Ten reasons to vote Leave

brexitI have waited a long time for this referendum, all the while hoping that one day we may escape the EU. The thing that has really pained me during the protracted run in to this week’s vote is being painted as some kind of ‘Little Englander’, a Daily Mail-reading xenophobe, or even racist.

To explain why I have voted (by post) the way I have, I can do no better than to repeat, verbatim and with his permission, the final shot fired by Dominic Frisby (MoneyWeek journalist and author of Life After The State and Bitcoin: The Future Of Money).

To me, these ten points address the fundamentals of the question, whereas most politicians have sought populist messages based on immigration and/or questionable projections about how much better (or worse) off we may (or may not) be next week/month/year/decade.  Before I get carried away, time to hand you over to Dominic. Continue reading

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Better business education

profitA friend, who’s the MD of a tech company, is in the good habit of engaging regularly with his staff.  In collecting feedback from a recent staff meeting, ready for the next, he saw that several senior engineers wanted to know what was meant by profit, and why did the company seem to care so much about it.

That they asked these questions was no surprise as most people don’t seem to know (and still less care) much about business.  What disturbed me more was that my friend felt that he had to answer the question indirectly.  The questions themselves reveal an ignorance of basic business reality, and his approach showed that he sensed that profit is a rather suspect motivation. Continue reading

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I’m writing a novel…

luiz de camoesThere. I’ve said it.  It feels like a confession at Alcoholics Anonymous.  I’ve often thought about writing a novel, and now I’m of retirement age I have a lifetime of experience upon which to draw, and more time to spend on personal projects.  But it’s slow going.  My prevarication techniques, aside from writing blog posts like this one, include reading ‘how to’ books and evaluating various tools (this is the 21st century – no-one uses just pen and paper any more, do they?) Continue reading

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How close are we to Molenbeek?

molenbeekTeun Voeten is a cultural anthropologist and war photographer who lived in Molenbeek for nine years until, in 2014, he could stand it no longer and left. The article he wrote after the Paris bombings in November last year is still more resonant after the events of last month.  Can we honestly say that the problems he describes are not present in many places here in the UK?  I believe they are, and that we should no longer be so complacent. Continue reading

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Forgiveness – a life lesson

tom tateSomeone could spend a year writing a novel to illustrate the life lesson that was encapsulated in an extraordinary obituary in The Times this week.  The subject was one Tom Tate, who died at the age of 98 on 19th January. Continue reading

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Use a good bike lock!

Left outside Halfords in Eastleigh for five minutesThe U-lock obviously did its job well, but perhaps it wasn’t wise to park outside Halfords in Eastleigh in the first place.  Fortunately, the tea leaves mustn’t have had a crank removal tool with them, otherwise it could have been a lot worse.

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Old donkeys…

duolingo 36pcI thought that ‘grade inflation’ was a feature of school and university exam results, but I’ve found another example where the desire to encourage has overwhelmed common sense.  In the past few months I’ve spent a fair amount of my spare time using Duolingo, an excellent (and free) website that provides a very effective means of learning a new language, in this case Portuguese. Continue reading

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From Hero to Zero in Four Coolers

As time goes by, and more experience is gained, the length of time between extraordinary occurrences increases. I think it’ll be a while before I experience anything like this again (at least, I hope so). Continue reading

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The Reckless Optimist

Matt RidleyI enjoyed reading Matt Ridley’s “The Rational Optimist“, which I thought offered plenty of food for thought especially for an inveterate ‘glass half-empty’ pessimist like me. However, his article in The Times (19th Oct) which you can find on his blog caused me to rank him above Jeremy Clarkson on my list of candidates for Public Enemy #1. Continue reading

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We have nothing to fear from Artificial Intelligence…

Andrew (HSBC)… at least not as implemented by HSBC.  Professors Dawkins, Hawking et al can relax while this is the best the bank can do: Continue reading

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Luck or Skill?

It’s hard not to believe in luck when you have a run of results like this evening’s.  Much as I’d like to think I was playing exceptionally skilfully, the fact is that I was getting a lot of good deals and then everything seemed to be hitting and connecting. Continue reading

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spamAn open letter to Extravision.

By some people’s standards I have a lot of e-mail addresses spread across a variety of ISPs and domains.  This is partly because of the number of businesses and other organisations in which I’m involved and the number of other online activities in which I participate.  I therefore expect to get a lot of spam – it goes with the territory. Continue reading

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Reversal of Fortune

full houseNeither of these two hands is particularly remarkable, but… Continue reading

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Women in Science & Technology

pulsarDespite decades of effort, there’s probably still some way to go. Last weekend, The Sunday Times magazine featured a “Life in the Day” of Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell who is a shining example of not only how to persevere in overcoming barriers but also how not to bear grudges. Continue reading

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Dog breeders and the KC

Ben on IoW ferry 060610If you’re a dog breeder or a dog show judge, you may be offended by what I’m about to write, but here goes. Continue reading

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What can you do?

Three hands into a tournament that should have lasted an hour or two depending on how things went, I received a sign from the poker gods that tonight was not my night.  Pocket Jacks is not a bad deal in the big blind, so when it came around to me I went over the top of the original raiser and his followers.  Lo and behold, he takes offence and goes all in.  Oh well, with the Jacks what can you do but call?  Tens is it?  That’ll do.  But there’s a ten on the flop.  Bummer.  I need a Jack on the turn or river or I’m toast. But it’s a ten on the turn and my pocket Jacks have run into quad tens… talk about rubbing salt into it!  Out in 174th place.  Embarrassing 😦

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eBook Published!

Starting Online Poker Cover BL (large hi-res)My new book, Starting Online Poker, is now available from Amazon for $2.99/£1.99.  I will donate 25% of net royalties to UNICEF.

I enjoyed discovering the world of eBook publishing as much as I enjoyed writing the book (and gaining the material in the first place!)  Check it out at Amazon using the following link:


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Etiquette – live vs. online

ID-100286802When I only have a short time available, I tend to play cash games because I can play for just as long as I like.  Different tables play differently, depending on the mix of players.  My natural tendency is to play fairly tight, so I’m not keen on playing people who turn every hand into a coin-flip for high stakes.  I therefore tend to join tables where the average pot is quite low. Continue reading

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Poker Blog

poker cover imageTowards the end of 2014, I finally started playing poker online. I’ve always enjoyed watching poker on TV, and have often thought about having a go.  It’s so much faster than playing live games, so you learn very quickly.  I’ve written a book about what I’ve learned so far, which will soon be available through Amazon.  For every £1 net of costs that I receive, I will donate £0.25 to charity. Continue reading

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Will we ever get PR?

Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan at www.freedigitalphotos.netI was 18 in 1969, when the voting age in the UK was lowered from 21.  In those days, Liberals (not LibDems) were as rare as unicorns and the first past the post system of one person, one vote and first past the post made some sense.  We had what I remember Quintin Hogg (later to become Lord Chancellor) remarking upon as a revolving dictatorship as we alternated between Labour and Conservative governments. Continue reading

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