Sunday, May 12, 2019

Be clear. Vote LibDem to say "Remain!" on May 23rd 2019

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Register to vote by post by Tuesday 7th, impossible?

The registration service offered by RegisterToVote.eu, as reported earlier this week, which offered to submit details for people who filled in a form online, has been closed down by the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Commission said: “We urge EU citizens that [sic] want to vote in the European parliamentary elections in the UK to only apply to register to vote through their local council or official websites. We welcome efforts by campaigners to encourage eligible electors to register to vote. However, our advice to anyone not yet registered is to only apply directly at www.gov.uk/registertovote.” (From: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/04/site-claiming-to-help-eu-citizens-register-to-vote-is-shut-down)

Postal applications must be received by Tuesday 7th, which is difficult at the time of writing, as it's now Saturday May 4th, and Monday is a bank holiday. It is believed that very few of the over 3 million EU citizens in the UK who need to register to vote in the European Parliament elections have done so.

There is still a possibility that the elections scheduled for May 23rd might be cancelled but that becomes ever more unlikely as days go by.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The thoughts of E. Redmond Woodward

A selection of "spokes", as he would probably call them, uttered by our legendary proprietor Eddie "Red" Woodward and shared among staff of the Willy in a long-running in-house email discussion.

1. Never trust anybody honest.

2. This everybody dying malarkey has got beyond a joke.

3. What a person says a lot about says a lot about a person.

4. Minimalism is the biggest load of crap ever.

5. There's no such thing as waiting. You are either doing something useful or you are doing something useless.

6. Meditation? It's a racket.

7. You can put me in a box when I pop my clogs but not before.

8. Evidently I'm past my sell by-date but not my use-by date.

9. In life, you either do something and feel guilty about it, or do nothing and feel guilty about it. There is no in-between.

10. You can't put everything right in the fourth act of a three-act play.

11. The only review worth a damn is written on a cheque.

12. We're not about to go bang.

Feargal Mooney

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

EU elections: 96% of over 65s can vote, only 60% young


Register to vote: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Deadline 7 May 2019.

If the elections to the European Parliament go ahead next month, it will very likely be the last chance to vote to say "Stop Brexit."

The neo-fascist Faragists and their fellow-travellers in parliament are out to seal Britain's fate of isolation from our European hinterland, at the mercy of ruthless grabbers in the Kremlin and the White House and at the cost of disruption and misery in Ireland.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What has the ECHR ever done for us?



Re-publishing this as a little reminder about the craziness the UK is subject to under the government of Theresa May. It owes something to Monty Python's "What have the Romans ever done for us?" sketch in The Life of Brian.

* ECHR = European Convention on Human Rights

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Need a laugh these days, by any chance?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Indicative votes: Results in sequence and plan for Monday

Analysis of Wednesday's "indicative votes" on the way forward for Brexit.

Results in the order voted on and announced, For-Against:
160-400 No Deal
188-283 Common Market 2.0 (aka Norway+)
65-377 EFTA & EEA (single market without customs union)
264-272 Customs Union (basic permanent customs union for starters)
237-307 Labour's Plan ("a" customs union and strong single market links, rights etc.)
184-293 Revoke Article 50 (if necessary to avoid No Deal)
268-295 Public Vote
139-422 WTO Terms

Arguably, Speaker Bercow made a mistake in declaring after each verdict "The Noes have it" because no one option "has it" yet. Instead, if you take account of the difference between Yes and No, you get this sequence:

Results in order by "goal difference" (all negative):
1. Customs Union: -8
2. Public Vote: -27
3. Labour's Plan: -70
4. Common Market 2.0: -95
5. Revoke to avoid No Deal: -109
6. No Deal: -240
7. WTO Terms: -283
8. EFTA & EEA: -312

However, it's simpler to forego "goal difference", and you get almost the same sequence by taking number of Yeses for each option, though the top two options swap places, which clearly could be significant*.

By focussing on the number of Yeses, it's easy to see how many votes are to be redistributed, each time the option with the least votes is eliminated. More importantly, the Noes are irrelevant for these purposes, since what we want to discover is the option of which most MPs are in favour. If someone doesn't put a Yes beside an option, that's effectively a No anyway. Therefore let's just count the Yeses from now on.

Results in order by number of Yeses:
1. Public Vote: 268
2. Customs Union: 264
3. Labour's Plan: 237
4. Common Market 2.0: 188
5. Revoke to avoid No Deal: 184
6. No Deal: 160
7. WTO Terms: 139
8. EFTA & EEA: 65

So on Monday, eliminate number 8 (EFTA &EEA) and ask its 65 supporters to vote again for one of the remaining seven options (eight if Mrs May's Deal is added). The next option to be eliminated would be whichever one ended up last out of the remaining options, probably either WTO Terms or No Deal - but we will only know when the votes are recast.

The process of elimination should be repeated, preferably discounting the Noes as irrelevant, till only two options remain. At that point the top one is the most favoured compromise option and should be adopted by the government.

Rearrangement of the ballot paper to separate two procedural options

1. In Wednesday's selected options, the Public Vote option was an anomaly, as it doesn't describe a future relationship. This can be resolved by moving it to a separate section of the ballot paper, to apply irrespective of which option is selected.

2. The same can be said for the Revoke to Avoid No Deal option, as that is not a way forward, simply an emergency brake in the event of no other plan being agreed. That too could have its own separate section on the ballot.


Suggested ballot paper layout & possible wording for Monday's vote

The option "EFTA and EEA" has been eliminated, having received the fewest votes. Additionally, the options "Public Vote" and "Revoke to Avoid No Deal" have been separated from the rest as they are procedural matters, which apply regardless of the other results."

Vote for one only of the following options. The option with the fewest votes will be eliminated and the voting procedure repeated with the remaining options:

1. The government's recommended withdrawal agreement and future arrangement
2. Customs Union basic foundation for a new deal as proposed by Kenneth Clarke
3. Labour's Plan for a form of Customs Union, close single market arrangement, rights etc.
4. Common Market 2.0 aka Norway+ which joins EFTA but not necessarily indefinitely
5. Leave with No Deal
6. Leave on WTO Terms

Answer Yes or No to the following questions:
a) In the event of no deal agreed with two days to go, revoke Article 50?: Yes or No
b) Should the eventual deal agreed be put back to the people with an option to Remain?: Yes or No

* 29/3/2019: Correction: Changed text to show that you don't get the same sequence by taking only the Yeses, rather the top two options swap places. Also added a mock-up of the possible ballot paper as a basis for Monday's votes.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Short Story of the Month, April 2019

The Willesden Herald New Short Stories Story of the Month

April 2019: Name by Sergey Bolmat

He looks at Anne with marked indifference, as if expecting her to introduce herself and explain the purpose of her visit, and then, after a second, makes a little twitch with the left corner of his lips indicating a smile.

‘Well,’ he says, ‘look who’s here.’ 

Photo: Sergey Bolmat by Natalia Nikitin (detail)
Photo by Natalia Nikitin (detail)
Sergey Bolmat published his first novel in Russia to great critical acclaim. To date, he has published three novels, two collections of short stories, many articles and essays in various periodicals, and a biography of Nikolay Chernyshevsky. Some of these books were shortlisted for literary awards, translated into many European languages, adapted for radio, and optioned and developed for film. His first short story written in English appeared in The Higgs Weldon.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The old dead tree has fallen

Willesden Herald Exclusive (tada!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

End of the line for the Water Poet pub

According to this, the Water Poet corner pub in Folgate Street is closing to make way for "a corporate plaza." London is disappearing, welcome to nowhere.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Got that?

New signs have appeared near Sudbury Hill, Harrow
The sign says:
NO

  • spitting
  • urination
  • defecation

in  a public place. [Plus details of fines applicable]

And it has three graphic illustrations in case we were in any doubt.

EU Settlement Scheme sign

Bus shelter, Greenford Road
The sign says, "I'm an EU citizen, how can I find out more about staying in the UK? To find out more about the EU Settlement Scheme, including how and when you need to apply, visit http://gov.uk/euexit".

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Car wreck on Wood End Road





Car wreck on Wood End Road, Harrow today. Let's hope no one was badly hurt.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Plankton: Minemizu "Black Water Dive"

Monday, February 18, 2019

Keep Saturday March 23rd free! #PutItToThePeople

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Friday, February 08, 2019

Storm Erik - a timely warning


Don't get near the waves in a dangerous place like this (above, from 2018). I was nearly swept off my feet into the sea from some huge rocks many years ago. You just don't know when a bigger wave will crash in. (Ed.)

Sunday, February 03, 2019

A walk through Grove Farm, North Greenford

"The road not taken" (took the right hand one, left goes west)

The not very narrow path to the not very deep north

Not much of a path here. Go up left towards exit or right to follow the stream. 

View towards the landmark Kellogg Tower (now flats) across the stream

Should have gone that way

Okay, we're down here, let's keep going, fool!

A local nature reserve, with wild service trees etc* but don't know what these ones are.

Across the stream to the back of the Kellogg Tower office-to-flat conversions

You can just about see the stream in this. Anyone know its name, if any?

Uh oh. Heading for a dead end, only some four-legged tracks here.

Had to turn back and up to the plateau behind the David Lloyd sports centre

Found a way out. "Thank you for visiting Ealing parks". Pleasure.

The David Lloyd sports centre road. That's Sudbury Hill station on the left.
This walk started from the entrance between houses on Whitton Avenue West and ended at the side road that leads from Greenford Road to the David Lloyd sports centre.

* Grove Farm is an 8 hectare Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in Greenford in the London Borough of Ealing. It was declared an LNR in 2002 by Ealing Council, which owns and manages the site.

The site has ancient woodland, and woodland flower species, while trees include the wild service tree. Plant species include welted thistle, hairy violet, pepper saxifrage and adders tongue fern.

There is a circular path, and there is access from Whitton Avenue West, Dimmock Drive and Lilian Board Way. (Source: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grove_Farm,_Ealing)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Views from the rail bridge on a cold but sunny day

Chiltern Line going west away from Sudbury Hill Harrow

Chiltern Line going east towards Sudbury Hill Harrow


Update:  Later in the afternoon, the sky became completely overcast and it rained steadily with some sleet and snow at times, till nightfall.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Spare poems going cheap

Breda Rainey


Breda Rainey you would
hammock in the rainy box
chaps sodden from the night dew.

Breda Rainey you wear
tiny leaves of the hedgerow
in your hair.

Breda Rainey you are,
though you heave a pushchair,
forever garlanded in box.

.

The Weight of Words


The number of all the raindrops that have ever fallen on England
times all the flakes of snow that ever fell on Japan,
in words,
would not outweigh a pinch of cotton
as would make a pillow for a dormouse.

.

Canal of Days


Life is a canal, on which we are narrow boats
with no reverse gear.
Each night, each sleep, is a lock.
We enter the lock and the water of yesterday is released,
till we emerge into tomorrow, to another gated day.
Behind us and above that again,
lie the days gone by. Ahead only today,
its prospect, its gate, its fall.
Gone the hundreds, hail the one.

Oh lucky swans!

.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Superb John Prine session w/ Gordon Lightfoot in the room



Great atmosphere, anecdotes, wonderful songs and a brilliant performance.
And it must be said, "not a dry eye in the house." "Laughter through tears" is another stock phrase that comes to mind.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Ebikery redux

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Police appeal: Murder of Jason Isaacs