Brexit Year Zero

It is now one year from the date of the referendum. A year ago today the Great British Prople used their Great Democratic Right and expressed their opinion. Of course, I am no politician. Not yet, at least. For if I do become a politician, and if anyone wants a ready made scandal, they are welcome to read my opinion of Brexit, and the people who voted for it, here. But that was a different time, and opinion moved on. So let’s see Brexit revisited!

I swear, this will be the last political intrusion on this blog for at least a couple months. Or weeks. Possibly days, but we’ll see what happens.

Let’s begin.

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The Brexit referendum was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it allowed the British people, to air their grievances and talk about what country they wanted to live in. On the other, it lead to some smooth bastards with money, technology, and rhetoric convincing a small majority of people we should leave the EU for reasons nebulous and illusory. It got rid of David Cameron 👏 but it brought in Theresa May 😱. Primarily, though, Brexit looks like it’s going to be an unvarnished curse for everyone except lawyers and journalists – the two types of people who will always do well.

Of course, just looking at it in a fair way, it was always going to be bad at this stage of leaving the EU. There’s a lot of uncertainty about what a future trading relationship will look like. Powers to change anything remain out of our hands. And markets have reacted in a way which is wholly predictable. They fell. They stabilised. They grew enough to avoid technical recession. The currency dropped, which was actually quite good for some sectors. Unfortunately, it was but the beginning (a fact I alluded to in this poem).

Last year the only clear portent of misgiving was the currency weakening and holidays costing more for regular people who hadn’t anticipated that particular event. Black Swan Event, don’t you know. This year, there are concerns of an agricultural nature . British food has been greatly helped in the past 15 years by the inclusion of Eastern Europe. This has helped farmers to always find a huge number of people willing to pick fruit and pack sausages for minimum wage. But now, one year on, this source of new labour is drying up. So, hopefully we don’t all starve!

This is what happens when we’re left off the hook. The uncertainty of a Brexit process that will take 2 years, while we have to fulfil our treaty and financial obligations and lose a lot of sway with our closest neighbours.

It sucks.

We can’t yet reach out to create new trading arrangements with other countries because we’re still part of the EU, and the EU negotiates trade for all. My current hope is that the government, with the Conservatives still in power, have to humiliatingly climb down and reverse Brexit. Britain does not appreciate people who mess up. The best option with Brexit stilll happening is a transitional agreement, maybe about a decade long, where the UK enters the European Free Trade Agreement for 5 years or so while we negotiate new deals with the rest of the planet. For that to happen though, it will take a premium statesman of the type we don’t currently have.

The Mother of All Parliaments; Why the British System is Horrible, Broken, and Very Fun

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Life sure does come at you fast! 2 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamt I’d write an article like this. Then again, a month ago Theresa May was still on for an absolute majority of seats. Two months ago Corbyn topping May favourability polls would be unthinkable. A year ago Brexit was a distant fantasy. So sit back and have a listen as to why our system is Horrible, Broken, and Very Fun.

Let’s start with the Horrible. The UK system of government is confusing, Byzantine in places, and is ruled by the party of the wealthy and business most of the time. The rest of the time it is ruled by people who seem kind of nice, but have their own failings. It is pretty authoritarian in bent and very moralistic while at the same time selling weapons to dictators for cynical and horribly pragmatic reasons. It presents itself as a force for good but, as in Frankie Boyle’s skeely style, it is “a nuclear-armed, money-laundering pirate ship”. The reasons for how it ended up Horrible are too many to mention, really. You would have to wade through a lot of different historical periods and get mired in a lot of blood – peasant, native, and royal – to figure out how our Horrible parliament exists, but here it is. Horrible and Broken.

The main reason it is Broken is not hard to route out: power. For hundreds of years Parliament has been the supreme edifice of State. It has tended to suck in people interested in power for its own sake as well as people who want to do good and reform it from within who instead become part of the furniture. To be fair, there are also the rebels of both major parties who do not toe their party lines, but these people do not redeem or fix the Brokenness of the system. The UK is a majoritarian system, though it doesn’t seem very democratic is is in fact rigidly so. Every MP is elected by First Past The Post – whomever gets the most votes in the area they want to represent gets the seat. It seems fair enough until you consider there are often 4 or 5 contestants for each seat and occasionally more. It is entirely possible to win an election with only 30% of the vote, which means that 70% did not vote for the winner, but the winner takes all. It redefines what the hell a winner even is. Every single percentage of vote share has a huge potential to change the makeup of parliament. And then it depends where those votes actually are. And hence the part where we can see where it is Horrible, Broken, and Very Fun.

in a winner takes all voting system like at Westminster, where a small percentage of the vote can make a huge difference, and there are at least four fairly significant parties to consider, which vary based on location, then pollsters have no idea. Some years they all cluster together and ‘herd’ results, too scared to say anything that differs from their competitors. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing, we’re it not for the fact that the margin of error is 6%. In a system where a half percent swing can be the difference of tens of seats, that’s pretty substantial. So then here’s the part that’s Very Fun – the sheer extent of information comining out about the election, the number of people saying things, the disagreements, the pollsters coming up with such wildly different projections which margins of error end up saying is between Labour +5 and the Conservatives +19, and then the fear and Horrible energy that comes from staying up all night only to find that the results are more Horrible, Broken, and Fun than you can imagine, and the Tory Party have humiliatingly gambled on public opinion, which is fickle, and the future’s fucked and it’s all bananas.

And that’s why I’m a politics enthusiast. And why my sleeping schedule had not yet recovered fully.

Are We Living In the Age of Black Swans?

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We are living in a time where events seem harder to predict. There are lists to explain such events but in recent history they all must have two items, Brexit and Trump. It’s nice that the Anglophone world remains so culturally significant even when doing its best to recede from the world stage. Anyway, in this new tradition – Brexit, Trump, and the fact that the UK is now heading towards a minority government*. Three seemingly unpredictable events that had and will have huge ramifications for the future. The problem here is that when something is harder to predict it consequently is harder to prepare for.

These big shocking events are known as ‘Black Swan events’, a phrase coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In essence, before the discovery of Australia nobody knew about the existence of black swans. Instead, the phrase meant something like “when pigs fly”. Australia became known to the Western world and suddenly black swans were not a myth or a dream, they were real. Still, though, imagine how shocked you’d be to see a flying pig?

Even though people who are into data and statistics might tell you that polls predicted all these things, which they broadly speaking did, it’s still the case that they were equivocal. The truth is a bit messy and when an opinion research company compiles the data and filters it a bit, the story is then in the hands of journalists. Journalists have a certain word count to reach every day so they fudge it. As a result, they framea one-sided narrative. Brexit could never happen and was just a protest. Trump could never win but here’s some funny stories about the outrageous things he says. Corbyn was an unelectable terrorist sympathiser, ridicule him and vote for the people in power who by every metric have been making things worse. (He’s not a terrorist sympathiser by the way, special branch had people following him for 20 years and he never actively supported any terrorists. Unlike our government who knowingly gave arms to people with some pretty suspicious links in Libya and Syria.)

It’s strange, there is data which disproved all of these notions. YouGov ran polls on Brexit that said it was going to be close, as did other pollsters. Journalists picked one, and pollsters began to ‘herd’, to make their outcome more similar to other companies so they don’t seem stupid if they’re wrong. A similar thing happened with Trump, though apparently you had to ignore national polls and look at state polls. These polls would tell you that Trump had a chance of winning the electoral college while losing the popular vote. On Corbyn, due to the margin of error in British polls the results could have been anywhere between +5 for Labour and +19 for the Conservatives. It’s possible to tell there was a contest because the possibilities were so diverse.

But there’s altogether too much information. There are plenty of polling companies creating data on what people think, and there are lots of journalists expanding on that data to make copy, and there are millions of people telling each other these same stories and so they become ‘common sense’ or ‘conventional wisdom’. So what can be done? I suppose the main method of prevention is to stay vigilant and take things seriously when they could happen. Candidates don’t happen by accident. Extreme anger can be volatile and act in unexpected ways.

So be wary. The next time you see or hear anything that sounds stupid, crazy, or impossible, remember that there’s almost always more to the story. People didn’t vote Brexit because they are stupid, they voted for it because they had real concerns about the state of our politics. People didn’t vote Trump because they liked his weird wha if being, they had issues with what they saw as a corrupt political class, something that wasn’t helped by Hilary being a Clinton. Corbyn wasn’t impossible, he was just highly unlikely if you hadn’t seen the size of his events and rallies. Spend s but if time getting to know these issues and it might save you a lot of sudden shocks.

*I hope everyone has taken a break at this asterisk in order to come down here so i can comment a little on the irony of a politician who wanted to renegotiate a deal to ensure he strength off her country by winning an election, claiming to do it on a platform of being ‘strong and stable’ and a vote for anyone else was to endorse ‘a coalition of chaos’ only for your whole platform to fall to pieces when you try and prove how strong and stable you are and instead end up faltering, throwing the election, and likely becoming reliant on a small party outside of the mainstream politics of where you primarily derive authority, which will almost certainly lead to problems and is by its definition a ‘coalition of chaos’. I hope the two months the Conservatives an cling on to such a tenuous amount of power was worth the widespread dislocation of another general election that, all things considered, didn’t do what they intended nor particularly shake anything else up enough to mskrmit anywhere worthwhile. So strong, so stable. Still, I’m glad they didn’t get a landslide! Now, back to my serious stuff above. It’s all rather derivative but I fancy it is new info to someone.

Shock as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Secures Victory

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Financial markets have been left reeling as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour wins the election. Theresa May called to congratulate Corbyn as his party secured 45% of the vote by hoovering up seats across England. The result comes against a backdrop of polls tightening, but with none showing Labour ahead.

“This isn’t just an upset like Brexit or Trump, we had the numbers to show them, if you looked hard enough.” Said one pollster under condition of anonymity. “This is a polar shift, a sea change. This is an astronomical difference, it defies political physics. This is Newton being hit by an apple which then jumps up and hits him again, repeatedly.”

The result means that Labour comes out with 294 seats to the Conservatives 278. It is believed Mr Corbyn will go to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen for permission to lead a minority government. The SNP returned 51 seats and have agreed to a confidence and supply deal in return for a second independence referendum. The loss means 5 years out of power for the Conservatives and the fate of Theresa May is clear.

“Of course, one must take these kind of things in one’s stride if one wants to be a politician.” Said Michael Gove immediately after the result was in, “Yes, some may be ‘livid’ as the papers have been saying this morning, but for others this is an opportunity for reflection and for growth. Some may say that May should hav won this election against the Marxist, IRA supporting, pacifist, or maybe that she should not have called it in the first place. Or maybe running a personality contest without personality is he issue. But such things are not worth discussing right now.

“The point is that we must be aware for future, regroup, and win in 2020 to secure strong and stable government in the years to come.”

EDIT – I wrote this in the 5th of June, if you’re wondering why the numbers are off. Pretty close though, right?

Why Donald Trump Must Be Given a State Visit to the UK

 

We’re past the threshold of normalising Donald Trump, he has been inaugurated, his name has appeared next to the words ‘The President of the United States of America’ too often to easily ignore and resistance grows by the day and with each decision his administration makes, so here are three reasons Donald Trump must be permitted a state visit to the United Kingdom.

3. The Great British Public

The Great British People deserve to see the man. Additionally, he deserves to see the Great British public.

At least 100 000 people attended the Women’s March in he UK, going off the numbers reported in London by the organisers plus the numbers of the many marches in the rest of the UK. These people evidently have many things to say about Mr. Trump, and isn’t that freedom of speech to be respected? Doesn’t Theresa May, our Prime Minister who made such a great deal with Trump, deserve the adoration of those crowds?

In fact, it seems like entire cities could shut down in adoration of those two Colosses of the world stage. That would certainly prick up the ears of the metropolitan elite, and I’m sure businesses supportive of them wouldn’t mind the chanting, surely in praise.

2. The Monarchy

The Monarchy is an institution supported by 75% of the population according to Ipsos MORI, with 17% supporting a Republic and 7% not sure or not particularly fussed. Mr. Trimp’s visit could unite these two factions quite easily.

For Republicans (UK context, not US), it shows the Queen earning her keep and entertaining a foreign world leader as is her constitutional duty. For Monarchists, it is a chance for the Queen to show off the UK to an important ally and let him know what the nation thinks of him. Surely such tests are necessary for the Head of State?

In addition…

1. Prince Philip

By far and away the most important reason to invite Mr. Trump to Buckingham Palace, the Prince Consort of the UK is known for making off-colour remarks that have been known to offend people. I hope the same will not be true when he meets Mr. Trump of course, but one can so rarely tell.

I’m sure we’d all hate for some diplomatic fracas to occur over one of the Prince’s trademark phrases: ‘ghastly’.

People the world over should be thrilled to test Mr. Trump’s diplomatic ability against the Royal Family, to test the sturdiness of May’s diplomacy, and witness the reaction of the Great British Public to the businessman.

This Time is Different

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This time it will be different.

We hear the cries of people saying
Hope is dead. The End is nigh.
But we won’t listen to them.

For once, the path is clearing up
As old certainties drift apart.
The new way forward breaks the debris
From the countless insurrections, we have seen
The only alternative is right.
All the clever types are telling us.

A movement of hope against a project fear
There can be no question who will win between
Such choices. My mind is made already,
It is simple: cut or work out how to make

Life work. The way ahead is easy.
It has been the culmination of a group’s
Progress against the backdrop of a crash.
Thoughts like theirs caused the mess, we bring
Better ideas. Let us convince you

This time it will be different.

Brexit Poem

The consequence clear, I’ve called and I’ve checked it,

The people have gone out their way and they’ve wrecked it!

And no one is quite sure just how far to test it –

The English went out and the voted for Brexit.

Now Sterling has fallen, straight down to the floor,

It may yet fall further, it hasn’t yet landed;

It fell, and it dropped, and it’s falling some more.

It’s unprecedented, no one understands it.

In a final retread

Some have tried to fix it

But they’ve shit the bed!

They’ve gone and they’ve bricked it.

So, the old all went out, and they voted for Brexit.

Now Scotland wants free – a sexy ass Sexit.

Is Czexit or even Hungrexit to follow?

Drink up, for now there will be no tomorrow!


The Most Perfect Response to Perfect Responses

We have seen the most defining moments upon defining moments that anygwneration had seen since Adolf Hitler took power, but this is something else entirely!

in a bizarre flood of everyone speaking truthfully and correctly – with appropriate wit, humour, and charm –  the syntax Perfect, the medium and message in beautiful alignment… The most perfect responses ever given to anything!

Watch This Five-Year Old Destroy Racism!

Watch This World Leader’s Spark a Revolution!

Watch This Guy’s Perfect Response to Perfect Responses!

It’s all such bollocks.

Five-year olds may say some very clever things, beyond their experience, and towards some deeper truth. This, I own, is incredible and worth our universal commendation. But to see a five-year old destroy an entrenched system of privilege, which for years plagued academia, science, culture, day-to-day conversation, comedy, and art? Give me a break.

A five-year old said something you agree with, no need to get on some very high horse about how children are somehow omniscient creatures now. Are they omniscient when they say that the moon is made of cheese and it’s only rainy in the puddles?

Or if a world leader says something you think is laudable. They stand for something and they make their case. In driving. Pounding hard. Strongly worded. Deep seated. No-hold’s-barring. High-flying. Speeches?

Oh, so just like they have been trying to do for years but in this one instance they have managed to strike a chord you can agree sound a like a happy G-major! Well done. Have you considered their actions? Those actions, which are often anathema to your core beliefs about the Right and Wrong of this world. These politicians who will talk shit about something only so far as I think is not politically relevant to their particular sphere but then come back hypocritically begging the second it is of any use to them.

Behind closed doors, the strings they’ve got to manipulate. You better not pull that thread. They are dangerous people.

See, the internet has somehow made us all immune to actually reading stuff and thinking about what it may actually mean. Sometimes we take things too greatly at face value and sometimes we just discount it because it doesn’t fit with our feelings for it to be false. You know what? I’m kind of tired of clickbait titled articles and misnomer headlines leading us down rabbit holes which drive up our hopes and further degrade our expectations of anything reliable coming from anyone.

Authenticity is a crapshoot that won’t get us nearly enough likes of shares to make it worth our while so we are all left screaming into some obsolescent void which it turns out is already filled.

And you know what it is filled with? Hundreds of articles and videos which are titled with people saying their view is right and justified by something, but who must deep down know they are peddling nonsense for Ad hungry clicks. So, if you see something peddling perfection, look to see who is taking your wallet. What’s the source and has it been reliable to you before.

My always solution to every societal problem I’ve ever come across is simple. It goes thus: people need to be better.

Stop clicking around and do it!

Change and Chaos

This post contains 3 parts. If any part does not interest you, feel free to jog along and catch the others instead. The first is a poem, the second is about the current political state, and the third is a financial opportunity that may be worth some attention. There is something of a link.
Section I

The world is fucked, but so am I.
It spins, some win, some lose, and why
Commingling guilt and pleasure, high
Expectations make us comply
With regulation, then we die
Again. We persevere and try
To respect the truth and lies
In equal measure – man, alive! –
Because we see the ends to tie
It all together. Brains are fried
When all is done and conquered by
Irritating, annoying guys
On Glory’s path who go awry.
The world is fucked, but so am I.
Section II

Thank the heavens politics has become honest. Only some joke intended.

On the UStateside of the Atlantic, they are deciding between an actual villain and a politician for the highest office of the land. Oddly enough, some are keen to say they are both politicians and some are keen to say they are both villains. Hard to agree with the latter category as one of them is supported by racists and the alt-right, some of whom literally call themselves fascists. The mind boggles at how close they became in the polls at one point, though now they are diverging and the politician is on the up. Hopefully it continues and there can be one piece of good news for the world this year, even if that good news is just that the objectively worse person lost. American Revolution 2 would not go amiss, however, if that’s the best they can do. We all like sequels and reboots these days, so I think it has some chance.

Meanwhile, on the Old World side of the Atlantic, the Great British public, or at least the 52% known as Brexiters, are doing their best to send the nation along a very murky path. The most recent conference has Theresa May, the second female Prime minister, and substantially colder than the first one, claiming human rights lawyers are the enemy, and that the UK is being bossed around by elites. She’s damn right about the latter part. She’s in charge of a cadre of the richest, corruptest, powerfulest, scumbaggiest, self-servingiest, people in the U.K. Got to love a bit of honesty. She even went out and targeted human rights lawyers, a clear indication that she’s the villain of this particular piece. Every moral person on the planet should hold the maintenance of human rights as the highest aim of any one of us who call this place home. So glad she has identified herself as some sort of reptilian.

I hope there can be some unity among the non-horrible people to bring the elites of the Tory Party down. It’s bad enough that the PM is targeting humans rights lawyers, but then we have the Home Secretary borrowing some very questionable rhetoric and demanding lists of foreigners. Name me one good person who keeps list of people, I dare you.

And the Great British Public are somewhat more supportive of this than they are opposed. It’s all just the worst.

In other news, the currency continues on he way down, a nice kick in the teeth for the Morons who were talking a fortnight ago about a post-Brexit bounce as a possibility. If it is a possibility, it’s not coming anytime soon. In fact, the pound is set to fall to parity with the Euro and herein lies opportunity.
Section III

Ask any investment manager and they will say it’s a great thing to have a diverse portfolio – you don’t want to keep all your money in one place or one material or a sudden shock there and you fall. If you want examples of non-diverse collapse, consider the fall of the Russian rouble in 2014. Sanctions and a falling price of oil lead to a huge drop in it’s value against other world currencies. They had to resort to liquidating a huge proportion of their foreign currency reserves to stay afloat. It’s a very bad idea to be tied to one thing, as they were tied to oil. Similarly, it’s an awful idea to have all your money in GBP.

If you want evidence of the difficulty in maintaining your savings in pounds, examine the difference in the value of your savings now and at the rate four years ago. It is a very good idea to keep your money diverse, even if it’s something like just buying a stack of foreign notes every now and then as reserve.

So my suggestion today is a mid-term money-making scheme, but this advice will hopefully bear you more fruit later. I am going to detail what is happening with the Czech Koruna (CZK), and how you can profit from it.

The Czech Koruna has been pegged to the Euro, 27 crowns to 1 Euro, since 2013. Since then, the Czech national bank has had to repeatedly intervene to stop it from becoming too strong. The thing is, the economy is more buoyant in the Czech Republic than in other parts of Europe. The crown keeps trying to rise in value, but the central bank is keeping it down. I’ve seen it written that it will likely be forced to abandon the peg mid-2017.

Which coincides with triggering Article 50.

So, word to the wise, buy a bunch of Czech crowns and store them somewhere safe. When the drop happens, it’s bound to be substantial.

The Czech crown was at it’s most valuable in 2008, where it was about 23 to the Euro, 15 to the dollar, and 25 to the pound. If it rises while the pound plummets, which I strongly suspect with the noises from several European officials, then it could be worth substantially more.

Thanks for reading, safe travels.

Get Real, Idiots

Once more unto the breach, dear friends!

Okay, so I’m about done with politics. Here, though, is how Remain should have won the campaign – facts followed by the soundbite ‘Get Real, Idiots’. Example:

“We can negotiate trade deals with other countries outside the EU, Take Back Control!” “With 20 trade negotiators, at best estimate because that shit was dealt with by the EU, and with countries far bigger, occasionally richer, and often envious of our economy? I’m sure they would do us a real good deal! Get Real, Idiots.”

“Leave the EU bureacraxy behind, Take Back Control!” “Oh yeah, 40 years of EU involvement in our law-making, with a different legal system in Scotland and the rUK, will take one guy a week to undo? You guys sure know how to make new jobs! For bureaucrats and lawyers. Get Real, Idiots.”

“We will reduce immigration to reasonable levels, Take Back Control!” “Oh yeah, when France ends border control cooperation? Maybe if you sink the value of the pound, nobody will want to migrate! Great solutions, guys. Get Real, Idiots.”

“Get rid of a bunch of unelected officials in Brussels, Take Back Control!” “Replace them with the hundreds of unelected civil servants required to rework every law and the hundreds of trade negotiators we’ll need, all of them junior and walked all over by diplomats around the world? You guys are great at symmetry! Get Real, Idiots.”

“Regain sovereignty for Westminster, more money for the NHS, a BRITISH Bill of Human Rights, Take Back Control!” “Oh, so you want guys who want to privatise everything, gut the NHS, spy on you and your neighbours legally, destroy the BBC and all public services, and feather their family and their mate’s nests with whatever cash they can get away with, full control of your life? You guys are brilliant. Get Real, Idiots.”

Frankly, I think it’s flawless. I’d find this whole thing utterly hilarious if it didn’t have such an impact on people I love. They are going to end up with less employment protection, an uncertain economy for years, rising food prices, more hate crimes reported across the UK, and, in a supreme irony of a democratic referendum, an unelected Prime Minister come October.

Does my refrain sound any clearer?