Quotes: He Must Be Right

“And while MPs deserve credit for trying, there is unlikely to be a majority in the country for a deal cobbled together over a weekend on the basis of MPs’ third or fourth choices that could decide the next 100 years of our history.”

– Gordon Brown on the state of Brexit after the government plan’s third defeat.

Quotes: Bewildering Self-Harm

Today in the Brexit saga,

“Kent is going full steam ahead with its contingency plans to prevent gridlock on its roads in the event of congestion in Dover or Calais.

Concrete barriers have already been erected on the main port artery in Kent, with a section of the London-bound M20 between junction 8 and junction 9 now operating as a 50mph contraflow for normal traffic. Work on signage will be completed over the weekend.

The coastbound section will be closed off to all but lorry traffic from next week to allow Highways England to carry out a dry run to cope with possible chaos after 11pm on 29 March.”

Also,

“Manston airport near Ramsgate is in the final stages of preparation for use as a lorry park for up to 6,000 heavy goods vehicles in the event of gridlock.

Councillors will also hear from adult social care and health officers who have plans to minimise the risk of disruption to admissions of patients to hospitals, residential care homes and the supply of fuel, medication, cleaning and sanitation products.

Schools have also been issued with Brexit guidelines warning them to think twice before closing down in the event that staff cannot make it through the gridlock.”

From UK’s emergency plans for no-deal Brexit begin to be put into action in The Guardian.

•••••

Michael Hirsh writes elsewhere today that

“Britain’s humiliation has been a powerful lesson for even the most virulent populists and nationalists within the EU, rendering the idea of full exit all but unthinkable, a new political third rail.”

That may be wishful thinking, for also today, across the channel and just up the road, comes news that Far-right Forum for Democracy wins most seats in Dutch provincial elections.

Interesting times.

Random Interesting Facts

From Liquid assets, Julia Bell recalls an unromantic trip to a tax haven in the Times Literary Supplement:

“There are about 4,400 islands in British and Irish waters, but this number includes only those that are over half an acre in size and are islands at all states of the tide. Of that number 210 are inhabited, and 850 are in the Republic of Ireland. If you include the islands that are only visible at low tide, the figure rises by another 6,000 or so. Jersey forms part of an archipelago, including Guernsey, that is closer to France than Britain, protected from the full force of the English Channel and the Atlantic by the Cherbourg peninsula to the east and Brittany to the south. They are ostensibly a Crown Dependency, which means that the British Sovereign is responsible for their security and safety, and their governance is a throwback to William the Conqueror and the formation of the Duchy of Normandy. Jersey is a Bailiwick. The term emerges from the Old French word for bailiff – bailie – and it refers to an area of land over which a bailiff has jurisdiction. The Bailiff of Jersey is chosen by the Crown, which means that Jersey has a strange insider/outsider status in its relationship to Britain. Jersey’s laws are supervised by the UK, but it is also classed as an independent state, which means that it is possible to run business there that has no tax relationship to the mainland.”

Weekend Reading

A countdown of sorts is beginning, at least in my head. In about six weeks we’ll take CS&W back out into the world for an extended road trip beginning in Vietnam (many photos here). The last year or so has been relatively quiet at EarthPhotos.com, but I expect that will change. Here on CS&W, too, I anticipate more photography soon.

More on that in the weeks ahead. For now, a few clicks about different parts of the world for your idle time this weekend:

A blog about Stonehenge Replicas

A brief piece on why It’s Punk to Be Eastern European

Issues involved in The Battle to Save Lapland

A friend and I visited Atlantic City as very young men some time around 1980. Mostly, it made me want to get into a fight. That’s nothing like me, but it had this gritty and ominous undertone of meanness. Many years later comes this: Atlantic City Is Really Going Down This Time. Wonder what took it so long

A look at French troubles via a review of Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery, and the Future of France by Christophe Guilluy: Jupiter Falls to Earth

As fighting flared up again today between al-Shebab and government forces in Somalia, the northern portion of that country looks for acceptance from the rest of the world. Opinion here on Why has Somaliland succeeded where Iraqi Kurdistan has failed?

See you next week.

Is There Anything to Be Done?

Please help.

All this time I’ve taken it on faith that the United Kingdom’s “Europe” debate has primarily been an internal Tory affair, to which the ruling party has held the rest of the country hostage. But yesterday the wider parliament, acting as the collective decision-making body for the country and comprising all the parties, failed to muster even the minimal political dexterity to stave off crashing out of the EU without an agreement.

It looks as if the entire political class is unable to govern. It looks like a shambles.

Anybody?