Varied Surroundings

There is more to being human than travelling around the world sampling its many delights, and recent reading has taken me deeper into subjects like philosophy. Though I am a scientist by training, the humanities continue to appeal to me, and various life events have led me to explore them more than otherwise might have been the case. That is now the main thrust of what you find here, along with other things that have a use in navigating life’s journey.

Still European

EU flag

The last decade has produced many epoch-defining events, and some of them hurt. The rise of right-wing populism is among these, and it has not gone away, even if Donald Trump is no longer president of the U.S.A. What really wounded me though was the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union since it remains something that I hold dear.

In truth, I am a heart Europhile, and that got thrust into my realisation very clearly in the events surrounding Brexit. Months ahead of the vote, I also thought that it was a 50/50 chance of it going either way. Given the poor impression of E.U. membership by a large section of the partisan press, getting voter's approval for remaining in the union was going to be challenging, and that was not helped by the reaction of many to ongoing austerity. That was the logical assessment of the vote, and I felt a certain resignation to the range of possible outcomes.

What I has not counted upon was my emotional response in the middle of having to adjust to life after the passing of my parents. It is remarkable what triggers grief responses, and I now restrict my exposure to political news for the sake of my mental health. This even extended to getting email updates from European Movement U.K., an organisation of which I am a member. Their weekly updates came on Saturday mornings and were not enjoyable to read, so I refuse them now. Some may think that weekends are good times for such things, but I prefer to keep them free for emotional decompression.

Given that so much is not working well, it probably is best to only hear of this during the week anyway. Plenty of bad news abounds in the form of tensions in Northern Ireland because of the British government's wishes to keep Great Britain outside both the European Single Market and the European Customs Union, thus making trade more difficult. There are clashes with French fishermen over access to fishing grounds and the pursuit of an utterly unfriendly emigration policy. Add a shortage of truck drivers and pressure on supply chains to the mix, and there is a shortage of joy at the moment.

Keeping up a campaign for European rapprochement is not an easy presently, let alone one for rejoining the E.U. itself, and that will be tested by the continuing member states in the union.