Thursday 15 June 2017

That's another fine mess you've gotten me into.

As CU says, what a mess. Too weak to govern. Too strong to give up. And an opposition too weak to govern and too strong to not want to try.
Plus a preferred coalition partner that could cause more problems than they solve. 

John Major made the point that the Belfast Agreement specifically states no single political party in Northern Ireland can receive favourable treatment from the UK government. Awkward.
Johnnie M might be an arch remainer, determined to scupper any Brexit, but even his wet Toryism doesn't want to see the Corbyn Comintern Co-operative Progressives raising the red flag over number ten.And he does know a thing or two about northern Irish politics and treaties and how very likely they are to unravel over a grievance.

So, a signed up agreement is probably a worse idea than not signing the DUP up.
Which means instability.

What are the realistic options?
Going for another election immediately, or even this year, would probably result in a no more favourable result and possibly a much worse one. Its also an option available anytime. When better alternatives have failed. Bottom of the pile for this idea.

What is actually needed is a stronger alliance. With people who share similar values. And won't be too demanding and excitable. Blairites would be ideal! But they are long gone.

The SNP would be destroyed forever by any association of any kind with their English Overlords. No matter how many airports Theresa promises, it won't be enough to convince any of the SNP to take the bribe. Forget them.

Which leaves the Liberals. 12 MPs. That, plus the implied support of the DUP, is good enough. Slightly better than it was before the election.
The problem is, the Tories invited the Liberals into coalition before. It didn't work out well for them. 
And ended with a bloodbath of murdered Liberal MPS, struck down by their former friends,the  treacherous Tories, that would make a good season finale for Game of Thrones.
The Yellow Wedding.

However, there is a faint, faint possibility that the Liberals could be tempted into a con-sup arrangement.

Firstly, the Liberals need to be made aware that most of their misfortunes following the coalition, were of their own making. The Conservatives never told them to put free tuition fees into their manifesto. When Cameron said "Sure..if you like," to the Liberal's key demand, referendum on proportional voting, that was their choice. Not Cameron's. They wanted the green energy ministry. They were welcome to it.
If they hadn't spent decades being duplicitous, hypocritical, two faced liars, it might have worked out better for them.

Unlikely as they are to want to join their former abusers, who not only took all their seats in 2015, but now also want to leave their beloved European Union, the Liberals just might, might, think again.

They have just dropped their ineffective and unpromising leader. They will have a better one in any of their four main favourites. Davey. Lamb. Swinson. Cable.
Their Remoaner strategy that we looked at here, has failed. 
Failed badly. Its not the future.
Scottish unionism is a viable strategy. Soft brexit nonsense, is a fantasy that will play better than rejoin-remain did. It needs much more thought and detail and proper proposals. But it won't be dismissed now like it would have been two weeks ago, by a newly desperate Theresa May.

The Liberals could, for their support, on a limited time, limited offer basis, achieve two key aims. And could, with the right leader, recover much of the respect they have lost.
It does take great courage and vision. Not something normally associated with the Liberal Democrats.

The pitch is this.

1. A seat on Brexit negotiations. As part of the government's official team. A seat and a voice and a vote. This needs to be realistic. There can't be a veto of Brexit. But there could be a vote on yes/no/try again. Doesn't have to be viable. Just has to be able to look like it could be viable.

2. Free tuition fees.
Actual, delivered, free tuition fees for university students. 
£36-40 billion is an estimate of what that would cost. In the fine print it can be taken lower. EU and foreign students pay more. The worst 20 universities must close. A certain number of made up Mickey-Mouse subjects can be excluded from the offer. Free school meals scrappage in the small print too. Very small. Right at the back.

The U-turn explanation is, the people clearly wanted it. And its already free in Germany. 
And all the major and minor  parties already agree.

The existing student debt will be sucked in to this too. And that may have to be written off too.
Austerity is over. Gordonomics is back. 'Investing isn't really spending. And investing in our natural resources, which is people, is the priority of government for a sustainable future .'.Yada yada yada.

But think of the headlines!

"Liberal Democrats, under new leader Jo Swxxxx, have already delivered the impossible. A free higher education for all. This isn't some Corbyn fantasy manifesto. Its a real commitment that will be debated on in 2018 and enacted in 2019. Enacted by the government in power. 
Not by some possible future government but the real one. One that this time, the liberal democrats can remove themselves from at any time, if this proposed bill on free higher education is not delivered. A victory for every aspiring young person in the land."

Its the easiest possible sell in government. 

Corbyn has already promised it. he can't back out. All the progressives want it and are already signed up. Scotland already has it. So no more one rule for us one for them. Students want it. The middle class, should-be, Tory voters,parents of middle class students want it also.
If the Tories don't do it now, next time Corbyn will say he will. And his tricky new problem of the youth won't have been addressed.

Say that £80 billion is coming out of the future sale of the banks - RBS and Bradford and Bingley. And the EU payments we won't be making. And by not paying the £100 bn EU divorce bill. 
Beneficially this forces the Libbers to be more realistic about Brexit. Fixes some of the yoof issue for a while. And youth opposition to Brexit. You can be in the EU or have a free education - You choose.
Next election held during the summer holiday period is the other genie bottle stuffing plan for reducing this new, young demographic.

Anyway, as a result of just £50 billion in free stuff with an ongoing £25-£30 billion a year cost to education, TM will have got out of the hole she dug herself and will be marginally better off than before she jumped into it.

About the same as paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in total, for each coming year.
Or a 10%  hike in VAT.

Or, as Jeremy himself proposes, stick it on the nation's Mastercard. Just pay the interest. And let someone else in the future say "This is another fine mess they got me into."


Anonymous said...

Cheers BQ. Quick response as i'm err.. being dragged to the pub.

In my speculations as to how shit this is, i've reached a plateau of - well, it could be a damn sight worse. Considering manifestos are total cobblers both before, during and after elections and governments these days are well and truly into mission creep. I've come to the conclusion - fuck 'em, with knobs on.

So what if they do bugger all for the next few years (Brexit aside - which, let's face it, has always been strategically oriented around guesswork) then happy days.

It's similar to what the Mogg said, the British people have decided they don't want a majority government and I for one, have been thoroughly infuriated with them for years.

As soon as Cammo took over he fucked the Health Service a bit for no perceivable objective other than Lansley used to be his boss and thought he was smarter than he is. Nah, fuck 'em. I've got my house to do up and for the first time in my life, have grown rather bored of it all. A period of dignified hot air and bluster but without authority isn't really a bad thing I think.

Anywho - to the boozer for a deliciously chilled lager top with beads of icy cold condensation dripping down the side whilst lovely ladies frollick in their summer dresses! (Err..for the record - that ain;t gonna happen - the pint maybe, the frollicking most unlikely)


Anonymous said...

May will have to govern on a cross-party basis. Not anything like a Grand Coalition, but only introduce policies which are unopposeable. That probably means giving chairs to Labour, SNP and LibDems on the Brexit committee. It means throwing nearly all the manifesto committments in the bin. It probably means lots more spending, but it could mean some uncontroversial tax rises and reforms too: maybe a rise in the NI UEL and a commission on tax reforms or something. A cross-party working-group on social care and NHS reform.

If done right, this balanced Parliament could be a success. But May needs to learn how to be consensual FAST, and needs to learn the language of the Left FAST. And the red-blooded swivel-eyed Brexiters need to feel chastened.

Steven_L said...

Well I'm starting to think Whateverhisnameis might be right and the powers that be have penciled in a nice recession for the UK, to teach the plebs a lesson.

So an unstable Parliament with a nice dig dollop of uncertainty it is then.

Anonymous said...

Not a bad idea BQ - especially as most projections for student loan debt indicate quite a lot of it won't be getting paid back. That degree in History is worth less than the Nail Technician one, the latter will at least be working somewhere other a Tesco cheese counter for the foreseeable, and likely on more than the minimum wage, and I doubt either will end up paying anything close to the value of their loan before it is written off.

Whether the LibDems will go for it is another thing, they seem completely phobic to governing.

@Anon 4:16 - agree, May needs to learn to play nicely. Her sacking of David Jones indicates that hasn't quite sunk in yet.

Anonymous said...

The degree in history may not lead to a specific job, but those talking-and-writing subjects are cheap to run and subsidise the expensive subjects like engineering or industrial design.

And many employers don't care what the subject of a degree was, as they will have to train the ex-student anyway. What they see is somebody who can stick with a regular task for three years and come out with a completed project.

So it isn't so simple as "dump the silly degrees".

Don Cox

BE said...

Hi all been away from here for a bit because most of you are as mad as a box of Eurofrogs, but it is nice to see - scanning through the comments - that I am apparently personally responsible for the houseprice "bubble", declining living standards, towerblock fires and Guy Verhofstadt.

I am not sure how this works as actually I am fairly low-leveraged, live modestly, save a huge proportion of my income and rarely eat avocados.

Anyway, I agree with anon above that May needs to lead an uncontroversial government. A colleague points out on Brexit that we took 40 years to get in, why should we expect to be fully out in two? What is wrong with what the media are calling a "reverse EFTA", where we stay in the single market for the moment, and drift away as we find we want to do things differently or not join new initiatives etc.?

David Allen Green had a very interesting article in the FT yesterday suggesting that perhaps we should have stopped integrating when Maastricht was on the table. If we'd stayed in the EEC at that stage and let the others roll on with political integration then all might have been happier. We could still achieve something like that with a bit of nous and sensible negotiation.

I still, a year on from the referendum, can't get excited about our net contributions to the EU budget. As a proportion of UK spending they are tiny. A bit of cash to grease the wheels is perfectly acceptable in my book.

In the longer term we need a new party of government. The Tory brand is now too tarnished. The LDs are a joke and the Labour party has been fully taken over. See Peter Mandelson for details. So we need a Centre Party, or a Consensus Party or a Moderate Party. I realise that such a party will not appeal to most of the readers here, so the nutters can go back away to UKIP.

andrew said...

A good start but what is needed is some way of fixing the unemployment stats once brexit has happened.

0 tuition fees helps the under 30s

You need something in there for adult education - reskilling the grownups so we can all become web designers and php programmers when those city jobs.

Age, sex, ethnicity, background, breathing - none of these should be a barrier to the opportunity to grow a stupid beard.

BE said...

PS I would love to know how on Earth May et al. are supposed to have conspired to do just well enough to be the largest party but not enough to win a majority, in order to engineer some kind of Breverse. If you think about it for more than about four seconds you will realise how impossible such a conspiracy would be.

Steven_L said...

...most of you are as mad as a box of Eurofrogs ... So we need a Centre Party, or a Consensus Party or a Moderate Party

In other words a party that agrees with you and your liberal, London, muesli munching, metrosexual, ft fake-news reading point of view?

Face it Be, your boat has been called in, the crazy frog party(s) is taking over!

BE said...

Not really, as I quite like free trade and free competition, and don't particularly like muesli or the FT. But I can be bothered to open my eyes and realise that nobody is ever going to win a majority espousing my point-of-view so I would much rather have pragmatic centrists in charge than unrealistic David Davis types or downright dangerous wolf-in-sheeps's clothing McDonells.

I am pretty worried about what might happen, and as amusing as it is to spout off on blogs what we could really use is people calming the hell down. On all sides.

CityUnslicker said...

I dunno BE.

It is a FACT that the Tories were complacent, they knew the manifesto would reduce their lead - THEY WANTED TO TRADE OFF SUPPORT FOR TOUGH POLICIES.

they all say this...but then they are saying, crap, oops, we thought we would lose 5% from 50% not 8% and cause a Labour surge. Bugger.

But in reality, they achieved their aim, they did indeed shed lots of support. So to me it is incontrovertible that they wanted a small majority.

From there one can start the hardcore conspiracy theorising down the pub...anyone up for that by the way?

Sandalista said...

Hate to burst your bubble but those pesky LimpDums won't be joining the party.

The calculations are correct - too weak to govern, too strong not to try. So it's going to be a long painful process until events suggest there is the chance for a dash for power.

In the meantime, the pain will be excruciating especially with the DUP in tow - or is it in control.

May wanted the poison chalice of being PM during Brexit. She forgot to see it was catering size.

Enjoy your time in charge.

PS What happened to that forecast that UKIP would have more votes than us?

BE said...

CU the *same* people were saying *simultaneously* that a huge majority for May would enable her to "dilute" Brexit and that a small/no majority would enable her to dilute Brexit. The problem for many on here is that they are too self-unaware to realise how bizarre they seem to others.

I am up for the pub. The good thing about the pub is that none of the real weirdos can ever quite pluck up the courage to leave their houses and schlep into town.

Charlie said...

Pub is a good idea. It's sunny outside. A few nice cold ones in a beer garden (or, in London, on a pavement) would be larvely.

Electro-Kevin said...

Brexit was thrown deliberately.

We got May - a Remainer - and were assured that this was because she was the only Tory capable of doing it.

"Don't worry. She's a safe pair of hands."

And I believe she was... if you like the EU, mass immigration, Yuman Rights act...

This is blindingly obvious except to those who refuse to see.

Electro-Kevin said...

BE 5.10 (Great to see you back !)

The degree to which Brexit was thrown was incidental. I don't think May was aiming for Cult of Corbyn (CoC) to do so well. I think she was hoping for another Lib/Con coalition.

A fuck up - but the aim was never to achieve a Brexit mandate (which she already had !!!!)

Now we're having CoC waved in our faces.

BE said...

This conspiracy theory still does not stack up. On a practical level how on Earth could it be organised? They would need the collusion of the polling companies, media, and so on. Unless you are saying they stuffed the ballot boxes? And then paid people to lie to the exit poll people? No.

Second, how could the likes of Davis, Boris, Fallon and others stand for it? How would the conspiracy be brought about without someone either leaking or whistle-blowing? No.

Holding the election made sense because the majority in the Commons was slim and getting things through might have been difficult. The Lords would not have felt the need to let things through because none of this was in anyone's 2015 manifesto and the LDs hold a lot of sway in the Lords.

Let us get this absolutely clear: the election was a perfectly good thing to do, but Team May totally screwed it up. They underestimated Team Corbyn, they didn't realise how fed up of "austerity" plenty of people are, they didn't realise that voters don't like to be taken for granted, they forgot that voters like to give governments kickings. A total screw up by people who should have known all of those things, but not some careful cynical plan to stop Brexit.

You would all serve yourselves a lot better if you stopped being so paranoid 24/7. Open the curtains and get some vitamin D for chrissake.

Anonymous said...

Confucius he say "man with thin skin ill-advised to abuse people with "nutters", "mad" etc"

CU - I thought we were all agreed that the "May threw it to derail Brexit" theory was unlikely, on the ground that it implied a level of competence for which no evidence exists?

Now that everything is up in the air and fiscal responsibility is old hat, my wild suggestion is that May does a deal with Corbyn to scrap student loans in exchange for Brexit support, which would leave the Blairite Remainers (still a majority of the PLP) in a difficult position. They'd probably demand another leadership contest, which he'd win with an even bigger majority,

BE said...

Confucious also say blog commenter who says everything straightforward usually incredibly stupid or lying.

Electro-Kevin said...

It didn't require a conspiracy. Who's talking about a conspiracy ?

To make a success of Brexit = Work very hard at Brexit.

To sabotage Brexit = simply don't work very hard at Brexit.

No conspiracy theory. Her heart is not in it and that's all it takes to fuck up Brexit - manifest in the fact that ... woops ! She's fucked up Brexit.

After her appointment she delayed and prevaricated on the letter giving Remain time to regroup and develop tactics.

When the Miller/High Court case failed (and we thought we were through) she sent the letter but dropped more Brexit risk and prevarication in the form of a completely unecessary General Election and then gave us the most laclustre campaign ever mounted in history and huge amounts of time for Remain to get their act together.

I expect her unspoken aim was to weaken her hard Brexit mandate a bit rather than try to strengthen it as claimed (I stated this many times) - I do think she's shocked at the energised Corbyn movement that she's achieved. Oversteer. Not conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

@BE - easy dude

@EK - nah, all European governments operate through coalitions. This is almost like proportional representation but without the bullshit - a wonderfully British fudge.


Anonymous said...

OT, but I hear on R4 this morning that among the victims of the Kensington fire was a young Italian couple who had been in the UK only three months. How does that work? Are my kids wasting their money on private London rentals? Are council flats so easy to get? Not the impression I've had at all.

andrew said...

From there one can start the hardcore conspiracy theorising down the pub...anyone up for that by the way?

Your choice of venue is telling. A PUB in LONDON - a large PORT CITY
It is clear it was all a conspiracy between tim wetherspoon, the forsythes and the symingtons.

andrew said...

You might say the forsythes are mostly not based in LONDON but as any fule kno, that is just what they WANT you to think.

L fairfax said...

It could have an ex council flat that was let out privately
"OT, but I hear on R4 this morning that among the victims of the Kensington fire was a young Italian couple who had been in the UK only three months. How does that work? "
On topic
"Johnnie M might be an arch remainer"
Ironically his ERM debacle did more to help than anything else.
@"John Major made the point that the Belfast Agreement specifically states no single political party in Northern Ireland can receive favourable treatment from the UK government."
How would that work with Corbyn as PM?

L fairfax said...

Here is an example of a similar flat on the market

Electro-Kevin said...

L Fairfax - This is the dream excuse they've been waiting for - a mass dispersal of council tenants from London free of the tag 'social cleansing.'

These homings cost the government a fortune.

dearieme said...

The Fenians might be fussing about the DUP because they're seeking an excuse to turn up and vote with the Terrorists' Friend.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

You're doing the Fenians a disservice. They wore uniforms, bearing their weapons openly, and fought honourably unlike those murdering bastards in PIRA.

Electro-Kevin said...

Returning to conspiracy theories...

My only conspiracy theory is this: In any organisation - if you desire a given outcome, all that is needed is to place people in senior positions who are of like mind. Thereafter their reaction and direction will default to your agenda.

Remain politicians assured Leave voters that they were only putting Leaver May in charge because of her competence.

Now it's mission accomplished we are being told "Oops. It's because she's incompetent." Pull the other one.

We may as well have had Leadsome, Johnson, Gove after all.

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh. We're back in 1981, 2011 with angry black "community spokesmen" threatening "serious anger on the streets". Is the best way to campaign for more sprinkler systems - to set buildings alight and loot mobile phone shops?

Steven_L said...

all that is needed is to place people in senior positions who are of like mind.

Exactly, a 'conspiracy' wouldn't need to go further than May and probably Hammond within the tory party. What could the rest of them have done? Said they didn't want an election and refused to cooperate with the PM? Launched a leadership challenge? Over-ruled the PM on her manifesto mid-election?

The globalists would have only needed to lean on one or two key people if that's what happened.

Steven_L said...

And I'm not sure spinklers are very effective when it comes to electrical fires that spread via a flammable outer cladding.

MySpeculativeName said...

This election has severely weakened Britain.

The EU are going to use the Irish question to break the UK govt.
Brexit negotiations are thus fatally compromised.

I expect a statement from the EU that the 'ideal' Irish arrangement is a United Ireland and this will be one of their negotiating 'red lines' or somesuch. Some bullshit about hard borders, territorial integrity etc...

This will split the UK govt because the Tories dont really give a shit, the DUP will have a fit and Labour are largely agnostic on the matter.
So massive leverage right at the heart of govt and therefore Brexit negotiations right there.

If the pragmatists agree to a UI even as part of a settlement, the Gov will need Labour support to push it through, leaving NI as part of the EU while UK leaves.
The Scots, of course will not accept this at all, so a second ref or a UDI will occur.
If the Scots declare Independence before a 'UI' Brexit is completed, they could legitimately claim similar status to NI and demand to remain in the EU.
That would be hard to ignore.

Personally, I think the situation with Russia will deteriorate before that and put Brexit in the shade. Of course this requires some pissing into the Russians tent as a provocation.... any world leader capable of that?