Just to put Brexit in context – Britain eschewed membership of the European Economic Community which was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957, but changed its mind in the early 1960s, only to be rebuffed by Charles de Gaulle. The EEC then consisted of six member states – Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, West Germany and the Netherlands. Britain signed an accession treaty in 1972. Securing Britain’s entry in 1973 was regarded by the former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath, as his greatest achievement. Read More

A friend asked me the other day how I would vote in the EU referendum. I was considering my response – thinking I don’t have the facts, but it would be good to stay in. Is it too much to ask for a more democratic, efficient, reformed EU? Perhaps. But how come other EU members don’t want the same things? As David Cameron was unable to secure any real changes, how can we expect things will get better going forward? And, if there is a Brexit will the UK not face years of uncertainty, loss of investments, stock market volatility etc.? How will that help? Then remembering the words of Gandhi, I replied: ‘It would be a good idea – if we could stay in and bring about the change we want…’ I knew it was unrealistic, hopeless even, like marrying someone for the second time with a view to changing them! My friend, interrupting my thoughts, announced: ‘Shanta, you are the only person we know who is going to vote yes, to stay in!’ I was stunned. I’d always considered her more European than me.

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Recently, a friend me asked why I’d stopped blogging, adding that she’d enjoyed reading my thoughts and musings. I’d not stopped blogging, not consciously anyway. So I said, why did you not tell me before? If it’s taken you all these years to let me know, can you blame me for taking a break? I added. Various optional activities had been temporarily postponed as Life had taken over. Nor did I know if anyone read my blog. Yet the moment I was faced with the question, I realised years had elapsed. Over three, to be precise, since my last entry. Conventional blog wisdom suggests one write frequently and regularly. Read More

 The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – 2012

Born on 21 April 1926, married on 20 November 1947, Princess Elizabeth was a beautiful, young mother of two when her life changed. She and her husband, Prince Philip, were on holiday inKenya; they spent the night in the Tree Tops Safari Lodge unaware that her father, King George VI, had died in his sleep. They were on vacation in a beautiful hunting lodge when the news finally reached them. Her father is the King portrayed in the Oscar-award winning film, The King’s Speech. The Queen, Her Majesty Elizabeth II, inherited the throne on 6 February 1952; her coronation took place on 2 June 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. Read More

The times they are a changing… We certainly live in interesting, changing times – stagnant economic output in the developed world coupled with high levels of debt not seen since 1970s in the UK; high unemployment; rising inflation; fall in real incomes and living standards; largest gap between rich and poor in decades; negative real interest rates; banks failing to lend; Greece on the verge of default; Italy looking to China for a handout; the US already at its maximum indebtedness to China; China poised to overtake the US as the world’s largest manufacturer; the US government’s credit rating lowered; riots and the promise of strikes and social unrest in UK/Europe; high volatility in stock markets nervous of continuing uncertainty making matters significantly worse… Is this the legacy of western capitalism? Read More

In Oxford I attended a poetry reading by Allen Ginsberg where he spoke at length about India. His India was quite different from my India. By then I had learnt there were several ‘Indias’ just as there were several versions of ‘England’, ‘the West’ or ‘Vilayat’ that had been depicted to me, unsolicited, by various well-wishers and friends before I left India in 1979. Most of these individuals had never left India. In Oxford, I discovered my ‘West’ along with other people’s ‘East’ and their ‘Indias’ as they attempted to establish a means of communication with me, though they too had never been to India! Ginsberg had at least spent some time in India. Read More