Build a consensus to remain, Mr Buckland…

Dear Mr. Buckland,

Thank you for your recent email outlining your reasons for voting in favour of your Government’s Withdrawal Agreement Deal.

As became clear last night, there is no appetite in Parliament to support the Prime Minister’s approach to Brexit. She attempted to placate the far right elements of your party by imposing unobtainable or mutually exclusive red lines that have merely painted you into a corner that has led to this most humiliating defeat.

You lost because you united a divided Parliament that represents a divided country that is united only in its opposition to your misguided interpretation of a Brexit no-one wants.

The referendum result of 2016 was based on a constituency of 48% of voters who were united (To different strengths and with different motivations) in a single proposal: to remain in the European Union on our current terms.

The 52% who voted to Leave was always a precarious coalition of the discontent, the dispossessed and the disturbed: from those who admired Switzerland or Norway, who believed that “…no-one is talking about leaving the Single Market….”; the safe-seat voters ravished by 40 years of Thatcherism and desperate to have their voice heard for once; the poor sops who entertained the bus-borne idea that the Conservative Party would increase spending on the NHS; to the far-right anarchists and libertarians, those of the ERG and the yellow tabards yelling bile about betrayal, patriotism and democracy, whilst dedicating themselves to making reality Putin’s fantasies.

There never was a single “Will of the People”. The closest approximation was 48% of voters coalescing around retaining our rights as European citizens on our current terms; the one defined proposal offered by that referendum. You and Your Prime Minister have seen homogeneity in that 52% where in reality there was only division, resentment, and cranks and unicorns.

Your Government has failed in its attempt to build a consensus around the desires of extremists in the Tory Party. By lumping together the Anything-Else’s, the None-of-the-Aboves, the Bus-Believers, the Sovrintists, the Norway-Plussers, the Canada-Plussers, the Ukrain-Minussers, the racists, the bored and the trouble-makers, you have wasted two years of possible coalition-building both internally and externally with imperious cakeism and navel-gazing, and squandered the patience and respect of our European partners.

As the European Parliament Election campaigns warm up, It is time face reality; to recognise that no EU27 Leader wants to be associated with your lame-duck loser of a Prime Minister, that there will be no more favours, no more explanatory letters. Expect cold-shoulders and contempt from now on.

It is time for MP’s of all colours show some leadership, to grow up, accept the mistakes and hubris of the last 3 years and to build a consensus around the 48% who voted positively in favour of a known set of defined proposals, to remain in the EU.

If we learned anything yesterday it is that you will never succeed in pleasing more than half of the 52% with any one, single, concrete proposal. Stop paralysing the country with your failed attempts to appease the unappeasable.

You have 72 days to stop the madness, your reputation depends upon it, because come March 30th you will have to be very sure that it was worth throwing away our opt-outs and our rebates. As GDP falls and investment dries up unemployment rises, inflation picks up, the 52% will melt away faster than collaborators after an occupation, leaving only those politicians who allowed it to happen as the reviled perpetrators.

Yours sincerely,


Boris and the Unity of Europe

In some kind of Jungian counter-projection spasm, Boris Johnson is using Project Fear to sell his perceived benefits of Brexit on the basis that the EU wants political unity . At some level his government clearly feels threatened by unity, and so prefers the comfortable tantrum of discord, division and divestment.

The founding fathers of the European Union did not create the common market to tear down barriers to trade but to pursue a political project.

As opposed to the disunity that shaped the European experience of the last century?

Of course the European Union is a political project. It is a project to put aside the petty, destructive nationalisms of the 20th Century and build a sense of commonality and community using education, culture and business to bring people together, to pool our resources and to align our interests. To foment peaceful cooperation and neighbourly partnerships rather than competition. The EU’s very founding as the European Coal and Steel Community was an attempt to unify access to the raw materials of war and to nullify any one member’s advantage or ability to wage war on its neighbours. You can’t get more political than that. We tried competitive disunity across Europe for 2,000 years and it led to a constant cycle of conquest and resentment, bloodshed, violence and poverty.

Despite its obvious democratic deficit the European Union is the only body currently capable of standing up for its citizens and defending the integrity of its internal markets in the face of rapacious international capitalism. The EU governs the behaviour of these bullying trans-national behemoths, generally in the interest maintaining of a productive healthy environment in which to do business. The EU has enforced rules and defended its citizens against the overbearing power of Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook and Volkswagen, in ways that British politicians (with the admirable exception of Sadiq Khan’s stand against Uber) have singularly failed to govern. Those who flout the rules of the EUs internal market should rightly lose access to the second largest consumer economy on earth.

The EU is undoubtedly a force for unity in Europe and Boris Johnson and the English nationalists with whom he marches are doing a sterling job of promoting that unity to an extent that no one could have ever imagined.

La pregunta del día

La pregunta del ayer fuesido, “¿Puigdemont ha declarado la independencia o no?”. La respuesta simple y claro es:


No se declaró la Independencia de Cataluña. Si lo hubiera hecho los indepententistas de Cataluña habrian despertados con resaca, un defecit de Cava y un corralito de su sistema financiero.

Pero eso no es la pregunta con que nos deberíamos entretener. Después de la intervencion de Carles Puidgemont ayer, y bajo la sombra del artículo 155, las preguntas pertinentes son:

  1. ¿Ha Cataluña dejado de cumplir con las obligaciones que la Constitucion u otras leyes le impongan? 1
  2. ¿Ha Cataluña actuado de forma que atente gravamente al interes general de España? 1 2

Entiendo que hay quien interprete que las actuaciones del Govern y El Parlament durante las ultimas semanas permitarían una respuesta afirmativa a una, ambas o ninguna de esas preguntas. Pero esas interpretaciones no cambiaron ni con el discurso del President en el Parlament ni con su actuación posterior.

Lo que hizo Carles Puidgemont en su intervención en el Parlament fue aprovechar el despliegue mediatico internacional para reiterar su interpretación de como hemos llegado a ese crisis constitucional y pedir al Gobierno Español tiempo, aire y diálogo.

Luego firmó una carta simbólico para tranquilizar a los radicales de su apoyo domestico y tuiteó en varios idiomas europeos para reforzar su mensaje de diálogo.

Con la petición de clarificación y su amenaza de intervenir en Cataluña,  Mariano Rajoy ha firmado su carta simbólico para tranquilizar a sus radicales en C’s .

Seguimos a la espera de que se convierte en políglota.

  1. El texto del articulo habla de las obligaciones y actuaciones “una Comunidad Autónoma” 2 
  2. Todos los énfasis con mios. 

La Fiesta Naciona

No es sin ironía, que esta semana coincide la Fiesta Nacional de España con una crisis constitucional que podría desenlazar en su desintegración. Mientras Cataluña contempla e intenta negociar su camino(suspendido) hacia la independencia, los nacionalistas de Castilla estarán mañana on sus banderas en la Castellana para disfrutar de un desfile militar organizado por el Ministerio de Defensa. Hace falta actualizar esta celebración como un paso inicial hacia la recuperación de una sociedad que actualmente esta en proceso de fractura.

Es el momento de replantear la forma de celebrar la nacionalidad Española. La España de las banderas tiene la oportunidad de celebrar los logros de sus soldados, sus policías militares, y sus cabras en el Día de las Fuerzas Armadas. El enfoque actual en celebrar el militarismo es una resaca del régimen pre-constitucional y excluye por lo menos un 70% de la población española.

España necesita abandonar ese nacionalismo anacrónico hacia una celebración inclusiva de este país maravilloso.

Desde su inauguración en 1913, el 12 Octubre se ha observado de una forma o otra en España y América Latina como el Día de la Raza, el Día de la Hispanidad, o La Fiesta Nacional. En muchos paises se ha re-enfocado la fiesta para reflejar el punto de inflexión que fue la llegada de Cristóbal Colon en las Américas para la población indígena; Abandonando su celebración de “Hispanidad” a favor de celebrar La Resistencia Indígena, o el Respeto a las Diferencias Culturales.

Como ciudadano (todavía) británico me extraña, no tenemos ese día para celebrar nuestra nación, mucho menos para celebrar nuestra “raza”. Los escoceses muestran su orgullo con Robbie Burns, y los ingleses hacen muy bien la Pompa, sobre todo cuando se casa un personaje real o se muere un primer ministro conservador. Pero en general nos haría incomodo celebrar nuestra nacionalidad de forma militar.

En España no es así, aquí siguen los desfiles, 40 años después de Franco, y dos generaciones implicados en ese proyecto democrático, la celebración de Españolidad se queda con un desfile militar. Batallones de soldados representando regimientos que se levantaron con Franco en 1936, desfilen por la Castellana con sus aviones, y sus cabras. Quitaron los tanques por recorte presupuestario, no por el ridiculo.

Seguramente podríamos montar unevento mas inclusivo y certero para celebrar la vida española, celebrando la diversidad de cultura y historia que española. Un desfile, de carrozas, celebrando la diversidad infinita de este país fascinante. Aquí estaría mi lista para empezar:

  • Manadas de cerdos ibéricos y cabras de montaña
  • Niños disfrazados actuando en sus obras de El Quijote y El Cid.
  • Castels
  • Vinos de todo el país
  • Embutidos
  • Fiestas de pólvora de Valencia
  • Carnavales de Cádiz y Canarias
  • Cantaores y Balaores de Flamenco, con sus fusiones de Rock, Pop, Jazz y Hip Hop.
  • Los deportistas españoles, ganadores a todos los niveles y en tantos deportes.
  • Los Quesos
  • Carrozas de Pride, del primero país mundial en reconocer la igualdad de matrimonio.
  • Celebraciones de las culturas del toro, los caballos y la caza.

Y esta lista se queda solo con los memes tradicionalmente español, también habría que acomodar a la contribución e influencia que han hecho los inmigrantes y turistas de Europa, Africa, Asia y las Américas quienes quienes han influyido la España de hoy y quienes están promoviendo la futura cultura española.

Esto sería una Fiesta Nacional de verdad.

May the 39th

May your cuts keep cutting. After May the 39th.
May your child be 39th in their class.

May your healthcare be for profit.

May your wages stagnate.

May your soil be poisoned.

May your job move to Frankfurt

Or Puerto Real.
May your biopsy be delayed.

May you dream of lettuce in winter.

May your restaurant stink of Rothmans

May your beaches fly red flags

May their market rule your choices.

May the honey bees be hasbeens

And your rivers black and empty.

May the 39th child never catch her teacher’s eye.

May your Brexit be hard.

May your fruit be tinned.

May your taxes rise.

And your waiting list lengthen.

May your Nitrogen dioxidise

And your wheat be growing thin.
May your saboteurs return to crush you
May your newspaper be a comfort

May your graduates be trapped in debt.

May your waiter have spittle for your soup.

May your missiles be your potency.

And your surgery deregulated.

May your equity be negative.

May your friends be just like you.

May your pension be plundered.

May your aspirations be seen for what they are.

May you exhaust yourself in chasing them.

May you achieve the success you desire for others.

May you learn of the contempt in which you are held by those you admire.

May the 39th.

May be your last chance…

Trump the Fascist?

The other day I stumbled across a short thread on twitter that possibly shines a light Trump and the motivations of his regime. Perhaps all this talk of Fascism and Nazi-punching is slightly off the mark.

Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and their apologists are not fascists. Fascism contains an element of socialism, at least for the favoured “in-group” sections of society, if not the demonised “Others”.

Trump and Bannon are Anarcho-Capitalists. Their aim is to destroy the power of the state, whether as owner or manager of resources, regulator of markets, redistributor of wealth or independant arbitor of justice. The aim of the Anarcho-Capitalist is to reduce all economic activity “voluntary” contractual transaction.

The Fascism of 20th Century Europe was fashioned from the industrial age in which it developed. The economies of the 1930’s depended upon labour, and so the ultra-nationalisms of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco offered the Quid Pro Quo of government intervention in the economy to provide a more or less comfortable existance for the chosen docile in-groups. It should, but incomprehensively doesn´t, go without saying that Fascist states were various degrees of horrendous for anyone who was Jewish, Gipsy, Communist, African, LBGTQ , Disabled, Slav, or often just accused or suspected of being any variation of the above.

The crucial difference between the old-style Fascists and their descendants is that the 21st Century western economy depends not on labour, but consumers.

The stagnation of wages and the rocketing inequalities within western economies since the financial crisies of 2008 has led to a fundamental questioning of the west’s economic model. Critics of the last 35 years of neoliberal capitalism suggest we are living in a period of “Zombie Capitalism”, desperately consuming the remnants of our natural resources to feed an ever-less efficient and fundamentally discredited system that serves only to funnel wealth to an ever-shrinking group of Oligarchs.

Automation and Artificial Inteligence is on the verge of making another section of society redundant. There are serious economic studies underway investigating fundamental shifts in the way western economies could be structured in a a post-industrial, post-capitalist environment. Pilots are being carried out to provide citizens with a Universal Basic Income. There is a flourishing or re-emergence of Utopian ideas of reduced hour work weeks, the developemnt of sustainable economies based on embracing technology, investing in green energy, and developing low-impact permaculture food production. Ideas that offer the promise of an equitable soft-landing from the last 200 years of unsustainable capitalist over-consumption.

The 21st Century Anarcho-Capitalist, on the other hand sees these interventions as heretical disruptions of the market. In an economy that depends not on workers but consumers, the oligarchy has no use for those who cannot treat themselves to a $5 milky syrup coffee, or afford a monthly subscription to Netflix, or provide for their own Health Insurance, or service their student debt or under-write a decent mobile data plan. This growing underclass whose median net worth is less than $5.00 have no value to the likes of Steve Bannon. The Anarcho-Capitalist solution to the kind of inequality where 50% of the population hold the same wealth as 8 billionaires, is to discard the poorest 40%. To excise them from the economy by abandoning them to their fate of climate-induced disasters, disease, opiate addiction, obesity and gun-crime.

Onimac Day 9: Fri 20th April: Arévalo – Avila: 56km

Avila would be the last main town before riding through the Sierra de Madrid, over a series of summits around 1100m – 1300m. That would be my plan for Saturday, first just I need to get through the 50-odd km to Avila.

The first 30 km were similar to the last few days, gently rolling arrable plains. Despite the tiring head-wind I was on course to enjoy a famous Avila T-Bone steak for lunch. Then I began to approach the climb up to Avila. the net elevation gain to Avila would be around 300m, but the rolling nature of the climb meant I would gain 30m and then descend 20m before repeating again. climbing 60m to gain 20m and be faced once more with another climb.

With the elevation came the wind and the cold once more. Eventually I made it to the famous city walls, and followed my way around them until I found a hotel. I took the first room they offered me and enjoyed the glory of a warm room, a soft bed and TV. I collapsed onto the bed and and fell into a heavy siesta.

When I awoke a couple of hours later I felt guilty for wasting my time Avila. I felt I should be soaking up the atmosphere of this medievel World Heritage site, instead of slobbing under the duvet dozing to trashy daytime TV.

But then I turned my attention to my task for the Saturday. I would be climbing some serious mountains for at least half of the day, and then hopefully camping in one of two campsites around 60-70 km from home. Besides, Avila is a day trip by car, we often come for lunch, so why the pressure to play tourist now. I should just revel in the fact that I am nearly home, enjoy my first half-day off since setting out from Santiago 9 days ago, and conserve my energy for tomorrow.


I am  a British citizen who has lived and worked in Spain for 12 years, the possibly that the fallout from Brexit might significantly reduce my rights in Spain is a chilling one.

As a European Citizen with an employment contract, the Spanish state treats me more less as equal to a Spanish Citizen. I have the right to work, to own property, to contribute to and benefit from the Health and Social Security Systems without any significant difference from if I were a Spanish Citizen.

Brexit could bring abour material changes to that situation.

I say could because the effects are, of course un-knowable until the negotiations take place. It is possible (probable, even) that all sides on the negotiations will honour the status of current residents. Especially between UK and Spain where there are significant numbers of both nationalities in each others countries. The Ruddites and racists pushing for Brexit will, I assume, be far more concerned with shutting down relations with Poland, Bulgaria and Romania where the flow of migration has been more one-sided than France, Spain and Portugal.

Nevertheless, any agreement on my status in Spain would be dependant on a deal being made within the the two year period allowed by Article 50. If a deal were not made, it is feasible that I would be subject to Visas,  work permits.  It is possible I would need to fund my own health insurance.

More worryingly, my employer is not set up to employ non Europeans. of the 5,000 – 10,000 permanent and temporary members of staff in the 20-odd businesses in our group, across five european countries, the number of non European citizens is virtually nil, and British employees can be counted on one hand.

It would be completely rational for the HR department to decide that the bureaucratic overhead of employing non-european staff outweighs the relatively cost of a a handful of redundancy payouts.

So, I have set on the path to applying for Spanish Citizenship.

Brexit is causing me to undertake my own form of SpEntry.