We have the crazy situation in Spain where the Madrid government wants to take direct control of Catalonia, prompting huge demonstrations in Barcelona. While I believe that really the whole of Spain should have a say in deciding whether Catalonia becomes a separate country (and I would say the same about the Uk and Scotland, by the way), I can’t help feeling that the heavy-handed way Rajoy’s government has gone about things has not helped the situation at all. In fact, it has probably made some Catalans want to leave Spain.
And then Brexit staggers along towards a NO DEAL conclusion. Or rather, the staggering looks rather like a headlong slide into that outcome. There are some who still hope for a NO BREXIT outcome. I fear that we shall end up paying huge amounts of money whatever happens.
Donald Trump has been tweeting about Britain’s crime figures, blaming it all on terrorism. This has prompted some people to make rude comments about him. Newspapers tell me that “Conservative backbencher Nicholas Soames, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, called the US president a "daft twerp" who needed to "fix gun control". Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson also responded to the president's tweet, accusing him of "misleading and spreading fear". The Labour MP, Yvette Cooper, said the statement was "inflammatory and ignorant", while ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband said Mr Trump was "a moron".” That’s another bunch of people for him to fall out with.
Moves are afoot in the UK to raise the speed limit for traffic going past motorway roadworks, from 50mph to 60mph. They have done tests involving dashboard cameras and other equipment monitoring drivers’ stress levels and have decided that a higher limit is better. On the television news last hight I heard a spokesman for some organisation expand on the stress factor. It went something like this: (my words, not his)
Lorries are often speed restricted so that they cannot go at more than 56 mph. When speed limits of 50 mph are imposed going past roadworks these lorries, travelling at 56 mph, will often tailgate cars. This makes car drivers stressed and nervous.
And so, instead of imposing the 50mph speed limit on the lorry drivers, they decide to raise the speed limit to 60 mph for everyone. Car drivers can escape tailgating lorries.
They might be more likely to cause problems for the workmen because of accidents.
However, the lorries will be sorted out.
I wondered if I had heard this correctly or just made it up and so I looked it up on the internet and found this:
“A spokesman for the RAC said the new speed limit was good news for motorists. 'It should help to improve the flow of traffic, which often builds up well ahead of motorway roadworks,' he said. 'Where safe to do so, increasing the limit through roadworks will provide better, more reliable journeys … [it] also enables motorists who feel threatened by the close proximity of HGVs in roadworks to free themselves.'”
As I see it the bullies win. Meanwhile bullying storm Brian is battering us. I looked out of the window first thing, saw the rain pouring down and the trees blowing around and decided that running was out if the question. By the time I had done some indoor exercise and later sorted myself out to walk into the village, it had calmed down a little and I could have run after all. But it was still fiercely windy, the puddles were immense and the river was bouncing along full pelt.
Later in the morning I listened to Desert Island Discs on the radio. Kirsty’s guest this week was Edna Adan Ismail, former Foreign Minister of Samaliland and once married to Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal, Prime Minister of Somalia (1967–69) and then President of Somaliland (1993–2002). More impressively she is the founder and director of the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in her country and yet more impressively a pioneer in the struggle for the abolition of female genital mutilation. Her description of undergoing this herself at the age of eight was harrowing. Her doctor father’s reaction on discovering that his own mother and his own wife had colluded, indeed arranged for this to be done, was confirmation for her of the wrongness of this act. An amazing lady, she is worth listening to.
And finally, in the midst of all the craziness of the world, here is a reminder that we still find bits of beauty everywhere.