I recently created a new website at http:www.brexitbooks.com. Since the Brexit debate is still raging, I thought it would be useful to offer reviews of books on the subject and a place to order them from Amazon. It is rather time consuming and, so far, not at all profitable. The greatest frustration is that I haven't yet found a book from an anti-Brexit stance which I feel I can recommend. Is there anyone out there with a reasoned and reasonable anti-Brexit stance who would like to review some books for me or would lie to comment on my posts? There's no money in it, I'm afraid.
Let's face it, Tiger of the Stripe isn't the largest media company in the world and things take a bit longer than they do in our larger rivals, not least because we don't have a lot of cash to throw at projects. Kennedy's New Latin Primer is made all the more demanding by the decision made in the first edition to have US and UK editions. I don't regret this because there nouns and adjectives are declined in a different order in the two countries and it is unreasonable to expect readers in either country to adapt to the traditions of the other. However, it does add to the amount of work required. The UK edition is nearly complete, although it still needs a final proofread. I have decided that, like last time, the two editions should be published simultaneously, so the UK edition will have to wait until the US edition is ready. We may also publish iBook versions, although I can't really imagine using such a thing. What is certain is that there will be no Kindle version, as the format simply cannot cope with such complex texts. An ePub 3 version is possible as our iBooks are basically created in that format.
I'll be the first to admit that this website has become very messy and dowdy. I am in the middle of redesigning it and I hope to relaunch it fairly soon. More importantly, we should soon have some new books, after a very long publishing famine. In particular, I hope to bring out the long-awaited second edition of Kennedy's New Latin Primer in early 2018.
I'm most impressed with my wife. She has joined the crew of Mothers for Father Thames who will be rowing in the Great River Race from Docklands to Ham House on Saturday 9 September on behalf of the Father Thames Trust. Here is the full wording of their press release:
Among the entrants from Richmond this year is ‘Mothers for Father Thames’, a mature all- female crew including two novice oarswomen, who are rowing to raise money for the Father Thames Trust (registered charity No. 1054655) and the Thames Landscape Strategy, which work to preserve the Arcadian Thames.
Richmond residents Hilary Pereira, Linda Duffield and Lizzie Danckwerts, together with Jos Thompson and Frances Kavanagh from Church Island, Staines, will row the 21.6 miles, expecting to take over four hours, from Docklands to Ham in a replica 1916 ship's tender, the Lillan, made by Mark Edwards at Richmond Bridge Boathouse.
Linda Duffield, a Trustee of the Father Thames Trust, said: ‘If you love this beautiful stretch of the Thames with its historic views and vistas, please help us ensure that future generations continue to have the same pleasure and access to the River that we do whilst protecting its unique wildlife and ecosystems.’
If you would like to support ‘Mothers for Father Thames’, you can donate online: www.justgiving.com/fatherthamestrust
For more information on what to expect and where best to watch, please visit: www.greatriverrace.co.uk
Come and enjoy the fun and entertainment for all the family along Richmond Riverside on 9 September.
Have leading politicians and apparatchiks in the European Union such as Michel Barnier and Jean Claude Junker been trying to influence the result of the UK general election as Theresa May has suggested? I don't know but it was my first impression (before the PM made the suggestion) that they had. Frankly, there are only two possibilities: they either interfered with the intention of affecting the outcome of the election or they just happened to make a series of rather outrageous statements with obvious relevance to the election without realising their mistake. It looks like a co-ordinated attempt to me.
Either way, their behaviour shows them to be fools – no great surprise there. If they had the faintest Idea what they were doing, they would have realised that their comments would boost Theresa May's hand, both in the election and in the subsequent negotiations. Undecided voters will look at this behaviour and decide that we cannot trust the EU at all and they will be more likely to vote for the Conservatives because May has stated that 'no deal is better than a bad deal'. With a large majority May will be able to simply walk away from a bad deal. We have been told for months that the UK doesn't have the negotiation skills to deal with the EU. If these recent comments are representative of the EU's efforts to build a negotiating position, it would seem that it is the EU which lacks negotiating skills.
As someone who thinks that access to the single market would not be worth the price demanded from the EU (not just in financial terms but also the continuing influence of the European Court of Justice), I welcome Barnier and Juncker's remarks because they will probably ensure that we make a clean break. However, that is just my personal perspective. If, like many of my friends, I opposed Brexit and now favour as close a continuing association with the EU as possible, I would be absolutely furious at their behaviour.
All is quiet at Tiger Towers. The atrium is silent and deserted. Every floor of Tiger of the Stripe’s vast HQ is empty, except for me typing away at my computer. Is it Brexit, the price of part mechanical wood pulp, a slump in demand for books? No, I am just busy on other things for the next week. Soon, the massive corporate beast that is Tiger of the Stripe will reawaken, lick its fearful symmetry into shape and roar back to life, reinvigorated and more dashingly stripey than ever.
I thought Nicola Sturgeon was bad enough pressing for a new referendum on Scottish independence when Scotland is even less able to support itself than it has been for much of the last 300 years. Now Gordon Brown is proposing even greater devolution for Scotland. This would include setting VAT rates and the power to conclude international treaties. Fine, let Scotland set its own VAT rates, but why should England continue to subsidise Scottish extravagance? This is particularly obnoxious because every penny of subsidy helps the SNP look good to the Scottish electorate. As for the ability to conclude international treaties, this is pure nonsense. Only a sovereign state can do so.
Scottish independence would be extremely bad for the rest of the UK but it would be catastrophic for Scotland whose budget deficit is twice that of the rest of the UK. If Gordon Brown and the Labour Party in Scotland want to head off a vote for Scottish independence, they should come up with some sensible ideas not this game of Fantasy Politics.
My wife keeps bring back bedding plants from the garden centre. They are invariably in expanded polystyrene containers and I was getting very concerned about the environmental implications. There are articles on the internet that suggest that it is recyclable but I know that Richmond upon Thames council doesn't recycle it. I contacted my ever-helpful councillor, Pamela Fleming, who told me that there didn't seem to be any London boroughs which recycled it. On further investigation, she told me that the root problem was that there is no identified demand for the recycled product. WRAP, the Waste and Recycling Action Programme, advises 'Avoid the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS), oxo-degradable or bio-degradable polymers as they are not currently compatible within existing household plastic sorting or reprocessing systems.' In the meantime, councils are planning to move from landfill to incineration. Given that this has been shown to produce soot and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in varying quantities according to the method of combustion, and since PAHs are toxic and carcinogenic, this doesn't seem a very acceptable solution.
Expanded polystyrene is also widely used in packaging for electrical goods. It seems to me that there is absolutely no excuse for using it. Most of this can be replaced with cardboard. Some years ago there were even computer manufacturers using popcorn instead of expanded plastic. Its use in garden centres seems so at odds with the idea of nurturing a little bit of nature near your home that I am surprised that it has been so widely accepted. On obvious (if possibly more expensive) substitute would be containers made from coir or some other natural fibre.
If Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party are serious about another independence referendum (which I very much doubt), they must be delusional. While Scotland's exports to the rest of the UK were £49.8 bn in 2015, its exports to the rest of the EU were just 12.3bn. If Scotland left the UK, either before or after the UK leaves the EU, it would be outside both the UK and the EU. It would then take years for it to rejoin the EU. The worst of all possible worlds.
On 17 January, Liam Halligan and Gerard Lyons published Clean Brexit, an exceptionally clear-sighted analysis of what need to be done to get the best possible deal from Brexit. The main point, and one which the Government seem to agree with, is that we need to be outside both the Single Market and the the Customs Union. Download it her: https://policyexchange.org.uk/publication/clean-br...