Thursday, 7 April 2011

Watch this woman - Eva Joly

I didn't pick this up when it was first published in February this year, but she sounds like someone who's trying to do some good. And she hasn't lost her enthusiasm as she's grown older.

More later.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Sarah Outen sets off around the world

Sarah Outen, from Ashwell, Rutland, has set off on a two and a half year journey round the world, using human power - kayaking, cycling an rowing.
She is raising money for various charities - including breast cancer awareness charity Coppafeel, The Jubilee Sailing Trust, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and WaterAid

Not an April Fool - just a fool?

How many brains? Universities minister?

Progress, where is thy backlash leading?

Words (clearly) fail me this morning.

The best article I have read on this is from Laurie Penny in the New Statesman on 7 April.

Social mobility is a scam. It's a scam that is useful to governments implementing austerity programmes: after all, if anyone can make it, anyone who fails to do so must be personally at fault. Social mobility, however, is not an adequate substitute for social justice.

Which brings us neatly back to feminism, and to the uncomfortable admission that David Willetts does, in fact, have a point. Mass female employment has affected social mobility. Feminism is nowhere near as significant a factor in the stagnation of social mobility as the destruction of industry or wage repression. The fact remains, however, that if one accepts an unequal system whereby only a handful of elites make it into well-paying professions, and if one also accepts a feminism which settles for cramming a few extra women into those elite jobs, then some people are going to be nudged off the podium. What we have, to paraphrase Willetts, is neither feminism nor egalitarianism. What we have is a ruddy mess of recrimination and sharpened elbows.

Willetts has a point, and he is using that point to stab innocent bystanders in the back. Along with most of Westminster, Willetts has mistaken bourgeois feminism, which merely boosts the life chances of wealthy women within an unequal system, for feminism proper, which demands redistribution of work, wealth and power in order to deliver equality. Along with most of the country, Willetts has mistaken social mobility, which merely boosts the life chances of a few middle-class aspirants, for social justice.