Thursday, 12 October 2017

Project Fear And Reality

I see Brexiteers going on about 'Project Fear' every time someone issues a warning about a possible consequence of Brexit. 'Project Fear' is actually an invention of honest Boris and his colleagues such as 'easiest negotiation in history' Liam Fox and 'difficult and complex' negotiation David Davis.

It must be very nice to have no fear, but as someone who taught skydiving full time for six years, who has raced single seater cars and solo motorcycles and sailed thousands of Blue Water Miles, my observation is that fear keeps you alive. A lack of fear can have the opposite effect, which is fine if it's just you, but the Brexiteers want to take the rest of us with them.

Warnings have value too, if I saw someone about to step out in front of a bus I'd shout a warning, I wouldn't hold back in case I scared them.

Brexiteers are desperate to make out that the Remain camp lied, because they know just how deceitful, dishonest and manipulative their campaign truly was. Some of the warnings from the Remain camp may prove too dire, but many of the claims of Leave were laughable, there is a difference.

Within days of the referendum we got the knee jerk reaction of the Bank Of England, cutting the near impossible to cut interest rates, printing money and encouraging lending and surprise surprise people spent money and Brexiteers crowed that everything was fine, the economy was booming. Long before Article 50 was even triggered. Which says everything you need about their understanding of how things work.

In fact the pound promptly fell and short term exports went up, but the downside of increased costs of raw materials and price rises of imported goods, including essentials like food are now being felt. Meanwhile other countries like Canada and the USA are raising interest rates. Given a weak pound and rising inflation we should naturally raise our interest rates, but suddenly the Bank Of England seems to have become aware that household debt is at record levels and raising interest rates will hurt people and stop them spending, oops and oh dear, damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Many of the warnings of so called 'Project Fear' are coming true and more will follow. We pay our National Debt in pounds by the way, no likelihood of that coming down anytime soon, that's the debt by the way, not the deficit, if you don't appreciate the difference you shouldn't be voting.

Many things are happening which weren't warned about, for one thing there is a shortage of prison officers, police officers, doctors, nurses and teachers and what is the government doing? Well nothing really, the day job of government is completely forgotten due to Brexit. There is also a crisis in social care; someone I know who qualified for nursing care months ago just died without ever receiving it and of course the Universal Credit scheme is shambolic and most of those who face retirement in the next few years are unsure what pension they'll get. Arch Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith was the man who improved everything so much in many of these areas.

Not sure but it may also have been his idea to pay housing benefit direct to the claimant, and not to the landlord. Someone I know will soon be evicting a tenant who has spent all her housing benefit on herself rather than pay the rent. One upshot is that the landlord who hasn't had an income will pay less tax to the treasury, perhaps an unforeseen circumstance the government might regret. Another is that the local council will have to re house the tenant and her children and quite possibly the tenant will declare bankruptcy so that no one gets paid back.

The politicians pushing Brexit are clearly not the sharpest knives and none of the huge problems mentioned above are being dealt with, largely because of the obsession with Brexit and the lack of money. Deride the warnings as 'Project Fear' if you like, did you hear about the guy who did a bungee jump without clipping on first? It's true, a lack of fear makes you careless.

Malcolm Snook

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Who Is Really Losing And Who is Winning?

One of the saddest things in this very realistic article from The Independent is the number of high quality professionals we're losing in academia and elsewhere. It's politically correct apparently for Remainers  to be known as Remoaners, but it's not politically correct to call Brexiteers stupid, so I won't, but I do hope people wake up to the realities sooner rather than later.

I can understand that a lot of British people, especially in my generation have a problem with immigration. We're told to be proud of our multiculturalism and tolerance and that's a view I subscribe to, but British culture has to be part of multiculturalism and must not be suppressed. Christmas is Christmas not winter festival and so on.

The thing is immigration has been going on for years and years, historic governments welcomed people from Uganda, the West Indies, Hong Kong, India and many other places. Those people brought new and good things to this country, where would we be without our national dish which appears to be curry, not steak and kidney pie.

The current flood of immigrants from places like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are on the whole genuine refugees from genuine conflict. Tony Blair and George Bush Junior are in many ways culpable, for what happened there; in Libya David Cameron is also at least partly culpable. People are starving in Yemen and whilst it is the Saudis who bombed and blockaded the ports, we sold them, and continue to sell them bloody weapons.

We should own up to our part and start being part of the solution not part of the problem. Furthermore and in addition to our governments being largely responsible for creating the plight of the boat people in the Mediterranean it is also a European wide problem. These people are landing in Greece and Italy not the UK as a first stop. Indeed David Cameron sent the Royal Navy to pick people out of the sea, good decision, and then dump them on Italy, somewhat less ethical.

Since it's a European wide problem at least in part created by us then turning our backs on Europe now is pretty reprehensible behaviour. If we pay a heavy price whilst Europe prospers then good luck to them. People in this country whinged about Europe for forty years and won one vote, they're the real moaners. Remainers should demonstrate the same sticking power AND a positive attitude not a negative one. I realise my posts are full of doom and gloom right now, but I positively hope we can sort the mess we've created out!

Who is this guy??!!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

No, In Fact People Did Vote To Make Themselves Poorer

Within weeks and in some cases within days of the European referendum Brexit people were crowing about the fact that the economy was booming, which says more about their understanding of time scales than much else.

Mark Carney and The Bank Of England, printed money, flooded the High Street banks with it, cut the almost impossible to cut interest rates further and encouraged lending and borrowing. Entirely unnecessarily in my view, since 52% of the population, buoyed by euphoria would have gone on a spending spree anyway and those who foresaw inflation might well have brought forward some purchases they would have made anyway.

So where are we now? The latest Economic and Construction Market Report shows another decline in construction in May, retail sales are down by 1.2%, inflation is up to 2.9%, there is a hung Parliament scrabbling still, as I write this, to do a deal with one side of the Irish conflict to prop themselves up and Philip Hammond's speech seems at odds with the views of the PM.

Mark Carney has signalled that he's scared to raise interest rates to prop up the currency, because of the high levels of household and personal debt. That despite several of his colleagues voting to raise rates already. The National Debt is vast but people only talk about the deficit because that's less scary. The Labour Party talk about the world's second most indebted country as wealthy and there is a state of crisis in education, prisons, policing, social care and other parts of the NHS.

Meanwhile politicians talk about what they want from Brexit; what they want doesn't matter one iota but what they get certainly does. People, we are told by Chancellor Hammond, did not vote in the referendum to make themselves poorer, but actually they did.

Some voted to make themselves poorer because they didn't believe there would be consequences. Some were so anti European they voted for Brexit knowing damn well they'd be worse off but didn't care. Some like many in Wales started screaming that they didn't want to lose European grants and subsidies the morning after the vote!

The Yanks have started raising interest rates and have signalled that there are more rate rises to come on their side of the pond. The dollar isn't likely to fall in relation to the pound on that basis. Our currency is now undervalued, but not by so very much I suppose because our economy will bomb. Why do I say that? Well, people already in debt and facing inflation with no prospect of wage increases will cut back on their spending.

The Tories brag about thousands of new jobs, but most are low paid, or part time, or zero hours contracts or a combination. With our currency falling in value shares have risen, largely because UK companies paid in dollars get more pounds in effect. The idea of investing is to buy when prices are low and sell when they are high, not that brilliant Chancellor Gordon Brown quite grasped that. Mr Goldfinger.

When the currency is weak, shares are artificially high, risks are high and volatility and political uncertainty reign, then many investors simply don't invest, they wait and see. So, if people aren't spending and people aren't investing and trade with Europe is at risk expect to see the super strong economy we're constantly told we have, despite the enormous and ever rising national debt start to trip and stumble.

Oh yes, people voted to make themselves poorer alright.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Best Prime Minister Britain Never Had

Rising inflation, record levels of personal and household debt, no prospect of raising interest rates to protect the pound as a result and now a threat to the City Of London. So the warnings of Cameron and Osborne were a myth were they?

On Channel 4 News a Dutch comedian mourned the loss of Nick Clegg, 'the best Prime Minister Britain never had', she wasn't joking though. I concur.

Mrs May said, when preparing us for the election that the country was coming together, only parliament was not, I wonder if she can see that the country is divided now. Probably not since her disgraceful negotiations with the DUP threaten to divide the Irish too.

The English will no doubt be delighted to send their money across the Irish Sea too.

Macron is far more plausible than May, don't think for a moment that things will be easy.

Malcolm Snook

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Hypocrisy Goes On And On

I wonder if the penny has yet dropped with many Brexit voters, that a vote for Brexit was a vote for chaos, and we have it now in spades. Worse still we have hypocrisy in spades too. In order to try and cling to power the Tories are trying to cobble together a deal with the DUP, Northern Ireland's homophobic, anti abortion religious zealots.

The DUP we are told are not pushing that agenda, it's money they want, so England can subsidise Northern Ireland to a greater degree than it already does, maybe they'll overtake the Scots for subsidies from English tax payers.

That won't be the end though, no one seems to have a practical solution to the problem of the border with the south once it is a foreign entity outside of a united Europe. I'm no fan of Sinn Fein, but they are not the IRA. I understand why Sinn Fein doesn't take its seats at Westminster, but maybe they now should, maybe people would understand. It would weaken Mrs May and the DUP still further.

Aside from the border issue there's the risk to the Good Friday agreement, which demands, in fact guarantees, impartiality on the part of the Westminster Government, how can they possibly be impartial when the DUP is keeping them in power? Brexit voters may well have started Northern Ireland back on the road to death and destruction.

Hypocrisy is not just apparent in the Tories getting into bed with people who do not share our values, nor is it just a case of breaking the pledge of impartiality in return for peace. Hypocrisy is rampant elsewhere in the party too and no more so than in the case of one Boris Johnson, liar and hypocrite in chief.

It's not right to accuse someone of dishonesty and hypocrisy without backing it up, so a little reminder. Mr Johnson has Turkish heritage and has made television programmes about Turkey. When he used fear of his own people to encourage people to vote for Brexit he knew full well that there was no prospect of Turkey joining the EU, now, or probably for a generation at least. That is cynical hypocrisy, his other lies are perhaps better known, since he tried to distance himself from them the day after the referendum. The idea that the NHS will be better off financially is laughable and what happens if European doctors and nurses leave too?

His dishonesty and hypocrisy were then rewarded by Mrs May with one of the most senior offices of state. Now he is the bookies favourite to be the next Prime Minister. I wonder if a foppish, upper class, liar and hypocrite will ever be the people's choice. Given what happened in the referendum and in the US elections anything could happen.

Isn't it amazing how sensible the French and the Dutch have been compared with us (and the Americans). EU negotiator Sophia in 't Veld was on Andrew Marr today and I was struck by her reasonableness. However, that does not mean that any UK negotiator will get what they want, all we hear is what they want; what matters is what they get and whoever negotiates for the UK they can be sure the EU is better prepared than the chaotic UK.

Things are not looking good, but dishonesty and hypocrisy will never, can never, be the road to salvation.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Let's Calm It Down A Little

For a political blogger I have been strangely quiet of late, all through the local elections and in the face of a general election too. Well, I have been busy on other projects which I hope will do some good for society and maybe earn me a crust as well. I haven't stopped caring about politics, but I may give up being the voice in the wilderness.

Mrs May isn't right about much in my view, but she is right that this is an especially crucial time. It needn't have been so perilous if it weren't for that stupid referendum, but it is. Even the Tories have put back balancing the books by years, whilst the loony left wants to borrow more, ending austerity at a stroke and passing a Greek style economy on to the kids.

Extremism is a problem in so many areas and ways, political and religious, just look around at the world. From Trump, to Syria, to North Korea and Libya and that's without the extremism which causes people to blow up themselves and their fellow human beings.

The antidote is to move more towards the centre; to a liberal, common sense, middle of the road position. The current Tories are about as right wing as they've ever been, wedded to big business, despite the rhetoric and the Labour Party as currently led is about as far left as it's ever been. After all those years of Thatcher, followed by all the Blair, Brown years the pendulum is out of control and only a big vote for the centre parties can impede it.

The Tories once spoke of wealth cascading down the generations, but now they want to make old age a lottery and get all the growth people have seen from property price rises for themselves. They also want to raise tax and National Insurance and they're not doing anything to hide their intentions believing Corbyn cannot win.

And now we're getting to the crux. It works for the Tories and the Labour Party and the right wing press to pretend it's a straight choice between Corbyn and May, it isn't. It's looking like a choice between Thatcher and Foot if you're old enough to remember, but it isn't.

As then, so it is now, there's the party that dare not speak its name the Lib Dems, Liberals as was. Whether it's the media which keeps them in the fridge or whether they don't have the financial clout to heat things up I don't know, but this ought to be their time.

Only one major party is pro Europe and only one major party is truly united. The Lib Dems should own the 48 percenters and all those who voted leave but now regret the chaos, and all the protest voters who just wanted to kick Cameron and Osborne and who now wonder what they've unleashed. Not to mention those Brits abroad who have a vote and those Europeans living, working and paying tax here who have a vote.

As well as talking about wealth cascading down the generations, the Tories also used to talk about small business people, helping people who try to help themselves and so on, but no one talks about a meritocracy now. The Labour Party wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, which would have some merit if we were dealing with King John and not 21st Century Britain.

Doesn't matter how hard you work or whether you develop your talents, whether you spend or save, invest or fritter, no we're going to help you, keep everyone the same because we're all equal under our near communist control. You know, like in Russia where everyone is equally poor unless they're part of the system, which isn't so different from North Korea at the other end of the spectrum.

Equality of opportunity I'll go for every time, Governments deciding who gets what can go lose themselves. The Dutch didn't lose the plot in their recent elections, nor the French, why have we all gone mad?

John McDonnell wants to borrow to invest. The OBR, Office For Budget Responsibilty, has, he says, told him he'll get one pound back for every pound he invests, so it'll cost nothing. When something sounds too good to be true it usually is. However, just as Gordon Brown blamed international calamities outside his control so John McDonnell can blame the OBR, so that's alright.

The thing is that both the Tories and the Labour Party are making their plans on the basis of some kind of growth, at a time when we've just stuck two fingers up at our biggest trading partner. Mrs May and David Davis talk about 'what we want, what we want, what we want'. No one dares talk about what we might get. One region of one country held up the Canadian trade deal and all this jingoistic 'they need us more than we need them' is just pathetic.

Plenty of the twenty seven have little to lose by denying a trade deal to the UK, they all have a veto. As for Northern Ireland and the border it's beyond a joke, if you can see how to make a hard border between the UK and a foreign entity whilst ensuring there is no border at all to re invigorate the killing then please tell me how.

It is time for a centre party, the Lib Dems aren't perfect and they will be faced with a crisis in health, in education, in prisons and the likelihood not of growth but of recession, why does no one dare say it? Mrs May talks about bringing people together but people are more polarised than ever, a centre party can actually reach out in both directions, they'll never satisfy all the people but they'll take some of the heat out of things.

Mrs May was nominally for Remain, she's not strong and stable she's an opportunist, she's clawed her way to the top job and wants to go down in history, trouble is we'll all go down with her. Go on give the Lib Dems a go. If only to show you have liberal values, not extremist ideology.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

A Liferaft In Shark Infested Waters

The latest poll, and we know how we can trust those, suggests the Tories will get 48% of the vote in the general election. An unnatural symmetry at least since 48% of us voted to remain in Europe. If memory serves the Tories got their current majority with about 37%. I doubt they'll get 48%, but if recent months prove anything they prove that any kind of madness is possible.

If the 48% remainers and those European workers who live here, and pay tax here, and who can vote in general elections here, although they were denied a vote in the stupid referendum, all vote LibDem, we'd actually get a liberal minded, centre party in power instead of an extreme left wing party, or an extreme right wing party.

How refreshing would that be! And that's without the hope that a few people who voted Brexit realise they were conned and also vote LibDem. There may also be a few Brits living abroad with a postal vote who were also denied a referendum vote, who see a LibDem vote now as the only way to turn things around.

In her speech announcing the general election Mrs May stated that 'the country is coming together', it's only parliament that isn't according to her. Hopefully we can disabuse her of that gross assumption. She has done less than nothing for the 48%, add in the people with a moral right to vote in the referendum, but no actual vote and Mrs May is failing a full 50% of the population - utterly.

Whether it's worth trying to pull our bacon out of the fire depends a lot on whether the madness and chaos virus has infected the French. The Dutch bless them held on to sanity in their recent elections, but if, encouraged by Brexit and Trump the French vote for the extreme right and Le Pen then a united Europe could be a thing of the past anyway.

If a Le Pen France pulls out of the EU chances are there will be no single European market and there could be a world wide recession, centred on Europe, inspired by Farage, Johnson, Gove and Brexit. Then it almost doesn't matter if we have a right wing dictator in power as our goose will be cooked for years to come anyway. We could be sleepwalking towards an economic catastrophe and even war.

Tribalism has always been just below the surface in Europe and it runs especially strong in Britain, France and Germany. Remainers pointed out that the EU had been a force for peace, but Brexiteers never mentioned the subject, safe in the knowledge that after seventy plus years of peace in Western Europe voters all took peace for granted. Do we never learn?

Of course war between European nations is highly unlikely, even in the event of an economic disaster, but what of Trump and NATO? If Mrs May wins the election she will have more personal power than any British politician in living memory, and her version of Brexit, doing away with European courts and European checks and balances means the Tories can do what they like with our human rights, workers rights, our pensions, privatisations, you name it.

It won't stop her following whatever America tells her to do though, just what hold the USA has on UK governments I've no idea but Thatcher, Blair, Cameron and now May all smile and bend the knee. So war could come again. Funny isn't it that the USA was late to World War One and late to World War Two, in fact Germany declared war on them, not the other way around, and yet when they want us to sacrifice lives for causes they believe in we simply ask how many.

Europe discussed a European Defence Force, but we British scuppered that, looks increasingly sensible to me now. Trump's commitment to NATO is a worry, he might support the UK, but the idea he really cares about Poland or the Baltic states is doubtful at best. Then there's Erdogan and Turkey as NATO members they share our secrets and May has just sold them British military fighter jet technology for a paltry one hundred million pounds.

Erdogan has taken huge new powers, not dissimilar, although his methods are more extreme, from those Mrs May might end up with if she gets her way. Erdogan has accused the west of behaving like crusaders, he is not our best friend NATO or not. Anyway you cut it a European Defence Force looks smart. We of course would be on the outside.

It's interesting to speculate how Germany might react if France did a Frexit. On the face of it a huge problem, but Germany is the biggest and most successful economy in Europe, if it formed a new kind of federation with The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy and some of the eastern European countries, it could become a real superpower.

Lets hope the madness hasn't infected the French as it appears to have and for goodness sake vote LibDem here. The Labour party have ruled out inviting the people to vote on a European deal, so the only hope is a LibDem government. They themselves aren't aiming that high, their aspiration is to become the main opposition, that would be too little too late. The LibDems are a fragile, inflatable liferaft in a huge, shark infested storm, but they are at least a liferaft, there is no other.

Malcolm Snook

Friday, 7 April 2017

Unilateral Military Action And A Bulldog Puppy

Last night President Trump took military action against Syria. His previous assertion that ISIS was the real enemy, out of the window. Of course he backed himself into a corner by ridiculing Obama for not taking action last time Assad used chemical weapons. The British Bulldog Puppy has promptly come to heel wagging it's tail in the form of Michael Fallon.

The British media especially the BBC has a long established air of credibility, but the idea that we know everything that's going on is of course laughable. So lets make some speculation and at least try to read between the lines. I think, on balance of probability that President Assad, whom, and to be clear where I stand, I detest, probably did use chemical weapons on his own people and not for the first time. He probably thinks that with Putin's Russia in his corner and the Russian veto at the UN in his pocket that he can act with impunity.

However, there has to be a few percentage points of doubt. Assad will have known that Trump had backed himself into a corner and would be forced to take action, or to look weak, so even with the Russian UN veto in his pocket the likelihood of a unilateral strike against him by the USA if he used nerve gas must surely have entered even his twisted mind. Then there is the official Syrian line that they have enough conventional weapons to get the job done in Idlib without resorting to chemical weapons. You'd have to say that they certainly do.

There have been reports that conventional munitions hit a chemical weapons dump belonging to the rebels, it's unlikely, but not inconceivable that the rebels got their hands on some Sarin formerly belonging to Assad, it may even be that Assad had some hidden Sarin in the area. He was supposed to have got rid of all his chemical weapons but we know what these people are like. There are a number of possibilities even before wandering into the realm of conspiracy theories.

Sadly, there are in this world people who think military action away from their borders is good business, especially those with shares in munitions manufacturers, like certain politicians. So a set up, a framing of Assad if you like, whilst being the least likely possibility is at least a possibility.

We don't know what the CIA, GCHQ etc know, maybe Trump didn't need to wait for an inquiry, perhaps he should have. Impossible for me to say. If the Austro Hungarians had dealt with the assassins of Archduke Ferdinand precipitately instead of waiting they'd have presented the Russians with a fait accompli and just maybe we wouldn't have had World War One.

The difficulty with hindsight is that we know what did happen after a certain action, we cannot be sure what the final outcome would have been from an alternative action, or even inaction. For example we know that Blair's British Bulldog puppy came to heel for Bush, the so called Arab Spring followed, with chaos and rebellions everywhere and a huge migrant crisis. Regime change in Iraq did not turn out so well.

Russia accuses the USA of using the Syrian crisis to deflect attention from civilian casualties in Iraq. It seems to me that British and Western media generally has never given us an accurate picture of the numbers of Iraqi civilian deaths either in the invasion of Iraq or since. More than eighty to ninety people though, maybe eighty to ninety thousand people, maybe many more even. How can we know? The Russians have certainly killed many more than eighty to ninety innocent men women and children in Syria and recently at that.

Of course, seeing people die in agony, foaming at the mouth adds another dimension to the horror, but the people blown up the Russians or by Western forces are just as dead. Russia says Trump's actions amount to an illegal attack on a sovereign country, technically that's true. Given that deposing Saddam Hussein went so well I do worry, as much as I detest Assad, about what will happen if we don't learn anything from deposing Saddam who I also detested.

There is also something to be said for maintaining the moral high ground and not killing more people yourself. From where I sit one of the biggest problems is the UN, when did the UN really achieve anything more than spreading disease through unsanitary military camps, letting down the people of Bosnia, failing to defend innocent victims half an hours drive from one of their bases and relying on Wonder Woman to bail them out.

OK that's unfair, they have distributed aid and responded to natural disasters and the front line people in those situations are heroes and heroines it is undeniable. However, what is the prime purpose of the UN? Surely it must be to end conflict between nation states and to that end it has failed utterly and continues to fail utterly.

The United Nations is constitutionally flawed, it was created in a post World War Two, emerging Cold War era with a Security Council of the world's so called Great Powers. Five nations who punch above their weight, have an unfair and unreasonable veto and who cling to it because they and their politicians cannot bear not to be Great Powers.

The UN could actually learn a lot from the EU, flawed as that is. What about a rotating presidency and what about an equal say for everyone? Responding to this atrocity but not that one, acting with UN approval when it suits and without when you can't get it is no way forward. The UN has to change and become effective or throw the towel in and become a disasters charity.

Friday, 31 March 2017

The UK Politburo!

Critics have accused me of predicting the future and say it is entirely unpredictable. They are right I do look ahead and I do make assumptions. I try to make them with a modicum of common sense and a reference to human nature and history. Of course I could still be horribly wrong.

Yesterday I blogged that if I were Angela Merkel I would look at increasing German defence spending and that I would revisit the idea of a European Defence Force, given Trump's wandering path over Nato, whatever Mrs May might claim. Last night on Newsnight both things were discussed with the German Defence Minister. I almost felt prescient.

I'm not getting above myself though, I know that anything could happen, chaos reigns right now. By the way Germany's Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, was yet another European politician who appears to be dignified, educated, considered, reasonable and thoughtful, and far superior to most British politicians. I find that interesting and wonder if European politicians have greater respect in their home nations than ours do here. Those I've seen seem to warrant it. Fascinating.

Yesterday's other big news was the so called Great Repeal Bill, which the media still seem to be calling it although Newsnight suggested the title has been downgraded to simply Repeal Bill. Whatever you call it, it's hardly going to be great. Passing EU legislation into UK law, simply to avoid a legal disaster was inevitable. However, the other thing I mentioned yesterday was the lust for control displayed by our unelected leader and her cronies.

The government plans to create powers to 'correct the statute book where necessary', without full parliamentary scrutiny. I've blogged previously about Britain becoming a one party state for the foreseeable future given the disarray in the Labour Party, and frankly they are not the answer anyway. In fact they largely caused the mess we're now in during the Blair Brown Project. Substitute 'Witch' if you feel so inclined.

Anyhow, we're now looking at a one party state AND executive control by a small cabinet, lets call it a Politburo just to be mischievous. The powers have been referred to as Henry VIII powers as they're similar to powers he took upon himself, and what a great monarch he turned out to be! Greedy, destructive, self centred and many more adjectives fit his bill. No wonder David Davis is smiling.

The service sector represents seventy eight percent of British GDP, our fall in manufacturing is spectacular and sad, most developed nations have seen falls but ours is almost certainly the biggest pro rata. Roughly ten percent of our gdp is generated by financial services and for all they've been a pain in the butt in recent years losing them would be worse, so Brexiteers will rejoice to hear about Lloyds of Brussels, JP Morgan buying premises in Dublin, Goldman Sachs looking to move hundreds more jobs abroad and HSBC, UBS and others considering their position too.

Labour and the TUC want all workers and human rights currently enshrined in EU legislation to be protected and some go further, wanting us to adopt anything Europe adopts in future. It's fast becoming a farce. Of course the Tories will tear up anything they don't like as soon as they can, without proper scrutiny and the Daily Mail will rejoice.

When farce turns to tragedy they'll stop blaming Remoaners like me and turn their ire on Johnny Foreigner. Bob Dylan is finally accepting his Nobel Prize For Literature and the times they are a changin'. But not for the better. If you are proud to be liberal at heart and democratic in nature then you can but hope that negotiations drag on and a general election occurs which allows a Liberal Democratic government to be elected and tragedy to turn into Churchill's broad sunlit uplands once more.

Even I wouldn't predict that but when anything can happen, anything can happen.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Simply Calling For Unity Does Not Unity Create

If I was a dyed in the wool, isolationist, anti European Brexit Lemming I'd be pretty happy with our unelected as leader, leader. However, I'm a pro cooperation, pro harmony, pro trade, pro peace, joined up world kind of a guy.

Mrs May, representing fifty two percent of the population, minus those who are having second thoughts, minus those who did not get a vote, either because they're British but not here, or are here paying taxes, working in the NHS, education etc but, oh dear, not British and minus those older Brexit voters who may have died since June, has triggered Article 50 and called for unity.

If I were not too polite I'd say she's pissing in the wind. She says she has started us an a road from which there is no return; been listening to the wrong kind of song lyrics I think, although she might well have said from which there is no recovery.

Mrs May has failed to take Scotland with her, she's failed to take Northern Ireland with her and she talks about a frictionless border in Ireland with no explanation whatsoever as to how that could possibly be achieved without letting, heaven preserve us, Europeans in by the back door of Dublin airport. She has even failed to take Wales with her and they voted to make things worse!

Brexit Lemmings still talk about 'Project Fear' as if they never employed fear of immigrants, fear of Turkey joining the EU or any other fear themselves, hypocrites and liars.

If you saw Mrs May interviewed by Andrew Neil you will doubtless have heard her many references to 'control' with no, commitment whatsoever, not even a commitment to the Tory party's own professed target with regard to immigration. Oh yes, she's all about control though.

Mrs May has used the referendum to further her own political career, without reference to the people whose referendum decision she keeps talking about honouring, but with no right to change their mind of course. Even Brexit Lemming David Davis has said that a democracy which cannot change its mind is not a democracy at all, or words to that effect.

She might have reached the top step but Mrs May now has to manage the ridiculous expectations raised by Boris and Gove et al. Those are as difficult to meet as a frictionless border in Northern Ireland, harmony in England, Wales and Scotland and the certainty business is crying out for.

Calling for unity does not unity bring, compromise and listening would be a first step towards unity. Not mocking people who want to keep their European citizenship as being citizens of nowhere. I was born here in the UK, my grandfathers went to the Western trenches, my father joined the RAF in the second world war and we've all paid taxes and contributed to British society.

However, I've also been a European citizen for over forty years and I value that, which is why I've signed the petition asking Europe to give those of us who don't want to be stripped of our citizenship and our rights, by populist isolationists and Cameron's misfired attempt to unify the Tories, to give us a European passport, as indeed they do for people living in the Turkish section of Cyprus who want one. I want it and many thousands more do too, over three hundred thousand currently. Please Mr Tusk, give us a European passport, well, in effect don't let them take it away from us.

Disgracefully and in the lowest act yet Mrs May has brought European security into the, so called, negotiations even before they begin. In the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe and in the UK, how dare she link security co-operation to article 50?

If I were Mrs Merkel I'd be increasing German defence spending. With a debt approaching one point seven trillion pounds Britain won't be doing that. I'd also be arguing for that European Defence Force since the Donald's commitment to NATO is unlikely to be sincere, and leave Britain out of it. Mrs Merkel is likely to be more pragmatic and reasonable than Mrs May however, just as most of Europe's Foreign Ministers display more dignitas and sincerity than ours. Don't expect Europe to lie down and get stamped on by Mrs May though, she will have her work cut out. Dignitas is not weakness.

So, Mrs May, not my Prime Minister, says there is no going back, but she's wrong. Lemmings casting themselves into the abyss suddenly stop and go back to their normal lives when sufficient numbers have died. Much like humanity after a world war. We can stop this madness.

Hypocritical as any politician has ever been and whilst stating there is no going back Mrs May also said to the House Of Commons 'Perhaps now, more than ever, the world needs the liberal democratic values of Europe.' Well, she got that right and there's one way to get liberal democratic values and that is to support the Lib Dems in droves.

If the 48% alone voted Lib Dem in a general election there would actually be a Lib Dem government, because the others would be divided. Furthermore Europeans resident here and paying taxes can also vote in general and by-elections, which they couldn't in the referendum on racist principles, if principles is appropriate language. Then there's the young, as time goes by older Brexit Lemmings will die of natural causes, fewer of the young pro Europeans will die off. Even as the two years plus divorce proceeds the demographic will be changing.

There is still hope, we must demand a referendum, not a second referendum, but a first referendum on where we want to be once the picture becomes clear. The Labour Party is divided, Conservatives are divided, that's what kicked this lunacy off, even UKIP Lemmings fight amongst themselves. Only the Lib Dems are united on Europe and much else besides. Perhaps the 'negotiations' will need to be extended and we'll actually get an election before the decree absolute.

In so many ways we started this idiocy, from Blair's blind support for Bush leading to the migration crisis which the USA disowns, from Brown's profligate spending leaving us in terrible debt and insecurity, to the June referendum which bolstered Trump and divided us from our true values, from one another and from our friends and allies.

The Dutch hung on to their sanity, lets hope the French do likewise, otherwise Europe may implode, which would not just be bad, but which would be terrible, potentially disastrous actually for the entire world and we, the British would have proudly started it.

Friday, 10 March 2017

I'll Take The Back Door Thanks - It's Safer

Mrs May snuck in the back way at the European summit and well she might. In the first place her Chancellor has lost the plot, not that that stopped her defending him.

Self employed people and small business people need more support not less. When a self employed person is sick, nobody pays them, when a self employed person takes a holiday no one pays them, when a small business fails the owner does not get redundancy or severance pay. When a small business makes a profit it pays tax, when it makes a loss the only tax rebate will be on tax paid in advance, the Revenue doesn't say last year you made money so the tax was a plus figure, this year you made a loss here's some money from us, your tax is now a minus figure.

No, if things go well the small businessperson pays tax and National Insurance, if things go very well, they take on staff and/or apprentices, binding agreements, red tape and work place pensions, commitments which are non reversible. If things go badly, they're on their own.

Sure you can claim benefits once all your savings and assets are down to next to nothing at all, in the meantime if you're a small businessman in trouble, then you're on your own buddy.

Those are the reasons why there should be incentives IF we want people to take the plunge, to try and innovate, invent and become wealth creators. Oh to be an employee again, especially to be an employee of the state with a nice safe fat pension. If you want to keep people down then take away all the benefits, such as they are, of going it alone. That's the Conservative way now and Hammond calls it 'fairness'. If a broken manifesto pledge can ever be called fair.

On the other side we saw a political broadcast from the Shadow Chancellor last night. Looking all doey-eyed like Clement Freud's bloodhound, if anyone else is old enough to remember that. Bleating mournfully into the camera about social care and offering no solution to Gordon Brown's near one point seven trillion pound rising debt. Of course neither Hammond nor Brexit are helping with that either.

For years, when things were not going the way they liked, the anti Europeans whinged and maneuvered until they eventually lied their way, using fear of Turkey, fear of foreigners, promises of an easy divorce and of pots of cash, to a narrow referendum victory.

Now, the sixteen million one hundred and forty thousand plus people who voted for a joined up co-operative arrangement of sensible trade and harmony with our nearest friends and neighbours are told to shut up and buckle down. Well sorry chaps, not going to happen. If a thing's worth campaigning for it's worth campaigning for. I do not want economic chaos and enmity thank you, and you can be sure when things get tough that the Daily Mail and Express will simply fall back on vilifying Johnny Foreigner.

David Davis blithely talks about a 'frictionless border' in Northern Ireland with no how about it. If the land border with the EU is open it's open, to people and goods, if it's closed it's a return to violence and death and terrorism. Barking.

Only one party has consistently supported Europe, remained united and remained in the centre ground. Why voters have to pendulum between one extreme  and the other is beyond me. And now we learn that the Tories almost certainly broke the law to attack and wipe out the LibDems in the West Country, once a sane Liberal stronghold, by spending huge sums over and above what's allowed, by law, to protect the level playing field.

I hope the Crown Prosecution Service takes notice and lets have a fair new election; if you want Mrs May and her take it, or take it approach then you can vote for her and it. I'll be voting Liberal.

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Thursday, 9 March 2017

Budget? What Budget?

Normally I write reams about the budget, but then it wasn't much of a budget was it. The biggest error was the attack on the self employed, the self starters, the entrepreneurs and small business people who are the backbone of this country, this economy.

I don't know what's got into the Tories. I do realise that the national debt code named GBH for Gordon Brown Hit us up is forecast to rise inexorably for as far into the future as anyone dare reasonably predict and frankly the only way I can see of slowing down the disaster, let alone turning things around, is to scrap Trident, scrap Brexit and invest in our economy.

Not only are the Tories biting off their own wrists by attacking the wealth creators who would normally, well, many of them anyway, would normally support the Conservative Party, but they also want both the people and parliament to give Theresa May a carte blanche to do whatever deal she wants with Europe.

It doesn't even play to her negotiating position, she won't be able to make the point that she needs a good deal to get it through parliament. Honestly, the current crop in cabinet are beyond stupid and if you voted for Brexit you voted for this chaos.

Not only that but if you think you've been enduring austerity think again. The Greeks have been enduring real austerity, when our debt reaches the same proportion of gdp as theirs THEN you'll know what austerity is. The debt, forget the deficit, the debt is nearly 1.7 TRILLION pounds, watch it sail through 2 Trillion devalued pounds at this rate. We're already the second most indebted country on the planet.

Kill Trident, kill Brexit and invest in sorting out the economy, it is the economy stupid and fake optimism just doesn't cut it Mr Hammond. #notmyprimeminister #notmychancellor.

If all Remain voters vote Liberal and the others remain split, we could have a liberal, reasonable government, that would be another huge shock, but rather a nice one for once. 

The breaking of manifesto promises and weasel words along the lines we didn't mean it like that, we meant it like this sadly, tragically actually, do not come close to shocking us anymore. The fact that National Insurance isn't ring fenced for the things it's meant to pay for doesn't shock us either and if politicians were honest then it would.

The liars and those who seek to dictate need to be cleared out, a return to honesty and British values would be nice too, before everything that's been built post war gets thrown out with the bathwater.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Oops Perhaps Retail Isn't Going To Save Us After All

We had early sales before Christmas, we had January sales and late sales allied to low interest rates and money being printed willy nilly by the Bank Of England and yet consumer spending fell in December and January. The fall in January was rather smaller than the fall in December and retail sales figures are one of the more volatile indicators when it comes to the economy so the next move could be up.

Personally I doubt it will be though; inflation is making a return as wage and pensions legislation comes into effect and as the effect of the weaker pound, which fell again today on the news of the retail sales figures, starts to bite. Brexit uncertainty must be playing on some peoples' minds, oil prices are on the up, as are business rates, raw material costs and so on.

It's not just consumers who are quiet, major stockbrokers report that investors are putting off decisions too.

What's the prospect then for the Bank Of England's predicted 2% growth forecast? Looks shaky to me, I have to say. The BOE has also expressed concerns about levels of personal and household debt, dare they encourage more debt, or do they try and rein in spending on credit? To do so would probably be to rein in spending full stop and if they need to raise interest rates in a few months, as I believe they may well have to, then there will be a howl of pain from the already indebted majority.

Mark Carney could be between a rock and a hard place although he's already talked about scooting back to Canada in the not too distant future. Some of us might like to scoot off to Europe but that door may close.

Liar in Chief Boris Johnson and Universal Credit genius IDS crow about how good things are, well of course the world didn't end that day after the referendum and of course the weaker pound meant a short term bounce for exports. Unfortunately we are sleep walking over a cliff and since Mrs May can hardly play the role of siren she's pushing hard from behind. Why might be a good question.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Can Copeland Save Britain From Itself?

The Copeland By-Election is coming up shortly. It's been a safe Labour seat for as long as most people can remember. Theresa May (not my Prime Minister) smells an historic opportunity. A ruling party hasn't won a by-election since the eighties. Largely because we're a cantankerous lot who always kick the government when we think it doesn't matter. Unfortunately Brexit did matter.

Labour has no position on Europe, divided and leaderless they could just fall victim to Mrs May's nuclear industry strategy and her visits to local schools etc. It would be a miracle if the Lib Dems took the seat, but it would send a huge message that people have their worries about the Tories' headlong UKIP inspired dash towards Brexit.

Only the Lib Dems among the major parties are united over Europe now and only the Lib Dems have been united in their pro Europe, pro joined up thinking, pro co-operative world stance in the past. Only the Lib Dems know what a principled position is right now. Nick Clegg paid a huge electoral price for two things: One for joining the Tories in a coalition. Two for not bringing the government down, at a time of financial crisis, over tuition fees. He paid the price, in effect, for responsibly putting the country first.

Labour did not pay the price for introducing tuition fees in contravention of their own manifesto and the Tories did not pay an electoral price for raising them. If you want Liberal policies you have to vote Liberal. As for the coalition with the Tories, the sums did not add up to form a workable government with debt monger Brown, the destroyer of pensions and personally I feel any coalition should always include the party which got the highest number of votes. For others to push them out seems borderline undemocratic to me.

Strangely the coalition worked pretty well, as Clegg in particular tempered the worst excesses of the Tory right. And look at the mess we're in now that Cameron bought off the electorate with his complacent, well, stupid actually, referendum pledge which almost wiped the Liberals out.

We need the Lib Dems more than ever now, just look at the attack on liberal policies going on over the pond. Please Copeland, please show the way, do something brave and wise, vote Liberal to a man, woman and youth. Do it, shine a light in the darkness, I dare you. Stoke won't, it's up to you.

Friday, 17 February 2017

With Friends Like Blair Who Needs Enemies?

Tony Blair has urged the sixteen million one hundred and forty thousand plus voters who voted for a joined up co-operative Europe to rise up and fight Brexit. He has pointed out the deficiencies in his old party, maybe they still count him as one of their own, I'm not sure, couldn't care less actually, but he was right in almost everything he said.

Sadly, for we pro Europeans anyway, he's such a toxic messenger, such a hated figure, and the man who's primarily to blame for the migrant crisis which tipped so many voters over the edge, (who says fear controls people?) that he just cannot inspire anyone anymore, or ever again.

Yes, Theresa May, liar Boris, Gove and IDS etc are on a headlong rush over the precipice, yes a vast number of people cannot have known what they were voting for. Indeed since we don't know just what will happen, or just how disastrous the consequences will be, the argument could be made that even the most educated and informed Brexit voters were simply tossing a pebble into a black, icy pool to see just what monster arose.

He was even right that Brexit may not be unstoppable and that people have a right to change their minds when they avert their eyes from Boris Johnson's hypnotic gaze and look around themselves at the world.

Blair will fail to inspire Labour, they've lost it with him and they're so divided over Europe that no leader will paper over that crack. He's muddying the waters and failing to help, indeed just his presence as a pro European on the stage will inspire the Brexit battalions to derision. Blair's motive? Crawl back into the limelight I suppose, like a downward sliding celebrity eating insects in the jungle to try and hold on to the slippery pole a moment longer.

Blair is yesterday's monster, May is today's monster. If the sixteen million one hundred and forty thousand plus Remain voters rose up and joined, or at least supported the Liberal party, then maybe we'd get some liberal, common sense, middle ground policies from a party that knows where it stands and still has some real values.

If he actually wanted to do some good it's a shame Blair doesn't give his money to the Lib Dems and pull his head back in, instead of spending it on a doomed and ultimately humiliating attempt at a political comeback.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Our Old Friend Inflation Is Peeking And Peaking Round The Corner

UK inflation is now at 1.8%, just below the governments target that it should remain below 2%. Nothing to worry about then. Except that raw materials costs for UK manufacturers are up by about one fifth and they can't absorb it all forever. Oil prices are rising once again, but that will be exacerbated by the weaker pound as well; the cost of transportation of goods is well on the rise and that means the goods themselves will cost more when they arrive. Not to mention the rising prices for imported finished products due to the exchange rate.

Many businesses are facing rising business rates. Local authorities aren't always peopled by the brightest of souls. The huge and inexorably rising national debt means they are trying to squeeze money every which way and from everyone; one has some sympathy, the debt means no government money to speak of, but plenty of governmental obligations in terms of things they have to provide.

Nonetheless if their council tax payers go bust then they and everyone else is worse off. So bright ideas like increasing business rates for shop keepers at the same time as putting parking restrictions in place to drive them out of business in the hope a few more pennies will drop into local authority car parks is the kind of genius we've come to expect.

Anyhow, back to inflation, the minimum wage will rise in April but many businesses are actually trying to pay the living wage or higher, they will also have to support the workplace pension. Women who've lost six years worth or more of state pension and people like myself who invested in private pensions, only to see Gordon Brown destroy them will know all about trusting the government regarding pensions, but as regards inflation it's just another cost businesses have to face and WILL pass on.

The media tells us that the consumer has kept the economy buoyant post the ridiculous and foolhardy referendum vote. That's because the Bank of England has flooded the country with new paper money and kept interest rates artificially low so that people who never experienced mortgage rates in double figures can get into debt, way over their heads.

Now, with so many people in debt, the bank must be terrified of raising rates, but eventually they will have to, with all the upward pressure on prices, raw materials costs, transportation costs, wage and pension costs, business rates, expect to see that 2% inflation target lost within months and that's without the two years worth of volatility during the so called negotiations.

If you're a Brexit voter living on credit, then well done you!

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Monday, 30 January 2017

Who Is Voting To Keep Trump Out And Why?

A petition calling for Donald Trump's State Visit invitation to be rescinded in order to avoid embarrassing the queen has, at the time of writing, attracted nearly one and a half million signatures. Doubtless it will grow. Personally I haven't signed (although I'm thinking about it) because I'm not sure about the reasoning. I object very strongly to Donald Trump's visit, his attitude and his policies and I would prefer the UK did not cosy up to him and that our un-elected prime minster stop acting presidentially too.  Dragging the queen into it doesn't sit so well with me.

So many things are in play right now. Brexit means we need to grow trade elsewhere, and how. It is the reason Mrs May is wooing Trump AND Erdogan, and actually will woo anyone we might sell things to regardless of their human rights record, principles or standards. This we need to stand up against.

Brexit, economic prospects and the debt have made Mrs May desperate and it's showing. Unfortunately she's not much of a salesperson, or much of a poker player. One of the great Brexit ironies is that liar in chief Johnson used fear of Turkey, the country much of his family calls home, as a reason to encourage people to vote Leave.

Turkey had no prospect of joining the EU and scant desire to do so. Now Erdogan has locked up much of the judiciary, academics and educators, in fact everyone of influence from politics to the police and the army and put the final nail in that particular coffin. He has taken over what was once a free press and of course he continues to make war on the Kurds. What do we do? Cosy up to him as well as Trump AND sell him British fighter plane technology for a scant one hundred million pounds.

Some sales deal! There are lottery winners worth more than a hundred million pounds. We pay forty three BILLION pounds per year in interest on Gordon Brown's debt, I can't be bothered to do the maths but that one hundred million pounds from Turkey will be gone in the blink of a metaphorical eye.

It's interesting to note that the media tells us, how they know is another matter, that Remain voters are signing the Trump protest petition not Brexit voters. It is true that one rabid Brexiteer of my acquaintance is also fond of telling me that 'Trump is the man'. Barmy. I hope some Brexiteers at least will begin to see what they've done here, forcing us into the Venus Flytrap arms of people like Trump and Erdogan.

The fact is America is split, three million more votes went the way of Hillary Clinton than to Trump 'a stunning election victory' to quote un-elected Mrs May with no kind of election victory, stunning or otherwise, to her name. Britain, like America, is also split, forty eight percent to fifty two percent. The age profile of Brexit voters versus Remain voters means that in a few years more Remain voters will be alive than the Brexit voters who stole their future wishes, hopes and desires and robbed them of their European heritage.

The Liberals are right, any deal brokered by our un-elected prime minister must be proven to be acceptable to the people. Remain campaigners said there would be chaos if there was a vote for Brexit, they were right, the economic pain will follow.  When it does and half a million Brexit voters have died off and a few more have come to their senses, then a vote on the deal could just lead to the whole debacle getting rejected.

Even if it is, it'll be a month of Sundays before, well, longer actually, before we have any influence in the world again, but anyone who thinks we're influencing Trump (or Erdogan) needs their bump felt. Britain today, not a place to be proud of right now, I'm sure many Americans feel the same way about their country too.

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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Heroism Of Gina Miller

Gina Miller you are a hero, I imagine the word heroine is not allowed anymore, but I digress. Admittedly both Gina Miller (from what I hear) and myself are pro Europe; but her constitutional point is exactly right, had Theresa May been given carte blanche she would have become even more presidential than the aspiring Tony Blair and a dangerous precedent would have been set.

That a private citizen, albeit moneyed, can hold government to account in law is one of the few things that are right about this country. That people issue death threats against her for doing us this service is one of the many things that are terribly wrong with this country. At least the police are taking it seriously, something that might not have been the case a few years ago.

Their Lordships found for Gina Miller, but sadly did not go so far as to say that the devolved governments should have a say. Well, I didn't expect they would, but one can live in hope, although the Welsh voted leave anyway and immediately started bleating from their hillsides that they didn't want it to cost them anything; mighty are the handouts they've received from Europe of course, shame they didn't notice.

Still, on the upside Scotland being left out gives Nicola Sturgeon the opportunity to cause trouble and there should be trouble, a vote for Brexit was a vote for chaos, disruption and trouble. I hear ordinary people interviewed on tv and radio talking about getting out right now and 'why haven't we gone already?' it's that level of understanding that makes you realise they shouldn't have a damn vote.

Prior to the referendum I heard an old lady, holding up the queue, telling the post office cashier that people should be forced to vote. No, actually if people don't understand the implications they'd do better to abstain and if they're going to vote they have a duty, in my opinion, to do some study and not be directed by the Daily Mail.

People were told that three hundred and fifty million pounds a week EXTRA could be spent on the NHS if we left Europe, even if the back pedalling did start the next day. People were also told that the European Union needs us more than we need them because of the balance of trade. Some European countries do have a lot to lose, but there are twenty seven of them and many have very little to lose by snubbing us, so there will be trouble.

Then there's the hypocrisy of this country, last night on the news there was talk of a twenty million pound campaign to recruit doctors from EUROPE. Even as Britain sticks two fingers up at our European friends we're trying to steal doctors they have trained, at their cost, even from countries poorer than we are, disgusting. Brexiteers MUST be held to account, if they cannot deliver on their false promises then they should go and Brexit should be overturned.

If Brexiteers, like liar in chief Johnson and his buddies, can deliver greater trade, greater prosperity, protect European trade, human rights, workers rights, control immigration logically AND deliver three hundred and fifty million pounds per week extra to the health service, maintain university collaboration and shared projects and make sure no groups lose funding, from farmers to poor regions and councils and that Brits abroad are protected, then I will eat humble pie. However, bear in mind that if we doubled trade with the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India it still wouldn't match the trade we do now with Europe.

They cannot deliver on their promises and there MUST be scrutiny and transparency. People must see what they've done by voting with these career politicians out for themselves, with truth being no more than collateral damage.

The border issue between Southern Ireland which is EU and Northern Ireland, which is UK, I refuse to call us Great Britain anymore since we started murdering MPs and foreign workers, is yet to be defined in terms of a policy. Brexiteers want border controls and the Irish want an open border, you cannot have both.

Brexit was truly a vote for chaos, but chaos we must now have. If Theresa May can ride roughshod over the wishes of over sixteen million people, if those who were, misled, confused or rash and now regret it cannot think again, well, that's not a form of democracy which works.

Not to mention the age profile of referendum voters which means that in a few years the young remainers robbed of their rights and their European future will be in a neutered minority thanks to the votes of the dead.

Thanks, in part at least, to Gina Miller there will be white papers, amendments, clamour, confusion, infighting and problems. Just what Brexit voters voted for, if they cared to think about it. Thanks to Gina Miller the government can be scrutinised and challenged.

Labour have no stomach for the fight, both they and the Tories are split. I wonder how many MPs will vote as their constituents want, if their constituents voted Remain. Thanks to Gina Miller we'll now get to see who represents whom.

Only one party has been constant with regard to Europe, only one party has demonstrated unity and principle. Vote Liberal at every opportunity and raise a glass to Gina Miller, a courageous, principled, thoughtful woman, standing up for what is right, virtually alone and against the odds and at no small personal risk. Gina Miller you are a hero, a feminine hero.

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Sunday, 22 January 2017

You Cannot Please All The People All The Time

The Andrew Marr Show and the Sunday Politics today were most revealing. Primarily in showing up the Labour Party.  John McDonnell admitted the division in Labour over Brexit and confirmed, unintentionally I'm sure, that his party is playing it by ear and trying to please all the people all the time. The lack of a Labour policy was underlined by Diane Abbott's woeful and evasive performance on the Sunday Politics. Labour is clearly the party of muddled thinking. Nothing underlined that more strongly than John DcDonnell's suggestion that each bit of the negotiation be voted on by parliament as things progress. A better recipe for undermining the negotiators and prolonging the chaos is hard to imagine.

Diane Abbott did confirm that Labour 'respects the outcome of the referendum and will not block the triggering of article 50'. Personally I don't respect the referendum. If I was sold a computer and told it had an i7 processor only to find once I got it home that it had an i3 processor I'd take it back. The appalling lies told in the referendum led to Brexit winning the vote, but not the debate, which included too many deliberate falsehoods.

The same is likely to happen in parliament. Clearly Labour won't block the triggering of article 50, they respect the lies told in the referendum, I wonder what that tells us about them. Anyhow it makes the ongoing court case, the result of which should be revealed during the week a little irrelevant, unless their Lordships give the devolved government Scotland more of a say. That could put the cat among the pigeons, even if more chaos is not really going to help anyone, but then that's what a vote for Brexit was, a vote for chaos.

Mrs May did not fare much better in the face of difficult questions than the Labour contributors this morning. She blatantly refused to answer on the question of whether she knew about a Trident test firing failure, before the commons debate on Trident, not clever, not even a sensible reason for not answering which would at least have earned a modicum of respect. No answer again on the Social Care crisis in the county where her health secretary and chancellor are MPs and where a Conservative council is calling a local referendum to try and raise Council Tax by a staggering 15%. And, crucially no answer as to her vision for the UK, if, as seems likely in my view, she cannot get what she, and parliament, consider to be a good deal for Britain in the divorce negotiations.

You can be sure that whatever deal she gets there will be politicians queuing up to derail it for their own personal ambitions just as Gove, Johnson et al chose personal career ambitions above national interest in the recent dishonest debacle instigated by Mr Cameron. Mrs May also effectively admitted she wouldn't be talking to President Trump about womens' issues, clearly she values the fictitious special relationship too much to say anything challenging. A singularly unimpressive performance all round.

In a local debate about the Northern Powerhouse one Labour and one Conservative MP spoke a bit of common sense, but on the big issue affecting British prosperity as a whole only one man answered all the questions, difficult or not, with frankness, clarity and thoughtfulness. Not to mention a policy. That man was Nick Clegg. He also pointed out that even if we doubled our trade (yes doubled) with the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India it still wouldn't match that which we do with Europe. Only the Liberals are not trying to please all the people all the time. If you object to muddled thinking, if you object to the pendulum swinging wildly, if you agree that the world has improved since the 1930s and that what we have is worth hanging on to, then only the Liberals represent you right now.

Since the winds of change are blowing I can only hope that all sixteen million plus Remain voters can come together and vote Liberal, that would be enough since Brexit people are split, don't really know what they want, or how they're go about getting it if they ever work it out. The Europeans are right, any deal HAS to be inferior to membership and there are twenty seven of them.

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

And The World Turns

It seems Mrs May is a fan of David Cameron after all, or maybe she's just attended the Melania Trump school of speech writing. Meanwhile Boris Johnson tells us with a straight face that we're first in line for a US trade deal, despite the fact that President elect Trump didn't even deign to see him. What a plonker that man is. The only decent speech of the week came from Meryl Streep, NOT a second rate actress in my book.

Politicians still bang on about our so called special relationship with America, the media still bang on about a hard or soft Brexit, did 2016 actually bow out? It will be a hard Brexit I'm sure, but in the sense of difficult, all this fuss over our negotiating position is utter nonsense. What matters is the position of the other twenty seven. Britain is about to find out just how great it is or isn't. I love my country but I don't love my government, something I think millions of Americans will also identify with.

I'm not proud of the bellicose xenophobia engendered by the nonsense of Brexit either. Which is why I can't help finding that my sympathies increasingly lie with our European friends and allies.

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Back To Work, Back To Reality, Welcome 2017

Christmas and New Year celebrations over; Britain, Europe, America and much more of the world is returning to normal and the new working year is under way. Will this be the year that Boris the clown learns to tell the truth or that Mrs May recognises the lack of correlation between leadership and platitudes?

I doubt it. Already it looks like same old, same old, the ceasefire is breaking down again in Syria, terrorism in Turkey, hit and run drivers and a police shooting in the north of England, rail fares rising for those trying to get to work. Same old, same old.

There is one piece of good news though, a British owned company in southern India (a rarity in itself) has developed a process by which it can use carbon emissions from a coal burning power station to produce baking powder, this is the kind of research that makes hope spring for humankind and for the planet.

All we have to do now is sort out war, crime, racism, policing, dishonest self interested politicians and the failing United Nations.

Hot off the press as they used to say Britain's ambassador to the European Union has resigned. No reason has been given, not publicly anyway, but not so long ago his confidential advice to his political masters was leaked. The message was that Brexit might take a decade to negotiate and that even then the result could be most unsatisfactory.

Not a message our one track government wants to hear. Maybe they shot the messenger, maybe he walked away in disgust, all sorts of maybes BUT you can be sure the turmoil and damage from that insane referendum will run and run.

In some ways happy to see 2016 go, but can't see any improvement anytime soon, in Europe, in America, in the Middle East, or anywhere else much. Well done you chaps in India though.

Try to keep your personal economy solvent whatever the politicians throw at you