Text of ECJ decision on revoking Article 50 withdrawal


Unfortunately, there is no maths requirement for a position in government in the UK. Theresa May somehow turned an undergraduate degree in Geography into a career as a banking consultant and then politician, and I think that makes her more qualified and certifiably numerate than 99% of her colleagues. Boris Johnson studied Classics. By all accounts May’s predecessor studied animal husbandry.


Home page of the Guardian, two articles side by side:

Desperate May reveals plan B: buy more time

“Doomed”, EU figures rule out concessions as diplomats express bewilderment

The UK, ladies and gentlemen.



Also from the Guardian, from a couple of years ago

Still as true as it was back then.


Squires is brilliant.


The world envies the British parliamentary system, and especially the culture of debate in the commons.

Seriously, that is a nearly verbatim synthesis from various paper’s comments in Germany after the last German parliamentary election.

Reason for writing that was that after years of a Grand Coalition (usually dubbed leaden and dull in the same comments) a new Streitkultur seemed on the horizon (I doubt a direct translation carries the connotations, but “culture of contentious debate” could carry some of it). That doesn’t really belong in THIS topic, but consider my mouth dropping open at the time already.



So after postponing the vote yesterday, today May went on a totally ineffective tour of European capitals. Once again the EU uniformly said “sorry but no”. So far, so bad. Then tonight the knives are out in Westminster and it seems that there’s a leadership challenge in the making. Chaos reigns.

Illustrated beautifully by the door of her car being locked upon arrival in Berlin.

Anyone want to guess at the eventual outcome? Because I’ve lost the plot.


Like any of the potential replacements would be any better. Has Grieve expressed interest?


I don’t think that’s quite fair. I know plenty of people with degrees in the humanities who could do a fine job in political office. The problem isn’t the type of degree, it’s the political ideology.


It wasn’t meant to be an attack on the competence of people without STEM degrees, but rather a comment about the traditional path for politicians in UK government: Oxbridge with an undergraduate degree in any old thing, then maybe a cushy job in the City which you’d normally expect to go to someone with more directed interest and maybe an advanced degree, and then running the country (in this case into the ground).



It’s not clear from your comment, then.

And I’d say that class is probably a bigger issue than education.


The “animal husbandry” joke might have been a clue.

I have a lot of respect for most academic disciplines. (I’ve published in the humanities, and even show up in the acknowledgements of a book by a colleague in your own field.) I have less for ignorant politicians, especially the crew behind the current British mess.

And while Johnson seemed to have actually learned something during his undergraduate years, he doesn’t seem to be very good at applying it to himself. For example, from his blog:

Noble families vied with one another in what to-day we should describe as vulgar ostentation ; their differing views on matters social and political would lead to disorder, even brawling in the streets.
This combination of faction and social competition eventually led to tyranny — the Greek word tyrannos is derived from an Asian one referring to a usurper — in which one nobleman, possibly a military leader, would persuade the now well armed hoplite population to support him as ruler. ‘In short, tyrants helped to stop spiralling ambition and faction by an ultimate act of ambitious faction : their own coup.’


Wow. Okay. Sorry.


It was in rather poorer taste than I’m comfortable with, to be honest, and a bit of a slur on a noble animal, but since Cameron is arguably the reason the UK is in this mess in the first place he deserves whatever he gets, and I hope this allusion follows him to his grave.


To be honest, that’s not unique to politics in the UK.

The UK seems to me to be almost unique in how willing it is to let anyone have a go at most things without relevant qualifications.

Fancy being a plumber? Buy a bag full of tools and off you go (as long as you don’t want to fiddle about with gas).

Want to be a lawyer? Ignore those law degrees, do a history degree or ideally classics.

It has its advantages and disadvantages.


Vote of no confidence in her according to the news this morning, so Boris is going to be vying for the top spot now. Hopefully, this destroys the Tory party, at least.


At this point we are of course in the traditional period where all real contenders politely disavow any ambitions in that direction (while not actually ruling it out) or ideally avoid being asked the question.

Like so (should be queued correctly, if not relevant bit starts at around 51:21):


I think it has been destroyed for the next decade or two. Brexit has split the party so badly that there is no possible compromise candidate, every faction hates everyone who isn’t one of them.

Now all we need is Corbyn to realise that a large section of the left are pro-remain and support another referendum, and we will be good.


What we need is a return to standards. And golfing.