Money talks: the 2014 Autumn Statement

Sad ChristmasI am reluctant to pour cold water on anyone’s seasonal good cheer. The Yuletide festivities are a stone’s throw away and most people in the UK are not thinking beyond their post-prandial Christmas Day snooze on the sofa, when not even the shrill insistence of a Boxing Day sale advert will rouse them from their alcohol and calorie-induced hebetude. It’s a fine tradition to which most of us in fair Albion look forward and it is understandable that we should be disinclined to contemplate the grey dawn of another year. It is with considerable reluctance, therefore, that I must turn our attentions to Chancellor Osborne’s Autumn Statement. Continue reading

The nay-sayers say nay: Scotland votes to stay

IndyrefYesterday was an historic day in British politics. After months of campaigning and fevered debate, the people of Scotland have cast their votes to determine the future direction of their homeland. 55.3% voted to remain within the United Kingdom, while 44.7% voted to secede. The referendum was notable for its record turnout (85%), its high emotions and the worldwide interest it attracted. The ‘no’ vote also marks the end of Alex Salmond’s career as SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland. Continue reading

Election 2014: a vote of no confidence

European Election 2014The hustings are over and the results are in! Across the European Union, millions of citizens have cast their votes in the widely-anticipated elections of 2014. There will be some new faces in the European parliament, new voices and a lot of uncomfortable truths to be considered. For this particular election has been characterised by the rise of radicals and Eurosceptics, of disillusionment and frustration with the Establishment. We have experienced what French prime minister Manuel Valls quite rightly termed a ‘political earthquake’.

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Chapter 6: eggs and bangers

NeighborhoodIn his dream, he was thirteen once more and back in his home town, back in a more innocent time. It was the Easter holiday, the sun was shining and the flowers were in bloom. He was cycling through the streets of quiet suburbia, away from the house in which he lived with his parents and little sister. Alongside him were his friends, Mickey and Tony, and his cousin, Ralph, each of them grinning from ear to ear. Continue reading