Fed up with Brexit

I am. And I’m not even very involved.
(More involved than some people think (bless him and his little army), but still…)

I’m fed up with the mess that it’s made of politics, the economy, the people and the news.

I’m fed up with the drama llamas on both sides, of the constant wailing and gnashing of teeth of the Remainers and the blinkered stiff-upper-lipism of the Leavers.

I’m fed up of either side twisting any given news story to somehow suit their narrative.

I’m fed up with people expecting their elected MP to listen to their specific viewpoint rather than that of their electorate. Can you imagine if the vote had gone the other way and yet the Government had still gone ahead with leaving the EU? Because that’s pretty much the equivalent of saying that the referendum shouldn’t count. You don’t get to keep trying until you get the result you were hoping for.

I didn’t get to vote in the 2016 referendum: I wouldn’t have been able to anyway: I was on the beach in Mauritius when it all happened. Shame.
But for the record, I would have voted to remain*. And that means that I would have been on the losing side too. Bummer.

Because yes, democracy is great until people don’t choose the option you wanted them to. And step forward that old “but there was so much disinformation, so many broken promises!” chestnut. Well, sadly that’s politics. It’s crap, but show me any political campaign that’s been entirely truthful; any manifesto to which the party in question has kept. It simply doesn’t happen, and yes, maybe (some of) those voting to leave were naive enough to be seduced, much in the same way that you likely were (subconsciously or otherwise) whenever you last voted for anyone**.

Some of the stuff that I’ve heard from bitter Remainers has had very little to do with the truth as well. This breaking news, just in: Not everything is about you. Not everything is about Brexit.

Perhaps the one redeeming feature of Jeremy “the scruffy communist” Corbyn is that he was also going to follow through on the result of the  democratic vote if he were ever elected [laughs in that’s not going to happen]. Kinda weird for him not to take the low-hanging populist fruit, but still…

And one other thing that has struck me about this whole thing is that while the EU “respects” the UK referendum result, there’s very much a Hotel California vibe in their “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave” message to the rest of the EU, probably brought about by some other close polls in other countries.

While I believe in some benefits of the EU, holding it up as some sort of bastion of freedom and honesty is clearly misplaced. It’s every bit as rotten and hypocritical as any other political organisation. If you choose to overlook that simply because it suits your argument, then expect short shrift from me.

In fact, don’t expect much from me at all if your day seems to consist solely of stuff about Brexit. No matter which side you’re on.
Yes, I’m aware that it’s important. I’m aware that it’s current. I’m aware that you’re not very happy.

It’s just that I’m totally and utterly fed up with Brexit.

 

* thus alienating half my readers immediately, because you’re not allowed to like people from “the other side”, just like when you were 5 years old in the school playground. Analogy very deliberate. 

** But of course not. Because you would never allow that to happen to you, would you? That’s something that only happens to other people. Not you. Right. Ok then. 

 

More Eskom nonsense

After the near countless allegations of nepotism, corruption, fraud and general mismanagement at Eskom, resulting in widespread loadshedding across the country, you’d think that things really couldn’t get any worse.
But you’d be wrong, because it turns out that even when they do manage to supply us with electricity, that electricity is often of very poor quality.

It seems that the coal and the diesel that our national power utility has been using is substandard, and thus the electricity it produces is not up to much either. Customers have reported devices running slowly, fridges not cooling properly and – in some extreme cases – power cords becoming clogged with “dirty electrons”.

While the principle of generating electricity by burning fossil fuels is fairly straightforward, the actual logistics and processes carried out in the power stations are more complicated and require a decent understanding of chemistry and physics. It’s probably a little beyond the average guy on the street, but basically as far as I understand it, the electricity we use is a flow of sub-atomic particles called electrons. Usually, an electron would carry a charge of -1, but because of the poor quality fuels being burned to produce our power, many of the electrons being produced in Mpumalanga and surrounds only have a charge of -0.8, and in one particular case recently in Ceres in the Western Cape, as low as -0.6, which caused TVs in the town to run in slow motion.

Not only do these crappy electrons not provide the correct amount of charge, their lack of correct strength means that they become “sticky”. Usually, an electron with a charge of -1 would innately repel any other electrons in its vicinity, but these “dirty”, less powerful electrons repel each other less, and that raises the danger of them sticking together in a lump within the wires and cables of the electricity system. Think of it like a blood clot in a coronary artery – and we all know the consequences of that. (It’s a heart attack, just in case you didn’t know the consequences of that.)
The sad fact is that the coal and diesel stockpiled for emergency use during these (often quite literally) dark times is all likely to be from the same batches, and so even though we might be getting electricity some of the time, it’s probably not going to be up to much.

There’s not much you can do to escape this poor quality electricity, save from giving your cables a good shake every couple of days to hopefully dislodge any build-up of sticky electrons before they get too clogged up. So just another thing to remember. Oh, and be mindful that smaller wires, like those in cellphone chargers, are particularly at risk.

There’s no quick fix here, folks. Much like Eskom in general. Much like the ANC. Sadly, we’re all going to have to get used to turning our fridges up and running Youtube videos at 1.25x speed until this passes.

Have you experienced problems with “dirty” electricity recently? Or do you have ideas to combat the damage it may do? Please comment below.

Accurate

The state of politics in this country is every bit as bad as the state of politics elsewhere.

Equally, the quality of the media in this country is every bit as poor as the quality of media elsewhere.

It doesn’t make for a pretty scenario. We’re left drifting rudderless with no compass to guide us. But when the sniping of one at another begins, it does make for some wonderful soundbites.

Local political party, the EFF, is known for its hyperbole, grandiose language and wild claims. Its recently released manifesto was a great example of all three of the above and was (apparently, at least) taken to task by local journo Rebecca Davis. No, I haven’t read this particular article, for reasons detailed below.

In fairness to the EFF, their manifesto is probably only a little more pie-in-the-sky than that of any other political party running any other election campaign. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be called out on any  (alleged) inaccuracies it might contain.

EFF deputy clown Floyd Shivambu paraphrases Ali G in his predictable “it iz becoz she iz white, innit?” response:

She accuses the manifesto of being a dishonest document. But in reality, she is the one who is being dishonest, because the people’s manifesto and a clear detailed plan of action has details such that it is the first of its kind, something even Davis has not seen in a manifesto. She’s blinded by class and possibly racist prejudices which seek to provide a critique before she reads and understands.

But Davis has some friends who are black, so I’m pretty sure this can’t be true.

Indeed, I don’t agree with very much that the EFF spout, but this line hit home.

Pitiful, whatever. Abysmal, la di dah.

But “claptrap disguised as analysis” sums up SO VERY MUCH of what is written in the SA (or in worldwide) media these days. And yes, I’m aware that some of you might feel that this blog post falls neatly into that category as well, but I’m not being paid for this, so you probably shouldn’t have been expecting any level of professionalism like what you might get from a journalist.

Sadly, standards (especially locally) have fallen so far that everything one reads in the local press should probably be regarded as incorrect until proven otherwise.

Political manifestos should always be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s sad that any given story you read on any given news site these days has to be treated the same way.

In my humble opinion you’re probably best staying well clear of either.

Environmental disaster looming off SA coast

There’s an environmental disaster looming off the South African coast (you probably got that from the title of the post, to be fair).

But don’t worry. I have a plan to sort it all out.

First off though, some background. Picture this scene, if you will:

This site was home to an exceptionally large group of sevengill sharks. Divers could dive with up to 70 sharks on a single hour-long dive – no other place in the world had this many broadnose sevengill sharks in one place.

I’m really not into sharks or diving, but I do recognise the importance of biodiversity and the amazing fascination of a pristine location to view, research and interact with wildlife.

That should be protected.

But there is trouble in paradise. Something has changed:

The change was noted with the discovery of several dead sevengill sharks by scuba divers from a popular dive site inside the Table Mountain National Park marine protected area.

Yes, you read that correctly. This unique site – this protected site – for sevengills (as those of us in the know call them) has been desecrated.

This is clearly unacceptable.

Initially, the cause of death remained a mystery because no dead sharks were recovered for examination. Initially fingers were pointed to humans.

And isn’t this always the case? We are a truly appalling species, with ne’er a thought for the flora and fauna with whom we share our planet.

We’re so very destructive. It’s time to buck this trend.

Of course, once a bit of research was done, actually it turned out that it wasn’t humans at all, but Killer Whales that were taking out these sharks (I mean, the clue’s in the name, guys), tearing them apart solely for their livers:

There were distinct bite marks on the pectoral fins of the dead sharks. These evenly spaced, circular tooth impressions were identified as most likely being from a “flat-toothed” killer whale, which is rare in coastal waters. There were no bites anywhere else on the body, indicating that the killer whale (or whales) had likely pulled on the pectoral fins to open up the body cavity, to remove the liver.

When humans do this: take one part of a shark’s body and dump the rest, there’s outrage. And so should there be in these cases too.

It should be noted that these monochromatic bastards hunt dolphins too. Back in 2010, I witnessed sheer terror in a pod of dolphins as the killer orca followed them into the shallows near Simonstown. This pursuit wasn’t accidental. It was clearly done on porpoise. It was a horrifying sight.

 

The unique shark – and dolphin, and seal – population of False Bay is being decimated and no-one is doing anything about it.

Until now.

Because if the authorities are going to drag their feet over some sort of response to this awful slaughter, then us mere citizens must step up to the metaphorical plate.

That’s why I’ve been in touch with a number of whaling companies in Japan and Norway, and I’m happy to report that there’s definitely some good interest in coming down and spending a few weeks in the sunny Cape protecting our unique marine habitats.
Let’s face it, it’s cold up North at this time of year and when one can bring one’s crew out on a jolly to such a beautiful place and earn brownie points from the local population by picking off a couple of destructive predators, you’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, are you?

Look, it’s early days because both Captain Nordstrom and Mr Yashimato are still unsure about how they’re going to get their boats across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans respectively, but I’m confident that we can work something out and knock off these troublesome black and white twats and save our False Bay sharks before it’s all too late.

Watch this space.

A load of bull

I love art.

No, really. I honestly think that in this world of poverty, hunger, sickness and never quite enough Castle Milk Stout, there’s genuinely nothing better that money could be spent on than art.

Like this new exhibition at the Museum of English Rural Life, for example. It features the work of artist Maria McKinney. She’s made art from cattle semen straws. Yes, those are the tubes used to artificially inseminate cattle.
(This is, at least, I suppose, better than making art from the tubes used to naturally inseminate cattle.)

Ms McKinney was inspired by collections of 18th and 19th century livestock in the museum’s collections, which exaggerated the features bred into the animals and turned them into ‘the first viral celebrities’.

Of course it did. One can hardly miss the endless references to the cattle of the day on Ye Olde Facebooke, nor forget that all six finalists in the first series of Britain Hath Talent were bulls.

Here’s a bull with coloured plastic stuff on its back. Note also the expression on the bull’s face. It is – understandably – going to kill someone very shortly.

McKinney states:

“It was essential for me that the sculptures communicated something about the lived reality of these bulls.”

And I honestly feel that she’s hit the nail on the head there, because “the lived reality” of these animals – that they regularly have coloured plastic stuff attached to their backs – is often overlooked by the general public. If nothing else, this exhibition – featuring images of bulls with coloured plastic stuff attached to their backs – breaks the silence on this difficult and entirely pointless topic.

The exhibition, beginning this month and running until early May, is the only chance to see the results of this project, which started in 2015 and was funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award to the tune of £29,125:

Well done, artist.
Four years and a whole shedload of cash well spent right there.