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Politics today.
Today's ramblings consist of a sarcastic anti-Brexit rant aimed primarily at Patel and Rees-Mogg.
If that's not your cup of tea, don't bother reading any further.
And if you're a coffee drinker, may God have mercy on your soul.


Dear Priti Patel

There's always a reason an excuse to not do anything about Johnson.
Oh, we can't get rid of him whilst in the midst of negotiations regarding Ukraine.
Oh, we can't get rid of him during the Jubilee celebrations.
Oh, we can't...

Yes you can.
The only reason why you, Patel, and people like you, want to make a big deal of not doing anything about his utter disregard for, well, everything... is because you are all such a bunch of thoroughly dislikable people that if anybody with a modicum of morality was chosen to be Prime Minister, you would all be booted firmly in the arsehole, and with any luck forcibly extradited to the Chiltern Hundreds.

You know, Patel, I used to think May was a god-awful horrible excuse of a Home Secretary. She's basically Athena, compared to you.

I know, I know, nobody in British politics (and precious few in England) would give the slightest inkling of a damn about what I think as I've buggered off to another country. But, just so you know, you are the sort of person that makes me embarrassed to be British.

These days, I tell people that I'm Scottish. At least that's "something about guys that wear skirts, bagpipes, porridge, and whisky", which is actually funny given that this is Brittany so kilts and bagpipes are a thing here too!


All the glorious Brexit Benefits

Earlier in the year, that nasty vampire Rees-Mogg rose from the dead to invite poeple to send him reasons of why Brexit totally rocks. Now, we knew right from the outset that this was going to be a total shitshow because he asked Express readers. To put that into a context that Americans might understand, it would be like asking viewers of Tucker Carlson for suggestions on how to revise the Constitution.

The result? Two thousand suggestions, which were wittled down to a "best nine". God only knows what sort of insane dribbling passed for the other one thousand, nine hundred, and ninety one suggestions.
Well, actually, given it's Daily Express readers, they could probably discard a few hundred for being gramatically and typographically incoherent.

The thing is, given the scary list of things that want to blatantly strip employee and environmental protections, I can't help but think that Rees-Mogg, or some part of his cabal, thought up these things, and the "let's ask Daily Express readers" was just a smokescreen to make it seem like the public suggested them. Classic manipulation, and not even subtle.

Anyway... let's delve into the toilet bowl...


1. Encourage fracking, shortcut rules on planning consultation via emergency act.

Really? Now, the problem with fracking isn't the potential for seismic disturbances. The problem is that it pollutes the water table. And this isn't something that can be undone, or feasibly reversed or fixed.
Even more disturbing is not only encouraging fracking (which I can sort of understand given the current situation with Russian oil), it's the idea of using an emergency act to skip over the current rules on creating such sites.
You and I both know that everybody is going to be NIMBY about this. Fracking is bloody long as it's happening somewhere else.


2. Abolish the EU regulations that restrict vacuum cleaner power to 1400 watts.

Utterly pointless, pathetic, and useless.
Why? Because at work I have a little grey and yellow Karcher vacuum cleaner. It is rated 800W. It sucks better than any vacuum cleaner I've ever used in my life, and that includes a Henry (1991 model).

The only reason you need more than a kilowatt in a vacuum cleaner is if it's a complete piece of shit designed by drunken monkeys. To put this into context, the motor that spins the drum in your washing machine is probably something in the order of 450-600W. All a vaccum cleaner needs to do is spin a fan blade to move air to create suction. It doesn't have several kilograms of soggy clothes to deal with. Oh, sorry, you may be British so that would be... about a stone.

If the device is competently sealed and airtight, then something in the order of 800-1000W will be completely adequate. People only got into the habit of "bigger is better" because it allowed companies to relax manufacturing tolerances and make poor design choices because, hey, why build a vacuum cleaner properly when they can just toss a 1800W motor in it and print "1800W!!!!" on the body, as if 1800W of pure awesome jizz-inducing power will magically strip every last piece of dirt from the mess that passes for their carpet.

Trust me. My 800W Karcher will outperform whatever 1800W piece of crap you bought in Argos.


3. Remove precautionary principle restrictions (for instance) on early use of experimental treatments for seriously ill patients and GM crops.

You know the government (and not Daily Express readers) came up with these when seeing seriously ill patients and GM crops conflated in such a way.

Personally, I am not sure about GM crops. There has been a lot of manipulation of crops through the years, such as selective breeding. Not to mention the many many crops denoted as "F1".
Is generic modification really any different if it is forced in a laboratory? I wouldn't knowingly eat it, but given I eat a fair bit of stuff from the US and Asia, I bet I'm unknowingly eating it.

As for seriously ill patients... well... let me dangle the name Vismodegib. My mother was seriously ill, she had cancer. It was spreading. Vismodegib fixed that. It killed her.
It was a risk, a gamble, and not one that worked. Maybe, given how cancer usually goes and what happened in early 2020, her death "before things got bad" was for the best? Remember, we both worked as Care Assistants in nursing homes, so we both know what "things got bad" means.
Just ask yourself, if it was your loved one, would you be happy with them being treated with an experimental medicine for which the precautionary stages were glossed over because... mumble mumble some incoherent bullshit mumble.


4. Abolish rules around the size of vans that need an operator's licence.

I'm going to skip over this as I don't know what it actually means. For instance, you need a driver's licence to drive a van, right?
Or does this mean a person who learned to drive in a Ford Mondeo can then go and rent a three-ton with no additional training? Because if so, that's a bit crazy.
But, then, we are talking about the government that recently decided to revise many of the rules regarding cycling on roads, in a way that I'm surprised hasn't led to fatalities.


5. Abolish EU limits on electrical power levels of electrically assisted pedal cycles.

Oh, hell, yes! This is great. Let's get a bunch of LiPo battery packs, wire them in series and dump about 130V into a 48V motor. You won't clock me speeding in a 30 zone, you'll clock me speeding in a 70 zone. On a pushbike. YES, GOD, YES!

Which is about the only rational response to that. I mean, why else would anybody want to get rid of power level limits on electric bikes? If you want to wet yourself in terror on two wheels, just get a damn motorbike...


6. Allow certain medical professionals, such as pharmacists and paramedics, to qualify in three years.

The hell? I can maybe understand a faster qualification for a pharmacist because, as far as I'm aware, they don't prescribe anything. So they'll need to know a lot of guff about medicine interactions, and also some basic medical knowledge for recommending the right sort of over-the-counter product for a bunch of non-serious medical conditions, with them kicking anything more serious over to an actual trained doctor. (or has this changed in my absence?)

But qualifying a paramedic in three years? Are you out of your tiny freaking minds? Given their work environment and what they do, I'd say they probably have to be better trained than any regular GP. After all, a GP can sit in a calm room and have you explain your problems to him or her. A paramedic, on the other hand, needs to be able to assess your broken and mangled body to know how best to get you onto a gurney. All the while, you might be unconscious or so out of it as to be useless. So, literally, your life will be in their hands. Your hopes of recovery may depend on their skill and competence. Trained in three years...FFS.


7. Remove requirements for agency workers to have all the attributes of a permanent employee.

Anybody who agrees with this: Screw you. Screw your parents. And grandparents. In fact, screw your entire genetic lineage right back to the Tiktaalik.

As an agency Care Assistant, we were not guaranteed work. As such, we were classed as part time employees. Sure, we had the freedom to turn down work or take off days as we felt. But we also tended to work 36-48 hours a week (six hours or eight hours six days a week). At that time there was no job protection, favouritism was rampant and there was utterly no recourse other than to quit and join a different agency, no rights to paid holidays, no sick pay, and there was no right of equality in pay, hours, or conditions. The pay part didn't tend to affect us as agency CAs are often reasonably well paid; however agency workers in some other fields - especially if imported foreigners - were frequently paid a lot less than a proper employee, and often under duress (such as "do this or else").

Agency workers should be considered proper employees of the agency that they are working for. Their contract should clearly state that there is no obligation on behalf of the employer to provide them with regular full time work (such is the nature of agency work), but in return for that, the employee does not have to accept all work offered. It's give and take on both sides. However, to strip away their rights... only a Tory could come up with such a plan.


3. Simplify the calculation of holiday pay (eg 12.07 percent of pay) to make it easier for businesses to operate.

As opposed to what? Isn't it basically the amount paid divided by the number of hours worked? Or some pro-rata amount of days per month?

I simply don't buy this "making it easier" excuse, unless there are companies still working this stuff out by hand with an abacus instead of using some sort of software package like any sane company.0


9. Reduce requirements for businesses to conduct fixed wire testing and portable application testing.

What this means is that the workplace electrical safety tests should be relaxed. But using the nerdy term "fixed wire testing" so it isn't quite as obvious that that's what this means.
I wonder how many Express readers even know these terms. Or why such testing is important. They'll likely instead whinge about "stupid EU red tape", despite the fact that the EU red tape has been very definitively dwarfed by the amount of non-EU red tape.



Given that the Daily Express readers are not, shall we say, in the higher echelons of society, the sheer amount of stripping away previous rights, obligations, and requirements does seem rather like turkeys voting for Christmas. If, indeed, you believe that it really was Express readers that came up with these ideas.
Put simply, Brexit seems to be a pretty solid reason to toss out anything related to Health and Safety, in the race to Britain becoming the Banana Republic of Europe (Britain is a functional Republic even though it has a Royal Family as the royals have no power other than suckling on the public teat).

On the other hand, given that Rees-Mogg is like some awful caricature of the Victorian Era, it's perhaps not a surprise that his the suggestions harken a return to such times. Next it'll be taking unruly children out of schools and making them work up 't mill or down 't mine. Can't send the little buggers up chimneys any more. That means carbon, and that's a big no-no. Well, I suppose (given Thatcher wrecked mining and textiles are made by machines) they could always send children out into the fields to slosh around in the mud pulling up the veg that the Romanians used to do far more efficiently.

There is not one single thing in any of this that is in any way a benefit. At least, not to the average Joe. It's just ways to make people poorer and less safe. Less safe at work. Less safe at home. Less safe in hospitals. Less safe in general.

Yeah. There's no way that even a delusional Express reader actually came up with this rubbish.


The sea is like the internet before the internet

A woman called Penny Mordaunt has been talking up how great a liberated Brexit Britain is. She is quoted (in the Express) as saying:
For Britain, the sea was the internet before the internet. It meant you were never far from new ideas, new places and different people.
Our first pioneers in trade harnessed new infrastructure and technologies. They learnt to hustle.

Please allow me to rephrase this slightly more realistically:

For Britain, the sea was a primary means of communication. It meant you were never far from new places to colonise and different people to enslave.
Our first pioneers harnessed indigenous natives to build infrastructure. They got rich off the backs of others.

Once you skip past all the foreign invasions in history and get to the part where Britain becomes the closest it ever became to being a superpower (the days of glory of the creation of the British Empire) you'll quickly learn that all the pink bits on the map are nothing to be proud of. Yes, it's impressive to have an empire. How it got the empire, and how it maintained it are not stories of fairytale princesses and swashbuckling knights. Not content with thoroughly breaking their own country, the English went and broke the rest of the world, leaving their footprint across time and space.

My personal feeling is that Britain's days are numbered. Ireland will be the first. Or rather, what we currently call Northern Ireland. It won't be an easy transition as the DUP are so hardline and so used to disagreeing with anything and everything that if Sinn Féin went outside on a nice summer's day and said "Isn't the sky a lovely shade of blue", the DUP would scream that the sky is absolutely not blue.
But, it will happen. As if Brexit and the damage that has caused isn't enough, the sheer amount of crap from Johnson and his posse have flushed the British political institutions down the U-bend. What devolved government wants to have that bunch of miscreants be the final arbiter of anything?

Scotland will, in time, wake up and realise that having the English control their destiny is no way forward. And that for all the pain that breaking away from England might create, is it really going to be so different to all the pain of breaking away from Europe? Something that was, I should point out (as often as I can!) not their democratic decision.
I just hope that this happens while I still have a functioning heart....and a functioning brain.

Then, the English, can sit and nurse a pint (in a proper crown-approved pint glass, none of this metric rubbish) and reminisce about the good old days when the Kingdom was United and a member of the European Union. A union has not collapsed into it's own event horizon, depite the many dire warnings published... damn near weekly... in the likes of The Express. It might even outlive the union that is the sceptered isle.



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Gavin Wraith, 4th June 2022, 12:35
Ian Dunt in the i today says of the UK "A closer relationship with Europe is inevitable. It might be a new trade deal, or customs union membership, or even full EU membership. It might be a few years or a decade. But it is coming." 
Alas, I doubt that it will come in my life. But that is because I am old. It will certainly come in yours. The pygmies that you excoriate will disappear like a bad smell.
Mick, 4th June 2022, 14:03
Regarding your second point numbered 3, I suppose 3 is half an 8 by mirror reflection ;-) 
I have to agree that if that's the top 9 ideas, what the heck was number 10 and beyond? Since when have the public said "let's go fracking", or indicated they want less holiday pay? Does anyone care how often PAT testing takes place?? It reads more like a nasty party manifesto than anything the general pubic would submit. Though perhaps the public would want the use of experimental drugs in certain circumstances?. I have to add that I don't know anyone who reads the express. Maybe their readership has a peculiar mind set! 
VinceH, 4th June 2022, 14:27
There may be a *very* feint chance that a closer Union with our nearest neighbours could come sooner, rather than later - not necessarily rejoining the EU, but SM/CU membership. Perhaps. 
It starts with what *could* happen this week. It has been suggested that there might now be enough letters of no confidence that if Johnson doesn't step down there will be a no confidence vote. If true about the numbers, I can't see him stepping down, so that would mean the vote. 
The problem here is that while there is growing unrest or unease within the party, with Tory MPs increasingly realising what absolute disaster Johnson is, a lot of them are part of the 2019 intake, who arguably have their seats because of his lies. On top of that you have the Brexit loons, and plenty who are just not too bright from what I've seen. 
*If* a vote unseats Johnson there is a 'risk' (for them, not the public) - the possibility of someone more competent becoming leader/PM leading to closer ties, and/or a slightly earlier GE. An earlier GE also leads to that possibility, as well as a risk of losing their nice MP salary for quite a few. The further away it is, OTOH, the better chance they have of keeping those salaries as we inch towards an elected dictatorship. 
So it's very possible that he would win a confidence vote out of other MPs sense of self preservation. If it happens (and even that's a big if) I'm expecting the result to be close* and I wouldn't consider a bet on either outcome to be a safe one. 
(And if there is a vote and he wins... That will about wrap things up for the UK.) 
* Dare I even suggest 52/48 either way?
Rick, 4th June 2022, 14:28
Go to the Express website, just note the headlines, particularly the words in BOLD telling you how you're supposed to feel about it. 
Then clear your browser history and deny all knowledge of that site. 😉
Rick, 4th June 2022, 14:31
Yes, that's the conclusion that I came to after reading the points. This is something Mogg and co have thought up, that they're trying to pass off as suggestions from the public. 
They probably used The Express rather than The Telegraph (also known as Torygraph) because the readership are generally too stupid to realise. The editors will just put a few careful words in BOLD so the readers will CELEBRATE how this is a POSITIVE step in getting Brexit DONE! 
Rick, 4th June 2022, 14:35
You might notice Andrea Leadsom has crawled out of the woodwork. She probably has her eye on number ten... just biding her time before she, too, can have a crack at being the next Thatcher. 
Thanks to Johnson, we all now know that you don't need to have any morals, integrity, or competence to run a country. 
(my autocorrect actually came up with "ruin a country", about the first time I agree with its substitution)
Fob, 4th June 2022, 21:20
Yep, nothing there looks like things that would benefit anyone other than big business. It's regulations that keep us safe and away from the outright capitalist money-trumps-everything behaviours we see in the USA for instance.
Rick, 5th June 2022, 10:14
3...8... uh... 
I blame my dyscalculia. 😉
J.G.Harston, 6th June 2022, 18:16
Sailsbury was PM for a lot of the second half of the 19th century, and his general policy was: "god dammit! stop stealing foreign countries!" but try as he could he couldn't stop the mad scramble to steal chunks of desert and jungle and kill brown people. However hard he tried, he left governemnt after the British Empire had aquired almost more land than ever before. In his final years he unfortunately turned into a embarrasing uncle figure, prone to gaffs and mis-speaking.
Anony Mouse, 30th June 2022, 21:43
So a valid point about a vacuum perhaps not needing to be more than 800W (but imagine how much a Karcher or something made to that tolerance with a 3kW motor would suck). 
However there was a rumour, albeit in that bastion of truth and honesty known as the Daily Mail, that kettles would be next. Quite honestly the thought of not being able to replace my 3kW Russell Hobbs kettle (should it ever go wrong) was ALMOST enough to push me towards voting Leave. 
(I voted Remain. Partly because of UKIP. A Leave vote would have aligned me with those bunch of racist xenophobic bigots.) 
Back to the kettle, a 3kW model will use less electrical energy in total to boil a given quantity of water. A lower powered kettle will lose heat to the room at a proportionately faster rate. For example my 3kW kettle will boil 1.7 litres of ambient temperature water in 90 seconds (yes, I timed it). My friend's 1.5kW el-cheapo model takes 4 minutes. The extra fraction of a kWh of energy is down to heat loss. 
The end result is that in terms of kWh of energy used, a more powerful kettle will use less in total.
Rick, 30th June 2022, 22:09
It doesn't take long for my kettle (2kW?) because when I want a cup of tea I boil the amount necessary. I don't understand people that boil an entire kettle just for one cup. Not saying you do, but I've seen it so many times. 
Not sure the wiring would cope with a 3kW kettle. 😂 
There are quite a few of them (3kW) listed on French Amazon. Although most don't look like how kettles ought to look. What's with buttons on the base and blue lights? Pfft. 
Rick, 30th June 2022, 22:15
As for the vacuum cleaner, as it is I have to use it with the little air hole in the handle fully open or the head sucks too hard to be able to push it around properly. Really this thing needs a knob to knock it back a bit. Like maybe 600W? 
A 3kW model would be a disaster. You wouldn't clean the floor, you'd be physically tearing the atoms of the linoleum apart. But only in one place, as the suction would be so great the head would be impossible to move. 

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