Serendib
An intermittently Liberal anthology compiled by Jonathan Calder


Sunday, March 28, 2004  

The risks of risk assessment
Another new madness in schools is "Risk Assessment". It means that teachers are obliged to assess the risks of every school jaunt: the chances of the bus going over a cliff; of the children going AWOL in the Science Museum; or broken ankles on the football pitch; of the girls getting at the lager on the ferry and of the boys getting at the girls. What no one ever seems to calculate, though, are the risks of not visiting museums, not going to concerts, not visiting France.

Prue Leith The Spectator 27 March 2004

posted by Jonathan Calder | 6:56 p.m.


Friday, March 12, 2004  

The quotable Spectator

Frank Johnson
I have not checked the exact wording, but Mr Paul Burrell quoted the Queen as having warned him: "There are forces at work in this country of which we have no knowledge."

This was an obvious mishearing on Mr Burrell's part. What she would have said was: "There are horses at work in this country of which we have no knowledge." This would be more consistent with what we know to be her main interests and concerns.

She would explain that these days the form book seems to count for nothing. A horse, of which we have no knowledge, at work within this country, can come from nowhere to do well at Cheltenham, entice punters like herself to chance an arm and a leg at Ladbrokes at its next outing, and then prove to be a spavined nag.

Rod Liddle
"Bullying" has become an indispensable part of this decade's political lexicon and something which, like paedophilia, we can all become terribly worked up and angry about, quite out of proportion to its actual occurrence.

Matthew Parris
As the Tories' mass membership dwindles to a residue of the elderly, the sweet, the bored the sad, the lonely, the obsessive and the mad, the point is being approached when proof of previous enthusiasm for the Conservative Party ought to count against an applicant for inclusion on Central Office's approached list of would-be parliamentary candidates.

All taken from The Quotable Spectator, distributed with the magazine 12 March 2004

posted by Jonathan Calder | 7:56 p.m.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004  

...and statistics
It's not that politicians lie, it's that they don't know if they are telling the truth. They perceive the world through statistics that have been processed by collaborators who are more or less "subconsciously influenced" to manufacture the required facts. Everything from the inflation index to waiting lists is derived from data ontologically perverted by the political process.

Simon Carr The Independent 9 March 2004

posted by Jonathan Calder | 11:09 p.m.
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