LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
18 August 2017
Have Our Cake and Eat it Too

“Time for cake. We’ve already worked for four minutes without any paper or
plans and I’m knackered. I want the carrot cake. Now. Liam! Give that back! You
know I have a preference for carrot cake. Someone grab him before he gets
away. Come on you hard-line Brexiteers. You know I’m on your side.
Liiiiiaaammmmm! I want my cake and I want to eat it too! And I want the whole
cake! I’m not going anywhere until I get my cake!” Oh Davey.


David Davis’ latest cake consequence: “Let’s have a new Customs Union while
we have a Customs Union. Do you reckon the EU will notice? We want tariff free
access! We want new trade deals! We want new trade deals now! So you are
telling me I’ll have to come up with another cliché? Arghhh. But I like cake. I
want to have my cake and eat it too. OK. Carrot cake. Is carrot cake British?”

Davey has tried his negotiating tactic - ‘constructive ambiguity’ or really magical
thinking or simply lying. DD has announced there would be no offer from the UK
government on the country’s exit bill before October; thus “constructive
ambiguity.” It has been noticed that the October date is ludicrous. The icing on
the cake is what exactly, Davey?


Between ROTFL, the EU managed to remind DD: “An agreement on a future
relationship between the EU and the UK can only be finalized once the UK has
become a third country.” Davey just keeps trying and trying to manipulate the
negotiations regardless of the adamant responses from the EU.


And then there’s the Irish question. OK. Not a question. A reality. Oh oops,
Davey. Clue: The Good Friday peace accord.


“Certainly we are not going to be used as a pawn here in any bigger
negotiation,” said Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney. He offered a
reminder to DD that Ireland is an resolutely loyal member of the EU27
negotiating team, and would not let its interests become leverage against the rest
of the bloc. Still having your cake, Davey? Possibly choking on it. But then
again, the man is said to be thick – or drunk – or both really. Davey evidently is
still thinking ‘it’s a piece of cake’. Does that include open border ‘backdoor’
immigration then? Huh? Davey?


And lest we forget the Brexiteer’s new model, Norway. The country that trades
mainly in fish and oil. Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg reminded DD how
challenging the European Free Trade Area is even during a transition period.
“There would be a cost they would have to share and an authority outside their
border that could impose binding decisions on them, which is not entirely in line
with what they’ve said they want.” Translation: forget it.



Nigel Goes to Hollywood

And you thought it was Washington didn’t you? A US studio is planning to turn
Nige’s story as the former Ukip leader’s Brexit campaign into a Veep-style £60m
comedy series. No really. Well, he did campaign for The Donald didn’t he and
that was amusing. OK. Amusing because it was pathetically ludicrous. A Veep
writer is said to be involved. Shooting begins next year. Nige said: “I think I
should play me. I am really good at being me.” Is that Nige giving himself a ‘high-
five’?


Iain Dale, the head of Biteback presenter said: “People underestimate how well
known Nigel is in the States. When we were invited to the [sic] Washington for
the Trump inauguration, people were constantly asking me if I knew Nigel
Farage.” Replacing the traditional question: ‘Have you had tea with the Queen’?
Are we thinking dumb and dumber or just dumbest?



Blacklisted

All right. This was one of July’s silliest moments, but it does deserve notice
during The Silly Season. Black is the new black. Oh all right forget fashion
rivalry. We’re talking about art rivalry. Oh all right, an art war. The ‘paint it black’
war between Anish Kapoor versus Stuart Semple.


The new black, ‘Singularity Black’ has stepped in and not to referee. Singularity
Black was developed by a Massachusetts-based manufacturer NanoLab. Before
that, ‘Vantablack’ was the blackest of blacks. This created by UK-based Surrey
NanoSystems.


Focus now. Here’s the tricky bit. Kapoor gained the exclusive artistic rights to
use it. Evidently Semple was not best pleased so he created the pinkest pink, the
glitteriest glitter and here we are: ‘BLACK2.0’ - the blackest black. Semple
decided to allowed anybody, yes anybody anywhere to use his £16.99 blackest
black - except Kapoor. Oh dear, the pink and glitteriest glitter as well.

 
Now here it gets dark. Sorry, but you would have would have said the same
surely. Oh help. Last December Kapoor managed to get his hands on the
forbidden pink and then posted an image of the paint on Instagram along with
the caption “Up Yours”. Oh we can be very naughty, Anish.


Then Semple couldn’t resist: “I thought he was old enough to know better. It's
one thing not to share your colours with others, but to steal my pink (which he's
still not said sorry for!) and then to give the whole art community the finger! The
dude's like some kind of end-of-game super baddie. I mean what was he
thinking...” Rather self-explanatory don’t you reckon? But we may want an
explanation for Semple’s hair style: shaved on the left side – all normal – while
seductively-wavy-over-one-eye ‘30’s Hollywood style sort of thing going on the
right side. Huh?


‘Back to black’. Now there is even more to this black saga than artist revenge.
Focus again. While technically Vantablack is actually blacker than Singularity
Black, there is the difference. It involves NASA. Really. NASA. Evidently since
2011 NanoLab has been researching ways to reduce glare on space equipment
and quelle surprise, Singularity Black holds the lowest visible reflectance of any
paint, ever. This is what it does: it absorbs so much light that it makes objects
look completely flat. Singularity Black is named for the centre of a black hole.
Impressed? Surely you are – finally.


But, there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there? Singularity Black is very fragile. It can be
wiped off completely if touched when wet and it requires many coats to win the
title ‘the blackest-ever black’. NanoLab promises to sort this out and they are
willing to share.


Apparently Jason Chase, a Boston-based artist, was the first to take advantage.
A few weeks ago, he created a gummy bear sculpture which sits on top of a
rainbow painted wheel titled “Black Iron Ursa”. NASA…a gummy bear…let’s
leave it there, until we hear from Anish and Stuart, which we surely will. Possibly
a kid’s paint-balling party could end the feud I’m thinking. Kazimir Malevich’s
Black Circle 1915 – yes, 1915! Revolutionary genius, without Singularity Black
or Vantablack.



Not Rocket Science

Gosh. Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist, as you know, has taken on the pro-
privatising, as you know, Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary. Who knew they would
have a major row?


Hawking has criticised the Government for its handling of the NHS and accused
Jeremy of "abusing" science by "cherry-picking" scientific research into the so-
called "weekend effect" as well as underfunding and cuts, privatising services,
the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on junior doctors, and
removal of the student nurses’ bursary.


Then Jeremy took to Twitter to say: "Stephen Hawking is (a) brilliant physicist
but wrong on lack of evidence for weekend effect."


Jeremy created a seven-day NHS as one of the main reasons for reforming
junior doctors’ contracts. And yes, this did lead to the biggest walkout of doctors
in NHS history.


Hawking warned “we cannot lose the NHS”. He claimed the Tories are trying to
implement US-style health insurance system and we know what that would be
like. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Or dead. In response Jeremy accused Hawking
of a “pernicious” lie. “Pernicious” Jeremy? Really?


Hawking said: “When public figures abuse scientific argument, citing some
studies but suppressing others to justify policies they want to implement for other
reasons, it debases scientific culture. One consequence of this sort of behaviour
is that it leads ordinary people to not trust science at a time when scientific
research and progress are more important than ever.” And all the Tory cuts in
science?


He added that the health service was being pulled in different directions by
multinational corporations driven by profiting from NHS privatisation and the
public. “The NHS is in a crisis, and one that has been created by political
decisions.”


We know Hawking is right, but even if we didn’t, whom would you believe? A
brilliant world famous physicist who has endless experience with the NHS or a
self-serving duplicitous ‘pernicious’ politician with a rictus grin? Exactly.


Oh Jeremy. Here’s a – erm – curious case for you. Activist Joy Watson was
praised by CallMeDave when he was PM as an ambassador for dementia
sufferers. She had launched a campaign to make her town ‘dementia-friendly’.
She signed up hundreds of businesses. She founded Dementia Havens. She is
an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society. She was rewarded with
CallMeDave
's Points of Lights Award. Good so far, no? Oh you know the ‘no’
refers to her cut benefits. That makes a change.


Now she is struggling to pay her bills after she was told she was able to look
after herself’. “Oh she won’t notice. We do this to all our dementia patients.”

Is the Silly Season over yet?
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