The Antisocial Socialists

The Free Society has a short piece In Defence of the Cigarette Break:

Senior politicians have probably never known what it is like for the cigarette break in mid-morning with a good friend, or the evening after work down the pub, to be the only things to look forward to in a working week.

Isn’t that the truth? It’s not work that most people look forward to in the working week. What sociable people are looking forward to is that hour or two in a pub after work with their friends and girlfriends and boyfriends.

On the right, politically, we have the MBA theorists positing that people are just resources that can be picked up and dropped at will. On the left, there is the notion that while we have rights for physical maintenance such as working time and minimum wage laws, our needs do not encompass social and psychological dimensions. From the corporations and the ‘progressive’ politicians alike, we’re told that we’re just a production item. It feels like a pincer movement.

It often seems to me that, as socialists, this Labour government is remarkably antisocial. For me, ‘society’ means my social life, what remains of it. For me ‘society’ is where you go to chew over the day with friends, swap anecdotes, tell jokes, and maybe talk seriously about things, drink a few beers, smoke a few cigarettes, and play a few games of pool. It’s other people who give my life much of its meaning. A life without friends is an empty and rather meaningless life.

The smoking ban pretty much destroyed that social life. And it has destroyed the social lives of millions of other people. It’s what seems to me to be so terrible about the ban. But this government doesn’t care. Nor does the Tory opposition. Nor do the Lib Dems. Sometimes I’ve thought that they’ve done it deliberately, but for the most part I think it’s that, for them, people’s social lives are completely unimportant and trivial and inconsequential.

For socialists, ‘society’ doesn’t mean people sitting in bars drinking and smoking and talking. For socialists, ‘society’ isn’t that idle bunch of people. For them, ‘society’ is busy productive working society. It’s factories and offices and motorways and railroads. For them ‘society’ is above all a society of working people, making and selling goods of one sort or other. That’s what matters. Sitting in the pub afterwards having a drink is just a way of trivially whiling away the remainder of the day.

For socialists, people are primarily workers. Socialist society is the nexus of connections and bonds on a factory floor, and outside to a working community of wives and families. A man is first and foremost a welder or a fitter, and then a husband and a father, and then maybe a church warden or soccer coach, and this is what defines who he is. What he most definitely is not is a pub-goer. Pub-going is to real working life what’s left when you’ve cut up a piece of material to make a suit, or cupped out pieces of pastry to make tarts, or punched out a pattern from sheet steel. It’s so much waste material. It’s what’s left over at the end of the day. It’s scrap material. For socialists, people are defined by their work. It’s what gives their life shape and meaning and purpose and community, and it becomes most apparent when the shipyard goes on strike, and the pickets man the braziers at the gates, and the wives come with hot pasties and sandwiches and thermos flasks of tea, and the real social community emerges.

And it’s what Conservative David Cameron is talking about when he talks about ‘our broken society’. He doesn’t mean our broken social lives. He means our broken working society, with millions unemployed, jobs lost, kids out of school. David Cameron’s vision of ‘society’ is exactly the same as the socialists on the other side of the house. He is just a slightly different breed of socialist. Which is why, whoever gets elected in May, we’ll get more socialism.

But my life has never been defined and shaped by work. It has instead been shaped by countless afternoons in coffee bars, countless evenings in pubs, countless meals in restaurants, countless movies and parties and dances. Those are the things that I remember in my life. That was what made it all so hot and heady and exciting. The dull hours that I spent at work are all but completely forgotten, along with all the people there whom I never really knew.

Perhaps that’s because I’ve carried out a variety of jobs, and never identified with any of them, like a lifelong Glasgow shipworker might identify himself with his work. I’ve always remained rather detached and critical of my work. As a computer programmer, I’d do the job to the best of my ability, but for the most part I was almost always doing something that somebody else had already done much better elsewhere, in some competing product, and I knew it. Real life, for me, lay not in my work, but in what lay outside work. In the girls I’d be dating, the pool games I’d be playing, the friends I’d be talking to, the books I’d be reading. Those were the things that shaped my life. Work was just a way of earning the money to buy the beers and the dinners and the cigarettes and the tickets and the books that I needed in my real life, which lay outside work.

What are all these busy working people doing anyway? Well, they’re making steel and timber and concrete and bricks and tiles, and they’re making the ships and trains and lorries that carry them around. And they’re making chairs and tables and windows and doors and light bulbs and lampshades and central heating boilers and radiators and pipes. And they’re making bottles and glasses and carpets and doorhandles and computer games and music and CDs and cigarettes. And they’re making beer and whisky and salted peanuts and cheese-and-onion crisps. And when you put all these various products together, what does it amount to?

A pub.

A pub with carpeted concrete floors and brick walls, and timbered and tiled roof, with warm radiators and lights and chairs and tables and juke box and fruit machine, and a bar with glasses and bottles of whisky and beer, and boxes of crisps and peanuts.

In our society, we spend almost all day making everything that is needed to build and maintain and supply a pub, and then we spend all evening sitting in the pub, buying drinks, smoking cigarettes, eating crisps, playing the juke box, and talking and laughing and joking and flirting. Or at least we used to.

So it’s not really that a pub is where people go to while away the remains of the day. It’s not some left-over waste. Far from it. The pub is the very centre and purpose of life itself, and it’s what all the day’s work was directed towards creating and sustaining. And if you kill off the pub, by treating it as trivial and inconsequential, you kill off the sales of beer and whisky and peanuts and crisps, and you kill off the demand for juke boxes and fruit machines and pool tables and dartboards and carpets and glasses and bottles, and you kill off the demand for bricks and timber and tiles and doors and doorhandles and lightbulbs, and you kill off the need for lorries and trains and ships. And businesses will go bust, and people will become unemployed, and the whole economy will tank. At which point the socialists will start noticing that working communities of shipworkers and miners and railway drivers are under threat, and start talking about shattered communities. And all the economic pundits will start noticing that Gross Domestic Product is falling. And David Cameron will start yapping about ‘our broken society’.

They’d have seen it all coming long before if they’d paid attention to what was happening to the pubs. But they pay no attention. Instead they set about destroying pubs and clubs, banning smoking, planning alcohol restrictions, enforcing drink-drive laws, arresting boisterous drunken pub-goers.

They may as well be sawing off their own legs.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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22 Responses to The Antisocial Socialists

  1. Anonymous says:

    “For socialists, ‘society’ doesn’t mean people sitting in bars drinking and smoking and talking. For socialists, ‘society’ isn’t that idle bunch of people. For them, ‘society’ is busy productive working society. It’s factories and offices and motorways and railroads. For them ‘society’ is above all a society of working people, making and selling goods of one sort or other. That’s what matters. Sitting in the pub afterwards having a drink is just a way of trivially whiling away the remainder of the day.”
    I would have to disagree with the above statement and the decription that followed. i see that decsription much more appropriate to capitaism than I do to socialism, I can’t understand how you have come to this conclusion

  2. Frank Davis says:

    It remains that it has been a socialist government in Britain that has set about casually destroying pub culture. And it has been socialists in California who have been making smoking all but illegal. It seems to almost always be socialists who wish to destroy convivial pub culture.
    As for the difference between capitalists and socialists, perhaps capitalists are not very much different from socialists. Neither are concerned with the living after-hours culture of the societies in which they are active. For capitalists, work is all-important, because that’s how they make profits. For socialists, work is also all-important, but in a different way. For socialists, work is what defines identity and meaning. Hence the socialist cult of ‘the worker’ and the ‘worker state’.
    Frank

  3. Anonymous says:

    I cannot see any justificattion for caling the current government Socialist or that Socialists do not care about the after-work culture

  4. Frank Davis says:

    Can you point me to where any socialist has ever shown any interest whatsoever in after-work culture? Can you show me the paragraph in Marx’s Capital where he recommends that brothers and sisters head down to the pub for a few pints and a game of skittles? No, you can’t? I thought not.
    Damn it, according to your own blog you were out on Monday campaigning for… what was it? .
    Earlier today I spend several hours outside to different Job Centres in Cardiff leafleting for the Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) demonstration on Wednesday at the Welsh Assembly.
    What’s that got to do with pub culture? Nothing. What’s it got to do with work and the culture of work? Everything. And you want people to vote for TUSC. What are their policies?
    TUSC stands in opposition to public spending cuts and privatisation, calls for investment in publicly owned and controlled renewable energy, the repeal of the anti-trade union laws, and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan…
    Nothing whatsoever about pubs and clubs. Nothing whatsoever about the smoking ban. Nothing whatsoever about after-hours culture.
    And I’m not in the least bit surprised. Because socialists are never interested in that kind of thing. For them it’s all trivial next to the class struggle and all the rest of it.
    If the BNP are on the rise, then one reason for it is that they’re opposed to the smoking ban. Where else (apart from UKIP) can smokers turn? The BNP have been listening. You obviously aren’t.
    Frank

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree. It is a very considerable stretch to call NuLabour socialist. Tony Blair was and remains Mrs Thatchers true heir

  6. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely, Anon. Only last week, in discussion with my boss – a true-blue Tory if ever there was one (he really, truly, honestly, genuinely believes that they can do no wrong, under any circumstances, ever) – he said: “I really liked Tony Blair – he was the best Conservative Prime Minster we’ve ever had.”

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Can you point me to where any socialist has ever shown any interest whatsoever in after-work culture? Can you show me the paragraph in Marx’s Capital where he recommends that brothers and sisters head down to the pub for a few pints and a game of skittles? No, you can’t? I thought not”
    Ofcourse this is not mentioned it Capital. But to even pose such a question is disingenuous to say the least, it’s like say that pornography doesn’t exist because you didn’t see any in a childrens book. Capitsl was an economic masterpiece and as such talked about economics, what else would you expect.Capital was ofcourse not the oonly thing Marx wrote he wrote about numerous subjects including alienation which I believe does explain exactly that what you argue socialists are ignoring.
    Leon Trotsky as well, a very influencial marxist wrote extensivey about culture beyond the realms of work. A point which you have oviously ignored. I could go on and on citing more and more sources where socialists have written about society beyond the working realm but i think thats enough for you to get on with reading for now
    As well as socialists writing about these topics socialists have also been involved in campaigning around these issues examples of the top of my head include campaigning against the criminal justice act which was used to clamp down on illegal raves, campaigning to legalise cannabis, campaigning alongside teenagers for such leisure facilites as skate parks, and campaiging against the closure of leisure facilities such as leisure centres and many other facilities. If I actually thought about it and looked sme things up I could come up with numerous more examples but I think that is enough for now.
    Then you go on to point out the recent content of y blog, All you haveto do is to look from my archieves to see I’ve blogged about other things such as music and youth culture and there are several blogs posts in the making on other subjects, but if you haven’tnoticed we are in the worst economic recession for possibily over 100 years. What is the point of being allowed to smoke in doors if the majority of ppl cant afford to buy anything to smoke in the first place so I think there are currently more pressing matters at hand, don’t you. That being said I don’t think the 2 issues have to be seperated in such a way. Socialists have been campaigning for a reduction in the working week to allow of more time to persue lesiure activites.
    Finally if you think the rise in the BNP is attributed to them opposing the smoking ban i think you need a dose of reality, I can honestly say that through my 7 years of political campaigning I have come across alot of people who will say they are going to vote BNP for one reason or another but the smoking ban has never been one of those reasons. I myself am I smoker and understand what you mean I oppose the smoking ban as do many of the socialists I know.
    I think this boils down to (although I might be wrong) the fact that for some bizarre and unfounded reason you seem hellbent of the continual classification of the labour party as socialist which it is clearly not

  8. Anonymous says:

    A wonderful post, so apposite.
    I paraphrase (because I can’t remember the original)but when England loses its pubs, the country dies.
    Sadly, this country is well and truly dying. We are just waiting for the formalities to begin.

  9. Frank Davis says:

    Finally if you think the rise in the BNP is attributed to them opposing the smoking ban i think you need a dose of reality,
    I didn’t say it was. I just said it was ‘one reason’ for it. I don’t think for a moment that it’s the sole reason. It’s also one reason why UKIP’s fortunes are on the rise, and why I’ll most likely be voting for them. I happen to also be becoming very rapidly disenchanted with the EU, in large part because they look set to introduce a Europe-wide smoking ban – which is exactly the sort of thing the EU should leave to member states.
    What is the point of being allowed to smoke in doors if the majority of ppl cant afford to buy anything to smoke in the first place so I think there are currently more pressing matters at hand, don’t you.
    I agree that the current recession is more important. But I still think that the destructive social effects of the smoking ban – which I know personally at first hand – aren’t anywhere near as trivial as the main parties treat them as being. In my entire life I’ve never known anything as socially destructive.
    you seem hellbent of the continual classification of the labour party as socialist which it is clearly not
    I suspect that you probably wouldn’t classify the former Eastern European and Soviet communist bloc as being socialist countries either. As I see the Labour party right now, it’s not much different from an East German communist party, running a capitalist economy, but intruding into everyone’s life just as much.
    I agree (with the commenter who said) that Blair started out as a sort of successor to Thatcher. But Blair has gone. And now we have Brown and a Labour party full of interfering busybodies in ways which Blair was not. This was the Labour party showing its true colours. The smoking ban came into force almost exactly at the time Brown succeeded Blair. So, as I see it, Blair was indeed something of a Thatcherite. But Brown is not. And nor is the Labour party. Brown is more of an Ulbricht figure.
    As far as I’m concerned, socialists see people as being first and foremost members of society – productive, working society. Society is more important than the individual. And individuals have a duty to conform to social expectations of them. This includes a duty to be healthy (and therefore more productive of wealth), and so people shouldn’t smoke (or drink, or eat too much). But a liberal or libertarian like me wants to be free to be able to make my own personal choices, and not have them unnecessarily restricted or abrogated by a state that purports to express the will of society. Once again, such individual freedom is something that socialists have precious little to say about. It’s usually liberals or conservatives who speak up for individual freedom. Unfortunately they’ve stopped doing so in this country. Which is why I won’t be voting for them either.
    Frank

  10. Frank Davis says:

    I agree about Blair. But Blair’s gone.
    Now we have Brown, and a Labour party full of nannying busybodies. They are not classical liberals. Neither are they conservatives. They seem to me to be more like East European communist bureaucrats. If that’s not socialism, what is?
    Frank

  11. Anonymous says:

    So it is precisely because we can both agree that there are more important matters at hand that recent posts on my blog reflect that. I have not said it is a trivial matter though and have given you numerous examples of campaigns where socialists have been campaigning on similiar issues.
    You would be correct in saying that I would not consider the former Soviet Union or any of the Eastern Bloc regimes as socialist. Neither would I consider the Labour Party to be Socialist but for very different reasons. I find it quite weird that you made the link between the 2, as I can not see any basis for this comparison.
    But in short I have given you numerous examples of both socialists writing about and campaigning about the issues of the like you hve stated. I have shown you that its not all about economics yet you have stuck to the same ridgid position, because you consider the Lbour Party to be Socialist.
    A bizarre situation where you acknowledge that Blair was not but for some reason despite not change at all you see the current regime are. Could you explain why and on what basis you could classify the current Labour Party as Socialist.
    As this is obviously at the heart of the misunderstanding as you are attacking socialism because of the role played by an organisation which is not socialist in anyway

  12. Frank Davis says:

    Neither would I consider the Labour Party to be Socialist but for very different reasons. I find it quite weird that you made the link between the 2, as I can not see any basis for this comparison.
    Clearly, what you call ‘socialist’ and what I call ‘socialist’ are two different things. As far as I am concerned, the Eastern bloc countries and the USSR were socialist states. As far as I am concerned, socialism entails state control of industry (and of much else beside) in one form or other. From Wikipedia:
    Some socialists advocate complete nationalisation of the means of production, distribution, and exchange; others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy.
    From that point of view, the 1945 Attlee government was a socialist government. Or at least it combined state ownership of some industries alongside private enterprise in others, the so-called ‘mixed’ economy. This was largely dismantled by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s as she sold off one industry after another. Blair followed in her footsteps, and to that extent was as much a Thatcherite as Thatcher. And Brown isn’t any different from Blair in that respect.
    What does seem to me different about Brown is that the amount of state intrusion into people’s private lives has vastly increased. The smoking ban is one example. Under Brown we have not just a nanny state but a bully state telling people they can’t smoke, can’t drink, must eat too much, CCTV everywhere. Freedoms we once took for granted are disappearing. And as far as I’m concerned that’s another form of socialism: the state control of individuals rather than the economy. Some people say that Blair started it all, and perhaps they’re right, but I didn’t notice the vanishing freedoms until Brown came along.
    The worst of it is that neither the Conservatives nor the Lib Dems (who I used to vote for, because I thought they were ‘liberal’ (ha ha)) show no sign whatsoever of rolling back this assault on the British people. It’s an assault which, if anything, falls most heavily on the working class, what’s left of them. The Labour party has been brutally attacking its own core vote, which seems like electoral madness to me.
    Anyway, I repeat that for me ‘socialism’ makes society (and the state as the representative of society) paramount over the individual. We are to do what we are told by the state. A liberal like me does not think that the state has any business to do this.
    I can well see that this probably isn’t the ideal of a great many socialists of an idealistic cast of mind. But it seems to be somewhere like this that, with the best intentions, that socialism always seems to lead. The history of socialism has seen one socialist after another disowning one socialist political experiment after another.
    Frank

  13. Anonymous says:

    “For socialists, people are primarily workers. Socialist society is the nexus of connections and bonds on a factory floor, and outside to a working community of wives and families. A man is first and foremost a welder or a fitter, and then a husband and a father, and then maybe a church warden or soccer coach, and this is what defines who he is.”
    I have to confess, Frank, that I was a bit puzzled by this characterization myself. I also have to admit that it occurred to me that Marx might take exception and say “No, no, no—it’s the capitalists who exploits the workers!” (as I think the socialist poster was also pointing out).
    To put another spin on your characterization, I think bureaucrats (whether socialist or capitalist) see people as numbers and functionaries. Worker #1364-27, zone 13, sector C. That sort of thing. Performing labor within a large, austere system tends to be dehumanizing. I’ve experienced this with companies I’ve worked for and experienced it with government. The real dehumanizer, I think, is bureaucracy.
    However, I believe in capitalism, not socialism. First, because I get to leave a job at the end of the day, and, otherwise. I’m free to quit the job at any time. I don’t get to quit government. Second, not all workplaces treat employees like a number, and not all work is dull and dehumanizing. Government, on the other hand, tends to always dehumanize. Third, work is a matter of volunteer, mutual exchange, and provides the opportunity for greater prosperity. Government is a matter of coerced or forced compliance, and even in the best case scenarios, only the willingness of a collective, democratic majority offers any hope for the individual to escape the clutches of government–smoking bans being a perfect example.
    Bureaucracy is a negative by-product of hierarchical organizations attempting to order and control a group of diverse and free-willed human beings. Out of bureaucracy comes dehumanization. At my job, my immediate boss treats me like a human being. I know the head boss at my job, though, and he views me as a functionary, and if he has to replace me, he’ll do it with the same nonchalance with which he gets new tires on his car.
    In a government controlled society, though, you don’t get fired. Rather, you get fired at. If government controls all of the means of production this means, by definition, that you are a slave to government officials. It’s all for one and none for all.
    I had no expectation of arriving at it in writing this, but the thoughts I’m looking to write next are quite similar in tone to your “idle theory”. No one likes the drudgery of going to a job every day, which is what capitalism so often offers. Meanwhile, no one wants inescapable government running their life, but somehow more government is offered as the solution to the drudgery presented by going to a job each day. People want to be “idle” in your broader conception of the term.
    WS

  14. Anonymous says:

    It did seem to sum up the left/right here in America; however, I don’t think that discredits the fact that’s also true in the UK. If money is a motive than it’s also a global motive.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What is socialism?
    This is a fascinating discussion, and one that I’ve got lots of thoughts about. Unfortunately, after about 20 minutes of typing a comment on it, I hit the wrong button on my keyboard and lost the whole lot, so I’m just going to try to encapsulate my thoughts in a few lines instead.
    It seems to me that “Socialism” is an inadequate term to describe what we’re seeing now, and the debate above shows that different people mean different things by it. If we’re not talking about the same thing, it becomes an essentially meaningless term. Who would you describe as a “Socialist”? Stalin? Well yes, if you equate Socialism with Communism. Hitler? The name of his party suggests that he was. Orwell? He certainly thought he was: “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”
    As for our present government, I simply see them as corrupt, and using authoritarian measures in an attempt to hide their corruption from the public. This is nothing new – pretty much every corrupt and autocratic government has ended up looking the same, no matter what their putative political colours are (we also have to remember that secret police, propaganda, repression and censorship predate the twentieth century by some distance).
    The new thing is of course the spread of worldwide “healthism” through the collusion of the UN, the WHO and public health in general, and the multinational pharmaceutical companies – it includes corruption, authoritarianism, propaganda, money and greed, and therefore seems to contain the worst aspects of both socialism and capitalism. Somewere at the bottom of that pyramid is our wretched little government.
    Rick S

  16. Frank Davis says:

    Marx might take exception and say “No, no, no—it’s the capitalists who exploits the workers!” (as I think the socialist poster was also pointing out).
    I’m sure Marx would have objected. And my Marxist commenter did object. But I suspect that Marx would have then disagreed with my Marxist commenter as well. Marx, after all, famously said: “I am not a Marxist”.
    The truth is, it seems to me, that you’ll get as many definitions of ‘socialism’ as there are socialists. And as many definitions of Marxism as there are Marxists. And you’ll probably get as many definitions of ‘capitalism’ or ‘catholicism’ or any other isms as well. They’re all rather fuzzy concepts.
    For me, ‘socialism’ focuses upon society, with everyone all pulling together for their collective mutual benefit. This implies central control and planning. Liberalism is individualistic, and therefore (socialists will say) “selfish”. I’m attracted by the idea of societies which are self-organising, without any central control or planning. But then, that’s just the way I’ve learned to think about it. The natural world seems to be self-organising, in that it doesn’t seem to have a grand central plan, but a set of rules of behaviour for each bit of it such that it all comes together in toto into an apparently organised whole – like our solar system.
    No one likes the drudgery of going to a job every day, which is what capitalism so often offers… People want to be “idle” in your broader conception of the term.
    Yes, everybody does want to be more idle. Particularly capitalists. Given a choice between a life that was 90% work and 10% idle, and one that was 10% work and 90% idle, people will choose the latter. I’d much prefer to spend 90% of my time sitting in a pub drinking and smoking than just 10% of it.
    But everyone has to work anyway, and usually a lot more than 10% of their time, regardless of capitalism or any other ism. That’s the primary fact of life. What capitalism does is to produce better products more efficiently, and this makes society more idle which is (I say) how profits are made. In practice these increases in idleness very often accrue to the capitalistic owners of industry, with everybody working just as hard as before, and it’s only the capitalists who enjoy the increased idleness or wealth. But in the long run, improved technology and more efficient production methods filter through to the whole of society, and everybody enjoys a more idle and prosperous life.
    Frank

  17. Frank Davis says:

    Re: What is socialism?
    after about 20 minutes of typing a comment on it, I hit the wrong button
    We’ve all done that. If I write anything of any length, I’ll periodically highlight and copy the whole thing (control-c) into notepad or something. It saves a lot of cussing.
    I agree about Stalin and Hitler and Orwell as being ‘socialists’ of one flavour or other, depending on how you define socialism.
    ‘Healthism’ seems to me to grow out of seeing society as an organic whole (which is how – I say – socialists look upon it) with various ‘organs’ like a human body – government=brain, workers=muscles, media=voice -. Once people (and particularly doctors) start looking at society this way, they see it as a sort of sick patient which needs treatment (smoking bans, alcohol bans, obesity bans). They stop treating individual people, and start treating society as whole instead. This leads to all sorts of horrors: for the Nazis the Jewish people were a racial toxin polluting Aryan society like alien bacteria in a body.
    Frank

  18. junican says:

    I have just written a longish post about socialism. I moved the cursor back a bit to correct a spelling. I do not know what button I pressed, but for some reason or other, the fucking machine obliterated the lot.
    Surely, there must be some way to copy everything that you type as you go along? We need a nerd who can say, “Yes there is. Just do this this this, and everything will be copied to xxxx.” Is there no one out there who can do it?

  19. Frank Davis says:

    Sometimes you can go back to the page on which you were editing things, and find that it’s all still there.
    But the only way I know how to make sure is to regularly copy everything I’m writing into Notepad or Word (which are both text editors which come with Windows).
    I’ve just written a longish new post. Did I have it copied into Word? Oh yes I did! I’ve had too many experiences of losing the whole damn lot, and very often for no obvious reason.
    Frank

  20. Anonymous says:

    I hardly even bother posting in these windows on the net anymore. If I’m going to post anything longer than what you’re reading here, I click start-programs—accessories—notepad and type everything there.
    Also, if you use Internet Explorer, and you type in spaces like the one I’m typing in now, you’ll find that clicking the “back” button will result in a blank screen where you’d previously typed for an hour.
    If you use Mozilla Firefox for your browser, you’ll click “back” and all of the text you typed will still be there.
    In short, my advice is, first, just don’t type in these windows, and second, to dump MS Internet Explorer ans switch to Mozilla Firefox.

  21. Anonymous says:

    From Junican.
    Thanks for the tips, chaps. I have just typed this into a word doc. I have selected the text and cut and pasted it into here.
    That was the above bit! Worked ok.

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