Skip to main content

No Easy Day in June

It’s the 7th June and I wanted to post an iconic photo of ‘Easy Company,’ the paratrooper heroes made famous in the series, ‘Band of Brothers,’ standing together, in the square of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, June 7, 1944, the day after D-Day.

Quite extraordinary , brave men at an extraordinary time in our history. Ahead of them still lay the snow of the Ardennes, Holland and finally, Hitler's own abandoned headquarters, Berchtesgaden.

Tomorrow, Britain decides with yet another General Election. Other than voting like everyone else, I have another job and that’s flying, with my colleagues, the Labour Party’s aerial campaign across marginal seats in the Midlands, the North-east and the North-west. Given the weather forecast for Thursday, I’m doubtful whether any of the aircraft with their big sheet banners will get into the air but you never know, we may get lucky. The English summer is such an unpredictable thing.

Watching the news on TV, I would love to be able to ask some of the people who are interviewed by journalists for the many ‘Vox Pops,” why they are voting for any particular Party. Why they really 'believe,' what they believe, is in anyway true or simply a misplaced and perhaps outdated statement of tribal loyalty to a political class or culture?

Come Friday though, like June of last year, the decision of the people will come across loud and clear, although I’m not convinced that many of them really understand what the implications of their decisions might be; much like the referendum of June 23rd last year. When as a minor local politician, I had media training, I was told that 78% of the general population don’t listen to or watch the news, their views are in part, formed by popular TV programmes such as Coronation Street, Brookside and East-enders and so, like this weblog, you are reading this because you are in the 12% of those who share an interest in news, politics and technology.

Ultimately, the worry is less about the result of our General Election and more about the consequences and conditions of BREXIT. Nobody has a clue what the future and our economy will look like in five years and all next week’s Government can do is hope to make a very hard landing a little less painful than the economists expect it to be.

What we do know now or at least those of us who follow such matters, is that without printing more money (Quantitative Easing) and consequently devaluing our currency and driving inflation, the cash simply doesn’t exist to fulfill the promises and plans of any of the main political Parties.

There will however, be one result of this General Election, regardless who comes to power and that will be the strengthening of the surveillance State beyond anything we might have imagined at the turn of this century. I’m suddenly reminded of the words of A.J.P. Taylor:

"Until August 1914, an Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the State...."


Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Big Steal

I’m not here to predict the future;” quipped the novelist, Ray Bradbury. “I’m here to prevent it.” And the future looks much like one where giant corporations who hold the most data, the fastest servers, and the greatest processing power will drive all economic growth into the second half of the century.

We live in an unprecedented time. This in the sense that nobody knows what the world will look like in twenty years; one where making confident forecasts in the face of new technologies becomes a real challenge. Before this decade is over, business leaders will face regular and complex decisions about protecting their critical information and systems as more of the existing solutions they have relied upon are exposed as inadequate.

The few real certainties we have available surround the uninterrupted march of Moore’s Law - the notion that the number of transistors in the top-of-the-line processors doubles approximately every two years - and the unpredictability of human nature. Exper…