Unfortunate choice of words

BBC News: The eight-year-old boy who died in a slurry tank accident at a County Antrim farm was "a bubbly wee character", his school principal has said.

Totalitarian secularists? Really?!

Telegraph: Britain being overtaken by 'militant secularists', says Baroness Warsi
British society is under threat from the rising tide of “militant secularisation” reminiscent of “totalitarian regimes”, a Cabinet minister will warn on Tuesday.


These so-called militant secularists merely wish to remove all religious influence from official public life. This is a principle which seems to work reasonably well in other countries, such as the United States of America and France—neither of which, as far as I can see, are reminiscent of totalitarian regimes. Secularism is all about equality.

Secularists do not want to ban religion. What people get up to in their own private lives is up to them. Secularists merely think that it is wrong for the state to treat somebody specially on account of their religion—or absence of religion. For example, in Britain we allow children to be segregated into different state-funded schools on account of the professed faith of their parents. Secularists think this is wrong. Were children so segregated on account of the colour of their skin, it would rightly be called apartheid.

A totalitarian regime, on the other hand, to quote Wikipedia, recogni[s]es no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible (my emphasis added). Totalitarian regimes—like many religions—try to control what you get up to in private.

A totalitarian secularist regime is a contradiction in terms.

Darwin on vivisection (and pretty much everything else)

[Post removed: Contained links to a couple of stories on the Telegraph and Times websites. The former has now been deleted, and the latter hidden behind Murdoch's paywall.]

Brief Interlude

Right, I'm off to see a man about a haggis. Back in a couple of days. Please feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

Batwomaning for the other side

BBC: Batwoman hero returns as lesbian

Comic book heroine Batwoman is to make a comeback as a "lipstick lesbian" who moonlights as a crime fighter, a DC Comics spokesman has confirmed.

He's back!

I'm back!

Actually, I'm not: April Fool!

Admit it, I had you going there for a moment.


I'm off for a couple of weeks to sort out some family business. But fear not! I have selected some choice titbits from letters I have written to Stense over the years, and they will appear here automagically with monotonous regularity. You've got to keep the punters entertained, you know.

Actually, they're more like minced morsels than choice titbits.

I should be back the first week in April.