In the Brexit Camp

I am imagining the reception this article had in the Brexit camp.

Iain Duncan Smith: Ah-ha! I’ve totally fooled them. They don’t see my cunning plan at all, they just think I’m stupid!

Boris Johnson: (long pause) Yes Iain, I think you’ve convinced them.

Michael Gove: (excitedly) Do you think I could use that strategy too?

Boris Johnson: (long pause) Yes Michael, I think it would definitely work for you.

Iain Duncan Smith: I have to thank you, Boris. This whole trick was inspired by your public image. I’d never have thought of this strategy on my own.

Boris Johnson: (very long pause)



Don’t Call It “Global Warming”

I’ve just been watching a UNEP video about the ozone problem and the Montreal Protocol. One of the scientists who discovered the problems in the ozone layer, Shanklin, commented that it was good that the problem was named the “ozone hole” as it was instantly obvious to everyone that “a hole” was a problem and the name helped to get quick action.

With that in mind, it’s obvious that “global warming” and “climate change” are rubbish names for our CO2 problems. I was trying to think of a name that would get everyone on board trying to fix it, and then I realised.

“The Flood”.

It’ll even sell to the religious types who are sceptical of science.

Of course, then I realised that they’ll get on board, but they’ll try to fix the problem by banning gay marriage. But still, admitting the existence of the problem is the FIRST step to recovery, right? We can argue about the solutions next… maybe?

Tax Credit Cuts and “That Woman on Question Time”

Okay, slightly tongue-in-cheek, but… I’ve seen a lot of discussion about last night’s Question Time, and I thought it might be helpful to summarise the issues.

There are good and bad people who vote Conservative and good and bad people who vote Labour. If you’re not sure, here’s a quick guide. When you read about this woman, do you think…

Labour voters:
– “Oh no, poor women, this is terrible and what I was afraid would happen”. You are a good person.
– “Oh no, this is terrible. On the other hand, tragic though it is, this may increase the Labour vote next time”. You are so-so. Make sure you remember this is about real people.
– “She voted Tory, she deserves everything she gets”. You are a bad person. Stop pretending you care about other people.

Conservative voters:
– “Oh no, this is terrible, how could the government do this to people”. You are a good person.
– “Oh no, this is very sad, but maybe it’s the only way to reduce the deficit and prevent worse things from happening”. You are so-so. Make sure you remember this is about real people.
– “Hah, she’s obviously a skiver not a striver and got caught out. Serves her right”. You are a bad person. Apparently you’re not even pretending to care about other people.

(Funnily enough, Twitter seems to be bringing out the worst on both sides).

Why I Like Working to Tight Deadlines

I’ve been thinking, and I’ve reached a realisation. I like working to tight deadlines. No, I love it.

Why, you ask. Let me explain.

Whenever I have a few weeks to complete something, I end up completing it at the last minute. Not literally – most projects take more than a minute. But I end up starting it about as late as is consistent with finishing on time. So, a one-day project gets started about 1-2 days before it’s due. And so on.

Now, clearly there are only two possible reasons for this. Either (i) I’m an idiot, or (ii) I like working to tight deadlines.

The first option is clearly impossible, because… er…. erm… ahem… (cough), so CLEARLY it must be the second option. I like working to tight deadlines. This is self-evidently rigorous logic, and in no way a post-hoc rationalisation for irrational behaviour.


Okay, so we’ve had Twitter for a few years now, and it has given us great insight into each others thoughts in a previously unparalleled way.

Based on the tweets of Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, and Lord Sugar, I think we’re now on a position to agree that whatever personal quality led them to become successful multimillionaire businessmen, “merit” wasn’t it.

I think we can also rule out “intelligence” in any generic sense.

However, “blinkered refusal to consider someone else’s point of view or to admit when you’re very obviously wrong” is a contender.

Remember that next time someone assures you that you live (or work) in a meritocracy.

How To Use Twitter Effectively

I notice that the Guardian has a conference on “How to use Twitter effectively”. For much less money, let me offer my version.

1) Think of something.
2) Type it.
3) Realise it’s way more than 140 characters, and edit it down until it fits.
4) Review to see if you’re likely to be sued.
5) Review to see if you’re likely to be ridiculed.
6) Review to see if anyone’s likely to be interested.
7) Review to see if lots of other people have already said it. (Although that’s ok if you really want to express your support for something. But bad if you thought you were being funny or original).
8) All ok? Re-read it to see if it still looks like you’re at least semi-literate.
9) Press ‘Tweet’.
10) Wait for the deafening silence as no-one cares.

Dear Amazon

Dear Amazon,

I don’t think you should be buying Facebook advertising. It doesn’t make sense. FB is currently showing me your ad for a Neil Young boxset. I don’t “like” Neil Young on FB, so this is speculative.

The thing is, Amazon, that you already know I don’t want a Neil Young boxset. If I go to your website you will, quite correctly, not offer me a Neil Young boxset. So why are you paying FB to do so?

PS. Also, btw, it’s a boring ugly ad. If you MUST advertise, at least make an effort.

PPS. Pay some tax.

An Open Letter to That Guy With THAT Car

Dear Sir,

I applaud your efforts and enthusiasm for the modding process. What you have achieved with your car is unique, and eye-catching. You may however, with reflection have learned a few lessons in the process. Just in case, let me point out a few you might have missed.

1) If you going to mod your car for the ‘power demon’ car look, you may not want to start with an ’04 Corsa. I’m sure it’s a lovely car, and I quite agree that when you had your driving lessons, you probably discovered that it was surprisingly nippy. Nevertheless, with a few more years driving experience under your belt, you’ll discover that there are many other cars that are quicker still. Also many that look better. And many, many, many that are better suited to large flared wheel arches. On that topic…

2) Unless you are a trained panel-beater, best not to try DIY when adding flared wheel arches to your car. It’s trickier than you might think. Trying to fit flared wheel arches to a car inexpertly can result in something that, while it looks good just around the wheel where it’s untouched, is more like porridge where you’ve fixed it to the car. Taking it out in public before it’s sanded, filled and painted is probably a mistake.

3) On a related note, if you beat a panel, you remove much of its paint. You should repaint it quite soon. Otherwise, the metal will become covered in a light layer of bright rust. This will clash quite badly with the paint on the rest of the car, and the overall effect will be more scrapheap than racer. On the plus side, that colour with the bumpy flared arches gives a great impression of Archie-from-Balamory’s sideburns. Not sure if that’s the look you were going for.

4) Yes, four. As in exhausts. Really? Four large, shiny, chrome exhausts on a small car gives it less credibility than you might think. Just sayin’.

5) However, above all these, there’s one mistake that I think is really, REALLY going to come back to haunt you. I think you already know what it is. But again, just in case you missed it… It’s true, when adding flared wheel arches, that they need to be attached to the back of the car as well as the side, and you had a great go at trying to blend them seamlessly with the rear bumper. Your panel-beating skills weren’t quite up to a lump-free finish, but you obviously tried hard. But the odds were against you from the start. Basically (sorry to break it to you this way) – you can’t join metal wheel arches to a plastic bumper with welding. Still, you’ll know next time.

I’m sorry if this seems harsh. Let me take this opportunity to wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and I really, really look forward to seeing them. Despite my hints above, your efforts really lightened my day. If only I’d had a camera…

Top 10 Most Unanswerable Questions. With answers.

As a piece of shameless publicity, Ask Jeeves has published the top 10 most ‘unanswerable’ questions. So, in retaliation, here are the answers. Feel free to correct my answers if you know better.


1. What is the meaning of life?

To make ourselves and the world better.

2. Is there a God?

Doesn’t matter, so long as we’re clear about the answer to (1).

3. Do blondes have more fun?

Depends what they’re doing.

4. What is the best diet?

Eat less. Unless you’re anorexic in which case you should eat more.

5. Is there anybody out there?

(echoed) there-there-there…

6. Who is the most famous person in the world?

Justin Bieber. And that tells you everything you need to know about fame.

7. What is love?

Nature’s way of making us less selfish so that we can have more than one person alive on the planet at the same time.

8. What is the secret to happiness?

Act nice. Think nice. And watch your back.

9. Did Tony Soprano die?

Yes, unless there’s a lot of money in another series sometime in the future.

10. How long will I live?

Long enough, if you get on with things. Not long enough, if you waste time.