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Four (Hundred) Years

Happy Brexiversary. How a project to boost prosperity, democracy and national pride destroyed all three.

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23 June 2020

The Corona Carousel

Fighting COVID isn’t a mystery, the West was just dumb. The strength of shithole countries. Mongolia got it right.

Covid-19 symptoms and illness classification. Every symptom we know. How exactly do you catch Covid-19? Thousands who got it in March are still sick. “I’ve been ill for months, but I still don’t know if it is Covid-19.”

Black Death, COVID, and why we keep telling the myth of a Renaissance golden age and bad Middle Ages.

How a small Spanish town became one of Europe’s worst Covid-19 hotspots. The Bolivian orchestra stranded in a German castle.

Eleven days in March. The hard facts demolish the UK government’s “herd immunity” strategy.

Now that it’s impossible, living far apart seems like a mistake.

The performing arts risk making the same mistake newspapers did.

Another fucking day.

23 June 2020

Heating Up

It’s been hard to disentangle my thoughts about the week from the events of the country and the wider world, and even harder to get through the work I’m supposed to be doing instead of writing posts here. Trying to keep on top of a full-time job from home, with two school-age kids and a partner also working full-time and all the other constraints and tensions of lockdown, is like trying to juggle the contents of the computer cable drawer while walking calmly across the room. You’re lucky to get a few feet before stepping on a three-pronged plug.

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31 May 2020

Cummings and Goings

Travel North, Follow Instincts, Save Dom

“In travelling to find the right kind of childcare … he followed the instincts of every father and every parent and I do not mark him down for that.”

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24 May 2020

Damage Control

Thank you NHS postbox
Craighouse Gardens, Edinburgh, Saturday 16 May 2020

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17 May 2020

Collateral Damage

Nothing I’ve read in the past two months has changed my suspicion of early March that the UK government would use the pandemic as cover for refusing to request an extension to the Brexit transition period and ending it on 1 January 2021 without a deal. When everything’s shit, it’s too easy to smuggle in an extra steaming pile of shit.

Merkel ally warns that the UK will need to extend the Brexit transition. What Northern Ireland’s businesses need to have in place by the end of the year is daunting. EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan thinks that the UK will blame a hard Brexit on COVID-19. “The Conservatives are embracing the timing with the sweaty gratitude of a guy who knows that the unfortunate fire at a storage unit facility will take care of the corpse he’s been storing there.”

A strange idea derailed by these strange times. Lost in time and space.

Cast your mind back to where this all began.

17 May 2020 · 1 Comment

Four Weeks

It’s almost a month since I last posted any coronavirus links here, so I should do something with the dozens I’ve accumulated before events overtake them.

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25 April 2020

Two Metres Apart

Queue at Sainsbury's
Sainsbury’s Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Friday 27 March 2020

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28 March 2020

Empty Shelves

Empty Shelves
Tesco Hermiston Gait, Edinburgh, Monday 16 March 2020

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17 March 2020

No Deal Strikes Back

The odds of No Deal at the end of 2020 have shortened considerably in the past week or two, even if the government is refusing to call it that. It’ll be more or less certain if we pass 30 June with no UK request to extend transition, but given the tone of current government rhetoric it’s already the way to bet. Why would Johnson sacrifice his reputation among Leavers by accepting a compromise deal when he can look tough by rejecting one? (The major betting sites don’t seem to have this on their radar at the moment. All they’re taking bets on is when the UK will rejoin the EU and which country will leave it next.)

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28 February 2020