Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Tatyana on English is weird
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Brian Micklethwait on The new US Embassy – from my roof
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- An electric car recharging itself in The Cut
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Category archive: Politics
Now that it’s been decided that we shall Brexit, Dezeen reports on what creatives have been creating to mark the event. Here are the two images they reproduce which I think are the most striking:
Both of these images are intended as expressions of regret that Britain has voted for Brexit, but neither quite say that, or not to me. What, after all, is so great for a balloon about being stuck in a whole bunch of other balloons? It’s creator says: “sad day”, but it doesn’t look that sad to me. It just looks like a change. If he was merely describing, relatively objectively, what had happened, then I guess: fair enough.
As for the disintegrating, weeping Union Jack, that would work far better as an expression of regret, in the event that Britain had voted Remain rather than Leave. It is national flags like this one one that the EU has been working tirelessly to replace with its own flag. Very odd. But, a striking image nevertheless.
LATER: I was, see below, tired and tipsy when I did this posting. By the above title what I meant was it was a brilliant talk, not that the talk was given by “Brilliant Brian”, aka me. So, to continue ...
And here is the guy who gave it:
I usually forget to take photos at my Last Friday of the Month meetings, but this evening I remembered, and took that photo of my speaker, during the socialising afterwards. I am too tired and too tipsy to say much about the talk, but it was indeed brilliant, and Anthony J. Evans is a real rising star. I’ve heard him talk before, but this was something else again. Basic message: Yes, national crises do create opportunities to insert “neo-liberalism” into countries, and a good thing too. Persuading a political tyranny to liberalise on the economic front often leads on to political liberalisation. Example: Chile. “Neo-liberalism” has good outcomes. Unlike the policies favoured by the people (Naomi Klein, George Monbiot) who complain about neo-liberalism, which only unleash disaster.
First, this, which was the graphic on the front page of today’s pro-Remain Daily Mirror, and reproduced at Samizdata, which Natalie Solent reckons sends a somewhat ambiguous message. I agree. Because REMAIN is in the biggest letters, it looks like it could be saying that if you vote REMAIN, you’ll be sucked into a black hole. As you will, by the way, if enough people do this. This is indeed the fate that awaits us all, in the event of a REMAIN victory. One of the reasons why this graphic only works when misunderstood, is that when misunderstood, it becomes true!
The thing is, the EU is a lot nearer to being like a black hole than us leaving the EU is. For that message, they needed something more like an endless desert, or a huge tundra, or maybe some grim maritime scene, doom-laden as far as they eye can see.
The enormity of this decision is, I feel, appropriately reflected in the deranged graphics which occurred when this picture got loaded up. Samizdata usually centres pictures automatically, and also makes them smaller automatically, if they need to be smaller. That doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment.
In the comment thread on that posting, I mentioned that it was raining. Which it was, torrentially. But alas, it soon cleared up, thereby not dampening down the London (= Remain) vote as much it might have if it had rained with less violence but greater steadiness. I mean, they even managed to have a shortened game of cricket at Lord’s, after the rain had stopped.
And on the right there, Elizabeth Hurley, who will have voted Leave by now, that being the picture she Twittered yesterday along with her support for Leave. There she stands, wearing only high-healed sandals and a Union Jack cushion, or that’s how it looks. Thankyou Guido. She was probably right that this would get noticed, and would aid the cause she favours. But I bet the Leavers have been circulating their own interpretations of this rather odd picture. Is the picture recent, I wonder, or does it date from way back?
At least it is upbeat and optimistic in atmosphere, unlike that black hole.
I am currently spending all my blogging time, apart from the late night hour or so that it took to bash out this, working on a summary of a talk given to Libertarian Home by Mark Littlewood, about Brexit. Lilttlewood used to be for Britain staying in the EU, but has since changed his mind. I hope to be sending that summary in to LH some time tomorrow.
Meanwhile, my understanding of the referendum is that the Jo Cox murder has made a bit of a difference, in favour of Remain, but that a stronger swing towards Leave has also been happening.
The whole immigration argument, now being pressed hard by the Leavers, is obviously making a big difference. But I reckon some other forces are also in play.
I was struck by the news that Leave was appealing to Labour voters by saying that voting Leave would wipe the smile off the faces of Cameron and Osborne. I think that’s probably proving to be very persuasive. In a General Election, you can hate Cameron and Osborne all you like, and vote against them. But, against you are all those people who think that a Labour Government would be a catastrophe. They all vote for Cameron and Osborne despite not liking them. But in this referendum, all those Labour voters whose overriding emotion is loathing of Cameron and Osborne can actually cause Cameron and Osborne to lose. I’m guessing that’s a very appealing idea.
I also think that Eddie Izzard’s bizarre appearance – literally his appearance – on shows like Question Time destroyed with one viral image the claim that all Remainers are normal people and only the more unhinged of the Leavers are a bunch of nutters from some other planet. Izzard reminded me of that bonkers woman in a beret that the late Victoria Wood once did, to such comic effect.
To be clear. I’m not saying that everyone now thinks that those arguing for Leave are all normal. Leavers have long been reckoned by normal people people to be, many of them, about as sane as a sackful of drunken badgers. What Izzard did was say to the nation: Lots of us Remainers are barking mad too.
Izzard, in other words, completely changed a widespread and very influential idea. If everyone had been supposing that all Leave freaks are actually not freaks at all, any of them, than the Jo Cox murder would also have changed things, a lot. As it is, this horror story merely confirms what most people already know about Leave freaks. They’re freaks. Meanwhile, the mainstream politicians arguing for Leave are not nearly such freaks. They are fairly normal looking. They look normal in the way that Farage looked normal, when he was sitting next to Izzard on Question Time. The Jo Cox murder doesn’t change that.
Izzard, on the other hand, actually changed things. The murder of an MP is a much bigger deal than Izzard. But that murder, horrible though it was, does not change what most people think about Leavers. Many Leavers are freaks. But what Izzard did was use his small national presence to suggest a really rather big change, and not in a way that helped the cause he was arguing for. He said that many Remainers are freaks too.
That’s the problem with showbiz people. They confuse showbiz popularity with being popular with the entire nation. If you find a comedian to be annoying or just not very funny, you can simply ignore him, happily leaving those who adore him to carry right on adoring him. The comedian makes a good living. You are not bothered. Problem solved. Everyone happy. Personally, I think Eddie Izzard has one joke - “Hey, I’m completely random in what I say!” - and I’ve heard it enough not to want to hear it again. So, I now ignore Izzard.
But politics is, by definition, the stuff that comes for you whether you want it or not. Politics is like having to sit and listen to a performer whom you don’t like. When Izzard steps forward, dressed like that, spouting political opinions, he then provokes, from those who do not like what they are seeing, not a mere shrug of indifference, but active opposition. Izzard made people want to vote against what he was saying.
In this recent piece in the Independent, it was claimed that how Izzard had been arguing was the problem. I wonder if even the anonymous editors who signed off on this editorial really think this. They carefully avoided saying that Izzard looked like a freak. Which is fine for late night telly fun. But it is not fine when the subject being argued about is the manner in which our country should be governed. There is a reason that ambitious politicians do not, any of them, present themselves as Izzard just did.
If the Brexit referendum result is as close as it could well be, Izzard’s contribution to the Leave cause could prove to have been decisive.
This has been a been a rather muddled and repetitious piece of writing. This is because I was working out what I thought, as I wrote. The point about how the Jo Cox murder doesn’t change how anyone feels about Leave Freaks, but that Izzard’s pratting about does change what lots of people feel about Remainers, and that lots of people now reckon that a lot of Remainders are Freaks too, only emerged as I wrote. But, me thinking aloud is one of the things this place is for.
And I’m back to trivia-mongering. Any day now, I’ll be back to opinion-mongering too:
It’s the first picture of these.
Engineer Thomas Selig, 28, set up his camera on a tripod 100 metres away from a cluster of female lions and cubs in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. He then retreated to a safari vehicle to take pictures with a remote control. A lioness decided to make off with his camera, and proceeded to chew it!
Lucky someone had a second camera, to show what happened to the first camera.
Actually, according to what I am now reading, a lot of people never stopped opinion-mongering.
All over the British bit of the internet, opinion mongers and trivia mongers are struck dumb by … this, the murder of a young woman, with a husband and two young children, who happened also to be a Member of Parliament.
Saying anything else, about anything else, is – and for once the word is apt – inappropriate. It feels inappropriate to me, anyway. So, we all say, pretty much, nothing, unless we know something that is relevant, like if we once met her or knew her or something, which of course I did not.
Obliged to comment, my comment would be: what she said. She being a wife and mother herself.
I also think that this posting, at a website usually distinguished by its willingness to be wondrously inappropriate, was good. It’s video of a most eloquent speech that Jo Cox gave in the House of Commons. It’s good that, nowadays, more and more people can be remembered in this sort of way, saying and doing the sorts of things they said and did best.
Indeed. Just after snapping that WWWhite Van (see below) in Lower Marsh, on Saturday, I then photoed, in the same road a bit further on with a new name (The Cut) another means of transport of interest, in the form of this:
I have not seen an electric car being charged before, in the flesh, as it were. Not in London, not anywhere else. As you can see, this electric car originated in Brighton, the San Francisco of England.
I am sure all my libertarian friends would want to tell me that such cars only exist because of Big Green Blob giving them Money, and that in a real market, they would not exist.
Indeed, with cranes and with intervening roof clutter in the foreground:
One of the oddities of the internet is that if you google new us embassy london, you get lots of Big Boxy Things, all looking different from each other. By which I mean, it’s the same box, but the architectural wrapping is different. Basically what you are looking at is all the different guesses or early suggestions about how it was going to look or how people thought it ought to look, which then just hang about for the next few years. Until such time as the Big Boxy Thing is finished, at which point huge numbers of new photos of it will drown out the guesses and the failed propaganda. This makes it hard to know, now, when the Big Boxy Thing is still being constructed, if what you are seeing is the Big Boxy Thing in question, or some other Big Boxy Thing.
But, in among all the imaginings, I found actual photos of the new Embassy as it actually is, in the process of being built, and the above photo is definitely of the actual US Embassy. No doubt about it. More views from the same spot, above my head as I write this, here.
What is happening is that Spook Alley, which starts near Waterloo Station, continues via all those James Bond enterprises in anonymous Big Boxy Things, and then takes in the new MI6 building, is now being added to with an American strip of boxes of comparable scale, further up the river on the south side. This is the Special Relationship in steel and concrete form, and the idea that this relationship is now cooling is visibly absurd. It has never been more solid. A whole new district of London is being created, basically for spying on terrorists, and on anyone else that the spooks take against.
As the rest of London expands down river, towards places like the new Container Port way off to the east, governmental London moves in the other direction, up river, west.
Brexit - the movie - here!
Face recognition – face disguise – the age of pseudo-omniscience
Benevolent Laissez-Faire photos
Trump’s incompetence – Cruz’s Bible thumping – Hartley on criticising Islam
The Waterloo Eurostar terminal is being revived
Why the GOP top dogs don’t like Cruz
Brexit as a clash of pessimisms
W. F. Deedes on the rise of Stanley Baldwin
Blog often (this time about the sound and the vision of this evening’s Tim Evans talk to LH)
Small horizontal assemblage of London Big Things
Footbridges in the sky
Another way to photo my meetings
The first Brian’s Friday of the year tomorrow evening
A machine for playing in that nobody knows how to design
Wicked Campers: Are they now going respectable?
Matt Ridley on the Chinese economic miracle
A really good piece about London and its Big Things by Oliver Wainwright
Syed Kamall MEP wins by playing five and losing five
Anonymous guys taking (and making) pictures in Trafalgar Square
The next but one London Big Thing
Peter Foster on Robert Owen
Corbyn – and an advert bus
Dark Satanic Millbank Tower
Steven Johnson on The Myth of the Ant Queen
William Hague on the collapse of the centre left
A big Black Cab advert picture for a Samizdata posting
Photoing and communicating the devastation of Tianjin
A rather argumentative van
A new Grand Chose for Paris
The next London Big Thing
You can tell that drones have arrived because now they are being turned into a sport
Big Thing alignments from the top of Westminster Cathedral
An interesting front page story
Oh yes it could
A new not very big Thing in Paris
Why I mostly write about architectural design rather than about interior design
Along the river towards Battersea
Richard J. Evans on how evidence can become more significant over time
BMdotcom abusive comment of the day
Marc Morris on how the Bayeux Tapestry ought not to exist
More White Vans
Pete Comley talking about inflation on Friday February 27th
BMdotcom What if? of the day
“Real Democracy Now” in Parliament Square this afternoon
Smartphones and tablets at the Charlie Hebdo demo
A feline Friday at Guido
Charlie Hebdo demo in Trafalgar Square
BMdotcom comment of the day
At the ASI Christmas Party
How the internet is cheering up Art
Pictures of Guy Herbert
The illustrations for Christian Michel’s talk this Friday (plus some thoughts from me)
At the Libertarian Home cost of living debate
Two guys on Westminster Bridge photoing ice creams in front of the Houses of Parliament
Michael Jennings at the Rose and Crown
Boris bus malfunction
Helter Skelter scrapped
Rob took photos
On meeting an American lady friend who likes to read my stuff about cricket
On not letting either God or (the other) God do everything
Postrel goes for Gray
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom musical quote of the day
Something at Samizdata
ASI Boat Trip 8: Bridges
New London bridge competition
ASI Boat Trip 4: Groups of posing people
What to call the sneerquote Salesforce /sneerquote tower? (plus a quite profound tangent)
I need a new passport but just now passports are a problem
Emmanuel Todd talking in English (about how the Euro is doomed)
The Lib Dem cat is out of the box
Lilburne on a T-shirt and Lilburne on a mug
Pictures of soon-to-be-built London Big Things
Guardian online is a group blog that trolls its own readers
Two badly lit views of “Victoria Tower” and why Big Ben is not St Stephen’s Tower or Elizabeth Tower
The Mayor and the towers
Green screen blue screen
Amusing cats versus important people
Sam Bowman on Bleeding Heart Libertarianism
Other things last Wednesday
Faberge - Brutalism
Ice sculptures in Docklands – Big Things from Docklands
Slightly wider tube trains
On the insecurity of ObamaCare - and on the unwisdom of only punishing big and later
Guido in the Spectator (and in Free Life)
Algernon Sidney sends for Micklethwait because Micklethwait is wise, learned, diligent, and faithful
The next four Brian’s Last Fridays (including December 27)
I’ve just been quotulated
Is this the beginning of the end of the Golden Age of Roof Clutter?
Craig Willy on Emmanuel Todd
BMdotCOM mixed metaphor of the day
Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
Quotes of the day
Reflections on and in Westminster Tube Station
American election talk
Pollsters can’t say where things are but they can say which way they’re going
“No one has to know!”
Are Christian social conservatives using the Tea Party to impose social conservatism?
Don’t vote Democrat!
Reasons to think Romney is going to win big
Michael Jennings on how the taxis at Skopje airport are an evil racket and what he did about it
How llamas told us so – in November 2008
The strange state of the enviro-argument
Dream and reality in Mumbai
Literally the light switch of leadership
There’s a Communist in the White House
Steve Baker MP
The England rugby aftermath
Jarrod Kimber on biased cricket commentators
Go Gary Johnson!
Freedom Tower and Gary Johnson at Samizdata
Friday link dump
Three videos from the USA that I recently watched
A potential challenger for Gary Not-Obama
Gordon Brown curses the United Kingdom
The Armstrong Gun
After the wedding
Go Not Obama!
Excellent new word
Everything competes with everything
BrianMicklethwaitDotCom quote of the year so far
Me and Patrick Crozier talk about the banking crisis and its possible consequences
Emmanuel Todd quoted and Instalanched
The Green alliance
A down and up weekend
BrianMicklethwait Dot Com QotD
Malcolm Hutty on protecting the internet
“I was banished to a separate room …”
MP’s kitten custody battle
James Waterton on a very smart very dumb Russian
Another link enema
Beyond the Dome with Goddaughter One
K Street - metonym - synecdoche
Links to this and that
Perfectly clear politics
Ums and ahs
303 Squadron in the movie and on the telly
At the launch of Alchemists of Loss
Shard sitings and and an agreeably honest rabies prevention sign
Frank J random thought for the day
A demonstration I could join
Paul Marks on why the ex Prime Minister of Japan is not like Obama
Steve Davies lecture - photoing and videoing the lecture - post-lecture chat
One child poster
Brightly lit buildings against a dark sky
Darling and Darling cat
Gordon Brown proves Guido was right about him from the start and Ed Balls not nice either shock
Three cheers for Molly Norris but also a few small grumbles
I flipping told him
Tim Evans talks about David Cameron
Voice and exit
Man photographed by women!
Does Google now rule the world of computing?
Nasa and Gordon Brown both have their uses
Antoine Clarke on the Massachusetts election and the online effect
SAY NO TO GOVERNMENT MOTORS
The right to photograph
Those angry Americans
How some cats are dividing Cyprus
A great Johnathan Pearce Britain-can-dump-the-EU blog posting - and the value of informative titles
Antoine Clarke on the recent US elections: still a conservative nation
Antoine Clarke talks about Facebook and Twitter – Guido and … Ian Geldard?
Paul Marks on the financial crisis and on the badness of Obama
Gordon Brown dithers about rugby - cricket’s on the up
Prodicus (and me) on the shitness of the LibDems
Bercow versus the party which picked him
Was it Sweeney? And what else were they trying to suppress?
Why I vote against AGW
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
The Labour Party finally agrees on a new Prime Minister to replace Gordon Brown
Making the IOC feel important with a personal lubricant
Old Holborn lets rip at Labour in a Guido comment
Why I object to Madam Scotland and why I don’t
At least libertarianism is understood over there
In which this blog indulges in an I Told You So moment concerning Speaker John Bercow
Alex Ross on Sibelius
The curse of Gordon Brown is now ruining the England cricket team
Magic bottle that makes dirty water drinkable
What Bercow does next
Tienanmen + Twitter = Teheran
Hislop fluffs the rhyme
Another London lump?
Great photo of David Blunkett
Why I also don’t much like John Bercow
Minimum Wage flatvert at Guido’s and Iain Dale’s
Labour down – silly parties up
Photographers in bother
What The State looks like
Indy Flatverts and a Guido Q&A
Bloke in posh suit holding Real Photographer camera like it’s a Billion Monkey camera!
Thoughts on the Go Gordon petition
Anti-politics versus (or just and) the heroic delusion
Croziervision of default
My opinion of yesterday’s budget
Two Samizdata comments on the sinking of Brown and on the sinking of the Daily Telegraph
“What did you just say?”
At Samizdata: cricket - crime - Kevin Dowd quote
Signs of the times in Belfast
Daniel Hannan and the shape of the media to come
Someone called Rick wants me to puke on President Obama
It all depends on whether there is anything worth Twittering
Michael Jennings on shoring up the bad old economy versus building a good new one
Quota quotes from Wodehouse
Colonial Governor’s Mansion dwarfed by modernity
Lang Lang crushes Yundi Li!
Ruminating about politics and ideology
Media bias as asset stripping
Another pendulum theory
Metaphor muddle alert
Reasons to be a bit more cheerful
Antoine and Michael on what to do now
Antoine Clarke on the financial turmoil and the US election
Gordon Brown to guarantee everything
Tom Burroughes on the banking crisis
Wonderwoman picked by Unsuperman
Might Gordon Brown pull an EU referendum rabbit out of the hat?
Obama still won’t do nasty
Chivalry and the mad feminists
“She put the governor’s jet up on e-Bay …”
Ken Livingstone was beaten by the billboards!
North Carolina Billion Monkeys mad for Obama!
The writing on the wall
Switching from dumb bombing to smart bombing
If the Jews have been running the world they haven’t been doing it very successfully
Armed is less dangerous
The British Public continues to dislike too-high-and-rising taxes
Today I have been blogging elsewhere and also doing other things
Bird’s Nest in smog
A new British citizen
Brown leapfrogs Cameron with 36 point jump
Freedom of information
Guido Fawkes gets Douglas Jardine wrong
What I have seen so far while abroad
Guido on Gordon
Those were the days and these are no longer the days
The absurdly derided excellence of British weather forecasts
“Let’s get cracking tomorrow. Let’s have a drink tonight.”
Politics again …
Voting for Boris?
The Messina Suspension Bridge is on again
The personal and the political
“Better value on goods and services across a wide range of categories …”
Paying a visit to Mum
Slow day here
Paul Marks told us so
Dominic Lawson on Herbert von Karajan
Talking with Antoine about the US election and about libertarian politics in the US and in the UK
Not a hot day in January for the Billion Monkeys!
The Puerto Rican candidate
Theodore Dalrymple on the menace of honest public officials and much else besides
The Shard is a Middle Eastern skyscraper but in London that still counts
Obama a loser?
Antoine Clarke on the US Primaries – either Obama will beat McCain or McCain will beat Clinton
Blogging – the end of the beginning
Antoine Clarke talking about the US Primaries
The new South Bank
Blu-Ray - HD DVD – IBM – Microsoft - Google
Great but not great
No number two in Venezuela
Probably not right - but definitely written
“Don’t burn your bridges before they’re hatched …”
The bridge that was going to make Westminster a fine city and London a desert
The UK is not crowded
“How much better …?”
From 100 to 1 in movie quotes and Gordon is a moron
Socialising with the Social Media
Breaking the Left’s stranglehold on the moving image
Nothing untoward happening!
Bush on Cuba
Will China fail?
The Emperor Jones
Lib Dems edge towards school choice
End the medical monopoly!
Antoine Clarke on the French National Assembly elections
Don’t be a physics teacher
Is Jeremy Paxman a closet libertarian?
A surprising outburst of truth
Antoine Clarke on Sarkozy
Antoine on Sarko’s win
Serious tax cutting
If they don’t get who they would have preferred then silly them
“What do YOU think?” - “More -isationisation!”
Billion Monkeys photo their own demo!
The Conservatives prepare for power
Darrin M. McMahon and me and George Orwell on the pursuit of happiness
Some plain English
Not cool and cool
The Great Global Warming Swindle debate now begins
Church dwarfed by modernity
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Whatever it is and no matter how illegal it already is … there ought to be a law against it!
One man one blog
So what’s this about then?
Screw you Dove – good on you Ruth Kelly – the right to avoid gay adoption
Emmanuel Todd (1): Anthropology explains ideology
More on the Lib Dems
Antoine says why he got the midterms wrong
Leon Louw talks about the habits of highly effective countries
Do the Lib Dems just tell everyone what they each of them want to hear?
Hands off the Net
Oscar Wilde defends society
How blogging is making Conservatives more polite to each other
Antoine Clarke talks with me about votes for women (and teenagers) – and about Sweden
29th and 14th
Latest Brian and Antoine mp3 - Middle East, Mexico, USA
Jeffrey Archer - blogger
Latest Brian and Antoine mp3 on democracy etc. - UK, Latin America, China
One for Global Guido to celebrate
Antoine gets Mexican election right
The latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
Brian and Antoine democracy mp3 number twelve
Latest Brian and Antoine elections around the world mp3
This is Iain Dale’s seventh favourite non-aligned blog
Brian and Antoine mp3s now into double figures
Billion Monkey snaps shadow chancellor!
Brian and Antoine number 9
The latest Brian and Antoine mp3
At last - the latest mp3 from me and Antoine
Young People models for Old People
On style and politics
The latest Electionwatch mp3
The latest Brian and Antoine Election Watch podcast and some thoughts on democratic nastiness
More election podcasting
Election Watch podcast number three
American partisans and American voters
More from Antoine Clarke about elections around the world
A second podcast (and it was rather too long)
On stand-up comedy and politics
Changing the names of cities
Charles Rosen on Richard Taruskin and on the socially unbound nature of some of the greatest music
The many faces of the LibDems
Help the struggle against DRM!
“The Internet has also brought a new class of people into politics”
He loved my book
Talking about my generation
“The basis is economic development”