Tuesday 30 April 2019

Lenin Stirs

Not that I'm obsessed with Lenin - just making sure we keep a sensible eye out for relevant historical precedents.

The story so far: the Brexit vote convinced the semi-dormant UK Marxist-Leninist tendency that perhaps the Revolution was just around the corner.  This is because Marx teaches that the Big R comes when the masses intuitively understand that things are so bad for the 99% that Any Change Whatsoever in the political disposition must be for the better.  The referendum, they think, signalled just such a phenomenon.  (We must of course skate lightly over the complete absence of a whole slew of other preconditions stipulated by Marx.  But that's no problem: they've been doing that for 150 years now.)

By dint of the decay of the People's Party, and boosted by May's criminally crass GE campaign of 2017, it happens that a bunch of actual Marxists rule the roost in Labour.  Corbs himself is an idle bastard but there are several, McDonnell being the most prominent, who would seriously fancy their chances as Leninists, the energetic midwives of Revolution, Paul to Marx's Christ.

What signs are we looking for?  Lenin was a tactician of genius, with Wellington's eye for an accurate assessment of a situation, both overall and as things developed dynamically.  Fortune favours the prepared mind - most specifically, when that mind is allied to the ability to identify the moment, seize the moment and execute decisively.  

Lenin prescribed "the strictest loyalty to the ideas of communism [plus] an ability to make all the necessary practical compromises - to tack, make agreements, zigzags, retreats, and so on".  In the run-up to October 1917, he also insisted that the bolsheviks promise the masses everything they wanted - the big stuff: food, land, peace - however undeliverable.  At that very moment (April 1917) the mensheviks and the 'social revolutionaries' (the peasant party) were involving themselves with the first post-Tsar government and were accordingly much more concerned about the practicalities and responsibilities of actually delivering.  Their promises were modest.  Come October and the bolsheviks swept all before them.

We don't need to stretch the facts too much to draw the parallels.  In their first outing in the 2017 manifesto, the Corbynites tried a Big Promise - tuition fees - with evident success; and even bigger ones are presumably in the pipeline, doubtless including the fatuous "zero carbon by 2025".  No shortage of tacking and zigzagging either, with the government on a piece of string over the "Brexit deal negotiations".  (And what are the Tories doing?  Publishing Damian Green's earnest report on financing old-age care with an "old age tax"!)

If this thesis is correct we can expect some truly boggling broad-brush promises in Labour's euro-manifesto, plus of course what everyone has long predicted for the "negotiations" - i.e. complete bad faith.  There might also be some 'agreements' with various of the other greenish-reddish players, but only of the most limited, short-lived, expedient kind.  I'd also guess, though, that the real Leninists (Milne et al) will continue to fortify Corbyn's refusal to back R2, whether or not this does them any good in other respects.

That's the great thing about Leninists.  Once they lock in on whatever they consider really important, they are unwavering.  For all the zig and zag on the periperals and the trivia, there will be some things on which they won't be moved.  They love a good piece of devious treachery; but they also love a good bit of utter intransigence.  "Strictest loyalty."  For good or ill.  Can be a strength: but not always ... 


Monday 29 April 2019

Danske Bank scandal buried in Europe

Last year a huge scandal was uncovered. The Danish bank, Danske Bank, had bought a few years earlier an Estonian Bank. This bank was being used as a piggy bank for various Russian Oligarchs. Danske took over, promptly saw that the moving of hundreds of millions to the West via the Bank was the only source of profit and decided to look the other way, or to find ways of making that business feel compliant.

Eventually, this was discovered and the Bank looked to be in deep trouble for breaching Money Laundering regulations. But the European Banking Authority has reviewed the report published into all the above shenanigans and closed the case. It has said that although there were failings there was not wrong-doing.

The obvious conclusion to this is that the Board members of the EBA are other National Bank regulators and they have concluded that their own banks may well be doing this, so it is best to make sure there is no punishment for this, as they and their own countries will be next.

Interestingly then, the EU commissioner, Valdis Domrbovskis, is infuriated with this decision, as are many Euro MEP's. They want to see the report and see some action. They will see action of course, but it will be by the US who will no doubt decide on massive fines for money laundering.

It is an interesting case of supra-national governance failure. More akin to Fifa than anything else, where the members pretend to be upholders of justice but in reality vote for their own interests alone. Notably the EU does not have its own Banking regulator - maybe it needs to give the ECB come teeth?

More worryingly perhaps is that Denmark and Estonia should be worried about their own houses and reputation for Financial Affairs, but will now hide behind this ruling. All this rule by international, undemocratic and unaccountable bodies seems not to be the way forward for clean business - who would have thought?

Friday 26 April 2019

Gloves Coming Off

I have no special insight into the alleged or assumed Great National Security Council Leak, BUT: if such it be, then the gloves are really coming off.

As citizens we all sleep more soundly when our politicians routinely stick to certain conventions concerning the really heavy stuff, however staid and boring and limiting that may be.  When Michael Heseltine brandishing the Mace counts as outrageous conduct.

If we are moving towards times when that's no longer the case, well, a very different sort of politician can thrive where the 'conventional' ones are left floundering.  Politicians with capacity for the same kind of untrammelled initiative as an imaginative military commander on a long leash, a pirate, or a mafia don.  What they call in Russia absolut banditi.  I mentioned Lenin the other day ...

A bracing prospect?  Oh yes.  Brace yerselves.


Should the Brexit party stand in the next GE?

Nigel Farage's new political vehicle has been a bit of lesson to the current political parties. It demonstrates clearly how our current generation of 'professional' politicians are no such thing. The chumps of Change UK and the Tories are not able to even do basic political campaigning and messaging. Meanwhile, Labour have been fantastic, led by a young group around Corbyn - but they have come unstuck over the message of anti-Semitism and envy, as well as the fence-sitting of Brexit.

So enter a new party with a very simple message and bit of slick presentation - but also learning the lessons of the current mood. All races and classes are reflected, there are a few politicians in the ranks but plenty more from all walks of life. Very canny stuff.

But, should the Brexit party, which is likely to just top the Euro elections, but only in the 20%'s range, go for Parliament. Arguably, in my lifetime the two party system has never been weaker and a big shove may really hurt it.

However, will the Brexit party manage a coherent message for Westminster? The left/right gulf in the membership maybe hard to overcome and Farage puts nearly as many off as he encourages, plus likes to rule in a Presidential style that may prove harder in a political campaign - Theresa May is an example of how it may seem like a good idea to run a Parliamentary campaigning like this but the reality is different.

Also, if Brexit destroys the Tories where will exist a pro-business, pro-economy party in the UK political system? Perhaps the Tories will recover, but to me it is a worry that sensible and sound economic policy would be abandoned to a coterie of anti-business and pro-state parties.

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Greenies of the world unite!

It is so hard to care at all about the climate change protests and the well meaning Tarquins/Greta's behind them.

Dancing around on Yoga mats is one thing, but today has also see John McDonnell decide to helpfully incite the anti-capitalist movement too. We can look forward to him as Chancellor ordering our highest tax-paying companies to be 'occupied' and 'hounded.' A real through the looking glass moment.

Equally, I find the usual Press denunciations of the Greenies to be as feeble, or even worse than the strange claims they make.

"You came by plane, hypocrite!"
"Your from a wealthy background so you can afford morals"

These ad hominem attacks just add more heat, so to speak to the situation. They prove nothing other that the accuser has no real counter arguments.

What is better is to consider what the Greenies say, for example, a better argument is to tell them what really matters is China which is hugely increasing its emissions. To which the answer comes back 'well we sent them all our factories, so that is our fault too.'

Well, for me, here is the crown of thorns. Of course the West did not 'send' their manufacturing to the East. No, the East merrily came and grabbed it. They were able to do so, because labour was much cheaper and there were fewer regulations for companies to abide by - so their costs were 10x less originally than the West which had invented the Industrial revolution. Moreover, from an energy perspective, the East could happily burn all the coal and oil it liked. They don't care about using highly polluting fuel oil  in powerstations for example and Russia was happy to export - and still is to this day. So as well low regs, cheap labour they also have cheap energy costs.

With this, the economies of the East rapidly industrialised and started taking Western market share, whilst still growing the overall market. So, morally, the West did not export anything. The West in some ways is a victim of the growth of China - our sclerotic economies are signs of this.

It also means that as much as we hate the talking shops of Paris etc, really the only way to fight climate change is globally and internationally - but the focus needs to be on recalcitrant nations who refuse to play by the new rules required, whereas the Greenies as ever are focused on the evil's of Western Empire and Capitalism. Which is a shame, as in the long-term there is no mileage in this and if their worst fears come true they will have spent their energies in exactly the wrong place!

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Who Knows What's Going On?

First of all: if the headline reads like an open invitation to anyone who thinks they do, the BTL Comments section is truly at your disposal!  (And if, after you've survived a few challenges from the C@W readership, you still think you know - you should apply for a job as MSM leader-writer, because they haven't the faintest idea.  Even Guido is just dealing in trivia.) 

Here's how I'd stake out the landscape:
  • everyone keeps having the excellent excuse of waiting for the Next Scheduled Event - after which, presumably, they'll understand everything and will doubtless let us know.  Right now that's the Euro Elections and maybe also the Locals.  Who bothers trying to call them?  The only game being played is to tell your own party: "if we don't do X [get rid of May, promise R2, commit to revoking A50, fill in your own heartfelt disideratum here] we'll be wiped out ..."
  • there is no sign of leadership.  Anywhere, really.  OK, Starmer and Farage are being a bit more purposeful than most.  But that's about it
  • there is no sign of coalition-building.  Around anything.  Every faction seems to think the best tactic is to retain its own purity of position.  (For Corbyn, of course, this means high-principled fence-sitting, which must eventually start to affect the flow of blood to those bollocks of his that the Momentumites so admire)
  • rather against my own views on How Things Happen, there isn't much sign of the grown-ups seizing control.  Quite the reverse: the children are happily blocking the streets, metaphorically-speaking on quite a wide scale, as well as at Marble Arch  
Incidentally, for those of the Marxist disposition - or more specifically, Marxist-Leninist - none of this comes as a surprise.  As we've mentioned before, to many of them the current state of affairs closely resembles the backdrop they'd expect to presage the Revolution.  And, famously, Marx offered precious little guidance as to what to do in these circumstances, not least because (a) ultimately he was a library-bound tosser, and (b) he reckoned that the Hand of History would be doing its blind and baleful dialectical thing: no need to be too specific.  It was Lenin who started theorising - and, more importantly, doing something - about What Happens Next.  And, because what he faced in 1917 et seq bore scant relationship in detail to anything Marx had predicted, he was making it up as he ruthlessly went along.

Do we see any candidiates for the role of Lenin?  I am quite sure McDonnell dreams about this - but he doesn't look he part to me.

Have at it in the comments, chaps.


Thursday 18 April 2019

Can the UK parliamentary system reform again like 1832?

Over the long course of history since 410AD, Britain has had a Parliament for a the country nearly the entire time. Groups advised the early English Kings and Norman despotism is more of a blip than the story itself. Certainly since 1215 and Magna Carta some of the people have had influence on the rulers. Indeed, since the 1640's and the last English Civil war, Parliament has been the main vehicle for political activism.

Yet one of the biggest challenges to its supremacy was during the period when Britain globally was dominant. During the early 1800's real desire for reform of the 'rotten boroughs' and even the House of Lords took hold. But it did not take hold in Parliament, the pressing for change came from the Public. Both Whigs and Tories were either lukewarm or malevolent (such as passing the corn laws to protect further the landed aristocracy who made up the members of Parliament disproportionally at this time). Pressure from the people, from the workers and owners of our 'dark, satanic mills' in Leeds and Manchester grew to the point of rebellion. At this point, Parliament moved. The great reform act was passed and although in many ways only a partial fix, it changed the Country to be a more representative democracy. Opinion polls mattered, Political parties had to canvass for wider support. Over time further acts refined the work for Wales, Scotland and Ireland and the work towards Universal Suffrage was completed in the early 20th century.

Across the rest of Europe, despotism ruled more tightly, leading to bloody revolutions in 1848 in order to achieve the progress won a generation earlier in England and here without bloodshed.

I have long thought now of this comparison with the current Brexit mess in which we find ourselves. The political will of the people in the UK has been lukewarm to the EU. Too many of our ancestors have died fighting to free the markets of Europe from despots for the collective of the British people to think that growing a new one is the best idea ever. Of course, if you are Belgian, it is amazing that you can now vote yourself a seat in world affairs! Different histories, different perspectives.

Our political class has long now been in thrall to European power, led by the miserable science of economics and the failure of socialism after the war to think the only way for the UK was to prostrate itself before the EEC, thence EU. Once in the game, the elites benefitted, enjoying tax free status and as the Kinnock family discovered, great wealth from 'EU' service. As the tension grew Blair made his fatal error as regards immigration and eventually the dam broke. Cameron hoped to repeat his victory over Scottish Independence with referendum device, but failure there has led to a domestic political crisis on a scale with the 1830's.

The referendum genie is also a representative of a big change in society. With the advent of advanced technology, social media and such like, people are both more informed and more engaged. Many challenges such as climate change are global, economic challenges are global and politicians have less ability to control events. Moreover, expenses scandals and successive elections with professional politicians have revealed the venality of the political class. Again today it is parliament which is conservative. There is not talk of reforming the frankly ridiculous (by 21st century standards)House of Lords. The EU must not be left. Even the boundaries for elections are entrenched by political machinations, long overdue changes for representation. And the crowning glory, the Referendum on Brexit must be ignored or rejected.

In 1832, eventually a way was found through the mess without civil war or bloodshed. Parliament moved decisively to vote for a change not in the interests of many members, but in the interests of the Country. it did not even require the election of extremists to achieve, the body politic adjusted to the pressure of the populace.

Perhaps if May's deal had passed the same would have happened again, but for now I struggle to see the ability of Parliament to come to its senses and listen to its populace. This is about more than Brexit too, it is about high taxes and centralised control, an uncaring state handing out benefits or not...a diminution of local government and of course a government voting for wars few wanted and waves of immigration without consultation. Farage has few answers to these questions, but he poses the questions correctly which is why he looks again like he will win the EU elections if they happen. Where though are Labour and the Tories in even trying to grapple with these topics, they are lost in identity politics and the low politics of political rivalry. What do our readers make of this, how will this Gordian knot be untied?

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Positive benefits of EU Referendum felt by all already by all UK residents

Let's compare and contrast some statistics that Remain fans will not want published too much, for fear they give succour to the Leave cause.

Firstly, here is Reuters news today:

Total earnings, including bonuses, rose by an annual 3.5 percent in the three months to February, the Office for National Statistics said, matching the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

That was the joint highest rate since mid-2008 although in February alone the pace of wage growth slowed.

Britain’s labour market has defied the approach of Brexit, helping households whose spending drives the economy.   
The ONS said employment grew by 179,000 in the three months to February, in line with the Reuters poll forecast.

“The jobs market remains robust, with the number of people in work continuing to grow,” ONS statistician Matt Hughes said. “The increase over the past year is all coming from full-timers, both employees and the self-employed.”

The pace of wage rises remains slower than the 4 percent increases seen before the financial crisis.

Of course they have a nice 'Despite Brexit' line in here as always!

But more interesting is they only explain half the conundrum of rising wages. Here the author wants the readers to believe the simple causation between new job creation and rising wages. However, we know this cannot be the whole story as Britain has been a jobs miracle for over 7 years, with huge growth un employment but a very patchy record on wage growth. Indeed, it has been poor, with wages only now rising above the Financial Crisis period.

So what else might be a driver to be pushing up wages? Perhaps as well as demand issue there is a supply issue, what is happening to the supply of Labour?

Below are the recent ONS migration statistics:

And what a surprise we see! there is a big drop since the referendum in EU people coming to the EU looking for work and although and increase in Non-EU, there is not enough to offset this. Furthermore of the EU citizens coming to look for work the real drop is in Eastern Europeans coming to the UK, in fact on balance they are leaving the UK, even as overall migration remains at all time highs.

What this shows us is that the Referendum has already put people off coming to the UK (thanksto all media for calling Leavers 'Racist' for 2 and a bit years, it seems to have worked!). This in turn has reduced the supply of Labour looking for work, which when allied to a continuing increase in jobs available has led to the Holy Grail - Lower long-unemployment, Lower youth unemployment, record tax revenues and decent wage increases. No wonder the overall economy is looking pretty healthy, despite Brexit!

Friday 12 April 2019

Meanwhile in the Real World ... Carnage at Gazprom

Back in October I signalled that if we had another 'beast from the east' in the traditionally tight Jan-March period, we might be in for a cold time of it.  That was because Russian gas had already been at max through the Yamal (Belarus route) and Nord Stream1 (Baltic route) pipelines at the start of the autumn; LNG imports to Europe were already running at high levels; the Dutch and the Norwegians were winding back their production; and the weather was by then still mild.

Well.  Three things happened to turn this situation on its head.  Firstly, LNG supplies increased still further, as global production rose to a far greater extent than demand from the Far East could accommodate; the weather was, errr, Quite Mild in Feb, to say the least; and, most surprisingly of all the mighty Gazprom has been shovelling gas through the Ukrainian route, famously shunned by Russia for several years now, towards Europe as fast as it is able.  Wholesale prices have correspondingly halved!

Why?  Because Gazprom, long the milch cow for Putin's regime and indeed his predecessors', is deep in the shit.  Amazingly (for an organisation that once could do no wrong) it has completely lost its monopolistic stranglehold on Russian gas production to newcomers with evident clout where it matters, and at the same time has been materially knocked back in the export markets by US shale production.  Compounding these woes, it has had to follow Putin's instructions and freeze out Ukraine (its cheapest export route); and divert vast resources towards (a) building Nord Stream 2, and (b) delivering on its new obligations towards the Chinese, who beat a very tough, big deal out of them a while back and are drumming their fingers impatiently.  So "dividends" to Putin et al have not been living up to expectations of late.

In traditional Russian fashion, there has accordingly been, yes, a Purge.  Three men at the very top have been given the old Olga boatman's yo-heave-ho without explanation  - "sent to pension", in the glorious Russian euphemism - and are no doubt grateful that things have at least moved on a bit from Comrade Stalin's day.  And they've opened the valves across every west-bound pipeline system to get as much revenue out of the European market as possible, chasing prices downwards all the while, of course (capitalism works like that ...)

Hilariously, their export-route contracts with Ukraine terminate a few months from now.  Even more hilariously, the EU intends to mediate the negotiations!  Ukraine by no means holds all the cards though, because lots of big western companies, not to mention Germany itself, have an interest in seeing the ultra-contentious Nord Stream2 completed, which will very effectively outflank the Ukrainian route in a couple of years' time - obstruction by Denmark notwithstanding.

I'll keep ya updated ...


Thursday 11 April 2019

Dash it, 6 more months of Brexit

Long ago I gave up thinking that the UK would leave the EU.

The remain majority in Parliament and the media have both blocked enough and thrown enough mud into the air to stop the process. Indeed, just last night we have seen a 6 months extension agreed....against the PM's desires for a short period that might allow a revocation. Instead the canny EU wants to see the UK squirm more and more, the better the lesson for any other countries thinking of leaving.

So, now for the worst of all worlds, not only not leaving but also no remaining. Stuck in a limbo of endless, pointless chatter from the media (yes, I know, us too!) about the rights and wrongs of the different types of remaining and not really leaving the EU that are open to us.

In the short term, the Pound might strengthen a smidgen out of relief, but over the next 6 months I am afraid to say it will be very negative for the UK. Stocks will be built up due to the constant, albeit weak, no deal threat. Also investment will see a continued decline which will feed into PMI's. We are at the cyclical top in market such as commercial real estate in any event, so basically this is a bad place to be in 2019.

This is before the Tories possibly implode and walk a Marxist Government into No 10 Downing Street.

Strewth, this is going to be a long year and we will quite likely end it with Corbyn as Prime Minister and Brexit revoked anyway!

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Justice for May

(While we are still allowed to pass political comment)


So, Revoking Article 50 by Friday now best bet?

I am still sticking by my prediction. Incompetent May is touring Europe today trying to do, er, nothing to promote Brexit. Instead Parliament has 'voted' to have no deal off the table. So that leaves either a deal, which they are not about to vote on and May is busy not promoting or revoking Article 50 and cancelling Brexit.

Revoke by Friday must be over 50% possibility. It is just so much cleaner than another delay and another neverendum, which for some odd reason remainiacs think they will win instead of lose handsomely. Perhaps, if we have a delay and European elections the remainers will be cautioned by the huge numbers of pro-Brexit MEP's elected - enough that they conjure a reason to revoke in parliament without the bile of another referendum.

Anyway, I would like to say we will soon see, but as we all know, can-kicking is the Europe's highest and most advanced form of artistic expressions, so I won't hold my breath.

Monday 8 April 2019

Goodbye, Cruel World

Just back from several trips and I see the Government are going full on Middle East dictatorship back in Blighty.

Let's ignore Brexit for a bit, as there will be plenty on that this week.

Instead, the hand-wringers in chief have been getting upset about the internet and people saying stuff on it. 'Wont someone think of the children?" is the refrain and so of course now we have a new regulatory consultation. I can see some small merit in trying to stop social media from posting terrorist vids and livestreams - who wants that? However, state security and terrorism has been used by the Government since WWII to restrict freedom - who remembers not so long ago RIPA legislation being used by councils to spy on childrens' parents to see where they lived and if they could qualify for local schools.

So, of course, the Government instead have been taking their lines from their favourite companies, Google (who employ the ex-Conservative digital guru's, natch) and Facebook. Unsurprisingly as market leaders they are really keen on regulation to defend their dominant position. They are advocating lots of control that only they have the resources to police.

The form of this proposed regulation is fairly draconian covering:

"The plans cover a range of issues that are clearly defined in law such as spreading terrorist content, child sex abuse, so-called revenge pornography, hate crimes, harassment and the sale of illegal goods.
But it also covers harmful behaviour that has a less clear legal definition such as cyber-bullying, trolling and the spread of fake news and disinformation."

So, this website will be in real trouble, hate crimes are fast becoming the UK equivalent of the US wire fraud - basically, anything the Police or your enemies want to stitch you with is a hate crime. Trolling too covers anyone leaving a comment that is a little bit mean and Fake News, well what is one person's fake news is another's facts - it is the modern world (Let's think of an immediate example, crashing out of the EU will mean medicine supplies collapse in the UK - is publishing this fake news or denying it disinformation - who decides - the Government of course!).

So fun times ahead if this gets in. Maybe we can turn this into a Gardening Blog or some such, any ideas in the comments welcome.

Saturday 6 April 2019

The Grand National Unity

The Grand Anti-Nationalists

Its a splendid day for a long, long race today. A day of hope and vision and the chance to grab the prestigious prize of finishing Brexit.  
 The IRA haven’t yet made an appearance..if you don’t count MacDonald and Corbyn.

 Bryony Frost riding Milansbar (C, yellow/green) on their way to finishing in 5th place in The Randox Health Grand National Handicap Steeple Chase at Aintree racecourse on April 14, 2018 in Liverpool, England

They are under starter’s orders…someone facing backwards..That looks like Jeremy Corbyn’s Remain-er-Leave. Good for an each way bet, I thought..Now we are ready and …They’re off!

It’s Favourite Mogghadishooes leading the pack from BadBoy Boris and Super-Cooper. Followed by Baby Please Don’t Go and Ghost of Blair from the Strasbourg stables. Osborne’s Sneer and No Deal.

Behind them,the 500-1 long-shot Crashing out, ridden by Cliff Edge, who’s making gains on Thin Gruel and Lord Philly-Buster.

And Cameron’s Gamble has gone! Fallen at the very first fence..What a surprise..Strong Favourite Cameron’s Gamble is out of the race..As is Osborne’s Sneer! He has collided with The Maybot. Maybots down..No ..wait..Maybot’s still going..Plodding along at the back with Destroy Public Trust and Democratic Mandate, Remoaner’s Tears and .. popular choice ..
Get-The -Fu#k-On-With-It beside ChildernRthe future.. Behind them and falling back is Vince Cable, owned and trained by the Common Purpose Stables, but making no progress at all.

Nigel Farage’s horse, United Kingdom Interdependency has gone into a Batten at Bolton’s Bend.He’s out!

Mogghadishooes, ridden by Billy Cash, and BadBoy Boris,then Super-Cooper, ridden hard by Ed Balls. …Over the first big test, Westhead jump..False Dichotomy going strong as is Brexit-Means-Brexit and Gina Miller’s Rich People Vote Twice

Falling back are some of the big names from earlier in the season. Disappearing into the back markers. WindRush Generation and Grenfell Towers and Anti-Semitic Granddad.

Coming up to Becher’s Brook. It looks innocuous from the take off side but has a steep drop on the landing. Catches many a rider out…And it has. Lots of fallers

Merkel’s Tenure. Her race is over. As is Wee Nicky and the Tartan Army. D.U.P.E doing surprisingly well for such a small mount. But Raab’s Journey, owned by David Davis, he’s gone. 

Coming up on the outside is Jolly-Olly-Leftwing..its Jolly-Olly, owned by Michel Barnier, making great strides…He’s squeezing Democratic Mandate up against the rails. Forcing Parliamentary Precedent to collapse and tumble..Jolly-Olly really making the running.

Maybot still plodding along at the back as the others fall out.

And Badboy Boris has fallen! He’s out. As they come round for the final circuit its still Mogghadishooes, Super-Cooper.. then Jolly-Olly-Leftwing. On the outside making the final running, Ghost of Blair, D.U.P.E.

A look down the field to see a few whose race is run.. Brexit-Means-Brexit hasn’t been convincing. Neither has Maybot, still slouching round the back, but still on her feet.    

And as we come to the final stretch of this gruelling, marathon race of thorn hedges, unexpected pitfalls and barriers .. thundering down now its still Mogghadishooes, Jolly-Olly-Leftwing, Super-Cooper .. Maybot,  a long way back. Tigger's Pooh, the Anna Soubry owned stalking horse, She's lost her whip.

So... as they head towards the huge the obstacle that is The Chair… Just 500 yards to the finish and ..Wait..What’s this ..The Speaker is waving a red flag..Has he joined Labour?..It seems so..Or maybe its a warning.. Anyway..He’s decided to insist that the race can’t end unless all of losing riders are made winners …

And so.. The whole thing will have to be rerun all over again.   

Thursday 4 April 2019

The Korbachev-Robbinstrop pact


The narrative for quite some time has been all about the economics of Brexit.
Labour have been beating the drum of worker's rights and securing jobs.
Which is often incompatible. As the latest 50p an hour payrise will show as it will cause BQIndustries to cut staff once again as it is not possible to increase pay, whilst sales continue to fall, and all other costs rise. Boots being just the latest mega chain to announce similar bad news for their workers.

The Tories have been all for ensuring business is as easy to conduct with the EU as it is now we haven't left. Frictionless trade and regulaturoy alignment being the main aims of the unloved Withdrawal Agreement.

The economic arguments for Remain, or soft as shhhhhheep Brexit, are all about avoiding the terrible damage to the UK that will occur unless we sign up to all the EU's agreements that we want to leave. Neither May, nor Hammond, will allow a No Deal.
 Hammond in particular, refused to even pretend to prepare for a No Deal. Even as a subterfuge in negotiations. So sure was he that it would never come to pass as it would be stopped.

Despite all the endless and quite unbelievable project fear claims of doom if we ever left on WTO, it is quite obvious that SOME sort of deal, would be better than NO deal. No Deal means a complete reset of everything. Some deal would mean a reset of only some things.

Some deal is not to imply that May's Deal is a good option. It is only AN option.And a poorly constructed one at that. But it is an option instead of no deal at all.

Polticians seek ways to find of keeping us in the Union.

Customs Union.
Half in-half out union. Canada ++-+
With the media predicting that if they don't manage to do that, we will all persish in a tsunami of dinosaurs.

So bad has the fear of NO Deal become, May has decided to ask the assistance of the Communists in a historic Korbachev-Robbinstrop pact of treachery.

That has gone down with the supporters about as well as the original did.

In all this it does seem to have been forgotten why people voted in record numbers, and decided to leave the EU.

It wasn't because they were fed up with too much frictionless trade. Tired of not having to apply for a visa or arrange a driving permit for continental travel.

They were tired of uncontrolled, one way, immigration that was bringing in up to half a million foreign workers each year. The headline Net immigration, long masked by the large numbers of UK retirees to the sun.

Fed up that some hook-handed terrorist could sit in his free house with no legal way to remove him.

Fed up with having a considerable multi-billion pound 'bill' presented for no real reason.
 They were fed up of having to send vast sums out of the country to the EU, that it sometimes used to tempt UK business to relocate out of the UK.
Fed up with having their hairdryers reduced in power or their tampons taxed.

And all the other many, many reasons that built up over forty years or compliance without joy, that was the UK experience of the EU.

None of these 'fed up' issues will be resolved by remaining in a customs union. Or remaining full stop. The entire Brexit farce, designed from the outset solely to lance the UKIP boil, and give a reasonable mandate for accepting all the EU faults, that is now focusing solely on accepting what is best for the largest businesses, will fail to resolve any of the issues that millions of people had.

The saddest part about the damage May has done, and continues to do, to the Tory party and the country, is whatever she cobbles together now, it won't resolve the very reason why the nation chose to vote leave in the firt place.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Upsetting Polly Toynbee

As May's carnival of catastrophe rumbles on into Jeremy Corbyn's allotment, there's one tiny crumb of pleasure to be had in the gathering gloom.

Yes folks: Polly Toynbee will be bricking herself.  The two major party 'leaders', both personally committed to leaving the EU, in the same room, hoping to hatch a workable exit plan.  It might happen!

Polly, of course, was hoping Labour would stay aloof and grab an opportunity in all the carnage to see A50 revoked.  Period.    "Any Brexit is a bad Brexit ...  no time for compromise!"   Home and dry.  Nightmare over.  And you sort-of feel Starmer is hoping the same.

So: will Corbyn and May find unexpected love among the tomato plants?  Will Jeremy ultimately be as stroppily pro Brexit as Polly fears?  A bit of a cliff-hanger for her at the end of this particular episode.


UPDATE:  Polly is indeed distressed, and emoted all over Newsnight last night.  Thin comfort: but a pleasure to behold. 

Tuesday 2 April 2019

War of Attrition

OK then, customs union it ain't!  (see below).  At the start of this whole ridiculous story I suggested that sometimes, just sometimes, the frontal assault pressed home with relentless determination can perhaps be appropriate.  But only if you have the numbers.

Since November May has attempted, and seems still to be attempting, a war of attrition - without the numbers.  Nothing could better illustrate her strategic blindness, her complete and utter lack of imagination.  And here we are, with a 'snap GE' apparently being mulled.

Surely there's no super-majority for that??  (Do the DUP wish to treat with Corbyn?  Does any Tory MP reckon their chances in a May-fronted election?  How many Labour MPs would do anything to stop Corbyn being gifted the opportunity?)

That Cabinet room will be fairly foetid at the end of 5 hours.  How many of them will stick it out to the end?  Will she still have a Chancellor?  Will physical punches be thrown, actual wrists be slashed?  

Can we hope someone is secretly recording it for posterity?  Iannucci, we thought you were exaggerating.


Monday 1 April 2019

So - Customs Union It Is

Are we closing in on something sensible?  A short while ago our old friend Mark Wadsworth mused on what was so very wrong with a Customs Union: and the same thought had crossed my mind as soon as it became clear that Liam Fox was well placed in the ranks of the utterly incompetent - a werritable w****r, in fact.  The chances of getting favourable trade deals now with any nation that truly counts?  Zippo.

Customs Union.  Can almost have a ring to it. Like the Hanseatic League; the romance of trade.  ECJ jurisdiction on trade issues?  So what.  There must surely be a Commons majority for that now.**

** yes yes, we understand the bastards in Brussels will squeeze out a few more drops in the process.  And that it may be a trick.  And that Corbyn will claim it was all his idea.  All I'm saying is:  (a) with May gone, and Fox too with any luck, perhaps a half-decent negotiating team can be assembled - shouldn't be beyond the wit of man in a city like London.  And (b) irrespective of whatever would have been mine or anyone else's first choice, that boat sailed in 2016 with the Hinkley fiasco and there must surely be a Commons majority for that now