Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Nick Clegg

Just listened to Nick Clegg on the Jeremy Vine show. Nick is our local MP, I've met him a few times and I reckon he's a decent bloke. Indeed if you missed hearing him you can listen again on the BBC website, it's well worth it. We could use more of his sort in politics. Of course he's not the only decent politician and decent politicians aren't limited to the Liberals either.

Unfortunately, whatever Nick says, some of them are bellicose and extreme, some abuse the system and are manipulative, some are just downright corrupt, thinking about the Neil Hamilton story and the various expenses scandals. I think it's a shame Nick is no longer the Leader of the Liberals, especially given the way Corbyn is managing to hang on in the Labour Party. It's funny how we ask people to fall on their swords when very often they're getting better and more experienced in post.

As to Nick Clegg, he seems to me to talk common sense and if we're to build a better world we need people like him - I can't see Theresa May uniting her party, let alone the country, especially given some of those lovely people around her! It's high time the Liberals became the main party of opposition or better still get swept to power. After all, it's not just about Britain, which is all Brexiteers seem concerned about, it's about a better world.

Nigel Lawson, a real charmer, said something recently about hating the Liberals because they can say what they like since they'll never have the responsibility of office. Well given the rhetoric recently from Johnson, Farage, Gove, Davies et al his fire seems misdirected to me. Time to give the Liberals some responsibility, the coalition actually tempered Tory extremes, it was far better than the chaos we have now.

Liberal landslide, unlikely, but we could do a lot worse!

Malcolm Snook is published on Amazon , Nook and Kobo

The Stupidity Of It All

Just took a trip to the post office and accidentally saw the front page of the Daily Express, which is calling for a speeding up of Brexit because, horror of horrors, more migrants suddenly want to come in! What the hell did people campaigning for Brexit expect. It's obvious isn't it if you're thinking you might want to emigrate somewhere and suddenly you see the door closing you're going to make your mind up one way or the other and get on with it if you decide to go.

Brexit cannot be done overnight, never could be so OBVIOUSLY immigration would go up after a vote for Brexit. It is my belief that this kind of journalism will add to the hate crimes already escalating. What do we want riots on the streets? Are we lemmings? Actually we seem to be worse than lemmings – at least they're cute and cuddly. Unlike the Daily Express.

There is now talk of negative interest rates, in other words banks charging people to 'look after' their money. Naturally if that happens a lot of people will start withdrawing cash, if the banks have insufficient liquidity chaos could ensue. I know it's a bit of a doomsday scenario and one could see conspiracies everywhere. However, a rise in interest rates would shore up the pound and what about all the responsible people not living on credit and in perpetual debt.

Maybe the talk of negative interest rates is just a ploy to get us all to think again about Brexit, if so it's unlikely to work. People voted emotionally not sensibly, and they're still stoked up while the media seems intent on stoking them up more. If people cannot see now what harm they're doing then they never will AND they won't accept they caused it either. You don't make friends, or win people over by calling them stupid or racist, but what do you do if that's what they are?

I heard about an interview with a young Remain voter complaining about my generation, how we all got free university education, great pensions and how we've now destroyed his future. I have a great deal of sympathy, really, I'm on his side, but I would like to say that my generation didn't all vote Brexit – shame on those who did though and that in my day only a few went to university.

Blair got it very wrong, even if widening opportunity is generally a good principle. University isn't right for everyone and now we have a generation used to indebtedness as well as receiving dumbed down university courses and not enough apprenticeships and trades people, which brings us back to immigration.

I personally started work at eighteen and no one gave me any kind of grant, my partner started work as a nurse at sixteen because her parents generation didn't see education as being so important for girls. It wasn't a cake walk after that either. We saw mortgage interest rates as high as fifteen percent I struggled to pay anything else for years, my partner, now a widow had to take on extra hours to make ends meet and care for children at the same time, so she worked nights and looked after the kids by day snoozing when she could.

Having come through all that and having lived within our means and having saved a little what happens? Gordon Brown destroys our private pensions, the state pension gets put back (six years in the case of my partner, one year in my case) and no-one really knows where they stand on the terms and conditions anymore thanks to clever Brexiteer Iain Duncan-Smith.

The stupidity and damage this country is inflicting on itself is positively masochistic. With a little help from the newspapers.

Malcolm Snook is published on AmazonKobo and Barnes And Noble

Trump Trump Before It's Too Late

Here I go again commenting on another country's politics, oh well it's only the world at stake. The nightmare of a Trump Presidency, for Mexico in particular, but also for the rest of the civilised world moved a step closer when Democrats started chanting 'lock her up' with regards to Hilary Clinton, just as the followers of the false profit did last week.

At this rate Trump will win by default, because Hilary is losing the battle, not because the Republicans are winning it. There are plenty of educated, fair minded, thoughtful people in America who would rather vote Democrat, but there are a few who won't vote for a woman at any price and many who believe Hilary to be tainted. Probably correctly.

I'm amazed to find myself thinking this, but I actually believe Bernie Sanders has a better chance of defeating the Donald than Mrs Clinton. The young like him and it's their future quite frankly. The old stabbed the young in the back in the UK recently – don't make the same mistake USA.

Now that we know the Clinton campaign was corrupt there seems little to stop the Democrats disqualifying the former first lady, with all her 'experience' and replacing her with someone who has principles instead.

After all Obama is a principled man, why not try and make it habit forming? Maybe the American people might weigh in with the House and Senate too so that the next principled man can actually do some good.

Mind you there is a risk of gun control if you do that and what's a mass shooting a day compared with the right to bear arms?

Being a misogynist, a bully and an advocate of violence and war crimes isn't enough to stop someone getting the Republican nomination in a country riven by racial tension, so, can the Democrats prove themselves above all that at this time of huge risk to the world economy and world peace to say nothing of peace on the streets in America?

I don't think the Democrats will do the sensible thing and sadly I don't think American voters will reject Trump if they don't. Please go with Bernie.

Luckily I'm not the Mexican president because if I were, and if Trump were to be elected I'd probably give all US Citizens forty eight hours to quit the country, close all border crossings thereafter, break off diplomatic relations, sending all US diplomats home and recalling mine, bar all flights emanating from, or going to, the USA from using Mexican airspace and negotiate a military alliance with Putin, then we could have the Cuban missile crisis and The Bay Of Pigs all over again.

Get Trumpy off to a good start.

Malcolm Snook is published on Amazon , Nook and Kobo

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


Our new, un-elected Prime Minister has made a whistle stop tour of her territories Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Well, no Prime Minister, un-elected or not, wants the UK to break up on his or her watch. Mind you, if it does happen anytime soon history will pile it on to the Cameron legacy with some justification.

One wonders if there was actually a Tory party conspiracy to bring this about. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist myself, but the Remain campaign led by Cameron and Osborne was lacklustre at best; and remember these guys turned on their coalition partners and destroyed the common sense middle ground Liberals in their heartland, as well as destroying Labour in Scotland and giving us effectively a one party state for the forseeable future. What care they if the SNP have even a hundred percent of the Scottish vote?

How then did they get the Remain campaign so wrong? Why is the official Remain campaign now preaching love and acceptance, when the Brexiteers continued campaigning for their isolationist view since 1975? Why were groups such as legitimate UK tax payers, who happen to have come legally from France, Italy, Germany etc to build a life here excluded, when they have a vote in normal elections? And, if it's about being British, why then were Brits who've retired abroad and who've paid a lifetimes tax and National Insurance, and who's pensions come from the UK also excluded?

Given that the result gives the Tories a carte blanche and hugely enhanced powers one might just think a conspiracy was behind it all, despite Cameron's tearful demeanour and Johnson looking kipper slapped the morning after. However, back to the fallout, this is a piece about the fallout.

Firstly Wales. The Welsh voted leave but don't want to lose a penny. Poor dears, they are already subsidised by the Barnett Formula, but of course the EU poured money into Wales too. Why they were daft enough to vote leave is beyond me, but people do daft things. They were also daft enough to elect Neil Hamilton back into office, he of brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash and corruption fame.

Maybe they believed the three hundred and fifty million pounds a week lie, although one hears Brexit voters denying they believed the lies quite frequently now. They had their own secret but highly intelligent reasons you know.

Be that as it may there will be so many claims on the part of that three hundred and fifty million pounds which didn't come back to us anyway, that it simply won't stretch. Something has to give and I for one would rather see Wales suffer than medical research or universities. Especially since Wales also voted leave, which, believe you me damaged the economy by far more than anything we might save. If Wales wants to go it alone good luck to them, but Scotland has a far stronger case.

Scotland voted Remain and whilst Nicola Sturgeon and her cohorts are quite entitled to try and explore ways to stay in both Europe and the UK surely no one really thinks that can work? Scotland now has a moral right to leave the UK. I feel I'm being stripped of my European citizenship and rights, but at least I'm being abused by my own countrymen.

Scotland should not be dragged kicking and screaming out of Europe. I don't think May will allow them another referendum, but I'd love to see the SNP call her bluff and do it anyway, binding or not. After all we recognised Kosovo. Do all those Brexiteers bleating about democracy suffer from unlimited hypocrisy, or will they accept the will of the Scottish people? Of course Scotland's share of Gordon Brown's debt is the biggest obstacle so I don't think it will happen, but the devil in me now hopes it does. That leads us on to the question of borders which in turn takes us neatly to Northern Ireland.

Dominic Raab, I shudder when I type that name, assured us on television some weeks back that Northern Ireland wouldn't be a problem. I cannot imagine who he thinks he speaks for. The border has to be a problem.

The EU is wed to free movement and the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland are wed to an open border. Brexiteers want immigration control. It doesn't all fit somehow, even if May has changed her mind now and says it does.

If I were an airline entrepreneur I'd be opening low cost flights from Poland to Dublin right now. Is May to put checks on the Irish border and risk a return to terrorism, or will she put checks on people coming into the mainland from Northern Ireland? The so called loyalists would love that. Given that the Northern Irish voted Remain a united Ireland looks like the most workable option, but however it falls out there will be trouble and possibly deaths.

I used to believe in referenda, but no more. People vote based on emotion not facts, I wonder if they even bother to try and research the facts, they get wound up and the country becomes divided, it will remain divided for a long time; it may tear itself apart and people may be killed, the stupidity and damage are mind boggling. I lost a friend, murdered in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, if Brexit brings about a new armed struggle there I despair of the so called United Kingdom.

I haven't blogged for a while, because I've been in Europe; France, Germany and Belgium mostly where I get the opinion people think we're stupid, or have cut off our noses to spite our faces, or are just plain sad about things, but think we'll suffer the most. I agree with all of them.

They are also somewhat amazed at May's judgement, if that's the word, in appointing the glove puppet as Foreign Secretary. I think she did it to reassure people in her own rabid party that she's committed to Brexit, nonetheless it won't build bridges, even if, with more front than Brighton, the Johnson does claim we'll still be leaders in Europe. Still puppets are generally there for comedy purposes.

A couple of anecdotes: The night before I boarded the Eurostar was spent in a London Hotel. Some construction workers checked out and the hotel owner was surprised. The construction workers were returning to Lincolnshire. Their jobs were 'on hold' because of Brexit. 'How did you vote?' the hotel owner asked, 'for Brexit' they replied, somewhat sheepishly. 'Why?' she asked, 'oh things are pretty bad back in Lincolnshire' they answered.

So now they are returning to their families with no jobs and no money to spend in the Lincolnshire economy, maybe some without savings will be able to claim benefits and that will help? What I wonder was so bad in Lincolnshire? Maybe they want foreign fruit pickers sent home so the farmers can suffer too? It's collective madness.

I'd seen a couple of old ladies on television saying they voted for Brexit 'because we remember the good old days'. Recently I met an old lady from Cornwall who trotted out the exact same line, so lets examine it. Were the good old days actually good? I was born when there was still post war rationing. I can remember the winter of discontent, I can remember the miner's strike, I can remember when you could only get strawberries in season and Kiwi fruit was unheard of. I can remember when we could only afford holidays in Margate. I can remember not having a car, or a telephone at home. What exactly were the good old days? Racial purity? I don't remember him personally, but I know damn well who proposed that one!

Even if the good old days had been good can anyone explain how to turn the clock back? Actually maybe I can; if things get bad enough we may not have cars, phones or strawberries, even if we grow them, in season, who's going to pick them? Of course in practice you never can turn the clock back any more than later Romans pining for their golden age could achieve it.

And finally when older people say 'we remember the good old days' they're suggesting they know better than younger people, which is just downright arrogance. On the whole younger people voted for a joined up co-operative world and that's what they deserve. They'll be battling to put it right when the wartime generation are long gone.

After much thought I signed the petition calling for the referendum to be reconsidered, many of the reasons for that are reflected in the considerations above. Financial Services are the UK's biggest earner by a huge margin and I see in the media two thousand jobs going to Frankfurt and Dublin and the French making strenuous efforts to get companies to relocate to Paris.

I hope that unlike Lemmings we can stop at the cliff's edge and set this right, despite the rantings of the Daily Express, The Sun, Daily Mail and The Times. The power of the media barons, given voters tendency to emotional responses, is absurd and disturbing and seems to have come from the USA.

Anyway the latest response to the petition is posted below.

Dear Malcolm Snook,
You recently signed the petition “EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum”:
The Petitions Committee has decided to schedule a House of Commons debate on this petition. The debate will take place on 5 September at 4.30pm in Westminster Hall, the second debating chamber of the House of Commons. The debate will be opened by Ian Blackford MP.
The Committee has decided that the huge number of people signing this petition means that it should be debated by MPs. The Petitions Committee would like to make clear that, in scheduling this debate, they are not supporting the call for a second referendum. The debate will allow MPs to put forward a range of views on behalf of their constituents. At the end of the debate, a Government Minister will respond to the points raised.
A debate in Westminster Hall does not have the power to change the law, and won’t end with the House of Commons deciding whether or not to have a second referendum. Moreover, the petition – which was opened on 25 May, well before the referendum – calls for the referendum rules to be changed. It is now too late for the rules to be changed retrospectively. It will be up to the Government to decide whether it wants to start the process of agreeing a new law for a second referendum.
The Petitions Committee is a cross-party group of MPs. It is independent from Government. You can find out more about the Committee on its website:
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

Malcolm Snook is published on NookKobo , and Amazon

Thursday, 7 July 2016

One Party State?

The internal division in the Labour Party means that we effectively have a one party state right now. I suspect we all assume that will not last, but what if it does? We've seen what happens when you have a right wing one party state in Germany, and in Italy, in the 1930s. We've also seen what happens when you have an extreme, left wing one party state in Russia and China.

It's not attractive.

Yesterday I went to the Remain campaign rally in Sheffield, outside the town hall. There were only a few hundred people, well, it was a working day and a working day had been chosen because  of the scheduled council meeting which I attended - more of that later. I listened attentively to the speeches at the rally, all love and reconciliation, which should have appealed to me.

It's true, we won't win the argument by calling our friends and relatives stupid, or by accusing them of being racists, for all that there are some stupid people and some racists in our society. However, the notion that we should all cave in, unite in brotherly love and just accept the best negotiated settlement we can get with Europe is defeatist at best, catastrophic at worst.

The Remain campaign, and I'm not referring here to the hard working volunteers, but to the people who ran it and set the strategy did a truly appalling job. It was all about fear of economic collapse, and the warnings may well prove to be right. Construction funds are suspended, even Barclays shares were suspended briefly, the pound continues to fall, the Footsie 250 is dire and Mark Carney is printing money, relaxing regulation on the banks to encourage lending, I'll say that again, relaxing regulation on the banks (remember what happened last time) and getting as close as he dare to saying I told you so.

Be that as it may, what the Remain campaign failed to do was to point out the benefits of EU membership, and some people do actually want to vote positively, which is why they flocked to BoJo and Gove's put the great back into Britain propaganda and their implausible lies and undeliverable promises.

So what are the benefits of the EU? In fact they are manifold, if not always obvious. We're told the EU is undemocratic that its run by un-elected bureaucrats. False, its more bureaucratic than we are by miles, it offers proportional representation so minorities get represented too! Like the 48% who voted Remain and unlike the winner takes all system we have here, or the unelected Lords.

The EU has given us human rights, workers rights, the right of abode in countries we might like to retire to, or work in, or study in, citizenship, in effect, in twenty seven other countries, reciprocal healthcare, easier trade conditions with twenty seven other countries and negotiating power with the rest of the world. Without mentioning the myriad projects with universities and infrastructure projects in poorer regions etc. (Like Wales!)

Its all very well saying we're the fifth largest economy, but its mostly financial services and what do people really think will happen to financial services after we leave? Come on people its not rocket science. We will become the fifth largest economy and falling, because not only will financial services drift to places like Frankfurt and maybe even Dublin, but it becomes a question of scale. Obama was right, more important to deal with the other twenty seven than us. A positive campaign on what the EU does for us and what it protects us from would have been nice.

Which brings me to the council meeting I attended. Several of the questions were about 'what is the council going to do about replacing lost EU funding?', the first of these was about lost EU funding for medical research at our local universities. We were told that nationwide European universities are already pulling out of joint projects with British universities due to the uncertainty about our future. In every case the council answered that it doesn't have any money, cannot help and its up to central government.

I tell you, that £350 million BoJo and Gove lied about is going to be met with more demands upon it up and down this country than you can possibly imagine. By the way did you know that 20% of doctors here are from the EU and that North Middlesex Hospital just received a damning report for not having enough doctors. If Leadsome, or whoever, does build more hospitals, as promised in Brexit propaganda, where the hell they'll get the staff from I don't know.

Can anyone really think Andreal Leadsome can unite the country, let alone Gove? The Remain campaign have started to do her work for her if yesterday's speeches are anything to go by. One party state? Did anyone see Tory MPs Anne Marie Trevelyan and Anne Marie Morris interviewed on the box the other night about who they were backing for Tory leader. All bubbly and bouncy as if it were a jolly jape. No, it's disgusting and UK politics has reached an all time low. We don't want an un-elected opportunist Prime Minister, but their euphoria is understandable, they're politicians in the one party state.

Certainly Jo Cox was a different animal and I think some of the MPs around her may have shared her values, but on the whole our politicians are awful and by leaving the EU we hand them incredible new powers over us. Add a one party state to the equation and its the stuff of nightmares.

So what can you do? Well in order to reap the benefits of the new reality, in the 1930s people in Italy and Germany rushed to join the party. They didn't all want war or genocide they just wanted to reap the benefits of the new wave of optimism. So you could all rush to join the conservatives. They were in favour of the Iraq war too.

However, if you don't want a one party state, and you do want an opposition, or even a government, that's middle of the road, something for everyone, common sense, a party that stood against the Iraq war and still stands FOR the EU you'd better all rush off and join the Liberal Party, that or emigrate while you still can.

Malcolm Snook is published on Nook , Kobo and Amazon

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Make's You Think

I don't normally post other people's writing on my own blog, but this does make you think. By the way there's a Remain in Europe protest in Sheffield tomorrow lunchtime at the town hall.

Worth a read!

Malcolm Snook is published on Nook, Kobo and Amazon

Monday, 4 July 2016

Open Pandora's Box Then Run And Hide

First BoJo and now Farage, they open Pandora's box, sweep the rug out from under the young, lie and then run. Brilliant!

Malcolm Snook is published on Nook, Kobo and Amazon

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Anyone Have The Stomach For An Election? I Do.

In a post below 'The Message From The Electorate To The Politicians' I included a letter I had written to Nick Clegg the former leader of the Liberal party and my local MP. For the sake of continuity I will paste his reply below. I agree 99.9% with everything he says. The only point of divergence being that as odious as he is it was not Nigel Farage who broadcast the propaganda video showing empty NHS waiting rooms it was the official leave campaign which conducted that appalling exercise in manipulation.

To my mind the Liberals have been too quiet of late, but then they were pretty much wiped out at the last general election by the Tories and what a disaster that brought about. The old argument that the Liberals have no experience of government is no longer the case post coalition and with Labour in disarray it's time for a Liberal government. At least the Liberals have some decent people, you don't join the Liberal Party if you're a power crazed loonie.

Lets have an election with the Liberals standing on a back to Europe platform and lets make them the government. With our national credit rating cut Gordon Brown's borrowings will now cost us even more and on the back of Brexit the Tories have abandoned their plans to cut borrowing and create a surplus by 2020, not that it was a true surplus anyway just an annual surplus to reduce the debt, something so many people simply don't grasp.

As Nick says, those who voted Brexit should now understand that they've been betrayed. In fact they were betrayed and misled before the vote as the 48% who voted Remain understood. Here's nick's reply:

Dear Malcolm
Thank you for your email. I totally understand - and share - your dismay and anger at the way in which the referendum was conducted. We are clearly in an unprecedented situation at the minute, with major economic and political changes. Whilst this means that I am not in a position to provide you with much reassurance or certainty – I can’t predict the future - I have nevertheless outlined my thoughts for you below. 
As you will know, I’ve always believed that our children should grow up in a society that shares security, political values and social standards with our European neighbours – I do not want to see a rise in nationalism as in previous decades. That’s why I have consistently made a positive, progressive, liberal case for Britain to remain within the European Union.
The results of the referendum, in my view, will prove to be destructive of the United Kingdom we all believe in. I wonder, will the UK even survive at all? The Scottish National Party is already calling for a second referendum on independence. I fear that if this comes to pass, there is a very real possibility that some separation may occur.
The Leave campaign is openly admitting that what they told voters about the future is false: Nigel Farage now admits that the infamous claim that we would have £350 million a week to spend on the NHS should never have been made; Daniel Hannan asserts, with a straight face, that Leave never really claimed immigration should be significantly reduced; and Brexiters have assured the Northern Irish that there will be no checks at the new land border with the EU.
So that means: no money saved, no major cut in immigration, no control over our border with the EU. I would feel incredibly double-crossed if I was one of the millions of people who voted for Brexit.
My own view is that we now need a general election shortly after the new Conservative leader is elected. The country did not elect a Brexit government last year. The millions of voters who gave David Cameron the benefit of the doubt did so, above all, because they were worried what would happen to the economy if Ed Miliband and Alex Salmond were in charge. 
So it is inconceivable that the British people should accept a new Prime Minister just because he or she emerges from an internal Conservative Party contest. The voters who will elect our next Prime Minister — Conservative Party members — constitute just 0.3 per cent of the electorate. Once they’ve had their say, it will obviously be the turn of the remaining 99.7 per cent to choose a new government. 
Moreover, an election is needed because those who advocated that we leave the EU did not come clean on the terms in which we should depart. Any new Government – for that is what it will be (with new leaders and new ideas) – must give the British public the opportunity to scrutinise their proposals. These plans will need to be negotiated with the EU and they will also have to be debated and voted on in the House of Commons.
And when it comes to the next election, you may be interested to know that Tim Farron MP, our party leader, has announced that we will go into it calling for Britain to remain in the EU. 
By yesterday, almost 10,000 new members had joined us, and that number is rising. If you wish to be a part of our movement then we would welcome you.
This is a fast moving debate, and sometimes with that, what is relevant today no longer becomes relevant tomorrow. I hope however to be able to keep you informed of my views and I will shortly be inviting you to a Q&A that I intend to hold in the coming weeks on this very issue.
Yours sincerely
Nick Clegg MP
PS – we have recently moved office and our new address is:
Riverdale House, 89 Graham Road, Fulwood, Sheffield, S10 3GP
Nick Clegg MP for Sheffield Hallam
Sheffield Hallam Liberal Democrats
The Coach House, 89 Graham Road, Sheffield, S10 3GP
Tel: 0114 230 9002 

Malcolm Snook is published on Amazon, Nook and Kobo