It’s A Sign

This is quite possibly the creepiest thing you’ll ever see …

Uh, no, not me! Although it’s admittedly a close run thing. But does this not sound like the plot opening to a Stephen King novel? I mean, this has never happened to me in my entire life before. And aside from making me a little nervous and worrying about monsters under the bed [which haven’t really bothered me since my early 30’s], I’m just hugely relieved I didn’t use any metaphors or analogies involving car crashes or pianos falling out of high rise buildings when I was hatless!

 

 

On the plus side, since posting this to my Instagram feed this morning, I’ve already been approached for film rights and understand Hugh Jackman has committed himself to playing me.

Bullish China Shop Owner Considers Switch To Fruit And Veg Stall

Bullish China Shop Owner Considers Switch To Fruit And Veg Stall

A couple of days into the brave new world and the Friday evening appearance of a plate spinner having an epileptic fit has swiftly evolved into a dramatic dust-storm pick up by a rescue helicopter; and even the bull who owns the china shop isn’t looking best pleased.

On Thursday, with the promises from the Leave campaign of cuts in immigration, £350 million pouring into the NHS and an unbridled economy ringing in their ears, and witnessed The Sun and Daily Mail readers tearing the ring out of Remain‘s bloodied nose …

On Sunday morning the promises have begun to morph into: immigration might not fall/freedom of movement of labour will still be needed to continue to maintain EU trade deals; money promised to NHS is now considered a mistake/only a possibility – funny how they never clarified that before, eh? – and the pound slid to a 30-year low.

banana
Can I eat these?
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Did someone order a turbo vacuum? No, it won’t pick up bullshit.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party, who initially appeared content with shaking Jeremy Corbyn’s rickety high-chair are now busily arranging themselves into a circular firing squad. And after Cameron’s “Fuck it, I’m off!” [condensed] speech, his mealy mouthed sidekick, George Osborne, has simply disappeared. Completely. [Maybe this is one of those times when a rotting corpse lies in a flat undiscovered for a few months because no one cared enough? Can someone please check to see if the milk bottles have been collected off his porch.] And, only this morning, Nicola Sturgeon floats the possibility of the Scottish €uro.

It must be starting to feel oddly disconcerting for all those Brexit voters who’ve now seemingly only guaranteed the right to eat bendy cucumbers and bananas – and plug in a turbocharged vacuum to clear up the broken china.

The Pondering

This morning I was asked by my friend Michael [@elnon66 on Instagram] what I felt the pros and cons were behind the major EU Referendum vote today. So, I answered as honestly, and humourlessly [not easy!], as I felt I could. But I couldn’t entirely forget Cristiano Ronaldo …

That’s a potentially long answer, Michael. So, for me, I’ll keep it simplistically nutshelled.

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The Ponderers

The Leave campaign have offered absolutely nothing beyond vague jingoism, goblets of fear and scattergun facts. The Remain campaign have offered very little beyond vague stronger together platitudes, goblets of fear and scattergun facts. The facts, such as they are, have been all but lost, blurred and twisted to have become largely meaningless.

However, I will say this, I have a strong sense that if the climate of the irrational fear of immigration – and in extremis, pure xenophobia leeching into racism – were to be taken out of the equation, I honestly believe the vote wouldn’t be even remotely close. And this is one of the reasons I’ve grown cynical of the politics; the fear. Fundamentally, it makes for poor reasoning and therefore equally poor decisions.

I will be voting Remain for the simple reason that I refuse to be kowtowed by those irrational politics of fear; and because I genuinely feel that the future for all of us – not just Europe – will ultimately be best served by collaboration, compromise and a shared sense of unified purpose.

And on a lighter note, I can’t resist but leave you with the petulant man-child that is Cristiano Ronaldo’s dance following Hungary’s third goal against Portugal yesterday:

 

 

Uh, Cristiano … {Wags finger then points to scattered things } … now pick up your toys and put them back in your box, there’s a good lad.

Who put the dumb in Referendum?

The shit storm approacheth. No, not the Glastonbury Festival – although that’s shaping up to be equally and traditionally messy; they can’t even get the cars in the car parks because of the mud this morning [I blame immigration]! – but the EU Referendum.

 

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Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage yesterday

Frankly, I’ll be glad when it’s all over, but I still subjected myself to some of the last vast televised EU Debate in the cavernous Wembley Arena last night. Which, from the increasingly tiresome Leave campaign, appeared to largely consist of repeating the phrase Take back control, Take back control, Take back control… like some wearying, incontinent Dalek.

Well, here’s a sobering thought. Give control to Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage and if their absurdist rationale subsequently slips through the cracks we’ll all be left yelling Control Alt Delete! CTRL/ALT/DEL!! Too late, we’ve already crashed. And when we look to them, they’ll probably be squabbling over a mallet [dutifully inscribed: Independence Day], flailing around and whacking the keyboard.

 

I rarely inflict politics onto the regular readers of my blog – because I doubt either of you would appreciate it! But I have occasionally been leaking my thoughts into my Instagram feed during the past few weeks. If you think you can stomach any more of my thoughts, here’s a couple of things I wrote there a while ago:

The EU Referendum gets more and more absurd each day. With each dawning one or other will reveal some hysterical prediction and the other will immediately counter with absurd. It never ceases to amaze me, in politics, how the entirely opposite view is invariably taken and no one appears to agree on anything … aside from self-interest.

It’s become abundantly clear David Cameron didn’t call for a parliamentary debate on the EU as the divisions in his own party would’ve torn it apart and made him unelectable. It’s equally clear Boris Johnson is taking the entirely opposite view in order to give him an opportunity to be Prime Minister. Meanwhile, Alex Salmond, after proclaiming the recent Scottish Independence Referendum as a ‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’, is now hedging his bets on the Remain vote while crossing his fingers behind his back and readying himself for a Brexit to ask for another Independence vote.

Meanwhile, those that equally absurdly have to make such a big decision … us … are left mostly beyond confused but will leave a vast swathe of the ignorant voting on essentially one issue: How racist and/or fearful of immigration are you?

What a feckin’ absurd way to run a country!

And the inspiration behind my title:

Who put the dumb in referendum? Don’t let the facts get in the way of your prejudices; spit bile and piffle and watch them collide. Then arrange the firing squad into a circle; so-called experts, politicians and business leaders divide; ready, Remain, fire. But we’ll have 52 new hospitals by the end of the year if we Leave. What do you believe? We wouldn’t have one. So who put the dumb in referendum?

At the end of May, David Mitchell rather summed up my feelings perfectly in his excellent piece in The Observer. Essentially saying, I periodically elect my local representative to get their heads around the big decisions; not for them to simply sit back and say You Decide when it all gets a bit complicated or difficult to understand.

So, what are we left with? Some kind of hapless game of Pin the tail on the donkey. [And if you don’t know what that is, I feel for your empty childhood. But it’s essentially a British, considerably less violent form of, piñata.] But given the complete lack of agreement and joined-up thinking by our politicians, it’s probably no wonder they would rather eventually blame us for any future ills – whatever we decide. And it’s just so difficult deciding whether or not you want to wholly embrace racism, World War III, have less or more money, jobs and rights, financial stability or instability, all the while maintaining our position at the bottom of the Eurovision Song Contest. Where’s my mallet?

Dreaming Of Escape

Birds are the epitome of the migratory species; nature’s natural refugees. They wait. They watch. They fly. They are … free.

 

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Dreaming Of Escape I

And then they left …
 

Dreaming Of Escape II
Dreaming Of Escape II

I wonder where the world might be without politics or, dare I even suggest, intolerance. I see petty squabbles in school playground politics daily. I see the same petty squabbles – with considerably wider consequences – in international politics; essentially these are just older people who you would hope should really know better. The Russians weren’t involved in bringing down an Australian passenger airliner… because they weren’t in Ukraine. And when a Russian airliner is brought down, their foreign minister’s first reaction to the UK stopping flights to Egypt ‘They’re only doing that because they don’t agree with what we’re doing in Syria…’ Barely a day later and Russia had stopped flights, too; but the most important thing, let’s get the petty international knee-jerk political response in first.

Rinse and repeat; until, one day, there’s nowhere left to fly. Unless you’re a bird.
 

Dreaming Of Escape III
Dreaming Of Escape III

The gates of Europe are creaking. This is the modern world; a mixture of tragedy, aspiration and access to social media. Immigration has become a broadly contentious issue in the European Union [EU] because its open borders policy toward freedom of movement and work opportunities generally only runs one way: in simple terms, east to west. And then the refugee crisis began in Syria. And following one notable, widely reported, tragic death of a little boy drowned in the Mediterranean igniting consciences throughout the EU [in Germany the people were quick to make Welcome banners] … tragedy and aspiration truly combined.

People are now arriving from Iraq, Iran, Eritrea, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other non-EU European states … the list is almost endless. And the vast majority are heading to … western Europe. And one of the most popular destinations is Sweden. Tragedy or aspiration is well-informed in the modern world. Any reasonably educated search of the Internet will tell you Sweden is an alleged utopia. In the past two weeks alone 18,000 migrants have arrived in Sweden. It’s unsustainable. [Update: Just a few hours after writing this Sweden introduced a ‘temporary’ border control in an attempt to stem the flow of migrants entering the country. Bearing in mind the numbers have increased exponentially, if the present number arriving were maintained at this level for a year it would equate to 5% of Sweden’s population!] 

The gates of Europe are creaking. Welcome to the modern, already overpopulated world. And now we have begun to migrate in unprecedented numbers.

 

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Also, since writing this, I heard another story in the week about a Syrian refugee. He had been interviewed on BBC Radio 5Live after arriving in Slovenia. In joyful broken English he told how he was heading for Germany ‘Angela Merkel is our [refugees] mother…’ he exclaimed. He repeated it joyously again. A few weeks later the 5Live team had tracked him down … in Sweden. He was disillusioned following his arrival in Germany. It hadn’t been as he’d expected; not understanding the language he moved on to the alternative utopia, Sweden. And, here again, he was disillusioned – provided with temporary accommodation in a village in the back of beyond and separated from his traveling companions and a family member who had arrived before. Somehow I sense this is only one story of what we likely become commonly held experiences.

The social media and its associated connectivity may’ve been alive with Leave and Come now messages back down the line. But the messages of lingering disillusionment and reality of migration will likely be very different. Migrants at The Jungle encampment in Calais wait to cross the channel “We will be given a house, a job, a car,” said one; seemingly oblivious to the fact that even Londoners are finding it increasingly difficult to live in London; and presumably equally oblivious to the 7,500 homeless living on its streets in 2014/15.

“Everyone deserves a better life.” With this level of migration, the likely reality promises to be something quite different.