Holbo's flickr stream has a lot of pulp covers
and most of the SF ones moulder even now in our attic.
His site is quite good too because you can find this link to download free his Plato book -
(""Reason and Persuasion" asks the question philosophers and non- philosophers have been asking each other, and themselves, from the start: why should I listen to you?")
and for a fortune "Squid & Owl"
Now, politics, did you see Chris Addison on HIGNFY yesterday? So wise for one so young. All the people regretting voting LibDem - what did you think you were voting for for goodness' sake? Politicians stand for office to achieve office. In office they try to do stuff. The difference between being in office and not being in office is total. Politicians will negotiate as effectively as they can (something they have been practicing all their lives) to get into office. This is more-or-less a definition of politics. It beats civil war hands-down.
My family was quiet solid Labour; my father through the union got payday put back to Thursday night to make shopping less of a weekend hassle, and he also got the Electricity Board pension scheme improved. The union also monitored health and safety (he was dealing with massive transformers stepping power down from 11 000 volts to 240 in substations often in dead of night).
The NHS kept my mother alive for a while; she must have spent a year in hospital between 1952 and 1956 when she carked it. I don't know if she would have been covered without an NHS but an eye-opener in this regard is (of all people) David Owen's memoirs. He grew up the son of a GP in Wales just after the war, and he describes the founding of the NHS and the stream of women (the men were already more-or-less covered by a penny subscription subsidised by the Ministry of Labour I think, purely to keep them at work) who'd been carrying really ghastly conditions for dozens of years and previously just couldn't have afforded to get them seen to.
The Tories' opposition to the NHS at the time, as I understand it, wasn't the one the Germans took - "let's dash for private-sector growth and maybe after a few years we'll be able to set up better welfare services than we would if we siphoned off investment money to do it right now" - it was just instinctive opposition from a class base.
So we were Labour. The family over the road were Tories - the father was a docker, they saw things differently, had different priorities. The son, a couple of years older than me, was a good mate, very sensible and had great ears for music, introduced me to the good Buddy Holly tracks (Tell Me How, Well All Right etc) in 1958, Chuck Berry shortly after, and obscure soul records by 1961. He was one of the first Mods from Hornchurch Grammar, but we fell out shortly after his 21st when he started boasting about spitting at Indians in the street. Oh well.
Meanwhile, off to school, unthinking imperialist Toryism from the army brats and other jetsam washed up there. The whole thing was alien, I thought it was me. But then the 60s started and I drifted fashionably leftward with the flow, ending up middle-of-the-road Labour again, aided by a perception of the Tories as by no means noblesse-oblige toffs but more a bunch of greasy chancers. Michael Frayn was the journo du jour in the early 60s and his top creation was Christopher Smoothe, Minister for Chance and Speculation. Rang true to me.
And at this provincial grammar school (that is now the top-performing grammar school in the country by the cunning expedient of trawling China for brilliant boys who are enticed to board in the school and whizz up the A level tables. The advantage to the ratepayers of Essex is obscure but it's a wheeze that Christopher Smoothe would be proud of) by the time we got to the 6th form there was a spectrum of half-baked political attitude that the "Literary and Debating Society" gawdelpus hashed over week after week. The obvious Tories became circuit judges, property millionaires etc, but they weren't chancers, they were decent blokes. The one chap who ended up in chokey for dishonesty was a "socialist". We even had Liberals, one or two "at a time when it was neither popular nor profitable". (One was a Bowen-Colthurst, which name resonated with me at the time but it took me many years to recall the circs. Trivia research was hard before the internet.)
So Tories and Liberals weren't monsters, they just saw the world through a different set of priorities and if I'd come from where they had, who knows? And by '64 I'd bought some Dylan records, and my O-level Latin master outed himself as a quasi-Commie and regularly took the piss out of me for what "my" government was up to.
I had a posh uncle, well, he acted posh, he was a Welsh engineer, he'd married my mum's younger sister and lived in Stonehouse Glos, and when I was 18 and Wilson had just got in my dad and I went down there for a couple of days and I met my first tribal Tory. He described the Wilson government, largely sober-suited war-veterans, having a hard time with a majority of 3 (one of whom was Woodrow bloody Wyatt) as "mob-rule". And he meant it.
My first serious girlfriend's mother was also a tribal Tory but she was in it for small "c" reasons - meet safe like-minded people who wouldn't challenge her attitudes. Social stratification was much more rigid outside real London, and her roots were in Gidea Park. She'd never met a working-class person who hadn't at least metaphorically doffed his cap.
So through sick and sin, I've more or less stayed middle-of-the-road Labour in knee-jerk response. I'll instinctively take working-class strikers' sides because I know that people don't strike for trivial reasons no matter what the media say. And the boring bread-and-butter stuff like a £400 winter heating allowance for over-75s and indeed a minimum wage would never have been passed by any other party so I'm for that. However I'm against starting wars. That really does seem beyond the pale. So I went LD because we have an ego-barmy LD MP who doesn't want the local A & E to close and doesn't want another war to start.
And short of some sort of epiphany, which I'm not sure I'd welcome because Occam would tell me it would be a sign of a catastrophic decrease in capacity, that's where I shall stay.
I was thinking about all this last night and I'm sure the whole point I wanted to make has either been lost or just forgotten. It doesn't deeply matter; the way we deal with people and situations day-to-day is rarely a function of our political position. Unless we're N Griffin, I suppose, but maybe not even then.
Ah, that was it. The first leaders' debate. No, of course I didn't watch it. But the bit right at the beginning, extremely telling. The three stooges shuffle onto the stage and Brown immediately descends into the audience trying to glad-hand them. Clegg makes to do the same, but Cameron makes a small tug on his sleeve to stop him.
Now Cameron 10 years ago was the PR man for ITV when ITV was welshing on its deals with the Football League and Cameron was incredibly evasive and indeed downright dishonest. To this day he's distrusted by the City because of it. Inept greasy chancer. But that little move suggested to me that underneath even Cameron could be a decent bloke; it saved Clegg from looking an utter twerp. So let's give it a go, eh?