Category Archives: Politics

Political stuff

Mad, bad, or just dangerous to know?

GrieveThe question arises as to how to categorise the MPs who are determined to try to block a “no deal” Brexit.

Strictly speaking, of course, it is not a “no deal” Brexit at all, because both the UK and the EU are bound by the deal of the World Trade Organisation treaty terms, and in any event, both the UK and the EU are committed to the notion that all sorts of things, such as the free passage of aircraft, are agreed even if there is no comprehensive withdrawal agreement.

But moving on from that terminological inexactitude (we will live with it for the moment):

Mad?

We don’t mean “mad” quite in the mental health sense. We mean just really, really stupid.

The car analogy has been made before. Telling the EU that under no circumstances will the UK leave the EU without a withdrawal deal is not dissimilar to walking into a second-hand Mercedes dealer and saying “I will not leave this forecourt without having bought one of your cars”. In those circumstances, the price of a second-hand Mercedes (and the EU is very much second-hand goods) goes up quite a bit. Or, put another way, committing that there will never be a “no deal” is tantamount to putting oneself over a barrel and asking the Germans to give one a very thorough Continue reading

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Which Jeremy?

POTUS Trump has been behaving himself since the wheels of Air Force 1 touched down.

corbyn march.jpgMeanwhile, the Magic Grandpa has refused to attend the state banquet. The thing is, he is happier on a picket line, or a protest march, than in the corridors of power. So he would be an utterly disastrous PM.  Especially since his friend John McDonnell would presumably become Chancellor of the Exchecher, and his avowed aim is to destroy economy as it presently is: he is still a Marxist who thinks Marx has not yet had a fair run and who wants the UK to rerun the Venezuela experiment.

The Tory wets would like Jeremy Hunt to be the next PM. A bright guy, for sure, but he also would be a terrible PM. In answer to the question, “How should the chicken cross the road?” he says: “Compromise. Stop half way.” Which might appeal to a parliamentary conundrum, but which would be serously unwise for the country, which is baying the answer: “Get on with it!”

If the Tories fail to elect Continue reading

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The Next Thing

Okay, people, let’s check up on where we are in relation to Brexit following the European elections and the resignation of Theresa May.

I fear there is a real risk that the Tory MPs (who are not voting for the two candidates  who should go to the National party for a choice, but rather who are voting for the one person they think should lead the party, plus the second most popular choice for the one person they think they should lead the party) will select 2 Brino candidates. If that happens (and I think it would be a massive mistake for the Tory party, but not impossible) the Tory party and the nation will be denied the opportunity to elect their overwhelming favourite as leader of their party, and hence Prime Minister.

But let’s suppose that common sense – or at least a sense of self-preservation – means that the Tory MPs will put forward at least one true Brexiteer for the Tory party national vote, which means of course that such a candidate will wipe the floor with the Brino, and so we will have a true Brexiteer as Prime Minister.

The experts on Parliamentary procedure seem to be agreed: a Prime Minister determined to honour the result of the 2016 referendum can push through Brexit on a clean break basis, regardless of the opposition of the majority of MPs in Parliament. The Labour Party has made clear that in such circumstances they would then Continue reading

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Not out of the Woods Yet

Boris Johnson is course by far the most popular prospect for Tory leader, and hence Prime Minister, following the resignation of the disgraceful Theresa May. And equally clearly, he is by far the best prospect for the Tory party in the next general election.

But is that enough?

To get elected, he needs to be in the Tory MP’s top 2. And to get into the top 2, Boris faces a couple of formidable challenges:

  • carrie

    Carrie Symonds

     

    First, he is not much liked among his fellow Tory MPs. He is too clever, too lazy, his current partner Carrie Symonds is too young (some 24 years his junior) and too good looking, he earns too much money from journalism and whenever he appears on the gogglebox, he steals their limelight.

  • Secondly, there is still a substantial majority among Tory MPs for Brino[1]. They get the votes in the first round; they chose the 2 who go forward for the party members’ choice. They might well vote for 2 Brino candidates. So that the party members do not, in the 2nd round, get to opportunity to vote for a real Brexiteer at all.

The Maybot’s resignation is of course very welcome. But we are not out of the woods. She remains the holder of executive power in the coming weeks. There remains a real risk that she and Ollie Robbins might well seek to Continue reading

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Berlin Rules: Europe and the German Way

Berlin rulesI refused to pay the extortionate price that Australian booksellers charge for Paul Lever’s Berlin Rules: Europe and the German Way, but my lovely daughter Annabel sent me a copy.

As the reviews rightly say, it is excellent: a fluent and utterly compelling read by someone who knows very well what he is talking about[1]. Everyone who expresses an opinion on Brexit should read it in full.

Sir Paul evidently likes the Germans, among whom he lived and worked for many years. It is not in any sense an anti-German diatribe. He reckons that it is fair enough for them to look after their own interests, and generally, that they go about that task competently enough. But it is frank about the reality of the EU these days. In summary:

  • Nothing of any consequence is done in the EU without German approval;
  • To understand what the German politicians approve and what they do not approve, it is necessary to look at what they do, not what they say (not at all the same thing);
  • They say they are for EU ideals, but in fact all their decisions are based on what they judge best for Germany;
  • In particular, Germany is keen to prevent any other EU economy being able to mount any effective challenge to the dominance of German industry;
  • This German domination is not because of any meglomaniac ambition by Germany. It has simply evolved that the EU as a whole, organised from the start on German lines, has fallen into line behind its most economically powerful member.

He also says, contrary to the fears of many, that there is no real risk of the EU becoming Continue reading

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Bounced Out

awI do not know, of course if Gavin Williamson was really the source (if any) of the leak.

And obviously, revealing secrets is a BAD THING.

But:

  • Revealing that the Maybot’s opening of the UK’s 5G door to Huawei was against ministerial advice is hardly a secret of itself;
  • Nor that it was against security chiefs’ advice;
  • Not that it is highly offensive to and worrying for our closest allies;
  • The Maybot has form for not only massive incompetence, but for her duplicity, for saying one thing and doing another, as she repeatedly compromises the UK’s national sovereignty and independence;
  • The civil sevants who have accused him of being the leak have apparently been “out to get him” for a while.

Gavin Williamson says he has been condemned by a kangaroo court. He might be right; who knows? It is no great surprise that his enemies say, “Of course it was him”.

And it would not be total surprise if Continue reading

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Why the Extreme Right is Resurgent in Europe

santiago abascalThe rise of the far-right parties in Europe is a real worry.

The Vox party has now entered mainstream Spanish politics as a result of this week’s elections. All the more concerning since it is not so long ago since Franco ruled that particular roost.

Similar movements are to be seen in Italy, France, Austria, Hungary and other EU nations.

Who is to blame? Views vary, but personally I would identify the problem as the cloying impact of Continue reading

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Hey Jules

JA draggedJulian Assange has been dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy and arrested for jumping bail and in response to a USA extradition request.

He probably is a bit of a plonker, but it is hard not to feel a sense of unease about the way he has been treated.

Instead of punishing him for jumping bail, the court might well have said, “You should not have jumped bail, and the bail is forfeit. But you have imprisoned yourself for seven years, which is far longer than we would have sentenced you to for that offence, and so we dismiss that charge. There are no outstanding charges or arrest warrants from Sweden. You are at liberty to walk free until your challenge to the USA extradition request has been determined”.

It is not obvious that it is in United States’ interest to try to bring him to trial there. The essential gravamen of Continue reading

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Max Wimp

This chap joined a nude protest in the Commons by climate change nutters.

But he refused to take his strides off. He is still wearing his jeans. Because that symbol of American culture still dominates his thinking? Who knows.

The others glued their bottoms to the glass. I think they should have left them there for a while. Gagged, obviously, if they made any noise (they were hardly in a position to do anything much about that). It would have been an appropriate Continue reading

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New Zealand’s Answer to Gough Whitlam?

Jacinda_ArdernThe New Zealanders are in a bit of a bind. They have obviously had a terrible tragedy with the mosque shooting in Christchurch. Their position is slightly unusual; around the world, it is more often been the Muslims who have perpetrated these massacres. On this occasion, it was a right-wing nutter. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has promised to make provision for the families of those who were killed. She said:

That provision exists regardless of the immigration status of those who have lost their lives and regardless of the immigration status of their loved ones. It includes the cost of burial. It includes support for lost income and that can last for not just months but it can last for years. So I give you that assurance

it is not her money, of course, but it is her gesture. As was her action in wearing a hijab to show solidarity with the victims.

Now, New Zealanders are very proud of what they have. They have a very good rugby team: probably the best in the world. They are very proud of that. And now they have a Prime Minister who is being lauded by the luvvies all around the world. So they have to be proud of that too.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand economy is steadily being strangled. Focus Economics puts it in relentlessly grey terms: Continue reading

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