Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Red Cliffs Of Dawlish
Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Monday, 26 December 2016

Brexit Negotiations: "Over By Christmas."

In the previous blog, I mentioned (or dramatically if you prefer) 'revealed' an idea for my own reasons for pursuing an interesting in the affairs of politicians of the UK concerning Brexit: In a word: "Giri".

But there's that idea of "duty" and then there's blind stupidity or obedience in social hierarchy at a truly mass scale of people. When I think of this idea, it reminds me of the words and beliefs of all the so many people during the months from June-December 1914, a similar number and the same months in fact from June-December 2016, coincidentally:-

'We’ll be home by Christmas’: the departure of the 1st Battalion of the Mid-Kent Volunteers for the front from Royal Tunbridge Wells in 1914 Photo: Popperfoto/Getty Images

If we are to learn and improve, then we have to remember our mistakes. And before we remember our mistakes we have to be honest enough with ourselves to be able to see our mistakes for what they are first before we can accurately begin remembering them.

This is a process which is currently operating under the recent experience, almost still the present continuous of the Referendum of the UK on EU Membership and the result of that Referendum: Leave (aka British Exit "Brexit": The Withdrawal of the UK from the EU according to Article 50 community rules). To quote Dr. RAE North, Brexit: a year of opportunity:-
"Traditionally in this long interregnum between Christmas and the New Year, the newspapers fill their space with retrospectives. This year, there is plenty for them to write about, so much so that Brexit will be struggling to compete.

Much of what will be written about Brexit over the next weeks will be reheated material that was scarcely worth reading first time around, and so little does the media have to offer that even vaguely original articles have so little merit that one struggles to read to the end of them. And we can certainly do without the "project fear" still on offer from the Independent. 

Just occasionally, though, we see an article that is actually worth reading – even if one has to go to the New York Times
 for it."

A lot of blind egos will pop up at this stage and say stupid things: "Leaving was bad" (I was only just looking at the stupid twitter accounts of Scientists for EU who are talking to the equally stupid "leave everything now" twitter users: A sort of Red Cape + Bull Fight contest devolving into trivial posturing before your eyes...). Competition of egos for competition's sake? War for war's sake? How terribly stupid.

But this blog is not a pointless exercise in blind nostalgia nor brow-beating for the pleasure of pointing out how stupid people especially in large groups can act. Only today on the BBC iPlayer there is the Select Committees: Exiting The EU repeat viewing of David Davies doing a remarkably good impression of David Brent (The Office) in answering questions about Brexit. There's skill in both characters and hence that is not a lofty dig at David Davies competence or character, it's merely pointing out that there's been so many public relations announcements about Brexit that have turned upside down, gone back to front and then back again, U-turned, reversed and so on. It's a similar experience to the "Over by Christmas" mood of the beginning of the war here captured eloquently, the divergence of expectations:-
"War was romantic. War was colourful flags, spiked helmets and flashing sabers. War was an adventure. Those called to arms would be heroes, defending their homelands and way of life. Over By Christmas: August-December 1914 examines these romantic notions colliding with the harsh realities of war."
The real stupidity is that so many people continue to act as if blinded and unaware of all these contradictions. Or let's now get to the point: Most if not just about everyone will end up with "false memory" of how Brexit occurred and why. Instead it'll continue to drag out for many years to come until it's as normal as what is currently or was normal before: Being an EU member and all the mischaracterizations that the politicians previously used for that false memory:-
  • At the heart of Europe
  • In the EU but not run by the EU
  • A major player in the club
  • A seat at the top table
  • A voice of reason for free trade, liberalization of red tape.
  • An ally of Germany balancing against the socialist tendencies of France.
And all that fucking crap! You have to laugh at how quaint it's fast already becoming to hear those which were all such the rage only greater than 12 months ago. We'll begin a whole new phase of life for "more of the same"!

Poor Remain Voters: Politicians kept you flipped on your backs all this time when it was in their power to put you right and back under your own steam.

Pointing this out is one thing, funny as it is. But the worse of it is to come and mostly not this time so much for Remainers, but Leavers who should have done a lot better than they did in the Referendum: Here's why:

The opportunity of people during the Referendum to "take control" not of the EU but of UK Politics for themselves over their politicians was mostly spurned or confused as something else. Hence FLEXCIT as a plan was not so much The Plan, as an intelligent evidence of decision-making capacity before execution through a direct democracy process. Unfortunately this idea was simply too sophisticated or else the quality of people was too low for the idea (sophistication being relative).

Such an opportunity... passed by people for much lower order demands. The politicians return to centre stage back with their "Polyglot" methods (see above) which no doubt they're relieved worked on both sides in the Referendum and hence will continue to carry on using during the negotiation process (see David Brent Davies above). People and especially people who voted Leave, your contribution is now over by your own mistakes in dealing with our own politicians: At least see those mistakes for what they are and hence remember them (faithfully) so that in the future either your future selves or others don't make the same mistakes as you did.

It's Boxing Day today, and there's two final points to make: The Negotiations are going to go on for many years to come in various forms, seriousness and caution is needed. People might decide of their own accord that if politics seems to make no progress or that politicians speak a strange language as if from another alternative reality, then they might choose to take back power/control through a more disciplined approach:-

Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Fact of FLEXCIT: "Giri 義理 "

There's a couple of solid observations I've made since the Referendum, along the lines of how do people communicate their ideas and opinions and information about Brexit and the Referendum Question. There's two questions which can be rehearsed that mostly cover what should be reported:-
  1. "So how did you get involved in Brexit/Referendum/politics?"
  2. "So tell me how you voted / which was the correct result / make me feel better about the whole thing?"
I will get straight to the point: These questions only satisfy what little curiosity and understanding the questioner themselves currently holds, no matter what answer or information I provide, to which I have provided all sorts of varieties of answers to the above questions - all the while thinking how irrelevant such "trivia" is as if there's one answer which people think they can "lock onto". It's actually very frustrating.

The problem I notice is that any answer is treated as "trivia"; another piece of information which does not fit into their current models of understanding and you can see their response revert straight back to their previous closed conclusions: Emotionally not satisfied mostly is the result yet again arrived at. Even saying that any answer to the above won't satisfy them, is not satisfying to them or not treated seriously. Perhaps a big problem is the conditioning of answers in the form of exam answers or the newspaper "pro vs con" balanced argument? These forms are superficial to what Dr. North (2014) in his FLEXCIT speech in Dawlish pointed out is such a complex subject.

Complexity of Government/Governance: Comparing a telephone from 1950 to a modern smartphone 2014 - "there is no getting around it".

So what is so special about these two sorts of questions? Here it is: Providing an answer does not work with most people. It takes a lot more and in a lot more different ways to produce effective communication, is my finding anecdotally.

Just reading Pete North's latest review of the year: A year in Brexitland. I agree, personal life is more significant to me than politics and that is healthy attitude I think and feel. But I think there is more room for optimism than:-
"...but it will be the same people tinkering in the same old ways taking their cue from the media rather than dealing direct with the people. We will be governed through their distorted prism once more. The establishment is as healthy as ever it was. Brexit hasn't made a dent."
The fact is we know our starting point, because FLEXCIT is a "fact of existence". Thus we can begin "our future work". We also if you rewatch the video above, defeated FEAR or FUD. This is itself though the means were shoddy and somewhat through unrelated reasons, a very positive result in itself for the UK; ironic given many of the Remain voters greatest fear is to put hateful/angry people in power and thus did many such voters vote to Remain in the EU.

In the previous blog I broadly discussed the decay of politics and the sort of paralysis of inaction or ineffective response to change that erodes the wealth of nation (it's people's resourcefulness). The reverse attitude and values are needed if we are to create our own future politics, not a prisoner of history as The Great Deception suggests through so much research:-
"Giri (義理) is a Japanese value roughly corresponding to "duty", "obligation", or even "burden of obligation" in English. It is defined as "to serve one's superiors with a self-sacrificing devotion" by Namiko Abe. This value is so integral to Japanese culture that the conflict between giri and ninjō, or "human feeling", is said to have been the primary topic of Japanese drama since earlier periods in history. Today, social critics decry the diminishing influence of giri on shinjinrui, the new generations of Japan, who pursue an individualistic path in life that seems quite disparate from traditional Japanese culture."
Why should people choose to be part of a creative movement of politics when it is such a cynical arena to operate within? I can't answer for others, but for myself I'll point out the above concept from Japan of "Giri": The fact of FLEXCIT's existence, it's potent source of knowledge compels a duty to "spread" this knowledge in the ways that are effective and productive.

Creating those ways is the work that will hold most meaningful outcomes for our political futures. The forms they take will appear and be described historically as "revolutionary" if we succeed.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Politics For The People: Decay & Creation.

Brexit & EU Politics in the UK: A "Philip K. Dickian" sub-creation for voter consumption?

One of the major characteristics of our politics is the surreal and unreal "bubble effect" of the major arguments promoted between different groups and parties and support bases. This perogative to win the majority becomes the result as opposed to the arguments which hold the highest value to the most people.

This effect is old, described by Juvenal in Ancient Rome:-

"Bread and circuses" (or bread and games; from Latin: panem et circenses) is metonymic for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the generation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered "palliative". Its originator, Juvenal, used the phrase to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the commoner.
Change "Bread & Circuses" with "Economy/Consuming & TV/Distraction", today. Those in positions of leadership find ever more convoluted ways with which to distract and cajole citizens just long enough for their apparent support. To attempt to reverse the above trend, they have completely given up on as a sub-optimal strategy for holding onto power. In a previous comment elsewhere I pointed out the origin of the word "mafioso", a combination of arabic-italian which meant:

“acting as a protector against the arrogance of the powerful,”
Here is an example of a group using power to protect before devolving into a group who uses power for it's own profit, and the modern inheritance of that group today in Italy is "parasitic" on society in that failing nation collection of states. The British state nor the EU governance has not reached that extreme, but at least with respect to the EU, if one has read The Great Deception we see it as an organization that has fossilized in it's role of "protector" in an increasingly changing world. Instead as per Dr. RAE North (2014) at

Incidentally, just as write the above to the very seconds ticking away, listening to The Andrew Marr Show (he's actually not on the show today), the talk how the deal will be shaped by such as "leave voters' will never accept paying a single penny" on exiting deals or such like. THIS, dear readers is the image at the beginning of this blog, it is in the land of "alternate reality" or "sub-creation" of the pen and tongue not the "Global Reality" of the previous blog post. Again the very first and very last blog posts here (or penultimate now) pointed out this ruling principle: A change in how we think about things is the beginning from which we can make progress in politics and from which failing to do so, we end up with this Philip K. Dickian "red, white and blue Brexit" bollocks/bullshit shovelled in ever higher frequency distracting and confusing voters "on the hour every hour". It's a waste of energy, a waste of attention and hence a cost on useful work done by people in progressing in dealing with real problems successfully.

Meanwhile, coming back to the EU's new horizons and role as part of "Global Governance" as per the above link, let's consider this abstracted into a general form also, again as per Dr. RAE North (2015) at

"This, however, is not the full extent of it. An equally powerful aid to understanding is Philip Selznick's theory of bureaucracy, in which he developed (if not actually coined) the principle of "self-maintenance" as a determinant of institutional behaviour. 
Distilled to its very essence, "self-maintenance" dictates that, wherever the founding principles of an organisation might be, its structure is shaped by the characteristic and commitments of participants and influences from the external environment. From this, over time, it develops means of self-defence. 
This self-defence develops into a series of activities which Selznick defines as self-maintenance, and his particular thesis is that these activities eventually become the superior goal. In effect, as with biological entities, the need to ensure its own survival emerges as the most powerful of driving forces - taking precedence over all else." 
Just as I write this we have Nick Robinson rambling on about "accepting Freedom of Movement" pinning down Diane Abbot as if he's sniffed out a stinking great "controversy" of Labour. Again, I'll repeat this is "sub-creation" as if the Nazis won the World War II and are ruling half of North America along with the Japanese Empire of the Rising Sun, taken from Dick's The Man In The High Castle for imagery of this idea of sub-creation (a word technically defined in use of fantasy writing by J.R.R. Tolkien). If you want an example, today, of this idea, again today's blog by Dr. RAE North recounts Christopher Booker's Sunday Telegraph column at provides an immediate illustration with reference to historic trend of such "mistakes" by "the great and good" (aka argument Appeal To Authority and the mass delusion that such strongly fault-ridden decision-making process entails): Brexit: eleven judges getting it wrong.

Now if we come back to Juvenal's insights about the dangers to Civic Society (aka the decay of the relationship between state and society) involving the population of citizens:

(1) "Consumption > Production" + "↑Distraction"

With the latter masquerading this growing imbalance in societies functioning (commentators over at often referred without realizing it, to this principle at the heart of the rise and fall of civilizations) and proactively encouraged and induced by the leadership who hold onto centralized power (their interests become parasitic to the host's interests: Instead of serving, subjugating) (note: the examples referenced above to support this assertion). If you take (1) then the picture created for Brexit/EU Politics is a bit like the title picture: The Word Cloud (actually in a cloud, rather neatly!) is a huge mess of mangled meanings creating a world that looks very different and behaves very differently. A huge distraction in effect from progressing arguments and resolving problems productively.

Is such distraction necessary, however? As said, if the "foundations" of society are not in place, or are eroded over time then this seems to dictate the resulting behaviour of our politicians in commandeering the EU Referendum Campaign to such dire levels of output - almost as if this was intentional - as we might rehearse saying for the umpteemth time again: "With the EU/Brexit nothing is as it seems". Mentioning the EU above, we also mentioned the UK system of governance and that needs looking at next. In a previous comment, I made two observations:-

  1. I've never seen any reason to communicate with MP's: All I see is greedy social-manipulators working towards a group message control agenda.
  2. As for the UK, again there's predominant "democracy is the least worst option" type of conventional resignation/wisdom"  assumed by 'everyone' of no more thinking required; whereas if you look at the contradiction of this made by The Harrogate Agenda (hence it's inclusion in FLEXCIT: Stage 6)

Currently, I'm listening the journalists contribution to the above consideration and it's all "being slapped down!" and two politicians bitching with each other in ritualized but empty rhetoric of "doing politics for the people" about "immigrashion" (note: Dick's writing was very effective at warping language with just the right nuance of alternate meaning in his alternate worlds!). To illustrate this danger of growing volume of words with lowering meaning:-

The Laughing Cavalier at The Wallace Collection

The above, I took on a recent visit to The Wallace Collection, for as with "Representative Democracy" which is mostly neither representative nor democratic, the The Laughing Cavlier is neither laughing nor is he a Cavalier, either!

Again we come full circle: The current Brexit news is ephemeral, it's probably indeed a smal cog within the great machinery of modern politics, that few are aware of an even fewer understand (if any?). To conceptualize it as a sub-creation to entertain and passify, as Juvenal says, a "palliative" that takes away the keeness of pain experienced without healing the decay that has crept into the "body politic". That negative feedback painful as it may be must be listened to however. So the surface level of events are entirely forgettable, the Supreme Court will likely finish it's circus act before long and be long forgotten in time too. On the other hand, lurking and latent within every person is an opportunity to rectify the poltical decay with creation towards a more healthy and productive politics where things are as they appear and words mean what they do more so too. If one looks at Brexit: It changes nothing, the political machinery will creak along (you could call the current phase an "inverse square law" relationship of reaction management by the politicians):-

(2) Intensity (of reaction)  1/Distance²

What the f! does that mean? It means several things which were already recorded in FLEXCIT but because of the failure of our political productivity, the proactive decay of politics by politicians and journalists (and others "in power") and the seemingly eternal distraction of people by the way in which society is structured (short-hand see Juvenal), these are:-

  • Brexit as an event has been dominated by EGO not QED.
  • Hence emotional reaction takes precedence over rational reception/acceptance.
  • Due to the severity of the intensity both to the UK and the EU, it must be attenuated as a result (see distance relation above).
  • As per FLEXCIT's prediction it's inevitable that it will amount to a transitional or interim phase of withdrawal.
  • This will last years to decades.
If anyone reading has gotten this far, the above ideas about "fallacy of a 'better deal' " are seen to be what they really are: A mass delusion as part of a complex movement and management of power.

At the heart of this is the fear invoked by holding power disproportionately over others and the reactions and negative potential built up over time that this as we looked at at the beginning invariably leads to. However, Brexit itself may change nothing but: For people, some of these layers are being stripped away from central authority, and it's a question of how productively active and energized people choose to be at this juncture in time, place and people, that will lead to future results and future forms of our politics - an opportunity presents it's possible (not necessarily probable) success, with positive not negative potential:-

"Our objective is to recover power. Our focus is on the acquisition of power. And once we ourselves, the people, hold the power, we can then attend to the many problems and injustices that plague modern society. But without power, there is only protest – and we achieve nothing of any lasting value. To help us acquire power, we are adopting the original strategy of the Chartists. Like them, we felt it was vital to frame a very limited number of achievable demands – six in number. These are listed below."

Friday, 21 October 2016

An Orbital Perspective: Brexit means "A Global Reality"

 Towards a data-driven model of the Earth?

The nuance for the correct picture for this subject was actually quite challenging: I did not want just a perspective of the entire global earth planet: The whole picture or "bigger picture" which because it's so common a phrase turns people off immediately. I did want a perspective that suggested something physically demonstrable in being "bigger" than the European Union. But that was merely stating the obvious. Finally I chose the above picture irrespective that the actual satellite shown is not a classic "Earth Observation Satellite" itself. The image however fits the focus of this blog: An Orbital Perspective:-
  • A higher perspective in both space and time.
  • Is a dynamic or changing picture.
  • Is driven by "big data" at this scale.
  • An Earth-Centric basis to the human processes of "Globalization".
A-Train group of Earth Observation Satellites ~ Reference: NASA wiki
"Other environmental satellites can assist environmental monitoring by detecting changes in the Earth's vegetation, atmospheric trace gas content, sea state, ocean colour, and ice fields. By monitoring vegetation changes over time, droughts can be monitored by comparing the current vegetation state to its long term average."
Borrowing the name from: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles ~ By Astronaut Ron Garan
"Scenes on the surface of Earth can be very still, which is not true when one is orbiting the planet. A snowy winter scene might impress us with its quiet stillness, even though the ground we are standing on is rotating at 1,000 mph, while Earth rotates around the sun at 67,000 mph, while our solar system rotates with the rest of the Milky Way galaxy at 515,000 mph, and the galaxy is hurtling outward at 1.4 million mph. All that motion is outside of our awareness. But when I gazed at Earth from space, there was no escaping the fact that I was traveling across the surface at five miles per second—17,500 mph. The lighting, colors, and the motion of the scene were constantly changing. And when my brain was able to extrapolate the curvature of Earth, I was filled with the certainty that I was witnessing a planet hanging in the blackness of space. Earth became my ever-present travel companion. This is the overview effect, which makes possible the orbital perspective."
A view of this from Europe and the UK, via The Overview Effect:-

Colours: White (North), Yellow (South), Green (East to West) and surrounding Blue (Oceans and Seas) with some more White (Clouds) and surrounding Black (Space)
"The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.

It refers to the experience of seeing first hand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, "hanging in the void", shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this "pale blue dot" becomes both obvious and imperative."
That's a long preamble, but the observation of how we consider ourselves and our place on this planet, in the case of the UK, is highly relevant to our future politics. One of the most damaging inherent conditions of EU membership was the waste of political attention on a small sub-set of this larger perspective. If you reread the description by the astronaut above, the relative comparison of different speeds are highlighted. There's a national speed for the UK (and regional), a broader speed at the EU level and then another speed at the global level - of change. This is I think a good description of "globalization" in human processes, including but not exclusvely: Politics.

One of the very core messages contained within Dr. RAE North's FLEXCIT - Summary p.5 Phases 5 & 6 (End-Game):-
"Phase five comprises a coherent programme to define our wider global trading relations. This comprises eight separate initiatives. The withdrawal settlement has now receded, having served its purpose as the launch pad. The way is now open for the UK to break out of the EU cul-de-sac and rejoin the world.

Sixth, and finally, we embark on a series of domestic reforms, by introducing elements of direct democracy and the other changes embodied in The Harrogate Agenda – the immediate aim being to prevent ever again a situation where our Parliament hands over our powers to an alien entity without the permission of the people."
You can determine from the recorded reactions of those who are categorized as 
experiencing "The Overview Effect" that it's quite a powerful context from which to then start using and viewing things through, including politics. Indeed nations are already party to "Global Top Tables" which produce legislation at a Global level, at an EU level and again at the national level and eventually at the local level.

Brexit: "A Global Dawn"

It's for this reason I've chosen to end this blog and launch a new blog/website with this combination in mind: Connecting Local Real (or direct) Democracy to the Global Environmental challenges and changes that are already being developed in tandem with other globalization processes. To look at the first two of The Harrogate Agenda demands specifically through this context:-

1. Recognition of our sovereignty:

"The peoples of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland comprise the ultimate authority of their nations and are the source of all political power. That fact shall be recognised by the Crown and the Governments of our nations, and our Parliaments and Assemblies;"

2. Real local democracy:

"The foundation of our democracy shall be the counties (or other local units as may be defined), which shall become constitutional bodies exercising under the control of their peoples all powers of legislation, taxation and administration not specifically granted by the people to the national government;"
One of the challenges ahead will indeed be reinterpreting Sovereignty within the context sparingly outlined, here. The final blog on this site will be, the below which I'll carry over to a new blog/website subsequently:-

"Environmental Audit Committee hears from the Department for Exiting the European Union and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how the Government intends to approach the environment in its negotiations with the European Union after the EU Referendum result."

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Power: The Castle of Illusions

Preferably this would have been a mock-up of M.C. Escher's abstract geometry-breaking style, but the above will suffice for lack of skill in this endeavour.

This blog is overdue another description of a policy (Environment + Brexit) via focused and detailed description of a subject of substance!! Going in the opposite direction, hence at the risk of adding to the cacophony... but noticing the current headline topics in politics at the moment and noticing a high quality blog post by Pete North:-

"If I have learned one thing from my dabbling in politics it is that knowledge is not prized. Conformity is. The rules of political progression are thus:

Firstly one must declare publicly an allegiance to an orthodoxy. One must praise it and denounce followers of opposing ideals. One must never deviate because the narrative is a closely guarded continuum. Each tribe has a leader but in each tribe there are cells. There are acolytes who are permitted a certain degree of status so long as they never challenge or contradict the high priest of the tribal orthodoxy. Dissent is punished, conformity is rewarded. 
This is so engrained in our political culture that debate has now become a form of entertainment rather than a means to an end [editor's note: Distraction Activity could substitute here also]. This explains London political culture.
Not for nothing do we call them the chattering classes. It is reflected in London based political publications where we see in full flow the dynamic of prestige and conformity over substance. What we see is the popularised mantras of the leading tribes which attract the most prestige.

We often speak of "the establishment" but there have been very few credible attempts to define what that actually means. To the left, the establishment is the banks, bosses and the "neoliberals", but this is a wholly teenage interpretation of the establishment.

The establishment is difficult to define specifically because it is an amorphous mass of competing influences. It is neither right wing nor left wing. It is simply that which cannot be removed by way of voting.

The purpose of an election is notionally to refresh the powers that be. In reality all we are doing is sending more fresh meat into the grinder into an ancient system whereby the system takes malleable and naive politicians and uses them to gain influence, be it the media, privately funded think tanks or direct political donations.

In modern times the media and think tanks are interchangeable. The media does very little thinking of its own and so there is a nexus between the media and the thinks tanks whereby old money ensures that the orthodox narratives are never challenged. Through either bribery, bullying, ridicule or sabotage, there are no limits to the lengths they will go to to suppress ideas that they themselves do not endorse or did not originate."

I highly recommend reading the full blog (certainly up to the paragraph on Fascism and for further on that subject re-read my previous blog: Politics & Power: The Power of "Will Power"). One thing I feel confident in stating: Much of the discussion of politics has poor foundations. Often the data group "tags" used to assort large groups of people into such as "left, right, libertarianism or any of the other more established labels", are extremely limited and self-limiting by the current system of politics: Reds vs Blues, as the traditional football match goes. One tribe of supporters ritualistically against another and fair enough some of the quality of football is brilliant entertainment in my opinion - but it's football of course.

Coming back to the news, today there's some highlights of "Trump vs Clinton": Go watch it and it's much easier to see the suggested above, the wider schism between rhetoric and reason; between illusion and reality. In our present debate about Brexit, it's perhaps less obvious, but as usual Dr. RAE North provides enormously helpful assistance:-

Brexit: confusion reigns20/10/2016
Brexit: mutual recognition of standards19/10/2016
Brexit: off the edge of a cliff18/10/2016
see previous blogs......
see previous blogs......
see previous blogs......
see previous blogs......

There is "a kind of order within the above apparent chaotic pattern" in all the above, which go into great detail and depth, the latest concerning the predictable conflation between Customs Union (of the EU), The Single Market (including EEA) and variations on "Free Trade, Sovereignty and Supranationalism, " presumably when "the shit hits the fan" (illusion hits reality), and the parameters of Brexit as understood within the limits of Article 50. To provide an example, just read the beginning summary of news-media coverage of the politicians "positions" concerning the "progress" of Brexit in the above "Brexit: Confusion reigns":-
David Jones, Minister of State for Brexit, has told a House of Lords committee the UK's negotiating position may not be "totally crystallised" by next spring. The government was "at an early stage of the process", he said, and thinking was "developing".

But then, if this recent report in the Guardian (and a parallel report in the Mail) is any guide, this should not come as a surprise. The debate seems to be going backwards, sowing confusion in place of clarity, adding needless complications to an already complex issue.

For a start, these two newspapers don't seem to know whether they are coming or going. Both apparently report on work submitted to the Cabinet by the Treasury, the think-tank NIESR, and the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, but both seem to have a different idea of what it involves.

The Mail, on the one hand, has the work focusing on "a Norway-style model where the UK exits the single market but stays inside the customs union", whereas the Guardian has it that we remain "inside the single market but outside the customs union".

The Guardian then confuses the issue still further by suggesting that a customs union sets common external tariffs – which is fair enough – but then, bizarrely, asserts it "does not require customs checks".

If you read Pete North's blog, I think he lays out a useful basis as to why, that is actually very useful before then using the language of established conventions in our politics and hence the confusion that usually engenders. And if you accept some of the suppositions, it might then make more sense why for example Westminster politics deals and trades in so much that defies reason, that breaks the rules of reason - and yet ends up holding a most perverse logic of it's own! What is that? I think one way to perhaps describe it, and not exclusively, is to compare it to what M.C Escher does with his depictions of "rule-breaking geometry": There is order in understanding which rules are being broken and only displaying the consequence of those broken rules: Of course such an 'echo or reversal' thus holds onto it's inherited "reason" but in a most convoluted and captivating and strange and bizarre outcome: Much like watching politics in Westminster: The centralization of power at work, even? Why if we begin to assume we glimpse some of "how"?

 M.C. Escher: "Waterfall" - Our modern politics: But does such a picture serve a purposeful function for present people? "Almost certainly".

This is perhaps a fantastical way of suggesting: Perhaps people need to start learning more about possible rules of power itself, if we want to progress our politics and it's productive work as opposed to it's "distraction activity" usage which consumes the former; the greater the disconnect between those in power and those not, that also seems to be some sort of rule operating? That's an enigma. But for the moment, it seems to me to be more pleasing to view these illustrations than it is to listen to the illusions of politicians (passport colours a lazy eg, a more appropriate one: Scotland in the Single Market, rUK out – what would it take? - a strong exercise in catering to current illusions from a "think tank" etc).

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Reports From Rebuilding: The Harrogate Agenda (THA)

The Harrogate Agenda: "Continuing the work..."

Page 1 of The Harrogate Agenda: "Demands for governance by the people for the people":-
"The original aim of the Chartists was to reform the political system to make it more democratic. And, although five of their six demands were eventually conceded, their work was not done. The system, although improved, is still very far from democratic. Thus we seek to continue their work, with another six demands, which we intend to be the focus of a new political movement."
On 1st October, 2016, I attended a meeting for The Harrogate Agenda. To choose one single subject to define the heart of the meeting: Power. There was some very deliberate and defined discussion at one point in the meeting concerning Demand 4: The Peoples Consent with respect to the mechanics of power. On the one side you have The Peoples Consent requirement to legislation proposed by Parliament and on the other hand you have Parliament's Consent to legislation proposed by people, which sparked a number of questions: Who then holds true power if the "right of proposal" is curtailed"? Or how is power truly restrained? There's more on this (see the website link above) on Page 14-.

This example is at the heart of the movement mentioned here and in the above passage all within the ambit of Power:-
  • Reform
  • More democratic
  • Continue their work
  • Six Demands
  • new political movement
It seems to me that The Chartists helped build some of the foundations of democracy, but the work is incomplete. And to complete this work or continue it, I think what is required is "people with skills" in political processes. The ability to develop these skills and educate more people with these skills, is I think the essence of real power in politics.

Much is made today, for example today's Daily Politics, just the latest example of types of power:-
  • Money (eg funding sources)
  • Vote Count (eg MPs per party) - this one mentioned
  • Communication (eg data mining)
  • Prestige (eg social hierarchies)

It's tempting to explore so much more and to elaborate on the ideas behind these basic ideas on power so much more, too. But to keep this report succinct: If we stop and consider that maybe our present politics really does revolve around such accepted notions of power as summarized above, then a consideration of where we are at with respect to political change as it exists today, may be in order:-

In times of transition or change, new problems arise. Not only are these new problems to solve, but old ways of viewing problems may themselves become problems too?

When you translate the above "viewing" into how the politicians "view" peoples current problems you end up with the type of "party speeches" that have been aired in the past few days, the usual fodder dolled out year on year:-
  • 'Building a bigger, better, fairer more inclusive society'
  • 'Those at the bottom neglected will be included again'
  • 'We will regain control of immigration, housing, economy and...'
I don't even know, the monotone sound-bites filtered through the way politics is currently viewed according to the context of who has power and who is perceived to hold power. Apparently to then resolve/solve problems through that power that's filtered through the above channels.

Nowhere was this more in evidence than the Referendum on the EU. My assertion is this: The Leave Alliance affliation provided all the tools and much of the education for people to learn to skill themselves up for the Referendum, freely available: Power effectively was being given to people for free! What was potentially possible for people to acquire Real Power ie exercise Real Democracy was almost completely squandered and replaced by the vast majority of people cleaving to the above forms of power - in the hands of "The Few"!

Hence, in my opinion, at The Harrogate Agenda meeting, there was the feeling of being dwarfed by the scale of the problem: If this is such a good idea, why hasn't it already been done before, a "sanity check" style of question?

Interestingly, The Chartists already did attempt this, as stated before! And by the very means of perceived power of their time, too:-
"The strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims..."
What did they rely on that made them successful? I think if there is going to be any kind of success, for The Harrogate Agenda, then finding out what "this" is, will be essential; if it isn't already known? For more discussion on the challenges understanding this, Scribblings From Seaham provides further commentary:-

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Entertaining Political Times: "Infinite Monkey Brexit"

Monkey + Laptop = Metaphor for randomly throwing out "results" source:

Recently I've been pouring over many papers concerning the environment policy as well as extending that into something else I'm preparing for another purpose, and it has not been possible to write that up as the next blog post, probably for at least another week. Hence I wanted to explore this idea about how people think about things while providing a hopefully enjoyable diversion for anyone feeling bored out of their minds by the "noise" or to reframe this positively into something to find entertaining, afterall 'politics/politicians' "like to be entertaining" when it suits them, as much as being ignored also when it suits them.

I enjoy metaphors almost as much as I enjoy watching animals and in fact the combination is irresistible for use in communication. Why? I think in written communication, the rules of grammar dictate the form of what is said and that is necessarily so. A metaphor allows a wider unspoken space to be intuitively grasped perhaps in addition to following the rules of grammar. We already use what we know to understand what otherwise would require lengthy details and descriptions.

This is useful but it seems it can lead to errors. If the metaphor is overstretched then it will become the argument and lead to non-sequiturs and the like. Or in other words the container for ideas becomes the argument as opposed to the actual ideas held within. This has already been seen regarding the totemic "voodoo dolls" in discussion for Brexit:-

What is brexit? Atm a voodoo doll to stick pins into, in the legacy-news media. Every pin feels better!
  • European Union European Family of Peace
  • The Single Market of European Free Trade
  • The Customs Union of Tariffs and Regulations
  • The Brexit Options beneath all the above:-  
  1. Norway Option
  2. Swiss Option
  3. Turkey Option
  4. Canadian Option
  5. WTO Option
  • Bespoke "British Option" which is either nearest (Cameron's reform fudge) or farthest away from the EU (Old Empire), interestingly.
Dr. RAE North comments on similar themes: Brexit: "mind boggling" complexity & Brexit: a "massive overhead for very little gain".

The simple answer is that Brexit is very complicated. But also, equally the simple answer to the subsequent step in thinking taken that "the problem is, there is no solution" is to recognize first behavioural responses: (1) "pin sticking activity above" as well as recognize (2) such a mantra is logically a fallacy of thinking that the problem itself has not been defined, hence there is no solution and if no solution - no problem defined, not necessarily no solution. Pete North makes this observation about the excessive problematizing of Brexit: The way forward for Brexit. Not only is he right, he's also well within his "rights" to feel a trifle "peeved" with the behaviour of people being so enormously entertained by "typing monkeys" thinking and "voodoo doll" pin sticking behaviour. If you want real entertainment, this wonderful quote from Dr. RAE North:-
"It's thirty months since we published the first version of Flexcit, pointing out that a trade deal with the EU inside two years was not possible, and now the Independent considers it news that "experts" have woken up to that fact."
The economic "sky falling on our heads" has not come to pass as swiftly as some had hoped before the referendum, so a new circus has had to come to town to entertain everyone instead - probably the above, which I've used the metaphor of Infinite monkey theorem to keep with the standard of entertainment expected:-
"The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

In this context, "almost surely" is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the "monkey" is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces an endless random sequence of letters and symbols."
Of course it's worth appreciating that the monkeys are a metaphor, because this interesting experiment putting the practicalities into practice shows a somewhat more "down to earth result":-
"In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys. They left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes crested macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon in England for a month, with a radio link to broadcast the results on a website.

Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter S, the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it. Mike Phillips, director of the university's Institute of Digital Arts and Technology (i-DAT), said that the artist-funded project was primarily performance art, and they had learned "an awful lot" from it. He concluded that monkeys "are not random generators. They're more complex than that. ... They were quite interested in the screen, and they saw that when they typed a letter, something happened. There was a level of intention there."
Thanks to the commentators at for pointing this out some time ago. And any readers of this blog, thank you for reading, but I hope you've been entertained by the notion of the story above as well as using it to compare with what is currently the output in the Legacy News-Media concerning Brexit?! Hmm.

 I was reading about totem poles in "Art: The Whole Story" recently and as opposed to what is usually thought: The lower-down segments are usually the more important story components...

  1. If we take, the above latest subjects getting an airing, if you read Dr. North's two linked blogs you'll see how people are not arguing accurately about the subjects anymore but are using the subjects more and more as metaphors or what is perhaps a well known process: Totems to represent the full story or subject. Huge amount of political activity and associated industries around it, are more or less bowing down and doing fantastically complex ritualized genuflections in front of a totem pole.
  2. As Pete North points out, FLEXCIT was "there from the beginning" or 30 months old to be accurate. What does this tell us about the EU Referendum? Well let's use a metaphor of the typing monkeys: In the experiment above to quote: "Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter S, the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it." The detail about the "lead male" just makes me crack up the most! You could not write the script any better. But on a serious note, look at monkeys and look at a super advanced and extraordinarily complex technological tool such as a computer or look at people and FLEXCIT.
  3. If you read the Wikipedia link to the "infinite monkey theorum" it comes up with a mathematical formula to describe this. I think it's possible to come up with a similar formula for politics and problems. Probably not as rigorously defined but more or less: Number of actors, number of subjects, applicability of subjects to actors. Given a rise in all three, you will have a growth rate in problems, increase in problems complexity and of course a rise in actors/people who are experiencing disruption to their lives through problems! In the campaign phase, this seems to tack onto this notion of conflict by simplifying messages and each phase accentuating the fact the other group are agents of disruption. [might try and add something here in formula notation in the future]
  4. Now here's the curious outcome: That thinking is being used to problematize Brexit when it's a process of campaigning BEFORE decision-making. Namely the attempt being made is to use the same process of campaigning and problematizing AFTER decision-making. In fact the process after campaigning and decision-making is very different: Educating and widening understanding as opposed to narrowing and simplifying a message to amplify it and distribute it repeatedly. Yet there are people using the "Because Leave campaigned for it" argument this is "politically impossible", hence the latest suave argument using the tempting but false "binary presentation: Norway, Switzerland, bespoke-UK – no option looks easy. The UK faces a stark choice – a solution that works economically, or one that works politically, says Sebastian Remøy. It can’t have both. It seems to me that the complexities don't stop within the UK, but expand "higher and higher and further and further afield" - for the politicians that is - as much as for the people concerning the idea of the above formula. "Because Vote Leave campaigned for it", is mostly a question of resolving the problem of dealing with people who now feel disrupted because what they were told was of course simplified campaigning cobblers! And just imagine this also applying across Europe...
According to the article:-

Sebastian [Remøy] is Global Head of Public Affairs for Kreab and leads the consultancy’s Trade Competition and Digital practice. He is part of the London School of Economics’ [LSE] Commission on the Future of Britain in Europe and is European Co-Chair of the Brexit Working Group in the Trans-Atlantic Business Council. Previously, Sebastian was Senior Officer in the EEA Coordination Division of the EFTA Secretariat and was Deputy Head of the Commercial Section at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo. He has dual Norwegian/American citizenship.

It's interesting because Pete North further makes the observation in the comments section at his blog The way forward for Brexit:-
"He knows full well Flexcit exists but prefers his brand of problematising because that's what his acolytes feed off...

As to my tone, it's largely because I am sick to death of these cleverdicks who persistently lie by omission and put the walls up when challenged. Brexit problematising is a cottage industry whereby anyone with ideas and solutions is excluded because the very last thing they want to do is discuss ways forward.
The joke of it is, were he actually interested in solutions he would have found us 

Flexciteers helpful and cooperative. We have perfectly amicable relationships with remainers who are interested in answers - but that is not DAG.

There is a whole universe of other issues he has yet to discover and when he does he'll parade it round like nobody has ever thought of it before. And again when it turns out that there is a perfectly viable solution he'll ignore that too. You can't really work with that - so if sneering derision is what he gets then it's no less than he deserves.

Throughout the FT clique have framed the debate by excluding critical pieces of information..."
There's a commentator "HarryT" there who falls for the predictable:-
"Yeah... perhaps. It would be a shame if Flexcit were a great idea but people were put off finding out about it by the way its proponents behaved." 

Pete North responds accurately:-

"You are looking at this as one single post from Green. It isn't. This is part of a pattern of behaviour from him. Continued problematising and catastrophisation to the exclusion of all external sources."

I was watching   Recorded coverage of the president of the European Parliament Martin Schultz MEP making a speech at the London School of Economics on EU and Brexit, from Friday 23 September. And I have nothing personally against what is said in the speech by Mr. Shultz who curiously keeps to the straight and narrow line and points out it's mostly a question of acceptable behaviour, but watching the tittering behaviour of the LSE group in attendance was as fascinating, however, at the mention of "Boris": Reassuringly superior laughter. Pete North is right, above, a huge part of all the problems in that potential "formula" suggested above is "behaviour" (as above even with the accusation that those who are "unpleasant" are the ones who are not behaving!) much more than it is the actual subject itself which will indeed pose problems of it's own kind, which as FLEXCIT points at for so long, already, are indeed very complicated of themselves. But when you factor in this other form of behaviour: The question is as per the typing monkeys: How much time do they need to type out the full Brexit solution?