Hey @volkswagen a process that allows random devs to add unapproved features to safety critical systems is worse than cheating emissions
— Colin Scott (@AbstractCode) October 9, 2015
I recently had an experience involving very poor customer satisfaction. This isn’t at all surprising — less-than-brilliant customer service is increasingly the norm, as good customer service can be rather expensive to deliver with no direct economically measurable benefit — but the nature of the particular interaction got me thinking about the nature of customer satisfaction.
The industry, organisation, and individuals involved aren’t, for the purposes of this story, relevant; the fact that I’m personally familiar with many of the parties, much more so, but only to the extent that it allowed me the ability to take a step back and think through what the problem was.
It turns out that Parliamentary submissions aren’t made under oath, and there are no meaningful penalties whatsoever for lying to Parliament.
Just imagine if there were meaningful penalties. Further, imagine if those penalties applied to the political caste, too.
It doesn’t matter which “side” of politics is best represented by this essay; true democracy comes from truly alternate viewpoints being correctly represented in government:
The Overton window — it’s the political theory that, at any point, there are policy ideas within the window that are seen as acceptable. Mainstream. Anything outside that particular window is seen as mad, bad, or dangerous. Not acceptable. Not to be taken seriously.
It’s my opinion that the Overton window has been significantly pushed to the right over the past couple of years. […] There is a sense that what were once overly punitive ideas are now meat and potatoes.
You know the kind of thing — punishing immigrants, demonising them, even. Cutting benefits from those who need them most, dismantling the NHS, shackling the unions — that kind of stuff. The kind of policies that would have previously raised eyebrows — and blood pressure — are now greeted with a nod and a muttered ‘quite right’.
You need brave people. Unselfish people. Ready to stand outside, prepared to be mocked. Passionate, committed and determined. I don’t see that in many of our politicians.
Last night, I heard a lettuce-fuelled Labour leadership hopeful tell a TV reporter that he is re-evaluating the ‘core values’ in the eyes of the electorate, as if by merely saying those words with his mouth, then the answer will turn up in a taxi.
Let me tell you the core values, sunshine. They are to stand up to inequality, punch hard for those who cannot, and REFUSE to be bowed in the face of battle. Save yourself the money you were going to spend on shiny leaflets. You won’t need them. Just stand up, charge forward and bloody fight.
Labor — the Australian one, that is — was and is wrestling with this same issue; I infer it’s a common problem in all “western” democracies at the present. They still haven’t figured it out, and they started struggling with this so-called problem while they were nominally in charge. Now they’re trying to be functionally the same as the current government, which for all intents and purposes means we’ve got a one-party system.
Thing is, I’m fairly sure that the average voter, when not being told what to think by the media establishments, would be quite happy to see a genuinely alternate viewpoint represented by an opposition party with significant size to it.
Without it, we’re heading well down the path toward an entirely less compassionate society.
Two, related, articles today of note; worth reading if only to trigger reflection.
In Europe it has frozen Germany into a fixed position in relation to fiscally stricken countries such as Greece over what is reasonable behaviour in relation to debt. In much of the Anglosphere the concept of persuadable political adversaries risks being supplanted by that of implacable enemies engaged in brutal winner-takes-all politics.
In Australia, too; this essay more than accounts for this.
While enthusiasm for Keynesian stimulus is by no means universal among economists, almost none of them think that cutting government spending when the economy is slowing is a good idea. […] Two other Nobel Prize–winning economists, Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, have argued repeatedly that cutting spending while the economy is slowing is proven to increase unemployment. They have also pointed out that policies increasing inequality rarely produce long-term social or economic benefits.
This last point — emphasis mine — is important: someone who is selfish enough to believe the winner-take-all, fuck-the-poor approach to social services is the right one, is ultimately doing themselves no service whatsoever.
We’ve had legislation that equates to the racist bogan bumper sticker, “Fuck off, we’re full,” for some years now.
It occurs to me that the proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act equate roughly to that other favourite for the back of V8 Holden utilities (generally found on those with Chevrolet badges replacing the Holden insignia): “Love it or leave.”
More bad law amendments.
This one — without recourse to natural justice or judicial oversight — strips dual citizens of their Australian nationality, for the simple act of vandalism of Commonwealth owned assets.
Or, for possessing a ‘thing’ connected to terrorism. No definition of ‘thing’ in this context, exists in the amendment.
Any revocation can only be appealed after the fact; a fact that the affected person may not even be aware of.
Given that this Government includes people who would strip citizenship from someone acquitted by the courts, now does not seem to be a good time to be a dual national.