Is this Kansas, Toto – or just near-Brexit UK?

Is this Kansas, Toto – or just near-Brexit UK?

Several times in the past week I’ve tried to write this post. Each time, events have roared past me. For a week I’ve been waiting for the dust to settle.

On Wednesday last week I met my fellow committee members of Malvern4Europe. We decided on wording for a new leaflet campaign, and resolved to crank up the frequency of our popular street stalls to every Saturday. That night I went home to hear the news that the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had announced he was proroguing Parliament, to deaden debate and force through a No Deal Brexit on 31 October. Our leaflet went on hold, while we prioritised more urgent action to protest this undemocratic and unconstitutional diktat.

So then I wanted to share with you the noise and camaraderie of the flash #StopTheCoup march in

Malvern on Thursday evening, when hundreds of local people turned out on word-of-mouth notice to protest the Government’s actions. This whole thing was now bigger than Brexit – nothing less than a fight to the death for our Parliamentary democracy.

On Saturday there was our wonderfully successful street stall outside the Great Malvern post office, when over 95% of the people we polled rejected Johnson’s right to prorogue, and demanded a second referendum. Blog time.

But before I could settle to write that post, word began to filter through that a widening group of Remain parties and Conservative MPs – the Rebel Alliance – were working together to table a motion preventing prorogation on Tuesday, to be followed if successful by another on Wednesday to rule out No Deal Brexit at the end of October. The PM would be obliged to request a further extension to Article 50, unless he could pull of the legerdemain of negotiating an acceptable deal. This seemed very unlikely, given no-one was actually negotiating with Europe anyway.

No point in blogging, I thought, till I knew what would happen in Parliament on Tuesday. I then spent the entire afternoon and evening doing something totally unprecedented: glued to BBC Parliament TV coverage, wine glass in one hand, order paper in the other. We screamed and shouted and groaned, and by the end we knew Parliament had finally taken back control. We watched, fascinated, as Boris Johnson popped up and down at the dispatch box like a manic Tweedledee, aided by the arrogant sleeping Caterpillar, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Since then, the dizzying avalanche of news has continued: Boris Johnson reeling as he loses three votes in the Commons; Jacob Rees-Mogg revealing how literally laid-back and reptilian he is; Dr Philip Lee, Tory MP, crossing the floor in the most dramatic way

to join the LibDems; Johnson sacking 21 senior Tory rebels, including two former Chancellors and the grandson of his hero Winston Churchill, thereby smashing his own majority into splinters; and today maybe the biggest shock of all – Johnson’s own brother Jo resigning from Government and party.

Add into the mix, somehow, the news that Theresa May’s much-hated deal has apparently been resurrected, and like the ghost of Banquo has materialised to join in the feast of delights that Parliament has become.

And now the prospect of a snap election draws closer.

So the right time for a considered reflective blog won’t happen anytime soon, and this is all I can offer for now. The dust cloud hasn’t settled, but instead risen into a raging hurricane. I sincerely hope it will be less damaging than Dorian; but right now we’re all up in the air, being whirled around by the tempest that is British politics.

All I can say for sure at the moment is: we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Leaving Europe: we’ve done that before

Leaving Europe: we’ve done that before

In 225AD a tall fair-haired woman called Julia Aurelianus lives in a pretty townhouse in Aquae Sulis (modern Bath). Julia is an independent woman of means, a cultured high-status aristocrat and a healer who works at the clinic attached to the temple of Sulis Minerva. She is an educated, sophisticated citizen of the Roman Empire, living nearly two hundred years after the Roman invasion of Britain. She believes the Roman Empire will last for ever. But at the same time, she is a proud Durotrigian, with deep roots in a British identity, and a leading role as a tribal noble. Continue reading “Leaving Europe: we’ve done that before”

Walking with a million friends

Walking with a million friends

After three years of Brexit, it’s easy to feel jaded, worn out and helpless. Whichever way you voted in the referendum of June 2016, I’ll bet my Grandma’s best black hat you didn’t think you were voting for the mess we’re all in now. It would be so easy to give up, to throw our hands in the air and join the many who are saying, ‘I want it all to go away. Just get on with it.’

Continue reading “Walking with a million friends”

Another chilly morning on the streets

Another chilly morning on the streets

Another year, another #PeoplesVote Day of Action.

Peggy and I were once more canvassing with MalvernforEurope in our local village, Colwall, at the western foot of the Malvern Hills on Saturday 12 January.

Continue reading “Another chilly morning on the streets”

A day in the life of a pro-European activist (and her human)

A day in the life of a pro-European activist (and her human)

8A2DAF55-512E-4036-AE94-86F424681149It’s nearly Christmas. So here in the UK that means festive conversations and convivial gatherings around the issue of the hour…Brexit.
This is me, Jacquie Rogers, writer, pro-European, and member of Malvern for Europe. Wearing a silly EU beret.

And this is Peggy, three months old. Definitely in charge. Wearing a peggy in gilet jaunecanine gilet jaune. Together we canvassed for the People’s Vote in Great Malvern today.

We learnt a lot. 

Continue reading “A day in the life of a pro-European activist (and her human)”

Why I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo this year.

Why I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo this year.

I don’t often write about political events, either here or in my travel blog

This blog is intended for those who love reading, and might like to follow my writing and publications. Nevertheless I won’t apologise to you, my readers, for diverting today a little way down the murky paths of UK politics. But you are deserving of an explanation, so here goes:

Continue reading “Why I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo this year.”

Winter Notes


January and February can seem dispiriting months. After the golden glory of autumn, with its flashes
of colour, and the celebrations and bonhomie of Christmas, New Year feels grey and leaden-footed.
It’s dark, cold, and the most fun we can expect is unpleasant and occasionally savage weather. Continue reading “Winter Notes”

A Small Kindness

I arrived back at Paddington Station after a midday event in London, quite early for my afternoon train home. The day was now considerably warmer than when I had left Mark at 6.30 am, and as I was wearing a thick coat and carrying several bags, I was feeling hot and dishevelled. Time for a cup of tea and perhaps a nice piece of cake. Continue reading “A Small Kindness”

The Christmas Journey

It’s mid-November as I write this, and the pre-Christmas season of planning, parties and panic is in full swing already.
If you’re like me, every autumn you promise yourself this will be the festive season you float serenely through, everything ticked off the list on time. (And yes, I mean even sending sea mail parcels to Australia by September, to save on postage.) Continue reading “The Christmas Journey”

A Summer Dawn

A Summer Dawn

In the absolute stillness of the young day, the parish church sits four-square and timeless. Its west face is shadowed, cool grey stone shot through with glowing honey bands reflecting the warmth of the matching cottages across Little Moor Road. A backcloth of wispy rose and azure stripes to the east heralds another hot day arriving. The jackdaws are not yet about their raucous breakfasts, but already the steady piping of songbirds gathers volume. The fronds of the ancient yew in the churchyard corner barely move. Continue reading “A Summer Dawn”