Recent Politics, and why I am fed up.

Note:  Much of the background information is for foreign readers, who have no idea what is going on in Britain…

With the ongoing chaos that revolves around “Brexit” (a term that I believe trivialises the actuality), my thoughts are that it might be a “Good Thing” if the British parliament could endeavour to adopt the system of many other European countries: that of collaborative coalition between parties. Instead we have two large parties and several smaller ones that will engage in limited coalition to achieve a specific target, but are mainly deeply entrenched in their own policies.

In the UK we historically had two parties: the Whigs and the Tories. They evolved in the 20th century into the Liberals vs the Conservatives (still nick-named the Tories). Then the Labour Party emerged, representing the working class. Eventually the labour and Conservative parties became the main protagonists, with the Liberals sidelined.

Early in my “eligible to vote” timeline, the Liberals combined with some disgruntled members of (mainly) the Labour party to form the Liberal Democrats. Later smaller parties such as Plaid Cymru (Welsh nationalists), the Scottish National Party and the Green Party began to emerge.

In the 1970s the UK population was unusually allowed (instigated by the Conservatives) a referendum and voted to join the European Economic Community (EEC). Since then, through various treaties, the EEC has evolved to become something more similar to the USA, and several former Soviet states have joined. Not only has this become a larger power bloc, but is perceived by the Russians (their own power bloc having in the meantime disintegrated) as a potential threat as actual military integration between the EU states becomes a possibility.

Later, as the idea of leaving the new European Union (EU) – which was beginning to look like the USA or the former Soviet Union – began to raise its head, UKIP (The United Kingdom Independence Party) arrived on the scene.

The UK held another referendum in 2016 about whether to leave the EU. It was narrowly won by the “leavers” at 52% vs 48%. The instigator of the referendum, David Cameron, having not achieved his expected answer made a cowardly resignation speech and left the problem to the new leader, Theresa May. Unfortunately she deigned (possibly having no idea) to outline how we would implement the decision, merely stating “Brexit means Brexit”.

Two years of negotiation between the UK leader and the EU leaders went on. Then the leaving plan was presented to Parliament and rejected. Parliament then voted in an unprecedented step to take over the control of “Brexit”, but failed many times over many weeks to agree on any way out; or if the UK should leave at all; or indeed anything!

Next week we vote for our EU representatives, even though we do not expect them to actually take up their jobs before we leave in October 2019 (the latest deadline).
This is yet another expensive vote that will only serve to indicate the will of the public.

It looks increasingly like there will be a second referendum, costing umpteen millions of taxpayers money, to decide whether the UK will still go its own way or if we will remain as EU partners, in which case the last three years have been a total waste of parliamentary time and taxpayers’ money, both of which could well have been utilised to better public use.

 

Disgruntled with the “News”

This evening I was wondering if I was watching the news on TV or some satirical programme.

First I hear that the broadcaster Danny Baker has been summarily sacked by the BBC for publishing a photograph that would not be out of place on the front cover of “Private Eye” (a publication edited by another popular BBC personality).  It was labelled as “racist”, despite it being an archive photograph of two people and a chimpanzee.  Which race, I ask, was suffering any harm or insult from this photograph?

The next story involved a government department warning that people may have to move away from areas liable to flooding, while at the same time advising that building on flood plains is likely to double in the next 50 years.

Why?

Changing channel I heard that we would be hearing from a correspondent “momentarily”.  Sorry, but why bother to employ a correspondent if they are not to be allowed more than a moment to make their report?

I think I will stick to the satirical “news” programmes.  At least in those the contributors tend to think before they speak.

2018 Politics

The USA has in the past year revelled in isolationist policies, probably to the detriment of the rest of the world.  Hello USA.  There is a “rest of the world”, and it isn’t ALL anti-USA, but the proportion may be growing.

On the other hand the UK has agonised about its actual policies, trying to decide whether to be isolationist, semi-isolationist, semi-integrated, totally integrated or something in between.  

At home I listen to the news and analysis thereof.  I have decided that actually watching TV news is about 20% informative and 80% time wasted.

I wonder if the USA has an adequate system of regulation against the accidental election of an idiot to control so many national governmental institutions.  The USA of course has a defined constitution, amended over time to be highly detailed, but possibly still inadequate.   Any writer of rules must know that one cannot pre-regulate every possible situation.

I also wonder of the UK system of government is too tightly bound, in that nothing can actually be changed until sufficient elected members consider that there will otherwise be a catastrophe, and then it is referred to another, un-elected, group, many of whom are more experienced and less reliant on public opinion, to rationalise the decisions of those who are.  The UK famously has no written constitution, but law is based on expanding precedent.  Parliament has its own rules, sometimes outside general law.

Meanwhile, the Chinese appear to be the bogeymen for the USA, whereas Russia is the UK’s current nasty, with the EU as the focus of current attention.

Happy 2019 everyone.  I expect more of the same.

How would we cope without the internet?

There has been a massive failure in access to the internet through the O2 network today.

I know that I am relying on the very same technology that just failed us today in order to distribute this message, but is this not a warning about our reliance on constant access to the internet to be able to run our lives nowadays?

Maybe it’s time t wake up and check the alternatives, if there still are any…

From a pedant

I freely admit that I am a pedant.  I also acknowledge that language evolves. But I am becoming increasingly annoyed about the wrongful use of the word “multiple”.

I hear it all the time nowadays.  The latest was on the BBC news “multiple people have been shot…”

I believe they mean “many”, or “several”, or “some” or “a number of” or even “lots of”.  Multiple people by definition means people composed of several components, which I guess means all of us.  It is not any form of quantitative evaluation.

If we could please revert to the real meaning of “multiple”, as in “six is a multiple of two and three”, maybe we could also dispense with the horrid dumbing down phrase of “timesed by” rather than the correct “multiplied by”.

Of course, three times two equals six, and three multiplied by two equals six, but “timesed by” makes no sense whatsoever.  I cannot find any definition of the word “timesed” except in the plebian “Wiktionary”, compiled by contributors of no officially recognised knowledge of the subject matter.