Watching MidAmeriCon from a distance

So as not to break with something of a tradition of a number of years' standing, I have set up a temporary public friends group of LJers attending MidAmeriCon.

Sorry that it's rather shorter and later in appearing than usual. So far, all the LJs listed were already on my friends list but, if I spot others posting from or about MidAmeriCon who are not on the list, I may add them - though I might drop some of them again in a few weeks once it has receded into the distance. However, if you are a new addition, friending me back or having met me in real life or writing interestingly enough in your LJ that I have to keep reading it are good tactics for keeping you on my friends list.

If you spot any interesting LJs or LJ feeds about MidAmeriCon, please feel free to comment here to tell me about them.

Some post-referendum thoughts

Last Thursday, apparently, 72% of the UK electorate voted by rather under 17 and a half million to rather over 16 million voters that about 5 million other people currently usually resident in the UK were not welcome to be so. This was democracy - at least if you accept that the demos is to be defined by citizenship rather than residency. Of course, that is not what was officially being voted on, and so far as a considerable number of voters on both sides were concerned, it was not what they considered themselves to be voting on - but, seeing that migration was the predominant topic of Leave propaganda during the final three weeks of the campaign, it is not hard to see why quite a sizeable number of people seem to think it was.

This makes me far from happy. Several of my friends, or at least acquaintances with whom I get on well, are among those five million. Quite a few more may be UK citizens now but were not born so. And some are no longer living in the UK because current UK immigration law, even before any Brexit-induced changes, made it impossible for them to establish permanent residence here. Some of them are here on LJ. Interestingly, some in each of these categories are both white (at least to all appearance) and non-European - not fitting either of the current British migrant stereotypes. That does not make the situation better, except possibly personally for them - in fact, it probably makes it worse, as so many other people who are seen as fitting one of the stereotypes has had to be coping with increasingly repeated abuse.

Was the decision democratic? Perhaps, perhaps not. Precedents within UK electoral practice can be found for both citizenship and residency as a determinant, with the more common one probably being citizenship. And the decision to use citizenship this time was explicitly taken, so it at least followed the accepted rules - at least so far as what was officially being voted on is concerned. So, at any rate to that extent, it needs to be accepted - particularly as people, not just in the UK or even in the EU but throughout the world (including any currently-inhabited satellites), need some certainty as to which decision has been taken. Any usable acceptance of reality relies on mutual trust. But intolerance of others was not a matter that was supposed to be part of the agreed question - and any attempt now to suggest that it was must be firmly rejected.

I have more to say, almost all of it deeply discouraging, about post-referendum politics in Britain and the prospects for withdrawal negotiations - if I can find the time, the words and the will. But that had better be it for now.

An open letter to Theresa Villiers, Northern Ireland Secretary of State and MP for Chipping Barnet

Dear Ms Villiers

As one of your constituents, with some Irish friends from both sides of the border, I was interested but slightly perplexed by your remarks in an interview today that suggest that the common travel area arrangements between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland could be expected to continue largely unchanged in the event of a Leave victory in the referendum later this year.

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Yours sincerely

Peter Wilkinson

Merry Christmas....

(or acceptable substitute) and Happy New Year (or acceptable substitute) to all my friends (and anyone else reading here).

My comments on this year to follow in a few days (or not as the case may be).

Watching Sasquan from a distance

Continuing with what has become something of a tradition for quite a few years now, I have set up a temporary public friends group of LJers attending Sasquan.

While, so far, all the LJs listed were already on my friends list, I will probably be adding a few others who look likely to be posting from or about Sasquan - though I may be dropping at least some of them again in a few weeks once it has receded into the distance. However, if you are one of the new additions, friending me back or having met me in real life or writing interestingly enough in your LJ that I have to keep reading it are good tactics for keeping you on my friends list.

If you spot any interesting LJs or LJ feeds about Sasquan, please feel free to comment here to tell me about them.

(Quasi-political addendum: Feel free to comment, but unlike most years, I will be moderating comments on this post, to try to avoid getting into unwanted arguments. If you want to work out what I may or may not find acceptable, please see my previous post.)

How I voted on the Hugo ballot

I usually do another LJ post at this time of year, and it will be following this one very shortly - but, unlike most years, this year's Worldcon, by no apparent fault of the organisers, seems to be rather politically charged, to the extent that this will undoubtedly be reflected in commentary on it. So I am making this rather belated post about how I voted in the Hugos, to try to make my own perspective fairly clear and, hopefully, avoid  getting into arguments not intended on either side and which I am unlikely to have the time and patience to deal with.

Having said that, do feel free to comment - but please note that, this year, I will be moderating comments on these two posts.

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You don't want the SNP controlling the next British government? Then (probably) vote Labour

During the last few days, the Conservative campaign in the current British general election has been busy raising the apparently awful spectre of the result being a British government controlled from behind the scenes by the Scottish National Party - and calling on voters to support the Conservatives to stop this happening. Unfortunately for them, unless this call is more successful in shifting support to them than all the tactics they have tried during the last six months taken together, current figures seem to show that this would simply increase SNP influence in the next parliament.

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Of course, just because this is the situation nationally does not automatically mean that voting Labour is the best thing to do in every single British constituency - but that (if I have the time) is best discussed in another post

The debating politicians problem

The schedule for Thursday's seven-way debate in the current UK general election campaign looks suspiciously like a solution grid for a certain type of logic puzzle. So, while I'm not willing to time-waste to the point of reverse-engineering the whole thing, here's a possible start:

1. The politician standing three places to the right of the politician who is first to make their opening statement answers the fourth question immediately before the politician who is the last to answer the second question.

2. The penultimate politician to make their closing statement stands immediately to the left of the politician who answers the second question immediately before the second politician to answer the third question.

3. The last politician to answer the third question stands three places to the right of the politician due to make their closing remarks immediately after the politician who stands immediately to the left of the politician whose opening statement is due two turns before that of the politician whose answer to the first question is immediately before that of the politician who stands immediately to the right of the last politician to make their opening statement.

4.... [Continue as seems appropriate]

Best wishes...

for the current holiday period (appropriate name left for the reader to decide upon) and the year to come (exact appropriate period also left for the reader to decide upon - though I'd tend to assume that its length approximates to the time taken by the local planet to orbit the local sun).