Thursday 9 November 2017


It is boring writing that these days.

But still, just today we have:

- Priti Patel resigning for a failure to understand the difference between work, fundraising and holidays.

- The EU making the usual threatening noises, now purely focused on saying the UK is not offering enough money. Really, these are a nasty bunch to negotiate with and we are well shot of them in due course.

- A railway strike over literally nothing at all. No real safety issues, no staff issues and only really a silly attempt to get more pay.

- More 'scandal' over the supposed sexual mores of politicians over the past 30 years.

It is amazing how quickly a Country can fall into a such a mess when leadership is so weak. However, there is no time for a change of PM at the moment.

It is hard to know what to do, perhaps a massive re-shuffle is on order after the budget? There seem to be a few people to promote and the current cabinet are not cutting it so best maybe to go for a big change. I guess the 'sex' scandal is making it hard to know who to pick at the moment....


Sebastian Weetabix said...

"No time for a change of PM"

I could not disagree more. She is weak, she is indecisive, she is incompetent. When we get to the 11th hour of the negotiations she will cave & it will cost us tens of billions. She must go.

When in someone is not up to it, they must go, *especially* when you are in the middle of a crisis.

Demetrius said...

How about a New Deal to coin a phrase?

Anonymous said...

Patel is one to watch. Could she be the first PM from a minority community (British Indian) and financed by a minority faith (the chosen ones). And a woman to boot.

But her contribution to date has been to exposed the sort of corruption that goes on with "development" funds such as giving money to an occupying army for "humanitarian" purposes; funding India which has it's own space programme; and giving money to the Chinese now the second wealthiest nation on earth.

And Boris said she did a good job.

Can't be enough of a clear out at Westminster, starting at the top.

Anonymous said...

Probably best to let it run for a bit longer before a re-shuffle.
Allows for the new un-promoted talent to figure out how to fix it.
The new backbenchers are almost like an opposition in waiting to the current car crash cabinet.

Electro-Kevin said...

What sex scandal ? Knee patting ???

The BBC etc are out to get the Tories.

It's whether Mrs May can handle it any longer. I know I wouldn't be happy about my wife going through this and would be encouraging her to quit.

(The rail disputes are more about saving mates' jobs than money. The money was already there for the taking. Quite honourable really.)

CityUnslicker said...

EK - what jobs are under threat? The rail companies are hiring people. The strike is about bringing down the government pure and simple.

Steven_L said...

Aren't strikes about saving other folks jobs 'secondary strikes' and therefore illegal?

I remember ND telling us Mayor Khan is a 'transactional' type of politician. Ms Patel strikes me as having similar inclinations.

Although personally I don't see the problem with giving aid to the Israeli army to provide refugee camps as long as it is ring fenced and actually providing extra capacity to assist refugees.

Assisting refugees is bread and butter aid and development work surely?

andrew said...

The key thing was that
PP lied to the PM and so will be rather tainted for some time to come as who can trust her?
and thinking that giving the IDF money (for any reason) was a good idea
and actually being physically present as a govt minister in the golan heights
shows she lacks political nous

- and unlike BJ she is not charming enough to be incompetent.

On the permacrisis we seem to be in, well, it seems to be the new normal.

Electro-Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Electro-Kevin said...

"EK - what jobs are under threat? The rail companies are hiring people. The strike is about bringing down the government pure and simple."

Ah. Well that's different to money being the objective as originally stated.

Yes. I'm inclined to agree that the Executive are motivated by politics but the rank-and-file have been seduced by the romanticism of protecting their workmates. We have seen it before on the railway. A reclassification of duties, a change of title and then "Oh. We're short today. We'll send this train guardless" and so it comes in by stealth.

On the manning of trains - it all depends on the quality of the staff. Where I am it's very good for the passengers and where I was before (inner Londons) it was very bad for them.

Anonymous said...

If the BBC are out to get the Tories that'll explain why, errr, Two Jags offspring and Carl Sargeant's death were on the front until Pritti "stupid" Patel managed to get them moved back to the politics section with her own actions.

Every time the bad news spotlight moves towards Labour, the Tories manage to yank it back - apparently under the illusion that it is a good thing. That's not a conspiracy, it is depressing stupidity from the Tories. May is merely the tip of the fuckwitberg, and the other 8/9ths have no intention of remaining out of sight underwater.

As for the train strikes, I've no doubt there are a few cro-magnon Union types drooling at trying to bring the government down, but with > 2 carriage trains they've a point on safety. Two incidents in Scouse City made me change my mind on that. I'm fine with driver-only trains on a 2 carriage setup, more than that and you need a conductor.

And now we've the EU applying pressure.

Do we have any actual adults in Westminster? Or is just a type of kindergarten for every soft-headed prick with a doctorate in royally fucking things up?

Electro-Kevin said...

Anon - the BBC seems gleeful in its "how long can the May Gov't last ?" reportage - it's definitely giving knee-patting an equivalence with indecent assault.

You're right about carriages but my personal objection to DOO is to do with faults and failures. Whilst getting out and inspecting, pulling isolating cocks etc I already have three way comms to contend with (signaller, control & fleet) it makes it difficult having a fourth (passenger announcements and onward connection info.) I've done it before but it does add further delay and pressure in an already stressed situation when blocking a busy mainline.

Also - you can't deal with a person who's pressed 'Call for Aid' in the loo on the move in a DOO set up. The train has to be stopped.

hovis said...

E-K - around DOO - not sure if they are going ahead as the govt. tried to sink them with legal costs, but the ABC (Association of British Commuters)* were looking at a court case over accessibility re DOO. In other words - how the f*ck is someone in a wheelcahair supposed to get on a a DOO train from an unmanned station? This would be common in my part of Sussex, but of course metrolpolitan M25 dwellers will mumble meaninglessly about "progress" and "technology" neither of which offer anything, working cameras or not.

*who forced Grayling to fine (paltry though it was) and censure Southern or be forced to judicial review.

andrew said...

... what crisis

I think I might have learnt something today
(possible paywall)

Trade is not dependent on trade deals – as our many purchases of Chinese goods illustrate. Countries from across the world, many much smaller than the UK, profitably trade with the EU. Some have trade deals, many do not. The term ‘no deal’ is a misnomer as these countries will testify. If negotiations prove fruitless, the UK will be a senior member of the WTO when it leaves the EU in 2019.

The WTO is well known to us. Not only did the UK help to establish its predecessor, but we are already members – as is the EU. But our voice and vote is subsumed within the EU’s while we remain an EU member. The EU does not have free trade agreements with China, India, the US, Brazil and many other of the UK’s trading partners – our trade with these therefore already depend on WTO tariffs and rules.

We should also remember that investment is about relative advantage. The UK’s low tax regime, balanced labour policies, open economy and skilled workforce are just some of its advantages. Low WTO tariffs are dwarfed by the much higher continental corporation tax rates, let alone inflexible market practices. It is no coincidence that the EU historically has endured low relative growth rates and high unemployment.

Whether there is a deal or not, opportunities abound once we leave. We will be free to negotiate our own trade deals. If Australia can negotiate such deals with China, South Korea and Japan, all within 18 months, then so can the UK. The introduction of a controlled but fairer immigration policy, one that no longer discriminates against the rest of the world, will enable us to better attract the world’s talent – including Europe’s. And we will no longer be obliged to impose high tariffs on food imports from the rest of the world.

Of course a good trade deal with the EU would be preferable – lower tariffs globally encourage prosperity. It is in the EU’s interest given their sizeable trade surplus and therefore net tariff costs of billions of pounds should WTO rules apply. There are signs that the penny is dropping – politicians and industrialists are now reining in the more ideologically-driven European Commission. However, it would be utterly naive not to prepare to embrace WTO rules when we leave. No deal is better than a bad deal – any other approach would facilitate a poorer outcome.