The Superhumans

Excellently done!

Although, for most of this, I’ll be the one saying no, I can’t… Sigh.

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The Brexit Nightmare

Here’s a good summary of the mess that the UK has got itself into, and why extricating itself from it will probably take years. Normal service will not be resumed soon. I particularly liked:

Q: I thought Boris said we could stay in the single market and get rid of freedom of movement.

A: He was either lying or he didn’t understand what he was talking about. Probably the first. The single market is a series of rules. His plan was like saying that you’re going to visit Paris but not abide by French law. It was nonsense.

And now he’s Foreign Secretary…

Another interesting point is that David Davis is now the “Secretary for Exiting the EU”. He is at least a serious politician, but there’s also a rather delicious irony in his appointment – he is currently suing the UK government at the European Court of Justice so as to enforce EU law. Curiouser and curiouser. Welcome to Wonderland.

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Yet Another Facepalm

Britain has been on something of a roller coaster ride in the last few weeks, and I’ve been looking on in fascinated horror. My worst fears were confirmed when a majority of compatriots chose the nuclear option, otherwise known as Brexit. With the resignation of Cameron, I fully expected Boris Johnson to fulfil his long-held ambition of standing for Leader of the Conservative Party and becoming the next Prime Minister.

The first shock was when Michael Gove turned round and metaphorically stabbed Boris in the chest with his declaration that he, Gove, would be in the race after years of denying that he had any ambition to become PM. A real “Et tu, Brute” moment. The second shock was when Johnson subsequently declared that he was withdrawing from the race.

Then the other candidates in the race declared themselves, and what a sorry bunch they were. The only candidate of worth being Theresa May, and while she is very capable, I’ve never been a fan of hers because she seems to have had a humanity bypass when it comes to dealing with immigration questions. Fortunately, the others fell flat on their faces, quite spectacularly in the case of Andrea Leadsom, with her denial of having played the motherhood card against the childless May. Unfortunately for Leadsom, the audio recording of the interview proved her denial worthless, and she withdrew from the race.

So Theresa is triumphant, and is now ensconced as Prime Minister. She’s gutted Cameron’s Cabinet – sacked Gove, and Stephen Crabb has resigned (or was he pushed?).

And then, and then, she announces that the new Foreign Secretary is to be Boris Johnson…

Just when we thought that things couldn’t get any worse, BoJo’s back, and as Foreign Secretary, no less. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – and it would seem that that’s a common feeling shared by governments around the world. 

Oh lord, give me strength.

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A Marriage Proposal

With all the doom and gloom around as a result of Brexit; this cheered me up a bit.

How things have changed since the days I went on Gay Pride marches in London. Back in those days (the 1970s), the police were not at all friendly.


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Ah, Gawd…

So my fellow Brits voted for Brexit. I am depressed beyond words. A sad day for the EU and a glad day for the 51.9% of Little Englanders thumbing their noses at Johnny Foreigner.

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A New Lease of Life

As I’ve mentioned before, the speakers in my Hi-Fi system are a pair of QUAD electrostatic loudspeakers – the ESL 57 model to be precise – and this year, they will be forty years old. They still sound pretty good, but, like me, they are getting on in years. In order to celebrate their fortieth birthday, I thought that I should get them checked for a possible refurbishment.

A search on the internet turned up QUAD Musikwiedergabe in Germany. When QUAD stopped production of the ESL 57 model in 1996, QUAD Musikwiedergabe took over the necessary jigs and tools to Germany. Initially this was to manufacture spare parts for the ESL 57, but eventually they started building completely new ESL 57 speakers, such was the continuing demand.

I contacted them, and a few weeks later, the speakers were collected by Manfred Stein, the owner of QUAD Musikwiedergabe. His team checked them out, and he reported back that, considering their age, both speakers were not bad. However, he recommended replacements of the treble panels and the EHT units which deliver the high voltage. The treble panels had been overloaded (probably by me playing music far too loudly!) and the EHT’s were no longer delivering the right voltage. The bass panels were OK, but were now sounding “boomy”because of their age. I decided to go for a complete transplant of the internals, and the externals were smartened up with a fresh coat of paint.

Manfred returned the ESL 57s this morning, and I’ve been listening to Handel operas for most of the day.

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RIP Jo Cox

Yesterday, a British Member of Parliament was stabbed and shot. Her name was Jo Cox. I am numbed by the news. This column by Alex Massie in the Spectator puts into words my feelings at the moment, please go and read it. A sample:

When you shout BREAKING POINT over and over again, you don’t get to be surprised when someone breaks. When you present politics as a matter of life and death, as a question of national survival, don’t be surprised if someone takes you at your word. You didn’t make them do it, no, but you didn’t do much to stop it either.

Sometimes rhetoric has consequences. If you spend days, weeks, months, years telling people they are under threat, that their country has been stolen from them, that they have been betrayed and sold down the river, that their birthright has been pilfered, that their problem is they’re too slow to realise any of this is happening, that their problem is they’re not sufficiently mad as hell, then at some point, in some place, something or someone is going to snap. And then something terrible is going to happen.

All the demonisation of the “other”, whether they be immigrants, Muslims, or the EU by the likes of Nigel Farage and his ilk does have consequences. We have an even nastier example here in the Netherlands in the form of Geert Wilders.

My father was a politician, and was a member of the Manx parliament. Like Jo Cox, he always fought for the underdog. It would have broken his heart had he lived to have seen the events of yesterday.

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