Friday, 17 May 2019

Mrs May will resign

This became inevitable the moment she really announced she would go. Has there ever been a longer lame duck PM in our history? Ever since she lost the 2017 election and then had a monumental defeat last autumn. Each of the those moments would have been perfect to say I am not in the right job. And she certainly is not because any of networking, compromising, gladhanding skils she certainly does not have and the situation certainly needs them. It seems very likely that the elections next week will be more bloody noses. The only question is will the centre or the far right scent victory? She apparently thinks this will scare Labour and the Tories into voting for what most seem to think is a deal in which we say goodbye to sovereignty handing it and our trade deals to the EU. Is that likely? Will the parting gift at the moment of resignation be "Oh, you are going, we will vote on the fourth go for your plan"? New faces are needed either to make a real Brexit work or to tell the nation, "you know what, you were uttely misled, we cannot do this and if we do you can say goodbye to heavy industry" (heard about British Steel this week?). Sense would say a general election or new referendum will take place and that we will learn from the Irish. Sense however in British politics has been lacking since probably 2014/15?

Monday, 6 May 2019

UN Climate Change report

I feel something should be said about climate change, so much in the news recently. But what? I do not feel I have anything systematic to say. Just a series of questions and points which may add up to something. I cannot say that the UN report or the extinction rebellion protesters have enthused me. Jamming up London's public transport certainly did not. I do not deny the reality of man made global warming. I am very taken by the thought that the world population has doubled since 1970. That cannot be remotely sustainable. For the UK my preference is a population at about the 60 million level and it should be a society which is very self sustaining and biased towards quality public transport. It is no sweat to me to ground flight. But think how many Kenyans or Egyptians would be upset by that? Will airships becomes the answer? I live in rural England and Scotland, a modern clean diesel car seems inescapable until battery power is really tops. And think of the rare metals that go into those batteries. I don't mind imported meat drying up especially from North America. But do I want to live without corned beef? And I certainly really enjoy eating Galloway beef and the other excellent options with no food miles on them that you can enjoy from Northumberland and South West Scotland. It does seem to me that the real action if change is to happen is in South America, the Trophics, Sub Saharan Africa and the Sea. Eliminating plastic from the sea is a no brainer. But telling people not to have babies is not popular. The Chinese tried to and gave up? Should they have given up? I am very relieved we only have had one child yet the animal reaction is to go forth and procreate. Sex needs to be realigned as primarily for pleasure. Many religious groups including Catholicism would struggle with the new message: the world is overfull. Malthus the priest is someone we have to listen to. Go to

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Not left..........................................

I think (deliberately think rather than being certain) we will be participating in the EU elections on 23rd May. Donald Tusk is quite directly asking Britain to change its mind. How many Brits vote and how they vote is likely to be crucial going forward. I certainly will vote.

If it is news to you, the UK has been invited to stay "in" if it wants until Halloween to get things sorted! For May it is simple, that time will be used to get you to vote for the deal she has had on the table all along. However short of a miracle this will require Labour co-operation and in turn does anyone see that happening without a Custom's Union on the table?

The Custom's Union at one level makes enormous sense but it still leaves the UK handing control of large areas of its economy (the 5th largest soon to be 6th after India) to the EU without any influence against the present where we are equal partners in deciding matters. I think you have to have a huge amount of self confidence to wish to be in competition with one of the strongest cartels the world has ever seen instead of being a player shaping it.

So I think mature reflection comes back to being better off in rather than out, that is the achievement everything the post referendum period has shown us that after all, we are better off in. If you agree get to those elections.

Then there is Mrs May. She seems as happy as larry, she thinks it is right to carry on as leader for as long as the neverendingBrexit endures. She is the only guarantor of the delivery of Brexit. What a load of balloney. So much of where we are comes down to her leadership. If I was a Tory party member I would be pressing for her immediate removal forthwith. There is now time for a leadership election. I have argued for her departure for weeks or is it months despite accepting her deal for leaving is the only deal available. I stick by that: May must go.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Bogged down on the 31st March 2019

Okay it is still Brexit : after 10am on Marr, I heard something so revealing from Jane Moore Sun columnist. She was arguing that if we had voted Remain no more chaos would have followed and that by voting Leave the same logic should have been. They were both the yes/no of a binary situation. And that my dear Leaver is where it is all SO wrong. When you remain you vote for the status quo and there de facto you have to know what it means for all the shortcomings. But when you vote leave for a new situation, that is bound to be a hugely different choice. In logic, entering an undefined future is bound to involve far more potential answers than staying in stasis. That is even before you enter the real world that the EU, a massive trading partner of ours was not going anywhere because we said Leave. It is called geography. This refusal to recognise the huge flaws in the project from the outset which Gisella Stewart acknowledged and then correctly blamed on Parliament for signing off the Tory project is why we are where we are: stuck. And if you are Leave please understand that Leave could never, can never and will never mean simply Leave, not unless you wish to be in the mid Atlantic. A huge can of worms was opened in that referendum and we both said then "we're not playing" and I am so glad we did not. To have seriously entertained Leave a large number of white papers which never existed should have been written. And even after the vote, before Article 50 was signed, the studies to say what Leaving would look like could have been done. I cannot comprehend the most basic of mistakes that one after another both Cameron and May made. It seems to me most unlikely the end result is a crash out because as I think Stewart made clear and if not her another contributor, people may have thought they lived in a direct democracy, but they do not, they live in a representative democracy and that was rather ignored. I have no idea how this will end but an election is increasingly being framed, the local canvassing is certainly happening. But how that will make sense without clear remain or leave parties I have no idea. British politics is actually utterly stuck. However the best thing to do is to be patient and not advocate anything precipitate for that route brings suffering. After all the economy and the jobs market seem to plough on.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

15th November 2018 Cabinet agreement

The sun is glinting on buildings down the valley. Sir Keir Starmer has just been roasted from about 0735am by Nick on R4. Labour have condemned the May deal and Nick Robinson had decided to show Sir Keir how close the deal was to Labour's stated position. That well shows the complexities immediately in prospect. I was never a fan of 2016 and in the end did not vote. From about the period of June I have said May's tack was the only show on the road. That remains the case. Behind all the froth, last night Newsnight had experts who had seen the deal, explaining why it made some sense. The Referendum debate back in 2016 showed what a hopeless instrument it was for informed debate, the same sort of process is at work now. There will be immense heat over Northern Ireland for an aspect of the agreement which is not even intended to happen. Some Brexiteers will long and work for no deal. I have never supported no deal. How that can be a happy outcome I find unfathomable. My hunch is that if you were going to have a Brexit, Mrs May's result was the likely one. It preserves jobs, gives us back some control and money, and isolates us from having influence in Europe. That is a realistic assessment. Allowing all that, many might feel we were far better off staying where we are? What happens next? In some ways May got Cabinet backing, some form of words from a hugely divided Cabinet and party. But now it is Parliament. That really does have Maths to suggest it is much more challenging. If Labour do what we are told Corbyn will tell them to do, it is lost. However Corbyn has always supported May and Brexit in key votes. Assuming the deal is not supported by Parliament, all bets are off. But what I lament is that an issue that ought never to have been an issue has been hugely divisive to the United Kingdom for years now and it ain't going away. I feel she will not win in Parliament because individuals with their own agendas will not embrace the logic of May's deal. It is what you get if you vote for Brexit, a loony position. It makes the best of a bad job. But achieving a majority in Parliament from a minority party to make the best of a bad job would seem a tall order. We go forward into the unknown buoyed up largely for today by the prospect of some sunshine.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Justine Greening's call.

It would appear even Parliament after last night is recognising a stalemate. There is Justine Greening calling for another referendum and various folks talking about crisis etc etc. What has changed? For over two years the UK has been unable to decide anything credible so what is different now? If I belonged to the ERG I would be delighted by recent events. Mrs May has not got her way post Chequers and it seems unlikely Brussels will agree to the proposal. The chances of us crashing out of the EU increase steadily and for all hard Brexiteers this must be the best solution forcing us to be independent. Yet business does not seem comfortable with this, the usual Tory partners. I rather think Mrs May's scheme is the only practical route to achieve a Brexit. What about this second referendum then? I am not calling for one. We live in a Parliamentary representative democracy. I did not have a lot of faith in the 2016 one because as was abundantly clear people could not on the information given know what they were voting about. Many thought it was about sending immigrants home the next day. So what would make another referendum better? I don't know. And why would it matter? Are we not leaving on March 19th next period? No, I think Parliamentarians have to knuckle down and sort it out. National interest comes before party and it a certain party is broken by it, so be it. And if there was another referendum how would I vote? Probably Remain because I would feel Leave has had plenty of time to show how to Brexit properly and beneficially and it has not done that. But what would voting Remain mean? Exactly where we were? Immigration was one of the strongest planks Leave had (although I note the numbers are still very high but it is now more rest of the world and less from the neighbours). Maybe we would be pressed to join Schengen or the Euro and regardless of what I think, the Brits will not buy those for a while yet. Incidentally having just come back from France I cannot work out why food (including French food) is so clearly cheaper in the UK than in France.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Boris' speech

Guess where I listened to R4 reporting Boris' speech this afternoon. Somewhere on the A75 near Dumfries. It was at the level of a second rate Oxford Union address. It did not deal with the questions of the moment. For months now everyone from business to the EU have pressed us (or the Tory government) "tell us what you want and how it will work?". Square the circle open freely moving borders including Ireland and whether leaving the EU means leaving the Custom's Union and the Common Market. Boris had no answers just Boris woffle. More speeches promised this week but do we really think any of them will have answers? I am not a remainer or a leaver. I am not Matthew Paris lying awake at night smarting from defeat. If you can, make Brexit work to our financial advantage; and if you can't, fess up to the nation over how ill led we have been. I say this with feeling because I spent the day in one of Europe's greatest strategic corridors. The Tyne Solway Gap aka as Hadrian's Wall aka the A69/75 Euroroute from the North Sea Ports to Ireland. And what is it like? You grind along surrounded by lorries from Italy, MacBurney's from Ballymena, who ever knows who from Donegal. You all get fouled up in the new roundabout at Dumfries Hospital. And so on and so forth. It is a dreadful route. Relatively speaking the Stanegate was more remarkable as was General Wade's Military Road from Newcastle to Portpatrick (a lot of which is the Euroroute but not all). What is the best reason for leaving the EU? Because we are not up to it. We have never been good at taking strategic benefit from it. Unlike the Irish, we don't how to get the EU to electrify derelict canal locks in the middle of nowhere. We muddle along because we love British amateurism. 18 months of planning for Brexit have demonstrated that. We genuinely have no idea from the Cabinet downwards how to deliver Brexit. And Boris did not enlighten. The next step..................................