Lock Down

Locked down, on my own, no one but me

No hello, no why? No, just not anything.

How I wish I were with someone, anyone, especially you

But I’m not, I’m locked down with me.

I’m locked down, what does this mean? Lock down.

A lonely prisoner locked down on my own

I don’t even like myself, at least not too much

I am afraid of myself if I let myself go and scream!

I wish I could be locked down with you

I don’t know who you are, but it’s you I want

I want to be free, to be with someone I know but don’t

So I can be surprised by our startling face ups.

If I was locked up with you, would you be nice to me?

Would you be nice enough, to be nice to.

Being in lock down on my own, is good, it’s cool

Because I know I am alone and free.

Boing in lockdown, I can pray, and write a poem

I can wish, to meet all my other me’s.

I can imagine, imagine this and that

And be in love, with whoever I may want to be.


Brexit – stepping into the unknown.


Trying to persuade 32 million people (the British electorate) into leaving Europe was easy. It was also easy to project one liners about immigration, extra cash back et al. It was all about what could happen – freedom, border control etc., we know the story well.

There was something about that message that resonated with the Brits. In fact it is clear that we’ve never really been all that comfortable with the idea of anything that surpasses the idea of free trade with our European partners. The Europeans were never that comfortable with the British Government always seeking a playing field that resisted unified currencies and laws.

Breaking up after 45 years is painful, it was always going to be painful, but maybe that concept was never flagged up by either side of the argument. Anyway here we are. As I said in my last blog, it’s an argument of the optimistic innovators against the status quo, the let’s not change brigade.

It is not surprising that both sides are polarising so dramatically. This breakup is widely regarded as the biggest issue to face the UK government since the Second World War. But is it really? After all there was life before the UK joined the EU and the EEU. What about WTO rules and the Most Favoured Nation clauses, Canada E U Trade Agreement and all that?

To put it simply, an MFN clause is a non-discrimination requirement. It means that if you give a favour to one trading partner, you have to give it to all partners who benefit from an MFN clause. The principle is central to the World Trade Organization (WTO) which requires a member to give equal access to its home market to all members of the WTO. An MFN clause applies both to trade in goods and services.

What matters for present purposes, however, is not an MFN clause under the WTO Agreements but an MFN clause under the EU’s trade agreements with non-EU countries. The EU’s FTAs also contain an Most Favoured Nation clause which means that the EU must provide equal treatment to those trading partners who benefit from an MFN clause under their FTAs with the EU. What the EU offers to the UK must, then, be offered to Canada, Korea, Singapore and  other partners with whom the EU has negotiated an MFN clause.

Why does the EU not agree to this is one of the fundamental issues which supports the argument that the EU is a protectionist organisation which looks primarily inwards. Some even claim that the EU is a negative influence to free trade especially to developing economies.

There are, however, important exceptions to a Most Favoured Nations clause under these new Free Trade Agreements. Under Canadian deal an MFN obligation does not apply to cross-border trade in services and investment which covers provision of services through commercial presence, but it can be done with an element of goodwill. By allowing British banks and financial institutions to establish in EU countries and agreeing to recognise professional qualifications as it does now. So called Passporting rights may be covered by this exception because they allow free access to financial services market without imposing further regulatory requirements (i.e. local authorizations), thus constituting recognition of UK home state regulations.

This is tangential to the issue of allowing access to qualified persons of the enterprise working in EU countries and the employment of EU nationals in those enterprises. Again this seems an issue where a sensible compromise should be easily facilitated. However the EU does have and has consistently argued that right to free movement of labour and capital is a redline which cannot be compromised. Furthermore, Annex II of CETA establishes additional reservations (i.e. exceptions) applicable in the EU. One of the listed reservations to an MFN obligation in trade in services provides that the EU reserves the right to adopt an agreement with a third country (i.e. UK in case of an EU-UK deal) which (a) creates an internal market in services and investment; (b) grants rights of establishment; or (c) requires the approximation of legislation in one or more economic sectors (i.e. alignment or incorporation of laws between the parties). While the first two options seem unlikely given the UK government’s current red lines, but need it? It seems that passporting rights will require some form of approximation of legislation.

Of course the harmonisation of rules will necessitate the UK adopting EU rules for their operations abroad and for those regulations to be harmonised with the UK operations. But it would seem common sense anyway. This is surely a question of give and take, which has so far been eliminated by the time wasting posturing of both the UK and The EU.

Other services industries merely have to accede to EU standards where they are already established, i.e. air safety which is subject to world-wide agreed standards anyway. What’s the problem? There isn’t one really

In other words, these exceptions mean that the MFN principle must not be a barrier to a future EU-UK trade deal including financial services.

In the event, it remains to be seen whether the EU’s trading partners would find it practical to challenge larger benefits under a future EU-UK deal. On the one hand, it is probable that they would seek to secure passporting rights under their FTAs with the EU if such were given to the UK.

On the other hand, UK’s passporting rights allow non-EU firms properly established in the UK to get automatic access to sell financial services across the EU. Non-EU firms, including Canadian ones, have been using this route extensively. Whether the EU will agree to continue this scheme post-Brexit is yet to be seen. It is though a key issue.

These issues are complex and there is bound to be adverse consequences in the short term, many possibilities of the negative effects have been postulated by the institutions such as the World Bank who got it wrong at the outset and those who have most to gain from seeing the UK remaining in the EU. Those who threw out the optimistic one liners during the referendum debate have been firmly put back in their box.

It is important to note the things which influence both sides of the argument. The EU is a conglomerate of countries with many different cultural mores, however they are all bonded because of their experience of the World Wars. They were all one way or another, occupied, fought over blitzed or wrecked. The UK however was never invaded, it still sees itself the victorious leader and the defender of democracy.

This conditions the attitudes that prevail at local and government level. The Continent see the virtue of mutual support as Britain sees the future in terms of its individual and positive past.

Where there’s a will there’s a way. Or so the saying goes, but maybe there are two ‘will- sets’ here. Safety in numbers, a desire to be the leader. Two entirely different points of view. It maybe that the British aspiration to go back to its past is unattainable, but so maybe the dream of a Europe united in multi cultured harmony.



Listen to the crying child.


Listen, can you hear the children cry?

From earthquake street or Yemen’s misery

Do you hear the mother’s scream of pain?

As Aung Sang Suu Kyi lies, staring blindly on.

Do you hear the whimpers of the dying child?

As drugs so needed rush too late to their breathless side.

Do you hear the mother’s tears that soak the ground?

In tortured villages that ISIS found.

Do you hear the cries of empty bellies?

In Bangladesh’s soaking drowning fields

Can you hear the buzzing bombs?

That flatten towns and schools.

Listen! Listen! – Will you reply?

To quiet the cries of that child of ours.

And still, I am blind.

Sitting in the sun, we watch the shadows where the world

scurries in the gutters of manmade cruelties.  Look away

and see the comfort of your insignificant self,

close your ears to the din of bombing and the screams of dying children,

soft, listen to the drone of mosquitoes killing nightly a household of despair.

Love your son and daughter but close your eyes to the brute next door,

looking inward and insulating the hollow of your warm nest.

The sun that shines on me bleeds on others who are not my brothers,

they are someone else’s shame,

locked away over the horizon of the night.  Come the morning and the blindness will still

be here, the scales of so-called love affixed firmly

so that I can see what it is I want to see.

My blindness sees the sunshine,

my blindness sees no darkness,

Yet, I know, I know and still, I am blind.

Brexit – Confusion – the poem.

Britain looks back to its former glory

Revising history and dreams of epochs new

Excluding friends and mistaking foes

Xenophobes moaning about empty nursing stations

Isolated, insular and dreaming still of money power

Trading, trashing, cashing in and cashing out.


Brave New Britain, breaks with bureaucrats

Racing outward and razing the bonds of Brussels

Escaping chains and euro notes and promises

eXiting the strangling weight of unknown faces

Illuminating the new world with influential freedom

Transforming trade for all our world


Blind and bothered, we are ashamed,

reviewing backward brave or silly votes

Entreating others to show the way

eXpecting leaders to know what’s what

Intelligence absent across the plot!

Tell us, pray,  when? where? and what?





Listen to the crying child.

Listen, can you hear the children cry?

From earthquake street or Yemen’s misery

Do you hear the mother’s scream of pain?

As Aung Sang Suu Kyi lies, staring blindly on.

Do you hear the whimpers of the dying child?

As drugs so needed rush too late to their breathless side.

Do you hear the mother’s tears that soak the ground?

In tortured villages that ISIS found.

Do you hear the cries of empty bellies?

In Bangladesh’s soaking drowning fields

Can you hear the buzzing bombs?

That flatten towns and schools.

Listen! Listen! – Will you reply?

To quiet the cries of that child of ours.

Poetry – harbinger of joy or tears.

Looking back at some of my  poems, none I may add, acclaimed by anyone, I am surprised at the ups and downs reflected there.

There are many who find poetry a balm and sometimes a boost and even a spark in the darkest of places. This piece tries to identify with the darkest places, unlike some poems it offers no solace, just a recognition how bad things can be. There is ambivalence about the subjective ‘us’ victim or persecutor or even observer content to sit on our hands

 –    There’s black in every heart‘      is one of those where I try to share the deep hopelessness and sadness that can prevail  in the most difficult times and moods. The reason I wrote the poem is still vivid in my mind, I have since been overtaken by happy and glorious times .  But the goings on in Myanmar remind me of the darkness we can all feel. I pray that those who suffer will be delivered from their earthly hell.  Please can we all help – in any way at all.



  There’s black in every heart, it spins like the sun

  There lurks the antimatter to our joy.

  It spins and pulls the light away

Sending hurtful splinters

Anywhere, even at the things we love,

things so fragile.  Too late, – we realize

Another hateful arrow finds

a random target and despair surrounds us

It spins and pulls the light away.

Looking out we can see nothing

other than that loathsome pity for ourselves.

There’s black in every heart, it spins like the sun.

Who cares what hurt that we have done,

what flower cut down, what trust betrayed?

There lurks the antimatter to our joy.

They talk of hope, they have none.

Not while this black hole burns coldly in our souls.

It spins and pulls the light away.

There is no light,

We choose to blind ourselves and turn away,

There’s black in every heart, it spins like the sun

Alone in our individual anguish,

misery and icy loneliness.

There lurks the antimatter to our joy

Don’t pity us,

We are below deserving.

It spins and pulls the light away.

Fear us for we can

spoil and smear and desecrate.

There lurks the antimatter to our joy.

Don’t give us love

We don’t need it; We shall hide,

here in the blackness of our hearts.




Love’s a bind, love’s a burden

It’s like heroin, there’s no doubt

Each day we need our fix to live on,

Every day it’s agony – without.


         Our fix comes, not through the needle

         But through forgiveness or new giving grace,

          The shaking stops, withdrawal assuaged

          Make me warm in love’s embrace.

                   Love you then, as my good habit

we mustn’t fail to indulge and tame it

I must keep you always flying

Pray we don’t start love denying.


Like all those who are addicted,

it’s for ever, an eternal mix.

You and me, who’d have predicted?

We know no bounds to get our fix.






How close to throwing it all away.

How close to throwing it all away,

How close to killing what keeps us alive

To closing down your shining eyes

To be deafened to your laughter chimes.


Love is blind but can be blinded

Locked out by selfish whim

But love is strong and fights her corner

Conquering even the blackest sin.


Let’s be thankful for what we share

Let’s enjoy each other’s gifts

Living and letting live

the spark that heals our rifts.


Touch me, let me feel you close to me

Stroke me and let my earthly heaven live on

Breathe with me and let me love you softly

Smile, light my days and warm my nights


Never mind the past, bad times

Just remember all the good;

The sweetest days, the tranquil nights

Your welcomes home; my harbor lights.



Forgiveness – the gift of love.

Forgiving something small is easy,

excusing someone you hardly know;

but some one close, who fails you

that’s a wound, an open sore.


So when to mend the scars and how?

We need the answers now.

Lest the wounds we bear

fester, get angrier and grow.


Still, dark angers urge redress.

Surely there’s no sense in this.

Strike back and hurt, at least a bit.

as deeper gets the vengeful pit.


We need not vengeance here; but healing,

to find a balm for all the pain.

Easier far to repay in spite,

then hate wins, despite love’s might.


Turn back, turn back; from the abyss

where darkness rules the day.

Let light flood in to heal the wounds,

despite our instinctive way.


It is not easy, to wipe away the hurt,

of injuries that stick like stinking dirt.

We must forgive; for that’s the only way,

for love to linger longer, despite the price we pay.