What’s the point of being moderate?

Recent, and not so recent, events fill you with despair and you wonder what’s to be done to prevent this country drifting further away from being a functioning ‘liberal’ democracy.

That’s not ‘liberal’ as in Liberal Democrat, although I’d say that it’s at the core of our values, but liberal as in fair, inclusive, tolerant and open. You’d think that an essential element of this would involve being respectful of the law and not being arbitrary about it. Not breaking it in a ‘limited and specific way’ (Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis in Parliament) and not qualifying adherence to it ‘in a way that I find unacceptable’ (Justice Secretary on the Andrew Marr show today).

This is the Government which has lost control of Covid and the confidence of the people whom it needs to engage to get the infection trend back on track. It’s the government which sets rules for the people and then ignores them itself. And it’s the government which adds to the infection risk by urging people to return to work unnecessarily. Doesn’t it understand that a lot of home working is now taking place because it’s more effective than what went before?

With Johnson having a big fat majority in Parliament and most Tories being more concerned with their party than the country what’s to stop this drift? Being moderate and articulating such a position doesn’t seem to have much chance of being successful. I’ve got to confess to more sympathy with Extinction Rebellion and its approach than I’ve had hitherto.

Last year there were big marches, millions of people, protesting against Brexit and calling for a People’s Vote. Of course we all complimented ourselves on how civilised and good-humoured they were. A true expression of moderate feelings. But did they honestly achieve anything? Sometimes being moderate misses the point and becomes self-defeating.

5 memorable flights

I didn’t take my first air flight until my mid 20s but I’d have to admit I’ve made up for it since. It’s not something I’m necessarily proud of but in my time I’ve held gold cards with three different airline groups (British Airways, KLM and SAS) and in more recent times I’ve done interim management jobs in Spain by effectively commuting weekly between Luton or Stansted and Barcelona.

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Drink piss, screw women and drive fast cars

Parental advisory: this blog post contains no salacious comment. Despite the title.

Phil Judd second left; JDJ 4th left

I lived for two years in Jakarta, Indonesia when I was in my late 20s. After nearly four years working for Shell in London I joined Mobil Oil. This took me firstly to New York and then to Jakarta where I worked in a small ‘president’s office’. Mobil’s main operations were in North Sumatra.

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How facist is Boris Johnson?

I ask because I’ve just been watching the excellent Andrew Marr series History of Modern Britain and the scenes from Germany and Italy in the 20s and 30s chime unpleasantly with this week’s Republican convention in the US. Googling the question ‘is Donald Trump a fascist’ connects to several interesting articles and although the answer in general seems to be ‘no’ you’ve got to worry.

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The Yacht in Oakenholt

You couldn’t really have called the Yacht in Oakenholt my local. Firstly because it wasn’t really local. It was in Flint which was 3 or 4 miles away from my home in Connah’s Quay which had at least 8 pubs of its own. And secondly because I didn’t go there that often because I was living away from home anyway. It’s just that I went there more often than I went to any other pub in the locality.

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Cambridge, lock downs and face coverings

I went into Cambridge this morning. Generally speaking it’s not a big deal. In normal pre-Covid times I’m often at Shire Hall and I have a habit of going in every Saturday mornings to meet friends for breakfast. But today was only my fourth visit since the start of lock down (16 Mar 20). Two of those visits were for very specific purposes early on and the third was a first Saturday morning visit last month when restaurants were allowed to open and once more I could enjoy a Saturday morning breakfast.

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Five restaurants with staying power

We had lunch at the Old Fire Engine House in Ely today. That in itself would be worthy of a post because the food is pretty good, there’s an acceptable wine list and service is intelligent and excellent. But there’s a twist. I first went to the Old Fire Engine House sometime in 1970. That’s 50 years ago and it got me thinking. Which iconic restaurants have I visited way back and are still in business today? I say iconic (a) to narrow the field a little but also (b) to highlight ones with a certain distinctive character. There aren’t many and I can’t find one to beat 50 years. 

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Jul 20: photo of the month

This month was a toss up between another butterfly and a little ego. Naturally the latter won. I last had my haircut 20 Feb 20 and this photo was taken 5 Jul 20 prior to my next haircut 8 Jul 20. I felt that I needed a record for posterity. Obviously I didn’t take this photo; all credit to Juni for framing the shot and then letting the camera take care of the rest.

The photo was taken with my Sony A77 ll with my Tamron 18-270mm lens, f5.6 at 1/200th, ISO320 and a focal length of 100mm. There’s been no post-processing, not even a crop.