I hate referendums

Ultimately, the British people voted for a departure but not for a destination, which is why what really matters is allowing them to vote again on the final deal, giving them the chance to say no to an irresponsible hard Brexit that risks our economy and our jobs.

—Tim Farron, then leader of the Liberal Democrats, in 2016


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TIL: SLS, aka the Shit Life Syndrome

In recent years, many of Britain’s coastal communities have slipped behind the rest of the country in measures of income, education, and health, giving rise to an over-all feeling of depression and ill health which is recognized informally by doctors as S.L.S., or Shit Life Syndrome.

—From the New Yorker

Welcome to the UK…

They were initially bemused by the complexity of bus timetables, bin collections and—most of all—by the changeable weather. “In our country, when it’s summer, it’s summer,” says Ziead Alsaouah, Mr Batak’s son-in-law.

—The Economist | After the exodus


I had a very similar reaction to the weather when I moved here 8 years ago.

North India, where I spent the first 24 years of my life, has a very predictable weather. When it’s summer, it’s hot and dry for months on end. When it’s the rain season, it’s raining almost every day for a month. And when winter arrives, it’s bitterly cold, mostly dry, and frequently foggy (recently smoggy) for months on end.

Contrast that to the weather here on the island – it’s common to have at least two seasons in a day. Three’s not uncommon either. We had two months of constant dry, warm summers this year, and it’s already caused a mild panic. If we get a week of snow in the winter, news bulletins are full of ‘snowcalypse’ references.

It’s unsettling, at least initially, for people coming from places with stable, ‘continental’ weather patterns. Where culture, life, traditions, activities are based on the season, what do we do when the seasons just aren’t anymore?

Continue reading Welcome to the UK…

Britain – a small, uncomfortable nation

“There are two kinds of European nations,” Kristian Jensen, the Danish Finance Minister, said last year, referring to Britain’s situation. “There are small nations and there are countries that have not yet realized they are small nations.”

—From the New Yorker

Friendship, intimacy, commerce, and the West

In the East, I’ve heard it said, there’s intimacy without friendship; in the West, there’s friendship without intimacy.

Karan Mahajan, in The New Yorker

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British tax rises: 1975 vs 2016

These days, governments prefer to raise money by stealth. In the Healey budget of 1975, there were eight big tax measures. In George Osborne’s budget in 2016 there were 86 crafty little ones, including higher taxes on landfills

The Economist: Britain’s long-standing opposition to tax-rises is slowly softening