Showed the friend I had over to the bus stop. It was fun being with him in Manchester.
Listened to a bit of James O’Brien on LBC while I exercised.
About obesity this time. James wonders what is behind the difference in obesity in working- and middle-class kids.
Education, he declared – fairly reasonably in my opinion – was the key aspect. Education enables enlightened reading of food labels, simply knowing what kinds of lifestyles are healthy, etc.
Completed my politics reading:
Should the boundaries of the demos correspond with the boundaries of the nation state? Well, broadly they should is my answer. One of the best approximations of the principle of “all affected interests”, but definitely requires a couple of important caveats.
Went to my Economics lecture:
The final lecture, so took the form of a long quiz based around questions spanning the whole course. The purpose was revision, but to revise it helps to have learnt the thing in the first place. Luckily I got most of them right, such as this one:
“Floating exchange rates”. Why does academic economics make boring phenomena sound like Caspar the ghost. I think sometimes the ready and rugged intellectual flexibility fostered by university studies is a cause of over-confidence manifesting itself in thoughts like: “it’s fine I can learn the whole course in a couple of weeks”.
After this lecture I took part in a workshop as part of a BBC radio programme. There I am – standard tall guy lurking at the back:
“BBC Listen Up”. It was a great experience. Really helped me to formulate my opinions on the duties of the incoming mayor of greater Manchester.
Good me thinking about how the new mayor really must tackle those most visible problems that are clear signals of a diseased society, which in Manchester manifest themselves in;
- Widespread dangerous drug use – and Im not taking about a little bit of recreational use, I’m talking about the Spice epidemic which has rendered dozens of poor souls in the city centre utterly zombie-like, and creates a huge problem for the police
- Widespread homelessness
(Among others). The new mayor really must put these two items on the top of the agenda, before any rubbish about buses. The presenter of the thing, Femi something from something-hood (you know, one of those films) seemed to have quite an issue about the buses. His shock as a southern outsider helped me to come to my own epiphany: it is mad to have so many bus companies, some incorporating several different tiers and rules into their operations, running on the same route. Obviously all the students – a population which basically dominates bus use in my area – get Stagecoach buses, and the First buses roll along shunned and basically empty. Maybe one lonely old woman inside who doesn’t know she’s made the wrong choice. How can that model even be sustainable, let alone simple or correct? Suffice to say, transport will be a big focus for the new mayor.
Although to be honest, the buses really do need massive simplification and regulation by a central body. I imagine they will be subsumed into Transport for Greater Manchester, which will be good.
Being there also got me thinking about how the dual forces of apathy and scepticism are holding a stranglehold from both sides on political engagement. I really believ more political education is the remedy to this huge problem. Why not just teach politics in schools? Just why not? I really don’t understand. It is so important.
I was also observing the presenter, who was delightful, smart and hilarious, but was nonetheless a personage within whom it was easy to observe that the compulsion to be compelling and creative can come off as artificial and a bit lame. He always has to say something funny or worthwhile. Must be difficult.
Since BBC are scheduled to delete it after a month, you can listen to it here on my own page: https://www.mixcloud.com/david-cheetham3/bbc-news-listen-up-manchester/
The best part about these things is that although they do take a bit of time from my studies, I do not see this as a waste. In my view, the purpose of my degree is to foster certain abilities rather than get me a job or necessarily to learn specific facts.
I’m getting better at appearing on this kind of stuff, but I still seem to suffer from that perennial problem that obviously affects many. No matter how clear and well-argued and well-rehearsed your opinions and views are in your head, or even when you discuss them with friends, etc. as soon as a camera or microphone approaches, it seems to massively disrupt the process.
Went to my tutorial – pretty boring as always – and to the library, then to eat.
Oh yeah! And in other ‘not going to make a difference’ news: CBBC presenters back Theresa May!
Blimey, they’re actually referring to this tweet:
I thought that was a joke. Surely the implication is that the only way Corbyn will ever get in this year is with the help of superimposed cheat codes which alter reality. Can’t be a serious endorsement.
A blank piece of paper , or a blank screen and blinking cursor – is freat stimulus for the workings of the mindThe visible signs of a diseased society:
Thinking about how to vote in the upcoming elections is difficult, especially as there are so many going on around here. For one, we are supposed to be able to pick our own Brexit, served to taste. But it is hard to declutter and understand which specific policies are involved with these talked-about ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexits when only the catchphrases are used in the public discourse.
Did my philosophy reading:
Was pretty difficult this week – a section from Hilary Putnam’s “Reason, Truth and History”, where strange analogies involving such concepts as Earth/Twin Earth, and Oscar1/Oscar2 are used to examine whether meaning is derived from the external or internal world. In my view Putnam successfully makes a case for externalism.
And went to Salford Quays:
Had an amazing time. This is where a lot of the Manchester media offices are based: BBC, ITV. Had a trip down menores lane when I saw the Blue Peter logo, and then struggle to explain the show to a foreigner.
Saw this mad newspaper story while I was there:
Blimey, just imagine being “condemned by Gove”. The embarrassment. “Condemned by Gove”. Like being called an anti-Semitic by Hitler. I should be more careful with stuff like that- wouldn’t want to be Ken Livingstoned.
Began the new – and final – story in my Will Self book: “Waiting”. Very odd. But I suppose they all are. Seems to be a tale consisting entirely of a series of inner recollections about someone who doesn’t talk a lot sitting in a car with an enigmatic character who talks far too much. Pretty average so far, will continue tomorrow morning.
Falling asleep listening to the new episode of Russell Brand on Radio X: