Random Political Street Art or ALL RIPPED UP

Yes, we are having an election in France today. Elections “breed” their own form of unintentional and chaotic art – I am referring to election posters. Night after night, the party activists and workers head out and “slap” up their propaganda –  party-by-party, layer- upo- layer – it all builds up, and when the posters get ripped down you get a unique, fleeting and random image on each billboard. No collage artist could intentionally produce such “works of art” – Election posters as “pop up, random political street art” – here is a quick “exhibition” of a few favorites, all  photographed over the last few weeks on my wanderings around town. Taking theses photos has to be as random as the images themselves. Here we go. (have to add that there are a couple of personal collages in this batch. I daresay you’ll find them) Happy viewing.

 

 

The Big Fight

The main television event last night – the live debate between France’s two presidential hopeful : Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. Such events are normally polite, even sedate affairs with each candidate outlining his or her policy, whilst the other thoughtfully looks on before launching a counter attack. When the debate gets “heated”, candidates may interrupt each other and occasionally the whole thing can descend into verbal fisticuffs. Last night though, the gloves were off from the beginning with the venomous and viperous Marine Le Pen in jugular form, interrupting Emmanuel Macron on every statement and all the while “welcoming” his policies with a poisonous and mocking smile.

Brutal, noisy, chaotic even violent – some of the adjectives used in this morning’s press to qualify the proceedings, and as for the TV journalists there to “mediate” the event, they were at best incompetent and at worst helpless, unable to bring calm and restore order as both candidates “ripped” into each other in a confusing cacophony.

And Madame Le Pen – short on policy and detail, her only strategy was to attack and try to discredit Emmanuel Macron. Her TV tactics reminiscent of a street battle – she wouldn’t have been out of place wearing a brown shirt.

She claims that she can give France the “strong leadership” it needs, but if she heads to the European negotiating table with such a table thumping, baton-wielding approach, no one will listen.

The more I watched Marine Le Pen, the more I got this creeping, flesh-crawling feeling that this woman truly is a danger for democracy and as a President her mandate would be one of incompetence, overspend and violence. It was Emmanuel Macron who pronounced the fatal words “civil war” – “Madame Le Pen, if you are elected there will be a civil war.” It seems therefore that my apocalyptic musings on a Le Pen presidency are not so far from expectations.

Mr Macron’s “civil war” comment came as Madame Le Pen outlined her policy on terrorism and national security, which was no more than a long islamophobic, xenophobic tirade.

Madame Le Pen has done herself no favours with her performance last night. Self confessed, national Front supporters at work of course lauded Madame Le Pen and found her TV antics “outstanding”

I couldn’t really say that there was a “winner” in this debate; Contrary to pre-debate speculation on Emmanuel Macron’s ability to take on Marine Le Pen, the Front National leader did not “wipe the floor” with Monsieur Macron – he was polite and calm but firm in the face of the Le Pen onslaught, we can say he “survived” and perhaps even gained in credibility as Madame Le Pen’s ebbed away with every attack she made.

So, can Macron win it? – and here we come to the weird and wonderful strategies of French ractical voting. Heard on a radio phone in show this lunchtime, one “leftwing” caller says – “I’ll vote Le Pen knowing full well that she’ll lose, but I don’t want to vote Macron because I don’t want him to win with a landslide – a slim margin is enough; the bigger his victory margin and the more empowered he will feel to impliment his brand of economic liberalism.” WHAT????

But it has been a common theme in this last week for the far left to come out and say they’ll vote Le Pen. Madame Le Pen also has support from radical Moslem groups – I suppose the whole idea being that once she is in power, then we have a real enemy and a real reason to rise up (So I have heard) – Extremists just love extremists – woe betide if we get a sensible social democratic president. O tnis note, a staggering 23% of those who voted for Jean-Luc Melenchon and his far left party “Insoumise”, have said that they will be voting Le Pen.

The vote Le Pen for a small Macron margin is frankly a bonkers strategy, as mad as the idea of lodging a protest vote in the first round and then voting for your favourite candidate afterwards.

All election coverage in France ceases on Friday. Saturday is a moment of introspection, soul-searching and decision-making, Sunday we’re off to the polls, and hot on the heals of the presidential elections, the parliamentary elections, only a month away. The French aligned all their elections a few years back to stop the possibility of “cohabitation”. Parliamentary elections were always two years after the Presidentials, which meant if President or Parliament were of different political persuasions, they just spent their time fighting and blocking each other.

I’l lquite happlily follow Barak Obama’s and endorse Macron, the other choice is just far too dangerous to take the risk.

Vichy or Tony????

Big roll over and yawn in the French elections. Marine Le Pen with her xenophobic, 1930’s style nationalist agenda still promising a return to the good old days of the French Franc and the nation’s post war, full employment economic glory. I think De Gaulle must be kicking the coffin, if only to climb out and strangle Marine Le Pen.

On the other side, former Rosthchild banker, Emmanuel Macron, promising a Tony Blair style, social democratic France.

I can understand why the far left have asked their supporters to abstain – but if you abstain, you can’t complain.

I’m not a fan of Macron. The Macron campaign a kind of ersatz populist bandwagon where everyone is trying to jump on.

Marine Le Pen – populism is a nice word. This lady is no fascist, just a nasty little nationalist cast in the mid 90’s Serbian mode. In French terms she is a Boulangiste with Vichy overtones. Been there, done that, and it didn’t work and if she gets elected, I’m just waiting for the first inevitable news reports of mass riots and civil disobedience –” pourquoi tenter la diable?”

Tomorrow night’s main event is the big TV debate between Macron and Le Pen. She will probably wipe the floor with him because she is a true “roots” politician and he is far too intellectual, but he should (bar a major calamity) win the main event on Sunday. Can’t help feeling, no mater wat happens we are a f***ed and fractured France.

Road Movie Biker Wanderlust and Swedish Furniture

Unstructured ramblings on over 50’s wanderlust, Swedish furniture and sympathies for all you poor bastards with hybrid cars who accelerate at the speed of a dead snail. Enjoy

If life was a road movie at the moment, I’d be cruising sedately through those areas of commercial space known as “edge lands”, where the first ragged remnants of countryside, rubbish dumps, car washes and junkyards meet the last drab dregs of urban sprawl – rubbish dumps, car washes and junkyards

I’d be cruising along an endless highway, lined with supermarkets, DIY stores, car dealerships, fast food outlets and discount shops.

No 67 Chevrolet Impala convertible for me – I’d be driving a modest, white, four-door-family saloon ; possibly of Japanese manufacture with a hybrid petrol/electric motor.

On the radio, nothing as dangerous as Rock and Roll, but perhaps an adult « AOR » or «  easy listening » station with just a hint of Rod Stewart or Elton John wafting out the speakers

Nothing too dangerous in this road movie comfort zone and nothing magical, mysterious, subversive or even vaguely interesting about my destination – I’m probably just driving to a Swedish furniture store to pick up a beige sofa or a set of shelves. I’m not even going to get out the car and go in the shop to look, I’ve done a click and collect

I’m not looking for a Thelma and Louise Blues Brothers Fast and Furious Grand Theft Auto adventure – that’s all just a little too much. I think I’m like all those in-between late middle aged early retiree guys of my generation – I’ve got a kind of wanderlust but I don’t want to wander too far in case I miss my dinner and my favourite early evening TV shows.

It started on Sunday, when I nipped out to buy a newspaper. The lady at the counter handed me a « new » magazine for « young seniors » or « the active over-fifties » – the latter written in an exciting red typeface and screaming me at me from the front page.

No way am I a young senior
Yes I’m over fifty

Yes I am active BUT I have a mental age of nineteen and I am a singer in a rock and roll band (with three other guys who are all over fifty) and that actually sounds pretty sad. I shouldn’t be out gigging of a night, I should be home wearing a tracksuit and slumped in a sofa with a beer in one hand and a remote control in the other.

So, it was my Sunday morning newspaper buying mission and I declined that kind offer of a special offer on the new young/oldie magazine. As my eyes scanned the shlves in search or reading matter though, I was attracted by wo magazines that might just quench my wanderlust – a monthly review of camper vans (or recreational vehicles as our transatlantic readers refer to them) – second a motorbike magazine with a special supplement on « biker dads » – all those “adulescents” like me who wanted a motorbike and never had one – I’m flicking thought the pages and – I’d love a Suzuki Van Van – a 125cc dune bike, with thick tyres and youthful looks – and just oozing biker dad attitude. Safe but mildly subversive

I wanna buy a motorbike and have sedate easy rider Sundays in the country. I wanna cruise down the Swedish furniture store in my leather jacket and have saunter round before I do the click and collect. I just wanna hop on my bike and go places that aren’t so far that I can’t be back home in time for dinner.

Bikes though, dangerous things. What if I fall off or got too fast or … Camper vans far better. I love camper vans. I’m always amazed how van designers manage to cram a luxury bijoux residence into such a small space – all fold out Formica lifestyle. I need a van. I want to drive to the sea, park up by a long deserted sandy beach, brew up a strong cup of tea and then stare out across the ocean, wondering what lies beyond.

Bike, or van, or both. The wife can drive the van as I ride the bike, and when I get tired, I can strap the bike on the back of the van.

Here’s the dream, to use the above combination for a great Tour De France of all the places I’ve lived or visited since I ever started coming to France as a kid in the seventies. What wondrous wanderlust.

Dreaming is great, but instead of writing about great travel plans, I should start by getting on the web abd booking a summer holiday.

Presidential Crystal Ball gazing

After 26 years living in France, I can confirm that joie de vivre is not a French thing – it’s a lie the French tell to tourists. On the whole the French are a pretty pessimistic bunch, only happy if they are miserable or complaining – that’s why they live so long. We all know that statistically, miserable people always live longer. So here are some ultra pessimistic thoughts about the French elections, inspired by friends and colleagues who have spent all week bemoaning Marine Le Pen’s first round electoral success with phrases like “this will lead to civil war”. Enjoy the read.

Gazing into my electoral crystal ball – as the mists clear, I can see … Marine Le Pen walking on a red carpet, ascending the steps to the Elysées Palace. There is an uneasy handshake with outgoing President, François Hollande. No smiles, no exchange of pleasantries, Marine Le Pen is simply led inside for her first presidential briefing …

The previous night, minutes after the announcement of her victory, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in spontaneous «anti-Marine» demonstrations, some were simple, sombre candle-lit vigils, in others men women and children walked solemnly together, heads bowed, as if in a long funeral cortege. Democracy is dead, France is dead. On the fringes of these peaceful affairs, groups of youths, begin to taunt CRS riot police,  who have been deployed en masse in anticipation of the inevitable violence. Barely an hour after the Le Pen victory, and the bricks, bottles stone and Molotovs begin to fly. Anti-Le Pen protesters fight running battles with the security forces, whilst others set up impromptu barricades or start burning cars. It is a long night of violent street battles in all the nation’s cities – the dark night alight with flames and their thick with smoke and teargas.

No sooner has she assumed her presidential mantle, than Marine Le Pen appears on national TV in her first presidential address to the nation. She appeals for calm but her «soothing» words go unheeded as rioting breaks out again in the nation’s cities. Paris is burning, along with Lyons, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes – on this second night of rioting the big cities are joined by provincial towns – reports roll in of «disturbances» in Bergerac, Tours, Limoges … so far though the vast social housing estates on the edge of Paris have been strangely silent, but on the third night they too erupt and there are the first reports of the sporadic use of automatic weapons against the police.

Three, four, five nights of rioting, the security forces cannot cope and on the sixth night, the first reports of gun battles between police and rioters, there are fatalities on both sides. President Le Pen has no choice but reinforce the state of emergency and call in the army. Soldiers deploy on the nation’s streets – combat helmets, full body armour, patrolling in protected vehicles, France is at war. Foreign companies repatriate their workers. Foreign airlines suspend flights to France. The US government tell their nationals to prepare to leave France. The UK government simply warn against all travel to France and tell their nationals living in France to remain vigilant

Repeated appeals for calm and national unity from the new president are still unheeded as the spiral of violence continues. In the second week, the bomb attacks begin – bombs on the Paris Metro, a car bomb on the Champs Elysées and hundreds of unconfirmed reports of «suicide» attacks.

France’s European neighbours close their borders with France. US and UK governments begin to implement plans for the evacuations of their nationals. Huge US military transport planes begin to land at Villacoublay military airport near Paris. British troops deploy in Calais with talk of setting up “safe corridors” for the evacuation of British nationals living in the north of France …

We might never get this far, and God forbid we do, but what would happen if Marine Le Pen did win next week – instantaneous, mass rioting across the whole country for sure with security forces unable to contain the volatile situation. I’m not so sure about civil war, though this is what some more pessimistic «pundits» are predicting. For sure if Marine wins, France will wake up in stunned disbelief on the morning of May 8th, the air still thick with smoke and teargas from the night before and the streets strewn with the wrecks of burned out cars. As for the future, I don’t think there will be one.

Could Marine win it?

She is currently standing at 40% in the opinion polls and rising all the time. Her rival, the centrist Emmanuel Macron is at 60% and falling – just 7 days ago he was credited with 65%.

I firmly believe that Macron will win, though as we head into the last week of official campaigning the gap between both candidates is narrowing, worse still, the abstentionist lobby is gaining ground with around 20% of the electorate actually saying that they won’t bother turning out to vote, or if they do, they will spoil their ballot papers.

Traditionally during the second round of a French election, those candidates from smaller parties knocked out in the first round, get their supporters to rally to the surviving mainstream candidate who most reflects their values – its like Bernie Saunders supporters rallying to Hilary and Jed Bush supporters rallying to Donald. In France it used to be simple. In the first round of voting there would be Communists, Trotskyites and socialists. The socialists would always make it through to the second round and the other minority left wing parties would throw their support behind the socialist candidate. It was also the same on the right, with Royalists and the far right supporting the mainstream centre right republican candidate.

This time round it is different. In the first round of voting, both traditional mainstream parties lost. The centre right Republican Party got around 20% of the popular vote, whereas the Socialist party was well and truly wiped polling just under 7%.

The reasons for the socialist «debacle» are many. A lot of traditional socialist voters rallied to the far left wing candidate Jaen Luc Melonchon, whilst others in the former industrial and socialist heartlands of the North and the East of France switched their allegiance to Marine Le Pen’s Front National – disillusioned with their party after five years of a disastrous Hollande Presidency. I suppose you have to look closely at the changing nature of the French socialist party over the past decade or so. In ten years it has gone from being the party of the workers and become the political vehicle of the Parisian intellectual elite. Nothing about workers rights or saving jobs, but plenty about societal change and mulitculturalism. Then along come two extremist candidates – Jean Luc Melonchon with his left wing movement «La France Insoumise» – rallying the left wing of the socialist party and the remnants of the Communist party, and on the right, Marine Le Pen and the Front national rallying under the same populist and nationalist banner, everyone from royalists to ultra Catholics and former socialist voting factory workers and trade unionists.

Jean Luc Melonchon did not make it through to the second round, but he soundly beat the socialists into fourth place, and apart from telling his supporters not to vote Front National next week, he has voiced no support for the other candidate in the presidential run off – Emmanuel Macron and his centre left movement «En Marche» – There are probably quite a few who can happily switch from the radical left to the far right. In terms of policy on Europe, workers right and social issues, you could hardly tell the difference between Marine Le Pen and Jean Luc Melonchon – the main differences came on immigration, and defence and education

And in the middle we have Emmanuel Macron, former finance minister to François Hollande, a one time banker at Rothschild, who at forty years young has never held elected office – to make matters worse, Mr Macron has a bit of the self-important wind bag about him with a tendency to blow his own trumpet and make long unscripted speeches filled with unfounded and sweeping off the cuff remarks on French history and culture and also the very thorny subject of France’s colonial past. This is the guy that said that colonisation was a crime against humanity (agree or disagree, but think of the consequences before you speak), he also said that there was no such thing as French culture anymore – needless to say that his communication team we’re up all night, explaining to the world what their candidate really meant (I know he spoke those words but he didn’t actually say that)

For history buffs – The weight of history on the French presidential election campaign. Sunday April 30th – la Journée Nationale des Déportés or Deportation Memorial Day – when, in villages, towns and cities across France, official ceremonies are held to remember the almost 120,000 French men women and children who were deported to the Nazi death camps during the Nazi Occupation of France from 1941 to 1944. Have a little think on this if you are thinking of voting Marine next Sunday.

The Election After the Night Before

Personal ramblings and flawed analysis on the Presidential blip in France and scares of a right wing victory

Monday April 24th 2017

It is a warm, sunny day of lilac and birdsong. The wisteria is thick with its long purple flowers and the lawn is pushing up daisies everywhere – seems almost a shame to cut the grass, which was the main reason I decided to take the afternoon off work. I’d vote that all days be like this.

Sunday too, was a pleasant day, just warm enough to fire up the barbecue and eat in the garden, which was what many people did before heading to the polling station in the afternoon to cast their vote in the first round of the French presidential election.

Yes, this is France, and obviously the French do nothing like anyone else , so the presidential election is held over two rounds.

In the first round a handful of minority parties for the far flung edges of French politics jockey for position with the mainstream candidates to get their point across. Call them the no-hopers or men and women, so passionate about their lost cause, that they will spend weeks or months on the election trail fighting their corner in the full knowledge that they will only get, at best, 2% of the vote. Within the ranks of the no-hopers this time around – a couple of Trostskyist parties, an anti-European candidate, an ultra Gaullist and a Farmers’ party – a candidate representing the interests of the nations agricultural/rural lobby.

A long time back, the far right-wing Front National (FN) was also a minority party – a band of ultra catholic nationalists ; nostalgic for a Franco-French Vichy-style France. The FN hovered around the 9% mark – branded as fascists and anti-semites, they never seemed to seriously worry anyone, until April 21st 2002, when they made it through to the second round of the French presidential election by beating the mainstream socialist party candidate, Lionel Jospin, into third place.

In the French two round system only the two candidates with the biggest scores make it through to the second round.

April 21st 2002 – panic stations. The FN candidate, Jean Marie Le Pen was in a run off with the Republican party candidate, Jacques Chirac. There were calls for an anti FN, Republican alliance and the left, however unwillingly, voted Chirac in the second round ensuring he won with a resounding 82% of the popular vote – quite astounding when you know that French elections are normally a 51%- 49% affair.

Now the FN are back with a 21% share of the first round vote, and a place in the second round of voting, to be held in two weeks time. Is this a disaster ? I think not, the other candidate in the presidential run-off – Emmanuel Macron, should, short of a disaster, win hands down ; however, France has changed since 2002, and the shock will come if the FN and their presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, poll over 35% – if this is the case, she will be the true winner of the election. Note that we are not voting in favour of a candidate and his policies, rather we are voting against a candidate who presents a potential danger for France, and such has been the stuff of French elections for may a year – a vote against rather than a vote in favour.

Think back to May 15th 2012. Around 8pm the official result of the French presidential election is announced – François Hollande. A real shock – this diminutive bloke with a wonky tie, crumpled suits and all the charisma of a small town grocer had suddenly become president of France. How did that happen ? I still remember the look on the new president’s face when he gave his first press conference after securing the presidency – it was one of total disbelief, he genuinely did not expect to win, but he didn’t win, the French simply turned out en masse to vote against the other candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sunday 15th May, I watched the interminable election coverage long into the night, then switched off the TV and went to sleep for the next five years. Sure the next morning, I must have been like President Hollande himself, pinching myself just to make sure this wasn’t just a dream. I used to be passionate about French politics, styling myself as a «keen observer» and blogging at length on the subject, but there was something about François Hollande that just left me indifferent, unconcerned.

Like many people I think I’ve spent the last five years under sedation. It’s not that Hollande was a bad president, he was just a non-president, and even he realised that the day that he announced he would not be seeking to renew his mandate in the 2017 French presidential elections.

Sure, a lot has happened in the past five years, a lot of tragic events – the murder of journalists in the january 2015 «Charlie Hebdo» attacks, the November 2015 terrorism in Paris, the July 14th massacre in Nice, and just a few days ago, the murder of a police officer on the Champs Elysées – and of course, the presidential mandate started with the fractious and damaging national debate on same sex marriage, where century-old religious cleavages were once again opened. What passed off peacefully, as a progressive and common sense reform in most other countries, in France was branded as a major societal change and taken up by the left as a crusade. However, despite fractious and tragic events, when we take a look back at the Hollande presidency we will seriously ask the question « What happened ? – What did President Hollande actually do? »

This time round of course we are not voting against Hollande, he is not running, but we are voting against the socialist party in general. The once venerable and mighty party with its great history and legendary heros like Leon Blum, Jean Jaurès, and François Mitterrand, only polled 7% in the first round; historically the worst score ever for the party. What happened? Where were the socialist voters?

Well over the past few years, the French socialist party has gone the same way as the British labour party – it has become an essentially middle class club for the Chattering Classes – bright young Parisian intellectuals who worry more about breaking links with the past and building a brave new multicultural society. The French socialist party has become a very Boho affair. Traditional working class supporters abandoned the party years ago and started voting in droves for the Front National, which was also the fate of the Communist Party. Many observers say this presidential election is the death knell of the socialist party and they put the blame squarely on the shoulders of one man – François Hollande – lack of any real policy, lack of leadership – an uncharismatic and indecisive leader.

So, France voted against the socialists and in a couple of weeks, we will all be heading to the polls to vote against the FN. And who are the candidates in round two?

Marine Le Pen – not really a fascist, but a far/extreme right wing nationalist and populist candidate playing on fears of immigration, terrorism. She is the French « Brexit » lady. She currently has a 21% share of the vote and could draw support from conservative fringe candidates from the first round and ironically she could als draw a lot of support from disillusioned socialist voters for her stance on immigration and French jobs for French workers. (She’s no words than, or just as bad as Donald Trump)

Emmanuel Macron – François Hollande’s ex- finance minister who left the government to found « En Marche» – his own popular/citizen movement in a catch-all Blairite mode. This is the guy who will break the traditional two party mold of French politics and «refound» France. mr macron will draw in huge support from the anti FN alliance that is quickly forming.

And finally, I should have spent the last few months giving in depth wall-to-wall, 24/7 blog coverage to the election, but I’ve just kind of lost interest in French politics. Guess I’ll need to wake up.

Freedom?

FREEDOM!  screams a huge banner headline from the front page of the Daily Mail.

Freedom ? Freedom from what ?

Has Britain just been liberated from years of foreign occupation ? Have the British people just risen up and toppled a vile dictator ?

« This is E-Day. » proclaims a sub-header

March 29th, E-Day ?

Has the world (or at least the Daily Mail) gone mad ?

Pardon my flinching , semi senile, wine-soaked, ex-pat memory, but unless we have just booted the nazis out of Blighty, I thought that Britan had been a free and democratic country for the past … well at least for the past 72 years since the end of World War Two, and possibly long before that – OK bar a few arguments about when full and fair universal suffrage was finally achieved – Britian has been « democratic » since mid –to-late Victorian times.

I know with this last sweeping assertion I am going to make some history buffs howl with indignation, because Britain (or England) had a « parliamentary » tradition for many centuries before, but not everyone got to vote for who was supposed to represent them.

History aside, I am glad the Britian is free again, and now, casting myself into the Daily mail mindset, I can say that Britain will be GREAT again.

March 29th, E-Day (or Exit Day). We should declare this day a national public holiday, along with St George’s Day and June 23rd which was Brexit day itself. – B-day – June 23rd 2016 ; the longst day though was June 24th – a long slow depresssing and distressing day, where us « remain » supporters were in a state of jawdropping disbelief, occasionally pinching ourselves just to remind us that this was not all a dream, or a nightmare or a parallel universe

I therefore propose three new public holidays – Merci Brexit, and if there too many public holidays , we will et rid of all those « unBritish » days that the European Union inflicted upon us … how many ? The Mayday Bank Holiday – I get the feeling though that many Brits would quite fancy keeping that one, as well as getting the three others –

Three new public holidays – think of all the extra shopping time that’s going to give the Brits – but I think quite a few of you might be working to pay the astronomical costs of goodies, when Brtain also leaves the single market.

Anyway, congrats to the Little Englanders everywhere, you can dust down your Union Jacks and toast the Brave new Britain in a good pint of British beer – though enjoy it while you can, in a few years Britain might be no more than a distant memory – Imagine that the Kingdom of England shares a land border with the Republic of Scotland, and what if Northern Ireland decide that after 400 years or so of accrimonious relations with England, to will be far better for all to unite with the South and just have one country called « Ireland » Now that sounds very sensible to me

Freedom ! No ! This is a bad day for freedom, unless of course your idea of freedom is simply being told what you can and cannot do – Yes the nasty old EU setting norms for just how much meat content you should have in a sausage or setting environmental norms for just how much sewage you can pump into the sea.

I genuinely think that joining the EU brought Britain out of the dark ages. Back when we joined in 1973, the UK was beset by strikes, and power cuts, the country was working a three day week, Brits used to stare jealously acrss the Channel at the quality of life in Continental Europe. YES, true we won the War and YES in 1973, Britain was still living firmly in World War Two – well now, Britain can once agin enjoy the War mentality – a ture Churchillian mindset of standing alone aginst this bureaucratic, Brussels driven monolith that is the European Union – now we are free to determine our destiny.

So, a few concrete ideas

Imagine when Brexit is a reality , that you have to get a visa for your two week fling in Benidorm.

Imagine that there is no more cheap unlimited booze and we go back to the old rules whereby you can only bring back three bottles of wine from your European holiday as opposed o the 40 or so bottles you can bring back at présent.

Imagine all our youngsters who might want to work in Europe – that’s going to be an issue.

And if there is economic lockdown ?

We will buy products that are made in Britain – well if you want a cheap TV or car or washing machine, all the parts come in via the EU. So here I am venturing on to unresearched ground BUT, unless the UK strike some serious trade deals with the EU before WTO trade rules kick in ???? Can the UK still independantly produce enough canoës and paddles to navigate itself up Shit Creek ? Not so sure.

My ramblings are fliipant and unresearched, but they come from a Britsh ex-pat who is taking out French nationality so he can still work in France after Brexit because his future was determined by those Brits who voted for Brexit – in a referendum where I did not have the right to vote.

Ok thoughts over for now, but dwell on this. Donald Trump was voted into the Whitehouse despite the fact that Hilary Clinton had 2 million more votes in the final result. As an ex-pat, I was not given the right to vote in the UK referendum because only ex-pats who had been out of the UK 15 years or less were allowed to vote. Democracy does not seem to apply in either case

If Republic of Scotland there is, I shall be validating my 3 generational Scottish ancestry for a Hibernian passport.

To all ye Little Englanders – well done on regaining your freedom. I hope you enjoy it, though put away the Union Jack and unfurl the St George Flag ; and I forecast (thought do not wish you) fractious times head.

End of rant

PS, for all Daily Mail readers you read the  paper founded in 1911 by Lord Northcliffe to halt the progress of Lloyd George’s parliamentary reform bill. and this was the paper that supported the British Union of Fascists in 1936; with that unforgettable headline “Hooray for the Blackshirts.” – Not that I’m calling all Daily Mail readers “fascists”, but there is a nasty whiff of BNP style nationalism about you all.