all) having always been led to believe that inflation was a Bad Thing.
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Strangers [data] on a train

“To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” Oscar Wilde might have said the same about the recent spate of data losses in the UK. CD-Roms, memory sticks and paper files containing citizens’ private data have all recently been lost in the post or on public transport.

In the run-up to the introduction of ID cards, you might well think that the Government would be concerned about all this sloppiness. Surely they have repeatedly shot themselves in the foot by demonstrating that our identity is not safe in their hands?

On the contrary. Continue reading