July 12th Guardian Weekly believes that a ‘rotten clique at the top of society has left Britain in total chaos”. It points out that although only 1% of the population went to either Oxford or Cambridge University, they represent 24% of the elite…. a ‘calcifying class stratification in British society’… linked to the chaos in which they find themselves. p 48
August 29th. Time moves along, and UK has a new PM, one who’s decided to do without a sitting Parliament. A rather strained looking Betty, doesn’t look frightfully amused. Which is understandable, since it is common knowledge that she has no choice and no authority in her own land. She’s probably also seen thE Facebook post which suggests that Wales, Ireland and Scotland would like to sell England to the US for $10! Or perhaps the price has dropped overnight. Strangely the currency improved today when I changed some more $$.
Perhaps Hugh Grant says what she really thinks, calling BJ an ‘over-promoted rubber bath toy’. You might have to google what else he said, because my blog isn’t going to use language that is quite that offensive.
So, WHAT IS GOING ON ENGLAND? THE DRUM tonight on ABC thinks that they’ve never got over WW2, and that despite winning, haven’t done as well as the country they defeated. After all, they were a colonising nation, and now are feeling colonised by Brussels. Of course, not all agreed, with Greg Sheridan, in a familiar rant, thinking BJ’s intervention just an example of democracy working. Well I’ll be heading to England very soon to see if the English agree with you Mr Sheridan. The rest of THE DRUM commentators were truly appalled. And I’ve heard talk of this being a ‘Whitlam’ type intervention by our Governor General, and we all know where that got us.
Friday 30th August Tbe West Australian Bravely the West enters into the debate, suggesting that the figure of Charles I is regularly dusted off with Boris’ agitated critics recalling they unhappy King’s head was cut off in 1649. Like Boris, he had prorogued Parliament for 11 years in 1629! Boris be warned. Although Stephen Glover in the same article is prepared to say “The truth is that Johnson’s proposal is modest and well judged”. Well time will see.
Tuesday 3rd September Reflections from Down Under: the World is Revolting
It’s not just the UK which is out on the streets unhappy. Nearer to home we have the images of Hong Kong, and it is hard to see where this will end, with young people wanting ‘freedom’. I’m reminded of the Dalai Lama suggesting we all want ‘a joyful life’. Somewhat uncharacteristically, a Queensland town is out on the streets fighting to KEEP a rejected ‘refugee’ family. What comes to mind is that people are just cranky with our political system, and think taking to the streets is the best last resort. What next one wonders? The generations of internet connected young people can see only too well what they are missing out on, and yet have little ability to arrange to have the ‘better life’. Where will it end? (See later in October: Extinction Rebellion)
Wednesday 4th September (My Daughter’s 50th Birthday!)
LOST Boris has for the first time – today ‘what next’ as he loses his authority.
Continuing saga from the Australian media bantering on as I leave Aus
Guardian 7 June 2019:49
Aditya Chakrabortty says that Britain’s Existential Crisis goes way beyond Brexit. It is a British national adventure, It shows its inability to think anew about what the state and economics are for, to imagine what a different future might look like.
This is also referred to by Robert Unger? Harvard Philosopher, who calls it the Great Brexit Car Crash. “So you leave the EU to become something else, but Britain doesn’t seem to know what that is. “
Way back last year, in the Quarterly Essay: 717h/18: 52, (“Follow the Leader, Democracy and the Rise of the Strongman”), Laura Tingle talked about the yearning for the magician or the prophet, which led to the election of Boris. But Andy Beckett, Guardian Weekly 7.6.19 reminds us that Boris was in Brussels in the 1990s, reporting with glee distorted accounts of EU activities.
Tuesday 10th September VIEW FROM THE UK Well Boris has lost around 6 times in this last week while I’ve been packing and moving across the world. This last one was last night, when he lost his Speaker, and the ability to have an election until a Brexit delay has been secured. It’s not looking good. The Guardian, this last weekend, suggests he is left with a series of unpalatable alternatives – from breaking the laws, to resignation, to voting a motion of no confidence in himself.
Is this the end of the UK? Will English nationalism actually divide it back into its historic regions? Is the Facebook joke about Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland wanting to sell England to Trump for $10 more than just a jest? The Scottish Conservative Park is talking about the ‘politics of this madhouse’, and ‘bringing up the drawbridge.’ And what about Northern England where I’m now ensconced for five weeks? Or is it true that the young want to stay and the older generations want out of the EU? Let’s see what we discover.
Saturday September 14th David Cameron, the PM who instigated Brexit now some years back, has completed his biography: For the Record. It is likely to keep the controversy alive and well in our next few weeks.. and we could even go to his launch on October 6th when we arrive in London.
Monday September 23rd It has been hard to get too inspired by the machinations of the British Govt. We now have three tribal groups thrashing it out, Conservations, Labour and Lib Dems. This last few days Labour have also decided that’s not tribal enough and have are having an internal tribal war at a Labour Conference at Brighton. Meanwhile we check in at our local cafe for a pie and test the temperature on Brexit. This spunky single mother local small business owner throws her hands up in horror and is openly disgusted with what is going on, but it seems like in many places in the world, has lost trust in the ruling elites of all parties, and can only see her profits disappearing as the uncertainty bites into her profit margin. She thinks another Referendum with three options, Hard Exit, Soft Exit and Remain, with all the detail of what the means, might sort it out. It’s hard to see it right now as an outsider, but at least she is still holding on with some optimism. She would leave the country like my ancestors, except her child’s father lives here, and she can’t deprive her of that relationship.
Tuesday 24th September Eleven Judges of the UK Supreme Court unanimously rule against BJ’s proroguing of Parliament. Well I guess it isn’t called ‘proroguing’ for nothing! We are able to watch live as their spokesperson tells us in no uncertain terms why it is not valid, and that Parliament is therefore still sitting. We understand Boris is already on the way back from the US, where he has been converting with Scomo, Trump and the Indian PM. Now things are Really getting interesting. All three of us are timing our TV viewing time to the 6.00 pm BBC News.
The Queen, who has been rumoured to be storming round the Palace, will be pleased! Pity Boris didn’t get better legal advice like she must have done.
Wednesday 25th September.
BRITISH GO BONKERS
So Parliament is no longer prorogued, with the emphasis on ‘rogued’, and everyone is back in their seats last night, with BJ flying in urgently from matey chats with Trump and Socmo.
If we thought the Australian Parliament was a bit crazy at times, we probably owe it to the democracy we modelled on.
Yes, BoJo accepts the judgement of the Supreme Court, but no he doesn’t… work that out. Hope you managed to pick up this quote from Ian Dunt on Phillip Adams Late Night Live today: ‘It is as dramatic a moment of constitutional law as you will see in your life. Lady Hale cut a calm, good-mannered figure as she sat at the head of the Supreme Court but her words boomed out like mini moral earthquakes. Each one devastated the Government. By the time she was done its moral status lay in ruins.” Ian Dunt reported on Phillip Adams Night Light Live Wednesday 25th Sept,2019
Meanwhile, there is no business on the day, because I guess no one expected to be in Parliament today… so that gives a licence for what has been called the most abusive session ever witnessed. Well so far, nobody’s head has been cut off, or anyone sent to the Tower. Neverthless, it was a hard act to watch, and explains why most of the older Yorkshirians we chat with have long since given up on watching, or hope for a resolution. We, being newcomers, and perhaps a bit bored at night, are still anxious to get home in time to see the latest instalment. But then we wouldn’t have voted Brexit, and find the performance a bit of a pantomime.
So we took a stroll around Lake Hollingsworth after the overnight showers had abated, and after a couple of welcome snacks arrived home in time for our regular viewing of the last Brexit shenanigans.
5 km walk around Hollingsworth Lake
Wednesday 2nd October. Take it or Leave it! After a week of travelling and looking at more Cathedrals, Churches and Towers, we arrive in London in time to get the latest news from the Metro, the local rag, whose headline is as above.
Thursday 3rd October. It seems that “Leave it” is to be the answer, as neither Northern Ireland nor the European Union seem much interested in BJ’s new ideas. We await the news on Friday for any progress, but it does feel like more of the same: revisiting Theresa May etc,
Wednesday 9th October One week to go in the UK, and the depressing news is there is just no light shining anywhere for a week… no wonder BoJo wanted to ‘prorogue’ Parliament.. he has nothing to offer. The fact that Angela Merkel has now basically poured cold water on everything reveals the state of play from the EU’s side. Meanwhile the Extinction Rebellion continues blocking the city for the third day this week. They started softly with a couple of yoga enthusiasts blocking the bridge, but who knows where it is going. Having said that… not so clear what they are asking and of whom, given the politicians no long seem to be in charge of the UK, let along the world’s climate.
Friday 11th October See the blog for London on that day. It still feels like the ‘world is revolting’ with a new crisis in Syria as the US pulls out, decades after it should have gone there in the first place. Parliament is no longer able to ensure democracy happens, so younger generations, and some older activists, fed up with their arrogant impotence, are taking the law into their own hands. As I said before.. where will it all end I wonder?
Monday 13th October The Queen’s Speech As an Aus, one can be forgiven for wondering at all the pageantry which appears designed to distract from the issue of Brexit negotiations. I felt sorry for the Queen, delivering a speech she didn’t write, for BoJo, knowing there is likely to be either an election or a referendum, and an abortive Brexit by the end of the month. In which case, she may well be giving another speech, for another politician very soon. She doesn’t look all that happy again. And Prince Phillip has abandoned any showing at such events long ago, and is leaving it to his son, the Prince of Wales. Come to think of it, he doesn’t look that happy either! Photos taken off the TV which we watched as the event unfolded this morning.