Born Sleepy

February 23, 2017

In these crazy times, people have some seriously messed up ideas about democracy.

Here are some things that are not democracy:

  • winning a vote by lying about what your opponents have done in the past 1 2 3
  • winning a vote by making wild, unsubstantiated claims about what your opponents intend to do 1 2
  • winning a vote by lying about what you have done in the past 1
  • winning a vote by making wild, unsubstantiated promises, and then failing to fulfil any (or many) of them 2 4 5
  • winning a vote by framing the question in a way that doesn’t allow people to choose reasonable alternatives 3 4 5
  • winning a vote by framing the question in such a vague way that nobody can say what the result actually means 4
  • using the result of a vote won using one of these methods to justify never holding a similar vote again 3 4 5

If democracy means anything at all, then it requires informed choice.

Informed choice requires two things: being given an actual meaningful choice, and being given the relevant facts.

When any form of lying, obfuscation or outright fraud is involved in the win, then the winner (and their supporters) do not get to claim the moral high ground.

When any form of incompetent framing is involved, the winner (and their supporters) do not get to claim some sort of finality.

  1. see US presidential election  2 3

  2. see UK general election  2 3

  3. see UK referendum on proportional representation  2 3

  4. see UK referendum on Brexit  2 3 4

  5. see Scottish referendum on independence  2 3


May 30, 2016

If you follow this blog at all, you’ll probably have noticed by now that the site has been redesigned and simplified.

This coincides with me finally getting round to moving away from Drupal and towards a static design using Jekyll.

There is still quite a lot of the old site waiting to be ported, and quite a bit of cleanup to do on the new one, but hopefully I’ll get there eventually.


August 30, 2015

Increasingly, we’re running our lives - living our lives - through computers.

This is certainly true for someone like me. I make my living writing software, working online with colleagues scattered across different countries. I need computers to make what I make, and to test what I make, and to communicate with the people that I make it with. The people who buy what I make need a computer to do it, and then a computer to use it.

I also happen to live in a relatively remote part of the UK, far away from many of my friends and family, and from most useful shops, sources of entertainment, etc. So computers are a big part of my non-working life too. I shop online, I communicate online, I get my music, my reading, my news, my entertainment online.

The fact that I can use computers to do so much ought to be a positive thing, and in many ways of course it is. They can do amazing things, and I can’t even count the number of aspects of day to day living that are quicker, easier, more efficient, or just downright saner when done electronically.

And yet…


I haven’t been blogging much recently.

I’m not quite sure why. It’s certainly true that working on Sketch is keeping me busy, and what free time I have seems to be taken up these days by ownership of an old (and leaky) house.

I’m still very engaged in the whole business of doing what we (software developers) do - plus what could be loosely described as life-and-all-that-shit - and I feel that I’ve plenty to say.

Perhaps it’s just that I’ve been spending too much time drinking from the fire hose, and not taken enough time out to reflect on what I’ve read and post my comments here.

I hope that I don’t have an unrealistic view about the likelihood of many people reading or responding in any case. This is a prime example of vanity publishing I guess, but I find the process of writing down my thoughts enjoyable and occasionally useful (or cathartic).

Note to self: do a bit less, reflect a bit more, take the time to write it down.


September 14, 2014

The independence campaign has been fascinating, with a really good level of debate. In my personal world, Twitter and Facebook have been alive with links to brilliant articles from both sides, and impassioned posts by friends and strangers.

Though I think that I’m coming down in favour of a YES, I’ve been very torn, as I can see good arguments on both sides. I say think because I’m still not 100% certain.

Quite a few people I respect have questioned why I can see the sense in many of the economic warnings, and yet still want to go ahead. I know what they mean. I know that my heart says YES, but I’d like to be sure that my head does too.

This post is an attempt to explain why I want to vote YES. You could also see it as an attempt to convince myself that I’m doing the right thing.