April. The new June. Sunshine, flowers, birds nesting, butterflies flitting, native wild animals thriving. Pity about the Covid 19 but you cannot have everything can you? Her Maj addresses the nation for only the fourth time in her sixty-eight years on the throne – apart from the Queen`s Christmas speeches, of course. We celebrate The Big Night In with the Heir to the Throne and a cast of other minor celebrities. The churches are closed for Easter but, hey, Archbishop Justin will offer us a homily from his homely kitchen and the Bishop in Canterbury, Rose Hudson Wilkin, will sermonize wonderfully from her own socially-distanced mount. Old dogs have to learn new tricks.
Mad March. It all began so normally. Boris bumbling, The Tramp in ranting self-denial, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders slugging it out for the privilege of being the next person to lose the Presidential race for the Democrats, Harry and Meghan`s last Royal Hurrah, The Brothers and Sisters squabbling, sorry campaigning, over the soul and future of the British Labour Party, non=negotiations of the post-Brexit futures of the UK and the EU and the French Foreign Minister threatening a new `fish war`, Priti still sticking in the Home Office, still waiting on decisions about Heathrow Runway Three and High Speed Two but there will be a 1.9 mile tunnel under Stonehenge, more floods/no Boris, a border crisis between Greece and Turkey over released refugees as Erdogan nudges closer to Vlad Putin over Syria, former SNP Leader Alex Salmond goes on trial over sex-abuse charges, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers his first budget under surreal circumstances, war is declared – on £2.5 billion of potholes in UK roads, The Prime Minister faces his first Commons rebellion in the voting lobbies, Cheltenham races on. And then there was Coronavirus or Covid 19 and the world, as we know it today, came to a shuddering halt.
Recently there was a meeting at the British Embassy in Lisbon between representatives of British communities here in Portugal and representatives from SEF, IMT, Dept for International Trade, Higher Education and the health service. The aim was to inform us all about the transition period and how it relates to us. Below is a summary of the main points.
February. A Leap Year. As if we needed and extra day of floods, fire, pestilence and death. Coronavirus, or to be more exact Covid 19, is spreading if not at the rate of an Australian bushfire then certainly with disturbing rapidity. The press does its best to spread alarm and any sense of proportion has gone out of the window but the doom-mongers may yet have their day.
January. “Ten years to save the planet”. Megxit, Brexit , the trials of Harvey Weinstein and the tribulations of The Tramp. Anne Sacoolas remains a fugitive from British justice, “ justice “in Cyprus finds a young rape victim guilty of wasting police time, cross-channel migration attempts reach nearly two thousand for the past year and forty three people try the night journey in rubber dinghies on New Year`s Eve.
December. The end of a `bumpy road` or the entrance to a cul-de-sac? Hope for the former but don`t rule out the latter! A General Election leading to an unexpected landslide victory for the Conservative Party as the `Red Wall` across Britain crumbles.
Celebrations and a conference to mark the 70th anniversary of NATO end, in keeping with the spirit of 2019, on a bum note.
Apologies for both the brevity (which some may welcome) and the tardiness of these scribblings: we appear to be mildly pre-occupied with other matters.
November. Speaker Bercow finally vacates the chair of the House of Commons and Mr. Speaker Hoyle is elected to preside over the closing days of a parliament that Her Maj opened in Stately fashion only a few days earlier. The dissolution sees the departure from Westminster of political beasts of all sexes, shapes and sizes . Exiting Stage Right are those including Kenneth Clarke, The Father of the House who has served for 49 years and held some of the highest Offices of State.
God gave us two ears and one mouth for us to listen twice much as we talk. Politicians seem to have half an ear and four mouths. Before elections, all candidates and parties travel around and seem to be listening, as long as the TV cameras are there.
- Michael Gove's response... the rights of British nationals living in the EU
- Gale's Westminster View – October 2019
- A letter to the Prime Minister... the rights of British nationals living in the EU
- N-A-B-O Wins Election! Voters To Change The Constitution?
- Gale's Westminster View – September 2019
- Expats Meet With Secretary Of State For Exiting The EU
- Gale's Westminster View – August 2019
- Gale's Westminster View – July 2019