Spring Things

I’m aware that my posts have been a bit thin recently. This is partly because I’ve had so much to do recently. I know I’m supposed to be working part-time, but that isn’t the way it’s working out. I’m being paid part-time, but without any obvious reduction in workload. Not at the moment anyway, although that’s probably mainly because of a load of deadlines coming together.

The other reason is that I’ve not been very well. On top of other things I caught a bug of some sort in January that laid me pretty low and caused continuous coughing and spluttering but seemed not to be too nasty. The problem is that I just couldn’t shake it off. When I finally started to feel better I immediately got worse again. I think I might have had two different forms of the lurgy in quick succession. Now I seem to be clear of the obvious symptoms, but just generally knackered. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting on a bit, the usual winter flu things are harder to shake off. Or maybe I should have taken some time off, but that would have meant missing even more deadlines…

Anyway, while I’ve been moping around feeling sorry for myself, Spring seems to have arrived.

On the sporting front, the 2017 Six Nations is heading towards its conclusion. With England sure to win the Championship after thrashing Scotland 61-21 on Saturday, all that remains is the question of whether they can round it off with a second successive Grand Slam by beating Ireland in the last match. To show how little I know about rugby, I thought Scotland would beat England on Saturday. I even bet on Scotland to win,  but they never really got out of the blocks and were thoroughly trounced.

There are signs of life at the SWALEC stadium now too. I’ve seen the Glamorgan players practising outside a few times now that the weather has improved a bit. I have joined as a full member this year so hope to be able to get to quite a few of the County Championship games. The fixture list arrived last week, another sign that Spring is here.

On the football side, Newcastle United had three tough away games against rivals for the Championship (Brighton, Huddersfield and Reading). They managed to beat the first two and draw 0-0 in the third, which was a good performance. But then they lost an apparently more straightforward home game against Fulham on Saturday. They’re still top of the table (on goal difference), but could still blow it. There are still nine games left of a season which seems to have gone on for ages already!

And then of course there’s the likely triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by Prime Minister Theresa May, assuming Parliament agrees to give her permission to do so. Then we begin the process of separating ourselves from the European Union. There’s a strong chance this will lead to Scottish independence and, perhaps a few years further down the line, a united Ireland. Holland goes to the polls on Wednesday 15th – the Ides of March – and we’ll see whether the Dutch are as willing to fall for divisive far-right rhetoric as the British and Americans have proved to be. I doubt it, actually, but there have been too many shocks recently to be sure.

11 Responses to “Spring Things”

  1. You forgot the referendum on Welsh independence!

    • telescoper Says:

      I do think that’s unlikely for the foreseeable future, but a Celtic alliance of Ireland, Scotland and Wales is possible in the longer term!

      • I was mostly being whimsical. But at this point, a referendum wouldn’t surprise me. The leader of Plaid Cymru is already calling for one if Scotland gets theirs. (I think it is unlikely to succeed.)

      • telescoper Says:

        Well, it’s worth a try. If at first you don’t secede….

  2. Simon Kemp Says:

    Welcome to Glamorgan Membership, though I’ll only be joining as a Country member this year (intercontinental commuting and all that). Maybe I’ll see you at the ground this summer, I’ve got the Easter weekend game against Worcester as a probable when I’m in the country.

  3. “and we’ll see whether the Dutch are as willing to fall for divisive far-right rhetoric as the British and Americans have proved to be”

    Polls have Wilders at about 15 per cent. Thanks to a democratic system, if his party gets 15 per cent of the vote, it will get—drum roll, please—15 per cent of the seats in parliament.

    Two-party systems have at least two problems. One is the non-linearity, where one can obtain a majority in parliament without a majority in the electorate. Two, it reduces alternatives, so voters choose what is in their view the lesser of two evils.

    Probably about 15 parties will enter the Dutch parlimanet. There are 150 seats, so the minimum is 2/3 of a per cent of the vote.

    • I only read about Arrow’s impossibility theorem recently, but it’s a helpful way to think about which pathologies any voting system will necessarily possess. First-past-the-post does seem to have some of the more undesirable ones….

      • I haven’t looked at this in details. As Arrow said, “Most systems are not going to work badly all of the time. All I proved is that all can work badly at times.” Does it apply to PR though, or only to ranking alternatives in order?

  4. I’m not sure. I think PR is probably a bit hard to directly represent in the form the theorem applies.

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