Saturday, 24 September 2016

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.

‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’ 

Margaret Thatcher on becoming Prime Minister
Not very likely. Probably the best that Labour can hope for is no overt resumption of the civil war and outright hostilities.
Just a few weeks ago, 172 labour MPs failed to back their newly reappointed leader on the grounds he was a terrible leader. 
their publicly expressed concern was not that he was a comedy-lefty Marxist throwback to the 1980s. But that he wasn't very good at being the leader. Well, he is the leader. And has cemented himself even more firmly in place.
Partly, because he has a lot of support from labour in the country. Partly because of his own iron will. Partly because his PLP opponents were, unbelievably, even more inept at ousting their leader than usual.
Choosing the unknown Owen Smith and endorsing his campaign of agreeing with everything Jeremy Corbyn says but just not how he says it, has left the bulk of the elected Labour party with an even bigger problem than they had before.
They have actively supported all the wild eyed talk of renationalising everything. No to any selective education. Building 25 billion new homes a week. 200% taxation of banks etc. The only disagreement was on the MPs preference to remain in the EU and to renew trident. Something Corbyn opposes and probably has far more support on than his MPs.
So, what can those MPs do now? What options do they have? Another coup is preposterous. Corbyn has shown he won't quit  even if  3/4 of his MPs have no confidence in him. He has won the leadership with an increased majority. He cannot be toppled from his High Sparrow cult by 'outsiders'.
There seems to be no appetite at all for the breakaway option. Forming a new labour party with the remnants of the Liberal Democrats. If all 172 MPs set off into  new party, they would probably become the official opposition. That gets Corbyn silenced in the House of Commons. They could vote their own new moderate leader and have the left wing media concentrating on their message whilst trying to portray Corby's labour as extremists. Far easier to do that if you are a separate party. Rather than the same party trying to back and sack the Corbynites at the same time.
If they can become the official opposition they can use the boundary review to reduce the power of the Corbynistas.
Most likely is the wait and see and hope option. Hope that Corbyn falls down some stairs. See if Brexit causes financial Armageddon and people are forced to vote labour. Wait until after the election and the expected wipe-out, and then pick up the pieces and start again.
None are really very attractive. 
if I was over on their side I think a Gandhi approach might be the answer. Passive disobedience. 
When the leader makes a speech, don't attend. When policies are announced, do nothing. No applause in the House. No boos either. Just a silence. Don't engage with the cabinet or the leader at all. behave as a seperate party within a party. If ever asked their view by the media, then damning with faint praise.

"This is one of Jeremy's least worst ideas yet. So we are making steady progress"
"He is improving. Very slowly of course. We have to accept that .. But all the time a slight improvement, don't you think?"
"He rso is trying his best..and you know that really should count for something....effort should be recognised, don't you think?"
"So, we lose a fifty odd seats at the next election..Does that really matter..? Ok..So the Tories will be in power for ever..But we...We, under the firm leadership of Jeremy and John,  will be in full control of the moral high ground.  And that's almost as good as being in government, isn't it?"

What other options are there?


Thursday, 22 September 2016

The "New Narcotics" Is ...

... 'waste crime' - or so saith the Environment Agency.
"The offences, sometimes involving organised crime gangs, range from illegal dumping of household and industrial waste to massive frauds involving recycling fees and landfill tax"
And, actually, I buy this to some extent, allowing for the hyperbole this new chap at the top is using to get his headlines.  (People-smuggling, of course, is the real new global crimewave, but let that pass.)  And whatever troubles the EA reckon they confront here, you wouldn't be hard-pressed to find countries where it's all a hundred times worse.

Smart legislation and enforcement is critical.  Many of the folks around here who particpated in our heated 'plastic-bag' thread are likely to disagree with me on this, but I am unrepentant.  There is so much scope for greater efficiency by reducing waste, it's one of the great sources of potential future growth that makes Malthusian predictions wrong.  If we extend the waste-reckoning to my own patch, energy, there is vast untapped potential for efficiencies in that sphere.  That can be viewed - properly, IMHO - as genuine market failure in many cases, where the potential investor in a self-financing efficiency scheme can't raise the capital or, as is notorious in the social housing sector, where the potential beneficiary (the energy bill-payer) isn't the party able to do the work.

But when it works, it's game-changing.  The introduction of steam-pumping in the Cornish mines reduced operating costs by 90% (sic) - which is how the world moves forward.  Mercifully, in many circumstances the potent combination of technology, capitalism and self-interest do the necessary unaided.

Not everything yields to legislation: we read that half the food purchased in the USA goes uneaten which, even allowing for some inevitable trimmings-waste, is pretty grotesque - given how much they do actually eat.  But that one's a deep societal malaise.

Then we get other 'capitalist' stories like the 'landscaping' of golf courses with landfill: hard to know whether to laugh or cry.  Dumb legislation and non-enforcement are counter-productive in the extreme, and there's no shortage of that.

As part of the overall mix in this complicated stew, I note that the Kidz are all supposed these days to be vehement on the subject of Their Future and how we are all messing the world up for them.  But the schoolchildren I see are considerably more prone to discard half-consumed fast-food - in quantity, and randomly across the pavement - than I ever recall.  Ditto their consumerist attitudes to outmoded clothing, electrics etc etc.

Yeah, showing my age there, I know ...  but the point remains.  Decades of worthy green banging-on have had an impact of sorts, but hardly a wholesale change of attitudes across the population as a whole.  Some things need to be forced along a bit.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

ONS - No effect of Brexit

This is a very telling piece to come out today from the ONS.

There has been very little economic impact of Brexit. The remoaners will be keen to say all is yet to come and hell and damnation lies in the fuzzy, but not too distant future.

This of course makes remoaners sound like Mayan prophesiers (ironic!):

"This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 - hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012. (Nasa)"

Or as fellow writer BE of this parish likes to remind me, a penchant for predicting 9 of the last 3 recessions.

It is indeed still possible, indeed likely, that Brexit will have significant long-term downsides for the UK in some areas. But the upsides in my view are likely to out-weight these considerably.

What is not for debate anymore is the depth of the lies of Project Fear. And, better still, the good learning of the populace, especially of those who voted remain on the back of Project Fear, that the political class is a bunch of lying shysters.

Indeed, despite the hand-wringing, the metropolitan elite have made it far harder to make future cases on the basis of nanny knows best or "trust me." I understand too myself more clearly why the Scots Nats are here to stay and Labour won't be coming back in Scotland - Project Fear (although more justifiable in Scotland) is pressing a nuclear button politically. The damage of the lies cannot be undone for a generation or two.

Which, finally makes me realise that one George Osborne, still moving around Westminster has become a true Blairite, believing his own spin, hoping to make a come back when his lies are proved right after all.

So, Farewell Brad Pitt

Horror! Black crepe around Schloss Drew as Mrs D can no longer claim Brad Pitt on the family tree

Perhaps in square brackets?