Stalin maintained that if Britain had the right to control the Suez canal regardless of what the Egyptians felt and likewise the United States had the right to control the Panama canal regardless of what the Panamanians felt, then so too did the Soviet Union have the right to control the Turkish straits regardless of what the Turks felt.
—from ‘The percentages agreement‘
Vermont is very political—people say what they think. They disagree without being disagreeable and have discussions without fighting.
— Alyssa Mastromonaco, in ‘Who thought this was a good idea’
Continue reading What Britain needs…
One senior Conservative MP describes Mrs May’s method of government as “valiant pugilism”. Rapid decision-taking and parliamentary dealmaking are things to which she is particularly ill-suited.
— The Economist, in ‘Missing: the British government’
“It’s a fantastic skill, her ability to do nothing,” says one of her former cabinet ministers, almost admiringly.
“The British constitution is a state of mind,” says Peter Hennessy, a historian who calls this the “good chap” theory of government. “It requires a sense of restraint all round to make it work.”
— The Economist, in ‘Britain’s good-chap model of government is coming apart’
We love Thanksgiving. We cook everything. But we’re still learning many things about the American culture. Back home everyone likes to hug and kiss on the cheek. It communicates that you care about someone. But here it is different. My friend tried to give me a Thanksgiving handshake at the gym today. But I went in for a Thanksgiving hug. And he only gave me a Thanksgiving half-hug. A few months ago I was called into Human Resources, and they said: ‘Mr. Mauricio, no more hugging at the office. It is making people uncomfortable.’
— Mr. Mauricio, in ‘Humans of New York’
P.S.: I’m a big time hugger. The British around me are definitely not. I’m available for hugs.
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
Continue reading I hate referendums
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…
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
Continue reading Friendship, intimacy, commerce, and the West