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

and

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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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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#Adulting: the perks of being a grownup

Hello there. Happy New(ish) Year! This is just a quick ‘What I Did On My Holidays’ to get me back into the whole writing thing, but I’m going to find time in my busy busy schedule for some cartoons just as soon as possible. Continue to watch this space.

Here is some information about me.

  • I live in a flat in London, to which I only sometimes lose the keys
  • I have a full time job (a new one, which is great by the way)
  • I pay taxes
  • I have conversations about spreadsheets on an alarmingly regular basis
  • I manage OK on the whole paying-bills, keeping-appointments, cleaning-and-tidying front
  • I get my five a day and take vitamin supplements
  • In recent times, I’ve actually been known to get excited about vegetables

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