Quote of the day: Democracies and opinion polls

If the Tories get a majority, I think you have to accept that enough people want to push ahead with Brexit for that to have happened. Here’s the best part though Remainers: you don’t have to like this or even accept it. You can keep hollering as much as you like about staying in the EU. That’s your right in a free, liberal democracy. You can keep arguing for another EU referendum if you like. That’s how the system works. The government has a majority to do what it said it would and those who oppose the government get to keep making the case that something different is better. Everyone gets their say and no one needs to kowtow to some glorified opinion poll that happened almost four years ago. This is why representative democracy works and is great while direct democracy sucks.

Nick Tyrone

Quote of the day: This is not fine!

Look, there might be interesting and educational things to say about this election. I’m sure there is interesting analysis to be done about the details of the promises being made and the processes going on behind at the scene but at some point you have to point out that everyone involved in this election appears to have doused themselves in petrol, set themselves on fire and then jumped behind the wheel of a clown car which they’re now driving at high speed around a race track constructed out of balsa wood and dynamite.

Nick Barlow

Quote of the day: The sociopath’s sociopath

Johnson then moved on to his familiar Brexit lies. Parliament had blocked Brexit for the past three years. He still hasn’t quite realised that no one has done more to block Brexit than himself – first by leaving Theresa May’s government and voting against her deal, then by pulling his deal and demanding an election after his withdrawal agreement had won a comfortable majority in the Commons.

John Crace

Voting for lizards

In So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, Douglas Adams wrote:

“[Ford said] “.. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
“Odd,” said Arthur. “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”
“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”
“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
“But,” said Arthur, going in for the big one again, “why?”
“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.”

I suspect Spinninghugo may have been thinking of this when he suggested that you don’t vote tactically.

Five Things #10

For He Can Creep by Siobhan Carroll is a dark fantasy about Jeoffry, a cat who fights demons, Jeoffry’s human, a poet, who is confined to an insane asylum, and Satan, who schemes.

Stephen Dowling suggests that cats are more social than we realise.

Margaret Schotte asks how the sailors of early modern Europe learn to traverse the world’s seas. The answer: they learned maths.

Nick Barlow argues that the first past the post electoral system is a significant factor in why British politics is broken.

And Luke at Start Your Meeples suggests four opening strategies for Hive.

Quote of the day: The Gorgon will not be slain

With a sustained display of incompetence, cowardice, delusion and ideological mania, British politics has created a situation so monstrous and writhing with venom that the public cannot bear to look at it. Brexit is like the mythical Gorgon that turns to stone all who meet its gaze. It must instead be stalked indirectly, using the monster’s reflection in their polished shield.

Rafael Behr

Five Things #9

Between the Dark and the Dark by Deji Bryce Olukotun is a powerful story about hard choices and the potentially calamitous consequences of failing to recognise cultural differences.

Five hundred years ago, Leonardo da Vinci came up with a radically different bridge design to connect the city of Constantinople with its neighbor city Galata. Now, researchers at MIT have proven that his bridge would have worked.

Daniel Crown looks at Hnefatafl, the board game at the heart of Viking culture.

Dean Burnett explains, scientifically, why “Edgy” comedy can get fu*ked.

And finally, Nick Barlow reviews the various parties’ prospects in the upcoming UK general election and concludes that things are far too volatile to give predictions about what the result of the election might be.