The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Totally, ridiculously, dumb

It's 6:30 am in the UK, and the results are mostly in. The United Kingdom has apparently voted to secede from the European Union. That makes David Cameron about the unluckiest person ever to head Her Majesty's Government.

Cameron pushed the "Brexit" vote on the understanding that it wouldn't pass. How'd that work out?

In literary terms, the apotheosis of Nigel Farage is the dramatic climax in the story of the United Kingdom. David Cameron mooting the referendum was the technical climax. The denouement? England winds up a has-been little country surrounded by the European Union states of Scotland, Wales, and a united Ireland.

Prediction: By 2020, an independent Scotland and an independent Wales will join the EU, while a very confused Northern Ireland struggles to decide whether to join the Republic or Scotland. (My bet's on Scotland.) Meanwhile, Nigel Farange, having succeeded in his lifelong ambition to destroy the UK, finds himself having to explain to his geriatric, ineducable supporters why England can't make it on its own, and why no one wants to build in London anymore.
 
Congratulations, you lot who voted "Leave." You're about to find out why it's better for the head to rule the heart in matters of economics.
 
And this chart below? You idiots who voted to leave the EU? This is bad. Bad, bad, bad. But since you obviously don't believe rational thought is an important part of statecraft, what do you care? It's only your economy collapsing.

Will Cameron be dumb or lucky?

UK law prohibits discussing an election while polls are open. The Daily Parker, being an American publication, isn't subject to this rule, but I decided this morning not to flout it anyway because I'm going to be in the UK tomorrow evening.

Polls closed 20 minutes ago in an historic referendum to decide whether the UK should remain within the European Union (my belief) or leave it. Here's what people are saying.

First, the Guardian, my go-to source for breaking British news:

Long queues have been reported outside some polling stations as voters cast their ballots in Britain’s closely fought EU referendum.

In London and parts of the south-east many were forced to brave torrential rain and navigated flooded streets to have their say.

The latest Ipsos Mori phone poll, completed in the days before the referendum, gave remain a four-point lead on 52% to leave on 48%. So far all the final phone polls have shown remain in the lead, while all but one of the final online polls have given the lead to leave.

Some polling stations were forced to close and relocate as the equivalent of one month’s rain fell overnight in the capital.

Finian O'Toole, writing for the Irish Times, wonders if the English are ready for self-government:

Brexit is essentially Exit: if the Leave side wins the referendum it will almost certainly be without securing majorities in Scotland or Northern Ireland. For all the talk of reasserting the sovereignty of the United Kingdom, the desire to leave the European Union is driven above all by the rise of English nationalism.

And the chief consequence of Brexit will be the emergence of England as a stand-alone nation. Whatever entity might eventually emerge from a tumultuous breach with the European Union will almost certainly not, in the long term, include Scotland: a second referendum on Scottish independence will be inevitable, and this time Scots would be voting to stay in the EU.

It may or may not include Wales. (A resurgence of Welsh nationalism in reaction to the rise of English nationalism seems possible.)

And its relationship to Northern Ireland will be increasingly tenuous and fraught: if nothing else the Brexit campaign has made it abundantly clear that what happens to the North scarcely merits an English afterthought. The kingdom founded by Boris I will, in time, come to be bounded by the English Channel and the River Tweed.

CityLab agrees:

The Scotland/England divide also cuts both ways. If the U.K. as a whole swings towards Remain, many English Brexiteers may feel that it is Scots in turn who are twisting their arms. Independence aspirations could ultimately still lead one day to Scotland breaking away as a separate state, leaving the remaining parts of the U.K. “stuck” within an E.U. that a narrow majority had voted against. That’s not a possibility the pro-Leave camp would accept with any relish. Indeed, part of the Leave camp (though far from all) are motivated by a form of nationalism that is morphing from British to English, populated with people frustrated that Scottish MPs can vote on some issues affecting England while, due to its devolved parliament, Scotland can make similar decisions for themselves independently.

By laying bare these fault lines, both Leave and Remain results in a referendum could imply a threat to the future unity of the United Kingdom. Not as an instant axe-fall severing the country’s parts come Friday, of course, but as a steady polarization which may end up making such unity untenable.

Closer to home, the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal likens the vote to Downstate Illinois kicking out Chicago:

Given the way some Illinois politicians try to drive a wedge between north and south, it doesn't take much imagination to envision people Downstate who might want to vote to cut ties with Chicago.

Maybe they don't want to pay for Chicago's financial mistakes. Perhaps they feel little in common with its denizens. They could be appalled by the city's crime and corruption.

At this point, ignoring arguments that the state is served by greater size, diversity and economic might, they may simply want their independence and believe the benefits are worth whatever a less-than-amicable divorce might cost.

Meanwhile, as of 22:30 BST, counting millions of paper ballots has comenced in the UK. I'll be watching.

In the news

Once again, here's a list of news items I haven't fully digested but want to when I have a few free minutes:

There's another major story that I'm following, about which I'll post in a few minutes.

New gig

SPR logoYesterday I started a new job as a Principal Architect at SPR in Chicago. It's a cool gig, and I'll be working with lots of great people, including some I already know (and to whom I'm sure I now have to pay hefty bribes for the references).

I'll be writing more later this week, but I'm kind of swamped at the moment.

Kaboom

Last night some friends and I drove out to the middle of nowhere and popped off fireworks. It's a longer story than that, but it was tons of fun. I'll have photos when I get around to it.

Note: Parker did not join us.

Also, tomorrow I'll have some news. Check back.

Parker is 10

As promised, here is Parker on his 10th birthday, yesterday:

Parker is 10

I don't think he's aware that it's his birthday, nor does he really have the concept of any number larger than two, but to me it's a big deal.

All kinds of PRs

Yesterday's walk had a number of consequences, including some discomfort that has persisted until today. But I also blew away my Fitbit personal records. Yesterday's results:

Which makes my top 5 now look like this:

2016 Jun 16 40,748
2016 Jun 8 32,315
2015 Apr 26 30,496
2016 Mar 8 29,775
2015 Jun 15 28,455

Yesterday's weather worked out, too. It was almost completely overcast, until I hit the heavily-wooded sections of the trail up in Glencoe and Highland Park. And it was cool; I don't think it got above 20°C. So I didn't sweat too much and I was able to keep a fairly brisk pace.

I will now limp to my lunch appointment. And I'll post Parker's birthday photo later this afternoon.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll walk there tomorrow

Yes, I'm a little obsessed with finding out how far I can walk in one day, but you won't have to read about it much longer. Tomorrow's forecast looks perfect: sunny skies, 24°C, and some good breezes to keep the air clear and me cool.

And even as I'm contemplating walking 30 km or so, I have to stop and just be awed by British marathoner Sara Hall's Fitbit data from her 2 hour 30 minute running of this year's London Marathon. Her average pace (3'35" per kilometer) is roughly three times faster than I'll go tomorrow. And given that she only took 28,914 steps to cover a marathon, her stride was a full 144 cm—just a few shorter than I am tall.

Also, don't worry about Parker. He's not coming on a five-hour walk with me. He'll be at doggy day camp.

The Ancestral Homeland

I'm traveling to the Land of Uk (aka The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) next week, which got me wondering if I've actually seen the country in every month of the year. So I worked it out, and yes, as of 1 September 2013, I've seen the UK in every month of the year:

January 2001, 2010, 2011
February 2001, 2010, 2015
March 2012, 2014
April 2011
May 2009, 2015
June 1992, 2014, 2015, 2016*
July 1992
August 2009, 2013
September 2013, 2015
October 2002, 2009, 2012, 2014
November 2001, 2009, 2010
December 2002, 2014, 2015

* Planned

In all, I've made 34 discrete trips to the UK since my first on 11 June 1992, with 31 arrivals at Heathrow, 2 at Gatwick, and 1 at Dover (by ferry from Belgium). Oddly, only half—17—have been on non-stop flights from O'Hare. And I've never flown non-stop from O'Hare to any UK airport other than Heathrow.

File this away under "personal trivia."