It's not always appropriate to stop people in the street and ask to photograph their clothes, but sometimes, it really feels necessary. This one cheered me up greatly.
Striking, how many familiar events are not running to the old rules these days. Just read another newspaper article on Brexit, on the theme "Then you'll be sorry!" - and listened to a brief interview on the radio about Trump's likely appointment of a non-diplomat to be Secretary of State. When we realise that we're all poorer, we may indeed be sorry, but will we realise that we brought it on ourselves by collectively voting to Leave the European Union? Will we think of a European road not travelled, on which we'd all be (ha ha) prosperous? Or find some other cause for our poverty in all the events, et cetera, that have happened since June 2016?
And did we expect the businessman President-Elect to find his Secretary of State among the long-term diplomats that he doesn't know, or among the business people that he does?
The common thread in the commentary is that established practice is not being followed; that this failure to follow the old rules is of itself worthy of comment. The implicit assumption seems to be that the old rules are still there. But I wonder. Have we just stepped out of established practice for a brief season, in which it makes sense to continue nudging the UK back towards Remain and The Donald towards diplomats skilled in the old ways - or has the train left the tracks completely?
Which is an embarrassingly clumsy seque into today's rail strike south of London. If this follows the old rules, there'll be management on one side and union(s) on the other, and the politicians and the papers, et al, will split by left/right political allegiance. Unless the world has changed completely, in which case the sheer inconvenience of the strike - not the politics, nor the industrial relations; just the lack of trains - will be the decisive factor.
And the coming postal strike. Once upon a time, there would have been almost a sense of inevitability about postal staff walking out just ahead of the last posting days before Christmas, and we would all have taken sides according to the politics, et cetera, or at least accepted what was happening. But I wonder.
It's a bright grey morning in Falmouth. There was rain first thing, for the early walk, and then not much visibility for the drive to the meeting in Penryn. But it's bright now, as though there's a sky behind the thinning fog, as though that sky has a sun in it. The red oil-platform thing is still tied up next to the grey Navy ship, and there's precious little movement in the harbour. A few small boats still on their moorings. This weather deadens sound.
Standing next to the red light at the end of - was it Fish Strand Quay? - last night, looking for a green light at the end of a jetty on the other side. Couldn't see one. Celebrated various successes at Amanzi African Restaurant, bought a book by Karen Armstrong and a pint of something local at Beerwolf Books, not in that order, and talked about - I don't know, but not news and politics and referenda and elections and all the inescapable tedia.
Thought this morning: maybe a blog post without any of that. Listening now to the faint rumble of the old refrigerator and looking out in the direction of stars.
What 'will' a No vote mean, in the Italian referendum on Sunday? Subject-line question in the latest comment-for-the-media to drop into my inbox today. From an investment company.
I wonder if we're just slightly failing to grasp the whole point about unexpected events. You don't expect them. The market, or public opinion, and/or whatever, have 'priced in' a No vote, the unexpected vote, to the point that we're all going to be surprised if Italy votes Yes We Love The Status Quo.
This on the day that a Liberal Democrat - reduced to just eight MPs at the last UK election - overturned a 20,000 government majority - didn't catch the exact figure - to win a by-election in West London. The winning candidate - I think I heard this correctly - only joined the party after the referendum in Summer 2016.
What does it all mean?
What happens here
This site is updated weekly, usually on a Friday although I might change that (again). I write it because (1) I like writing it and (2) I like having a deadline. More often than not, it works out as a commentary on the week just passed.
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Welcome. Thank you for coming. But am I the right
William Essex? Click here
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Read My Shorts?
Here is yet another page of old blog posts and other writings. Sorry, but I need my metaphorical sock drawer for metaphorical socks. The link to the page is right at the end of the paragraph here.
Roads without end
Here is a passage from a review of the book The Road to Somewhere by David Goodhart. I haven't read the book (yet), but the collected reviews would make a worthwhile set of political arguments in their own right. More.
State of the Union
Several commentators today saying that they've lost confidence in the US. Making their point by talking up the glories of the past. After two weeks of this administration, they're not going back.
Were they wrong, and they've seen the light? Or has the US changed? I guess the latter is the intended meaning. But we should at least acknowledge the possibility... More.