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Saturday, 14 September 2019

Cameron and the Referendum

"I remember exactly how I decided to call the Referendum. Giles and Penny were coming up for a kitchen supper, and Sam had a spag bol on the go. I had cued-up a whole box set of the West Wing, fluffed the sofa cushions and had ordered up three bottles of Rioja, which were nicely chambré.

Then the internal phone went, It was Oliver from the private office. I had sneaked away early (as I often used to do) using my usual trick of leaving an old suit coat on the back of my chair - a trick I learned at Eton to make me appear a girly swot when I was really listening to the Smiths on my Walkman behind Wankies. Oliver had discovered I hadn't done my red boxes again. Boring! In fact I had been looking at brochures for houses to rent for the Summer in Rock. I couldn't wait for the annual hols in Cornwall - miles better than all this politics and government and stuff!

Oliver said I had to make a decision on the EEC thing. Well, if there's one thing I learned from Mrs T it was never to get serious about anything to do with that Brussels lot. Just leave them be, sign anything they sent and pay the money - that way the hols wouldn't be interrupted by pesky phone calls from blokes with funny foreign accents! So I told Oliver to bring the file up and I'd break off my evening to give it full consideration.

It was HUGE. I couldn't read all that! I had a rule that if anything took more than three minutes to read I'd just pretend I'd read it. Well, this was no different. I turned straight to the signature and decision sheet. There were two options, one of which had to be crossed out. I reached into my pocket and called out to the kitchen

'Sam! Heads or tails?'

'Tails' she said - brave girl!

'Right then! Referendum it is!'

'What?'

'Nothing'.

I gave the file back to Oliver in the morning looking a bit haggard, as though I'd been up all night reading. In fact we watched an entire series of the West Wing and drank all three bottles of wine and Giles and Penny didn't leave until 1am!"  

Friday, 13 September 2019

Democracy Trumps Courts

Lord Sumption was clearly by accident or design a superb choice to deliver the Reith lectures this year. The current hysteria is seeing the courts and judges assailed by a plethora of very wealthy litigants, from London to Edinburgh and Belfast, litigants fired with zealous righteousness and with faces infused to a shade of puce with the justice of their cause. They are seeking to find a court, any court, that will assist them in blocking the nation's democratic decision to leave the EU. Sumption had this to say - albeit as part of a lecture on Human Rights law, but it fits -
Democracy, in its traditional sense, is a fragile construct.It is extremely vulnerable to the idea that one’s own values are so obviously urgent and right that the means by which one gets them adopted don’t matter. That is one reason why it exists in only a minority of states. Even in those states it is of relatively recent origin and its basic premises are under challenge by the advocates of various value-based systems. One of these is a system of law-based decision making which would entrench a broad range of liberal principles as the constitutional basis of the state. Democratic choice would be impotent to remove or limit them without the authority of courts of law. 
Now, this is a model in which many lawyers ardently believe. The essential objection to it is that it is conceptually no different from the claim of communism, fascism, monarchism, Catholicism, Islamism and all the other great isms that have historically claimed a monopoly of legitimate political discourse on the ground that its advocates considered themselves to be obviously right. But other models are possible. One can believe in rights without wanting to remove them from the democratic arena by placing them under the exclusive jurisdiction of a priestly caste of judges. One can believe that one’s fellow citizens ought to choose liberal values without wanting to impose them.
This recourse to private law is in many cases an attempt by those who do not enjoy democratic support  for their viewpoint to seek to bludgeon, compel and coerce a majority whom they cannot outvote into giving them their own way. As such, this use of our courts and judges is a clear abuse of process in an advanced democracy. It is open only to the very wealthy, and if it succeeds it unbalances our democratic equilibrium. Remember that Mrs Miller only has one vote, and it is worth exactly the same as your vote or my vote, however wealthy and well-connected she may be.

Sumption also examines in depth the relationship between law and democracy in the area of, for nations that have one, the constitution. Spoiler alert: he is opposed for very clear reasons to the adoption of a written constitution for Britain, and I'll tackle this in a future post.

And as that arsewipe Bercow must learn, an anti-democratic and Rogue Parliament and a bent Speaker hiding from the ballot box and the electors behind the walls of Westminster must also be brought to heel by the votes of the people.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Deep State moves towards conflict

Few would ever have imagined that the deep State - that unlawful cabal of senior establishment, civil service, intelligence, legal, business and political actors - would ever break cover to the extent that they have in the past weeks in a final Ardennes offensive to try to sabotage Britain's exit from the EU.

Like the Ardennes offensive, they are throwing everything into a final gamble, risking all, including the peace of the country, to maintain their grip on power. We must wait until next week to see what happens to yesterday's display of nationalistic Scottish petulance masquerading as jurisprudence. Oh yes - that's exactly what it was. They have no evidence for the defamatory slur they made against the government - a defamatory slur that would be legally actionable had it been made outside the Safe Space of their McLordships' court - and like mini-me Sturgeons they relied, as the Telegraph tells us, "on an arcane 17th century law originally designed to protect Scotland’s right to self-determination before the Act of Union". This was nothing more than Scots establishment foot-stomping.

More sinister are the actors uniting the Parliamentary opposition in an alliance against the government; parties normally so disunited that they cannot even agree within their separate selves what to have for lunch are now phone-conferencing and mounting a co-ordinated response. Even the police are joining in with advice being solemnly given to the public across Scotland to assemble 'grab bags' of the kind we keep on board our vessels in the event of having to abandon ship. Documents, medicines. Thankfully, this Caledonian panic-mongering been met so far wih public ridicule.

We must deal with this deep State offensive in precisely the way Montgomery did with von Rundstedt's offensive; let them expose themselves in a deep salient that strains their lines of supply until their intentions are unmistakable, then chop them off at the knee. This is an existential battle for a free and independent British nation - and in preparing for conflict, the deep State, the enemy within, normally as invisible as a submarine, is showing itself. They're actually making themselves a target.

The Scottish establishment's national police force invites ridicule

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The Brexit economy

Whilst Boris has a breather to consider how best to tackle the Gordian Knot of Brexit (a mess, it is being reported, exacerbated by Bloody Blair's machinations on behalf of  our European friends across the negotiating table - does anyone else think it's about time he lost the by now purely decorative 'right honourable' and 'PC' post-nominal?) let's take a quick look at Eurozone matters. 

The pound remains depressed but at €1.12 or thereabouts is where its been all year. Gold on the other hand is through the roof; oscillating at around £950/oz since the referendum three years ago, this Summer it soared to around £1,250 and is still today at around £1,200. The UK economy is still in robust shape, if not thriving, but clearly this cannot go on - the global slow-down and more importantly, investment and other key decisions by business that have been postponed time after time as Brexit drags on are taking their toll. Business and the economy need certainty more than anything; even the CBI, whose Remain stance on behalf of about 3% of UK businesses has been aggressive against Brexit, must admit that we need, as the Septics say, closure.

The Eurozone is in the doldrums and about to get worse. As the Telegraph reports, Cristine Lagarde, who narrowly escaped jail with her conviction for complicity in a fraud, takes up the Presidency of the ECB. She brings a unique brand of incompetence and poor judgement to the role. There may be some consolation for the feminists in that the grave errors she is about to make are about to be made by a woman, but few consolations for the rest of us. She's not an economist she's a schmoozer and cannot bring to the role the genius required to get the Eurozone out of intensive care -
They can do nothing about Brexit, they can do nothing about trade tensions, they cannot force Germany to loosen the fiscal purse strings, they have no answers to growing political instability, and they cannot force the pace of innovation and structural reform as Europe requires. Central banks have been reasonably effective in keeping the patient alive during the political paralysis of the last ten years, but they can provide no long term cure for the chronic nature of today’s economic ills.
Poor Sajid Javid's spending review was lost in the Parliamentary noise, but I think he is making the right moves. Plenty to include in the Conservative election leaflets, anyway - but it was a budget for more than that. Unlike the dreadful turncoat Hammond, he's actual budgeting for Brexit - and that's a first.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Good riddance to a meretricious arsewipe

For anyone landing on this post from the post title, I bet you knew the subject straight away. At least UK readers would. Yes, this is the excellent news that the meretricious little arsewipe who has disgraced the office of Speaker for the past nine years (I think - I really can't be bothered to check the creature's Bio) is to vacate the chair.

Parliament was first broadcast on radio at the same time as I acquired my very first 'music centre' as they were called in those days. A chipboard-plated slab with a plastic cover, a record deck and cassette player on the top and controls and radio tuning window on the front, with a pair of little chipboard cased speakers. It may have been low tech but by God it put me straight at the centre of our national politics in full stereo FM. George Thomas was in the chair, and as the historic Callaghan VoC debate went out live, the debate in which Callaghan half-sang a Marie Lloyd ditty and Mrs T called him 'Frit'. Callaghan lost by 311 to 310 and the rest is history. George Thomas was magnificent. I was transfixed, and in thrall thereafter to the wonder of our Parliament. There was one factor of which I think I and all others were unaware at the time - as Wiki tells it
In the BBC documentary "A Parliamentary Coup" it was revealed that Bernard Weatherill played a critical role in the defeat of the government in the vote of confidence. As the vote loomed, Labour's deputy Chief Whip, Walter Harrison approached Weatherill to enforce the pairing convention that if a sick MP from the Government could not vote, an MP from the Opposition would abstain to compensate. Weatherill said that pairing had never been intended for votes on Matters of Confidence that meant the life or death of the Government and it would be impossible to find a Conservative MP who would agree to abstain. However, after a moment's reflection, he offered that he himself would abstain, because he felt it would be dishonourable to break his word with Harrison. Harrison was so impressed by Weatherill's offer – which would have effectively ended his political career – that he released Weatherill from his obligation and so the Government fell by one vote on the agreement of gentlemen.
Of course that same gentleman, Bernard Weatherill, took the seat as the next Speaker, and set standards of equity and probity in the chair that remain unsurpassed.

After Weatherill came Betty Boothroyd - ex Tiller Girl, and to date our only female Speaker. She brought a twinkle and a touch of humour to the chair in a way that in no wise diminished either her dignity, the authority of the Speaker or her command of the chamber. For the matters of her term, 1992 - 2000, she was perfect.

Then came Gorbals Mick, an inadequate and corrupt machine politician with little merit who sought to suppress, by power and bullying, the expenses scandal from reaching the press. And after Gorbals Mick the arsewipe, that sanctimonious dwarf Bercow. Two lousy Speakers, Bercow the very worst in my long memory and possibly in the life of our Parliament.

I could not help catch some of those oleaginous encomiums bleated from the benches yesterday at the diminutive cretin, who has devalued the office, shat on the accomplishments of former Speakers and corrupted the business of the house. How low have we sunk to tolerate such worthless trash at the heart of our democracy.   

Monday, 9 September 2019

Another momentous week ahead

We are living through times that will feature large in the history texts of the future. These are times as portentous as those of 1688 or 1848. This time we are not fighting a Catholic monarch or a wealthy land-owning oligarchy for control of our lives and futures, but an elite of globalist supranationalists who would trade away nation and people for petty self-advantage.

Readers and contributors here previously drew our attention to the error of appointing Amber Rudd to government. I was ready to give Boris the benefit of the doubt - but it seems she gulled and fooled me as much as she did the Prime Minister. With a week ahead of events as momentous as any I have known in my life, I'm giving the rest of this morning's post over to a comment made by Sobers to the post below, which deserves a more prominent airing; 
"So why don't they just accept the democratic vote of 17.4 million people and give up then? Why can't they accept losing?"

Because they don't understand what losing is. What one needs to understand is the the Remain element of the HoC, and their supporters outside it (which are not all Remainers by far, just the vocal ones) are all members of the same class - the one who for 30 years, ever since Thatcher basically, have been the winners of the political game. They are the sort of people who swan from politics to heading large charities, from heading quangos to think tanks, to well paid media jobs, to running NHS trusts, or whatever. They all swim in the same sea, move in the same circles. They are the movers and shakers in State funded circles. They consider they run the country, and for 30 years its always moved in the direction they agree with. Yes there might be a nominal Conservative government every now and again, but none of them ever do anything to reverse the flow of more regulation, more State control of everything, more immigration, more taxes, more public spending, more European integration. A Tory government might slow the advance a bit, but the direction of travel always remains the same.

So in their heads they have decided that what they want is the only way the country can move in. Its just the natural state of affairs to them. Anything else is immoral as far as they are concerned. Just suggesting slowing down the speed of travel generates plenty of vitriol at those who dare to question them, the very idea that someone might throw the supertanker into reverse doesn't even fit in their comprehension.

So all of this isn't really about the pros and cons of being in a supra-national body such as the EU any more. Its about a political class being faced for the first time ever with the word 'No'. Its so discombobulated them, the mask has slipped. No longer are the usual platitudes about 'working families' and 'democratic choice' even paid lip service. They have been thrown out as their naked desire for power is exposed. Its become a nothing less than a power struggle - who is to govern, the People, or the Political Class? That's why they can't let Brexit happen, not because of any specific arguments about it, but because its become an existential fight - if they lose it they lose everything. If the voters can force the political class to leave the EU against their will, what other ideas might the people get?

Saturday, 7 September 2019

All Out! Boris to go on strike

As the early Autumn chill bites, an environmentally-friendly coke brazier at the entrance to Downing Street warms both the government pickets and the policemen on duty. Michael Gove leans his strike placard against the railings and warms his hands at the glowing coals. He is talking football with one of the policemen.

" ..... and on the pitch, he moves like Nijinsky"

"Like a horse? Not sure I see that, Mr Gove"

"No no not the racehorse, the dan ....." they are assailed by a fug of heady gin vapours

"I demand to see the Prime Minister!" screeches Mother Soubry, for it is she

"Scab! Scab! Blackleg! Blackleg!" chants JRM languorously. He is wearing his lounge-lizard double-breasted boilersuit. Chalk striped. A police officer raises an eyebrow in warning.

"You can't" snaps Gove at Mother Soubry "he's on strike."

"But I've been deputed by the Commons to demand that he he obeys them! Either he gets on with it or we'll .... we will ....."

"You will what?" snarls Gove "trigger a general election? Yes please! Why do you think he's on strike? All you have to do is vote him out and we go to the country!"

"But we can't do that! Most of us would, er, um.. a lot of us would ..."

"Lose your seats? Be kicked out by voters? Be thrown on the scrapheap?"

Outside on Whitehall a furious squawking and a flurry of feathers indicated that the Leader of the Opposition was on his way to the House.

Mother Soubry sidles up to one of the policemen "Got any gin, love?" she asks plaintively