Happy Hat Land vs the Elephant & Castle roundabout

When my daughter was little, she was in a play called ‘Happy Hat Land’. Its moral was that ‘sharing can be fun’. Unfortunately, the lesson she took from it at the time was more along the lines that sharing is a bit rubbish. (The reasons for this are a bit complicated but revolve around the dissonance between the play being about sharing and the lack of sharing actually happening in it.*) That sharing isn’t always fun is also one conclusion from a recent Twitter spat about cyclists and cars sharing London roadspace. With increases in the number of cyclists in recent years it’s not...

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100,000 flowers bloom

The No More Page 3 petition on change.org is v close to securing 100,000 signatures This is an impressive milestone. After all, that’s the threshold that triggers – or actually not necessarily – parliamentary debate for e-petitions on the directgov site. Numbers of actions aren’t the same as meaningful results, but reaching this target does represent a significant sign of the campaign’s continuing momentum. Along the way, the campaign has generated coverage and debate, has gained increasing support (such as from the Girl Guides and a growing number of Student Unions), and...

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If only the Luddites had had Twitter

Luddites have gone down in history as a movement that resisted ‘progress’. But what they were actually resisting was a form of mechanisation that brought profit to the capitalists but created unemployment and decimated a way of life for the workers. It was one possible model of progress, one that benefited the few not the many. But this point of view was hardly heard, neither at the time, nor (until more recently) in how the understanding of history has been shaped. And the silencing of marginalised communities is not confined to the Luddites. CLR James wrote his account of the Haitian...

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