Futurology, Politics, Personal, history

Mistakes

It is important to keep track of one’s mistakes — you can’t learn to be better if you don’t.

Here is one of mine from 2016:

“Trump and Clinton are both equally awful”.

Ye gods, how I wish that was so. I saw each as just two more in the same mould as all other American politicians: a rich narcissist, out of touch with the lived reality of the average person.

Here’s another, also from 2016 — my reply to a blogpost asking various questions about Brexit, with my 2020 annotations as emphasised text:

My expectations:

The UK votes to leave, Cameron resigns. One half of the population hates the other half. Redacted person name very happy. Correct.

France very relieved, they didn’t much like us anyway. Comme ci, comme ça.

France tries to set up a financial centre to attract all the business currently in the City of London; mostly this fails and they go to Zurich, Luxembourg, Geneva and Frankfurt in that order. Eh, close enough.

House prices collapse as Russian oligarchs move to New York, Frankfurt (or Zurich, if they are able to buy property there). Nope!

German citizens regard us as kids who threw our toys out of the pram. Politicians treat us accordingly. Correct.

Politicians, by necessity, have a number of sociopathic traits. Therefore they take a brutal approach to us in order to discourage other nations from leaving. (Our politicians are no better, and would be as obtuse as possible to Scotland if Scotland left the UK!). Greece is terrified, stays where it is. I’d say ‘wrong’, but it is notable that the most vocal Leavers say this is exactly what has happened.

We remain in NATO, Interrail. We probably don’t stay in EUHIC. Still in NATO, left Interrail (though this is apparently not Brexit-related?), will leave EUHIC at the end of the transition period, so 1.5/3 correct.

Businesses campaign to keep our standards in sync with EU standards to keep their costs down. Hard to tell. I keep hearing that Businesses are afraid to rock the boat, but hate everything that’s going on. How true that is, I do not know.

After 2 years, we leave EU. We stop paying into the CAP, receive no rebate. UK food producers upset their goods no longer given “protected region” status (or whatever the name is) in the EU. Two years? Incorrect. CAP/rebate? Correct. Geographical Indications? Looks like the UK is keeping them, despite some news stories saying otherwise. Either that or the UK government is giving incorrect advice, a possibility which I only even mention because of how it is acting throughout the Corona virus pandemic. 1/3.

Welsh economy collapses further as it no longer receives money from EU as a “severely deprived region”. Hard to tell, what with the Corona virus being a much bigger problem for all the economies everywhere.

British Islamic fundamentalist terrorists find it more difficult to reach EU countries, commit acts in UK instead. Again, hard to tell because of the Corona virus.

Britain replaces Human Rights Act with something that doesn’t mention the right to life, the right to privacy, the right to free association, or the right to trade unions. I still think this will happen, but after the transition period is over.

Commonwealth states further away than EU, not as rich. This makes for less effective trade. I still think this is the case, but no way to tell until after the transition period is over.

Fish stocks replenish as Spanish no longer allowed to fish in UK waters. This is enforced with at least one gunboat, leading to Spanish newspapers calling for the Spanish government to kick out all the Brits living in Spain. The Spanish government debates this, to the surprise of nobody except the English (on the one hand they no longer need to allow us, on the other the expats might be the only ones preventing further house price collapse). I am surprised to find I wrote this, so count this as “false” even if it later comes true — nobody deserves points for predicting a coin toss will be “either heads or tails”.

All those “twinned with” signs disappear, from a combination of vandalism and a lack of will to replace them. I think this is plausible, but less than 50% chance that more than a handful will be so affected in the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, rapid automation messes around with every economy at once. This is blamed on Brexit, despite having nothing to do with it. (Alternative: we remain, the economic mess from automation is blamed on the EU by the UK and the UK by France). Corona virus doesn’t count. Check again around 2025.

One of several reasons I no longer talk to the person I was replying to back then, is that their response to this was:

“Given your general stance seems to be that everything is doomed whatever anybody does, it’s hard to take seriously your claim that one course of action will doom us more than any other. :-p”

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history, Politics

History, according to the British

If you’ve ever wondered why the UK acts the way it does, consider that my formal history lessons at school went like this:

  • Boudica had a perfectly justified but ultimately futile fight with the Romans
  • Saxons exist
  • “William the Conqueror” came, saw, and conquered liberated and/or unified the country
  • “The” Manga Carta
  • Civil war War of the Roses
  • Henry VIII
  • Civil war Catholics or Protestants argue about which one is sent from God and which is the unholy spawn of Satan’s armpit hair
  • Witch hunts
  • “The civil war”
  • The Spanish Armada is defeated by Britain being awesome in a totally unspecified way
  • Britain decided to end the slave trade but only after profiting from it greatly and at around the same time as everyone else in Europe, probably because the industrial revolution had started and manual labour was becoming less important
  • The Industrial Revolution, which according to this version of events consists entirely of “Steam Engine → power loom (that it exists, no description given) → one specific picture of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
  • Queen Victoria, who never smiled, perfectly embodied the essence of what it means to be British by calling herself “Empress of India”, marrying her first cousin (Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) and being the head of state when the Great Famine hit Ireland and a million people starved to death
  • World War 1
  • World War 2, where the UK stood alone against the Nazis with only the help of USA, the USSR, the British Empire, the French resistance, the Danish resistance…

In addition to my sarcastic strike-through comments, notice what is missing:

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