Speedysnail

Mad Brexit

Mad Brexit 2: The Trade Worries

“I remember a time of chaos... ruined dreams... this wasted land. But most of all, I remember the mania called Brexit.”

Read More · 20 February 2018 · 1 Comment · Politics

Hardly a Question

It’s already almost a week since Boris Johnson’s supposed valentine to Remainers, and the debate has moved on (most recently, to David Davis’s invocation of post-apocalyptic Australia), but one part of Johnson’s speech hasn’t attracted as much critical attention as it might have. Perhaps it was such a high-pitched dog-whistle that it escaped most British commentators’ hearing. But to Australian-British ears, it was a clanging bell:

But we also need to ask ourselves some hard questions about the impact of 20 years of uncontrolled immigration by low-skilled, low-wage workers—and what many see as the consequent suppression of wages and failure to invest properly in the skills of indigenous young people.

Read More · 20 February 2018 · Comment · Politics

Brexit Logic

“Look, the jury found you guilty and your execution is set for March 2019. You need to stop complaining that it was a mistrial, stop pointing out new evidence that has emerged since, stop lobbying the governor for a pardon, and get behind the original decision. Otherwise I question your commitment to justice.”

Read More · 13 February 2018 · Comment · Politics

How About Now?

Time to catch up on some links.

Read More · 13 February 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Hoots, Mate!

My kids have been learning some Scots poems at school for Burns Night over the past week—Burns’s “To a Mouse” for my older son, and “Twa-Leggit Mice” by the late Edinburgh poet J. K. Annand for my younger daughter. Cue a week of her asking for a snack by exclaiming, “Jings! I get fair hungert.”

I amused them both by reading out the Annand poem in my broadest Aussie accent. (It’s more honest than trying it in faux-Ewan McGregor.) Which reminds me that Burns Night on 25 January aligns with the morning of Australia Day on 26 January back in Oz, thanks to the time difference. Jings, I could go a snag.

Read More · 25 January 2018 · 1 Comment · UK Culture

Memories of the Ekumen

In my undergraduate years I decided to get serious about science fiction, which I’d read and loved since childhood, and used a critical guide (David Wingrove’s Science Fiction Source Book) to identify gaps in my reading that needed filling. This must have been what steered me to The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, which I read at around the same time as The Female Eunuch; the combination swept away any tendency I might have had to see 1980s Australia as enjoying an acceptable state of gender relations. But it was left in the shade by The Dispossessed.

Read More · 24 January 2018 · 1 Comment · People

Some Sheep

A Bucketful of Happiness. Darth Vader sans vocoder. Seagulls!

Stuckie the mummified dog.

Some sheep.

Australian nicknaming conventions.

Read More · 21 January 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Lingering

Last week’s news about The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan was a shock. Bracing for the departure of the elders of rock is one thing, but forty-six is unbearably young to go.

Read More · 21 January 2018 · Comment · People

Brexit Is

Google reads the room...

Brexit is...

Read More · 21 January 2018 · Comment · Politics

Happy new theme. I’ve been a bit slow getting a new one going, after initially toying with just doing more trees, then some abstract stuff, before finally going with cobblestones and whatever they lead to next. Maybe there won’t be a theme as such. Anyway, here we go.

21 January 2018 · Comment · Site News

Merry Christmas

Edinburgh Christmas fair

24 December 2017 · Comment · Journal

Blue Room

The Exiting the EU Committee yesterday published 39 “Sectoral Reports” (not 57, or 58, or eleventy-three), selectively redacted for our reading pleasure.

Looking at my own sector of Higher Education, the key page of the relevant report is p. 12, “Sector views: This information was provided by the Government to the Committee, but the Committee has decided not to publish this section”. The rest compiles 2015/16 statistics on EU staff and students and HE funding. Page 9 notes that the “latest figures on education exports (2014), show that EU HE students contribute £2.6 billion per year to the UK economy”—a mere 7.43 Brexit-bus-weeks per year. In other words, they bring in about 25% of the actual net cost to the UK of our annual EU membership.

Rather than leading with the public release of these wholly inadequate sector “reports”, the main Brexit story on the Today programme this morning was blue passports. I hadn’t realised just how long the UK has had burgundy passports; they were introduced in 1988, almost thirty years ago. How emblematic of this whole farrago: UK society and the UK economy ripped apart for the sake of aging voters’ nostalgia for things from a generation ago. Let’s bring back flares and paisley while we’re at it. Or let’s just give them their pointless symbolism, and keep what really matters. Here’s the referendum we should have had:

Blue passports

Read More · 22 December 2017 · Comment · Politics

← December 2017