Brexit elsewhere

Back to opinion: I’m such an extremist that I insist the very existence of the European Union is a bad idea and that our leaving might be the first tumbling brick which brings the whole edifice down. Yet it is still factually true that the Brexit process is in a bit of a bind. Among those who have to decide, those parliamentarians, there is no majority in favor of any action or deal. And yet the default, without such positive decision making, is that Britain leaves without a deal at all, and reverts to WTO terms.

Myself, I’m shivering with anticipation even as I note that rather a lot of my countrymen disagree.


Glad they did put the link in there.

Well, no, not really

One in three UN workers say they have been sexually harassed in past two years
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres says ‘we still have a long way to go before we are able to openly discuss sexual harassment’

Seem to be discussing it just fine. It’s that you’re still doing it that’s the problem, isn’t it?

Seems a little odd

The genteel world of pétanque has been rocked by accusations that Belgian players use cocaine to give them a performance-enhancing edge in international matches.

British holidaymakers have long been charmed by the sight of aging players idly tossing their boules on the sun-kissed courts and squares of France.

But two leading Dutch pétanque internationals have sparked outrage in the sport by claiming that Belgian players dope in the hard-fought matches.

“I know enough Belgian players who use coke,” Edward Vinke, 46, told the the Vice sports website. “They go to the toilet and do not throw a wrong ball when they come back. They really feel like the king.”

“I experienced it once,” Kees Koogje, 27, told the website,“We were far ahead and had played flawlessly. Then they went to the bathroom for ten minutes and came back with huge eyes. Everything went well for them.”

Why would cocaine aid? Is it a confidence thing? Going for throws that more normally wouldn’t be tried but should be?

A problem with battery powered civilisation

There’s one thing we’d dearly like to know, one thing that doesn’t even get discussed here:

Ion age: why the future will be battery powered

The variable nature of wind and solar power means storing energy is a huge part of the fight to mitigate climate change

Our iiportant question being, what’s the total CO2-e emissions from the entire lifecycle when we’ve a renewables and battery powered system? Are those emissions lower or higher than a coal fired system? Than a natural gas one?

It would be reasonable enough to conclude less than coal I’d guess. But than natural gas? Do recall that the Severn Barrage didn’t quite manage that….

But, but…..

Singer R Kelly wrote a letter threatening to reveal embarrassing details of a woman’s sexual history if she didn’t drop a lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse, the woman and her lawyer said Monday.

In the letter, a person identifying himself as R Kelly warned a lawyer for the woman, Faith Rodgers, that if she persisted with the suit, she would be “subjected to public opinion”.

What embarrassing details? Thought young women these days were strong, independent, out and proud about their sex lives?

I like this argument, it’s excellent

Why are we so obsessed with young, successful people like Sally Rooney?
Ammar Kalia
The author’s achievements are considerable – but it’s her talent that matters, not her age

Great. So, now we can reject all arguments that simply come from young people, can’t we? All that about being the inheritors so therefore their voice must be heard etc, rubbish, for it’s only talent that matters.

Good, glad that’s sorted.


This is supposed to deter and warn is it, not encourage?

Foragers have been warned of an abundance of magic mushrooms after the mild winter caused the psychedelic fungi to thrive.

Specialists say the warmer weather means the psychedelic, naturally-occurring class-A drug has been found growing in large numbers across Staffordshire and Shropshire.

John Hughes, a fungi expert at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, warned: “The longer the season, the greater the risk foragers could accidentally pick something hallucinogenic, so with the warmer winter this is definitely more of a risk this year than in previous years.


The difficulty with Brexit is twofold. This is not a micro issue. It is a macro one. And if there was a chance to move on that still might not matter, but what that chance is, and who might supply it in a world that is finite and the possibilities are decidedly limited, and when none are readily apparent or on offer, is hard to tell. I could leave jobs and a marriage without knowing what was next, confident options were available. Brexit has no such expectation attached to it. Instead it feels like, as Cardiff City football manager Neil Warnock said at the weekend, a chance to say ‘to hell with the rest of the world’ without once considering the consequences. Or the responsibilities we have.

So my sense of resignation is inappropriate and I want to chastise myself for it and yet I still cannot. After all, I must have some responsibility for this.

Was I, and others like me, irresponsible for turning my back on party politics as a much younger man in pursuit of career and single issue campaigning?

Was I also, again as a conscious act, irresponsible to stand by and see neoliberalism tear our society to pieces and tut tut but not actually do more to prevent it at the time?

And could it be that the fact that we have such dire politicians, when the generation of which I am a part is overall able, through our collective fault for failing to value government, politics and the processes that drive it enough?

Am I actually, therefore, resigned to my own failure and accepting that I have a part in the collective act of harm that is, inevitably, befalling the country?

Britain should have bendy bananas again because Richard Murphy?

Sailor hires tarts

One of those things we might think isn’t all that extraordinary:

The commander of the US Navy’s longest serving submarine has demoted for hiring prostitutes in the Philippines.

Captain Travis Zettel commanded the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Bremerton.

According to an investigation by the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service the captain told a fellow sailor he had “ordered ten girls to arrive at the hotel” while they were ashore in Subic Bay.

He was later seen with about 10 “provocatively dressed females outside the front door of the hotel,” according to a witness.

An investigation was begun following a tip from a sailor to an anonymous Naval hotline.

According to the report Zettel admitted “culpability in the payment of female accompaniment” during the incident last March.

He was relieved of duty in August due to “a loss in confidence in his ability to command” and reassigned to a job with a different submarine squadron.

The decision to relieve him of duty was announced at the time but no details were given.

Ah, but this is different. An officer – the captain no less – does not do so. Quite apart from anything else he’s reducing the supply for his crew – the great lesson of all military life, the men come first.

Presumably a sugar tax will solve this – or banning Coca Cola perhaps

Half of horses in the UK are overweight because owners have forgotten how to keep them healthy, leading equine vets have warned.

Experts from the British Equine Veterinary Assocation (BEVA) said obesity is the gravest threat facing horses, which is resulting in hundreds being put down every year.

David Rendle, a member of BEVA’s ethics and welfare committees, said studies showed around half of all UK horses are now overweight, while research from the Royal Veterinary College found as much as 70 per cent of native pony breeds were obese.

If it’s happening to the horses then perhaps it’s not evil industry causing us human to get fat?


This may be an old urban myth, but is it true you once competed in a drag queen Dolly Parton look-a-like contest?

That’s the truth. It was at a gay club in Los Angeles. I lived in this little apartment right up the street from Santa Monica Blvd, right near the gay strip. At one particular club, they had a Halloween costume competition, and people would go dressed as Cher or me or whoever. We saw a whole bunch of Dollys walking around outside the club. So I told my friends, “Let’s go check it out.”

You weren’t afraid of being recognized?

Oh no. It was Halloween, so we just over-exaggerated ourselves. I made my hair bigger, gave myself darker, thicker, more ridiculous makeup, and bigger lips. We walked in, ordered a drink, and watched the show. Then they started the competition, and all the drag queens dressed like me were walking across the stage, to be judged by audience applause who was the best Dolly. I just wanted to watch, but my friends convinced me to get up there. They said, “Go. Go, go, do it.” And I whispered, “Okay, fine.” I jumped onstage and joined the line of Dollys.

Nobody realized you were the real Dolly Parton?

Nobody even knew. Cause I was over-exaggerated. I looked like a clown version of myself. Maybe I went too far, because I lost.

You lost a Dolly Parton look-a-like contest?

I did, yeah. [Laughs.] I got the least applause of anybody. Of course, my friends were cracking up.

How is that possible?

I guess there were some other Dolly Partons who looked more like Dolly Parton than I did. [Laughs.] They were good, I’ll give them that. But when you’re Dolly Parton and you lose a Dolly Parton look-a-like contest, that’s pretty bad.

Bit of a bargain actually

No, not an ad, just an observation:

NOW is your chance to book a bargain break to the Algarve for less than £100 per person.

The amazing deal includes flights and accommodation in the sunny Portuguese resort.

£100 for flights and hotel for nine days? That’s a significant bargain really. How they’re doing it, it’s marginal revenue upon fixed costs. The apartment hotel exists, the flights will be running anyway. Why not gain some cash?

This is for March as well, weather could be good down here. Not a bad part of town either.

The bit that catches my eye. £10 a day? The difference in prices means that someone on a pack of tabs and two pub drinks a day would find it cheaper to be here – including the cost of the holiday – than in the UK Actually, forget the tabs, three drinks a day would do it. More a measure of the overtaxation of such things in the UK than anything else….