Tom Watson played a blinder in his speech to the House during the no-confidence vote. Just look at May’s laughter when he points out the impact of the past thirty months on EU27 citizens living in Britain. Nervous laughter, or laughter at the idea that she’s failed to give them reassurance, or outright indifference: whichever it is, it’s a terrible look.
I’ve been thinking about what I’d say to Lexiters, and any other Brexiter who’s willing to listen, that might get past the whole “will it/won’t it be a disaster” debate with firmly held positions on both sides. I’m not sure it would help in most cases, but it might in some...
The meaningful vote is due in something like six or seven hours, and the anticipation is hard to bear.
Over the past few years I’ve had a backlog of potential galleries mounting up for Detail, partly because these few years have involved multiple trips to the same places, meaning that just as I’ve thought about dealing with one trip’s photos I’ve had new ones from another. Nowhere has this been more true than with pictures of the Tasman Peninsula, where my parents have lived since 2003. My earlier visits were recorded in Tasman, Tasman II and Tasman III, with photos taken on December trips there in 2005, 2007 and 2009. Then followed a gap of five years, after our second baby arrived, our mortgage went up to pay for an attic conversion, and the pound languished against the Aussie dollar: trips home became more difficult, and we had to rely on family members coming to us instead.
In July 2015 we finally managed another three weeks back in Australia, with half of those spent in Tasmania, where I had a chance to photograph some landscapes in winter rather than summer. On the peninsula, the weather was still largely sunny and warm (relative to a Scottish winter, anyway, or even an Edinburgh summer), only with shorter days. The kids even went for a splash about in the sea once or twice. We visited some places I’d never seen before, like the convict site at Point Puer and the tranquil Safety Cove, and walked to Maingon Blowhole and admired the perilous view (it’s literally a hole in the ground right through to the sea, with no fence). We saw Remarkable Cave again, which is, and the remarkable sight of three echidnas strolling across the road up to Hobart. They’re all captured in Tasman IV:
Two short sentences in a comments thread woke my inner satirist.
That’s an argument, not a story. A story gets an emotional reaction.
Now that Christmas is out of the way, Parliament’s vote on the EU withdrawal agreement, delayed by Theresa May in December, is imminent. The ever-reliable Ian Dunt has explained Wednesday’s extraordinary events in the Commons, which came two days after a small group of Brexit supporters staged a yellow vest protest and three days after the government staged a fake traffic jam intended to show that we could survive without a deal, so there.
A new year, a new gallery for Detail: two dozen photos from Up North (down south) in Durham and on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, taken between 2014 and the start of 2017. An earlier post about Durham explains what I was up to down there.
In catching up on some photo sorting, I’ve realised that I’ve gone a bit panorama-crazy over the past few years. Here are four more widescreen galleries from my travels this year and last:
- Hong Kong, Denmark and Spain, 2015–17
- Bruny Island, Tasmania, this August
- Central Scotland and Galloway, last September through this October
- Ardnamurchan and Mull, this July
Next year I’ll focus on some non-panoramic instalments in Detail.
Last week was bad enough, but this is agonising. Either Theresa May is bluffing and wasting two billion pounds we can ill afford to waste, or she isn’t and we’re utterly screwed. Either MPs cave and accept her deal and we’re screwed, or they don’t and she isn’t bluffing and we’re utterly screwed. Or they don’t and she caves† and revokes Article 50 on 29 March 2019‡ and we’re saved, except not, because so much damage will already have been done and half the population who still believe in unicorns will feel they wuz robbed. For at least the next month we’ll feel the impact of preparations for No Deal, and depending what happens in Parliament in the week of 14 January could see full-blown panic after it.
†Quite likely, given her track record of U-turns.
‡Quite unlikely, given how hard she opposed the legal case about revocation and how doggedly she’s pursuing her anti-immigration/anti-immigrant agenda.
If we do get a People’s Vote, surely we need to respect the Will of the People as expressed in the 2011 referendum: the UK doesn’t want preferential voting, because numbers are hard and it’s all too complicated. The True British Way would be for a three-way contest between Remain, Deal and No Deal decided by first-past-the-post.
I’m joking, of course. (I’m not.) That would be clearly be undemocratic, unlike the way we elect our MPs. (I’m joking.) The fact that Remain would easily win over a divided Leave vote is neither here nor there. (It’s very much the bitterly ironic point.)
Britain told itself in 2011 that electoral systems don’t matter and that referendums don’t change anything, and look where that’s got us. If we’d gone into the 2015 elections under AV, Ed Miliband would be three years into his first term as prime minister, and we would never even have heard of Brexit.