More Brexit scrapbooking 

“Suddenly [Cameron] found himself trapped by his own manifesto promises — promises made to placate the Euroskeptics in his own party and see off the threat posed to his right flank by the virulently anti-European UK Independence Party.”

David Cameron Was a Historic and Disastrous Failure

…except I’d argue it wasn’t “suddenly”.

Johnson and Gove carried with them a second feature of unscrupulous journalism: the contempt for practical questions. Never has a revolution in Britain’s position in the world been advocated with such carelessness. The Leave campaign has no plan.

There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove by Nick Cohen

In all three of the second referendums, the Yes campaigners used two new strategies to tie the hands of No campaigners. After the initial rejection, the government sought reassurances from the EU on the controversial themes of the first campaign, effectively allowing them to ask the same question again. Having changed the context successfully, the Yes side could thereby frame the question differently.

Asking the public twice: why do voters change their minds in second referendums on EU treaties? by Ece Özlem Atikcan

Seems like wishful thinking, to believe we will get a second referendum, but if we do the odds are more favourable.

The Brexiters could not have dreamed of more favourable circumstances in British and EU politics.

WHY BRITAIN VOTED TO LEAVE (IF IT DOES…) by Charles Grant (published before the result)

Remain suffered from five disadvantages: the messengers, the message, migration, the media and the campaign machine – in short, the five Ms.

HOW LEAVE OUTGUNNED REMAIN: THE BATTLE OF THE ‘FIVE MS’ by Charles Grant

“Do you know what I’d like to do with the £10 billion? I’d like that £10 billion to be spent helping the communities in Britain that [the] Government damaged so badly by opening up the doors to former communist countries. What people need is schools, hospitals, and GPs. That’s what they need.”

On Good Morning Britain on results day, Mr Farage however said: “No, I can’t [guarantee the money would go to the NHS]. I would never have made that claim.

Video evidence emerges of Nigel Farage pledging EU millions for NHS weeks before Brexit vote, The Independent

If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost.

Perhaps many Brexiters do not realise it yet, but they have actually lost, and it is all down to one man: David Cameron.

With one fell swoop yesterday at 9:15 am, Cameron effectively annulled the referendum result, and simultaneously destroyed the political careers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and leading Brexiters who cost him so much anguish, not to mention his premiership.

How?

Throughout the campaign, Cameron had repeatedly said that a vote for leave would lead to triggering Article 50 straight away. Whether implicitly or explicitly, the image was clear: he would be giving that notice under Article 50 the morning after a vote to leave. Whether that was scaremongering or not is a bit moot now but, in the midst of the sentimental nautical references of his speech yesterday, he quietly abandoned that position and handed the responsibility over to his successor.

And as the day wore on, the enormity of that step started to sink in: the markets, Sterling, Scotland, the Irish border, the Gibraltar border, the frontier at Calais, the need to continue compliance with all EU regulations for a free market, re-issuing passports, Brits abroad, EU citizens in Britain, the mountain of legistlation to be torn up and rewritten … the list grew and grew.

The referendum result is not binding. It is advisory. Parliament is not bound to commit itself in that same direction.

The Conservative party election that Cameron triggered will now have one question looming over it: will you, if elected as party leader, trigger the notice under Article 50?

Who will want to have the responsibility of all those ramifications and consequences on his/her head and shoulders?

Boris Johnson knew this yesterday, when he emerged subdued from his home and was even more subdued at the press conference. He has been out-maneouvered and check-mated.

If he runs for leadership of the party, and then fails to follow through on triggering Article 50, then he is finished. If he does not run and effectively abandons the field, then he is finished. If he runs, wins and pulls the UK out of the EU, then it will all be over – Scotland will break away, there will be upheaval in Ireland, a recession … broken trade agreements. Then he is also finished. Boris Johnson knows all of this. When he acts like the dumb blond it is just that: an act.

The Brexit leaders now have a result that they cannot use. For them, leadership of the Tory party has become a poison chalice.

When Boris Johnson said there was no need to trigger Article 50 straight away, what he really meant to say was “never”. When Michael Gove went on and on about “informal negotiations” … why? why not the formal ones straight away? … he also meant not triggering the formal departure. They both know what a formal demarche would mean: an irreversible step that neither of them is prepared to take.

All that remains is for someone to have the guts to stand up and say that Brexit is unachievable in reality without an enormous amount of pain and destruction, that cannot be borne. And David Cameron has put the onus of making that statement on the heads of the people who led the Brexit campaign.

– Comment on Brexit: UK’s most senior EU official resigns after leave vote – as it happened by Teebs

The £350m per week that Vote Leave had said would be used to fund the NHS. “We never said that,” IDS replied.

“Yes you did. So even if there was £350m per week, which there isn’t, how are you going to fulfil all of your other spending promises?”

“We never made any commitments. We just made a series of promises that were possibilities.”

– IDS goes off-message on Brexit plan while Labour tears itself apart by John Crace

Finally, the setup of the referendum gave Leave cause to run riot. Unlike the Scottish independence referendum, there was no obligation for Leave to outline a plan or costings for a Brexit. Unlike commercial advertising, there’s no penalty for lying in political advertising. And unlike a Parliamentary election, there’s no way of booting the winner out if it turns out they have lied.

Post-truth politics : how Leave hacked the political system and what it means for us by Chris Applegate

Brexit scrapbooking

Some things I’ve found, which I want to refer back to…

Lord Ashcroft’s survey on reasons for voting Leave or Remain

Bim Adewunmi’s heartbreak over the result

By the same token, it seems unlikely that those in these regions (or Cornwall or other economically peripheral spaces) would feel ‘grateful’ to the EU for subsidies. Knowing that your business, farm, family or region is dependent on the beneficence of wealthy liberals is unlikely to be a recipe for satisfaction (see James Meek’s recent essay in the London Review of Books on Europhobic farmers who receive vast subsidies from the EU). More bizarrely, it has since emerged that regions with the closest economic ties to the EU in general (and not just of the subsidised variety) were most likely to vote Leave.

– Thoughts on the sociology of Brexit by Will Davies

Example composer.json for SVN repos with no structure and no composer.json

Today I needed to include some WordPress.com themes from the official SVN repository, using Composer. This repository uses SVN and has not got the usual trunk, branches, etc directories that Composer expects, which makes it tricky. It’s possible though, and thanks to colleague Tom Nowell, I eventually got there.

Here’s that example code: Continue reading Example composer.json for SVN repos with no structure and no composer.json

Podcast – How Google uses behavioral science to make work suck less

Podcast: How Google uses behavioral science to make work suck less

This episode of the You Are Not So Smart podcast came recommended by Donncha, a colleague at Automattic. It’s packed full of really interesting thoughts, including “the job of a manager is to serve their team”; a good reminder that everything we at WordPress.com VIP do in terms of process does serve our team and our goals.

Laszlo Bock (head of People Operations at Google) explains how and why Google does what it does when it comes to everything internal, from perks and promoting to motivation and productivity. In the interview you’ll hear how the company combats confirmation bias, the halo effect, the Abilene paradox, pluralistic ignorance, survivorship bias, and more – all with a mix of behavioral science and Google’s immense power to test and re-test using its unique resources.

If Tom Willmot’s WordCamp Europe talk was out on video, I’d link to that, so keep your eyes open there. There’s also Nikolay’s tweet recommending Drive, which is now on my reading list:

…of course, if your work sucks, you could change that by coming to work for Automattic ;)

Command-C Alfred Workflow by Sayz Lim

Here’s a great workflow for Alfred which sends your clipboard to an iOS device via the wonderful Command-C:

Command-C supports x-callback-url which I can use in Alfred workflow. I create an Alfred workflow called Command-C that contains basic custom actions to send clipboard from Mac to selected iOS devices. There are three types of supported actions in Command-C, but you’re likely using only the action that sends system clipboard.

Source: Command-C Alfred Workflow | Sayz Lim

Testing repositories with private submodules in Travis

Recently I’ve been working on a project we’re testing in Travis CI and we need to include some submodules referencing private GitHub repositories then run the tests on the combined code. Naturally Travis fails to retrieve the submoduled repositories, because it’s not authorised to do so. This is how we’re getting around that… Continue reading Testing repositories with private submodules in Travis

Taking apart the 23003.31 model ceramic lamp holder

I spent HOURS googling for how to disassemble these lamp holders, and even longer sitting trying to get the darned things apart by hand. In the end, as is so often the way, my dad came to stay and he worked it out (although in my defence it did take him hours too).  Continue reading Taking apart the 23003.31 model ceramic lamp holder