Phillipe and Jorge’s Cool, Cool World: Politics on Both Sides of the Pond

slidebrexitBrexit – Blimey!

Yes, we are going to be talking about Brexit here since we’re exhausted by addressing lying deadbeat racist Donny Dumpf and future clothes maven Billary (Wall Street, proprietor). (We could give you a real earful about the other Brexit, the England national side being dumped out of the European Nations championship by smaller-than-minnows Iceland in one of the great soccer upsets of all time, but that might be worse once we get the bit in our teeth.)

Not wanting to pretend we know enough about Brexit to chime in — unlike most American columnists who claim to have deep knowledge of the headline-grabbing event — P&J consulted our UK correspondent, Sally Young, who doubles as Phillipe’s sister. A member of the gone but not forgotten all-female avant garde rock band Ut in the 1970s NYC scene (whose music Melody Maker once gushed was like “Patti Smith meets the Ford Motor Company”), Sally settled in London 35 years or so ago and became a bluesy lounge singer in the finest venues in the capital and is now teaching music education in a private school near her home in Belsize Park.


Brexit is complex enough that Sally provided a lengthy take from which we will provide the more salient of her views and observances.

First of all, the exit from the EU is a very complicated issue and not as black and white as the press and others are trying to make it. For instance, it is not entirely about people’s views on immigration, which they are trying to make it all about. But yes, it has pinpointed a national division in the UK (with Ireland, Scotland and London voting against the rest of the country) that exists mainly between urban and rural communities, which also exists very prominently in the US (the East and West Coast vs. the inner states). Yet, no one in London, including the politicians, imagined that the majority would vote to leave the EU. This shows how much the government was out of touch with the grass roots population. It made me realize how possible a Trump presidential victory could be. People are just so fed up with government and the status quo at the moment that they are desperate for change. (A Trump victory in America would make Brexit look like tiddlywinks. And if the UK thinks they will have risky trade deal with the US coming up now, wait until a financial charlatan like the Trump steak and vodka-peddling shyster gets in office. – P&J.)

Both the Brexit and Remain campaigns were run by bullshit, nonsense and scaremongering. People were not presented with the facts and the clear, logical consequences of going down either route.

The day of the referendum was unforgettable. I watched events unfold like a falling row of dominoes. First, the result of the EU referendum votes, which truly astonished me (and most Londoners), then the plummet of the pound, then Cameron resigning, then (Scotland’s leader) Nicola Sturgeon announcing a probable split of Scotland from England … it was unbelievable!

Meanwhile, there is the argument as to whether the prime minister (David Cameron) should have resigned. Personally, he fucked up big time, as he was out of touch with the majority of his country.

Everyone assumed his successor would be Boris Johnson, former mayor of London, one of Cameron’s buddies at Oxford, and a buffoon like Donald Trump. But he led a Brexit campaign against Cameron that really was the proverbial stab in the back to his (former) buddy. And, certainly in English politics, that sort of betrayal usually ends badly. Because with politicians, there’s always another one ready to stab you in the back, as Michael Gove then did to Boris. So it’s now Michael Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May who are in the running for leadership of the Tory party. (When Gove did withdraw his support for Johnson, Boris replied publicly with a quote from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” spoken by Brutus. Geddit?)

And, of course, EVERYONE is talking about it. It’s almost impossible to have a conversation without getting into a heated discussion. People’s views are extremely varied. Some are convinced that the only way forward is a second referendum, but I disagree. I think there’s no going back. It’s like saying, “Sure, we’re a democracy and we’ll give you your say, but only if you say what we want you to!” Whether it was a good decision or not to hold a referendum is debatable. But now we have to accept it and move forward because fighting this further could literally end in civil war, there is such a divisive atmosphere here now.

Media Note: The reason for Boris Johnson being gutted by a member of his own party was, according to a political analyst from the University of Nottingham, because Johnson “wasn’t trusted enough by the people who really wield power in British politics — Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre … Gove, as Murdoch’s representative in politics, basically knifed him.” (Hmm, seems like a recurrent theme.) Rupert “Dirty Digger” Murdoch, is the despicable “Tits on page three” UK media baron who also owns the Wall Street Journal, while Dacre is the famously foul-mouthed and ranting editor of the notoriously right-wing Daily Mail.  So much for the liberal media bias in the UK. Fox News head honcho Roger Ailes is doubtless green with envy.

Favor, Please

Would at least one mainstream film critic mention that the Big Friendly Giant in the eponymous movie, The BFG, is such a blatant caricature of Bill Murray (and voiced by Mark Ryland) that Wild Bill should get a percentage of the film’s earnings? Thank you.

The Political Circus Is Just Beginning

On every level, the 2016 political year is one of the nuttiest ones your superior correspondents have ever seen. We all know what is going on at the national/presidential level but, with a larger-than-usual number of state solons declining to run for re-election (to “spend more time with their families,” we surmise), there is a scramble for a number of open seats.

One of those seats, House District 64 in East Providence, is being vacated by Helio Melo (D). As it is highly likely that another Democrat will be elected there, our attention is focused on the Democratic primary race between former Rep. Brian Coogan and City Councilman, Helder Cunha.

Mr. Cunha recently received his first bit of “publicity” by being the subject of a Channel 10 (WJAR) I-Team report by Bill Rappleye in which Mr. Cunha was accused of harassment (and, possibly “impersonating a police officer”) by an East Providence citizen who says that Cunha pulled him over as he was sitting at a stop light on Taunton Avenue by yelling, “Pull the f___ over!” on June 3. According to the citizen, Gary Tiburcio, 35, Cunha was driving (“erratically) a black pickup truck.

Tiburcio said that, since there were no markings on the truck, he knew it wasn’t a police vehicle; however, when Cunha approached Tiburcio’s vehicle, he “flashed a badge” at him and announced that he was pulling him over for allegedly tossing “three sports drink bottles” out the window of the vehicle. Cunha said he flashed the badge (apparently a “city councilor badge” and not something purchased at Benny’s). Tiburcio claims that neither he nor the passengers in his vehicle had thrown anything out the window.

Cunha subsequently called police and gave them Tiburcio’s license plate number and the three sports bottles he alleged were tossed from the vehicle. The police went to Tiburcio’s home and spoke to his father. When Tiburcio heard this, he drove to police headquarters to give them his account of the incident. He was told by police that he could “pick up the bottle” and that would end the incident. Tiburcio refused and was issued a citation for littering, noting in his report that Cunha was “not willing to provide police with a statement.” Tiburcio has now filed a complaint with both the East Providence Police and the Ethics Commission, accusing Cunha of “bullying a civilian.” Unbelievably, Cunha has described the incident as being “politically motivated.”

What’s the deal with Councilman Cunha? Is this the sort of “public servant” the citizens of District 64 in East Providence want to represent them at the State House? And the election campaigns are just beginning.

Kudos & Congrats

… to fellow Vo Dilun media figures from GoLocalProv, news editor Kate Nagle and head ramrod, Josh Fenton, who announced recently that they are engaged to be married. Your superior correspondents wonder if “Bear the dog” will notice that there has been a minor change.
… to filmmaker, Skip Shea (Skip lives in Massachusetts but has shot his films largely in RI using Vo Dilun talent). Skip’s latest film, Trinity, just received an unqualified rave review from the film website, videoviews.com. Here is just part of the review: “I have to say that Trinity left me exhausted by the time it was over and I mean that in a good way. You don’t often get to see a film this powerful that impacts your thought process like this one did. The film will be hitting the festival circuit soon and I expect it to be a much talked about film as well as an award-winning one and I cannot recommend seeing it enough.” One other note about the film: Jorge — Rudy Cheeks — has a small role as a Catholic priest. Yes, you read that right.
…to Aerosmith drummer, Joey Kramer, who has apparently opened a coffee shop a few miles over the line from the Biggest Little in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Might we find drumstick crullers there?