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A petition calling for Donald Trump's State Visit invitation to be rescinded in order to avoid embarrassing the queen has, at the time of writing, attracted nearly one and a half million signatures.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