Eclectic Blue

King Midas in reverse

0 Comments 15 March 2017

Far be it for me to intrude on private grief, but what the hell: it’s Bristol City (1982) Ltd I’m writing about. We’re watching, in my case from a safe distance, an unusual state of affairs. A football team that has been in free fall for many months and has found itself, with only a few games to go, in a relegation struggle. Only one thing happens there: the manager gets sacked. Not this time.

My loyal reader will know that I am not City’s number one supporter. They are not my team, I don’t look out for their results, I don’t really care about them at all. I don’t waste energy in hatred and neither does their failure give me pleasure. Schadenfreude has its place, for sure, but I try to reserve it for things that matter. However, City retaining a manager who has lost the fans, or at least many of them, is something almost unique in football.

Lee Johnson was the up and coming manager when he joined the City. He started off well at Ashton Gate but the good start didn’t last. In recent weeks, City have found themselves in a relegation struggle. They have lost or drawn so many games they should have drawn or won, almost always late on. They rarely get a complete dicking but losing has become a habit, a hard habit to break.

I expected City owner Steve Lansdown to axe the manager. Much as his reputation has been founded on giving his managers a chance, the reality is that when things go wrong, the manager gets his P45, maybe a few games later than other managers have received. It looks very different now. Lansdown has shown not the slightest inclination to dispense with his manager. In fact, he sanctioned the signings Johnson requested in the transfer window and it is clear he is going to allow Johnson to lead the club for the rest of the season, regardless of where it ends.

Look around City in the League table and everywhere there are clubs who have sacked their managers in recent weeks. It is, of course, a gamble either way. I don’t honestly know the maths but my view over many years that sacking the manager at a time of crisis rarely works and even if it does, the problems re-appear soon enough. Lansdown seems to have taken the long term option. He plainly believes in his young manager and is giving him a much longer period to turn the team around. He has made a judgement that he could sack Johnson and bring in a new manager who would be stuck with Johnson’s players and unless he was a proven firefighter, it might not change a thing. And anyway, who is available?

Guiding a club into the league below is not something most managers want on their CV so that will rule out a large number of candidates. Then you are in the realms of looking at managers who are not currently managers. And then you ask a simple question: what is the reason they are not in work? The likelihood is they failed somewhere else.

Not for a second am I suggesting Lansdown is a sporting genius. It is surely not a coincidence that fellow Bristol Sport franchise club Bristol Rugby have struggled all season. Either Lansdown has been too close to the action or, as seems likely, too far away. I have no inside or even outside information about the way both clubs are run but given the enormous resources at their disposal – Bristol Rugby are one of the wealthiest clubs in England – Lansdown is more like King Midas in reverse, as the Hollies so memorably put it.

Sticking with failure in the hope that it will bring success is an interesting concept. If Johnson saves the City, perhaps the strength he will have gained will transform both his and the club’s fortunes. If they go down, Lansdown will need to appoint a new manager to take over the weakened remnants of a relegated team in a lower league.

I have no feelings, no emotions when it comes to City. My interest in their fortunes is just that: interest and not much of it. Lansdown made his billion plus quid from sources other than football. Never has that been more obvious.

Eclectic Blue

Old McDonnell

0 Comments 15 March 2017

You realise the depth of the mess the Labour Party is in when shadow chancellor John McDonnell mounts a vigorous defence of Jeremy Corbyn’s performance at today’s Prime Minister’s Questions. I suppose you would expect his closest political ally, the real power behind the throne, to support his ailing leader, but this time Corbyn gave easily the worst performance of his wretched career as Labour leader, no easy feat given the competition. McDonnell’s intervention was closer to parody than common sense.

Picture the scene. A packed House of Commons, the chancellor having earlier made a dramatic, screeching U-turn on whacking up National Insurance contributions for the self-employed just a week after his budget, questions to a wobbly prime minister who is not good at PMQs and Jeremy Corbyn, yet again, faces a massive open goal. How could he possibly fail? But fail he did. He didn’t just do a Ronny Rosenthal (look at you tube, kids), he smashed the ball against the crossbar, picked up the ball, went down the other end and smashed the ball past his own goalkeeper.

Corbyn stood there with six questions to ask, but he didn’t really ask any questions: he started to rant and rave. It is hard to underestimate the seriousness of Philip Hammond’s U-turn and the disunity on the Tory benches. Extra taxes on entrepreneurs goes against everything the Tories are supposed to stand for. Hammond tried to impose extra taxes and a week later he caved in. The leader of the opposition went around the houses, somehow managing to change the subject and find himself talking about school books. Theresa May couldn’t believe her luck and hurled a few insults, along with the obligatory references to “ordinary working people” and a “country that works for everyone”. It’s so easy.

The most amazing thing is that Corbyn didn’t even call for Hammond to resign. I am not saying that Hammond would have then resigned, but politics is about building pressure. Focused, forensic and persistent questioning would surely have damaged both May and Hammond, but that’s not what you get from Corbyn. If anyone was in any doubt about just how useless he is, they needed to see PMQs today.

McDonnell saw Corbyn today – he was sitting next to him, for goodness sake – and it sounded absurd when he defended him. There are two reasons for this: either McDonnell really did think Corbyn performed well which suggests he has a common sense blind spot or he is lying to protect his leader. McDonnell is many things and not many of them are very nice, but he is not stupid. If he took a lie detector test I’d wager a considerable sum of cash that he’d fail it if asked whether Corbyn was any good.

In fact, McDonnell became increasingly tetchy with the Radio Five Live presenter Anna Foster as the interview went on. He started with his soft, gentle voice but once Foster started to ask the awkward questions, out came the nasty piece of work McDonnell really is. The interview ended with McDonnell coming out with his usual drivel about “BBC bias”, as if a journalist should not be allowed to mention Corbyn’s PMQs car crash. Yes, there are sometimes issues with the BBC, such as their obsessive need to have Nigel Farage appear on Question Time every other week or to appear on TV and radio at the drop of a hat, but when it comes to the current Labour leadership, the problems are all of their own making.

I urge you to judge for yourself. Watch today’s PMQs yourself. May was poor, as usual, but she doesn’t need to be better than poor when she is up against Corbyn. If you think Corbyn did well, you are either John McDonnell or a Tory supporter. Theresa May surely can’t believe her good luck.

Eclectic Blue

Do you know what it’s like?

0 Comments 14 March 2017

Dear Reader,

If you know what depression and anxiety feels like and how it affects someone, that you feel sympathy and, quite possibly empathy, then you may wish to turn away now. This piece isn’t for you.

Every time I hear a good news story about mental health, my mood lifts. When someone well known comes out and admits their own demons, it opens a million hearts, maybe more, and perhaps a few doors for the rest of us. We’re able to talk about it, rather than having to bottle it all up. We are getting somewhere, at last. But then, for every one step forward, we take a big step back. Today was one of those days.

No names, no places, no hints but it was as if the old “snap out if it, pull yourself together, there’s people far worse off than you are” had never gone away. I’m back in a world where mental ill health isn’t really ill health at all. It’s all in the mind, you see. Of course it fucking is. D’oh.

It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor but at least if you are rich you can buy yourself some treatment whereas the rest of us can wait for every and a day, or at least until the 12th of never. I don’t really have much of a choice but to walk on with hope in my heart, hope that one day, in some way, this grim affliction will bugger off and let me enjoy life like the other 75% of you.

If you feel like this, utterly hopeless, useless, tearful, worthless then you may have a mental health issue. Do expect the doctor to prescribe some drugs but don’t expect meaningful treatment anytime soon. And thank yourself lucky if you come across anyone outside your close friends and family who gives a toss. That’s a lesson I learned many years ago and the sad thing is I get refresher lessons on a far too regular basis.

Yours Faithfully,

Mr Writer

Eclectic Blue

I blame Corbyn

0 Comments 13 March 2017

Well, that’s it. The fight is over. Theresa May, soft pro remain campaigner turned hard Brexiteer, has won. Parliament has effectively waved through authority for May to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. We’re on our way to a Ukip Brexit. I blame Jeremy Corbyn.

The sheer uselessness of Corbyn is impossible to exaggerate. The ill thought out policy positions, the lengthy absences from the public eye, the confusing contradictions, the sheer bleeding ineptitude. Tonight, Corbyn plumbed new depths.

His cult support group Momentum held a rally tonight in Parliament Square in support of those EU citizens who work in this country but now must wait in limbo until such time as Theresa May can come to a deal with the EU as to whether they can stay. Now those of us of a more liberal disposition argued long, hard and fruitlessly that Britain should make an immediate decision to allow EU workers who were already here to work the right to stay here and work. Not as some negotiating ploy, but because it was the right thing to do. But Corbyn’s position was absurd because he had already “whipped” his MPs to allow Theresa May’s hard Brexit, which guaranteed the rights of no one, to sail through parliament.

So there was a rally tonight at which Corbyn was scheduled as the main speaker, alongside – and this will come as no surprise to anyone – John McDonnell and, worse still, Diane Abbott. But get this: Corbyn failed to show and his audience, which was in places two deep (only about 100 people bothered to turn up), were left disappointed.

I am surprised at Corbyn failing to turn up since addressing a crowd of people who already agree with him is the only thing he seems to enjoy. He probably knows as well as anyone what a crap speaker he is, but amid all that adulation, he probably thinks he’s Aneurin Bevan. Perhaps one of the comrades who advises him saw the paltry numbers in attendance and persuaded the old boy to spend more time on his allotment. It might not have looked too good in the papers tomorrow.

The comrades have got it all wrong if they think that Old Corbo is somehow disliked for his policies. As we have stated often enough in the past, Corbyn holds positions, not policies. More than that, though, he is useless. Utterly hopeless, out of his depth, lacking in any leadership qualities whatsoever. He barely bothered to campaign in last year’s referendum, going on holiday as polling day neared. In reality, he was a closet – actually a not very closet – outer who, if all his previous comments are anything to go by, will have been thrilled by the referendum result. It was almost as if he conspired to take us out of the EU and he’ll have been celebrating ever since with various pots of home made jam.

And then, tonight, this Momentum rally to support the very people Corbyn’s grisly and unholy alliance with the Tory right has left more vulnerable than ever. Who was it who said that the extremes of left and right always have more in common than you might otherwise imagine?

Not only is Corbyn leading Labour to irrelevance and oblivion, he is aiding and abetting the people he is meant to oppose by supporting the Ukip Brexit and in so doing damaging the lives and conditions of working people. Some socialist.

Eclectic Blue

One more heave

0 Comments 13 March 2017

Possibly the best thing I have read today is from twitter where the debate rumbles on about Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to call for a second referendum on Scottish independence/separation, whatever you want to call it. How could she possibly lose if the “in” campaign is led by Jeremy Corbyn and a Margaret Thatcher tribute act? Put in those terms, the SNP are on their way of the UK.

I can’t imagine why anyone is remotely surprised by Sturgeon’s decision, or its timing, which I would suggest was quite deliberate and aimed to coincide with Theresa May triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the latter having today been delayed a few weeks. Not a coincidence, that. A second, third, fourth or how ever many referendums it took was inevitable. Sturgeon’s nationalists are a one trick pony, as all nationalist parties are. Just like at Ukip. On the face of it, far more to the right than the SNP, but nationalists are nationalists and their aims are strikingly similar. And the result for both main English and Scottish nationalist parties was superb. Ukip in general and Nigel Farage in particular have achieved the incredible feat of leading the country out of the EU and the result of the referendum allows the SNP to call for the next referendum. Assuming you are not Scottish, wouldn’t you be tempted to vote to leave the UK?

I’d obviously like the Scots to stay in the UK but then the UK as a whole is staring down the barrel of permanent Conservative governments. It is in part because of the success of the SNP that Labour failed to get near the Tories at the last election, but Labour is now out of the game of winning for the foreseeable and unforeseeable future and not just in Scotland. What, the Scots might reasonably ask, is the point of them staying in a Tory country for ever?

The call for independence won’t end with Scotland. The Northern Irish voted remain too and who is to say they might seek to form a Northern Irish state as opposed to becoming part of Ireland? And what about Wales? Would they really want to stick around in a great Britain in which they would be minor bit part players in Westminster, if that? What happens then? The union unravels and suddenly we are little England in a world ravaged by rabid nationalism and instability.

I get the feeling that this country, maybe the whole world, really is going to hell in a handcart, with one major event after another rocking the equilibrium and with no one can stop it.

Sturgeon’s cynical opportunistic move today, and that’s what it is, does politics no favours at all and it merely adds to the instability that threatens to undo our country. Every day and in every way things just keep getting worse and there is not the slightest glimpse of some light at the end of the tunnel.

Eclectic Blue

Mr Writer

0 Comments 12 March 2017

It was always my intention that, when I finally grew up, I would be a journalist. For much of my teenage years, I didn’t have the faintest idea what I wanted to do for a living. Then I found out that I wanted to write. As I approach my bus pass, I am able to write, albeit not for money, but it’s too late to become a journalist in the conventional sense, because newspapers, certainly the paper versions, are dying.

Among my friends are ex journalists who probably started out with the hot metal men, long before computerisation changed the world. Computerisation and the internet. How I used to love the Bristol Evening Post “Green Un” on a Saturday night, our own mainly football paper which would arrive at news stands barely an hour before the game we had seen had ended. I now know it was old technology, men sweating over the presses, working flat out to produce a paper in a matter of minutes. Whilst much of the paper was pre-prepared, much had just happened. It was an amazing feat.

I grew up not just with newspapers but football and music magazines. This was my internet. Obscure football news and gig guides. I couldn’t Google because Google was a million miles away, the internet something we could only imagine. What a difference a few decades can make. If I couldn’t find something, it would be in my Rothmans Book of Football or the Guinness Book of Hit Singles.

With newspapers and magazines dying a death, everything will be found on the worldwide web. Hopefully, I will still be able to read my favourite writers like Clive James, Andrew Rawnsley, Rafael Behr, John Crace, Nick Cohen – you know: the usual soggy, liberal left types who all write the way I long to. But the best quality writing is slowly being buried, swamped perhaps, by the explosion of blogs like this one.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. I will never attract sufficient money through blogging to subsidise my modest civil service pension and I have long come to terms with this. In the years between being a teenager and late middle age, I only dabbled. I wrote when it suited me, usually for office magazines or satirical, local magazines. And later through blogging which I started and then finished many times, before starting a real one – this one – in 2014.

I am now the man who drives a steam engine after a lifetime counting paper clips. I am the man who has finally gets round to buying a motorcycle after years of catching the bus to work. It is not my midlife crisis: it is what I always wanted to do.

In recent weeks I have met and corresponded with men who will be among the last proper journalists who write, or rather wrote, for newspapers. Local newspapers are in a state of near collapse everywhere. Bath has a weekly newspaper, the Bath Chronicle, London has a free newspaper, the Evening Standard. Bristol still has the Bristol Post, but for how much longer? The stories I hear about its decline and near fall are almost tragic. What if all you ever wanted to do was write for a living and you saw that life taken away from you. And then you scrabbled around trying to find some other way of utilising your writing skills and discovered there was pretty much nothing left? It must really hurt.

I love great writing as others enjoy great music, art and all the rest of it. A great writer can take you to where he is and where he writes about, opening their mind to open yours. It is a beautiful thing.

I read two newspapers now, the Guardian and its sister paper the Observer. I cannot imagine life without them. But someday soon I will have to. These two titles are the only two genuinely independent newspapers in the land, not owned or influenced by very rich men and rich companies and they are losing a fortune. If they survive – and it is becoming a big “if” – they will surely end up behind a pay wall and I have a suspicion that once behind a paywall, they won’t last for long. People like their news for free and I don’t think that will change anytime soon, if ever.

It is becoming increasingly unlikely that I will become the music reviewer for the Bristol Post, or be commissioned to write essays about this, that and the other. If no one is buying music these days, why would they want to read about it anyway?

Time waits for no man or woman and soon the written word, certainly by way of newspapers, will be dead. We are still in the stone age of technology and automation. The things I see as cutting edge, new technology are the norm for the new generation. The death of newspapers will mean the death of journalism as we know it. I find that very sad, but being sad won’t stop change. The hot metals were laid to rest half a lifetime ago. I hope that good writing will survive its loss.

Eclectic Blue

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

0 Comments 12 March 2017

Apologies to anyone suffering from mental health problems but in order to make my point, I have to use a particular analogy: the lunatics have take over the asylum. More than that, not only have they taken over the asylum, they’ve been appointed by the head of the asylum to oversee it. Welcome to Brexit Britain.

When we (well, not me, but you get the drift) voted to leave the EU we were told by one side that the roof would fall in and by the other that if we voted to stay we would be “swamped” by filthy EU citizens who wanted to work here. It became a grim scaremongering debate between the Bullingdon boys on one side and the hard right EU haters on the other. In fact, you could hardly call it a debate at all. We know what happened next.

Theresa May, as cynical a politician who has ever lived, quickly morphed post referendum from a quiet but firm supporter of remaining in the EU to a rabid hard Brexiteer. More than that, she put many of the “leavers” in prominent positions to negotiate, or rather bludgeon, our way out of the EU. I could see the logic behind that. Put those who led the campaign to leave Europe – yes, you read that right – in charge of picking up the pieces. Michael Heseltine said as much, effectively saying that the people who had brought it about should now deal with the consequences. And now they are having to deal with the consequences and it is clear the whole thing is beginning to unravel.

I expect May to trigger Article 50 this week, next week, the week after or some time after that, if “Dr” Liam Fox’s incoherent ramblings are anything to go by. Fox is unique in government, having a new government department, staffed by the highest paid civil servants and advisors in the land, with literally nothing to do until at least 2019. So, carting around his enormous ego to every studio that will have him, Fox has now admitted something approaching the truth. He acknowledges that there is an economic price to be paid for leaving the EU. Whilst the media does not seem to treat this remark as anything significant, I would describe it as a bombshell. Throughout the referendum campaign Cameron and Osborne were rightly ridiculed for their threatening behaviours (remember Osborne’s promised punishment budget if we left the EU?) trying to send the fear of God to ordinary voters. People do not take kindly to threats and campaigns of fear and both the previous Tory leadership and, more importantly and significantly, working people have and will pay an enormous price for that.

Let’s be absolutely clear about this: both sides of the EU campaign, which were essentially the warring wings of the Tory Party, did the public an enormous disservice with their grim negativity but only now are we beginning to find the reality of where we are.

If people voted to leave the EU, as many did, to stop EU citizens coming to work here, they must be very disappointed to hear their leaders like Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and even David Davis now saying that migration at the current levels will be needed for many years to come until, somehow, British workers can be persuaded to do their work. That, I confidently predict, will occur on the 12th of never.

If people voted to leave the EU, as many did, to “take back control”, they must have been stunned to hear Theresa May’s government state very clearly that in all our time in the EU, Britain never lost its sovereignty, just that “it might have felt like it”. The biggest threat to sovereignty is now Theresa May’s rightward marching government who seem determined to ride roughshod over our MPs in order to bring about the hardest possible EU exit.

Has anyone been taken in by the government’s mantra of achieving the “best possible deal” for the UK as we leave the EU? The golden rule of imagining the government saying the exact opposite reveals how empty a slogan this is. Of course, we should demand the best possible deal. That goes without saying, but can someone please ask May and her ministers the following question: if a new deal with the EU is not as good as, never mind better, than the one we have now, why are we leaving? If the leaders of Leave are now saying that we have voted to make ourselves poorer – and how can you draw any other conclusion from the comments of the main men and women? – then should they not be straight with the public? Tell them that although migration will not fall, that we are not going to regain sovereignty because we never lost it and that many people will be considerably worse off.

You can rest assured that the millionaires and spivs who run our country will not pay the price for leaving the EU. That will inevitably be the younger generation who will see their life chances and expectations significantly marked down.

May, Johnson, Davis, Fox and co might not be lunatics, although you do wonder about Johnson and his clown act from time-to-time, but these people now control the destiny of every woman, man and child in this country. If they don’t require urgent medical help then many of us will, assuming the NHS is still there to treat us when we turn into a low tax, low regulation Singapore type economy, a land fit for heroes like Sir Philip Green.

Eclectic Blue

Jack’s all right

0 Comments 11 March 2017

Arguably, the best news of the year so far is Jack Monroe’s libel victory against a Daily Mail columnist,who didn’t even have the bottle to attend court and is now facing a legal bill of over £300,000. Whilst I remain concerned about our libel laws, which have often been used to quash free speech, I’ll make an exception this time. The Mail columnist used her powerful position to tweet a lie about Monroe, claiming that the food blogger condoned vandalism of a war memorial. It was among the most expensive tweets of all time.

I am going to repeat my view that it really is time people stopped funding hate and no popular media outlet peddles hate more than the Mail. It specialises in attacking those who normally have no comeback, spreading hate against anyone who doesn’t fit in with its twisted view of how the country should be. It is especially antagonistic towards anyone of a left-leaning political disposition and foreigners. The Mail would certainly not like me, hopefully.

Odious columnists who love to see their name in lights, no matter what the circumstances, will tone down their content when people stop buying the newspaper in which they appear and when advertisers stop advertising. It is the only power we have. The brilliant Jack Monroe showed the courage of a small army to take on the mighty Daily Mail and we should all savour her victory. All right, it’s not a victory for free speech in the literal sense and we must still seek to modify our libel laws to ensure free speech remains, but by the same token vicious, sleazy hacks should not be allowed to use their positions to lie about and defame people who can’t always answer back.

My main objection to these pound shop polemicists is that they are poor writers but, I suppose, they try to make up for their inability to write properly by writing purely to gain headlines. If readers are upset by what they read, it doesn’t matter because any publicity is good publicity.

As a soggy, wet, left of centre liberal type who reads the Guardian, I know that if my paper of choice started running anti migrant scare stories, doing demolition jobs on their favoured targets and the putrid, destructive journalism that demeans their own profession, I wouldn’t buy it. Whether you like it or not, if you buy the Mail or the other tawdry tabloids, you are directly funding hate. It doesn’t matter if you only buy the rag to do the crossword or because the sports section is so good, buy the Mail and you are encouraging the sort of venom that Jack Monroe was brave enough to stand up against.

My golden rule now is that if I go into a shop or supermarket that sells newspapers, I will always cover copies of the Mail with other papers. Small and petty-minded, for sure, but if they play dirty, then so can I.

Eclectic Blue

Now that my dime dancing’ is done

0 Comments 10 March 2017

Apropos of nothing, I’ve been listening, and then listening again, to Steely Dan’s seminal album Aja. I think it’s the greatest record of all time. You might, dear reader, expected me to have nominated Pet Sounds for this great honour given my love of the Beach Boys, but no. I think this album is even better, better than anything I have ever heard.

It’s not just the songs, which are undoubtedly Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s very finest, but it’s everything from the arrangements to the production to the actual players. By now, Steely Dan was down to Becker and Fagen, augmented by the best sidemen money could hire. From Bernard Purdie,, Steve Gadd, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton and many more, the Dan could not fail and they didn’t.

And what staggers me about it is this: the album was recorded and released 40 years ago. 40 years ago for goodness sake. The track listing is simply perfect, from the song about a loser, Deacon Blues, through to Peg, which was heavily sampled for the 1989 De La Soul song, “Eye Know”. But the pièce de résistance is the shimmering, complex and sophisticated title track. Donald Fagen came up with the song after a man he knew married a Korean woman called Aja. I reprint, without permission, the lyrics of Aja, but only on condition that you now listen to it:

Up on the hill
People never stare
They just don’t care
Chinese music under banyan trees
Here at the dude ranch above the sea
Aja
When all my dime dancin’ is through
I run to you

Up on the hill
They’ve got time to burn
There’s no return
Double helix in the sky tonight
Throw out the hardware
Let’s do it right
Aja
When all my dime dancin’ is through
I run to you

Up on the hill
They think I’m okay
Or so they say
Chinese music always sets me free
Angular banjoes
Sound good to me
Aja
When all my dime dancin’ is through
I run to you

If I could take an album to my desert island, this would be it.

Eclectic Blue

On the border

0 Comments 10 March 2017

I don’t know Guy Verhofstadt from a hole in the road. I know that he is “The Chief Brexit Negotiator” and, according to the BBC (because I wouldn’t have known otherwise), the former Belgian prime minister. As a typical Brit, albeit one with a typically Norwegian name, I pay little attention to political matters in Belgium and for that, I should feel ashamed of myself. Anyway, I know who he is now and he’s said something I rather like. He wants to allow those of us Brits who don’t want to turn our backs on Europe to retain some of the benefits of EU membership.

Mr Verhofstadt says this: “All British citizens today have also EU citizenship. That means a number of things: the possibility to participate in the European elections, the freedom of travel without problem inside the union. We need to have an arrangement in which this arrangement can continue for those citizens who on an individual basis are requesting it.” Now, given that Britain is to leave the EU – and yes, as a remoaner, I am still desperately sad and angry about it – I am not unduly bothered about voting in European elections, but if I get the vote, I’ll definitely use it. I’m more interested in some of the other stuff.

I can see the beginnings of an arrangement that could suit all points of view. Now I know that 52% of the electorate voted to end free movement within the EU. No matter how much I object, that sadly is what happened. What Mr Verhofstadt seems to be suggesting is that those of us who wish to retain some form of European citizenship then we should be allowed to keep it, perhaps associate EU citizenship. Personally, I would still like the opportunity to travel around the EU without restrictions and more importantly, to me anyway because I can’t speak on behalf the “leavers”, the rights of our children to travel, live, love, study and work abroad.

Personally, I am quite happy with my EU passport and don’t particularly want to go through the considerable expense of having to buy a new British one. I am confident because I am a citizen of Britain, Europe and the world. I don’t see people as being particularly different, and certainly not worse than me, just because they might look and talk a bit differently.

I’m serious about this. Whilst I really would like the electorate to have a change of heart and reverse a future of uncertainty and, in all likelihood, chaos, there is little evidence that that change is a-coming. Theresa May has, I feel, captured a very ugly mood, reflective of the post truth (i.e. lies) Trump era, where immigration is regarded by so many people as more important to the country than the prosperity of themselves and their families. To date, those of us with a different, dare I say more liberal, point of view have lost the argument and we need to recognise that.

I do not seek any additional rights through remaining an associate EU member, or whatever they end up calling it. I just want to be able to keep at least some of the rights I already have and for those who feel the same to have the opportunity to keep theirs. No one should be forced to seek such an arrangement, especially the leavers who have made their position clear. Many of the 48% may feel rather differently and should not be ignored.

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