“Change please?!”

This is what beggars say as we walk past them –  “Change please?”

& yet a plea for money could be seen, in this context, as having a double meaning. A person begging for money also needs real change.

When did a handful of coins get the nickname “small change” anyway? And, does a handful of small change actually cause change in this, or any instance?

Change can mean so much, especially in this context. I’m as guilty as the next person of generally walking by… I tend to apologise for not giving, even when I know I’ve no change in my purse or my life that I can give.

It was deeply ingrained in me when I was younger- “Don’t give money, they will only spend it on Alcohol” – so I have been known to buy people food, & one particularly horrific January a while ago, when I was rather poor myself (for a given meaning of “poor”)  giving my wool gloves to a chap who’s hands were blue (I could buy another pair of gloves after all)

Given that we are living in one of the richest countries in the world, I wonder why we cannot “spare any change?” for people that need it.


I’ve given into the fact that I’m now a “Green” – and so, I used my vote accordingly.

Well now…

Last January (2013), myself and a whole bunch of friends (25 or so) took the test over at The Political Compass and generally discovered that we are a bunch of Liberal Lefties (apart from 2 very Authoritarian Neo-Liberals!).


I observed at the time “I appear to have shifted even more left libertarian in the last 6 years…” – Apparently, my personal politics is rather akin to “Old Labour” (no surprised there, given Granddad was a staunch socialist and most of my early years socialising education came from living in my Grandparents house) – And my views have stayed around the same area from first took The Political Compass test back in the early 2000’s (I can’t actually remember exactly when, just know that I’ve been recommending the site for years now, and I seem to remember taking the test for the first time sitting in my room in Poplar… So, that would put it somewhere around 2004-2006)

However, having settled on believing myself a “Lib-Dem” for the last 8-10 years or so, when I took a “Who should I vote for?” test at one of the sites that give views analysis before the last General Election, I didn’t believe it when it told me that I politically most aligned with Green Party thinking – (“After all,” (thought past, non-political Nikki) “it’s the Green Party, no one votes for them, they are a fringe party, no one takes them seriously, right???”) – I vocalised and cast my vote Lib-Dem, solidly believing that the wind of change was coming, and that two-party politics might be finally changing.

Oh Gods, how wrong was I!!!

Anyway, after 4 years of the current stuff, and with the Euro Elections on-going, I decided to revisit my attitudes and remove my prejudice. (I’ll also freely admit that 4 years ago I was a very politically uneducated person – which is now changed thanks to having an anarchist activist flatmate for a year and Girlfriend with a degree in Politics with Economics!)

So, I took another “how should I vote?” test, and again, it told me that I most ideologically aligned with the Greens. So, How does that work?

Looking at their Manifesto, and given my “tick-box” answers, they share about 75% of my world view.
And in a top 5 of issues that most people care about (or should care about, such as the TTIP), as shown in this and this ‘blog post  by Another Angry Voice, I’m 100% in agreement with them. Which is actually not hard, considering all the other main parties are “against” or “neutral to” about the issues of which I’m passionately in favour.

So, just to check I’m still a Libertarian Left (Socialist), I retook the Political compass test just now – I’ve inched a minuscule amount both right and up (I suspect this is because I changed my mind on the Death Penalty preference, but could also just be the vagaries of my mood today!):

20140522-political compass

Comparing this to the 2010 UK Political Parties post on Political Compass:

2010 party positions

it can bee seen that indeed my personal politics are right now  most closely aligned with the Green party- even though in my teens and twenties I voted Labour and then moved to the Lib-Dems as Labour became “new” –  and I haven’t changed how I see the world in 20 years probably…

This is explained by the massive march towards Authoritarian Right (Neo-Liberalism) that the other main players have made (Chart below shows up to 2008 – the march has progressed even further since!):

shifting party lines

(I also wish the guys behind Political Compass had shoved Green on there as well, but I can understand why they haven’t..)

So – The upshot of this, is that for the first time in my life I did something I never ever thought I would do – This afternoon, I voted Green.

Using personal introspection and analysis, given that I know I’ve not changed, but effectively the political landscape has, I’m happy to move party lines. I suspect that most “dyed-in-the-wool” left-wing peoples are not as analytical as I, because if they were, I suspect the Green party would have a MUCH greater representation than they do!

So, my vote today can effectively be considered a “protest vote” – I live in a very safe Labour borough – and as anyone that knows me will know, for me, not voting at all is NOT an option.

However, I don’t feel bad about this, after all:
Stewart Lee Quote

Rhetorical questions…

A few questions that have popped into my head over the last few weeks:

  1. Why do some people starve when they get depressed and other people eat?
  2. Why am I part of the latter group?
  3. Why is “Youth Culture” apparently so destructive in all modes?
  4. What is so bad about “White Culture” that teenagers seemingly wish to abandon it in droves?
  5. Why is the phenomenon of “Being a Wigger” so prevalent in white teenage society?
  6. What happened in the last 15 years that teenagers are now Brats? They now feel the need to kill, rob, lie, abuse, and think that the system should naturally give them anything they want instantly. This is not how it works, but the Adults seem to be too scared of the Teens, and even the Children, to disabuse them of this notion. (Yes, I know, The Youth will always rebel, I did when I was a Teen, but has this generation’ s rebellion gone too far?)
  7. Why is “Sex” viewed with a comparable if not greater horror to “Violence”? The former is a natural, beautiful and sacred biological act of reproduction, pleasure and unity between people, where the other is a harmful, wasteful and abhorent act of unilateral terror and territorialism on the part of the perpetrator.
  8. Why does Society seemingly fear “Violent/Rough Sex” above all other acts of “Sex” that it feels the need to repress it so harshly?
  9. Will I ever find time to do all the administration work I have to do in all spheres of my life?
  10. Does any of this heavy thinking matter.

Answers, if you feel like it, on a comment post…

Public Transport south of the River… Where the ruddy hell is it?

Pretty much all of my life, I lived South of the River… It was only the last three years that I was North of it.

When I lived with Mum, I was too young to use trains, and close enough to school not to use the bus very often, and when I was in Dartford, I got used to the fact that there was only 1 bus that would take me up the Hill from Dartford Station. I was “lucky” living in Dartford, because all the trains in SE. London converge there, so to get home from Town, I had 12 trains an hour to choose from.

It bugged me that the last train was 00:14, but you learn to live with that. After all, the one Nightbus to Dartford runs 2 an hour and takes just over 2 hrs to get there from Trafalgar Square. So, all in all, I was OK with the links for work, but my in town social life would have been simply imposible without my car.

However, I moved “Norf of da watter” in 2003, and suddenly the world (Well, London!) opened up. I was a piddly 5 minutes walk from Poplar DLR, on which the last train from Bank is 00.48 and 01:04 from Tower Gateway.

The 15 Bus turns into the N15 of an evening, and that runs every 15 minutes. Going out of a night? I didn’t need a car, transport links were fantastic. I joined Streetcar when my car broke down for good in 2004, for those occasions when I *needed* to drive for whatever reason and seriously never missed owning my own one.

So, moving back “daan saarf”, I’m suddenly confronted with just how shit the Public Transport links to and in the South of London really are. It is a serious culture shock.

Pop Quiz? Can you name the 2 LUL Stations in Zone 4 that are South of the River? Bonus Point of you also name the 3rd one, which will be opening in 2009?

Now, if you look at this map, you would be forgiven in thinking that all of London is well connected, however, the Victorians couldn’t tunnel the Gravel and Sand which is South of the Water, so there is pretty much no Underground connectivity. Apart from the Nothern Line, LUL restricts it’s forays into the South to Zone 2 mostly, especially the further east you go. So, it’s pretty much trains all the way.

So, I moved ~3 miles south of where I was, which puts me in Zone 3, Zone 2 is about half a mile west (Annoyingly!)

I consider where I live to still be “central”, it certainly isn’t “the stix” by any means, it is a major tourist trap, with the Natioanl Maritime Museum, Greenwich Market, the Park and Royal Observatory, as well as the Meridian line…

Yet I now suffer a mere 4 trains an hour, dropping to 2 after 21:00 and on Sundays. I have 1 Bus that takes me directly home from Greenwich/Maze Hill stations, 2 an hour after 20:00 and ALL DAY Sunday, of course timed so I have a 20 minute wait after I get off of the train… The last train back to Greenwich/Maze Hill is 23:51, So I’m having to make sure I leave wherever I am in plenty of time to get back to Charing Cross, Waterloo or London Bridge, or I can get that 00:14 and hop out at Blackheath, where there are 2 buses that can get me home, 3 an hour after 20:00.

If I leave it too late, the 53 buses are 3 an hour from Horseguards, and it allegedly takes ~30 minutes to get home. Haven’t done that one yet though!

My nearby stations are Zone 3. I have an Oyster Travelcard zones 1-2, and Prepay for those out of Zone jaunts. However, the second MAJOR handicap about south of the water is that National Rail will not be accepting Oyster Prepay until 2009! (And we have to thank the Gods that Ken finally bullied them into accepting it! Nowhere near soon enough though!). I moved in the middle of the Month, and have been having a terrible time getting paper Zonal extension tickets, at £1.50 a pop!

So, not only do we suffer shit links, we have to pay more for them, as paper ticketing costs more than Oyster Prepay if you do have to make an out-of-zone trip.

Ho hum. People wonder why North of the River Housing is more expensive. You don’t realise why until you come South and find out about us, the poorly linked up relations…