Brexit Means Scorpions: some thoughts on democracy

I’ve mostly avoided touching the slimy mat of drain-hair that is Arguments About Brexit. It just feels pointless. People’s beliefs about this issue are too deeply held, and the debate has been relentlessly toxic. But recently I’ve been finding it harder to keep my mouth shut when I hear from the Leave voters in my life, especially when it comes to conversations about what democracy means.

This is a critical moment for debate, and yet we’ve collectively failed to engage with people whose views oppose our own, no matter how much we might love and respect them as humans. So I’m giving in to the impulse to join the fray. I’d like to do so in the least harmful way I can, which is why I’ve collated my personal response to some recurrent arguments here instead of getting into heated social media threads. I’m not expecting to change many minds, but like a lot of Remain voters, I feel unheard in the public conversation and I want to explain where I’m coming from.

To lay my political cards on the table, I’m left-wing, liberal and a card-carrying Remoaner. While I obviously think my own opinion is right (that’s what an opinion is, after all), I do understand that the other pole isn’t devoid of merit, and that there are valid reasons for Euroscepticism. If you’re a Leaver, I hope you’ll read my thoughts below in the honest, civil spirit in which they’re meant. And if anyone thinks what I have to say is at all helpful, please feel free to share it.

Here are a few things I’m hearing a lot at the moment, and my responses.

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How to get on with writing (by someone who hasn’t been)

I’m going to open this post with a statement that will sound improbable, coming as it does from someone whose blog has lain conspicuously empty from November through February. Are you ready? Here goes:

Over the past year I’ve been trying to take my writing more seriously.

Given that this is the first post I’ve published for many moons, you’d be forgiven for calling me a hypocrite. Whether you’re one of the lovely people who’s been asking when Anglophone is coming back, a random internet stranger who couldn’t care less, or a friendly stalker who’s lately had to resort to bin-rummaging in order to find out about my life, it feels only polite to explain that I have in fact been doing a fair bit of writing – just not for this blog. Instead, I’ve been working on other bits and bobs that aren’t ready to live on the internet; poems, stories, miscellaneous writing exercises and so on.

Alongside this I’ve been hoovering up tips on how to do more and better writing, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourites, in case they’re useful for you too. I’ve also noted the ways I’ve spectacularly failed to follow these tips, in celebration of the fact that it is practically impossible to actually stick to good advice (#Brexit). Enjoy.

Bonus tip: how to read this post

Not interested in writing? No problem. From now on, every time the word “write” appears, simply replace it with “abseil”, “crochet”, “collect lego figurines”, or another verb of your choosing. This will work better in some cases than in others.

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Autumn song

I woke up a few Mondays ago feeling a couple of things:

a) from the tips of my fingers to the depths of my soul… a bit crap


b) like I wanted to write about that on here

The problem is, I usually structure my blog posts around some kind of central hook – but this time, despite much soul-searching, there was no hook to be found. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I should just write down some Stuff.

Here is the stuff I have written down.

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Guest post: Period Positive

Hello. It’s been even more of a while than usual, but I promise I haven’t just gone AWOL – I have a few pieces in the works, which may emerge when life is less busy. But this is not one of those pieces.

It is in fact a Guest Post (because yeah, I have guests now, boom), continuing the period theme of my latest Anglophone offering from a different perspective.

It’s authored by Meg, a friend, linguist and writer on many and varied topics, and here’s a paraphrase of its origin story:

Whatsapp; Mid-july

Meg: Hey, nice PMS post. Also I kind of want to write the companion piece all about ew yucky blood, how about hosting it on Anglophone?
Me: Thankyou!! And yes please!

One week later

Meg: Here is a draft
Me: Brilliant! I’ll write an intro and publish it this weekend

Over a month elapses

Me: Hey, I finally wrote that intro…

And now, at last, here we are – the delay is my fault entirely. Since Meg is definitely eloquent enough to speak for herself, I’ll let her take it from here.

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Vicious cycles: A beginners’ guide to PMS

Hello there. Today, we’re going to talk about periods. Specifically, we’re going to talk about the ill-defined beast that is PMS. I’m already having to stop myself apologising for picking such a scandalous topic, which sort of highlights why it’s a good thing to be discussing.

Unlike the infamous ritual by which 11-year-old girls are removed from mixed classrooms to learn their fate, I’m asking the boys to stay and listen. If you don’t think it’s your business, that’s all the more reason to stay. Welcome.

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The displacement effect, or: How I lost 6 Oyster cards in 2 months

I’ve been meaning to write this one for a while. Read on and you’ll probably figure out why it’s taken me until now to get around to it…

Here are some facts:

  1. In January, I started an awesome new job at Coney
  2. In the months of January to March 2018, I lost a total of six Oyster cards
  3. I suffer from what’s probably best described as moderate clinical anxiety

I have a little theory that links those facts together. But first, let me expand on each one.

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F*ck February: A few reasons the shortest month is the worst


I do not like the month of February, when everything is dead. And now that February itself is gone (for this year, at least) I’m going to speak ill of it. I’m also going to complain about the weather, and grumble about public transport, and generally whinge and mope. If you’re looking for something uplifting, I suggest you skip this one…

So, for you hardcore miseryguts who’ve stuck around past that preamble of woe, here are a few of the many reasons February is a pile of crap. There are seven of them, because that’s my least favourite number. *Flounces out of the metaphorical room*.

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