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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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Cultural Capital of the World

August 20, 2014

Well, it’s been a long while since I wrote anything. In the last year a lot has happened, mostly with me being back home for a while, neither travelling nor procrastinating. But maybe that’s a story for another time. Now I find myself back in Classy Old London, city of top hats, moustaches and the good old gentry.

Sitting in the top of a bright red double-decker bus wending its way through the northern part of the city, a couple of heavier girls who look about 13 come up the stairs and take a seat a couple of rows behind me. They then begin to chat away in loud voices that bounce about the capsule upper deck.

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Call of the Wild

April 6, 2013

Dream, if you can, a courtyard. An ocean of violets in bloom. The moon hangs bright in the sky like a shiny 10p coin in the gutter. The night breeze drifts gently across the garden and through a window someone has neglected to close, ruffling the curtains on the inside. There you are, quietly reclining in the reading room, catching up on some Dickens, or perhaps enjoying a gentlemanly backgammon match with the visiting Sir Wumbletwigger. The little replica of the Palace of Westminster rests on the mantlepiece, and as the night reaches 10pm, the little Big Ben tolls out the hour. Read more…

Now Is The Winter of His Content

February 4, 2013

R3On 22 August 1485, King Richard III died at the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the Plantagenet dynasty and securing victory for Henry Tudor, who later became known as King Henry VII. In order to secure the footing of his new house, Henry embarked on a smear campaign against the previous King, and reports on Richard III from Tudor times tend to paint him in a strongly negative light, as opposed to the much more favourable accounts from earlier. Ultimately, Shakespeare himself took on the task with the play Richard III in the 1590s, and forever cemented the past King in popular culture as a mean, twisted deformed man who among other things declared his nephews illegitimate bastards, then killed them. Then killed most of the people around him, to become King until the land was saved by the Tudor hero. He ended up being known and hated as one of history’s greatest monsters. He, and the whole system of political intrigue around him, the ‘War of the Roses’ were later used as the basis for a popular series about a certain type of game using royal seats. Read more…