Sunday, 22 December 2013

Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures

             Right. Hi. You can relax now, it's me again, ready to try and explain to you something that you almost definitely understand better than I do. But as long as we're both aware of that dynamic, we needn’t worry. Understand? Good. We can continue. I have to, of course, hope that you're all having a lovely Christmas, or whatever you chose to celebrate - I care about my readers!
 I also have to warn you that the festive season has made me even more scatterbrained than usual, so get ready for some absolutely obscure metaphors that make very little sense.
So here we are. You've sat through the required rambling, and you're hoping for the intelligence to appear. The point, the method to my madness. You have, of course, earned it. You see, it occurred to me the other day that a very definite pattern emerges if you look at the conditions in which radical parties have made their way into power. Now I don’t mean to teach you to suck eggs, but please humour me as I state the obvious: for a group to get into power it must have support. I'll tell you now, this confused little seven year old me more than the British Public if anyone with talent was the win the misleadingly named 'Britain’s Got Talent' (I really truly am sorry!). As a little, unbelievably cute girl, I couldn't quite understand how the Nazis or the Communists ever got into power. I mean, if they're so evil, why would anyone vote them in? I was, however, a little bit of a simple child, to put it nicely. Now, thankfully, after five years of studying history from teachers who actually know something, I have realised.
  Because both Russia and Germany were poor, and had their national pride singed. They both felt as if promises had not been kept, and let down by the government. I sincerely hope you're seeing a pattern, because if not you'll have to sit in the corner with the cast of Duck Dynasty and the safety scissors. When things get bad economically, people look for a quick fix. And normally that quick fix involves a fair bit of violence and oppression, but hey ho, lets ignore that shall we. And honestly, that's what most people are like in their personal lives. When things get tough, instead of having the patience to wait it out, we often look for something we can do, something quick. Which is exactly how the Russian and German public must have felt. So they supported the radical groups, and some of them soon came to regret it.
  But what exactly is the point of me coming on here and stating the obvious, probably insulting your intelligence. I may as well just stand here letting you all know that 'The Sun' isn't the most highbrow of newspapers. I feel, however, that it may just do some good to remember Russia and Germany, the real-life cautionary tales. Because economically, the world isn’t doing great. And soon, one of these 'miracle parties' might rear their ugly head. Look at this country, Britain. Before the recession, UKIP would never be as popular as they are now. In Greece, the 'Golden Dawn' party are gaining supporters. So I’m not being like one of those conspiracy theorists that stand on pavements with sandwich boards (though I can do that if you want), I’m being honest.
 Anyways, that cheery article over, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas or whatever you celebrate!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Stalin- The Court of the Red Tsar

To be perfectly honest, I'm only half way through Chapter 2, but so far this book has been really interesting.  Instead of portraying Stalin purely as a tyrant, Montefiore explores his human side by starting the book with his second wife's suicide and exploring their marriage. Personally, this has made me continue reading the book with a much more open view of Stalin; I'm sure this will prove useful when trying to understand why Stalin made certain decisions that, in the past, I may have just accepted were because he was 'evil'. Montefiore also takes quite a narrative, almost fictional approach with descriptions such as 'looked like a mad poet' which, although it makes the novel rather difficult to draw concrete facts from, makes it more interesting and stimulating to read.  It's amazing (so far) and I definitely recommend it. ED

Monday, 2 December 2013

Well isn't that strange...

    I think I probably should begin ‘Lib-Dem’ style, with an apology. I have been woefully absent from your computer screens, and honestly I struggle to imagine how you have all survived. But if some of you have made it through those bitter days free of nonsensical drivel, I am back. You don't need to resort to dramatic measures to hear nonsense. So put down that copy of Twilight, turn off Jeremy Kyle and welcome to the world again.
      Now really this article is something that, strangely, hasn't got a lot of press recently, though the BBC has got an article on their website. But then again, what do you say about something that disappears? Do we speak in hushed voices of the fond memories that we had, before laying down a rose and moving on, one tear rolling dramatically down our cheeks? Maybe there should be an international day of mourning, for The Lost Speeches of the Conservatives. Because, as the more clued-up of you may know (or just those who watch Have I Got News for You) several of the Conservatives speeches outlining policies and promises have vanished in an Orwellian-style purge. I mean, when I heard this I was genuinely shocked. Deleting speeches and hiding them in a little corner of the internet unknown to anyone? Sounds more '1984' than Cameron’s England. And if we're totally honest (which I always try to be), this is all a little Men in Black.
       The technology people, which we will now call them for the sake of my brain, have done some technology stuff (this is not a technology blog, so go with it) and found out some technological things. And as far as I can understand them, they are as follows: the records have been removed from the 'Internet Archive', which aims to keep a record of all documentation on the internet in order to preserve Free Speech (take note, Mr Cameron), and hidden the speeches in a little corner of the internet, the size of the 'Things Joey Essex knows' list. There's also some techy stuff about a 'robots.txt.' file which the more intelligent of you can try to decipher, but there’s the basics as I understand them.
       'So', I hear you say,' these Conservatives can’t have just left this issue, they must have had a response!'. Right you are, public, right you are. They did, and that was to tell the public, quite convincingly that ''changes [to the website] allow people to quickly and easily access the most important information we provide - how we are clearing up Labour's economic mess, taking the difficult decisions and standing up for hardworking people'', although I assume that if you check for that it will have gone in a few years...
    So there we are. Things They Don't Want You To Know. But hey, unfortunately for you, you know me. And I'm a little obsessed with free speech. Because its important. Anyway, hoped this little bit of drivel brightened this winter day for you, and I won't be away for long!

Heres the link, by the way, in case you want to hear how this is written by someone who knows what they're doing!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Strange Historical Facts

Okay, I have a confession to make. Instead of revising for my mocks, I somehow managed to end up eating chocolate and reading through weird history facts. Do not ask me how. But, anyway, some are truly shocking (well to me anyway, if you’re a history teacher, you may not be surprised).

I think that the most bizarre fact that I have come across is about Adolf Hitler. Now, we all know who Adolf Hitler is and what he has done (if you don’t, where have you been?!), so I’m not going to go into that. No, I’m going to highlight the fact that he got voted ‘Man of the Year’ in the Time Magazine in 1938. The same year in which he: expelled 12,000 Jews from Germany; said that he wanted to crush Czechoslovakia; and threatened to invade Austria. I kid you not! So unless I’m missing something, I think it’s safe to say the world went mad in 1938 (or at least the Time Magazine).

There are many more facts that I came across while procrastinating. But if I listed them all out, as well as every site I have been to this evening, I would fail my mocks... and my GCSEs and to be honest I think I would have my computer confiscated which would mean that I wouldn’t be able to write to all of you lovely people! Try not to miss me too much!


Sunday, 17 November 2013

History Masterclass

Today (17th November) I went to a History Masterclass in London ran by the Debate Chamber (  In short, we learned about and discussed the purpose of studying History and different approaches to take when writing about a particular event or leader.  For example, we covered topics such as the similarities and differences between the Marxist and Annales approaches to History, micro-history, how History should be taught in schools, narrative and analysis in History, the problems posed by the postmodernist view, whether or not a historian can ever really discover/ write about ‘the truth’ and the structure agency problem.
I found the idea of postmodernism particularly interesting, that is how History can never be told perfectly because it is impossible to include all the causes of event, how by putting topics in a particular order facts are inexplicitly presented in a way which reflects the historians own views and how the choice of language also affects how an event is reflected.  In this way, can ‘the truth’ ever be told in a fully objective manner? Collingwood discusses how a person’s thoughts led to events and so the only way to completely understand History is to put yourself in great men’s shoes, as it were.  However, will we ever be able to truly understand what Hitler was thinking, for example? One would have had to live in his society- this is impossible as Germany now is hardly comparable to Germany in the 1930s.  Furthermore, we automatically filter everything we learn about through our own experiences (the inclusion of an anecdote featuring an ice-cream van would have a slightly different effect on different people) , therefore even if we tried to put themselves in Hitler’s shoes, every historian would still have slightly different views.  No one answer or ‘truth’ could ever be reached.  But, surely this diversity is not actually a bad thing?
It was a very interactive session which encouraged participants to voice their views on matters and covered ideas and perspectives which I had never even considered before- I thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely recommend it to others. ED. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Only Thing I Ever Remember....

Hello my lovely blog readers, unfortunately for you it's me again. I have to say , this post is really a miracle post. Simply because I remembered to post. It goes without saying that somebody with as notoriously low brain power as myself has a little bit of trouble remembering things. If we're being political with wordings. But I’m not going to be political with wordings, I’m going to call a spade a spade and be honest: my memory is horrendous. We're talking so bad sometimes I think I wouldn't remember to eat unless my stomach told me a seemingly amazing amount of times. For me to remember a date, it must be accompanied by the kind of mad-hatter rhyme that sticks in my mad-hatter brain. So the fact that I remembered today is a feat worth a medal. In fact, I remembered it before it even happened. If that is possible.
 Today is, of course, Armistice Day. I borrowed a pound of a friend on Thursday to pay for my own poppy, and have remembered since then. And it worries me that the amount of people I see wearing poppies has dwindled. Maybe because this is one of the first generations without even parents affected by the war, I don’t know, and I’m not saying people dont care. But sometimes, I think people just forget. Forget Remembrance Day.
 Not me. It's one of the few things I remember without writing it on my hand. I go down to the local war memorial and I (like everybody else) observe the two minutes silence. Not because I myself have any family connection really to the army, but because I, like everybody else, have great personal connection to the army. Because without them, we would be living in a different world. And I’m not saying that I advocate military action or anything like that, but I’m saying it’s a necessity. A necessity  people die for. So really, in light of that, how could I not wear a poppy?
 I wore my poppy with pride today, and I hope you did to. Anyway, until next time...