Greg's Occasional News & Views

30 July 2017

Another good(ish) week – what are the chances of that? We did, finally, get a bit of the rain which has been threatened by the forecasters for the past several weeks. The weather map on Tuesday evening was awash with deep blue rain-signifying symbols covering the entire country. On Wednesday it did, indeed, rain but not nearly the deluge we had been led to believe would arrive. Instead we had a gentle sprinkle for much of the day which will have done Penelope’s garden a world of good but probably won’t fill the reservoirs to overflowing.

We were out on Thursday evening for dinner (Pizza Express and “yes” I had vouchers!) and the second part of the NT Live streaming of Angels in America. It was every bit as good as the first part and once again Penelope and I came away feeling absolutely blown away. It is long – three hours for part one and four hours for part two – but the time seemed to fly by and we were totally engrossed. Great performances, great staging and production and, on the one hand, a sadly sobering message while at the same time an uplifting message about the need to continue moving forward. Outstanding!

This year’s Tour de France finished on Sunday and it was an absolutely fabulous race, very close and highly contested. Chris Froome won his fourth Tour in five years but for the first time really he was put under pressure in this year’s race. I find it simply astonishing that these guys can ride (and ride and ride and ride) for three weeks, across flat and undulating landscapes as well as up precipitous mountains more accustomed to being climbed by mountain goats than cyclists sprinting up near vertical inclines. In the end, Froome’s margin of victory was less than one minute after 3540 km (2200 miles) of cycling and the margin between third and fourth place was one second!

There is a collection of additional photos here.

We’re looking forward to sister Susie’s arrival next week – she comes on Tuesday and stays for about ten days and we’ve lots of fun activities planned. Let’s hope the weather cooperates to some extent as much of what we want to do – visit National Trust houses and gardens – involves being out of doors a lot of the time!

We’re also looking forward to a handful of Bubble-watching duties now that she is on summer holiday and Mummy and Daddy still have to work! Again, let’s hope the weather cooperates!

From the “You Couldn’t Make It Up” department – the UK government is (finally) going to commission an independent report on the economic and social contributions and costs of EU immigration.

As one Labour MP commented, “It beggars belief that the government have taken a year [since the referendum] to get round to asking for expert evidence on the role played by EU nationals in our country.”

“Beggars belief” is putting it mildly. This will be the first analysis on the costs and benefits of European immigration this government will have carried out. There were no studies conducted in anticipation of the EU referendum when some factual analysis and evidence might have been useful, if only to counter the lies about the country being overrun by scrounging foreigners.

When the Leave vote won the referendum you might have imagined that a responsible government might carry out such an audit, if not to counter the lies of the campaign then at least to identify the economic impact of the decision to “control our borders” and drastically reduce the number of Europeans coming to the UK. It’s been more than a year since the referendum and the “warnings” from those who depend on foreign workers – the NHS, farming and the whole of the service industry – have been coming thick and fast. Is the government seriously only now waking up to the fact that tossing all the foreigners out is not really a very sensible position? The report is not due to be published until September 2018, only a few months before the UK is to leave the EU. Talk about closing the stable door after the horse has bolted!

Our immigration policy has been governed by anecdote and scaremongering, rather than evidence, since the moment Theresa May set foot in the Home Office in 2010. The timing of this announcement shows the total lack of preparation and understanding that has typified this government’s attitude to Brexit so far.

Yep. You couldn’t make it up.

Love to you all,

Greg

 

 

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