On using nuclear deterrents

A week on from my declaration that I’m giving up politics, my mind has settled a little more, and I realise more fully what I meant by that. I remain interested — fascinated, even — by fundamentals: what you might call political philosophy. What I have no time for or patience with is current affairs: the specific set of events and personalities that are in the news right now. That stuff is both ephemeral and monumentally frustrating, so best ignored. But the core issues continue to exercise me.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Victorious departs HMNB Clyde under the Scottish summer sunshine to conduct continuation training. The Royal Navy has operated the UK’s Continuous at Sea Deterrent since 1967 when the first SSBN – or Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear – HMS Resolution began patrolling armed with the Polaris missile system.  

So when should we use a nuclear deterrent?

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#harkive 2016 liveblog

Andrew Hickey has made me aware of the harkive project, which is interested in what music people listen to. Today, July 19, is the day they do it for — I have no idea why — so I will be live-blogging what music I listen to today. As much for my own interest as theirs.

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(Random) Richard ThompsonFor the Sake of Mary. Picked by my random MP3 chooser, from an album that I downloaded when I was searching for British singer-songwriter folkies. I find this disappointing. Seems sort of sub-Springsteenish. Continue reading

I’m giving up politics

I checked Twitter this morning, to find that the man who plunged the UK into its greatest international crisis since WW2 is now Foreign Secretary, and that a man who had to resign from Defence and was somehow not jailed for appalling leaking, is in charge of International Trade.

What both these appointment tell me is that for people in the game — and it is a game — nothing they do has consequences. Destroy our relationship with the continent? Never mind. Bring a mate along to top-secret meetings? Not to worry. Welcome back into the fold.

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Next Saturday: our prog-rock band at the Mitcheldean Festival

The wretched summer of 2016 has not offered us much good news. But for me at least, that’s about to change. Next Saturday (16th July) is the 2016 Mitcheldean Folk Festival, and our prog-rock back Crooked End will be closing the show from 8:30 till 9pm.

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Crooked End playing at the 2014 festival. Left to right: Fiona (flute, keyboards), Mike (guitar), Dan (drums), Mario (bass).

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What I’ve been reading lately, part 11

[See also previous and subsequent posts in this series.]

MAKING MONEY — TERRY PRATCHETT

By this stage, if you’ve been following the “What I’ve been reading lately” series, you’ll know what I think about Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels by now. I think they’re great fun, very easy reading, and nowhere near as deep as some critics seem to think. Making Money very much falls under this description. I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time I read it, thoroughly enjoyed it when I re-read it this time, and no doubt will thoroughly enjoy it again the next time I read it. But let’s not pretend Pratchett ever had anything very deep to say, beyond “Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was nice?

Orthodoxy — G. K. Chesterton

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Vile Potatoes

A very easy recipe that operates in the same space as boulangère potatoes, dauphinoise potatoes, potatoes au gratin and no doubt others that I have forgotten.

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It’s basically just sliced potatoes, onions and garlic baked in cheese sauce:
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The first of two reasons I am very sad about the Brexit vote: direct consequences

I’ve spent most of the last week in a daze, compounded of equal parts bafflement, fury, simple tiredness (I was up until 5am on referendum night and only slept a few hours) and most of all, sadness. Really, I was good for nothing for most of the week. It was all I could do to get my “keep calm and carry on” post written.

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As the dust begins to settle, I think I’ve started to process my thoughts enough to at least understand why I feel so devastated. For my own benefit, if no-one else’s, I think it’s going to be helpful for me to separate out two quite distinct strands. I hope it’s of use to some others, too.

This time, I am going to look at the immediate consequences of the vote.

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