Sep. 4th, 2017

mtbc: maze N (blue-white)
I have mentioned being doubtful about independence referendums; this entry probably merely summarizes previous ones. The Scottish National Party's portrait of an independent thriving Scotland in which little changes in terms of the relationship with the rest of the UK sounded most unlikely. There may be some more plausible story whereby Scotland leaves the UK, adopts its own currency that falls enough to make remote services like call centers by skilled English-speaking staff a useful kind of export, but with an aging population and finite oil the SNP's story seemed to me like a short-sighted pipedream and I feel that Scotland has enough in common with the rest of the UK that breaking away would be an overreaction.

The UK's breaking from the European Union I am less clear on. I like the idea of the EU and I often appreciate regulations that it imposes upon the UK: I think those laws, for example on food quality or how corporations may use our personal data, are a good idea and I greatly doubt that a wholly independent UK would have acted similarly. More personally, it is sad to see EU citizens feeling unwelcome and leaving the UK as I think we benefit both economically and culturally from their being with us.

However, I do agree that there is a democratic deficit wherein cloth-eared EU governance overestimates its own competence: at least those who lead the decision-making are more arrogant than they are correct. Brexit may harm the UK but perhaps it can help push the EU to improve. )

Even excepting the UK, national or regional politics too greatly affect EU governance. I hope that at least the core of the EU can find its way toward something more like the US where there is more central willingness to redistribute funds among the states by need, becoming more cohesive while still offering diversity. )
mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
Nearly a year ago I was commenting here on the divisive issue of keeping pet cats indoors or allowing them to roam outdoors. The norm in the US is toward the former, in the UK the latter. In some cases simply not having a cat might be best but the perfect is the enemy of the good: I do think it behooves one not to be dogmatic about these issues: there is a veritable surplus of cats and a high fraction of likely homes are probably an improvement over being caged for many months in a shelter and possibly euthanized.

Recently I was reading that black cats, also black and white cats, are less popular than more colorful cats. This surprised me: though our cat Pippin is a tabby I find black cats adequately nice relative to others; I suppose that I differ from the mainstream but I have little idea why. However, I had been thinking that black cats might be more difficult to dye: it occurred to me that for the safety of outdoor cats among road traffic it may be responsible to dye them bright colors even if that impedes their hunting and raises eyebrows among the neighbors. Needless to say, I may differ substantially from the mainstream in imagining that dyeing cats could ever be a good idea as I do not notice dyes being advertised as being safe for cats to lick.

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Mark T. B. Carroll

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