Topic: Politics of the United Kingdom

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Bertrand Russell

Biography Mathematics Philosophy Philosophy/Logic Philosophy/Social and political philosophy Biography/science and academia Philosophy/Philosophy of science Linguistics Linguistics/Theoretical Linguistics Philosophy/Philosophers Philosophy/Epistemology Sociology Politics of the United Kingdom Philosophy/Philosophy of language Chicago Philosophy/Metaphysics Linguistics/Philosophy of language Philosophy/Analytic philosophy Atheism Biography/Peerage and Baronetage

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, although he also confessed that his sceptical nature had led him to feel that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom.

In the early 20th century, Russell led the British "revolt against idealism". He is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege, colleague G. E. Moore and protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein. He is widely held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians. With A. N. Whitehead he wrote Principia Mathematica, an attempt to create a logical basis for mathematics, the quintessential work of classical logic. His philosophical essay "On Denoting" has been considered a "paradigm of philosophy". His work has had a considerable influence on mathematics, logic, set theory, linguistics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science (see type theory and type system) and philosophy, especially the philosophy of language, epistemology and metaphysics.

Russell was a prominent anti-war activist and he championed anti-imperialism. Occasionally, he advocated preventive nuclear war, before the opportunity provided by the atomic monopoly had passed and he decided he would "welcome with enthusiasm" world government. He went to prison for his pacifism during World War I. Later, Russell concluded that war against Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany was a necessary "lesser of two evils" and criticised Stalinist totalitarianism, attacked the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament. In 1950, Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought".

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The Darien Scheme

Politics of the United Kingdom Scotland Central America

The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt at establishing a Scottish colony on the Isthmus of Panama on the Gulf of Darién in the late 1690s. The aim was for the colony to have an overland route that connected the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. From its contemporary time to the present day, claims have been made that the undertaking was beset by poor planning and provisioning, divided leadership, a lack of demand for trade goods particularly caused by an English trade blockade, devastating epidemics of disease, collusion between the English East India Company and the English government to frustrate it, and a failure to anticipate the Spanish Empire's military response. It was finally abandoned in March 1700 after a siege by Spanish forces, which also blockaded the harbour.

As the Company of Scotland was backed by approximately 20% of all the money circulating in Scotland, its failure left the entire Lowlands in substantial financial ruin and was an important factor in weakening their resistance to the Act of Union (completed in 1707). The land where the Darien colony was built, in the modern province of Guna Yala, is virtually uninhabited today.

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Hostile Architecture

Architecture Politics Politics of the United Kingdom

Hostile architecture is an intentional design strategy that uses elements of the built environment to guide or restrict behaviour in urban space as a form of crime prevention or order maintenance. It often targets people who use or rely on public space more than others, like people who are homeless and youth, by restricting the behaviours they engage in. Also known as defensive architecture, hostile design, unpleasant design, exclusionary design, or defensive urban design, hostile architecture is most typically associated with "anti-homeless spikes" – studs embedded in flat surfaces to make sleeping rough, uncomfortable, and impractical. Other measures include sloped window sills to stop people sitting, benches with armrests positioned to stop people lying on them, and water sprinklers that "intermittently come on but aren't really watering anything." Hostile architecture also seeks to deter skateboarding, littering, loitering, and public urination. Critics argue that such measures reinforce social divisions and create problems for all members of the public, especially seniors, people with disabilities, and children.

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Letters of Last Resort

Military history Politics Politics of the United Kingdom Military history/European military history Military history/British military history

The letters of last resort are four identically worded handwritten letters from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to the commanding officers of the four British ballistic missile submarines. They contain orders on what action to take in the event that an enemy nuclear strike has destroyed the British government and has killed or otherwise incapacitated both the prime minister and the "second person" (normally a high-ranking member of the Cabinet) whom the prime minister has designated to make a decision on how to act in the event of the prime minister's death. In the event that the orders are carried out, the action taken could be the last official act of Government of the United Kingdom.

The letters are stored inside two nested safes in the control room of each submarine. The letters are destroyed unopened after a prime minister leaves office, so their content remains known only to the prime minister who issued them.

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Linguistic purism in English

England Linguistics Linguistics/Applied Linguistics Languages Politics of the United Kingdom

Linguistic purism in English is the preference for using words of native origin rather than foreign-derived ones. "Native" can mean "Anglo-Saxon" or it can be widened to include all Germanic words. Linguistic purism in English primarily focuses on words of Latinate and Greek origin, due to their prominence in the English language and the belief that they may be difficult to understand. In its mildest form, it merely means using existing native words instead of foreign-derived ones (such as using begin instead of commence). In a less mild form, it also involves coining new words from Germanic roots (such as wordstock for vocabulary). In a more extreme form, it also involves reviving native words which are no longer widely used (such as ettle for intend). The resulting language is sometimes called Anglish (coined by the author and humorist Paul Jennings), or Roots English (referring to the idea that it is a "return to the roots" of English). The mild form is often advocated as part of Plain English, but the more extreme form has been and is still a fringe movement; the latter can also be undertaken as a form of constrained writing.

English linguistic purism is discussed by David Crystal in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. The idea dates at least to the inkhorn term controversy of the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 19th century, writers such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy and William Barnes advocated linguistic purism and tried to introduce words like birdlore for ornithology and bendsome for flexible. A notable supporter in the 20th century was George Orwell, who had a preference for plain Saxon words over complex Latin or Greek ones, and the idea continues to have advocates today.

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Lord Buckethead

Biography Comedy Politics Biography/politics and government Politics of the United Kingdom

Lord Buckethead is a satirical political candidate who has stood in four British general elections since 1987, portrayed by several individuals.

The character, an intergalactic villain similar to the Star Wars character Darth Vader, was created by American filmmaker Todd Durham for his 1984 science fiction film Hyperspace. British video distributor Mike Lee adopted Lord Buckethead to stand in the 1987 UK general election and again in the 1992 general election. The character went unused until comedian Jonathan Harvey stood as Lord Buckethead in the 2017 general election; his televised appearance standing next to prime minister Theresa May went viral, drawing media coverage and an online following.

After the 2017 election, Durham asserted his ownership of the character and displaced Harvey. With Durham's authorisation, Lord Buckethead returned in 2019, now played by David Hughes; he appeared at People’s Vote rallies calling for a second Brexit referendum, and stood in the 2019 general election representing the Monster Raving Loony Party. Harvey also stood, using a new character, Count Binface.

Copyright Law is 300 years old today.

Law United Kingdom Politics of the United Kingdom

The Statute of Anne, also known as the Copyright Act 1710 (cited either as 8 Ann. c. 21 or as 8 Ann. c. 19), is an act of the Parliament of Great Britain passed in 1710, which was the first statute to provide for copyright regulated by the government and courts, rather than by private parties.

Prior to the statute's enactment in 1710, copying restrictions were authorized by the Licensing of the Press Act 1662. These restrictions were enforced by the Stationers' Company, a guild of printers given the exclusive power to print—and the responsibility to censor—literary works. The censorship administered under the Licensing Act led to public protest; as the act had to be renewed at two-year intervals, authors and others sought to prevent its reauthorisation. In 1694, Parliament refused to renew the Licensing Act, ending the Stationers' monopoly and press restrictions.

Over the next 10 years the Stationers repeatedly advocated bills to re-authorize the old licensing system, but Parliament declined to enact them. Faced with this failure, the Stationers decided to emphasise the benefits of licensing to authors rather than publishers, and the Stationers succeeded in getting Parliament to consider a new bill. This bill, which after substantial amendments was granted Royal Assent on 5 April 1710, became known as the Statute of Anne owing to its passage during the reign of Queen Anne. The new law prescribed a copyright term of 14 years, with a provision for renewal for a similar term, during which only the author and the printers to whom they chose to license their works could publish the author's creations. Following this, the work's copyright would expire, with the material falling into the public domain. Despite a period of instability known as the Battle of the Booksellers when the initial copyright terms under the Statute began to expire, the Statute of Anne remained in force until the Copyright Act 1842 replaced it.

The statute is considered a "watershed event in Anglo-American copyright history ... transforming what had been the publishers' private law copyright into a public law grant". Under the statute, copyright was for the first time vested in authors rather than publishers; it also included provisions for the public interest, such as a legal deposit scheme. The Statute was an influence on copyright law in several other nations, including the United States, and even in the 21st century is "frequently invoked by modern judges and academics as embodying the utilitarian underpinnings of copyright law".

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