Monday, 22 May 2017

End game of the election....

Not long to go now in the UK General Election.


Half-term next week so in real terms this is the pen-ultimate week of campaigning in main, so the last few key points will be focused upon.


Labour have had a stroke of luck, now being able to go on and on about Tories murdering old people and grabbing inheritance (which is surely a Labour policy, but, hey-ho). This will get tedious.


Now the tough stuff is out of the way for the Tories, they can get back to reminding everyone that about Jezbollah and McIRA are not, er, patriots (well, not for this country anyway).


And then Brexit. Which has been forgotten for a bit, that can come back now.


The Lib Dems will play into that too and UKIP so it should be a free run to get that back as the Focus.


So that is the attack lines and newspapers written for the next 2 weeks.


My only thought, is surely for Labour, they must discover that Dianne Abbott's long-lost auntie is sick in the Caribbean and she must be called away for a family emergency until around June 9th?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Can Corbyn Win?

I have always loved UK politics, I remember being very into the 1987 General Election, I was 12! I guess that makes me a nerd. I was even a very active activist for a while in the late 1990's and early 2000's.


As such, I reckon I know quite a bit about the subject. So I can't really believe what I am about to write, but here goes.


Theresa May's manifesto launch was awful, really awful. The BBC focused on protestors, the policies were anti-old people, anti-libertarian, tax rises and doom and gloom. And even with that it still did not reduce the deficit properly.


Corbyn launched Labour's fantasy manifesto to a group of highly-motivated toddlers who clapped and cheered. People talked about how some of these policies were a good idea; in the same way that the sun rising and blue skies are nice, but still. They did.


The Lib Dems, having chosen the worst strategy ever, being pro-remain, economically lefty and socially liberal  in the UK in 2017 is, well, politically toxic. They also have some sort of stop-motion model as their leader. They will lose seats in the election and they only had 8 to start with.


UKIP, well, UKIP. I pity the receptacle of my vote for the past 10 years. They too have a total plonker as loser, having rejected some better ones along the way. They have no coherent policy base to speak of and have to hope they will keep some vote share. Their vote share though will be around 1/3rd of what it was just 2 years ago. Their victory in Brexit was awesome, their usefulness to UK domestic politics is at an end.


So now the polls are showing UKIP and Lib Dems as near wipeouts. The loony Greens can happily vote Labour as they have the same mad policy platform.


But Labour have the momentum, they started from a low base so just adding on the suicidal Lib Dems vote, shows them to be firming up. The Tories, having started so high, could literally only go backwards - and they are, albeit very slightly.


May gambled that an honest manifesto which was realistic could work. Perhaps she was wrong. Many people are silly these days;


 'I'll vote for Corbyn, then I won't have to pay Uni for my kids, someone else will"


Of course someone does, but that someone is not you, it is those evil businesses and city types and those baby-eating Tories. I watched a bit of the ITV debate last night, it is sad how partisan the Country now is, the Tories made out to be actually evil and 'murdering the disabled.'






So Corbyn has the momentum, plus he can campaign, it is thing. The press are bored of reporting the Diane Abbot levels of incompetence, so look for them in the Tories too, when the comparison is fatuous. The Tory front bench has little real talent. The Labour front bench is actually full of morons, Angela Rayner struggles to even string a sentence together; it is woeful.


So there are only 2 scenario's; Labour advanced, the Tories wobble and the election gets much close. After all, if May gets less than 50 majority she will in reality look a fool for holding the election.


Or perhaps people get over this mid-election wobble and flood back to the Tories at the end.


The way I see Corbyn winning is not in 2017 however, but in 2022. Brexit will be hard, the EU will make it tough, a recession is nailed on for sometime in the next 5 years. A Labour party within a few points of the Tories in 2017, will win in 2022 - imagine if that is a party still led by the hard left SJW faction! It will be time to emigrate, sharpish.



Thursday, 18 May 2017

Loach has Done For Corbyn

The 'genius of Ken Loach' must, I suppose, be such an unchallengeable fact for the Left that when he offers to do a Party Political Broadcast everyone swoons.  But are leftie film critics necessarily a good guide to the thoughts of Joe and Jane Voting-Public?

Anyhow, here it is.  And Loach has completely done for Corbyn - cementing into the mind over four long, incoherent minutes that already-lethal image of the tired, toothy old man sitting on the floor of the train beside the toilet, muttering to himself and looking tetchy.



And it's that, rather than his tatty old Marxism, that has finished him.  Nobody votes to have Old Man Harold Albert Steptoe as PM.  If Corbyn's people can't see it, they will be unable to make any good use of the 3 weeks they still have.

Barring a truly lurid revelation about May, it's Game Over.

ND

Correction courtesy of Demetrius in the comments below - ta! 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Where's the Praetorian Guard ..?

The behaviour patterns of Donald Trump, even if nicely 'explained' by Scott Adams, are increasingly bonkers.  The matter of compromising intelligence sources, as seems to be the case, is an outright shocker.

If his attitude to power is that of one of the madder Roman emperors, then where's the Praetorian Guard ?!  They had a policy on dealing with such things.

If you piss off some of the organisations he's pissing off, well, we may soon find out.

ND

Monday, 15 May 2017

A world of electric cars?

Reports like the one out today are meant to be read for their shock value.


No doubt, greenies everywhere are busily sharing and approving of this report, which claims that in 10 years the petrol/diesel engine era will be over.


However, I am not so sure about these claims. Firstly, the electric cars are still too expensive and although battery technology improves, they are relatively slow. Maybe in about 10 years they will start to be competitive, but I doubt before then. And, when they do they are going to need to have a huge road tax (something needs to replace petrol taxes), so delaying the day or competitive equivalence.


Then there is this nice communist dream I see everywhere about Uber taking everything over and people not owning cars. This works just in in, say, London. Anywhere outside a major conurbation this is an idea for the birds. It has taken a century to get the world set to make people free, they are not going to give this up easily and certainly not within a decade. Who cares about saving money when you have a choice about freedom to make (er, the EU referendum vote anyone?).


Then there is the charging, people will get used to it, but an hour plus stop all the time is not an easy thing. Just to be controversial too and anti-capitalist, this is an area where international standards are needed too, so that all cars are compatible with some kind of generic charging platform.


Whilst I don't doubt electric is catching on (all the rich, cool people in my town now are rushing to buy Model X Tesla's), it will be a longer than 10 years for it to try to replace the current infrastructure - and this is in the West, let alone the rest of the world where power is not even stable or affordable!


I won't be rushing to short oil companies just yet.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Party Boat Captain Jailed


The captain of the Uncosted Cornucopia has gone to jail after he crashed onto the rocks, destroying his party.
Image result for costa concordia

Captain Jeremy Corbyn had repeatedly ignored warnings from his officers that he was heading for disaster.
Image result for titanic captain corbyn

Witnesses on social media said that it appeared Captain Corbyn lost control of the party around 2016. The vessel began plotting a very erratic course since before even then. It had reportedly been going round and round in circles since 2010.

The boat had built up significant Momentum before it suddenly veered very sharply to the left, striking a well charted hard reality that tore a massive hole in its financial calculations, and the party boat capsised.

93 Labour MPs were lost in the accident that occurred in the very early hours of 9th June 2017.

At the court one of the bridge officers on that day, who managed to escape the sinking hulk, told us that the party cruise line had no proper safeguards in place to prevent a maniac taking the helm.
 It also emerged at the trial that contrary to media reports at the time, Captain Corbyn did not abandon the ship. In fact he had been shouting that he would chain himself to the mast, directing the rescue operations.
 But survivors bundled the confused Captain into a lifeboat and lowered him into the sea. All attempts by him to get back on board were fiercely resisted.

 "Its inconceivable that basic political control structures were so incredibly lax and compromised that a person with almost no suitability or training could just take command. It was a happening waiting to become an accident."



Friday, 12 May 2017

Off He Went, with a Trumpety-Trump

Trump's modus operandi has been analysed in pretty compelling detail through Scott Adams' blog over the past couple of years, through Adams' "Persuader filter".  It's hard to buy everything Adams writes, but his thesis does have good explanatory value, and sometimes also predictive power, to boot.  Which is never a bad thing.  A number of you have said in comments that you've taken to reading his stuff.

Anyhow, before Adams gets to it himself I shall rehearse my own understanding of the Firing of Comey through that "filter".  Trump fired cruise missile strikes on Syria at the very time he was hosting Xi in Florida (and made a point of telling Xi what was happening, real-time); and then launched an earthquake bomb on some unsuspecting ISIS types just as the US was in talks with China over what to do about Fat Boy in North Korea (who has gone all quiet again, true to type).  Can anyone really say that either of those two gambits were clearly unproductive?  (Well, Simon Jenkins does, for a start - but he's a bit of a knee-jerker on such things.)  I'd say Trump-the-Persuader seems to have the measure of Xi a lot better than most.

This time, Trump fires Comey just before he meets Sergei Lavrov.  If that isn't as much as to say to Lavrov - hey, tavarish, I have just as much summary power as your boss Putin, including over the folks who are investigating possible links between my campaign team and your mob - then I don't know what else it could be.

Of course, he may find out that former FBI Directors have a retaliatory capability rather greater than that of hapless ISIS fighters caved-up in Afghanistan.  Being a more imaginative user of the levers of power than the average president doesn't represent any guarantee of success.  But we have to reckon there are many more out-of-left-field surprises to come from that source.  While those levers are still in his little hands, that is.

ND   

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Labour Manifesto is a real piece of work, but for who?

Really, where to start with this. After a very quick skim I can see they want to end probation in work, reduce the working year by 2% (4 extra days off), nationalise everything and break up the energy companies to boot.....the list is almost endless.


It reads like what it is, the wish list of a young socialist firebrand in the mid-1970's.


However, I can only see two reasons for its leak and both contradictory so my question for the day is which guess is correct?


1) The leadership leaked it so that the hard-left grasp of the party is maintained and to try to get it favourable headlines in the news (well, headlines at any rate). It shoots the fox of the centrists and shows the Left is in ascendency and in control for the foreseeable, this is all part of the longer term plan (to which the election is irrelevant) to finally keep control of Labour from the Left.


2) The right-wing shadow cabinet members leaked it, trying to undermine the leadership and also trying to show the Country what a bunch of loons are in control. They hope for a destruction at the election that will wake up their membership as to the state of things and the need to move back to centre and ditch the left.




It can only be one of the above answers as the leak was a motivated action, leaks don't happen on their own. So which one was it?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Can the EU force Euro-Clearing to move away from London?

In short, yes and no.


This will be topical as the EU is due to announce this week what it thinks it can do. The key point is that if they rule that all Euro-Clearing has to happen in the EU , then major banks will have to comply and so will move their operations from London.


One key issue I see is that even though this is aimed squarely at London, it will have to apply to all global jurisdictions - so it is a massive act of protectionism. Thus, in part, it will undermine the Euro as a world reserve currency if you can only clear it in London.


The EU thought about this level of idiocy with the Financial Transaction Tax - an idea that they really wanted to do in Brussels, which has now entered the realms of no longer being discussed officially as we blogged about last year.


This will be because self-inflicted wounds are not such a great idea and are not popular either.


With Euro-Clearing they may argue that hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs will come from London (again, let's all pretend automation is not happening people and already 80% of trades are fully automated even to settling!). So it can be sold domestically to the EU as screwing the UK - fine for Germany and France - but what do Italy and Spain get except a less fungible currency? Why will they go for this just because Brussels wants to show off?


Surely the UK can offer incentives to keep this business (not regulatory oversight) in terms of lowering transaction costs.


To me this issue is a very important one to watch for Brexit as it sums up the key dilemma  - screw the UK for political reasons or do a deal for rational economic ones. I think it might be a bellwether for the negotiations as a whole.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Misunderestimating the British

Ignorance concerning foreigners is hardly rare or new.   Maps of Africa used to portray people with two heads, and the average American can't identify a single other nation on a map of the world (I may be, errrr, exaggerating about foreigners there ...).  It's never good for the smooth functioning of international dealings.

In this fog of know-nothing, perhaps Continental ignorance about the British is unremarkable.  But it's there all right, and always has been - mostly by way of disbelief that such a coarse, unserious, ill-educated, piss-taking drunken rabble with a bizarre legal system could ever amount to much (let alone being Top Nation for more than a century).  To take a small example: I once read a German music critic being appalled that classical music in the UK, both at concerts and on recordings, is performed by players who are frequently brought together ad hoc, effectively as studio musicians and invited orchestras, rehearsing only for a few days.  The results, he wrote, can never compare with those of a great Continental orchestra, the members of which are unchanging from year to year and who rehearse for months before a major engagement.  Well, they couldn't be as good, could they?  It stands to reason.

And despite the apparent a priori logic of his protectionist, subsidy-demanding 'guild' position, you know what - ?  He's utterly wrong.  We know you don't understand it (like you don't understand financial markets etc etc etc).  But there it is.  It shouldn't work - but it does.

Here's a more serious example, from some Dane called Joris Luyendijk.
Brexit Britain can no longer be considered a serious country
For over a year now, virtually all signs coming out of London suggest that Europeans are not just bidding farewell to an EU member state. They must also come to grips with a future in which their neighbours across the Channel and the North Sea are no longer predictable or rational. Britain’s reputation for reliability is simply not reconcilable with the presence of Boris Johnson in the cabinet. The country’s reputation for stable government cannot be squared with the impending Brexit-induced chaos and upheaval in Scotland and Northern Ireland ... EU leaders decided to leak the proceedings of their dinner on Sunday with May in order to warn their own public about how irrational Britain has become. How the country believes itself to have the upper hand in a negotiation with a group of nations seven times its own size. How it wants to be part of the single market while refusing to recognise the authority of the European court governing that market. And, most alarmingly, how badly informed May still is about the practical consequences both of Brexit and of a no-deal crash out of the EU ... There is no escaping it: under the leadership of Theresa May the United Kingdom can no longer be considered a serious country.
You may yet live to amend your assessment, Mr Joris.  If we keep sheltering you under our military umbrella, that is.

ND
  

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Prince's imminent retirement

Related image
HRH Prince Jeremy Corbyn

News that the 95-year-old red prince, Jeremy Corbyn, may shortly be being retired has been greeted with dismay in North London, where Jeremy is thought to be a living God.
Locals now fear his retirement means he will never return to the tiny Socialist Island where the royal Jeremy and Queen Diane are part of the fabric of life in the global village of Islington.

Villagers pray to the 95-year-old red prince daily, asking for his blessing on the banana and yam crops, and avocado juice shakes, in the fair-trade hipster shops that make their once long ago extremely poor community self-sufficient.
This co-operative commune of these tribal people believe Jeremy to be the Messiah.

The locals worship the 95-year-old Corbyn. Criticism of him is blasphemy. Disrespect to the ancient pensioner could mean shame and banishment as a guest at the house feasts that are held in the evenings.The labour tribe have several old photos of Jeremy, including one dated 1983 of him in a shell suit, holding a drink made from ground beans.

Image result for corbyn shell suitThrough a fluent politically-correct speak interpreter, local village Chief Byron Malia told us  'The Great Jez' was a powerful figure. That he controlled the number and size of recycling bins permitted and ordanaced dog poo bins at park gates.
Mr Malia was speaking at the socialist village's micro-brewfest, a traditional meeting place where the men gather at night to drink highly unintoxicating kava-guava based glasses of beer..

'Prince Jeremy has said one day he will come and visit us again,' said Mr Malia, who was born in 1964 but self-identifies as 'forty-something.'
'We still believe that the great man will come back to us after his far travels to our brothers in Hackney and Hounslow. But if he doesn't come back, the pictures that I am holding... it means something to us."
Image result for corbyn shorts
"But what it means, I do not know."

According to local legend, Prince Jez is the very pale-skinned son of the people, Royal God King, who once ventured across the seas to look for a powerful ethnic tribal woman to marry.

 'Prince Beardy is important to us because our ancestors told us that part of our custom is to believe any old nonsense we are told. Like small children,' said Mr Malia, who took over from his father as village hall chief in 2003.

Islington is a very primitive area. Situated in the northern Zone 2 region.
 The indigenous media and marketing folk survive on a simple diet of chickpeas, kale, berries, and mustard seeds. Much of this shy, naive population live clustered together in converted tall brick buildings. Often with only a few square meters space of space for an entire family. And just a shared, communal, tiny strip of grass which they use to grow vegetables.

A large number bake their own bread and make their own yogurts and a flavourless ice-cream from root vegetables. Our interpreter advised us that
 "These people eat the sorts of foods that we, outside this society, would happily throw away. But here, they are sought after. Even though they are very expensive to buy. This J√≠cama, for example. It tastes like carpet tile glue. But in this village just one of these hipster turnips will fetch up to £6.90. Its no wonder they never stop talking about foodbanks.They have no understanding of internal combustion and travel everywhere by bicycle."


Many of the women wear traditional hemp grass skirts with their bra-less chests adorned with chunky silver jewellery. While the men, clothed in old t-shirts and ill fitting baggy pants, sport impressive, Islamic looking beards and brightly coloured eye-glasses.

Asked whether the Corby's blessings would help with the tropical storm of coming Tory cuts that often batter the area, Mr Malia said the was sure it would. Chief Byron Malia told us:


Which is all in the official Labour party manifesto.

Friday, 5 May 2017

local elections 2017

Summary

  1. The Conservatives gain more than 560 seats, and control of 11 councils
  2. Labour loses more than 380 seats, and control of seven councils, including Glasgow
  3. The Liberal Democrats lose 41 seats
  4. UKIP loses 145 seats - every one it was defending so far, gaining a solitary seat from Labour in Lancashire
  5. Plaid Cymru gains 33 seats in Wales
  6. Conservatives win 'metro' mayor races in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Tees Valley, West of England and West Midlands, Labour wins Greater Manchester and Liverpool City
  7. A total of 4,851 council seats are up for grabs in 88 councils - all of those in Scotland and Wales and 34 in England
What strategy should Mother May follow now? 
What should she do with her defeated opponents ? Invite them in to a Strong and Stable Brexit coalition ?

Or




Thursday, 4 May 2017

I saw The Prime Minister's speech yesterday and thought only of this









Perhaps a fellow Tory MP could give her a watch engraved with "Don't let the buggers get you down" to remind her of the hard times ahead.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Osborne's First Day In The Job

The whole of Westminster will perpetually have an eye out for the Boy Genius, just as they did for Boris over the long years when he was Mayor.  (And Osborne probably doesn't want to wait around at the Standard for as long as 8 years.)

So it's mildly interesting to read two things in yesterday's edition - his first as editor.  There's his Leader article (geddit?) which, frankly, is not terribly illuminating.  "Freedom and Optimism"!  Well, he knew everyone would be reading it.

Much more interesting is the service he's done to the cause of optimism by publishing this, from Anthony Hilton
Hit from hard Brexit could be softer than feared  
... in which he reports on a serious attempt to do better analysis of the impact of WTO terms, etc, than the Treasury did as part of Project Fear last year.  Yes, he specifically has a go at Project Fear and the Treasury - as it was under Osborne, of course.

Have a read.  Perhaps this will be an interesting 8 years ...

ND

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Time to focus real key downsides in a 'Hard' Brexit?

There are, according to the slightly strange Peter North, over 300 agreements covered by EU Law that the UK will need to deal with post-Brexit.


With the mood music from Brussels turning from chilly to freezing over the past few days, we have to understand that there is no 'Soft' Brexit option. Indeed, the only questions should be from the reverse perspective. What are the key issues that will really de-stablisise the UK post-Brexit that we need to focus on, rather than the enormous list of important but not urgent stuff.


For me 5 stand out above all others -


1. People - We need to give people in the UK stability, at the end of the day, we need to allow all EU citizens in the UK by the time indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Ideally, we would have reciprocal arrangements with the EU, but if not then so be it - the damage here is one sided and people who left the UK in the first place should not be a deal-breaker.


2. Airspace - This is complex and we will likely leave the agreed EU area, companies need to prepare for this (probably easier from them to move their HQ, a la the Banks) so that air traffic is not grounded. The are work-arounds to the problems and it does not suit the EU to have the Western Air Corridor in a mess, but this is a key day to day process that needs arranging.


3. Euratom - The EU energy agency and policy is something to be avoided at all costs, however in the immediate term we do need a cover of some sort of transitional arrangement to keep options open and the nuclear industry as is working. I personally don't see being a rule taker from the EU on this as being so bad for 5 years or more from now. By the mid-2020's Fracking, Solar, Wind and ultra-cheap US LNG imports will mean it is likely Europe asking us for power rather than the other way around. There is so much cheap LNG coming on stream that there is no long-term problem. The real problem lies with our own energy policy however, which is a deranged as the EU one!


4. Irish Border - This does need a solution that does its best to avoid a hard border. Even the EU want to agree this so hopefully this is one area where sense can prevail. A real hard EU approach will be to demand Ireland becomes one country and stoke new civil war, it feels unlikely but remains a possibility if we can't agree.


5. Trade - WTO trade is not so bad for the UK and we can adapt, however various commissions like the Chemical regulations could provide a shock to the economy and so some of the manufacturing businesses supply lines will be threatened.




There are many more issues around legal standing, drugs regulation etc which while seemingly critical, I don't think matter day one of a hard brexit and we will, as ever, muddle through.


Time to focus on the few key matters, at least we will have the £60 billion to spend on various things having not paid the exit fee!