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Showing posts from July, 2020

A brief moment of calm

Sometimes, there is a particular sort of stillness before things start becoming lively. The hackneyed phrase would, I suppose, be "the calm before the storm" but I'm not overly sure that that's the right one. Like most overworked drudges of phrases it has lost something of its original meaning and become universally applicable. In my case, I had such a moment of stillness yesterday, and it's hopefully not a storm that's coming. I should explain. I've spent the last couple of weeks of my personal lockdown pottering about getting ready to open up a pub. This was not something I expected to be doing at the start of lockdown. Another overused phrase, though one of more recent vintage, is "life comes at you fast", grammatical pedantry aside it's a reasonable enough way of describing my recent change of circumstances. I've moved from employee to employer with bewildering speed. Owning a business again wasn't remotely part of my thinking a f

Punching down

First up, I'm going to stick my hand up and admit to rank hypocrisy. In my last post, I was somewhat unkind about Ashford, in Kent. A heavily Leave-voting place that is now aghast to find a dirty great lorry park planned for it. Chuckle, chortle, chuckle, you reap what you sow etc. In my defence, I did at the time say it was a touch churlish. I'm now going to argue against precisely that view-point. If you wish to cast this blog aside in disgust, I shall quite understand, but I'd urge you not to do so, I don't want to be responsible for a broken phone. The reason for this is that today Twitter is awash with people giggling at Cornwall asking  for 700 million quid  to replace the EU funding which is disappearing. Ha ha they cry, you won, you voted Leave, ho ho, now you want money. We told you this would happen. And we did, but hang on a second before condemning poor old Kernow. While schadenfreude is undoubtedly a lot of fun, it's not necessarily a good look when you

Who was that masked man?

I can't keep up with the culture war, it's completely exhausting. There we were arguing about statues, and before you know it we're arguing about defunding the police, and then we're arguing about precisely what Marxism means. Then, last week, we started arguing about  cancel culture , and that argument was still rumbling on as of yesterday so I thought brilliant, a chance to draw breath. Except no. The multi-faceted, multi-generational brouhaha in which our commentariat are lucratively engaged has opened up a new front, and it's not one that I saw coming (no job as a super-forecaster working for Dominic Cummings for me, which is just as well, I'm already doing French and Gaelic on Duolingo, I don't want to have to do Russian as well), though I suppose, in hindsight, I should have done. Wearing masks. I mean, really . As with so much else down the years, the Culture War is a US import. And as we in the UK always do when we anglicise something that we've

Cancel Culture Club

One for the teenagers, that reference. Yes, seems like everybody these days is getting cancelled, which is to say, getting massively piled on on the internet to the extent that it effects their ability to function, and lots of people are angry about it. Though precisely what it is they're angry about is, as yet, ill-defined and hazy. You may have seen that rather self-satisfied and vague letter that a bunch of people sent to Harper's Bazaar (Mic Wright does a rather excellent deconstruction of it  here ). Then things kicked off yet further when it turned out that JK Rowling was a signatory, and a bunch of people are upset with her due to her views on trans rights. Then people got upset with the people who got upset, and lots of people whose very job is to be paid to say things complained that you can't say anything any more, despite them actually saying things. I started to tune out slightly at this point, to be honest. I've long been a big fan of the robust exchange of

Blind Panic

It's been a funny few days for the seasoned Brexit watcher. The whole soap opera had become a bit moribund over the last few months, as the gripping Coronavirus plotline continued to preoccupy the writers. But now that everyone's pretending that everything's fine, even those who are aware that it isn't are finding their levels of background terror subsiding enough to start to worry about other things. Top of the list, of course, is that the deadline for extending talks slipped by just yesterday. True to their word, the Government haven't asked to extend. Not only that, but they've decided that they can probably do without their chief negotiator, shunted back to Whitehall to fill the brogues of the recently defenestrated Sir Mark Sedwill. It's not as if we have to get a deal done before the end of the year or anything. As to the purpose of this half-arsing of the negotiations, that's anybody's guess. The wilder shores of internet opinion are convinced