Friday, 1 July 2016

The 'Genius' that is Gove

Now hang on a minute here.  Gove is no genius.  Apt commentary on Gove comes in a brilliant 2012 Stephen Collins cartoon in the Grauniad, of which this is a detail:

Stephen Collins /

It doesn't end well.  

Remember that in the Westminster bubble, 'Nudge' is considered a work of profound political philosophy: and for being an afficianado of said inane book George Osborne was considered wise beyond his years.  The bar for genius in that parish is set very low.

(All the talk seems to be of how Gove stabbed Boris in the back.  Might it not be that he put a gun to his head ..?)

I love reading the Labourites prosing on about how the Tory Party is in meltdown and that now is a time for capitalising on this (instead of what they are actually doing, viz mass self-immolation).  Nope: the Tory Party, a very serious power-minded entity, is seriously about the business of Choosing A New Leader, a post which naturally attracts the toughest and most ambitious in the termite-nest.  Might it be bloody?  Yes.  Will it be protracted?  Not particularly.  Will it end with everyone dead on the floor?  Assuredly not.

Will the party re-unite to win the next election?  Most probably.  Because if it's done adroitly, (a) Tory deserters to UKIP will come back into the fold - quite quickly, in fact;  and either (b) Labour will insist on opposing Brexit and be finally wiped out by UKIP or (c) Labour will do whatever it takes to win back its UKIP defectors, in which case ...


Brext Steps

Lots of focus is now on the selection by the Tory party of the next PM; and rightly so, because the decisions made now will affect whether we can achieve a smooth exit or not. One faux-pas and it might be auf wiedersehen, pet to any sweetheart deal with Queen Europe. Luckily, international leaders are urging all parties to behave sensibly and it is in nobody's interest to foul up the world economy.

But there is plenty that the UK government can crack on with on the domestic front, to try to keep the economy whizzing along nicely during potentially turbulent times. Mark Carney has hinted at a rate cut, which has confirmed the Pound as a weakening currency. So far, so good. He could go further, of course: he should re-affirm that no monetary tightening efforts will be made unless and until any signs of inflation arise. He could set an explicit inflation-trigger-level, perhaps, and make sure that nobody is under any illusion that the exchange rate will be propped up.

Next, the new Chancellor should swoop in and make some emergency business tax cuts. Take a few points off the Corporation Tax rate, and set out a timetable to phase out employers' national insurance "contributions". The government must send a message to the outside world that the UK is Open For Business. A reduction in business overheads ought to stave off any worries about tariffs that might be imposed by the rEU if a hard exit does happen. After all, a suggestion I read was that the average tariff on the sort of stuff that we sell to other EU countries is about 4%, which is relatively easy to deal with, with some judicious tax cutting and a falling Pound.

At the same time, a review into the operation of the VAT system is a nice easy early start, too. Even if we end up staying within the EEA we can play around with the VAT system in a way we cannot within the EU. Show voters and the world what a difference it can make to be in charge of our own decisions. Abolish the "tampon tax".

Make it immediately clear that it will not play politics with the people from other EU countries who are already here living and working. We absolutely must not use the possibility of throwing people out as a bargaining chip. Anything other than this leads to uncertainty for everyone, and leaves space for rumours and threats. 

Start talking to friendly non-EU countries about trade deals. Get the momentum going. Boris said that he has been quietly approached by various important markets. Make it less quiet. Get those orders in and show the French and Germans that we will be quite happy to compete with them in the world. Set up a trade fair. Send Prince Charles around. Invest in a Trade Force One jet to fly business leaders around the world and to bring them to Britain. Reinvigorate the Board of Trade, appoint a President of it.

Set up an investigatory committee to look at what rules and regs have been put in place under our EU membership that could be tweaked or abolished. We have the Law Commission to review the criminal law, let's have something similar to make sure that we only have sensible and light-touch regulation. Some areas will be out of bounds until we know whether we are inside the single market or not; that is fine, start with the low-hanging fruit.

There is one HUGE risk for Brexiters: that the economy tanks while we are sorting out what we are doing.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Boris Bottles it!


Was not expecting that.

Personally, never been that impressed with the Home Secretary who is now hot favourite to win.

Gove does not even want to be PM and is deeply disliked (unfairly) for his education reforms.

That leaves perhaps Leadsom, who is too untried, same as Crabb.

Liam Fox - too right wing at a time when the Country needs unity in the face of external events.

We live in interesting times....

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

How Negotiations Happen

Among the many recent belly-laughs afforded by Juncker et al, the one about "there must be no secret, back-door negotiations" gave particular pleasure.  We all know the telecomms companies must have seen as big a spike in international secure-line phonecalls as the MSM and every other type of M have in their ratings over the past frenetic week.  Jeez, Juncker's staff will hardly have stopped talking to Whitehall for half a second since early a.m. on Friday.  Can an ordinary punter actually get a 'Business Premier' seat on the Eurostar just now?

The only person not talking to anyone is J.Corbyn.  Of course, no-one wants to speak to him either, so it works out quite nicely.

Oh, Events, Events - how we Nietzscheans love 'em.  No negotiations!  Hahaha!