Monday, 8 February 2016

Welcome to the jungle

Downing Street is warning that migrant encampments like the Calais Jungle could spring up in Kent and other parts of the south-east if the UK votes to leave the European Union.
Brighton and Hove migrant camp. Set up in 2021 after the huge numbers of people fleeing the EU caused severe problems for the UK.

Imagine that. Thousands of refugees camping out on the south coast. Huddling in tents. Hoping for some fuel to heat themselves during the harsh bitter British winter. The migrants, who chose to flee from the war-torn, dangerous, faction ridden France now have to live in tents on ..

Hold on? Why would they be living in tents ? Would leaving the EU require the UK to set up brand new form of outdoor detention centre? A special Glastonbury for recent arrivals where they must wait before they are..? Are ..? What? 


The government made a ridiculous statement today, the opening shots of Project Fear.
Gangs of young ethnic men will be hanging around Herne Bay in crappy sports branded tracksuits looking quite menacing. That was the image HMG wanted people to have in their head.

The idea comes from the UK's arrangements with France and Belgium in which the UK border force carry out checks in those countries. This arrangement came out of the Sangatte camp that was plaguing France and Britain in the millennium years. there is a possibility, Mr Cameron suggested, that the French won't honour this arrangement and those camps will move to Kent instead, if the UK doesn't remain in the EU.

Which is a lie.
And a provable one. 

Firstly: As was widely and almost immediately reported, this arrangement is nothing to do with the EU. Britain pays some of the border costs. The idea was to stop Sangatte style camps appearing IF immigrants realised that they could not get across. Pro EU voices say that because the system isn't working the French may not carry on with it.

That's as maybe. but that has nothing to do with Britain's membership of the EU. Its a british/fench border issue that will need to be addressed whatever happens.

Secondly: If Britain was not an EU member then stronger, rather than weaker border controls would be in place. 

Thirdly: And most importantly, there would be NO camps.
The UK does not have a policy of sticking people in a field whilst it processes their asylum applications. If the French just let everyone through, and the UK accepted them all, it still would not put them in a camp in Deal or Lyme Regis. They would either be placed in detention centres or given accommodation as is the current system. 

The reason the camps exist at all, is that asylum seekers and migrants wish to come to the UK to claim asylum. They are not permitted under the current EU laws and must claim asylum in the first country they enter.  
That they don't is simply because they wish to get to the UK. So exist in a limbo status until they can clamber onto a truck or car or walk through the tunnel. Once they arrive in the UK the would have no need to camp out unless they were waiting to secretly clamber aboard a truck for France. Which, seeing as they have  just come from there , is unlikely. 

The idea that the Home Office would abandon its use of government funded housing or detention centres, and stick men and women and children in tents in fields is fantasy that only the most die hard Corbynista class warrior could invent.

We all know this. Especially the government who announced it. 

In many ways I do hope the government goes early on the referendum. As its only going to get ever more silly and ever more desperate the longer it goes on.

Cometh The Hour, Cometh Precisely Nobody

Presumably we are drifting towards some kind of Important Juncture in the EU referendum and yet - & pardon me if I've missed something - precisely nobody of Any Stature Whatsoever has declared for 'Leave'.

It comes to something when Michael Portillo's name is tentatively being floated.  The power of the Establishment's disapproval is a fearsome thing indeed.

Can anybody think of a precedent for a movement with no capital-L Leader?  I suppose there have been several incohate, more-or-less spontaneous uprisings that have subsequently spawned a real leadership, or (more often) been 'hijacked' by an opportuntistic leader-in-waiting.

If there is a derisory 'Leave' campaign and pitiful vote, the 'result' will be as meaningless as Gordon Brown's coronation.


Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Corbyn Carnival. What A Shower.

In the context of the febrile politics of the decade, the fate of the Corbyn experiment is, I think, of genuine interest.  As are all manner of contributory details - like who actually flocks to this implausible banner?  Will they get nasty?  Will a putative 'officer-class' of nihilistic, unemployed graduates whip the Momentum sheeple** into a proper extra-parliamentary political force as they'd really, really like to do?  (And in saying 'they' I am indeed asserting they exist.)  Will the unions eventually pull the plug?  Will it all go the way of 'Occupy' and a myriad other 'false red dawns' of the last five years?

All inputs to this inquiry are welcome.  It's actually intended seriously because these are serious times with weighty matters at stake, however farcical Corbyn's operation may be (operating as it does, I am reliably informed, on two men and a non-house-trained dog) right now.

Anyhow, getting to our first question yesterday the Inde named some names.  Clowns, mostly, and what a bunch. 
"There is a fantastic range of talented people who will perform or speak for Jeremy, including Charlotte Church, Michael Rosen, Brian Eno, Ken Loach, Billy Bragg, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy, Francesca Martinez, Mark Serwotka, Shappi Khorsandi, Arthur Smith, Patrick Monahan, Janey Godley and many more. Some big names have said they are happy to perform but they are booked up for the dates we have already planned. So there are even more surprises to come."
Can't wait.  Charlotte Church, eh?  Your guesses in the comments, please, as to which celebs will surprise us by joining the Corbyn Conga ...


**I particularly like this sample from the #iamMomentum thread on their website:
"I come from a coal mining family who, by the time Thatcher came in, had won half decent wages, better working conditions, for a life outside of work and decent, secure housing. Privatisation in some instances has eroded all this. In many industries the job you thought was secure, no longer even offers you the kind of guarantee that lets you be sure about how much money you will make that week...  For the first time in a long time, the Labour Party has a leadership who offer a real opposition to the Tories and is anti-austerity and anti-war policies..."
Oh, the scripting, the craft of it!  (and what a nice-looking lass she is, too).  How many hours in committee does it take to insert those nuanced words - in some instances ?  What are they carefully hedging there ??  Which privatisations do they actually applaud, or don't wish to offend?  Gah, these bloody unemployed graduates ...

Capitalism At Work, It Never Fails

So*, speaking to a builder mate of mine, he says the next big thing is golf courses opening their doors as landfill sites!  The cost of sending stuff to traditional landfill has been deliberately made prohibitive, plus penalties for councils that fail to 'recycle' to the policy-makers' desires.  So guess what?  Yup, capitalism - that great institution for spotting arbitrage opportunities and acting upon them - has identified a creative solution.

So who has lots of land that could make constructive use of mountains of, errr, stuff?  Why, golf courses!  They always enjoy a bit of new *ahem* landscaping.

Tipper trucks by the thousand, he says, are entering new destinations into their satnavs ...


*As a student of life I have observed that nowadays in polite company every sentence should start with "so" if at all possible

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Would the UK ever get a third referendum on EU membership ?

You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains....

Referendum 1975:  "Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?" Britons voted "Yes" in most of the 68 administrative counties, regions and Northern Ireland. Only Shetland and the Western Isles voted against the EEC. Home Secretary Roy Jenkins said: "It puts the uncertainty behind us. It commits Britain to Europe; it commits us to playing an active, constructive and enthusiastic role in it." 

You run twice you got yourself two sets....

 Mr Cameron's proposed four year ban on in-work benefits for EU migrant workers could come into force immediately if the UK votes to remain in the Union. It would have to be agreed by other EU nations and it would be "graduated", with more money from tax credits paid to migrants the longer they remain in the UK. Demands to exempt Britain from the EU principle of "ever closer union" between member states would be written into a future treaty. There are also measures relating to protection for non-euro countries in the EU, a new way for member states to club together to block some new EU laws and on business regulations.

 You ain't gonna need no third set.... 'cause you gonna get your mind right. 

Open Thread: Cameron EU proposal

I really can't see this flying, but I am very biased. It is so rubbish I am amazed even Cameron can back it...

1 - No real EU Brake on migration - unless a big vote for it elsewhere in EU that won't happen.

2 - No real consensus on limiting Eurozone developments that would effect London.

3- Nothing else of major significane, bar more security measures around terrorists.

Is this really it?

yet Leave will still lose....