Friday, 14 December 2018

No Lunch for Labour

Labour's Brexit strategy?  ... actually, they haven't got one.

At best, it's just a glorified vulture-tactic: circle aimlessly, high above the ground, in the hope that something keels over and dies under your nose.

Reading a range of leftist contributions aroud the www, the only sub-group with a clear slogan are the ones who want R2.  But Labour commentators who see just a few tiny problems with R2 - as anything that might benefit Labour specifically, or even as just a genuinely practical proposition - see things in a much more problematic light.  Try this, from Little Owen Jones, for example.  OJ's pieces of late have become highly structured masterpieces of equivocation.  Each time he writes, he has to go through the ritual of praising Corbyn to the skies - his punishment for having dared to doubt the master for just a very few weeks last year - and mapping out just how awkward everything is.  But, whisper it softly, he is gradually becoming less sycophantic in substance, his regular and well-argued conclusion being: there might not be much here for us.  It's not greatly different from a host of other writers on the left, who are all enjoying the spectacle of the Tory and DUP lions and hyenas scrapping; but are otherwise pretty much reduced to wringing their hands.  Oh, it's all so difficult to know what to do.

Yes, the vulture doesn't actually have to do anything as dynamic and skilful as hunting something down and despatching it.  You could see why that counsel of idleness suits a perennially work-shy git like Corbyn.  Less obviously, even the hard-driving McDonnell is also given to waiting and watching - because he's a marxist, whose belief-system is that it is all going to turn out right on the night, courtesy of the Hand of History.  He's sure he'll eventually find something dead on the veldt - the bloated body of capitalism, to be precise - on which the proletariat can gorge.

The lions and hyenas have to do something pretty stupid for this to be the outcome.  Some of them have fairly few brain cells, it's true.  But they operate in prides and packs, the collective wisdom of which is probably adequate for the task of ensuring no lunch for the vulture.


Thursday, 13 December 2018

Well that is a fine mess you got us into

Jesus Wept. I mean, the whole Brexit thing is unreal in its perfect realisation slapstick, fine balance and pure frustration.

Image result for laurel and hardy
So May wins a vote, close enough to a victory that she can engage in her airport fever as per Nick Drew's insightful post of yesterday. But weak enough to know that we are merely at Chapter X in the book with quite a few pages left yet.

With over 100 votes against her she is deep in the well of misfortune. Even if half of those think 'OK, will of the party, let's back her now' the rest won't. So she is 50 votes short in Parliament for her deal. Plus the DUP still hold the golden ticket and are in no mood to play nice, never have been have they? Labour are run by commie nutjobs who won't act in the national interest when they are in Government, let alone when they are the opposition.

So her deal, with minor tweaks for Europe is dead. How have the MP's, who disagree with the deal which is her only policy, voted her back in? Madness, but then, we know this now. Brexit has driven the political and media class insane with anger, rage and confusion.

So the deal dies, we then either somehow tick out to a managed hard Brexit for which the rebels in Parliament may be able to defeat (oh, that will be fun with Soubry and et al voting with Labour etc). Or May conspires to create a BINO with Labour in return for an election (she said she would not do this last night, so unlikely if not impossible). Or after the 'Deal' fails in Parliament May delays article 50 somehow and orders a new referendum (Deal or Remain - the EU will only extend if their preferred option is on the Ballot paper).

All with the Maybot in charge, thinking only of kicking the can until next week, with no vision or strategy anywhere to be seen and a dearth of quality advisors in her Cabinet and party.

A fine mess indeed.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Mrs May Has Airport Fever

Just Go
A number of years ago I hired a guy to be head of European sales.  With most clients, there was very strong potential for follow-on orders, so the job entailed post-sales customer relations.  If the sales guy was good at that relationship stuff, the follow-ons were the easiest sales to make.  But the product wasn't entirely trouble-free, so he did have to be good.

The new hire had several indisputable qualifications: he had relevant experience; knew the sector; and spoke several Euro-languages really well, in an easygoing way that meant most people liked him at first meeting. 

What could go wrong?  Well, all the usual little things, like they always do.  But I was impressed from the start at how, when the anguished or angry call came in from a client, he would immediately jump on a plane and get out on site to put things right in person.

That is, I was impressed at the start.  But it soon become apparent that these dashes to client's door were not genuinely productive.  Whatever good he was achieving by sheer personal responsiveness - in the striking but rather limited sense of physically turning up within hours - he was not actually problem-solving when he got there.  Somehow he expected the magic of a prompt but fleeting personal appearance to be enough.  I subsequently heard this pattern of fruitless behaviour labelled 'airport fever'.

Which brings us to our very own Theresa May.  Over the 30 months of her PM-ship there have been many squalls in the brexit process and the first thing you know, she's blitzing half a dozen Euro-capitals in person.  Protocol being what it is, the respective political leaders always give her a cup of coffee and a brief photo-opportunity ...  well, it's only polite.

But it's pretty obvious these dynamic and quite striking personal interventions achieve two tenths of bugger-all and, since it is to be imagined the Air Miles are not the attraction, we are obliged to diagnose a bad case of Airport Fever.

I had to let the sales guy go, of course.  It's not just airport fever.  It's terminal.  If you see what I mean.  


Tuesday, 11 December 2018

"There'll Be No Rioting Here"

... says Simon Jenkins.  So that's alright, then.

I think he's predicating this on 'No Deal' being ruled out.  Let's see - on both counts.

Speaking of editors of the Evening Standard:   how must little Georgie Osborne be regretting he left Parliament?  All this flux and and turmoil, so ripe for a decisive political initiative.  And all he can do is make cheap jibes from his student-newspaper-style editorial platform.


Monday, 10 December 2018

Should we cancel Brexit?

So here we go for a momentous week in UK politics (and business/economics).

The kick-off has already begun, with the ECJ ruling that Brexit can be cancelled with no changes allowed from the EU side. This cuts both ways, it means Article 50 can be extended and there is nothing the EU Commission can do and also that we can reject the deal offered and remain on the current terms that we have.

This is crucial, as it guarantees that May will lose her job this week. I guarantee it now! (regular readers will know, I am wrong a lot of the time).

OK, why so confident when I can look silly in a few days - well first off, there is no incentive for anyone to pass her Remain Minus deal that she has negotiated. The Brexiteers can see that they can takeover and try again with another few months bought for negotiations and/or No Deal preparations. Meanwhile Remainers are in rapture at the idea of Parliament voting against the people and making the whole thing go away (hmmm, some problems with this, but he ho, I am not a remainer so they can figure it out).

So which of these choices should we take? I have been a fan of May's deal, because although terrible it started the journey towards leaving which is in big danger from a Remain dominated Parliament. This unexpected ruling from the ECJ - timed like film-script too! - does change materially the situation; It has both weakened the EU position AND strengthened the Remainers.

No one will vote for the crap deal now, as there is literally no need too. Remainers will vote it down and that alone is enough, but the DUP and ERGers will vote it down too, meaning May faces a cataclysmic defeat.

OK, there is a small chance she is bright enough to see the EU's position weakened and to try further negotiations as a trick to keeping her in 10 Downing St, but there is very little chance of not receiving an internal vote of confidence from the party to trigger a leadership election. So, May is toast, diddums.

However, there is one bigger consideration, even for me. Given the choice between a terrible Deal of May's and Remaining (now without any change to current circs) would should we do. Even I am tempted to say remain, for the deal is indeed bad and in that false choice (which may come to us by way of the machinations of Parliament given a minority Government) scenario would Remain actually be better in both the long and short term? It is not an easy decision that. With tRemain, there is a chance to re-gather for future battles with the EU newly weakened by its own court.

Oh how things can change in Politics and it is only Monday!