“A Special Place In Hell”

Donald Tusk hits the nail on the head. The Nigel Farages, Jacob Rees-Moggs and Boris Johnsons of this world deserve nothing less. It is they who have betrayed the British people, not the EU.

Posted in News and politics, Society | 1 Comment

“A Terrible Failure of Common Sense”

In recent years, the UK Home Office has increasingly seemed to be driven by checklists, rather than any understanding of the people they are dealing with.

Here’s just the latest example in a very long list: a man, 90 years old, is being told to fly to the US to get a visa so that he can stay in the UK with his wife.

Apparently, a Home Office spokesperson has said:

“All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence available and in line with UK immigration rules.”

As a good friend of mine has said on many an occasion: “Just what is wrong with these people?”.


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Half and Half

Someone asked me last night how long I had been living here in the Netherlands, and I replied: “35 years”.

“So, for half your life?” he asked. And up until that moment I had not thought about it, but he’s right: for the first 35 years of my life, I lived in the UK (even though, technically speaking, the country of my birth, the Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and not part of the UK) and now I’ve been living for 35 years in the Netherlands.

It gave me pause.

Posted in Family, Society | 2 Comments

Seder Masochism

Nina Paley has finished her magnum opus and released it to the world.


Deceptively simple, yet raises uncomfortable questions. Worth watching.

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The Wall

In these dark times, god knows, I need a little cheering up. And Randy Rainbow continues to deliver and prick presidential pretensions.

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Bohemian Gravity

I know I’m very late to this, but I’ve just come across this via a link in another online forum. Worth a listen…

Posted in Humour, Music, Science | Leave a comment

Killing the goose that lays golden eggs

Here in the Netherlands we have a number of internet service providers (ISPs) to choose from. One of the oldest is XS4ALL, and it has been offering internet access to private individuals since 1993. It’s been my ISP since 1994. Although it was sold to KPN in 1998, it has remained as an independent subsidiary. At least, it has up until now.

Yesterday, KPN announced its intention to phase out the XS4ALL brand (and selected other subsidiary brands) and continue operations solely under the KPN brand. According to KPN:

“With the focus on the KPN-brand we are going to extend the KPN service with the best elements of the individual brands, such as the highest rated service by XS4ALL, the affordable advantage services of Telfort and the personal service and expert business advice from Yes Telecom “

This has not gone down well with XS4ALL customers (including me). A petition to request the continuation of the XS4ALL brand has already been started. The issue is that XS4ALL scores consistently the highest in customer satisfaction and service as measured by the Dutch consumer organisation. It also has a wider range of products and services on offer than the parent KPN. So the fear is that those aspects that marked out XS4ALL from the rest of the pack will be lost in the mediocrity that is the oft-perceived hallmark of KPN.

XS4ALL has a strong brand image and is well-liked; it seems strange that KPN would seek to kill the goose that has been laying golden eggs for them.

I note that as a result of the (negative) reaction, a KPN spokesperson has now said that it’s not yet certain when the change is going to happen and in what stages…

For me, it will be shortly be irrelevant anyway. That’s because we should be getting a new fibre-optic network in the neighbourhood by mid-2019, and KPN (and hence XS4ALL) refuse to offer their services over it. I will have to switch over to a new ISP, and I have chosen for Solcon. The irony is that Solcon also happens to be a subsidiary of KPN since 2017, but KPN, for some reason best known to themselves, are letting the Solcon brand continue…

Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment