None of which came to pass.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
None of which came to pass.
Sunday, 31 August 2014
In the next few weeks everyone in Scotland gets a vote. Probably the most important single vote that I will ever take part in. I've tried to sit on the fence for as long as I can (admittedly with some dangerous leaning in the Yes direction) but now I have to definitively choose and I want to set down my reasons. If nothing else to go over the arguments and prove to myself I've made a reasoned decision. So here you go. Please do comment, politely, if you think I have something wrong, this is too important to decide on wrong information.
Who am I?
I can see the argument for some privatisations but find the artificial markets of the power or rail systems laughably horrible ways to turn taxes into private profit.
This very much makes me ripe for an anti-Tory option but I have tried not to base my choice on anti-anything. I want to vote FOR something. Be positive and I'll be interested.
What do I want?
One of the questions I have to ask myself is what would I consider a positive future? Especially a positive future from a No vote.
First I need to consider what I don't like about the current system, which is of course negative and so something I've shied away from. But needs must when the devil vomits in your porridge.
If you are in that section that does not get the government you want there are several options. Armed revolt is not very democratic so we'll ignore that. Campaigning to shift the electorate your way is an option. It's difficult to do under the archaic First Past The Post system but possible and I applaud all those who beaver away doing so. It has been seen to lead to a concentration on the 'floating voter', however, and they are in the current centre ground of UK politics, which is to the right of me.
You could attempt to change the electoral system. Be it one Queen, one Vote or some form of PR. But the current system is firmly entrenched and doesn't like the idea of a rules change they may not have as good an understanding of.
Another option, beloved of attention seekers, is to flounce off if the vote goes against you. ( Or more likely, threaten to flounce then oddly fail to do so.) In a way independence feels a bit like this; 'Vote Left or we're taking our ball and going'. But at the same time, if I want to live in a Scandwegian style country and everyone else doesn't would it not be more polite for me to leave everyone in peace and go? Is it right for Scots to try to change the way England vote/think or should they be left with their democratic views while we leave to follow our own?
Social Choices and Tax
Compounding this is the Barnett Formula, i.e. Scotland gets a fixed percentage of UK public spending. Yes they get to spend it how they like but if Westminster cuts budgets (to cut taxes) Scotland either follows suit or puts up the small percentage of taxes they can to try to cover the difference. This being a much smaller amount of financial jiggery pokery than they could if they had full tax powers.
Also, if Scotland had the power to actually make companies pay their full tax they might not need to put up taxes or cut services at all.
Finally, a country that is more open to the world will (and I know I'm being possibly over-optimistic here) become more tolerant and hopefully Scotland's long running issues with bigotry will abate (to some degree, there will always be rockets).
What I believe will happens is much as now. Work will continue, taxes will be taken and benefits will be paid. In fact there may well be a wee boom from the work required to split up services. Then slowly north and south will drift to wherever their electorates dictate. I don't see the economy as a deciding factor. How much I am paid is unlikely to change unless significant tax changes occur, which could easily happen after a No (Westminster cuts budgets, Holyrood ups Income Tax to make up the shortfall) as a Yes.
What would be my ideal future?
This UK would use PR at every level of government and investment would be spread evenly as no one region would have a greater call on the centre.
Why yes, Scottish Independence.
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
It was Eastercon at the weekend and, before the happy memories fade, I'll try to get a few of them down.
1) Being very busy.
This was certainly one of the most jam-packed conventions I've been to. There were many points on the programme where I would have happily gone to multiple items. I missed things like the Falsetto Socks and my dinner because there was simply to much good stuff on.
Thanks to all who organised and ran items.
2) Running things.
I ran items. More than I've run since Confounding Tales. They were something stupid involving flying Mars Bars, something stupid involving a spinning torch and impossible questions and something stupid involving Thirties serials. The last was referred to on Twitter as "the most random thing I've been to all week" which I take as a compliment.
3) Writerly things.
I spent a large part of the weekend at the "Writer's table" in the main bar. Talking too much to some and not enough to others. But boring them all. It was great fun and I thank them all for putting up with me. But I also put myself out there under the name of writer.
This happened in two ways. Firstly, in a fit of drink fuelled pique I signed up for the open mic reading on Saturday night. Then, on seeing the calibre of people on it, panicked. But I overcame my fear, read a bit from Maukit and had some nice feedback afterwards. So thanks to those there, sorry if it wasn't your thing and apologies to anyone who wanted to come but I didn't tell out of fear.
The second way was that, just before the con, Christine mailed me to say she needed a space on a quiz filled. I said yes without thinking and so, on Monday lunchtime, was on a team of Writers against a team of Scientists. The other writers were John Meaney, Charlie Stross and Juliet McKenna making me a quivering mess at the introductions. I declared myself a fraud and hid behind the laughter.
Other than that the quiz went not badly and I helped keep the team in the hunt even if we eventually lost.
As karmic balance to this proclamation of writer-ness I did get two rejections over the weekend so I'm not doing that again.
4) Beer Humphing
Sha, my bidey in, was in charge of supplying the beer for the weekend. She did an excellent job of it but I did find myself lifting more barrels of beer than is normal in a weekend.
I picked up plenty of books but of note were La Femme, an anthology from Newcon, The Moon King by Neil Williamson and Hal Duncan's collection, Scruffians. Looking forward to them all.
All in it was a cracker of a convention and a fitting marker to the, I've just realised, twenty years of cons I have now been going to since Albacon '94.
Thanks to all involved. I am now really looking forward to Worldcon in August.
Incidentally, I learned the best insult on Sunday night. It is an old Scots word which Andrew J. Wilson taught us and is rumplefyke, an itchy bum. I will treasure it.
Friday, 11 April 2014
Not much to say on the writing front. Much writing is ongoing but no new acceptances. I am building up a nice pile of stories which are either out for consideration or awaiting a fresh tweak after a rejection which hopefully means that I can build a momentum behind me.
The one writing type item of note was that last week Caledonia Dreamin' had a launch/pimping session at The Dick Institute in Kilmarnock, where Chris Kelso, one of the editors, works. It was a very nice wee night with the all important free wine and where I did my first public reading. A very nerve wracking five minutes where I read out the first few sections of my wee story and, I'm pleased to say, no one complained.
Next up on the horizon is Eastercon, which this year is in Glasgow. This makes it much easier to get to but also means I have fallen into the trap of volunteering to do things. Especially foolish as they appear to have pulled together a good programme with plenty I would have enjoyed going to.
Satellite 4 Eastercon Programme
Myself I am running three daft things, Mars Attacks on Friday evening (opposite a Women in Science and Writer's Group panels I would like to see), Spin The Pulsar (opposite a Guest of Honour talk) and How do the get out of that? on the Sunday evening (opposite the BSFA awards and a cocktail tasting).
I also hope to attend the Newcon Book (opposite an interesting sounding panel on Sherlock Holmes) launch to celebrate several people getting published (and cadge free wine) and Planet Scotland (opposite the Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre) a reading by some local writers of note.
I may also go to the bar.
This is more planning in advance of an Eastercon than I have done in quite some time and hopefully indicative of a fine convention.
Anyhoos, I hope I shall post again soon, and not about conservatory maintenance woes. Perhaps I will see you in the Eastercon bar. Drink the Real Ale, it is lovely.