Aug 282019

Today Boris the Bodger called the privy council up to prorogue parliament to stop those ever so inconvenient representatives of the people from causing more trouble for his agenda. There are those who go so far as to call this a cout d’état – not entirely unreasonably although it is probably legal.

There are those who are disappointed that the Queen agreed to the proroguing of parliament, but why should she? Disregarding the ‘advice’ of the Prime Minister would go against what she has spent her entire reign doing – being a symbolic head of state in a parliamentary democracy.

Because it’s a lifetime ago, it is all too easy to forget that the Queen ascended the throne with the monarchy in crisis – her uncle had abdicated in 1936 and her father reigned for a relatively short time. She has spent her long reign rebuilding trust in the monarchy.

There are those who will say what happened was not democratic (and I’m inclined to agree with them) but the Queen can quite reasonably point out that she acted in a democratic way – she assented to the request of the Prime Minister elected by parliament.

If anything undemocratic went on, it was done by Boris the Bodger, and parliament has a duty to take care of that.

Surfing The Sky

Aug 172019

There is a quite amusing social media feed shaming the poor behaviour of airline passengers which is fair enough – some of the behaviour is quite nasty and shaming it is quite reasonable.

But they also seem to have a foot phobia – naked feet are themselves considered sufficient to be worthy of public shaming. Why?

Now I am not talking about sticking your naked feet in someone’s ear, or anywhere else that closer to someone’s nose than necessary. But on the floor? Why not?

Well there are those who are horrified by the sight of naked feet, and without a good reason there is no harm in not horrifying them.

But there are sometimes good reasons – I have psoriasis and wearing socks and shoes in a warm environment results in sweaty feet. Which in turn results in socks feeling like a cheese grater on my suppurating sores on my feet.

So screw your anti-foot fetish; I’m getting my feet naked whenever I feel the need for it.

The Window

Jul 272019

Back when the Brexit referendum result was announced, I (as a remainer) was reasonably content that we should have Brexit – and then start campaigning to rejoin the EU. But things have changed.

What has not changed (but is still worth reminding ourselves) is that the margin of victory was very narrow – the Leavers like to claim there is a clear mandate for leaving the EU. A mandate yes, but any referendum that is won by such a narrow margin is not exactly a “clear mandate”.

And it has become clear that the referendum campaigns were conducted in a way that was probably in violation of UK law – questionable funding sources, connections to some very dubious US ‘politicians’ and of course the Russian connection.

Various credible sources have indicated that Russian social media trollbots were very active during the lead up to the referendum.

Does this invalidate the referendum result? It would not be totally unreasonable to argue that it does – whilst disregarding the referendum could well be regarded as undemocratic, the level of interference in the referendum is also undemocratic.

But rather than concentrating on that, let us take a look at “no deal”. The referendum was not asking whether we should crash out of the EU with no deal; the implication was always that there would be some sort of deal to our benefit (although why the EU should agree to a deal favourable to the UK was always a bit questionable).

So all those who voted for Brexit were not necessarily voting for “Brexit under all circumstances”; they were voting for a Brexit with a beneficial deal. In these circumstances, it is more democratic to cancel Article 50 if no deal is possible – only extremists want a “no deal” Brexit.

Because that was the choice in the referendum – remain, or to leave with a decent deal – because all the leave campaigners were saying we would get a good deal.

The Paths Meet

Jul 172019

Trump’s twitch. No not that one, the tweet about certain congresspeople “going home” (despite the fact that of the four women targeted, three were born in the USA).

Quite rightly it has been labelled as “racist” but without meaning to minimise that criticism, that is a personal insult to the four women (and we can get outraged on their behalf). But something that has been less pronounced: it’s also an insult to every single voter who elected those four women.

Trump was criticising those four women because they are criticising US government policy; as duly elected representatives and part of the US government, they are doing what they were elected to do. Criticising those women for doing their job is essentially saying they are not entitled to do their job and in turn those who voted for them are not entitled to their say.

And this attack on democracy is as important to highlight as the racism.

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