Attack of the Learning Engineers

A term I’ve seen on the increase is that of “Learning Engineer”. Job descriptions using it seem to be pretty similar to a learning technologist, so maybe it’s just this year’s label. Saxberg asks “where are the learning engineers? The sad truth is, we don’t have an equivalent corps of professionals who are applying learning science at our colleges, schools, and other institutions of learning.” I get his point, what is the point of doing all this research into education if we just shrug our shoulders and go “it’s complicated.”

However, like others I have discomfort about the term. I was part of the ‘learning design’ field in the 00s, and I felt that ‘design’ captured some of the complexity around learning. Design is both a precise, technical approach but also a creative, artistic endeavour. This reflects the messiness of education, through which an educator is trying to devise an effective path for a learner.

Learning engineer has different connotations. It is in some respects an attractive term – who wouldn’t want to perfectly construct learning like a bridge from ignorance to knowledge as you reliably engineer a bridge across a river? This is not just about semantics however, but surfaces fundamental beliefs about education. For some it is a precise science, where education can be reliably and repeatedly constructed in the same manner for everyone. For others it is complex field where different approaches have desirable outcomes for some learners but not others and one that is continually negotiated. This dichotomy represents the manner in which education will be shaped in an AI/Data/Networked world. If the engineer perspective dominates (whether it is true or not is not that relevant, it’s whether the narrative becomes dominant), then education is something that can be reliably captured in algorithms. If the design perspective dominates then technology works in service to the human educator who seeks to adapt and modify educational experiences.

So, not to be overly dramatic (but yes, I am going to be overly dramatic), learning engineer vs learning designer represents the battleground for the soul of education. Choose wisely.

25 Years of EdTech book – website suggestions?


As you may know, I turned my 25 Years of Ed Tech blog series into a book manuscript over the winter. This is my 5th book (does that make me ‘a writer’ now?), and like the previous two I wanted it to be published open access. Athabasca University Press were an open access publisher I had long admired but not worked with before, so I sent the manuscript to them. AUP work slightly differently in that it is not a book idea they are commissioning but rather publishing a completed manuscript – it’s akin to journal article publishing. The manuscript was sent out for review, and bar some minor amendments, has been accepted for publication! The two reviews were anonymous, but were very diligent and useful, so my thanks to whoever they were. Also thanks to George Veletsianos and Connor Houlihan for allowing a non-maple syrup drinker onto their turf.

AUP is open access, so the book will be CC licensed, the digital version freely available. I’m not quite sure when the publication date will be, we’re just finalising the process. I intend to create a website to accompany the book, and on this I’d appreciate any thoughts. I’ll host it here on Reclaim, and I expect it’ll be a plain WP site. Bear in mind, that it’ll be me doing it with very limited tech skills and zero design aesthetic. I’ve thought of a timeline, an annotatable version and maybe a wiki timeline version to allow alternative suggestions for each of the years. But I’d appreciate any thoughts on things that might be useful or interesting? Or WP themes, plug-ins, “Site under construction” gifs… that sort of thing. I found Anne-Marie’s advice on setting up a WP site very helpful.

A core of immutability

Hay Festival sign

As part of the OU’s 50th anniversary celebrations, they have a slot at the Hay Festival, and I’ve been invited to be part of the panel.

Sorry, I tried to play that cool, but as a book nerd – I’m speaking at the freakin’ Hay Festival people!

Anyway, the premise of the panel is what will education look like in 50 years time? That’s a ridiculous notion in a way, but it does allow us to talk about how things might change. I’m bringing the ed tech angle along with my colleague Eileen Scanlon, but I’m glad the Welsh Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams, will be there also, as policy shapes this as much as technology (if not more).

It is a challenge to think about, because although I’m fairly sceptical about the claims of ed tech revolutionaries, it would be foolish to assume we won’t see some major changes in that time. Having just completed a look back over 25 years, I’m well aware of how much technology has influenced education, for good and bad. But I will preface any conjectures I make about future visions with the point I made in a post on the future of education, which is that in HE especially it is true that nothing much changes while simultaneously radical change occurs.

As it’s the Hay Festival there is a good analogy with reading to be drawn I think. If you were to look at reading 50 years ago and today, on the surface, nothing much has changed. It’s still someone (often) reading a paper book, in quiet solitude. And yet, it doesn’t take much examination to appreciate just how wholly different is the context within which that reading occurs. In terms of technology (audiobooks, ebooks), retail (Amazon, online, open books), publishing (self publishing, crowd funding), writing (use of blogs, fan fiction, online research) and dissemination (authors using social media, online accompanying material). The business of books and the society within which books exist is almost unrecognisable from 50 years ago.

So how to reconcile these two elements of seeming resistance to change and yet large scale innovation? I would suggest that both books and education have what we might call a ‘core of immutability’, that is some (perhaps indefinable) aspect at their core which does not alter. Indeed, this essence is part of the reason we hold them in high social value, they echo back through history, and evoke generally positive emotions. I can’t quite say what that core is, for both of them it is something around the individual focus on task that is conducted largely in the mind – the indulgence in what is essentially a cognitive art form. They are both fundamentally human – maybe AI can write decent books in the future, and maybe it can provide a reasonable level of support, but they could never quite capture that human element that is part of their appeal (or if they could, then the AI would be indistinguishable from a sentient being anyway).

Recognising, cherishing and protecting this core of immutability then allows us to engage in technological experimentation around it, without threatening to remove the essence that makes it valuable. That’s my pitch anyway.

By the way, did I mention I was speaking at Hay?

Connectivism and scale


In his recent post criticising the Creative Commons Certificate, which I won’t comment on, Stephen Downes repeats a claim he has made before about the scalability of the connectivist approach, stating:

One of the major objectives of our original MOOCs was to enable MOOC participants to create interaction and facilitation for each other. This is because there is no system in the world where a 1:30 instructor:student ratio will scale to provide open and equitable access.

In my view, this model worked very well.

I’ll preface what I’m going to say with stating that I’m a big fan of connectivism for two reasons: it is an example of educators thinking about how learning can be undertaken differently in a networked world, and I feel that all learners should experience different modes of learning during their degree or life. I’ve given Masters level students experience of connectivist courses, and some loved them, and others detested them. That’s fine, it makes you reflect on your own way of learning.

But I’m uncomfortable with this over-reaching of connectivism. Open universities across the world have been operating large scale, open, equitable learning for decades. As I’ve bored you all with on many occasions, I chaired a course with 12,000 online students (many more than the CCK courses). We operated a model with around 600 part-time tutors on a ratio of around 1:20. Students had access to student forums which were replicated so as not to overcrowd (this was in 1999 before social media), and tutors had access to a forum where they could raise questions. There were then Super Tutors who moderated these and raised questions up to the module team. It was hard work, but to quote Downes, in my view this model worked very well.

As I’ve mentioned before though, support is not cheap, at the time the Government paid most of the student fee with a small contribution from students. It was open, in that it was level 1 with no entry requirements, but someone definitely paid. So perhaps what Downes means is connectivism is the only way to realise cheap, or free, large scale learning. That is a very different claim.

If connectivism is to be as broadly applicable across domains and levels as its advocates seem to want, then support needs to arise from somewhere. Most of the successful learners in the cMOOCs were already experienced learners. But for a level 1 undergrad, open entry course, this is palpably not the case. It seems to me to underestimate the value of support to assume this could all be accommodated by other learners. The sort of support required for new, often unsure learners requires experience and expertise, and to suggest the network will accomplish this diminishes the value of the knowledge in my view.

There is also a danger that in devolving support to the network we place a labour cost on the learners. I agree that getting students to teach each other is a very valuable and effective pedagogy. But for many learners their issues are not with content (even when they appear to be), but with confidence, identity and other skills. A person experienced in the support role can identify this. This is often in conjunction with the support a student receives through peer to peer routes such as student forums and social media. They’re not exclusive, but complementary. But to require other learners to take on all of that burden is to potentially create a lot of hidden labour. Someone still pays, but we just don’t see it.

Downes criticises the CC Course for charging $500 (and I think he has some good points, for example around the Fellowships model), but at least that is an explicit, if you like, honest, charge. We know what it is and it is visible. Establishing a model that relies on hidden costs is not necessarily a solution.

So, yes I think connectivism has a lot to say about ways of learning, and definitely offers an alternative model to scale. But to suggest that it is the only (or even the best) way to realise large scale online learning is simply wrong.

Liminal spaces, folklore and networks

At OER19 Kate Bowles’s keynote set me thinking, as she always does. She made the point that if we value things we should recognise them, so for example valuing ethical behaviour by institutions is encouraged by tables such as the Times Higher’s recent one linked to sustainable development goals. This chimed with recent thoughts on the invisibility of certain forms of academic labour. We don’t value much of the work that is done in social media, ephemeral spaces, networks, etc because we don’t recognise it in the same way as, say, books and articles.

Straight after Kate’s talk was a session by David White in which he was encouraging us to consider what would be the drivers to get people to adopt open methods of practice. And one such driver would of course, be to count them, in the way we count everything else (TEF, REF, h-index, etc).

And this leads to a dilemma. In a distinctly neo-liberal (I know, I went there) environment, if you want the sort of labour that many people do (often women, or people on precarious contracts or early career researchers) then you have to surface it and make it count. It would be nice if we could trust HEIs not to exploit hidden labour, but we can’t. But, we also know how that ‘counting’ gets used to create the anxiety and pressure in the system, and that just reinforces the whole game.

It would also pretty much kill the whole point and appeal of alternative outputs for academics. Imagine if producing X number of blog posts, acquiring a certain number of Twitter followers or achieving a requisite number of views were linked explicitly to promotion, or financial reward. It would be a gamified mess that makes the citation chasing metrics seem positively dignified. And as nearly always turns out to be the case, any formalisation of the system would benefit existing power structures, and not the people we might hope it would.

Talking to Dave after his session, he mentioned the notion of liminality as a way of thinking about this. Blogs and social media are a liminal space – that is a space that is inbetween others, a threshold. Stairwells, hallways are examples in architecture. Liminality is often concerned with transition – moving from one state to another, eg this paper suggests blogs are a means of student teachers moving to becoming experienced teachers.

In mythology however, liminal spaces aren’t necessarily about an individual becoming something else, that is there is no desired end state after the transition. Instead they are revered as spaces that operate at the threshold of worlds – the betweeness itself is valued. For instance, in the Welsh folktale of the Mabinogion, liminal spaces are those that connect to the otherworld. In the First Branch Pwyll sits on a mound that “whosoever sits upon it cannot go thence, without either receiving wounds or blows, or else seeing a wonder.” He sees, and meets the mythical Rhiannon who will become his wife as a result.

So my vague combination of all these things is that rather than surrender online networks to the machine – but while still recognising that they require real labour to be made effective – we seek to establish ‘liminal spaces’ within our institutions and work loads. That is, there is work which is recognised as valuable (as the mound is prized), but that we do not require to excavate it and examine it too closely. How this works exactly I remain unsure, many universities still have some notion of ‘research time’ so perhaps it is about allowing this work to be recognised as a valuable component of that, without then micro-managing it. But I concede it’s a dangerous game, sometimes the transitions in liminal spaces are not always welcome ones after all.

GO-GN, UK OpenTextbooks and OER19

[Repost from the ALT blog]

In this post I am going to attempt to weave together three aspects: the UK Open Textbooks Project, the GO-GN network and the evolving nature of the OER conference. This year, we sponsored the OET19 project through the UK Open Textbooks project. This project investigated whether the successful North American model of open textbook adoption would transfer to the UK. We partnered with OpenStax and the Open Textbook Network, who provided different models of textbook adoption.

We have a fabulous shiny report on the project coming out next week, so look out for it on the website and twitter. The conclusion, was ‘sorta’. I was surprised by the interest in open textbooks in the UK FE/HE sector, but cost was less of a driving factor. It’s often been my experience that OER conferences in N. America are too focused on open textbooks, but it may be that the UK OER conference doesn’t give them enough coverage. They are sometimes portrayed as the boring aspect of open education, who wants a textbook when you can do so many other things? But the interest they generated in our study was not so much related to them being free but the pedagogic possibilities they opened up. Whilst it is true that content is not everything, that doesn’t mean it’s nothing, and the creative use of open textbooks is an area ripe for development in the UK.

The Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN) is a project the OER Hub team at the OU have been running for several years. It is a network of doctoral researchers in the broad field of OER. Every year we bring about 12-15 of them together for an intensive two-day seminar. The focus here is on developing their research, and giving them a chance to network with other researchers from around the world. In an emerging field such as OER a researcher may be the only one in their institution looking at open education, and so the connection to a network like GO-GN has proven invaluable. We usually coincide this seminar with the OEGlobal conference, but with their move to a November slot we decided to link it up with OER19. This was particularly apt as one of the co-chairs, Catherine Cronin, is a GO-GN alumnus.

Although the GO-GN started with a focus very specifically on OER, it has evolved over time to include more aspects of open pedagogy and open educational practice. All of the researchers presented over the two-day seminar and the range of topics was diverse and rich. In this the GO-GN reflects the evolution of the OER conference itself, from one focused very deliberately on the development and implementation of OER, to one concerned with a wide range of issues which open education and resources have an influence upon.

The GO-GN researchers past and present were well represented throughout the OER19 programme, with over 30 presentations, which is evidence of this mutual development in areas of interest.

All of the GO-GN participants came away from Galway enthused (if a little tired), and with renewed vigour for their research. For the OER Hub team, this marks the end of one phase of GO-GN and with the next phase we hope to develop some of these ideas further.

This leaves me somewhat conflicted as my first takeaway was ‘don’t underestimate the importance of resources’ and my second one was ‘the evolution away from a resource-centric focus in OER is to be applauded’. Perhaps the way to reconcile these is to argue that in the past the ‘R’ in OER has stood taller, and we are now looking at a rebalance of attention across all three aspects of OER.

50 years of IET

At the OU I work in The Institute of Educational Technology (IET). This year the OU is celebrating it’s 50th, and thanks to some excellent historical research from my colleagues Lesley McGrath and Patrick McAndrew, we think we have a date for when the first proposal for IET went forward too. Apparently it was fashionable not to put a date on documents back in 1969 (thanks past people!), but Lesley proposes the following dates:

June 1969 – establishment of An Applied Educational Sciences Unit
Mar 1970 Proposal for this to become IET
Jul 1970 approval of IET staffing and costs

The role of IET is explained in this 1973 clip. Then there is a fabulous 1976 video here of David Hawkridge detailing what IET did back in those early days.

So, June this year can be said to be the 50th for IET in some respects. It was an important step, because educational technology didn’t really exist much before then. There were lecture halls, and research on the efficacy of labs maybe but in the face to face model which pretty much had a monopoly in higher ed, what was the need for educational technology research? But the OU of course needed to evaluate how different approaches worked, and what technology worked effectively at a distance. So, if you were feeling generous, you could sort of say they invented ed tech (or at least gave it prominence and legitimacy). Yes, it’s all our fault. Anyway, I was asked by those nice people at Wonkhe to write a piece on this, in my unofficial role as “Old Man of OU Ed Tech”.

(In a more official role, VC Mary Kellet also has an excellent piece on 50 years of the OU)

The great support mystery

This is sort of a companion post to a previous one on recognising different types of labour, particularly work associated with women. I enjoyed this article in Wonkhe from Cath Brown, the President of the Open University Students Association. She talks about the difficulties of supporting distance ed students, but also the importance of this support, stating ‘A feeling of being supported – that someone out there knows about you and your studies as an individual, will look out for you, and share your highs and lows – can make a real difference’.

But, as I’ve commented on here previously, support for distance (which in most models translates to ‘online’) students is rarely something that garners interest, headlines or investment. Indeed, given how valuable we know it is, the concentration of effort seems to be on finding ways to remove it. MOOCs, AI, learning analytics, automated assessment – these are often framed in terms of scaling up online learning by removing the need for human support. This is taken as a given to the extent that people don’t often question it. So, let’s question it – why is human support in online education undervalued and deemed replaceable? I propose it is a result of the following four reasons:

1) It’s costly. Much of the motivation for new models of education is couched in terms of the cost of higher education. This is particularly prevalent when students themselves bear the cost through student loans. Then it is framed in terms of a return on investment or democratising education. Someone has to pay for education, that is true, but these questions are rarely asked in countries that view higher education as a civic mission, for example Germany. Seeking a technological solution to the question of cost is missing the more fundamental issue as to how a society funds higher education. If the Bill Gates, Elon Musks and Jeff Bezos of the world turned their resources to adequately funding higher education, then the view might be different.

2) It’s messy. Technological solutions that remove the need for human support are, well, neater. People have problems, illness, dips in performance, and so on. Algorithms don’t. But beyond this trite comparison there is something deeper in our psyche maybe, which is a desire for a clean, definite solution instead of acknowledging an ongoing vagueness. Despite all our study and research, education remains a slippery beast. We sort of know what works, but not always, not for everyone, not every time. And that just grates against our desire for a clear resolution, like a Scooby mystery that doesn’t have an unmasking. By seeking to formalise the support element through technology, this becomes a more controlled aspect.

3) It’s undervalued. A tautology, but part of the reason the support role is undervalued is because it’s undervalued. The significance of support in education is not realised often, partly because it’s messy as we’ve seen but also because it can be hidden. So because it’s not seen, its value is underplayed, which allows other components in the educational offering (content, assessment) to be seen as central. That’s not to say they’re not important, but as we proposed in our OOFAT model, content, recognition and delivery (which equates with support in this sense) are all equally significant. And if it seen as less important then it receives less attention, and thus can be replaced, in a way we would not consider for the other components.

4) It’s not technological. I’ve been reading Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez and she makes a point we all know, that men tend to seek technological solutions to problems. Her example of clean stoves in developing nations is telling – the mostly male developers kept trying to ‘fix’ (educate) the women who weren’t using them. But when they actually paid attention to how they were being used they found that the new stoves couldn’t accommodate the logs women were using, and as chopping logs fell to them also, they didn’t want to take on extra work in their busy schedules. This is relevant in two respects. First, support is probably perceived as being a more female role. This is not necessarily true, there is nothing innate between sexes to make a difference, but it is about perceptions and investors and education innovators probably perceive of support as ‘soft’, ‘caring’, ‘nurturing’ – all aspects they would associate with women. This automatically gives a bias (see being undervalued) in a male dominated industry. Second, like the stove designers the technologists don’t talk to educators, but rather they want to develop a technological fix to the problem.

All of which is not to set up technology and support in opposition. Ed tech can help support be more effective, for instance, attendance at OU online tutorials is around 50% more than face to face. Learning analytics can be an additional useful tool to help tutors know when to intervene. Social media provides meaningful support networks for many learners. And so on. But all these examples start from a premise of valuing and recognising support. So, let’s be those pesky kids and stop those venture capitalist ed tech evangelists from getting away with it.

Ranking Full Stop

Ranking Roger of The (English) Beat passed away yesterday, which caused me to reminisce about my first ever gig, seeing them play at the Rainbow in 1981. I posted a thread on Twitter, but then lay awake for much of the night recalling other details, and also just how alien the 1980s seem to today. So forgive an old man his nostalgia, as I flesh out that experience a bit more.

It was May 1981, and I had just turned 14. Living in Waltham Abbey, we are both part of London, but also on its periphery. A mate & I had been fans of the Beat since their first album and decided to see them at the legendary Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park in the lead up to their second album, Wha’ppen. We got the tube from Loughton and I was quite apprehensive. I hadn’t exactly led a sheltered life but going to a gig seemed like something older, proper London people did.

I can’t remember the support act, but it was quite sedate & I felt reassured. This would be just standing around, appreciating music, so we took up a position about halfway back, in the centre. Then the Beat came on & it was like an extra 5000 people had poured into a small space. The number of people per square metre trebled and they were all surging towards the front. There may have been seating further back, but where we were, it was all standing, with a sprung wooden dance floor. The whole floor was bouncing, I was afraid the building was in danger of imminent collapse. I was swept into a sort of skanking mosh pit.

Skanking was like a mixture of pogoing & running on the spot. It is exhausting to maintain for two minutes. This went on for 90 minutes and you were forced to continue, like a bouncy version of They Shoot Horses Don’t They? To relent risked getting sucked under the trampling feet. I was desperate for the band to play a slower number, to allow us to get our breath back. I began to curse them for being irresponsible as another crowd pleaser segued straight from the previous one. They didn’t let up for the whole night (apart from the ageing Saxa who sat on a stool). I must have lost about a stone in weight.

The skinhead and 2-tone movement was at its peak around then. Skinheads were a mixture of very left-wing, anti-racists and swastika tattooed nazis, you got one of the extremes (sadly the latter would come to dominate over the next few years with the Oi! movement, and it died as a youth culture). I used to go to Petticoat Lane market on Sundays (you could buy an album for £2.99 there) and you would see the skins, languishing by a wall in their Crombies, smoking, passing around a can of Special Brew like visitors from the Planet Fuck You. Skinhead boys were not uncommon in my school, but skinhead girls were still a rarity. It was a bold look in an age that idolised glamour. As I was caught up in that heaving mass of humanity, I found myself next to a skinhead girl, dressed in full regalia, like an incel’s worst nightmare – no. 2 shaved head, Ben Sherman shirt, braces, black jeans, DMs.

A very drunk bloke with a mullet and an excess of denim was pestering her. You have to appreciate that the start of the 80s still resembled the 70s in many ways, and a band like the Beat attracted a mixed audience. This bloke had clearly missed the memo about the changing times. As if to alert him to this fact, skinhead girl stopped dancing momentarily and nonchalantly punched him. Just full on laid him out, then went back to dancing. He didn’t move (I don’t think he was dead) and some bouncers dragged his prone body out. I was both scared and impressed – I’d never seen anything like this. It was the decisive manner in which skinhead girl acted so immediately, no debate, just boom! It was if with that right hook she sent him back to 1975. There was no room for that kind of shit where she was going. Fights were breaking out with casual abandon everywhere, as if they were just a regular part of the entertainment.

We survived and left completely soaked through in sweat. It was a Sunday so the underground was even worse than usual and there were no trains running past about 10.30. Having missed the last train back we set off walking with a vague plan to get a bus or something. We had no money and mobile phones were the stuff of science fiction. Walking along a street somewhere in north London, a car passed and my friend shouted “Nick!”. The car stopped and it was driven by the older brother of a school friend. He had been visiting his girlfriend and offered us a lift home. At the time I just accepted this with the incuriosity of a teenager, but now I can hardly credit that it occurred. London is not a small place, and we just happened to see someone we knew, who stopped for us. My friend was feeling nauseous after the night’s exertions and being hit by cold air while soaking wet. He spent the drive back with his head out of the window trailing a line of vomit like a horror movie Hansel and Gretel.

And that was my first gig. It perfectly captured the exhilaration and also the casual violence of London in the 80s. I went to school the next day and was like the ancient mariner wanting to stop one in three and tell them I had seen the world out there. It was scary and violent and noisy and dangerous and exciting and full of possibilities. I went to a lot of gigs after that (don’t worry I won’t make Martins 1980s Gig Tales a series), but none quite matched the awakening of that first one. Somewhere a kid will be having a similar experience this weekend, and I envy them. You only get a handful of those transformative experiences in life, so thankyou Roger for mine. Rank in peace.

The form of shame

As the latest Brexit crises (it is not just one single crisis, but a series of crises now) unfolded this week, each more worrying, bizarre and removed from rationality than the previous one, I’ve noticed one overriding emotion emerging in myself. From the sludgy mix of anger, depression, puzzlement, hysteria, the one that emerged like a taste of celery overriding everything else was shame. I have never felt so ashamed to be British. I appreciate that nationality is a social, even imaginary construct, and I have never held romantic notions about Britain’s past. But I am, in my way, quite “British” in character – reserved, emotionally crippled, polite, fond of beer and pie. Like most people, I am a product of my culture, and if you’ve met me, you will know that there’s a streak of “British” running through my personality.

Every nation has its characteristics, and they are always a mixture of positive and negative elements. Having worked on many European projects, one sees that although national stereotypes are too simplistic, there is also an element of truth in them. In most European bids the British partner is usually seen as hard working, not necessarily imaginative, collegiate, humorous, but also usually a monoglot and a bit off to one side.

But this week more than any other, all of the counters I might have given to the negative aspects of Britishness and British history, have finally evaporated. All that remains is shame: shame that we inflicted this devastating crisis on ourselves; shame that we gave charlatans, racists and fools such prominence; shame that we have diminished the future for my daughter and her generation; shame that we have been so utterly rude and contemptuous to our European neighbours; shame that our cherished political systems have been so incapable of preventing the fiasco from continuing; shame that we look to the past, Empire and war instead of to the future; shame that the only arguments people have left are based on selfishness and delusion. And finally shame that I am part of that mix. I would like to think “this is not who we are”, but it seems that in fact, this is exactly who we are. It has now been revealed, the UK has taken on its final form, and it’s not attractive. It is cushioned somewhat by being in Wales, as most of the bluster comes from England. But Wales still voted to leave, still commits the sin of thinking there is some rational debate to be had with extremists. And Wales will suffer (more) the same fate, as part of Britain. And when it comes to Britain, I’ve finally come to feel that I no longer have any relationship with this pompous, ridiculous nation.

Anyway, here’s an Irish comedian capturing much of the aspects of Britishness: