Just been reading the transcript of Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at the SNP conference today and … welp, there it is: deal with COVID19, then full speed ahead for an independence referendum with rejoining the EU as an implicit outcome.

(Scotland polls at 70-75% anti-Brexit.)
I suspect the outcome of the Alba split has convinced SNP strategists that they don’t need the party’s right wing/pro-Brexit wing any more. And hitching independence to EU membership will gain them more votes than it loses.
It’s been obvious to me that Brexit would lead to the breakup of the UK since 2016; it took a crisis the size of COVID19 to delay the process, but the Scottish gov’s handling of the pandemic looks good compared to Westminster—giving the SNP a rep for competence in government.
Also note the way the social care budget increase is being funded in England/Wales (regressive taxes on young/poor to support pensioners), and the Scottish plan (progressive taxes, higher contribution by the rich).

And the desire for more immigrants.

Two nations, moving apart.

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More from @cstross

3 Sep
Overflowing bins: is anybody else getting deja vu for the Winter of Discontent (1978-79)?
Also in the news: Waitrose lorry drivers now earning more than solicitors, care workers in England taking 30% pay rises as Amazon warehouses recruit them to pack boxes, fruit rotting in the fields, inflation in the economic forecasts.

Back to the 1970s! Stagflation ahoy!
Stagflation is the odd combination of wage inflation and economic output stagnation that characterised the UK economy from 1973-1980. It was Very Not Fun to live through.

Brexit-induced supply chain/immigration disruption combines with COVID19 labour shortages to bring it back!
Read 8 tweets
3 Sep
Meet IBM's new 5GHz 256-core mainframe:

"… Telum also introduces a 6TFLOPS on-die inference accelerator. It's intended to be used for—among other things—real-time fraud detection during financial transactions."

Mainframes still ain't dead.

For non-initiates: the big difference between a mainframe and your PC/Mac isn’t clock speed—it’s fault tolerance and data throughput. Fault tolerance: if a bank of RAM or a CPU core fails, the mainframe won’t lose data or running processes. Data: take your PC and add six zeroes.
They *look* antiquated to PC users, but that’s because all the high-end features of your PC (VMs, multiple level caches, multi-core architecture) were pioneered by mainframes 2-4 decades ago: mainframe designers add new features intended for data processing, not fancy GUIs.
Read 4 tweets
24 Aug
In case it’s not obvious: I’ve been juggling TWO giant series since 1999-2002: the Laundry Files, and the Merchant Princes.

MP got a reboot as Empire Games in 2014 (aka Merchant Princes: The Next Generation) but will have run its course (as of “Invisible Sun“).

But …

The Laundry Files story arc isn’t quite over: there are a couple of novellas and at least one more full novel to go to finish it.

But it’s on hiatus while I start an overlapping spin-off series, Tales of the New Management. Starts with “Dead Lies Dreaming”, then …

… “Quantum of Nightmares” (coming in January ‘22), then “Season of Skulls” (provisional title, early 2023).

After that? Maybe New Management book 4; or maybe the last Laundry Files novel—that’s a question for 2023/24.

The 2020 plan was to end LF and replace with NM.

Read 4 tweets
22 Aug
Welp, I am informed a BT engineer will call tomorrow between 8am and 1pm to upgrade my fibre connection.

I’m not normally awake before 10am because I get to set my own working hours and am not a morning person.

So, obviously, they’ll show up at 2pm, right?
So, an update:

A BT engineer tried to phone my mobile at 8:20 but dropped through to voice mail (poor signal) and didn't leave a message.

BT's billing system then tried to ding me £130 for a missed appointment.

Hint: I was home and waiting for the doorbell to ring all along.
I suspect they took one look at the street (which is a strictly-no-parking tow-away zone before 9:30am) and pissed off.

Anyway, online chat ensued.

Surcharge cancelled, new appointment booked in two weeks' time, NOTES ABOUT PARKING AND PHONE SIGNAL ADDED.

Read 5 tweets
17 Aug
I just remembered I’m supposed to use this hellsite to promote my work. Well alrighty: I have two novels and a novella coming out in the next six months!

Invisible Sun drops on Sept 30th! (The last Empire Games book)

US: amazon.com/Invisible-Sun-…
UK: amazon.co.uk/Invisible-Sun-…

Next book after Invisible Sun is Quantum of Nightmares, the second New Management book sequel to Dead Lies Dreaming (misfiled as Laundry Files book 11 in the US). Coming on January 11th:

US: amazon.com/Quantum-Nightm…
UK: amazon.co.uk/Quantum-Nightm…

Finally, the novella will arrive in March 2021, now re-titled “Escape from Yokai Land” (it was previously “Escape from Puroland”). Link, US only:


Read 7 tweets
7 Apr
The BBC is isomorphic with late Brezhnev-era Pravda, only in English, this century. State propaganda mouthpiece and a distraction from what’s really going on, which is the decay of a de-facto one-party state as it rots from inside.

The UK preserves the form of democracy but not the substance, since 1979. Labour can only achieve power (as under Blair) by wholeheartedly adopting and continuing Conservative policies. We’ve had 42 years of Conservativism and nobody much under 60 remembers anything else.

There are peripheral hold-outs, especially at regional government level (eg. the SNP in Scotland) but the Conservative party in Westminster is instinctively centralizing (eg. Thatcher’s abolition of the GLC in 1986). Local tinkering is a pressure relief valve, not a solution.

Read 7 tweets

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