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.”

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?

People Are Losing Their Minds

“Therefore there has to be an argument, doesn’t there, that says instead of Dublin telling this country (The United Kingdom) that we have to stay in the single market etc within the customs union, why doesn’t Dublin, why doesn’t the Republic of Ireland leave the EU and throw in their lot with this country?”

 

– BBC Today program anchor John Humphrys suggesting that the best solution to the Brexit impasse might be for Ireland to join the UK and quit the EU.

Weekend Reading

Windy and gray on our side of the hill today. Looks like an indoor weekend in the southern Appalachians.

The theme of today’s weekend reading recommendations is big European countries in turmoil.

 

The UK:
The Divided Kingdom by Helen Dale
Labour’s Brexit trilemma: in search of the least bad outcome by Laurie MacFarlane
How Ireland Outmaneuvered Britain on Brexit by Dara Doyle
France:
Notes on the Yellow Jackets by Claire Berlinski
Macron Fans the Flames of Illiberalism by Pankaj Mishra
Two Roads for the New French Right by Mark Lilla
What Will Follow Emmanuel Macron? by Sarah Jones
From Sans Culottes to Gilets Jaunes: Macron’s Marie Antoinette Moment by Sylvain Cypel
Italy:
How Macron gave Italian populists a boost by Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli
The Dangerous New Face of Salvini’s Italy by Walter Mayr

Enjoy your weekend. See you next week.

Quotes: Britain Crumbles

“What invariably kills Tory governments, in the end, is private affluence and public squalor. Today too few Conservatives are sufficiently conservative: they seldom speak of the value of community, of the shared institutions that bind us together and give purpose, dignity and meaning to our lives. And so, Britain crumbles. “

– from Crumbling Britain: thousands like my elderly aunt suffer as the public realm decays by Jason Crowley