The BBC reported yesterday that Australians will remember Bob Hawke for breaking a beer-drinking record and being a good bloke, which was a pretty feeble eulogy. Australians will remember him for a bloody sight more than that.
Marking season is always hard, and this blog always suffers during it, because posting here when I should be marking looks bad—not that avoiding posting here makes things any easier. This year it’s been unexpectedly extended by the death of my home computer’s hard drive, in painful stages over about five days. I’ve had some serious incidents with computers before, but nothing that posed such an existential threat to thirty years of accumulated computer files. Fortunately, I had a current back-up, which I’m now handling with extreme care, and have backed up in turn. The iMac should return with a new SSD and hard drive next week, and things can get back to normal.
Which all meant that I lost a week of marking time, and am now scrambling to catch up. But something happened yesterday which prompted a dashed-off comment elsewhere that I want to add here as well, so I’m going to pause for a moment to post it before getting back to the feedback forms. Other backlogged post plans still have to wait.
Remember when it was early December, and we were all in agony awaiting the first Meaningful Vote on May’s deal, which ended up not happening that month? That was only four months ago. If we have six more months of this, we’re not even halfway through the end of the beginning.
56 hours to go, and we still don’t know if we’re going.
Once again the UK is potentially days away from crashing out of the EU with no deal, with no clear path to avoiding it. Theresa May is in talks with Jeremy Corbyn about reaching a cross-party agreement which could trade away our freedom of movement and any chance of a people’s vote for some vague statements about post-Brexit negotiating aims. On Monday in Parliament Labour whipped in favour of three indicative motions to find a way forward, but not for Joanna Cherry’s crucial emergency brake, on which many of its MPs abstained. If we crash out because of that, or leave on the barest of terms with Corbyn’s approval, many voters will be abstaining from voting for Labour.
A BuzzFeed report on EU officials’ responses to the past couple of days of UK political developments has just the best punchline.
I’ve long thought that Labour’s switch to selecting its leader via a direct membership vote was a wrong turn, and that the next Tory leadership battle will be disastrous for the same reason.