Brexit and Corbyn

Today Jeremy Corbyn asserted that mass immigration from the EU undermines British workers. It sounds good superficially, as long as you are prepared to overlook the one small problem that there’s just no evidence that it’s correct. Nobody has ever managed to show that this statement doesn’t fall afoul of the lump of labour fallacy, except when constrained to such specific circumstances which affect so few people as to cease being interesting.

It’s not really surprising that Corbyn is pro-brexit, because brexit is an extreme act of protectionism which fits well within a hard socialist ideology.

It’s interesting that people’s opinions on Corbyn seem to be negatively correlated with their opinions on brexit. I can understand younger remainers backing Corbyn regardless because there’s a distinct lack of choice and for younger people he’s at least pretending to pay attention, which makes him the better option by default. For older brexiters, however, the polarisation is much more dishonest. Corbyn gets slated by older brexiters as being an extreme socialist who would destroy the country with his naive economic policy, but here he is with what amounts to an extreme economic policy which is well rooted within hard socialism and which a lot of people think is naive and dangerous, and yet, it is actually in perfect agreement with most older brexiters’ views on the economics of brexit.

Time will tell who is correct, but you can’t have it both ways.

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Preventable mistakes

I finally got the elusive second weekly run in. I’ve had minimal neuroma pain this week so I went for it.

I made an interesting discovery on Saturday that my foot strike was pretty heavy on my left foot. In the middle of some half hearted balancing poses, inspiration struck and I decided to hop between the poses on either leg. On the right leg, I landed softly and quietly, whereas on the left, my heel slammed into the floor noisily. This also fit in with the fact my left leg’s balance is far less stable. This led me on quite a long journey which ended up with me resolving to improve my balance, my hip strength and general hopping abilities. But also it occurred that the poses I was doing were very similar to the POSE running method.

Anyway, after four days of intensive hip and balance training, my legs feel looser and my left leg’s balance is noticeably improving. In another week there’ll probably be symmetry. I have all the muscle strength already from lifting weights, it just needs a bit of more functional training. But the POSE thing stuck with me and after having watched a few videos and read up a bit, when I was running this evening I was trying to focus on pulling my back foot off the ground with my hamstrings.

It half worked. It was pretty weird actually. I felt like I was going really fast and couldn’t slow down, but Strava later informed me that I was at the slow end of my pacing. I think the reason for this was that by lifting my foot off the ground I was shortening the cycle and hitting a higher cadence than I’m used to, which felt like more effort. This is fine; higher footstep turnover means less time on the ground, less time supporting my weight, less range of motion in supporting my weight, and, in theory, lighter impacts. Some of the time I was hitting a pretty solid mid-foot strike on both feet. I’m not sure I felt light, but I was certainly quiet. Other times, it just wasn’t happening and I couldn’t explain why. I think I was probably kicking my foot out behind me slightly rather than lifting it straight up, i.e. lifting too much by flexing my knee and not enough by flexing my hips. Then I came home, watched another POSE video, spent a few minutes jumping, leaning and running very slowly up and down my living room bare foot and felt like I ‘got’ it a bit more, but whether that will still apply when I’m outside and wearing shoes is another matter.

So, the current state is:

1) I have to wait and see now how well the neuroma coped with two runs per week and whether I can keep it up consistently. It can take a few days for this to become obvious.
2) Landing heavily and asymmetrically is a ‘preventable mistake’ which I want to sort out and assess fairly before I head down the slightly scarier routes.
3) The POSE thing is just an interesting distraction but I quite like it because when I do the exercises I put weight through my forefoot and it doesn’t hurt. That gives me confidence to use my body correctly by hopefully counter-acting any conscious or subconscious issues where my body might be thinking “oh, there’s a neuroma, better protect the forefoot”. It is not really my intention to strictly transition to POSE, but I’ll definitely be giving my form a few nudges.

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Running, or not

So… predictably, I once again defer the bi-weekly run schedule until next week.

Sunday felt like a good run, but I went too fast and I felt it in my left calf on Monday. I need much more discipline with this. I also had kind of a dull ache in the neuroma area which felt like a bruise. It improved after some calf stretches but I’m still left with a Vague Feeling Of Discomfort™. On Monday evening it gave me a few minor jolts, but nothing major. It’s interesting that the pain seems to move along the nerve with intensity. When it was at its worst, it was a deep pain from within my forefoot around the metatarsal joints. It felt like something tunnelling along there. With lessened pain, the sharper sensations tend to be at the very front of the fatty pad of my foot and closer to the skin. I still get aches anywhere up to the end of my toes though.

So, still in limbo…

I do still aim to get that elusive second weekly run in as soon as possible though. Hopefully next week. If I can get two runs per week and not feel that I’m not making any preventable mistakes like going too fast or going too far then I’ll feel much happier about deciding what to do next.

In related news I bought some gel toe separators at the weekend. For the first few days it was hard to wear them for more than about 15 minutes at a time but most days after work this week I’ve worn them for a few hours, on and off. They might give me a few extra nanometers for the nerve to sit in. How effective they will be depends on whether my problem is caused by a simple lack of space, or some other mechanic stress. I also wonder if some of the vague discomfort I’m feeling is minor damage from the soft tissue being stretched more than it’s used to. If so it should be fairly temporary.

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Neuroma updates

The neuroma state is: it’s probably improving but very slowly. I ran 5k last weekend for the first time in, I don’t know, 3 months? Maybe 4. Then 4k this weekend (I was aiming for 5, but I’ve lost a lot of endurance, there’s a heat wave and my pacing was bad).

There was some post-run pain last week, but it wasn’t too bad. In general it is currently better than it has been at any point in the last six months, and that includes the zero running months, so that’s good, but as it’s such a slow process I am always wondering if it’s stalled and this is as good as it gets, in which case it’s not good enough and I need to get it sorted out, but…

…At the moment I’m stuck in limbo in that it’s bad enough that I don’t want to run on it much, but it’s not bad enough that I want to pursue actual professional treatment (which will be invasive). Hopefully it will continue to improve and in a few months it won’t bother me much.

As it has been stable for the last few weeks, the next test will be to run twice a week consistently, which I’m intending to start next week. I did run twice a week in the week of the end-of-May bank holiday, but wasn’t sure it was really up to it so the past 2 or 3 weeks have been one-run-only weeks.

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The nasty party is back

The summary of the election seems to be that, defying all expectations of pollsters, the youth actually voted. The difference this election is that the youth had a very positive politician representing them who actually connected with them. Corbyn’s optimism is infectious, and the youth tend to get their information more close to the source than older people, so the hyperbolic tabloid attacks on Corbyn seemed so unbelievable as to fall flat.

The Tories have a growing problem here in that they are appealing mainly to socially regressive older people, who are a diminishing population. They underestimated just how much the youth distrusts them.

The ‘youth’ is a growing population. Conservatism is popular among people who are parents, home-owners and fairly settled in their career, who have established themselves into a safe position and don’t want to see the boat rocked. Thanks to the lethargic economic recovery of the last ten years, young people are delaying marriage, having children, and home ownership due to poor financial prospects. The Conservatives aren’t just alienating 18-25 year olds, they’re alienating 18-45 year olds.

Instead of addressing this, Theresa May has doubled down on a losing strategy by allying herself with the DUP, a set of extremely backwards fringe Christian fundamentalists. The values the DUP holds are from another century. They are completely alien to anyone to anyone who grew up in the Blair era or later.

Cameron spent a lot of effort detoxifying the ‘nasty’ image of the Conservative party and adding a strong liberal streak to what was previously a very condescending party. Theresa May has undone all of that hard work in the last 24 hours.

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STRONG and STABLE ☑

The general election result is absolutely hilarious.

Many of us knew we were never going to win this, which we accepted. What we didn’t know was that everybody else was going to lose too.

The aftermath is even more hilarious: Theresa May asks for a bigger mandate, loses her existing mandate instead, then carries on and hopes nobody notices. I think you might be on borrowed time, Theresa…

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Final election thoughts/predictions

I’ll be blunt: both options are terrible.

Under the Tories the economy has floundered, and thanks to brexit it will continue to flounder for the foreseeable future. The main losers will be as in the financial crash: recent graduates who end up in unemployment and underemployment for years after graduation, and people who do end up on the career ladder but end up with stagnant or falling wages because of the extra competition. We are already at a net loss from 2008 in terms of pay, from which we haven’t recovered, so continuing to devalue people’s wages should be interesting in all the wrong ways. With Theresa May having already burnt through her satisfaction ratings she won’t have a long shelf-life when brexit begins to take a real form. Far be it from a strong and stable government, we’ll probably see an internal power struggle in 2019 with key people setting out their positions and undermining each other before that.

I have a slight preference for a Labour victory because they have the advantage of being an unknown, i.e. they might surprise us and govern the country well and in such a way that encourages prosperity. There’s no risk of surprise competence with a Conservative government; Conservative performance is well known and understood to represent a slow downward trend. The slim possibility of being surprised is really the only positive I feel towards Labour. However, it would be unfair to thrust Labour into the brexit negotiations, which I fully expect to be a disaster, and let them take all the flack. I’d prefer that the Tories suffered the reputation hit from that, since it is a mess of their making.

Overall I am very pessimistic whichever way it goes. Whatever the outcome, the country took a very significant step onto a backwards path last June and this election offers no change of direction. The source of our problems is that we have a combination of weak politicians who are afraid to explain to voters why they are wrong, and unintelligent voters who refuse to entertain the possibility that they might be wrong.

Prediction: Cons 360 seats/42% of the vote, Labour 210/35%, other parties no large difference versus their current seat count. The interesting thing will be Labour significantly increasing their vote share while also losing seats, which will hopefully prompt them to start backing electoral reform.

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