Monthly Archives: December 2018

No Fear of No Flights

AFSo much for the Project Fear line about a clean Brexit (“crashing out” as they melodramatically call it) meaning no aeroplanes will be able to fly across The Channel: the EU says:

The Commission has today adopted two measures that will avoid full interruption of air traffic between the EU and the UK in the event of no deal. These measures will only ensure basic connectivity and in no means replicate the significant advantages of membership of the Single European Sky. This is subject to the UK conferring equivalent rights to EU air carriers, as well as the UK ensuring conditions of fair competition.

  • A proposal for a Regulation to ensure temporarily (for 12 months) the provision of certain air services between the UK and the EU.
  • A proposal for a Regulation to extend temporarily (for 9 months) the validity of certain aviation safety licences.

So, sensibly, the EU says it will allow UK planes in the EU if the UK allows EU planes in the UK. Good. The UK should say the same; indeed, it has already done so.[1]  But never mind too much about what they say they will do; the proper reaction is according to what they actually do.

But who is “they”? The EU? Or each EU country?

There is something to be said for the later.[2] Air France, for example, flies between London and Edinburgh. Should the UK continue to allow it to do so? That should depend, I suggest, on whether France allows British Airways to fly from Paris to Lyon. It is in everyone’s interest for the answer to be Continue reading

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TINA II or The Nelson Touch?

borisThe last female British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was famous for saying “There Is No Alternative”. The present Prime Minister, Theresa May, attempts to take the same line.

There is good news and bad news for her following her decision to pull the Commons vote on the Robbins-Weyand deal. The good news is that she has avoided an almost certain defeat in the Commons. The bad news is that her prospects of renegotiating the deal with EU is even more hopeless.

It need not be thus. She will now be going to the EU saying, in short:

“Help me out here; I need to sell this deal back in London”.

But suppose she were to resign, handing over her place to Boris Johnson. Boris would be going to the EU saying, in short:

“Sorry, mes amis, but you blew it by being too greedy. We are not going to ratify the Robbins-Weyand deal, or anything like it, so our future trade will be on WTO terms. Now, would you like to sign off on some of the uncontentious bits of a withdrawal arrangement, like citizens’ rights, and make some practical arrangements to facilitate future trade? If so, we might give you some of the £39 billion.”

There are many who shudder at the prospect of Boris as Prime Minister, and he certainly has his flaws. But then again, so Continue reading

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A Grievous Chaos

GrieveIt may well be that Dominic Grieve, a mild looking Conservative politician, might be the butterfly which flaps its wings which ultimately causes the storm which brings down the United Kingdom as a united and independent nation, and signals the end of its democracy. I refer, of course, to his amendment  passed a few hours ago in the House of Commons. I will get to the detail of this shortly, but first some background.

Those who have sought in the past to subjugate the British Isles to continental power have never been too keen on democracy. When Boudicca’s husband King Prasutagus died, leaving his daughters as heirs, the Romans did not say:

Well, fair enough. It’s a free country. We’ll take that on board.

Instead, they annexed his kingdom, flogged Boudicca and raped the daughters. For a while, that didn’t go too well, but in the end, Britain was no more than a vassal state, and the Romans were able to kill Continue reading

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Old Mark

It is a blessing that old rockers are still having fun.

Mark

Mark Knopfler is a few years older than me, but is evidently still in reasonable shape. Hopefully, my daughter Annabel will rustle up his latest album as a Christmas present.

Meanwhile, I am playing in my local band here Robbies’ Road. The requirements for membership of the band are living on Sampson Road, Myponga Beach, and being called Robert. Or Rob. Or Bob. Sometimes we play covers. Sometimes my songs. And sometimes songs by our vocalist, Rob Weedon (no known relation to Bert). We have fun, too. But it would be hard to pretend that Continue reading

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