Why Brexit matters in Almeria 

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 […]

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Why May is wrong about human rights 

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 […]

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Why Tim Farron had to go 

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 […]

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Who’s who in Almeria 

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 […]

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May, Rajoy and ‘Brexpats’

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 […]

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Why doesn’t Spain love the iPhone?

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 […]

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All of space, time…and Spain. 

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 […]

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Will apps kill pubs?

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 […]

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Boris, Brexit and Britons in Spain

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 […]

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Why Trump matters to Europe

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, […]

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Why you should visit Albox

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 […]

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Why remarks about Scotland from Spanish politicians don’t matter

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 […]

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Terrorism can’t become normalised

 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 […]

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Brexit, the game show!

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 […]

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Why Inception is the greatest movie ever made

“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.”

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Review | ‘The Broken Journey: A Life of Scotland 1976-99’ by Kenneth Roy

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.

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Review | ‘The Grand Tour’

“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.”

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Donald Trump and Theresa May’s ‘special relationship’ has been turned into NSFW street art

“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.”

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Trump’s obvious historical strategy

“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.”

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Review | ‘Logan’

“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. “

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Why Tam Dalyell’s death was the passing of the Old Guard in Scotland

“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.”

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Why Scotland is good for Brexit

“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.”

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Review | ‘Sikunder Burnes’ by Craig Murray

“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.”

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Should the over-60s be banned from referenda?

“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?”

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Political rhetoric isn’t at an all time low, it’s changed forever

“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.”

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Reflections on not drinking (as much)

“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.”

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Bugs: remembering an ahead-of-its-time tech TV thriller

“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.”

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