Scottish independence: a possible silver lining

There’s been some silly speculation recently about how the flag of the United Kingdom would change in the case of a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum on Thursday. One suggestion printed in a number of newspapers was this monstrosity:

The yellow and black parts are taken from the flag of Saint David, patron saint of Wales (which isn’t currently represented on the Union flag, being a subordinate principality of England, not a constituent nation of the Union).

Now, obviously this is never going to happen. It would require a) Scotland to vote Yes, b) the remainder of the United Kingdom to choose to change its flag, which isn’t necessary, and c) for us to choose this ugly variation. Of those conditionals, the first is the only one which seems within the bounds of plausibility.

But if they were all to come true, and we ended up with this hideous flag, at least there’d be one silver lining…

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Chat Harassment

As a Westerner (ie, white person) in India, one of the distinctive elements of the travel experience is the near-constant harassment by people trying to get your money. I’m not talking about begging. That happens, but not nearly as much as you expect. I’m talking about stall holders, shop keepers, rickshaw drivers, tourist guides and a hundred other varieties of touts, scammers and pedlars, bombarding your ears every second of the day.

A typical walk down the street will have you assaulted from every side by cries and shouts, all trying to get your attention, and persuade you to spend. After 24 hours in India you start ignoring it. It’s the only way you can ever reach your destination. Even someone who just seems to want a casual conversation has to be blanked and walked away from. It sounds harsh, but you quickly learn that the dreaded phrase, “Hello sir, from which country?” is not just a friendly inquiry. It means you’re now on the receiving end of Level 2 Chat Harassment.

Yes, that’s right. I’ve developed a three-level model for it.

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