After the unfortunate decision of the UK press to call Theresa May’s European Union Exit and Trade (Strategy and Negotiations) sub-Committee the Brexit war cabinet, we now have this:
Theresa May to hold Brexit peace summit for feuding cabinet
Maybe it should be called the civil war cabinet.
People shouldn’t be mocked or discriminated against because of their names. But I really wonder whether the Tories sufficiently considered the practical drawbacks of putting time-sensitive negotiations under the command of a prime minister whose name is also a month. I was disturbed by this report from the Guardian on a press conference of EU negotiator Michel Barnier:
Barnier says he has never spoken about the need for “sufficient progress” by June, as he did before the December summit.
He says May agreed to the backstop in March. She cannot go back on that, he says.
I fear worse may come…
- Bicycles and pedestrians are stationary objects. You need to pass them, especially when turning directly ahead of them.
- Electric turn signals are a major energy drain! Signals should be activated only after you are well into the turn.
- Opening the driver-side door should be done in one fluid motion, as rapidly as possible. Don’t look back!
- When trapped by traffic you are exposed to attack from the sides and behind. Protect yourself and your fellow drivers by advancing your vehicle to block the pedestrian crossings, which are points of major vulnerability.
- “Cycle lane” is just a newfangled word for “free parking”.* Double yellow lines are there to remind you; where no cycle lane is available parking on the pavement is recommended.
- Killing pedestrians is wrong if you’ve been drinking. Otherwise, you’re the victim. (Don’t forget, insurance will pay for the damage. Be bold!)
* There is some uncertainty about the origin of this odd expression. Most experts believe that it has its origin in the Italian sulla collina — “on the hill” — referring to the practice, brought back by 17th century travellers, of establishing resting spots for travellers on hills in the countryside. From there it evolved into the modern usage, meaning “a strip of land set aside for parking vehicles”.
The trans-Atlantic romcom goes into its next season. We recall the highlight of last season, when Theresa and Donald were sharing a personal moment in their “special relationship”.
At the start of the new season, Melania confirms that she really would rather hold almost anything than Donald’s hand:
Theresa was dancing around Number 10, like, “I can have him all to myself.” But then this French dude came into the picture.
They look so happy together. Macron is even boasting about their “very special relationship”. And Theresa is saying, but Donald, I thought our relationship was the special one. I left Europa for you…
So Leave.EU is still active, and apparently last year they were soliciting a graphic to ridicule journalist Carole Cadwalladr:
As a mathematical scientist it strikes me as significant that she is considered to be discredited by association with three images: Flat Earth, Illuminati (though it looks to me like the Masonic eye from the US dollar bill), and what looks like a cheat sheet for an introductory electromagnetism course. Down in the corner we see that she’s been learning the right-hand rule for multiplying vectors. Right above it she has the formula for calculating power, which seems problematic.
In the classic prisoners’ dilemma, two members of a criminal gang have been caught by police. There is enough evidence to convict them of minor crimes, but without testimony from one of them they will receive only a light sentence, say one year in prison. If one of them agrees to cooperate with the investigation, prosecutors will let him out for time served, and be able to send the other to prison for ten years. But if they both cooperate with the investigation, both will go to prison for five years (perhaps because the prosecutors will have their information, but not their testimony). Key to the game is that the players are unable to coordinate their strategy. Clearly the best for both of them would be to keep quiet, but the strategy of cooperating with the investigation is superior, from their private perspective, regardless of what the other player does. So they both talk, and both get heavy sentences.
One weird thing about the story here is that the symmetry really doesn’t make sense. It’s not impossible, but it’s peculiar to imagine prosecutors being so interested in pinning the major crime on someone that they’re willing to let a confederate walk free, but indifferent to who flips on whom. That suggests we consider a less-known hierarchical version of this game, where one player is the powerful boss of a crime syndicate — let’s call him “The President” — and the other one is “The Attorney”, who knows all the details of his crimes, and is sufficiently involved to be criminally liable himself. Let’s call this game “The President’s Dilemma”. (more…)
People have been comparing Brexit to a messy divorce since before Brexit was Brexit, but I suspect we may be in the wrong movie. The Tory Eurosceptic claim is, effectively, that they were never really married. And that means that we need to draw our clichés from a whole different realm of romantic fiction.
Think of Bull Johnson, an emotionally immature man with a steady but not sensational income. He’s been involved with a woman (let’s call her Europa) who lives nearby, and they get along pretty well. But he has this dynamic and very successful friend, Merry, who he used to be close to, but who now has her own life on a distant continent. They still talk often, share secrets (ahem), and occasionally lean on each other in hard times. Merry thinks that Bull should finally commit to Europa and settle down. (Europa has some reservations as well, having had some unfortunate encounters with Bulls in the past, but thinks this relationship can work.) And he does, sort of. Then one day Bull calls up Merry and says, I’m thinking of leaving Europa. I hate feeling tied down. I want my old “buccaneering” life. What does that even mean? asks Merry. He can’t say, but he insists he misses his old life. Merry says to think about the good life he and Europa have built together. Bull agrees that he’ll give it some more thought, and have a talk with Europa about what he’s dissatisfied about.
Next scene, Bull is ringing the doorbell at Merry’s flat at 3 am. “I’ve done it. I’ve left Europa. I finally realised, you and I should be together.” And Merry says, “Uhhh…”
To be continued…
From the people who brought you alternative facts:
REPORTER: Mr. President, do you believe there should be a response from the United States?
MR. TRUMP: … As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.
We not only have to get the facts straight, we have to agree with them. Otherwise they’re not really facts. But then we’ll condemn Russia. Or whoever tried to assassinate a Russian double agent with chemical weapons. Probably someone sitting on their bed that weighs four hundred pounds.