18 April 2019

It's A Good Thing that The Good Place doesn't actually exist - Easter 2019

One of the best new comedy shows in recent years has been The Good Place, which explores ethical issues in a great way while being really rather funny and highly quotable to boot. It won a Hugo for "The Trolley Problem" and I wouldn't be surprised if "Janets" from the latest run does the same.

The key concept of the show is that whether you go to the "Good Place" i.e. heaven or the "Bad Place" is dependent on your actions in life, with good ones gaining you points and selfish or harmful actions losing you points. It becomes clear over the course of the run that it's a rather flawed system.

And it would be a flawed system in the real world too. Very few of us would be able to get into heaven on our own merits; my attempts to change some of my bad habits this Lent have been an abject failure by my own admission. The good thing is, we don't need to rely on our own merits; Jesus' death on the cross gave us so many points that he could share them around for everyone who follows him... and more. This doesn't eliminate the need to try to be good people - there is no place in heaven for the selfish or evil - but it does mean we don't have to feel bad over every failure.

Thanks, Jesus. To all my readers, Happy Easter.

17 April 2019

Extinction Rebellion

So a bunch of eco-activists have decided to draw attention to the whole issue of climate change by disrupting public transport in London through various means. They've done that, but also managed to annoy an awful lot of people in the process. Getting realistic change generally involves getting the people with the power to make it happen on side somehow, not by antagonising them.

In relation to climate change, the boat has arguably sailed on any meaningful action to prevent it. We're not going to be able make the necessary changes by 2030, because humanity is at heart a selfish and greedy species. The best we can reasonably do is prepare ourselves for a 4 degree rise over the course of this century and once climate change really starts to bite (it already has), it's going to be very unpleasant for a large number of people.

I can take some grim comfort from the fact I'll likely be dead by the time it happens.

Forgive us Lord our selfish ways.

09 April 2019

Brexit #2

The current Brexit clock stands at 3 days; it is highly likely that it will be extended at the European Council's emergency summit tomorrow, although how long remains to be seen.

There is an increasing frustration at this process among all parties:
  • The EU wondering why we haven't managed to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement or figure out what we actually want instead
  • Hardcore Leavers wondering why we haven't actually left
  • Hardcore Remainers wondering why we haven't revoked Article 50 or gone for a second referendum when it was obvious we were sold a bill of goods
  • Theresa May who frankly would rather have had this sorted out ages ago
  • A lot of the general public who are just sick of the whole thing
Much of the problem is among people who think compromise is a synonym for surrender. The Withdrawal Agreement, with its possibility of an indefinite customs union without any say in its operation, is seen as Leave by the Remain side and Remain by the Leave side... who rarely can actually cite any EU regulations, let alone ones they disagree with.

There is no easy solution here, there never has been. Not without finding some unicorn and the only one we have is busy supporting our coat of arms...