Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Last Refuge of Repetitions

The exercises are becoming easier - yesterday I increased the repetitions to 30 of each 6 times a day, but I've reduced the planking to just one minute, as there's no evidence to suggest more than a minute is beneficial. So, 1 minute of planking, 30 bicep curls, 30 side curls and 30 overhead lifts (remembering the law that says 6 contiguous sets of 5 are psychologically easier than one set of 30) - 6 times a day with 10 kg on each arm.

I do 4 reps before 10am and leave two for the afternoon. Each rep takes more than 3 or 4 minutes max and I'm heavily out of breath for a couple of minutes following a rep, so it's certainly doing the cardio-vascular system some good. The the muscle mass, however, is still outweighing the fat loss and I've plateaued at 81.5kg. With the increase in reps, the muscle mass will only increase, which isn't necessarily an issue.

What with St George's Day and the birth of a new Royal, a lot of flag waving was going on within many circles this week, but with some it was for all the wrong reasons - I'm talking, of course, about the Brexit Facebook pages where the usual xenophobia was being whipped up into truly enormous proportions.

Britishness is something that can be lauded when compared with some other 'ishnesses', but using it as a form of triumphalism seems somewhat crass to me. While some can choose to become British, for the vast majority it is a mere accident of birth. One can certainly consider oneself lucky to be born British, but no more so than being born Dutch, Swedish or being born in any comparable country with democracy, some nice countryside and the rule of law. It is certainly more lucky to be born British than, say, Ethiopian or Syrian.

Some sections of the British population have this almost unique habit of exhibiting Messianic triumphalism even in abject defeat. You can imagine the conversation:

"We'll show them!"

"Oh, that didn't go too well."
"No, but we showed them!"

I suppose one could call it an indomitable spirit which, if suitably channelled, can be an asset in times of adversity. When channelled in the wrong direction it's pure arrogance.

I've mentioned patriotism many times. Dr. Johnson said that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. That's not to say patriotism is a bad thing in itself, but if it's used as a final defence when all other arguments have fallen, that's when it transforms into the Johnsonesque last refuge, as exhibited by Brexiteers who, in the complete absence of anything rational, are now all falling back on the forlorn hope of patriotism to justify their 'argument'. The Lords are once again labelled as traitors for exercising their constitutional purpose. So much for sovereignty.

When the UK was outvoted in only 2% of cases, when the government allowed fishermen to sell their quotas abroad, when we’re already selling to the rest of the world, when the cost of membership of the EU is between 1/12th and 1/29th of what we stand to lose in GDP by leaving, when EU accounts have indeed been signed off by auditors, when we don’t send £350m a week to Brussels, when the UK government has as many unelected roles as the EU, when the UK hasn’t paid for bail-outs, when Turkey stands no chance of joining the EU, when the UK would have a veto on an EU Army, for the average Brexiteer, no matter how much they protest otherwise, the issue was only ever about immigration. While this is a legitimate concern, it's ironic when fully 50% of immigrants are not even from the EU and demonstrates that any problem is a direct result of a failure of successive governments to implement the rules already available to them.

So, as the last and most important (to Brexiteers) cause to blame on the EU falls, patriotism becomes the rallying call in the face of imagined bullying by the EU.

Patriotism is aligned with pride - pride being, according to the bible, one of the seven deadly sins. We're all guilty of pride - seems rather ridiculous to have something we all engage in to some extent as a sin - you can't win, you miserable sinner!

Pride is something we can easily spot in others, but rarely manage to identify in our own actions and thoughts.

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