My 3rd hand Toshiba was finally ‘obsoleted’ by Microsoft – boooo hiss. I was forced to retire the chunky, held-together-with-tape reliable grey friend. It supported me valiantly, most recently in writing ‘Maybe I’m not a Pigeon’ which as you know you can buy online.
Unlike tech giants I am a fan of the adage ‘If it aint broke don’t fix it’
However, amid my bleating and complaining, my partner got this small shiny red thingy for me. It weighs just a couple of pounds (1kg to you modern types). I was all pleased to get a pressie but also cross to have been cyber manipulated and also pre-hassled at all the re-adjusting I would have to do in order to be able to do the things I was doing quite happily before.
So I charged it, switched it on and did not recognise ANYTHING about its display.
I switched it off.
I turned it back on and STILL did not get even a whiff of familiarity. It wanted to connect to devices I don’t have. It kept mentioning things that meant nothing to me. It wanted to access games. Er – no, I’m not 15. I searched in vain for the familiar icon that would mean I could open a page and start typing.
In the end I took it with me for a little bus trip to the Virgin shop in town as I needed help with my phone and I hoped someone there might be able to speak to the small shiny red thingy. The young trendy (aren’t they always) guy could barely disguise his disdain at my pathetic non i-phone but did sort the sim out for me. I waved the small shiny red thingy at him (I wanted to know why there was no port for plugging in the internet cable) he had to go out back. For a laugh I think.
‘You don’t need to be attached with a wire’ said another nicer man
‘But I want a wire’ said I
‘It’s fine being wireless’ he said kindly
‘I like the yellow wire, it seems a more secure connection’ I sulked
‘Only hackers need a connection that secure’ he assured me
(How did he know I wasn’t a hacker?)
Then after more of the turning-it-on-and-hoping kind of activity an icon popped up asking me if I wanted to chat online for some help. Tada. After more than 90 minutes online and a couple of phone calls with a lovely woman in India the new shiny red thingy is doing things I want it to do and has icons on it that I recognise and it suddenly doesn’t seem so scary. And she was SO nice and SO clever and friendly and did NOT make me feel like a moron.
Now you may feel this next bit is a leap but – after we’d finished and while I was still dazed and confused – it occurred to me, again, how much of a load of old cobblers David Cameron’s phony posturing over Europe really is (and I already knew it was bollocks)
Stay with me you know I get there in the end…
Last week – prior to The Guardian publishing another of my Ms Angry letters (29th Jan – look up Amanda Baker Edinburgh) I got a Guardian HQ confirmation call from a youth. This young un clearly had practised his tone of studied boredom – possibly to give the impression he was just too good to be making mundane phone calls to nobodies like moi. Now if he is following the pattern of into-UK journalism in the 2000s he is possibly one of those fortunate enough to be able to afford to do an internship or shoe-horned in by a family contact. I don’t know. He didn’t sound like he was from the local comp.
The point I am making is that there are lots of things wrong with the UK - the economy and education and healthcare yada yada yada but it has NOTHING to do with belonging to the EU.
If India can produce young women of the calibre of the one who sorted out my shiny red thingy – intelligent, well educated, speaking great English – does Britain really think it can compete with the rest of the world if it is NOT part of Europe?
I mean seriously?
Plus, like other emerging economies – India is making things. Britain isn’t.
In emerging economies the brightest and best get on. Its ages since that ever happened in Britain as the upper echelons are chocked up and stagnated by the dual societal terminal illnesses, privilege and nepotism. Meritocracy is a past (short lived) dream. As I said a couple blogs ago, Tim rich but dim stamped out Trevor poor but clever before he got a foothold. And those who are thinking they should get out of Europe so that the scary immigrants don’t come and take their jobs. They don’t need to actually BE here to do that. WAKE UP.
And as the UK continues to be sold off to the highest bidder just what exactly is DC defending? It’s a mirage. It’s a fake. It’s a cartoon crusade.
If we want to compete globally we need to stop pretending the UKs problems are caused by immigrants or European membership or the disabled or those on benefits or any of the other bogey men the media and politicians scare us with. We need to fund talent and infrastructure and education with sturdy taxation and then protect it by chasing out the profiteering bastards who are bleeding the UK dry.
Now if you want to see this post as a (slightly rude) sketch click on the orange ‘Amanda Baker’ at the top right of the blog and you'll find my latest cartoon.