Full Moon

Full moon over Edinburgh, 23 and 24 December 2018.
Full moon over Edinburgh, 23 December 2018. Mouseover for Christmas Eve’s.

Read More · 31 December 2018 · Journal

Panoramas Plus

In catching up on some photo sorting, I’ve realised that I’ve gone a bit panorama-crazy over the past few years. Here are four more widescreen galleries from my travels this year and last:

Next year I’ll focus on some non-panoramic instalments in Detail.

31 December 2018 · Site News

Merry Christmas Everybody, Weer All Crazee Now

Last week was bad enough, but this is agonising. Either Theresa May is bluffing and wasting two billion pounds we can ill afford to waste, or she isn’t and we’re utterly screwed. Either MPs cave and accept her deal and we’re screwed, or they don’t and she isn’t bluffing and we’re utterly screwed. Or they don’t and she caves† and revokes Article 50 on 29 March 2019‡ and we’re saved, except not, because so much damage will already have been done and half the population who still believe in unicorns will feel they wuz robbed. For at least the next month we’ll feel the impact of preparations for No Deal, and depending what happens in Parliament in the week of 14 January could see full-blown panic after it.

†Quite likely, given her track record of U-turns.
‡Quite unlikely, given how hard she opposed the legal case about revocation and how doggedly she’s pursuing her anti-immigration/anti-immigrant agenda.

Read More · 19 December 2018 · Politics

Indirect Undemocracy

If we do get a People’s Vote, surely we need to respect the Will of the People as expressed in the 2011 referendum: the UK doesn’t want preferential voting, because numbers are hard and it’s all too complicated. The True British Way would be for a three-way contest between Remain, Deal and No Deal decided by first-past-the-post.

I’m joking, of course. (I’m not.) That would be clearly be undemocratic, unlike the way we elect our MPs. (I’m joking.) The fact that Remain would easily win over a divided Leave vote is neither here nor there. (It’s very much the bitterly ironic point.)

Britain told itself in 2011 that electoral systems don’t matter and that referendums don’t change anything, and look where that’s got us. If we’d gone into the 2015 elections under AV, Ed Miliband would be three years into his first term as prime minister, and we would never even have heard of Brexit.

13 December 2018 · Politics

I posted a new Brexit thread to Metafilter on Tuesday, just in time to catch the Tories’ latest meltdown. Here it is, along with a few follow-up comments and links.

Read More · 13 December 2018 · Politics

O Holy Night

McEwan Hall

Last night we took the kids along to the University of Edinburgh’s carol service in the recently restored McEwan Hall, the first time I’d been to one at the university, and the first time I’d been up in the gods there (I’ve processed on stage a few times for graduations). The service was great, with a particularly moving rendition of “O Holy Night”. A welcome opportunity to forget about Brexit—and to take photographs of the ceiling.

Read More · 10 December 2018 · Journal

A Day is a Long Time in Politics


Leavers are still (still!) banging on about Project Fear, but they’ve had their own Project Fear running ever since May triggered Article 50: that it was irrevocable, it’s too late to back out now, and even if somehow we could persuade the EU27 to let us revoke it that would mean losing the rebate, having to join Schengen, and whatever else.

Today we know that they were wrong, and the highest court in Europe says so.

Read More · 10 December 2018 · Politics

Glimmer of Nope

Extraordinary events in Parliament last night, captured in Ian Dunt’s Twitter thread, meant that today we were able to see the Attorney General’s legal advice on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, confirming that the UK would likely end up trapped in the backstop indefinitely. No wonder the Brexiters were out in force today saying they want the backstop dropped from the deal (not gonna happen, as far as the EU is concerned; it’s purest cake with a dash of unicorn).

Leave “very likely” won the referendum due to illegal overspending, says Oxford professor’s evidence to High Court:

An exhaustive analysis of the [Vote Leave] campaign’s digital strategy concludes it reached “tens of millions of people” in its last crucial days, after its spending limit had been breached—enough to change the outcome.

50 simple chunks of reality to help MPs in these difficult times.

I allowed myself a moment of optimism last night. The brambles are clearing from the path to stopping Brexit altogether. We’ve already lost so much in the lead-up, but we might not lose everything.

5 December 2018 · Politics

Sluggo is Lit

An interview with Nancy cartoonist Olivia Jaimes. Her take on the classic strip, starting on 9 April this year, is a revelation, and the contrast with the previous incumbent couldn’t be greater. It’s like seeing early Peanuts for the first time.

Read More · 1 December 2018 · Weblog

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