Category Archives: Charles Dickens

Christmas post

Atheist's Guide To ChristmasI meant this post to be a compilation of a few pleasant links to celebrate Christmas, but then I got a dose of norovirus for the solstice, and if you have ever had norovirus you will understand, but if you haven’t yet: I spent Sunday feeling like complete crap, and the next couple of days recovering.

My best gift to myself was remembering that oral rehydration therapy would both be good to drink and do me good:

  • 30 ml sugar : 2.5 ml salt : 1 liter water
  • 2 tbl. sugar : 0.5 tsp. salt : 1 quart water
  • 6 tsp. sugar : 0.5 tsp. salt : 1 liter water

ORT – simple solution of sugar and salt in water – is reckoned to be one of the biggest medical discoveries of the 20th century, which has probably saved more lives than any other. I wouldn’t have died of 24-hour norovirus: I am a strong healthy well-nourished adult. But people can die of prolonged vomiting/diarrhea due to dehydration and sodium depletion: and ORT both helps replenish fluid and the sugar solution helps the gut absorb the salt it’s losing. Although packets of ORT salts are manufactured under the supervision of WHO / UNICEF, anyone with access to water, sugar, and salt can mix up an ORT solution at home, and if you are even slightly dehydrated, it’s much safer to drink than plain water.

So, having cheered you all up: who’s going to watch The Bishop’s Wife? (BBC iPlayer til 30th December.)

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Filed under About Food, Benefits, Charles Dickens, Other stuff on the Internet I like

David Cameron: We are now in the 1930s

As I noted in The Ideology of Workfare, the ultimate goal of the cheap-work conservatives in Westminster is to roll us back to 1834, the year of the workhouse.



But as Cameron says
:

Today marks an historic step in the biggest welfare revolution in over 60 years.

What is he talking about is rolling back the welfare state, put in place by the Labour government elected in 1945, founded on the principles outlined by William Beveridge, the British economist who wrote Social Insurance and Allied Services, widely known as the Beveridge Report. Cameron is once again raising the giants of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor, and Idleness – which rightly he describes as a “historic step”.

My government has taken bold action to make work pay, while protecting the vulnerable.

David Cameron’s “bold action” was to institute a system by which high street stores and other commercial organisations can get employees who will work for nothing, Continue reading

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Filed under Benefits, Charles Dickens, Economics, Poverty, Scottish Politics

I never liked Charles Dickens

One of the recurring Christmas motifs is A Christmas Carol – the story of how Ebenezer Scrooge goes from a miserable rich man to a happy generous rich man. (We like stories like this.) As George Orwell notes in his famous essay, this is Dickens’ only and recurring solution to the problems of human misery – we should behave decently towards each other.

But I’ve never got on with the Dickensian style of writing, never to use one word where three sentences will convey the same effect, and while Claire Tomalin may say Continue reading

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