Brexit, A Second Referendum, and Double Jeopardy @juliahb1 #Brexit

Many opponents of Brexit (which I am sure you know refers to Britain exiting the European Union) say that we the British people should get a second vote, just to make sure that we still want to leave. Such people include former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major. After all, we voted almost two years ago, and so much has changed since then. This proposed second vote would specifically be based on the yet-to-be-agreed final deal that the Government is currently trying to negotiate with the EU. If we the people don’t like the final deal, then we the people should have the right to change our minds. After all, they say, isn’t that the essence of democratic choice? If we don’t like a particular politician we’ve voted in, we can always vote them out again come the next election. So why shouldn’t we be able to change our mind about this too? It is the supporters of Brexit who, despite their cries about “democracy”, are the true anti-democrats.

Well, that’s how heavyweight remain supporters such as Alistair Campbell, John Major, Tony Blair, Kenneth Clarke, and, err, Femi Oluwole have it.

But this view, despite being superficially highly convincing, is nonsense.

Firstly, their analogy is flawed; when we elect a politician, we don’t then have a second vote to see if we really do want them to be elected. Rather, the politician is in fact elected. Likewise, Brexit should in fact happen. Sure, if we change our minds at a future date, we should be free to try to reapply to the EU. And in fact, we would be free to reapply. Just as we would be free to not re-elect that politician.

Secondly, as I pointed out in my 26th June 2016 blog post, where I predict a second referendum and that the UK would never leave the EU, the people are almost never asked if they want to go along with the ever-closer union and integration. Former Prime Minister John Major, who is so shrill in claiming democracy requires a second EU referendum, never gave his own parliamentary party, let alone the people, a free vote on the Maastricht Treaty, the treaty which created so much of what is now the EU. Indeed, he insisted on brutal discipline to get the vote through parliament, including secretly flying in hospitalised MPs and making them vote his way(!), famously calling his few uncowed parliamentary opponents “bastards”. (As a point of interest, the Maastricht Treaty and the atrocious way Major handled the whole thing, directly resulted in the formation of UKIP.) Second votes are apparently only required when things don’t goes John Major’s way.

Indeed, when the people are from time to time asked, they almost invariably vote against the European Project. Yet they are always asked to vote a second time, just to make sure. And of course, with the right pressure and scare-mongering, they unfailingly return a vote in favour of the EU.

I’ve gotten into arguments with people who don’t understand why the people changing their minds in a second vote or a second vote at all would for me constitute an egregious violation of democracy. The best analogy I can give is to the famous legal rule of “double jeopardy”.

Double jeopardy states that an individual cannot be tried again for the same or similar offence on the same or similar evidence once acquitted. The logic is that, if they could be tried again, they would never truly be free or be able to live freely or in peace. Why not? Because the powers that be could simply try the individual again and again and again and again, grinding the defendant’s willpower, money, and life into the dust, until he is no longer able to fight back, and/or until a judge or jury can be found who would find in favour of the prosecution.

Yes, whilst it might sense to try the defendant again if new evidence comes to light, the rule of double jeopardy is clearly in fact one of the greatest tools defending individual liberty. Or at least, it was, until 2003 when the Labour government of Tony Blair and his henchman Alistair Campbell went a long way to “abrogating”, that is, removing, this ancient liberty.

And perhaps that is why Blair, Campbell, and all their ilk don’t understand why a second vote would be undemocratic. They simply don’t buy into the notion of democracy, even though they probably think that they do; rather, they buy into the Aristotelian and continental European view,  that the plebs are too stupid to know what’s good for themselves, and only an elite Philosopher-King, or a committee version thereof, is able to rule the people and thereby allow the people to be free by preventing them from allowing their own plebbish baseness to cause harm to themselves. Like children, we should be free, but like children, if allowed total freedom, we would soon end ourselves. Yet this is the very opposite of democracy.

But to the rest of us, trying an acquitted person again and again and again, is a flagrant abuse of freedom. And to get the people to vote again, but this time the “right way”, is an equal abuse. We voted to leave knowing that, whilst there were countless ramifications to that decision — just as there are when we vote in any referendum or election –, we would in fact leave.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Brexit, The Deal, and the EU’s Long Game #Brexit

I’ll keep this to the point.

If the UK does not fully leave the Customs Union (CU), the Single Market (SM), and the European Court of Justice (ECJ), then the UK will not be able to take back control of our borders, our laws, and our trade deals. We’ll be a vassal of the EU. And in ten years’ time when Brexit has not worked out well due to our being hamstrung from the get-go, I fear that enough of the people will buy the hype that we will be sold: that we never should have left the EU.

I saw one person on Twitter deride Brexiteers saying that, ‘when Brexit fails, you guys will say what all the old communists said after the USSR failed: “but they didn’t do it right!”‘. There is a grain of truth in this, except this 140 character journalist got one thing wrong. Even though I oppose communism, the USSR didn’t actually do it right: Marx and Engels were clear that Communism would only work if the society evolved through and past capitalism, but would fail if a society “jumped” a social stage. Well, the USSR did indeed jump from agricultural straight into communism, by-passing capitalism. Likewise, if we are not free to pursue our own path 100% freely, whether that path be Corbynistic Commie Heaven, or a Singapore-on-the-Thames style tax haven, or anything in between, then Brexit will fail.

I think the EU supporters, within and without our nation, are playing the long game here. They know that the semblance of a true Brexit, coupled with things not working out as well as we would like, plus another 8 years or so of EU influence and propaganda, will soften up the pro-Brexit side to the point where, they reckon, we will be begging to rejoin the EU — on any terms. And that means joining the Euro. We’ll be nothing but a non-sovereign state, a Mississippi or an Idaho.

We cannot take our eye off the ball. And if our generally useless leaders succeed in giving us a true Brexit, then I foresee most hardcore remainers ten years from now, claiming, ‘Well, I was never really anti-Brexit; I always knew it was going to work out’. But we must make sure that we leave the CU, the SM, and the ECJ.

© 2017-2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Fatty Parry 32: Project Weight Loss 13-7: 1 January 2018 @ww_uk @weightwatchers

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I’ve rebooted my strategy to getting into shape: see here for the outline. Basically, instead of setting myself weekly hard-and-fast goals, the idea is to set monthly non-binding goals. This means I won’t theoretically get downhearted when I have a wobbly week as I will be able to catch up the following week. I have set myself the goal of losing 7lb a month. I was therefore hoping to get down to 17st 7lb (245lb) by the end of January.

The only change to my routine for January was the lack of mince pies and sherry! And I ended up at 17st 9lb. A five pound loss is not bad. Instead of now saying I need to lose 9lbs by the end of February — the monthly 7lb + the 2lb I did not lose last month — I am simply resetting and saying I need to lose 7lb. This prevents a backlog of unfulfilled weight loss goals which I have found so discouraging.

Therefore, by the end of February, I hope to get down to 17st 2lb (240lb). My plan of action is the simple stuff: cut the wintery comfort snacks down.

© 2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

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How North Korean’s Regimes WILL Fall

So, this article about recent* goings-on in North Korea has got me a thinking.

My cod assessment: the North Korean regimes will in fact fall in my lifetime. Why? As the article points out, all capable people are being replaced with toadies. Being chosen on their toady-ness means they are likely less capable. Less capable suck-ups are people who are less able and likely less willing to challenge the boss. This leads to a cycle of incompetence which ultimately leads to fall of the regime. This is has happened time and again throughout history.

So you heard it here first. North Korea, with its current ruling family, will fall in the twenty-first century, no doubt; probably by 2050 or so.

[UPDATE] I had this short post saved since February 2017; current events in Korea are making my “2050” look more like “20:50 Friday evening”.

[UPDATE 2] *This post is a year old and I just never posted it. Even though it is no longer topical. it probably will be again soon, knowing North Korea. And I hate to have drafts hanging about. So I’m posting it.

© 2017-2018 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Random Images 34: Dog’s Life #Random #RandomImages


Fatty Parry 31: Project Weight Loss 13-7: Introduction @ww_uk @weightwatchers

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This post was written 01/01/18

As I said in the last post, I have been finding my time-limited weight loss programs counter-productive in the end. You know, where you try to lose X amount of weight in such-and-such time period. Whenever I would have a bad week and miss my target, everything always seemed so insurmountable and I would just get off-track for weeks at a time. The feeling of failure was always near. But this has all been made worse by certain life stresses, which one day I may go into, and the general festive Yule period of Gluttomas.

So now the goal is not to time-limit my diet, although I will give myself “guideline targets”. This way, I feel that if I feel like I’m having a poor week, I won’t get all stressed out and depressed about it.

As stated in previous posts, a healthy weight for me is 13 stone 7 pounds (189lb, ~86kg). I am currently my fattest ever: 18st 0.2lb (252.02lb)!! That is literally 1/8 of a ton. What in the literal fuck!?

So, I’m going to go for half a stone (7lb) a month. That is just under 2lb a week, and I think very reasonable. By checking in monthly, I don’t feel pressured and can make up for a bad week with a good one.

My first guideline target is to drop 7.2lb by the end of January. That would make me 17st 7lb (245lb) on 1st February 2018.

Seriously, let’s do this!

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Fatty Parry 30: Thoughts @ww_uk @weightwatchers

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I am a classic yo-yo dieter: gain a stone, lose a stone, gain it back again. But, unlike some yo-yo dieters, I prefer cooking to ordering a take-away, and I am happy eating a salad. The problem I have is always the same: when my routine gets disrupted, for even a few days, everything falls apart — my working out, my eating. It’s crazy, but I am 100% with my routine, or 0%. Perhaps I’ve got a personality disorder! Haha! I’m like that for everything, I find: all in or nothing. But I’m not sure what to do about that. And this is what happened with my previous program; unavoidable stuff came up, I promptly folded after my routine was disrupted.

However, there is an even more pressing issue I have had to come to realise over the last couple of months.

My weight goes up, my weight goes down. Sure, classic yo-yo. But just like Bitcoin*, it never goes as low as it was last time, and it peaks higher than ever before. Unfortunately, unlike Bitcoin where more pounds (of money) is better, my increased pounds (of weight) is killing me.

Wait, what?

What I’m saying is that I used to cycle between 12 and 13 stone. Then it was 13 and 14 stone. Then 15 and 16 — that was three or so years ago. Then it was 15st 7lb to 17st. But over the last year, I have been hitting new peaks: I am currently 17 stone 10 pounds. What the hell!?

I can’t be content with this situation. Because now when I am at the low, “thin” point of my yo-yo, I am still fatter than ever before. Whereas before, my “thin” actually was — thin!

So I have two points to work on within myself from here on in. How do you guys handle these points?

  1. I need to prevent blips to my routine derailing me for months or years at a time. Y’know, those times when you have to eat unhealthily, or not go to the gym, such as weddings, celebrations, holidays, and so forth.
  2. I think these time limited programs I have constructed (e.g. 13 Week Wedding Weight Loss) are not really helping me make the long-term, abiding changes to my routines that I need to. The reason is that whilst the time limit is SMART, when I miss a couple of weekly targets, I get down about it and just fall off the waggon as it all seems too insurmountable again.

From now on in, I’m just going to have a regular (say, fortnightly) health daybook. I’ll have my long term goals, but I won’t time limit them. I’ll just go slow and steady so as to not let missed weekly targets get me down.

*Let’s see how it takes for this reference to no longer be true!

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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40 Month Streaker

I haven’t posted on this blog for two and a half months. My post in September brought to an end my streak of forty months of solid posting on the trot! Sadly, I have been having various life stresses (which I alluded to here). It got to the point where I was like, ‘Ya know what, I don’t have the energy to post right now’.

Whilst I’m still not a hundred per cent, I feel it’s time to get back to writing. When the time is right, I will reveal to all four of my subscribers what has been transpiring. But for now: guess who’s back, back again, Bryan’s back, tell a friend.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Star Trek: Discovery #StarTrekDiscovery @StarTrekNetflix #StarTrekDay @startrekcbs

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I’m a big Star Trek fan. “Bitterly disappointed” by the way Star Trek: Enterprise was given short shrift in marketing and timeslots, and then summarily cancelled after four seasons, is an understatement of how I felt. And that was in 2005; I had barely lost my virginity back then, whereas now I am a married man with thick tufts of chest hair that drip with testosterone. Yes, twelve long years I’d been in purgatory waiting for even a sign of a new Star Trek series — until last year, when the announcement was made. But I couldn’t get my hopes up as it wouldn’t be the first big project to get canned. Yet here it is, at last. Star Trek: Discovery aired last night on Netflix. I can’t wait to watch episodes one and two tonight (right after I finish grooming my manly facial hair). But I’m nervous — will it be a Game of Thrones (=perfection), or a Stargate Universe (=all gear, no idea)?

A new Trek series was sorely needed to fill a particular gap. Not only is it a massive franchise with a hardcore fanbase, but the success of the recent films means there might be a new non-Trek audience primed and ready — although, in all fairness, the enthusiasm for the new films has kind of fizzled out now. But whatever.

The other reason why a new series is needed is that all previous Treks existed in the years BBG. That is, Before Battlestar: Galactica. That show was epoch defining and heralded the dawn of a new era (the 2004-2009 version, not the campy 70s thing). It moved us into a brave new world. Yes, yes, yes, it had all the secks, violence, and swearing (if “frack” counts) that now typify shows like Game of Thrones. But it was the format that set it apart. Gone were the 20+ episodes a season, countless dud eps which basically filled space, and the one-off episodes that didn’t advance the central plot of the series — if there even was a central plot. We were into a new world where quality triumphed over quantity; ten episodes of pure, relentless, story. One story arc for the whole show.

All previous Treks existed in this BBG world. This is outmoded and isn’t how TV works anymore. To make it worse, back then, the budgets were also poor, lending a kind of crummy homemade look to much Sci-Fi; I remember even as a twelve year old cringing at how the solid metal armour of the Jaffa in Stargate: SG1 would betray it’s Styrofoam prop nature and literally bend in a fight. Also, the quality of the acting has gone up: just try to remember TV before the Kiefer Sutherland thrillride 24; big film stars just did not do TV, it was a step down. How times change!

Visually, Star Trek: Discovery looks phenomenal. But we’ll just have to see if it is a matter of style over substance. As a Trek disciple, I hope to goodness the show is great and gets a good long run. Otherwise, by the time they come up with a new Star Trek series, I’ll probably have regrown my virginity, for I’ll be a shrivelled, middle-aged man.

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Pacifist Peas #ESOL

In my first ever post on this blog, I talked about how I teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). I mentioned a then-recent student who, when I would say “I’ve got an ear-ache”, would say it back to me as, “I vee be gooser you-near-eck”. ESOL teachers get this kind of random nonsense a lot; it’s our job, after all. But I got another one yesterday which will surely live long in the memory.

A student comes up to me after class and says, “Sir*, can you please tell us more about pacifist peas in the next class?”

“Pacifist peas?”
“Yes, pacifist peas”
“Erm… what?”
“Pacifist peas, Sir”
“What are pacifist peas?”
“Pacifist peas. Y’know… pacifist peas
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re saying. Can you say it again, please?”
“Pacifist peas”
“Pacifist peas?”
(nods) “Pacifist peas”
(incredulously) “You don’t know what pacifist peas are!? You’re a teacher!”
“I’m really sorry, but I think it’s the way you’re saying it. Can you say it more slowly?”
“Okay, Sir. Pacifist. Peas**”
“I’m really not getting this mate”
“Sir!? Verbs, nouns, prepositions…”

My brain starts ticking over.

“Ahh! Parts of speech!
“Yes! Pacifist peas”
“Say ‘speech'”
“Iss peas”

Cue a long heart-to-heart with me trying to reassure him that his English isn’t that bad and making mistakes is a vital part of the learning process. And look, look how many mistakes you’ve made; you’ll be fluent in no time(!)

So what does this tale tell us? Firstly, that teaching ESOL can be good banter. Secondly, that all language is context-dependent. In summary: I would definitely recommend a career in ESOL to anyone who has the following unique mix of traits: loves helping people, is up for a laugh, wants to travel the world, is fascinated by language and communication, profoundly enjoys poverty.

*I teach a lot of Asian guys, and they tend to be very deferential even when you act all cool-teacher and say, “Call me ‘Bry’!”. Their answer is, of course, “Okay, Sir”. The best I can get out of a lot of these guys is, “Mr Bryan”, which is always a laugh. Of course, you never force students to do anything they aren’t comfortable with. You tell them that in England it is normal for adult learners to address their teacher by their first name, but that whatever makes them happy will make me happy. Sage nod, “Yes, Sir”.

**Once you’ve read the punchline, the perceptive among you might think I’m lying. After all, he should surely have said, “Pasif. Iss-peas”, when he spoke slowly, but actually he kind of slurred so it really did sound like, “Pacifist …ehhhs… peas”. So that’s the third thing this tale tells us: BRYAN NEVER LIES! x-(

© 2017 Bryan A. J. Parry

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