Today’s Gallery Theme – ‘Working It Out Together’
I feel as though I am observing events in my own country (UK) a bit like the proverbial visitor from outer space. Not the little green man who observes a crane working and says to his green mate ‘They’re stranger than we thought – there’s one here eating something…’ (sorry for that awful joke which works better with a picture) – but as an ‘innocent’ observer who finds it difficult to believe and to interpret what he sees.
On this coming Thursday, the UK votes on whether to remain in the European Union or to leave. Rhetoric has been harsh, and a wonderful young lady Member of Parliament appears to have met her death at the hands of a fascist anti-immigration fanatic because she was vocal in supporting refugees and promoting the ‘remain’ campaign. Now there are two young kids who have lost their mum and a grieving husband.
The problem facing the UK is that opinion is very evenly divided, largely because the issues are horrendously complicated, and many people will be making up their minds only when faced with marking a cross on their ballot papers – and so the issue will be decided by the largely uninformed.
I don’t normally do political predictions, but here I am confident that the result will be close. Too close for comfort – on Friday after the final result is available around 7am British time, there are going to be a lot of extremely angry people – about 50% of the population. A big majority either way would be definitive, and lead quickly to political and currency stability. I fear though, observing from 4000 miles away, that there will be total political disarray – not least because both major political parties are themselves divided on the issue. The fall-out (literally a falling out) within both Labour and Conservatives is inevitable – and one could even envisage civil unrest as the aggrieved side (whichever it is) vents its anger while a hapless so-called government wrings its hands.
The EU countries have ‘form’ when it comes to referendums. In the past, whenever a referendum has not given the result a particular government wanted, the result has been another referendum until the voters ‘get it right’. I doubt that can happen in the UK this time as both sides have made it clear that the result will be final – and so has the ruling ‘junta’ of EU apparatchiks. The UK will be the traitors whatever – for even considering leaving this peculiar body which they joined only as a trading organisation but now enacts legislation which overrules national legislation which has been drawn up by unelected bureaucrats.
I could go on, but I won’t, except to say that there are also powerful arguments to remain. And my country couldn’t ‘re-apply’ as an accession state if it leaves and then decides it has got it wrong without joining the already failing currency the Euro, accepting the removal of border authorities between it and the rest of the EU, and a host of other conditions which will probably get worse rather than they are now. Heaven help the Brits!!
Actually, it is worse still. The four parts of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) are likely to have different outcomes, with Scotland in particular voting strongly to remain. If the UK overall votes to leave, then there will be second referendum – on Scotland declaring independence. The irony is that this would lead to them using the Euro and not the pound, and having border controls at the English border. And should Northern Ireland try for the same… well, the Irish border has been the scene of political and IRA activity for over 100 years of ‘The Troubles’. Arrrgh!
I am genuinely fearful of what the next few months will bring, back home. At least, over here in TN, we will be insulated somewhat, but our families will not.
As a small example of the consequences of being in the EU and the freedom of movement within it, the lovely lady who ‘does’ for us at our place in Wales reports a large pile of mail arriving at our address, which is given with complete accuracy, but addressed to an individual no-one has ever heard of called IONEL TUDOSA which is definitely a Romanian name. This mail is a collection of new insurances policies accompanied by requests for payment, along with claims on that insurance for car accidents and whatnot. I cannot work out exactly how this scam is operating to the advantage of the mysterious Mr Tudosa since, if he has hi-jacked the address of our Welsh retreat, I cannot see how he would ever receive the proceeds of his nefarious activities, since Carol is dutifully returning the mail to sender with appropriate inserts pointing out what has been going on. Everyone is waiting with great interest to see if someone shows up eventually and tries to pick up the mail!!
If you are reading this, Mr Ionel Todosa, we’re on to you. Stop it now!
OK. More pictures of guys working together doing the things we like and having some fun. If you’re in the UK, have your fun quickly in case someone starts to mess up…
I see that we’re not the only ones to go about our gym training naked:
And now a word from our sponsor – me! Buy my books, Mr Tudosa, and all will be forgiven (well, maybe!):
And you guys too, of course…
Here’s one from the frozen north:
Yes, we have done ice swimming (just once or twice) – but in a partly frozen lake in the Smokies and not in the arctic tundra – still, those Russian boys seem to be (reasonably) happy with their shared enterprise…
Let’s hope that my fellow Brits can just stay friends after the turmoil which will take place at the end of this week! If only all unions could be as simple as this:
…I’m sure those two will ‘remain’ together…
…and these two as well: it’s not only politicians who put a ‘spin’ on things!!
Bye for now!