A Driving Instructor's Blog

Brexit

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gibraltarOr, “How to get deliberately angry over something trivial”.

Brexit is the gift that just keeps on giving. Unfortunately, these gifts are invariably parcels of dog crap.

The latest episode involves the EU’s reference to Gibraltar as a British “colony” in one of the latest documents. The flag-waving tosspots who hold court in this country are up in arms over it. A UK spokesman (well, spokesperson – the BBC probably made sure they spoke to a woman) said:

This will not change due to our exit from the EU. All parties should respect the people of Gibraltar’s democratic wish to be British.

It’s a shame the spokesman doesn’t feel quite so strongly about Gibraltar’s democratic wish to remain in the EU. Their result was the first to be declared and was 96% in favour of remaining! I repeat: 96%.

As far as UK petty semantics goes, Gibraltar is officially a British Overseas Territory. However, up until 1983, even we classified it as a British Crown Colony. Nothing much has changed in Gibraltar’s standing since then, except for the official British term to describe it.

Even in the Gibraltar Constitution Order referendum in 2006 the word “colony” was used. One of the campaign groups at the time issued a press release, stating:

[the new constitution]… is not the act of self-determination which will decolonise us… [and it]… is as colonial as its 1964 and 1969 predecessors

Interestingly, a British film archive website – which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council – carries old film of Gibraltar. What makes it interesting is that the site is called Colonial Film (Moving Images of the British Empire). So people still reckon Gibraltar isn’t a colony?

It doesn’t matter what you call it, anyway. It’s still the same piece of land it ever was, almost wholly self-governed, and still pissing Spain off just by being there. And it is still as much a colony as it ever was (or wasn’t), albeit one which has much more reason to remain in the EU due to its location, which voted with a 96% majority to do so, and which has had that strong desire trampled underfoot thanks to flag-waving morons.

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Donald Tusk TweetI’ve been saying this since 24 June 2016, but Donald Tusk has uttered the words that our own government is too stupid to work out for itself.

If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?

Brexit needs stopping NOW. It should never have been allowed to get this far, because the morons who voted for it have had time to harden what little minds they have in expecting it to go through – no matter what the cost. The only options remaining are national suicide, or nullify the referendum result and do the right thing. Stay.

Nicola Sturgeon has also said something which fits neatly with that:

We have reached the point now where it would be unconscionable to kick the can any further down the road.

It should never have been kicked so far. The country was always going to lose in any exit from the EU, and every day since 23 June 2016 has raised negative after negative. The only positives – if you can call them that – have been nationalist fantasies based on the premise that we’re British and everything will be OK. It won’t be “OK”. And doing the right – and obvious – thing now means that the perceived loss to those people who have difficulty walking and chewing gum at the same time will be that much greater, since they’ve been given false hope for over two years.

Leaving the EU has revealed that it will be a catastrophic on all fronts. It needs to be stopped.

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UK Mean Monthly Temperature - 2017It seems to have escaped everyone’s attention yet again, but if we draw a horizontal line on a graph of temperature versus time of the year at, say, 10ºC, there is a tendency for the actual temperature to be below 10ºC in winter and above 10ºC in summer. It’s funny, I know. But as far back as I can remember, that’s the way it’s always been.

In 2017, for example, the mean UK temperature for each month is shown in the graph above. Notice how spring and summer was warmer than autumn and winter.

Let’s add 2018’s data so far to this graph.

UK Mean Monthly Temperature - 2017/18The only anomaly – if you can call it that, since February and March were a lot colder than last year – is July. Nevertheless, this is sufficient for the amateurs who go under the title of “reporters” for rags like the Daily Mail and The Sun to get their rulers out, draw a line through May, June, and July, and start predicting that we’re all going to die because by October it’ll be above 60ºC. Of course, come September, they’ll be predicting the usual Ice Age accompanying “the coldest winter on record” (and that’s an actual quote from at least one of those two comics over each of the last three or four years).

Yes, it’s been hot. But it’s not like we haven’t had hot spells before. Just like when it’s cold, it isn’t like we haven’t had cold spells before, either. And it goes up and down throughout the year as we pass through the seasons. Furthermore, even though it has been hot, this year’s “hot” has been quite pleasant most of the time (and I hate hot weather) since it hasn’t been accompanied by the usual humidity we tend to get in the UK.

Here’s the same chart with 1976 added to it.

UK Mean Monthly Temperature - 1976 addedFair enough, this July was about 1 degree hotter, but other than that there’s nothing much different. Christ, I was in a maths lesson at school in June in ‘76 and it snowed on the 14th (or was it the 12th… whatever), and it’s not done that since!

When you look through the data from 1910 until the present, July had the same mean temperature recorded for 1983. It was slightly hotter in 2006, and almost as hot in 2013. Other years have simply fallen within the range.

There’s no question that average temperatures have risen over the last hundred years or so – especially since the 1950s – but that doesn’t mean that any new high or low is a sign of Armageddon. Most of it comes down to the Jet Stream. The last few years, it’s spent summer down by the equator, flinging low pressure system after low pressure system at the UK. This year, it’s vacationing somewhere up near Iceland, and fairly consistent high pressure is pulling air up from Europe. It happens.

Sometimes, I’m embarrassed to be British. We moan when it’s hot, we moan when it’s cold. We moan when it’s wet, and we moan when it’s dry. We moan if it’s a crap summer, and we moan if it’s not. For f*$k’s sake, get a life, people. It’s been one of those “glorious” summers just over 50% of the twats out there voted to go back to in 2016. Enjoy it – you might not be able to afford the next one.

Just remember. In a couple of months it’ll be bloody cold again. And probably wet – just like it was before it got hot this year.

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Trump's Iran announcement2016 saw two of the biggest catastrophes the world has seen in a long time. Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump as POTUS.

There has been a collective movement of denial over Trump. To some of us, he was a f—ing w–nker in 2016, he has remained a f—ing w–nker all the time since 2016, and he has just shown how much of a f—ing w–nker he really is by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Within minutes of his announcement, Iran said it is going to start enriching uranium again, and Israel has begun bigging itself up ready to go to war with Syria because it reckons Iran is supplying it with arms with which to attack Jerusalem. Russia reckons the action will jeopardise the Korean pact, which means the North will restart its nuclear trials. If Israel attacks any Muslim country, other Muslim countries are likely to join in. Every f—ing lunatic hardcore Islamist who isn’t in Syria will start trying to get at Trump by blowing up whatever country they are currently residing in. And the price of oil is likely to skyrocket. Every civilised country has condemned Trump’s decision.

Britain is in a bit of a cleft stick, because we’re in the middle of trying to spit on Europe, whilst simultaneously being in the middle of shaping up to have Trump’s babies (along with lots of chlorinated chicken) to make up for what we’re about to lose. And thanks to the Brexit effect on the pound – which, in spite of the Brexiter rhetoric a few weeks ago, is now back down the what it was the day after the Referendum versus the dollar – everything is costing more. Fuel prices are already creeping up again (5p in the last three weeks) even before the effects of Trump’s latest folly kick in. In other words, we’re trying to go it alone at what has become the worst imaginable time in which to do so.

I pointed out in 2016 that by leaving the EU we could not foresee what was around the corner, and that a war with someone was possible. Trump has made that even more possible – almost likely.

The problem is that the Iran deal was actually working. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than what Trump has now condemned the world to. He has pretty much proved what the less civilised countries already believed: that America can’t be trusted.

Ironically, America can be trusted. Just not with Trump as POTUS.

The thought occurs to me that I hope I wake up tomorrow (ambiguity in that comment deliberate).

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No Polish Fishermen signIt’s funny when you look around various discussion forums, and see how the attitudes of Brexiters have developed since June 2016.

Brexit, of course, was the stupidest decision this country has ever made – marginally ahead of the decision to hold a referendum in the first place, and so allow morons with serious problems in their heads to decide on something that is so far above their understanding, it’d be more likely that someone could throw a stone into the sun than these people make a rational choice.

As any objective person will already know, the voting demographics show clearly that (and these are general conclusions):

  • older voters voted to leave
  • younger voters voted to remain
  • people from deprived area voted to leave
  • people with no qualifications voted to leave
  • people with higher education voted to remain
  • at least twice as many older voters voted than did younger ones

I know this will upset Brexiters, but no matter where you look the demographics throw up the same general conclusions. Like it or not, the result was, overall, strongly associated with educational achievement, age, ethnicity, and position on the social ladder.

The narrow victory by “leave” emboldened people overnight, and the underlying reasons why many voted as they did became clear. A primary reason was effectively racism, and Brexit Neanderthals became active immediately. Although the media may have played things down since then – and they have – it hasn’t gone away, and this latest story just shows what bigots we have in this country, and how Brexit has made them all big and brave.

A sign was put up at a fishery in Oxfordshire by the owner, Billy Evans. It said:

NO VEHICLE ACCESS


NO POLISH OR EASTERN BLOC

FISHERMEN ALLOWED


NO CHILDREN OR DOGS

I’d bet any money that Evans wouldn’t have dared put that up prior to June 2016, and that the Brexit result gave him the wings to do it now. However, his use of the term “Eastern Bloc” – which ceased to have anything much other than offensive overtones in the early 90s – belies his age and educational background.

Evans appears to have put the sign up based on second-hand information from like-minded people, and has been forced to take it down. He could still face legal action, since the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said it was “unlawful”. What’s really frightening is that there are actually people in this country allowed to go about unsupervised who couldn’t see that right from the start.

Evans is quoted:

I do not tolerate thieves, wherever they come from.

I will stand up for what I believe in. If they want to call me a racist for stopping thieves coming on to my property then that’s what they’ll do.

He is obviously too stupid to realise that he has declared ALL Polish and “Eastern Bloc” people to be thieves with his sign.

His solution now appears to be to threaten to close down the fishery completely so that no one can use it.

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Broken BritainThe Brexit fiasco leaps from one incompetent episode to another. The latest being the reports that the UK was willing to pay a €40 billion divorce bill, quickly followed by a statement that it wasn’t.

It seems that Theresa May – who is no longer in charge of the government – was willing to pay this in order to move along with Brexit negotiations. But Downing Street has dismissed this because:

…leading supporters of leaving the EU said they would not accept handing over such a large sum.

Brexit supporters have caused enough damage already. Someone should just turn round and tell them to f*** off and grow up.

The sooner we get a 2nd referendum, the better.

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Interconnecting cogs and gearsThe only people likely to not realise the significance of technology in the world today – other than a few isolated tribes in the Amazonian rain forests – are Brexiters. Even if they’re technically capable of understanding, they won’t, because they’re blinded by their obsession to leave the EU no matter what the ultimate cost.

My view on Brexit should be well known by now. It was the stupidest decision this country has ever made, and it was largely made by the stupidest people this country has ever thrown into the gene pool. They should never have been given a direct vote on something they did not understand. And make no bones about it, in spite of what some may claim, the majority of Brexiters haven’t a clue about what they’ve done. All that mattered to most of them was the idea that Britannia would Rule The Waves again without any help from those damned foreigners, and that we would kick out anyone whose skin was not alabaster white by the afternoon of 24 June 2016. It was those two things, coupled with the lie emblazoned across that big red bus about spending £350,000,000 a week on the NHS, that carried the vote.

Since last June, having more or less resigned themselves to not seeing convoys of people being kicked out of the UK (yet – they still live in hope), they’ve spent much of the time accusing the media of “bias” every time it reports simple economic facts. The pound falls in value, reporting it is left-wing bias. Someone mentions the risk of losing access to the single market, it’s “remoaner bias”. Interest rates stay fixed, the BoE is anti-Brexit. There’s talk of interest rates going up, the BoE is anti-Brexit.

They are just too thick to understand that the economy isn’t controlled by a single light switch, but is more akin to a supercomputer, full of logic gates and conditional switches. A better analogy for what I’m going to say next is that it is like some huge steampunk device, composed of myriad interconnecting gears and cogs.

Brexit has been like someone ramming a huge spanner into it.

Most Brexiters will have been completely unaware of Galileo, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) being developed by the EU. The fact that many Brexiters are probably also unaware (or certainly wary) even of GPS in the first place means that they will have also been unaware of its limitations. Civilian GPS resolution is limited to 4 metres at best, though the military can resolve to less than 10cm. Since it is controlled by the US, the service could be switched off at any time in any significant conflict scenario. Galileo GNSS, on the other hand, would offer the same resolution to all users, and this could be down to a few centimetres once it is operational. The USA has not been happy about this.

Galileo is a combined effort by the ESA and the European GNSS Agency. As a member of the EU, the UK has equal rights to work on EU projects, and SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd) in the UK has so far built navigation payloads for 22 of the estimated 30 satellites needed to form the Galileo system in space. SSTL will retain those equal rights right up until the day the UK officially leaves the EU.

And that’s where the potential shit hits the fan.

On Thursday this week, the contract for a further 8 satellites is to be signed at the Paris Air Show. However, SSTL is unlikely to have delivered all 8 of those by the time Brexit happens on 29 March 2019. At that point, it will become “illegal” for the UK – as a “third country” – to work on certain aspects of the Galileo system. Only a Brexiter could also fail to appreciate that it would kibosh any future involvement, or that the UK’s use of Galileo once it becomes operational would also become questionable.

Each Galileo satellite costs about €30 million (£26.5 million), and SSTL will be earning a significant chunk out of that right now. After Brexit, they probably won’t – not unless this issue is added to the growing list of Things The UK Must Demand From The EU during Brexit talks, and is resolved in our favour.

On a related note, another jingoistic outburst yesterday involving The Queen’s Speech reports that Britain will “shoot for the moon”.

One will focus on growing the space sector and would allow satellites to be launched from the UK for the first time, as well as develop scientific missions and manned vertical rockets.

I can see it now. Once the mandatory “democratic vote” involving school children has taken place to name the new launch system, the Rocky McRocketface Two-stage Payload Deployment System Mk I will eventually have the opportunity to do one of three things:

  • make it into space
  • explode over the North Sea
  • explode over somewhere else. Like Hull

I noticed some Brexiter commenting on Facebook yesterday:

Facebook post - Leslie Chiazzari DuckworthAt the moment, all Brexit supporters can do is try to make silk purses out of sows’ ears. Notice how, after informing everyone that the government wouldn’t be launching the satellites directly (no, really?) he skims over the massive logistical issues, which should be quite clear to any sensible person.

Satellite launching in Australia and the USA (and Russia, for that matter) is successful for one main reason, which can be demonstrated easily using ruler and a map of the world.World Map

Australia is over 30x bigger than the UK, and it’s population density is over 140x less. Woomera launch site is 4 miles from the nearest road (and there are only two of those in a radius of at least 150 miles), and 8 miles from the nearest town not including Woomera itself (and 35 miles from the only other one after that). The USA is over 40x bigger than the UK, and its population density is just a tenth of the UK’s. Cape Canaveral is at least 4 miles away from the nearest non-military town, and over 12 miles away from the nearest large town. Both of these launch sites have convenient oceans nearby, with nothing for thousands of miles.

In the UK, even in the middle of one of the national parks, you’re lucky if you’re further than a couple of miles away from any place where people are likely to be, even if they’re just passing through on bikes or having a cream tea in a cafe. And that’s especially true near the only coast line with enough sea to minimise the risk of pissing off the neighbours if a launch went titsup. Of course, there’s Scotland – and if we could persuade them to let us screw up some heathland, then there’d only be the matter of the weather, with rain, snow, and gale force winds for 360 days of the year.

Before we gloss over these risks, it’s worth remembering that the last mission we had any significant involvement with (the only one I can think of, actually, where we tried to land something ourselves) created a new crater on the surface of Mars. And we we weren’t even involved with the initial flashy, explodey bit. Launching rockets in the UK carries immense risks, and these never go away, since even with successful launch systems there is a risk of catastrophic failure every single launch. It happens even to people who are quite good at it, and who have a proven track record. We don’t.

If anything goes wrong in Woomera, the sand just gets a bit of browner. In the US, there’s a big splash. Over here, you could lose Cardiff.

And finally, there is the timescale and cost. Considering that the current government will be lucky if it lasts another 6 months with the way things are now, identifying a location, building the facility, developing rockets, testing them, then finally using them will take a decade or more. Assuming everything is a complete success at each stage – which would buck the trend for everyone else who has ever gone into this industry – the entire development sequence will only cost money. It cannot make money until it is successfully launching stuff into space. And even then, the implication is that it’s our stuff.

Each launch of the Ariane system costs about £150m. It cost billions to develop – and it took decades to develop.

Ironically, there’s already a bloody system in place. And it is called Ariane. And we’re walking away from it, to build our own as a result of our suicidal decision to leave the EU.

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Urban foxTheresa May originally backed remaining in the EU. Now, she is the über-mouthpiece for Brexit. This blatant about-turn alone should tell you all you ever need to know about both her and the Tories.

The Tories are – and always have been – the party for the elite. They have never represented the working class. However, Brexit has given a lot of working-class people all manner of delusions, and May’s master stroke has been to simply change her outward-looking spots to appeal to these idiots.

So anyway, in related news, I see that May will allow a free vote among her party on the repeal of the Hunting Act – an Act which banned hunting with dogs.

I’m not going to go into the issue of fox hunting in any detail. All I will say is that anyone who hunts and kills foxes or any other mammal for sport using dogs is scum. Theresa May is quoted:

As it happens, personally, I’ve always been in favour of fox hunting…

As I say. Scum. Not content with pushing us back to the 70s, May wants to make it the 1870s.

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Dropped star on EU flag29 March 2017 is a date which will go down in history as a turning point.

It marks the point at which stupidity as a prerequisite of being allowed to vote in the UK was officially sanctioned. It also marks the official sanctioning of hatred and xenophobia as a British trait suitable for campaigning purposes, since the only reason the aforementioned stupid people cast their votes the way they did last June was because of hatred and xenophobia directed at Europeans (and anyone else who doesn’t look British if you’re just too stupid to realise they might not be). Oh, and because of that bloody bus promising £350,000,000 a week to the NHS.

Of course, the Americans have taken a similar wrong turn with the election of a certain gentleman who – if you take into account some of the more artistically contrived stories the last few days – is either a complete a**hole or a misunderstood genius.

Occam’s Razor springs to mind here: if you come across as an a**hole to just about everyone who hears you every time you open your mouth, all things being equal, you probably are an a**hole. The same goes for Brexit, of course, because no matter how many times you repeat the mantra “everything will be all right”, the simple fact remains that the UK is leaving the largest economy in the world to strike out on its own as the fifth largest, and without having a clue how it is going to manage to retain that position.

Yes, Article 50 has been triggered.

So, 29 March 2017 will live in infamy as the precise point when the UK turned from metaphorically shooting itself in the foot, and aimed a little higher.

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Another nail in the coffin of the UK as any sort of world power comes as it is announced that Theresa May will trigger Article 50 – the official notification of the UK’s intention to leave the EU – on Wednesday, 29 March 2017.

Remember: 29 March 2017.

It is a date which will live in infamy.


Incidentally, I saw a very appropriate comment posted by someone earlier today. They said:

The clocks go forward one hour on March 26th.

They go back 40 years on March 29th.

I wish I’d thought that one up.


And this one sums up pretty much everyone who voted to leave the EU:

why do remoaners always mention bananas when taking about the EU? I don’t mind if I never eat a banana again, I just want to get out of the EU, to be honest with you I don’t eat foreign food, it probably taste nice but I don’t trust it, Europe is ungrateful, we taught them English, gave them civilisation and taught them basic skills like how to use a knife and fork and use toilet paper.

Only thinking of himself, and so narrow-minded that he’ll only eat lard and gravel spread on BRITISH cardboard. The frightening thing is that he almost certainly believes that part about teaching Europeans to speak English and “civilising” them. And this clueless twat was allowed to vote last summer.

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