A Sequence of (Unlikely) Events

This is not written in the expectation that it is at all likely, but as an exercise in understanding what might be possible with adults in the room who were able to put their factionalism aside. Which is to say that it’s not going to happen!

  • Vote of no confidence is tabled by the leader of the opposition (Corbyn)
  • a caretaker government is installed, lead by whomever can command a majority of parliament for the proposed actions (apparently not Corbyn)
  • an extension is requested with the explicit goal of taking the proposed actions
  • representations are made to the EU for a withdrawal agreement in alignment with the restrictions of the Good Friday Agreement (this likely means remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market, but leaving the political union. Something akin to Norway / Switzerland)
  • a referendum is scheduled with the option to accept the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement or continue the current arrangements (EU membership, A50 revoked)
  • the caretaker government implements the legislation required based on the outcome of the referendum
  • a general election is called
  • the caretaker government steps aside

Despite the obvious issues of using referenda (see 2016!) to solve political issues, given that the current state of affairs it might be the only way to get the toothpaste back in the tube. This is at least more inline with the principle of only going direct to the people for confirmatory votes, ie. where the options are clear and the outcome obvious in all eventualities.

Of course, it might also be too late for all that – a general election could return a Tory + Brexit Party majority, but at least the above sequencing has some possibility of actually delivering closure.

[Note: there will be no more discussion of these issues here. Let the pieces fall where they… May! Sorry that was awful.]

Hard To Fathom

Imagine living through the last couple of years of chaos, venality, etc. and thinking, “You know what we need? Another Tory government!”

Screenshot 2019-09-29 at 09.40.45.png

It’s hard to Fathom. Perhaps there really is a sizeable proportion† of the population that believe that they’ll be the ones that benefit from such a choice… it reminds me of Jiminto / LDP voters in Japan, but in a more unequal society.

These large scale trials testing the limits of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ are unethical and must be stopped!

† – polling data doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to. Whether this is an accurate snapshot of voter intentions is far more open to question than it would have been ~5 years ago. Don’t think anyone really understands why, or how it can be fixed.

Vote Of No Confidence?

It seems Johnson & Dom have blustered enough to get people to think about a pushing a vote of no confidence. Anyone seeing Johnson’s “performance” in parliament this week would understand the rational – he sounded dangerous and deranged. However, i’m not sure it is ever a great idea to give the Torys what they want…

Given that they don’t currently have a majority in the house, the only route back to power is through a general election. And, the chance of winning a majority in said election after making a trip to Brussels, with a consequently engaged / enraged Brexit Party, looks much worse.

Recent polls say that no party is close to having a working majority, but if there is one path that could see the Torys returned to power, it mostly likely the one down which the opposition is being led.

  • radicalize the country around Brexit
  • adopt a posture of being willing to break the law before showing any flexibility
  • get removed from power via a vote of no confidence
  • have the opposition make representation in Brussels
  • run an election campaign as a “martyr” for the brexit cause, promising to be the one who will deliver the un-deliverable

This avoids having to actually break the law, and all that business with contempt of court / jail time, and maximizes the likelihood of being returned to power with a majority by not getting outflanked on the (far far) right by Farage. If it doesn’t work out, maybe it’lll be close enough and the DUP will be up for another sack of cash?

Crazy as it may seem, it might be better to leave Johnson & Dom hanging. Er, metaphorically speaking… honest!

The short-term thrill of removing them from power, and avoiding the cliff edge at the end of October needs to be weighed against risk of playing into their hands. It requires the collective holding of a lot of nerve, and belief that the constitutional / legal structures of the UK are up to the task of enforcing the rule of law… The temptation to call the vote must be huge!


An Idiot on Twitter

The Lord Chancellor & Secretary of State, Robert Buckland QC, 20 hours ago:

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled, in a unanimous 11 – 0 decision, that the government of the day’s prorogation of parliament was “illegal”, and this idiot “respectfully disagrees”. Of course, he doing so on Twitter where he presumably thinks he can get away with short-form idiocy, where his view does not require any justification. He just “respectfully disagrees”.

What consequences could their possibly be? Could it result in an undermining of the rule of law? Personal attacks on the judiciary?

Well, well, well. Good luck reconciling the positions in those two statements you moron. Fit to hold the office? I wouldn’t even trust him with the boxset of the US version…

Firefox Vacation

Apple has recently updated Safari (v13) to further restrict the ability of plugins… not actually sure that statement is entirely true without qualification, but for the sake of simplicity it is essentially correct. The immediate result of which is that uBlock-Safari is no longer usable.

The writing has been on the wall for a long time as the project was unmaintained for months – nothing had been pulled from upstream since April of 2018. Yes, it still worked but many of the countermeasures deployed by the attention thieves were becoming annoying.

Despite having a pi-hole configured on the network, which is blocking some 15 – 20% of requests (yes, that’s right roughly a fifth of the internet traffic is tracking / ads / trash), it’s still useful to be able to block at the element level. This “necessity” has lead me back to using Firefox as my default browser for the first time in many years.

For a long time Firefox on OS X / macOS has been horribly inefficient. Just regular browsing would chew through laptop battery at an amazing rate, playing video would immediately spin up fans. The same usage pattern in Safari is much much better. Lately changes have started to land in the Firefox Nightly release that start to address these issues. My understanding is that it is now using the Core Animation APIs and changing the way the compositing happens. You can read all about it in ticket Bugzilla 1429522.

In the longer term, my plan is to return to Safari as the default browser. What is missing is a content blocker that provides element level blocking… most likely that is going to be 1Blocker but i’ve not got around to validating that is the case.

The reason behind this desire to go back to Safari is not entirely straightforward. Despite being annoyed that uBlock Origin can no longer ship as it once did, the rational behind the change to Content Blocking API is essentially sound: plugins doing content level blocking require full visibility of the data being displayed in order to remove the elements which are blocked. With the new API this is somewhat inverted, the content blocker tells the browser what to block and there is no need to trust a third-party with processing all the data. Yes, it’s a pain to go through the transition but given the amount of trust it is necessary to have in a browser and, by extension, it’s plugins, it makes sense.

However, the above is not the entire story. Despite the improvements in Firefox Nightly, it’s still more power hungry than Safari, it just doesn’t integrate as neatly with macOS. Sharing and hand-off don’t happen. Gesture support is lacking (mostly pinch to zoom, which might be supported, but doesn’t work for me in the nightlies). And finally there are niggles like the reader not being a polished, scrolling not feeling as smooth… things that would eventually become annoying.

In summary: back using Firefox; it’s much improved; will probably stay for a while; still expect to return to Safari in the future.