Friday, 24 June 2016

#Brexit: He traded his kingdom for horse shit

The truth is expendable
Probably there is much to be said of the EU Referendum results that have commenced the divorce of the UK from the European Union.
Throughout the campaign, it was difficult for me to elicit from all the talking points, the propaganda, the debates and outright lies that made up the interaction with the public what was fact from fiction, understatement from exaggeration, fear-mongering from bare-faced reality and snake-oil remedies from wild assumptions.
However, what it more or less confirmed to me was the need to redefine Modern Democracy as “The government of the sentimentally cajoled, by charismatic confidence tricksters for untrammelled vested interests.
Appealing to emotions
Worse still was the fact that literally all expert opinion was rubbished, dismissed, debunked or excoriated as fallacies were deployed with soundbite efficiency, completely ignoring any semblance of objectivity, truth, data or fact.
They appealed to our basest instincts and excited such raw passions that one young mother of two and an elected representative of a Yorkshire constituency was shot, stabbed and killed by a mental incompetent fuelled by the hateful rhetoric that had pervaded the discourse. Pandora’s box was opened and every kind of poisonous view let lose without compunction.
The most potent fallacy in the #Brexit debate was the appeal to emotion on the matter of immigration, it became the focal point by which a 0.5% increase in our population was made to look like a 5% influx of undesirables taking liberties and abusing the hospitality of our generosity that we had reached breaking point.
A reckless gamble
Prime Minister David Cameron, took a political gamble and with hindsight he had no chance against the charismatic buffoonery of Boris Johnson and the caddish affability of Nigel Farage. He is to be consigned to the scrapheap of history as the man under whose watch the United Kingdom faced an existential crisis of disintegration and ostracism from its closest partners.
He had lost his deft touch, in another statesmanlike setting, he would have put in some hurdles beyond a simple majority, this was the lowest threshold possible and on a 52% - 48% share in favour of #Brexit, we are in the realm of uncertainty, in uncharted waters, subject to avoidable but understandable turmoil, turbulence and volatility, unsure of what the future holds and this is supposed to be our Independence Day.
At the very least, a higher percentage threshold should have been met, the four-country lock suggested by Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland should have been in the mixed, ensuring unanimity of all regions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, before we agree to #Brexit and the 16-17-year-old cohort should have been allowed to vote.
Not that this might have changed the result, but whatever victory for whichever side would have been hard fought for and more than well-deserved. Worse than Shakespearean Richard III, David Cameron did not trade his kingdom for a horse, but for horse shit.
For now, the country is split down the middle, he has resigned, the pound was in freefall, the stock market took a battering along with bourses of our allies and the leader of the opposition faces a vote of no confidence.
We’ll suffer for this
Europe has also gone shrill and strident, the next meeting of the heads of government does not have the United Kingdom as an invitee, we have more than tough times ahead, we are most likely going to be harshly dealt with to ensure the referendum we just concluded does not become an excitable contagion to others.
Never, has a nation had the voice to express itself and squandered it on irrational fear of the other considering it has a not too distant history of dominating over 25% of the world in its heyday. The Great British Empire which was at its height just a century ago has collapsed upon itself with a whimper, and whilst in 1982, Margaret Thatcher put the Great back in Britain after the Falklands war, in 2016, David Cameron has welded the Little to England in our march out of the door from Europe.
The consequences of #Brexit will be more far-reaching than we have ever contemplated, and the people who promised us the world if we #Brexit probably only have loads of sorrow, tears, pain, sweat and blood to offer.
Welcome to the new world.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

On #Brexit: We must remain for our democracy

The Control
Much has been said about taking back control by the proponents and outsized figureheads of the #Brexit campaign, and maybe they have a point.
However, there will be immediate and long-term consequences if the United Kingdom votes for #Brexit.
The main issue is our democracy and that has been a serious debating point throughout this referendum discussion. We have a parliamentary democracy in the UK, and though I did not vote for the Conservative Party in the last general election, I am happy to be represented by the government of the day.
Some of their policies are not to my liking, but the people in charge headed by David Cameron who we voted for have maintained a somewhat steady course from 2010 in a coalition and then as a majority government since 2015. This parliament, come what may, will run until 2020.
The coup
If we do vote #Brexit, this the very likely scenario, there will be a palace coup, David Cameron and his cabinet will probably be thrown out and we face the possibility of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister with senior cabinet figures in Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith, I will not be surprised if Nigel Farage is flung into the House of Lords in gratitude.
Whilst this will be a democratic exercise within the ruling party, it is unlikely to bear the hallmarks of the democracy we desire and it will run until 2020. None of these personalities have ever held a great office of state, that is Prime Minister, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary or Defence Secretary.
Iain Duncan Smith has been a leader of opposition, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and Michael Gove is the Justice Secretary, the government of the UK carries a greater responsibility than these men have ever faced, they will be tyros, inexperienced, learning on the job and at the same time trying to negotiate a new identity for the UK in the world.
The greenhorns
It is my humble opinion that this task will be well beyond their experience and capacity to manage that the UK will probably both suffer internally and internationally for this venture into two uncertainties of experience and unquantified hope.
There is every reason to be energised by the concept of an Independence Day tomorrow, but give it a thought, on economic matters, they have no insight, on immigration, they have held no such responsibility. On negotiations even Boris Johnson could not bring to fruition the night travel he promised on London transport, Michael Gove literally frustrated the teachers rather than persuade them, Iain Duncan Smith presided over a regime where the vulnerable were victimised and Nigel Farage besides being abusive and rude in the European Parliament could not win his own constituency last year.
These are the untested and untried people, we are about to hand our country to, to take us on an untried and untested journey outside Europe outside of the people on the remain side have gathered a wide coalition, many of whom hold offices of responsibility and have validated contacts with our partners far and wide around the world.
 Some realism
Yes, we can be bloody-minded and adventurous as Britons, and indeed, if there were a different set of tested experienced people to hand control over to, the case for #Brexit might have been stronger to me, but there is nothing in #Brexit than a suicidal attempt in the unknown, for the unseen, in the uncharted, for a destination unscripted, there is just too much unappealing about this matter to hand it over to this crowd.
It is for this reason, even if we are persuaded of no other that I will appeal so earnestly that we vote to remain, for continuity in the hands of the experienced, for some confidence in competence even in the uncertain times ahead, a sense of quantified risk in what we know as opposed to a whole set of unknown unknowns.
This is just too great to risk for independence in the hands of greenhorns.
We must vote to remain.


Sunday, 19 June 2016

Apology 001

Village rag of ruse
This morning, I came upon a malicious false accusation that was made against a friend on Twitter to the effect that he was allegedly recorded on video assaulting a woman and swearing at her.
On observing the video, it was clear that neither the man assaulting the woman nor the voice of the perpetrator was my friend, the accent was American, his is British-Nigerian. That this video appeared on one of the more odious vehicles of invective and the worst of Nigerian journalistic standards was at first instructive, the text dripped with malice, it could not be overlooked.
As it transpired, Nigeria being a country in the rat race of keeping and settling scores, someone decided to publish this malign atrocity and then continued with commentary that excoriated my friend in the most uncharitable terms before proceeding to church.
Malicious and atrocious
Meanwhile, anyone who had any idea of who my friend was had already seen this hatchet job for what it was, the antecedents of the village rag masquerading as an online newspaper indicated that the act was deliberate to cause injury and harm to the name and reputation of my friend.
Whilst, engagement on Twitter can both be robust and virulent, there are times when even my friend might have exceeded the bounds of decency. In the snake pit of Nigerian commentary, the search for gentlemen can be futile as to be impossible. However, that should not excuse the abuse of platforms and expression to denigrate anyone, that applies to both my friend and anyone else.
Address the issue at hand
I am not here to keep the record of longstanding conflicts between personalities on Social Media, however, I can as occasion allows when I am observing my timeline on Twitter engage in the discourse or the debate as the opportunity comes. This morning presented such an opportunity and for that particular act, I walked in with the clear intention of defending my friend from that particular smear and address all who colluded in propagating the odium.
For some people, they might seek moral equivalences to justify that atrocity, it does not excuse this particular one I decided to address and the forum is open for others to address grievances they might have with other issues they feel so strongly about. The idea that one should help them fly their own flags, whilst understandable is neither a duty nor an obligation.
I have on many occasions called out friend, acquaintance, stranger and worse on general issues, I am nobody’s surrogate, I work as an independent mind on the matters I choose to address and never as a policeman seeking to impute offence at every possible opportunity.
It was a hatchet job
The backlash was fierce and unrelenting, with that came a conditionally grudging apology which some considered a full-hearted apology, I was having none of it. Eventually, the village rag pulled down that rotten hatchet job, which it was and appeared to apologise. The apologies were an apology of an apology in and of themselves.
I say it was a rotten hatchet job, because if it wasn’t, the story would have been edited to address the matter of Violence Against Women, which one of the protagonists tried to use to deflect the opprobrium for his perfidy. It got to a point that I found myself having to write an Idiot’s Guide to Apology and I labelled it Apology 001 because to have given it Apology 101 would have made it impossible for some to understand as a very advanced course in appropriate restitution.
The Idiot’s Guide: Apology 001
The Idiot’s Guide appears below and I have really not seen anything that resembles an apology on the matter. Just because you dislike a person does not mean you cannot stand for right in support of that person, that is what constitutes having a value system and principles. It is left to us to decide if past hurt is an excuse for allowing injustice and worse to thrive in our midst.
Apology 001: A regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure.
Apology 001: An apology requires first an expression of regret; that expression cannot be conditional.
Apology 001: An expression of regret cannot be prefaced with the conditional if, because that invalidates the acknowledgement of error.
Apology 001: An apology must stand on its own, it must be full, unreserved, sincere, honest and final.
Apology 001: An apology must fully repudiate all the errors and claims that caused offence. For example; I am sorry for falsely accusing ...
Apology 001: If an apology is not grudging and deemed honest, it will be obvious to all and the offended will receive it gracefully.
Apology 001: Until we grasp the fundamentals of giving a good apology, we cannot advance to the Apology 101 course. :)


Thursday, 16 June 2016

Jo Cox MP (1974 - 2016)

A sad day for our democracy
When I read earlier today that a member of the UK parliament had been attacked, I probably did not read the detail of the story thinking the dust will settle and everything will be fine soon.
I got home and was shocked to learn that Jo Cox MP for Batley and Spen in Yorkshire had died of injuries sustained from being shot and stabbed just in front of her surgery. This was a mother of two young children who would have turned 42 in just 6 days’ time. [BBC News]
The tributes that have poured out in sympathy and recognition of this amazing young woman who has had a lifetime career of fighting causes for the poor, the needy, the enslaved, the refugee and many other powerless and exploited makes her in the one year of her parliamentary representation a glowing example of our democracy and her appreciation of the privilege and responsibility her constituency placed on her to fight their cause.
She died in the line of duty, doing the fundamentals of constituency representation, meeting people, tackling issues and putting forward her embracing worldview when she was attacked.
A better world
Now, it is suggested her attacker who presumably is a loner who kept himself to himself but loved gardening said some words as he assailed her and wounded a couple of other bystanders, we may never fully understand why he chose to harm and kill this woman regardless of whatever strength of feeling and animus he had towards her.
In her maiden speech in the House of Commons made on the 3rd of June 2015, as she spoke of the diversity of the constituency she represented, she made a very profound statement, “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.
[]
Her widowed husband, Brendan Cox released a statement that included, “Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.” [BBC News]
Tone it down
Now, MPs do face aggression and some have suffered physical attacks though it’s been about 25 years since an MP died as a result of such an attack.
We must reflect on what is becoming of our democracy, the disagreements leading to disagreeableness and egged on by rhetoric that would inspire some to violence. The use of otherness, separateness, division to accentuate difference and pitch our common humanity against each other for political gain.
The demonization of allies, partners, friends, neighbours, communities, religions, beliefs, of Brussels, of Europe, of foreigners, of immigrants, of countries and so on as we have seen in the recent London mayoral elections and the current #BREXIT debates. All this exacerbates the tendency to harm others in word and in deed. When we denigrate anyone of us, we create a negative atmosphere that registers with our basest instincts and it encourages the less disciplined amongst us to atrocious and heinous acts.

Leveraging fear and loathing towards professing a kind of exceptionalism and an incipient superiority complex in relation to equal participants in a wider regional bloc that always requires persuasion, debate, compromise and consensus to achieve common goals and ends to the benefit of all of us.
Her enduring legacy
Jo Cox in her short life saw a bigger picture, a shared humanity and the passion to speak up for the voiceless, it took her to places of conflict and suffering in the quest to make lives better, she had a big heart and open arms to people regardless of who they were and in the vigil kept for her earlier this evening, we saw how she had earned the respect of all who ever had the opportunity to have an encounter with her.
I did not know Jo Cox until today, but I will never forget her after today, the spirit of what she espoused is what we should all embrace, she was a Europhile, she believed in the European project, she said as much in her maiden speech and it is very possible that this contributed to the attack on her person.
We should when we have a platform understand the responsibility that comes with the ability to make people think or agitate them to mob violence. I would hope each and everyone approaches that responsibility with deep reflection that strengthens the togetherness of our diverse humanity. That is the legacy of Jo Cox, may her gentle soul rest in peace and may her loved ones find strength and fortitude in this unfortunate and deeply sad time of loss.


Don't let me bare my teeth

The conflicts
An encounter that brought one to the meeting with another where much left unsaid is the unresolved conflict that goes back too long that memories begin to fade.
Yet, there are memories that will never go away because they are the foundations on which everything else is built, that thing unlooked, that praise unsaid, the act unloved, that wound unsalved, that curse unleashed are indelible markers of time and space, the manner in which all came to play in scenarios never yet spoken, they are deep.
The discord
Then a visit in the midst of sleep stirred up a maelstrom, a knowing that this was not comfortable, an instigator came to stir up the moment for a fiery exchange and that was the cause of excuses made when the other flung the apron strings again to see if they would bind, no, they would not for they’ve been cut for too long.
As the parting began, a terror was again unleashed, a momentary lashing out but one thought the better of it, the time and place will probably never come for any of this to be resolved, the egg has been broken, there is no getting the yolk and the albumen back in the embrace of nature that once was and the evolution that follows next.
The escape
Witnesses oblivious of the long history trooped to the other side and ganged up to torment, they began and at first strike, with a bite of a serpent in the deep of the back, a painful cry and the end of slumber.
They can harm the body but they will not touch the soul, that hold is gone and that story remains long and yet untold, there is a salvation beyond which they will never control who saved that soul.
If there is another encounter …