This was the year that was
Well, look on the bright side. It wasn't 2016.
Yes, Trump became President. And since America is a militarised territory, he is also Commander In Chief. He didn't get assassinated, nor impeached. Which is quiet an achievement given that he appears to hate Mexicans, Muslims, foreigners in general, and homosexuals. He's basically Putin, only orange.
His inauguration speech talked of failing rich schools and rusted factories, or "American carnage" in his words. His words, so utterly bizarre, that Dubyah was moved to comment "That was some weird shit". And, well, that was about the best of his speeches in the year. Yeah, it all got weirder - just ask the Boy Scouts.
Foreign policy was diktat via tweet and his big achievements through the year were: failing to get rid of Obamacare, failing most of his slam-the-door policies towards foreigners, failing to keep many of his appointed team, moving an embassy and thus polarising not only global opinion but also ensuring the Arabs will hate Americans for a long time yet, and - of course - the best achievement of all, the giant "screw you" to Puerto Rico after a devastating hurricane destroyed huge swathes of the island's infrastructure. But it's okay, we overseas completely understand. Puerto Ricans aren't real Americans, plus they look like Mexicans, so... wait, hang on, maybe it was Puerto Ricans that did the Bowling Green massacre? The President's advisor said it, so it must be true, right? Right?
Yeah. That must be what he meant by Making America Great Again.
At least he hasn't started a war with North Korea.
On this side of the Atlantic, the Conservatives handed over Article 50 to inform the EU that Britain was walking away (based upon a tiny majority of the voters, which equates to a little over a third of the registered electorate, in a referendum where the people most likely to vote in favour of the EU were excluded). When that was done, instead of getting on with the task of negotiations, the Prime Minister, May, decided to hold the snap election she said she wouldn't hold "in order to strengthen her hand", failing to realise that at a table in Brussels, nobody cares how many Tory MPs are sitting in Westminster.
It was an interesting election indeed. Everybody lost. May lost her reasonable majority, and Corbyn lost but took it as a victory, and do the LibDems exist any more? It was a pretty big failure, except for the DUP (the people the Ulster Unionists call hardliners) who were brought in at the last moment to prop up May's ailing minority government. They were the only ones
crazygreedy enough to enter into a coalition with the Tories. The Tories that fail to find money to make meaningful pension increases suddenly find a billion quid down the back of the sofa to buy ten MPs. Well, that must make the DUP the richest party in UK politics. Maybe they could buy the Tories and disband them before they do any more damage?
So having effectively lost her mandate for a hard Brexit (funny how the "democratic will of the people" mantra doesn't include this), the Tories completely failed to make any sort of meaningful negotiation. Well, what can you expect when May says something and Johnson says the opposite. When an early morning last minute drama was supposed to conclude the first round of negotiation having taken months longer than it should have, only for Davis to try to pass it off as a mere "statement of intent".
- Aside: Unlike countries such as America and France where the 'leader' and the political 'house' can be in opposition (this was what affected Obama - a Democrat president and a Republican senate), in the UK it is very simple. The leading party must have a majority. If they do not have a majority, they must find a way to create a majority.
Trust me. Brexit is going to hurt and this isn't because the EU is punishing the UK (no matter what the Daily Fail and Express scream about), it's because the stupid goddamn worthless Tories are still playing games as to which one of them in the most important. But, then, that's what Brexit has been all along. An extended ludicrous power trip that will f**k an entire country as collateral damage.
Round one of negotiations was concluded without actually being concluded. Us Brits in Europe and Europeans in the UK ought to have more or less the same rights we have now. Maybe. Perhaps. The border between Ireland and the UK is... uh...? I have a suspicion the EU pushed this through just so they can start doing some actual bloody work on the hard stuff. If three fairly simple things takes this long, how long the trade agreements?
Of course, Brexit MPs and the unelected Farage wanted the leave date enshrined in law so on that day Out Means Out. They don't want to stay an hour longer in the EU than was implied by article 50. This is comically stupid given that not only has the UK failed to conduct meaningful negotiations (once a week and not bringing paperwork is not "meaningful"), but it took about seven years for a simpler negotiation with Canada.
The Brexit mob may make noise and scream and shout and get their sycophant newspapers to run stories about how unbelievable it is that France wants the UK to contribute to France performing immigration controls for Britain. But, when you get down to it, Britain is weak and has no proper allies. Pretty much everything the EU has asked for, the British have ultimately had to do. Oh, yes, Trump is May's bestest friend. Except Trump is protectionist and believes in America first, as the debacle with Bombardier should have made extremely clear.
But just remember - Farage, ever a man of principles, is going to keep his ~£73,000 pension because, in his words, "Why should my family suffer?". Suffer what? The fact that Brexit will be the greastest act of self harm a country has inflicted upon itself in times of peace? That £73,000 works out to be about £6,000 per month. That's three times the average wage of a Registered Nurse. And if paid from the EU, it might originally be in Euros, so may well remain the same relative amount should the pound crash post-Brexit. There has probably never been a greater example of I'm alright, Jack in modern history.
Away from politics, a sick bastard used his twisted interpretation of belief to target himself as a mobile bomb at girls enjoying a pop concert, killing 22 and injuring around 500.
Here in France, the citizens rejected the left and right and took a third option, a reformist President. Who they started hating the moment he began changing stuff. Leading to strikes and angry confrontations. In other words, nothing much changed.
In other news. British schoolchildren don't know if they are boys or girls, nobody is supposed to tell them, nobody likes Uber any more, Catalonia doesn't want to be a part of Spain any more, and pretty much every man is a pervert sex pest rapist nutjob.
And why the hell are there so many big fires happening in the UK?
A German newspaper publishes documents leaked from Appleby, an offshore law firm, revealing the tax evasion of many. Yet, as with the Panama Papers before, very little happens. There's a surprise.
Jiro Taniguchi died as did Sue Grafton - who only managed to make it as far as 'Y' in her well known Kinsey Millhone series.
On the plus side - we had a 2 minute 41 (and a sliver) second total solar eclipse. It crossed mainland America and nothing horrible happened. Nor did it bring about the End Of Days. About the dumbest thing I saw of the broadcasts was Mr. Orange looking at the sun without safety glasses. No, the bad stuff was to come in the shape of hurricane after hurricane (Harvey being the costliest natural disaster in American history, then Irma, then Maria...). And when there weren't hurricanes hitting America, there were plenty of shootings, such as the one at the music festival in Las Vegas which killed 58 people and 546 injured (the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in American history).
Wait... This is supposed to be the "good stuff that happened" part. Um... Um... Well, I guess we should be happy that a very bad person lost in Alabama. Woman marched all over the world in solidarity the day after Trump was inaugurated. Brexit is still slowly unravelling, SpaceX managed to get a rocket up and back down without anything blowing up, and Malala aced her A levels.
Here at HeyRick, it was a quiet year. I did some geeky stuff, I got myself a Samsung S7 (best phone I've ever had), I wrote a 31st issue of Frobnicate - in French no less (well, sort of French), got myself a new little satellite receiver that can output HD channels to analogue video and record to a USB device, settled on a replacement printer that's nowhere as good as my Brother, wrote a manga viewer for RISC OS, upgraded to a Pi2, fixed a bunch of ARMv7 bugs and resuscitated Zap, built another (simpler) oscilloscope, published a fiction series I started writing 27 years ago (!), and gave up on writing off topic rubbish on the RISC OS forums...
Yeah, it was a quiet year.
I refrained from writing about Brexit for the large part. The only suitable reply to most of it is a looped video of my beating my head off the wall.
Well, that was 2017. How much did it suck for you?
Playmobil advent calendar
I just remembered, I never did show a final picture of the stuff in the advent calendar.
Okay then. Here you go:
What? You want it unwrapped too? Sheesh. Oh, alright. Since it's crappy weather, Sunday, and nothing on TV...
Yes, Playmo-poop. ☺ And I'd worry about the cats/mole/hedgehogs on the left. They're definitely up to something. BUT OH MY GOD THE WOMAN ON THE HORSE IS A MEXICAN (or maybe Puerto Rican?). QUICK! NOBODY TELL TRUMP!!!
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Last read at 20:44 on 2018/06/24.
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