Brexit, view from the other bubble

I am strongly in the remain camp when it comes to Brexit. Even though I don’t use social media, my well-known position on this topic means that I live in a sort of IRL filter bubble—I don’t know many people who are strongly pro-Brexit. I know a few soft Brexit supporters, I know a few agnostics and waverers, and I know a lot of remainers. I don’t know many strongly pro-Brexit supporters.

I have followed Brian’s blog for nearly a decade now. I discovered him as a regular commentator on another cyclist’s blog. He used to mostly blog about his cycle rides. Brian recently posted his views on Brexit. He is a strong supporter of Brexit; he hints at his reasons in the post.

It is illuminating for me to read the view of the other side—not what the Leave leaders spout, but what the leave supporters on the ground believe.

Brian’s post: Brexit, The Exit.

Please note: I will not comment or debate on viability or correctness of his views. They are his views and he is entitled to them, just as I am to mine. If anyone reading this post wants to debate with him, please be courteous.
Remember the horn effect: just because his views are different from ours in one small sphere of life, doesn’t make him different or bad in any other aspect.


For views similar more aligned to mine, here’s some light reading to ease the heart: Former European colony declares independence

Yesterday’s news Today

Over the last year or so, I have slowed down my news consumption. I have no news apps on my phone. I removed the two news channels I watched—BBC news and CNN—from the favourites. I unsubscribed from all news-related newsletters. I even unsubscribed from all news related podcasts, including NPR’s Indicator and The Economist’s Intelligence podcast.

I still consume news. Most of my world news comes weekly, from The Economist. But a few times a day I open on the Firefox Focus browser1 on my phone to check on latest happenings. Once or twice a day, I also switch to BBC News2 (and rarely, CNN) on the TV to check on the news.

Yesterday I decided to also add a delay to the news. Make it slower still. To read yesterday’s news, today.

Instead of checking the news on the phone multiple times a day, and catching up on TV news a couple of times, I would only check news in the morning and then nothing during the day.

Most news takes a night of rest to come to a relative state of conclusion. By next morning, when I check the previous night’s news, it would have rested, matured, and analysed. It would also have moved from ‘he said this, then she said this, and now waiting for them to respond’ to an analysis of the bigger picture of what happened and why.

This is something I miss about having a print newspaper. I was a multi-newspaper subscriber in India. But printed newspaper subscriptions are quite expensive in the UK, so I’ve never had one. I miss getting a newspaper in the morning with a settled, digested, analysed version of the news. The version that also looks at why, not just at what and how.

Since I can’t afford buying a daily newspaper, I’m wondering how to get this delayed news. Online sources are focused these days on the day’s news, if not news by the minute. I don’t live close to a library where I can walk down for a catchup of day’s newspapers.

Subscribing to a morning news-summary newsletter is an option, but may lead to re-cluttering of the inbox. It would also mean opening email before I want to, and possibly getting distracted by other new emails.

I’m open to better suggestions.

Continue reading Yesterday’s news Today

EU elections – whom do I vote for?

2019 EU Elections

My choice is between the Lib Dems and the new Change UK group.

The Lib Dems have two things going for them:

  1. They have established brand recall, grass roots membership and party organisation,
  2. They performed the best (relative to past) of all the parties in the recent council elections.

If the council elections are a barometer, the Remain voters seem to be widely voting for Lib Dems. Combined with a relatively better established party organisation, this gives them the best chance, of the Remainer parties, of winning seats in the European parliament.

The Change UK party has one thing going for it – hope of a moderate, centrist contender.

Voting for them is a sending a message to the moderates in both parties that there’s a third way. A strong message on this may be more important as the Tories get ready to tilt further to the right once they rid themselves of their stubborn leader, and Labour shows no sign of recovering from its hard-left capture.

If Change UK win a decent percentage of the vote—and this election may be more about vote shares as a signal than the number of short-lived MEPs—then it may encourage more of the moderates in both main parties to speak up, or defect to the CUK.

I’m split. Should I…

  • Vote for a party that has the better chance of winning a probably inconsequential MEP seat, or
  • Vote for a party that has little chance of winning now, but has a chance at becoming a stronger, better force if enough people are seen voting for them?

Council elections 2019 – Guildford

Total: 48 seats
Lib Dems 17 (+7)
R4GV 15 (+15)
Conservatives 9 (-25)
GGG 4 (+1)
Labour 2 (+1)
Greens 1 (+1)

Quick notes:

Conservatives have governed the Guildford borough council since 1999. Today they lost 25 seats – going from 34 out of 48 seats, to just 9 seats. All of these remaining 9 were in armed forces heavy villages around Ash and Normandy.

They lost remain voters in the town by becoming the party of Brexit. And they lost Brexit voters in the villages by dismissing the widespread opposition to the local development plan, and cynically passing it just a week before the election.

(The plan allows three separate developments in the green belt for a total of about 4000 new homes. It’s massively unpopular for a variety of reasons – green belt love, house price NIMBYism, bad traffic and amenities provision…).

Labour remained immaterial, winning their token 2 seats in Stoke.

Lib Dems gained much of the Remain vote in the urban areas in and around town – gaining 7 seats to become the largest party with 17 seats.

Two groups of local/independent parties – Guildford Greenbelt Group and Residents for Guildford and Villages – gained most of the previously conservative votes in the villages.

Both these parties were formed in opposition to large scale house building plans in the green belt. The Brexit voting conservative voters in the villages are angry about the developments, and punished the Tories for their arrogance.

I wonder if R4GV+GGG will now be brave enough to push for a recall of the much hated local development plan.

Continue reading Council elections 2019 – Guildford

Importance of learning languages…

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of learning multiple languages in this changing world. My post was in the context of the disruption in white collar careers that improvements AI will bring.

Seems like a few other sharp minds have been thinking on the same lines. Here’s a post in the Financial Times discussing research on similar lines, but addressing impact of disruption by Brexit. Here’s their list of languages, though I recommend you read the full post:

Top 10 languages for Brexit Britain
Top 10 languages for Brexit Britain

Different decade, same story

No one wanted to think about the gangs of no-hope teenagers who already took over the nearby park all day, drinking lager and waiting for something to happen to them, trapped in a forgotten village in no-man’s land between a ten-shop town and an amorphous industrial sprawl.

Meena, in Anita & Me, by Meera Syal

No to ‘A’, is not a Yes for ‘B’

It’s just a demand for something better than A.

In a political tussle between issues A & B, the defeat of A doesn’t mean the public supports B. It just means they don’t support A.

Couple of examples…

Communism vs Capitalism

The people’s revolutions just said they didn’t want Communism anymore. Not that they wanted Capitalism.

Despite what every politician in the West may tell you, the people in Eastern Europe & Russia didn’t choose Capitalism. They chose to be free of Communist dictatorships. And to try another politico-economic order. It’d be a stretch to say they chose Capitalism, given a majority of them hadn’t experienced it for multiple generations

Globalisation vs Isolationism

People are saying no to rampant Globalisation, not yes to Isolationism.

Whether it’s Brexit, rise of Trump & Sanders, or the anti-trade, anti-bigCo, and anti-globalisation trends in polls, the voice is clear – a large portion of Western populations have grown vary and sceptical of Globalisation. In free trade, free movement of people, and even in free movement of ideas.

What it doesn’t indicate is that the people want to be isolated from everyone else in the world. What it may indicate is that the people want a control on the mingling – to not be completely overrun, without recourse, in their own backyard.

In most cases, people know exactly what they don’t want. And that’s why they voted as they did.

They’re not as clear on what they do want. They just want something better.

This, however, doesn’t imply that they want the only presented alternative. In most cases, they may want another, not-yet-visible solution. One that isn’t currently offered to them. One that even they may not be able to clearly describe/explain, at the moment.

Continue reading No to ‘A’, is not a Yes for ‘B’