Brexit is (potentially) great news for the rest of the EU (Joris Luyendijk, The Guardian)

The economic and political realities of the EU, vs British delusions. Not even the remain camp was really in.

Sir Humphrey

We went in to screw the French by splitting them off from the Germans.

The opportunity for the EU is to wake up, improve what is working well, reform what isn’t; social democracy needs teeth against populists, easy one liners and its own technocrats. The UK needs to be cut down to size in its access to EU markets, and used as an example if you don’t want to become the laughing stock of the world: if you’re going to take a decision of this magnitude, at least take it for the right reasons.

UK citizens need to realise the huge mistake they have made by voting for the wrong questions and change their politicians, quickly. The Boris and Fromage clowns need to pay the price, the Tory party has been mismanaging the country, Labour is missing in action, the Liberal Democrats should cease to exist.

Britishness vs Englishness

Bifes Mal Passados (which translates as uncooked steaks?): Portuguese academic describes English as ‘filthy, violent and drunk’. Anyone who has been to England has experienced at least two out of three with his or her own eyes, every single Friday is drink till you drop day; what’s interesting is the reaction in the UK to this:

Britishness: The world seen from a higher plane, stiff upper lip, fair play, the rule of law, self deprecating, sophisticated, dark sense of humour which is much appreciated everywhere, one of the important places in the world.

Englishness: The world seen from a much smaller place, feel outraged when faced with the obvious, lash out, pettiness, ignorant provincials from an island to the north west of Europe.

What they have in common: geography, truly, unmistakably and irredeemably dreadful food. When faced with the latter the British will shrug and accept it, think of the saving graces at Waitrose; the English will utter something about the great English breakfast (disgusting) or look to start a fist fight.

How did this sense of Englishness survive Britishness, given rising standards of living over centuries? Should the Union be dissolved simply on this evidence?

ICANN explained to unitedstaters (Vint Cerf)

 

The Internet under threat

Spot the bad guy

‘Father of the internet’ Vint Cerf explains ICANN. (Via Engadget). ICANN is the organisation responsible for translating easily usable domain names (samizdats. wordpress.com) into ip numbers (192.168.1.1).

Explanation to unitedstaters: we’re not giving it away to evil superpowers, we’re just trying to make it more democratic.

We now need an explanation for everyone else: how come the US is supposedly giving away it’s authority over ICANN when it’s been thwarting democracy all over the planet for decades? The elections in Egypt don’t come out with the right winners? You can’t support that kind of democracy! And the list goes on and on.

The easy, lazy answer is a conspiracy theory: they’re not really giving away the authority; and this conspiracy suits quite a lot of people, like the Russian plutocracy, the Chinese Politburo and everyone for whom conspiracies explain the entire universe.

The more interesting point is a dual morality, in which unitedstaters see themselves as the good guys, and everyone else sees them as the bad guys. When confronted with reality would unitedstaters accept themselves as the bad guys or would they reject the horrors done in their name? This also applies to everyone else, to varying degrees but without this relativity making the point irrelevant.

The take away is that we all need to confront this reality and choose who we want to be, the good guys or the bad guys who twistedly try to think of themselves as the good guys, or the victims. There are hints of this dilemma in popular culture: Carmela Soprano scorns the cop who stops her husband “instead of the drug dealers”: she knows where the money comes from, she’s the drug dealer’s wife, and her actions will have repercussions.