Category Archives: Europe

Would Leave-voters accept this compromise on freedom of movement?

I think most Leave voters now accept that leaving the European Union will hurt the UK economy. But a lot of people still feel that’s a price worth paying to regain control of immigration.

Brussels insists that freedom of movement is required if we’re to stay in the Single Market, but there may be some wiggle-room regarding exactly what “freedom of movement” means for us.

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Dear Lord, no!

The vicar’s daughter who talks all the time about Christian values but has apparently never read the 9th commandment goes against her five-times-repeated pledge “No general election until 2020“.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act of course exists precisely to prevent this kind of opportunistic capitalising on a weak opposition. But that was passed waaay back in 2011, and who care about all that six-years-ago stuff?

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The Brexit deal that Theresa May should be aiming for

Once this idiotic willy-waving over Gibraltar is over (The Sun: “UP YOURS SENORS“, without so much as a comma or a virgulilla), we can hope that Theresa May and her subordinates get down to actual negotiation with the EU. (It’s ironic that at a time when all the principals are arguing about whose Brexit is biggest and hardest, what we really need is someone to lie back and think of England.)

What should be May aiming for in the negotiations? Here are the important things as I see them:

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The sad tale of Uriah Kemp

Uriah Kemp had been married for many years, more or less happily, to Eunice. They had both gone into the marriage optimistically, but as the years passed Uriah became disillusioned. He kept thinking back to the days before his marriage, when he had travelled around the world making conquests wherever he went. As age started to catch up with him, he pined for his lost youth and started wondering about leaving Eunice.

There was no one thing about her that he didn’t like. It was lots of little things. For example, she would often invite relatives to come round and do little jobs around the house — putting up some shelves, fixing leaking taps, that sort of thing. Uriah liked getting the work done cheaply, but didn’t really like having Eunice’s relatives around.

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Quick thoughts on the future, if any, of the United Kingdom

Great Britain consists of England, Wales and Scotland; and the UK is “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. This map shows nicely how it breaks down:

Scotland held an independence referendum three years ago and voted narrowly to remain in the UK (55%-45%). But post-Brexit, the choice for Scotland is to remain either in the UK or in the EU. So when the unavoidable 2nd referendum is held, it seems at least fairly likely that Scots will vote this time to leave the UK — so they can retain their larger trading partner and a more global vision.

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Sixty-one words on the Article 50 triggering

I have about five separate subjects for Brexit-related blog-posts that I want to write today. But I am too sad and angry — and, to be honest, bitter — to write coherently about any of them.

So instead here is an artwork based on Banksy’s “Girl With a Balloon”, which I found unattributed in this tweet.

That pretty much summarises how I feel.

What drives political decisions in the UK?

Since the EU referendum — which politicians have taken to reflexively saying “delivered a clear decision” despite the tiny majority — the behaviour of our politicians has been perplexing. Theresa May, who recognised that the UK is better off in Europe, has been inexplicably pushing for the hardest possible Brexit; Jeremy Corbyn, who campaigned to Remain, has whipped both MPs and Lords to go along with May’s unamended Brexit bill.

Why?

I have a horrible feeling the answer may be cowardice. I fear that Thomas Mair’s murder of Jo Cox looms large in the minds of May and those like her. I suspect that, at bottom, May is simply afraid of the anger of hard-right Leavers. That anger comes — rarely, thankfully — in the form of actual murderers. But it also comes in the form of hatred from the tabloid press; and in the form of rhetoric from people like Nigel Farage, saying things like “Every attempt … to delay or dilute Brexit will only increase our anger”.

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