Saturday, 26 November 2022

Welcome To The Fediverse!

Now that both Facebook and Twitter have confirmed my hypothesis that Web 2.0 'Facilitators' (who solve your problems) could eventually be shunned as merely Institutions (who solve their own problems at your expense), I've finally embraced the fediverse - a network of independently hosted servers running open standard communication protocols. In my case, Mastodon, running on ActivityPub

Web 2.0 vs The Fediverse is a little like King Arthur stumbling across an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

And, hey, no advertising!

My research on where to base myself began with an excellent SCL Tea & Tech session with Neil Brown and Simon Forrester, followed by a review of Mastodon documentation, then a trip to the Join Mastodon page to find a hosted server that seemed like the right home and would have me and seems serious about maintenance and moderation... a process that really makes you think about what matters to you! 

Setting up was just as easy as setting up in any of the Web 2.0 social network services.

Trickier is finding whom to follow, and deciding how to curate your new online 'instance' - again an opportunity to think quite hard about what matters to you and how you want to communicate. I'm planning not to follow many people or post much until I've that figured out. Maybe I'll set up several different accounts, following different themes, just as I have separate blogs, email addresses, communication apps and Web 2.0 social media presences some of which may need to fall away...

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

How Many British Prime Ministers Will Be Sacrificed On The Altar of Brexit?

Cameron, May, Johnson, Truss, Sunak... the list goes on. I give Sunak a month. As detailed again and again in these pages, Reality will keep reaping its way through politicians who think that Britain can grow, let alone thrive, without free movement of goods, services, capital and labour between itself and its neighbours - who just happen to have clubbed together in the world's largest trade bloc.

Cameron baulked at even attempting Brexit. May stupidly thought she could trigger the process yet fudge the result. Johnson lied about the consequences of a deal that he secretly planned to renegotiate. Truss tried to magic her way out of the vicious economic spiral in the full glare of the financial markets spotlight; while Sunak is so pathetic as to find himself skewered by the dog-whistle promise that Britain will refuse to admit any refugees.

What the next candidate will offer the few remaining Tory faithful is anyone's guess, but unless he or she decides to join the Single Market & Customs Union, it will be another short stay in Number 10.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Who Will Rescue Britain?

When the renowned diplomat, Niccolo Machiavelli, wrote his "Letter to Lorenzo de' Medici" 500 years ago he considered Italy to be "divided...leaderless, lawless, beaten, plundered, broken and overrun, ruined in every way". Thanks to poor government amidst successive crises, Britain now ticks all these boxes. If any Prime Minister since Blair had even read Machiavelli's entreaty, then they can only have done so in order to break every rule in the book; and Johnson's successor is already bound to follow suit. Who will ride to the rescue - and when - is anybody's guess. Yet, like Italy 500 years ago, the time is right. If only the next leader will heed Machiavelli's advice...

The best illustration of how not to become 'World King' (as he infamously fancied himself) has been drawn by Boris Johnson. 

While a man of his education and alleged intellect should have read The Prince, it would not surprise me if it turned out - very ironically - that he claims he has but, in fact, has not. 

If Johnson has read The Prince, then perhaps he believes that, like so many others, those rules don't apply to him...

Machiavelli advocated that a good ruler should strive to appear wholly compassionate, loyal, humane, honest and religious, yet know how to occasionally act otherwise when required. He or she must adapt their chosen strategy or tactics to changes in fortune or 'luck'. A ruler must not seize or steal their subjects' property or women/men; or be seen as "changeable, superficial, effeminate, fearful or indecisive." The ruler's choice of ministers will immediately demonstrate to the country either "good sense or lack of it." Ministers should be intelligent people with permission to tell the ruler the truth, rather than flatterers. The ruler should build a reputation for 'meanness' rather than generosity:

"...if you're determined to have people think of you as generous, you'll have to be lavish in every possible way; naturally, a ruler who follows this policy will soon use up all the wealth to the point that, if wants to keep up his reputation, he'll have to impose special taxes and do everything a ruler can to raise cash. His people will start to hate him and no one will respect him now he has no money... his generosity will have damaged the majority and benefited only a few..."

Above all, "a ruler must avoid any behaviour that will lead to [their] being hated or held in contempt."

Did Johnson follow any of these principles?!

While he began his brief tenure as Prime Minister already flawed in ways that soon became glaringly apparent, Johnson's earlier political moves were at least promising. He rightly spotted that Ken Livingstone's woeful performance as Mayor of London presented a golden opportunity to quite as an MP and seek mayoral office of the nation's capital to garner popular support. He adapted his strategy to luck. Winning a second mayoral term was also key to emphasising that popularity; and breaking his promise not to run as an MP in the next available general election was something that Machiavelli also would have applauded, since he stipulated that there are times when keeping a promise is not important as breaking it in order to survive. 

Yet, we now know that Johnson is incapable of 'being good', let alone generally keeping his promises, or even affecting any of the qualities that Machiavelli advised. His three word slogans were all a cover for doing the opposite.

One need only consider his delay in managing Covid, serial philandering (even during his then wife's illness) and dishonesty over the likely effects of Brexit. 

His choice of advisers, ministers and unwillingness to sack them (too late, if at all) showed a complete lack of good sense. 

His dithering and repeated U-turns showed him to be changeable, superficial, effeminate, fearful and indecisive.

Even while Mayor of London, Johnson had literally been sowing the seeds of his eventual demise by becoming embroiled with Arcuri, allegedly helping himself (again?) to other people's women and money. And even if that were not in fact the case, Machiavelli would say it's the appearance that counts. 

Taking up with Carrie while married, trying to get her a public job, setting up a 'VIP lane' for Covid contracts, appointing cronies to the Lords and grasping at donors' money to refurbish his flat only cemented Johnson's snow-balling reputation for poor judgement and plundering his subjects' money.

Partying during lockdown in violation of his own rules while exhorting others to comply in the most dreadful circumstances was exactly the sort of behaviour that would lead to his being hated and held in contempt.

Indeed, ultimately, Johnson's lavish misuse of public money did in fact use up all the wealth to the point that he had to impose special taxes and do everything he could to raise cash. And his people did start to hate him and lose respect when he had no money, his generosity having damaged the majority and benefited only a few. 

In fact, Johnson's misconduct has amounted to such a gross violation of Machiavellian principles that one wonders if his rise to Prime Minister was not, ironically, the successful application of those very principles by some other head of state... 

But even Putin appears to have lost his touch.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

The End Of 'CovidBrexidiot' Johnson

Well, finally Johnson has gone, albeit with veiled threats of a comeback ("for now" and "hasta la vista, baby," alluding to Terminator). He was easily the worst Prime Minister in British history, for perpetrating a seemingly endless array of havoc and unlawful conduct that came way too depressingly thick and fast for these pages. So let's hope there's no sequel. 

Yet Johnson's parting reference to the Terminator is quite apt. Like the unstoppable android, Johnson himself morphed from one 'side' to the other and is a character of pure fiction.

Well, almost.

The facts we know do not favour this man, and it is to be hoped that one day he atones for at least some of his misdeeds, as do his ministerial minions. One wonders why Britain bothers having the offence of Misconduct in Public Office if Johnson and his cabinet cronies aren't going to be prosecuted for it.

Maybe one day the full story of Johnson and his Tories' vice will come oozing out, like pus drained from an infected wound. But I won't be joining any hospital queue for that. The events of the past six years has taught us that the British state is both weak in constitution and morbidly corrupt, and there's no institutional longing for a cure.

Even now we're witnessing the unedifying display of the wealthy, old, Tory faithful tossing up between Richy 'the Dork' Sunak and a store mannequin for their new 'leader' as if it even matters whose snout goes into the public trough next, given the parlous state of the kingdom.

With any luck, the next incumbent will also succumb to revelations about their role in the rorts wrought by the Johnson regime, accelerating the next General Election...  

That's not to say that the state of the Disunited Kingdom would necessarily be improved if the so-called 'Opposition' were voted in. But there's at least a natural hygiene effect in changing the party in government at every election, like changing your underwear daily to get rid of any foul accumulations. 

It's probably inappropriate to switch this metaphor to the idea of a 'hung' Parliament, but it's worth doing so to ram home the lesson that nothing good seems to come of allowing either of the major parties to linger for a second term.

At any rate, let's hope for a quick end to Tory government No. 94...


Friday, 23 April 2021

Harness The Power of Dumb: Embrace Your Doom!

Fuck it. You labour night and day, learn your lessons, do your homework, get your tickets, play the game by the rules, then along comes a self-entitled prick like Boris-screw-anything-that-moves-Johnson to sweep it all away. How? By being Dumb. You failed to learn the Power of Dumb.

I'm not talking about the inability to speak, or write, or add up.

I'm talking about Wilful Stupidity. 

I'm talking about knowing the right path and deliberately choosing the wrong one and selling it as the right path.

On a massive scale.

Fraud on a small scale just gets you jail. Hell, the Post Office will even frame you for its own mistakes, and the executives who do that to you will walk away free.

Don't talk to me about Bernie Madoff. He made-off with his investors' money for decades, promising them highly improbable returns and leaving them nothing. Jail was his retirement plan.

Boriskovich 'CovidBrexidiot' Johnson has pulled off the biggest electoral fraud in British history and his victims made him Prime Minister. That's all he wanted. Job done. The endless grifting is just a bonus. A free-for-all for the Dumb Club.

You might console yourself with 'It Won't End Well' etc., but you're just telling yourself what you need to get through the day playing by the rules. Low-lifes like Johnson are off to the races and they don't care a damn.

So, ask yourself: what might people really, really, really want? Dream big. Dream Enormous. A bridge to Ireland over a vast munitions dump has already been taken, as has a new UK sat nav system that probably won't work.

Once you've decided on your goal, ask yourself two sets of questions - hell, you might even write two taking opposite sides:

What would be the Right Way To Get It? The Right Things To Do? The Right Path? The Smart Path?

What would be the Wrong Way To Get It? The Bad Things To Do? The Wrong Path? The Dumb Path?

Choose the Dumb Path.

Get Elected.

Harness the Power of Dumb.

Make everyone else regret it, not you!

Sure, they'll all be angry and some will be desperate for vengeance. 

But that only means you won, right?

Embrace your Doom!

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