Wednesday 31 July 2019

People Are Starting to Think Straight

Well that's comprehensively seen off my weekend worry that Boris might catch his predecessor's Airport Fever.  Good instinct or good advice; it doesn't matter.  Just stay away from those euro-capitals.

Yes, people are starting to take the whole enterprise seriously.  Not Polly Toynbee, of course: "Boris Johnson’s crew will repel voters – there’s no need to fear him".  But elsewhere in the Graun: "Labour risks total wipeout if it fails to take Boris Johnson seriously".

The Irish are worried, too - and well might they be.  Keeping Varadkar waiting for a call was cheeky but good tactics; and the pained hand-wringing isn't slow to follow, as the Graun relates:
An Irish government spokesman said Varadkar had also invited Johnson to Dublin for further talks on Brexit. [I'll bet he did - see Airport Fever above] “The taoiseach restated the need for both governments to be fully committed to the Good Friday agreement" ... the spokesman said. “He recalled that the agreement requires the sovereign government to exercise power with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in full respect for their rights, equality, parity of esteem and just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities.” [Presumably a quotation from the preamble.  Ooh, that's telling him!]  A No 10 spokesman said both leaders committed themselves to maintaining a warm and deep relationship between Ireland and the UK... Johnson had been accused of snubbing his Irish counterpart by leaving it so long to speak to him ...
Faced with all this new reality, others too are inevitably starting to strategise.  Back to the Irish again: here's a sign of someone getting their brains into gear:
Brexit: mess with Good Friday and we’ll block UK trade deal, US politicians warn. Hostile Congress could hold up trade deal
A decent Remainer attempt to open up a new front: and a bit more imaginative than dropping the IRA into the conversation.  And I suggest there's another scare we shall be hearing a great deal more about, too, as faithfully disseminated by the Beeb:
No-deal Brexit 'would cause civil unrest' in rural Wales
Yes, the threat of civil unrest on a much larger scale than Welsh sheep-farmers will doubtless be bruited about in the coming weeks:  and can a General Strike be far behind?  Or pupils staying away from school, spearheaded by the saintly Greta?  I have a suspicion Stormzy will be musing over the possibilities, too.  And Miller.  And Soros.

If you want an entertaining read from someone who clearly does a lot of thinking, follow Montanatorice, a CiF commenter.  He or she writes quite a lot, and repeats stuff over several comments, but the one you are looking for is what appeared BTL under the "Take Boris Seriously" article linked to above.  I think this link should take you straight in (it takes a second or two to resolve to the comment).  It's even been given the accolade of a 'Guardian Pick'; and a Golden Cleric award can't be far behind.



Anonymous said...

The 'civil unrest in Wales' threat is a pile of nagombi, unless Boris leaves the sheep farmers in the lurch, which he said only yesterday he wouldn't do.

I think civil unrest is highly likely, but it'll be the usual suspects, inner city 'youth' (whose prospects have not been improved one iota by mass arrival of Eastern Europeans) egged on by professional "activists" (Guardianistas) and "community leaders".

Remember the 2011 riots post-Cameron's election win.

This is assuming a no deal exit, which I'll only believe if and when it happens.

If BoJo calls an election, he and Dominic Cummings had best be prepared for massive fraud, and I'm not sure there would be time or the parliamentary numbers to do anything about that prospect.

david morris said...

The only plan Boris will stick to - rigorously - will be to ensure the re-election of Boris. All other plans are subsumed to that & will be subject to instant re-appraisal & rejection if his "only plan" looks in danger.

Jan said...

Mark Drakeford..........riots......don't make me laugh!

E-K said...

You have got to give it Boris. He has a plan. Kick out all remainers from cabinet with everyone left taking the oath to leave on Oct 31 on no deal if necessary. Appoint Vote Leave people who delivered the referendum win including Cummings who is prepared to take on whoever opposes Brexit whether Tory remainers, vested business interest and the E.U. Change the terms of negotiation, no more visits to Brussels or E.U. capitals with cap in hand and briefed against by E.U. officials the minute you leave. Set out your terms and refuse negotiation without a shift from Brussels. Dedicate all gov energy to planning for no deal and brief the public that you’re working hard and pulling out all the stops. Open up the spending taps and focus on key Tory voter concerns including more police and better education funding like levelling up schools funding for primary and secondary. Target leave centric seats in the North by announcing infrastructure investment up North.
Project constant positivity and enthusiasm and belief in the UK. Ignore naysayers and remainers they are not your constituency and not the focus of your campaign.

That Tory remainers will plot against him is understood and actively encouraged. Those MPs who vote against him will have the whip removed and be kicked out the party leaving Boris free to replace these remainers at election time with brexiteers. When the vote of no confidence is lost, Boris will set up a speech in front of No10 and say that there will be an election. That a remain parliament is frustrating brexit and failing to deliver the will of the people (again ignore remainers, they are not your constituency). Further that the EU withdrawal agreement would split the UK and NI and be the only international agreement in history with no way out. He will say that the time has come for the voice of those who would deliver brexit to be heard and that he will promise to deliver brexit if you the people deliver that majority. Ignore referendum calls its FPTP election and you can deliver your agenda regardless of a UK majority for no deal in the wider population or parliament. Remainers will in the end be finished by the very parliamentary sovereignty that they have pointed to as the means to frustrate brexit post ref loss.

Corbyn is weakened and haemorrhaging voters to Lib Dem’s, in the grip of an anti Semitic crisis and with no sign of being able to win an election. Boris unlike May will campaign effectively and ruthlessly and take Corbyn apart over weeks so that by the time it’s finished the UK population believe he is a Marxist, a terrorist sympathiser and a man who cannot be trusted.
Further he will agree a deal (not publicly) but he will withdraw from Northern seats and leave the field clear for the Brexit party.
Boris will lose Scottish seats and some remain Southern remain seats but overall will return with a majority of circa 30. Many of the Tory remain MPs will have been removed from the party post VONC and in combination with some Brexit party MPs elected in northern leave seats this will mean that the remain parliament will be replaced by a leave one and lead to a no deal exit.


E-K said...


So what next. Ireland and the E.U. have held their position on the withdrawal agreement on the basis that they believe that parliament numbers aren’t there for no deal. Boris always understood negotiating with the E.U. was impossible without the majority to make it possible. When it happens the E.U. will be in a new world where there is a leave and no deal parliament. Ireland will be left to make the call and will choose politics over economics just as the UK has. The difference is this the UK will be free of Brussels regs and Boris will now threaten to take them on in everything they fear. Tax free ports, lowest corporate tax in E.U. to attract inward investment, bonfire of regs to be business friendly etc. In the meantime the UK will pivot to faster growing Asian and American markets. The E.U and Ireland believe that the UK will back down. They are wrong, Boris can’t, he will build a new Singapore 30 miles off the coast of the E.U. and business (looking to their interest will start thinking the UK isn’t so bad after all.
Boris is in it to win it and he isn’t taking any orisoners
Some readers will say careful what you wish for and you may be right but remember this. Boris is in this to win and win at all costs.

[Copied from the Graun comments - hope they're right]

Anonymous said...

OT, but isn't this remarkably like Dominic Cummings?

E-K said...

Riots. Greta Nothingburg is on about the same thing.

Since when did violence become more powerful than the ballot box ?

Anonymous said...

What's Boris's plan for Farage and the Brexit party?

If it comes to a GE, I see effectively dealing with the BP as being the key that will determine the outcome.

jim said...

I can't see the Welsh farmers or any farmers doing much. The small ones are just scraping by, no time to waste chucking sheep dung and the big ones are well aligned with the Tories. Sit back and wait for the supermarket shelves to run dry then offer mutton chops and yellow cabbages.

Boris may well get by either by a vote of desperation by MPs (where else do unskilled workers get £79K/y + £150K exes for doing nothing) or through an election. So we leave, either no deal or some cobbled up version of WA. But what then?

The car firms leave, so what say the armchair economists, they were going anyway. Snag is they brought in a lot of money (but not so many jobs). Still, Boris has a plan to retrain all those car workers either as marketing strategists or lawyers or pharmacologists or as fruit pickers. Then our new industries will kick in - Time Machines and Trans Galactic Transporters. Err not. We don't have any new industries, not of any size and their main markets will be halfway round the world. Where we will be competing head on with everyone else who is in much the same boat.

I can't see much sign of sunny uplands. The only credible industrial policy I can see is a race to the bottom, think bowl of rice/day rather than mushy peas and chips. We were headed for trouble even inside the EU, but slowly and we could snuggle up like pigs in a sty for mutual comfort. Now we are headed out of the sty and only our betters (Barclay bros et al) will be enjoying themselves.

The next election will be 2022 or possibly 2024/5. A 2022 election will be one to lose or let the Tories stew in their own juice. By 2024/5 our misery will be maturing nicely and Jezza will likely be gone. Boris, strategy - as if.

andrew said...

Anon @12.08, not really, but you made me look.

Moving on

I hope to see a lot more announcements like police and train lines from leeds to ... and looking after welsh farmers. Hand of Cummings.

These are policies that will play well across the entire electorate.
Populist in the good sense.
I think Blair called it triangulation?

The govt is supposed to be there for the entire country, not just the people who voted for it.

It may be that someone noticed that when there are more parties genuinely in contention (at the moment, this may change), these policies do help your vote but also, more importantly, give lab voters who will never vote for you more reason to vote for someone else

As noted elsewhere, in leave voting areas this will hurt Lab.

In the metropolitan areas, the cons can point out that over the last 40 years or so, about half the time they have been in power, the PM was a woman. How does Lab compare. Lab's own issues concerning anti-semitism and sexism etc can be left to Panorama.

On that logic, I need to look at being long on Liberal seats in the next GE in the markets.

On more hand of Cummings, I would expect no great deals with any other party, but, in a few well-chosen seats, the cons might just not try very hard.

EK - Q : Since when did violence become more powerful than the ballot box

A : When has _sustained_ violence it not been?

Anonymous said...

Jim - Brain the size of a planet, yet no one asks his opinion. As he's such a miserable git.

CityUnslicker said...

Jim - perhaps you should read this blog more often. One new industry is Fintech, it employs more people already than care manufacturing and has been around for about 3 years tops.

Fighting the last economic war is so tempting and emotionally satiating. It is why corbyn wants to re-open the coal mines.

Our car industry was killed by Mr G Brown and Mr G Osborne. they promoted diesel long enough that our factories switched to mainly diesel production. Then they changed tune and hammered diesel drivers. As a result, we have a huge drop in diesel buying and the car manufacturers looking at closing diesel production en masse.

Brexit is a side show to the bigger story - an impact yet, but a second order driver at best.

E-K said...

It's life, but not as we know it, Jim.

Lockers said...

Oh, the irony. I think Jim himself has appeared here after stepping out of a time machine - from Victorian times. Didn't they think that there was nothing else left to discover or invent? And what on earth would happen to all those buggy-whip manufacturers employed at the time.

andrew said...

To be fair to Jim, he is erm, right - in the short term.

When industries are disrupted we do not all move from high paying widget manufacturers to high paying wodget manufacturers over a weekend.
This migration happens over a long period of time and indeed, that some of the poorer parts of the uk are ex-mining communities testifies that the short - term can be an individuals entire working life.

The terrible failure of the 79-90 con govt (*) was that they did not understand that miners are only really any good at mining and need a lot of support and retraining, over decades and they are _not_ going to move to London and become ad execs.

I really hope that one of the next announcements is something major on Adult Education / training - this wont just be a few welsh farmers.

The only natural resource we have is the embedded capital in the economy and the people.

(* other failures are available, in this govt one of the major failures is in Universal Credit, that they just do not understand that the bottom 10% are likely to be
-paid daily or weekly - not monthly
-not have savings
-unable get a credit card

and until this monthly cycle van be made weekly, the use of food banks will carry on growing

Fantasy Island said...

Jim should understand that brexit is now inevitable. Even if the Remoaners won, there is a large enough bank of populists to cause them mischief and force them to be cautious, for years and years. And the Brexit Party will be able to continue to blame every future disaster, of any type, on the EU.
Until the pressure builds again, and something gives.

Eu supporters would have been much better advised to pursue their original plan. Close alignment, and BINO.
The desire to scupper it all, which could never succeed long term, has led directly to the cliff edge, that previously existed only in their fevered imagination.

Bill Quango MP said...


We said that about Universal Credit from its flawed inception.
And how it was damaging Tory voters as much as anyone. The newly, financial crash, unemployed, big mortgages, debt to the eyeballs, unable to get any cash. It should have addressed as a priority.

We wrote at the time that this one-two month wait was a very damaging disaster.

There has been nothing much done to address it. Which I can only guess is because it cannot be changed.

I’m astonished by some of the public sector companies I work with. Astonished at their total inflexibility and can’t do attitude.

Anonymous said...

Fintech stays in the UK until the government decide encryption needs stopping - Priti Patel has been on manoeuvres - at which point they'll leave as backdoors are invitations to be hacked, and no one wants that liability.

The police and intelligence services see technology as a way of having someone else do their job for them. Sit in a nice chair whilst Mr Robot gets all the intel, just like on those shiny US shows. The same US shows where cases are sewn up in 40 minutes, and agencies can do things that aren't actually allowed in the real world. Quite how they can laugh one moment stating "you can't do that!", then in under 5 minutes later assume that the chubby chap with keyboard skills is real is beyond me.

I'm hoping someone sits her down and explains why backdoors are a very bad idea, mainly as I use a fair few fintech products for personal and business use, and very much like them.

Medtech is starting to do well. If the various arms of the NHS can get their shit together, there could be a lot of good stuff happening.

Andrew is quite right about UC, it's a gift to Labour.

Prior to the first roll outs a lot of the "automated" aspects were anything but, people were being brought in to do data entry to hide the fact. No idea if that is still the case, but it is an absolute car crash of a system.

It really is about time the Tories reversed the fucking stupid idea of giving people their rent to pay to their landlord too.

The whole "teaching people to live like they're employed" is so tragically facile. They're not employed. And there is such a wide-range of how you can be employed. Are Job Centres going to start having Friday beer taps and daily fruit bowls so people can feel all very WeWork-y? Gym membership? Or just a stationary cupboard to raid for post-its and biros? Have some shiny-faced tweenager twat from the beeb come round to enforce Meat-Free Mondays possibly? Hell, just have some makework turn up to empty their cupboards so they can feel the thrill of stacking a shelf. Turn life up to 11!

Anonymous said...

Jim has a point in that when a critical mass of manufacturing leaves, and the smaller companies that serve it wither away, its very difficult (though not impossible - see Japan 1950-1970) to rebuild from scratch. I remember Dyson making this point - saying that when he designed the Ballbarrow he could get everything sourced and made inside a few square miles of Black Country.

But I very much hope that Cummings doesn't have a vision of a low wage UK in front of him - nothing I've read of his gives that impression. Because a low wage economy - which was ours ever since 2005 if not 1997 - can't support a welfare state.

"This migration happens over a long period of time.." - or it doesn't happen at all, Andrew - what are they making at Longbridge these days?

Cummings has the root of the matter in him, even if Boris is a chancer looking after #1. I just hope Cummings isn't the UK Steve Bannon - the guy who sets the vote-winning agenda only to be discarded when the victor is co-opted by the establishment/deep state.

david morris said...


"Since when did violence become more powerful than the ballot box ?"

We trusted & tried the BB in June 2016. The majority decision/instruction was given to the political class, who have nothing else since then but attempt to ignore,frustrate & deny the electorate.

That being the case, what else is left but wholesale violence ?

AndrewZ said...

Montanatorice has a plausible theory but if "a new Singapore" really is the plan then it will crash and burn. The EU won’t accept anything that endangers the integrity of the Single Market so "No Deal" means that Britain will be treated like any other "third country". British exporters will lose much of their access to European markets, causing a wave of bankruptcies and job losses. Finding new customers in more distant markets with different requirements isn’t easy and many businesses won’t survive long enough to do it.

There won’t be any "bumper trade deals" ready to sign because they take years to agree. Deregulating the economy without creating legal uncertainty or huge loopholes for criminals to exploit will also be a complex and lengthy task, and bodging it would only turn popular opinion against the whole idea. Any move to abolish tariffs on imports would also be deeply unpopular because it would increase the pressure on British producers at a time when rapidly rising unemployment was the primary public concern. Even tax cuts won’t be so easy with a sudden increase in unemployment benefit claimants and a recession caused by the steep decline in trade with Europe.

It would be possible to turn Britain into a low-tax, low-regulation country but it requires changes to the economy and changes in social attitudes that would take years to complete. If the Singapore model is suddenly imposed on the country as the result of a crisis, and by the very people who insisted that there wouldn’t even be a crisis, then it will be decisively rejected. The next election would produce a Labour or "progressive alliance" government committed to moving as fast as possible in the opposite direction.

Anonymous said...

"An optimistic man jump from a building, and what does he says at every floor ? - So far, so good"

More optimism needed?

E-K said...

So what happens after Britain goes *pop* then ?

Surrounding countries lap up our money and businesses ?

There won't be any money and businesses. We'll have gone *pop* remember. And if we don't go *pop* then we can adjust and recover.

But if we do (and that's what is being said on this thread) then many big nations get sucked into the economic black hole with us. Lehmans x 1 million. Any one of the PIIGS x 1000.

"We are not an island" as they keep saying.

We need to be treated carefully.

Funny how Remainers (by coincidence most are) tell us Britain can and must be world leaders on climate change (to the extent that it is now confirmed government policy) yet we are weak and totally without influence because we have elected to leave the EU.

What will cause a Corbyn government is May Mk 2, not *hard* Brexit.

"We didn't vote to get poorer" Well. The British do every time they vote in a Labour government but did you notice the Tories' poll ratings climbing as the pound dropped ?

The problem is that the BBC have been listening too much to Remainers telling them what Leave voters think.

Nick Drew said...

Kev - that is a classic and very refreshing comment

We are headed west-countrywards next week and shall be seeing Elby & Lil: you around?

Charlie said...

Fintech - only 3 years old? I've been working in it since 2003. The startup I was at then was a couple of years old (and has long since been swallowed up by a blue chip). Fintech is just a trendy new name for something that's been going on for two decades. And don't forget, Fintech is all about replacing rather highly-paid people, who pay a lot of tax, with machines. Most Fintech labour is imported - as a white, British bloke, I have been rather underrepresented at most places I've worked, with highly skilled roles usually filled by Eastern Europeans, and lower-skilled work undertaken by south Asians. Still, the industry does showcase Britain as a place to come to launch a new business venture.

E-K said...

We are the most powerful and most dangerous nation on Earth at the moment.

It's not really what I wanted (nor expected) us to be but here we are.

I'm contacting you via the CU email re the other. Much appreciated.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

I had a bit of a Eureka moment some years back dealing with a major German company involved in the automotive business (no names, no pack drill etc., but this was long before the emissions scandal came to light). In German business culture there is routine endemic dishonesty. Little things like a contract price is agreed to change on 1st June, but since the new price is 'better' they will start using it on POs placed prior to the contractually agreed change and expect to get away with it. Adverse data is hidden, or the nice bits cherry-picked out. Lip service is paid. Blind eyes are turned. They generally lack the courage to be whistle blowers when bad behaviour occurs. Of course you will find instances of this kind of behaviour in all societies but having (over a fairly long-ish career) lived in China, Japan, Singapore, Germany, the USA, and done business in over 40 other countries, I think the Germans take the prize for it being routine rather than an aberration. They expect that everyone else does this too.

My point being: it is next to impossible to have a good faith negotiation with these people. They really are either at your throat or at your feet and they will simply do or say whatever is expedient in the moment. Boris is absolutely right to let them stew. They will stay 100% committed to the Brussels idiocy right up until the moment they figure out we really do mean it and their exports to us face tariffs.

Anonymous said...

Boris is absolutely right to let them stew.

They are stewing all over the holiday resorts of Europe and beyond.

Nothing can happen until the Parliaments get back after the holidays. This is just a quiet period before the real action starts. And to fill the media vacuum we have all this nonsense being spouted, posturing and a great deal of noise but no action.

Boris has few options and even less room for manoeuvre. But I get the feeling that all he was interested in was the chase - getting to be PM. He's no doubt planning his retirement with a few juicy sinecures and an well stocked wine cellar. There is nothing in his past that indicates he is a serious person, never mind a serious politician/PM.

And if it is any indication of how fortunes change when people start to think straight, UKIP were in last place yesterday behind the Monster Raving Looney party.

Jan said...

anon @7.42 I think you misjudge Boris. He sees himself as a modern day Churchill and Teresa May was the Chamberlain appeasement figure. Hence we are on a "war footing" with the EU.