The Hares

This is an excellent example of the abuse of an equality narrative. “The Hares” are campaigning for gender equality in… the peerage.

I’m labelling them, ‘anachronistic progressives’.

Internet de-anonymization: Russia/UK

The Guardian trumpets new measures in Russia that fit its narrative of state suppression of freedom of expression under Putin. Fine, this narrative no doubt contains many accurate parts. I wouldn’t wish to live in Russia.

Russia tightens control of blogosphere

However, on the same day The Guardian publishes its story, there is a report advocating internet de-anonymization being published, rather closer to home, by the Communications Committee of The House of Lords.

UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity

Both initiatives are bad, for much the same reasons. It would be heartening if The Guardian could’ve have reported both stories together, using the Russian example to push back against the Lords’ proposal. “Do we really wish to follow the same path as Russia?” etc.

Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El Fattah jailed for 15 years

Alaa Abdel-Fattah

Alaa Abd El Fattah’s sentencing comes just a week after these magnificently hollow words from William Hague, the UK Foreign Secretary:

The UK congratulates President-elect Sisi on his victory and looks forward to working with his government to strengthen the broad and productive relationship between both our peoples.

We look to President-elect Sisi to take steps to implement the rights contained in Egypt’s constitution by opening up political space, especially with regard to freedom of expression and association. We believe the best way for Egyptians to achieve the goals of the 25 January revolution of 2011 is through an inclusive political process in which all groups can participate.

Particularly laughable is the notion that the counter-revolution that has culminated in Sisi assuming the Egyptian presidency will continue the work of the 2011 revolution.

The UK is the largest foreign investor in Egypt.

You can judge for yourself the character of Alaa Abd El Fattah and the Egyptian state in this DemocracyNow! special:


Have had some good fun with the #BritishValues hashtag today. These tweets went down well:



Steven Flusty and Interdictory Space


The ongoing controversy over ‘anti-homeless’ spikes has moved on, with the Labour Party now being fingered by Guido Fawkes over some ‘uncomfortable bumps‘ that have been added to the outside of their HQ.

The furore over these spikes brought to mind the work of Steven Flusty, a geographer, who wrote a fascinating book, De-Coca-Colonization: Making the Globe from the Inside Out (2003), that traced the ‘interdictory spaces’ he found while wandering around Los Angeles. The function of such spaces is to repel people from entering them, and he identified five types of such space:

Stealthy space: space that cannot be found. Such space is camouflaged or, more commonly, obscured by such view impediments as intervening objects or grade changes.

Slippery space: space that cannot be reached, due to contorted, protracted, or missing paths of approach.

Crusty space: space that can not be accessed due to obstructions such as walls, gates, and check points.

Prickly space: space that cannot be comfortably occupied, defended by such bedeviled details as wall-mounted sprinkler heads activated to clear loiterers, or ledges sloped to inhibit sitting.

Jittery space: space that cannot be utilized unobserved due to active monitoring by roving patrols and/or remote technologies feeding to security stations.

Of course, these types of spaces are often deployed in conjunction with one another.

In the case of the anti-homeless spikes (and Labour’s uncomfortable bumps), we are dealing with prickly space. Another example is this seemingly paradoxical ‘uncomfortable bench’ pictured in Flusty’s book, okay for a brief rest, but impossible to sleep on:


Something to watch out for on one’s movements around the city.