Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Red Cliffs Of Dawlish
Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

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?

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Better Rhetoric For Brexit: "Acres Of Diamonds."

What is the value in Brexit?

There is one silver-lining from having to endure the nonsense rhetoric or what is given the (overly-) serious political description of "phony war", and that's that rhetoric can be made to work BOTH ways.

In one previous blog, the obervation was made that the common wisdom is that "no-body knows" if Brexit is good or if Remain is good or better or worse. Namely confusion and complexity at work before communication is able to even parse anything worth saying. This is one reason I find it particularly difficult these days to comment over at I know in most cases I've not done the requisite work, research and preparation to master the details to be able to simplify enough to ask useful questions and hence develop/advance the discussion presented there.

I've seen a number of times group meetings where people have come out with the usual mantras irrespective that being present at these meetings they should, as preliminary, be familiar with the overall conceptual picture... and predictably you see a "flash of lightning" darken Dr. North's response the speed of which is probably proportional to the number of "man-hours" invested in these materials so that people might actually have the basics of communication wrapped up first before attempting to argue the details and logic in seriousness using this common platform.

For this reason I've chosen to attempt to limit the scope of this blog to policy areas: Environment, Fisheries and Farming, in future, at least that may aid in attempting to master the details as much as I am capable as a non-expert. As well as this, some of the thinking that goes around the subject of Brexit such as this blog: Namely connecting the principles to the details at different ends: Working on the problem from both ends.

I watched yet another BBC political production: Britain After The Referendum: What Next? which, did not answer the question: "What Next?" but did as with Question Time provide a pedestal for various talking heads to spout their rhetoric from.

The central question which keeps failing to be acknowledged, that from The Great Deception: "What is the EU for anyway?" then from that "Is it worth it?" is derivative. Instead we have from the speakers:-
  • Ben Page's preferred filter from public polls: "You wot, mate?"
  • Nick Clegg's student of the EU speech: "Friend Of Big EU Chief".
  • CBI: "Business is about money. I rest my entire case."
  • Polly Toynbee who demonstrates that being misinformed makes you more wrong than being ignorant time and time again.
  • Tim Montgomerie: Seizing the negative tone of all the others to present a positive message to probably gain persuasion points?
All the speakers are very studied in the effect of their words, but none bothered to establish before "What Next?" first: "Where Right Now!"

So, looking for a countervail of rhetoric: Where words rely less on substance and more on style to shift attitude as opposed to carefully argue reason for reason, the "management style stirring speech" is a possible approach; one that has some merit and points out to people: That work, preparation and research are all prerequisites:-

Recognizing Opportunity: How?

These sorts of motivation or management style talks necessarily contain an amount of cliché to them, but that does not detract from the likely reason for this: How many people, have heard such "advice" a number of times  in a number of different ways? Or perhaps so many times that, and end up only feeling good about such speeches and the positive prospects mentioned, and then "What Next?" Do absolutely nothing about applying them or testing them to see if they actually work?

You have to laugh, not at some of the now quaint aspects in the above, which have aged, inevitably, but at the difference between the contents of this speech and the contents of our modern politicians' speeches but as important if not more so: The intent behind the messages proposed in both cases. Let's explore this concerning how it affects talking about Brexit:-

Normally in science, light (white) travels through the prism then separates out into the various different colours which we take delight in when it reaches our eye (sparkle in the diamond's multi-faceted case). However, in politics, this is often what happens in a lot of communication between the questioner (sending out the "light"), the process of communication inbetween and the answer from who ever is on the other end, now scale this up to the institutional processes of politics but in the same Q&A form of person to person (as we always see on our tv screens eg):-

  1. A question is asked on a particular area, let's say "colour blue" using above.
  2. The questioner expects this input to be processed reasonably and output in "colour blue".
  3. But what the questioner often wants to know is the specific value of the "colour blue" after the processing. When I say value, it could be money or some quantitative change that can be measured accurately and definitively.
  4. What instead comes out is the white light. From blue you get all the colours combined and hence the answer is often in politics "uncertainty" or it seems as if the politician has evaded the question (often the case due to party line) but also:-
  5. How To Recognize what where in the fully complex system the question actually resides and hence the limits to what it's effects will be once processed.
In the above, using Dr. North's points about Brexit being a complete thing or using the quote again "Swallow it Whole", the diamond being the different angles of questions asked of the (sub-) components of this complete structure:-

  • Any individual detail or regulation must fit within the wider policy which must fit within the wider political realities.
  • Any "positive outcome" desired in any given specific area, will naturally process through this complex structure and churn out an output based on multiples of different components operating together.
  • Any "positive outcome" is itself a question of "joint-up-policy" being the focus of the components to create the complete outcome (which will include other outcomes). Thus the inputs should be considered as tools rather than ends accountable in themselves.
  • Inevitably these outcomes will lead to "unforeseen consequences" or "uncertainty" which will introduce mistakes or errors. The process should be considered continuous and aim more to avoid catastrophic error ie reasonable deviation.
  • Dr. North moves the argument further along pointing out that any such system itself needs another level of 'consciousness' in what it is used for: In how effectively it can react to correct these mistakes or indeed recognize them from the complexity inherent.
Much like the motivation speech above, it may be that people can listen and read or look at such considerations and yet ultimately not pay any heed to them, because without learning the very many and sometimes boring and seemingly infinitely endless details upon details (ie hard work here and now); people decide they'd prefer to feel good and be comforted in hearing of stories of others who've "miraculously" found Acres Of Diamonds across the other side of the world. This seems to be the politicians' bread and butter basis of rhetoric?

The value in Brexit is much more inherent than is imagined, is probably the best conclusion to use. But the cost is equally inherent and I think more easy to come to terms with right now: A failure of investment of people in this politics, is as per the speech above, "going backwards" and the results may then be considered to be understandable in terms of their "perversity" of outcomes; if check-box listing these the list would be long, of notorious note to summarize however:-
  • No alternative or full fact sheets presented during the Referendum unlike for example in Switzerland as per recently from Scribblings From Seaham: That’s the way to do it………
In the next blog I will cover the Environment subject as applied to Brexit, as I've attempted already with Fisheries. However, from the ideas "talked about here", I hope to apply them to examples within that policy's context and thus better explain them as "examples in action" and observable.

If there's one thing Brexit has exposed, it's how perverse politics can become and how the inherent message within the modern political rhetoric is a message of "powerlessness of people to the political systems".

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Battle In Heaven: The Trouble With Politicians

Supreme quality - of rhetorical skill

The above statement by Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York, is an example par excellence, an exemplar of "the trouble with politicians". Have a read, this American polician's words makes the British equivalents look like pixies of politics by comparison! If I remember a quote from the great story-teller J.R.R Tolkien, correctly to paraphrase:-
"I see no Saurons, today, but the descendants of Saruman the silver-tongued are everywhere."
Well, there may well be a Sauron or two in Middle East, presently, but in British politics it's "these descendants" that are flourishing and thriving. And to use the above as the prime example:-
  1. "I do not believe": A sincere statement of conjecture
  2. "And I Know": Where is the divide?
  3. "This To Be A Horrible Thing To Say": I am sincere and it takes conviction to say it openly and measurement.
  4. "The President Loves America [Not, Not]": No one should be President who does not love America hence actively rejects the people.
  5. "He doesn't love you": If he does not love America how can he love you?
  6. "And... he doesn't love me": We together are not loved by this august authority over us.
  7. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up": He's different, technically this may very well be true in meaning if not in essence, there is plausibility in that the President is different and hence incapable of love of Americans.
  8. "Through love of this country": To be brought up American with American values is through shared love of each other and our country, this is the choice to make.
I'm not here to comment on the veracity of the situation in the USA's politics; don't have a clue about it. But the method of rhetoric is incredibly tight above and skillful, I think. The silver-tongued words shine and gleam with potency, it even makes me worried that President Obama could be a great big uncaring fraud, and that if only we had a Big Sister or Brother (or Father...) to look after us and love us, truly as our own family. Something like that - Yeesh!

British politics is no different if you are raising your eyebrows here, sceptically: Look at Nicola Sturgeon who acts in this bullying and commandeering way for the Scottish people. Look at the outpourings of Nigel Farage (Immigrants on trains speaking funny makes me uncomfortable) or recently Nick - fucking - Clegg:-

 Helpful Tip when dealing with modern-day Sarumans: Don't listen or allow their voices through your ears (block your ears even!), before, first looking very closely at what their eyes are doing for a moment of time. As masterfully characterized by the wonderful actor Christopher Lee, above, playing the role for the Hollywood movie adaptation (unfortunatley like modern movies like modern politicians, a vision eviscerated from it's senses)!

Of all the Saruman's of today, I really least like the ones that work hardest on being liked! The Tony Blairs, Nick Cleggs and of course the further grubby descent of politics by charlatans with even more silvery tongues such as Boris Johnson (part-time comedian) or that comedian/celebrity with long hair and designer goatee who supported Labour and I've completely forgotten his name; the strutting and preening peacock; or possibly Owen Jones, such a nice and so good; what a darling child: That makes me very suspicious... . It's also little wonder our Prime Ministers must spend so much on their clothes and haircuts (Monsieur Hollande's barber?) and acting classes and PR agencies/spin doctors and more and more appear to be selected on the basis of their young and fair of face looks (Blair, Cameron).

It's tempting to look at the opposite proposition *wink*.

In part what has this strand of thought is a New Statesman article: "Nick Clegg: Brexit is too much for the Tory brain". You can google it, I'm not linking such filth, but if you read the above with the above dissection and then you also do the same to Clegg's piece above (just read that title!) then I hope I've exposed "The Trouble With Politicians" a little bit? The New Statesman has the gall to push a pop-up about "quality journalism costs money" too. They're mouth-piece organs to what in Tolkien's book was the title of chapter 10: "The Voice of Saruman":-
"[His voice was] low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment [...] it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire woke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves ... for those whom it conquered the spell endured while they were far away and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them."
The bit in that chapter that especially resonates with me, is the invocation of wiser leaders requiring to discuss great and important matters behind closed doors while the small and insignificant little people tremble with trepidation and hope that these great persons might deliver them from their troubles... or something like that. So true: All the stage management of politics today, captured in that little passage.

Battle In Heaven: A recurring theme, always above us.

The above picture seems to resonate for some reason... the distant and rarefied visualization of "higher unseen powers" at work or battle. With respect to politics it does seem to be something like this in my own personal experience; so I may better understand these terrible and dread clash of the gods)?:-
  1. "Which is the best quality newspaper to read?" Is it The Daily Telegraph; surely better than The Sun?
  2.  "Which newspapers provide the best breadth of coverage to lead to a balanced and informed understanding of what is going on in the world?" Is it the main political spectrum papers: The Telegraph for Tory, The Guardian For Labour, The Independent for Liberal Democrat (and Breibart today for UKIP)?
  3. "Which newspapers provide coverage based more in fact than opinion?" Graduating on to The Economist and The Financial Times...
  4. "Why do I even read the news if it is proven to make people's moods more pessimistic and negative?"
  5. "Who are the leading and authorative sources one can depend upon then?"
  6. What do I need to learn more of to understand these issues more deeply?
  7. "How can I get more actively involved and do something usefully while avoiding becoming a gullible fool of politicians' machinations?"
The trouble with politicians it seems to me is that people become bound to the idea that they learn and follow from such people and all will be wise and great as it were but remain stuck on one of the lower levels, always looking upwards at the great battle in heaven by these silver-tongued descendants.

Pete North recently blogged in my opinion the definitive verdict on the subsequent and forthcoming consequences of the EU Referendum and how it will shape and guide the formation of Brexit:

The consequences of The Silver Tongue

It's worth reading all of Pete's blog on this subject, but to select a few particular areas:-
"If you think back to the run up to the general election, Ukip was talk of the town. They were going to storm the castle walls and take the establishment on in their home turf. It didn't happen though. All eyes were on Ukip to see if they were made of the right stuff, but in the end what shone through was their complete lack of intellectual foundation and total lack of competence.

The original intent was that The Leave Alliance was going to put in a bid but we were caught off guard and never had the resources to mount a credible challenge. We did however have one thing the other contenders did not. A plan. Through Twitter we eventually got the attention of Arron Banks and there were a number of talks with regard to the adoption of Flexcit - a plan that would take us beyond Brexit. To cut a long story short, that same contingent of malevolent Ukippers rapidly bullied Banks into a u-turn. Banks was a coward.  

And now what have we? A very problematic win. In most respects Vote Leave failed to register at all with the media unless it was being especially obnoxious. It certainly didn't win any new friends. 

It seems to me that the EU was an abstract element in the whole campaign and nobody even attempted to sell the broader ideals of the EU to the public.  

So what we have is a corporate shell of a campaign, with no movement behind it, no real traction among its backers and a handful of empty marketing slogans which are politically unrealisable. 

There is now a shadow organisation in the image of Vote Leave but it is not a genuine grass roots organisation. It is one of Matthew Elliott's sock puppets.

Brexit is only half a job and if the mission was to return the power to the people then the Brexit we get doesn't even scratch the surface. We're back at square one - back where we were when I was a kid attending meetings with Farage and Sked speaking to audiences of three in Lancashire church halls.

If Brexit were to have any revolutionary potential it needed skilful, knowledgeable leavers at the forefront working to a plan with a movement behind it. And that needed to be in place years before now. Vote Leave should never have even had a look in. The lead campaign should have been territory owned by Ukip."
One of the excellent bloggers during the Referendum and before Paul Reynolds made this post: The Last Straw concerning the disintegration of The Blogger's Army as the new opportunities and consolidation of progress was attempted by various members to assert FLEXCIT into influential areas of Westminster and thereby achieve lasting success (just read Pete's account above for that type of success...). It's a little sad this happened, I think personally. However,  the silver-lining of failing to counter-act the Silver-Tongued:-

"I do not enlighten those who are not eager to learn,
"nor arouse those who are not anxious" 
"to give an explanation themselves."
"If I have presented one corner of the square"
"and they cannot come back to me with the other three,"
"I should not go over the points again."

Usefully the above is now very visibly established: An experiment has been successfully completed. ~ Confucius Analects: 7:8

The Fijian players sang and took part in a communal prayer after winning their gold medal

The Fijian's above; which was easily my favourite result from the Summer Olympics, having followed Sevens for a long time and the above achievement was the result of a lot of hardwork and preparation and execution in addition to the team unity expressed above - I think like most teams, the hardwork and preparation is the basis for the team unity that follows. A similar implicit trust or bond emerges in similar-sized squads in the armed forces.

From my perspective, it's a shame The Blogger's Army could not have held it's shape and been more of an example of what people could achieve through hardwork and preparation instead of what effectively was decided: To give into the silver-tongued politicians and offer the EEA scraps as prizes in the aftermath of this big experiment: Just watch as they all seek to exploit "something" from the scraps that will be on offer, from Nick Clegg or Nigel Farage to Matthew Elliott and others: . I personally support Dr. RAE North's stance here, to defend what one has actually done over what others are only willing to say they will do or have done:-

Vote Leave PR lead and Cameron's former strategy chief join forces in new agency

 Honing more "Silvery Words" to come in the future from the data-mining of the Referendum voters database.

"Gill, who worked with Cameron for 10 years , said the pair provided "a unique perspective on Brexit".

"We’ll be doing quite a lot of Brexit intelligence and Brexit insight, a lot of companies are now thinking about developing campaigns in the wake of the referendum result," added Stephenson

Stephenson also said that their experience on both sides of the referendum gave the new agency a "competitive advantage", and that while both had spoken with several established PR agencies since leaving their last roles, that he was more driven by a desire to run his own business.

Asked by PRWeek for the main lesson both had learned in the referendum, Gill said it was "that the age of political theories and hunches are over - you’ve got to base your strategy on the data".
Stephenson said: "Keep it simple - I think by the end of the referendum people were talking about our simple messages like the £350m a week figure and Turkey joining the EU; we used language people could use in the street or in the pub."

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A Fisheries Forecast: "Easterly, slight - or moderate, falling slowly..."

This map! "40 yrs of high quality cod discards"... "A Sea of Opportunity" including the UK Continental Shelf Limit," the implications of "turning this over to common grazing" in the 1970's"... [The CFP] "is simply unfit for purpose... "MP's/MEP's who simply know nothing about Fishing".

This blog brings to the reader's attention: Select Committees - Brexit and Fisheries Committee: Sub-committee session on the impact of Brexit on fisheries with evidence from academics, from Wednesday 7 September.  A lot of this reconnects to the arguments fairly well made in FLEXCIT and from John Ashworth's The Betrayal of Britain's Fishing to the European Union.

It's worth watching. Why? If you happened to catch this evening's Newsnight A look at David Cameron's legacy, the future of the EU this topic has already been covered in the previous blog: Sunday Reading: The Political Tea Leaves of Brexit

There's too much "adversarial nonsense" or "noise" mixed into the Newsnight report from people with their own "filters" operating. Read the blog for a more accurate summary. However if you watch the above select committee on Fisheries it as previously recognized, acts as an exemplar of the "problem - solution - outcome" triangle recognized previously and a model of other patterns that will also operate in other policy areas. For example, some of the core themes that pervade a lot of the prominent communication concerning Brexit:-
  • "Hard vs Soft Brexit" in purely technical terms.
  • Achieving Brexit for the UK "legitimately" at the same time as dealing with EU and other International Implications of this or "resonance".
  • Coordinating the "public relations" of Brexit Negotiations.
  • Above all building a conceptual framework from which all the above take their relative meanings
Final point will be revisited in a subsequent blog, it's been mentioned previously in the blog under "intellectual architecture" from Dr. RAE North. One point to bring up here that the Select Committee fails to start with or "beginning to begin" appropriately: The history of the UK's Fisheries that John Ashworth documents in the above booklet. Here the general themes of leaving the EU and the CFP connect, see Dr. North's latest monograph for expanding this same idea from for example here, one policy area, to the entire subject of leaving the EU:-

Barrie Deas (National Federation of Fisherman's Organizations (NFFO) stated that UK's Fisheries has become "emblematic" since the question of UK membership of the EU has been put to national debate through the EU Referendum political process. This is historic and cultural and social value even if GDP value is not that significant, for very simple example:-

Does this map look familiar or sound familiar!

The BBC Shipping Forecast, was definitely something I grew up hearing, with it's strange but familiar language litany, for example:-
  • Viking
- Wind: "Easterly or southeasterly 4 or 5, occasionally 6 later."
- Sea State: "Slight or moderate." 
- Weather: "Fog patches." 
- Visibility: "Moderate or good, occasionally very poor."
The NFFO's chairman's report:
"The referendum on 23rd June, which decided that UK should leave the EU, represents a seismic change for the UK fishing industry. We are taking the view that there may be risks and pitfalls associated with this monumental change of direction but overall, this is a huge opportunity to reshape the management of our fisheries to the great benefit of our fishing industry and coastal communities. The Common Fisheries Policy has taken us down many blind alleys over the years. Now a new era beckons. This will not be without its own challenges; but the very fact that the fickle and cumbersome European co-decision process will no longer be the arbiter of our fate, is tremendously liberating." 
Bertie Armstrong (Scottish Fisherman's Federation (SFF)) makes an excellent distinction: (1st) The removal of the CFP not because they dislike rules, but because it is a system with too many rules that go wrong and hence "A Sea Of Opportunity" to revise this system in a more coherent and better managed way. He also makes the telling point that (2nd) the negotiations will be concluded at "the macro" level that for any given policy, in this case Fisheries (partly it's GDP ratio) it will not be a "pure debate" concerning the given policy in question in a political vacuum. This echoes the predictions made in FLEXCIT's introduction, (p.55 current version 13 July 2016 v.08) on the matter encapsulated in reversing the quote:-

Famously summarised by lead negotiator, Con O'Neill, he described his strategy as: "Swallow the lot, and swallow it now". which is the title component to the above monograph 12 requote.

So far I've quoted from the second session. The first session very much aligns with this quote above, from the expert witnesses:-
  • Dr. Bryce Stewart
  • Professor Richard Barnes
  • Robin Churchill
Some notes on their contribution in summary:-
  1. Discards is an area that requires resolving positively from Brexit.
  2. Access Controls are a key part of management and compromise.
  3. The degree of control over policy is deeply connected to North East Atlantic Fisheries eg (NEAFC) this is already evident with Norway and the EU cooperation for example.
  4. All 6 agree that the fundamental zone of control or EEZ aligns with UNCLOS. Robin Churchill goes through the history of this and concludes that the 12 mile border and 200 mile border or median line take effect through his interpretation of preceding subsequent EEC and derogation matters with respect to the UK's Fisheries Sovereignty. "Historic Rights" could be assessed through this perspective it seems, too, interestingly.
  5. Interconnection exists in Trade using variable economic measures in different sea food subsets eg shellfish or scollops differentials and then total percentages to the EU or other nations. Margins are often fine in multiple areas around fisherman (11,000) for example food processing or fish and chip shops rising (120,000) etc.
  6. DEFRA's responsibilities will rise at the same time as it's capacity to absorb these changes has fallen with budget cuts. Alternative funding from EU sources will have to be arranged in other areas eg Lobsters for Baronness Wilcox's constituency.
  7. The regulations that currently operate are not so easy to remove without already being in place a full substitute system, this will take a lot of time!
  8. The UK will be open to join other Fisheries "Bodies" either international bodies or nations agreements and so forth which is useful.
  9. Dr. Bryce Stewart was particularly interested in the fundamentals of a data-driven natural resource as the primary signal to economic yield, effectively sustainable stock maxima will lead to a economic yield maxima with the context of a dynamic stock that may absolutely grow and hence grow the above ratio, given the decline of Fisheries eg the pyramid base of sand eels from CFP. This had critical implications for "TAC" (Total Allowable Catch).
  10. All three strongly agreed led by Professor Richard Barnes that the UK should be some sort of "adjunct member" of the CFP as a transitional measure or for example ISIS (An Integrated Sea information System) would continue it's functions for the UK for data as one visible example.
  11. For example the current Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ's) were already a step in the right direction for reversing declines in fish stocks as some of the CFP had improved... but if you read Dr. North's latest monograph you'll see the core principles behind it's significant and long lasting failures.
Again coming back to Bertie Armstrong for a third valuable insight into a principle of regaining "control", (3rd) the perception difference is that cooperation allows compromise on access, but that the key to regaining this Policy was "prescription" as Norway currently enjoys when it allows other nations' fishing boats to fish in it's waters. This is useful policy to combine with the work of John Ashford concerning the absolute necessity to work with "immediate data" to feedback from the sustainable resource to the economic sustainable yield with the secondarily, cooperation of the actual fishermen, instead of criminalizing them. This point was further elaborated on differences in technical gear usage rules between zones (EEZ's) which the experts agreed was not necessarily a problem so long as the fishermen knew what the the rules were, given the above logic of using such equipment, eg John Ashworth's work explores this in greater detail.

Finally, perhaps I merely remember Bertie Armstrong's contributions more than the others hence I requote him again, despite the others all being very useful and informative: The key from the future of Brexit concerning Fisheries is The Positive Vision, that means the UK with it's factual assets could be become a (4th)  WORLD LEADER IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT and it's critically needed:-

Advancing conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (IUCN)

  • NOTING that nearly two-thirds of the world’s ocean is beyond national jurisdiction, and that this area provides valuable ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits;
  • CONCERNED that marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) is being significantly reduced by certain human activities, and noting the need to protect biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), such as by establishing  marine reserves or other types of marine protected areas;
  • RECALLING the recommendation in the marine crosscutting theme at the IUCN World Parks Congress (Sydney, 2014) to urgently increase the ocean area that is effectively and equitably managed in ecologically representative and well-connected systems of MPAs or other effective conservation measures. This network should target protection of both biodiversity and ecosystem services and should include at least 30% of each marine habitat. The ultimate aim is to create a fully sustainable ocean, at least 30% of which has no-extractive activities;


Here's a picture of a beach I was walking along today:-

I picked up a very large bag of plastic rubbish washed up or left on the beach, mostly plastic bottles. Such a beautiful resource for the UK, I hope the future leads to more jobs looking after it.

The final point to add: As well as the "emblematic social/cultural and historic factors, the geographical and biological fact of of UK Fisheries must be the foundation from which good policy and hence good governance of this natural resource can be achieved and the relevant expertise exercised on a global and world level: Truly a positive vision.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Sunday Reading: The Political Tea Leaves of Brexit

Don't bother with the legacy news-media's pontificating political analysis: It's all revealed here, above: "All is said and all is revealed!" Did I mention already, it's all here, everything is explained.

People are too easily impressed: Just start wearing a funny-looking hat (or a red scarf) and you're now a recognizable celebrity with a distinct "style". Maybe even talk "funny" and you'll be hailed as a football master tacticien. Now if you're a political analyst, you can slide over the Polls and "voila/ici" you're in business: In fact newspapers and politicians can even just not bother with the polls and make a claim and it's as good as, "I checked the tea leaves - they never  lie because they can't lie!"

Actually the tea-leaves are not necessarily very different from the polls on people. Both seem to be useful within their respective scopes. And what is that? I think it's an external mechanism to remove the internal anxiety loop that afflicts decision-making. The mechanism allows a process of making a decision to begin.

Looked at that way, it's actually fairly useful for psychological reasons, even if for accuracy reasons it's completely useless. For example sometimes a choice can be made merely by choosing to toss a coin: Head -> X or Tails -> Y.

In fact, I think what we're talking about when talking about these types of mechanisms to make a choice is "A Low Information Environment".

In the previous blog, The Political Nexus: Turning Governance Into Garbage, it was considered that in such an environment of complex systems for politicians, interacting with people in democracy who operate their own voting decisions in a low information environment, the trend is inevitable: A gap between Noise and Signal widens in the decision-making basis. It's inevitable because the lack of useful data to use dictates the decisions made which become institutionally more geared to "Blame Risk" and all the associated features of that listed: Rigid, Opaque, Disconnected etc etc.

I think at the moment there's a great deal of "blame" searching going on post-Brexit: 48% of voters "backed the wrong horse" while 52% of voters some of whom probably backed an imaginary horse!!!

Let's look at this in a simple way:-

Post Referendum Fallout

A reversal or roles between remain and leave pre and post result, between honest and possible criteria, oddly enough. Of course the "common wisdom" peddled is that "no-body knows" if remain or leave was the better choice. The tendency is that economically it was better to remain but politically this was not so and hence the referendum which was reckless to give to such low information people but democracy and on and on "ad stupidium". "But no-body is really sure" is probably the "last word" to shut everybody up! Much is made of the dishonestly that Vote Leave promulgated hence the "zero" score. If people were a bit more careful they could probably work out a lot of very interesting things about that result... too bad.

So without going down that rabbit-hole, how is the above possible to resolve? I think it's clear that the groups themselves can be broken down into 2 sub-groups each for ease of communication:-

The common conception has been that Leave is dictated by the "extreme branch" of Brexit and the "will of the 52%" will therefore dictate all of the 100% via that extreme group of people. Too often commentators have bitched about "why should 48%" be dictated to? WRONG! "Why should a measly 10-20%, if that, dictate the other 80%? Hmm lower the percentages and you'd almost land up with a General Elections for Representative Democracy  which is apparently norm people are apparently more at ease with!! But, b-but "experts" though...

Why this mistake? Let's look at a well-known phenomenon in communication at mass scale:-

Remember there's various elements going on here:-

  1. A Referendum IS more likely to arouse the dissatisfied who want to "pin the blame" somewhere on someone.
  2. Blame is a combination of a perception of lack of clarity/honesty involved in a negative outcome and tracking back the source of this. Hence the search starts with "naming" so that "blaming" can occur to eventually lead to "claiming" in this case Brexit the prize of consolation.
  3. The legacy news-media appears to thrive commercially on "conflict narration" and always jumps at a chance to blame or credit someone. For example just look at the England Football team: From Hero to Zero faster than any other substance known to man. They'll look for the hero of the team or the scape-goat and pile questions on this angle. Hideous.
  4. People are incredibly low information on the politics of the UK and worse the EU politics of the UK (it's complement Brexit). This has the likes of Tim Farron in the extreme remain vs the Farage or Fox or Davis in the extreme Leave. Each is going to haggle the other with extreme bidding to catch the attention of the low information public.
  5. If we do look at polls as Roland Smith of the ASI has done: Sizing the ‘Liberal Leave’ position...

You can read the poll summaries at your leisure. This may seem a contradiction of the introduction to this blog, which was fairly critical of polling, comparing it to "reading tea leaves" and now uses the evidence/data compiled above to prove an assertion (ie popular = 1= marginal remain + leave = Liberal Leave).

Well intuitively or using common sense, and calming down a bit, a lot of people were dissatisfied with the EU's outcome or goals achieved (the signal behind the noise) yet the option or risk against changing this was perceived to be too great to change. Or to be even simpler: The LACK OF POLITICAL OPTIONS available for solutions appeared to absent. Why make a decision when there is no clear solution but high risk? That is imho a very sensible decision by marginal Remain voters. We could get all analytical concerning the Leave position on solutions, and I won't bother because this blog is a running record of the work of FLEXCIT which has survived the test of time against all the other dismal plans or solutions. What this tells you without bothering to deduct or derive the conclusion is that the data or signal here is fairly accurate to predictions of the future possibilities.

So what do those tea leaves tell us? We'll see the middle merge in this argument and it will reconcile views when broken down into constituent features or modules that they BOTH SHARE IN COMMMON for example head of the list:-
  • Single Market MEMBERSHIP OF
  • list.......
What we'll see is a reconciliation on honesty, post-Brexit it will be clearly possible politically and above economically to forge another new option of relationship of the UK with the EU. This "new information" will itself alter the group responses in polls given time further.

That leaves two different groups: The extremes. The Remain Extremes will have a result that they can belong to: The next Fiscal New Treaty of the Eurozone. Good luck with that! That will make clear that group's horrible dishonesty. And the extreme leavers? Again the impossibility of options makes it null and void whether or not their preference is the best Brexit in the whole wide world. They're not so much creating a rod for their back (they're on the winning side) as much as creating a lightning rod of themselves for the other groups to blame for all the unnecessary confusion and conflict!

Thus we'll see the beginning "punit square" above merge and become domestically compatible between what has to be or needs to be done and what people want to be done. The quote of Harold Wilson: "Politics is either a question of presentation or timing (mostly)."

Yes, Representative Democracy probably is something like that. It might one day be a quote from someone else that "Real (direct) Democracy is mostly a question of (voter) information and timing." 

On that last note:-

There's other and I'd assert stronger ways of "voting" than merely scratching a "X" on a piece of paper x1 every 5yrs or 41yrs (!)... A more "informative and actively participating" way, since 1969.

Both The Campaign For An Independent Britain and provide:-

  • High quality information
  • Various services and organizations
  • Direct donation facility
It's clearer to me what I get from them as opposed to what I get from politicians/MP's in Westminter or MEP's in the EU.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Political Nexus: Turning Governance Into Garbage

The Political Nexus: 'How governance turns into garbage', stemming from people to politicians (also some regulation symbols on wheelie bins usage).

Worth a read are two recent blogs over at Pete North's Political Blog:-

A model of inefficiency

The politics we deserve


Both are worth a read. I especially agreed with this sentence in "A Model Of Inefficiency":-
"Eventually systems become so ossified that departments use the main system as a secondary administration task while using guerilla tools to perform the primary function. That's where I come in and that's how I make my living. In the corporate world I am a black marketeer peddling unofficial merchandise."
I tapped out a brief comment in reply to this illuminating observation from Pete's direct personal experience, but it became a little larger than a comment and it was my initial response to the posed process above:-


"[START] I remember Dr. RAE North made a very telling comment some years ago recalling,back in the early 1970's (iirc), apparently The Treaty of Rome was published in a little booklet/pamphlet and he picked up and bought a copy (in London). Reading this document, some of the first words, as everyone fully knows today: "Ever Closer Union". From reading that, that was enough to vote against joining the EEC or "Common Market".

Strictly adhering to the EU structure or system this would be the quintessential definition of it's:-
To clarify: The use case definition aims for stringent definition of the user (actor), system (anything built is built only towards what it's supposed to assist doing specifically) and outcomes (goals).

To revisit: the "better deal" fallacy and connect:
"Eventually systems become so ossified that departments use the main system as a secondary administration task while using guerilla tools to perform the primary function."

Finally, the detractors of the above EU phrase "Ever Closer Union" have used a couple of methods:-

1. Dismissal: It's merely a phrase of good intent and hence insignificant.
2. Side-Tracking: Cherry-picking such a phrase is proof of an anti-agenda only.

But I think both detractions can be disproved if you consider that phrase leads to:-

1. A use-case that is wide enough for many additional and unlimited use-cases
2. If 1 then 2 follows: A bloated use-case effectively

History validates 1. with no question as per The Great Deception. What then happens with 2? I think Pete's blog here discusses this point very well. I'd like to add something to this. Inevitably when we correctly identity the Use Case of the EU we see one half of the problem:-

1. Legacy Logic:-

A) Original Design (DNA, Kernal, Constitution egs of: Once in place conservatism of these fundamentals is entrenched)
B) Self Maintenance (countless examples in the above 2 categories, see Dr. North's blog Fallacy of The "better deal" for examples and primary research of this effect in institutions: 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.) This itself is a great driver of the Conservatives "wrong deal" on the EEC excuses.

C) With emphasis on B) subsuming A) comes greater demand for growth for more use cases and hence more support.
D) Visible and increasing mismatch of Inefficiency of the system/institution or organization with the original design to the current and changing conditions.

2. Conflict Logic:-

A) Because there is a mismatch between the function and the legacy support support there is conflict inherent.
B) Reporting of this conflict is either amplified or dampened in the Legacy News-Media depending.

C) Avoiding Blame is reaction to B)
D) Visible and increasing mismatch in the actual subject in question to the nature of the debate being conducted. See wide-spread confusion and poor quality democracy.

The second most important parameter is:-
In fact, looking at the EU Referendum it was dominated by these two considerations:- "What's the use of the EU and is it worth it?" [END]" This is particularly pertinent in today's circumstances with "austerity" and Government debt and deficit clearly out of control and of course I'm referring to Pete North's first blog "A model of inefficiency" here.


The cartoon I've modified above looks at this question:-
"What little information is enough for a few people, so much information is not enough for so many people concerning such a political vote as the UK's membership to the EU."
Well I think Pete North answers that question very effectively in his second blog post "the politics we deserve":-
"The problem for politicians is that they are playing a game they cannot win. Take the NHS. Everybody wants first rate high quality personalised care. Nobody though wants to pay for it and thinks that someone else should regardless of the fact that what they want actually costs more than they have ever paid in taxes. The people themselves are hypocrites. The middle classes want the welfare system reformed and benefits reduced. Until they themselves have need of it. And of course you cannot expect top be elected or retain a position in high office if you do not pander to this basic hypocrisy.
This same dynamic underscores a good deal of popular euroscepticism. People say they want democracy but when given the chance to exert their own power they take no interest whatsoever. By abdicating politics to politicians there is a punchbag and someone to blame and the people are then absolved of all responsibility for what is done in their name. This is what we call representative democracy. 

So really our politics in a way is representative in that the hypocrisy and dishonesty of our politicians is only really a mirror image of ourselves.

Worse still the public persist in demanding simple solutions to complex problems while making zero effort to familiarise themselves with the issues.

Here we are in the middle of an information revolution with absolutely all the opinion, fact and data you could possibly want at your fingertips and people sit there gormlessly pleading for their government to spoonfeed them with the answers. This notion that politicians should do as we say instantly falls apart when the public are so hopelessly dependent on politicians and government.
Not for nothing is it said that people get the government they deserve. If we have lazy, facile and shallow politics it is again a reflection of ourselves."

Coming back to what Pete was saying about System Inefficiency, a simple and useful graph of this problem:-

Going Pro in Data Science by Jerry Overton O'reilly media: Volume and variety of data increases, statistical correlation (garbage or noise) increases compared to use-ful or meaningful data (signal)

Perhaps, for a lot of people, the inductive common sense of "What's the use of the EU and is it worth it?" probably swayed their perception of it's merits and it's faults. Intuitively the conception that there's a gap between what is said and what is actually done is felt or inferred. By the way, that blue line? I think might well explain the excessive use of the legacy news-media's narrative device of "X Could Happen?" in conjunction with "Negativity Bias": Namely "Uncertainty" from the exponential increase in statistical correlations possible no matter that they serve no useful specified Use Case. I really dislike those words thanks to the legacy news-media reporting for so many years on the EU.

But what of the people on the inside of such a system? How do they feel? This question probably takes a number of different and compatible forms:-
  • The Bubble Effect derived from Prestige (a form of social rent-seeking?) where the legacy of the system itself selects the people who "run" it accordingly or what is are known as,
  • "Political Dynasties" or "The Political Class" emergence in society where fewer and fewer are from "Working Class Backgrounds" and more and more from the "Diplobrat" upbringing of the likes of say a Nick Clegg or Daniel Hannan

And hence on the other hand, with the identity formation of such politicians layers above the other classes in society, a free shot of discontent (see financial ruin wreaked across the Western World), why wouldn't you vote "Leave" to give these people (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat) a kick in the teeth for the first time in living memory for many?

In my reply above which was going to be a comment, to flesh it out some more, looking at the above "gap" it may need more description and hence direct application to what is discussed above. In the "Legacy News-Media", one of the dominant drivers is "Conflict Narration", again this itself takes on other forms or names such as
  • "Negativity Bias" and itself is an enormously important cog in the engine driving governance into garbage. But what this adds is part of the political system's survival or self-maintenance is driven by establishing the ruling narrative that acts positive or avoids acting negatively in it's favour, our old friend
  • "The Status Quo Effect" or what we'll see as the features fuelling a crisis: Inflexibility, opacity, post-hoc blaming and so on.

A side-note, the above is summarized in Dr. RAE North's most recent blog posts here for further context ie immediacy that feedback of the above is actually operating presently ie it's very real and observable:-

Brexit: nothing to report 06/09/2016
Brexit: a dose of reality?05/09/2016
Brexit: the hacking of Redwood04/09/2016
Brexit: a sterile debate03/09/2016
Brexit: Liechtenstein reprised02/09/2016
Brexit: muddy waters01/09/2016
Brexit: parallel negotiations31/08/2016
Brexit: the power of prestige30/08/2016
Brexit: the failure of feedback29/08/2016

 What the above are all describing in such detail is that policy is driven as much by a certain kind of narrative building or world view such that these are possibly popular in appearance or avert hostile reception AS OPPOSED TO taking the lead of policy driven by data and it's fidelity (veracity). Hence the emergence of this gap in form (call it noise, presentation/spin or inefficiencies) to function (use case, policy, efficiency). In fact in any operating system a feedback-system involves both positive feedback and negative feedback on processing data into information to then use for various functions for executing decision-making.

And decision-making has consequences depending on how well made those decisions were by whom: To take an example from The Financial Industry. In the banking industry, there's been some very serious "catastrophic system errors"
"The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (Pub.L. 107–204, 116 Stat. 745, enacted July 30, 2002), also known as the "Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act" (in the Senate) and "Corporate and Auditing Accountability and Responsibility Act" (in the House) and more commonly called Sarbanes–Oxley, Sarbox or SOX, is a United States federal law that set new or expanded requirements for all U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms. There are also a number of provisions of the Act that also apply to privately held companies, for example the willful destruction of evidence to impede a Federal investigation.

The bill, which contains eleven sections, was enacted as a reaction to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals, including Enron and Worldcom. The sections of the bill cover responsibilities of a public corporation’s board of directors, adds criminal penalties for certain misconduct, and required the Securities and Exchange Commission to create regulations to define how public corporations are to comply with the law."
"The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into federal law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. Passed as a response to the Great Recession, it brought the most significant changes to financial regulation in the United States since the regulatory reform that followed the Great Depression. It made changes in the American financial regulatory environment that affect all federal financial regulatory agencies and almost every part of the nation's financial services industry."
"Basel III (or the Third Basel Accord) is a global, voluntary regulatory framework on bank capital adequacy, stress testing, and market liquidity risk. It was agreed upon by the members of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in 2010–11, and was scheduled to be introduced from 2013 until 2015; however, changes from 1 April 2013 extended implementation until 31 March 2018 and again extended to 31 March 2019. The third installment of the Basel Accords (see Basel I, Basel II) was developed in response to the deficiencies in financial regulation revealed by the financial crisis of 2007–08. Basel III is intended to strengthen bank capital requirements by increasing bank liquidity and decreasing bank leverage."
All the above are reactions/responses to what is easy to understand: The values and numbers traded in the financial world ended up becoming a huge data set of garbage with unreal values attached to various instruments or concoctions or "financial bubble". Here's a small exercpt from Basel III challenges (given this is the current period of attempting to regulate finance more effectively):-

BASEL III (2015): Progress in adopting the  principles for effective  risk data aggregation  and risk reporting
"In terms of the challenges that banks face in attempting to comply with the Principles, the industry panel indicated that the completion of large-scale IT infrastructure projects will aid in complying with the Principles. However, large scale IT projects are dependent on many smaller dependent IT projects, which increases execution risk. Also contributing to execution risk is the lack of subject matter experts to improve RDARR processes. Moreover they indicated the changing regulatory landscape, and consequent required reporting, further complicates the execution of IT projects. Industry members noted that the completion of these projects will improve business-as-usual RDARR, which will improve, but not completely resolve, challenges in risk reporting during periods of stress. Among the greatest challenges in risk reporting during periods of stress is the over-reliance of manually-created reports and developing processes and procedures for developing such reports when automated reports cannot be developed."
You can just imagine the sort of work Pete North mentions concerning databases from this report and the "clusterF!" involved! Not finance, but politics, a similar complexity issue probably dominates the effective delivery of Brexit with a minimizing of risk at such a large scale involving so much background noise? I'm not entirely sure how effective Basel III "can be" even with more effective regulatory requirements at global level without the actual finance industry restructuring entirely using data with more fidelity with a closer match to that data's USE CASE. The more bloated these systems become the more the motivation of the finance workers is "Get Rich Quick Before The Shit Hits The Fan!":-

'Lost' Financial System Needs Some Straight and Narrow Discipline (2014)
"In 2010, the bank launched Stride, the Strategic Reporting and Information Delivering System, which was designed to consolidate more than 1,000 information technology systems into one — an attempt to enhance the reliability of its financial reporting.
Despite this effort, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has concluded Deutsche Bank’s operations management systems remain unsatisfactory, and the goals of Stride have not adequately addressed the issues of concern, including oversight, auditing, reporting, and technology.

Echoing this financial dysfunction is a recent two year prison sentence and $1.75 million fine received by Jesse Litvak, a former Jeffries Group LLC senior trader on 15 counts, including 10 related to securities fraud. In essence, he misled clients regarding the prices he paid for bonds tied to the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was designed to bail out the banks during the 2008 financial crisis.

This case is another microcosm of the dysfunctional financial system. One of his lawyers believes his client has demonstrated typical Wall Street behaviour and seems to be treated in a selective and disparate manner."
 Here's a report with all the features we've been discussing so far, a "microcosm of the macrocosm" of financial garbage data.

Now looking at both Westminster government and Civil Service and their apparent inadequacy concerning Brexit planning and dissemination of information in the event of a Leave Referendum result as well as the general pattern of governments who win election for five years and "pass the buck on" or "kick the can down the road". This becomes more explainable knowing there's inevitably a mismatch in the institutions stated functions and it's actual behaviour leading to perverse results such as apparently not planning for a "leave" vote! When all these people are carrying responsibilities that they cannot contend with, their behaviour is less effective policy and more about self-maintenance within a system dominated by self-maintenance and a very effective method to achieve this is self-assertion through either money (financial industry) or prestige (political industry):-

The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government ~ Christopher Hood

 What we see here: Divorcing Responsibility From Identity through (1) Perception (2) Time and (3) System complexity = Representative Democracy: The growth of "Blame Risk" driven institutions of Government
"What we are dealing with here is a type of risk that seems curiously unmentionable in the offi cial corporate lexicon of risk management — namely the risk of blame."

"But most of it is officially concerned with risks to society or to corporate organizations. In contrast, this book puts the spotlight on the risk of personal blame faced by public office holders, including politicians, managers, professionals, and front-line bureaucrats. That is a type of risk and risk management that is rather less commonly identified on the management-seminar circuit. And curiously—or tellingly—it does not have any conventional term-of-art label.
"So we shall simply call it “blame risk” for the purposes of this book."
 "... start to find answers to some of those puzzles that we began with, about disjunctures between officially stated claims and observed behaviour. That is because the management of blame risk — perhaps contrary to intention and usually in an unacknowledged way — so often shapes the organization and operation of modern executive government, producing its own curious logic of administrative architecture and policy operation."
"negativity bias is the reef on which international trade talks often falter, even if, as is claimed there, there might be more winners than losers from liberalizing world trade."
"Indeed, the blame-avoidance perspective cuts across three different strands of political science that are normally separated— namely the analysis of (1) institutional architectonics (why institutions are designed the way that they are), the analysis of (2) policy processes (how policies play out at all stages from their emergence onto the decision agenda down to the way they operate on the ground), and the analysis of the (3) working of electoral processes and public opinion. In fact, all of those different analytic strands are needed to explore the questions we posed at the outset, about =>"why organizations often don’t connect" in policy delivery, why rigidity often trumps flexibility and proportionality in organizational functioning, and why opacity tends to trump clarity in accountability after policy fiascos."
The author cites three categorical "Blame Risk" strategies to avoid blame:-
  • Presentational Strategies
  • Agency Strategies
  • Policy Strategies
And they're well worth reading along with the accompanying diagram. However, for brevity, to put this into the context of this blog, if you do read these strategies they are in fact overwhelmingly familiar and you can very easily recall dozens and dozens of such examples you may have heard of in the media hundreds of times printed and distributed in multiples of Legacy News-Media sources: TV, Web, Print, Radio and of course Forums and Comments Sections.

Coming to the last section, often you see people making contributions to improve governance after disaster strikesand the legacy news-media full of hypocracy in it's own role in this entire systemic failure, comes out with the usual outpourings of "an unjust and class-ridden society" (self-flagellation) grows the divides between people ever deeper" and the usual nonsense along these emotional narrative lines. This my personal experience is to assert that such attempts to add a contribution by ordinary people within these limits imposed all around are doomed to fail: The whole system or

  • "Political Nexus" from the people to the legacy news-media to the political institutions work as a complex system which is inevitably going to grind along in a particular direction and chew up anything for it's own internal working's logic.
What we have according to Christopher Hood's work:-
  1. Naming
  2. Blame (avoidance) Or Credit (seeking)
  3. Claiming
According to "Negativity Bias" we see that this leads to Blame being x2 or x4 times higher weighted to avoid than seeking credit. Similarly, the inbuilt bias in "Conflict Narration" built off the top of "Legacy Systems" drives peoples' reactions and legacy news-media practices. The author also noties that in complex systems, it's impossible to perform "police patrols" ie stopping a problem happening before it happens, so the emphasis is on "fire-alarms" namely setting up systems that report when problems happen. Unfortunately this design appears to reinforce "Blame Risk" driven behaviours.

What is a better way to design systems? I think the USE CASE in politics should start with the principles of minimalism and simplicity in their design and limited scope. How could such a system become more applied?

  1. Direct Data Driven
  2. Local Execution with Responsibility
  3. Clear Use Case Definition
  4. People are their own best Use Case or Self-Learning
  5. Direct Cost Controls grounds the above in Reality
  6. Limits on Parliament's acquired Use Case (see it's extension into the EU)
The facts seem clear: Politicians can never fully take responsibility away from people who in the first place should never be so careless to assume other people will solve their problems for them without their own self-interest interfering and eventually corrupting the process (of politics).