Andrew Fergusson

Sleeping in Sheffield, working in Manchester, living in real life. Yoga, technology, politics, infrastructure, running, Playstation, board games. British but not; Canadian as well.

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Letter to my MP on Brexit means Trump

Dear Lucy Powell,

I am writing to you about the upcoming votes on triggering Article 50 to begin the process to leave the European Union and the petition to rescind the state visit invitation to Donald Trump. I am worried that these two issues will be addressed in isolation, whereas they are clearly linked.

I am aware you share these concerns, as you queried the Foreign Secretary yesterday as to whether Trump’s executive order was a ban on Muslims. No head of state should be given a state visit to the UK with such racist and intolerant policies therefor Trump’s invitation must be rescinded.

Additionally, I implore you to vote against invoking Article 50. Previously, leaving the EU had a considerable amount of uncertainty but there were potential upsides, now leaving the EU will certainly push the UK towards a dangerous government. Untold concessions await the UK to secure a quick free...

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On Richmond

Note to Labour: the LibDems won this one because…

  1. They weren’t being racist
  2. They were pro-Europe

If you bang on about how the LibDems propped up the Tory government for 5 years as the reason you can’t work with them them you deserve the electoral wilderness you have.

  • The LibDems aren’t the ones chasing the angry white man vote with the Tories.
  • The LibDems didn’t vote for the Snooper’s Charter.
  • The LibDems didn’t have half their party trash electoral reform because of the long distance hope of a messiah not-Tony Tony returning them to majority.

By just folding it’s arms and saying no to compromise, Labour has ensured that the UK has a no compromise government and unsurprisingly it’s not theirs.

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Labour’s Brexit Battle

Looks like Labour’s current Brexit battle is turning out to be Queers vs Miners and it will be the end of Labour. Labour won’t be able to surive this because where “Queers support the Miners” was about bridging divides, Brexit is about building new ones.

Labour not blocking Article 50, or at least not demanding a mere technical Brexit (just leaving the EU and nothing else) is going to be a huge transgression for anyone who counts themselves socially progressive. This transgression will be bigger than the Liberal Democrat’s trebbling of tuition fees because there is no undo for this one.

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My commute should be PAYG

The UK has a ticketing problem: there are numerous types and often users pay for tickets they need or don’t realise they should use (or the worst: try to use but can’t) until it’s too late. Nowhere is more evident that the system is broken than a commute by train.

My daily commute is a train journey from Sheffield to Manchester. Ticketing options the journey are an On-Peak Day Return, an On-Peak Any Day Return, an Off-Peak Day Return, an Off-Peak Any Day Return, a Super Off-Peak Return, a Super Off-Peak Single, an On-Peak Single, an Off-Peak Single, an Advance Single, a Week Season ticket, a Month Season ticket, and a Month Season ticket plus a day up to an Annual Season ticket. I have many options - each with different restrictions and prices.

I’m the kind of geek which likes working out unit prices in my head (or multiple unit prices via a spreadsheet). Knowing the terms and...

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Cousera kick in the teeth

I was taking the Data Science specialisation from Cousera. I started in December. When I started the price was £19+£30*9, either pay in bits with only one re-sit, or all in advance for two years of all you can stomach access to the entire course library.

Now it’s £19+£62*9. £577!

Cousera and/or John Hopkins have doubled the price of their most popular verified specialisation. With no notice. No communication. Not even an FYI to current students already started their specialisation that the price was going to increase.

I didn’t pay in advance because the way the payment page was written. It extolled the benefits of paying in advance (2 years worth of access) but also told students you can switch from PAYG to pay in advance with a reduced fee (the lump sum less what you already paid). I was confident the price would remain the same for those who have started.

It obviously didn’t.


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DRIP, we meet again. [Letter to my MP]

Hello again Paul,

Thanks for your measured response to my concern regarding DRIP earlier this year. Though I believe we didn’t see eye to eye on the matter with respects to DRIP, I’m writing to you again about the expanding surveillance culture in the UK. In your email you sent to me you characterised the Government’s rush-through of DRIP to be ‘an affront to parliamentary democracy’, that the government ‘should have come forward with proposals much sooner…’ the UK is now faced with yet another surveillance expanding rush job and I am calling on you to not vote unlike the last time.

This is a poorly considered bill which makes the unwieldy large, invasive security state larger still.

The bill expands the scope of DRIP, forcing telecoms companies to retain more information than previously required by RIPA and DRIP. This amounts to a further expansion of indiscriminate spying of all...

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