Archive for European Parliament

Fascist Lookalikes No. 357

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , , on July 2, 2019 by telescoper


Have you noticed to remarkable similarity in behaviour between representatives of the Nazi Party elected to the Reichstag in 1930* and representatives of the Brexit Party Money-Laundering Company in the European Parliament in Strasbourg?

I wonder if, by any chance, they might be related?

*In an earlier version of this post I used 1926 (the date given by the stock photo supplier Alamy) but this is incorrecr; the right date is 1930.

Changing Time

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2019 by telescoper

Among the many sensible decisions made yesterday by the European Parliament was to approve a directive that will abolish `Daylight Saving Time’. I’ve long felt that the annual ritual of putting the clocks forward in the Spring and back again in the Autumn was a waste of time effort, so I’ll be glad when this silly practice is terminated.
It would be better in my view to stick with a single Mean Time throughout the year. I’m only disappointed that this won’t happen until 2021 as EU countries have to enact the necessary legislation according to their constitutional processes.

The marvellous poster above is from 1916, when British Summer Time was introduced. I was surprised to learn recently that the practice of changing clocks backwards and forwards is only about a hundred years old. in the United Kingdom. To be honest I’m also surprised that the practice persists to this day, as I can’t see any real advantage in it. Any institution or organisation that really wants to change its working hours in summer can easily do so, but the world of work is far more flexible nowadays than it was a hundred years ago and I think few would feel the need.

Anyway, while I am on about Mean Time, here is a another poster from 1916.

Until October 1916, clocks in Ireland were set to Dublin Mean Time, as defined at Dunsink Observatory rather than at Greenwich. The adoption of GMT in Ireland was driven largely by the fact that the British authorities found that the time difference between Dublin and London had confused telegraphic communications during the Easter Rising earlier in 1916. Its imposition was therefore, at least in part, intended to bring Ireland under closer control and this did not go down well with Irish nationalists.

Ireland had not moved to Summer Time with Britain in May 1916 because of the Easter Rising. Dublin Mean Time was 25 minutes 21 seconds behind GMT but the change was introduced at the same time as BST ended in the UK, hence the alteration by one hour minus 25 minutes 21 seconds, ie 34 minutes and 39 seconds as in the poster.

Britain will probably not scrap British Summer Time immediately as it will be out of the European Union by then. British xenophobia will resist this change on the grounds that anything to do with the EU must be bad. What happens to Northern Ireland when Ireland scraps Daylight Saving Time is yet to be seen.

Moreover the desire expressed by more than one Brexiter to return to the 18th Century may be behind the postponement of the Brexit deadline from 29th March to 12th April may be the result of an attempt to repeal the new-fangled Gregorian calendar (introduced in continental Europe in 1582 but not adopted by Britain until 1750). It’s not quite right though: 29th March in the Gregorian calendar would be 11th April in the Gregorian calendar…

Day of Days

Posted in Biographical with tags , on June 4, 2009 by telescoper

Well, here we are then.

Another birthday.

Actually, this one has been great (so far) and I’m looking forward to the rest of the day. Although it coulded over yesterday evening leading me to think our sunny spell was over, today I awoke to bright sunshine again and it’s stayed the same all morning. The garden looks unkempt but is at least full of flowers and smells, and I had my breakfast outside again before toddling off down to the polling station in St Catharine’s Church Hall to cast my vote in the Elections for the European parliament.

We won’t get the results of that election until Sunday because different European countries are voting on different days and the results are only announced when all polls are closed. I’ll be in Copenhagen on Sunday so will have to catch up on the news from there. Other parts of the United Kingdom are also voting for their local Councils too, and those results will be out tomorrow.

I’m not an expert political analyst but it seems to me these elections could go one of two ways: either the major political parties get a complete drubbing or the population is so disgusted with the political establishment that they don’t turn out at all. When I went to my polling station it was completely deserted apart from the two ladies keeping track of the ballot papers. On the basis of that observation, it could be that apathy will carry the day.

Incidentally, I’m very old-fashioned about voting. I don’t agree at all with the trend of encouraging on-line or postal voting. I think it’s part of one’s civic duty to cast a vote and that means getting off your arse and putting a cross on a bit of paper. It gives a sense of participation to vote in person and most excuses for not doing so just amount to  laziness. There are polling stations all over the place, they open from the early morning until late at night, and it only takes a minute or so to vote.  So get out there and do your bit.

Now I have time to do mark a few more examinations before having a shower and getting ready to get on the train to London. As a birthday treat, organized by Joao Magueijo, a bunch of us are off to the posh seats at Covent Garden to see the opening night of the Royal Opera‘s new production of Alban Berg‘s Lulu, which I’ll review when I get back tomorrow.

ps. A package arrived in the post on Tuesday from my Mum with my usual birthday gift. It turned out to be a raincoat – usually a useful thing for someone living in Wales – but on a sweltering day it seemed a bit comical. No doubt I’ll get a chance to wear it before too long…