Into another mirror-world morning

Into another mirror-world morning.

Warning: excessively personal, not game-related. Turn back now.

I’m in a hotel room in a hotel I’ve stayed in 5 times before, each time in a different but identical room, distinguished only by the mountains or skyline or the side of the courtyard you see when pulling back the (anonymous, effective) curtains. Tomorrow I will drive across a border to work, and in the evening return to this room and this hotel. In three days I will return to the country where I live. None of these places are the land of my passport, a place I have consciously, deliberately, turned my back on.

Today I am rightfully here. In two weeks I will be a guest on sufferance. At the end of the year, I will have the right to stay in the land where I live, for life, maybe. I will have to apply for permission. It will be granted, we are assured.

In two months I visit the land of my birth, my family and parents on the other side of the rupture. We cannot, and do not, discuss the division, the scar. My brother mentions it as if it were a football result, with rightful winners and losers and a just scoreline. My anger is so close, so near to the skin, and so I blandly change the subject and ask about the cat, or the latest book.

I fear that I will be homesick and my choice was wrong. I fear that I will not recognise it as the home I left, and I have nowhere to return to.

In two years (or three, or five, or six - the land where I live is a land of rules, and the rules have many clauses), I can apply for a better degree of permission. Eventually even to be a citizen of this mirror-republic, if I decide, a step that then will require me to consciously and deliberately renounce the land of my birth and passport. Can I? Could you?

I wish my country (which country?) well. I wish my country ill, that it suffers in full measure the warned-of consequences, that in arrogance and contempt it dismissed. I do not wish this on anyone. I wish it on the deserving only. I resent feeling this way. I resent the loss of belief and discovering that illusions were illusory. I resent the confusion. I resent being asked about the rupture, whether in well-meant pity or as a disbelieving joke.

I humorously roll my eyes at the well-meant question, and joke about the unnecessary paperwork it’ll cause me. What else can I do?

This is not the post I set out write. I was going to write something light-hearted, about the strange Gibsonian world I find myself in, note wryly a few differences between Here and There, perhaps ask for advice from you, international and cosmopolitan bunch that you are.

The only reassurance, I guess, is that it’s not just me.


The only advice I have to give is: Isolation is not strength.

I detest a modern movement that is so ignorant of the history of its own country, that it sets out to replicate the rhetoric of past ages of free trade while at the same time using those words as cover for a movement to become insular and xenophobic. There’s nothing to respect there on any level. This disgrace will stain us all. And it should.


You could not make it up.

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Although your home country is not my own, I absolutely could and already would have if I hadn’t gotten myself some other entanglements first that complicate the situation possibly beyond repair. I wish you well and honestly feel like you shouldn’t even look back.

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I’d love to leave. We’re nowhere near the bottom of this issue yet. There’s going to be some real soul-searching amongst a minority when it turns out this country isn’t the nice liberal land of equality that imaginary ‘British values’ create. The majority in this country don’t care for immigrants (of any colour, although those with darker skin are obviously easier to pick on) and just to reinforce the point, I’ve watched politicians who are ethnic minorities and the children of immigrants speak out against immigration. The whole situation is fucking mental but none of the things people have hoped this country stands for, freedom, tolerance etc are worth the air it takes to say them. Those of us who aren’t galloping bigots need to revise their estimate of this country down as far as you can in preparation.

Take away that phrase, and I would have guessed you were talking about the US.


Briefly elbowing my way into your conversation to voice the additional observation that the US is showing the UK that behaving like ‘this’ is do-able. I hope beyond hope that someone Democratic wins this year, and undoubtedly helps to put the brakes on the morally vacuous additional journeys our hedge-in-a-suit PM is embarking on.

All of which puts me in the mood for a nice cuddly game of This War of Mine.


A detailed technical summary of everything needed for a post-Brexit trade deal, which also made me laugh.

I am not following the news today and I’m working from home. The immense grace shown by EU politicians and the kindness of my colleagues makes me desperately sad, especially when everything from the UK seems incredibly crass and boorish, at best.


They’ve got about 8 months to put together a trade deal they don’t know anything about. A Canada-style deal is still rather comprehensive and after browsing its 1500+ pages, I’m not confident they can do it.

Let’s see, so far that’s; attempted burning of the EU flag and „hang the traitors“ placards outside Parliament, unilateral customs checks on all inbound EU trade, the „happy Brexit day - speak English“ poster in Norwich, the govt saying it wants either a Canada or Australia-type deal, and the EU saying (i) no time for an Australia deal and oh, btw, (ii) one of our members would like to discuss Gibraltar. Plus calls from various „opposition“ politicians to accept Brexit and move on, which is as supine and pathetic as expected. Did I miss anything else from the bright light of the first day of freedom?

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I think that’s most of it.

Oh my goodness. So much bigotry, ignorance and dishonesty in so few words. It’s impressive, in its own foul way.

Oddly, I’d agree with no. 6 and think it would solve a great many problems, except that by “comprehensive” I suspect they mean “highly selective”.


I thought that “sovereign citizen” kookiness was specific to the USA. Sorry to se it’s infected people across the pond, too.

The greatest work of fantasy ever conceived.

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Well, since there’s an untapped labour pool of 8,000,000 economically inactive people to draw on, I’m sure that’s a completely realistic and practical aim.

Unrelatedly, a colleague from another office greets me with “wie geht es dem Flüchtling heute?” (how is the refugee today?) when he visits.

Another articulate, reasoned burst of rage from Ian Dunt.

But even behind the scenes, you can sense Johnson’s responsibility for what is happening. It’s in that tell-tale sign of laziness and ineptitude with which government operations are conducted.

Yesterday No.10 confirmed it was pulling out of the unified patent system. This new arrangement, which operates half-in and half-out of the EU, aims to replace the disparate national patent arrangements in Europe with a streamlined single-issue patent and associated court functions.

With Britain on board, the new system would have covered 400 million consumers, including four G8 economies, with a GDP close to that of the US. Many experts believed it would make Europe a major patent jurisdiction, possibly overtaking America.

Even David Cameron, an afterthought of a prime minister who nevertheless appears an intellectual titan next to what we have now, recognised the opportunities. He made sure British judges were involved in developing the court’s procedure. He fought to establish the pharmaceutical and life science division of the court in London - part of a plan to turn the UK, which at the time had the European Medicines Agency as well as the Francis Crick Institute and the Wellcome trust, into a global life sciences hub.

Theresa May knew it made sense to stick to this system even after Brexit. Johnson himself ratified it in 2018. But now we are pulling out. Why? Because the patent court will refer back to the European Court of Justice on matters of EU law.

This is such a tiny thing, such an inconsequential detail, as to be beyond comprehension. The European Court of Justice wouldn’t decide cases. It would simply be asked to make rulings on matters of EU law. But even that apparently is too much. ‘That’s not Brexit’, or whatever word it is we’re supposed to use for Brexit now that MPs have been told never to utter it.

“Participating in a court that applies EU law and bound by the European Court of Justice is inconsistent with our aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation,” the PM’s office said. They had to be approached to find out. There was no official statement.

Britain loses and Europe loses. And there’s really no reason for it. It’s doubtful that a single individual in this country voted to leave in 2016 on the basis of EU law on patents.

It doesn’t make the headlines, because it is an act of vandalism against something which would exist, rather than something which already does. But this is what it looks like when a country dismantles its own future.

Also in the news today, liar, scammer, and inexplicably minister for transport Grant Shapps announced the UK is to withdraw from Easa, because something something sovereignty something ECJ. I’m sure I read something about Easa. Oh yes. The trade article from Ian Dunt;

Take aviation. Nearly 80% of aerospace components manufactured in the UK are exported. And the important part there is in the word ‘components’. That’s what we do. We don’t make the whole plane. As a country, we specialise in wings, landing gear, engines and avionic systems - the electrical equipment in the cockpit. All of that is regulated by the European Aviation Safety Authority (Easa). Everything you see on a plane in Europe, numbering over 5,000 different parts, has been vouched for by them, down to the little trolley serving you drinks when you ask for your fourth rum and Coke and the air steward starts to look at you suspiciously. Oh, and his training is overseen by them too, as is the pilot’s, and that of the engineers.

The industry is clear: it needs to hold Easa tight. […] There is zero reason to deviate from this regulatory framework. There are literally no upsides. The UK is not going to start setting international standards for aviation on its own. The trend in the global industry is towards alignment, because everyone wants the same things - a safe product, with fuel efficiency, which is clean and quiet and cheap to run, and which can be traded in a complex supply chain with a minimum of friction.

Of course we wouldn’t want to be a part of that. Tchah!

There is going to be nothing left, is there?

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The EASA withdrawal is mental. Fucking mental. Either lower standards for air safety which is a super idea, or the same standards and we spend a bunch of money replicating capability unnecessarily.