Interim thoughts on Brexit

EU-flag-with-Union-JackI am still furious. Some would have the 48% shut up and go away now, as if democracy were a one-time event. That is not going to happen. The “will of the people,” especially if it is perfidiously won, does not necessarily hand down some moral absolute from the gods. There must be time now to allow the people to reflect on what they have chosen and for the government to hear their voice. Those of us who are deeply dismayed at the direction our beloved country finds itself stumbling in must shout loud and clear until the very moment A50 is triggered, if it is triggered. And even then, if we have truly lost, we must still fight for maximal relationships with our European neighbours while also never letting those who did this to us forget what they have done. We do not want some technical little trade contract alone. The EU was always about more than that: we were participants in the whole project and not just consumers of it.

I am annoyed with myself. I let mild Euroscepticism initially temper my enthusiasm for the vote. And then I was naive, not really believing the Leavers could win. Oh how I wish I had found my voice earlier. I think many of us are in this position. Let us learn our lesson.

I feel a white hot rage that we have fallen victim to the game of thrones in the Conservative Party, a party I have previously supported. I believed in the One Nation project but the scales have now fallen from my eyes. The ashen faces of Boris and Gove on our joyous Independence Day said it all: this was all about their careers, now horribly complicated by the fact they would have to be held to their vacuous promises.

I am terribly sorry for our young people, whose opportunities in Europe have now been diminished. They did not want this and no-one listened to them. Europe held more for them than just the opportunity to lie on an Ibizan beach, it was a place where they could study, and work, and travel without limits, as members and not just as visitors. Europe is now made truly foreign. What a shame (unless you are lucky enough to have an Irish grandparent and thus remain a EU citizen, yet one more divisive consequence of this mucky little game).

I am worried about the union. Constitutional problems in Northern Ireland and Scotland were brushed aside by a campaign that replaced reason and facts with populism and demagoguery. Freedland is right to note the bitter irony that those who believed in the dream of an unalloyed British sovereignty may well have duped the masses into destroying Britain. Fools.

I am worried about the economy. You should be too. We *are* in for a rough ride and it will effect all of us, the poor most of all.

I am amazed at the Double Speak and shameless use of the Memory Hole: campaign promises ditched within minutes and a belief that if you keep saying contradictory things long enough, people will believe them — “You can have all of the benefits of the single market and none of the costs! It’s magic!” I suppose this is a sad consequence of the tabloid media, a failure to educate people to think critically, and the attention deficient consumers of social media who believe everything that they read. We voted for a phantom with no clue and no plan.

And then, finally, is the scab of nationalism that has been ripped away with such abandon. We do live in a country where people have been left behind and who feel threatened by globalisation, but it was the crime, first of UKIP, and then the mainstream Brexiteers, to create an environment where foreigners would be blamed. A pox on all those in power who have opened this Pandora’s Box and allowed it to be used as a weapon against immigrants. Neither they nor the EU are to blame for deprivation in Britain.

What am I doing next? I am holding on to my Conservative membership long enough to vote for Mrs May, whose Brexoscepticism looks to be useful. I am encouraging my Labour friends to do what they can to sack the utterly useless Jeremy Corbyn. I shall be allying myself with the LibDems’ Europhilia. And I shall be writing, tweeting, demonstrating and campaigning. I urge the 48 (and rising) to do the same.


How to make money at university and kill that student loan #2: survey sites that don’t suck

As my son approaches university, I decided I would try to teach him how he can make, save, and spend money on a student budget. I have written about user testing, now it’s the turn of online surveys.

Paid survey sites pay money to get your opinion about things. Bear in mind the following:

  1. Doing surveys online is really boring. To stay sane, you won’t want to spend hours doing it.
  2. Some survey sites pay little or require you to take a million surveys before you earn enough money to cash out. Avoid.
  3. Be prepared to start lots of surveys only to be told you don’t qualify.

With that in mind, let me recommend just five sites.

Non-crap survey sites in order of preference


The best is SurveyBods. One month: £13.50. Nice to look at and has interesting surveys. Well, not dreadfully uninteresting anyway.


Next is Panelbase. One month: £10.70.

Third is iPoll. One month: £10.81. American and slightly clunky, but payout is decent.

Prolific. These are surveys for academic research purposes. One month: £5.10.

Pinecone. Not many surveys but well-paid (c.£3 each). Invitation only.

Total per month: ~£40. 

Next: micro jobs.



Good grief but do I despise the way Americans yap about the Revolution. I despise it, not in some wounded pride British kind of way, but in the cloying candy cane sickliness that is applied to all things 1776.

I’m not bitter really . . . I just lived for four years in America and lost count of the times I was told that your guys kicked my guys’ asses (sic).


I mean, setting aside the fact that I have no idea whose guys are whose — both our ancestor guys were no doubt busy scratching their miserable livings in peasant squalor and thus not too worried about which George lived in the big house — I think the Revolution was a disaster. A world in which America was part of Greater Great Britain, or at the very least, a member of the Commonwealth, would be an America more Canada than the United States and with all that manifest destiny crap that comes with being AMERICA!

And then there’s the reliance on France. Louis XVI’s France! You have got to be kidding me. But I am ranting. Suffice it to say that portraits of Seabury, Arnold, and all the prominent United Empire Loyalists hang in my home.

To the point: I have very little clue who Alexander Hamilton was except that he’s on the the money and was shot in a duel. But let it be known: in a country where no-one knows the first thing about Hamilton and Burr and where the Hamilton bandwagon is not yet rolling, I am well and truly on it. Basically, it’s the greatest thing ever.

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