Who Will Blink First: Britain Or The EU?
There was a rather inflammatory article in today’s Guardian newspaper that suggested that the EU and Britain were playing chicken with Brexit.
There were several issues that the author didn’t mention, one being the thorny issue of a legally binding settlement. From the British, that is. Now to be fair, there have been murmurings that the British were actually going to produce something. However, thus far, the British have been very good at suggesting something might happen, in the way David Davis didn’t even think to write his impact report. In a democracy, this would have been enough to bring a government down: he had been ordered by the Speaker to present the report on the given date. All he could do was to turn out his pockets and say that the Russians had eaten it.
Or something like that, I can’t remember his exact words.
Continue reading “Playing Chicken With Brexit”
I don’t quite know what has gotten into the Russians of late, but they are behaving very badly. Everywhere in the news there are new articles about their wrongdoing, from their intervention in Syria to their hacking elections across the world – including of course, the infamous Brexit vote – and being naughty at the Olympics.
Continue reading “Russians Is Rong.”
It’s world news now: the magisterial beast of the British construction industry, Carillion, is dead. Only it is no living thing, there is no successor in the way we used to say, “The king is dead, long live the king.” With this death, there are only more problems to uncover, not solutions.
Carillion worked primarily in the construction industry, and having run a business that was part of this charade, I know one or two things about it that few financiers would. As usual, these are the more obvious elements of the job – and it is always the more obvious things that are the easiest to overlook.
Continue reading “A Sidways Look At The Carillion Debacle.”
Adam, Eve and the Apple: The Problem Of Our Past And Our Future.
It’s Christmas and you will need something to mull over when falling asleep over the Queen’s speech at three. Because, it’s more that Christmas is so easy to predict: it comes at the same time every year. It’s not like Easter that comes and goes as it pleases. Christmas is the same date, the same time every year. Year in, year out. Ask anyone when Christmas is and you’ll get the same answer. Ask them about Easter and it’s not so easy. Continue reading “Would You Adam And Eve It?”
A Very British Brexit.
Britain is, and always will be a very odd place to live for anyone who is used to the way Europeans live. Storms in the English channel that stop the ferries running between Dover and Calais are always headlined as “Continent Cut Off”. The British point of view is nothing if not eccentric. Britain, that small island just off the northern coast of Europe, is something of an afterthought in the mind of the average European.
Now I have lived in Europe for the better part of my life, and if there is one thing that has been consistent to any of the countries I lived in – Denmark, Germany and latterly, the Netherlands – it is the lack of understanding about Britain’s place in Europe. Here in Europe, it is necessary to register one’s place of abode, and on no few occasions, that is to say, in each case of registering, I had been asked to show that I, as a Briton, had the correct papers to allow me to live and work in their country.
I pleaded that Britain was a member of the European Union.
The response was as consistent as it was confused: “Britain is not a member of the European Union” later this changed to “Britain isn’t in the Eurozone.” After all, any European country of any sensible size was a member of the Eurozone, the gathering of countries who use the Euro as their currency. Ergo: if you weren’t in the Eurozone, you weren’t in the European Union.
Continue reading “Cutting Off The Continent.”
What was it someone said to Dorothy Parker? “Oh, darling, I’m writing a book.” To which Dot responded, “I’m not writing one either.” It’s great to speak of writing a book, to actually write one implies a rather different situation altogether. Dorothy Parker was an experienced storyteller and journalist, and knew the pitfalls. Just wanting to write is not enough. But then, it never was.
Continue reading “Books And The Building Industry.”
This was supposed to be a sort of review and reprise of George Orwell’s “The Decline Of The English Murder,” only my point of view is very different to his. Which makes his essays the more appealing to me. Add Orwell’s beautiful and evocative writing and you have a blissful read.
Not that murders are blissful, but that’s the point of murders – and the point of Orwell looking at their decline. Orwell’s books were written to be read by those who enjoy reading, those who read the story as much for the writing as the story itself. But that is what makes literature; if it’s only a story thinly interwoven by lumpy descriptions, it’s pulp fiction.
Continue reading “The Ascent Of The Literary Murder.”