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Monday, 24 June 2019

"Only Mrs Hunt sees my naked arms!"

"No, I'm not wearing that, sorry. It's ... colourful. And swirly. The pattern is irregular. I always wear a white shirt"

"Jeremy! You're not connecting with people. The feeds say you're too bland. We've got to spice it up a bit. Look, take off the suit coat at least"

"I'm sorry, I don't want to appear on the Television in people's homes as they gather around their cathode ray sets improperly dressed. I always wear my suit coat on the Television. And in the office."

"Ok well let Samantha take it for a quick steam and brush down.

Now roll up your sleeves - we need to take a light meter reading of your arms for the camera"

"Roll up my sleeves? But people will see my naked arms. Only Mrs Hunt ever sees my naked arms. Really? Oh alright"

"... and take the tie off please"

"No! I won't take off my tie for anyone ..."

Floor! One minute to Transmission. Places please.   

"That's fine Jeremy - now just rest your elbows on the chair arms for a reading, please"

Floor! Fifteen seconds

"Where's my suit coat?  Bring me my suit coat please ... can I roll my sleeves down now?"

Three ...two ... one

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Guardian must produce the Boris surveillance files

As the sofa wine stain story broke yesterday, as early as dawn it became clear that the perpetrators - the Guardian newspaper and  hostile left-wing neighbours of Boris Johnson, were deeply compromised. Claiming to be concerned for the couple's welfare, Tom Penn called the police. Fair enough. He claims to have knocked at his neighbours' door - for which there is of course no evidence. Now if Penn were genuinely concerned for the couple's welfare, and his story were true, the police having confirmed that nothing was amiss, the sofa wine stain spat having fizzled out, he would have shut up and that would have been the end of the matter.

However, Penn and his American-born wife Eve Leigh were less concerned with their neighbours' welfare than with damaging them in any way they could. Penn handed over a surveillance recording he had made to the Guardian, which ran the sofa wine stain story.

Boris and Carrie have already been subject of a campaign of harassment and intimidation in their home with flyers (pictured below) plastered around the building and on vehicles outside. It is not known whether Penn and Leigh are responsible for these.

We also don't know how the recording was made. In a statement to the Guardian, Penn claims "I went inside my own home, closed the door, and pressed record on the voice memos app on my phone." If his claims that the recording in which the words of a heated conversation can be heard clearly was made in this way, it is extraordinary. Until we have the audio file to analyse, the veracity of Penn's claim cannot be confirmed. It is possible that the hostile neighbours made the recording using professional mics (they are theatre people, after all) fixed onto/into the party wall or floor - and that the clip heard by the Guardian was just an out-take from a comprehensive series of surveillance recordings. Until we have access to the audio file we simply don't know.

Boris Johnson is a terrorist target and an MP and ex-cabinet minister. The police must surely now determine whether he was being bugged by his hostile neighbours - and crucially, whether Penn and Leigh have breached s.58 of the 2000 Terrorism Act -
Collection of information.

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, or

(b) he possesses a document or record containing information of that kind.
Then there is also the person or persons behind these leaflets - were they printed or made on an employer's colour copier?

Britain is neither in thrall to the Stasi or the Gestapo and their gangs of block and neighbourhood informants. Penn and Leigh committed an unforgivable breach of privacy at the very least, and possible criminal offences at worst. This is not an end to the matter.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Get ready for an election

Barring a disaster, skulduggery or external events, Boris is near certain to be asked by HM to form a government in about four weeks. Parliament is then due to rise, returning on 5th September for about a week before rising again for the conference season. The next session is due to run from 9th October to 7th November - over the time of the expiration of the Art 50 extension. 

As many sage commentors are saying, we cannot deal with Brussels until we have a government with a majority in Parliament. The Lords is also in urgent need of reform to strip it of the political establishment who have 'captured' the house - meaning even if Boris succeeds in establishing a Commons majority, a Brexit solution may still be blocked by the Lords. For this particular problem, only threatening the Lords with creating 400 new Brexit Conservative peers overnight will offer success in the time available (NB I'm available).

Conservative constituencies across the country must decide now whether they need to deselect their sitting MP or not; a new party chairman appointed by Boris will surely work with Local Associations to ensure that every Leave constituency in which we Tories have a good chance is equipped with a Leave PPC.

We must also decide whether we will refrain from running in the mostly northern, Labour constituencies in which the Brexit Party can take best advantage of their Leave majorities - better a Brexit MP in the House than a LibDem by default.

How leaving the EU works in the middle of all this I simply don't know - but with the Commons as it is now tightly deadlocked, only the sharp edge of an election will undo this Gordian knot. In terms of constituencies, we have about 410 leave seats to 240 remain seats - and must ensure the next parliament reflects this.

Then there is the matter of an unbiased Speaker whom members can trust and in whom the voting public can have confidence. We may not be rid of Bercow until a GE. 

Of course given the national emergency looming, Boris may decide to cancel both the MPs Summer holidays and the conference season and engineer the necessary vote of confidence sooner rather than later- having a new Parliament in place before 31st October.

Whichever way it goes, I cannot see us moving without an election. So get your stout knocking shoes re-soled, all, and be ready for anything.  

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Rhetorical question I guess ...

For whom, dear readers, should I vote?

EU woes upon woes

Comments to the post below that affirm Germany's effective management of the EU are all quite correct - as we have written here many times before. Yet it is the shackling of Germany to France that is at the heart of the EU dynamic - and that dynamic is currently undergoing one of its periodic stress tests. Comments doubting Germany's ability to rearm are also, I suspect, correct - based on my own experience of many German young people, albeit Bavarians, men and women who eschew militarism in any form. But of whom few would not support Germany's using her economic clout to achieve continental dominance. However even that is seriously in doubt - as AEP, who terms the Eurozone the 'global .. chief parasite" writes in the Telegraph. -

For anyone not up to speed on the shenanigans in Brussels, it's time for turn and turn about amongst the EU's unelected officials. The various presidents are up for appointment by their chums. For Juncker's job, the Germans want an utterly mediocre, unimaginative compliant nobody who will do as their other German, Martin Selmayr, requires. The French want their own man in the job. Or rather the bullish Dane, Margrethe Vestager, who shares Macron's agenda. However, her getting one president's job may not happen if another president's job is given to Verhofstadt. Clear?

With the downturn already biting at the EU, and no tools left for the ECB to use, and with the Donald ready to deliver a few well-placed kicks in terms of car tariffs and exchange rate action, with a potential oil-price crisis on the horizon, potential global sanctions against Nordstream II, Italy on the verge of launching a parallel currency and an irritated Visegrad group, the EU may find itself lumbered with a dreary and mediocre bunch of compromise candidates in the top officials' jobs at a time when authoritative leadership is needed to survive.

Mark Rutte has today warned the UK that Brexit will give us problems. Not a fraction of those that are about to descend on you, chum. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

EU hubris will reap destruction after Brexit

There was a reminder from Malcolm Rifkind of all people on Politico EU of all platforms of a risk of Brexit I had hitherto not clocked -
France and Germany know that for Europe to implement effective policies with maximum impact regarding Russia, China and other regions, the bloc will have to work closely with the U.K. — even after it is no longer part of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council and loses its power to veto EU initiatives.
In much of the foolishness, the idiocy, the recklessness born of hubris to which the EU is so susceptible - an army, a foreign ministry, their own seat at the UN, the panoply of a State - it has been the bulwark of UK common sense that has counselled against the grossest stupidities. Now of course they can act like kids in a sweet shop.

Juncker has been whining that he had no official presidential palace in which to host visiting dignitaries and neck cognac served by liveried flunkies. He has, quite rightly, been accommodated in a hotel when in Brussels. It's clear what he wants his legacy to be.

And without the UK veto, they are liable to mess up again in the Balkans, reignite the war they fomented in Ukraine and earn the vicious spite of Erdogan. They will send gobbets of EU army (four men, three flags and an EU plaque) where they are calculated to cause most resentment, and create mayhem as an 'enhanced' observer at the UN.

I predict that without the restraining hand of the UK, the little men from little nations playing with a power they cannot comprehend will reap their own destruction. Puff, hubris and braggadocio will bring them down. As it has always done. 

Will the EU try to get the Egmont Palace, currently used for event hire by the Belgians?

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Peterborough - Labour voting fraud

It seems increasingly certain that electoral fraud won Labour its tainted Peterborough seat. An authoritative report in the Sunday Times which has been repeated in other sections of the serious media has started the discovery of widespread evidence of vote rigging and postal vote abuse. There is also clear evidence, as Conservative Home writes
In it, whilst he conceded the importance of tackling in-person impersonation and voter intimidation, Jackson focused on the challenges posed by postal vote fraud, as well as the evidence behind the Electoral Commission’s belief that it appears more prevalent "in areas which are largely or predominately populated by… those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh"
The Electoral Commission's 'target list' of constituencies subject to enhanced scrutiny are largely those which have substantial Pakistani / Bangladeshi populations.

Whichever Conservative candidate wins through to Number Ten, they MUST push through reforms needed to regain for our electoral system the probity that an advanced democracy needs. This means not only radical reform of Blair's postal vote free for all, but the correction of our Electoral Quotient to the +/- 5% level essential for Western democracies, if not the +/- 3% adopted by advanced democracies such as New Zealand.

I'm aware of the deep anger and heat on this matter - so to ensure comments remain within the framework, I'm switching to comment mod for this post. Apologies in advance.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Just more of the same

I avoided last night's Oxford Union debate in which four undergraduates and a brown lad from the local grammar school debated wheelie bins or something. There's only so much one can take of these people. I'm desperate for a terrier puppy at the moment and have been spending time watching videos of dog tumbles, straining to discern minute differences between half a dozen wriggling pups in a litter. Pointless, of course.

More usefully, the Conservative Party's funders are reported to be reaching out a hand to the Brexit Party - if only to establish with whom they need to talk. It's far, far too early for anything else. If there is an electoral pact it will be born of need and desperation when a GE is imminent - and subject to the agreement of a Leaver PM and Cabinet. The best thing our big party funders can do right now is follow the grass roots membership and withhold any finance until we have the leader we need.

Meanwhile Mrs May is reported to be trying to commit billions of tax spending to try to rescue a legacy for herself in an act of such outrageous self-interest that she should be imprisoned for it. Let me tell the Prime Minister straight - you have been sacked. Put your personal stuff in an archive box, return your pass and your work mobile, and leave the building. Do not use your email account. Do not sign off on anything. If you delay, we will have Security escort you out of the building, which will be embarrassing.