Friday, 30 June 2017

Eire Sandals in The Annexe

Back to Blighty this afternoon. This week in Ireland has been one of the best holidays I've had in a long time and I can't wait to do it again - but for two weeks, rather than just one. The scenery is simply stunning and if you're into outdoors stuff, then this is the place for you - well. the west of Ireland certainly is.

What has surprised me is the lack of branded shops in some of the smaller towns, like Westport and Cliffden. Just about the only ones that are branded are supermarkets, with the rest being independent retailers. That makes town centres a lot more vibrant - Westport is like Totnes (the place that banned brands), but bigger and better. Whereas Totnes hasn't encouraged much beyond independent coffee shops, Westport is a veritable entrepot of entrepreneurial activity. It's no longer the English who are a nation of shopkeepers, but the Irish.

Castpebar is another story - branded shops abound and it looks hideous.

The roads here are now much better than when I last visited for a holiday some 20 years ago. Then they were littered with potholes.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Look up The Annexe in Murrisk on AirBnB.  Perfect location and an excellent host in Helen (we were work colleagues over 10 years ago). I can heartily recommend it, whether for one night or a week (or longer).

Click on the above image to expand it and look at the sign on the wall...

Last night we went out for our final evening meal here and I wore socks with sandals. Yes, I know it's a fashion faux pas of the highest order, but I just didn't care, which means I'm officially old.

I'll leave you with a few random photos.

And my personal favourite.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Right Seat

Saw a right-wing Facebook post yesterday about Muslims burning the British flag. Couldn't care less myself - if they want to buy a flag and burn it, they can knock themselves out. Some people are just so attached to symbols that they must be in a permanent state of anxiety in case one of their cherished symbols is disrespected. It's almost as if, especially when it comes to Muslims, they go out of their way to seek something to huff and puff with righteous indignation about. Well, it's not 'as if', they do actually go out of their way - a long way out of their way. At least the Muslim protesters bought the flags, which makes them the fools. Perhaps I'm in a minority but, there again, I'm no faux patriot whose life is defined and determined by symbols. It's interesting to note that laws prohibiting flag burning exist mainly in repressive regimes.

Another post showed some Muslims on the back of a lorry in Watford, chanting and singing while waving flags. The professionally offended brigade was out in force and all manner of assumptions were made (the lorry was transformed into a Toyota Taliban Truck). I looked up the event and found out it was a celebration of the birth of Mohammed and they were shouting about peace and good will. Not at all what was portrayed by the post. The extreme right just look foolish when they post this stuff, but it’s still vigorously defended as the truth by them. Watching them squirm as they try to justify bigotry is a first class sport.

Mobile phones and the internet have given us near-omniscience, but so long as people are unable or unwilling to distinguish fact from fiction, which is easily done, true omniscience will evade them.

Many from the right (not necessarily the far right) have been complaining about Jeremy Corbyn not attending Armed Forces Day. To be honest, I wasn't even aware there was such a thing as Armed Forces Day till the complaints started - never heard of the thing before. It's only been going since 2009 (although from 2006 to 2009 it was called Veteran's Day) and, from the complaints from the right, you'd think it had been an annual event for generations. Not even sure why it was created in the first place when we already have Remembrance Sunday - perhaps a populist sop for cutting the MoD's budget. For any member of the government (of whatever hue) to attend Armed Forces Day when they are the ones who continually reduce our armed capability and have a very poor record of supporting veterans is rather hypocritical too.

The religious right are the worst hypocrites - they follow a man who was a socialist and preached compassion, giving and communal ownership, while being the most hideous bigots and more like the Temple priests Jesus railed against. They deny Darwinism, yet put it into daily practice in relation to their oppression of the poor.

Our landlady here moved to County Mayo from England some 4 years ago and has Irish relatives, although she herself is English. She discovered that one of her relatives was in the IRA in the 1920s, when Eire became independent. While many in the UK vilify the IRA because of The Troubles, most families in Eire are rather proud of the fact they had relatives who fought for independence against an oppressive regime. Many would do well to read a bit of Irish history and learn how vilely the Irish were treated by their English overlords. The monument to the Great Irish Famine in Doolough valley, which we visited last week, has an inscription from Mahatma Gandhi: "How can men feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings?"

The right's stance on the English soft fruit farmers is another example of hypocrisy. They say the farmers, who operate on a very small margin, if any, should pay a decent wage so as to attract British pickers, rather than having to rely on immigrant labour. The problem is that the first farmer to break ranks and increase the wage above the minimum wage will be at a disadvantage and will likely go to the wall. The most equitable way of accomplishing a pay increase to attract British workers is to increase the minimum wage, but who are against this? You guessed it, the political right.

Hay checked us in for the RyanAir flight from Knock to Britstol yesterday. As expected, because we didn't pay for seat reservations, we got rows 05 and 30. I just hope we have the entire rows to ourselves again. I just wish they were honest and actually said they have a policy of seating people away from each other unless they pay an additional fee on top of the fare. It's not even as if they need to do it - they'd still be the cheapest if they added the reservation fee to the airfare.

I just love the colours in these beach shots I took yesterday. Almost watercolours.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Emerald Isle

Overheard in a conversation about Croagh Patrick:

Hay: "Croagh Patrick is a metaphor."

Chairman: "I think you'll find it's actually igneous."

The Irish seem to have a strange relationship with their lawns, You see lots of houses set in about an acre of unblemished lawn, with hardly a plant to adorn it. Vast swathes of green with a tiny bungalow in the middle.

When you think about it, the lawn has been a status symbol for as long as we've been living in houses. The poor can't afford the time to look after them and those living in high-rises can only dream of them. How long will it be before we hear Jeremy Corbyn calling for lawns for all?

Ireland certainly is the Emerald Isle and, whereas mountains in Scotland and Wales are a forbidding black, the mountains here are covered in green from top to bottom.

Went to Achill Island yesterday - stunning scenery! Found a gorgeous beach at Keem.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017


There are calls to patriotism from some corners of the Conservative Party. What exactly is patriotism?

When we all lived in caves, patriotism (or tribalism, as it was then) was a biological, gut reaction that ensured survival against other tribes. It still has relevance, perhaps, in times of war, but not necessarily for everyone. When someone is about to jump off a cliff and calls on your to follow them using the call to patriotism, the word is bereft of all intellectual meaning, not that it has much these days anyway. It is the last resort of a scoundrel, as Dr Johnson once said, by which he meant it's used when all else fails - logic, reason, etc.

If you call me to follow you today, citing patriotism, what happens in 5 years time when you are no longer in favour and have been voted out? Does the patriotism I exhibited when I followed you suddenly become treason? The current calls to patriotism seek to demonise a very large section of the population that disagrees profoundly with a certain party's actions (what's the opposite of a patriot?). That is morally reprehensible.

The mistake a lot of voters make these days - and probably have since time immemorial - is to dogmatically defend their chosen party, whether they be right or wrong. This inevitably leads them at some stage into the untenable position of trying to defend the indefensible. Rather than admit that an area of policy is just not up to scratch, they will argue black is white to justify their allegiance and end up tying themselves in logical knots in any argument. A dogmatic position in politics, as in religion, is a route to disaster and invariably makes one look stupid, as there is guaranteed to be a paradox or logical inconsistency somewhere that has to be defended.

A call to patriotism usually comes from a demagogue. Populist demagoguery appears when people lose a sense of identity and scapegoats are sought in order to lay the blame elsewhere. You become a victim and place your faith in a perceived 'strong leader', which is dangerous thinking, as that strong leader generally has feet of clay and cannot deliver on his or her promises anyway. Once this realisation kicks in on the part of the populist demagogue, tyranny can easily follow, especially if the demagogue has destroyed civil liberties in the name of 'strong and stable' leadership.

Like it or not, the world is going global, and turning inward and pulling up the drawbridge under such circumstances is dangerous. Whereas the free market is very good at generating wealth, it’s a terrible mechanism for distributing that wealth and leaves vast swathes of the population worse off and prey to the demagogue. Populist demagoguery, based on lies and deception, is the precursor to nationalism and nationalism, as a reaction to globalism, is a medication that’s worse than the disease itself.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Croagh Patrick

Yesterday's task was to climb Croagh Patrick - the mountain you can see from our accommodation in Murrisk.

Everything started well and we passed St Patrick, who reputedly climbed the mountain and prayed there for 40 days and 40 nights. I have doubts about this story, as there's no way he could have carried 40 days' worth of food to the top without a team of sherpas. If you ask me, St Patrick here looks rather similar to St Nicholas. I'm sure there's a factory somewhere that churns out thousands of saints that are identical and they just have a different name plaque slapped on them depending on what's required.

Anyway, Hay was suffering and wanted to give up at about 3/4 of the way up, but I persuaded her to continue. Here's a view from half way up.

We were literally within a hundred yards or so of the top and my vertigo kicked in on the rock-strewn 41 degree slope. I thought I'd conquered that decades ago, but no - up there you feel very exposed and I was about to freeze in a panic. Discretion was the better part of valour and we started our decent. Several coffin-dodgers passed me and I felt so ashamed, but when vertigo gets you there's nothing you can do.

Didn't expect to see a golf putting green half way up. I've since learned it's a helipad.

In this shot you can see Mordor in the distance.

And in this one is the Plain of Rohan.

Today is wall-to-wall rain, so we're going to have to seek out something cultural and indoors.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Crazy Bastard Gym

Walked from Murrisk to Westport and back yesterday (about 11 miles in total) to catch the Westport Food Fesitval and went past what looked like a kids' playground containing some rather sturdy looking playground equipment - but it wasn't the usual stuff like swings and roundabouts. It was real exercise equipment and, as well as a bunch of kids, there was a pensioner working out on the equipment. A free gym for anyone to use. Very enlightened.

I can just imagine the pensioners kicking the kids off the equipment...

There was a stall at the Food Festival selling some rather powerful sauce.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Hot Water Crayons

Well, Ryanair managed to punish Hay and myself for not paying to reserve seats on the flight to Knock by seating us at opposite ends of the aircraft but, by good fortune, both of us ended up in the only rows in the plane with no-one either side of us.  Just shows they must have an allocation algorithm that purposely splits people who book together but don't choose to pay for seats, despite what they say in their PR.

Hay wondered how she could get water to drink in Bristol airport without paying an arm and a leg for designer stuff. I told her to just take an empty bottle and fill it from the cold tap in the ladies’ loo once through security. Well, believe it or not, you can only get hot water out of the loo taps and the only way of getting cold water is to buy it. Airports are becoming like RyanAir.

Hay was looking at some lipsticks in the “duty free”. They wanted £18 for what is essentially a crayon. 

Can you resell a Kindle e-book the way you can a paper book?

Friday, 23 June 2017

Trust in the News

Sussed out the RyanAir booking thing. We couldn't check-in without booking a seat as we'd selected to check-in for the return flight simultaneously, and the return flight is more than 7 days away, hence the mandatory seat booking. Checked in for the outward flight only and we managed to get the free seats, but while I was in 30B, Hay was placed in 05A. They punish you by separating you for not booking the seats. Bastards.

Is it me, or were Melvyn Bragg and Michael Palin separated at birth?

Trust in news media has been making headlines, especially in the wake of fake news in newspapers before and since the EU referendum.

Claims of BBC bias abound from both the left and the right (which I treat with equal scepticism for reasons articulated several times in the past), but what the BBC does report is at least factual, unlike the utter drivel published in many daily newspapers. I can, however, accept it's slightly left of centre, as expected from an organisation that employs university graduates.

I always listen to Today on Radio 4 in the morning and I predominantly use Flipboard for my daily e-news source - it collates numerous news sources covering whatever subjects I'm interested in, filtering out the more partizan and disreputable stuff; although, when this do slip through, the opposing viewpoint is also shown. Flipboard also has a more international view, publishing stories from other countries on a variety of subjects. It helps in seeing what other countries think about the UK, which is not flattering at present.

I use the Reuters website quite a bit too, as it regularly comes out as staunchly centrist and international.

I often quickly peruse the on-line versions of the Daily Mail and the Guardian, just to see opposing views and have a laugh at some of the more rabid Daily Mail comments (the Guardian comments seem much more intelligent and measured, although they too can be quite extreme and bizarre at times).

Facebook is perhaps the least trustworthy news source in the world and, if anything does attract my attention, I will invariably seek corroboration elsewhere.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Thought for the Day While Sunbathing in a Hat

Thought for the day: is the free movement of capital as problematic as, or indeed more problematic than free movement of people?

OK, I'll get it out of the way and say the nights are drawing in.

Loved Mrs Queen's European hat yesterday - it couldn't possibly be accidental and I would suggest Prince Philip, with his usual mischievousness, was behind the choice. With complete and typical neutrality, it could be taken two ways - five stars for what it may end up as, or as a snub to the government, which has stupidly risked the breakup of her once United Kingdom.

RyanAir is trying to pressure us into buying a seat now for anything from £4 to £16 before we can check in. I strongly object, as I've paid the fare already and I'll bloody well stand all the way if necessary.

One of the questions in my YouGov daily poll yesterday was "Have you suffered from sunburn over the last few days," to which my answer is no. As a teenager, and well into my mid 30s, I wouldn't miss a chance to do some bronzying, especially when at sea in the tropics. It was the unspoken rule that a seafarer had to return home as brown as a nut. The desire to get a suntan tailed off from then on, to the extent that, since my 50s, I tend to shun sunlight, if at all possible. There again, it may have had something to do with me selling my soul to Satan and these long cuspids that appeared.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Phoenix RyanAir Kefir

What's this in the news about Phoenix Nights being cancelled? Didn't realise there was another series.

We're preparing for our holiday in Ireland, leaving the house in the care of my two teenage sons, Hay's dad and Hay's sister. Anyone who cares to attempt a robbery with that lot looking after the house is either very brave or plain foolhardy. 

We're flying to Knock and then driving over to Murrisk in Mayo. However, the fly in the ointment is RyanAir. They try to extract money from you at every conceivable opportunity. You have to pay 20 Euros to manually book in at the airport, which is fine, as we could book on-line for free. The problem is that you can only book in online two hours before your flight departure, and you have to print out your boarding card. That's obviously not possible if you're using a normal computer, as the availability of printing facilities is somewhat scarce in airports. The only solution is the use a mobile app and get an e-boarding card on your phone - but I'm fully expecting something to go squonk with the system when we attempt an app-based check-in at the airport with 2 hours to go, resulting in us having to check in manually for 20 Euros.

I've perfected the kefir making. I put the kefir grains in a one litre Kilner jar (actually one of IKEA's lookalikes) with the milk (semi-skimmed or whole), seal it so it's airtight and leave it in the fridge for a week. The conversion takes place slowly and under increasing pressure, resulting in the perfect, fizzy kefit drink by the end of the week. That's then decanted into plastic bottles for use during the next week while I'm making the next batch. One litre a week is about the right amount, added to which it is happy fermenting away while you're on a week's holiday. Being left a few days longer isn't a problem, and I dare say I could get away with leaving it to ferment in the fridge for 2 weeks without any problems.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Varifocal Formations

Cloud formations in the shape of the UK/GB are all the rage at present. I snapped my own yesterday morning in the sky over Chipping Sodbury:

For some time now I thought I had scratches on my varifocals - either that or some smudge that I couldn't remove. Got Hay to have a look as, without my glasses, I can't see things close up. It transpires that my lens prescription is etched into the lenses. Apparently it's common practise with varifocals.

Why this should be done only with varifocals is a mystery.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Bloody Foreigners

During what started as a reasonably good-natured argument with several people on a Facebook group in support of Brexit (I'd gone into the lion's den), one person got a bit frustrated and called me a 'foreign piece of shit' on the basis of my surname. I have to admit, it was the only instance of someone using logic, albeit faulty, in the entire argument. It was more a use of assumption than formal logic and a case of adding two and two to get five.

I'd spent several sporadic hours throughout the day trying to get some Brexit supporters to articulate a single reason for their support of Brexit that wasn't based on a demonstrable fallacy, a misunderstanding of the areas under the influence of the EU, couldn't be immediately be demolished with a bit of simple logic or wasn't based on simple, naked xenophobia. Needless to say, there was not a single argument that could hold water and make me think; "Hang on, you have a point there." The argument, for what it is, is manifestly visceral and therefore immune to reason.

David Davies will today boldly go into Europe for what will inevitably be his Dunkirk moment. It will be interesting to watch events unfold, especially now that support for Brexit is crumbling in both the country as a whole and the government in particular.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Age Related Conservatism

a few weeks ago I received an invitation to join YouGov, the polling firm, to provide input to many of their polls. No idea why I was selected, but I thought it a good idea. YouGov has daily polls on some three subjects that are in the news and the result of the polls are fed back to those who participate. The results are broken down by gender, political leanings, UK region and age group, and they show some interesting trends, the most obvious one being that people move to the right of the political spectrum as they get older.

Psychologists have studied this age related conservatism (with a small c) and have identified a number of factors.

  1. As we grow older our thinking slows down, and intellectual curiosity stagnates. This leads to us becoming less inclined to seek out new experiences, which are proven to open us up to alternative views.
  2. After the age of about 40, and accelerating as we enter into our 60s, this slower thinking tends to make us see things as either black or white and we dismiss views that conflict with preconceptions, shutting out new knowledge.
  3. As we age we prefer to navigate life on autopilot, feeling more comfortable with the perceived certainty of our isolated views. Remaining open-minded causes uncertainty, leading to insecurity and self-doubt. Older people are less willing to admit they've made a mistake and cling tenaciously to old, discredited mantras.
Time after time, the daily YouGov poll feedback shows those over 50 generally have more reactionary views, while those at the other end of the age continuum are more progressive.

The strange thing is that the older I get, the more I seem to be moving to the left. It could be a lot to do with the fact that the older I get, the more frugally I tend to live life, meaning I've become less acquisitive and much happier in my skin, which makes me think a bit more about those less fortunate than me.

Having said that, like most people, I inherited my politics from my father - a Conservative - and voted that way for decades, not really questioning why. In my 40s I moved a tad left of centre and remained there, having developed a more analytical approach to politics and a social conscience. To be honest, I've not moved further left; the left seems to have moved closer to me. I'm constantly horrified by the number of people who never read a manifesto and vote on the basis of either blind, tribal allegiance (as in the parental example above), or the presidential attributes of the party leaders.

Saturday, 17 June 2017


Some one has spotted a cloud formation that looks like post-Brexit UK:

This image is concerned with symbols of the oppression of women. When I hear people having a go at the burqa, whether it be for genuine reasons or just masking something else (and it's usually the latter), I'm reminded of the quote; "First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cat & Fox Game

This one's called Fight or Flight.

And this one's called Pincer Movement.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


I think I've figured out the Covfefe thing. It's his Twitter account password.

As I mentioned last week, I've been reading a very interesting couple of books; Sapiens and Homo Deus, by Noah Yuval Harari.

Consider the following:

Artificial Intelligence is progressing at such a pace with billions being invested it it,, with that it could easily replace many areas of work within a decade or two - even areas we've always considered safe from computers, such as lawyers and doctors. Anything we can do, with only a few exceptions, probably around values, ethics and morals, can be performed by AI algorithms. Anything that involves pushing buttons, pulling levers, analysing vast amounts of data, can all be performed more efficiently by algorithms. This could lead to mass unemployment on a truly industrial scale. Costly training of professionals would disappear too, leading to huge savings. True, new jobs would appear, but nowhere near as many as those lost, and they would only be for the well educated in engineering and research.

Now, universal suffrage was itself a direct consequence of fears following on from the French Revolution, which showed that the proletariat could become a serious threat to the established order if they massed - and the Industrial Revolution itself massed them in towns. Agricultural workers on farms were not much of a threat, as they were usually fully occupied and dispersed, whereas poverty and unemployment in cities could politicise the new hives of industrial workers. Giving the new proletariat workers a say in the running of the country, on a gradually increasing basis, stopped the revolution spreading to the UK.

The voter is seen by the elite as a unit of production. The elite will therefore go some way to ensuring the unit of production remains productive through political bribes. If mass unemployment results from AI taking over from humans in various jobs, the human unit of production is no longer of value, and his or her vote is of no value either, leading to disenfranchisement.

The only way of stemming a potential revolution on the part of the disenfranchised is to give them free money - a universal wage - paid for out of the vast profits generated by the use of AI to replace humans. The mass unemployed have to have money in order to provide fees to the AI machine, or else the whole system collapses anyway, as there are fewer people with money to buy the newly developed and massively efficient AI services and products. However, it would be a minimum necessary to keep the system working.

A Doomsday scenario? Finland is already trialling it, and for the above reasons.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Foxy Well Politicians

The inevitable happened last night - Foxy came for his dinner only to run into Kitty. There was a bit of a scuffle and Kitty saw him off. As soon as Kitty came off guard duty he came back though.

Hay had an appointment yesterday at something called a Well Woman Clinic. Bloody oxymoron, if you ask me. A bloke doesn't even go to see his GP when he's ill, never mind about when he's well.

Apparently a team of scientists have used algebraic topology, a branch of mathematics used to describe the properties of objects and spaces regardless of how they change shape, to analyse the brain. They found that groups of neurons connect into 'cliques', and that the number of neurons in a clique would lead to its size as a high-dimensional geometric object. "We found a world that we had never imagined," says lead researcher, neuroscientist Henry Markram from the EPFL institute in Switzerland. "There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to 11 dimensions." 

Human brains are estimated to have a staggering 86 billion neurons, with multiple connections from each cell webbing in every possible direction, forming the vast cellular network that somehow makes us capable of thought and consciousness. With such a huge number of connections to work with, it's no wonder we still don't have a thorough understanding of how the brain's neural network operates.

In order to simplify the study, I'm led to believe that the team will be working on Brexit supporting Conservative politicians' brains. They'll move on to something more complex at a later stage.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Having Your Cake by Semaphore

I find it rather strange that Tories are claiming Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto tax rises would make rich people and businesses move out of the UK while simultaneously claiming that a hard Brexit and leaving the Single Market would not do the same.

There's nothing like like ideology for showing up inconsistencies and cognitive dissonance.

Does anyone remember Monty Python's semaphore version of Wuthering Heights? I can't seem to remember that one...

Monday, 12 June 2017

Village Day Lessons

Each year we run the Village Day we come away with some lessons to make improvements on the numbers for next year's event:
  1. If there's something for kids, then that will attract the parents. This year, as well as the 'make yourself a funny hat' stall (run by Hay and her sister), we had the local primary school field a choir and, naturally, all the parents HAD to attend, albeit under protest in many cases. On the basis of that, I'm going to suggest that next year we kidnap the kids from all the local primary school on the Friday afternoon and hold them to ransom in exchange for raffle tickets on the Saturday event. It could prove an expensive strategy though, and there's always the risk that some parents would allow us to keep their kids.
  2. While the pork sausages and bacon baps went down well, we should have widened the demographic by offering halal bacon and pork sausages.
  3. I will also suggest we dress someone up as a traffic policeman (we have a semi-retired policeman on the committee anyway) and get him to divert traffic from the road, with the aid of a mock-up radar gun, into the Village Day venue car park on the pretext of catching them speeding (which they will be guaranteed to be doing anyway). They could either go to the Village Day Speeding Re-education Stand or pay a 'fine' for a raffle ticket.
  4. The armoured vehicle and WWII weapons stand proved popular - next year we should have a mock battle between Brexiteers and Remainers.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Tug of War

So BoJo denies he's going to try to unseat Mrs May. Can't say I'm surprised, as the position of PM is now a poisoned chalice until the Brexit bomb is defused one way of the other. As for requiring the DUP to prop up any leader, if there's one thing that can be guaranteed to elicit sympathy for N.I. Republicanism it's the DUP, never mind the fact the arrangement may be illegal under the Good Friday Agreement. The situation is like Mrs May saying a bad deal is better than no deal. One thing's certain, Brexit means Shambles.

The Annual Old Sodbury Tug of War between different lanes in the village was held yesterday. It always descends into farce as ringers are imported from miles away (he's staying with us for a few days, so he's entitled to join in, etc.)  and team numbers seem to have the fluidity of the lottery.

While the videos above are not of the finals, last year's Champions lost. However, if you look at the bloke at the end of the rope on the left, in the men's game, he's clearly an international rugby player...

Next year we're obviously going to have to hire a Tug of War tactician from TWIF to coach the teams - I ask you, is bare feet a winning tactic?

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Strong and Stable

Overheard while watching the fox in the garden:

Hay: "How do you make signs to a fox that you aren't a threat?"

Chairman: "I think it helps if you're not mounted on a horse with a pack of hounds."

So we have a minority Conservative government propped up by a bunch of homophobic, young earth creationist, anti-abortionist, climate change denyers. That'll work out well then. She promised certainty, but I didn't think it meant the certainty of hell on earth.

Not only that, but it looks increasingly likely we'll have that buffoon and serial liar, Boris Johnson, as PM within 6 months. We've just elected a PM who wasn't elected when she came to power, only to have another one foisted on us soon. The UK must be an international laughing stock.

It'll make the Brexit discussions quite interesting to have a UVF hit squad and some Semtex at the negotiating table. I wonder if Mrs May is thinking of targeting the Loyalist paramilitaries on ISIS sympathisers? The one saving grace is that the DUP favour a soft Brexit.

Too many issues have clouded this election - and the elephant in the room is Brexit. In order to allow the electorate to focus on party policies and elect a majority government, the boil of Brexit has to be lanced once and for all. The sane thing to do (but since when have the Conservative party been sane) would be to have another referendum, using the 60% majority marker, which is the case in every proper referendum, followed by another general election shortly afterwards. Accepting a simple majority in the referendum was simply bonkers and doesn't allow negotiation from a position of strength.

No, it's not what the Brexiteers want, but it's in the interests of political certainty - whether we head into Brexit negotiations or not. If we are to enter into Brexit negotiations, any government negotiating from a minority position is in a position of inherent weakness.

Either that, or stick with the original, stated intent that the referendum was advisory and ditch the whole sorry mess, leaving us to cope with 5 years of austerity and tax breaks for the rich, rather than a total disaster that Brexit will wreak.