The Tsuranga Conundrum: as you were

When this series of Doctor Who started, the big hook was a female Doctor. Was it just stunt casting? Would it explore genuinely new territory? Would she actually be any good? And I think people’s hopes and fears about that blinded the world to the much bigger challenge the show was facing: Chris Chibnall’s writing.

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Letter to my MP asking him to back a #PeoplesVote

I just sent this to my MP, Mark Harper, via the WriteToThem web-site.

Dear Mark Harper,

As I write, the broad outlines of the withdrawal agreement reached between UK and EU negotiators are apparent. Assuming that this agreement survives Cabinet, it will be put to the Commons for a vote. I am writing to urge you to reject the agreement, which bears no relation to anything that we were promised in campaigning before the Brexit referendum.

Please do not brush this off with a reference to “the will of the people” or “implementing the result of the referendum”. We can leave aside the multiple findings of outright illegal behaviour by the Leave campaign — this is irrelevant at the moment. What matters is the simple fact that what is now on the table is not the thing that 52% of us thought we were voting for. To push this emasculating compromise through — or, worse yet, to leave with no deal at all — would not in any sense be to implement the wishes of the 52%. In fact, the developments of the last 28 months have shown that there is no way for the wishes of the 52% to be implemented in anything like the form that was voted for.

This being so, it seems to me that the only democratic course is to lay before the electorate the options that actually exist, in a referendum on the exit terms. We now know at last the deal the EU will accept for our exit. We also have the options of leaving with no deal at all; or of remaining in the EU. With these three options now capable of clear articulation, the only way to conclude a process that began in democracy is with more democracy — a referendum to select from these three options.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Mike Taylor.

If you feel similarly, I urge you to write to your own MP. It doesn’t take long: the WriteToThem site is very streamlined.

Update (14 November)

An automatic reply:

The Rt Hon Mark Harper MP
Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Follow me: @Mark_J_Harper

Thank you for your email.

This is an automated response to confirm receipt of your email, which you will receive each time you contact my office.

We aim to respond to all correspondence as quickly as possible and do appreciate your patience. I receive many requests for assistance from constituents and they are dealt with in order of receipt, unless of an urgent nature.

[some boilerplate snipped]

I’ll await the real one, and let you all know when it arrives.


Arachnids in the UK: treading water

OK, so a slightly clever title, though only people fifty years old will get what it’s punning on. A decent set-up, exploiting one of the most widespread phobias. A truly nasty bad-guy, who is clearly Donald Trump despite the transparent distraction-references to Trump. There’s plenty of potential here.

Ah, but so much of this either doesn’t make sense or just fails to engage.

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Rosa: now we’re getting somewhere!

As always, I’ve been avoiding reviews until I’ve got my own thoughts down, but I know from last week that a lot of people were looking ahead to Rosa with some trepidation. Elizabeth Sandifer, for example, wrote “And really? Rosa Parks? I have… concerns”. And Gavin Burrow trumped that with “Judging by their previous attempts at historicals, and the patronising nonsense most people seem to have swallowed about Civil Rights, it’s going to be trite and noxious simultaneously.”

Well, I thought it was very good. At least, by far the best episode of the new season so far.

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Brief thoughts on The Ghost Monument

I’m not particularly planning to blog my way through this whole series of Doctor Who, but you never know. (I didn’t intend to do it with series 5, either, but I ended up doing all of series 5-8 and the specials, and that turned into a whole book.) So: what did I think of The Ghost Monument?

Eh, it was OK.

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The Woman who Fell to Earth: some unwelcome opinions

I just found time to watch Jodie Whittaker’s debut episode as the new Doctor. It would seem churlish not to put down a few thoughts about it while it’s fresh in my mind, and before reading what others have said. So here goes.

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Just a little late-night snack

I’m working late, so I treated myself to this small plate:

The cheeses:

  • Parmesan (Italian)
  • Manchego (Spanish)
  • Saint Agur (French)
  • Wensleydale with cranberries (English)

The meats:

  • Parma ham (Italian)
  • Chorizo (Spanish)

And of course the wine: Rioja, from Spain.

Please don’t take me out of the Single Market. I like it here.