Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Idler Wednesday


unleashed with

a vengeance

THERE'S a sense akin to Dunkirk in Britain as the clock ticks toward Brexit in March, with no sign that the House of Commons will accept the deal Prime Minister Theresa May has reached with the EU and no sign she will take steps to avoid a "no deal" crash-out.

This week heavy trucks staged a traffic jam exercise in Kent to see how traffic could be managed in the case of a crash-out, in which case customs checks at Dover would cause massive vehicle back-ups.

The exercise, which involved using a nearby airfield as a parking lot, was supposed to involve 150 heavy trucks but the government could procure only 89 in time. Heavy vehicles involved in the real traffic jam that would follow a Brexit crash-out would number in the thousands.

Meanwhile, MPs against Brexit are being harassed just outside parliament by ugly far-right groups who demand a crash-out. MPs have written to the commissioner of police, asking for protection. This at the Mother of Parliaments?

David Cameron, prime minister at the time he called the Brexit referendum, is said to have expressed misgivings that he could be "unleashing demons". That's about the only thing he had right.

As the clock ticks, a cross-party group of 210 MPs – supported by business organisations including Jaguar-Land Rover and Rolls Royce – have written to May, calling on her to take no-deal Brexit "off the table" as an option. In other words, the Brexit deadline should be extended while negotiations with the EU continue and, if negotiations fail, Britain remains in the EU.

Mrs May meanwhile continues with a two-way game of chicken – against the EU to extract further concessions (the EU would also suffer in the case of a crash-out) and against her own MPs who hate her deal but quail at the thought of the cliff-edge departure.

In the US, the federal government has been shut down in a stand-off over funding Donald Trump's Great Wall of Mexico. Britain and the EU are in crisis. You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But they'll be rolling around with laughter in the Kremlin  and other quarters. Let's hope all they're doing is laugh.

Will the British parliament somehow manage to right the ship, assert itself? Will the lemming-rush be averted? It's a long way from us, to be sure, but economic collapse anywhere causes waves rather than ripples. Remember the bank that collapsed in the US back in 2008?


RAIL passengers in Britain have been asked to be more careful about what they flush down the toilets on trains. The latest item to have caused a blockage on Virgin Trains is a bra.

Other objects found in blocked toilets include spectacles, wedding rings and a football scarf, according to Sky News.

Four toilets a day are being taken out of service due to people flushing foreign objects instead of using the bins provided, the rail company says.

I bet that bra could tell a story. The football scarf? Maybe it's the same story.


TWO teenagers are caught smoking a joint in the park. They're taken to the police station. The desk sergeant tells them they're entitled to one phone call. A while later a man comes into the police station.

The sergeant asks: "Are you these kids' lawyer."

"Heck no, I'm delivering a pizza."

Last word

Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes. There's just too much fraternising with the enemy.

Henry Kissinger

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