Wow and Woe

I’ve just spent the evening celebrating women in IT. Black tie and all that, but nonetheless a celebration of diversity and opportunity.

Smart people, unexpected old friends and a few very interesting ideas.


Back at my hotel I have made the mistake of checking the news.

It is not a surprise, but still a shock, to see the wall being made a reality.

I then had cause to be ashamed yet again of my government’s view that it is acceptable to engage and appease the US regime.


Is Brexit Irrelevant?

Brexit is all starting to look a bit irrelevant, but maybe to remainers rather than leavers who I suspect might be the main losers.

Leaving the EU works for me. I am fairly well educated, sufficiently socially skilled and globally experienced.

My salary arrives in GB£ but is US$ really. I work globally, part of my summer holiday is Working From Roam, basically WFH but not my home, but some other random place on a mountain with wifi and a time zone that enables a morning run then plenty of overlap with my colleagues. My pension pots are mostly invested in global organisations and have rocketed since Brexit.

It may be we adopt a Singapore style economy. I will do quite well out of that.

I assume the government promised Nissan to make the UK a tech centre with R&D investments and policies like low corporation tax. In other words a centre in 3D printed, software driven transport and all manner of other tech fuelled industry.

I voted to remain, just for the avoidance of doubt. But that all suits me and my well educated, sociable outward looking children.

Those who voted leave, broadly, less well educated, skilled and globally oriented people will do rather badly.

Those cars will be printed in market, not exported. The value will be in the software and the blueprint. There will not be many manufacturing jobs.

Throw in some more tech driven changes, e-identity (see Estonia) and digital currencies and the idea of nationality as we currently understand it starts to unravel. My Englishness is about as relevant as my Yorkshireness.

I can be anywhere.

Taxation will be entertaining. Bye bye income tax, hello VAT on all transactions (no more cash in hand, no more cash) and taxes on capital income so as to avoid ugly revolutions (actually more likely the latter then belatedly the former, we are human after all).

The thing is, much of all that will happen anyway. Stay or leave.

I’m assuming many (most) who voted to leave are utterly oblivious to all this (and boy did summarise, generalise and skate over the detail, I know, I know). I’m wondering when they’re going to notice. When they do, Brexit becomes very relevant. Especially if it is too late.

It seems utterly implausible that the great majority who voted to leave the EU, did so to embrace an open, global and technology driven future. Such a future works well for people like me, I’m already there. For those who voted to Leave, the destination could well carry most of the characteristics of the EU but to a greater degree and involve not retrenchment in old ways but acceleration towards the new.

I’ll leave it there. More on consequences another time.

Risk Anyone?


I wouldn’t want my Christmas (it’s my right for it to be a magical experience) to be in any way marred.

Because my children are older, I was first up. Coffee duty fulfilled and dog fed, I read a brilliant blog while the kettle boiled.

By David Snowden (no relation to Edward, or is he…).

It’s basically about the difficulty of arguing with stupidity.

Annoyingly, it being my special day, it got me thinking. I decided to write to clear my head, while selfishly spoiling your day. Sorry. Though if you’re stupid enough to read blogs on Christmas Day you’ve only yourself to blame.

That post reminded me of a time many years ago when we were struggling to implement some change or other. I became frustrated and complained to a colleague of a conspiracy to obstruct us.

My colleague sighed and said, “It’s worse than that, it’s incompetence and stupidity”.

“Why is that worse?”

“You can fight a conspiracy, stupidity is quite random and much more difficult to counter”.

Actually he was less polite than that.

Of course it’s not impossible to counter stupidity, it takes education which takes time, resource and intent. It’s also more than possible that the stupidity was ours, and we just weren’t very good at managing change. I suspect some listening on our part might have helped. He had a point though.

Like all the best problems, the first step is recognition.

And so (beginning sentences with “and so” is part of the stupidity zeitgeist, keep up) on to 2016, the year of stupidity (or more likely the year I noticed an entire era had begun).

There is a lot more to 2016 than this, but in just one example of our new found passion for the cretinous, we have been brilliantly played by Putin, and become divided in the process.

Want to destabilise the EU? Let’s tip a self serving referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU with a refugee crisis. A nice injection of fear, that ought to do the trick. Crikey Nigel, thanks for the poster!

Nudge a US election to open up a few more cracks? Hack, hack hack and Don’s your uncle. Let’s have an arms race. Crikey the RealDonaldChump, thanks for the tweet!

I could write a longer list, invoking many more root causes for our divisions. See previous rambles. Not to mention unintended consequences.

I’m starting to wonder if Putin is behind the appointment of Sam Allardyce as manager of Crystal Palace. Well, maybe not, but we are on a stupidity roll, seemingly now unconsciously competent in incompetence and starting to improvise with our new skill.

Anyway, back to my special day. Favourite bit, board games.

Risk anyone ?

Sucking Raisins

This is not a Cockney rhyming slang post.

It’s a post about looking backwards, forwards and at now.

Now and again we should look back.

It’s usually amazing how much we’ve got done.

How much of that wasn’t in The Plan.

It’s always worth looking forward.

So we connect and do what we do with intent.

How far to look forward ?

Well that depends on the work (or the play).

Not the relationship between the mass of the earth and the sun.

It is VERY unlikely that a year is the right period.

In between, it is always now.

Let’s enjoy it.

And not waste our time sucking raisins.

(or tweaking posts that took 3 minutes to write)

The Adult Manifesto VI

Some days are just brilliant.

Today was one.

It is worth stopping to notice.

Or being stopped by someone who MAKES you notice.

Someone who just said thank you.

Someone who said you’d given them hope.

Then it’s worth going for that sunny run in the frost.

When the hard yards have come together and you stop having to push.

When all those little things come together.

And it runs away.

And you can’t keep up.

But you don’t need to.

It’s just time to watch and cheer.

We can be kids today.

Tomorrow there will be more hard yards.

Plenty of time for being grown up then.

The Adult Manifesto V (An interlude by Heidi Marchetti)

A guest post from my good friend Heidi Marchetti. She lives in Santiago in Chile. We used to work together. Now we discuss books, life and electoral dysfunction.

Why frown when you can smile
And dust the room with a smudge of happy
Along the way

Why turn away when you can lend a hand
And help a friend or colleague or stranger
Learn more, be stronger

Why close your mind
To ideas that are not your own
When perspective can only make you grow

Why close your ears when you can listen quietly
And remember there is music in small things
And unexpected places