Starting the Year (and a Brief Look Back)

2022. That’s a lot of 2s. Though just wait till the 2nd of February.

Happy New Year to one and all. Who knows what 2022 will bring, but let’s hope it’s at least some relief from the difficulties of 2020 and 2021. But the coronavirus doesn’t care about calendars, and neither does viral evolution.

Anyway, I posted 143 times in 2021, which is broadly in line with recent years. Here’s the breakdown, because why not?

Month Posts
Jan 22
Feb 12
Mar 17
Apr 14
May 10
Jun 11
Jul 12
Aug 6
Sep 14
Oct 6
Nov 8
Dec 11

2020’s stats, and 2019’s.


Endings

Well, this year of infamy is finally lurching towards its end. I don’t think too many of us will be sad to see the back of 2020.

With it, though, we have to also say a final goodbye to Britain’s membership of the European Union. I don’t think too many of us will be happy about that. Even people who are pleased about it now will realise over time that leaving is a huge mistake.

At least with the exit agreement in place, we shouldn’t see the immediate shortages and queues at the ports that we feared. That agreement is problematic, though.

To get an example of its dangers, I refer you to David Allen Green’s Law and Policy Blog. Yesterday’s post is entitled ‘The Bill implementing the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is an exercise in the Government taking power from Parliament,’ and in it he says:

The draft bill is complex and deals with several specific technical issues, such as criminal records, security, non-food product safety, tax and haulage, as well as general implementation provisions.

Each of these specific technical issues would warrant a bill, taking months to go through the normal parliamentary process.

But instead they will be whizzed and banged through in a single day, with no real scrutiny, as the attention of parliamentarians will (understandably) be focused on the general implementation provisions, which are in Part 3 of the draft bill.

[…]

This provision will empower ministers (or the devolved authorities, where applicable) to make regulations with the same effect as if those regulations were themselves acts of parliament.

In other words: they can amend laws and repeal (or abolish) laws, with only nominal parliamentary involvement.

There are some exceptions (under clause 31(4)), but even with those exceptions, this is an extraordinarily wide power for the executive to legislate at will.

These clauses are called ‘Henry VIII’ clauses and they are as notorious among lawyers as that king is notorious in history.

Again, this means that parliament (and presumably the devolved assemblies, where applicable) will be bypassed, and what is agreed between Whitehall and Brussels will be imposed without any further parliamentary scrutiny.

– David Allen Green, The Bill implementing the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is an exercise in the Government taking power from Parliament

The whole piece is worth reading (and note the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy references).

Take back control, right enough: take it back from the elected representatives of the people, and give it to the executive.

2020 made 2016 look like 2012. 2021 offers hope to the world as the Covid vaccines roll out, and hope for America as Trump is rolled out of the White House. But things still look decidedly dodgy here in the UK.


Blogging the Bitface, 2018 Style

Like last year, I present the figures for my blogging in 2018. 163 posts in total, counting this one, broken up as follows.

Month Posts
Jan 20
Feb 13
Mar 11
Apr 15
May 23
Jun 16
Jul 11
Aug 8
Sep 9
Oct 13
Nov 12
Dec 12

The formatting has improved, as I mentioned last time. I’m not sure what I did that made it better. The SQL is the same as before, with the obvious year change.

100 posts less1 than last year, but not bad. I’ll try for something closer to daily in 2019.


  1. Some would say that should be “fewer,” but it turns out that was never a real rule, just some guy’s choice that got locked into style guides. 

The Year Turns Again

New Year’s Day, by all the fates. Another trip round the sun, another twelve months have passed. As usual I wonder, “Where did that year go?”

I’ve been fairly consistent in blogging over the last year, I think: consistently lightweight, that is. I only missed one entire month, by the looks of it (March). But it’s been infrequent at best.

So as a kind of New Year’s resolution (I don’t really go in for them normally) I’m planning — no, thats probably too strong; proposing, let’s say — to make 2017 the year of blogging every day.

Every day. It’s a big challenge, I know. But I think that it’s only if I put it out there publicly that there’s any chance I’ll carry through with it.

Or not. We’ll see. My thinking is that even a traditional link post will count, since I write at least a few words with those.

Anyway, Happy New Year, if you’re reading this and I haven’t wished you it already.


Strange Blog Behaviour

For some reason WordPress decided to repost the two posts that currently appear immediately below this one. I have no idea why. They have in common that they are both of the “Link” format (“Format” here is a WordPress concept denoting types of post).

The mildly annoying thing is that I haven’t posted here yet this year, and now I seem to have started the year with two reposts. I could, of course, delete them, but then the above paragraph would be wrong.

Anyway, this is the true first post of the year, even if it was triggered by an aberration.

Hello. Happy New Year.


New Year Activities

The day after New Year's Day we decided to go to the British Museum, to see the mummies. So did half of London, it seemed. I've never seen it so crowded. Still, the mummies are always interesting. I must go back another time and see some other sections.

Home was via bookshop, Pizza Express, and Little Fockers at the cinema (ignore the critics: it’s loadsa fun; unless you didn’t like the first two, of course).

Oh, but before all that, we had tried to play basketball in Millfields Park. But there was an annoying dog-owner who couldn’t control her Alsatian. The latter proceeded to bite our basketball till it burst. When we remonstrated with the owner, she ran off.

At least it was only the basketball that got bitten.

The next day brought an early start. Neither London’s young skaters nor anybody else gets up very early on New Year’s Bank Holiday Monday, it seems. I don’t think I’ve ever seen London streets so empty. The drive in to the Aldwych area for the start of skating at Somerset House felt like driving through a Jerry Cornelius novel: “Martin tooled the big Duesenberg Skoda down Roseberry Avenue…”

I don’t skate any more. I did it twice when I was a student, and I think once since I had kids. From the student times, I remember enjoying it, but getting very wet and very bruised. With kids I didn’t fall over so much, but only through caution, not because I had magically become able to skate.

Anyway, what with one thing and another, I didn’t do it through all those intervening years, and by the time my kids were old enough to be interested and able, I had broken my cruciate ligament in a freak gardening accident. I probably could do it now, but I’m too scared of re-injuring my knee.

So I sat in the warmth of “Tom’s Skate Lounge” and had a Cappuccino and a Danish, and took photographs and notes, while our party slowly, but with increasing confidence, circled the ice. I loved the fact that the staff members who were on the ice had hi-viz vests saying “Ice Marshall”. There’s something very pleasing about that term.

After that we drove on out to South Kensington, and the Natural History Museum. Ostensibly to see the dinosaurs. But of course, the other half of London had decided to do the same. After queueing for maybe twenty minutes to get inside, we found a 45-minute queue for the dinosaurs. So we elected for the blue whale, via the other mammals, instead.

Which was of course, fabulous. Wonderful place, the Natural History Museum. Actually, London’s pretty wonderful.

Ice Marshalls at Somerset House


New?

I’m desperately rushing to post this before midnight, just so I can have a post on the 1/1/11. Happy New Year, everyone.


... And a Happy New Year to All My Reader

Well, clearly no blogging happens over the Christmas and New Year period in the Devilgate household. In fact I didn't even switch the computer on.

So we start the year without having done a review of the last one, and without even having posted all of last year’s Book Notes. I have nine (nine!) written or partially written, but unposted, mini book reviews, that I’ll try to put up over the next few days. Perhaps I should slap them all together into one, but that would really be too big, and would make it harder to find things in future. So Book Notes 2006 entries will keep on appearing for a while yet.

And since I’ve made myself a New Year’s resolution to write every day, I hope to be making considerably more posts in general than last year. We’ll see.

I hope everyone had a fine Christmas or other winter festival, and an equally good start to the New Year.