Glimmer of Nope

Extraordinary events in Parliament last night, captured in Ian Dunt’s Twitter thread, meant that today we were able to see the Attorney General’s legal advice on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, confirming that the UK would likely end up trapped in the backstop indefinitely. No wonder the Brexiters were out in force today saying they want the backstop dropped from the deal (not gonna happen, as far as the EU is concerned; it’s purest cake with a dash of unicorn).

Leave “very likely” won the referendum due to illegal overspending, says Oxford professor’s evidence to High Court:

An exhaustive analysis of the [Vote Leave] campaign’s digital strategy concludes it reached “tens of millions of people” in its last crucial days, after its spending limit had been breached—enough to change the outcome.

50 simple chunks of reality to help MPs in these difficult times.

I allowed myself a moment of optimism last night. The brambles are clearing from the path to stopping Brexit altogether. We’ve already lost so much in the lead-up, but we might not lose everything.

5 December 2018 · Comment · Politics

Sluggo is Lit

An interview with Nancy cartoonist Olivia Jaimes. Her take on the classic strip, starting on 9 April this year, is a revelation, and the contrast with the previous incumbent couldn’t be greater. It’s like seeing early Peanuts for the first time.

Read More · 1 December 2018 · Comment · Weblog

No Movement

I’m a non-EU migrant to the UK, so know how stressful it is to deal with the Home Office even when your case is uncomplicated, but it staggers me to think how much additional stress has been added for migrants by the fee increases since we arrived.

Read More · 30 November 2018 · Comment · Politics


Theresa May has just appeared before the Liaison Committee in Parliament and talked of preparing for No Deal:

May suggested that, if MPs vote down her Brexit deal, she will activate full planning for a no deal Brexit. This came in response to questions from the Labour MP Rachel Reeves, who repeatedly asked May to rule out a no deal Brexit. May would not give that assurance. Instead she said:

“If the House votes down that deal at that point, then there will be some steps that will be necessary. Obviously we have been doing no deal planning as a government ... the timetable is such that actually some people would need to take some practical steps in relation to no deal if the parliament were to vote down the deal on December 11.”

Does this mean martial law, prime minister? Please let it mean martial law, ooooooo, can’t wait. Tanks rollin’ down the ’igh street, it’ll be lovely. Lovely-jubbly martial law, that’s wot I voted for, that’s wot those Brexit buses promised us. 350 million quid a week to spend on our proper British army, none of yer EU army here, just our fine British lads marchin’ down the ’igh street, touslin’ our British nippers’ ’air, ’anding out tins of beans and iodine tablets to purify our drinkin’ water. Delicious.

Read More · 29 November 2018 · Comment · Politics

Harshing my Mellow

What does the Marshmallow Test really measure? Not what we thought.

Remembering my Oxford interview.

New Labour was far more leftwing than it is given credit for.

How China made its own Internet. Beijing will judge every resident on their behavior by the end of 2020.

“You descend into hell by coming here.”

Swiss activists “decided to never sing the populist’s song”—only their own.

Fascism is not an idea to be debated, it’s a set of actions to fight.

Read More · 24 November 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Rage Against the Nadines

Depressing Brexit developments over the past fortnight have outpaced my attempts to sit down and construct a post about them. First I was going to write about Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s ignorance about the volume of trade passing through Dover. Then a week later he was gone, resigning over the withdrawal agreement. The latest float in the mad parade is his concession that Theresa May’s Brexit deal would be “even worse” than staying in the EU. Well, of course. Now all we need is a concession that no deal at all would be “even worse” than staying in the EU. Don’t hold your breath.

Read More · 23 November 2018 · 1 Comment · Politics

No Surprises

I was busy with family and work in October, but there’s still time left for a few more of the month’s links.

Read More · 31 October 2018 · Comment · Weblog


Low-maintenance fishpond.


This piece on China’s persecution of its 10 million Uyghurs (via Mefi) is the stuff of nightmares. The surveillance aspect is awful, but so is the transformation of Kashgar described in the second part of the article. Earlier this century the Chinese government was talking with UNESCO about World Heritage status for sites along the Silk Road. I wonder how many they destroyed when obliterating Kashgar’s Old Town.

“If you write thousands of sentences that have absolutely nothing to do with what you think or feel those sentences are still what you will become.”

Farewell, Geoff Emerick, famed producer of Split Enz’s Dizrythmia, and engineer for some sixties band or other.

4 October 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Drokk It

Carlos Ezquerra, who died yesterday, was my favourite 2000 AD artist before I even read 2000 AD. I first encountered him in Starlord back in the late 1970s, where he drew Strontium Dog, Wulf and the Gronk. Nobody visualised the texture of a post-apocalyptic world better than Ezquerra. He did some brilliant turns on The ABC Warriors, too, and on the 2000 AD version of Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat, but is best known as the co-creator of Judge Dredd: Dredd’s uniform, bike, and the look of Mega-City One are all his.

2 October 2018 · Comment · People

Viking Hoards

I’ve been fascinated by these Nordic ancestors since childhood, and through visits to Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as an adult. Here are a few photos from an exhibition we visited at the end of last year, with some friends in Nottingham. If I’d been more on the ball in January I could have posted them before the exhibition finished, but they’re still worth a look.

30 September 2018 · Comment · Travel

Panoramas VIII

My third visit to Sydney in three years meant I could finish off a batch of panoramas of New South Wales, with non-panoramic photos to come, someday.

29 September 2018 · Comment · Travel

It’s a few years since I’ve commented much at Popular, partly because Tom’s reviewing slowed down once he reached 2002. I broke my silence in January, not with a redundant comment about the greatness of “Freak Like Me” (I was away when that came up, and missed the boat), but with a defence of an Elvis/electronica hybrid...

Read More · 27 September 2018 · Comment · Music

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