Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A day to remember - for 2 reasons

Today we all know there is one thing to remember.  It is 11/11.  At 11am we shall (or should) all have pauses for 2 minutes to remember the fallen of the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries.  Those 2 minutes have just finished.

But it is also a happy day for me, for on 11th November 2004 I did my first day's work consulting as Corylus Business Systems.  At the time I was still in the notice period for potential redundancy from my then employer.  My expectation had been to find another IT Management position and was talking to my suppliers to see if they knew of any going, but instead a couple said "weeeeelllll, if you're going to be free, we could find you useful for a couple of things...".  Those couple of things expanded, many more contacts were made, more clients came about and 10 years on I am still going strong.

It's been an interesting 10 years with good and bad highlights (what else would you expect?!) but some that come to mind:
  • Somehow making enough profit so that within 12 months of starting I was in New Hampshire taking my MCSE certification at a 9 day boot camp
  • Managing to keep finding work without (yet) really engaging in marketing or selling activities - the power of the informal network.  Referrals and personal contacts are king.
  • Making the decision to fund myself every year for Microsoft Tech*Ed (now sadly extinct it seems) despite the double whammy of not being able to work, whilst still shelling out for the training
  • VMware going mainstream and getting my VCP training and certification more than once.
  • Annus Horribilis after 5 years - 2 good friends, both our Fathers, and my wife's brother dying.
  • The magic of working from home.
  • The magic of working for clients who value your work so much they actually pay you for it (sometimes it still seems like a miracle).
  • The day the exchange server died because of a bug I found and the horrendous 3 or 4am finishes for a week getting it all sorted without affecting client data.
  • The client that nearly didn't happen but a brief, well crafted, email led to months of work - including work many miles away in Edinburgh, and Kentucky.
  • Finding the space and time to go on the 2008 North American King Crimson tour (no employer would have let that happen!)
  • And many many more

But today is more importantly about remembering the fallen.  In the last few years I have turned my regard for the armed forces into something far more meaningful, and fund raised for Help For Heroes (they only started 7 years ago!).  Next year I will be embarking on my 5th major bike ride for them; and will be posting details before the end of the year on how you can help me do that; but to date, and thanks to many friends and family, I have raised over £10,000 for the blokes.  Being with the blokes on the ride and seeing their forbearance against what seem to us overwhelming problems is salutary and quietening. Chapeau!

And finally, my own remembrance act, taking place at 11am every day from August 2014 to November 2018 - my blog giving the daily casualty lists for the First World War:


Good morning

Friday, September 19, 2014

Just one thing... it wasn't 45%; it was 36.73%. Let me explain...

The referendum vote is being reported as 45% for, 55% against.  But that misses a point.  Although that is the result bearing in mind the number who submitted a valid vote, it does *not* accurately reflect the proportion of people who wanted independence.

The question asked was "Should Scotland be an independent country?" this was not a choice between 2 people.  It solicited support for the proposal to become independent.  The only response that can demonstrate support for this was a Yes vote.

So, it can be correctly inferred that anyone who failed to vote yes did not support the proposition enough to vote for it.  Apathy, contempt for politics, whatever the reason, it doesn't matter.  If you did not vote Yes, then you did not express a desire for Independence.

So, if one takes into account those who were registered rather than those who voted, then we get a different set of numbers, with considerable significance.

Below is a table showing what the result would be given those assumptions.  Interestingly not one area voted by a majority of eligible voters for yes, and the overall percentage in favour of Independence is only 37.81% - barely more than 1 third, rather than the nearly half being touted.

Factor in the voter registration of 97% (or so I read earlier this week, but haven't been able to confirm yet), the actually support for Independence was, in fact, 36.73%.

I think this is important to bear in mind in the coming weeks and months...

Numbers have taken from Wikipedia, and some rounding errors (given turnout was only shown to 2dp rather than absolute numbers.  Click on the table to expand.

NB, if it get more accurate numbers I will update the table, but it  won't change that much.

I reckon this devolution problem is pretty easy to fix...

First off - a basic premise: any powers devolved to any UK member nation's parliament or assembly is automatically devolved to the others.

  • the Westminster parliament splits its time into UK, England, England + Wales, and England+Wales+Northern Ireland matters.
  • only MP's elected for constituencies within the appropriate country can vote in those matters.
  • as matters devolve the UK-only debates will become shorter and fewer; as a consequence the number of MP's needed to discuss is reduced by increasing (and balancing) constituency sizes.
  • Once UK legislation only needs a small amount of time each week at Westminster then a major exercise of reconsidering the number of MP's elected to the Commons can be started, potentially replacing the English "subset parliament" with a fully elected English Parliament; and the House Of Commons with a different structure.
So, no need to increase the layers of government or staffing.

No need for expenses to increase (in fact they should start diminishing as overall Westminster time decreases).

No democratic deficit.

No West Lothian problem.

Of course, it doesn't address the issues of trustworthiness et al...