A Second Referendum?


James Proclaims (4)


Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, it’s barely been out of the media. The election of a racist misogynist billionaire to the White House has provided some light relief on occasion, but you can’t turn on a TV, listen to the radio or open a newspaper in the UK without encountering some kind of Brexit debate.

Ok, that isn’t strictly true, obviously there are myriad TV channels which don’t feature any kind of political debate, I can’t recall ‘Heart Radio’ featuring too much in the way of topical news shows, and who on Earth reads newspapers anymore?

But my point is that Brexit is kind of a big deal.

It’s a big deal because, it actually is, legitimately, quite a big deal – the economic, legal and security ramifications of Britain leaving the EU are confusing and will almost certainly mean significant change and long periods of uncertainty.

It’s also a big deal because not everyone voted for it. It was a pretty good turn out at the polls and 52% of voters were in favour of Brexit, meaning that 48% were not. That’s a pretty close call, and those of us who voted  to remain are rightly irritated by claims that Brexit is ‘the will of the people’. At best it is ‘the will of some people’.

But I’m ok with losing a democratic vote because obviously the proponents of the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign had a plan. I might not want Brexit, but handled correctly I suppose, in the longer term, it might not be that bad. There may even be aspects of it that are quite good. Because they absolutely had a plan.

Except that , apparently, they didn’t.

And this is really why Brexit remains a big deal. Because, just over a year and half on from that fateful vote, no-one has the slightest idea what Brexit actually means.

Our beloved Prime Minister did coin a phrase when she first came to office, which was, if I recall, that ‘Brexit means Brexit.’

And I’m sure that is true but, and maybe I’m missing something obvious, it doesn’t actually tell us what Brexit means at all.

Some ‘Remain’ campaigners (hilariously dubbed ‘Remoaners’ by the right wing press) have suggested that there should be a second referendum.

Others have suggested that a second referendum flies in the face of democracy.

And I can see their point.

Because obviously giving people an opportunity to vote on the future of Britain’s relationship with Europe is all well and good, but giving the public two opportunities is completely undemocratic because…


…nope can’t see how that is undemocratic actually.

Having said that, I can’t see that a second referendum would go any differently to the first one. Indeed, such is the regular anti-EU fervour stoked by sections of the British media that I wouldn’t even be surprised to see a second referendum produce a result that was more emphatically in favour of leaving the EU than the first vote was.

But the problem remains that we still have no idea what it is that people did actually vote for back in the golden summer of 2016.

So perhaps a second referendum would be useful just to drill down into what it is that the British people actually want. Perhaps a referendum with a range of choices rather than the straight dichotomy of Remain or Leave.

Here are my suggestions:

Option 1: No Brexit – or ‘this all seems a bit too complicated and it’s better just to keep things the same as they are now’.

Option 2: Soft Brexit –  or ‘leave but don’t actually leave. Like say we’ve left so we can stick two fingers up to Europe, but actually stay part of the Single Market and Customs Union because actually leaving properly seems a bit scary.’

Option 3: Hard Brexit – or leave and cut all remaining ties. We’re British and we’re awesome. Even if it looks like economical suicide it definitely won’t be. After all a stiff upper lip and traditional family values will see us through any problems.’

Option 4: War – or ‘this has always been about hating foreigners and we’ve always been pretty good at wars. That’ll definitely show those European bastards who’s boss. Plus war time is brilliant – remember the good old days of the Second World War when everything was black and white and Britain was great? Let’s go to war again!’

There we go, a referendum to reunite Britain.

You’re welcome.


James Explains Giraffes Amongst Other Things

James Explains


Welcome back to that bit of my blog where I pretend I’m going to explain stuff but then don’t explain anything much at all. This week, as ever, I’ll be answering the questions of other people.

People like Haylee who previously asked about lions and bears and hot dogs and jaffa cakes and is still from the UK but somewhere different in the UK to me. Haylee asks:

Do giraffes make a sound? And would they be the rudest animal if they could speak ‘human’?

Now this does seem like an obvious opportunity to promote the ‘Magic Penguin’ bit of my blog which features a character called Fat Giraffe, who speaks ‘human’ and has been known to be rude, but I’m really not into that kind of self-promotion.

Although you should totally check out the ‘Magic Penguin’ stories now.

But back to the question and whether giraffes make a sound. The answer is yes, yes they do. And I doubt they’re anything like as rude as a vole. I once met a vole who was just the rudest creature.

Ok that isn’t entirely true – I’ve never met a vole of any temperament but I can’t imagine a giraffe would be all that rude. They seem like they’d be quite polite as animals go.

Want to hear what a giraffe sounds like?

Then watch this video in which a giraffe makes a noise.

Jay from the USA asks:

Which is better, Godfather Part I or Godfather Part II? Follow up, why is there so much hatred for Godfather Part III?

Now it would genuinely help if I had seen any of the Godfather films and I haven’t. I should have done, I know I’d enjoy them, but I never seem to have got around to it.

Still, it does seem to be widely accepted that both of the first two Godfather films are pretty good – although according to Wikipedia (the place I go to learn everything), the first one was marginally more successful both critically and commercially. But in the end it’s all just a matter of opinion and as I’ve never seen either I’m not really entitled to have an opinion on this topic..

And why is there so much hatred for part III? Well I haven’t seen that either, but I’d imagine it’s because it isn’t a very good film, a fact which is made all the worse because the other two are supposedly very good.

But I haven’t seen any of them, so what do I know?

I was going to watch them in preparation for this, but frankly, they do seem to be a bit long.

gigglingfattie who previously asked about rubber duckies and is still from Canada asks:

Why, when challenging yourself to post 10 songs from your iTunes, will the most embarrassing ones always be played?!

I think anything that is likely to cause embarrassment is almost inevitable.

So the trick  is not to be embarrassed by anything.

I know that when I’m putting together playlists for my own amusement at home or in the car, they tend to be a mix of nineties and noughties indie classics.

But give me one too many tequilas on a night out and I’ll happily bounce around the dance floor to some ‘interesting’ choices.

Like the one below:


FInally, Pete, who previously asked about my name and ‘the point’ and is still from the UK but somewhere different in the UK to me and Haylee asks:

Will we all be rich after Brexit?

I think the answer to that is clearly no Pete. While I’m pretty sure that Brexit will neither be as bad as some of us fear nor anywhere near as good as some people would have us believe,  most of us will be as rich or as poor as we ever were.

But we will have our blue passports back so whatever the other consequences, it will all have been worth it.

And that’s it for another week of explaining stuff.

I expect I’ll do it all again next week if anyone posts a question or two in the comments section below.

The Infallible Power Of Bovril

Bovril 250g.jpg

I like a cup of coffee
I enjoy a mug of tea
But a thermos filled with Bovril
Is really not for me

It’s not that I’m picky
But I can’t help but think
That salty extract of beef
Probably shouldn’t be a drink

I’m really not that fussy
About what I choose to eat
But I can’t get on board
With the idea of drinking meat

I suppose I’m less opposed
To Bovril as a spread
But if I have the option
I’d choose Marmite instead

Still in these times of Brexit
And negotiations going wrong
The UK should come together
And join in stoic song

For we may lose our household staples
If we can’t strike a deal
But we’ll have Bovril forever
(No matter how that makes us feel)


An Actual Advert For Bovril

Here We Go Again

So apparently it’s on
Time for Corbyn versus May
Though I’m fairly sure that Farron
Will want to have his say

But will anybody listen
To Lib Dems this time around?
Have recent landscape changes caused
A resurgence newly found?

Will they reclaim their moral high ground?
Will they break the UKIP curse?
Now Farage has got his Brexit
Or will Nuttall make things worse?

Or is it Scottish nationals
Who will now reign supreme?
The most vocal opposition
To the hard Brexit regime

But they only fight in Scotland
So they can’t rule the rest
And it seems there’s no-one else
To put Theresa to the test

She’s called a snap election
To reinforce her strong position
As she leads us out of Europe
Against feeble opposition

But perhaps she’s got it wrong
And now cometh the hour
Jeremy will also cometh
And sweep Labour into power

It might seem unlikely
But if we learned anything last year
It’s that outcomes just might be
Both what we hope or what we fear

And does it really matter
Which leader we applaud
Since we said ‘f*** off’ to Europe
And bet our future on a fraud?

A Momentous Day


If the motto of the Brexiteers
Is ‘All For Us and None For You’
Then today they’ll tone it down
As we begin to say adieu

For though we complain about officials
Who were appointed, not elected
We’ll ignore that our Theresa
Was unopposed when then selected

To move to Number Ten
And be the preeminent figure
To guide us through this mess
And today to pull the trigger

For if all hope now seems lost
And we think things can’t get better
Theresa begs to differ
And today she sent a letter

The letter went to a Donald
But not the one called Trump
(Though he’ll no doubt have his say
As we prepare to make the jump)

To become once more an island
An isolated nation
No longer able to blame
Everything on immigration

We’re told things will improve
But they might be getting bleaker
As the prices all go up
And the pound is getting weaker

But fear not my fellow Brits
In the short-term we’ll be thrifty
But soon we’ll be in ‘dreamland’
Through article number fifty

The Future Is Bright


The realities of a ‘post-truth’ world
Are hard to distinguish from those
Of the pre-truth world
Worlds where we are bombarded by images
Of things we neither want nor need
On reflection
Maybe we might need them
And we do quite want them
In fact, we can’t live without them

But iThink iKnow what iNeed
Though Apples are not the only fruit
Just look in the Amazon
For a Galaxy of alternatives
An Xperiance like no other
Knock here to use the Windows
If you want to escape the Androids

What do you think Alexa?
Or should we ask Siri?
Maybe Cortana?
But no-one asks Cortana.
Any more than anyone ever asked Jeeves

WikiLeaks will show us the way
To the whole truth
Or at least to aspects of the truth
Or an interpretation of the truth
The truth that will sell the most papers Continue reading The Future Is Bright

The Will Of The People

Image result for shakespeare

Who is this ‘Will Of The People’
He that cannot be denied
And must be honoured, revered and obeyed?
I can think of many Wills
But none that strike me
As being ‘Of The People’

Not the Conqueror I’d wager
Or the one who liked Orange
And certainly neither Pitt Junior
Nor indeed Senior
And it really doesn’t seem
Like it was  Wilberforce’s thing

I doubt very much it’s
Shakespeare or Wordsworth
Popular in their own way
But less influential to modern ears
Than perhaps they were in days gone by Continue reading The Will Of The People

James Complains About Quite A Lot Of Things


Although I tend to mock the whole idea of New Year’s Resolutions, January 2017 seems to have coincided with me ‘upping my game’ in blogging terms. I’ve been posting pretty regularly, a minimum of three times a week and on occasion four. Furthermore, although many of my blog posts have been in the form of bad poetry or bad art, Mondays have tended to be for a more considered, longer piece of writing.

That, people of the blogosphere, takes planning and effort.


It might not seem like it but those meandering Monday posts, with questionable grammar and no particular point, do actually take me a bit of time to produce. I generally take the whole weekend to ‘craft’ them. Continue reading James Complains About Quite A Lot Of Things

An Awkward Encounter at the Deli Counter

James Proclaims (4)


Saturday lunchtimes are often a conundrum for Mrs Proclaims and I. Most meal times are pretty regulated these days due to a highly efficient grocery-shopping schedule.

(That’s right I’ve opened a post with the phrase ‘highly efficient grocery-shopping schedule’. This one’s going to be roller coaster of a post…)

Essentially we get our groceries delivered every Sunday and Wednesday by a major supermarket. We do this because neither of us can be trusted to actually go to the supermarket and restrict ourselves to purchasing the stuff we need. Very often other stuff finds its way into the trolley. Stuff that is bad for us. Continue reading An Awkward Encounter at the Deli Counter

Podiatric Problems

I’ve got cold feet
Less because
I want to withdraw
From an undertaking
To which
I have
Perhaps ill-advisedly
And more I think
Because it’s January
And I’m wearing neither
Socks nor slippers

Still, I sometimes wish
That the UK government
Had experienced slightly cooler feet
Than they clearly did
When committing to
An ill-conceived referendum
Several months ago