Author: Robin Tudge

PART 1Travel

Bridges, Brunel, Banksy and beauty in Bristol and Bath

Robin Tudge

Part 1 We wanted to stop off at the Cheddar Gorge, but Covid had somehow closed this down. Still, in Bristol, the SS Great Britain and Brunel Museum  on Spike Island is well worth the £18 entry for the ship, all three decks restored as per a 19th century voyage of emigrants, even the driving […]

£1 million donation supports North East students to succeed at Durham University

Robin Tudge

A major scholarships programme to help students from low-income backgrounds in North East England to study at Durham University has received a new donation of £1 million. The donation to the Durham Inspired North East Scholarships program, which supports exceptional young people from across the region to fulfil their potential at Durham, comes from Dr […]

PART 1Travel

Locals, mining and “jam before cream” in Cornwall

Robin Tudge

“And the rule is jam before cream!” the café owner told me as she put the scones on the table. A diktat, or enabling me to avoid a faux pas? Or a loud declaration to locals within hearing that this café owner, sans Cornish accent, knew the norms. This was in the gorgeous little port […]

Opinion

North Korea driving in Clapham

Robin Tudge

It’s 05:15, Sunday morning in Clapham, and I’m adopting ‘North Korea driving’ methods to save fuel. It’s a phrase I made up in 2002 when touring that isolated country, at the time barely crawling out of a famine that had killed a tenth of its people, a famine precipitated in no small party by a […]

What’s next?: Part 4 of European Movement conference

Robin Tudge

The movement has to get away from seeing Brexit as this binary moment that split the country in two, “we need leavers to get with us.” And there are ‘stacks’ of Conservative MPs and party members who regret what happened, but who went with the flow seeing no other option, which was and is true for Labour. “We need to appeal to them with practical ideas for the country”: Push for harmonisation over veterinary checks, visa-free travel for certain professions, much greater co-operation on security, and foreign affairs, areas in which the UK Government is “artificially creating barriers to mask our divorce from Europe”. Revive Erasmus. “If we can attract the young, we have a very bright future,” he said, and noted: “There is no permanency in politics, it doesn’t exist. Going into the EEC was not a permanent thing, nor is leaving the EU.”

Beyond our bubble: Part 3 European Movement conference

Robin Tudge

What must be done is to relate the losses of Brexit to people’s own experiences and lives, to build a narrative that Brexit isn’t working. Like Cummings’ modus operandi, ‘we need to relate to people’s lives’. Activists must chart, “town by town, shop by shop, how Brexit affects us, what’s going wrong, and develop a Brexit narrative.” So, in two, three years’ time, people will say, “Brexit’s going badly, I can feel it”, information that can be deployed in manifestos.

Ireland is keeping a candle lit: Part 2 of European Movement conference, a talk by Noelle O’Connell

Robin Tudge

Irrespective of that, however, the referendum has opened a ‘Pandora’s box, and as Farry said earlier regarding NI, “Brexit has had significant and largely unwanted impacts”, mainly on the border.The Ireland-NI border is now the EU’s only land border with the UK, while the Protocol demands the increasingly shaky Irish Sea customs border over which a ‘new reality’ of ‘very stark trade differentials’ now exists. Covid-19 and stockpiling notwithstanding, port traffic between Welsh ports and Ireland has declined dramatically – while the threat to the GFA has risen as much.

Building Bridges: Part 1 of European Movement conference

Robin Tudge

The conference was opened by its host, Anna Bird, the CEO of the European Movement UK, with the keynote opening speech by Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, former leader of the Green Party and Green MEP. “We’re still grieving about Brexit,” she said, and “no treaty or trade cooperation agreement will make us […]

Theatre

A “complete curveball” and a “safe haven” in Live Theatre, Newcastle

Robin Tudge

Feedback from all involved has been fabulous. Live Youth Theatre member Connor reflected that the film was “a complete curve ball to what we knew as theatre. It allowed us to explore our emotions, opinions and current experiences about lockdown while living in the moment, displaying an incredibly intuitive mixture of theatre.

Wither Britain?

Robin Tudge

What does the British brand now deliver? We took back our blue (black?) passports from the EU, only to have them made by a French company in Poland, their import delayed by Dover border chaos, and far-right thug Steven Yaxley-Lennon, a.k.a. Tommy Robinson laughing that he has an Irish passport affording him freedom of movement – um, because the Brexit he sought has devalued the beloved British passport, robbing us of freedom of movement.

Goodbye to Berlin

Robin Tudge

Finally on a beautifully hot July afternoon I finished the novel. The next few hours I wandered around Kreuzberg, hearing the explosive cheers, then jeers and woe, from the locals packing out the bars as their team crashed out of the World Cup, while my initial elation slumped into a fatigue that saw me beered up, sprawled on a sofa in an all-night bar near Tempelhof, muttering ‘I just finished a novel. A f****** novel.

Trucking hell

Robin Tudge

Why would they come? Even if they could cope with the added discomfort of waiting for days either side of the Channel, by dint of turning Kent into a massive Portaloo park, it doesn’t work. With the opportunity cost of missed work elsewhere thanks to delays, that hauliers are paid by the kilometre, and inertia earns nought, and the risk of penalties for later deliveries and spoiled goods … they won’t come.

Escaping the plague in the ‘otherworld’: a journey to Skye

Robin Tudge

So hitting the islands was very welcome. Off Mull, we watched seals watching us aboard a whale-watching boat tour, that took in Minke whales blowing and breaching, porpoises shyly showing their fins, and leery dolphins. We were treated to the whales, dolphins and flocks of seagulls and gannets cooperating to massacre a shoal of fish, the whales going deep to herd the fish to the surface, the dolphins corralling them, the gannets dive-bombing into the water at 60mph.

Putin wins again

Robin Tudge

I was working in Moscow in 1996-1997, and remember the utter destitution of the place, the old babushkas who’d won the war against the fascists stripped of their pensions and left to stand in two feet of snow, lined by the dozen outside metro stations, selling bootleg vodka.