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..................................

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Corbyn's friendship with May

If you call for staying in the Customs Union you should be blasted!!!! That is what the Daily Express and the Labour Party agree over. Not for the first time I am left saying Corbyn is May's best friend (a critic says so in the link). It would never surprise me to discover Corbyn is encouraged by May. "Hear, you have a job for life so long as you stay in "opposition" and I will help you". Opposition is about just that, so all the other opposition parties suggest a tactic Corbyn should welcome and he says No. The British Public by a very thin margin voted to leave the EU. Nothing was said on the paper about Customs Union, Common Market, although many people had their opinions. There is ample evidence many thought it was an exercise to get rid of Cameron and the government. That went off half cock. So 2018 starts with the same meaningless record. And this is why I say it is meaningless. Because although Corbyn and the Tory Right are both united in wanting as little to do with the EU as possible, they do want this for very different reasons. One wants the Freedom to build the Socialist Workers Utopia (with the railways as an example to us all), the other wants a Hard Right fantasy. One of those is going to be disappointed. One is a small number of people and a lot of money. The other is a lot of people and not much idea about money. And in between are most of us! Like the commuters trying to get to work this week (where I am not). Stuffed by intransigence, loud mouths and dogmatists. Along come some politicians who want to break through that and Corbyn says no, even though most of his MPs think Remain a good idea. Finally who realises the inception of Concorde helped fuel British distrust of Europe. I have chapter and verse for that.  See .

Sunday, 7 January 2018

First Saturday of 2018

The first Saturday of 2018. By a thin majority the nation voted to say goodbye to our largest trading partners and 27 of our neighbours. 18 months after that vote and no-one REALLY knows how to do it. We are governed by a political party with just about 100,000 members? They are propped up by 10 Ulster MPs from the party and religious presuppostions of Ian Paisley. The most effective opposition to government comes from the SNP and its leader. Small wonder one faces 2018 in a spirit of uncertainty. If you had asked me to believe this would happen from the perspective of 1998 I would have said "Rowlocks". And above all, I don't get it, I don't understand how this has happened. And I don't know if the answer is Facebook.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Rail fares go up 2nd January 2018

Some of you will have just heard R4 with two protagonists on rail fares. Gents each from the Rail Delivery Group (who knows what that does?) and the Shadow Transport Secretary from Labour. Chris Grayling could not be borrowed to explain anything. The two who did speak were pathetic and this was based on their ignorance. The one point I heard which I think was a score was the stress on how foreign state railways benefit. It is a racket. The ignorance was for instance displayed by no-one mentioning the REPEATED failure of rail franchises. And added to it the CONSTANT changes of policy by Government. Tell me about Anglia Railways and Great Western (forgetting that serial offender East Coast) to understand this. Labour NEED to positively explain how they can do better. The guy did not. They need to say that the rail industry can only be efficient if vertically integrated and that the BR of 1993 was the most successful railway in Western Europe. All Labour needs to do is arm itself with the facts and figures of 1993 and say we will recreate British Railways as configured not for 1948 and Attlee but for 1993.