Black Mirror – San Junipero

Black Mirror: Series 3 is remarkably well-made. Ever since its 2011 premiere, showrunner Charlie Brooker has been gleefully dramatising and satirising mankind’s encroaching technological empowerment as debilitating fetishes, or grand traps. He seems to delight in misery and misanthropy.

After the concentrated pastel nightmare fuel of Nosedive, the pant-filling terror of Playtest and the cruel nihlistic vigilantism and twisted moral code of Shut Up and Dance – the real treat of series 3 is San Junipero. And it’s an instant classic – in much the same way that Breaking Bad‘s One Minute, or The West Wing‘s Two Cathedrals is. Continue reading “Black Mirror – San Junipero”

EU and Independence Paper

The Scottish Socialist Party recognised that a Brexit vote under the present circumstances would unlock a “carnival of reaction” – a tidal wave of racism and little Islander mentality which would continue to blame and demean migrants and those seeking asylum for Britain’s catastrophic failures on working class people.

We also noted the revolutionary left Leave argument was strategically inept – and was nowhere near strong or organised enough to counter the brutal right’s mentality – and was one that chose to walk away against the rise of sweeping fascist parties across Europe. Continue reading “EU and Independence Paper”

I rely on a lot of people to make me whole

Last night, I was working with a comrade on implementing a discussion forum. Looking at its functionality, fixing its breakages and ensuring it had access to all it needed to function correctly – and test with more people in due course. He was looking at administrative functionality, I was trying to ensure that it wasn’t going to fall over after being loaded to the party server.

We both had similar computers, laptops of similar calibre. But he gawked as I was reading error logs, fixing the errors and tying together disparate pieces of software and doing what I can to ensure that it cannot be owned. To me, this is what I do. I’ve learned how some of this works through half a lifetime of prodding and poking computers and their software to see how they work. It’s not a mystery – it is just study, experimentation and knowledge. And I am deeply average compared to many of my peers. Which is fine – you should never stop learning. Continue reading “I rely on a lot of people to make me whole”

Two years on – and the economics of campaigning

Saturday, I went to Stirling. Later in the evening, the Stirling Branch comrades had a curry night, to raise cash for the branch. We ended up with a shade under a hundred quid – which was by no means bad.

sunday_timesThe same night, there was a “supporters of the union” fundraiser – which raised around £300,000. It was attended largely by the filthy rich, and reported in the Sunday Times.

One of the big prizes was – “A fabulous chalet and a family home, with six bedrooms sleeping 12, all en suite. Although the chalet does not come with a chalet girl, we will provide one for you.” Continue reading “Two years on – and the economics of campaigning”

Biking to work

I’m a bit cheesed off that I have to travel nearly two and a half hours every day to work. I have to take two buses there and back, 30+ minute journeys each, and waiting time in connection. I try to make the best of it, by carrying a book or two, but I do miss my morning and afternoon bicycle rides to work. They were short enough to not get in the way, and long enough to build fitness, energy and power. Continue reading “Biking to work”

Oppression, equality and respect

There’s an acute shortage of socialists who aren’t fighting with one another. During the past four years of activism two things have become clear.

  • I’ve had no end of people being shut out and ostracised from politics because they’re ill-educated or say the wrong things without meaning to offend.
  • There’s no shortage of folk that are blinded by pious bullshit in the Scottish Left.

Continue reading “Oppression, equality and respect”

The European Question

It’s not been an easy choice. The Leave and Remain campaigns have been absolutely bereft of anything positive to say about the future of the nation either way.

I’m for Remain. But just barely – I do not endorse the EU as it is manifested. It’s nowhere near democratic enough. more weight could be placed on the power of directly-elected representatives in the parliament than the indirectly-elected ones in the Commission, for example. Continue reading “The European Question”

The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012

Serious concerns have been raised by political activists and civic society regarding the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 (henceforth, OBFA). In coming to this debate, I am interested in free speech, online media, and fair trials. Legally, it is a wide-open bourach. Continue reading “The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012”