Twas Brexit and the Slimey Goves

Twas Brexit and the slimey Goves,
Did lie and grumble in the Mail.
All Menschy were the Boris droves,
And Farage starts to wail.

Beware the Brexiteer, my son,
The fear that bites, the lies that catch.
Beware Teresa May and shun,
Her frumious randy snatch.

With Sturgeon’s speech in hand, went he,
Long time the bigot foe he sought,
So rested he, in the EEC,
And prepped his speech for court.

And as he stood, to plead our case,
The Brexiteer, with eyes of flame,
Came gibbering with an exit poll,
And babbled as it came.

One Two! One Two! And through and through!
With Sturgeon’s speech he drove it back.
It ran in dread, with speed it fled,
Back to a lib’ral tack.

“So Thou didst best the Brexiteer?
Embrace me now!” I say.
“Come sing with me, calloo callay,
Oh look, it’s Robin Day…”

Twas Brexit and the slimey Goves,
Did lie and grumble in the Mail.
All Menschy were the Boris droves,
And Farage starts to wail.


— by Matt Sielewicz

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Brexit and Scotland

Scotland voted to remain in the EU. It also voted, two years ago, to remain in the UK. Clearly Scots believe that we’re better off as part of a larger entity.


But which one? Some reasons why Scotland should choose the EU over the UK:

1. The “better together” argument is that we are better off as part of something bigger. The EU is bigger than the UK.

2. The converse of being part of something bigger is that you lose some independence. The EU will give us more autonomy than the UK.

3. If the UK economy tanks post-Brexit, there are economic reasons for Scotland to stay in the EU. During the 2014 referendum, a strong argument against independence was that it would create economic uncertainty and that Scotland may well be worse off; that no longer applies.

4. Scotland voted to stay in the EU by a larger margin than it voted to stay in the UK.

Scottish independence

What Scotland should do, therefore, is leave the UK in order to stay in the EU. Since the rump state will be the England-dominated former United Kingdom I suggest we call it FUKED (Former United Kingdom, England-Dominated).

At the same time Scots should acknowledge that many south of the border, particularly the young and educated, voted remain. These people are the most productive part of society and should be encouraged to remain in the EU by moving to Scotland. An independent Scotland with a million or two of the most productive English Remainers would be an economic powerhouse.

Scotland should provide incentives for the best people in FUKED to join us. Young people have been screwed by high house prices and exorbitant student loans, so Independent Scotland should attract them with a policy of affordable housing for all. The Scots government would also not do anything to enforce payment of student loan debt.

Scotland should acknowledge that most of the UK’s national debt was incurred by the post 2010 Tory government which Scotland didn’t vote for, so Scotland will only be paying its share of Britain’s 2010 national debt. If FUKED doesn’t agree to this, we pay nothing — FUKED would be unable to start a trade war against us over this because we’d be in the EU and them out. In order to deter them from a real war, maybe we could have an alliance with France? There are precedents…

Parts of London’s financial services industry may wish to relocate in the EU — we should make it easy for them to do so in Scotland.

Looking at how England voted, two areas that voted heavily for Remain were Cambridge (73.8%) and Oxford (70.3%). If those universities want to relocate to Scotland, they should be encouraged to do so.

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2 out of 3 potholes fixed

I recently wrote about some potholes.

I notified the council, and lo and behold, they’ve had a go at fixing them:


Two of the three appear to have been fixed. The third one is still there, unfixed: it has a depression where the buses’ offside front wheel stops, and with a corresponding hump as the tarmac has been moved nearer to the pavement. I see this a lot at Edinburgh bus stops, but I have never seen it outside Edinburgh so I suspect they are using a substandard way of fixing the potholes.

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Trump and Clinton are both unpopular; Sanders should run, as an independent if necessary

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the two most unpopular mainstream candidates since records began, as this chart shows:


If Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, as she may well do, Sanders should run as an independent, because he would have a very good chance of winning.

If he does, Hillary supporters would no doubt cry foul, and accuse him of being a spoiler and not a real Democrat anyway. These accusations would be absurd, because:

1. Sanders is much more likely to beat Trump than Clinton is, so it is she who is the spoiler.

2. It’s Clinton, not Sanders, who isn’t a proper Democrat (or democrat): she has accepted $150 million in bribes from big business and Wall Street, and if she is elected it’ll be another four years of America being run for corporations and not ordinary people.

Comparing the three candidates on net favourability (favourably minus unfavourable), we have Sanders +13, Clinton -12, Trump -24:


Note that no candidate with a net unfavourable rating has won, and the only time a candidate with a net favourable rating lost was when both leading candidates had a net favourable rating.

Because Trump and Clinton are both unpopular, Sanders should run. As an independent if need be.

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Edinburgh Potholes Come In Threes

I was travelling down Pilton Drive North today when I came across a trio of potholes. They were by a bus stop and from the pattern they made I presume the bus braking at the stop has abraided the road, causing them:

Note that all three potholes show evidence of having botched repairs done to them, and then the potholes re-forming over the repairs. I have seen this many, many times with potholes, particularly ones caused by buses.

Here a closeup of the furthest one. The Pepsi can is for scale and suggests it is about 3 foot long:

The streets didn’t use to be this bad. Here’s a Google Street Map photo of the same street from May 2014, without any evidence of potholes, in fact the road surface is nice and smooth:

Does anyone else have any good pictures of potholes? What’s the biggest one we can find?

Edit 13-May-2016: I have reported this to the council, let’s see if they fix it, and if so whether they fix it properly or make a half-arsed job of it (my money’s on the latter).

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Why I am leaving Pirate Party UK and joining the Scottish Green Party

Just over five years ago, I — alongside others — founded the UK’s Pirate Party. Today I have decided to leave the Pirates and join the Greens. Why have I come to this decision?

The referendum on Scottish independence has fundamentally changed the Scottish political climate. It was a record turnout with many people voting who have who have seldom or never voted before. This upsurge in participation continued after the election: SNP membership has increased from 25,000 to 75,000 and Green membership from 2,000 to 7,000. Many people who didn’t take an interest in politics because they thought there was no point have now changed their minds and decided that they can make a difference.

The Westminster parties have promised more powers for Scotland. I think that either these will happen, or, if they do not, a lot of Scots will feel betrayed and this will lay the ground for another referendum at which independence will win.

It is in this background that I have decided to join the Scottish Green Party and campaign either for Devo Max, or if the Westminster parties won’t give us it, for independence.

There has been talk of the pro-independence parties running on a joint Yes Scotland ticket at the 2015 general election. If this happens, it’s entirely possible that they will win the majority of Scottish seats. And if that happens, and there’s a hung parliament, with UKIP winning seats in southern England, the possibilities are endless…

I don’t know how all this will turn out, but I do know that the Labservatives’ cozy little duopoly is visibly crumbling before our eyes, with almost every day bringing new revelations of its failure. For example, the fact that none of Labour’s big beasts in Scotland want to run their Scottish “branch office” as former leader Johann Lamont called it.

I want to smash the current system and replace it with a true democracy where everyone has a voice (not just Labservative politicians who’ve never had a proper job) and where everyone has a decent life (not just the rich), and I have decided that the best way I can help to bring change about is as a member of the Scottish Green Party.

This is not to say that I no longer believe in the principles of the Party I helped to found and the Party where I succeeded in getting 15% of voters to go into a ballot box and put a mark against a Pirate candidate(*). I still believe in a free and open internet, and always will do.

So why the Greens? One strong factor is that they support Pirate principles — for example, supporting open source software — and have done so since before the Pirate Party existed. Another major factor for me is the Greens’ support for a citizens income and a land value tax.

*: Edinburgh Council election, May 2012, Morningside/Meadows ward, %age of voters who went into a ballot box and gave me a 1st to 4th preference.

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Edinburgh Pirate Meeting, Wednesday 7 August

There will be an Edinburgh Pirate Party meeting tomorrow, Wednesday 7th August from 7pm at the Links Hotel.

Denis Simonet of Pirate Party Switzerland is visiting Edinburgh and will be there.

All are welcome. Details here.

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