Friday, 31 May 2019

Whiggish Tories

It's ironic that the Tories of today are exhibiting 18th century Whiggish traits.

Whereas the Whigs (e.g. Charles James Fox and his ilk) favoured a laissez faire attitude toward mainland Europe and letting problems develop within the balance of power, invariably dealing with them too late and at great cost, the Tories (e.g. Pitt the Younger and friends, representing the King's foreign policy) were all for getting stuck in at the heart of Europe and preventing the rise of an expansionist, nationalistic and hegemonic power before it came to a confrontation by forming prudent alliances, expending less energy and loss of life while shaping the European order to Britain's liking (the King being of German extraction and having an interest in Hanoverian politics). To be fair, the roles had reversed by the 19th century, where some Tories still seem stuck.

When England had extensive territories in the European mainland, it was drawn into all manner of territorial border wars occasioned by kings and princelings wanting to extend their possessions. The  fact we no longer have continental lands has imbued Britons with a sense of aloof isolationism from the constant territorial squabbles on the continent, territorial squabbles which were one of the prime drivers for the EU project and the elimination of the cause of so many continental wars - the borders between nations and nationalism.

However, we do have a border with Eire and we still possess Gibraltar. Possibly one solution is to let Northern Ireland and Gibraltar go - along with Scotland. You can't simultaneously be for Brexit and against Scottish independence - well, not without a high degree of cognitive dissonance.

Churchill was a great advocate of getting stuck in and maintaining the Balance of Power, despite being a Tory.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Dyson Deliveries

The other day I was expecting an Amazon delivery and received a notification it was 4 stops away. Looking at the map display of the location of the delivery van, I noticed it was at Dodington House.

For those who don't know, Dodington House, in Dodington Park, is the up-market residence of a bloke called Sir James Dyson. I can now see when he's buying stuff from Amazon...

Could be a bit of a security faux pas.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

That Which Was Lost Will be Found

Regarding yesterday's post analysing the European Election results - it was pointed out to me that allocating percentages of the Tory or Labour vote to Remain and Leave is based on self-identification via opinion polls prior to the European Election, which does not take into account tactical voting in this instance. Many of the Labour and Tory hard Brexiteers may well have voted for the Brexit Party, while those among the Tory and Labour Remainers had voted for one or other of the Remain parties, which makes the rump of Tory and Labour voters difficult to categorise. Nevertheless, it remains impossible to translate the vote into anything meaningful, let alone a referendum result or a General Election result due to the low turnout. Also many see these elections as a means of kicking the government without risking a change of government.

Overheard on Messenger:

Hay: "Going to Aldi - anything you need?"

Chairman: "Tools."

On Monday I had occasion to fly up to Edinburgh to pick up a car and drive it back. Now I always, without fail, get my haversack searched due to me having a Genius Boost car starter pack in the bag, which obviously sets off some alarm, but on this occasion it was a full removal of every single item.

As the security woman laid out the contents of my bag, I spotted a pack of e-cigarette atomisers that I thought I'd lost and had been nestling in the bottom of my bag. I thanked her for finding them - she laughed.

It takes a woman to find the things you misplace...

Tuesday, 28 May 2019


Just been doing some of my own analysis of the European Election results in Excel to see what can be gleaned and the cut through the rhetoric (click on the image to blow it up).


Now it's not logical to believe all the Conservative votes were in support of Brexit. Similarly it's not logical to believe all Labour votes were in support of Remain. The Conservatives are more Brexit oriented than the Labour vote - the EU is, after all, a social project.

I had to resort to analysis of opinion polls and the consensus seems to be that 25% of Conservative voters are pro Remain and 69% of Labour voters are pro Remain - this seems a reasonable assumption. I split those votes accordingly.


Total votes: 16.5m, give or take a coupe of thousand from the much smaller parties most of us haven't even heard of. That's a turnout of 36% on the basis of the December tally of registered voters, which has actually decreased slightly from the tally of 2016. Not impressive by any standards and rather surprising given the situation.

929k more votes from Remain parties than Leave parties: 47% Leave and 53% Remain. Even allocating all the Conservative votes to Leave shows Remain having more votes than Leave, by a small margin of 172.8k votes, but that stretches credulity too far given the Conservative party is split and fighting a civil war.

Compared to the 2016 referendum, the total Leave votes for the EU election were 45% of those cast in the referendum; the total total Remain votes were 54% of those cast for the referendum.


Nothing meaningful can be derived from such a low turnout - not the result of a 2nd referendum, nor the result of a General Election, where turnouts are much higher. It can, however, suggest the percentage of the electorate within which Brexit is a crucial issue, being a third of the electorate with the rest of us not really giving a damn.

Given Ukip has descended into the Very Silly Party, that only really left the Brexit Party and the DUP as staunch repositories for a Leave protest, with the Remain protest spread around a number of parties having differently nuanced manifestos, but being united on the single issue of remaining in the EU. 

The Brexit Party didn't even have a manifesto - so that is an almost pure protest vote. It's not as if it would have been difficult for Farage to produce a manifesto - all he had to do was to copy and paste from his time in charge of Ukip and it's not as if there's more than a handful of members with Farage being in total control of them (contrary to popular theory, registered subscribers are not party members - look it up if you don't believe me).

I find it perplexing that given it's not 100% certain we will leave the EU, why anyone would vote for a party with no manifesto other than an articulated wish to get us out of the EU? Should we end up remaining (and I still give the chances of that happening as more than 50%), we would end up with (on past performance) a large contingent of MEPs who only turn up 61% of the time and are not interested in fighting the UK's corner and present for crucial votes, such as fishing. If we leave it's academic, but if we remain it's disastrous and a self-fulfilling prophesy that the UK will become irrelevant. That alone suggests the Brexit Party support was a protest vote.

Given the foregoing, none of this can be extrapolated to an indication of a General Election result - well, not unless 11% of the electorate (more if scaled up to a GE turnout) is prepared to give Farage a blank cheque. He is on record as supporting the replacement of the NHS with an American style insurance system - the pensioners among his supporters will love that. It's the absence of a manifesto that makes the Brexit Party an existential danger to itself; that and it's proposed alignment with European far-right parties. I can see Brexit Party votes vanishing in a General Election, as they have done previously for Ukip. Manifestos mean more to the electorate when they involve taxes and their pockets, which is slightly perverse when you consider the consensus among 'experts' is that Brexit will hit all our pockets.

Farage is a seasoned tactician - it's the very absence of a manifesto that holds his party together, as it's policy that will split it, being an alliance of left and right, united only on one issue. Very shrewd. Once policy comes to the fore, expect a split.

For Ann Widdecombe to articulate that the Brexit Party should be party to the negotiations on the basis of this result is a nonsense - the Brexit Party is not represented in Parliament for a start and therefore has no right of representation under our constitution. I don't doubt that the EU will simply refuse to negotiate with anyone not having a constitutional right to negotiate on behalf of the government of the day. Any Brexit Party negotiators probably wouldn't bother showing up anyway. Then there's the idiocy of negotiating a No Deal Brexit.... Perhaps it's time she was put out to pasture.

One thing that can be gleaned from the election results is the number of people for whom the EU is an important issue and who won't change their minds - the hardcore. That, however, leaves a much larger number who could change their minds...

Monday, 27 May 2019

Sir Walter Raleigh & Ecology

Sir Walter Raleigh - what a bastard. We have him to thank for chips and fags.

The ecology of our garden is rather strange. We have large areas where buttercups thrive and others where there's not a one.

I can only think it is to do with soil disturbance. The patches with no buttercups are predominantly clay spoil from the house foundations excavation.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Red in Tooth and Claw

Some photos from the last couple of days:

Dead, healthy looking squirrel on the pavement near our house house - probably hit by a car. Never did think Tufty was a good advert for a road safety campaign.

Paper wasp's nest in a building in Goytre Wharf on the Monmouth and Brecon Canal, which we visited yesterday.

Literally, millions of tadpoles in a pool used to top up the Monmouth and Brecon Canal. The pool was alive with them.

Hornet crawling down the bank of the Monmouth and Brecon Canal. My specs dropped into the canal as I took this photo. Went to the pub, thinking they were lost for good. Had another look later and spotted them dimly - Hay delved into the water with her long arms and managed to grab them before a narrowboat came past to deposit silt over them and hide them for good.

Never seen a hornet before and didn't realise they were so huge. Get a bite from one of these buggers and you'd know about it.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Why Do We Work?

What is the purpose of work?

When you think about it, it's to earn enough to feed ourselves and provide a shelter, something we're eminently able to do if provided with a patch of land large enough to grow our own food and it contains enough material to build a shelter. That's how we used to survive until we started to sell our land to others or powerful people took it from us and called themselves aristocrats.

The actual reason is specialisation. I we were to fall ill, then we'd need the assistance of someone who had enough spare time to delve into the medicinal properties of herbs and have enough surplus to pay them - but we'd need to pay them in a form if surplus they lacked. If a band of marauding settlers from another family raided our settlement we'd need the assistance of some friends - we'd possibly form a militia.

Someone would inevitably sell their patch of land in return for an income from any surplus and that person buying the land would gain the benefits of scale and become specialised in land ownership.

The irony is that the whole system we currently have would create itself again from scratch and we'd all end up, possibly over a long time, working for other people in order to feed ourselves and build a shelter, buying our food from specialists and using specialists to build our shelters.

We call this progress, but I'm not so sure it is. We can become so specialised that an unforeseen collapse in one aspect or element of the society can have catastrophic consequences for the rest of it.

Margaret Thatcher was once castigated for saying there was no such thing as society. She was taken out of context; what she meant was that society is not an independent entity on its own - it depends on people contributing to it.

I mean, how else am I going to obtain an AUX to optical cable for my new speakers without going to a specialist? One that works, that is...

Friday, 24 May 2019

British Steel

It's rather ironic that the UK voted against the imposition of tariffs on cheap, imported, Chinese steel in the EU. It's also ironic that the Leave camp's solution to the loss in GDP following Brexit is to drop all import tariffs (which in itself is an admission that there will be a problem), thereby allowing the UK to be flooded with cheap imports and facilitating the consequences for British jobs.

Then, of course, there's the Conservatives' ideological position of economic Darwinism and not supporting failing businesses, even if they fail due to government policy.

Welcome to a preview of post-Brexit Britain. It's almost as if the government wants Britain to fail. Could it be because their backers can then pick over the bones of the UK and make a killing from Disaster Capitalism, as Jacob Rees-Mogg's father advocated in his book, Blood in the Streets?

However, tell many Leavers this, and they'll still believe it's all the EU's fault.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Gambling on Pampas Grass

I was listening to the Andrew Castle show on LBC Radio the other day on a DAB radio in the car. Gambling was being discussed and its effects on compulsive gamblers. Then the adverts came on and the first advert was for a gambling app for BetFred. Someone in the advertising department hadn't done their homework. 

I don't really like listening to DAB in a car. With FM you can change to a slightly different frequency if you lose the transmission, but not with DAB and you have to wait till you're in coverage again. Pain in the backside.

I heard somewhere this week that pampas grass in your garden was a sign that swingers live at the premises. 

I looked it up and it's true. Going to have to dig ours up.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Corvid May

Am I missing something in Mrs May's latest announcement?

As I read it, she's asking Parliament to vote for her deal, which effectively takes No Deal off the table, and then to vote on whether we have a 2nd referendum which, given the foregoing, means a referendum with two options - her deal or remain. 

For Remainers, what's not to like?

A bit of a sad day yesterday. Over the weekend we noticed an injured corvid limping around our garden. Yesterday I saw the same bird (at least I think it was) stumbling around the Kwik Fit car park, just down the road. When I approached it, the bird didn't seem the least bit afraid of me. I left it for a while and about half an hour later saw it standing in the middle of the road. Not wanting it to be hit by a passing car, I placed it in a safer position. It was obvious that it was badly injured or suffering from illness. Coming back a little later I was horrified to see it had died.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Carbon Emissions Per Capita

People are always on about China's and India's carbon emissions, but China is a huge country, as is India. A better analysis would be emissions per capita, which produces some surprising results when you look up the results.

Shocked? I was,

Monday, 20 May 2019

Pink England

You know how the far right has appropriated the St George's cross, much to the chagrin of the normal Brit? I know how to annoy the hell out of them.

Lobby for it to be changed to pink....

Not sure about the new Brexit Party logo.

Are they assuming that housing prices will fall over?

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Religion and Abortion

The state of Alabama has just enacted a very strict anti-abortion law which, I imagine, is driven primarily by religious conservatives of an evangelical bent.

Now Alabama also has a law that states: 

SECTION III. The purpose of the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment is to guarantee that the freedom of religion is not burdened by state and local law; and to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious freedom is burdened by government. 

Not all religions proscribe abortion. How will that circle be squared, I wonder?

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Crowds & Meaningful Votes

I forgot to leave a post yesterday. Unforgivable.

Hay went to the Gower for a couple of days this week as chauffeur for her dad and his girlfriend.

Glad I didn't go - as you can see, Oxwich Bay was a zoo.

Saw an amusing post on FaceBook yesterday. I paraphrase; "It's the year 2525 and Parliament is to stage the Meaningful Vote, yet no-one knows what it's about anymore. Parliamentarians will gather at Westminster - the capital of Lesser England - dressed in early 21st century costume to enact this quaint ritual, which has been an annual tradition since 2019, when it was held more frequently."

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Mercedes SL Class

I had occasion to visit one of our local automotive spraying companies this week and spotted this little gem in a corner.

A 1973 R107 Mercedes 450SL. It was having some rust removed and a bottom half spray.

Grant, the sprayer, told me that the owner might be interested in an offer on the car and rang him to enquire. He was prepared to accept £20,000. Rather too tasty for me. 

The old SL models are increasing in price dramatically and my 1994 R129 500SL has doubled in price in the last 3 years since I bought it.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019


Political parties in the UK have members who pay subscriptions, which allows them to have a say in the formulation of the party's policies. It may surprise you to know that this is not the case with Farage's new Brexit Party; one signs up as a 'registered supporter'.

Many column inches have been made of people signing up to the Brexit Party in their droves, but the actual membership remains only a handful - literally. It is the wholly owned property of Nigel Farage; it’s a limited company and he is in control. He can change the party's policy - not that it currently has any, and (perplexingly) won't till after the EU elections - at a whim.

The Führerprinzip (German for "leader principle") prescribes the fundamental basis of political authority. In political usage, it refers mainly to the practice of dictatorship within the ranks of a political party itself, and as such, it has become an earmark of political fascism.

This is an interesting analysis by political scientist, Professor Colin Talbot.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Inductive Reasoning

I was watching the Formula E Monaco race over the weekend - the first time I've watched an electric car race. I noted that there's a section of the track which activates a temporary 25kW boost to the cars when they go over it.

From Wikipedia:

With the fifth season, a feature called "Attack Mode" was introduced in which drivers receive an additional 25 kW of power by driving through a designated area of the circuit off the racing line. The duration of the boost mode and the number of boosts available are decided only shortly in advance of each race by the FIA to stop teams from anticipating its use and incorporating it into race strategy. All Attack Modes must be activated at the end of the race, but do not need to be used up (i.e. if a final Attack mode is activated in the penultimate lap, the driver is not penalized for having it still activated at the end of the race.)

At first I thought it was an induction charging mechanism built into the track, but it's not, it's simply a trigger point; however, induction charging strips built into motorways could be an alternative for electric road cars instead of having to spend time connected to a charging point at service stations. Expensive to introduce, but an incentive to use electric cars on longer journeys and could facilitate lighter electric cars.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Tiny Tim

Was Tiny Tim 50 years before his time?

Listen to the lyrics...

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Nationalism vs Internationalism

More from Henry Kissinger's book, World Order. In this extract, Kissinger is talking about Metternich (Austrian) and Bismarck (German), two towering figures in the development of a workable World Order in the 1800s:


The divergence in these two seminal figures’ views of the nature of international order is poignantly reflected in their definitions of the national interest. To Metternich, order arose not so much from the pursuit of national interest as from the ability to connect it with that of other states:

"The great axioms of political science derive from the recognition of the true interests of all states; it is in the general interest that the guarantee of existence is to be found, while particular interests-the cultivation of which is considered political wisdom by restless and short-sighted men-have only a secondary importance. Modern history demonstrates the application of the principle of solidarity and equilibrium . . . and of the united efforts of states . . . to force a return to the common law. " 

Bismarck rejected the proposition that power could be restrained by superior principle. His famous maxims gave voice to the conviction that security could be achieved only by the correct evaluation of the components of power:

"A sentimental policy knows no reciprocity ... Every other government seeks the criteria for its actions solely in its interests, however it may cloak them with legal deductions . . . For heaven’s sake no sentimental alliances in which the consciousness of having performed a good deed furnishes the sole reward for our sacrifice . . . The only healthy basis of policy for a great power . . . is egotism and not romanticism . . . Gratitude and confidence will not bring a single man into the field on our side; only fear will do that, if we use it cautiously and skillfully . . . Policy is the art of the possible, the science of the relative."


Metternich was an internationalist who sought consensus, whereas Bismark was a rampant nationalist who sought dominance and hegemony at any cost - usually to the detriment of others.

The self-centredness and parochialism of nationalism is an anachronism at a time when we face global, existential issues that can only be solved by working in concert and subsuming self-interest for the common good, rather like the EU project.

One threat, which has already embraced an internationalist outlook and is aiming for a global world order, is radical Islam, which does not recognise country or ethnicity - and this is its key strength. Luckily the schism between Shia and Sunni radicals means they fight each other more than they fight the West - for now. The nation states of Europe are trying to create a new world order on a secular basis, but can't while populist nationalism opposes it and tries to thwart it at every opportunity. The irony is that nationalism also sees radical Islam as a threat but, paradoxically, can only counter it with a fractured approach. History has taught us that this is an egregious mistake.

Another existential threat that can only be countered by a federalist approach is Putin, who would love nothing more than the EU to implode so he can pick off the satellites of the former USSR with impunity. Yes, NATO is a defence but if, say, Latvia were to be invaded by Putin, would NATO launch an offensive for the sake of 2m people? The answer is probably no, as proven by a war gaming exercise conducted several years ago. Relying on an unpredictable and egocentric Trump is not an answer either. However, a territorially federal EU with an army of its own would be a different matter and any territorial incursions would be treated more seriously - Putin knows that.

Israel is an example of what a small number of people with varying national backgrounds can achieve when working together for a common cause. Whether you approve or disapprove of Israel's tactics, it cannot be denied that it had made enormous strides on almost every level. Ashkenazi Jews from northern Europe and Sephardi Jews from Spain, North Africa and the Middle East - even if secular - all subsume their previous national identities to share a common identity and work with a common purpose against insurmountable odds - and succeed. The irony (and the tragedy) is that they have become vociferously nationalistic with regard to their new identity.

Interesting article by Nick Cohen - a journalist I respect - in today's Observer and Guardian about Britain's fascination with the far right. We are sleepwalking into a nightmare, led by Old Etonians who care not a jot about Britain and just want to line their pockets.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Cui Bono

So, the consensus seems to be that voting LibDem in the European Elections stands the best chance of defeating the Brexit vote. Gina Miller and several other analysts are agreed on that. Luckily for me, that's my choice too, but for reasons other than simply combating Farage.

I think it's always reasonable to follow the principle of cui bono when it comes to political funding and influence on policy - who benefits, materially or geopolitically. The Tory Party is the party of the wealthy, for the wealthy; the Labour Party is funded by the unions with the aim of social justice and jobs (not to mention union power); Brexit is funded by 'dark money', speculators and disaster capitalists, as there's always money to be made in a crashing market. The flat refusal of Farage to say where some of his funding comes from is suspicious in the extreme, especially as he's known to have trousered half a million from currency speculation on the night of the referendum in The Big Short.

I was upbraided for likening Brexiteers to England football hooligans, but when the overwhelming consensus among experts is that Brexit will do severe damage to the economy, that is simply economic vandalism; when Farage has talked about creating mayhem in the European Parliament following the European Elections, that is political vandalism. I stand by the analogy - if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the chances are it's a duck.

Friday, 10 May 2019

The Europe of Kant

I'm currently reading 'World Order' by Henry Kissenger, a proponent of Realpolitik, which is defined as politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral and ethical premises. In other words, pragmatism.

It's a history of world order, or international relations for the prevention of war, going through (as far as Europe is concerned) the Westphalian System, the Concert of Europe, etc, ending with the EU. I was surprised to discover that the philosopher, Immanuel Kant, was one of the first proponents of a federal Europe to prevent nationalism, which he saw as the prime cause of war.

The answer, Kant held, was a voluntary federation of republics pledged to non-hostility and transparent domestic and international conduct. Their citizens would cultivate peace because, unlike despotic rulers, when considering hostilities, they would he deliberating about “calling down on themselves all the miseries of war.” Over time the attractions of this compact would become apparent, opening the way toward its gradual expansion into a peaceful world order. It was nature’s purpose that humanity eventually reason its way toward “a system of united power, hence a cosmopolitan system of general political security” and “a perfect civil union of mankind.”

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Deck Chairs on the Titanic

Why does the Tory party think removing Mrs May will actually achieve anything positive? I'm totally  mystified, as it won't change the numbers in Parliament. If one of the Brexit supporting elite gets the position it can only make the situation worse. The only way to break the deadlock is a 2nd referendum and even then only if there's a substantial majority either way. 

Yet another narrow win by either side still won't put the matter to bed for good. It was pure insanity on the part of Cameron to not insist on a supermajority the first time around. The whole point of a supermajority is to stop argument dead in its tracks.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

No Deal

It would seem Brexiteers are engaging in a spot of revisionism about the Leave vote; they seem to want to believe that Leave meant no deal and that's what they voted for in 2016, when nothing could be further from the truth.

The term 'No Deal' was invented by Theresa May when she was PM and she said; "No Deal is better than a bad deal." Before the 2016 referendum the promise from the Vote Leave campaign was a wide-ranging deal that would give us the all the benefits without the cost.

In the run-up to the referendum, Daniel Hannan said; “Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the single market." Owen Patterson said; “Only a madman would actually leave the market.” David Davis said; “Within minutes of a vote for Brexit the CEO’s of Mercedes, BMW, VW and Audi will be knocking down Chancellor Merkel’s door, demanding that there be no barriers to German access to the British market.” Fast forward to 2017 and we were told by Liam Fox that a trade deal with the EU 'would be the easiest is human history". There is no doubt that Brexiteers were promised all the benefits without the cost and that was the basis of the Leave campaign.

It now transpires that a deal of the nature envisioned and promised is impossible due to Mrs May's red lines not being matched to the red lines that form the basis of the very existence of the EU.

Those who now maintain they voted for no deal in 2016 are mistaken - Leave was on the specific basis of an FTA with the EU. This is the FTA Mrs May has been negotiating for nearly 3 years and which the ERG and their ilk don't want. Unsurprisingly, the speculators and disaster capitalists who comprise the ERG want the most damaging Leave option for the obvious reason they can profiteer from it.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

The FSB Revolution

Getting a tad worried about the chaps who have rented our cabins for the last 3 years...

Spotted this on the door of one of the cabins. Doesn't look like a Russian number to me, but it could be a local UK cell...

Talking of Russia, I was thinking about the difference between a civil war and a revolution and couldn't distinguish between the two, so I did a bit of Googling.

One analysis suggested that ‘Our preconceptions about the two forms of [violence] strive to keep them apart ... Civil wars are destructive; revolutions are progressive. Civil wars are sterile; revolutions are fertile with innovation and transformative possibilities.'

This seems to agree with most definitions I can find - civil wars are generally fought by opposing factions for control without any major change to the constitution, whereas revolutions generally lead to a radically new form of government.

I was surprised to discover that since 1989, over 95% of conflicts are civil wars or revolutions, as opposed to wars between sovereign states.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Amazon Conspiracy Theory Walk

Went for a walk from Wotton-under-Edge to Newark Park and back yesterday with our friends, Simon and Ellie, stopping off for some coffee at Newark Park.

I traced our route using Plot-a-Route, which is quite handy for planning a walk.

While we were walking we were discussing conspiracy theories (antivaxxers in particular) and thought it might be fun to start one and see how fast it spread. Being ethical, we wanted a conspiracy theory that was pretty harmless, but couldn't really come up with anything concrete.

Conspiracy theories appear to stem, to a large extent, from epistemic (a way to make sense of chaos and random events), existential (the pursuit of safety, security, and empowerment), and social motives (a desire for belonging to a group with a shared belief system). They contain a number of key elements.

  • a pattern, 
  • deliberate action by a coalition working in conjunction, 
  • an element of harmful threat, and 
  • an element of secrecy. 

They're associated with ideological belief systems that promote hostility toward different groups and are empirically related with populism, political extremism and religious fundamentalism. Large numbers of ordinary citizens believe in a consistent set of conspiracy theories with common themes related to health and safety and politics.

We came to the conclusion that if our invented conspiracy theory did take off and we exposed it as invented, the nature of conspiracy theorists would result in the exposure not being believed anyway.

While out I was expecting an Amazon delivery of some books. The house is plastered with signs telling anyone with a delivery to put it in the new porch.

What did the delivery person do? They left the parcel in the shed with a note on the very door where the instruction was...

I feel a conspiracy theory coming up about Amazon delivery people...

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Game of Brexit

The Tory Party (whoever that actually is) calls for unity within the party while the top brass are simultaneously stabbing each other in the back. You couldn't make it up. It's Game of Thrones.

I see House Johnson has been caught telling porkies once more.

Warren Buffet has a business maxim; be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. The surplus of fear over Brexit in the UK these days makes it an ideal shopping place for Buffett.

We were watching Miriam Margoyles in Miriam's Dead Good Adventure, where she explores our relationship with death. I adore Miriam - she should be Prime Minister. In one part of the programme she was looking at people making their own coffins. She joined in and said that despite being atheist, she identified as Jewish. I find it strange that she should say this - it's like me saying I'm atheist but identify as Christian, which is a nonsense. It would seem there's more to being Jewish than just the religious aspect - it's cultural.

Saturday, 4 May 2019


I'm trying to find a DAB radio with a CD player that can drive external speakers, and it's like trying to mine gold.

Plenty of DAB radios on the market - they look hideously retro, by the way - but it's almost impossible to find one at a reasonable price that can connect to external speakers. The specs on these things show the bare minimum.

Why do the damned things have to be made of wood?

Bought one the other day on Amazon and had to send it back. Not enough power to drive external speakers. It's to replace a Phillips unit that's 9 years old, does the job adequately in terms of speaker connections, but has become somewhat unreliable. 

Any suggestions welcome.

Friday, 3 May 2019


Conservatives and Ukip routed with Labour not faring at all well at the local elections - who'd have thought it possible?

Anyone with a brain, that's who. Can't wait for the final results and what the response will be. I'm still forecasting a 2nd referendum, as I have been doing for the last 2 years, and still believe May is playing the long game and biding her time till the polls show a near as dammit supermajority for Reman. Any narrow win for Remain would still not settle the question, so it has to be a convincing win.

Thursday, 2 May 2019


Whereas I might carry a new banknotes on me occasionally, I rarely carry loose change. For one thing, it has a habit of falling out of my pockets, as modern pockets are not as deep as they once were.

The people who suffer from this, in my estimation, are window cleaners and barbers, although this has been addressed by myself and my barber. 

My window cleaner has charged £15 for the last 6 years and I used to pay him in cash, ensuring I had £15 in notes somewhere in the house at all times. If he were to increase his fee to £16, I'd have a problem sourcing the extra change, and he knows that, which is probably why he has been reluctant to increase his prices. Once I started working away from home, and given he only calls once a month, I started to do a bank transfer, which does allow me to give him sums of money not divisible by 5, but he hasn't twigged yet. Perhaps he's waiting to increase the fee to £20.

My barber has always charged £10, and I noticed every time I visited that customers kept saying; "I don't  have any extra change for the tip." A tenner is easy - £11 is difficult if you only have notes. Yes, you can proffer £15, but the barber himself generally doesn't have change either. The barber solved this by recently facilitating card payments, but he has to pay a fee to obtain this facility...

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Mobile Recharging

A friend who lives and works in Dubai has alerted to me a new App and service in the region. Need to fuel your car or boat? Use this App and someone comes along and fills your car or boat, wherever you happen to be.

I wonder whether this would be an application for recharging electric vehicles - now that would be useful in certain circumstances.