Friday, June 24, 2016

Shocked and Sad

One of the first political events I remember is a spirited debate about the forthcoming referendum on the Common Market around the dinner table of my grandparents house in Stoke on Trent. It must have been the summer of 1975.
Back then, the result was a 2/3rd majority in favour of staying. Last night, it was much closer. But 52% of the people voted for the country to leave the European Union, as old Common Market became.
This result has been one of the most profound shocks of my life. As someone who lived in France from 1998 to 1996, and worked and visited many other European countries during that time, I never ever believed until a couple of days ago that Britain would ever leave the E.U. This despite an uneasy relationship with the E.U that has never been really comfortable for any extended period.
I don't know how to process this result, or what the future holds. Essentially it looks like a colossal gamble. Lets hope it pays off. John Harris writes a typically excellent piece about the referendum here:

In the meantime there's Glastonbury to console us, along with Wimbledon starting on Monday.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Middle Age

Since turning 50 in 2015, I've become more aware of getting older and the various effects of the ageing process.

Miranda Sawyer shares my concerns and has just written a book about being middle aged. I've not read it yet, but the extended extract in the Guardian recently has been impressive. Here are a couple of quotes:

So. It doesn’t matter if you have just run the furthest you ever have in your life, or you neck kale smoothies every day. At some point between the ages of 40 and 50, you and I will have lived more than half our lives. The seesaw has tipped.


Suddenly, you’ve reached the age where you know you won’t ever play for your favourite football team. Or write a book that will change the world.More prosaically, you can’t progress in your job: your bosses are looking to people in their 20s and 30s because younger workers don’t cost so much or – and this is the punch in the gut – they’re better at the job than you are. Maybe you would like to give up work but you can’t, because your family relies on your income, so you spend your precious, dwindling time, all the days and weeks and months of it, doing something you completely hate.
Yes - some of those observations are well made. 
The book is called Out of Time and is for sale on June 30th 2016.

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