I have been travelling all week and my news reading has been limited as a result – so, this week, instead of categories, I have selected just a few stories I tried to follow… enjoy 🙂
The week in Europe has revolved (yet again) around Brexit, and particularly, around a letter sent by Theresa May to the EU. The letter, which officially triggered Article 50, marks the beginning of the end of the relationship between Britain and the EU; the first swing of the battering ram that will eventually flatten something that took four decades to build. In the UK, the letter was lauded for its prudent tone, though with tough under currents, and for its plea to maintain the deep and special relationship between the UK and Europe. In Europe, it was further evidence of the extent of British arrogance, and the European party line quickly hardened, becoming less conciliatory with each passing day. Media outlets (and politicians) in the UK are experiencing a rude awakening: are the blooms of British confidence beginning to wilt? The Independent (predicatably enough) warn that under May’s guardianship Britain will “become a rule-taker, not a rule-maker.”
Lots of interest in this story on the other side of the pond as well. NY Magazine, in an attempt to be neutral, published an article on the reasons why any sensible member of the liberal elite would want to leave the EU. The article, which is based solely around an immigration argument, fails to mention that immigration from non-EU countries is actually higher than from the EU.
The New York Times had a pretty interesting article about how Brexit will affect the art market, with some interesting insights into the potential change in VAT and how the volatility of the pound has been impacting sales. Interestingly, the dealers they spoke to were positive about the future, while Amish Kapoor, the only artist in the piece, was much more negative about what it all means for the global art community. I was amused that the article kept referring to Brexit in inverted comas. “Brexit” – apparently, it’s like, a “thing” in Europe right now.
On Friday evening, there was widespread outrage in the British media about future plans for the rock of Gibraltar, a British territory that lies off the coast of Spain. The EU’s negotiating guidelines have suggested that no new laws (that would be brought about by Brexit, particularly relating to air space) can apply to Gibraltar without first having Spanish agreement. Basically, this means that UK residents of Gibraltar need approval from the Spanish before they can subsume new arrangements between the UK and the EU into their own law (to do with trade etc.). This means that the EU have decided to wade into a historically contentious argument between Spain & the UK about the status of the rock of Gibraltar. The Telegraph referred to it as a ‘land-grab’, arguing that the Spanish are using the Brexit negotiations to get a territory they have wanted for centuries. The Guardian suggests that it would effectively signal a lack of total British sovereignty over Gibraltar. The people of Gibraltar voted 96% to stay in the EU – so, I would say 4% of them are seriously peed off right now. All joking aside, I think this is a very early indication of just how ugly things are going to get in the next two years.
There was a huge amount of attention given by the American media to Turkey this week. This is ahead of a referendum forthcoming on 16 April that could potentially give much more power to the nation’s current leader Tayyip Erdogan.
The Atlantic featured a long piece on how divisive the president is, how fragile relations are with Europe and how much hangs in the balance. I also read an incredibly interesting piece in this month’s Prospect Magazine about the situation for journalists in Turkey, many of whom have been jailed since the failed coup that was quashed by Erdogan last summer. The New York Times have also been runnig a series of articles on the internal struggles in Turkey and the referendum what will mean. Here’s one example.
The Pew Research Centre produced a super report recently on internet behaviour – particularly amongst the trolling community – and what all that will mean for the future of the online eco-system. There is some suspicion that in years to come, the internet will resemble an over-patrolled soviet street; but instead of the KGB, we will have bots; and instead of censorship, we will have ‘safe-spaces’. Ultimately, what does this mean for the future of ideas?
Hype is spreading rapidly around the forthcoming exhibition of Damien Hirst’s new work at the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi, Venice from April 9th. Titled Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, this is apparently a comeback on the scale of U2 weary worn musicians doing one more show at Wembley.
The FT Weekend featured it last weekend (pay wall) and the Guardian have also jumped on board (or should I say under-board?). Is this all just fluff to generate buzz? I don’t know. All I do know is that the work seems very similar to the thoroughly original and singular work of Jason deCaires Taylor.
Back in the news this week, (oh wait, she never really left) Ivanka Trump has been named as an official member of (unpaid) staff in the White House.
A lot of people had a lot of things to say about this. Many journalists have argued that the great light of hope – that she would be the voice of liberal America – has gone out. In one of the many articles written about this, The New York Times traced her company’s history with maternity/paternity leave, and ultimately argued that her influence would not be good for the working women of America. If you want to know what Trump thinks about nepotisim, watch this video. He literally sounds like a sixteenth century Pope… and we all know how that ended… #reformation #catholicinquisition #deadpeople
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