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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

The Streets

The kids and I went for a bike ride on Friday for our daily constitutional, along to the Meadows, across to Arthur’s Seat, and then back via the Grassmarket and the canal. In places it was quite busy with joggers and other cyclists, although everyone was well-spaced, but the roads were as unnaturally quiet in that part of town as in ours. Here are a few photos, along with one from a walk to Morningside this afternoon, where you can see people’s new habit of walking out into the empty road to maintain distance from other pedestrians.

Emptyburgh

19 April 2020

The Situation

I’ve been wanting to write a longer entry here for weeks, rather than just post Covid-19 links and the like, but the situation has conspired against me. Like millions of other parents, including my wife, I’m attempting to juggle working from home with home-schooling and entertaining two kids, and have had little time or energy to write anything for myself; but it hasn’t just been that. It’s that what I’d be writing about is both too personal, unsettling, and momentous, and, at a time when millions are sharing the same experience, too generic, ordinary, and obvious.

But one day I’ll want to look back over this blog to remind myself what we were all going through and what I thought of it all, assuming I’m still here. So I’ll try to capture some of it.

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5 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

Castle Terrace

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh, 7 March 2020

Such a great place to photograph Edinburgh Castle from. But yes, there really is a car park in the way.

11 March 2020

The Ministry of Housinge

David Allen Green wrote recently on the conceptual problem of the TV licence, which is under attack by the government as a way of punishing the BBC for its lack of ideological fervour for Brexit. The licencing scheme is certainly problematic, and when I first moved here I couldn’t see why the UK kept it over a system of funding via general taxation. But the Tories are contemplating a model of private subscriptions, not general taxation, and a flat tax licence is better than starving the BBC to death. What a miserable prospect a Britain with no Beeb would be.

28 February 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

Backs to the Future

Memories of England in better times, when HMV and Parrot Records were full of Carter USM albums emblazoned with the flag of Europe. I spent nine of the happiest months of my life studying here as a Masters student, thinking deep thoughts, making good friends, performing onstage. I carried my 35mm camera around at times, taking about a hundred photos of the town over the course of those nine months, another laughably small number compared with what I would have taken in digital. I’ve finally scanned them and sorted them into a gallery for Detail. Take a punt:

Cambridge

1 February 2020