Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Irishman

The stupidity of “Brexit” has been obvious from the start. Not just BoJo, but the whole thing. And, yet, here the EU and world are. There are things that are legend and built into the UK DNA, and one of them is their quintessential spy teller, John le Carre. And, yet again, Brexit takes a bang.

“John le Carré, the great embodiment and chronicler of Englishness, saved his greatest twist not for his thrillers but the twilight of his own life: he died an Irishman.

The creator of the quintessential English spy George Smiley was so opposed to Brexit that in order to remain European, and to reflect his heritage, he took Irish citizenship before his death last December aged 89, his son has revealed.

“He was, by the time he died, an Irish citizen,” Nicholas Cornwell, who writes as Nick Harkaway, says in a BBC Radio 4 documentary due to air on Saturday. “On his last birthday I gave him an Irish flag, and so one of the last photographs I have of him is him sitting wrapped in an Irish flag, grinning his head off.”

Le Carré, the author of acclaimed thrillers including The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, had long made clear his opposition to Brexit, but his embrace of his Irish heritage was not fully known until now.

He visited Cork, where his grandmother came from, to research his roots and was embraced by a town archivist, Cornwell says in the documentary. “She said ‘welcome home’.”

Ouch. But le Carre was right.

The Taoiseach, Michael Martin, seems to understand:

“Taoiseach Micheál Martin has called for a “reset” of the relationship between the EU and the UK to resolve issues stemming from the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The Taoiseach lamented the deterioration of diplomatic relations between the bloc and the UK following rows over Brexit and the supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
The Northern Ireland Protocol, designed to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland post-Brexit, has caused unrest among both unionists and loyalists, who have called for it to be scrapped.”

There are people I care about in Ireland, I want to freely go see them, and the relevant EU parties and Covid need to let up.

(h/t Peterr)

138 replies
  1. John Lehman says:

    “ The stupidity of “Brexit” has been obvious from the start.”

    Oh where has the empire gone?

  2. joel fisher says:

    With one exception, the Brexit promises have all proven wrong. Exports down; imports down; bureaucracy up. Less money for Britain; lots of new businesses for the EU. The exception, of course, is the racism; when the bank takes your house because you don’t have a job anymore, you can glory in the whiteness of your skin. It’s hard to know who to pity more, the 52% morons who voted “leave” or the 48% who wanted to stay in. I’m betting the 48% are better educated and better able to handle the turbulence brought on by their racist countrymen. On the plus side, Brexit might be a genius, unintended move that unites Ireland and frees Scotland.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Le Carre benefited from an Irish rule that lets those with an Irish parent or grandparent apply for citizenship. And, yes, it is ironic that a writer who so artfully dissected Englishness and English institutions of power felt compelled to formally dissociate himself from them. Looked at another way, though, with so much knowledge, one might ask what took him so long.

    The gap between reality and the English upper class’s self-perception is staggering, as is the gap between reality and Boris Johnson’s claims about his Covid response. But it’s on par with the difference between the reality of American foreign policy and the perception that it has been “a force for good” in the world (illustrated by the life of Allen Dulles), and Belgians who look favorably on Leopold II’s reign of terror in the Congo. Those put us deeply into the oxymoronic woods. But little tops the gap between reality and Tory claims about the cost and impact of Brexit – and their manifest refusal to prepare for of it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Another good example that supports Cornwell’s perspective and decision, this one about the gap between what English law firms say they stand for and what they do. Other examples could be found among English banks and the UK Home Office’s intentionally horrific immigration policies – matched by its cruel obtuseness regarding continuation of EU citizens’ rights in the UK post-Brexit.


    • John Lehman says:

      “ …Irish parent or grandparent apply for citizenship…”

      …mmm..grandmother was born in Switzerland…almost all ancestors are Swiss*…might be able to apply for Swiss citizenship?

      *Swiss= (Helvetians=Celtic), ( Swabian, Franks=Germanic), (Latin=Italian, French, Castilian) ….gets a little complicated…might be the reason the Swiss are International by default…that plus being the Middle Age mercenaries…they’re still guarding the Pope

      Please excuse the wondering, meandering mind.

  4. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    The stupidity of “Brexit” has been obvious from the start.

    And does the ‘Brexit’ not have the greasy thumb prints of the world’s most successful gangster, Valdimir Putin, all over it?

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Putin could not have believed his success as his long cons came to fruition in 2016. After Brexit, watching Nigel Farage prance around with Trump, I felt like I was experiencing one of those car accidents where physics has already determined the collision but time slows down to torture you with the illusion of escape. I’m glad I didn’t know then how prolonged and damaging the wreck would prove. And is still proving.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        Yeaaah… that’s a pretty good description of the experience right there… a slow motion car wreck…

        For money it cost him, the amount of damage Putin has done to the rest of the world is astonishing…

        Other organized crime ventures can only look on in envy…

        Not only does Putin control his own country, it also came w/ its own nuclear arsenal…

        • Arthur M. says:

          “The amount of money” for the long cons that came to fruition in 2016 stretches back to before World War II, and has roughly as much to do with Vladimir Putin,
          as Richard M. Nixon could be credited with the outcome of that conflict (WWII) — as in, not much. Long term central planning to break our democracies with fascists relentlessly attacking Communism is the name of the game.

      • Jane says:

        About the “stupidity of Brexit”. I’ve just had an argument with my husband, after he stated the UK was smart to pull out of EU. My gut told me he was wrong, but my argument failed because I had no data and I know close to zero about economics. What should I read so I can prepare for round two?

        • bmaz says:

          Ooof, good question. I have read a lot over the past couple of years or so, but can’t remember exactly where. David Allen Green has written quite a bit, but he is more in the vein of if it is insisted on being done, it is being done horribly wrong. To me, the trade and travel problem emanating from UK isolation will be immense. The whole purpose of the EU was to avoid that.

        • John Lehman says:

          An historian’s six volume Bible:
          “Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” – Gibbons

          A much shorter span but extremely intense period of modern history:
          “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” – William L. Shirer

          Some Arnold Toynbee (not the stuff that Steve Bannon misinterpreted)

          Those three heavy reads (to say the least) are generally better as references. Unless you really want to do scholarly research, think Cliff notes and Wikipedia.

          As far as a readable, popular Nobel winning economist Paul Krugman is unbeatable.

    • Alan says:

      It might well do but the sad thing is that Putin’s involvement was unlikely to have been necessary.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Depends on where the money came from – and is still coming from. But Putin’s primary objective seems to have been to incite chaos – in the UK, within the EU, NATO, and in the US. In that, he has been wildly successful.

        In the UK, much of the entirely predictable chaos comes from the UK government’s refusal to admit or plan for the consequences of Brexit. It comes from its selling the notion that its costs and effects would be low and over quickly – a few “birthing pains,” an analogy only a narcissistic male could have come up with.

        In reality, it will take over a decade and cost hundreds of billions of pounds to reinvent the economic and legal framework the Tories gleefully tossed aside in their rush for that Brexit pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. A staggering opportunity cost. As Republicans are doing here, they will argue that anything they don’t want government to do – such as work for the average person – must be tossed aside to pay for Brexit (not) and in service to a false fiscal conservatism.

        • John Lehman says:

          “In reality, it will take over a decade and cost hundreds of billions of pounds to reinvent the economic and legal framework the Tories gleefully tossed aside in their rush for that Brexit pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow. A staggering opportunity cost.”

          A misguided and vainglorious attempt to bring back…”The sun never sets on the British Empire”… “Britannia rules the waves” …sadly it parallels our U.S. version…’M.A.G.A.’…both built on a foundations of idealized memories of a history that never really existed.

          • posaune says:

            @ John 4:29
            Speaking of waves, wondering about the UK insurer of the Ever Given. That should be a mess — maybe not as big as Barings, but still a lot of money for some entity. Does anyone here do maritime law?

            • P J Evans says:

              I was reading about it on Tumblr, and the consensus seems to be that it’s an embuggerance. (the person who wrote about it has experience with insurance law.)

              • bmaz says:

                Like international airline liability law, it is different, and more restricted, than people probably think. That’s about all I have to offer before seeing actual claims.

                • posaune says:

                  Any guess as to where the litigation will be filed?

                  Ship flies Panamanian flag.
                  Liability insurance British (P & I Club: UKClub) although ship has separate insurer.
                  Owner Japanese, but company licensed in Taiwan.
                  Bernard Schultz Ship Management out of Hamburg.
                  Crew is Indian.

                  Is this Bleak House International?

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  WSC was First Lord, that is, Sec’y of the Navy. Then or at any other time, he rarely accepted profound hindrance to progress or the completion of his task. (Terry Pratchett once called his Alzheimer’s an embuggerance.) But the kind of forced buggery anecdotally associated with the navy and English public schools is, as Monty Python might say, something completely different.

                  • FLwolverine says:

                    Sigh. Of course. I was trying for some kind of word play. Back to lurking – I’m clearly not ready for the big leagues.

                  • earlofhuntingdon says:

                    Wordplay noted; the unusual word begs to be played with. I was being pedantic. Come and play more often, the water’s fine and the drinks are better.

              • TooLoose LeTruck says:


                What a great word…

                I never heard it before so I googled it…

                An ‘obstacle, natural or artificial’…

                Sounds like something out of Monty Python…

                Also an apt description of the current GOP…

                  • TooLoose LeTruck says:

                    Indeed… indeed…

                    i would go so far as to say it’s a perfectly crommulent word… that embiggens the spirit…

                    • John Lehman says:

                      Doh!….(slaps forehead)

                      …you’ll always sound precocious dumm didle didle didle dumm didle di

                • Molly Pitcher says:

                  I see that the origin of embuggerance is British military slang. My goal for the rest of the week is to find a way to use it that isn’t forced.

                  Emptywheel embiggens my vocabulary.

                    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

                      Yer wecome!

                      Name another site on the internet where you get this kind of service…

                      I dare ya…

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              It will be a complicated process, starting with sorting out ownership of the Ever Given. Physically, a cargo ship is part of global transportation infrastructure. Virtually, like financial products sold by Wall Street, it is carved into legal and financial bits in ways that benefit lenders, owners, and insurers. While their interests conflict, they often unite against damage claimants.

              Typically, a special purpose vehicle owns one heavily mortgaged ship and operates it under a flag of convenience: a country with lax laws favorable to owners, lenders, and insurers. Cutouts separate the SPV from the ship’s beneficial owners. A web of contracts – insurance, management and booking, cargo handling, staffing, fueling, maintenance – carefully match revenue with spending, to keep the SPV’s net assets to a minimum.

              One purpose for that structure is routine efficiency. Another is aggressive tax planning. Still another is to have enforceable choice of law and dispute resolution provisions that are favorable to owners, lenders, and insurers. Perhaps the most important reason is to limit the value of net assets available to pay claims.

              Ships rarely have big problems, but when they do, liability can be astronomical. The SS Torrey Canyon, for example, ran aground off the SW coast of England in 1967. It spilled about 30 million gallons of petroleum, which contaminated waters and coastlines for miles. (The infamous Exxon Valdez disaster spilled about 11 million gallons in 1989.)

              In subsequent proceedings, the owners tried to limit their liability to the traditional amount: the value of the ship’s hull in situ – that is, aground off the English coast. Ultimately, that didn’t work, but not for lack of trying by some of the best legal minds in the world.

              Here, the Ever Given and its cargo are largely intact. But there will be damage claims by insurers for delays, damage to the canal, and the cost of refloating it. Central to that will be the inquiry into causation. Typically, insurers for canal owner, ship operators, captains, canal pilots, etc. will blame each other in their efforts to avoid or limit liability: It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

              • vvv says:

                Re “the cost of refloating it”, I read somewhere on CNN that the ship’s owners have agreed to pay that.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                The field is called admiralty (or maritime) law and has an ancient history. It covers contracts, claims for injury, criminal and other civil wrongs, etc., that occur on or in connection with internal and international navigable waterways.

                Like other legal specialties, such as patent law, admiralty has rules and practices unique to it. The businesses involved have the benefit of dedicated legislation, such as the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, and have developed elaborate standard contracts, legal interpretations, and ways of doing business.

                In the US, federal courts have primary jurisidiction and federal admiralty laws apply even in state court. Internationally, dispute resolution is dominated by the UK’s Admiralty Court and private arbitration. The practice is dominated by insurers and their counsel, and by experts in seamanship and navigation, port operations, ship and cargo handling, marine engineering and construction, and financing.

                • Epicurus says:

                  To tie LeCarre and admiralty law together one should reread The Night Manager. The Roper knew what he was doing.

                • posaune says:

                  Earl @ 11:40, 1:33,
                  Your comments have made mr. posaune very pleased! (acoustical physicist re ship noise). What a specialty – admiralty law.

                  Kudos to you!

                • vvv says:

                  Quick anecdote:
                  For a long time in IL, gambling establishments could only be on seaworthy vessels. We therefore had casinos on boats on the Mississippi River, on the DesPlaines River, etc.
                  When someone got hurt on such a boat, negligence suits were brought under admiralty.
                  One fun case was when a security officer leaned over a balcony rail and dropped a walkie-talkie on a customer thereby causing a head injury = admiralty.
                  I also recall motion practice re a slip and fall that occurred on the ramp from dock to boat = admiralty.
                  In law school they had an admiralty law class I didn’t take, but was amusingly referred to by the prof’s first name, and known as “Boating with Blythe”.
                  Next week: FELA, followed by riparian rights, and then the law against perpetuity.

                  • posaune says:

                    Interesting. Thanks!
                    I was just reading how the Stamp Act was made under admiralty – the constitutional convention opposed it b/c no jury trial. Jefferson was ok with admiralty, however, Who knew? not me.

                  • Ginevra diBenci says:

                    Riparian rights–as a kid I believed this had to relate to growing fruits & vegetables (I never looked up anything in the dictionary). Now my sisters and I, having inherited our grandparents’ house on a small Michigan lake, rent it out during the summer to pay for (some of) its upkeep. We’ve learned a lot about riparian rights, to say nothing of liability, and some about admiralty too (we have a couple of dented canoes). But nothing like y’all here have to offer. Even our grandest kayak couldn’t block a creek.

                • Nord Dakota says:

                  I know an old coot who is a hoarder and a Sovereign Citizen. He insists that Bar (as in Association) stands for British Admiralty Rule. When he ends up in city court over his outside hoarding (they have no clue what the inside of his house looks like) he brings his own (non-gold-fringed) little flag and declares that he is subject only to the Constitution and is not subject to their jurisdiction. But he always ends up stuck with the fines.

              • P J Evans says:

                I was reading comments by someone who apparently has experience on the bridge of ships going through the Suez canal, that the canal pilots there are frequently not good at their official job.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  And no one would have much experience with cargo vessels of that size going through the canal.

        • Hika says:

          Not just Murdoch. There are also non-Murdoch tabloids culpable in supporting Brexit (The Daily Express & The Daily Mail). But there has also been a lot of Russian money into the Conservative Party for years now. And one of the main funders of the Leave.Uk campaign has substantial Russian ties and is suspected of receiving millions from Russia for the leave campaign. And Cambridge Analytica was involved. And a bunch of Russian FaceBook bots. To say it didn’t involve Putin’s assistance is an error.

    • Theodora30 says:

      Brexit also has the fingerprints of Steve Bannon, the Mercers and Rupert Murdoch all over it. Bannon’s and the Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica was involved in spreading the propaganda.
      Murdoch’s UK tabloid The Sun was also all in.
      It infuriates me that the US media has largely ignored this story — both the disaster that Brexit is and the propagandists behind it. The same people who got Trump elected also helped get Brexit passed and both are exactly what Putin wanted.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Putin has observed the accelerating income inequality here and read it for what it was: an opportunity for him up and down the scale. The Mercers might have been just a bunch of rich loons a few decades ago, but now they can wield outsize influence by using Bannon. Bannon believes he is using them, but he is just advancing Russia’s game. And further down the income ladder, the internet allows the Kremlin to rile up those who’ve been told they are dispossessed, to the point where they believe that when it’s demonstrably untrue for the majority of them.

    • Eureka says:

      Ugh. Dunno what we did to deserve these Bros.* Grimm…

      *I have still not forgiven Zeke for his past-decade provocateur editorial, “Fuck the Elders, or Let’s Just Die at 75 and spare society the potential costs said neoliberal society has created wrt the general treatment of the aged and end-of-life care for diseases of civilization.” [You’ll have to mentally fill-in the rest of the Victorian Style Capitalization, he’s not worth the backspace/shift effort. Also, I suspect that he and his kin have excellent insurance…]

      • Theodora30 says:

        To be fair that bizarre column was about what he wanted for himself. It did imply that it would be a good thing for society. I have wondered how he feels now with Biden, Pelosi, Fauci and other leaders who are older than 75 doing an effective job of trying to save our democracy.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The “border crisis” meme seems intended to keep its Overton Window as narrow and radical right as possible, precluding progressive change.

    • John Lehman says:

      “border crisis” meme

      How about the Toledo War?
      We Ohioans have to keep you guys from Michigan in their place.

      In fifty years (or less) the Mexican/US border will be as relevant as the US/Canadian border. In a hundred years (or less) the Mexican/US border will be as relevant as the Ohio/Michigan border…you will notice Ohio’s first?

  6. jaango says:

    The underlying principal for Brexit is premised on an economic treaty with the United States.

    And given this “reality” for our nation’s demographics, Chicanos have, for many years, advocated for the Hemispheric Trade Agreement, and consequently, the next 20 years, free trade in this hemisphere, will damage any success of the Brexit and its free trade agreement with the United States.

    • bmaz says:

      Is there anything in your eye that is “not” about “Chicanos”? Because Brexit is not about that.

      • jaango says:

        bmaz, I use the metaphor of “chicano” as a reference point to “racial and ethnics” given that all the subsets or cohorts, are overwhelming “progressive” in their advocacy for public policy. And taken together, we all fully understand our pending demographic onslaught, and well beyond today, for a far better and constructive approach to pragmatism.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Please. Brexit is about much more than any agreement with the US. Fundamentally, it is about applying the neoliberal agenda – described by Philip Mirowski and Naomi Klein – to the UK state and economy.

      It is a variation on what Kissinger and the Chicago Boys attempted in Chile and the Southern Cone. Propaganda and planned chaos substitute for rifle barrels. The “winner” is not the US and not the UK, but stateless global capital.

      • Hika says:

        Because there is no way for Brexit to not harm Northern Ireland, there is no way the UK can expect a good deal from the US anytime soon. The Brexit project is about bottom-of-the-barrel neo-liberalism and financial piracy.

  7. P J Evans says:

    There are a lot of people in the UK (and Ireland) who are unhappy because it restrict their international business to no good purpose.

  8. Pablo in the Gazebo says:

    Two years ago when I was vacationing in Ireland we came upon a traffic jam that was bad even by Dublin standards. Yellow tape and cones were blocking the road in front of what I guessed was Parliament House, and I knew that Boris was supposed to be in the city that day for talks. I asked the driver if the delay was for Boris Johnson or a car wreck. He said, “Same thing.”

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      You forgot to add the ***rim shot*** at the end of that comment…

      And the ‘Badda bing, badda boom!’

  9. CD54 says:

    And on the flip side of the beer coaster it says, “Johnny Rotten’s now a SoCal MAGAt voter.”

  10. John Lehman says:

    Brings memories of Irish rebellion in verse;

    Up the long ladder and down the short rope,
    To hell with King Billy and God bless the Pope!
    If that doesn’t do we’ll tear them in two
    And send them to hell in their red, white and blue.

  11. Chetnolian says:

    I checked. Unfortunately it was my great-grandmother who was born in Ballymoney County Antrim. And yes I know that is in the North, but for the Irish Government it would have counted.

    Whatever happens formally now, Brexit has created permanent divisions in the UK which are probably not fixable.

  12. e.a.f. says:

    ah, well had a spousal unit who lived in England for over a decade. (1950/1960s) His conclusion, they weren’t a particularly bright group. (apartments lacked showers) Another friend lived there and her conclusion was similar but based on the quality of their toilet paper. I do believe her parting shot was, she was returning to the colonies, Canada, where they at least had decent toilet paper. (1970s)

    the Brits have not accepted the Empire is gone. their glory days are over and they haven’t figured out how to move ahead. They were always not only a classist ridden society but racist. They did well building an empire because they were willing to sacrifice the lives of citizens who they thought were too low class to be of any use except as cannon fodder. I suspect, the upper classes just have another view of what constitutes cannon fodder these days.

    Now as to Scotland leaving G.B. gee, I’ve always had goals, guess I’ll want to live long enough to see if that happens.

    IN my opinion Putin wants the E.U. to disappear and then NATO. He wants Eastern Europe back. He and his have plundered about all they can out of Russia, so its time to move to new territory, just like any “good” crime lord, new territory and Europe is close.

    • John Lehman says:

      Putin is obsessed with Europe. Russians historically seem to have a Francophile obsession that Putin reflects. Acting like a jilted lover out in the Russian cold while the Europeans are having a E.U. gathering in a warm French ballroom.

      Nearly 80% of Russia’s huge border is with western, central and eastern Asian countries. It would seem much more practical and profitable for the Russians to develop an Asian Union (A.U.) roughly patterned after the European Union.

      Really hope Putin and/or his successors begin moving in an Asian Union direction. An economic alliance not a military alliance.

      • madwand says:

        Perhaps you were referring to something along the lines of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) founded in 2001. From Wiki

        The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation. Military exercises are also regularly conducted among members to promote cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability. The SCO is the largest regional organization in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.

        Interestingly also after the US China slug fest in Alaska last week, Iran and China have now signed the Sino-Iranian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership bringing into focus Chinese fears about sea trade, especially in light of the Ever Given episode, but also about US maritime dominance in the near future. This goes along with opening up the new Silk Road in the Belt and Road Initiative for the Asian continent and also with the European Union. So by all means keep the US and Europe divided within and without. Putin is doing a great job of it, Chomsky named it a long time ago, its called destabilization and the US was once master of it but no longer.

        • John Lehman says:

          (Shanghai Cooperation Organization)
          Yes exactly but they’re not quite as efficient yet in the world market as the E.U. likely because of the unyieldingly huge populations and territories of the S.C.O. Nations.

          It’s really great there are a lot regional economic organizations with lots of people working together for a better world.

          ….”keep the US and Europe divided within and without. Putin is doing a great job of it, Chomsky named it a long time ago, its called destabilization and the US was once master of it but no longer.”

          Reminded of Lead Belly’s admonition in song:


        • P J Evans says:

          Ivan the Terrible imported Italian architects. Peter the Great studied shipbuilding in Holland. But they couldn’t seem to import much else – the laws and culture, especially.

          • posaune says:

            Although Peter the Great did export one trick to UK: awards of titles and medals instead of land to deserving subjects. Much cheaper in the long run.

          • John Lehman says:

            From Italy via France to Russia
            Russia arguably has the World’s most developed ballet

            They tried Marxism too, we all know how that ended up.

              • timbo says:


                Fact is, Russia has a vibrant, often regional culture… just as does any other large country on Earth.

    • Chetnolian says:

      Less of the generalisation please. I don’t think the US is entirely T rump supporters.

      There’s nothing wrong with our toilet rolls!

      And 48% voted against Brexit.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        And those who voted for it were subjected to a considerable propaganda campaign, paid for from less than transparent sources.

        You must not have been at university when wax paper was all the rage – or your college had a more ample endowment and a less miserly bursar.

        • Chetnolian says:

          Oh I remember IZAL, but that is really a long time ago. I left university, well actually Lincoln’s Inn, in 1964 and really cannot remember what I wiped with!

          It’s a bit like me saying all American coffee tastes like tar ; true in the 60s but not any more.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Institutions seemed bonded to the economic benefits of waxed paper until the early Thatcher years. Lincoln’s Inn? I remember a little hole-in-the-wall on Gate Street, the Ship Tavern. Still there?

            • Catford Calling says:

              The Ship round the back of Holborn Tube? Still there, closed because of lockdown just now, but it was always packed at the end of the day, so I hope it will recover.
              The hard toilet paper was pretty bad, but I honestly don’t think I have seen it in the last 20 years at least.
              Thanks to all at the site for the education during this, well, interesting period of US-ian history.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Yep, it was a bolt hole, standing room only, but conveniently located. Walking through Lincoln’s Inn Fields was a respite from the busier streets nearby.

            • Chetnolian says:

              By amazing chance I can confirm yes, at least just pre Covid. I was on a rare trip to London and popped in about February last year. Much remodelled and no Younger’s Scotch Ale but still good.

        • P J Evans says:

          I don’t recall meeting waxed paper in 1979, but there was a glazed paper, both in the UK and in the US, that seems to have been the low-cost special.

          • Eureka says:

            Now that you say glazed paper, I have vague memories of such at a fam’s house. Will have to inquire with a cousin…

      • John Lehman says:

        “There’s nothing wrong with our toilet rolls!”


        Of course not…a lot of us US farm boys had to use old Sears catalogs and at times corncobs.

        Thinking we’re close to the end of the thread.

  13. vvv says:

    When the great man died I went and bought all of the Smiley books, and am up to and about 3/4 through the fourth, *The Looking Glass War* (reading Alan Furst’s *Dark Star* just before took a week and a half, only to have a happy ending) .

    What a wonderful writer, not only of spies, the spy trade, politics and politicians but like the best writers, of the human condition.

    Bonuses include the puns, the anglophile-pleasing slang and details like food and drink. Last night I enjoyed a cuppla White Ladies, *sans* egg white. For me, the key is to reduce the Triple Sec (daughter bought that rather than Cointreau).

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      You may as well order the rest of the books now. You won’t be able to stop until you reach the end of the catalog.

      • vvv says:

        Oh, aye, and I’ve read most all of them over the years, but yep – I bought ’em all in the last cuppla months offa the Ebog and they are here, being read in chrono order.

        I do that: some years ago I went and re-read all of the James Lee Burke’s, and did the same with the Michael Connelly’s and the John Connally’s, the Len Deighton’s, John D. McDonald’s, Stewart Granger’s, Trevanian’s, a few others.

        One bad thing about the great joy I take in not having to commute is the loss of near-mandated reading time, time which I now spend on the computer, or the guitar.

          • vvv says:

            Ha! Those were peculiar and particular cases I was referred from a guy who was connected with a local bar assoc. He would get them and, having taught me a little (actually, just encouraged me), refer them to me.

            But alas, he passed, and so did the last of those cases for me. Same with some EEOC and FELA and dram shop stuff I’d regularly get from him.

            But there’s other sources, and types of cases – I do love the variety of work in the profession.

  14. Skilly says:

    One of my more memorable days was a hearing at which the judge wondered if my client would ever stop being an obstreperous embuggerance. And that was before the bankruptcy was filed.

  15. harpie says:

    Oath Keepers MINUTA and JAMES added to OATH KEEPER CONSPIRACY:

    “We’re en route in a grand theft auto golf cart to the Capitol building right now.” Two more members of the Oath Keepers are added to the government’s conspiracy case, and their conversations while riding to the riot scene are detailed in a new indictment.
    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/oath-keepers-rode-golf-cart-capitol-riot April 1, 2021, at 9:26 p.m.

    Marcy wrote about them here, although they weren’t not yet alleged to be part of the conspiracy:

    […] Three more Stack participants and four others who operated with Minuta and James on January 6: This image, from James’ complaint, identifies three other Stack members (the second, third, and last yellow arrow) and four others who interacted with James and Minuta during the day on January 6. [photo] […]

  16. harpie says:


    8:03 AM · Apr 2, 2021

    “Sources said Gaetz was part of a group of young male lawmakers who created a “game” to score their female sexual conquests, which granted “points” for various targets such as interns, staffers or other female colleagues” https://abcn.ws/2QOWn3Z via @ABC

    The rest of the paragraph:

    One of the targets of the scoring system was a group the lawmakers had heard were “virgins,” according to a source. The scoring system by male Florida lawmakers was previously reported [12/11/17] by the Miami Herald.

      • e.a.f. says:

        Last week Rachel Maddox reported on the “tax collector”. When she started the story, it was just down right funny. Could have done a comedy about dumb southern politicians in small towns, until she got to the part about sex with under age girls. At that point is was OMG , and then she started into the Gaetz part of the story and it was OMG, THERE were even a couple of, in my opinion, nut bars on another cable news channel carrying on how Gaetz was not involved in those types of things.

        What I don’t understand is why these politicians get to continue to sit with their party in Congress. Why they don’t have their status as members of the party revoked or is that not a thing in American politics.

        In Canada, when a politicians is accused of things such as Gaetz has been, they will leave caucus, and sit independently. they do not meet with their caucus and they are not on committees as a member of their party. they remain in this state until an investigation/police action is finished and absolves them of wrong doing.

        I don’t know if that is a thing which happens in American political parties, but I’m sure some one will clarify that for me.

        At some level what is being reported about Gaetz does not surprise me. when ever you saw him up on his pins carrying on like a banchee in Congress, he just gave me the creeps. He was one of those guys you did not get into an elevator with, when you were young and travelling for work.

        If it is found they have enough evidence/information to charge Gaetz and “tax collector” man lets hope they do it and if guilty they get nailed to the wall and serve a very long sentence. Enough of their political privledge.

    • harpie says:

      This “scoring system” seems to have been going on since at LEAST 2008.

      From that “previously reported” December 2017 article:
      Women in politics fear #MeToo moment will backfire — and they’ll be the ones punished

      […] [Sen. Debbie] Mayfield said she was outraged her freshman year as a House member when a group of freshmen male legislators lived together and ran their rented session home “like a frat house.”

      They created a scoring system to rank female legislators and lobbyists, she said. One of them was asked what he wanted to do in Tallahassee and his answer was “to sleep with as many women as possible,” Mayfield recalled. “Who is investigating that?”

      That was 2008, according to this recent article about Mayfield:

      […] Mayfield was elected to the Florida Senate in 2016, and reelected subsequently. Most recently, she served as chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government. Previously, Leader Mayfield served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2008 to 2016.

      I had decided not to comment about this SLEEZE, but obviously was not able to restrain myself. I will now stop.

  17. Chetnolian says:

    Just read the Politico extract from John Boehner’s new book; I’ll take my hard loo roll over a country that can suffer this nonsense anytime.

    Boris is bad, but when the real crazies arrived (Dominic Cummings and his tribe), they rapidly got swatted. Even Rupert and his allies couldn’t, or maybe decided not to, save them.

    The traditional, class-ridden, dyed-in-the wool Conservative Party turns out to have its advantages after all. Never thought I would say that.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As has often been said on this site, Matt Gaetz is dumb as a post: a sitting congresscritter, he has never heard of paying cash for embarrassing or illegal goods. Gaetz allegedly used two digital phone apps to pay for sex. The NYT has seen the receipts. Happily for those interested in better governance, Gaetz seems to be half as smart as Trump, has as large a self-destructive streak and almost as much ego, and has terrible opsec.

  19. Francine Fein says:

    I always learn things from this site, but today was especially fun. I had to look up Embuggerance – what a fun word! Then I didn’t know what IZAZ is so I looked that up and found a very witty history: http://s10probus.co.uk/the-history-of-izal-joan-jones-7th-march-2016/ that ended with this paragraph that made me smile “But in the end, production of Izal medicated toilet paper at the North Sheffield factory fell victim to the accountants’ bottom line, as the bottoms of Britain opted for something a little more comfortable.” And all this discussion – from Brexit to Ever Given and admiralty (or maritime) law to IZAZ toilet paper to Matt Gaetz. A great afternoon! Thank you all.

  20. Eureka says:

    Oh, look — Geno’s being a giant unsportsmanlike prick again. Congrats Arizona and RIP Pat Summitt.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah! I fell asleep and missed most of the game, but the Lady Cats have something really good going on down in Tucson. Which is funny in a way, because UofA was always a blue blood in the men’s game, but their women’s team mostly an afterthought. ASU and coach Charli Turner Thorne were the women’s team in AZ. Never sleep on Turner-Thorne, she is truly great, but what the Cats are doing is spectacular. It is very much a feel good story, and one that looks ready to last.

      PS – Now that I am awake again, I am catching up and ran into this clip. The Cats coach, Adia Barnes (who played at UofA back in the day) got awesomely animated in a huddle during the game: “Fuck everybody if they don’t believe in us” complete with dual birds!

      • Eureka says:

        YES I saw that live (another Go Birds! I can get behind, lol). Adia Barnes’ story is similar to that of Kellie Harper — they are even born the same year — who played for, and just took over coaching, the Lady Vols (2nd season now), though kind of in reverse (Harper’s playing teams were pretty elite, 3x champs; as a coach, she’s just getting the LV back in business — knocked out in the 32).

        This will be an exciting championship: will the “underdog” Cats (not by much by my estimation, *especially with that attitude*) prevail or get sniped by Tara Van DerVeer & Stanford.


        • bmaz says:

          No way Stanford is not the heavy favorite. But, dang, the Cats will come to play it turns out. I hope Harper does get Vols back to where they should be. Frankly, the women’s game is more fun to watch now than the men’s.

          • Eureka says:

            If you’re looking for more riveting, suspenseful television than Houston-Baylor, The Ten Commandments is on.

            Stanford may be favored by the books/ies of all stripes but I know an underdog on fire and upgrade my expectations accordingly.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            “Frankly, the women’s game is more fun to watch now than the men’s.”

            Maybe because the women play basketball.

            • bmaz says:

              Generally, yes, indeed. But last night’s game between Gonzaga and UCLA may be the best college basketball game I have ever seen. Including Duke/Kentucky back in the 90’s.

  21. Ontor857858 says:

    What you know about Ireland could fit on a fucking postcard and it’s annoying to see you posturing as if you known a damn thing about this.

    • bmaz says:

      Hi there new commenter never seen before, you have no idea what I know about Ireland, who I talk to about it, nor anything else, and it is beyond asinine for YOU to assume you do. Further, I reported what le Carre and the Taoiseach said. If YOU have a beef with what they publicly said, take it up with them (or in le Carre’s case his estate). Thanks for playing.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Your comment is informative only for its arrogance and assumptions. Its verbal violence and unwillingness to engage makes me wonder whether the black ‘n tan you prefer is not a beverage, but a uniform.

  22. Eureka says:

    Atlanta Baseball Team swept in opening series. This team:

    Will Bunch Sign Up For My Newsletter: “The team that left a perfectly good stadium — that was only 23 years old!! — in a majority Black city for a $1 billion, taxpayer-subsidized new one in the mostly white suburbs has some thoughts about baseball and racism” [QT Atlanta Baseball Team and thread w Bunch’s 2013 article]

    Fair arguments can be made re repercussions to city workers, low-wage vendors, and all when places get ‘cancelled’ (as were made earlier when performers debated the merits of refusing, or not, to do shows in GA after their ~2019 restrictive abortion laws). But Bunch has a point here.

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