Why can’t I vote?

Why can’t I – a British citizen living abroad – register to vote in the next UK general elections, and why must I thus be denied the right to help determine the future of my country, and how it acts internationally, at a time when my vote matters more than ever?

I was born a British citizen in 1972 and have remained one to this day, although I have lived outside the UK (where I grew up in Cambridgeshire) since 1980. I eat marmite on my toast, dream and swear in English, and hope England do well at every World Cup and Euro finals, even though they always end up underachieving.  Read more of this post

Swaziland can learn from The Gambia

bheki_blogAfter a coup and 22 years of authoritarian rule, The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh conceded power in elections on December 1. Swaziland, another of Africa’s small authoritarian nations, can learn from The Gambia that there is strength in unity, says Swazi activist Bheki Dlamini.

Swaziland and The Gambia are two of Africa’s smallest nations, both less than 20.000 km2 and with populations below 2 million. Both got their independence from Great Britain in the sixties, and both are more or less engulfed by, and to a large degree dependent on, a much larger and more powerful neighbour. Read more of this post

Brexit handler om protest, eliter, frygt og meget andet

threelionswinnerslosers”Should I stay or should I go? If I go there will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double”. Sådan sang The Clash i 1981, året hvor sorte englændere i Brixton gjorde oprør imod diskrimination og arbejdsløshed. Og måske er denne sang det mest passende soundtrack til Storbritannien lige nu, hvor den Britiske union samlet set stemte sig ud af EU med noget nær mindst mulige margen.

For Briterne var rygende uenige. Land med by. Rig med fattig. Skotland og Nordirland med England og Wales. En højrefløj, der ville ud af EU for at ”få deres land tilbage”, og for at stoppe hvad de ser som en uacceptabel høj tilstrømning af østeuropæere og flygtninge. Read more of this post

Englands umulige drøm

Steve Mason foran Café Osborne”Jeg tror ikke på Englands chancer”, siger han til sidemanden, som omtalte han en elsket søn der havde skuffet ham en gang for ofte. Begge mænd er i midten af halvtresserne, at dømme ud fra deres begyndende rynker og grånede hår.

Vi befinder os på Café Osborne, et samlingssted for engelske fodboldsfans og andre med interesse for engelsk fodbold og god, billig øl. Caféen ligger under gadeniveau i Elmegade på Nørrebro i København, og er ikke er meget større end en dagligstue. Alligevel har 50 fodboldfans presset sig ind på de få kvadratmeter, flere af dem iklædt engelske landsholdstrøjer med de karakteristiske tre løver på brystet. Read more of this post

50 år med Bowie

Den 5. juni 1964 debuterede en ung syttenårig knægt fra Bromley i London, David Robert Jones, med sangen ”Liza Jane”. Sangen floppede, ligesom alle David Robert Jones’ plader de næste 5 år gjorde det.

Det var først da han skiftede navn til David Bowie, efter flere skift i tøj og musikstil, og efter han i desperation over den manglende succes nær havde opgivet sin musikkarriere for at blive skuespiller, at han endelig ramte en musikalsk formel der solgte i 1969. Det var med sangen “Space Odity” om Major Tom, en ensom astronaut fanget i rummet. Read more of this post

British Foreign Office to reproach Swaziland over mistreatment of British citizen

According to a representative of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the FCO will be “making representations” towards the Swazi regime over the “mistreatment” of a British foreign national during the Global Week of Action in Swaziland. “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes all allegations of mistreatment against British nationals very seriously and will raise the allegations with the relevant authority in the country concerned,” the representative wrote on 16 September in a reply to an email sent to them raising the issues of the mistreatment of a British citizen on 7 September in Manzini. A delegation from Danish organisation Africa Contact, including two Danish citizens and one British, Peter Kenworthy, were detained by police, beaten, threatened, and denied any legal representation, food, drink, or visits to the toilet during a five hour ordeal at Manzini Regional Police Headquarters. Read more of this post

World Cup 2010: England play “one of the worst games ever” yet again…

So if all goes to plan in this World Cup, England will scrape through the group stage with unspectacular wins over Algeria and Slovenia and loose to Germany or Serbia in the second round, or France in the quarterfinals, on penalties. But perhaps this is being overtly defeatist?

I wrote this five days ago after England’s 1-1 draw with the USA. Apparently, I was being rather optimistic in my pessimism because England (and France for that matter) does not look like a team that has the will, or the skill, to progress.

Tonight’s goalless draw against Algeria must go down as one of the worst performances, or at least one of the most lacklustre, in recent history, although I guess the term “one of the worst” is becoming something of a cliché when talking of England’s performances in major tournaments (or in the case of 2007, 1993, 1983, 1977 and 1973 in failing to qualify for them).

Players like Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard, Cole, Terry, all valuable, world class players for their clubs were all made to look very mediocre indeed by an Algerian side whose captain plays for a mid-table French side. Read more of this post