A Perfect Maze of Intrigue

‘Society bristles with enigmas which look hard to solve. It is a perfect maze of intrigue.’ Honore de Balzac

Brexit is certainly an enigma, a perfect maze of intrigue, ostensibly growing more and more disastrous every day… What a mess, even after all this time there is still no clarity on what the country wants, and at this point I wish we could just take back control once and for all and revoke Article 50 forever… please!

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Intrigue


May’s Makeshift Brexit Mayhem

The latest overture in our ongoing bloody awful Bexit brou-ha-ha comes courtesy of the intervention of Speaker of the House John Bercow, who has just stated (quite correctly) that according to Parliamentary rules, having already had her Brexit deal voted down twice Theresa May cannot now take her current motion back to the House without first making substantial changes to the terms.

My understanding is that it was Labour MP Angla Eagle who initially reminded the Speaker that buried deep (page 397) in the Commons Rule book sits the statement that ‘A motion or an amendment which is the same, in substance, as a question which has been decided during a session may not be brought forward again during that same session.’

I say ‘overture’ because although we may only be 10 days away from our legally agreed exit from the European Union, this now is only the beginning of Parliament finally (hopefully) being treated fairly and honourably by a Government that has to date ignored and bullied and chided and refused to listen to reason to anything other than their own blinkered viewpoint.

It seems clear to me that to date Mrs May had deliberately run down the clock on Brexit in the hope that the threat of a No Deal (or alternatively a long extension to the process) would inevitably force MPs to accept her deal ‘or else’. But she simply cannot continue speaking to the Members of the House of Commons as if they are behaving like recalcitrant teenagers objecting to her matriarchal authority and expect them to toe the line just because she says so…

So it seems the saga of Theresa May’s makeshift making-it-up-as-she-goes-along Brexit mayhem is set to continue unabated… sigh!

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Makeshift

Division Bell

Since Parliamentary democracy has been televised live, I’ve got used to watching how the House of Commons debate and vote on issues, and the sheer anachronistic physicality of it all never ceases to amaze me. In a modern world where we can all use technology to assist us in simplifying so many labourious or repetitive daily tasks, we still rely in Parliament on people – on our politicians – actually getting up and voting with their feet.

After an issue has been thoroughly debated – usually quite vociferously – in the Chamber, the Speaker of the House asks for the Members of Parliament sitting in the House to vote ‘aye’ or ‘no’ on the matter. And if there is no clear difference in the decibel level between the two, the Speaker shouts ‘Division!’ and the whole Chamber clears to allow individuals to pass through one of two lobbies to cast their vote.

The Division Bell rings, and not only those present in the chamber but all MPs present in the building will drop whatever they are doing to rush to the particular lobby of their choice to vote. If they are not present, they do not get to vote, and some MPs actively choose to abstain from voting (for whatever reason). Obviously the bigger the issue (like with the current Brexit votes) the more MPs are present for each vote, and as each motion requires the same procedure, with votes often occurring one after the other in straight succession, there can be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and milling around waiting.

Once the MPs have voted, everyone returns to the Chamber awaiting the result, where after the votes are physically count one of the four ‘tellers’ of the House stand at the front and read out the total numbers of ‘ayes’ and ‘noes’ for that vote. The Speaker of the House then repeats these out loud for the benefit of everyone, and states whether the ‘ayes’ or the ‘noes’ have it, before the results are formally recorded for posterity.

I suppose as well as tradition, there are very good reasons for having one vote for one MP in person – there can be no confusion, no obfuscation, and an indisputable transparency of process that cannot be hijacked or fiddled about with. We all know – and often see – how each MP votes on each motion, and who defies the Whip (and sometimes even resigns their Cabinet post) to vote with their concsience rather than along party lines.

And as we currently have a political party Government in power without a majority of MPs to necessarily vote in their favour, these individual votes have a far greater signifiance than when a party is in Government with a clear majority across the House. There is often no foregone conclusion, and so the actual voting procedure is no longer just a basic formality of Parliamentary process.

The fact of the Government having to rely on every individual vote makes it all the more uncertain as to the result of each motion, which may be proving exteremely frustrating for Theresa May at the moment but is democratically just for the country as a whole. The country seems to be as divided now on the question of Brexit as it was three years ago, and this division is inevitably showing within the House of Commons too.

To the rest of the world it looks bad, laughable and incompetent even, but the current Parliamentary stalemate over Brexit is nevertheless giving an accurate political reflection of where we all are right now as a country – a thoroughly disunited kingdom – so whether we like it or not, it shows us all clearly that our democractic process is actually working…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Division

By My Reckoning…

I had the apparently brilliant idea the other day to sign up for completing online surveys for different services and products – I mean, it sounds like fun, just giving my opinions on things. I’m a person, I live a life, so why not use my experience for something useful, and it might mean I earn a bit of pin-money too. So on a whim I signed up to a couple of different companies, and decided to give it a go…

But I’ve discovered it’s not actually as easy as it sounds, completing online surveys. Before you complete each survey, the company ask several questions – a kind of pre-survey survey – to see if you are a suitable candidate for the particulr topic or subject or product. So far, my answers have deemed me unsuitable for many surveys, because it appears my quiet, unassuming, limited lifestyle simply doesn’t seem to fit in with the capitalist, consumerist world I live in.

For example, I don’t currently own a car and have no intention of owning one again any time soon. I don’t go on beach holidays or on safari or cruises or even stay in hotels much, and have no desire to. I don’t regularly go out to restaurants or theatres or cinemas (ditto). I don’t buy loads of new clothes or shoes or accessories, and don’t have young children at home any more. I have a degree but don’t have a professional career (I work part time in a pub by choice!) I don’t want to change my energy provider or tweak my home insurance or blah, blah, blah, blah… You get the picture.

And the thing is I’m not in the least bit interested in having access to any of that stuff, either – in fact I’ve spent a lot of time and effort deliberately reducing as far as possible my ongoing interaction with the brain-washing mindlessness of capitalist consumerism. So why the hell I ever thought it would be fun to join in with something that actively promotes profligate spending is competely beyond me…

By my reckoning, my email traffic has increased about a hundred-fold in two days – my in-box is already full to bursting, and all I can think of to do now is deregister myself and unsubscribe from everything as quickly as possible to get my quiet introverted life back to normal. All I can say in my defense is at least I tried, however inappropriate it may have been for my personality and lifestyle… I guess I still live and learn! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Reckoning

As Simple as Sliced Bread

When my husband cuts a slice of bread – several slices in fact, one after the other with extreme ease – from an unsliced loaf, every slice is undeniably uniform. Each beautifully manicured layer of bread is near-as-dammit the same thickness as the next, and every edge on every single slice is of similar thickness to its mate within milimetre accuracy, creating a collection of repeating rectangular cuboids, perfect parallelograms of pleasing size and scale.

However, whenever I attempt to cut a slice or two of bread from an uncut loaf, be prepared for a level of randomness in shape and thickness that defies basic geometry. Imagine Pablo Picasso representing sliced bread on canvas and you begin to get the picture. For some reason I seem to be pathalogically incapable of carving any kind of straight line through bread. I usually end up with a couple of rough-hewn irregular rhomboids – no right angles, sides of unequal length, erratic edges on a sliding thickness scale of emaciated to obese.

But I don’t really mind. Bread is bread, however you want to slice it, and I have to say I find my rustic doorstop slices bring a creative uniqueness to my sandwiches or to my toast that I am extemely fond of… Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Uniform

Don’t Stop Me Now…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge today is ‘ecstatic’ – hmmm, not much ecstatic feeling about my life right now, but yet… a fragment of an old song lyric comes immediately to mind – ‘floating around in ecstasy…’

The day before I came home from Scotland, myself and my eldest daughter (and youngest granddaughter, aged 12 weeks!) watched the 2018 movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ about the rise and demise of Freddie Mercury of Queen fame, and oh, I absolutely loved it!

The movie soundtrack, of course, is excellent – plenty of old favourites to sing along to – and the main characters are wonderfully cast. It’s quite tastefully done, considering the rather gritty sex, drugs and rock’n’roll narrative portrayed throughout, and to my mind Rami Malek inhabited Mercury’s over-the-top mannerisms perfectly.

So on to my fragment of song lyric, from ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ – I don’t necessarily have one favourite Queen track, whichever track I’m listening to at any moment feels like my favourite. And there’s something about all Queen tracks that makes them the perfect accompaniment to driving – so as my daughter drove me to the station to catch my train home we had a Queen CD playing, and we both sang along at the top of our voices.

The particular track that was playing as we reached the station was ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ so inevitably this is the song that stuck firmly in my head all the way home… goodbyes are always difficult and tearful occasions, so to have a fun vibrant memory of saying goodbye rather than a sad one was very special… ❤

"Tonight I'm gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive
And the world - I'll turn it inside out, yeah!
I'm floating around in ecstasy..."