Contre les Brexiteurs – je deviens plus ‘europhile’ chaque jour

(with apologies to any French-speaking readers and thanks to Google translate for assistance)

Quand j’étais jeune, je voudrais apprendre toutes les langues du monde, pour parler avec tout le monde, n’importe qui, n’importe où. Cet espoir a prouvée trop exigeant, et maintenant il me reste seulement un peu de mauvais français et quelques mots allemands, ou espagnoles. Mais je crois encore que la communication, l’association, entre peuples, pays et individus est essentielle pour achever un futur dans lequel on peut habiter en paix, et créer un société juste et sain pour nous et pour les autres habitants du monde. Il faut que nous, les héritiers d’une histoire du vol, coloniale et violente, essayons à comprendre l’origine de nos privilèges, et reconnaissons que des changes arrivent. On peut lutter l’un contre l’autre pour retenir ces privilèges, ou on peut travailler ensemble et peut-être trouver un façon de vivre ensemble, plus généreux, mais moins extravagant, plus créative, moins glouton.


The margins of all my lecture notes used to be full of doodles, usually faces. I wonder whether this is inherited – my mother often used to draw faces on random envelopes and other scraps of paper. You could tell if she had had a long chat on the phone, usually with my uncle, by the number of drawings she made. (Their chats tended to consist of him holding forth at length and her occasional ‘yes’, ‘of course’, ‘aha’, to let him know she was still there, sitting in the chilly hall where the phone lived. This was in the days when you answered the phone by reeling off the number: ‘Pontefract-two-double-five-four’.)

The same habit still resurfaces whenever I find myself at a meeting or something, listening, with a pen and a piece of paper to hand.



Alternative Reality


In a luxurious and secluded venue, a group of rich and powerful people sit, sipping brandy and discussing the great problems of the world, climate change and how to respond to it without losing their position of privilege. One says, ‘Maybe we have to face it – fossil fuels, consumerism and endless growth are failing – the crazy, green socialists are right – we can’t go on using resources and destroying the planet just to keep siphoning wealth from the poor. Things have got to change.’

But another smiles and says, ‘Don’t forget the other solution.’

‘What’s that?’



‘Fewer people means less destruction of ecosystems and fewer poor people means less inequality. Just what those crazy greens want. If we didn’t have to support so many poor people the world would be much better off.’

‘But what about the gruntwork they do? I don’t want to slave in a care home or pick fruit!’

‘Most of that can be automated – and much of it is unnecessary anyway. We’re only farming them for the interest on the loans that keep them locked in to the system.’

‘Ok. How do you propose to downsize?’

‘Simple. Make sure universal healthcare fails and have a few wars … more brandy anyone?’