Monday, 20 June 2016

The EU Referendum - A Neglected Issue

It seems to me that a fundamental issue of the EU referendum has been barely touched upon in all the sound and fury of debate.

I consider the economic arguments pretty finely balanced and the immigration problem harder to settle, even after Brexit, than is generally supposed.

But during the so-called renegotiation conducted by the Prime Minister an issue far more important than any of the trifles gained was conceded: this was the UK's veto on further integration of the Eurozone.

If we remain in the EU we shall no longer have the power to block measures that favour the Eurozone, even if they are not in our interest. We may simply draw attention to the problem, following which the in-built majority of the Eurozone can press ahead regardless.

I have explained in previous posts why the political project of a single currency was always a pipe-dream in the absence of fiscal consolidation and the sort of mechanism for transfers to poorer regions that cannot long survive outside the borders of one country.

The inhabitants of the Eurozone may or may not want it to become a single country. No-one has asked them and the Brussels elite will try to avoid doing so.

However history shows us that whenever a measure of further EU integration has been rejected by referendum the country concerned has been required to vote again and this time get the answer right.

To the disastrous unemployment and indebtedness across the southern member states, Brussels knows only one answer – More Europe. Never mind that the single currency caused most of the problems; the single currency is by definition good and all steps necessary to make it work are therefore also good.

To the calls for Britain to lead rather than leave the EU, I say - How can we lead from the fringes? The single currency is at the core of the project and we have vowed to have nothing to do with it. The Schengen Agreement is the second biggest undertaking and we have vowed to have nothing to do with that.

There is no choice available between having the EU consider or not consider UK interests. To me a vote to Remain is a vote to be permanently outvoted and our interests ignored anyway. However, unlike after Brexit, we should not be allowed to remedy the situation by negotiating freely on our own account with the rest of the world.

Meanwhile we shall be allowed to continue paying the bills.

And if you think the only bills are financial, you might just ask our fishermen what the EU has done for them.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores

My story The Wild Hunt of Sliabh Mannan is up today at Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores.

This is the only story I have ever written about Sliabh Mannan, where I live, and I find it remarkable how the landscape and the story have become intertwined in my mind. I have the greatest difficulty in remembering that I did actually make it up. As far as I'm concerned this is so clearly the way it happened that it belongs in a history book and I half believe that's where I found it.

As a result of this strange psychological effect, I suspect I now have a deeper insight into the way in which myths and historical events became almost indistinguishable in the ancient world, either the Muses or the shades of the characters or both being responsible for the inspiration and no other written records existing.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Good Clean Fun!

with apologies to W S Gilbert:

There once was a little Venusian queen
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!
Who landed her spacecraft on our village green
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!
And she asked me why authors of modern renown
All wrote about folk from the wrong side of town
In erotic potboilers that folk can't put down!
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!

I said if you really desire a good book
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!
You'd better not judge them by how covers look
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!
Though their heroines may be all scantily-clad
Though their back-jacket blurbs may be wickedly bad
Their repetitive content will just drive you mad!
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!

Now in stories which are of the space-opera kind
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!
There are lashings of danger and sinister minds
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!
But I'm glad to relate after everything's said
Though there may be some schmaltz when the two heroes wed
That the bulk of the action won't take place in bed!
Oh tell me a good sci-fi story!