London Dairy: Working from home? Beware!

Your boss might be using 'Insightful', a software which allows him/her to “discover exactly what the employees are up to every minute of the day”. Can your 'Undetectable Mouse Jiggler' dodge it?

London Dairy: Working from home? Beware!
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Hasan Suroor

Working from home? Beware!

Do you work from home but are in the habit of frequently disappearing from your desk without wanting your boss to discover your absence?

Well, there’s a device now called the Undetectable Mouse Jiggler which makes your computer look as though it is being used even when you’ve run down to the pub for a drink. “Just plug it into your computer and press the button and the cursor will start to move automatically,” its manufacturers claim.

Meanwhile, bosses are encouraged to invest in Insightful, a software which allows them to keep an eye on their WFH staff. Its developers say it will enable them to “discover exactly what your employees are up to every minute of the day”.

Whether it’s good enough to beat the Undetectable Mouse Jiggler is not clear.

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Gaffe-prone and charmless

Britain’s newest prime minister—fourth in six years --is also the least popular compared to her predecessors. Liz Truss may have won the race against her rival Rishi Sunak, but her victory margin (57 per cent against Sunak’s 43 per cent) is smaller than the last three prime ministers—David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

She neither has the backing of a majority of Tory MPs, nor of the grassroots party members and the only reason she was able to pull it off was a combination of the composition of the electorate (mostly old white and right-wing activists), the perception of Sunak as a Brutus-like figure in relation to Boris Johnson, and an underlying strain of white racism.

Truss has admitted that it was a “hard fought” contest. It was also very divisive and she will have an uphill task pulling the party together ahead of the next general elections with Tories trailing Labour in opinion polls.

Consider this: she has been in office for barely days but questions are already being raised if she is really fit for the job as Britain sinks deeper and deeper into one of the worst economic crises in recent memory. Her record in previous jobs— Secretary of State for International Trade, and more recently Foreign Secretary— doesn’t inspire much confidence even among those who admire her chutzpah.

Better remembered for her gaffes and ideological U-turns (from a passionate Europhile to hardline Brexiteer) than professional competence she has been dubbed “Boris Johnson 2.0 minus his charisma and election-winning tactics”

Some 50 per cent voters want her to call fresh elections and seek popular mandate. What a way to welcome a new PM!

London Dairy: Working from home? Beware!

No love for India

So, what does her victory mean for the now-on-now-off India-UK relations? Is Liz Truss the person to reboot them?

The simple answer is ‘no’. Despite her India-friendly public rhetoric— essentially aimed at pleasing the Indian diaspora—she doesn’t really relate to India the way her Indophile Boris Johnson did. Her recent visit to Delhi as foreign secretary was a disaster thanks to her crude attempt to drag India into Britain’s proxy war with Russia.

An irritated External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar effectively told her to mind her own business as he rejected her call for New Delhi to work together with “like-minded nations” to “Isolate Russia”, a code for joining Western sanctions against it.

But to be fair, she has no personal like or dislike for India. At the moment foreign policy is not on anybody’s list of priorities in Britain. The country is in the midst of arguably the worst economic crisis in recent memory—reminiscent of the 1970s when Britain was dubbed the ‘sick man of Europe’—with millions of Brits struggling to feed themselves because of inflation-fuelled high prices.

Her in-tray is heaving with domestic challenges, and in the coming months she is going to be too busy trying to survive what is predicted to be a “winter of discontent” to have time for India. So, don’t expect to hear from London any time soon.


London Dairy: Working from home? Beware!

Curtains down on donkey rides

Anyone who has ever visited a British seaside resort would be familiar with donkey rides—a tradition that goes back to more than 100 years. It has become as much a feature of seaside tourism as “fish and chips, sandcastles and sticks of rock”, as one commentator described it.

But finally, its end might be nigh. A combination of a fall in demand, increasing costs and opposition by animal welfare campaigners is putting off donkey operators and threatening a very British tradition.

“With the cost of insurance, the licence and vehicle transport costs I just don’t want to put myself through it,” said Matt Taylor who plans to quit after having been in the business for 30 years.

With more and more operators pulling out, some resorts have been left with nobody to run the rides, forcing local authorities to issue desperate appeals for help. But it seems donkeys have had their day, finally.

And, lastly, a leading British food expert, Ian Marber, has recommended that the secret of living a healthy life lies in eating the following 21 foods at least twice a week: Oats, sweet potato, Sardines, pumpkin seeds, strawberries, brown rice, seaweed, chia seeds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, popcorn, Pak choi, mushrooms, quinoa, tomatoes, kefir, radish, wholemeal bread, lentils, tea, and pineapple.

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