May not to blame after all and the week’s other good news, including The Petition, a new hero and how to stop Google snooping

24 March 2019

First, two corrections of ‘inaccuracies’ in earlier rambles:

  • the PM has explained that the Brexit fiasco wasn’t actually her fault, it was Parliament’s fault for not supporting her (imagine anyone intentionally antagonising all the people whose support you need to survive!) and
  • the civic leaders of Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Nottingham think HS2 will boost their economies (but none of them said if they’d ever travelled down the single-track ‘main line’ from Waterloo between Salisbury and Exeter).

But, with all the doom and gloom around, let’s look at the good things we’ve heard.  There is a petition to the Government to cancel our notice under Article 50 and remain in the EU which has so far gathered well over 5 million signatures. If you haven’t signed it yet and want to start again from whatever position you hold, go to  Then tell your friends.

And, in support of this petition, Saturday saw the largest protest march in London since the one against the Iraq war (the latter of which I’m proud to say I was on).

What the petition asks is now, of course, the only obvious solution to everybody’s problems.  For remainers, it removes their fear of the wilderness and their anger about the lies on which the 2016 vote was based;  for the leavers, it provides time to set up a knowledge-based referendum so that the decision about whether to accept the May deal (which the EU has made clear is the only one on offer) or remain in the EU can be taken by ‘the people’ rather than the small bunch of divided, disloyal and demotivated MPs that populate the House of Commons.

There was also perverse comfort in the exposure of Operation Yellowhammer by the Guardian’s investigative team so we now know that at least the civil servants, who tend to know what they’re doing, are trying their hardest to prepare for a no-deal exit, just in case.

Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley (an MP from a very much less-privileged background than almost any other MP), glammed up and posed for a fashion shoot in the Sunday Times’ Colour Magazine on 9 March.  Opponents accused her of hypocrisy but it was just a bit of fun and she doesn’t get to keep the clothes so why shouldn’t she enjoy yourself before she gets killed like her friend Jo Cox?

And I’ve got a new hero (there’s been a gap in my life since I demoted Aung San Suu Kyi a few years ago) in the form of Jacinda Ardern.  After the mass shootings last weekend in a mosque, she refused to dignify the murderer as a human by using his name, and she took the leaders of all the other parties to Christchurch to mourn with the community.  Also, when asked if she agreed with Trump’s claim that right wing violence wasn’t growing, she said “No” – no waffling  or subject changes, just a straight answer to a straight question.

And then, within a week, she introduced sweeping and immediate changes to New Zealand’s gun laws, severely restricting the sale of guns and promising to introduce a buy-back scheme to people who already owned the things.

How much are tickets to New Zealand?

Good news also appeared on my computer last week when an ad invited me to try out the new Range Rover last week.  Nothing unusual about that except it was in French.  Which proves that my VPN really does make it more difficult for people to find out where I am and all these marketing geezers who suck my personal details into their nosey little (well, OK, nosey huge) databases don’t even know my first language.

We all know that Google has stored every internet search we’ve ever made and will sell our details to anyone with enough money but my VPN supplier has just said there are two new search engines which don’t use cookies to identify users and discard IP addresses from their server logs.  The best known is DuckDuckGo* which shows the same results to everyone instead of the results produced by Google which are targeted by reference to your profile.  StartPage offers a similar service and sources its results from Google but without the tracking that Google does.  I’ve tried DuckDuckGo and it works as a search engine.


*   Don’t ask me

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