Midweek Medley III

A little bit of everything.


A sharing post again! I am doing stuff first tomorrow and then Saturday that will provide material for a number of blog posts, so watch this space…


Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK is working on (among many other things) a project he calls the Ten Commandments of Tax. Below is a graphic of his first draft.

My next piece comes from The Guardian, and is Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley on why the Greens will not simply fold into Labour. It is an excellent piece, well worth  reading. I would say that Labour and the Greens can work together, and that if Labour are able to form a government after the next General Election they should still seek to put Ms Lucas in charge of environmental policy even if they have an outright majority that would entitle them appoint ministers exclusively from their own ranks.

This feeds nicely into the final piece in this section, a petition calling for Environmental Studies to be part of the National Curriculum. As this petition is on the official site for petitiions to the UK parliament only UK citizens can sign it – if you are one and want to sign it please click on the screenshot below:



We begin this section with a link to a post on Cambria’s Big Fat Autistic Blog titled “Preparing for April, the Trauma Month“. It sets out in detail just why “Autism Awareness Month” is actually not a good time for autistic people, and I recommend everyone to read it. Below is the infographic that heads the post:

My next link is from the the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and is titled “The Toxicity of “Autism Parent” Memoirs“. Please note that this piece does not at any point even suggest that parents of autistic children should not write about their children’s experiences – it merely points out recent examples where this has been done in a way that is not acceptable.

My next post, courtesy of Fire Bright Star Soul, is an example of a parent of an autistic child writing about one of said child’s experiences in exactly the right way. “Autistic and Suspended” could serve as a model for how to write such stories. Below is a quote from the middle of the piece (the first of the two paragraphs is italicised in the original as well):

I spoke with the assistant principal of her grade, and he was compassionate, thoughtful and had an easy way with B. After speaking with both him and me, she decided not to have me take her home from school but try to push through it and stay the rest of the day. I was extremely proud of her for making that effort, and it worked. It’s a step toward success for her, because she is making progress to self regulation and learning that even if she has a meltdown, it doesn’t mean the ruin of the rest of her day. She can calm down, pick herself up and keep going. This won’t always be the case of course, but it’s an achievement on her part that I am happy to celebrate for the victory that it absolutely is. A year ago she would have been down for the entire day.

A word: By now you are probably aware that I follow a strict self-restraining policy of not posting any detail of my daughter’s life as an autistic without her express consent, and this is no different. We discussed this last night, and I explained why I wanted to write about it. She was amenable to this, so here we are.


In “Midweek Medley II” I posed the following problem from brilliant:

the cube

Below is the answer and then one of the published solutions:


Here is Geoff Pilling’s very succinct explanation:

There is 1 way you can have three reds all adjacent, and 2 ways you can have two of the reds be on opposite edges (distinguished by whether the green is opposite the third red or not). That gives,

1+2 = 3
My new problem for you, also from brilliant, is a variation on a very old theme, which caught a surprising number of solvers on the hop:


As the world knows (since many of us Brits are absolute drama queens about such matters) we have recently had some rough weather, which means I do not have as many pictures at my disposal as usual, but here are some:

Sandringham Railway Path
Although the weather had definitely eased by Saturday not all the snow had melted

Snowy walksblackbirdGulls in the snowWillows and snowFlowers IThe Walks floral sign

I-pad 1
Musical keys ran as normal.

Yellow flowersMoorhen

gull and lapwing
Today was wet at times, but never really cold (though I would have advised against anyone going out without a coat)
A redshank near the Nar outfall, earlier today.

A Video From We Own It

A short video from campaign group We Own It.


This short but powerful video was brought to my attention by an email from We Own It, and I am sufficiently impressed by it to share it here, so that those of my followers on this blog who do not use Twitter, Facebook or Youtube can see it.


Some Suggestions Re Public Transport

Some thoughts on public transport, prompted in part by Lord Adonis’ resignation statement.


The timing of this post is due to the resignation statement of Lord Adonis, a man who I have very little in common with, but who hits the nail on the head with his resignation statement, which you can read in full, courtesy of The Guardianhere (an excerpt is reproduced below, courtesy of twitter):



The first time the East Coast Franchise hit difficulties, it was being run by National Express. The then government took it into public ownership, albeit with the (stupid) rider that it be reprivatised as soon as it was back in the black. On reprivatisation it passed into the hands of Virgin Trains, run by a combination of tax exile Richard Branson and the Stagecoach Group (as a non-driver who lives in Norfolk I know them too well and like them too little for comfort). The East Coast Franchise is now back in trouble, and the current transport secretary, Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling, as well as being a strong contender in the ‘most incompetent minister ever’ contest is such a ‘private good, public bad’ zealot that rather than take the logical option of taking it back into public ownership is bailing it out at vast cost, thereby setting a horrendous precedent which will enable any other rail franchise that hits trouble to demand a bail out. 


Not only should the East Coast Franchise be renationalised now, with it being made clear that it will not be privatised again, the whole railway network needs to be renationalised. The Labour party have laid out how this can be achieved – namely by refusing to put each franchise up for tender as and when it expires. For further detail check out We Own It’s Railways page. However, this is only a beginning – both because railways are only one part of public transport – there are also buses, and because one needs to consider how the system should be run. As I was typing this, the following came through on twitter from We Own It:

we own it buses tweet

Bus and railway services need renationalising, and they need to be run jointly. As to how they should be run – well there are two groups of people who should be represented in the body that runs public transport services: those who use the services and those who provide the services. If services are to be publicly owned (and these should be), they need to be fully publicly accountable. 


I have three final links to share which relate to this piece:

  • A second piece from the Guardian on the Adonis Resignation
  • Mike Sivier of Vox Political has offered his take here.
  • The Mirror has demonstrated yet another way in which privatisation is failing us, with fares going up by an average of 3.4% (when we already pay on average five times as much as our fellow Europeans for a service that is probably not even on fifth as good as most of them get – I have travelled extensively in Europe over the years and most countries provide far better services than are available here in Britain) – we have on average the oldest carriages since records began (that average is 21 years old, with the Caledonian Sleeper holding an unwanted record with 42 year old carriages).


Here is you reward for reaching the end of this piece:

TW30TW29TW28climbing squirrelrunning squirrelTW27TW26TW25TW23TW22TW21TW20TW19TW18TW17TW16TW15TW14Sun on the Great Ouse11 lapwingslapwings and gullMallard drakes and white duck


Welcome to 2018

A little something to kick off 2018 on aspi.blog


Happy new year everyone. This post will give you a few hints as to what you can look forward to in 2018 on aspi.blog.


Headings will generally be in a cycle that runs red/green’purple, although this is subject to variation in certain circumstances.

Body text will always be in black unless I am writing about autism, in which case I will use #RedInstead

When sharing content from another site I will always link to the host site and the specific post and where possible will mention the author by name – such links will be a different colour from regular body text and will be both bold and underlined. 

It will be a very rare post that does not congtain photographs.


  • Autism
  • Public Transport 
  • Nature
  • Science
  • Religion
  • Cricket
  • Books
  • Photography

I will also probably find other things to blog about in 2018.


Cormorant and otherslapwingsCormorantfive lapwingsChurch and cormorantlapwings and gulls IIMoorhenssmall birdlapwings, cormorant and otherslapwings and gull11 lapwingsCormorant, gulls, lapwings


Please feel free to use the comments to answer the questions below?

  1. What are your blogging ideas for 2018?
  2. What do you think about mine?


Excl: case studies show Labour investment WILL pay for itself

A very important post from the Skwawkbox


In a bid to divert attention from the wet blanket of Philip Hammond’s budget last week, the Establishment has been attacking Labour’s plans for borrowing (only) for investment.

Channel 4’s FactCheck issued an article criticising Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s supposed lack of understanding of how government borrowing works – allowing Tories to crow briefly and erroneously – only to have to issue a corrected version. Other ‘MSM’ piled in with similarly-misplaced attacks.

The push-back against this nonsense has started. A group of twenty-three renowned economists also made a firm, public statement of support for the sound economic principle of government borrowing to invest to strengthen the economy – and the tax take.

Now the impact of government investment – and the reality that it pays for itself in economic growth and improved tax-receipts – can be seen in these previously-unreleased case studies of three planned Labour investment projects:

Crossrail for…

View original post 511 more words

45 Theses on taxation and related issues: my homage to Martin Luther

An appropriate tribute to Martin Luther on the 500th anniversary of the nailing of the theses to Wittenburg church, courtesy of Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK. Below the link I offer you numbers 28-30 inclusive as a preview:

Source: 45 Theses on taxation and related issues: my homage to Martin Luther

  • The physical resources of the planet are finite.
  • The second law of thermodynamics holds true.
  •  The use of the minimum possible energy in the process of meeting human need is, therefore, a necessity and not a choice.


Train comps’ huge lengths to cover for striking guards they say don’t need

As Skwawkbox points out this is a massive amount of effort being put in to cover “non-essential” roles!


keep guardsThe latest in a series of strikes around the country are set to hit rail operators who are pushing for DOO (driver-only operation) in a drive to eliminate guards on their trains. For the operators, it’s all about saving money – a leaked report put that beyond doubt.

For unions, the key issue is the critical role played by their members in the safety of rail users and the general public – even the leaked report on cost savings acknowledges the risk of more – and more severe – accidents if guards are eliminated.

The rail operators, at least publicly, claim that the guards’ role is non-essential and that putting a customer-service manager on some trains is enough – but considering that they don’t think their trains need guards, they seem to be going to extensive lengths to cover shifts of guards during the strike action.

The striking guards…

View original post 546 more words