Category Archives: Despair

What now?

There is actually something curiously liberating about having been crushed so utterly in the General Election. I don’t know who first said “It’s not the despair that kills you, it’s the hope”, but it’s very true. The UK I now live in bears so little resemblance to the country I thought I lived in, and that I loved, that I find myself now emotionally numb to the pain it’s going to put itself through — I have finally attained the ability to think of it as Somebody Else’s Problem.

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C. S. Lewis on the 2019 general election

From our old friend C. S. Lewis:

If we are going to be destroyed by a far-right government, let that government when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about politics. They might break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.

That’s got to be my strategy. Fury, denial, despair — none of these will help. Simply getting on with life just might.

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How to vote in the forthcoming election

I was at a friend’s house last night, as she said she was surprised I’d not written anything about the forthcoming General Election. When she pointed it out, I was surprised, too — but, really, the whole thing is so utterly wretched that it’s difficult to summon up any enthusiasm for.

But of course it does matter, and more than any election in my lifetime. That’s because, while normally no parliament can bind its successor, Johnson’s Tories will make a permanent break with our biggest and closest trading partner — a break that will be impossible for a subsequent parliament to mend, because it’s dependent on a third party.

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Who should you vote for in the European elections?

With the European elections nearly upon us, it’s nearly time to decide how to cast our votes. Unfortunately, the choices are very complicated. A friend has asked me to lay out the options, and this post is my attempt to do so.

Hold on to your hats. This is going to get difficult.

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What’s wrong with my printer? (HP CP1515n)

I have a nice printer: an HP Color Laserjet CP1515n. It printed really clean, strong colours until a few months ago, when it started displacing the magenta. Check out this portion of the Ubuntu GNU/Linux test page:

As you can see, each individual nozzle (cyan, magenta, yellow) produces a really nice, clean print. And the green composite comes out nicely, too, because the cyan and yellow nozzles are correctly aligned. But the red (= magenta + yellow) and blue (= cyan + magenta) are fuzzy, because the magenta nozzle is not correctly aligned with the other two.

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Dear Lord, no!

The vicar’s daughter who talks all the time about Christian values but has apparently never read the 9th commandment goes against her five-times-repeated pledge “No general election until 2020“.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act of course exists precisely to prevent this kind of opportunistic capitalising on a weak opposition. But that was passed waaay back in 2011, and who cares about all that six-years-ago stuff?

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Why Trump matters to me: I love America

You might legitimately ask why I am whining on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about Donald Trump, when he is president of a country that is not even in the same continent as mine.

One perfectly cromulent answer would be that America’s economic and military power means that whatever it does has implications for every country; and that is true. But for me the issue is much deeper than that.

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The real issue is that I genuinely, deeply love America, and I hate to see it abused.

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The utter capitulation of Corbyn’s Labour

My cousin Sue has been a Labour member for thirty years, and is deeply enough involved in the party and its campaigning to have given speeches at the annual conference and appeared as a disability advocate on the BBC.

In the wake of Labour’s three-line whip mandating MPs to vote for Theresa May’s hard-Brexit bill irrespective of whether any of their amendments were accepted (they weren’t), Sue tweeted “There’s only ever 1 question for me. Is today the day I let stupid idiot humans beat an ideal?”. At which point I went off on one and posted a series of tweets in response. I reproduce them below, lightly edited.

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WARNING. This will be boring to many people, and infuriating to others. It surely exposes my political naivety. Yes, a case can be made that I should just get over it. Don’t read on if you don’t want to. Continue reading

They walk among us

There are many, many reasons for rational, humane people to be dismayed at the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. I won’t rehearse them all in any detail — the horrible lesson that outright lying wins elections, the normalisation of racism, the appalling role-model he presents, the very real threat that he’ll start a nuclear war just because he can, and so much more.

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But none of that is what dismays me most.

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