Posts

Emotive Subjects

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Whenever someone utters the word ’emotive subject’, you can safely wager that what they really mean to say is ‘everyone just calm down, please’. Or ‘this topic is probably best avoided’. The subject will often be about money, religion or politics. Or a rage inducing mix of all three. Brexit is an emotive subject. Exceedlingly so. Partly because of the money angle – we’re going to be poorer. And almost everyone, on both sides of the debate, now agrees on that point. But Brexit is emotive beyond the financial implications it will have upon our lives.

Like most people my age, I was brought up on an ideological diet of British exceptionalism, maintained in part through xenophobic denigration of our European neighbours. For an all too brief decade or two, within the EU, we became an open, inclusive and outward looking nation. A place where casual prejudice was called out, not embraced. And yet here we are in 2018, turning inward and looking backward yet again. A place where …

EU Ref 2

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If there is to be a second referendum on membership of the EU, as I hope there will be, then prepare for controversy galore. The original question on the ballot paper – This or Not This – may have been vague, but it was simple and the campaigning straightforward. I can think of a number of significant and unavoidable differences next time round that will rustle a few feathers.  The most obvious complication being caused by a potential third choice on the menu – May’s eventual deal with the EU, when and if that ever comes. Remain, Leave Hard or Leave Deal.
The Campaigns Teams

In 2016, all four of the main UK political parties campaigned for Remain. Both the government and the shadow government supported Remain. The campaign for Leave was left to UKIP and stray renegades like Boris Johnson and Kate Hoey. But how would they line up in 2019? One would imagine the government will campaign for the Leave Deal. But almost everybody outside No 10, Remainers and Leavers alike, are…

The People's Vote

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In 2016, the UK held a referendum on our membership of the EU. Problem number one: the question was vague. It was a this or not this binary option. At no point was a choice offered on the wide spectrum of possibilities encompassed by the not this option. But that's not to say that the various Leave campaigns failed to provide opinions on what they believed would happen. They were often contradictory, regularly disreputable and sometimes just downright untruthful. But a picture was painted, even if the result did rather resemble a Rorschach test. A test that elicited visions of joy and prosperity from 17 million participants, and doom and gloom from the other 16 million people who took part.
Pre-referendum quotes by prominent Leave campaigners can be found in abundance across the web. They haven't aged well. Only a madman would leave the single market; even in the worst case scenario, we will be better off after Brexit; we'll get exactly the same benefits from the EU after…

The Trump Protests

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I enjoyed my first protest. It’s one more thing crossed off life’s bucket list. It was a worthy cause. It was a great opportunity for a photo walk. It was a successful protest, to my mind. Different folks might have different opinions on what counts as a success. You could possibly argue that a protest commonly called Stop Trump failed when Trump arrived. However, in the key areas that I would consider critical when judging whether the protest was a successful or a failure, the protest hit the mark.


Did it capture the imagination of the people? Perhaps as many as 250,000 turned up, so yes. Definitely. Did it make Trump feel unwelcome and force him to steer clear of London? Yes. Did it really piss off the right-wing media and personalities? Yes, fabulously so. Did it bring the worst parts of Trump’s policies to the media’s attention? Yes. Ultimately, did it change anything in particular? On its own, no. But that’s not how protests work, even when they do work.


By this st…

Brexit Observations

What exactly is the Proper Brexit of which Nigel Farage speaks? Pre-referendum, Nige declared that even the worst case scenario would leave Britain better off economically. He now believes that the Brexit we are heading for will leave us worse off that we currently are within the EU. The truth of the matter is this: Farage’s entire premise was entirely dependent on the EU ‘banging on Britain’s door to do a free trade deal’. And this would happen because ‘the German car industry would force the politicians to do so’. There was no real Plan B (as detailed in one of my most prescient posts of the last decade) should it transpire that the German car industry would not be leading the Brexit negotiations.
Was there ever a way to do a ‘Proper Brexit’? Possibly, but that opportunity was blown in March 2017. Brexiters liked to repeatedly declare that ‘the UK holds all the cards’. But the moment we triggered Article 50, the UK showed its hand – and there was a distinct lack of Queen…

It'll Be All Wight

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In a few short months I will reach something of a milestone. It’s a slightly notional milestone, some would say. It’s not so much that I will turn 46 years of age. It’s more to do with identity and how I see myself. If you were to ask me where I’m from, my answer might depend on where you’re from. To a Mexican, I’m British. To a Scot, I’m English. To an Englisher, I am a Londoner.  To a Londoner? Perhaps I’m a bruv. I’m not sure. It’s been a while since I tuned into Eastenders. But anyway, given that I left the capital in favour of the south coast at age 23, in a few short months I will reach the point where I’m just half a Londoner, and then a day later I will become less than half a Londoner, and more than half something-else. If we are to be precise, I will be 50% Londoner, 37% Dorseter and 13% Mexican.


When I moved to Dorset in the autumn of 1995, I would go down to the beach often. It had huge novelty factor to a (until recently) city dweller. And on the horizon lo…

Benefits of Brexit

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We Brits are now less than one year from exiting the European Union. Sort of. And probably. Should I begin to accept the inevitable and embrace Brexit? Nah. Only when the inevitable is truly and unstoppably inevitable. I’m still holding out for a Breversal. But, just for a change, I thought I’d write a post to highlight the true benefits that Brexit will definitely bring us. Ready? Duty Free Booze Cruises
Once upon a time, Brits would swarm on to ferries to cross over to the continent on day trips. For a change of scene? A taste of real culture? The sophisticated cuisine? To try out the French they’d learned on cassette courses? No, don’t be silly. They were all off to load up on tax free beer, ciggies, rolling tobacco and boxes of Blue Nun and sherry. Alas, the EU put an end to that. But once we’ve left the EU, one presumes that normal service will be resumed, with a new generation of chavs and chavettes enjoying the freedom to buy vast quantities of products which, in m…