Cameron’s heartfelt plea for Europe

“Because the truth is this – we are in a global race today and that means an hour of reckoning for countries like ours. Sink or swim. Do or decline.”

via Cameron speech to warn on economy – UK News – News – WalesOnline.

It’s not quite sink or swim (Britain will not sink beneath the azure waves) but the changing shape of geopolitics is one of the strongest arguments for European integration. Funny sort of place to make that argument, at Conservative conference…

May madness

Here’s the Guardian on Teresa May’s rumblings about renegotiating EU Freedom of Movement rules:

It had been thought there was little momentum to review the free movement of EU workers on the basis that it is such a central pillar of the EU’s founding principles. But May believes there are reforms that could be made in part to reverse previous European court of justice judgments that have in effect redefined free movement as available to citizens rather than merely workers.

(from Theresa May considers curbs on EU migration)

Sorry, what? Teresa May wants to block people who aren’t working – like Tory-voting retired inhabitants of Spanish coastal resorts – and allow people who are – like Polish plumbers?

Surely (if you believe that Britain is threatened by evil mudbloods) you want to keep the Poles out while letting the Brits go anywhere and do anything, like the rulers of Europe they rightfully are?

I’m sitting in the station at Perpignan, waiting for my train to Barcelona. It’s just after four o’clock on a Friday afternoon in February.

My train is in just under an hour, and the surprising thing is that between now and then, there is only one other train going out.

It’s true what they say, that Ftench TGVs are great, but the frequency of service on the wider network leaves a lot to be desired.

Perpignan is the local regional capital, and not small. Think Truro or even Exeter, except with the whole of Spain lying beyond it rather than Cornwall.

I can’t imagine that Exeter gets by on two trains an hour on a Friday afternoon. God help anyone who wants to commute by rail into Perpignan.

Husa Chamartín, Madrid

Husa Chamartín, next to Chamartín station in Madrid. Very seventies feel, from the built in and non-functioning radio controls next to the bed, right down to the English racists in the bar, talking about how Asians “will always fuck you over”. For once, since they were English and I was offended at the bad impression they were giving of my country, I told them not to be racist rather than just sitting and fuming as I normally would.

Six months ago, I would have said that the Husa Chamartín seemed fated for redevelopment. With the troubles in the Spanish economy, it might take a few years longer.

Not the sort of place you’d want to stay unless, as I am, you’re arriving late on a train from Paris. Husa Chamartín, Madrid

Hanover beer festival 2008

Just found my drunken notes from the Hanover Beer Festival the other weekend.

Naked Beacon (Breconshire brewery)
Fruitbat (B&T Brewery, Shefford, Beds) – raspberries!
Alton’s Pride (Triple F Bewery, Alton, Hants)

Festivale 30 (1648 Brewery, East Hoathley)
Winter Meltdown (Dark Star Brewery, Ansty) – needs a roaring fire and snow outside
Blonde (Saltaire Brewery, Shipley, W Yorks)

Burgess online

I see that Kemp Town Parliamentary candidate Simon Burgess has <A href="">broached the Interwebs</a> as part of his campaign.