Sunday, 17 December 2017

Your weekend Brexit

Yeah, I know. I really wanted to not talk or think about Brexit for a couple of weeks, but it seems that the Brexiteers are not happy.

You won, get over it!

The fact there is an undefined transition deal to be negotiated means that there is a possibility that the transition deal could be pushed back and back, to the point it might never end. So, and this is really astonishing, doubly so a few days after 11 Conservative MPs were vilified in the press and received death threats for voting so that Parliament could have a "meaningful" vote on the final deal, if any, DD gets with the EU, the Foreign Secretary, and lets remember that is his role, not Editor of The Spectator or Mayor of London, but a Minister of the Crown, today had another article published in a Sunday newspaper saying the deal was a bad idea and that Britain should not become a "vassal" state. Let me look at was vassal means.

From Wiki: "A vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another." As a member of the EU we are one of the 28, out of the EU we would become the 51st State. As the tale of the chlorine-washed chicken will tell you.

Let me get this straight, in a trade deal with a larger country, what the larger country wants the larger country gets. There is a choice of adhering to either EU rules, or so it seems, the US's. We get no say, they tell us what to do, and we do it. This is not taking back control, just the reality of international trade. That any other country, say Ireland, might want something out of the negotiations is an inconvenience.

But at the root of it, we have a Minister of the Crown, again, undermining his own PM's and Government's position, doing and saying what is right for Boris de Piffel Johnson, and not is right for the country and its people. Let us not forget, Boris was a major supporter of the EU until the late winter of 2016, and he changed his mind.

As ever making that is very complex seems very simple is not just untruthful, but dangerous.

And there is still the Irish border to sort out. No, that's right, its not sorted, just been set aside as the UK Government said that in the event of there not being a deal, there will not be a hard border between the Republic and NI. But what that means and how regulatory alignment will be achieved, which will have to be done whilst staying within the WTO rules, is unclear, but as ever, will be interesting. It cannot be fudged forever, nor can the fact that the UK still does not know what it wants at the end of negotiations; what terms it wants to be on with the EU, and the rest of the world will also wait to see, because if we are on poor terms, then deals with us might have lesser or greater value.

Make not mistake, May has to steer a path through what the EU27 wants, what NO wants, what the DUP wants, what her Europhile MPs want, what the Brexiteers wants, what the editors of the daily and Sunday newspapers say they want and against what she believes, as she campaigned to remain. It is a mess and without the wisdom of Solomon, it could end with no deal with the break up of the UK or Great Britain as NO has to be on certain trade terms with the Republic, and thus the entire EU, in order for the phase 1 agreement to hold and be in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement. This weekend 51% of those polled in N said they would vote for reunification with Ireland.

It is also in the Good Friday Agreement in the even that the people of NI want reunification, the British Government should not stand in its way, and a referendum (another one) be held. These will be interesting time, where what happens in NI will likely apply to the rest of Great Britain, and saying otherwise is not truthful. Brexiteers in not highlighting issues and having solutions ready shows that it was purely ideological, not based in the real world, where political theory have to be made to work.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Friday 15th December 2017

It is with some relief that the week draws to an end. B the end of it, I had been in over 20 hours of meetings this week, and what with writing and reading the minutes of the meetings, what chances are there to get work done?

We wake up and find it a fine day, out the back of the house the old moon was rising, just three days from being new, it is just a sliver with Venus to its right. It is a beautiful sight, and once I get back from dropping Jools off, I take some shots. Oh yes, drop Jools off at the bus station as we have to be in Canterbury by three in the afternoon and the only way to get there in time is for me to pick her up then drive to the university.

three hundred and forty nine It is a mighty cold morning, the roads are lined with frost and the sky is still black. There is no other traffic around, so we cruise into town and I drop Jools off in Pencester where her coach is waiting to take her to work. Its not just for her, but you know.

Back home for more coffee and breakfast and then start work at half seven to be prepared. Prepared for anything.

Outside the day is fine and sunny, and I would like to go out, instead I have to sit inside and take part in three online meetings, which will take up the whole working day until I have to leave to collect jools at one.

So, at one I pack up for the week, and get ready to leave.

It should be a straightforward drive to Hythe, but with the random roadworks that are springing up, it could take an hour. At least it is a fine day, and with the radio on it is again pleasant. I reach the factory with 20 minutes to be spare, the descent into Hythe with views to Saltwood Castle is fine, doubly so now as the council have cut the hedge back. Funny how such a fine looking castle is almost unknown, yet a few hundred metres from the motorway, but hidden by woods. I will stop to take a shot, one day.

Jools gets out at two, and so we have an hour to get to Canterbury University, where our financial advisor has his office. Yes, it is true. We hope to retire as soon as possible, but for the moment it is just a pipe dream, but after rearranging our pensions, things are better this year. We shall see.

We go up Stone Street, through orchid country, or will in just over four months time of course. Its strange to go along the old Roman Road and not turn off to the great orchid locations we know so well, but on we go into the city, then round the ringroad before turning up the hill to the University. Beside it is a public school, looking all the world like Hogwarts, but is unremarkable in a city so full of grand and important buildings.

His office is in a new building, we arrive ten minutes early, and time to have a coffee before our meeting. Well, chat. Results are discussed, outlooks shared, and decisions made.

Instead of trying to get through the city at rush hour, we follow the road through Blean until it joins the Thanet Way, and from there we cruised to Ramsgate as darkness fell. From Ramsgate it was simple to head over the marshes to Richborough, Sandwich and home. We passed within a mile of the chippy, so it seemed a no-brainer to all in get dinner then make brews and butties once we were home. And feed the cats.

But it was the weekend. And so, relax.

To be honest, dinner is a disappointment, the fish limp and the chips overcooked, but its still OK. I mean we didn't have to cook it, and we have eaten and washed u in 20 minutes. And its still the weekend.

The evening, as most Friday evenings are, was spent watching Mastermind and Only Connect, our brains having been exercised, we go to bed.

Friday, 15 December 2017

The Last (Brexit) Post, of the year. I hope.

I love my country. I care very deeply about it, even the silly inward looking people who voted to leave the EU, despite Britain having prospered for some 45 years under it. Some people really do blame the EU for all the UK's ills and problems, and no matter how many times it is pointed out that they were wrong, they will shout and scream demanding their Brexit it got their country back.

Of course it is not their country, nor is it mine either. It is ours. And how, no matter what happens, are we all going to get along once it is all over and the dust has settled? I want to remain in the EU so we can all be richer, wealthier and more diverse, so that people from the EU can come and work here, share in our prosperity, and help the country by filling in jobs, paying taxes and working in sectors and industries that need them. Without them, there will be less tax paid, and more cuts will have to happen, and in due course, even the privileged Boomers will have their pensions and care cut. Not because they deserve it, but simply because there will not be enough money in the pot for all of it to go round.

But I cannot see how leavers love the country that much, as leaving will damage it, make it poorer as a result. Maybe they really don't believe experts, but reality will win out, it always will.

Today, the EU27 agreed that sufficient progress has been made in phase 1 of the negotiations, allowing for phase II to begin. This will not be trade talks. Nor talks about trade talks. But talks about the transition, and the terms that Britain will have to adhere to, and for how long.

Talks about trade talks will begin in March, and will just talk about a framework and the politics of it; Britain will leave the EU in March 2019 without any deal on trade, that is because no deal can se even talked about until Britain is a 3rd country. No matter how friendly, how close the two sides are, even at the start, a trade deal could take 5 years to conclude, and industry a decade to adjust. Jobs will be lost, businesses will move abroad, there will be jams at ports, especially Dover. It is unavoidable.

And some Brexiteers are intent on scuppering any deal that is being done, or might be done. And some of those are in May's cabinet. All is not settled yet, nor will be for many years.

Any deal, any deal based on talks about trade talks, will have to be ratified, and will have to be passed unanimously, if not, it fails. Of course there could be a political solution, like stopping the clock, or post-dating the final agreement maybe for 5 years. But that would be difficult as it would have to be within WTO rules, as would any deal, so it is not cut and dry that all is settled. But the real big barrier to Brexit is that Britain, the UK, the PM and her cabinet, still do not know what they want at the end of it all. And a wise man once said if you don't know where you're going, you might end up somewhere that you don't want to be. And with the EU prepared, united and wanting to get it over with, still, anything can happen.

But Britain has to make its mind up what it wants, to enable to EU to know what to negotiate.

And then there is the Irish border. There is an agreement that there will be no hard border, but the solutions to avoid that are difficult and will be tricky to sort out to everyone's satisfaction. Toe have a soft border then, SM, CU or FTA. First two mean oversight by UCJ and the four freedoms. And the UCJ May ruled out as she confused it with the ECHR, and to admit the mistake would be worse (for her) than forcing the country, for decades, into a trade deal that put British jobs, workers, businesses at a disadvantage.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday 14th December 2017

Each of my working days this week have been taken over by at least half by meetings or webinars. Its bad enough to sit in a room when there is a meeting going on, but to be on the other end of a Skype conference call, it audio dropping in and out, tech problems and when the audio does work, if the speaking not on top of the mic, then it comes as garbled.

And I am supposed to be following this, even when sound drops out for a minute or two.

Three hundred and forty eight At least it was going to be a fine, sunny and cold day. And so hopefully that meant not being bothered by cats who maybe would be out hunting or basking in the sun. Molly, however, has taken to sitting or aying bside me as I work at the dining room table. I mean she lays in the table, and no matter how many times I put her on the floor, she gets back up and stares at me. Not sure what this means, she grumbles when you ick her up. And when you don't. The vet says she is fine, but we are worried.

A winter wander to Fleet House The day pans out as you would imagine; meetings, coffee, meetings, lunch, meeting, coffee, big meeting. Ans then it was three and my brain was melting. I had had enough. I joined Scully on the sofa with a bag of freshly popped salty corn and a bottle of silly strength Belgian beer, and settle down to watch an episode of Time Team. Te dig holes, point at soil and say there was a ditch here, and there, and over here there was a mansio, and a mighty large one too. Fnar.

A winter wander to Fleet House Hypercourse, tessari, coins and brooches. All Roman.

And it ends with the team in a pub toasting their good fortune and another fine three day dig.

A winter wander to Fleet House In fact, over lunchtime, I had half an hour, so with it being a glorious day, and an allergy attack had been threatening all week, I go out for a walk. Outside it is bright, I mean with the low sun in the south, it was blinding, and casting long, long shadows across the fields.

A winter wander to Fleet House I walk to the end of the street and over the fields to Fleet house; the recent rain had turned the ground to mud, but not too deep, and the air was so clean it sparkled. Nothing to see in the pig's copse, and it would have been too slippery down the dip, so went to look down the slope to the farm, then walked back via the butterfly glade; none there now of course, but it is full of teasel and buddleia bushes gone to seed. I take shots and walk back ready for the next meeting.

A winter wander to Fleet House Supper is jacket spuds, so I can watch MOTD from the sofa as the suds bake, ready for when Jools returns.

It is a quiet evening, we listen to some music, and drink coffee and eat ice cream. As you do.

Four working days to go.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Amendment 9; the aftermath

I really, really did not think I would be still writing about Brexit 18 months after the referendum. I thought Brexit would not happen because, well, its a bat shit idea, and no sane country could go this made for so long, would have to wake up after the mother of all hangovers, thinking, what did we get up to last night. Take a look at the newspapers and see where we are, and just call Mr Junker, and ask, please ignore that letter.

I write about this because I love my country. I really do, and I am pretty darn sure that Brexit will make the country weaker, poorer, more inward looking, and those that are left will turn on each other. Oddly, Brexiteers like to say they love their country do, and try to prove it by stifling debate, discourse and calling non-believers saboteurs. Or worse. That all most of us want is a little scrutiny, some oversight as to what Maybot 2000 is doing as PM and her merry band of Brexiteers. Those self-same Brexiteers also claimed Brexit was needed to return sovereignty to Parliament, and yet when Parliament vote to return some sovereignty to itself, they all say it is defying the will of the people.

It is possible they will say the people wanting a second referendum is also defying the will of themselves, as it will threaten their beautiful Brexit. I mean, what can they be afraid of? The front page of the Mail today was as horrible as you would expect, calling the 11 Tory MPs who voted against the Government as malcontents and that they should be deselected by their local parties. Is this what it has come to, something akin to the Communist Party COngress where delegates go to rubberstamp what the Brexit Politburo says?

I am more convinced than ever that the referendum was cover for a power grab by the COnservative Party; come up with a vague question, then once won fill in the blanks and say Brexit means whatever you say it means. On the ballot there was nothing about leaving the SM, CU, Euratom, Open Skies, etc, etc, but that is what we are getting, and told it was the people's will. Maybot even said yesterday the people voted to leave the SM. They did not, they voted to leave the EU in an advisory referendum. And that is it, no one voted for the hard Brexit or no deal Brexit DD, Johnson et al seem to want, apparently sabotaging May's deal before 24 hours have passed, and even then that not criminal enough for DD to get sacked.

Maybe things will be quiet over Christmas on the Brexit front, and we can go back to just talking about cats, orchids and churches. But I think this is going to rumble on and on. And how will it end? As I said before, there are those mad enough to push for a no deal, not knowing, or caring, what tat would mean to the country or its people and businesses.

How did we get here, and how do we get out? Not sure if we can.......

Wednesday 13th December 2017

The year gently fades away, in eight days reaching the shortest day of the year, and just when it seems like it will get darker forever, the days will little by little begin to lengthen. At first not really any noticeable change, but the sun will begin to rise further south each morning, and those sun rises will get earlier. Of course, we could have hard weather after then, and the cold snap Britain just experienced could be the fortaste of the tough ones like 1963 or 1947. On the other hand we might not see frost again. High pressure has settled over the country, bringing short sunny days, and long dark nights with the stars and waning crescent moon shining bright enough to cast shadows. Yes, its cold, but not that cold, and in our garden, sunflowers and Foxgloves are still in flower, apparently ignoring the date on the calendar.

Wednesday morning was cloudy and dull. Dawn didn't announce its arrival by reds and yellows, just a lightening in the clouds covering the sky from horizon to horizon.

Three hundred and forty seven This week has been marked by the endless meetings each day, three hours as a minimum, and by three or four in the afternoon, my brain has turned to mush.

As was the case on Wednesday, time between the meetings for work; replying to mail and the urgent tasks. And then in meetings, listening to what people had to say, taking notes. Notes that I will probably never read, or if I do, not understand.

I have Molly now sleeping next to the laptop when I am working at the table. She seems to want company, which although is nice, her drastic change in temperament and nature is causing for concern; is is also easily cowed by the twins, and even Scully is stealing her favourite sleeping spots. The vets say there is nothing wrong, but Jools and I are both worried.

The day passes, with two thick crusts left in the loaf, I toast them, put slices of mature cheddar on the flat side and toast until brown and bubbling, before covering with half a can of beans. It is simple, but brings memories of suppers back in my parent's home, on Saturday evenings, watching the Two Ronnies or Dick Emery, and counting the minutes until Match of the Day would start. Simple meals for a simpler time, maybe.

I make more potato bread to go with the curried soup for dinner, Jools coming back at six or so, it already having been dark for two hours, with a storm beginning to build. Best batten down the hatches and make a brew then!

There was seven games being played, so I listen to the radio a bit, sit with Scully on the sofa, and in that way the evening passes quietly.

Five working days left this year!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Brexit irony overload

It was always going to be the way, that as the clock ticks down on the two year A50 timetable, that things in Parliament, Tory HQ and Brussels get more fraught. So while I am home and not traveling with work, I am able to comment on the day in Brexit.

Early this morning the EU tightened up its clauses in the agreement thrashed out with Mrs May last week, in order that DD knows what he has to do and can't palm off as a voluntary thing.

And then there was the passage of the one Great Repeal Bill. At ten past seven this evening, the Government lost Amendment 7, thus ensuring that Parliament would have to approve any deal DD reached with the EU. The Government lost by 4 votes, even after trying to sway events with an eleventh hour compromise. Some took it and either voted with the Government, or abstained.

Whether it will make any difference remains to be seen, but Parliament being sovereign was one of the main pillars of the who referendum campaign. So, Parliament asserting its sovereignty is now somehow an issue. Holding the Government to account is what Parliament is for, so finally Westminster walking should be seen as a good thing. And if the reasons for Brexit are so good, then the PM should not be worried about some scrutiny. No?

One of the main arguments against the amendment was time constraints; time constraints that May created in triggering A50 before she and her Cabinet were ready. She was warned.....

And your weekly reminder that Article 50 is ticking, it is independent of anything that is under the direct control of any UK politician or political institution. Whatever is going on in UK or Westminster, it is largely the equivalent of re-arranging deckchairs on the sinking Titanic. Might look nice but has no effect. In order for Brexit to be stopped, the Government would want it to happen, and then, in most likelihood, have to ask the EU27 for their permission. We are still a long way from the first part of that, even if Parliament rejects any deal, it is probably that there is nothing that can be done.

Parliament could have inserted all sorts of clauses in the A50 bill, but chose not to.

Of course, if it is in the interest of the EU27 to stop Brexit if asked, they would consider it, but under what terms to the UK? Might never happen of course, but then there have been so many things happen that it was said could not happen......

Tuesday 12th December 2017

The day started clear but cold. I managed to sleep through the alarm, meaning I woke when Jools was putting the finishing touches to the first coffee of the day.

The evening before, we had spent an hour deciding who to write Christmas cards for, and so I said I would take them to the post box to post. But with yet more rain expected during the day, I thought I would go before I started work, thus staying dry, if slipping and sliding on the walk back from Collingwood.

Three hundred and forty six I put on my trainers and pulled on my old favourite coat, picked up the cards and set off. ALl above me, the sky was pink as sunrise neared. People were out, scraping the windscreens on their cars; at least with the car port Jools doesn't have to do that. I stopped to take a shot down Station Road towards the church, then scuttled back home where I thought I deserved a second coffee of the day.

Back home I do make that coffee, have breakfast and begin work. And so the madness begins. Only this day I have four hours of meetings to look forward to in the afternoon.

I better have some more coffee to stay awake.

I have lunch at ten, and am eating more fruit by midday, then time to get a coffee in ready for the first meeting.

That is followed by two more, and once they are all done, it is four in the afternoon, and I am shattered, and I have done nothing!

And for dinner we are having pizza. Shop pizza that takes ten minutes in the oven, so there is time to talk once Jools gets home before we can eat and listen to ISIHAC, which is always a pleasure.

For the evening's entertainment, there is football on the wireless. Nothing more, nothing less. But it passes the time, though Jools goes upstairs to watch Hinterland (don't ask me) on her tablet.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Monday 11th December 2017

These are the shortest days of the year, meaning the sun doesn't rise until nearly eight, and so is pretty much dark until gone seven, or, like MOnday, when the rain falls fro leaden skies, hardly gets light at all.

And at some point during the night, the rain did begin to fall, and the wind begin to blow. Meaning that by the time we got up, t was a grim morning for those who have to commute. I just switch from one seat to another, but for Jools its a half hour drive among the lunatic drivers of Kent.

On a positive note for a Monday, I realise that I am due to finish for the year next Friday, only I have 5 days to take, so meaning with the three days between Christmas and new year, I can finish work on Wednesday evening next week; just eight more working days to go. I make sure that putting those days down as vacation in my work calendar the first task of the day.

Three hundred and forty five But before then, there is just time to squeeze an hour on the sofa watching the highlights of the two derbies from Sunday, and the Saints v Arse game too. Quite how The Chosen One and Man Utd can spend £450 million and still seem average is beyond me, and shows just how great Fergie was; still funny to see Mourinho have to shake Guardiola's hand and then admit that Citeh were better.

And so to work, with a fresh coffee and some Bran Flakes.

Outside the rain turned to sleet and then to snow. The cats were not impressed and by and large slept through the day, not wanting to think about going out. Mulder went stir crazy, and began bouncing Scully and Molly, so I have to chase him outside a few times, the last time waiting for he trying to get back in and snapping the cat flap on his nose. But as always, he got the final word when he brought in a sparrow for me to eat.

Its lovely out I knew right away her had brought something in, at least he usually brings them in dead. He meowed and went under the table, and as I looked to see what it was, he opened his mouth and the very much alive sparrow made good its escape, and flew to the front of the house.

Then to the back.

Then to the front.

I grab a tea towel and race to Molly who now has the poor bird in her jaws. I throw the towel at her and she drops the sparrow in surprise, and in one motion I grab the towel and close my hand around the lump, hoping that I had not crushed the small bird. With all three cats now hunting the bird, I take the towel out of the back door, and gently open up my hand, and looking into the well made from the folded fabric, I saw a single dark eye blinking at me. I take the bird out, and it is panting in a panic. I hold my hand flat, it blinks once more, stretches its wings and flies to the hedge.

It lives to fight another day.

Or flight another day.

The day fades, and come four I begin to prepare boiled chicken and rice. Yeah, I now; boiled chicken and rice. But its good, even better with bacon and flavoured olive oil too that Jen gave us.

At least there is no football on to distract me in the evening, so we can talk over dinner, then wash up, and all is done for the evening. Poor Jools is knackered, and goes to bed at half eight, while I watch QI then scour online record listings for a copy of Bizarre Love Triangle.....

DD the dunce in the corner

After over 18 months being the Minister responsible for Brexit, you would have thought DD would have learned a few things by now. But no. Almost as soon as an agreement had been finalised between the EU and UK, did DD start to say it didn’t mean what it said (the agreement) said.

It wasn’t legally binding, nothing was fixed. And so on.

As previously mentioned, you would think that DD thought that there was no internet in Europe, nor the ability to see or read his comments.

He had to backtrack this morning after comments by the Irish PM, and then again after speaking to Guy Verhofstadt agreed that it was more than legally binding.

Sadly for DD, this wasn’t enough, and now the EU want the UK to put the agreements into UK as soon as possible, to ensure there is no welching. You see, trade negotiations is all about trusting people on the other side; your word is your bond, and DD has shown time and time again is word aint worth shit.

Agreement by the EU that sufficient progress is not a given, and have suggested to day that talks about trade might not begin until March. On top of that, if there is to be a transition deal, it would be at the same terms as currently the UK has, in abiding by the four freedoms, the UCJ but not having any say in how any rules are made, nor any official representation.

If your word is not really your bond, then who is going to talk trade with Britain and ever take us seriously again? Trust can take a lifetime to build up, but a moment to destroy.

Meanwhile Liam Fox stated that trade deals could be signed milliseconds after Brexit; forgetting that actually talking about trade cannot begin until Brexit has actually happened. Almost like the International Trade Minister didn’t know anything about his brief, and learned nothing over the last 19 months.

And now when the government makes a promise not to use Henry VIII clauses, turns out that Parliament doesn’t believe them either.

Who knew?

And now the FT is reporting that the EU won’t talk about trade, at all, until March 2019, so angry are they at DD. Careless talks cost money, Dave.

Finally, the Rand Corporation, a US think-tank, published a report saying there is NO scenario where the UK would be better off in any of the various flavours of Brexit.

Who knew?

Monday, 11 December 2017

Sunday 10th December 2017

The rain pours down on a hum drum town.

Sunday in St Maggies, and from dawn to dusk the rain pours down. As forecasted by the BBC. I was more minded to go out for a walk this day, after some nine hours of sleep. But the weather really was grim, even snow for a while at first. So I made coffee then went to watch some football as dawn appeared.

Three hundred and forty four In full daylight, it looked no better, with the wind from the south making the wet snow go in 45 degree angles, but none of it settles, which is something. But before the sleet did melt, it created nice patterns on the windows at the back of the house, so snap some of them as they melted.

Halfway through the football, I pause it and go to make more bacon butties, as it is Sunday and a tradition, no? Even if we did have them on Saturday too. Can’t have too much bacon can you?

Last year's beer today In the afternoon we tried the first of the Christmas cakes. A bit gry really, but very pleasant too. Its December, what the heck I said as I got the tin out and unwrapped the cake. Went well with a fresh coffee for sure. I wish I could say there was much to write about, but other than writing, listening to the radio and sleeping of the beer I had at lunchtime to go with the cheese and crackers. In the afternoon, there was football. Lots of football, from midday until half six, by which time I was cooking Sunday dinner; roast lamb, Yorkshire Puddings, roast potatoes and vegetables. All as good as it sounds to be honest. By which time the Mersey derby had ended 1-1, and the Manc derby a 2-1 victory for Citeh, who played Utd off the park for fun.

Sunday Mum called at seven, all sweetness and light saying everything is going great. I was in the shower so heard it 2nd hand. Not much we can do about it now, either she faces up to her situation or not. I’m not even inclined to go up to see her over Christmas to be honest, done too many miles for too little thanks.

We tidy up after dinner, watch Rick Stein in Mexico: at least it works as a travelogue if not a food program: you get the ingredients, put them on a tortilla and eat it. Yeah, everything goes into a taco.

That was Sunday and your weekend; more rain and snow for tomorrow, and me working from home.

The Keystone Brexiteers

I really thought that after May had come to an agreement with the EU on Friday, that the Brexit madness would be paused for the Festive period.

What a fool I was.

The basic problem is your basic Mk1 Brexiteer is that they are stupid. I mean as dumb as fuck stupid, not realising that when they speak or appear in a newspaper, lying, or telling untruths, that no one in the EU would be able to see/or read their words. I mean you could not make up this shit.

Take DD's assertion yesterday that the agreement wan't legally enforceable. True to a point, only if it is seen that Britain, the UK, after coming to the end of negotiations cannot be relied on the adhere to an agreed text, not even that lasting the weekend, what hope is there for the rest of the world to trust anything DD or any other Government official might say in trade negotiations, as it might be contradicted next week. Or tomorrow.

This is mindblowingly dumbfuck stuff, thick as pigshit stuff, mistakes we might expect from Boris de Piffel Johnson, maybe Gove, but DD, the Minister for the Exiting the EU Department? Jesus, I mean this bloke really is a cockwomble, and mine and your and your children's future prosperity is dependant on he being able to negotiate 60 trade deals with countries around the world? No, I just realised that task is being the responsibility of Liam Fox; I mean, as a country we are screwed.

And today, DD had to issue a clarification on his statement, but bear in mind that there is no official confirmation from the EU that sufficient progress has been made, that will only come on Thursday or Friday. It is possible they could change their mind and say no. He also said that if Britain doesn't get a trade deal, then we won't pay the financial settlement. Once again let me point this out, that money is not for the deal, but in lieu of financial commitments we have already made as a member of the EU, even threatening this is dangerous.

We have the situation where the Chancellor says the settlement has to be paid, and DD says don't have to pay it. As previously stated, the EU has been united for over 18 months since the referendum result, the Cabinet did not last over the weekend.

Predictable and pathetic.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Saturday 9th December 2017

It feels like we have reached the end of a very long journey, and all at once the weariness that we have been denying overcomes us like a tidal wave.

Mum is home, and we hope not to have to travel to and from Suffolk for a very long time. It may only be a four hour drive, each way, on a good day, but the desire to get to the end of each leg, avoid traffic and get back home at a decent time to avoid traffic at the tunnel and to feed the cats means that there is little relaxing to be done. It may be nice with the radio on, and we might even sing along, but in time, after week after week of travel, we were exhausted.

We woke at just gone seven, and listened to the sounds of morning. Here in St Maggies in December is mostly silence; but the wind jangling the fastenings on Bob's flagpole, maybe a seagull looking for food, and the gentle hum of traffic on the Deal Road. Or so I thought. We get up and have a coffee, then I take myself to Tesco for the weekly shop, not much to get, but enough.

The Deal road is closed, by an accident, and all the traffic is being diverted up and down Station Road. I find out later it is a three car crash which has left one dead. But at the time it was a curiosity as to why the road was closed. Just a sign saying there was an accident.

At Whitfield, the new Lidl has opened and already had customers. It is good the town seems to be thriving, and yet there is only so much shopping to be done in the town, and all the other existing shops and supermarkets would lose some business. In Tesco there was no croissants, which meant bacon for both Saturday and Sunday breakfast, an upside to everything.

Back home we put the shopping away, and I cook breakfast, half a dozen sweet cured streaky rashers each, and put into buttered freshly baked bread, accompanied by a fresh brew.


Three hundred and forty three And despite it being a fine, if cold day, we feel like doing nothing, which is what we do.

After washing up, Huey on the radio, playing some cool Blacksploitation soundtracks, and other tunes to ease us towards lunchtime.

I change the radio from music to football, with games on at half twelve, three and City playing at half five. It is seven games since Norwich won, one down at half time to Sheffield Wednesday, and it being an all familiar story. But the second half, City turn a corner, and score three times and cruise to a win, and maybe, begin to head upwards again. Amazing how a win, even if you're not there, lifts the spirits. City have won, West Ham have beaten Chelsea and Spurs score 5 at Wembley.

For dinner I roast some vegetables and garlic, when cooked I whizz them up and pour the gloop over cooked pasta. Doesn't look good, but tastes fab, and is vegetables and so is good.

All seems right with the world.

Outside, the quarter moon shines down from a clear blue sky, bitterly cold night. We listen to some music as the day fades into night, and already half the weekend has gone.

Weekend Brexit

You know, I had hoped that with the announcement of the "deal" on Friday, that I could escape not writing about Brexit until the New Year. I mean, the British Parliament is in recess, and I'm sure the EU one is, and all there should be left to do is for both the UK and EU sides to prepare for the next stage of talks.

Only, in Brexitlalaland, it is never that simple.

Yesterday, Pob-in-chief, Michael Gove, said that the British people could change the course of Brexit, even rejecting the deal that the UK Government strikes, or might strike, with the EU in the next election, which is planned for 2022, as per the fixed term act. That the transition/extension deal is expected to expire in 2021, and the UK leave the EU in 2019, quite how these events could be overturned. Of course there is the chance that May's Government could collapse in which case there might be an election, but then the ability to pause/stop/accelerate UK leaving is a gift of which only the EU27 can decide.

This reminds me of the old joke, how can you tell when Michael Gove is lying? His lips move.

So, the deal reached with the EU can be changed, but the referendum cannot be changed. The will of the people cannot be allowed to challenge the will of the people.

And today, DD stated that the deal done with the EU is not binding, the border arrangements not fixed, if there is no deal Britain won't pay a penny of the £39 billion and in any event there won't be a hard border between the UK and Republic of Ireland.

And this shows UK's weakness, disunity in the Cabinet, Ministers openly briefing against the Prime Minister and the deal struck. Behind the deal is the good faith that the EU has that it will be honoured, meaning it is ever more important that May is kept as PM and that the deal struck be enacted into law as soon as possible. One may wonder what agenda DD and Gove has in undermining their own Cabinet, Government and Prime Minister. It seems that the no deal scenario is not dead and might stalk Mrs May once again.

Failing to honour the agreement, though not legally binding, politically it is, would further undermine Britain's standing in Global trade and make us untrustworthy, and so at the time when we need to be trusted most, when we have 60 plus trade deals to strike, no one would believe a word we say. he EU's strength has been from being united and never wavering from it's positions and not crossing it's own red lines. The UK has been a giant plate of jello.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Friday 8th December 2017

Jools and I are awake well before dawn, having had something like less than 6 hours sleep. It felt like I had had less. I had made up my mind, I would be leaving as soon as possible.

We get up, both have showers then go to see how Mum was, she was sitting in her armchair listening to the radio, and apparently waiting for us to make her a coffee. I do make her a coffee, but point out that she is supposed to be getting up from time to time. But some words fell on stony ground. Apparently.

She has prepared a shopping list, and tasks she would like done before we leave. So I go to Tesco and Jools tries to sort out her bank on the phone. The upshot was that we don't get to leave her house until half nine, then stressing about getting to the tunnel before three when the queues would likely to start building.

It is a another glorious day in Suffolk, the sun shone from a clear blue sky. Again. It was a shame not to be making more of it, rather than spend the middle of it driving 200 or so miles back home. IN a perfect world, this should take a shade over three hours, but thanks to the poor roads in EA, four and a half hours is a good trip, anything more than that can be expected.

You know the route by now, out of Oulton through Somerleyton and Herringfleet to St Olaves, then down the 143 down through Beccles, Bungay, Diss and so on. I decide to change route thanks to traffic news on the radio, taking a road to Ipswich, and joining the A14 and then heading east to take the A12 south. Jools, as she had driven up in our car, went down the A12 ll the way, and as it happened got home 20 minutes before me, but hey.

I had the radio on, but with Tom Ravenscroft (john Peel's son) on the radio, filling his three hour show with bleepy bleep electronic music and jungle, I switch it off and enjoy driving. If enjoy is something that you can describe going down through Essex. It is more like something to be endured.

Three hundred and forty two It is a relief to reach the junction with the M25, and the thought that I was only 20 minutes from Kent and an hour from home. And no matter how busy the motorway was, it could not be worse that the A12 with the crazy, stupid greedy lane hogging locals. The motorway at least has four lanes, even if the outside line means driving at close to the speed of sound. I would be home quicker.

Over the bridge, and into Kent. Phew. At it was well after one one and Radcliffe and Maconie on the radio, so plenty of good music and reportage to listen too. I slow down and enjoy the drive down through Maidstone, Ashford before stopping off at Hythe services, where I realise I had not had a drink all day, ot even a brew at breakfast. I buy a peppered steak slice and a bottle of coke and fill the car up ready for its return. I call Jools at home and arrange for her to collect me from the port at half three.

I empty the car and Jools pulls up beside me. Just have to walk to the terminal to drop the keys off, and I am done. A five and a half hour drive, less than 5 hours sleep. I was pooped. But I think worn out after nearly three weeks of such drives, and I have had enough. Jools and I are in agreement, we want to get our lives back. We have done our bit for Mum, but there has been any really gratitude on her part. Not why we did it, but it would have been nice, you know. We have seen very little indication that Mum wants to change, a realisation that she needs to maybe, but when given the choice of getting up and making herself a brew or watching yet more Corrie, the TV wins out. Every time.

Back home and I make a coffee, and we share the remains of the ginger cookies that we have left over. It is all over.

I put on a succession of New Order twelve inch singles on the record player, and they sound great, I hope the neighbours enjoyed them too, as I had the volume turned right up to 11.

As I had eaten fish and chips twice that week, I say I will cook chorizo hash for dinner, which goes down very well once cooked, and fill the house with spicy smells. And being a Friday there was Mastermind followed by Only Connect. And by then we were both walking round like zombies, so went to bed. It was ten past nine, but we were home, and no trips back to Suffolk planned at all!

Knock Knock: who's there? Brexit reality

I said many, many months ago, that the final deal that is agreed between the UK and EU is the one that the EU will offer us; the alternative in refusing it would mean crashing out with no deal, and that would be disastrous for the UK economy, no matter how many Brexiteers says it would be fine and dandy. Not only that, but something would have to be agreed before the end of the year to allow planning for further talks, now on the transition/extension to the A50 process, and then onto talks about trade.

It is important to realise that what has been discussed for the past 18 months between DD and the EU through Michael Barnier has been "political" talks, not your actual legally enforceable trade rules. When the Brexiteers find that part three of the negotiations will be talks about talks about trade, not trade itself. Talks about trade cannot begin between the two parties until UK is a 3rd party country, i.e. after 29th March 2019.

I mention all this because in the early hours of the 8th December news broke that a deal on the three basic issues had been agreed between the UK Government, the EU and the DUP. I put the DUP in there as they blocked the previous agreement, so the talks this week have been mainly between the UK Government and their partners in power, the DUP. Once what they could agree on was set, put that to the UK and in particular the Irish Government, and away we go.

This was greeted as a triumph for May and her negotiating skills. IN truth the UK caved in on all the EU's demands, her red lines ignored, payments into the EU coffers, fully, for two more financial years, at least. And if you think this is bad, and how dreadful for May this result has been, can you imagine how bad the trade talks, or talks about trade talks will be, as the EU have been preparing for 18 months, and full time on that since the beginning of November. The UK have been tying themselves in knots dealing with its own internal arguments and disputes, giving mixed signals, whilst Brexit has meant that for the past 18 months, 27 European countries have come with a unified position, red lines and areas for discussion, and stuck with them. All movement to allow agreement or push things forward have comes from the UK side.

To call this a awful result for British negotiations would be an understatement. But then this has been with our closest friends and neighbours, can you imagine how bad the result will be if they have to negotiate with a hostile country like the US?

The UCY will have jurisdiction on EU citizens and UK citizens for at least eight more years, a decade after the referendum. It is likely that this could and will be extended. With this deal in place, it is now more unlikely that the EU27 would accept a revolk of the A50 note as most of their concerns with Brexit is now covered, and as for the Brexiteers, all the reasons for leaving have been watered down like a bad homeopathic remedy. In the EU's eyes, Brexit means Brexit, and we can just jolly well get on with it.

The EU credited May with great negotiating skills, but in reality they needed her to stay in power to prevent her Government from falling and the whole Brexit mess starting again with maybe Labour in charge, or worse, DD, Gove or Johnson, who would be more than happy to walk away from discussions. So, the EU, the UK Government and the press are treating this as a success, but it has been a capitulation, and one which signals more collapses to follow.

Just remember that Brexit will happen by simple operation of EU law and will take effect at 23:00 on 29th March 2019, unless something even more extraordinary happens. And the EU can change its mind at any point, as the sufficient progress is a matter of opinion not a point of law, even EU law. However, if a future Conservative leader would go back on this, it would be a very serious matter, and would have very serious repercussions for UK-EU relations, and trade relations with the rest of the world, as it would seen as UK breaking its word by being untrustworthy. Not the best of things when you need to negotiation maybe 60 new deals.

In short, unless something major changes, Britain will leave the EU on 29th March 2019, and will probably be in at least the SM for two more years, but that will probably be extended. And extended. A hard and no deal Brexit has been avoided, but a change in Tory leadership could change that, but this grave risks to the UK's international reputation.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Thursday 7th December 2017

I wake at half seven after my phone alarm had failed to go off. I had a meeting in half an hour, and during that the first in the long line of visitors would appear, now needed all the more to enable Mum to live at home and not in a home.

I have a shower and go to see Mum, she had had a poor night, not much sleep and woke with no appetite, other than to have a coffee, and the put the radio on and ask a series of questions. Most important was the fact the Daily Mirror had not been delivered. She knows how to use the phone, and the owner of the corner shop a five minute walk away says he will drop it round.

I am in the first meeting of the day when Jackie, Mum's new carer comes round, takes Mum to have a wash and get her ready for the day. No breakfast needed, and her old night shirt put in the washing machine. Mum has all things to hand that she needs, thus making any movement out of her chair unnecessary. This is going to do her no favours in the long run. She had wanted me to make a coffee, but I had no time before my meeting started so I said I would do it when the meeting ended. This was when it became clear to both of us that being a carer and working did not mix. I could not give her the care she feels she needs, and I was too busy, and thinking all the time that maybe if she tried to do it herself such things would be easier.

It set the tone for the day.

I have lots to do with work, and little time for her. She feels a little ignored I'm sure, but it was the way. And the fact that she was unwilling to do anything for herself meant that I had come to a decision: I would say I would go home Friday instead of Saturday, as I am hyper-critical of when she does, or doesn't do anything I don't like, and she needs to re-arrange her house to make it liveable. I said for Mum to think of this and we would talk it over in the evening.

Norwich Thorpe I have a huge meeting at half ten, and that goes on for over an hour, but I am excused and allowed to leave early, just as well as the district nurse had arrived than they were discussing Mum's health issues, of which Mum seemed only too keen to brush over. "You're diabetic too, Mum" Only just she replied. Well on the board above every bed you were these last three months it stated you were diabetic, not "slightly" diabetic. Oh its diet controlled the nurse asked? Oh yes, says Mum. By shortbread says I. Either the truth is faced or nothing will ever change.

Norwich Thorpe I make Mum dinner and get ready her dinner which she is supposed to be able to microwave for her evening meal. I leave the house to catch the three o'clock train to Norwich as I am meeting Jools, as it turns out, after many twists and turns, we will make the concert that evening after all. I wait for the train at Outlon Broad North, and take a deep breath, I have been living on nerves for two days, and I am exhausted.

Norwich Thorpe The train arrives and I get in to look out on the right hand side to catch a glimpse of my old house on Hall Road, but now the trees in the ham are so big, it was hard to see, even in the winter. Further along, out on Oulton Marshes, I saw Herons, swans, pink footed geese and much other wildlife, always something to see, even in the depth of winter.

At Norwich, I realise I have had nothing to eat sine breakfast, so treat myself to a "Boxing Day" pasty, filled with turkey, sausage and bacon. It was fine, and the coffee I had too tasted like nectar.On platform 4, a pair of 37s topped and tailed a set of three mark 3 carriages, and I wait until departure time, enjoying the ruble and growl as the two locos move their train out of the station, the noise echoing off the glass roof.

Norwich Thorpe I walk out of the station and cross the road to walk up Prince of Wales road, turning right into Tombland, past the cathedral gates, then up exploring before turning down Elm Hill, to snap the scene of the steep cobbled street lined with timber-framed houses and shops, as dusk settled on the scene, the lights inside shining out a warm and welcoming light.

Upper King Street Back up the hill, and down towards the station to wait for Jools to arrive; she is within an hour of the city, so I get a pint at the Compleat Angler opposite the station, and wait. Sports news on the TV and the seats behind me filled with women who lunch, who have lunched and onto their third or forth bottle of Prosecco. here is much laughter and stumbling about.

Time passes.

The Briton's Arms Jools arrives and I tell her where I am, as soon as she joins me, I finish my beer and we go to the Italian place opposite for dinner, as she hasn't eaten much either. Antipasto followed by freshly prepared pasta with seafood. Not bad, not that good either, but it will do.

The Stamp Corner And once we have drunk our coffees and eaten the tiramisu, it is time to walk to The Waterfront for the gig.

Wandering along Elm Hill Peter Hook used to be bass player in New Order, but the other three fell out and somehow kicked Peter out. He now has his own band, The Light, and they do three hours shows on New Order and Joy Division songs. Back in 1981, I had the chance to see a very early version of New Order play in Norwich, at the time they were renowned for starting late and finishing much later. Next day was my Maths exam. It wouldn't have made that much difference, but in the end I chose an early night, and the chance passed.

Two years ago we were going to see Peter and The Light in Brighton, but a long week working away and an early start to get home had made the two hour drive on a Friday night unappealing, and I decided not to go. And so we are here, in Norwich, planned last April, when we did not know how the year would pan out, and it would be an evening away from home. We did not think we were going to make it, not until we knew Mum was going to be released; Jools had time off work, and I would be up here. So we decided to try to make it.

Which is why we were stood outside the hall from five to seven, on a frosty night, waiting for the doors to be opened. Once in at half past, they took away my DSLR, but I had to compact in my pocket! I could collect the big boy later. We took up a position two rows from the front, all standing of course, and me just wanting the one shot for the blog.

Just gone eight the band came on, launching into their New Order set, playing he singles in chronological order, meaning Ceremony was second track, and the joy of the moment made me cry tears of unbridled joy.

Three hundred and forty one An amble through their hots of the 80s, causing me and others my age go misty eyed and sing along, shout along, to the familiar songs. Younger folks jumped and screamed, Hooky played like the bass monster he is.

What a night.

After a gap of ten minutes, they came back for the Joy Division set, building up through their spiky punk period, to the berlakness of Unknown Pleasures and CLoser to the inevitable climax of Dead Souls, Transmission, Atmosphere and Lover Will Tear us Apart.

As the final bars of Love Will Tear us Apart fades, we leave, claiming Jools' handbag and my camera, walking through the deserted Riverside to the car park, paying "20 for five hours parking, getting in the car and driving to the exit and out onto the empty streets.

The Lowestoft Road was quiet, so we cruise at 60, enjoying the clear, cold and starry night, with the half full waning moon still shining bright above. We get home at quarter to midnight, Mum is still up, and pleased to see us. She still sleeps in her chair, which is her choice, so after Jools and I sharing a cider, we go to bed. Sleeping in slightly nicotine stained bedding, just wanting to go home and get our life back.

Wednesday 6th December 2017

And so came the day that Mum was to be discharged, and all preparations were in place. All there was to do was wait. And wait.

The phone calls started at half seven that the transport was planned for nine. I should have known better than actually expect it to be on time. I take the last of the stuff to be cleared, and wait.

Finally, at 11, she arrives home, in the back of an ambulance cum bus thing. It is a logistical nightmare to get her into the wheelchair, out of the vehicle, through the narrow entrance to the path and to a point where she could stand up and enter the house using her frame. She was wearing just a nightgown, and it was cold outside. She said she was fine, but this wasn’t a good start.

Mum is back in her armchair, puffing away like she has run a marathon, but after 13 weeks she is back. Within an hour, the carer comes, and thankfully is very professional, and goes through a questionnaire, and while talking about her current issues, pointed to where the vein was taken out of her leg, her hand pushed the pad protecting it, and blood started to come out. Not huge amounts, but enough to give cause for concern.

Three hundred and forty We called the district nurse office and they told us to call her GP. We called the DP surgery, but could not get past the receptionist who refused to put the call through to the doctor. We were told to call the ward she was discharged from. We called ward 16, and they said nothing they could do, but ring the district nurse, thus completing the circle.

Jeez, this was hard. The carer’s boss called the nurses and suddenly the nurses were on their way. 3 of them. They arrived, two qualified nurses and a trainee, they assessed the wound, redressed it, and were away in 20 minutes. That wasn’t hard was it?

The afternoon passed with Mum watching TV, eight hours of it as it turned out, soups and quizzes, and her not moving except to go to the loo. Just as I feared. I work on the computer, trying to block the sound of the TV out, but as I am sitting within 6 feet of it, it was hard.

In the evening, I go to the chippy. Fish and chips is one of the things Mum said she was looking forward to. I get cod and chips for us both, and take it back, reducing by half the chips she had. She eats about half, which is OK. I eat a piece of fish that overhung the plate on either side, and I very much enjoy that.

I realise that nothing much is going to change here, and that I am wasting my time. I am sad about that and the fact that the hard work the three of us have done for her is greeted without one word of thanks.

Brexit madness

Wednesday 6th December 2017

Today, Tuesday 6th December, was the day in which the Brexit folly was revealed to the country, if the country was interested. At half nine, DD appeared before the commons select committee on Brexit, and admitted that the impact assessments that he had previously said there were 57 or 58 and set out in excruciating detail, did not in fact exist.

There is a chance he is lying about that to cover up the fact they do exist but the assessments are so bad that it is better to lie they don’t exist.

Taking his statement at face value, meaning that the UK Government, nor his department, had bothered to undertake assessments on any of the scenarios of the various flavours of Brexit. And had lied about them existing. And the PM having ready the conclusions, which also do not exist.

Decisions taken on whether to stay in or leave the SM and/or CU were taken with no evidence having been sought or looked at. The EU have done over 30 such studies. And have published them.

The House of Commons are deciding on whether DD is guilty of Contempt of The House, although if he is, no one is sure what his punishment might be, but his position should be untellable.

On top of that, it was revealed that the Cabinet has not yet discussed as to what the goal of the negotiations with the EU should lead, i.e. what it is May and co want from Brexit.

In other words, Britain is leaving the EU not knowing what it wants or what it might cost. It is worse than we could have imagined. Here is a list of things that happened today:

2/ Today Cretinus Maximus @DavidDavisMP appears before the Brexit select committee

3/ I imagine one question will be as to why the impact assessments have as much depth as an After Eight Mint and perhaps also whether there is a deliberate attempt to produce anything to avoid blame when there is a future inquiry

4/ No doubt Cretinus Maximus will make clear to @SeemaMalhotra1 and @hilarybennmp that the will of the people is final and there must be no evidence led decision making any more because otherwise they may take away his Brexit jet

5/ taking away the jet would be a fatal plan for Cretinus Maximus escape route if (🤣🤣🤣) Brexit goes wrong. If he had read the report from the CAA he would know if Brexit goes wrong flights will be mostly grounded anyway on Brexit day

6/ Still at least he could use Eurostar (soon to be Getlink (reserved for traitors being sent to the EU under the "Go European Traitors" scheme - hence Getlink)). Oh no he can't - sorry. There will be no more FOM

7/ Back to the committee we will also learn why the UK is not aligned on the meaning of alignment

8/ Cretinus Maximus will also try to explain the difference between alignment, no divergence, equivalence, recognition and harmonisation using a packet of Revel

9/ Wry observers also noted the HOC and HOL (in an anonymous vote) voted "how to stop Brexit" by Nick Clegg as book of the year

10/ The uninformed observer may query whether MPs know that an advisory referendum means Parliament decides how to stop Brexit and that as Parliament is sovereign they do not need a book, just a backbone and some balls

11/ One wonder if @SeemaMalhotra1 and @hilarybennmp will ask Cretinus Maximus and also Greg Clark about this tweet: It was also the personal opinion of head of department Greg Clark that releasing a comprehensive and unredacted assessment would stop Brexit

12/ Because that would suggest the right level of due diligence has not been undertaken in case the people decide to challenge the will of the people

13/ and the commuter faced with a 3.4% increase in their rail fare and rising food costs may ask why did the Maybot trigger article 50 for, as Cretinus Maximus described it, a one shot negotiation

14/ if the UK was under prepared in understanding how its own economy worked, the commuter may ask how would the U.K. would be affected by Brexit negotiations that would be fundamentally flawed as a result?

15/ Remarkably the Maybot gave the answer in her Lancaster House speech 🤖 - see next tweet

16/ ahem: "And let us do it not for ourselves, but for those who follow. For the country’s children and grandchildren too.

So that when future generations look back at this time, they will judge us not only by the decision that we made, but by what we made of that decision."

17/ For those who may question why the ECJ is such a big issue (especially when the UK wants to remain part of EASA which involves the ECJ), they may be confused by @DominicRaab and his statement on the European Court of Human Rights: Just forced arch Brexiteer Dominic Rabb to confirm at Despatch Box that Post-Brexit the European Court on Human Rights will still have jurisdiction over UK. Worth reminding people as many Leavers didn’t realise that during the referendum

18/ It seems to be that ultra Brexiters have some sort of zombie virus that makes them 🤢😷🤒each time they hear the word "Europe". Perhaps the solution is to rebrand so the EU, ECJ and ECHR have the words "United Kingdom and" added before each of them

19/ Cretinus Maximus is underway. And it turns out @CommonsEUexit are shocked because Cretinus Maximus said @DExEUgov has not done a quantitative economic forecast of the outcome of Brexit and there are no systematic sectoral impact assessments

20/ Cretinus Maximus says just because you use the word impact does not mean you have done an impact assessment. Good job MPs like @DavidLammy are regarding this as total 💩💩💩💩and basically super strength lying

21/ To use a Cretinus Maximus phrase watching this in "excruciating detail" is excruciating. I suspect Cretinus Maximus may be off to the MPs prison under Big Ben later today

22/ Cretinus Maximus does not like economic models because they are all proven wrong. The casual observer may wonder why any business ever does any planning and forecasting

23/ A new born baby with no concept of anything may also wonder whether some economic modelling is PRETTY FUCKING FUNDAMENTAL to negotiations that will take the UK out of the entire regulatory framework governing its economy at breakneck speed

24/ Cretinus Maximus says the EU will not be conducting an assessment on a similar scale. No, they have actually done it and you can read it here

25/ Cretinus Maximus says there is major contingency planning but obviously not based on any impact assessments. Does he mean that is why he wants a Brexit jet?

26/ The UK voter may conclude that Cretinus Maximus has lied to Parliament and the entire Government has been complicit. Good job Brexit was about accountable democracy being brought closer to home

27/ The neutral observer could reach no other conclusion than that given Cretinus Maximus told the select committee that the Maybot had seen a summary of the Brexit impact assessments.

28/ At this point it seems timely to refer you to tweets 3 and 4 of this thread which were written this morning before Cretinus Maximus appeared before the @CommonsEUexit

29/ Cretinus Maximus tries to redeem himself by waffling on about the amount of time spent on Brexit but neglects to point out most of it has been spent in a blind panic with most civil servants hiding in the stationary cupboard whimpering softly

30/ Cretinus Maximus emboldened goes on to say that at some point he will commission new studies to quantify the effects of different negotiating outcomes

31/ A 2 year old may point out that was that not what he said had been done previously, how does one reconcile that with his earlier statement about economic modelling, how does this fit with the one shot negotiation and why on earth trigger article 50 if you are not read

32/ I hope you my find my daily threads funny but truth be told what we learned today is shameful, deceitful, lazy, arrogant, disrespectful and the behaviour of a bunch of fraudsters. This is our future they are consciously destroying. What do I say to my kids

33/ Time for all MPs to act in the national interest and stop this. MPs you cannot hide waiting for public opinion to change or letting the reality of Brexit negotiations do your job for you or rely on @JolyonMaugham or @thatginamiller to do it for you. #timetostandupandbecounted

37/ Now that I have recovered some composure, I note @PhilipHammondUK has revealed the Government does not have an end state in mind

38/ So to the ordinary voter, you now have confirmation today that the Government has done no preparatory analysis, has no plan, still triggered Article 50 & still thinks it will deliver the best deal for Britain. If you agree with that approach then you probably believe in unicorns.

Tuesday 5th December 2017

Another long trip to Suffolk.


Up an hour or so before dawn, getting ready for the day. And then Jools taking me into town so I could have a wander round, taking shots of the St James Development from opposite the leisure centre and then down Castle Street to the town square. Taking shots as I go.

Finally walk to Newbridge under the main road to the promenade and to the port to pick up the hire car. There I have to wait for half an hour for the computer to let me have the documents so I can leave with the keys then go home to pack and load up the car.

Whatever happens, this will be my last trip up until Christmas, and to be honest if I have anything to do with it, not even then.

I am ready to leave at half nine, somewhere half the morning had already gone. The car loaded, I find the headlight switch and set off, driving along the Alkham Valley to joining the motorway at Folkestone.

All was going well until, you guessed it, I got to Dartford, and joined the long lines of traffic waiting to get through. We crawl through the tunnel and out the other side, past more roadworks until I turn off and take the A12 instead of the M11. It is half eleven.


I have the radio on, driving north under leaden skies, trying not to be killed by the usual crazy Essex drivers, through Chelmsford, Colchester to Ipswich, where there was half an hour of queues waiting to turn onto the A14 to cross the Orwell. I get over sometime near one, meaning by the time I get through Suffolk I would have time to go straight to the hospital.

Three hundred and thirty nine For a change I take a route through Beccles, from the coast, along winding roads, getting stuck behind a tractor, then inching along the narrow streets and lanes of the town to get onto the bypass and from there across the marshes.

Mum is being prepared for discharge, we would have much time to talk the next few days, so we chat a bit before I go back to hers to make the final preparations for her return.

To my surprise I am shattered, with only enough energy to call in at the corner shop for bread and milk before going back home and doing stuff, like moving furniture, getting her walking frames in place, and trying to think of excuses as to what stuff has been thrown out.

I feast on corned beef sandwiches and mince pies with the TV playing the commentary of the European football, but it is dull as ditchwater to be honest.

It’s a quiet evening to be honest. I ponder what the morning will bring, a glass or two of wine helps me think.

Brexit: the verdict

Tuesday 5th December 2017

The day after, and what a mess. May has used up just about all her credibility with the EU, there is the possibility of more talks and an agreement later this week. But that would mean a deal covering all the UK, after Ms Foster confirmed she would not have rules applying different to NI than the rest of the UK, but then there’s gay marriage, abortion, but that’s not Brexit, but NI is different. So there is a possibility that all of the UK will be in either the SM, CU, both or neither. No one really knows. The DUP have been making claims about Ireland not wanting the DUP to see the text of the agreement, which probably isn’t true, but all of this making Irish politics very dark. But that is the power of Brexit.

And IDS starting this evening that no one was talking about the Irish Border a month ago. Shows the calibre of the man that he says this, and probably believes it. It was known, and many people said and shouted about it. And were ignored.

This is what happens when something complex is claimed to be very simple. It just saves the difficulties for later, and making other things more difficult that they need be.

DD is now saying that the arrangements for NI would also apply to the whole of the UK, meaning that Britain would be in the SM or the CU subject to UCJ rules but not being able to have a say in how new rules are made. Some new definition of “taking back control” that I was previously unaware of.

But his evidence that this was always the plan, pointing to May’s Florence speech, where there was no mention of that, so, DD making things up as he goes along.

Which brings us to the impact assessments. Which turn out were not as comprehensive as he had made Parliament believe. Well, that’s a surprise. MPs who have seen them, which are secured like the Crown Jewels, but the content of them is said to be taken from public content on the internet. Rather like the dodgy dossier then? Which means that on several occasions, DD has misled Parliament, and has not prepared the country in any meaningful way for leaving the EU.

It is noticeable that he had not been seen for a week until he surfaced today trying to explain the cock up from yesterday.

It is possible that May and her Government will fall; maybe tomorrow, maybe in the new year, but it will fall. But whoever is PM will have to deal with the same issues with the clock ticking loudly.

It has been really quite funny seeing the Brexiteers coming face to face with reality. At least most are accepting reality, whereas IDS denies it. And the BBC to their shame, report it as fact.

How did we ever get into this state? It is painful that this once great nation being run like a Banana Republic, actually being run by bananas.

In the papers, The Daily Hate Mail did not even mention Brexit on the front page today, whilst most did report the chaos. And chaos it was, chaos with whipped cream and a cherry on top. All the while British politics looks more like the closing scenes of an episode of Benny Hill, with the same music, the EU prepares quietly for the next stage, if ever we get there, and things will get really tough, as preparation and knowing the subject is everything. And Britain still doesn’t know what it wants.

Monday 4th December 2017

A day in which things changed on an hourly basis. But the upshot was, that by the end of the day it was confirmed that Mum would be discharged on Wednesday.

In the meantime there were meetings, phone calls to my manager and boss, and lots of drinking coffee.

I had time to watch the footy before starting work, this is because we are up and red-eyed by six now. So nursing my coffee mug emblazoned with the periodic table on it, that makes my inner nerd very happy. Not that the games were really worth watching, but football.

At nine I make the first call of the day, to the social worker at the hospital, who is apparently arranging everything. I leave a message and in an hour she calls me back, we talk for half an hour, but the upshot is that there is a care package, of a kind, in place, though it seems Mum will have to pay for it all.

She will call me back later for the final arrangements, after which I can arrange a hire car. Work takes a very distant second priority, although when I think about it, Mum makes my anger rise again, creating chaos and being so unaware of it.

It was another fabulous sunny day, and on another lest fraught day I might have gone for a walk, but with the light fading now soon after three, there really isn’t time.

Three hundred and thirty eight But at three in the afternoon, confirmation comes that Mum is being discharged, I book a hire car online, and somehow the day had gone. I set an out of office message, as I am to travel up on the morrow. Another day lost.

I make some potato bread to go with the Thai Green soup, not as fiery as the ones we used to get on the survey boats. Panya was Thai and he had a stock of spices with him in case the crew managed to catch some fish, and on those occasions he would make a pan or green and one of red. The red was darned hot.

Jools gets stuck in traffic so did not get home until quarter past six. The council are digging up the new road they only put down last December. I’m sure there is a good reason, but only one lane open each way on Townwall Street.

I don’t think I was affected by the change in the seasons, but I feel so lethargic right now. We wash up after dinner, I have a shower then veg out watching something on TV with Scully beside me on the sofa.

Tomorrow, I hit the road. Again.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Sunday 3rd December 2017

A day of rest. And football. And croissants.

As usual.

Remains of the Folkestone Harbour Branch We actually slept in until nearly half seven, which mant we had already lost 90 minutes of the lolly around time we usually spend lolling around on Sundays.

Remains of the Folkestone Harbour Branch We get up, make coffee and then I watch the football, as there is nothing else to do. Or nothing else to do than drink more coffee, eat croissants and be ready to leave the house at seven to go to funky Folkestone to have a haircut. Good thing about the salon there is it being open on Sunday. And is very quiet on Sundays.

Remains of the Folkestone Harbour Branch We drive over and park at the bottom of the old High Street, and being a man on a mission, stride up the cobbled streets to the salon, where I find no one waiting, so get in the chair and the blokey goes, snip, snip, snip. As he had forgotten his scissors. Not really, off he lopped my curly locks, and I am several pounds lighter by the end, but he has done a good job so I give him ten.

Folkestone Harbour Station I found an old disposable camera at my Mum's, so I wanted to finish all the shots on it, and then drop it off at the camera shop on the Old High Street, it seemed they opened at midday, so I had an hour to walk back to the harbour, along the old railway tracks, snap the building work at the Harbour Station, as was, and back up to drop the film off, just like in them olden days.

Folkestone Harbour Branch It was a dull, but still day, and not too many folks about, round the side of the harbour and up the steps onto the old tracks and then across the pier and swing bridge to the old station, where the tracks had been filled in too, and work nearly completed in completing the walkway to the harbour arm. I think it will work very well, and the station is looking wonderful, even if no trains will ever call there again. It has been saved. And not turned into another bloody marina for rich folks yachts.

Folkestone Harbour Branch I take shots of the station and we walk round the other side of the harbour, then go up to the camera shop, drop the now finished film off, the first time I have done that in a decade. And quite thrilled to see what the results will be, although it might be a week or so before I find out, just like old times.

The Old High Street, Folkestone We go to visit Jen, and I find the chickens have been let out of their pen, so I wander round the garden with the pullets following me round thinking I had food, I just like to have chickens following me. Jen is well and I tell her that her house is even more so a place of laughter. Which it is.

The Old High Street, Folkestone We go back home for lunch of cheese and crackers, as I found a place in Folkestone that sold Cornish Yarg; a strong cheese wrapped in nettle leaves, and mighty good it is too.

Then there is football, but then there always is. Tow games on the radio, the second plays out as I cook roast beef and all the trimmings, which is as good as it sounds, even the potatoes nothing but crispy bits, as they should be, so that you just have to have one more. Just one more.

Finally, there is the final of Robot Wars, all metal mayhem and filled with laughs and shocks.

And tomorrow is Mondya, and apart from that, I have no idea what the week will bring.

Oh the Brexit-cokey

You out your NI in, you pull your NO out. In out, shake it all about.

Today has been a rollercoaster ride in the world of Brexit. Seems like the headline from the Times on Thursday last, was correct that a deal was close.

May went over to Brussels today to me with JC Junker, and just about two a deal was announced, where there would be "regulatory alignment" between Northern Ireland and the EU, and further a deal regarding rights and the financial settlement would soon follow.

So, alls well that ends well?

Not quite, this in effect puts NO in the SM and/or the CU, depending on the exact text, and meaning there would be a difference between NO and the rest of Britain; in other words the hard border would be in the Irish Sea, in effect cutting NI from the rest of the country. It was the most sensible and obvious answer, other than stopping Brexit, and all seemed well.

Until the DUP got wind of it; they are currently propping up May's minority government and had already said they would not accept that outcome. A call between May and Foster meant the deal was delayed in being announced, or maybe even scrapped altogether.

Of course, the fact that an area that voted to remain in the UK getting a bespoke deal going against the referendum question that the UK should leave the UK meant that soon afterwards Scotland's First Minister said that Scotland would also be pushing for the same deal. The mayor of London added that London if exempt could save 10,000 jobs. Wales also liked the idea of a deal which kept them in the SM too.

If it is true that the DUP killed the deal, then May is no longer in power, the DUP's ten MPs are, and what a mess the country is in. Things might change this evening and indeed through the week.

As previously stated wanting two different things isn't a bad thing, but when one things precludes the other because of international trade laws, then you have to give something up. The Brexit headbangers might yet win out and UK crash out without a deal. For sure this is the last chance Britain has to get Europe to listen seriously, screw this us then the EU will just let us get on with the mess that May, Cameron, Johnson, Gove, Fox, Murdoch et all have created. Without a deal this week, companies that were erring, will have to make a hard choice, one which will not be reversed.

This shit got very serious, as it always was, but only the EU were treating it as such. May and co treating a something very complex as something very simple was always going to end in tears, just as it would when the walls of reality closed right in.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Saturday 2nd December 2017

We woke up at seven on Saturday, wishing we both had had more than the seven hours sleep. Traveling on Friday was never going to be easy, but the second half of the journey, from the M25 down to the Blackwall Tunnel, through Docklands, past the old Olympic Park, under the Thames and out the other side, and then having to go via Ramsgate as the A20 was blocked at Folkestone and the A2 blocked before Canterbury. That we got home by midnight is amazing to be honest.

Being a Saturday, there was shopping to be done, not much we thought. A list is written as we drink coffee. And still it came to over ninety quid! Still, it was done, and we could go home, unpack and Jools decided that it was a bacon kinda morning. And who am I to argue?

Three hundred and thirty six Bacon cooking as the sun broke through the clouds over the back garden. Bacon cooked, brew made, and we could sit and enjoy breakfast.

Last orders at The Rack of Ale By the time we had eaten, washed and cleared up it was ten and time for Huey on the radio. Time then to relax, Jools began reading The Book of Dust and I had shots to process and blog to write. And so the morning passes: I warm some soup up for lunch, served with some fresh buttered bread.

Last orders at The Rack of Ale THe afternoon was spent, at least by me, in the Rack of Ale, which, sadly, was to close that day. Long story, but Trish had enough of fighting and called it a day as someone wanted to take over the lease of her shop, for more money, and the landlord did not help. So, most of her regular and long-time customers came in during the day to celebrate and say goodbye, and drink the stock. I won't lie, it won't be the same, somewhere to go, have a chat, meet new and old friends and drink great beer/cider.

Last orders at The Rack of Ale There are other bars and micropubs, but only one Rack.

Last orders at The Rack of Ale Jools drops me off as she goes off to get a hair cut, and I walk over to the Rack, go in and chat to Trish while I sup my first ale.

Last orders at The Rack of Ale It was quiet, but would be rammed later, obviously. It is a day for laughter and tears. More people come in, some talk others just drink. I sit and read, sometimes talking to other customers.

Jools comes to collect me at quarter past four, by which time I had supped two pints of ale and three halves of cider. That was enough.

Last orders at The Rack of Ale As we left, Trish was out back crying; there would be more tears by the end of the night, but for us it was enough. I hug here and we leave for the last time.

I wasn't worried about the footy results, as City had already played, and lost, on Friday night. So back home I listen to the last 15 minutes of the main batch of games, then settle down on the sofa to listen to the Utd v Arse game, which ends in a 3-1 to Utd, and was a cracker of a game. I even managed to stay mostly awake, which was nice.

More party food for dinner, and a wine.

But some nine in the evening, and with City having lost, I could not bring myself to watch all of the C5 highlights, so we go to bed early. Shattered.