Archive for the ‘General’ Category

This just in from Saudi


We can always thanks the Gulf News for the latest cutting edge reports on what’s going on in Saudi. Poor bride.

Remembering my mother


My mother passed away four years ago today.

I still think of her every day.


Not much sympathy


I don’t really have much sympathy for these people’s complaints.

Whether you like it or not, having visible tattoos may well affect your employment prospects – that should have been pretty clear to everyone when they decided to get them in the first place. You can complain about whether that’s fair or not, but it’s a fact.

I am not a fan of tattoos and was pretty shocked at how many people had them when I was home over the summer. Seeing so many women with tattoos particularly surprised me, considering that, in general, women tend to change their look or style more often than men. Having a tattoo seems, well, permanent.

What a surprise


Well educated people have some of the top jobs in the country – at least the jobs that require a good education.

My father went to a grammar school. If I wanted my daughter to have an education of similar quality I would have to pay a fortune to buy a house in the catchment areas of the few remaining grammar schools in the country, or pay for a private education – the cost of which has rocketed beyond the means of those who could previously afford it.

Cut working hours, increase employment


I don’t quite understand the logic here.

Nine years on Tuesday


C and T Wedding-035.jpg

C and T Wedding-012.jpg

C and T Wedding-092.jpg

Inflight entertainment


Nice to see Emirates in the photo at the top.

The flip side of the question – will inflight entertainment matter in a few years, when everyone has their own equipment? BYOD for the air? All you’ll need is your tablet and, probably a wifi connection, or a bit of planning to load your own stuff on before you leave.

Goodby Citrix, hello Red Hat


I start a new job with Red Hat on Jan 6. I’ll be the distribution sales manager for Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

I’m really looking forward to it – more responsibility, more involvement in the business side of things. Same amount of travel, but to some rather safer places.

Citrix taught me a lot over the last two years and five months, both in terms of how to do things and how not to…

We had a very tough Q4, so I’m disappointed not to be leaving on a high, but the numbers have been perfectly respectable. My successor has a good pipeline, as well as, thanks to recent hirings, a lot more support than I had.

So here’s to Red Hat – back in the Unixy/Linuxy world world again!

A career in politics


This is brilliant.

When I was there OUSU spent their whole time focusing either on international politics they had no influence over, or on pet projects that didn’t seem to benefit anyone, or complaining that the Union Society had better premises than they actually deserved.

If they’d done something relevant, such as putting on a good club night, students’ attitudes to their other activities might have been a bit more supportive.

British immigration


I shouldn’t watch Question Time anymore, it just annoys me – although perhaps I enjoy getting annoyed.

I get particularly frustrated about immigration discussions.

The instant it’s raised in the UK, particularly on Question Time, the discussion descends into accusations of racism if anyone raises the question of how the country will manage newcomers. There’s no discussion about the practical aspect of planning.

If you recently arrived from Bangladesh thanks to getting married to a British citizen and are living in, say, East London, the country’s immigration policy matters to you – what does it mean for where you are living, the schools your children will go to, the local services you will use? The same questions are important for a Polish plumber who decided to stay in, say Glasgow, for whatever reason. They apply equally to someone who can trace their family back to the Domesday book.

If 200,000 ‘British South Africans’ arrived in the UK during the space of a year – all speaking English, easily fitting in to the prevailing culture, there would be implications.

If 200,000 Bulgarians, or Somails or whoever arrive, there would be implications. You might love the idea, you might hate it, but the current rules allow certain things to happen, so what is our plan, based on some sensible estimates of what might happen?

Some people don’t want to see foreigners arrive. Some are ambivalent, some welcome it.

Regardless of what your stance is, you have to have a plan. If you don’t want people to arrive because you detest anyone who isn’t white and doesn’t already speak the Queen’s English, what is your plan for Brtitish businesses that lack the local talent they need to remain competitive? At the other end of the spectrum, if you’d love to see the current situation revolutionised by a flood of people from all over the world, to introduce wondrous diversity, what’s your plan for the impact on school, healthcare, housing and other aspects? Do you care about who is already here, regardless of where they are from? Even someone who arrived last year is affected.

If you are massively increasing the workforce of your business, you have to plan – what is the impact of new cultures, what is the impact of short term contracts vs long term contracts, permanent employees, office space, pension provision, etc, etc? You cannot double your workforce without some sort of planned approach to deal with things.

It’s ludicrous to condemn anyone who is asking what the plan is as racist. The resulting plan might be racist, but having a plan is not racist.

My personal instincts (and I freely admit I need more facts to turn my instincts into more concrete opinions, particularly when it comes to how long it takes to get citizenship, access to the welfare state, etc) is that as things have changed so much in recent years in terms of the numbers of new arrivals, we need to make some changes.

What about residence visas along the lines of the UAE’s approach for example? The UK has to have something in-between a door that is wide open and a door that is slammed shut. The key question is less around someone coming to the UK to do something useful, but around the implications of that person staying, who they bring with them, the children they bring into the world and so on.

There seems to be a peculiarly British embarrassment that so many people actually want to come to the UK. Goodness! How do we deal with all these people wanting to be here? We have to bite the bullet and do something. The current situation doesn’t seem to be making anyone happy.

The UAE is pretty practical about this stuff. There are probably some experiences here that we could learn from.