SOPPY SUNDAY

n or3

I brought my mum to meet you.

n hawian crow
Watch carefully and I’ll explain what this tool is for.
n ben arthur
Ben Arthur.
n cute-cheetah-photos-cheri-marie-cullen-34640143-500-375
Cheetahs.
n Aurora Borealis Over Skjálfandafljót River
Northern Lights in Iceland.
n dog1
When he said ‘come and help with the sheep’, he never told me that there were so many… or that they were so big. Help!!!
N edin old town
Edinburgh.
n Zebra_ZN
Mum and baby Zebra.
n wood duck1
Mandarin Wood Ducks
n skye
We build bridges. Skye.
N Hamish1
Hamish, one of The Roaming Junketeers (probably the boss man).
n not sure
I’ve no idea where (anyone?) but it’s pretty.
N Glasgow 1942
Solved the parking problem here. Don’t have any cars. Glasgow… 19??
n herring
Irish coastline, starring a beautiful Herring Gull.
ncheetah1
Cheetah.
n paddy fireld
Paddy fields.
neigg
Eigg.
nwood duck
Amazing colours…
n hamish
Hamish builds bridges too. In Mexico.

 

 

n or
Have a peaceful Sunday, y’all.

And we mustn’t forget our friends in Catalonia today:

 

acat.jpg
Bona sort i valent coratge.

 

 

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BONG, £29 MILLION, BONG, £61 MILLION, BONG…???

big-ben-scaffold

The Elizabeth Tower holding the iconic Big Ben bell needed some repair.

It was decided that this repair should go ahead.

So the parliamentary authorities called a restoration company, who presumably came and looked at h job and estimated £29 million to do the job over a period of four years.

Because of the proximity of workmen to the bell (and the fact that the parliamentary clock team were going to take the opportunity to repair and service the clock), it was estimated that the chimes of Big Ben would not be heard for four years while the work progressed. (Can you imagine what working in the bell tower while the massive bell rang out on the hour every hour every day, would do to people’s hearing?)

This caused an uproar in the houses of parliament and, even in the middle of Brexit worries, the exalted personage of the prime minister, her right honourable self, complained about the length of time that the bell would be silenced.

Mrs May said: “Of course we want to ensure people’s safety at work but it can’t be right for Big Ben to be silent for four years. And I hope that the Speaker, as the chairman of the House of Commons commission, will look into this urgently so that we can ensure that we can continue to hear Big Ben through those four years.”

Mrs May is good at making a lot of noise about little things, but less so when it comes to anything important.

Note from Munguin: This is an old story, Tris, what’s your point in raking it up again, amusing though it was.

OK, Munguin, keep yer scarf on. I’m getting to that.

 

aanewc
There’s a load of large empty buildings in Newcastle. Why not move the whole thing there?

 

Anyway, it seems that the repairers weren’t too expert on the old estimating part of the job. And instead of the £29 million quoted a few months ago, it’s actually going to cost £61 million. Well, at least until the next update!

A spokeswoman for the House of Commons told the Press Association: “The commissioners expressed their disappointment in the cost increases, and the unreliability of the original estimate. But they  reiterated their commitment to preserving the Elizabeth Tower and Great Clock for future generations.”

Oh goodie!

Just two brief observations, then:

I assume that, given the more than doubling of the cost, the length of the project will increase by a similar proportion. So maybe 8-9 years before Big Ben is heard over London again? How will the MPs who were crying at the final “bongs” ever manage? What will May say?

And, of course, it is worth noting that the repairs to the tower are only a tiny part of the total renovation of the parliamentary buildings which has been variously estimated as costing £4 billion, £5.7 billion, and £7.1 billion and taking up to 30 years.

Does this mean that we can expect to pay up to £15 billion and wait over 60 years for the builders to finish?

Who organised this chaotic mess? Oh yeah, the British government! Nuff said.

Oh yeah, the British government! Nuff said.

And they think they can deliver Brexit????

 

SO WHAT’S HAPPENING ‘OVER THERE’?

Sometimes you reflect on the utter embarrassment that is the warring Westminster government, and the opposition that, well, I dunno about you, but does anyone, much less them, have an idea what their Brexit policy is?

You know perfectly well that people all over Europe and the rest of the world (in as much as they give a stuff about what’s happening here), are choking themselves laughing at the mess that mighty Britannia has got itself in.

But, there’s always the comfort that the insignificant May and her hapless squabbling friends… well, no, not friends… more, well, enemies, are no marks on the international ridicule scale, compared with the orange-faced muppet in the Gold House.

He is, quite simply, incomparable.

Enjoy, as Seth and his team takes a “Closer Look” some of the more ridiculous moments in the last few days…

SO, IS THIS WHAT OUR GREAT TRADE DEAL WILL LOOK LIKE?

£A

SIR Fallon of  Tiddly has warned Boeing that they could be stripped of lucrative defence contracts as a result of the trade dispute over the sale of jets made in Northern Ireland by the Canadian firm Bombardier.

$1

The dispute, over which May apparently lobbied the Trump, has resulted in an interim decision by the US Department of Commerce to place a 220% tariff on the sale of Bombardier’s C-Series jets.

£AA

This could put at risk at least some of the 4000 jobs at Bombardier’s Belfast plant, which account for around 8% of the province’s economy.

It’s to be stressed that the tariff imposition is a measure based on an interim decision. A final decision will be made in February 2018, when it is hoped it will be settled more amicably.

£AAA

The premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard, has joined the war of words describing the move as an attack on his province and on Canada.

But, it is worth remembering that Mrs May has always placed faith in the special relationship as her country seeks trade deals from outside the world’s richest trading block, and Mr Trump promised a great deal within months….

It’s a faith which it seems at the moment may have been misplaced.

Maybe next time, Mrs May, don’t hold the idiot’s hand even if he is scared of the dark, or stair or whatever implausible story that was spun at the time.

I’LL JUST LEAVE THIS HERE…

Mrs Merkel may be able to soldier on at the head of a difficult coalition, but she has lost substantial authority for her EU policies.
**************
Oh dear, Mr Redwood,
OK, to start off with Angela Merkel has a PhD. And she’s German. So she isn’t “Mrs Merkel”. My best guess at her title is Frau Doktor Merkel. (Ed will correct me, I’m sure, if I got that wrong.)
I can’t help thinking that, although it’s a small point, it would probably help international relations a little if Brits didn’t always assume that their way of doing things was the only way.
amerk
Secondly, you may be forgetting that, like the Germans, the Brits just had a General Election.
Unlike the Germans, it was one held by choice rather than legal necessity.
And, as I recall, Mrs May has managed to soldier on at the head of a difficult uneasy coalition with a hard Christian fundamentalist party, thanks to a large wodge of taxpayers money harvested from this elusive magic money tree which could not be persuaded, only weeks before, to fruit for nurses.
Of course, Mrs May’s policies on Europe have to some extent been saved by the fundamentalists (as long as no one refers to anything having happened any more than 6,000 years ago, anything gay, or any kind of abortion plans), but as her policies on Europe have been limited to: “Brexit means Brexit”; “Brexit will be red, white and blue” and “No deal is better than a bad deal”, I’m not sure that that is of any great matter.
amay1
Mrs May never really had much in the way of authority, having been the “best of a terrible bunch” candidate when Cameron broke another of his promises and stepped down.
She became a figure of fun during the subsequent unnecessary and disastrous election campaign (which she had promised not to have), playing, in closed factories, to houses little bigger than the crowd that failed to turn up to see her speech in New York, and having doors slammed in her face.
However, since she lost the election she has become an international figure of ridicule. The phrase “strong and stable” will never have quite the same meaning again.
Most leaders have ups and downs. Mrs May only seems to have missed out entirely on the ups, but then you’d really be stretching things to call her a “leader”.

SOPPY SUNDAY

n or4

Morning…welcome to autumn.

rose
Here’s a rose for you…
n st kilda
St Kilda High Street.
n yosemite
Yosemite.
n cat look into my eyes
You’ve doubtless heard of cats’ eyes.
n county antrim
County Antrim.
n sky
Endless wonders of cloud patterns and colours.
n red
I see someone has delivered my luncheon.
n skedeneshavn, norway
Stedeneshavn, Norway.
IMG_20170922_123023735
Munguin’s Garden.
IMG_20170922_123039164
More Munguin’s Garden.
IMG_20170922_123044741
The Acer has turned a pretty colour.
IMG_20170922_123125614
Munguin’s Rocks.
N Incredibly rare Red Admiral ab. klemensiewiczi (albo-punctura), photographed by Peter Andrews today, 22nd September in Swindon, Wiltshire.
A rare Red Admiral.
n orkney
Orkney Standing Stones.
n cow
Mooooooooooooooo
n dean village
Edinburgh’s Dean Village.
n tram
Edinburgh Tram. (Again guess a date).
n or5
Guess what I’m drinking? Hic… Don’t tell! OK?

 

AN APPEAL FROM MUNGUIN TOWERS

a3
What a relief. Someone turned up, even if it was only Hammond, Boris and the drunk one.

 

“The strength of feeling that the British people have about this need for control and the direct accountability of their politicians is one reason why, throughout its membership, the United Kingdom has never totally felt at home being in the European Union.”

So said Theresa May at her speech in Florence.

Honestly, it’s hard to believe that she really said that.

To begin with, it’s not much of a negotiating tactic:

We’ve never really felt at home with you, but can we please have the closest possible relationship in the future, closer than Norway, closer than Iceland, closer than Canada, closer than Liechtenstein? 

‘We need to control things, though, as I say, so we’ll be looking to do this closeness without actually being close. You know, without any of your interfering rules and regulations, and your foreign courts challenging decisions of our solid English judges, and, of course, at little or no cost to us, as we have to try to find £350m a week for our failing health service.

‘Now, as I said, the British people like accountability in politicians. Indeed they demand it. Our own mother of parliaments is a shining example of that accountability, as all of you will know.’

amay
“That Munguin is an irritating little beast!”

Methinks she was havering!

Because as well as being stupid, for a large section of the public, at least in Scotland, it was totally untrue. We HAVE felt comfortable with Europe. For example, I don’t think I have ever met a single person (despite tabloid headlines) who gave a tuppeny damn about the ECJ or who has had the least contact with it. But then, I suppose, we Scots are used to our top court of appeal being in another country.

I like being European. I’ve benefited from working in France thanks to a Leonardo Da Vinci project. I’ve made friends all over Europe. I love the cheap flights that will take me to Budapest, Dublin, Paris, Helsinki, Sofia or Bratislava, in a couple of hours, and for less than the train fare to Newcastle. I love that my neighbour was Hungarian and that we became close friends and my family with his. I love what he has taught me. I love the different foods, the music, the languages and the openmindedness of being part of the European Project.

IMG_20160824_163926235_HDR
Munguin in Hungary.

 

Of course, I have heard complaints that there are too many, particularly Eastern European, folks taking their jobs/women/the last pint of milk/parking space at the supermarket. Whatever.

But then, we’ve done a lot of building work projects in Dundee over the years (most of all at the moment with the waterfront project) and people frequently complain that the tradesmen are coming here from Glasgow or Edinburgh to take our jobs. There will always be jealousies and division… East coast, West coast; Catholic, Protestant;  Rangers, Celtic; old, young…

That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be in the same country as Glasgow or Edinburgh.

No, we are largely at home with Weegies or  Dunedians (Conan: is that right?). Just the same as we’re largely at home with Hungarians, Bulgarians, Icelanders and Greeks.

We, by and large, want no part of Mrs May’s nasty insular island mentality (although we’ll grant you there are some who do, many of them MSPs or local councillors, it seems, according to newspapers, and from her party too!).

So M Verhofstadt, M Barnier, et al, if you are reading this (which I imagine you are), what we are trying to say is that Mrs May was NOT speaking for us.

!!
The future?

 

Scotland voted to remain part of Europe because we love you; because we appreciate the privileges and advantages accorded to us by being a part of the world’s biggest and richest trading block. Because we value the way that we can develop together. Because we value our European citizenship and all the freedoms that it brings.

We do not want to be dragged into the narrow insular “Empire II” envisaged by some of the right-wing leaders in London. And to be honest, we fear for our future as insignificant outcasts. We want to keep that burgundy passport and the rights it gives us.

Despite promising that OUR government will be consulted on every aspect of Brexit, the London establishment has so far ridden roughshod over everything that our First Minister and her government have proposed to make Scotland’s future reflect Scotland’s vote. May’s own people, who up to the referendum were telling us that it would be a disaster for us to leave the EU are now telling us that it is the greatest opportunity of our lifetimes. We were even told in 2014 that we would be cast out of the EU if we voted for our independence and that frightened the life out of some of us.

A!!
They sorta lied about this, didn’t they?

Whilst we understand the enormity of the problem of the border in Ireland, and indeed that between Gibraltar and Spain, and appreciate that people’s actual lives depend on the decisions you will take over these matters, we beg you not to forget that the Scots voted nearly 2 : 1 to stay with you, to stay European citizens with the responsibilities and privileges that entails.

Please don’t forget us. Although I can’t speak for all Scots, please remember that neither does Mrs May nor does she have our interests at heart; please allow Nicola Sturgeon and other Scots of any party to do so.

Salutations

 

Munguin.