Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Please vote. I suggest 'no'.

I've done a lot of reading about the TREATY ON STABILITY, COORDINATION AND GOVERNANCE IN THE ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION BETWEEN Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism.  I have to admit, that I went in to most of that reading already having decided to vote no.  But nothing has come close to making me change my mind on that.

I am voting no because:

  • The main mechanism the treaty offers for correcting the problem of countries not having enough money to cover their expenses is to fine them.  Which hardly seems logical.
  • This treaty being in place wouldn't have stopped any of the foolishness that got our country into this position in the first place.  It's dealing with countries spending money they don't have.  We were spending money that we did have.  But we said we'd keep spending it.  And now we don't have it any more.  Ireland is like someone who treated a once or twice off bonus as a raise and signed up for a bunch of new expenses they couldn't really afford.
  • Voting no doesn't stop us getting a further bail out, if we need one.  It just stops us getting a bail out from the fund which the treaty sets up.
  • The rest of the European Union would be affected too badly by Ireland defaulting on its debt to refuse us a second bail out just to 'punish' us for voting no.
  • A yes vote is irrevocable, a no vote is not.
  • Structural deficit is not properly defined, but it is referred to.  That allows space for it to be redefined in some way we don't like and/or didn't anticipate.
  • I am not voting for anything that gives anyone immunity to legal proceedings.  No.  (Articles 32 and 35)  - EDIT - This is not the right treaty.  Our Government signed this one without asking us in July 2011.  Thanks guys.
  • The long list of muppets and loonies arguing for a no vote isn't actually a good reason to vote yes.  Funny as that idea might be.
  • 'Vote yes because they'll only ask us again anyway' is a bad approach.  That is a really bad reason to vote yes.  And it's actually more likely that our Government will accept a no for this than it was for Nice and Lisbon.  Unlike in those cases, this treaty CAN go ahead without us.
  • The turmoil in Europe and the many countries saying 'hm, maybe we should fix this a bit before we ratify it' was completely ignored by the Government.  The treaty should have been postponed.
  • The only sort of stability I can see this treaty bringing in is stability in the sh*t state we're currently in.  Where mostly only people who have computer science degrees have jobs, everyone my age has lost a bunch of friends to emigration, everyone is paying more tax than they'd like or expect to and is never sure when they're going to start paying more tax and where they're expected to get the money to pay it.  You know, like this.

If you don't want to take my word for it, here's a bunch of stuff I watched or read:
A video explaining what the treaty is.
A little bit 'yes' biased, from my point of view anyway.  But about as close to neutral as possible.

Reasons to vote no, Ireland in Europe perspective.
A good read, author clearly doesn't like Angela Merkel much.

Arguing for a yes vote.
Mostly seems to be saying 'ah here lads, we need to do this stuff anyway, so let's not rock the boat and p*ss off potential allies'.  Calls Angela Merkel by her first name.

Why VinB is voting no.
Why VinB is voting no.  His reasons are not my reasons.  But they're not bad reasons.

"Treaty a mere clause in contract yet unseen."
Many great nuggets, including the idea that 'we have no choice' is not a reason to vote yes, it's a reason to spoil your vote.

Someone I know and really respect in real life.
Arguing that we should vote yes to take more power from the Irish Government, because the Irish people can't elect a good one

I don't normally find myself agreeing with Libertas.
But this is well worth reading.

And a few I didn't, but heard were good:
'Guide to the Fiscal Treaty'

ESM Treaty & Stability (Fiscal Compact) Treaty
Seriously long and detailed.  Has been summed up as 'we'd be off our heads to vote Yes, but we're going to anyway. FFS.'

Aaaand last but not least:
The text of the treaty itself. the treaty itself.
Edited on 31/05/2012 to fix typos.
Edited again on 31/05/2012 because the treaty with the scary article 32 is a different one that the Government already signed without asking us.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Why should I have to WORK for everything?! It's like saying I don't deserve it!"

I've been reading articles on coding horror about the things like the fact that a lot of 'programmers' can't actually program and there is evidence that whether or not you can 'get' programming, whether or not it's something that you'll be able to do, is innate.  Either you have the ability to be a programmer, or you don't.

I find this incredibly frustrating.  I know I have that innate ability.  In school we had a computers class, which was mostly just playing with Logo, run by a teacher who also happened to be the career guidance teacher.  After that class she said, of me, 'she's a programmer' and told me I should do it for a living.  I did Computer Science and Software Engineering in college and loved it.  The only thing I could see myself having enjoyed more in college is pure maths.  I aced programming and logic courses all the way through.  I got a first class honours degree.  I left college wanting to write code, wanting to be a computer programmer. 

But I tried, and failed, to get a job writing code.  I had a few QA jobs that I was told would lead to writing code, but they never did.  I was aware that I had a lot to learn.  The sort of stuff that you can only learn on the job and/or by doing.  I am bad at learning by doing.  Not as bad as I was back then, but still bad.  If someone is willing to teach me, I am a sponge, I learn easilly and well.  But no one was.  No one was willing to hire me and teach me the things that my degree didn't and possibly couldn't.  I had ability, but I lacked skill.

I know that it's experience coding that counts and that it doesn't have to be in a professional setting.  I know that getting involved with an open source project and writing good code there, or just writing something myself and getting it out there, could lead to a programming job.  But I never seem to have the time, or the energy, or the brain space to do it.  Probably the most frustrating thing about this is knowing that I could fix it, but I haven't.  I know it's not reasonable or fair to expect to have a coding job served up to me on a plate.  But it's still frustrating that there are people out there programming badly for a living, when I'm so sure I could do it well.  And, well, see the title of this post.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What do you point your furniture at?

I don't have a TV. As it happens, in my current situation, I couldn't have one if I did want to, which I don't.

I do watch TV shows.  We have a Netflix account, before which we had a BBC iPlayer account. We own and borrow box sets.  But at home when I watch a television show, I am doing it on purpose.  And that, to me, is the key difference between me without a TV and me with a TV.

When I'm visiting somewhere that has one I find we end up watching the least bad thing on. The same thing used to happen to me when I had a TV. You have a time in your schedule, consciously or not, that says 'TV'. You fill that time with whatever is on. You pay various companies money so that you can have a large variety of choices. And you choose whatever is best from there. Not watching TV at all only becomes an option when really isn't anything on that's even passable.  Given the tendency of tired people who've been making decisions all day to take the easiest path, that bar can be pretty low.

To put it another way, for me, the difference between not owning and owning a TV is the difference between watching Firefly, or The Blue Planet, or Avatar and 'watching TV'. There are plenty of shows I like. But I don't like TV.  I don't like half the stuff I end up watching in other people's houses.  Yeah, a lot of the time I get into it and I keep watching because I want to find out what happens or whatever.  But that's not the same as coming out the other end really glad I spent that time that way.  And I don't like ads.  There are a now, I understand, many ways to record it and/or fast forward ads.  But I haven't come across one that's less effort than streaming the show or watching it from a disk in the first place.  Not to mention the price.

On the other hand, to mention the price, Mr. Money Mustache covers it quite nicely.  TV is expensive.  Organising it so 'the best thing on' is actually decent costs even more money.  Way more money than an account with Netflix or BBC iPlayer or something.  Heck, for the amount of money most people spend on cable, or satellite or whatever, I could more than afford to buy pretty much all of the shows I actually want to watch in box sets.  

I get the question 'what do you you point your furniture at?' from people I tell that I don't have a TV.  We point our furniture at tables.  Then we put things on the tables.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Something I heard

Something I heard

We’ve had a few high tides lately
And a recent storm has left the normally placid and fairly stationary shingle
Spread out down the sand somewhat.

I’ve always loved water,
Particularly the sea,
Particularly beaches,
But most of all; this beach, my beach.

I’ve rarely seen a tide so high.
So tonight I went exploring,
My beach,
But different.

And that is when I heard it.
The sound of a wave pulling back through loose shingle.
Not much, maybe,
But that pulling, tumbling, clacking, clapping, laughing, calling sound,
Resonated with a joy string in my heart
And left it ringing.