Friday, 22 August 2008


Back off holiday, and I've been catching up with the few episodes of Bonekickers which our V+ box actually managed to record.

The series is fascinating in its awfulness, and I hope the BBC commissions a second series, if only because it's funnier than most comedies.

But one thing stands out above all else - these archeologists shouldn't be allowed in the same room as an antique thimble, let alone seriously valuable artifacts. In the few episodes I've seen, they have managed to burn the True Cross, lose the bones of Joan of Arc, and smash Excalibur.

They ought to work for McVities, creating the fragments and crumbs which top and tail every packet of digestive biscuits.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

An atheist PM, Hurray!

In today's Guardian, AC Graying presents one of his occasional anti-religious pieces. Apparently David Milliband is an atheist (fair enough) and likely to become Prime Minister (really? the professor reads different papers from the rest of us).

This will be a good thing because he will then stop religions from being privileged. Apparently, one of the biggest privileges is that the Church of England "controls the primary school system - 80% of it...." This will come as a surprise to the CofE, which thinks that 25.3% are CofE schools - and that by no means all of them are aided (i.e. with a majority of church governors). We will not mention the historic fact that these schools were founded by the church and incorporated into the state system when the secular authorities finally got round to agreeing with the CofE that educating ordinary children was a good idea. This was in 1946, I believe.

But then, accuracy is not the aim of the piece. After all, he tells us that atheist leaders "will not cloak themselves in supernaturalistic justifications, as Blair came perilously close to doing when interviewed about the decision to invade Iraq. "Perilously close?" This would mean that he didn't actually say it? Indeed, if I remember correctly, he said that he would be judged by history and (he believed) God. Now, I think Blair was wrong and dishonest, but one thing he never did was claim divine authority. So what Grayling is actually saying is that atheist leaders will not claim supernatural mandates, just as Blair didn't. Big change, then.

The philosophy students of Birbeck College are obviously in safe hands, as long as they don't have to ask any difficult questions, such as "What is truth?"