Thursday, 2 November 2017

Spreadsheets are dangerous

Who'd have thunk it, Treesa's marginal power base, rickety cabinet and what can only be described as a William II drama for the modern day is about to be rent asunder by a spreadsheet.

We all know that men in most circumstances should keep their hands in their own pants, ideally trouser pockets.  As for the inevitable symptoms of Dunning Kruger forcing them to verbalise anything that occurs as their lonely neurons occasionally bump in to each other, I can only recommend a generous facial application of Duct Tape.

The parliamentary researchers who compiled this list are worthy of better protection than the whistle-blower protections previously afforded when the challenge is to power, but I fear the dark forces are massing - to dig in, deceive and minimise.

So here it is, proof positive that spreadsheets have finally proven to be the "killer application"

Monday, 4 May 2015

Go on, make Dave's day

5 years ago, my it does seem longer, David Cameron went to the polls with some very specific commitments, strident views on the threat of minority government and a plea to vote him out in 5 years if he didn't deliver.  This Thursday is your opportunity to reward him.

Have you forgotten David Cameron's contract?  Here it is, in full:

Sunday, 26 April 2015

What - you've got a vote?

As a political nerd (geek?) I'm growing increasingly frustrated by the appalling coverage of the place of Scottish MPs in Westminster. A few facts need aired:

1. Of the 650 MPs, 82% will be representing English constituencies

2. The English press complain that English MPs have no say on Scottish issues yet Scottish MPs, in common with all other MPs, also have no say on Scottish issues. With the exception of reserved issues the bulk are devolved to the Scottish Parliament. We vote for Scottish MPs to represent us at national level and protect our legitimate interest in reserved areas - that's democracy.

3. There are 58 MPs representing Welsh and Northern Irish constituencies, in common with their Scottish counterparts they have no say in their representative bodies (Scotland has 59) - who's running scared of their influence?

4. Devolution created a federalised UK, the fact that Westminster MPs failed to address the paradox of English representation at that time lies squarely on their shoulders. As I see it 82% of MPs failed to represent their own constituents best interests - it's not the Scots, Welsh or Irish who are at fault.

5. Scotland voted to remain in the Union, their electorate have a right to vote for whomever they want. This is not undue influence, it's democracy and it's never perfect.


Sunday, 8 March 2015

The winner takes it all?

Labour won't answer the simple "SNP - friend or foe?" question - so there they are red-faced, grotesquely wriggling, squeaking and squealing in a tight gap, firmly lodged between the stone of stupidity and the mountain of complete lack of understanding of political tactics. It's fun in a knuckle biting way, my hands are bleeding profusely but I'm quite happy. The reticence of Labour shoe-ins to do anything other than pretend that the only way to convince the historically disengaged Scottish electorate is to treat them like the idiot-children of "Old New Labour" is insulting, the electorate have changed, did you miss that memo?  How very dare they threaten us with a seemingly random selection of self-evident sound-bites that equate to - vote for anybody else, don't get us, and that'll be really bad (sic).

The Sky News chart below is hilarious in a very sanguine way, and in one polychromatic infographic, a compelling reason to abolish first-past-the-post elections.

With so much effort being put into trying to convince the electorate that they know nothing about the complex world of politics, that without a helpful and upstanding member of the establishment telling them how to vote they'd end up eating their ballot paper, you've got to wonder why we are allowed a vote at all.  But let's not go there, for that is where madness lies: we could end up with a non elected second chamber, a monarch or a scrutineering committee drawn from the house - that wouldn't be democratic at all, would it?

Anyhoo back to my ramblings...

What really boils my pot is the inevitability of it all, no matter what we've done, how we've cast our votes, we get the same white middle-class-career-politics-prime-minister surrounded by business worshiping clones, don't we?  They may be available in red with a blue tint, or blue with a crazy glint, but that's not enough.

I know none of the UK parties (that count) are talking about electoral reform, any notion in that direction has long since curdled.  So now in a unexpectedly welcome turn of events they're having it forced on them, red hot and inserted right where they didn't expect.

We didn't witness a collapse or wholesale reform of our democratic system as a result of the injurious banking collapse, our representatives changed little after the expenses disclosures, Snowden, Manning et al haven't halted the perpetual war being used to remove our freedoms, austerity has crushed the poorest and most disadvantaged into a margin where all they can do is feed off each other whilst tacitly accepting that they have to pay for their own discomfort, all the while the rich and powerful amass wealth and influence beyond the dreams of avarice, aren't we due some payback?  In short there was no revolution, at a time when it might have been most easily justified, I was disappointed personally, but I think something just might have pricked the usually politically somnolent electorate.

It's becoming clear that we are no longer falling in line and identifying with the traditional political binary, that's got to be for the greater good.  It may be disconcerting for the tacticians within the 1 vs 0 traditional parties, who seem unable to make sense of it, personally I'm clapping like a hungry performing seal at that thought; herring breath, loud barks and everything.

Other countries, and close to home Scotland, have alternative electoral systems, I'd argue superior to FPTP and certainly more able to reflect the range of opinion within society. Scotland's adoption of AMS and STV is to be credited in part for the recent departure from the flip flop of Labour or Conservative we've lived with throughout the 20th century.  What's dawned on voters fortunate enough to live north of Hadrian's Wall is that by engaging with politics and voting they can effect change, wherever their cross goes.  Sure some complain that hand in hand with this goes minority governments, compromise, discussion, temporary alliances on an issue by issue basis - isn't that positive? Embrace it - it might just be a step closer to consensus and representative politics, this voter thinks so.  Throughout my adult life I've never voted for the winner in any election, but as I've come to realise that's not the point, is it?

Here's hoping that Westminster takes note, this may be an opportunity to find a way of embracing more representative politics, long overdue after the lowest common denominator self-harming coalition we've lived with for the last 5 years.  Oh and on that subject don't get me started on fixed term periods of employment for politicians, I only wish the overly patronised hard working public could be guaranteed the same.

Vote SNP, vote Labour, vote Green, vote Conservative, don't vote as a protest, campaign for something - just engage; you might just be surprised what happens.  After a 5 year gap in my blogging, that's what I'm trying to do, right here.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Where did she go?

I return from my now customary annual break from blogging renewed, reinvigorated, radicalised and resolute - and in part determined to use as many words beginning in the letter R as is womanly possible, or so it would appear.

Where have I been?

What have I been doing?

With whom and why?

Who cares?

Now that would be telling, that is I mean I will be telling: Such tales I have collected, things I have witnessed - adventure, philosophy, derring-do, psychopaths and mountainpaths, drunken nights in bothies and damp nights under sodden canvas - or to be precise whatever very flammable (as I discovered) artificial canvas substitute modern tents are taped together with.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The wrong kind of snow hits City Chambers...

Following quickly on the heels of universal criticism of the country's councils inability to deal with the right kind of snow over the last few months,  news reaches me of yet another story of the perils of the wrong kind of snow.

So officers from SCDEA had a meeting with the ill fated ex-leader of Glasgow City Cooncil to warn him he was keeping bad company as a result of his nose for Columbian sneezing powder.  Since when were the Drug Squad tasked with protecting a speeding yet paranoid politician who is unaccountably but overwhelmingly emboldened with an unjustified sense of his own omnipotence? Mind you, putting pen to paper to describe the likely effects of Charlie on Mr Purcell results in a description that seems very close to a breakdown of the personality traits of your average politician, sans narcotic alkaloids.

Cocaine changes people, and as somebody who has worked in and around the creative industries I've witnessed these non too subtle alterations close up, often literally, in my face.  Many of the so called high flyers I've met depend almost entirely on drug assistance to fly high; their drive, ambition and ruthlessness derived from the stimulants they chose to consume on a daily basis. Unknown to colleagues their 'success' and the personality to which it is credited is almost entirely dependent on that overwhelming sense of purpose and invulnerability that is in the gift of a gramme or two of Yeyo a day.

Perhaps Stephen Purcell isn't really that driven politician the derisible Scottish Labour movement would have us believe but just another example of an altered personality suffering under the delusion of Coca inspired ambition and superiority.  That would account for him getting very little done whilst giving the impression of being super-humanly industrious - that's pretty much in keeping with your average cokehead, and suspiciously the Labour party in general - hmmmm...

So where do those Labour bloggers Yappy and Smugdale stand on this?  Their silence speaks volumes - and after all that grandstanding over Lunchgate and Sturgeongate (I hate that gate thing)...

Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Poetry of Reality

Having spent the last week immersed in the application of science and engineering, professionally speaking, I was pleased when a colleague sent me a link to this. Just thought I'd share. Have a great weekend.

The Symphony of Science project lives here