Skip to main content

Swinging Voters.

One of those windy, hot summer’s days, which makes my life as a pilot, (weekend job) awkward when trying to thread an aircraft with precision, between two poles, ten feet off the ground.

Back home again and time to relax before my dinner of Quorn burgers. I’ve given-up on meat both for ethical and health reasons and to be honest, I rarely miss it now and feel rather better for the change. It was all prompted by reading Yuval Noah Harari’s book, ‘Homo Deus’ when I was on the way to give a talk in Abu Dhabi and I haven’t looked back since.

As I was away, speaking at a conference yesterday and didn’t arrive home until late, I managed to avoid writing my own thoughts on the results of our dysfunctional General Election, like a million other people. Without going into any great detail, because you all likely know it by now, several things struck me most about the result.

Firstly, reportedly 120 people out of over 40 million voters decided the result in removing the Government’s overall majority in Parliament, with surprise victories for Labour in constituencies, like Canterbury, next door and Kensington. This was an election result across a nation, swung by less than the number of people who can fit into our local cinema, once all the recounts and results were in.

Secondly, Diane Abbott, who conclusively proved to us all she isn’t the sharpest tool in Labour’s political box, was returned with an even greater majority; proving that populism and competence occupy quite different trajectories.

 Lastly, the young and social media determined the result and a complete sea-change in British politics, where newspapers have little or no impact on perceptions anymore.

My daughter’s generation may never have bought a newspaper and receive all their news, with a powerful confirmation bias I suspect, from friends and social media. They don’t watch TV news. Television is a means of serving-up Netflix and Amazon and BBC iPlayer, so advertisers should be worrying too.

The world has changed in twelve months, Donald Trump is President and Jeremy Corbyn is Obi Wan Kenobi incarnate. He has, in a few short months since I met him, learned to knot his tie and bought a decent suit. Who would have thought it in 2016?

And the policies? The Conservatives learned that ‘Going-after’ small businesses and pensioners was a really bad idea and Theresa may learned that a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos doesn’t automatically make the wearer a worthy successor to Margaret Thatcher.

I’ll pass over the LibDems with a shrug and straight to Labour, whose policies and magnificent ‘Money Tree’ avoided proper scrutiny, simply because the Prime Minister was busily occupied shooting herself firmly in both feet - she may have removed her expensive ‘Jimmy Choos’ first.

A generation of students have been promised ‘Free stuff’ and redundant factory workers have been promised jobs that no longer have any value or purpose in a global economy; much like Donald Trump reintroducing coal to keep Virginia’s miners happy while elsewhere renewables are the bright future of the clean energy business.

Much like my generation having no memory of the world described in George Orwell’s “Road to Wigan Pier.” today's students have little interest in the history of IRA terrorism or even the vaguest familiarity with Stalinism or the German Democratic Republic. “A generation ago every intelligent person was, in some sense a revolutionary,” wrote George Orwell and in my time it Was the Red Brigades or Baader Meinhof  two violent and radical ideologies the European young embraced. Today, it’s more peaceful and ‘Green’ but I would argue, equally delusional and represented by Jeremy Corbyn and his disciples. However, what we don’t learn from history, we are invariably forced to repeat and to conclude with another quote from George Orwell:

“It hardly needs pointing out that at this moment we are in a very serious mess."

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…