Skip to main content


Yesterday's parliamentary vote made British history - the government's Brexit deal lost the support of a vast majority of the House of Commons, losing by 230. To put this in perspective, this is the BIGGEST LOSS EVER for any government in UK's history. To make matters worse, the Prime Minister Mrs May, refused to resign afterwards, and seems incapable of adjusting her bearings sufficiently to locate a compromise Plan B that could pass, before a No Deal Ultra-Hard Brexit occurs on 29 March - the so-called Cliff Edge.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House, Mr Bercow, seems driven to enter history as the man who undermined executive authority in the parliament, moving the control of the order of business from the Cabinet to the back benches; such a transition would represent a revolution no less significant than Cromwell's time, in terms of the sudden shift of power in the land. Making this turbulent, exciting, and deeply worrying crisis in British democracy all the more fraught is that NO ONE KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.

Let us step back - we are talking about the seat of the home of parliamentary democracy - the MOTHER of all parliaments IN WESTMINSTER - the place that voted to outlaw the slave trade, and that voted to never surrender to the Nazis. Great Britain was formerly known - for all its colonial and post-colonial affronts - as a very stable place to do business, live, and work. It was not, as it were, Italy, with constant upheavals and weak governments often toppling. However, all that has changed. Today, the UK, which foolishly decided to embrace buccaneer gonzo tendencies and sail the high seas of Brexit, has sailed off the map, into what everyone has called Uncharted Waters. There Be Monsters.

If compromise was in May's DNA, something pardonable might happen next week; if the EU had more wriggle room, they too might budge. But the final red line is Ireland's borderlines, the infamous Backstop, and it seems hard to believe that can be altered. Given the worlds apart and the little time left, a NO DEAL looks likely. Remember, this blog predicted a Trump win when no one else did; we are not bad at prognostication. There is time, to swing this super-tanker ponderously around. But it will take the sort of moral and intellectual effort and flexibility so far sorely lacking at the helm. Meanwhile, the economy may dive like a sub. Friends of the UK need to be concerned for us at this time. And watch.


Popular posts from this blog

Review of the new Simple Minds album - Walk Between Worlds

Taste is a matter of opinion - or so goes one opinion. Aesthetics, a branch of pistols at dawn, is unlikely to become unruffled and resolved any time soon, and meantime it is possible to argue, in this post-post-modern age, an age of voter rage, that political opinion trumps taste anyway. We like what we say is art. And what we say is art is what likes us.

Simple Minds - the Scottish band founded around 1977 with the pale faces and beautiful cheekbones, and perfect indie hair cuts - comes from a time before that - from a Glasgow of poverty and working-class socialism, and religiosity, in a pre-Internet time when the heights of modernity were signalled by Kraftwerk, large synthesisers, and dancing like Bowie at 3 am in a Berlin club.

To say that early Simple Minds was mannered is like accusing Joyce of being experimental. Doh. The band sought to merge the icy innovations of German music with British and American pioneers of glam and proto-punk, like Iggy Pop; their heroes were contrived,…


Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.