Yearly Archives: 2019

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Done? You have been.

By |2019-12-11T13:13:36+01:00December 11th, 2019|Brexit|

Get Brexit done. Three words. A slogan for the masses. Implying a vote for Johnson and the conservatives tomorrow will somehow put the whole sorry story of Brexit firmly into the past - so we can all move on. If only it were true, or so simple. God knows, I want to hear the end of it as much as the next man. The laughable hypocrisy of Johnson saying he "broke the deadlock" neatly overlooks the fact that he was as responsible for dithering, delaying and blocking parliament as his opposite number was. Who had the chance to get Brexit done when Cameron resigned? Boris Johnson. Who could have ensured a deal got through parliament by the 29 March deadline? Boris Johnson. The "new deal" Johnson negotiated, which did away with the backstop (the clause that might see the whole UK stay in the EU) and replaced it with a sea border (so Northern Ireland stays in the EU instead) - is pretty much exactly what his predecessor negotiated, if not worse. There's nothing to take credit for. But [...]

YATS is the word

By |2019-11-17T16:47:12+01:00November 17th, 2019|Strasbourg|

This is the life of illusion. Wrapped up in trouble, laced with confusion. What are we doing here? Having emigrated to France with only a rudimentary level of French, a six month old baby and no particular career to speak of - many people described our decision to set up life in Strasbourg, fourteen years ago, as somewhere between 'very ambitious' and 'flipping bonkers.' That said, the very same people have recently described our move as 'very lucky' or 'incredibly wise' following the Brexit shitschturm unleashed on our former home nation by the Conservative party. Nonetheless, it is comforting to know that, now and again, Strasbourg has welcomed other couples with an equal sense of adventure. We sat down for a coffee at Café Brant some years ago with one such couple. They were from the United States and were hoping to use Strasbourg as a base for a new chapter in their respective careers. Careers as - opera singers. Being at the very centre of western Europe - equidistant between Milan and London, Paris and Vienna, it seemed [...]

Housequake

By |2019-11-15T10:57:32+01:00November 15th, 2019|Strasbourg|

A mild shockwave of hysteria hit France soon after the Fukushima disaster. If locating a nuclear power station right on top of a fault line was now deemed a bad idea - then wasn't a disaster of the same magnitude also possible right here in Alsace? After all, the Fessenheim Nuclear power station, and France's oldest, was sitting on top of its very own tectonic plate boundary. At the time, I, like many others, thought that any comparison to Fukushima was nothing short of hysterical scaremongering. Shut up already, damn - we thought. When was the last time Alsace had an earthquake? When was the last time Alsace had an earthquake strong enough to crack open a nuclear reactor? This Tuesday however, I had to change my - admittedly hastily formed - opinion. When the first thud rumbled through the apartment block I was convinced that my upstairs neighbour was clumsily moving heavy furniture. The wooden floors had flexed slightly - as if a large 3-seater couch had been dropped onto its side by a couple of less than [...]

The Brexit party: in it for the money

By |2019-05-20T09:18:48+01:00May 20th, 2019|Brexit|

The European elections are upon us once more and once again the British electorate, if the polls are to be believed, are going to return Mister Farage to his very well paid position as uncooperative anarchist at the heart of the EU. However, despite the fact the Farage will continue to live life on easy street (as he has done since he was a child, despite his one time claim to be 'skint') it is hard to begrudge his success. After all, democracy is to blame, not Nigel. The fact that successive governments and the media have failed to explain to the common man what the EU is and how it functions has allowed Farage, Boris Johnson and others to paint their own picture of the institution, to their own, personal, benefit. And, as yet no-one has been able to hold them, convincingly, to account. There are a few simple facts that could do wonders to get the public to actually do something worthwhile with their European vote rather than simply use it as a protest for national issues [...]

Brexasperated

By |2019-04-04T09:10:03+01:00April 4th, 2019|Brexit|

Like the Truman Show, we've all been asking ourselves "How will it end?" since the whole thing began back in 2016. Now, with the 'end' already in the past, we're wondering if it will ever end at all. I hate to think of the hours I've wasted following the 'crucial votes' over the past few weeks - naïvely thinking each time, it would be settled once and for all. But no. Next week maybe - when there will be another 'crucial vote' in the house of commons. Cliffhanger followed by cliffhanger. Currently, the representatives of the people of the UK have until the 10th of April, 6 more days, to come up with a viable plan to leave the EU on terms with a majority backing in Parliament. If they don't, then there is a very strong chance the decision will be made for them by the EU - and the dreaded 'no deal' scenario will come into force on the 13th of April. The problem is, of course, is that there are so many differing views and agendas [...]