Charles River Ventures killed Pebble but made a decent return: a $40m return on its $15m investment.
Extrapolating from UK by-elections to a general election result is always a dodgy proposition, but we have seen two in short order so I’m going to stick my neck out.
In Richmond Park, a constituency that voted solidly to remain in the EU, the unambiguously pro-remain Lib Dem candidate trounced the Brexit supporting Tory. And no-one was fooled by Zac Goldsmith’s pseudo-independence.
In Sleaford and North Hykeham, a constituency that voted to leave, the pro-leave Conservative candidate comfortably won, beating UKIP into a distant second.
Both by elections centred on the Brexit vote and the government’s response, and this clearly remains a live issue for many voters. In constituencies in which the remain vote was strong, voters are turning to the Lib Dems as the only unambiguously pro-EU party. In pro-leave constituencies, voters are not buying UKIP’s accusations of the government backsliding on Brexit, and are continuing to back the Tories.
It would be foolish to try and make a general election prediction based on two by elections. But the one thing that has become clear is that when Theresa May says “Brexit means Brexit”, what she means is that Labour’s slide into irrelevance can only accelerate.
In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman looks at the mental shortcuts we take and the ways in which these shortcuts mislead us. In doing so, he describes two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is quick, intuitive and emotional while System 2 is slower, more deliberative and more logical. Both systems have their place, but System one tends to dominate and is relatively easy to manipulate.
AC Grayling argues that this has happened, both in the Brexit referendum and the Trump election.
What Kahneman and other researchers have empirically confirmed in their work is that the majority of people are ‘System One’ or ‘quick’ thinkers in that they make decisions on impulse, feeling, emotion, and first impressions, rather than ‘System Two’ or ‘slow’ thinkers who seek information, analyse it, and weigh arguments in order to come to decisions. System One thinkers can be captured by slogans, statements dramatised to the point of falsehood, and even downright lies, because they will not check the validity of what is said, but instead will mistrust System Two thinkers whose lengthier arguments and appeals to data are often regarded as efforts to bamboozle and mislead.
Grayling goes on to say:
A senior BBC news editor told me that there was fierce debate among his colleagues about how they were reporting the Brexit referendum campaigns. They were conscious that that the Leave campaign, in particular, was putting out highly doubtful if not downright dishonest statements either very late or very early in the day in order to have them reported in morning news programmes, knowing that fact checking and the need to modify or retract misleading statements would only come later in the day, by which time the statements would have done their work with System One audiences.
And the media often compounds this problem by seeking a balance that (unintentionally) results in false equivalence.
I’m not sure what the solution to all of this is – or even if there is one – but surely it starts with more teaching and use of critical thinking and a better use of journalistic resources so that untrue and misleading claims can be quickly and effectively debunked.
Politico reports that the Belgian beer culture was added on Wednesday to UNESCO’s cultural heritage list for being deep-rooted in the country with breweries, beer tasting associations, museums and events in every province of Belgium.
“It is the unparalleled diversity of the art of brewing and the intensity of the beer culture, as a part of our daily lives and at festivals in our country, that make this beer culture a part of the identity and the cultural heritage of the entire country,” a statement from the culture ministers from the French, German, and Dutch speaking communities of Belgium said.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called upon people to visit the country to taste the beers.
[T]he Sun was a vocal proponent of Brexit, as was Murdoch, who, when asked why he didn’t like the EU, said: “That’s easy. When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.”
But let’s be clear here. Trump and Farage do not understand the working class. They come from immensely privileged backgrounds, have spent little time studying the real problems workers have, and make no effort to identify genuine circumstances where the people might be right and elites wrong. Instead, they are just narcissists who found a ready market for their bigotry thanks to helpful socioeconomic conditions, a complicit media and cognitive biases among voters.
Here’s handy. If you are using Linux on the IBM Power architecture, the Open Source POWER Availability Tool (OSPAT) allows you to search multiple distributions for available packages.
[T]he specialty of OSPAT is that it only returns POWER package results, it does not return x86 packages in the search results. Thus, the user doesn’t have to drill deep into the search results to find the POWER packages. Also, the search results display the results across multiple distributions, helping POWER users determine whether certain packages have equivalency across multiple distributions.
Click here if you want to take a look.
As neo-tribalism replaces neoliberalism, you must forget about the old checks and balances democracies erected to govern complicated societies. You must be sure to respect the “will of the people” in its unmediated rawness. You must be surer still that you are a part of “the people”. For, if you are not, you can find yourself an “enemy of the people” just by carrying on as you did before.
Every one of the Leave campaign’s claims was worthless. Every one of their promises was obvious nonsense. And a BMG poll suggests that people are beginning to realise this.
Referenda can look superficially appealing, but by trying to reduce a complex or divisive issue into a simple yes/no question, they can cause confusion and uncertainty. Often, this leads to people voting on the the question they would like to answer rather than the question being asked, which allows the whole process to be hijacked by fringe groups (UKIP turning the Brexit vote into a ballot on immigration, for example).
Low turnouts, as is also often the case, also skew the results away from the balance of public opinion and towards the minority with the most enthusiastic supporters.
There are cases in which a referendum is justified, but these are rare and should be treated as exceptional and they certainly have no place in resolving internal party disputes.
In France, François Fillon is the centre right candidate for next year’s presidential election having beaten Alain Juppé by 67% of the votes against 33%. Given the rising tide of populism in both Europe and the US, this is more than a little concerning.
French elections have two rounds of voting. If no-one wins 50% of the vote in the first round, there is a run-off between the two leading candidates to decide the winner. With the French left in disarray (again), the polls point to the run-off being between tne centre-right candidate (Fillion) and and the FN’s Marine Le Pen.
The issue here is that Fillon is an outspoken Thatcherite who wants to take on the unions, shrink the public sector, abolish the 35 hour working week, and generally tip the French economy on it’s head.
As The Economist points out:
Plenty of voters on the left deeply dislike both Mr Fillon’s economic and social policies. Already Libération, a left-leaning newspaper, has splashed a photo montage blending his face with that of Thatcher on the front page. The country’s biggest union has warned that it will be on the streets if the centre-right wins. During the primary, Mr Juppé spoke darkly of the “brutality” of Mr Fillon’s economic programme. After his primary win, one Socialist deputy called it “violent and dangerous”.
The worry here is that in the second round of voting, left-leaning voters are going to find themselves being asked to support the Thatcherite in order to keep out the fascist. Faced with that choice, it is conceivable that many of them will stay at home instead.
And the US has just shown us how that turns out.