24 June 2016

Further thoughts on Brexit

1. A lot of the tone of the exit negotiations is going to be determined by who takes over as Prime Minister. Boris Johnson is probably not the best leader to ensure they go smoothly.
2. There will have to be a tradeoff between access to the single market and any controls on EU immigration. A contribution to the EU budget may well be needed.
3. The EU needs serious reform and quickly if it is to avoid more people leaving.
4. Jeremy Corbyn needs to go for the good of Labour. He is toxic in our traditional heartlands.
5. There remains a fundamental disconnect between the Establishment and ordinary people in this country.
6. 28% of voters didn't vote. That is a problem.
7. A rejoining is theoretically possible but politically impossible for at least a generation.
8. The political culture in this country is far too toxic.
9. Scottish independence must now be considered a strong possibility.
10. The polling industry in this country managed to do even worse than the General Election.


The UK votes LEAVE

Well, that happened. Now all of us - the whole  world - will have to deal with the consequences and adjust appropriately.

I'm disappointed but philosophical. Burgundy isn't a nice colour for a passport anyway.

21 June 2016

Vote Remain

This long, unpleasant campaign finally comes to an end on Thursday and by breakfast on Friday, we will know whether Great Britain has chosen to remain in the European Union.

I would like us to stay in and will vote as such when I cast my ballot on Thursday.

Is the EU perfect? Most certainly not; it has made many mistakes. That whole "moving to Strasbourg thing" for examples.

But those mistakes are far outweighed by its practical benefits. The right to live and work freely in any member state actually benefits more British people in the rest of the EU than other EU nationals here. It makes many collaborative projects, especially media ones, much easier to do. Game of Thrones would be a lot harder to make if you had to apply for work permits for all of the cast and crew, who hail from many nations.

Also, the existence of the EU has been a force for democracy in other parts of Europe - nations have had to crack down on corruption and improve human rights to get in.

Vote Leave haven't been clear about their alternative and there is no guarantee that the organisation they dislike so much will agree to their proposals. 'Control our borders' would basically mean making it harder for our business to get skilled labour from anywhere bar the UK as all foreigners would need work permits, not just non-EU ones. It would also make it harder for those here who wish to work and study abroad.

They say that the rest of the EU ignores us; maybe it's because we haven't tried hard enough to work with others to improve things.

I am a Briton, but I am also a European; I believe in working together to solve our common problems, not pulling up the drawbridge.

Vote Remain.

16 June 2016

Jo Cox 1974-2016

The Labour MP Jo Cox has been murdered in a shooting and stabbing attack in her constituency. She was 41.

The circumstances of the attack have yet to be definitely established, but this appears to have been an attack by a far-right extremist - a man has been arrested. The person responsible for this has no justification for their actions and deserves a whole life sentence.

Rest in Peace.

12 June 2016


The worst mass shooting in US history has killed at least 50 people in Orlando and appears to be an act of Islamist terrorism.

This world has a lot of incidents like this; incidents where people carry out vile acts because of some warped beliefs or ideology, then end up dead at their own hands or at the hands of security forces. The fact there are so many people - of course one is too many - who want to do this sort of thing, is a source of major concern for me.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and those who knew them.

06 June 2016

Thoughts on the EU referendum

1. The amount of mud slinging, distortion of the facts and general name calling is far too much. Grown adults should be better than this.
2. There are a lot of faults with the EU, but those are the faults of the people who run it not the institutions themselves. If we had a different Chancellor of Germany, the EU agenda might be quite different.
3. The Commonwealth of Nations contains precisely one other economic powerhouse - India and I doubt there's much of a market out there for many of our goods. The rest are middle ranking at best.
4. Mass immigration will continue as long as there is a clear divide between developed countries and less developed ones. Economic migrants are applying Norman Tebbitt's own 1981 advice and "getting on their bike" to find a better life for themselves.
5. If they don't come here legally, they will come here illegally, with all the consequences that entails.
6. It is not beyond the wit of this government to build the new infrastructure  for an increased population if they weren't so focussed with cutting tax for the wealthy.
7. Greece and Italy did not need bailouts because of the euro, they needed them because of their incompetent governments.
8. Is an EU superstate really that bad a thing?
9. Can the EU do more for workers? Yes it can. However, looking at the Tory government's actions to date, can you really trust them to protect worker rights.
10. Which EU standards are actually a bad thing for us?

31 May 2016

The bear and the reaper - US TV season 2015-16 in review

  • A lot more early renewals this year; pretty much all of the safe candidates got their new orders in March.
  • The CW surprised everyone by renewing all their scripted series in one go; even the less likely prospects with the exception of Containment that had yet to air at that point. That didn't do well enough to survive; unlike the Belgian show it was based on, Cordon, which has been renewed.
  • Castle botched the wedding last year... and then did a rather stupid break-up plot. The audience started heading for the exit. Castle and Beckett got back together and audiences stabilised, but the departure of Stana Katic was the final straw for me, along with much of the fanbase. A Beckett-less ninth season would have come in for considerable negative publicity and I'm not surprised that ABC decided not to go ahead with it.
  • Of Prophets and Kings became another member of the 'two and axed' club, the most ignominious fate a TV show can suffer; those gone after one will at least attract some notoriety.
  • I really don't know what made CBS take such an exception to Person of Interest. One of the best shows I've ever seen.
  • The Blacklist was always going to get a fourth season; it's still very good indeed if you realise that Liz Keen is fundamentally unsuited for the life she has ended up in. Of course the show did have to work around Megan Boone's pregnancy and did so in a very interesting manner... It has also got a spinoff starring Famke Janssen, who is best known to me for playing Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye.
  • There were the usual batch of bad ideas that got ordered and didn't last long; Rush Hour for example.
  • Agent Carter was a surprise renewal last year, but the axe this year was no surprise. Good show, but never got decent ratings. At least Atwell's Conviction pilot got ordered to series and I may well check that out.
  • The CSI franchise has finally died; Cyber was a silly idea for a spinoff.

13 May 2016

'Castle' cancelled after eight seasons

Multiple sources are saying that the ABC dramedy will not be coming back for a ninth season.

I am sad but also relieved. The show started getting silly and without Stana Katic in it wouldn't have been worth watching.

Best to end it now. In fact ending it last season or even at Season 6 would have been even better.

I'll miss it of course, but I am sure something new will come along that I will enjoy just as much.