Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thoughts from Headingley, England: 13.12.18

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here. Garish but informative.

  • The hipster movement is so entrenched here now that most barmen look like they've come from a shack in the Ukrainian outback. Given the accents of some of them, this might well be the case.
  • I detest painting and avoid it like the plague. So, it's something of an irony - not to mention an exaggeration - that I nearly froze to death early this morning putting an undercoat on the doors of my daughter's garage and shed here in Headingley. Of a flat she really should sell!
France and the EU
  • M Macron's concessions will massively impact on France's budget and her abiity to end the 11 year run of above-3% deficits. Will France be warned about this? Or, god forbid, punished like Greece and Italy? Here's a few comments on this:-
- Emmanuel Macron’s bid to buy off France’s “gilets jaunes” protesters with instant budget handouts threatens to blast through eurozone’s fiscal limits, fatally damaging his credibility as the champion of the European project and the guardian of French public accounts.
- The package of short-term measures announced in a theatrical mea culpa on Monday night leaves Macron’s putative “grand bargain” with Germany in tatters.
- [From Rome] France should face the normal (disciplinary) procedure from the Commission. It would be quite wrong if Italy is subjected to all this criticism while the French do what they want.
- The new measures will leave France with a bigger budget deficit than Italy’s on every key measure, putting Brussels in a delicate position as it prepares sanctions against the rebel Lega-Five Star coalition in Rome.

The UK and Brexit
  • As we near the end of this momentous week, here are Richard North's perspicacious observations as of this morning:-
- Against all expectations of a week ago, she Mrs May  come away with 63% of the vote of the parliamentary party. 
- The "ultras" have been left without their moment of glory. Now, they're too late. The ERG have shot their bolt - the best they had to offer was not nearly enough. Its leader, Mr Rees-Mogg, has nowhere to go, but back to his constituency. His brief reign is over – his capacity to rain on Mrs May's parade is seriously curtailed. Yet, even now, he lacks the self-awareness to realise that, as far as he is concerned, it is "game over".
- Mr "Oaf" Johnson's leadership ambitions are also over.
- None of the other contenders are going to get a look in either. This is the palace coup that failed – organised by a bunch of political second-raters who have been outsmarted by the vicar's daughter so comprehensively that they didn't even see her coming.
- Nor is the game-play over. We'll have to wait to see whether Mrs May brings back a piece of paper from Brussels to wave at the crowd
- By the time the MPs get back from their Xmas break, they will be a more subdued lot. And, no doubt, businesses and others will have been working hard to point up the dire consequences of a "no deal" Brexit 
- With the ERG effectively silenced, reality may well start to focus minds. By mid-January, therefore, the scene will be set for the deferred vote to be re-instated. That Mrs May might win it no longer looks impossible
- But, needless to say, Mrs May has a long way to go before she makes her version of Brexit happen, if at all.
- The truth is that she has staged a miraculous recovery that puts Lazarus to shame. She is still there, in Downing Street. Others - notably Mr Johnson – are not. And now, they never will be. If she never achieves anything else, to have kept the oaf out of office is an achievement indeed.
- But the greater prize is yet to come. It will be Mrs May who will be leading us out of the EU.

North even goes so far as to say: Given the way the events have played out, a cynic might even suggest that Mrs May set all this up herself.  Could well be.

The EU and Facism
  • An overheated view?:- Things are spiralling out of control in Europe, faster than many predicted. Outside of Brexit, there is strong anti-EU feeling in Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece and France. The EU is in danger of crumbling, and people afraid of losing power are prone to extreme acts of dictatorial control. How long before the EU truly becomes the authoritarian force that people from both ends of the political spectrum have always feared. Full article here
  • The Empire strike back?
  • Brilliant:-

Finally . . .
  • Alfie Mittington writes again on the surname theme. I nearly fainted when reading the last sentence:- The useful criterion would be to ignore every word in the name which is, or resembles, a preposition or an article. As you do yourself quite adequately by not starting those minor words with a capital letter. Laurens van der Post (the 'van' is not a Christian name as in Van Morrison, but the simple Dutch for 'of', i.e. a genitive preposition) therefore would have to go under 'P' of 'Post'. I do admit that 'Le' in 'Le CarrĂ©' poses something of a challenge. One would need a French historical linguistic to enlighten us if such 'Le's' (Bar Le Duque for instance) are perhaps older forms of the genitive. By this logic, though, should we ignore O' and Mac, filing O'Reilly under R and MacAdam under A??
© [David] Colin Davies


Lenox said...

And, for that matter, The Guardian under 'T'.

Sierra said...

Think the twitterati are getting to Richard North - seems to be losing it. When more than 50% of her backbenchers are against her, it's hardly a glorious victory - she's definitely in "lame duck" territory.