Given the sweeping under the carpet of Leave campaign irregularities by UK authorities in recent days, I feared the worst yesterday, and feared that a ruling in the government’s favour would open the door to the neutering of British parliamentary democracy. So it was an unexpected relief to hear the unanimous conclusion of eleven Supreme Court judges that Johnson’s prorogation was “unlawful, null and of no effect”. Parliamentary democracy lives, and parliament itself returned today to try to head off the looming disaster that Johnson seems determined to bring down upon us.
Whenever I travel home to Australia, high on my list is to have at least one good ol’ Aussie meat pie on my trip, and preferably the kind I grew up with: a National Pie from Tasmania. Although they’re now expanding interstate, for most of my life National Pies have been stubbornly parochial, and none of the pies I’ve eaten on the mainland have been quite the same, although some have come close. Too often nowadays, a meat pie in Oz is a fancy-pants café-bakery creation with too many ingredients and meat that’s too chunky: a steak pie, in other words. The prices reflect their fancy-pantsness: one cafe on my last visit wanted ten bucks a pop for their homemade pies. That’s fine, I suppose, if they’ve made an effort to make a quality item, but it ain’t the real thing.
In the second week of our recent trip to Oz we headed in my father-in-law’s campervan to the South Coast of New South Wales, staying for a few nights in Hutchisson on Jervis Bay. I’d been out to the coast a few times when living in Canberra, but mainly to the stretch between Batemans Bay and Narooma. Another time I visited Kiama, and at one point passed through Eden and Merimbula on my way up from Victoria before turning inland. Never Jervis Bay.
If a week is a long time in politics, the two weeks since Boris Johnson’s government announced the prorogation of parliament has been an age. Johnson has lost his majority, lost (or ejected) 22 Conservative MPS, and lost six out of his first six votes in Parliament. Since the dramatic scenes at the close of parliament on Monday night, we have learned that the government’s act of prorogation is unlawful (subject to an appeal to the UK Supreme Court to be heard next Tuesday), and that even the barest of outlines of Operation Yellowhammer, the government’s contingency plan for a No Deal Brexit, is enough to demonstrate that Project Fear was always Project Reality. (Here’s a pithy Yellowhammer summary in summary.)
After Singapore I was in Sydney again in July, visiting family with the kids, where I photographed its iconic sights—the Harbour Bridge (crossing it on foot for the first time), the Opera House—as well as some lesser-known ones, like Tarban Creek and Chinamans Beach. We also spent a day up in Gosford at the Australian Reptile Park, taking lots of photos of Aussie fauna. I was going to tack these onto the end of the gallery I posted earlier in the year, but there were enough for a whole new one.
Two shop signs spotted in recent months provided some unexpected spelling lessons.
Johnson bulldozes Britain deeper into chaos. The trade remedies problem. Do Conservative MPs really think they can cope with the consequences of No Deal? Brexit’s circles of self interest. What Johnson and co. are trying to teach us with their performative prorogation.
On our trip back to Australia to visit family in July we stopped for a day in Singapore, a city I’ve visited five or six times over the years, first when my brother lived there in the 1990s, and later when my brother-in-law lived there in the 2000s. Add in some additional stops at Changi Airport for a quick curry or bowl of noodles between long-haul flights, and I must have set foot on the island eight or nine times.
While Brexit wreaks havoc on Parliament, its opponents in Parliament Square are drawing inspiration from protesters on the other side of the world, as Hongkongers take to the streets to resist the erosion of their rights by the city’s Beijing-supported administration. Their example drew me back to my photos of a couple of days we spent in Hong Kong on our way to Australia in June 2015, which has yielded another gallery for Detail (and also provided a couple more panoramas).
My summer (winter) holiday photos have borne their first fruits in the form of dozens of new panoramas of Singapore and Australia. Some I’ve added to earlier galleries, either because those were a bit slim or there were only a few relevant new ones. All of the locations featured here will feature in regular galleries eventually.