The Internet is Silly….

One of the more crazy things about this world is that now is a whole industry developed to support the lunacy of Internet trends.   From Instagram spats to Twitter storms many people seem to lose any sense of perspective.  The latest nonsense is the froth that has built up around the latest episode of Game of Thrones.  The way some people go on you have to wonder if they have got anything better to do?  Well off course a lot of them don’t because they make money from  the hits they generate so they must stoke the flames of artificial controversy.  In a world where thousands are dying in armed conflicts around the world daily whether Daenerys Targaryen could undertake such wanton destruction isn’t really that important at all.

For the record I am frustrated by the final season because it does feel they have tried to squeeze at least two seasons into one.   Am I that bothered?  Not in the slightest because as  the Google entry says Daenerys Targaryen is a fictional character.

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Livin’ on a prayer….

After a bit of a struggle I have found some inspiration again to enable me to draw/paint (In the digital world there really isn’t any difference.)

This year has been a bit all over the place – maybe thing might settle down a bit.  I don’t expect things to blow my doors off.

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Vote green go red….

The other day I wrote my first piece about the upcoming European Elections for the European Union (EU) parliament.   The main conclusion I came to was that the Brexit Party would have the largest share of the vote and that  the Liberal Democrats (Lib/Dems) would significantly increase their showing as well.   I felt that the main political parties Labour and especially the Conservatives would lose votes because of their ambiguous Brexit position.   I also thought that the turn out would be much larger than the previous election in 2014.

The one unknown I didn’t really address was the Green Party of England and Wales (there is a  seperate party in Scotland.  The England and Wales party is who I am talking about here.)   In the 2014 election they got a larger share of the vote than the Lib/Dems.  However, traditionally the Lib/Dems get a much larger share of the vote so this is one  reasons why I didn’t consider the Green Party.  The other reason is that as the the Lib/Dems had a great local election and have much wider spread and so I think that they will attract more votes than the Greens (In 2009 they came almost within 1% of the Labour vote – the Greens were half that.)  The final thing is that the Lib/Dems are the best known unambiguous  Remain party with a very simple message – Bollocks to Brexit.

Since then I have started to think a bit more about the Greens relationship with Labour and I suspect the Jeremy Corbyn is right to fear the Greens.  In the Southeast and London regions there is a good chance that much of the disgruntled Labour vote, those feel rejected by the unclear push me pull you position on the question of Brexit, may well reject Labour for the Greens.  These voters are most likely to be younger, better educated with no real sense of loyalty to Labour compared to their loathing of the Conservatives.   They would also probably have a strong position on climate change as well holding a  positive view of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and what she stands for.   Because they are young it is very very unlikely they voted in the last Euro elections but I suspect they are going to vote in this.   If all these things are correct then the Green Party may will be a better fit than the once steller Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn.   Once they have voted Green then there is a good chance they will continue to do so.   This is a really big problem for Labour.

The other factor in play here is that this election is about one thing and one thing only Brexit.  Again this will not help Labour who have constituents who are very pro Brexit and members who are the reverse – hence the ambiguous policy they are pursuing. This doesn’t really have any place in a campaign dominated by Nigel Farage on the one hand and Bollocks to Brexit on the other.   This conflict will be played out over the next week in the London region as well as the Southeast region  and if Labour aren’t very careful they could be main losers here as voters move towards the pro and anti Brexit parties (both regions have the most Green voters.)  I stand by my prediction of the Lib/dems coming second but maybe the Labour vote might collapse even more than I first thought.

All of this, of course, is pure speculation and there is still 7 days to the election so an awful lot can change.  Nonetheless, there is just the outside chance that the forthcoming election may mark the end of the Jeremy Corbyn Labour revolution and ironically it may come at the hands of the Green Party.  Perhaps.

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Back to some decent weather…

As with most things decent weather is a relative statement.   One person’s sunny day is another’s pollen hell.  The past week has been marked by a significant amount of rain which is what we have really needed for some time as the ground has been very hard for this time of year.   However, that seems to have passed and we now have a period of sunny but not too warm weather.  This does mean that plants in the garden are growing at an almost exponential rate – almost.

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Bollocks to Brexit….

Here we go again…Nigel Farage is exactly where he wants to be at the centre of the news whirlwind.  He has never had to actually get his hands dirty with the business of governing this country but that doesn’t matter to him.  In a way he must be admired amongst the politicos as they would love to be able to draw the crowds that Nigel can.   Of course this is also his great weakness.  He equates vox pop popularity to serious power and they really are not the same as he has discovered every time he has tried to  gain a seat in the House of Commons.   But credit where credit is due he is playing a blinder and with 10 days to go the European election there is more than an even chance that his Brexit party will gain the largest share of the vote. If this happens then he will claim that he has won the vote which will be not true but that doesn’t really bother Nigel.

What of the other parties going into the election – how are they doing?   Well the Change UK/Independent group are collapsing before our eyes – perhaps we could call it ‘doing a Chuka.’   I had hoped that they would have been able to get their act in some semblance of order by now but they really don’t seem to have the first clue as to how run anything.  They had assumed that they would replace the Liberal Democrats but after the local elections it is clear that isn’t going to happen and now have no real answer to the simple question ‘Why should I vote for you rather than the Lib Dems?’  Why indeed.

As for Labour they are in very great danger of being run over by events.  They have a leader who has always hated the European Union and rightly sees that should Britain stay within the European Union(EU)  his hopes of reengineering the British economy back to the 1970’s will not be able to be undertaken due to EU competition rules.   However, the membership of the Labour party would appear to be very keen on the EU and reject his attempt to prevent Labour being a pro remain party.   At the moment it is unclear as to what effect this will have on the share of the vote that Labour will get.  I suspect that they will hemorrhage a considerable number to the Lib Dems on the remain side and the Brexit Party on the leave side.  How large the number is it is far too early to say.

Now we come to the empty shell that is the Conservative Party.  It would seem that their approach to the upcoming election is to curl up into a ball in the corner and hope the beating won’t be too bad.   They have nothing to say on Brexit – nothing.  There is every chance that most of their vote will shift to the Brexit Party and they could do a Canada ( In the 1990’s the Canadian Conservative party collapsed and at the federal election they only got two MP – they had been the governing party before the election.)

So we now come to the other major Great Britain wide political party the Liberal Democrats.  Before the recent local elections they were looking a bit sorry for themselves.  They were rudderless and desperately trying to find a new leader.  However the election changed everything.  They were the only party that made substantial gains (Labour by contrast lost a large number of councilors when in truth they really should have been gaining them – especially with Theresa May as PM.)   Ever since this the Lib Dems  have been looking forward to the Euro elections.  They have taken a leaf out of the Nigel Farage playbook and coined the campaign slogan ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ (They actually purloined this from a Pro Remain pressure group but no one seems to be too worried about that .)

A number of well established politicians and political hacks have been very sniffy about this but it is perfect.   It is clear, concise and chimes with most of the remain voters views.  10 days out they look like the one remain party that will take the lion’s share of the remain vote.

The one final thing to consider is turn out.  Again, I believe Nigel Farage has done everyone a service.   His personality and ability to generate publicity will probably ensure that there will be a large turnout – in equal measure due to those who love him and those who loathe him. In 2014 at the last Euro elections the turnout was around 36% which was a slight increase on the last election 5 years earlier.   This time I expect it will be much higher – possibly way beyond 50%.   If this happens I suspect the overall share of the vote will something like this on a UK wide vote:

  1. Brexit Party 30%
  2. Lib Dems 25%
  3. Labour 15%
  4. Conservative 10%

(The rest of the vote will go to parties only standing in their respective nations such as the SNP.   This is not to suggest that their vote doesn’t count, far from it, but rather compared to the total UK wide number their actual number of voters is rather small. The population of England is over 10 times larger than Scotland’s for example.)

You will also note that I make no mention of Change UK as I suspect their vote will crumble just as the party probably will.

If this is the shape of things to come then goodness knows what will happen to the Conservative Party – especially if they are beaten in the Peterborough by election by the Brexit Party. (This will split the Brexit vote enough to ensure that Labour takes the seat.)

How much of this will come to pass?   No idea but one thing is true.  This European elections are not going to be ‘a joke‘.  Ironically something that the European Union has been trying to do for decades.  Life is rather strange don’t you think?

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Housebound….

For reasons that are too boring to go into I am in effect housebound for the next few days.   Not to put too fine a point on it it is driving me and certainly my wife CRAZY.   Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this enforced seclusion is that I am finding it very difficult to motivate myself to do anything apart from the wonderful handcrafted sculpture of England and Wales above. (You wouldn’t believe the number of YouTube videos I have watched – actually this has been really quite educational if at times a bit mind numbing)

This being said I am now putting the finishing touches to my new computer system and one of the key elements to the system is data backup.   My system has two levels of back up – on site and off site.  Off site is further divided into active and long term.  It all seems to be working at the moment and once I replace my aging iMac the whole thing should be a whole lot quicker and smoother.

One of the things I have considered during this process is what format to save my RAW photograph files in?  After doing some digging about on the internet I have decided to use the DNG format going forward.   The reason for this is the longevity of a format that appears to becoming the standard format for archive digital images.  Now before you say that you lose some detail using DNG having done a bit of research on line  it would seem that probably isn’t the case.  The driver behind my think was that whilst Canon/Sony et al are huge companies now – in 20 years who knows?  (Don’t believe me then just consider how big Kodak was 20 years ago.)  If the camera company goes bust then who is going to support their RAW file formats going forward?   Of course this wouldn’t  happen overnight as there are almost infinite  Canon/Nikon et al digital RAW files out there.  However, there is the chance that this could happen and so I have decided to use the only Open digital image format for all of my files going forward.  In short should someone want to look at my digital images in the future they will be saved in a format where there is open documentation out there.  This is not the case with the proprietary  RAW formats.

Of course I’m not entirely housebound so I can wander around the garden and snap a few shots.

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A bit Tom and Dick….

 

Well I’m a bit banged up at the moment – shouldn’t be nothing serious but you never can tell.   Anyway, I have managed to have a walk around the garden and snap a few shots.

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