THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Metzing about
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Metz day #2

“Breakfast near me” typed into Google Maps this morning yielded several better prospects than yesterday’s mediocre fare in my hotel. I was delighted with my choice — a brunch spot favoured by young French families. The only disadvantage was it made me feel old! Polite young children sang along quietly to the English pop music in the background and were generally delightful. I’m pretty sure they’d no idea what they were singing, but then neither did their parents so only I got to be amused. I’d have been delighted to be a grandad at any of their tables.

Metz 2024 Day 2-2
The late Mrs P. and I braved disapproving fellow diners on many occasions in England by taking the Misses P to restaurants when they were little. They learned how to behave and never once showed us up. One proud parenting moment was at the old River Room at the Savoy. If daggers looks involved real daggers we’d have been acupunctured to death as we were shown to our table. Our girls behaved with perfect decorum however (just like the young French children this morning, who brought the story to mind) and we had a lovely family meal.

Metz 2024 Day 2-1Before we called for the bill the Italian leader of the band providing live background music came over to chat to the girls He was surprised to find we were English. He said we looked just like a family in Italy and that it was “lovely to see” — for the first time in all the years he'd played at The Savoy. I still think it's a mistake for parents (and society in general) to assume young children are too barbaric for polite society. They don't have to be. 

I adjourned to a nearby park to take photos, catch up on messaging and read the Sunday Telegraph and my usual blogs on my iPad. I sighed to see there was a children’s playground. In London a lone elderly man (especially one with a camera) would trigger suspicious gazes. The French families today were stereotypically insouciant as I sat on a bench nearby.

French privacy laws make street photography (ironically pioneered by their greatest photographer, Cartier-Bresson; whose most famous photos would now be forbidden) illegal. I was careful to respect a law I despise by ensuring any human subjects were unidentifiable figures in the frame.

I think my desire to obey laws is one of the reasons I’m a libertarian. People with looser attitudes to compliance may worry less about 3,000+ crimes per Parliament being created (as happened under New Labour).

I used to ask people how many of those new crimes they could name. No one ever knew more than one; hunting with hounds. Others included entering a nursery school without prior appointment, which must be broken regularly by grandparents stepping in when a parent is delayed. However well intended those new crimes were (and most were just pointless propaganda to make the government seem "active" and “caring”), it’s not good to make the perfect knowledge of law assumed by our courts even more of a legal fiction.

Not least because it undermines respect for Law itself. A few laws based on commonly-accepted moral principles and rigorously and reliably enforced are the way to build respect for Law. The alternative makes lawyers rich but I can see no other benefit.

That said, I note the current British election campaign turns once again on the stupidest question of all — "what can government do for me?" The answer, if you’re not an apparatchik or on benefits, is “***k you and take most of your earnings.” That, however, is a lesson not yet learned.

Keir Starmer is keen to add 1.5 million new voters aged 16 and 17 to the electorate, precisely because they'll have learned no economic lessons at all. One wonders why anyone ever thought it a good idea to put our children's education in the hands of parasites who profit from voter ignorance. It would certainly account for why Starmer is also keen to drive more future voters into state education.

Not one party in this election proposes less government and fewer laws. Not one. Unless something changes (I hope it does because both my grandads volunteered to defend my right to do so) I shall for the first time in my life not vote. Even when I lived abroad I voted every time by proxy until I lost the right to do so. The Conservatives are authoritarian statist socialists with no respect for individual freedom. So of course are Labour, but at least they're honest about it. Given a choice between thieves and lying thieves, I'm not inclined to express an opinion.

After being brought down by such political reflections while reading my newspaper and blogs, I set off again in holiday mood to take photographs. I headed to the plan d'eau de Metz, a kind of leisure-boating marina. I'd forgotten about my intermittent fasting regime and found myself not having lunched with minutes to go. The few restaurants that were open on a Sunday had closed by 2.30pm, so I grabbed a beer and an ice-cream at a place which – it transpired – sadly lacked a loo. Like many gents of my age, this is now a matter of more concern than it used to be. I swiftly followed the directions given by the ice-cream vendeuse and found myself in a queue. A clever automated public WC performed an impressive cleansing so thorough each time that it took longer than the typical visitor! Fortunately, I was spared embarrassment and continued my waterside walk in happier mood.

I'd planned to call an Uber to return as I did yesterday. When I checked the distance however, I realised I'd walked in something of a circle and was less than half a mile from my hotel. In consequence, though I'd planned to walk a little less than yesterday, I ended up covering the same modest distance. I enjoyed the walk more today. Partly because I'd left my tripod and lighting gear in the hotel to lighten my load. Mainly because I was more confident I could handle it. 

My album of photos has been updated if you’re interested.

Comments

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patently

Just catching up... oh Tom you are not lucky with long journeys in Speranza! My sympathies, I will carry on reading and hope to see some good news!

You're quite right regarding the choice on 4 July. At present, my plan is to try and secure the worst possible outcome for the Conservatives; some "creative destruction" is needed to recreate the party in a more libertarian mould. If the result is even mildly less bad than predicted then the left-wing of the party will claim that is a validation of their ideas and the rot will continue. We need the result to be so bad that they party has to start again from scratch.

The next 5 years are lost, but I'm hoping there will be something worth voting for in 2029.

Tcheuchter

Ah yes, now that I've looked at it enlarged it is fairly obvious. Silly old me.

Tom

I think it's a standard chessboard, Tcheucter. The differently coloured extra squares around the edge are just decorative. Nobody played while I was there and the "seats" looked a bit too uncomfortable for a long match!

Tcheuchter

I am interested in the public (?) chequerboard. It has too many squares to be a chess board, or is it multi-purpose? I seem to remember it happened in Italy that members of the public would sit in the open air and play a game of chess. But I am old and time plays tricks.

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