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Island in the Sun

May 28, 2018


Malta. It sits bang in the middle of the Mediterranean, a tiny little island with a population of about 400,000 that, as I learned, has over time been taken over by every would-be empire as a key strategic geographical base between Europe, Asia and Africa. As a result there is a weird blend of Turkish, English, Italian and French here, together with whatever was knocking around in the back of the culture cupboard, which can be seen (or heard) in the language especially – with unique place names that no non-Maltese can pronounce, like Xgħajra and ix-Xatt Ta’ San Ġorġ.

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Windrush: Business as Usual

April 30, 2018


I’ve refrained so far from commenting on the whole Windrush scandal currently flying about the news, but this is really something that deserves to be talked about more, and something everyone should know at least a summary of, as it is absolutely illustrative of the government currently in power here. As such, allow me to lay it out for anyone who hasn’t kept up to speed. Read more…

Clever Title

February 25, 2018


I have writer’s block. Back in, I think it was 2010, a personal experience kicked off a spark that led to me thinking of something that I though would make a great (or at least good) movie. When the reality of having no budget and no reliable friends interested in helping me make it dawned, I realised this would actually make a better book after all. I started writing then, and still haven’t finished. Not because it’s long, but because of those epic breaks. Which means that in terms of blocks, I suppose this is a big one. It’s less like a kink in the hose and more like that giant fatberg they found blocking the sewers of London. 130 tonnes of flushed waste, built up over years, piling up and slowly and stubbornly refusing to let anything get through whatsoever. It took a whole team to get that thing broken down, and now a brick of it is sitting in the Museum of London for over-curious tourists to enjoy. It’s in a glass case gladly, as I don’t expect it smells too great, and apparently things are still hatching out of it. So you can go and look at the history of the city, from prehistoric times, with skeletons of animals that no longer exist, through to roman occupation, medieval paintings, changing fashion, the development of electricity and industry, marvelling at the invention and adaptability of man, and cap it off with the most modern contribution to the city, a big block of smelly hard poo. Which, if you’re into metaphors, might give food for thought. If you’re still hungry.

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Democracy is Dead

November 7, 2017


Strange times indeed for what we call “democracy” in this currently-United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As we all know, the UK decided to leave the European Union, based on the precarious outcome of 52%-48% in a non-binding advisory referendum following a campaign characterised by such outrageous lies that the promoters were quick to walk back on and denounce them the very day after the results came in. They were happy to accept the result though, and have been frothing about the inviolable “will of the people” ever since, as a rationale for pushing through what will surely amount to the most destructive act to the UK and its people in decades.

After “taking back control” from Brussels by stirring up passionate belief in the supremacy of our own locally-elected parliament, every attempt has been made to remove the role of that parliament by those leading this coup, with judges being attacked as “enemies of the people” on the front pages of national newspapers for stating that that very same parliament needed to have a say in how this plays out.

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A (not quite as brief as I’d planned) history of recent UK politics

July 1, 2017

If I were looking at the UK political situation from the outside right now, probably the main thing I’d be wondering is, What the hell? How did it get to this? It’s a fair question, and after watching this surreal story play out, I felt I had to write this down to get it clear in my own head as well as record it for me to read back on in years as I sit in some burned-out wasteland of the future (which apparently still has wifi in this scenario). So here it is. Imagine.


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A brief trip to Northeastern America, in Three Acts

April 15, 2017


The first thing I saw in Canada was a snowplough. Actually, the first thing I saw was an insane queue at immigration, as apparently, waiting for a relatively clear patch of sky, all the planes had arrived at once, and ours had been stuck on the runway for a while waiting for a spare gate before we could disembark. But after about an hour and a half of that, and then my surprisingly quick passport check, the first thing I saw once I left the airport was a snowplough.

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The Brexit Symptom

June 25, 2016


So the UK has voted to leave the EU, a public referendum with a 72% turnout leading to a result of 52% out vs 48% in.

This is devastating of course, both in real terms (as you can see from the signs already taking place, such as the pound dropping the most it’s ever done, over $2 trillion being wiped off global markets as a result, and various international firms already talking about relocating their European headquarters to places that are still actually European), as well as symbolically. This is a victory for the type of people who fronted the Leave campaign – the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage – who are already rowing back on their bold “assertions” (read: “outright lies”) that they used to coax the public into voting for them, in a backtracking speed impressive even for politics. The two most immediately noticeable ones are those based on two of the main reasons people voted Leave in the first place – Farage has admitted that the 350 a week sent to the EU that could be spent on the NHS instead will not in fact be going to the NHS, and Hannan has admitted that despite this being all about controlling foreign labour, leaving the EU will not actually affect the movement of foreign labour in any real sense.

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