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Peter Rhodes on shark diving in Stamford, getting locked in the EU and some surprisingly good/bad news

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Jo Swinson - out to scupper Brexit

BACK home from our break in Lincolnshire, the inevitable post-holiday online questionnaire arrived from Booking.com. Among the questions it asked about the attractions in Stamford was whether I could recommend the shark diving. I think I can. It's fair to say that the shark diving in Stamford is as good as it is anywhere else 40 miles from the sea.

IT is right that the Lib-Dems celebrate their historic victory in the EU elections and that their likely next leader Jo Swinson sings the praises of scuppering Brexit. That, after all, is what the Lib-Dems have promised steadfastly over the past three years. However, one question never seems to be answered. It is this: if a second referendum succeeded in keeping the UK in the European Union, what provisions would the agreement contain for us to leave the EU at some stage in the future, if the national mood changed again?

A HINT may come from the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt. He claims Brexit has already done “far more damage than has ever been predicted” and uses this to justify sending a message to people on the continent to “never repeat Brexit again”. What exactly does that mean?

MY suspicion is that anti-Brexiteers both here and in Brussels have absolutely no intention of allowing another Brexit and will move quickly to make such campaigns illegal under EU law. In other words, once you're in the EU, you'll be in for ever. Or to borrow some phrases from Colditz, there is no escape and resistance is futile. This prospect may gladden the hearts of Liberal Democrats but how is it liberal and how is it democratic?

AN old journalistic mantra tells us that bad news is good news. This may explain why a significant bit of good news has not been reported in much depth. It comes from the Resolution Foundation think-tank, as reported in the FT Magazine. In a nutshell the news is - you've never had it so good.

ACCORDING to Resolution Foundation, British life satisfaction is now the highest since surveys began in the 1970s. About 93 per cent of Britons say they are “fairly” or “very” satisfied with their lives. Male suicide rates are at the lowest since the 1980s. Researchers attribute part of this wellbeing to the fact that employment is at an all-time high. Despite Brexit, dire climate-change warnings and the demands of thousands of insecure zero-hours jobs, we must be doing something right. Which is, of course, terrible news.

LIKE a lot of men, I regard shopping as an admission of defeat and do as little as possible. So I was not prepared for the question in a clothes shop after buying some T-shirts. The lady on the till smiled and asked: "Now, which is the best email address to send the receipt to?" Nice try.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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