I’ve had horrible trouble with my old/new blog. Everything seemed to appear on the old blog even when typed in the new one. The Wordpess pages are so complex and offer so many facilities that it is difficult to do something a simple as write and post a blog. Below are few of the blogs from last year that somehow got stranded.
I have now resorted to switching off the radio when government ministers appear with monotonous regularity on the Today programme to misrepresent everything to do with the Covid crisis. A regular spokesman is Grant Shapps (Transport Minister!!) presumably because he is a master of deception. He founded a web marketing company that pushed books on how to become ‘stinking rich’, using the false name, Michael Green.
The really big corruption is not tackled by BBC and other media interviews. The emergency measures to deal with COVID suspended the need for competitive tendering for government contracts. This has allowed the assigning of millions of pounds to private companies like Serco and G4S (of Olympics infamy) which have direct links with the Tory party and advisers, most notoriously Cummings. The head of the testing regime, Dido Harding, is a Tory peer and wife of former MP with no relevant experience of health administration. Now, as a cuddly crony, she is to rewarded for incompetence by being appointed to be head of the National Health Institute which replaces the falsely maligned Public Health England.
Where is the outcry? It seems to have become accepted that the political system is now corrupted by big money and a Johnsonian mode of nepotism. We have always faced vested interests, but this is something new and in excess of past excesses.
Two talks on the internet. Rather different subjects. It’s a funny medium, not at all comparable to a live audience in the same space. I find it lessens fluency. Not tv. Not radio. Maybe a conversational tone would work better than my rhetoric.
Re. the Dante lecture. As usual, my first talk on a subject was bit experimental (i.e. not under control). I am also out of practice, not match fit.
American Chemical Society talk on microscopic geometry and representations of the Corona Virus:
Leconfield lecture of the British-Italian Society on Dante and the Art of Divine light
The search for vaccines should be a great international endeavour, in research and not least in delivery. To see the promise of the “Oxford Vaccine” highjacked for crude nationalistic and political purposes by the beastly Boris is sickening. It resembles Trump’s insistence on referring to the “Chinese virus”. As emeritus prof at Oxford and I am delighted for the university but I am not interested in waving some kind of parochial flag. Teams of researchers in major Oxford labs are invariably international and multi-ethnic. They are part of a worldwide human thrust to control the virus and to save our lives.
There is of course the related question of whether British labs will be as rich with international talent after the disaster of Brexit.
A great splurge of ecstasy over Maradona. It seems devoid of perspective and serious assessment of his actual achievement. He had extraordinary skills and some incredible moments, which lend themselves to clips on the internet – above all from the 1986 world cup. He was also a media dream. Always a story, often lurid. But let’s look at his record. Won one world cup. Pele won three. Two league titles in Italy, none in Spain. An average of 0.47 goals per game in Europe. Internationally his average was 0.37. Not in the same league as a goal-scorer as Messi (int ave 0.5) and Rinaldo (0.6). Charlton’s ave was 0.46 from the midfield. Not as great as Cruyff as a reformer of the game. This assessment does not involve the ‘hand of god’ goal. Most professional sportsmen in team games cheat to one degree or another – and I support Scotland.