Definitively Depressing Democracy

James Proclaims (4)

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Today is Blue Monday. Apparently, this is what the cool kids now call the third Monday in January.

It’s supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

And it’s absolutely a real thing and not just some concept originally made up by a travel agent in 2005 to sell more holidays.

So, if you’re feeling depressed today, that’s absolutely fine and you don’t need to seek medical help.

Conversely if you woke up this morning in a relatively chipper mood, there is definitely something wrong with you and you should absolutely seek help at the first opportunity.

One would imagine that the premise of Blue Monday is that Christmas is now a relatively distant memory but we’re still all paying for it in terms of trying to shift excess weight gained during the festive period, with the added problem of having no money thanks to pay day still being over a week away.

And it’s Monday.

Which is always a bad thing.

But this January seems to have given some of us even more reasons to not be cheerful.

I’m vaguely aware of something called a Government Shutdown happening in the US, which is seemingly attributable to the normally even-handed and flexible Mr Trump.

It doesn’t seem like a good thing, but it hasn’t really been headline news over here.

This is not because we Brits like to mind our own business and don’t care about the comings and going of the POTUS. Indeed, such is the coverage normally that you’d be forgiven for thinking that he is actually president of here too.

Fortunately, he’s been largely kept out of our news because our own behemoth of badness has been rather dominating the headlines of late.

That behemoth is, of course, Brexit. If you don’t know what Brexit is, then I’ll refer you to an explanation offered by a number of its proponents:

“Brexit means Brexit.”

Hope that’s cleared that up for you.

The same people also regularly offer a definition for the word ‘leave’.

Which is:

“Leave means Leave”.

Indeed, if the exponents of exiting Europe ever release their own dictionary it will be quite a slim volume, bereft as it will be of any actual definitions of any of the words therein.

Which isn’t to say that it won’t sell well.

Because you can’t argue that Brexiteers don’t know how to market their crap pretty well.

I, of course, am a certified remoaner. I’d rather we hadn’t voted for Brexit. But don’t mistake me for something I’m not. I’m not especially a fan of the European Union.

To be a fan I’d have to understand how it all works.

And I don’t understand at all.

I think, on balance, I’d rather live in a world where we’re all a bit more connected and I think the EU probably represents that.

But I’m hardly an idealist.

If someone could have persuaded me that I, personally, would be significantly better off with Britain leaving the EU, I’d have gladly ignored my principles and voted wholeheartedly for Brexit.

But no-one could.

It was all a bit vague really.

And two and half years on, as we hurtle towards the definitive date when we cease to be part of Europe in an economical and political sense (although remain very much part of it in a geographical sense) it seems no-one has any idea what is going to happen.

Perhaps I’m being a little idealistic, but it kind of feels like we should have known what we were voting for (or against) back when we actually voted on it.

Some people are suggesting that, now we do know a bit more, we should maybe have another referendum.

Other people seem to be of the view that to have another referendum, which could potentially undermine the first vote, would be undemocratic.

I’m not sure another vote would solve anything, because I think we’re all still as clueless now as we were back in 2016, but I really would like someone to explain to me how another referendum would be undemocratic.

Because I’d have thought having another vote would be the very definition of democratic.

Then again, I’m probably using the wrong kind of dictionary.

 

 

 

 

Badge Of Honour

James Proclaims (4)
A few weeks ago I got a letter from my local household recycling centre. I wasn’t expecting them to write to me. I’ve always had a very functional relationship with the place.

If I have stuff I want to get rid of, I drive there and hurl the offending items into one of the designated areas (‘miscellaneous junk mail’ into the ‘Paper and Card’ section, ‘grass cuttings’ into the ‘Garden Waste’ section, ‘broken kettle’ into the ‘Small Appliances’ section etc. – it’s all very clearly marked out and every unwanted article can be united with other uncherished and malfunctioning items of a similar ilk).

I am a big fan of the service provided by my local recycling centre. I have more than my fair share of accumulated junk to dispose of and three years after moving into our current abode, Mrs Proclaims and I are still coming across various boxes and bags containing items that we’d both long forgotten. Indeed, we are often perplexed to discover things that we were certain we’d already thrown out. Continue reading Badge Of Honour

James Remains

James Proclaims (4)

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The dust is starting to settle and apparently the apocalypse hasn’t happened.

Yet.

But the post-Brexit UK does feel different and none of us are quite sure what to make of it.

For starters, my blog seems to have gone from random nonsense to political commentary. Perhaps I should rectify that, but then politics did just get very interesting again. It’s not necessarily for the right reasons but it’s hard to deny that the British people are engaged with political debate in a way that they haven’t been for some time.

There was definitely some interest and debate before the referendum took place but since the result was announced it’s all anyone is talking about.

Well that and football. Continue reading James Remains

European Disunion

James Proclaims (4)

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Today is apparently a big day for the UK in terms of our relationship with the rest of Europe. Our beloved Prime Minister, and genuine man of the people (you may detect a hint of sarcasm but I offer no comment), is trying to negotiate a better deal for us, with many predicting that the outcome of today’s talks will directly influence the outcome of a future referendum on whether we stay part of the European Union or go it alone in the big bad world.

The trouble with this is that most of us have no idea what a ‘good deal’ actually looks like, and so it seems preposterous to suggest it will directly influence how we vote.

How we vote will instead be decided on how afraid we are of the alternative. Some of us will vote to stay in Europe because we’re afraid of  significant change and others of us will vote to leave Europe because we’re afraid of Europe telling us what to do and disproportionately afraid of mass immigration. None of those fears will be particularly informed by facts. Continue reading European Disunion