Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Macron Wants to form Breakaway EU Group

That will be interesting - a group within a group. How will the excluded minnows take to this idea? Two parliamentary sites to be continued for the travelling gravy train of overpaid bureaucrats and MEPs?
     Why doesn't Britain enter the fray by volunteering to head the alternative group of trading nations, to whom Germany sends its exports on the back of a weak currency? That'll weaken the GB Pound enough to give us a competitive advantage to match that of Germany. Call the new currency the Bureau, for example, and do away with the pound.

It'll certainly skewer Tusk and Barnier.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Misplaced Self Confidence in politics

I am talking about the Labour Party in Britain and the self-confident rhetoric being used by its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
       Let me be clear in expressing my view on the chances of the Labour Party getting into power. I will do so by asking one question of the voters of all ages and beliefs.
     Do you want an academic dunce who is economically illiterate and indecisive, to be our next Prime Minister?
     It chills me to the bone when he takes to the hustings and rants. What he rants is overtures to some ears, but is meaningless to mine. The words he uses he concocts as he speaks.
      It has been many years since I have heard anyone rant on a soapbox like him, and come across as a sweet uncle, a nice, gentle older man, in interviews.
     His vanity is such that he can actually envisage himself in the role of country leader.
I am confident that his chances are nil. The majority of voters, who I believe to be level-headed and sincere, would shudder at the prospect.

Either he is delusional or I am. Take your pick!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

New book published - see my Book Stall

FUTURE WORLD ROCKS! - Series: Carousels of Life
This story contains interwoven strands that are brought together as events unfold. It is a space opera with a difference - it is actually set to music, with many of the events based on true reports.
Want a cheap paperback copy to review?
Contact the author via my website and I'll get back to you with a deal.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Unleash the Dogs of War

If the voters of the UK are so determined to undermine the Government in its campaign to get the best Brexit deal it can on behalf of the country, let them have what they deserve.
If they truly believe in the capabilities of the Labour party, insist they are given a fresh vote for it, to bring down the Conservatives, if they can, or increase their majority as was requested in the first place.
     It wasn’t at all clever of Theresa to get sucked into domestic economics and, predictably, she got unstuck when she came up against left-wing promises by economic dunces. Her manifesto was a conceited insult to the intelligence. Theirs was unaffordable promises to the suckered young.
     Frankly, I am fed up of hearing an endless barrage of speculative reporting on events at parliament, on the machinations of leading cabinet members intent on ousting the PM, and on the type of Brexit being discussed.
     For twits who yap on about Hard Brexit, THERE AIN’T SUCH A THING. The hardest fall there can be is onto World Trade Organisation rules, got it?
     For so-called business leaders with hidden agendas, stop harping on about how you like certainty. Cobblers, there ain’t no such thing in life. If you think there is, you are feckless. You want soft Brexit? Pay for it yourselves.
     For those labour supporters who walk around wearing ‘I Love Corbyn’ on their T-Shirts, do you really equate intelligence with his track record of failure? Really? Have you lost touch with reality? WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSES BEFORE HE BURIES THE COUNTRY IN ECONOMIC DUNG. Being nice has no relationship with his past record of failure, apart from rattling the cage he belongs in.
If that course of action doesn’t galvanize sensible people into doing what is right, boy oh boy, WE WILL GET WHAT WE DESERVE - at least a decade to undo what the Labour ignoramuses are incapable of achieving - running the country.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The emerging danger within

I am talking about a man I first saw on Sky News this morning, who even made Stephen Dixon squirm in embarrassment. I am talking about Jamie Kelsey-Fry.
   I am horrified at the piffle this untidy man with a double-barrelled name gushes. He wants a man who had two A-level e-grade passes to lead this country. For God's sake, someone tell him to get a grip on himself!
     I heard his rant against businessmen this morning on Sky News and one thing is for sure - he is a menace to society because he is a vocal threat to democracy.
     If and when Corbyn gets in, but only IF the young continue to be swayed by Corbyn's empty promises of jam tomorrow, then it will take a decade to undo the incalculable economic damage this illiterate but kindly looking PM-in-waiting will inflict on us.
     We both agree on one thing - taxes need to flow from big businesses. Why doesn't Sky News look more closely at the money earnt by nurses before commentators like Kelsey-Fry insist they are really suffering and people like them have to go to food banks? Jeremy Hunt, who the NHS employees hate for no good reason, mentioned this once on Sky News and speculated at the need to go there when they earn so much.
     You have to see the lifestyles of firefighters when they retire early to see how well they live off their pensions when they move abroad. I do and it is money no object.
     No, Kelsey-Fry is himself an underachieving rabble rouser whose muddled view of life is a travesty of reality. I read with incredulity that he is an ex-teacher with 1 years’ experience repeated over 20 years, I wonder at the mentality of those who employed him. Did they do it to take advantage of his mind-warping skills?
      What on earth possessed Sky News to give him airtime to spout his firebrand drivel, especially in front of wishy-washy Nixon? And why does it keep sending its reporters to a school that specialises in churning out rude, very rude and disrespectful interviewers? There is nothing clever in shouting at someone, “Excuse me, when are you going to get the sack? Hopefully, one day, someone will stop mid-stride and give their torturer a good thump. I for one will give a hearty hurrah, especially if it’s Faisal.

     Is Sky News trying to make or report the news? Is it actually giving us relentless false news?

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Grenfell Tragedy - What Needs Doing Now

If I were at the heart of UK government now, here is what I would do.
1. Call in contractors to start erecting scaffolding around the surviving high-rise blocks containing suspected fire-risk cladding.
2. Order a supply of commercial fire extinguishers and start distributing them to the high-rise blocks still at risk.
3. Ask the tenants if they want to stay in the surviving high-risk blocks, after provision of the fire extinguishers, and ask if they want individual fire detectors installed, as an interim measure.
4. Move heaven and earth to relocate the Grenfell survivors anywhere I could, nearby, including army barracks and disused commercial and NHS buildings.
Have I seen any sign of these steps being taken, have you?
Why on earth appoint as advisor someone who refused to meet safety experts before this disaster occurred? Is the lady intent on executing a political death wish?

Whatever it takes, the lady once said, before …

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

May be, May be not, but questions need to be raised

The question I ask is this:  did the good lady execute a devious plot?
Keeping an open mind, let us look at this possibility in greater depth by asking some fundamental questions.
1.  Was the vicar’s daughter as stupid as she’s made out to be with her facile submission to the electorate of a dementia tax? Ignore the tears apparently shed in private; they could have been real at the prospect of having overcooked the egg.
2.  How powerful behind the scenes are the lobbying groups representing big, international businesses? Where do you think their objectives lie? After all, they have made no secret of them.
3.  In comparison, how powerful and sustainable is the electorate in favor of Brexit?
4.  If push comes to shove, in the face of what our unelected previously Remain sympathizing PM faced with a diminished share of the electoral vote, how relieved will the majority feel if concessions made to the EU negotiators are begrudgingly accepted by the latter, with substantial billions paid by the UK as sweeteners? In other words, the UK makes soft Brexit overtures to the German overseers and main beneficiaries of our munificence, and compensates with hush money the minnow nations for whom the UK is a major paymaster.
5.  How much would you bet on the PM NOT triumphing in the next few years, and overturning the popularity of Corbyn’s left-wing Labour party?
6.  Was not the recent 1922’s reception of the PM, with its 25 second thumping of tables, more of a triumphant, processional ovation than an expression of support for a failed leader?

I expect there to be much huffing and puffing as the UK and the EU negotiate from respective positions of weakness and strength, with billions being handed over needlessly by our team, suckered into a situation not of their culpability. Or was it?
     Not to worry though, we will be in good company, with the likes of the Dutch voters, whose referendum re the Ukraine was overruled by their leaders.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Maybe baby, I don’t love you

Theresa May blew the election with the dementia tax and her inability to think on her feet. She has opened the door to Labour and destroyed the UK’s negotiating position re Brexit. She couldn't have done better if it had been deliberate sabotage.
     If the Conservatives imitate Labour's manifesto that galvanised the young voters, it will look like copycat catch-up politics. In fact, it was clever bribery and an active younger membership called Momentum.
    David Cameron drove his traditional supporters away, as has May with her appalling tax disincentives.
     If they make Boris leader they will deter many voters by his zany antics, haystack haircut and posturing.
     How they get out of this mess that the PM created I do not know. It will be a disaster for Britain with so many inexperienced Labour MPs at the helm. It looks likely we have wasted a decade until the young realise their votes were bought as the huge debt escalates. Austerity is no bad thing with trillions owed.
     Going back to the politics of the Seventies, with nationalisation and so many spend, spend, spend Labour promises will cripple the country, which had so much to offer.
Yes, the young have so much to learn, as do untrammelled universities that apply such crippling fees on the aspiring young. As do our political rulers. There’s one change to make for starters, university fees. The rest will take ages, apart from not stealing people’s inheritance pots. Imagination, that’s the name of the game, and each generation…

Friday, 2 June 2017

The prospects for cyber crime

How much do you know about cyber crime? Is it true that it is the poor man’s atomic bomb? I would say it is more than that, it is the man in the street’s nuclear bomb.
     A recent program on the subject showed me how real and deadly serious this crime is. It is the most dangerous threat the human race has ever unwittingly faced, and the USA thankfully took up the baton to combat it with the National Security Agency, or NSA for short. It was ordered to go on the offensive.
     Unfortunately, its internal security measures lacked stringency. Consequently, a deadly virus referred to as Ransomware, allegedly of its making, passed into the hands of criminals. I am referring to the illegal encryption of user data, followed by demands to pay ransoms in Bit money, before the criminals will decrypt it. Bit money is itself an invention of the cyber world.
     Let me put the overall threat in its proper context for you. There are reputedly 50 billion devices attached worldwide to the internet.
     One of these is the Programmable Logic Controller or PLC, a rugged device used throughout industries of all types and varying in size from a small box to rack-mounted modular assemblies. They contain microchips and operate in stringent operating environmental, to control functions such as temperature, cleanliness, and power quality. To meet these challenges the PLC started to be developed decades ago in ways that permit its operation to be monitored.
     A 27 ton modern electricity generator was bought by a US company to test its resistance to cyber attack by a malicious computer worm called Stuxnet, which is self replicating and targets industrial computer systems. Within three attacks, it reduced the generator to a smoking, unusable, irreparable wreck.
     Its original target? An underground nuclear development facility in Iran.
     I ask you a question: is the biological Nano computer a reality? An answer was provided in 2011. It was reported that Scientists are one step closer to making a biological computer after having built basic components for digital devices out of bacteria and DNA. Some scientists believe that, in the future, small, biological computers could roam our bodies, monitoring our health and correcting problems they find. I wrote about this in The Time Slipsters.
     It is my understanding that it is now possible to activate a home PC remotely, even if not connected to the internet, without the owner’s knowledge. Imagine if your brain could be invaded by malware, via invisible waves, and attacked you.
     Impossible? Don’t bet on it. The PLC is used in the pharmaceutical industry, to control the manufacture of its products. I wrote about a product called tracer that a control freak called The Inlooker used to find out what people were thinking. I wrote, ‘as you read a document, it is looking back at you’.
     I often wonder if my Sci-fi is already reality.
Think long and hard about it what malware can do, and pray that the NSA is willing to act on our behalf before the 7 billion of us become less than 1 billion. I assume of course that the larger figure is acceptable to you. I don’t think it is sustainable.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Bile and decency in politics

When I watched the recent live TV debate pitching Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party in the UK, against Theresa May, the Prime Minister, I felt deeply troubled by the attitude of a section of the audience, which was hostile to the PM in particular.
     What motivates the TV producers and presenters to select these attendees? Is it a desire to humiliate our politicians? Do I detect prejudice in them, a desire to provoke hatred and bile in voters? Many in the audience hated with passion and seemed to have lost the capacity to think logically. Small wonder, given that the program presenters were equally keen to adopt a negative stance. They hammer home the prediction that Brexit will be disastrous. Is this not false reporting?
     Corbyn is an old style grand-slamming, fundamentally weak politician who has always been anti-establishment. Until recently, he has never held any position of importance, and is totally incapable of serving the country as its CEO. This factor has to be of prime importance, irrespective of his likable personality, since in his vain naivety he would happily take it.
     In my humble view, his only credible role was as a true radical. Now, he has the chance to introduce full democracy, by continuing as the Labour leader. He can best do this by acting in accordance with the votes cast by the majority of his constituents. If all the other MPs in the Labour party follow his lead, changes could be profound. Otherwise, if a fluke of fortune elects him to be Prime Minister, he will come across as a spendthrift ditherer, nice but dim, like Tim Farron.
     Now to Theresa May, who seized her chance to replace David Cameron and was rapidly elected by her MPs. Since then a number of them have tried to undermine her, hence the obvious need for another election.
     During the debate, she was often heckled and jeered by opposition supporters. She immediately stopped and listened, in polite decency. This trend is uncommon in politicians, and she would have been better off ignoring them.
     During the many years she was Home Secretary, she was criticized for not having got immigration down, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. What is forgotten is the key role played by the Libdems, junior partners in the coalition at the time, who blocked or watered down many of her proposals. The only reason they did this was to remind voters they were still there, in the wings of power.
     The man who often loudly claimed responsibility was the deputy PM, Nick Clegg, whose wife is a Spanish Human Rights lawyer, and he probably expected to go to the EU as his career progressed.
     Theresa May is so polite she refrains from indulging in the bedlam associated with politics. In fact, I don’t think she likes it much, standing on a soapbox and competing with others. I don’t blame her, after hearing their vacuous commitments and snide remarks.
     There are Brits amongst us who are determined to give away control of Britain’s sovereignty to the unelected, elite and pampered bureaucrats in Brussels, and are strident in their demands that we have a soft Brexit.
     Heaven help us if the voters choose any other party than the Conservatives, in enough numbers to put Brexit in danger. This outcome would be based on domestic concerns like the overbloated, forever underfunded NHS, whether fuel allowances should be paid to wealthy pensioners, school meals for all kids (what!), penalizing the wealthy, the burdens of an ageing population and countless other squabbles, like independence for Scotland. All of these presented by nonentities pitching for glory.
     It would be a kick in the teeth for the country. President Donald Trump is spot on about false reporting.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

A tongue-in-cheek way to deal with serious social misfits

By social misfits I mean the whole gamut, ranging from murderers, fanatics, pedophiles, robbers, con artists, the criminally insane, those with aggressive disorders, public menaces and repeat criminal offenders.
     The first thing I would do is set a date to clear the prisons of inmates. I regard these establishments as a waste of time, money and space. Many of them are run as hotels, equipped with gymnasiums, libraries, recreation areas, TV sets and games’ rooms, with inmates let out during the day. Some who are released re-offend to be let back into their version of holiday camps.
     The second thing I would do is treat the misfits with one-off drugs, tailored to counteract their misbehavioral problems. If that means them becoming odorless cabbages so be it, as long as they become incapable of repeat-offending in their category. What do I mean by category? Well, at one end of the scale you have the most serious of derangements, like that suffered by Ian Brady; at the other you have aging lotharios like Paul Gadd, aka Gary Glitter. Officially, the worst would be classified as Irredeemable, at the other end would be all the PPIs (Pointless Putting Inside).
     If in rare cases the drugs proved to be ineffective, I would add additional measures such as surgical lobotomies of key areas of the cortexes of the brain: we seem to be getting good at identifying them. The serious villains would need some sort of protection from vengeful relatives of victims, but fear can be a good feeling to possess, like birching used to be on the Isle of Man, but I digress.
There you have it. No more prisons; an alternative way to deal with offenders.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Hell on Earth exists now

For those of you who watch events unfolding on the news channels and in the newspapers, it is easy to become insensitive to what we see unfolding in the Middle East.
     For those who write Sci-Fi books like me, it is easy to overlook the fact that what is happening in Iraq and Syria reflects a reality in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically one that is degraded beyond imagination. That is to say, it is dystopian.
     I find it beyond understanding that young men and women are so bereft of common sense that they regard it as acceptable to rape, torture and slaughter the innocent in the name of God. What does God have to do with any of these acts committed in his name?
     Let me be clear, I have no belief in any God, but I firmly believe that the spirit exists separately from the human body it occupies. So how can anyone be daft enough to believe that they will go to heaven and enjoy the company of virgins by doing unimaginably bad things to others, in the name of Allah?
     How can driving wagons full of living people into pits in the desert be worthy of entry to the supposed kingdom of heaven? How can the dipping of women in acid be justified? How can the random shooting of children be anything but deranged?
     This is where the death of fanatics of this ilk justifies the use of drones to eliminate them from this planet, so they can never breed. But what about their spirits or souls, whatever you care to call them? My feeling is they descend to a spiritual version of Hell, from which they will never ascend. There they will congregate and despair for what they have done, in the name of their false god, Allah.

    Religion over many centuries, particularly of a monotheistic, Abrahamic source, has a lot to answer for, as do its warped preachers.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Final Gold Award AND Literary Award for...

The SIGHTSEERS AGENCY, the ultimate book in The Dreadnought Collective series.
 A summary of the book reads:
Welcome to my fantasy world. It is not set in some mythical universe, but here on young Planet Earth.
It relates events happening in the not too distant future, where the unimaginable has happened: society has evolved without suffering near-extinction from a myriad of catastrophic disasters.
     The population is reducing from its overblown previous level, and life as we know it is becoming idyllic.
As you might expect, there are hiccups on the way, with murderous and criminal behavior yet to be fully eradicated.
     Religion only exists in pockets, now that we realize how we evolved, naturally, and did not need a helping hand in the ongoing process.
    How did we develop that realization? With awareness from aliens. After all, they seeded our beloved planet using us as guinea pigs.
    The problem is, those we’ve allied ourselves with don’t care about us very much. However, they do like what we possess, sufficiently to want to share it with us in the meantime, hidden from view except to those in the know.
This book contains a series of whodunit escapades with serious undertones.

Ignore the all too real messages it contains at your peril.

The review:
***** The Hungry Monster Book Review, February 20, 2017
The Sightseers Agency picks up with Richard Pencil leaving the government position he took up at the end of the previous book. With the new world order well underway, the big three-letter agencies are breaking up, and Richard is going back to work with Joe Fraser and the man known as the Inlooker. Richard also has an impressive upgrade to his extra-sensory detective powers. He’s joined by a new remote-viewer, Miss Plum Duff, whose talents were honed by alien intervention. Fraser hires them to launch the the Sightseers Agency, reporting to him and their mysterious benefactor. Their mission is to oversee the behavior of elected officials, and another secret goal is revealed later. Seb Cage, who is now a talented computer security specialist (along with the skills he gained from the Sombrella Syndicate), joins the agency as well.
    The Sightseers soon discover that the greatest threat to earth isn’t just from rogue officials and politicians, but also hostile aliens who have been planning an attack for some time. Complications arise because some of the aliens on Earth are friendly, while some are more like tourists who take on human form just to experience something different. Ms. Plum Duff comes into her own here, since she, like Seb, has a long history with regard to aliens.
    Like the previous agency novel, there is an overarching plot that is played out in several different investigations. While the book is described as a series of whodunits set in the future, each case is a link in a chain that ultimately brings conflict on both a personal and global scale. I was glad to see more about the use of psychic mind-reading to ferret out lies and criminal activity, and the manipulation of auras and even the soul itself. There’s also the fascinating angle of this “new world” society, run on a democracy-on-demand system with a goal toward a true meritocracy. While some of this society’s social practices seem dystopian, others, like the use of Tesla’s wireless transmission of energy, offer a utopia of readily-available power.
    One of the things I’ve enjoyed throughout the Dreadnaught series is the author’s vivid imagination. His notes at the beginning of the books give real-world tales of psychics and UFO phenomenon that act as the launch pad for his stories. His humor and wordplay are also in full force, with inventive non-cuss words, ribald comedy—especially when it comes to Richard and his Lothario tendencies—and the continued jokes about “potties,” which are ubiquitous self-driving transport pods, giving “on the throne” a whole different meaning.
    Overall, this series has been fun to read. The major recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note and fans of the series will be satisfied by the ending.

Author Interview - Terry Tumbler:
I think The Sightseers Agency is the best book of the Dreadnought Collective, and you did a great job of balancing the characters, conflict, and plot. Knowing that this was the last book in the Dreadnought Collective what was one thing you wanted to accomplish before the end of the series?
Loose ends to be tied up, conclusively.
The recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. What was one character you felt went through the biggest change throughout the series?
The Inlooker, posing as Claude Broadbent.
The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note. Did you always have an idea of how the series would end or did it present itself as you were writing this last book?
It makes me feel uneasy to admit that this is the last book in the Dreadnought collective series, but you’ve put me on the spot! Yes, it makes sense to treat is as such, with infills later, like Bernard Cornwall did with the Sharpe’s series. I always aim to write with previous knowledge of the ending, but cannot claim to stick with it as the story evolves.
What is the next book that you're writing? Are you working on another series?

The next book is the start of another Sci-Fi series. It involves new technology based on true inventions in the past. It also speculates on what alien contact could be like, when we reduce our population level. It will be a ‘vehicle’ for humor, to lighten the underlying message passed to readers.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

And so it continues...

I am so pleased and privileged to win awards for another two of my books:
The gold goes to
- Seb Cage Begins His Adventures - a Young Adult Sci-Fi book that is also suitable for older generations, like me.
 and the silver goes to
- The Deaduction Agency - a paranormal detection book out of the ordinary.
The silver is a more complex situation, as you can read in the Author Interview below.

Author Interview - Terry Tumbler
 The Deaduction Agency follows a team of psychics, telepaths and remote viewers who investigate several cases of disappearances, murders, and missing persons. This is a thrilling paranormal mystery novel. What was the initial spark for this book and how did that develop as you were writing?
I empathize with psychics, whose skills gained credibility as I read about them in series such as Psychic Detectives. The willingness of the police and detectives to appear in the shows, often after retirement from the force, speaks volumes for their appreciation of the skills of the psychics they employed. What also emerged was the need of the program makers to pad out the stories of psychic detectives with endless repeats of the facts. This is because the crimes are resolved in such a straightforward manner that it makes regular policing look tedious – which it is.
     The first case, of a complex divorce, took longer to resolve because it did not require psychic abilities. I used it to contrast the differences in time to describe regular, traditional policing and those cases that require the skills of a psychic.
     To my regret, some reviewers failed to understand why this approach was taken.

The book covers several different cases which range from quick and easy to edge-of-your-seat thriller. My favorite was 'Case of the Prodigal Son'. What was your favorite case and why?
 The same ‘Prodigal Son’, plus ‘The Honey Trap’, where Richard’s possessive and devious nature is revealed to the full.

The psychics at this agency have skills and near-future technology that give them powers beyond what psychics can do now. What were the limitations you needed to keep them believable and what was something that you absolutely had to have for them to be interesting?
I accept psychic skills as they exist now, and have no patience with skeptics who try to fool around with their sensory perceptions, to prove they are frauds and have no special skills.  However, in the book they had to be fully capable of reading minds, in order to be foolproof in their assessment of criminals. Even so, some reviewers failed to understand this, and judged the psychic teams to be behaving unacceptably in passing sentence on some criminals. Why, if they can read minds and know the vile nature of the people they are categorizing? It is hardly as if they are executing them! The aim is to re-incorporate them into society, with their souls purified.

This story is ripe with paranormal activity, remote viewing and the powers of the mind. Which power and character do you identify with?
Telepathy, having experimented with it in front of others, as a young teenager. I identify with Richard and Chuck and Joe, in different ways.

A final, general observation on the review itself. The opening scene is criticized for its excess of descriptive detail, That is almost a verbatim criticism made by another reviewer, Marta Cheng in 2015, who stated: In some places, such as near the beginning of the book, there is an inordinate amount of detailed explanation provided as to the set up of the agency’s offices – details that detract from the momentum of the story. In response, I cut down the detail to a mere 360 words, which is hardly inordinate! It also became apparent that Marta (who got fond of changing her surname to put me off the scent) had not read the book in its entirety and was intent on having a dig at another reviewer from the same stable as herself.
     To emphasize why it was done, I then suffixed the description with the following sentences:
Richard, the most senior partner in the agency, was busying himself constantly re-arranging brochures on a side table in the waiting area in reception. It was a quirky habit of his that Honey found most annoying. It also reflected his fussy preoccupation with orderliness and exact measurements.
Naturally, he was the architect of the office layout, which Honey was often tempted to rearrange, solely to unsettle him.

Love scenes soon followed as well! Some of this preoccupation is revisited later, as part of Honey’s tangled love life. What more can an author do?

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Brexit: UK could quit EU without paying a penny, say Lords

Report says British government has no legal obligation to pay for Brexit or outstanding payments into EU budget.
     The UK could walk away from the European Union in 2019 without paying a penny, the House of Lords has said, in a report bound to raise tensions with Brussels in the run-up to Brexit talks.
     The British government would have no legal obligation to either pay a €60bn (£52bn) Brexit bill mooted by the European commission or honour payments into the EU budget promised by the former prime minister David Cameron, according to analysis by the House of Lords EU financial affairs sub-committee.
     In a report published on Saturday, the committee argues that the British government would be on strong legal ground if it chose to leave the EU without paying anything, adding that Brussels would have no realistic chance of getting any money.
     “The UK appears to have a strong legal position in respect of the EU budget post-Brexit and this provides important context to the article 50 negotiations,” said Lady Falkner of Margravine, the Liberal Democrat peer who chairs the sub-committee.
     “Even though we consider that the UK will not be legally obliged to pay into the EU budget after Brexit, the issue will be a prominent factor in withdrawal negotiations. The government will have to set the financial and political costs of making such payments against potential gains from other elements of the negotiations.”
     Ingeborg Grässle, a German centre-right MEP who chairs the European parliament’s budget control committee, said she was astonished at the “really disappointing” conclusions. “It is not about the money. It is about responsibilities. The question is, do you stick to your engagements?” she told the Guardian.
     Grässle, who gave evidence to the Lords committee, described their conclusion as “putting the knife on the table” and said, if taken, the approach would damage Britain’s Brexit negotiations.
     The peers’ argument will be toxic to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, whose staff drew up the mooted bill ranging from €55bn-€60bn (£47bn-£52bn). This covers the UK’s share of EU civil staff pensions, unpaid bills and decommissioning nuclear power plants.
     Barnier is expecting the UK to pay into the EU budget in 2019 and 2020, putting the UK on the hook for payments worth £12.4bn, agreed by Cameron in 2013.
     The Brexit secretary, David Davis, has hinted that Britain may pay into the EU budget to get single market access, but large payments would be a political problem for the Conservative government. Setting out her Brexit vision last month, Theresa May said: “The days of Britain making vast contributions to the European Union every year will end.”

So much for the bullying tone and bluster coming from Brussels.