Thursday, 14 March 2019

So..... Brexit, What Happens Now?

In an entirely predictable state of affairs, Brexit has been thrown into chaos; in the house of commons at least.

Everyone else in the country, leavers and remainers alike have no such turmoil in their brain. The country voted to leave the EU so lets get on with it.

The turmoil in the HoC has been caused by MPs first voting against Theresa may's "deal" one day, and then voting against a no-deal exit t6he very next day.

So the only option they appear to want is to stay in the EU. In direct conflict with the people. Never before have our elected representatives gone against such a clear mandate before.

Even then, the House of Lords has been the voice of reason and steered the HoC back towards the will of the people.

However, the House of Lords is also stacked in favour of remaining, so we cannot rely on the Lords to nudge the government in the direction of democracy.

So, we are at an impasse.

The vote to reject no-deal is not binding thankfully, but it should be noted by the constituents of Leave voting areas if their MPs voted effectively to stay in the EU that they voted against the will of their constituents.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Wibbly Wobbly Webbly

No not the Spider toy that my kids played with, but the world wide web.

It's 30 Years old.

Funnily enough I remember those days, as I was involved in Network support back then. I oversaw the transition from point-to-point multiplexed lines to a mainframe down South to an open standards network involving this new internet thing and a standard called x.25.

I got into network support due to my involvement in packet radio back then. I passed my Ham radio exam back in 1982 and around the end of the eighties started dabbling in what was called packet radio: the same x.25 packet standard that enabled the internet was being used to transmit data over the air. It was a revelation in communications at the time.

Anyway, I was working at ICL and the network manager suddenly decided he didn't want to work there any more, so decided to not come into work. Ever. After a few weeks of him refusing to turn up at work, they decided that maybe he wasn't coming into work and needed someone else to make sure the data kept flowing. I was approached by our then I.T. manager who asked the pertinent question "you know a bit about networks and stuff don't you?". To which I replied, yes I do.

I was instantly converted into a network support person on the spot. The manager continued: "Oh, and by the way, there's a project in the pipeline to convert all the factory's point-to-point links to open standards using the internet. I need costings and a project plan...."

So it came to pass that I got my first dip into not only pukka network support, but also project management. In at the deep end, as usual.

It sorely needed the upgrade though, as the ceiling was bowing under the weight of several hundred direct terminal link cables feeding into a single rack :-)

In the end though, I had successfully converted the factory to a full ethernet network, with several hundred terminals replaced and the ceiling repaired. All in time and under budget. I got an award for that.

Anyway, not long after converting the whole factory to t' ethernet and t' internet, along comes the world wide web. Rather than only big companies having internet access with servers on their premises,  the www allowed even small companies to have an internet presence, thanks to offsite servers and HTML, which made pages accessible to ordinary people.  Now information was provided by a click on a natural language link, rather than remembering some obscure I.P. address provided by a supplier.

Online ability snowballed down until even us ordinary mortals could have our slice of the web.

Thanks Sir Tim, you brought a severe amount of information into the homes of the masses.

Happy Birthday WWW.

Bleeding Britain Dry.

Just a short one today.

It's a well-known fact that a large number of immigrants to the UK send money to families back home in Pakistan or Poland or wherever. In some cases we have the mad situation where benefits are paid to people for children that are not in the UK.

The first point I have some sympathy with. Altruism isn't a bad thing and spreading any wealth you accrue in the UK to families back home can't hurt, as long as it's not abused and the sums are relatively small.

The benefits thing I can't get my head around. Why on earth the UK benefits agency thinks it's okay to pay for a child that isn't domiciled in the UK is a concept I can't grasp. The child is outside the UK, so it's for the country the child resides in to support it. If the country doesn't have a system of support, then it's the child's parents that made the decision to leave the kid behind. Whoever is looking after the child then gets to pay for them. The parents left in the full knowledge that the kid wouldn't be supported by the home country. Either take a cut in your benefits and send a portion back to whoever is looking after the kid, or get a job and support the kid directly.

But the big syphon of funds from the UK is of course big business.

Whether it's the eBays, Amazons and Paypals with head offices domiciled outside the UK and therefore eligible to pay corporation tax not here where it's earned, or the foreign-owned companies (of which there are many) paying their proper share of tax, but sending profits outside the UK.

It will be interesting post-brexit how the government treats these issues. Will the benefits agency stop paying for kids outside the UK? Will they stop paying benefits to non-working immigrants full stop? After all there will be no EU rules enforcing payment. The HMRC is quick enough to squeeze the poor guy, the hapless contractor falling foul of the heinous IR35 rules. But will they turn the screws on the big corporations once we are an independent nation once again?

Will the money stop haemorrhaging out of the UK for once?