Gibraltar is only a bugbear to Spanish people when it’s mentioned. It seldom is. How many times do you recall outrage and protests outside the U.K embassy in Madrid? No. One must be careful to avoid thinking the Spanish see Gibraltar as some kind of occupation. It’s neither a nightmare of history or a daily […]Read More Gibraltar doesn’t, shouldn’t and won’t bother the Spanish
WELL, politicians don’t lie, but they do obfuscate. That seems to be the polite way to conclude a few hundred years of British politics (certainly when the general public just thinks “they’re all full of shit”). Backbenchers, you may have noticed, are typically quite happy to play fast and the loose with their opinions. Members […]Read More Tired of government officials lying to you?
For 30 years Michael Heseltine has been remembered as the man who toppled Margaret Thatcher as prime minister. And Heseltine, at the age of 83, is at it again. Since 2010 he has served in government advisory roles to David Cameron and Theresa May. Until last week, that is, when he was sacked after backing […]Read More The old men in grey suits should be listened to
The death of the former IRA commander Martin McGuinness has provoked a ferocious debate about whether he was a peacemaker or a butcher. For all the semantics of historical judgement, a day after his death London suffered the type of crime that McGuinness was regularly accused (but never convicted) of orchestrating. The March 22 attacks […]Read More History and hope over terror and tyranny
Brexit is the most significant political issue in a generation. The prime minister is right to call a general election because of it. To proceed on a legitimate mandate to withdraw from the EU, Theresa May has, rightly, decided to elicit the support of the people. Many across the political spectrum accept the Brexit verdict […]Read More May is right to hold a general election
FOR British expatriates living in Almeria, Brexit is the elephant in the room. Everyone will have different ties back to the UK, but most will have some financial connection whether by property, pensions or family. In the last two weeks, Theresa May’s pricey £1bn deal to forge a pact with the DUP represents the most […]Read More Why Brexit matters in Almeria
In the aftermath of the London terror attacks, Theresa May said she would change human rights laws if they “get in the way” of tackling terror in the UK. The problem with this is three-fold. Firstly, British security services already possess extensive anti-terrorism powers that have been denounced by Amnesty International as among “the most […]Read More Why May is wrong about human rights
Tim Farron was Liberal Democrat leader for just shy of two years. In that time, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that singled him out as a key player with policies and a rhetorical flourish that felt like a kick in the teeth for his opponents. And don’t fool yourself. Once, the Liberals frequently […]Read More Why Tim Farron had to go
Jeremy Corbyn’s victory is increasingly possible. In recent days, the passion of his convictions has seen even tempered next to the joyless hubris of Prime Minister Theresa May and her acolytes. Britain’s next government is the subject of intense interest to its European neighbours. Will they continue to play derisive hardball with May or will […]Read More How do the Spanish feel about the UK general election
In October of 1974, Harold Wilson called a general election and wildly hedged his bets. Wilson, who had a minority government after a hung result that same year, came to regret it: the exit poll prediction of a 132 seat majority turned out to be worth only three for the Labour prime minister. He resigned […]Read More Mayday: Looking at the general election result
In Spain, as in the UK for that matter, government and bureaucracy can often seem very confusing. For expats in Almeria, it might be just a little bit harder to figure out who exactly has responsibility for the bins, the roads or the hospitals, given the often stark language barrier. Unlike the UK, Spain has […]Read More Trains, planes and bins: how Almeria works
Do you know your PP from your PSOE, and what they stand for? Firstly, since Spain’s transition to democracy, there have been no coalitions, only majority and minority national governments in the Spanish Parliament, The Cortes Generales. The People’s Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) have been predominant since 1979 (the former […]Read More Understanding political parties in Almeria
There’s a real danger that our responses to terrorist incidents are giving the murderers behind them what they want. Over the last three months, the UK has been hit by four terror attacks in Manchester and London. In the inevitable media frenzy, the repeated questions and statements were about how the perpetrator was radicalised, what […]Read More Our responses to terror must be consistent
A dual mandate is a practice whereby an elected representative serves in more than one elected position simultaneously. For example, an individual could be a Member of the Scottish Parliament, a local councillor, a Member of Parliament in Westminster or a Member of the European Parliament. MPs receive a salary of £74,000, but their other […]Read More Dual mandates are wrecking British politics
In Almeria, like politics everywhere, it can be a little difficult to know who the key players are, and that’s what we’re looking at this week. Susana Diaz has been President of Andalusia since 2013. She’s also a leading national figure in PSOE, having contested the leadership of the national party in 2017, losing to […]Read More Who’s who in Almeria
With no shortage of irony, the Parnell Academy in Mijas has set up a ‘Brexpats Spanish Nationality Course’ where they teach how expats can apply to become a Spanish citizen if they don’t much fancy a decade of uncertainty over Brexit. Cynics might call this a headline gamble to show-up the kindness of Europeans next […]Read More May, Rajoy and ‘Brexpats’
As Apple celebrates the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, it might be worth pondering why Spain has no love for the acclaimed device. The numbers are not flattering. According to research group Kantar, Google Android has a 90 percent market share in Spain with the iPhone falling way behind on 4.3 percent. And the numbers have consistently […]Read More Why doesn’t Spain love the iPhone?
For 54 years Doctor Who has been travelling to new and strange worlds. For most of that time, it was touring the quarries of Great Britain. Every now and again, though, the show took a left turn and went to the Iberian Peninsula. As of 2017, Doctor Who has filmed seven stories in Spain. Despite […]Read More All of space, time…and Spain.
Has the death knell been sounded for pubs and restaurants? Customers can now order food and drink to their table through downloadable mobile apps. Food, drink and re-orders are paid for with the push of a button with servers left to deliver them. The ‘order and pay’ app has already been adopted by pub chains […]Read More Will apps kill pubs?
Boris Johnson, with his straw-blonde hair and instant name recognition, is now the de facto leader of the campaign to leave the European Union. A former Eton schoolmate and long-time rival of David Cameron, the Mayor of London and MP is unique in being culturally formed by strong European antecedents all while rejecting the EU: he was […]Read More Boris, Brexit and Britons in Spain
Does it not seem a lifetime ago that David Cameron was laughing off fears of a Brexit? Theresa May’s Conservative Party conference speech has not only buried the patrician legacy of her predecessor but also indulged the Conservative membership to the hilt. Like a pop star coming on for an encore, she’s gone mad for […]Read More Through a glass, darkly: Theresa May’s Conference Speech
The idea of Europe and the practicalities of Europe are, by and large, the differences between resident UK citizens and British expats. For many back home, it’s not unfair to say that Europe is seen as a behemoth of bureaucracy or the political right’s nightmare child that inflicts red tape, open borders and pedantic rules. […]Read More At home and abroad: What does Europe mean?
In the aftermath of a disaster, it is often easy to think the event was somehow inevitable. Even for seasoned politicos and spectators alike, the election of Donald J. Trump to the White House has surpassed Brexit as a seismic global game changer. Why does it matter for Britons in Europe? Simply, America’s economic weight, […]Read More Why Trump matters to Europe
In case you missed it, ’13 Reasons Why’ is a new Netflix drama about the suicide of a teenage girl called Hannah Baker. She left thirteen cassettes explaining how bullying, social humiliation and rape drove her to take her own life. Everyone who deals with children has been quick to condemn the show’s horrid miss […]Read More The Diana tapes are a macabre indulgence
A very dear friend once wrote to me that Andalusia is an untapped marvel in tourism. I’d add that Albox is a rural delight unmatched in its authentic Spanish charm. Not as well-known as say, Ronda, it’s just as traditional whilst a good distance away from the overwhelming affectations of modernity. Located in the middle of […]Read More Why you should visit Albox
Last week, Esteban Gonzalez Pons, who leads the Spanish delegation of MEPs in the European Parliament’s largest political grouping, said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s demands for Scotland to stay in the single market were “impossible”. The comments are the latest in an intermittent and sporadic series of remarks from members of the Spanish Government iterating […]Read More Why remarks about Scotland from Spanish politicians don’t matter
Last week, The Independent reported that David Cameron’s Government had agreed with a House of Lords committee finding that referendums “cannot be legally binding in the UK, and are therefore advisory.” The rediscovery is a deeply embarrassing one for Theresa May because it gives a hint of the direction her predecessor’s government would have taken if it […]Read More The UK is not coming apart at the seams over Europe
A peculiar thing happens to British people when they move abroad, and we’re all guilty of it. We might take the plunge and set up camp in another country, work there and live there for many years, but we never stop calling each other expatriates or ‘expats’. The term is remarkable when you stop […]Read More Expatriates need to stop calling themselves ‘expats’
The most recent attack in London is a horrific reminder of the continuing vulnerability of British people to indiscriminate murder. The third such attack in three months has seen a wretched pattern emerge. Absolute horror ensues, the emergency services rally to their duty; heroes prevail and a torrent of ‘we will not yield’ rhetoric flourishes […]Read More Terrorism can’t become normalised
REMEMBER ‘Deal or No Deal? Noel Edmonds chinwagging to a fictional banker as players tried to deduce the random chance distribution money in red boxes. Don’t dismiss the premise. It was genuinely nail-biting stuff before the faux tension faded after a few seasons. And now politics emulates the game. Theresa May seems to be having […]Read More Brexit, the game show!
“The best anyone can hope for is an acknowledgement of a film’s status even if they have a distaste for it. Is there a secret to achieving even that? Movies are in the eye of the beholder, but ‘great’ pieces, whether small or large budget productions, enjoy the Shakespeare effect: if the themes explore human nature and exist on an emotive level as much as an intellectual one, they’ll grab the crown.”Read More Why Inception is the greatest movie ever made
“A case in point is that the supposedly politically kindred likes of Ken Clarke and Michael Heseltine are condemning their own prime minister. It’s more telling, still, that the one-nation mantra was borrowed unapologetically by Labour leader Ed Miliband in 2015 and he wore the banner with greater accuracy than either Cameron or May.”Read More Has May got a one-nation Brexit policy?
“Whatever the result, Nicola’s Sturgeon’s Scottish Nationalist Party pose a significant threat to Spain’s delicate regional politics. If the SNP claim most of Scotland’s Westminster seats, the democratic deficit of a Tory government, coupled with a hard Brexit, will likely fuel calls for a second independence referendum. “Read More Alastair Stewart | How do the Spanish feel about the UK general election?
That’s extremely important given today’s politics. So much of Scotland’s past is used as a resource to fuel arguments, on both sides, of the constitutional debate that it’s rare to find a rhizomatic reading of history concerned with how well the system worked. How the Scottish justice, health, education systems operated with and through the Scotland Office; its ministers and its instruments and scope of its power in Scotland make for a fascinating read and serves an accessible index of political parties and policies still asking for your vote today.Read More Review | ‘The Broken Journey: A Life of Scotland 1976-99’ by Kenneth Roy
“The problem here is that the mystery of Top Gear has evaporated. Part of the magical charm of Clarkson, Hammond and May was that no one knew how close they were. By resigning to be with a disgraced comrade, the audience got exposed to either a gratuitously mercantile vein or genuine affection that runs counter to the on-screen tension that was so funny.”Read More Review | ‘The Grand Tour’
“There’s a reason for why it’s still relevant: when people browse the Internet they make thousands of gut-instinct judgements a week. Not only do they browse the net, but they also assess what businesses send them from it and what services they offer.”Read More How to know if a site is secure for purchasing
“Young people have never even more isolated, and some are lashing out. Street art represents an immutable reaction against a political class that doesn’t want to listen, a voting system that is flawed and a society that feels angrier than ever in a generation. It is no coincidence that these montages are so often graphic in their depiction and so publicly displayed.”Read More Donald Trump and Theresa May’s ‘special relationship’ has been turned into NSFW street art
The writers’ game is not an easy one. The fact of the matter is it holds more romance than utility and more hindrance than opportunity. Never is this more so than with writing and travelling. The prospect holds the promise of mysteries and endless vistas, but finance forever hampers it. Nearly everyone of a certain […]Read More Writing is a right that should be embraced
“Despite all of this, the Spanish Government still contests Gibraltar’s sovereignty, all while forgetting its own territorial arrangements.”Read More Gibraltar doesn’t, shouldn’t and won’t bother the Spanish
“The result is genuine fear rooted in a powerful unknown president. And it is fear which is the most useful tool in the arsenal of any leader who wishes to make a lasting change. Machiavelli argued that sometimes it is “a very wise thing to simulate madness.” In this, Trump is unrivalled at stoking bewilderment and panic with no resource able to extrapolate his next move.”Read More Trump’s obvious historical strategy
“May has eight weeks to win an election, but even less time to put together a manifesto package that is comprehensive and unequivocal on Brexit. There have been no signs to date that the UK Government has an overarching negotiating position or even an agreed understanding of what needs to be agreed upon with the EU.”Read More May is right to hold a general election
“The result is an astonishing swansong and something of an unexpected triumph for a genre most thought was in decline. Yet this is where the film succeeds: it knows that at their best, superhero films have to be a timeless tale and less contingent on effects and dated context. It’s an obvious lesson, but given the immortal quality of the comic source material, it’s remarkable that most filmmakers eclipse this point in favour of utilising the latest technologies to produce something that will, eventually, age beyond relevance. “Read More Review | ‘Logan’
“Dalyell’s final title is fascinating in that not only was he was an eyewitness to events, but a participant over the last five decades. It’s a genuine a breath of fresh air because he writes with a decency to candidly admit the highs and lows of his contribution, successes and failures and all. Every sentence brims with a sense of history that contains the wisdom of a participant who isn’t trying to rewrite his role to suit the turnout.”Read More Why Tam Dalyell’s death was the passing of the Old Guard in Scotland
“Even if one acknowledges that Scotland voted ‘No’ to independence in 2014, and even if it’s conceded therefore that Scotland is a collection of constituencies and not an individual nation in UK general elections, it is impossible to deny that the reality of Brexit will affect every devolved sphere of Scottish society.”Read More Why Scotland is good for Brexit
“Does he vent, passive aggressively, about a subject not dissimilar to himself? No, but even in the expose which made his name, ‘Murder in Samarkand’, there was never frothing bile save for an honest representation of the facts. To the contrary, Murray’s prose is self-aware enough to do justice beyond hagiography and he never lets any slight against him prejudice his assessment, both critical and admiring, of his subject.”Read More Review | ‘Sikunder Burnes’ by Craig Murray
“The moral, practical and political appetite to restrict universal suffrage makes a change unlikely, even though society already curtails rights based on age. Declining ability and the diminishment of mental faculties in elderly people have prompted regular calls for mandatory driving tests for the over 70s. Qualification for jury service stops at 65 and previous eligibility for conscription during the Second World War was capped at 51. Should these restrictions, in light of the referendum, be expanded to include voting rights and if so, how?”Read More Should the over-60s be banned from referenda?
“There are innate, widely shared moral standards in our society about what is acceptable and unacceptable in public life. Much of it is common sense, otherwise, it’s the product of family, institutions and generational veneration of esteemed figures. The bitter consequence of creating good citizens over critical thinkers is it’s creating a dissonance and disbelief that pure deception could be taking place in broad daylight. ‘Not here’, they say. ‘Surely not, must be an explanation for it’. Yet we’ve crossed the Rubicon with rapid speed.”Read More Political rhetoric isn’t at an all time low, it’s changed forever
“The second is the ostentatious stinker who tries to proselytise in manner and tone without actually having the gumption to go the full hog, tables upended and bottles out the window martyr to the cause. This, of course, overlooks that most people are doing precisely what this gentle soul objects to and will be offended anyway by their vain social haughtiness.”Read More Reflections on not drinking (as much)
“Bugs was made in the run-up to the year 2000, and there is a real sense of overwhelming dread that comes across in each episode; quite right, given most people then lived in the expectation that the Y2K bug would cripple every computer in the land at the stroke of midnight. What’s interesting, when watching Bugs again, is that the world still lives with the same sort of misunderstanding about technology; its limits, its capabilities and the laws which govern both. The shadow of the bomb in one generation is now the shadow of the keystroke; that one law or one wiretap too far will plunge the world into darkness.”Read More Bugs: remembering an ahead-of-its-time tech TV thriller
There’s much to disagree on. Money can’t buy class, and Trump’s signature over the top lavishness is clearly compensating for something. Even with the indisputable fact that he is an accomplished businessman, if you watch every video on Trump you see soon enough that there is a painfully apparent chip in his psychological make-up.Read More The Donald is the presidential rule, not the exception