JRM

I am really baffled by all the Jacob Rees Mogg stuff.

In the 2017 election you had to get to the age of around 50 before you had more chance of voting for the Tories than Labour. There seem to be two schools of thought on this coming out of the Conservative party. The first one is “we’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas”, and the second one, being pushed by JRM supporters, is “That’s awfully low, let’s see if we can raise it to 75”.

JRM is an eloquent and talented orator. He also occasionally writes articles in the Telegraph. If you have heard him speak and think he’s insightful, it’s worth reading his writing to cure yourself of this misconception. Verbally, he is able to hide a lot of weak logic behind strong oration skills. In writing, it’s much harder to mask these things.

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Neuroma updates…

I increased my activity levels a bit over the last two weeks. The first week was for reasons beyond my control, and the second because I had a week off work and ended up running three times. Last week, Google Fit tells me I was more active than 89% of people in my town, which is always nice to see.

The neuroma seems to have handled it OK in that it’s not really been a problem other than some superficial twinges.

But there’s been other developments in that the right foot is now twinging too, AND, I’m getting some occasional sharp pain around my big toe on the left foot, which, and I hate to say it, seems to be around the 1st/2nd metatarsal joint. It’s not news that there’s a morton’s neuroma in the right foot too but I’ve managed to avoid chronic pain from it for the last year and a half or so, so maybe it will settle again.

The additional pain in the left foot is a bit worrying, but we’ll have to see where that goes. Apparently neuromas in this position are called a Joplin’s neuroma and are very rare, so if the feeling persists then I really need to go to a podiatrist and ask WTF is going on. It seems odd to me that I’m experiencing new pain in my left foot without noticeably further irritating the existing neuroma, which should be very, very sensitive to mechanical imperfections.

Therefore I’m suspecting that the toe separators may be to blame, so I’m going to stop wearing them for a few weeks and see what happens.

This all adds to the ‘WTF’ element that I’ve experienced before. When this kicked off in my right foot around three years ago I had a lot of general pain alongside it all around the ball of my foot, not just in the morton’s neuroma zone. I distinctly remember going through a phase where I often felt I was walking on tiny bits of gravel.

Perhaps also significantly, and perhaps not, I also have some very minor pain in the outside of my ankles, around the bony thing which Google informs me is called the lateral malleolus; maybe the peroneal tendon. So I will also do some ankle mobility exercises.

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Neuroma progress or lack thereof

The last few weeks are totally inconclusive as regards the neuroma. I started wearing my toe spacers every night because it seemed to stave off the latent post-run pains, but then I had to suddenly cut the amount of time I was spending in them because they were irritating the skin between my toes. It probably needs to harden up a bit.

In the meantime, I’ve had a slight increase in pain levels. I’ve edged back into the ‘pain’ zone and not just discomfort.

Maybe this is because I have worn the toe spacers less, or maybe I am maxing out the amount of activity that it can handle. My current activity levels are about 10km running per week and 20-25km walking. I really want to add in an extra run per week but that’s not happening at the moment.

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Borders

The BBC News article on an Irish/UK border today is interesting for its comment section. There are quite a few people saying that neither Ireland nor Northern Ireland wants a hard border so there won’t be one, it’s just the BBC being unpatriotic and unbrexity, total non-story, etc…

So now we’ve gone full circle. Some people live in a bizarre world where they want to close the borders to stop the EU fiddling with our affairs, but then decide to leave the borders open because they think closing them is some kind of EU conspiracy. They apparently haven’t realised that if we don’t have a hard border with Ireland then we don’t have a hard border with the EU.

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Creativity

Buzzfeed published some EU polling data today which has gained a bit of attention.

The data itself is completely uninteresting. It asks for opinions on a set of related questions then gives answers as if they are independent. This means it equates to “1. Have cake, 2. Eat it”. It mostly shows exactly what you’d expect; remainers distribute around the most pro-EU options, leavers distribute around the most anti-EU options. In the middle of the spectrum, remainers and leavers were most likely to answer similarly, but never in unified support of any issue. According to this data, there is literally no course of action, achievable or otherwise, which unites voters in any way. You might get to around 55% support on some issues, if you’re lucky, but that’s your ceiling.

But instead of “British voters as conflicted as ever”, the Telegraph chose to run the story as MOST REMAINERS BACK HARD BREXIT.

In some ways it still surprises me that people are happy to buy supposedly serious newspapers which report such incorrect stories. I can understand the mentality that the Sun or the Express is so hyperbolic and ridiculous that it’s basically entertainment and it’s taken with a pinch of salt. The Telegraph, however, is incredibly boring and if you are reading it it’s because you want to maintain a fictional view of the world, which in many ways is far worse.

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Reflections

There is some political reflection filtering out from CCHQ at the moment about what caused them to perform so poorly in the general election.

Something the Conservatives aren’t really getting is that the reason Corbyn’s support surged is that people have had enough of the current incarnation of capitalism. The age divide is telling. Corbyn didn’t just convince idealistic students, he won the majority of under 50s. It’s a pretty devastating blow to your economic credibility as a capitalist when a majority of working aged people would rather support a man routinely described by the media as a communist.

The Conservatives’ problem can be stated simply: You can’t expect ordinary people to be capitalists when capitalism is not allowing ordinary people to gain capital.

Self proclaimed free market advocates will argue that Corbyn’s brand of economics would be a punishment for being rich. This is a very emotional interpretation of what could also be described as a correction. I think the difference between the free marketers in the Lib Dems and the free marketers in the Conservatives is that the Lib Dems tend to understand that the market has to distribute its gains fairly and reward work put in for everyone for the free market as a whole to be sustainable, whereas Conservatives (and libertarians) generally don’t foresee that the market’s freedom is jeopardised by allowing it to fail to serve the people funding it.

The idea that Theresa May will do anything to address this is pretty far fetched, though. She’s left herself virtually powerless and her government is myopically focused on brexit. The longer the problem goes on, the more likely a bold left wing government becomes.

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Stats

Some notable stats from YouGov today:

61% of leave voters think that significant damage to the economy is a price worth paying for brexit as long as it doesn’t affect them much.
39% of leave voters think that themselves of a family member losing their job is a price worth paying for brexit
19% of remain voters want to see brexit damage the economy so they are proved right, which might be a bit of a pyrrhic victory given the stats above.

For leavers, there is a strong correlation between age and being content with economic damage. At age 65+, 71% of leavers are happy with the prospect of inflicting significant economic damage upon their relatives.

This highlights an ironic failure in David Cameron’s strategy. He insulated pensioners from the economy such that even as wages fell, pension household income grew. He based his EU remain campaign on the economy and was surprised to find that pensioners didn’t care about it.

These stats go further than simply not caring about the economy and are surprising, no, astonishing, in that the large majority of pensioners are happy to see their children and grandchildren lose their jobs in the name of brexit. You could simply say this is incredibly selfish and leave it at that. I’m discontent with this explanation because I think that people in general are a bit selfish, but not incredibly selfish. I also don’t think they’d happily admit to being incredibly selfish in an opinion poll. Therefore I propose that instead of actual malice, this is more likely to be widespread delusional and cult-like thinking brought about by sustained exposure to tabloids and little interaction with the working-aged world.

With the triple lock in place and wages suppressed by brexit we will likely see the difference between pensioner income and worker income grow quickly over the next few years. Note that the average pension-age household already earns more than the average working age household in the UK. This isn’t particularly good news for pensioners as it increases the chance of them suffering a very sharp correction when public resentment bubbles over a critical threshold.

Or, as Margaret Thatcher said, the problem with socialists is they eventually run out of other people’s money.

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