Staying alert by Angela Caldin

I’m living in New Zealand at the moment, but I’ve been following developments in the UK as well. On TV here, there’s an adaption of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker prizewinning novel The Luminaries. I read this book when it first came out and couldn’t put it down. The only problem was that when I arrived breathless at the end, I had no idea what was going on among the huge cast of characters. It was good therefore to understand from the first episode on TV that two of the main protagonists, Anna… Read More

The best medicine by Trevor Plumbly

It might be an age thing, but I reckon it’s getting a bit harder to laugh things off these days. Politicians used to be OK for a bit of a giggle, but now, despite their comic instability, there’s something scary about them. There’s little point adding to, or rehashing, any of the ridicule that’s been heaped on Trump and Johnson; it might provide us with a bit of spiteful comfort, but that’s about it. Once elected, they become satire-proof. Until quite recently, political leaders led by example; these days, it seems, integrity… Read More

Prorogation: a word for our times by Angela Caldin

There’s a kind of hush over our house now and we are no longer drawn to watching the news at all hours. This is because on Monday 9 September, our prime minister prorogued parliament. This means he’s shut it down so that for the next few weeks we’ll be spared the sight of Boris Johnson making sexist remarks from the despatch box, of Jacob Rees-Mogg lounging arrogantly on the front bench and of the House of Commons flailing around in the mess that is Brexit. Prorogation is a new word for a… Read More

Confusion – the mess we’re in by Angela Caldin

There is confusion worse than death, Trouble on trouble, pain on pain. This quotation from The Lotos-Eaters by Alfred Lord Tennyson sprang to mind as we started here in the UK on the new prime minister’s first week in power. He’d already promised that we would leave the EU on 31 October come what may, do or die, but he’d also assured us that the chances of leaving without a deal were a million to one. Impasse Then on Monday, Michael Gove, the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who has… Read More

What has the referendum done for us? by Angela Caldin

On 23 June 2016, the UK voted by a small majority of 52% to leave the European Union. In the three weeks since this rather unexpected result, the nation has experienced a number of equally unexpected happenings: the prime minister, David Cameron, has resigned, leaving to others the task of clearing up the mess he has so cavalierly created; the idea that he might lose the referendum having apparently not occurred to him the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has not resigned though most of his fellow MPs sincerely wish he… Read More