May. 3rd, 2017

mtbc: maze N (blue-white)
The European Union does not sound at all encouraging in its initial expectations for Brexit negotiations: far more stick than carrot in the details. I am unsurprised to read headlines like, The European Commission wants to engineer a no-Brexit-deal crisis…. Separately, what I read of the European Court of Justice suggests that a sufficiently intimate trade deal will probably be judged to be subject to veto by any of the herd of catsremaining members of the European Union who each have their separate domestic politics, some of which are unconducive to making the UK's life easy: in short, it could be difficult for the European Union to offer much of the kind of carrot that the UK most seeks even if leading members were so inclined.

Regardless of one's degree of strong stability or stable strength, I am not clear by what mechanism we reach a good exit agreement. I may take consolation from that the duration of the exit negotiations is a long time indeed in politics, my lack of expertise in foreign policy, and how both parties would benefit from something being worked out. However, I cannot help but wonder if we should be girding our loins for a considerably hard Brexit as I do not yet see that the European Union is likely to credibly offer enough to bring the UK anywhere into the ballpark of swallowing their substantial demands.

Update: A couple of days later I now read Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times:
… E.U. officials are sounding more and more like a jilted spouse determined to extract maximum damages in a divorce settlement. And this is just plain insane. Like it or not, Europe will have to live with post-Brexit Britain, and Greece-style bullying just isn't going to work on a nation as big, rich and proud as the U.K.
mtbc: maze F (cyan-black)
I went to secondary school in Truro, Cornwall; I returned to visit the city last month. There are palm trees growing in its very mild climate: over a typical winter the temperature there barely dips below 40°F. Dundee's temperature does but still generally stays above freezing. On my morning commute to the University of Dundee I turn off the A90 onto the A85 and, as I pass Apollo Way into the technology park, that section of Riverside Avenue develops pots in which plants resembling palm trees are planted. I wonder if that is what they truly are.

At work, from the edge of campus one can see Tesco Riverside. This used to be something of a tease as the railway line runs in between so students would have a long walk to actually get there safely. The city council did a most useful thing and a large, long bridge emerged with an elevator and ramps and whatnot: one may now walk or bicycle quite directly from campus to Tesco. On this route one passes through Seabraes Gardens which also appear to have palm trees.

I know little of botany: quite possibly these plants are not palm-related at all, perhaps that is more plausible, though Dundee's climate is not harsh. Either way, I appreciate the effort of those who cause such pleasant additions to our urban environment.

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Mark T. B. Carroll

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