Contempt of democracy


My MP. Mims Davies, recently emailed her latest Brexit update to Eastleigh constituents but if, like me, she didn’t send it to you, don’t worry; it didn’t say anything new. In fact, despite my response to her last update, it contains the same specious claims as before: control, borders, money, citizen rights, jobs, etc. I guess she didn’t read my letter.

It would be a joke if it wasn’t so serious, unfortunately it looks like Mims is going to carry on spreading the same misleading alternative facts as the prime minister until the bitter end. It’s this complete contempt for democracy that has got us in to the current mess and, whatever happens on the 29th March, it’s not going to end well.

Both leave voters and remain voters have legitimate concerns about democracy and respecting the referendum, and both are right to feel aggrieved because we have all been treated with utter contempt from the very beginning. Starting with David Cameron’s reasons for giving us a referendum.

If you think the EU referendum had anything to do with a genuine concern for what the country wanted, ask yourself why there wasn’t a referendum on something the country actually cared about before 2016. For example, austerity, or the NHS.

No, David just wanted to solve a problem he had with the Conservative party, and protecting the conservative party has featured just as strongly in the self inflicted crisis ever since then.

Having called for a show referendum it would have been nice if MPs had taken it seriously but unfortunately they proceeded to treat the whole thing with just as much contempt as the prime minister had. No need for a threshold on such a constitutionally significant question because it’s just advisory. That turned out well didn’t it.

Happily we don’t need to say too much about the actual referendum campaign, suffice to say it was universally awful.

And the result of trying to unite the Conservative party was a toxic narrow victory for leaving the EU, which looks like it has successful divided the country for a generation. It’s also worth noting the result is unsafe but since it was advisory, who cares?

Things looked bad, but even at this stage David could have built a sensible consensus on the way forward that truly respected the narrow win for leaving the EU. Dave? Dave?

Oh.

David Cameron outside number 10

Photo: Open Government Licence v3.0

Things really took a turn for the worse when Theresa-totalitarian tendencies-May moved in. Respect for democracy? Don’t make me laugh! From the outset, this was her chance to get rid of all those pesky foreigners that she’d been failing to keep out for her entire career.

Obviously triggering article 50 without a plan and calling a snap election makes perfect sense. Who wouldn’t give up their best (only?) leverage and waste a good chunk of the subsequent two year deadline just to lose your majority?

Having made these unforced errors, the contempt for democracy shifts up a gear. She hasn’t once behaved as if she lost her majority. In attempting to ram her own personal Brexit through, she has trampled over parliament at every opportunity. Mostly successfully to MP’s great shame.

Talking of shameful MPs, my MP is now essentially voting to leave the EU on 29th March with no deal. I would really love to know how she thinks this is in anyway a good thing for the UK or her Eastleigh constituency.

She still talks of 17.4 million people as if that number still exists, rather than being a fleeting coalition of people projecting their own vision of leaving onto the blank canvas of the leave campaign. What she’s actually doing is fuelling that belief that democracy is frozen in time in 2016 and must be respected at all costs, rather than being an ongoing process. It’s a dangerous illusion that will surely fail when people realise that none of the promises made in 2016 have been respected.

No one voted for the kind of Brexit that we’ll get if we leave the EU on the 29th March without honouring our international obligations.

Since MPs have so spectacularly failed to do their jobs over the last two years (obviously with some notable exceptions) it doesn’t seem unreasonable to go back to people with the options that are actually available.

Sadly Mims is not the only one to characterise a referendum on Theresa May’s own personal Brexit deal as a Second Referendum. Perhaps she’s confused because MPs have already had two chances to vote on the deal, but the rest of us haven’t even been given our first opportunity to provide our informed consent. In the unlikely event that the people voted to remain in the EU at this stage, how is that in any way disrespectful of the people in 2016? Or was the snap election disrespectful? It’s hard to keep up on what is democratic and what isn’t.

None of this is going end well, whether we eventually leave the EU or not. Thanks to a persistent pattern of contempt for democracy by a large number of people in the UK, including my MP, the mother of parliaments is not looking well. I fear that it’s almost too late to save her.

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Brexit Update


My response to Eastleigh MP Mims Davies’ latest Brexit Update:

On the 15th January, the Withdrawal Agreement was put before the House of Commons.

Ideally it would have been put before the House of Commons last year but the Prime Minister wasted yet more time.

This Agreement would:

Respect the referendum taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders and allowing us to trade with our friends and allies around the world.

We already have control of our laws, our money, and our borders. We already trade with our friends and allies around the world. It doesn’t even respect the promises made in the referendum.

Safeguard our economy, with large local employers like GE Aviation and Prysmian supporting the deal.

Leaving with a withdrawal agreement is certainly better than the alternative however, despite the impact to local businesses like GE Aviation and Prysmian, you have stated that you would support a disorderly exit.

Offer a compromise around which we can begin to heal our political divisions.

This agreement is far from a compromise. Despite her historic defeat, the Prime Minister has still failed to genuinely reach out to other parties to form a consensus on the way forward, preferring to capitulate to the usual suspects in her own party. She continually manages to deepen political divisions, not heal them.

Retain close diplomatic links to the EU while paving the way for a new trade relationship with our closest neighbours.

If only the UK could agree on what new trade relationship we want. Ideally one that avoids a hard border.

And avoid both the dangers of No Deal or No Brexit.

Please explain the dangers of no Brexit.

Nonetheless, Parliament, primarily down to MPs looking to frustrate this process and stop us from leaving the EU altogether, voted this Deal down.

This is clearly false. Parliament has now voted for exactly the same deal with the exception of the Northern Irish backstop. So it looks more like MPs want to frustrate the agreed provisions to ensure no hard border in the event that a future relationship cannot be agreed.

This outcome helps no-one, gets us no further forward & means that the deadlock continues for communities, businesses & jobs.

Tonight’s vote gets us no further forward either. The Prime Minister has essentially voted against her own deal with the EU. With 59 days to go, we are just one step closer to a disorderly exit, which communities and businesses are ill-prepared for.

That’s why I am actively supporting our focus on key next steps in the House of Commons which must come together & work out a way forward for ALL as the 29th March closes in.

What are you actively doing? Who are you actively working with? It doesn’t seem to be enough based on this evening’s debate.

Over and above everything is that there is no reason why we couldn’t leave the EU on the 29th March, and I absolutely do not want to see a long, drawn out extension of Article 50, a view that I have shared with the Prime Minister.

You would barely have had enough time to pass all the necessary legislation if MPs had supported the withdrawal agreement but they haven’t.

For those who back no deal, I do understand this sentiment. Many have said that they feel that the UK should leave the EU on the 29th March on WTO rules.

Leaving without a withdrawal agreement is the only outcome that doesn’t require something to change. WTO rules only cover a fraction of what we will need to be in place for the country to continue operating in 59 days time.

However, as we continue to celebrate record high employment in the UK, with The Resolution Foundation saying:

“low-income households, disadvantaged groups and traditionally low employment urban areas are benefitting most from Britain’s jobs boom.”

As a Member of Parliament, I have a responsibility to listen to local employers large and small across our area – such as Southampton Airport who I visited last Friday, and Proteum who I visited the week before. Both have shown me that, while they are taking a pragmatic approach to Brexit, leaving the EU without a deal would affect LOCAL jobs.

It will. Leaving with a deal is also likely to affect local jobs but we won’t know for sure how until we have negotiated a future relationship with the EU.

Some have said that they feel people were not ‘informed’ ahead of the referendum, and that therefore their vote to leave should not count. To those people I say that every home in the country was sent a pamphlet by the Government making VERY clear what leaving the EU could mean, and regardless, 52.5% of those that voted in the referendum in Eastleigh, voted to leave the EU. The turnout in that election was one of the highest recorded in any election in our constituency at 78.2%.

There were plenty of issues with the 2016 referendum, which I am sure will be discussed at length for many years, but it would be risible to suggest that a majority of people eligible to vote then would have expected either the deal the Prime Minister negotiated, or the consequences of a disorderly exit.

Others have said that they feel that there should be a second referendum. The vast majority of those pushing this option would privately prefer that we never left the EU, and the so called ‘Peoples Vote’ campaign is nothing more than a disingenuous ploy to reverse the result of the referendum.

I reluctantly support a referendum on the final deal, for a few reasons:

  • The current deadlock in Parliament
  • The inability of MPs to function effectively with the dangerous idea of a unified ‘will of the people’ from the 2016 referendum hanging over them
  • The gulf between what was promised in 2016 and what is now on offer

It may even provide the much needed space to begin to heal the divide which threatens to rip the country apart.

I very publicly assure you that I will be campaigning to remain in the EU in the unlikely event that there is another referendum.

But very quickly, let’s look at the political alternatives.

Labour Continue to fail to present their own Brexit plan, with many of their MPs continuing to support remaining in the EU and, unlike Union Leaders, Party Leaders and leading MPs, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn continues to refuse a meeting with the Prime Minister.

It would be nice if more of their MPs supported the wishes of their membership, but the Prime Minister has not made any serious attempts to work with other parties on a real compromise.

Lib Dems Have made clear that they wish to use a Second Referendum to ignore the result of the referendum and reverse the decision of 17.4 million voted for.

Arguably you want to use the 2016 referendum to ignore the wishes of voters in 2019. Does the current Parliament get to bind future Parliaments in the same way?

UKIP Have demonstrated how their plan would have no regard for safeguarding jobs or our economy, nor heal our nations divisions.

No argument there, although I fear the Conservative party is closer to UKIP than ever before.

In contrast, I am absolutely committed to delivering on the result of the EU Referendum and ensuring that we leave the European Union in a smooth and orderly way – and getting on with it – and that will be my continued mission. I have made VERY clear that I would not support a long, drawn out extension to Article 50, and while I would prefer to avoid leaving on WTO rules, I would support this, over the extension of Article 50, which would just lead to even more uncertainty and frustrate this process even further.

Unfortunately this is the clearest indication yet of your reckless disregard for the damage a disorderly exit will inflict on Eastleigh and the UK. I sincerely hope you will reconsider in the next 59 days.

Dissolution of Parliament (Permanent) Bill


A

BILL

TO

Confer power on the strong and stable Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament indefinitely.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

  1. The Prime Minister may dissolve parliament.
    (1) Once Parliament dissolves, Her Majesty may not issue the proclamation summoning a new Parliament.
    (2) This section has effect despite any provision made by or under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 or any other enactment.
  2. Short title
    This Act may be cited as the Dissolution of Parliament (Permanent) Act 2018.

The Houses of Parliament, seen across Westminster Bridge

Photo By Adrian Pingstone

EXPLANATORY NOTES

What these notes do

These Explanatory Notes relate to the Dissolution of Parliament (Permanent) Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 13 June 2018 (Bill 132).

  • These Explanatory Notes have been prepared by the Department for Exiting Parliamentary Democracy in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

  • These Explanatory Notes explain what each part of the Bill will mean in practice; provide background information on the development of policy; and provide additional information on how the Bill will affect existing legislation in this area.

  • These Explanatory Notes might best be read alongside the Bill. They are not, and are not intended to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill.

Overview of the Bill

  1. The Dissolution of Parliament (Permanent) Bill (“the Bill”) has a number of clauses which you do not need to concern yourself with. A summary of, and background to, the Bill is provided below.

  2. The Bill would give the strong and stable Prime Minister power to dissolve Parliament indefinitely.

Policy background

  1. The European Union Referendum Act 2015 (section 1) provided for the question of whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union to be put to a referendum. That referendum took place on 23 June 2016. A majority of those who voted in the referendum voted in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

  2. On 2 October 2016 the strong and stable Prime Minister announced that the Government would commence the formal process of leaving the European Union before the end of March 2017.

  3. The formal process of leaving the European Union was commenced on 29 March 2017.

  4. On 18 April 2017 the strong and stable Prime Minister announced her Government’s intention to hold a snap election to put a stop to the political gameplaying that was threatening the will of the people.

  5. On 8 June 2017 the people voted to twart the will of the people making the strong and stable Prime Minister’s job of delivering the will of the people, which she is very clear about, bloody difficult.

Legal background

  1. The procedure for withdrawing from the European Union is set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (‘TEU’). The first step in the procedure is for the Member State that has decided to withdraw to notify the European Council of its intention (Article 50(2)).

  2. In R (on the application of Miller and Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC 5 the traitorous Supreme Court considered whether it would be inconsistent with the terms of the European Communities Act 1972 for the strong and stable Prime Minister to give notice to the European Union, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty of the European Union, of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU Treaties, without a prior Act of Parliament. In an 8‐3 judgment the traitorous Supreme Court concluded that a prior Act of Parliament is required. The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was intended to provide the strong and stable Prime Minister with the necessary power to give notice of withdrawal under Article 50(2) however this is yet to be proved in court.

  3. The traitorous Supreme Court also considered arguments relating to the devolution acts and whether consent of the devolved administrations is required before notice to withdraw can be served. The unanimous decision of the court was that EU and other foreign affairs matters are reserved to the UK Government and Parliament and that the devolved legislatures do not have a veto on the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU.

Territorial extent and application

  1. This Bill extends, and applies in relation to, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  2. The Government does not care whether any provision gives rise to the need for a legislative consent motion in the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales or the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Fast-track legislation

  1. The Government intends to ask Parliament to expedite the parliamentary progress of this Bill by voting in favour without any debate. It would be a terrible shame for the strong and stable Prime Minister to have to leak any of the emails she has intercepted over the course of her career. In their report on Fast‐track Legislation: Constitutional Implications and Safeguards, the Undemocratic House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution recommended that the Government should provide more information as to why a piece of legislation should be fast‐tracked but the Government is not interested in what the Undemocratic House of Lords recommends.

Commentary on provisions of Bill

Clause 1: Power to dissolve Parliament

  1. Clause 1(1) provides power for the strong and stable Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament

  2. Clause 1(2) provides that the powers in clause 1(1) are conferred regardless of any restrictions which may arise from any other legislation.

Clause 2: Short title

  1. Clause 2 confirms the intended short title of the Act.

Financial implications of the Bill

  1. By avoiding the high costs of running Parliament and elections, the Bill is expected to save £350m per week which we could spend on the NHS

Compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights

  1. It is considered that the provisions of the Bill would allow the strong and stable Prime Minister to completely remove the Convention rights.

 

 

 

Trust in me. Trust in meeeeeee.


Rant alert. Look away now!

Trust me, I’ll take back control — but I’ll need your help

Teflon Theresa, zombie leader of the current UK zombie government, needs a bit of help. All that kicking cans down the road can take it out of a person. Putting off the inevitable is kind of understandable since she has zero chance of making anyone happy when we leave the EU, whether they voted for Brexit or cake.

So, how can we help?

Amid all the noisy debate and technical discussions about our departure from the European Union, I want to take this opportunity to remind the British public of my mission in the negotiations.

Now is not the time to get distracted by tiresome technical details like gravity. We’ve got plenty of time to worry about those in the next 10 years, 45 years, however many years it takes to sort out the mess I’m making of this.

Brexit provides the opportunity to build a new relationship with the EU where we are close trading partners and strong allies but with the British Government in control of our laws, our immigration policy and how taxpayers’ money is spent. It provides the opportunity to develop closer relationships with fast growing nations around the world. And in doing all this we will put the values that make us so great as a nation at the forefront: openness, tolerance, diversity and innovation.

Obviously not as close, or as strong. I don’t like other people telling me what do do. Once I’ve got rid of the ECJ, the ECHR, the Lords, those pesky MPs, and the judiciary, I’ll be able to decide exactly how to spend all the money. It won’t be on you, sorry.

Obviously I’m very open and tolerant of the right kind of people, but I will find diverse and innovative new ways to be hostile to everyone else.

You can trust me to deliver.

I triggered Article 50 exactly when I said I would, because I’m strong and stable. There will definitely not be any more elections.

I will ensure that we take back control of our borders. The public want their own Government to decide on the number of people coming into Britain from across the European Union and that is what we are going to do.

I’m very good at controlling borders, just not when it’s my actual job, or my responsibility, or when I’m running the government. I’ve been very clear that I will find someone to blame if anyone does manage to get into Britain from Europe. Except in Northern Ireland of course, where I get a bit confused about taking back control of borders.

I will ensure that we take back control of our money. We have agreed a settlement with the European Union and the days of vast contributions from taxpayers to the EU budget are coming to an end. So Brexit means there will be billions of pounds that we used to send to Brussels which we will now be able to spend on domestic priorities, including our National Health Service.

There is no magic money tree you know, and the magic money bus only delivers to people who keep me in power, so don’t get your hopes up. Boris told me to say that we could spend some money on the NHS but we’ve already made lots of other promises about maintaining EU funding with that money and spending it on the NHS would only encourage people to be lazy about staying healthy.

I will ensure that we take back control of our laws. So Brexit means that, while we may sometimes choose to take the same approach as the EU, our laws will be made in Westminster, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast, with those laws tried by British judges.

I’ve been very clear that it’s not possible for me to break the law. I will just keep changing it until I get my way and, while we may sometimes choose to give the impression of an independent judiciary, our legal system will not be properly funded and judges will be accused of being the enemy of the people if they step out of line.

We will leave the Single Market because staying in the Single Market means continued free movement of people, but we will maintain the strongest possible trading partnership with our European neighbours and create new trade deals around the world ensuring that we seize the opportunities to build an economy that works for everyone.

Did I say everyone? I meant everyone with money in a tax haven. There might be a slight interruption in service as we attempt to renegotiate trade deals with countries that already have trade deals with the EU. I’m sure everyone will recognise the UK’s proud tradition of trade around the world and reward us with the trade deals we deserve.

We will get a fairer deal for our farmers and fishermen by leaving the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, regaining control over access to our waters and safeguarding the interests of the UK fishing industry.

British fish will at last have British passports. And if the US can build a wall across a continent, we can easily build one to protect our territorial waters.

We will take back control of our social policy and our tax policy so rather than being decided in Brussels, we will decide them in the interests of ordinary working people in Britain.

I know I sometimes claim to care about the just about managing but I’m very proud of our country’s anti-social policy and rotten tax system. I hope you’ve been enjoying austerity because you haven’t seen anything yet.

And we will leave the Customs Union so we can establish our own independent trade policy and negotiate trade deals in our interests. I have proposed different options for a new customs arrangement with the EU and the government will continue to develop them during the negotiations.

We should have agreed on the kind of customs arrangements we wanted with the EU before triggering Article 50 but it turned out we couldn’t. We still can’t agree. We will continue to develop our proposals until enough people agree that we are never going to agree. Even if we could agree on one of the current innovative proposals, the EU has already told us that they don’t agree. All very agreeable I think you’ll agree.

I have three clear tests for the outcomes that we want to see.

Let me be clear.

First, as a proud unionist and Prime Minister of the whole United Kingdom I am clear that any deal with the EU must protect our precious union and also honour the agreements that were reached in the historic Northern Irish peace process. This means there can be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, or between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. We will uphold the Belfast Agreement in full – and we will ensure the constitutional and economic integrity of the whole United Kingdom.

We’ll definitely be taking control of all the other borders, just not the one with Northern Ireland because that one turned out to be much trickier than anyone who didn’t care about peace realised. We’ll probably create a quantum border in the process. How innovative is that?

Second, any agreements must create as little friction as possible for trade to protect the jobs that rely on speedy and integrated supply chains. These are a valued part of our economy, particularly for our manufacturing regions.

And I care deeply about manufacturing and those regions that do that manufacturing where ever they are.

And third, we must not constrain our ability to negotiate trade agreements with other countries around the world by being bound into a customs union as the Labour Party would have us. We must be a Global Britain that makes the most of the opportunity to create jobs and growth by trading ambitiously with partners across the world, old and new.

It would be much better to be entirely constrained by our own incompetence than admit that we could already be a Global Britain that makes the most of the opportunities that we already have.

I have put forward a plan to negotiate all these outcomes and to leave the European Union. Throughout this process I have tried to balance the legitimate concerns of those on both sides of the debate and I believe that our negotiating objectives answer those concerns.

I tried to balance the legitimate concerns of those on both sides of the debate but then I remembered that you lost and should have got over it by now. Traitors.

The path I am setting out is the path to deliver the Brexit people voted for. Of course, the details are incredibly complex and, as in any negotiation, there will have to be compromises. But if we stick to the task we will seize this once in a generation opportunity to build a stronger, fairer Britain that is respected around the world and confident and united at home.

You may have noticed that I’ve already made a few compromises along the way. Like the ministerial code for example. There will definitely be more. Whatever happens I will claim that we have delivered exactly the Brexit people voted for. I am the only one who can know the will of the people.

If we stick together and crush the saboteurs we will seize this once in my lifetime opportunity to create a totalitarian regime in the UK that is feared around the world and hostile at home.

I will need your help and support to get there. And in return, my pledge to you is simple: I will not let you down.

I will not let you down again. Strong and stable. Strong and stable.

Deploying Hyperledger Composer Playground to Bluemix


Since I’ve been deploying my own variations of Composer Playground to Bluemix recently, I thought it might be worth jotting down a few notes for anyone else who wants to do the same. For example, it might be useful to have your own known level of the Playground if you’re giving demos, to avoid any new functionality from the weekly releases causing surprises.

Assuming that you already have a working Composer development environment, a Bluemix account, and the Cloud Foundry CLI installed, here’s how…

First you need the main Composer repository if you don’t have it already

git clone https://github.com/hyperledger/composer.git

 

Next, checkout the code you want to deploy. In most cases you’ll want a release that’s been through one of our weekly release parties. I’ve picked the v0.14.2 release here

cd composer
git checkout -b v0.14.2-deploy v0.14.2

 

Get lerna to do its thing

lerna bootstrap

 

Now build the playground

cd packages/composer-playground
npm run build:prod

 

Create a manifest.yml file for your application with the following content

---
  command: node cli.js
  instances: 2
  memory: 128M
  env:
    COMPOSER_CONFIG: '{"webonly":true}'

 

Log in to Bluemix (you may need to use the –sso option)

cf login

 

Push the new app

cf push <APP_NAME>

 

Enjoy!

Manchester March


This weekend I’ll be in Manchester supporting the stop brexit march and I thought it would be worth letting my MP, Mims Davies, know some of the reasons why.

Dear Mims,

Thank you once again for taking the time to respond to my letters. In particular, I greatly appreciate your public support of EU citizens’ rights. You have consistently been supportive on this issue since I began writing to you, and I hope you will be able to build on that support with your colleagues at the Conservative party conference. It is time to turn promising language from the Prime Minister’s recent speech into real progress on implementing an acceptable guarantee, independently of the rest of the negotiations. Our friends and neighbours have already waited too long with the current uncertainty.

While it has been my long held view that this country is significantly stronger and more influential as a member of the European Union, I do understand that there is a perception that the UK is somewhat detached from the rest of Europe, and perhaps has differing aspirations.

If our exit from the EU had been skillfully handled, shaped on the basis of the small majority who voted for that outcome, with proper debate and broad agreement, I would probably not be marching in Manchester this weekend.

The unfortunate reality is that the whole process has instead been botched at every step. From the bill to set the terms of the referendum; the appalling referendum campaigns; the subsequent Conservative leadership election; the questionable manner in which Parliamentary consent was finally requested to trigger Article 50; the arbitrary deadline for making the Article 50 notification, without even agreeing on what brexit actually meant; the utterly irresponsible snap election while the two year Article 50 countdown was already running; to the deal with the DUP to cling on to power when the border in Ireland is such a key issue in the negotiations. This is not our finest hour.

If we manage to negotiate an agreement with the EU before the two years ellapse, good, bad or otherwise, it will be a miracle. Regardless of what the current Prime Minister offers by way of a final vote on the deal in Parliament, I hope and expect all MPs to put the country first and act in the best interests of their constituents.

Regards, James


Twenty years!


It hardly seems possible but I celebrated 20 years at IBM today! Here’s me foolishly thinking that I’d be staying for up to four years while I work out what I really want to do…

…and now I work just up the stairs from where that photo was taken. I’ve gone far!

Twenty years is a long time but I’ve done a few things on the way, so it hasn’t been at all dull!

MQSeries

I started out in technical support on a machine/OS I’d never heard of, asking such questions as, ‘Where is the design that describes what this command should do?’ Much mirth!
Later I worked in test when I discovered that ‘temporary’ generally means several years… maybe decades… probably still there actually… sorry!

Message Broker

…or whatever it happened to be called in any particular week.

Here I learned that a solution can take on a life of its own, becoming only tenuously related to, or even completely detached from, the problem it was meant to be solving. (If only someone had come up with design thinking sooner!)

Master Data Management

Lots of Master Data Management- almost 10 years of that alone!

Product information management, user interface generators (still gutted this one didn’t make it), model driven development, sketchy thingy, the MDM Developers community and probably more. There was definitely some virtual universe community in there as well.

Plus a really nice office with a window seat! And rats, and floods…

Watson

A tiny amount of Watson! Despite being barely a year, most of that time seemed to involve moving desks! Also the only time I really didn’t want to move on but serendipity led to…

Blockchain

An actual open source project this time, which is something completely new for me! And blockchain which I still think is one of the most interesting technologies to come along in… well, in the last 20 years!

And then

I doubt I’ll be in Hursley for another 20 years, so who knows. Having said that, I never intended to be there by now either!

It has been a privilege to have worked with so many amazing people who together made most of those 20 years an absolute pleasure. There really are too many to list without an Oscar speech but I will just mention two: Mark Phillips, who was a bit of a role model right from the start, and Patrick Wagstrom who you should jump at the chance to work with if you ever get the opportunity!