Book stuff

A quick book-related interlude.

It’s author payment time, and while payments are (as usual) small, nobody has a zero. The marketing learning curve is a steep one, but I’m getting there.

I’ll put up the Freddo competition in June with a copy of Lee Bidgood’s ‘You’ll be Fine’ as the prize, with something extra as a surprise prize. I won’t say what it is but it’s not whisky. I’m not giving that away 😉

I have looked into local book fairs. There is an Aberdeen books fairs page on Farcebok but they don’t seem to have posted since 2015. I was hoping for something reasonably local but I might have to go farther afield. The downside of living miles from anywhere, I suppose… still, CStM and I could do with a few days away somewhere.

I’m also going to need reviews of books, they don’t have to be on Amazon, they can be on your own blog as long as I can link to it from the author page on Leg Iron Books and all I’m offering is a free print copy of the book. I still have an aversion to paying for reviews, especially if the reviewer makes a living at it. Seems to me that if your income depends on people paying for reviews, then you’re going to pretty much always write positive ones – or people will stop sending you books to review. And, I suspect, most people reading the reviews think this too.

I don’t think there’s anything in the catalogue that would get a bad review – unless I were to send a book to someone who just doesn’t like that type of book. So sending ‘Samuel’s Girl’ to a deeply religious reviewer would be a bad idea. They really aren’t likely to enjoy it.

I’m only talking about single author books here. Not the anthologies – the sales of those trickle along and might eventually reach break-even but I won’t be putting those out for review yet. I need to push the single-author books.

Feel like having a bit of a summer read, and writing a review? Doesn’t matter where you put it as long as I can link to it. There are no restrictions, no bribes, no pushing you into anything. You get a book, read it, and then write what you honestly thought about it.

If you absolutely hate it, say so – but then I won’t link to your review 😉 That does not mean you have to send the book back or do anything else at all. If you review ‘Jessica’s Trap’ and you think it’s only good for propping up a wonky table, say so. Naturally I’m only going to link to reviews that will help sell the books but I will not take any action on bad reviews. Sometimes, that just happens and you have to get used to it.

Getting reviews on the Dutch and French books could be challenging, I don’t know how many Dutch and French speakers read this blog but if you’re one, you are first in line for those books.

If you feel like getting a free book, take a look at the options under ‘Books’ at Leg Iron Books. All you have to do in return is write a review somewhere I can link to – and, of course, send me the link. A long review, a short review, whatever you like. For this round, please ignore ‘Underdog Anthologies’ and ‘Nonfiction’ and just go with ‘Novels’ or ‘Short story collections’.

So that I don’t end up sending out a hundred copies of one book, this first round is limited to two of each book. The first two to request a book get it, and then it’s off the options list. If you read it, don’t like it and don’t want to post a bad review, just let me know. It’s no problem, I appreciate you at least looking at it.

If you’re outside the UK I’d prefer to send you the money by PayPal so you can order it from Amazon locally – it could end up saving me a fortune in postage!

Yeah, this is going to cost me but one thing I have found on this steep marketing learning curve is – bugger all happens for free. Investment is essential but it is, at least, tax-deductible.

Meanwhile I have to convert all those sales in euros, dollars etc into proper money and get it sent out to authors. Also I have a backlog of things to send to people. This is going to be a busy weekend but it’s raining so there’s no gardening going on anyway.

Into the Void

Tales of idiots voting are filling the current void in politics. We won’t know about the EU election results until Monday (Scotland is set to announce after midday Monday, some places earlier). Every member of the Tory party seems to want the job of leading the party to oblivion and it’ll be a while before we even know the finalists. I’m not a party member (of anything) so I’ll have no say. So I won’t bother speculating.

The old adage ‘they didn’t know what they were voting for’ has been bandied about a lot for the last three years. Usually Remainers say it to Brexiters (and this really is starting to sound analogous to Cavaliers and Roundheads, with a useless Parliament in the middle, isn’t it?). It could be levelled at both sides, of course – you could point to the misleading bus slogan and also to the flat out denials that the EU wanted its own army. Can Remainers really claim they knew what they were voting for? Did really know in advance of Darth Thermostat’s plan for a federal EU with no separate countries and his own army to keep it all in check? He’s been quite open about all that in the last year or so. Did they know?

Does anyone actually, truly know what they are voting for in any election? Both Labour and Tory parties went into the last general election with the firm promise to deliver Brexit on time, and both of them lied. What was the point of voting for either of them, really? Actually, what’s the point of voting at all?

Twitter user dwatch related the tale of a voter overheard on a train on Thursday, proclaiming their pride in voting in the general election and hoping Nigel Farage wins. That voter is going to be disappointed to find Nigel Farage isn’t on the prime ministerial shortlist currently being drawn up.

No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in. Sage words from the Bonzo Dog Band there. So is there any point?

Not too long ago, only men could vote. Some time before that, ordinary peasants weren’t trusted with the vote. Before that, we had kings and queens and nobody had any votes at all.

Not voting is a statement. Sometimes you turn up to the polling booth and there’s nobody on the form you’d want in any position of authority. So you draw a knob on it and put it in the box. What else can you do?

On the other hand, voter apathy is very useful to those in charge. People who are sick of the established order tend to not bother voting, or to draw a knob on the ballot. People happy with the established order are happy to keep voting for it. Those who would change that established order don’t stand for election because they are almost certain to lose their deposits – the people most likely to vote for them are the ones who don’t vote. Stalemate. Nothing changes.

It takes someone willing to risk that deposit, willing to take a stand and willing to get out there and persuade people to vote for them. Nigel Farage did that, and whether you like him or not, he did it very effectively indeed. His previous party, UKIP, seems to have gone off the rails somewhat so he set up a new one. Mere weeks before the EU elections. If the polls are any reflection of reality, he’s damn well smashed the established order this time.

Experienced politicians set up the Changey McChangeface party on the same timescale and it has utterly bombed. Maybe we should now recognise that a bit of business experience can be a useful thing for a politician to have.

The Brexit Party pulled a lot of support from Tories and Labour and that’s their own fault. They lied at the last general election. Tories have monumentally screwed up Brexit to the point where Tessie Maybe’s deal actually makes our position far, far worse than remaining. Labour have consistently both supported and denigrated Brexit to the point where nobody has a clue what the party wants.

Most of all though, I suspect the Brexit party has mobilised a lot of the ‘no point voting’ people. If so, the next general election will be interesting.

That party will need a manifesto for a general election and they’ll need a lot of candidates. A snap general election will not give them time to do it. Let’s hope they are preparing, because Labour have said they will immediately move for a vote of no confidence in whoever replaces Crocodile Tears Tess as PM. That’s a bit unfair, since whoever takes over should be given a chance to show how useless they are before they are declared useless.

On the other hand, several have said that the loss of a Prime Monster should always trigger a general election and there is some merit in that argument. We are about to get a Prime Monster elected by that fraction of the population who are still members of the Conservative party. Then again, whoever it is will have already been duly elected by their constituency. Just like the current one. So it’s just a change of face at the top table. A different captain on the Titanic just before it slips below the waves.

There is a school of thought that wants compulsory voting. As long as that includes the right to draw a Picasso rendition of the male human genitalia on the form, I wouldn’t be against it. However, compulsory voting would be likely to require you select an actual candidate and knob-papers would have the Election Police at your door. Yes, they can work out who elected the erection. The number on your ballot paper is written next to your name when you get it.

I can imagine the EU going for the North Korean model on voting. You have to vote but all the names on the form are for the same party. Or maybe the Panoptica model, now developing through modern education – no losers. No matter who you vote for they all get in. And like MEPs, none of them have any actual power.

Someone asked the Twitter user mentioned above if he was sure the train idiot had voted. His response was ‘They all vote down here’ and I immediately ‘heard’ it in my head in the voice of Pennywise the Clown.

If you haven’t seen ‘IT’ (the Tim Curry version is still the best) then you won’t be able to imagine Darth Thermostat in a clown suit, peering at you out of a storm drain.

‘Do they vote?’, you ask

‘Oh yes, they vote. They all vote down here. And when you’re down here, YOU’LL VOTE TOO!’

Let’s just enjoy the political hiatus while it lasts. On Monday, one side or the other is likely to explode.

I think we can all guess which side.

Release the Kraken

Well, the voting is done in the UK. Now we have to wait because other EU countries have not yet voted. Denmark, for example, votes on Saturday and I think there are a few more on Sunday. So counting cannot start until the final polls close on Sunday night.

I wonder if any of those sealed ballot boxes have a milkshake in them? At this point, nothing would surprise me.

Meanwhile, Tessie Maybe keeps claiming she’s going to resign – no, that she is going to set out a timetable for resigning. Nah, the Tories can have their leadership back when they pry it from her cold dead fingers. Meanwhile, the death spiral of the Tory party continues.

They are not going to let jovial buffoon Boris Johnson be the next PM. Oh come on, it would be funny and we could all do with a laugh now. Instead, a host of Remain MPs want the job to go to a Remainer and history’s longest screw-up will continue uninterrupted.

Dominic Grieve, arch remainer with a smile like a starving crocodile faced with a wounded deer, has threatened to quit to block a no-deal Brexit.

You can’t block the default position. If no deal is agreed then there is no deal. That’s how it works. All he can do is delay the inevitable even further. And slide the Tories further down that greasy ratings pole. The last one I saw before voting day had them below the Greens and chasing UKIP and the Changey McChangeface Party for bottom spot. They don’t seem to understand why that is.

What is truly astounding is Corbyn’s leadership. Faced with an imploding Tory party he has failed to gain any ground at all and is in fact following them (at least more slowly) down the ratings. How does any opposition leader manage such a feat?

The Brexit Party, dreamed up in a drunken pub session about six weeks ago by Nigel Farage, is roaring ahead in the polls. This is probably due to the Remain vote splitting between Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid Cymru and others, while UKIP have apparently collapsed. So almost all the Brexit vote went with Farage while the Remain vote fragmented. Labour have hummed an ha’d over Brexit and the Tories have royally screwed it up. No reason for either Leave or Remain voters to go for either of them.

This has, of course, upset the established order and risks derailing the gravy train of politics. So, massive guns have been fired at Farage. Not at the Brexit Party. The other candidates have been ignored, it’s all been about Farage.

To be fair, if I met him in a pub I might not like him very much. Too shouty for my liking and too much one-issue – but then, to be fair again, that one issue is his driving force. And he has stuck with it for decades. Darth Thermostat is now pretending it’s a new Russian influence but Farage has been in the game a long time and Putin has nothing to do with it.

He’s not a Nazi and I have seen no evidence of racism or any of the other labels stuck ion him (they are stuck on all of us anyway so they really don’t work any more). He’s just a shouty pub bloke. I don’t think he’d be a good Prime Monster because of that shoutiness and to be honest I don’t think he wants that job. He wants Brexit and if it ever appears, his work here is done.

The Brexit Party does, however, have a really good candidate for Prime Monster in its ranks.

Farage is now being investigated for financial impropriety by the EU – the same EU that’s never passed a financial audit. And they say the Americans don’t understand irony. It’s clearly lost on the EU too.

They are determined to take him down and maybe they will. They’ll keep digging until they find something. Then he might have to step down as leader of the Brexit party and hand it on to someone else.

Someone it would be next to impossible to find any dirt on. Someone who could take on the entire EU parliament even more effectively than Farage. Someone most of the EU smug beurocrats won’t even remember. Someone who could still make an effective Prime Monster.

Ann Widdecombe is the natural successor to Nigel Farage for that party if they go into a UK general election. She is popular and eloquent and very, very skilled in politics.

Take down Farage and he will just smile and say three words.

‘Release the Kraken’.

The Vote

Tomorrow – today, really – is voting day in the UK. We are to vote for the spongers we send to Brussels to be the expensive, utterly ineffective and powerless MEPs on our behalf.

If we’re going to send spongers, we might as well send entertaining ones. There’s no fun in sending those who are just going to nod and agree sagely with pronouncements they weren’t really listening to. I’ll be voting for troublemakers and rabble rousers.

Today we heard that Nigel Farage was trapped in his bus, surrounded by the Lactose Army’s Milkshake Battalion. It was, of course, clickbaity bollocks. It was two or three soyboys with masks and milkshakes. The masks kind of gave away your intentions, guys, and Farage simply waited until the police moved them on before emerging.

That’s not ‘fear’, as the MSM are painting it. That’s a perfectly sensible avoidance of conflict and of dry cleaning bills. That last basement gamer who did it has been arrested and charged. Farage could have had these new ones arrested and charged too, but he chose to avoid the milky suit-assassins. Nige, get a milkshake coloured suit, mate.

I won’t be at all surprised to find scraggy-bearded scrawny Shaggy lookalikes outside polling stations tomorrow with trays of milkshakes for anyone planning to vote Brexit. Me, I won’t be milkshaking anyone but if they milkshake me, I have a thing called ‘throatshake’ they might like to try. Common assault is common assault and it would actually be amusing to find them charged with the same thing as me when they needed medical attention and I only needed a washing machine.

No, I don’t have expensive suits and I don’t have anything requiring dry cleaning. In this part of Scotland, if you ask about ‘dry cleaning’ they hand you a dustpan and brush.

So, is it really a serious assault, this milkshaky childishness? Not to me, I see it as the response of a playground tantrum to not getting their way, but it is serious to the law. And in this age of acid attacks, if you throw a liquid on me I am going to react as if it’s dangerous, just in case. If I think I might be going down, I’m taking you with me. I will not tolerate lactose. Oh, and ‘I thought it might be an acid attack’ would be a far better defence than ‘I disagreed with his voting intentions’.

Darth Thermostat has had a meltdown on Twitter, claiming Farage and all the other non-Lefty EU leaders are in the pay of Putin. Putin must be laughing so hard he needs nappies. The EU insists the ‘right’ are in the pay of communism in order to prevent the EU installing communism. Putin has no need to do a damn thing to the West, our deranged leaders are doing it themselves.

The French have been protesting every weekend for six months. Their leader, Macaroon, sends the police to beat them up, maim them and kill a few but they don’t give up. What a pity the globalists have worked so hard to delete history. If they hadn’t, they’d know the French are actually pretty good at revolutions. And pretty damn brutal to leaders they don’t like.

I wonder who they will vote for in the EU elections? I wonder who Italy or Austria or any of the Eastern European countries will send to Brussels?

It’s not just the UK. If the EU had let us leave with a good deal, on time, none of this would be happening. Other EU countries would be thinking ‘Well, seems we can leave if we want to. Okay, we’ll hang on and see how it develops’.

Now they are looking at how the EU has rounded on the UK like a dog with a stolen bone and they are thinking ‘This beast is nasty, and wants us tethered to it forever’. It’s really not a nice feeling.

Emperor Drunker and Darth Thermostat have now unveiled the true face of the dark side of the Farce and people are finding they don’t like what they see. The EU Parliament is about to be full of Nigel Farages from across the continent and the whole thing is going to either fall apart or the EU Commission will go full Soviet and take total control.

That would make it take a few more years to fall apart.

So, if the polls are correct (and I suspect they might actually be biased against the Brexit party) there will be a wipeout. The Tories risk having no MEPs at all. The Lib Dems, the Greens, Plaid Cymru and others are the natural choices for Remainers, or they could go for the Changey McChangeface party but then they might not exist for long. And nobody likes them anyway.

The internet is full of ‘I voted Leave and now I want to Remain’ and ‘I voted Remain and now I want to Leave’ but it’s a tale of bots and bollocks. Most people haven’t changed their minds.

The Twitter bloke Femi went to a Brexit party rally with one of those tables with a sign – ‘I think a no deal Brexit will be a disaster. Change my mind’. Idiots threw water at him and poked him with a flag. They called him ‘Traitor’.

That was unfair and stupid. I disagree with almost every word Femi says but he wasn’t there with milkshakes and abuse. He was there, alone, no security detail, with an offer to talk. Okay, it’s fair to say you probably won’t change his mind and it’s probably not worth trying but even so… traitor?

He has no authority and no power. He is not the one trying to overturn the result of a referendum. Sure, he wants to, but he can’t actually do it. He is not a traitor, he is a man with a different opinion.

That’s all it takes these days. A different opinion. The world is becoming increasingly polarised and heading for a very big war. You cannot be on the fence now, you have to take a side and if you don’t agree with one side you are on the other, even if you don’t agree with them either.

The Soros Wars are coming and yes, I picked the name deliberately. He probably didn’t intend this, he most likely thought his New World Order would just slip into place because money doesn’t make you smart.

What he has set in motion cannot now be stopped. I doubt he even realises this.

His minions certainly don’t.

Milky Milky

Two more days before the EU elections we really shouldn’t be having.

Seems we have to do this thing anyway. If you are a Leave voter, your best bet is the Brexit party unless they are all arrested or assassinated, Soviet-style, in the next two days. I really wouldn’t rule that out. They are riding very high in the polls, if polls can be trusted at all. Remember, polls once put Hillary Clinton as 95% likely to win the US presidency.

There’s always UKIP as a backup although they are currently down there with the Changey McChangeface party who want to keep things as they are.

If you are a Remain voter, the Lib Dems are your best hope. Or if you don’t like them, the Greens. Both have at least been consistent in saying they want to stop Brexit. MEPs, of course, can neither force Brexit nor stop it. Think of this as a proxy second referendum. Send your message, whichever you choose.

The Tories had their chance. They won a general election (just) by claiming they would deliver Brexit and they have royally screwed it all up. Taking ‘no deal’ off the table in any negotiation is the most stupid move anyone could ever make. They did it. All they offer is a surrender document that would make the UK permanently the voiceless property of Emperor Drunker and Darth Thermostat. That, or revoke Article 50 and re-enter the EU under the full control of the EU with no more say in anything. Really, if this government had been in place in 1940 we’d all be goose-stepping now. They are actually worse than useless, and that might well be the first time that phrase genuinely applied.

Labour… well, they were also re-elected on a promise to deliver Brexit and have morphed that promise into a pantomime of ‘Oh yes we will – Oh no we won’t’. Neither Leave nor Remain voters can trust them.

Neither of them understand why they are plummeting in the polls.

Instead, they have gone on an anti-Farage offensive. Following the milkshake incident involving Tommy Robinson (NHRN), there have been more against UKIP candidates and now one thrown over Nigel Farage. Lefties are crowing ‘Oh it’s only a milkshake’ and some, rather sinsisterly, are lamenting that it was only a milkshake.

To his credit, Tiny Blur has condemned this latest attack even while his minions applaud it. Yes, I am finally agreeing with Tiny Blur. The world will now end in about five days, I reckon.

It’s silly. It’s pointless. What does it achieve? Well it achieves one thing. It empowers nutters to take it further, like the mob of Muslims pelting a Tommy Robinson (NHRN) rally with bricks and eggs and even more serious attacks.

That next milkshake might be acid. Le Creuset Fiend on Twitter has opined that a Brexiter will be killed by an attack in the coming days and the level of lunacy in this country means it could actually happen. If not killed, at least seriously injured. It has become insane enough to make that possible.

Of course, it won’t happen if the Brexit Party are all in jail. They have been accused of designing a logo with an arrow pointing to their box on the voting form to force people to put their X there. Really. If you ever wondered whether politicians thought you were utterly stupid and easily led, there’s your answer right there.

Some TV dick called Dan Snow (I’ve seen enough of Game of Thrones to know what that surname means) pretended he had a Brexit party leaflet in his postal vote even though it’s actually totally impossible for that to happen. He has since pretended to apologise.

Digression: I was disappointed to find that Game of Thrones was not a Japanese game show where five guys each eat a baked bean Vindaloo and there are only four toilets available. Come on, Japan, you can do it. You’ve done worse.

Now we have claims from shrieking harpy Carole Cadwalladr that the Brexit party is accepting foreign money. She proves it with a screenshot of a £5 donation from Switzerland. Therefore they are getting millions from Russia. She thinks we’re all stupid too.

The Brown Gorgon got in on the act and now the Electoral Commission is going to inspect the Brexit Party’s finances in the face of no evidence of wrongdoing, two days before the election.

They do not need to declare any donation below £500. So those £5 shots from Switzerland aren’t counted – because they are not illegal. You know what? The same rules apply to every other party too.

Someone on Twitter did a little test and found that the Labour party website would accept a donation of £499 from Saddam Hussein of Iraq without batting an eyelid. Because it wouldn’t be illegal. Same rules, you see? Electoral commission investigation? Somehow I doubt it.

I’m surprised the Brown Gorgon has any feet left to shoot. He must be walking on colanders by now.

I rather suspect that all these attacks on the Brexit party will win them more votes, not less. All the other parties have done their best to keep Farage in the news and they have all forgotten the British attitude to the underdog.

A common complaint is that the Brexit party have no policies and no manifesto. Well, for the EU elections they don’t need one. MEPs can’t do very much anyway. Also, both Labour and Tory parties have proved that manifestos mean nothing. Once they get voted in they just do what the hell they want. Waste of paper.

What are the policies of the other parties? All they have, any of them, is ‘bash Farage’. I have seen no other policies mentioned apart from the Tory ‘give it all away’ and the Labour ‘well… maybe or maybe not’. Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid Cymru etc have at least a clear message, as do the Brexit party and UKIP.

Tory and Labour parties are offering nothing but indecisiveness and despair.

And they don’t know why they are losing support.

So they throw milkshakes at people and pretend it’s valid political discourse. I thought about boycotting milkshake sellers but that fails on two points. The milkshake sellers have, until now, always believed the customers actually drink them and secondly, I don’t like milkshakes all that much.

Milky milky.

New Kids on the Block

The Brexit Party, formed about a month ago, has no policies or manifesto and aside from Nigel Farage, is mostly composed of people we’ve never heard of. Surely they stand little chance against those long-established parties? Well, voter intentions for the EU elections currently look like this –

Every other party has rounded on the Brexit party with the usual claims of ‘far right, racist, etc.’ but they have spouted those names at so many people for so long, nobody cares any more. There is no evidence behind any of those claims and crucially, for both Labour and Tories especially, they have spent the last three years proving beyond a shadow of doubt that they cannot be trusted to tell us the truth.

Therefore, nobody is listening.

Lib Dems, Greens and of course the ever-changing Changey McChangeface Party have been consistent in their message. They don’t care about all that democracy stuff, they want to stop Brexit. They are therefore picking up a lot of the Remain voters who are sick of the piddling about the Tories and Labour are doing over the issue.

There will always be a sticky residue of tribal Tory and Labour voters, but they have royally screwed themselves this time. I have never before seen Tories polling below the Greens, and Labour, instead of surging ahead in triumph, have not even achieved half of the percentage vote of the month-old Brexit party with no manifesto and no policies!

The big surprise is the disappearance of UKIP into the remaining 9% of ‘others’. Why aren’t they picking up the Leave voters along with the Brexit party? They are in there with the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Independents etc. What the hell did UKIP do that went so very wrong?

It might be something to do with the selection of high profile candidates like Tommy Robinson (NHRN) and Sargon of Akkad, and the association with Count Dankula. I’m not at all bothered by any of those people. I wouldn’t vote for Tommy Robinson (NHRN), not because of any political thing, but because he’d be eaten alive in the EU parliament. Outspoken and confident he might be, but he would be a dog among wolves in that place. The other two are known for Twitter and other online activity and that’s about it. They have had less political involvement than Tommy Robinson (NHRN). They would need a strong UKIP presence just to stop them being ripped to shreds in Brussels. I wouldn’t vote for them because I wouldn’t inflict that on them.

A lot of people are uncomfortable with Tommy Robinson’s (NHRN) reputation. He hasn’t actually been any more criminal than the MPs we currently have, and has in fact been far less criminal than most of them. Yet, mud sticks, especially when the powers that be keep on flinging it at him. It makes people uneasy to be associated with a reputation like that, whether it’s real or not.

Anyway. Farage is continuously grilled about his manifesto. Why? Tories and Labour have proven absolutely that manifesto promises mean nothing at all. Why bother having one? Why pay to have a sheet of paper printed when you know nobody will read it and it’ll go straight from letterbox to recycling (here, it’s very satisfying to throw them in the fire).

Since MEPs have no lawmaking powers anyway, what does any EU party need with a manifesto? They can promise anything, knowing they will not be allowed to do it.

Farage has promised, basically, to be a spanner in the works of the EU parliament. That is all the Leave voters want him to do. Leavers do not want to be part of the EU parliament at all but since Tessie Maybe seems determined to keep us in this ridiculous club, throwing a spanner into the works is all we have left.

Oh it’s not just the UK. Expect spanners from France, Italy, Austria, several Eastern European states and more. We’re just likely to throw the biggest one in.

It would not surprise me to hear that the EU do not accept the results of this election and want to do it again. You know, that thing they just loudly criticised Turkey for doing. That thing the EU has done time and time again with referenda then get all hoity-toity when someone else does it.

The Tories, though… you have to laugh. A chronically misnamed MP called Cleverly has been on Twitter wondering how they can learn how Farage is picking up such support. And his bio lists him as Brexit minister. He doesn’t know? Really? How thick are the walls of that Westminster bubble? Are they opaque?

Three years to thrash out a trade deal and Tessie still can’t do it. Her deal is not a deal. It is a surrender. It would be far worse than just being in the EU, we’d be a slave country with no say at all in how we are governed. They can tax us to the hilt while lowering taxes in EU-compliant countries and there would be nothing at all we could do about it. Not a damn thing.

The EU clearly think the Lib Dems are their best hope for a Remain win. They have sent Darth Thermostat to shore up support for Vinnie the Wire on behalf of the Empire. I think that’s fantastic. He will do more damage to the Lib Dems that they could ever do to themselves, even if they brought back Little Clegg.

As it is, UKIP seem to have nosedived so the Brexit vote is all going to the only place it can go to. Tories and Labour are finding out just how low their sticky residue of tribalists can go but they have no clear direction for either Leave or Remain voters to follow.

Remain voters can go with Lib Dems, Greens or Changey McChangeface from the options in that list. Down in the 9% there will be Brexiters going for UKIP and Remainers, especially Scottish ones, going with SNP. The 9% parties will very likely cancel each other out.

In the main table though, you have a clear 34% for Leave against a clear 31% for Remain and 26% sticky residue of ‘vote for the rosette’. It would be close… but the Leave votes are all going to one party. The Remain votes are split between three.

Predictions based on those figures suggest Brexit Party will get almost half the UK seats on that EU parliament. Together with the spanners sent in by other countries, that could make quite a mess.

Remainers like Baldy Adonis and Alternating Current Grayling want things to go back to the way they were, but we all know the truth. There is no going back. Brexit has changed things. Forever.

We either leave in a clean break or we get eternal punishment as the Lucifer who fell from grace. They will never forgive us for trying. Either we become a totally non-EU country or we become a vassal state. There is no longer any other option.

They won’t trade with us? There will be shortages? Are you insane? I live in a rural area in the north of Scotland and you could visit for a week and not see the same Audi twice. You will lose count of Audis, Mercedes, Volkswagens, even Porsches. This is oil country. I went to Wales to buy my last car – I bought a 4×4 there – because the budget I had stretched to a second hand Nissan Micra in this part of the country. We have some really rich buggers around here.

Anyway. The shops are full of the products of other countries. Danish bacon. French beer and wine. Cheeses from all over the place. Fruit and vegetables (actually mostly from African and South American countries but hey ho, let’s pretend nothing exists outside the EU). We are, overall, one hell of a profitable market for EU countries because we buy massive amounts of their stuff.

If the political arm of the EU want to stop trade, it’s really not a big problem for us. We buy a lot more from the EU than we sell to them. They’ll crack first. They’ll have the CEOs of some very big European companies kicking in their doors. A trade embargo won’t last long.

What we need is a government who will say ‘Well, legally we left on the 29th March so it’s done. Want to talk about a sensible deal now? No? Well, just call us when you do.’

Only the Brexit party offer that option. The others claim to offer ‘remain’ but what they really offer is purgatory. There is no going back. Vassal state or free country are the only options the EU will allow.

And they don’t want to allow the latter.

The Tories were elected on a manifesto promise to deliver Brexit. So were Labour. Both parties have royally fucked it up and both parties clearly will never deliver that promise.

So, who cares about manifestos? They are full of lies anyway.

The Brexit party look likely to take around half, if not more, of the UK seats at this coming EU election.

I hope they make life hell for the EU hierarchy. It’s only fair. They want to make life hell for us.

Spookiness

I love spookiness. I live with it. I am living in a house with a deer skull buried in a holly tree. No idea why, but I’m leaving it alone. There was an extension added in 1835 that used a broken-up gallows stone in the walls. Lately I have learned that the water supply comes from an ancient holy well. This place has been here since at least the early 1700s, probably much longer, and I love it. I find more weirdness every year.

There aren’t many ghosts here. There’s a shy woman and a dog. The flat I lived in before coming here had some really nasty bastards in it. CStM experienced them and would not have moved in with me if I had stayed there. I have been told that previous residents here heard a ghost piper but the only pipes we’ve heard making sounds are the plumbing.

About now there are eyes rolling. ‘Oh dear oh dear, the old daft bugger believes in ghosts’.

I believe nothing. I am old school scientist. I believe only what I see and experience for myself. I do not believe in God because while I have seen plenty of evidence for what is called ‘supernatural’ I have seen no evidence to suggest anyone is in charge of it all. No evidence that there are any rules.

When I was Romulus Crowe (a previous online incarnation) I once had a fight of sorts with an Australian who said (I paraphrase) ‘if you’re real, why don’t you get James Randi’s million dollars?’

Well, I don’t claim telekinesis or cutlery destruction or anything that can be tested. I cannot call up ghosts to order. However, I agree with Randi on one important point. Every stage psychic is a fake.

The Australian set me a challenge. ‘One of these three statements is true. Which one?’

Easy. He had told me the answer several days earlier and had forgotten. So I gave him a quick lesson in cold reading. It worked on him, an absolute sceptic. It works so very much more easily on those who want to beleive.

I know how to fake it. It’s depressingly easy to dupe people.

But I cannot prove it. Unlike the stage ‘psychics’ I cannot call up just enough ghosts for the show and never miss. I cannot guarantee that every ‘ghost’ links to someone in the audience, because I am not just making shit up. I am not going to claim your dead relative has a message for you. They don’t. Most are confused, they think they are dreaming. Some know what’s happened and are having a good time.

Some aren’t even really ghosts, they are a repeating recording of a past event. Those are the most interesting – somehow, an event gets recorded on the surroundings and replays either at set times or in response to some kind of trigger. You can’t interact with these, you’re just watching a movie. Imagine though, if you could figure out how it happened and replicate it to order. You want bluebirds to follow you every time you walk up to your house? How much would you pay for that?

Anyway, I can’t produce proof yet and really don’t care enough to try so I can never go for James Randi’s million dollars. I don’t need that much money anyway.

Okay, I know, you ‘rational people’ think I am nuts and I’m okay with that. Meeting me in person is unlikely to change that opinion. I have nothing to prove and nothing to gain (unless I do figure out how to produce ambient environment recordings, then I’ll be paying high rate tax for evermore). You want to live fully in one solid world. good luck. I wish you were right. It’s a little strange here sometimes.

But have another look at James Randi, the King of Debunking. I really think he genuinely wants to find that proof. He’s not setting out to debunk. He is offering a million dollars to someone who can prove what, I think, he really would love to see.

He is no fake, no charlatan. He does not ‘believe’ in things. Okay, sometimes he’s an arse and sometimes his methods are silly but on the whole he means well. He is right in his debunkings. So much can be faked, and faked easily. That does not prove the real thing doesn’t exist, it just proves that someone has learned how to fake it effectively.

As I said, cold reading is not a difficult skill to acquire. There are other ‘psychic’ tricks that are easy too. What makes them easy is that if you are a stage psychic, everyone who comes to your show already believes in you, and already wants to be chosen and duped. Even when Randi outed a fake psychic in one video, the dupe refused to accept that what he had been fed was fake.

You can have your assistants mingle with the mumblers before the show. Chat about what they hope to hear. Pass that info – along with the seat number – to the stage guy and it’s game on. How to get the seat number? ‘Oh, I’m right in the back row, where are you?’ ‘I’m in D13’. ‘Right near the front, lucky you.’ Gotcha. It is almost depressingly easy. Now of course you can have a nearly invisible earpiece in the performer and prompts while he’s onstage.

Faced with an audience who wants to believe you cannot fail. They will overlook the wrong guesses, they will not connect the chat they had before the show with the absence of that person from the audience. They will dismiss from memory all the hints of trickery because they really want to believe that Grandma has a message for them. If she does, and it’s not ‘What the blistering fuck are you doing?’ then it’s fake.

You know, if I was utterly unscrupulous, I could take up stage psychicry now. I won’t because I’d be too embarrassed to giive people that false hope. Their dead relatives are dead. Maybe they went to some Heaven or Hell but if those exist, nobody comes back from either of them. Hell, you can’t, and Heaven, why would you?

I don’t call myself psychic. I don’t often see ghosts of people, although I have seen a few ghost dogs including the one here. I hear them, I can touch them, but I see no more than a shadow if I see them at all. CStM and her mother have seen our ghost woman, CStM saw some of the ones at the flat I had before. That place had a lot of short-term tenants, and so did most of the other flats in the block. Wasn’t hard to work out why. Even if you refuse to believe in ghosts, a permanent uncomfortable feeling is not a good reason to stay.

One thing about that flat that initially baffled me… no spiders. None. Not even in the attic. I had an entirely spider-free attic. This house is riddled with spiders…. except for one room. Unlike the story, it’s not the room with the gallows stone in the wall. It’s much older than that part of the house. It’s the master bedroom which we don’t use because it’s upstairs and the heating system doesn’t go upstairs.

We used to be plagued with mice and regaled with exhibitions of rabbits from the kitchen window before the pine marten arrived. Also before the dog worked out that catching mice was like finding bacon money. Seems the combination of pine marten outside, bacon-loving dog inside, has pretty much eradicated the mice and also most of the rabbits. A digression…

I don’t know how old our female ghost is. I suspect she lived here when the master bedroom really was the master bedroom. Might be hundreds of years or tens of years. Now we live almost exclusively downstairs because we really don’t need the top half of the house other than for storing crap.

Basically, I am at the point where I can easily convince those who want to believe in an aftelife using outright fakery. I cannot convince those same people of the same thing with what I know to be true.

Irritating, huh?

There is an upside. I am way past caring whether anyone believes anything I say now. I am not a lecturer any more. You don’t need to pass an exam based on my ramblings. You can trust or not trust what I say and care about it no more than I do.

But when I die, well then I am really off the leash.