Quote of the day: Stupidity as strategy

The person at the top of this government doesn’t think through the consequences of his actions, is cavalier about detail and bored by complexity, prefers the quick hit of a snappy populist slogan to the steady slog of competent administration. All this was known about him long before the Tory party made him its leader. His flaws as a prime minister are a revelation only to those who wilfully ignored his biography and his record.

Andrew Rawnsley on why Boris Johnson is constantly surprised when his government fails

Quote of the day: A country that cheats at cards

But either way, setting ourselves up as the country you really can’t trust seems an eccentric way to launch a new era of global dealmaking. I know some on the UK government’s side have long sought to characterise these negotiations as the righteous Jedi (them) versus the nefarious Trade Federation (the EU). But this has long indicated that the Star Wars franchise is just one more thing they don’t understand.

Marina Hyde on the UK Government’s utterly bizarre plan to break international law because they didn’t understand the Withdrawal agreement that they negotiated.

Quote of the day: Anticlimactic

Revolutions unleash euphoria because they create tangible images of change and inaugurate, at least in the fevered minds of their supporters, a new epoch. Brexit can’t do either of these things. The problem with a revolt against imaginary oppression is that you end up with imaginary freedom. How do you actually show that the yoke of Brussels has been lifted? You can’t bring prawn cocktail-flavoured crisps back into the shops, or release stout British fishermen from the humiliation of having to wear hair nets at work on the high seas, or unban donkey rides on beaches, or right any of the other great wrongs that fuelled anti-EU sentiment – because all of it was make-believe.

Fintan O’Toole

In 2019 I was mostly listening to…

Mustard Plug. Or so says Last.fm, which has counted up all the tracks I scrobbled over the course of the past year in order to tell me what I like.

It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that I have been mainly listening to Ska, Rock and Ska Punk and that the band I have listened to more than any other was the aforementioned Mustard Plug.

The album I have listened to most was Life Sucks… Let’s Dance! from Reel Big Fish but the track I have spent most time listening to was Box from the incomparably awesome album, Evildoers Beware.

And here it is

I’m special. Just like everyone else

Thanks to Claudette, the Writer of Words, etc for nominating me for a special blogger award.

Here’s how it works


  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you (as above )
  2. Answer the questions you are asked (if you’re comfortable doing so!)
  3. Create 10 questions for the bloggers you’ve nominated.
  4. Nominate at least 3 bloggers for the Special Blogger Award.
  5. Comment on your nominees most recent blog post to let them know you’ve nominated them.
  6. Have fun!

So here are Claudette’s questions and my answers

Name the book you’re currently reading.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. This was recommended to me by my eldest son and it’s proving to be really, really good.

What is the best/favorite time of day to write your blog posts?

Either first thing in the morning (before anyone is awake) or last thing at night (once all the boys are in bed).

If money and time was no object, where you would you like to go on your next vacation?

When I was younger, I was very taken by the idea of great train journeys such as the Trans Siberian Express. Having checked to see if this is still a thing, I quite like the idea of taking the train from Berlin to Beijing.

They’re planning to send some people to Mars. Putting aside all the complications involved with this trip, would it interest you to be a part of that group, and if so, why or why not?

If people went to Mars, they would need to spend most of their time underground to avoid the radiation and the lower gravity makes for a high likelihood of bashing your head on the ceiling every time you move too fast. The younger me would have leapt at the opportunity but, now, I’m too old for this.

Name a TV show or movie you really didn’t like but were compelled to keep watching anyway, and explain why.

I have enough trouble finding time for TV series I do like. If anything, I am too quick to give up on a series only to discover that after a rough start it proved to be quite popular.

I have walked out of films in the past, which is particularly easy in Belgium where there is often an intermission around half way through. This is always a good opportunity to establish whether anyone actually wants to see the second half.

Describe the most challenging part of a relationship (current or past). Could be with anyone (family, friend, professional etc.)

Communication. There are many situations in which I find that I’m not making myself clear enough. This is often compounded by the fact that, in any conversation, at least one of us is speaking a second language.

Which politician today do you find most entertaining?

I’m always a but wary of describing politicians as entertaining because their actions do affect people.

On the other hand, there is Chris Grayling, the incompetent’s incompetent who, among other things, managed to give a £13m contract to a ferry company that didn’t have any ferries.

What is the most irksome thing you’ve come across in recent days?

I’m unirkable. Except when people are unable to put their mobile phones away.

If someone placed two bowls of nuts in front of you, one with shells and a nutcracker, one without shells, which bowl would you choose to eat?

Neither. I don’t like nuts.

What’s the first word that pops into your mind when you hear the word Toronto?

Bulls. Which is weird because I have no idea from where I have picked up this reference.

And now for my questions

  1. What book, or books are you reading now?
  2. Do you ever re-read books and, if so, how often?
  3. eBook or paper?
  4. Cinema or DVD?
  5. What was the last film you saw?
  6. What film have you watched more than any other?
  7. You hear that a book you like is about to be adapted into a film: Do you squee or cringe?
  8. Is there a book of film that you like, even though everyone else seems to dislike it? Or one that you dislike even though everyone else raves about how wonderful it is.
  9. If you could go and live in any fictional world, universe or location you like, which one would you choose?
  10. What is the first thing you think of when someone says “Belgium” to you?

And I’m going to nominate three people

Carissa of Rubbish Talk, an Indonesian book blogger who has recently returned from a bit of a hiatus with the wonderful concept of binge reading.

Amanda Cade of Worth It who blogs regularly and entertainingly about books, films and life.

Sophia Ismaa. Another book blogger whose insights into several popular franchises are well worth reading.