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Monday, 31 December 2018

UFOs, scared Septics and Anglo-Saxon ghosts

I had intended to post about rebalancing political power this morning. No longer. It's not often that a story in which one was personally involved drops into one's lap, but today we have one. A story in the Telegraph  has just explained for the first time an old event about which I have been feeling a little guilty for many years.

First my tale. It was 1980. We were a small group of lads in our early 20s from southern Suffolk, scattered around Ipswich but meeting frequently to carouse and take fun. One Saturday we decided to make a lunchtime session at the Queen's Head in Erwarton, a cosy waterside pub in a small village looking southwards out over the mouth of the Stour into darkest Essex. A friend of a friend had just taken the lease, and we were trying our chance at discounted beer.

In the bar we quickly made friends with a young American Air Force Lieutenant, who like many from the nearby USAF cold-war squadrons was living off-base in a rented cottage and had immersed himself in English village life. The pub was now his local - and he loved it, and his status there, with his own pewter beer jug and folk that knew his name.

Of course we knew the USAF bases well. We would talk our way in usually claiming to be brothers-in-law to Airmen married to Brit women. They were like small bits of the Midwest transported by tornado into ancient East Anglia, with black and white Dodge police prowlers on the gates and cops with pistols on their hips. They had Main Street shops and outlets, and importantly a PX and American bars. The PX provided pints of vodka (bought by a compliant serviceman with ID) at a fraction of their UK price, and the bar provided a truly authentic American drinking experience. One needed dollars for everything, of course - and all of us carried them.

I was also at that age, not far from my pubescent Airfix model days, something of an expert in US aviation kit, as only the sponge-minded young are. I could not only identify an approaching low flying aircraft as a F4 rather than an A10 or rarely then as a Lightning from engine noise alone but could tell you which models of F4 were stationed at each base in Suffolk, their range, weapons payloads and more.

We were keen, as the young and foolish are, to let the young Loot know we were chums and that we knew all about his world and we thought it cool. The young Loot, for reasons I had not fully understood until this morning, felt obliged to report to his CO on the Monday following an encounter with some young Brits who knew a helluva lot about their base and aircraft. The result we heard from our mate's landlord mate a week later; the base security people had thrown him into jail and subjected him to three days of  'enhanced interrogation' by teams who had flown in from the States, extracting from his tortured mind every single word exchanged in the Queen's Head.

We weren't that worried. We hadn't done anything wrong and we believed ourselves untouchable. We put the experience down to many Septics being arseholes (let me tell you another time about being chased around the Three Tuns by an obese puce-faced Tech Master-Sergeant for tearing up a dollar bill into a bar ashtray ...). However, the Loot was a nice young man, albeit a silly one for reporting our encounter, and I've always held myself a bit responsible for his three days under torture / interrogation back in 1980.

Now of course it's clear that his action and their reaction was around the time of the SAS fooling the poor Septics with fake UFOs in Rendlesham Forest. Made believable by long local tradition of the ghosts of the ancient Anglo-Saxon court of King Raedwald haunting the plantations, the king whose 'palace' (read big hut) was located in that place. 

Thirty-eight years on, it's good to know it wasn't really my fault.

Have a very happy New Year's eve all and drink a dram for me. And one for the Loot.


Saturday, 29 December 2018

Power Inquiry re-visited

One of the most seminal documents in the formation of my political outlook - which I guess one could describe as democratic libertarian conservative - was the Power Inquiry, from the earliest years of this century, cross-party and chaired by Helena Kennedy QC. The launch of the report in 2004 at the QE conference centre in Westminster was my first encounter in the flesh with a young politician with whom I was impressed - David Cameron. Alas, his commitment to all the good things he espoused back then soon disappeared, and he's since departed into history as one of Britain's most dilettante PMs. 

One has to remember we were in those days pre-Facebook and Twitter, and blogs were just emerging. People weren't used to exercising democratic opinion and even power online. Politicians regarded the Internet as just another 'push' medium, for their use and benefit in broadcasting their messages. They certainly weren't used to people answering back, responding as equals on platforms to which they had equal access, with no cost barriers to keep the young, the poor or the regional away. Cameron, like May, was one of the old school; it was his job to speak, and our duty to listen. He would transmit wisdom, we would receive it. The poor dears have had a dreadful shock in the intervening fourteen years and their world has been turned quite upside down. But how well has the Power Inquiry itself endured?

It's available online for anyone interested, and in the days leading up to the Meaningful Vote I'll try to look at the recommendations, starting with 'Rebalancing Power'. The report found:-
- The Executive has become more powerful at the expense of MPs in the House of Commons. In particular, the Prime Minister’s Office and whoever the PM decides to gather around him or her, has become the most powerful political institution in British politics.

- Central government departments have also become more powerful at the expense of local government over the last two to three decades.
 
- Appointed authorities – quangos – have gained extra powers, particularly at the expense of local councillors. 

- Supranational bodies and processes of international negotiation such as the European Union have gained extra powers and influence at the expense of nationally and locally elected representatives.
Well, the first two are as true as they were. The third is much worse than it was then; now called NDPBs rather than Quangos, there is a gradual melding between a growing number of these semi-detached Agencies and government funded fake charities, none of which are under direct democratic control and all of which are exercising even more anti-democratic power. As for the fourth, well, we are dealing with the EU. Just the UN and the rest of them to go. 

One final comment. Back in the days when I burnt the midnight oil taking a part-time Masters, we enjoyed a lecture given by a respected economist. He took a question from one of my colleagues that contained the word 'power'. 'Power' he responded 'is not an economic concept. We leave that sort of thing to the sociologists'. It was a neat put-down, and understandable given the efforts of economists to convince us that they are scientists, or at least more scientific than sociologists. But untrue. Understanding power is the point of understanding economic behaviour.

Friday, 28 December 2018

EU VAT grab - It's all about Ireland

The Telegraph leads with a story today on the EU's proposed reduction from next year of the EU-wide maximum VAT threshold from £85,000 (€95,000) to £76,700 (€85,000). The UK uses the maximum, and has the highest VAT registration threshold in Europe (good for small service businesses). The paper is correct in identifying two effects; first, that under the Robbins Treaty, all firms in the UK will have to comply for the next two years, and second that under the backstop arrangements, the requirement could be permanent in Northern Ireland. Not only would thousands of UK businesses now trading just under the VAT threshold be caught in an onerous EU net, but the change would cause irrevocable harm to Northern Ireland.

Imagine a situation under May's treaty if, in two years, without a trade agreement having been concluded, the UK decided to abolish VAT. Although we would be free to do so in England, Scotland and Wales, all shops, supermarkets, pubs, trains and aircraft and all other businesses selling in Northern Ireland would still have to charge VAT. 

The paper doesn't mention VAT competition between the UK and Ireland. Most VAT thresholds in Europe are substantially lower (Belgium €25k, Germany €17.5k, Lux €30k, NL - nil) but two nations closest to Britain have had to carry split high thresholds - Ireland with €75k for goods and €37.5k for services, and France with €82.8k for goods and €33.2k for services. 

Without a UK veto, the EU can progressively decrease the threshold in Northern Ireland down to about half its current level, allowing the Irish government to increase its tax-take. May's agreement would prevent Northern Irish businesses from taking advantage of any reductions in VAT rate or increase in thresholds in mainland Britain after Brexit. 

Just another trap set by the EU and willingly incorporated by May's muppets in Team Robbins. 

However, it would all go to buggery if we left without a deal in March. We could then abolish VAT if we wished across the whole of Britain - including Northern Ireland. The DUP would have to be literally insane to move even a millimetre in placating May's government on the Robbins treaty.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Britain - Not a Bumblebee but a Hornet

Without a deal, without a Norway / Canada / EFTA / EEA framework, without subjecting the nation to the hand of trans-European bureaucracy, we are told, our nation is a Bumblebee. The world's top scientists have proven that it is quite impossible for a Bumblebee to fly; the body is too large, the wing area too small. Like the Bumblebee, we are told, the UK will be earthbound, crawling about like a beetle, unless we imprison ourselves in some version of benign State framework. 

But now right at the end of the year, other news is reaching us. The pharma industry has already sorted itself for a no-deal exit, as has the financial sector. Airlines check - now there's time to do the paperwork. Ports OK, with mothballed ports ready to re-open and existing ports upgrading capacity. Bit of a problem with cars, but hey, that's a German worry. 

Even on an individual basis, folk across Europe are sorting themselves out. Well, except for the more hysterical, who tend to be Remainers, and can't think of anything else to do but post increasingly deranged nonsense on Twitter. I've swapped my UK driving licence for an Austrian one; painless. Twelve minutes in a local office without a queue and with a real human on the counter. New one arrived two days later. So I can drive in both the UK and EU for free and without bother and without an additional document or cost. 

The other untruth we are being told is that unless the UK leaves with a formal divorce treaty, the regard in which our nation is held will plummet globally. Our rep will be dust. Britain's good name will be ruined. Total bollocks.

Just as long as we show that we've made adequate preparations to leave on 29th March and go straight to WTO terms, that the Cassandra Remainer media have little red meat to whine about, and that we make a decent fist of a complex and adverse situation, the success with which we leave may actually increase the regard in which we're held. I suspect the news now emerging is that the real Britain is now far better prepared than is the government. And not only prepared to fly like a Bumblebee, but to seek novel and rewarding opportunities across the oceans, to transform the world's fifth largest economy from a satrap State enchained to a sluggard dullard of a failed Federation into an international Hornet. 

No. The only cohort who fear leaving without a deal are the establishment; the political and mandarin elites. Their failure to secure a deal will show the world that neither are any longer fit for purpose. It will be a failure of the Central State, the failure of a grasping power-hoarding Whitehall, the failure of Big Government that sets the statutory calorie value of every fast-food hamburger and legislates to control the size of BBQ sauce portions. It will, with a shove, precipitate the sort of Localism that we desperately need, and force the root and branch reform of our failed senior civil service.

Monday, 24 December 2018

It's been a long year

It's been a long year.

As my old governor used to say, we are where we are. With Gina Miller to thank for the Commons 'meaningful vote' in January, it's now panning out that there are three not improbable options. Either the Commons accepts the Robbins Treaty as is, or the EU scrap the 175 pages that deal with the backstop and the Commons accepts a modified treaty, or they reject the whole thing and we leave on 29th March. All other options - a new referendum, withdrawing Article 50 - are less probable, though still of course possible. Apropos the post below, let's hope that the time that most MPs will spend away from the febrile atmosphere of Westminster and back home in 'Leave' Britain will help them flush the baleful elitist poison from their systems. 

And now for a day or two I'm going to forget Brexit. The gallon of Zwetschke Gin I made with Tanqueray back at the end of August is now being served to visitors with great effect; it's really no different to Sloe Gin, but a novelty to the locals, for whom Gin based tipples are something unknown. 

So once again my most heartfelt good wishes for Christmas and the New Year to you all. Eat, drink and for those of you so inclined, skin-up. Have a good one, all.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Last Christmas (for many MPs?)

Ipswich used to have an MP called Ken Weech, whom despite being a Labourite was generally held in some regard by the whole town. He was not ambitious, never aspired to the ministerial ladder, was happy on the back benches and was known as a fair-dealer without pronounced views. Every year on this weekend, after Parliament had risen, he'd spend two or three hours just standing about on Cornhill, outside the Town Hall, on his own, just shaking hands and making friendly small-talk with constituents. He was rarely unengaged - no-one was deterred from approaching him, he wasn't scary or pompous and he consequently generally had a constantly shifting audience of two or three around him. 

He had a smooth way with the occassional pest who wanted a disputatious monopoly of his time - he'd just turn slickly to a passing shopper, smile, extend his hand and freeze the pest over his left shoulder. Likewise, he'd be gone before the customers of Mannings and the Golden Lion on the adjacent side of Cornhill spilled out after lunch, neatly avoiding the drunks. 

We used to sit in the front window seats at Mannings and watch him at work. He was a pro - it was a joy to see. People were genuinely happy to meet and greet their MP, and the brief encounters enhanced a tedious pre-Christmas shopping scramble for many. It was one of those little social happenings from which everyone got something. All credit to him. 

I'm sure he's not the only MP to have done this, or who will contemplating doing similar today. Except that many will be facing constituents for whom Brexit has been an enforced diet for months, and many, particularly from my own Party, will be facing constituents anxious to hear their MP's reasons for not supporting the constituency's Leave vote in the Commons (or, more rarely, Remain vote).

I suspect there's going to be a lot of Westminster flu about this weekend (like diplomatic flu, but the virus only becomes active outside of SW1). Which is a shame - as if there's a GE before next Christmas, it may have been their last opportunity to do so.



Thursday, 20 December 2018

Gatwick Drones - a gross failure of government

London's second airport has now been closed for 24 hours and responsible ministers are running around like headless chickens. They don't know how many drones there are, where the operators are, when they will appear next and certainly not how to get them out of the sky once they are up. 

This didn't come out of left field. This whole thing was entirely predictable; a universally available technology with no restrictions, a known vulnerability, the risk events with potentially catastrophic consequences. There is NO excuse for the police and security services not to have formulated a response which should have gone into effect last night. This is a gross failure of government, a sackable omission for senior responsible officers and an embarrassment for the nation. Heads MUST roll.

If they're still out there waiting for a little Remainer with a joystick to launch the next one, or have set up their signal jammers, they may be disappointed. Drones can be pre-programmed with course and altitude; there's no reason why the perp didn't leave a dozen drones on hidden rooftops around Gatwick a week ago, each in sequence taking off, flying over the runways a bit and then ditching itself in a body of water.  All preset within the drone and no signals to jam. They've no idea how many there are to go or what the launch frequencies are - will another six take-off on Sunday? And they can be initiated either with a mobile phone call or an inbuilt timer.

One thing's for certain. Our police and security services had better get their acts together pronto - their failure to date is simply not acceptable. 

Update - Friday am
=================
Perhaps ill-advised for PTSD Adonis to post thus on Twitter - I understand he's already been reported to the police for a 'glorification of terrorism' offence. He talks bollocks, too;

LATEST GOVERNMENT PETITION FIGURES

No Deal Brexit - 263,365 growing
STOP BREXIT - 101,143 sclerotic 

In fact the Adonis option has actually been overtaken by a petition to "Make grey squirrel rescue exempt from Invasive Alien Species Order 2019"

2nd Update - 8.53
================
Yes! The boss of Drone Defence, UK's premier drone countermeasures company, has just been interviewed on R4 'Today' and said in his expert view (1) more than 1 drone was involved - probably several and that (2) they were likely to have been pre-programmed.

Just as we posted over 12 hours ago. Raedwald  - Truth First.
And a special prize to Jack the Dog - the responsible Minister, Grayling, has just made a statement saying that 'Lessons have been learned'. As predicted. 

Globalism is dead - the future is Local

Belgium faces a snap general election in January as the country's Prime Minister, Charles Michel, was forced to resign for signing up to the UN's Migration Pact. The UK's signing-up to the pact has been lost in the noise of Brexit, but the US, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Australia have rejected it which means it has now become just an empty gesture, a crumbling pillar barely sustaining the globalist entablature. Peter Sutherland, the Godfather of Globalisation, died earlier this year having already seen his dream of a world without borders, in which benign global corporates reduced the world (except for the 1%) to an equality of semi-poverty, shattered. Sutherland happily accepted that the price for raising billions out of absolute poverty would be the pauperisation of Europe, the US and the old Commonwealth, the hollowing out of the old middle classes. When he appeared before a House of Lords select committee in 2014 he was quite explicit - the EU had a mission to undermine the homogeneity of nation states, and millions of migrants was the way to achieve it.*

My loathing, resentment and anger is reserved for Peter Sutherland and those of his kind, and so should yours be. Sutherland, ex-Chairman of Goldman Sachs, ex-EU Commissioner, ex-Irish government minister, typified the symbiotic links of a corporatist-governmental complex working to impose globalism on unwilling peoples.  

It's important to understand that the antonym of globalist isn't nationalist but internationalist. 

Macron and his fellow globalists make silly speeches in which they denounce nationalism as an impractical sole alternative to globalism. It's a false comparison. The practical alternative to globalism is internationalism - independent, sovereign nations trading with eachother, exchanging knowledge and skills, agreeing common standards where these offer common advantage, maintaining flows between universities and research institutes, and above all acting in restraint of sovereign or territorial aggrandisement of a sort that causes war. 

Churchill was aware that neither France nor Germany were capable in the long term of being responsible internationalists. Both had cursed Europe with war for two hundred years, and neither can still be trusted alone to act in the common interest. Tying them together in a political-economic compact is a very effective way of protecting the world from their malign tendencies - even it it means for them a sclerotic economy, reduced growth and potential. For seventy years this has largely worked - bar a few war-fomenting behavioural lapses in the Balkans and Ukraine. The mistake, the error that should never have been allowed, was to tie the UK into this harness. 

Macron is terrified that a France and a Germany independent of eachother will revert to their old ways. His fears are justified. This is why he's so terrified of nationalism - and so uncertain about the EU's ability to be an internationalist player. For Macron it's globalism or chaos. 

So let us be aware that just as we are at last rectifying the mistake and resuming our place in the world as an international player, we must work equally hard to preserve an EU that keeps France and Germany shackled to eachother - for Britain's long term national security lies in keeping these beasts chained. 

The Elephant - Peter Sutherland's godchild
* https://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/eu-sub-com-f/GAMM/EvidencevolumegmmFINAL.pdf Page 263

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Raab wants to throw UK taxpayers' money at Airbus and Renault

There's a half decent article in the Telegraph this morning by Dominic Raab (£) in which he sets out many sensible measures we should be taking in advance of a clean break with the EU in March. However, he ruins it with an ill-considered and ill-disguised suggestion of a massive bung from UK taxpayers to the global corporates, including Airbus, Renault, VW and Fiat;
Third, the Treasury must prepare a Brexit budget to identify businesses – including ‘just in time’ manufacturers – most at risk from a departure on WTO terms. We should cut business taxes to boost them as they transition, and offset the cost from the £39 billion the UK would have paid the EU.
It's disingenuous and mendacious.

First, the UK will not avoid having to make a very large payment to the EU. It may not be in 2019 with a clean break, and it may not be as much as £39bn, but even if we kick it over to the International Court in the Hague, I suspect we may have have to end up paying as much as half, say £20bn. 

Second, compensatory tax measures should be limited to UK owned and headquartered firms. We know Airbus, whose aircraft wings are made here, is not one. Nor should we compensate any EU firms with satellite plants in the UK - it has been the EU's bloody minded intransigence that has precipitated a clean break scenario. 

Raab's Telegraph piece appears to have been co-ordinated with the global corporates, who are this morning whining at full chat and demanding taxpayer cash to enable them to continue paying multi-million pound bonuses to their bosses, or they sack Welsh workers. 

My own view is that in the end we won't get a Clean Break Brexit. May's government is now orchestrating a full scale national panic - the end play of Project Hysteria - that will act to terrify the Commons into submission early in the new year. Some minor concession from Brussels and MPs, and the symbiotic Axis pact between government and the big corporates will continue - and bugger the people of Britain.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Loss and anger

Before summing up, I had intended to pen a post today on cultural loss and cultural identity. However, I've had more trolling and attempts to hijack the blog agenda over the past few months than I've had in years, so I'm going to skip that one. The challenge is to recognise the reasonable concerns of people about rapid changes to the nation's demography without sinking to the loathsome hate-filled victimisation of the immigrants with which many have become complicit, even only as fellow-travellers. I've posted many times before like a broken record, don't blame immigrants for immigration.They're just doing what is economically rational and best for themselves and their families - they are no different from you or I, no better and no worse. If you're upset about the extent of immigration - as many of you are, and with some justification, then direct your ire against the politicians who enabled it. It is NOT the fault of the immigrants. 

WE started with common factors that characterised the roots of the anger, frustration and hunger for change that has gained much traction not only in the UK but across Europe; 
  • Increasing inequality
  • Living standards down
  • People excluded from decision making
  • Decline of working class power
  • Globalism / AI causing disempowerment
  • Cultural loss - damage to cultural identity
Inequality is not just the Gini coefficient and the wealth of the top 1% but a fundamental inequality between an urban, graduate, adaptable, agile and equipped cohort who earn their living with their minds rather than their hands and who will gain from AI changes, and those otherwise situated who will not, and also inequality between my own cohort of older, asset-rich, pension endowed beneficiaries of decades of economic advantage and whole younger generations for whom such financial comfort is beyond reach. 

The impacts of managerialism and the reach of the corporates into our lives - enhanced by our own unelected officials 'gold-plating' the raft of petty restrictions from those other unelected officials in Brussels mean that a way of life passed from father to son in years past is now gone. I can recall being quite used to removing the cylinder head of a Ford 105E at the age of 13, cleaning the pistons and replacing the bolts in sequence to the right torque before coating the engine bay in Gunk and hosing it clean. Now not only is it not possible for people to service their own vehicles, but the EU wants to prohibit it in law. 

It's this combination between technology that deliberately excludes its owners and government regulation that enables the power of the corporates to capture consumers economically, a combination between an oligopolistic service and infrastucture economy that creates dependence on private firms for the basics and essentials of life and disables citizens from self-reliance, and parallel government regulation that gives private firms a  quasi-official status. This is all also part of a loss of control that people feel, part of a perceived exclusion from decision-making. Personal car leases, the 'cloud', firms that hold DVDs and CDs and even software that you 'own' digitally and remotely for ransom - at least when I buy my real CD I'm not obliged to remain a customer of the bloke who sold it to me for eternity in order to be able to listen to it.   

It may be a generational thing. Certainly the young people I know seem unconcerned at being 'captured' and 'owned' by the dominant corporates, and are simply happy to comply with new laws compelling them to buy LED lamps. Looking at the live video feeds from the Gilets Jaunes in Paris one sees many grey heads as well as many people dressed for middle-class petty posing rather than for the tear gas, suggesting that those on the street come from the full spectrum of the C-E social classes and of all ages, in other words the huge cohorts of the population most affected by negative change. 

There are those - mainly amongst the elite establishment, but also amongst those young metropolitan elites who are happy to see 'Leavers' die - whose response to the current and forthcoming plight of those bearing the brunt of change is to leave them to it, and do nothing that might worsen their own wealth or privileged position. I cannot express how vile and repugnant I find this attitude.  

As a nation we're all in it together. That's what being a nation means - we share risks, rewards and a common cultural congruence and responsibility. We also owe a duty to our fellow Britons to ensure not only a safety net but, in Australian terms, 'A Fair Go' to allow them to participate in a new economy. It is simply not acceptable in any form for either the deeply selfish old privileged establishment or the deeply selfish young metropolitan elite who will do well from globalism and AI to shrug off a responsibility for those not so advantaged.  

The Parties are struggling right now with novel alignments. I will mark my ballot for whichever party stands for justice, freedom, equity, our nation as One Nation, internationalist not globalist, and above all with a vision that Britain can be a exemplar to the world of how to manage stupendous change with care, compassion, dignity and national determination. 

And if a 16 year old were to ask me what best to do in life, my advice would be to train as a chef with a good Bangladeshi restaurant - our demand for good curries won't decrease, but the loophole that has allowed the import of curry-house cooks rather than training domestic young people is closing. Avoid the iron slave-collar of student debt. And one of the few things that AI will never be able to displace humans in doing is flame-range cooking with complex combinations of heat, spice, meat, and skill. 

Monday, 17 December 2018

Democratic robbery

The UK has the worst level of democratic representation in the developed world. I've just checked again our lowest level of democratic representation; we have 45m voters and 21,000 local councillors. That's 2,143 voters for each lowest tier elected politician. In France it's 100, Germany 250, Italy 400 and Spain 600. Here in Austria our gemeinde of 2,500 souls has its own Council, Burgermeister and Town Hall - with eight full-time officers delivering waste, refuse, street cleansing, street lighting, snow clearance, water, sewerage, parking, building control, planning, registrar, business licencing and regulation and so on.

The problem is compounded by our own ignorance - every idiot who cries "no more bloody politicians!" is cutting-off his or her own foot. Instead of politicians we get unelected officials, little jobsworths and prodnoses who can't be kicked out at the next election, can't be harangued at public meetings and in many cases don't even live in the same community as we do. I'm even more astonished about those who have spent the last decade fighting the unelected officials in Brussels who then resist more robust representative democracy in their own communities. The truth is that the 1974 local government reorganisation is now unfit for purpose, past its sell-by date and in urgent need of reform, but every government in recent history has been unwilling to touch it. There are no votes in LG reform - but it's something that's desperately needed. 

We can't leave it up to Whitehall. Their sole instinct is to centralise control and weaken local democracy; they would halve the number of councils (and councillors) on the grounds that it would save money. It's not something one can expect folk to come out on the streets for, but the truth is that we need far greater local control - over both tax and spend. Switzerland splits tax-authority three ways; the central government taxes about a third for national institutions and infrastructure - the army, air traffic control and so on. The Cantons tax another third, and the local municipalities the final third. In the UK, 95% of our tax-take is decided, rationed and distributed solely by central government.  


Of more fundamental concern is that the establishment have turned their attention to our most fundamental democratic rights. I made the meme above in the week after the 2016 referendum result, and I am now scared at just how prophetic it was. Intended as a joke, we've instead been hearing for the past two years proposals to reform our democratic systems from those who really, truly believe that the parodies above constitute responsible public policy. 

The usual suspects the Electoral Reform Society have been punting alternatives to the FPTP system to which I've always said I'm opposed. I was one of the 4m who voted for UKIP in the GE, without a single MP resulting. On the face of it it seemed grossly unfair - now less so with the passage of time. Imagine a Parliament in which Gerard Batten and his Muslim-baiters shared opposition benches with the Antifa Party and the Muslim League. No, the AV system and PR is loved by the little radical parties of the far right and far left but isn't good for British political stability. 

More worrying are efforts by respectable bodies such as the RSA that in effect act to undermine those most fundamental rights, the secret ballot and universal suffrage. They're proposing something called 'Deliberative Democracy' designed to prevent 'stupid' people from majority voting; under it, a special citizens' panel would be lectured first by 'experts' on the subject under vote, then deliberate collaboratively to reach an outcome amenable to the facilitators. Various versions of this are being punted by academic institutions, think tanks and other establishment dag-clumps, all designed to prevent, as my poor joke had it, the 'wrong people' from using democracy. 

Direct democracy also has a place in our system, but not so great a place as some radicals from the far right and far left would wish. Representative democracy provides the best default outcomes, at both national and local levels, but there will, from time to time, be decisions at both micro and macro level to be taken that cross all boundaries - such as the 2016 referendum. Direct democracy is in such circumstances can be the most appropriate tool. But for normal, routine governance and administration, plenaries of elected representatives have proven themselves most capable. Polls should also be available, as in Switzerland, for matters raised by the public - but with a correspondingly high bar. 

But one strength, one freedom of which we should never lose sight, never relax our grasp is the protection we get from our system of universal suffrage, the right to associate and to form political parties and above all the right of  every adult man and woman in the Isles to cast a secret ballot.  

Update
=======
Deliberative democracy and the notion of Sortition had an outing on R4 Today in the context of a way in which a new referendum question could be decided. I told you they were serious. The problem is of course that the one thing a truly representative citizens' panel set up to decide the Referendum Question couldn't conclude is that, erm, there shouldn't be a second referendum. 

The Irish establishment have used this method to get both gay marriage and abortion through the referenda process - I don't disagree with the outcomes, but for a critical response to the 'means' rather than the 'end' see Dr Mathew Wall's blog entry here 

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Capturing the benefits of the AI revolution

Our people and our economy face a triple whammy over the next ten years or so. Firstly are the effects of globalisation we are already experiencing - the 'elephant' mentioned in the comments to the post below, and the uncorrected distortions from the 2008 crash that have left large cohorts of our people worse off but highly taxed. Secondly will be the whirlwind of the coming downturn, for which the banks are better prepared than a decade ago but the British people are not, now carrying record levels of personal indebtedness. As QE is winding down, China slowing, bond market manipulation reaching its peak and the Eurozone intensely vulnerable to shocks it all seems to be coming together for next year. However, if we are to have another 1931, remember it wasn't all bad news; the boom in domestic demand for electrical goods and motor vehicles helped shift British manufacturing from steam and rivets to the industrial infrastructure needed for a war economy a few years later.

The third blow of the whammy will come from the effects of AI. I recommend a report from pwc that takes a middle course between the low and high estimates of AI impact on UK jobs - which range from  10% to 47%. Pwc guess that 30% of UK jobs will go in the next 15 years, and the report does a fair job of rationalising the losses. However, it's what the report doesn't say that's important.  


Unequal impact
AI will hit those with lower levels of education and skills disproportionately - 47% of the low skilled losing their jobs in the analysis above compared to 10% of graduates. The C1,C2,D&E cohorts have already been hard hit by globalisation effects, and are coping with a purchasing power significantly reduced in the last decade. AI changes will kick these cohorts when they are already down. In addition to making the worst-hit even worse-off, AI will increase inequality between the flexible, mobile, literate metropolitan elites dominating the media, politics and public administration and the disadvantaged - with the elite groups potentially being able to take substantial economic advantage of AI.

Tax and wealth impacts
AI isn't coming because of some sort of historical inevitability, but because it offers economic advantages in increasing productivity. Pwc and others assume blandly that the benefits of increased productivity can be captured by taxation and increased GDP, the wealthy global graduate metropolitan elites buying ever more advanced iPhones, or eating ever more diversely-sourced curries. However, no consideration is given as to WHERE these benefits are captured - and if globalisation is left unchecked, it is quite feasible that AI will be the Elephant Mark II.

The great challenge for UK governments of the next two decades will be to ringfence changes to the UK by balancing a 30% job reduction with a concomitant increase in UK GDP and UK tax-take - for this compelling need alone we must be free from EU restrictions and governance, and free to set our own tax and tariffs. Without action we will drift into a game-plan run by the global corporates for their own advantage - with the job losses and their costs borne by the UK, but the benefits, GDP and tax takes enjoyed elsewhere. The only domestic beneficiaries from ungoverned change will be the same establishment elites that have already done well from globalisation, at the expense of their fellow Britons. 

New models of social benefit 
I've yet to write a third in this mini-snapshot series to cover Localism, democracy and governance and don't want to trespass on next week's thoughts. But It's already clear that AI impacts to the economy will need fundamental reform to the way in which we tax and spend. I'll leave it to the Pwc report to introduce the options ..
(Social safety nets could be enhanced) by extending existing social security benefits, but more radical solutions include the idea of a universal basic income (UBI). This is an old idea, but it has gained traction in Silicon Valley and elsewhere in recent years as a potential way to maintain the incomes of those who lose out from automation and (to be hard headed about it) whose consumption is important to keep the economy going. The problem with UBI schemes, however, is that they involve paying a lot of public money to many people who do not need it, as well as those that do. As such the danger is that such schemes are either unaffordable or destroy incentives to work and generate wealth, or they need to be set too low to provide an effective safety net.
Nonetheless, we are now seeing practical trials of UBI schemes in a number of countries around the world including Finland, the Netherlands, some US and Canadian states, India and Brazil. The details of these schemes vary considerably, and it is beyond the scope of this report to review them in depth, but it seems likely that more pilot schemes of this kind will emerge around the world and that they will come on to the policy agenda in countries such as the UK as well. While UBI in its pure form may not be politically or economically attractive, some variants on it might be if they involve a greater degree of conditionality (e.g. requiring some form of paid or voluntary work, education and training, family caring responsibilities or similar activities to qualify for payments). Some aspects of the idea, such as providing a universal lifelong learning fund for each person that they could draw down when they needed it, might also be worth considering further even if a full UBI scheme is rejected.

Friday, 14 December 2018

The Causes of Revolution

With a few Brexit gaps in the run up to Christmas, I'd like to look at some of the drivers behind the current hunger for political change and reform. This all started way before the 2008 financial crisis, but it's what has happened since 2008 that has been most telling. The appetite for reform has a number of roots, including but not exclusively
  • Increasing inequality
  • Living standards down
  • People excluded from decision making
  • Decline of working class power
  • Globalism / AI causing disempowerment
  • Cultural loss - damage to cultural identity
A couple of graphs from a recent ONS report -

Take a look at the clusters for the C1,C2,D&E cohorts - APT&C and downwards. You can see a bar at about £30k - £570 a week - and perhaps a little surprisingly, two key cohorts for working-class advancement, skilled trades and factory workers, trapped between the £20k and £30k bands. Neither is the Professional category to which I belong doing so well - in terms of pay at least. Those most at risk of displacement or redundancy by AI are not obvious; robots can carry out knee surgery, but can't cook a curry. Just as many Professional jobs are at risk as factory jobs. 

Now look at what's happened to the Median Wage adjusted for inflation since 2008 - the median wage is just on about £30k / £570 a week in 2018, but worth quite a bit less than the median wage in 2008.

I haven't got the US equivalents, but I suspect they follow the same lines. 

And what have the trillions in QE thrown into the battle since 2008 achieved for the greater part of our people? Nothing. Instead we have seen strong growth in GDP, in asset values, stocks and the most hurtful news to hit the headlines - the wealth of the top 1%. The mass of our people on £570 a week before tax - with tax levels at over 34% of GDP being at their highest in 40 years - simply cannot comprehend the boss of Persimmon 'deserving' a bonus of £75m for the year. It's not even as if he's built that many houses, or even built them to an acceptable standard. 

I really can't blame anyone for feeling angry, frustrated, used or abused. And our political class had better turn their attention to the people who make up the 'median' - and that doesn't mean more vacuous insincere platitudes from the privileged metropolitan elites.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Another Brexit disappointment

Hugely disappointing result tonight.

It confirms that none of the tensions between a largely Remain parliamentary party and a largely Leave party membership are being resolved. This will not go away; Conservative MPs have kicked the can just a few metres down the road, and their spineless self-interest will return to haunt them.

Brexit has been two and a half years of disappointments and losses since the vote. Tonight is no different. 

Peckers up. New battle tomorrow.

On Tenterhooks ...

Well, we're underway.

By 10pm UK time we'll know if we're lumbered with a time-expired failure of a PM to further drag the nation into chaos, despair and division, or whether my Party's MPs are giving the nation a fair chance of coming out of this with something salvaged. 

The ERG will settle on a single candidate. One Brexiteer MUST be on the ballot that will come to we members over Christmas - and I hope to God the Party uses an e-voting option rather than relying on the Christmas post. 

I hope and pray the Lord guides the conduct of our MPs today for the good of our nation and people.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

What medication is she on?

It's almost unbelievable. The woman has become the laughing stock of Europe and beyond. And she has the front to pile mendacity upon mendacity without blinking a bovine eyelash. Either her self-delusion is so overwhelming, so all-consuming, that she actually believes the incredible piffle she spouts or she knows she is lying through her arse.

What will it take to drag the bloody woman out of Downing Street? She's already won the accolade of Britain's worst postwar PM, beating even the dire 'a big boy did it and ran away' Brown. 

William Hague breaks from his naked oil-wrestling in the Parliament gym to plead in the Telegraph "The Tories are on the edge of their greatest crisis in modern times - MPs must rally together", an even more incredible plea for members to abandon their consciences, their sense of justice and right, their patriotism and their honour in order to put Party before country and save this disaster of a PM. You're away with the fairies, William. 

And for what? To delay for a few days the inevitable rejection by Parliament of the Robbins Treaty? 

Every day her stubborn stupidity degrades our nation, destroys international confidence in our democratic competence. The Conservative Party, including the oily Hague, must come to its senses and rid itself of this Prime Minister.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Don't worry - we're winning

For me, it was 2007, when the smoking ban came into effect. That was the point at which I decided I was wholly opposed to all the overbearing bastards who legislated, regulated, spied, pried and prodnosed against me. The centre, the central State and its compliant agents in local government just couldn't help themselves grasping more and more power. That power had to come from somewhere; it came from us, the middle and working classes of Britain; we saw less and less control over our lives, our communities, our economies. 2016 was the first chance we had to fight back - and boy, we took it. 

And yes, it was the EU that precipitated it all. Everything about the EU was contrary to 1500 years of British history, a history of a permissive society in which the law only intervened to prevent specific harms. European law, formed by an authoritarian papacy, a tyrant Napoleon and a dictatorial tradition culminating in power being taken by the EU, is restrictive. You are only allowed to do that which the State permits you to do. And they've covered all options - a serious offence here is 'Resisting State authority' - covering everything from running away from the police to refusing to dib your mates in. 

Of course, our domestic elite - politicians, journalists, broadcasters, local government officials and civil servants, quangocrats, the new fat, bloated cardinals of academia, the vice-chancellors of the learning scam, and the fake charities and their fakenews 'reports' - loved the displacement of British Liberalism by EU authoritarianism. It gave them the opportunity to smother us with a sodden pillow of joyless, dreary regulation. Our pubs and working mens clubs were closed and the sites sold off to Housing Associations, the billions of new money printed since 2008 have all gone to boost the asset values of the wealthy elites whilst our own incomes have stagnated and our opportunities are mired; our children, burdened for a lifetime with a mountain of debt before they start living, now have less chance of owning a home than a Victorian sweep.   

What drives our elites so hard to 'Remain' isn't that they love the EU, but that they've come to enjoy the undemocratic power that the EU brings them, and are fearful of losing it to a more democratic and independent Britain.  

But don't despair. Win or lose this round of Brexit, we're winning. Britain WILL leave the EU, and we will rebalance power in our nation. 2016 let the genie out of the bottle, and strive as they might they cannot stuff it back inside. Right now, we've paralysed Parliament and virtually destroyed two established Parties, to be reborn in our own image. We've created a gap for a third party (sorry, Gerard, it isn't you) and even a fourth to keep them in discomfort. And we're demanding to be heard. 

As Eamonn Butler, the ASI's Director, wrote in 'Abusing the People'
'(populists) see themselves as ignored and exploited by those who are supposed to represent them. And faced with all this, the British public are doing what the British public have always done: poking fun at their leaders and making life as uncomfortable for them as they can. As long as they do not miscalculate and elect someone like Jeremy Corbyn, many of us think that this is actually no bad thing'

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Politicians must either be Globalists or democratic representatives

Those who imagine a tax strike is the most effective way to combat a government in thrall to the CBI, the FTSE100 and the industrialists of the ERT haven't thought things through. Politicians haven't sold their souls so that soldiers and sailors might be paid, warships fuelled and repaired or motorway bridges built. They couldn't care less about a tax strike - because their benefits come from their close relationship with global business, facilitated through a corrupt network of government officials across Europe. The PM's own husband represents a multi-billion dollar global hedge fund, and globalist dags such as that creature Blair are mired in faecal lucre from the parasitic firms that dominate the planet. 

Any effective action to persuade politicians to forgo material self-interest by aligning themselves with the globalists must therefore be prompted by the actions of millions of consumers against globalist 'Remainer' firms - the members of the CBI. ERT and so on. Given that many of them have established themselves as Oligopolies or even Monopolies this is not easy - but either we break them now, or they break us forever, serfs sans a national or cultural identity, without a congruent morality, subject to a supernational unelected tyranny. 

Both Labour and Conservative parties have benefited from an over-close support of the globalists. For the unions, a fat wedge and decent conditions for members working in the public sector or for large multinational corporations is an utterly selfish strategy; they don't fight for the millions on zero-hours contracts, striving within SMEs or fighting against unemployment. We have a two-tier labour market, and the unions represent the fat, privileged beneficiaries of global corporations; they support big government, over-regulation that throttles SMEs and innovation, not British working people, not jobless youths in the rust-belt. And the Conservative party is just as culpable - under Cameron the Party actually imagined that donations from the global firms could replace real members - that the Party could do away with a troublesome membership and just stitch things up with old school chums on the boards of their sponsors. 

A fight against the globalists is therefore a fight that unites left and right in a democratic alliance against the antidemocratic tyranny of globalism. Our Parliamentary system of allowing personal and financial interests that could dominate a member's judgement also needs re-appraisal; here are the holdings of one wealthy Remainer, whose devotion to the EU and the globalists is doubtless from unsullied personal conviction and has nothing at all to do with the value of his portfolio:-
The following shareholdings are held jointly with my wife, and were controlled by a blind management trust whilst I was a member of the government:
LVMH
Air Liquide
Royal Dutch Shell
Rio Tinto
Rolls Royce
RPC group
Babcock
Experian
Diageo
Smith and Nephew
Reckitt Benckiser Group
Burberry
Astra Zeneca
Smith and Nephew
Until 6 April 2018, Glaxo Smith Kline (Updated 08 May 2018)
RELX Group plc (formerly Reed Elsevier)
Schroders
United Technologies
Anglo American Platinum Ltd
BHP Billiton
Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing NPV
(Registered 06 October 2014)

Pfizer Inc. (Registered 05 July 2016)

Primary Health Properties (Registered 05 July 2016)

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (Registered 05 July 2016)

General Accident (Registered 20 February 2017)

RSA Insurance Group plc (Registered 20 February 2017)

Aberdeen Asian Smaller Co Inv Trust (Registered 20 February 2017)

Until 6 April 2018, F and C Global Smaller Cos. (Registered 20 February 2017; updated 08 May 2018)

Until 6 April 2018, Pearson plc. (Registered 20 February 2017; updated 08 May 2018)

Until 6 April 2018, Standard Chartered (Registered 20 February 2017; updated 08 May 2018)

Schroder Asian (Registered 20 February 2017)

From 6 April 2018, Land Securities Group (Registered 08 May 2018)

From 6 April 2018, Croda International (Registered 08 May 2018)

From 6 April 2018, Biotech Growth Trust (Registered 08 May 2018)

From 6 April 2018, Worldwide Healthcare Trust (Registered 08 May 2018)

From 6 April 2018, Henderson Far East Income Ltd (Registered 08 May 2018)

From 6 April 2018, HG Capital Trusts plc (Registered 08 May 2018)
Corporate globalists aren't capitalists - they're parasites and predators, growing and expanding by mergers and takeovers, with tangled webs of their DNA inserted into the very nucleii of other global corporates and uniting them in a dark web of greed and corruption. They are our enemy. 

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Well, what a week!

It's been quite a week, and I haven't yet caught up on all the comment and analysis out there - and even when I do, I doubt I'll know any more than this; that Mrs May will lose her vote on Tuesday. My own view is that she'll be obliged to resign, thus opening up a high speed Leadership contest, remaining in post whilst this takes place. After that? No-one knows.

We enter the weekend perhaps a little calmer than we started the week, with Brexit paradoxically occupying less of the front page the nearer we get to next week's crisis. Clearly 'Brexit fatigue' is already a thing, but I'm waiting for this to become a bona-fide medical diagnosis like Brexit Anxiety Disorder, for which middle class social workers, teachers and police workers can be signed-off sick. 

Meanwhile across the Channel, today looks like being a crunch day for the most destructive of the French rioters. I'll be tuning in live again this afternoon - the benison of live-streaming means that none of us is ever dependent on a TV news editor to see what's happening, the downside means you need to watch three or four streams to get a representative picture. 

As for Vienna, hardly anyone is aware there's a Brexit crisis but security is tight, as everywhere in Europe. I'm now sated with oysters (Naschmarkt), warmed with a decent British Indian curry (Taste of India - really!) and with my Chrimbo food shopping done. 

And we've some big hitters to look forward to in the Sundays and on the box, and more saturation Brexit ... so back soon. 

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Brexit inquiry evidence now being catalogued

We haven't even managed yet to leave the EU - and may not do so at all - but Whitehall is quietly preparing for the inevitable inquiry into how it all became an almighty cockup. The government have screwed up from Day One - from May's throwing away the announcement of the start of Art 50 for a minor personal political advantage, to her refusal even at this stage to allow contingency arrangements for leaving without an agreement. Plus giving away all the significant advantages before talks even started, falling into trap after trap, allowing the EU to hold the UK to ransom over our territorial borders, and the deception and mendacity around May's parallel treaty, the Robbins Treaty, which, it is suspected, the EU saw before May's own cabinet. The entire process has been one of gross incompetence, crass maladministration and indictable misconduct.

Once the documents are sequestered, long interviews under caution completed and statements collected from all the third-tier actors down (and it's always the telling, detailed evidence from these people that sinks the big fish) the senior mandarins and May and her cabinet members will face their public grilling in the witness box.

This, I'm quite sure, is the motivation behind Oliver Robbins' leaked letter. Why write to the PM to tell her that the treaty was fatally flawed when both of them know that too well already? Robbins is getting his retaliation in first - in an effort to ensure May doesn't pass the blame to him.

We need to wait for the inquiry, of course, and it will be little satisfaction to those who have warned of May's malfeasance, incompetence and unsuitability for this critical role from the start. We all want the best outcome for our nation much more than we want to see Theresa May broken, humiliated and spurned. But this will come. I cannot see how she can escape formal national excoriation and dismissal to obscurity without honours. But again, let the inquiry do its job.  

Monday, 3 December 2018

More than quiddities from a lawyer's skull

In other circumstances I would be sympathetic to the government's argument that legal advice it receives is privileged. In most cases, neither the press nor public would be aware that the cabinet had sought or obtained such advice. But Brexit is different. This government, in concert with the EU, is asking the British people and British Parliament to sign up to a solemn international treaty whose terms cut to the heart of the solidity of our Union. For this there must be full disclosure, full transparency and absolute candidness. 

Poor Geoffrey Cox is in an invidious position. He faces being locked up in the clock tower for contempt if he refuses to publish the advice, and faces the wrath of Mrs May if he does. Personally, I'd take the clock tower. The cabinet as always is as leaky as a sieve; the Times already has a leaked extract (it's said that actual numbered copies of the advice document were handed out at cabinet and collected up again afterwards) and today there's a leak of a letter from Robbins in regard to his own treaty that expresses doubt over the backstop. 

On the latter point, I'd forget the lies coming out of Downing Street altogether. Please read Martin Howe QC on the Lawyers for Britain site - his view is not only in line with the leak published in the Sunday Times yesterday, but has also been subject to a half-arsed rebuttal from May's dags - which Mr Howe competently demolishes. 

On top of this, from the wings Bill Cash, himself a former shadow AG, opines that May's deal is unlawful on other grounds - that the Robbins Treaty is incompatible with existing law. Cash writes
Had the Prime Minister sought legal advice she must have been told that this mere treaty cannot override the repeal of the 1972 Act. This is a ‘manifest violation’ of our fundamental constitutional arrangements because Acts of Parliament take precedence over treaty-making prerogative.
So today, which should be 'money' day on May's grid, is actually Secrets and Lies day II. 

And no, don't even ask what Govey is up to because I can't even guess. The last time they hosed out his colon at the Mayr clinic, I guess they flushed away a part of his cerebellum by accident. He surely can't hope to come out of this well, can he?

Saturday, 1 December 2018

'No Brexit' becomes a choice

At the G20 Mrs May lined up with the various unelected Presidents of the EU behind their comfortable agreement, no doubt much to the satisfaction of the globalist establishment, as they continued their offensive against the People and Parliament of Britain. Yesterday was supposed to have been about international trade, and I was looking forward to someone explaining why remaining chained to the world's most protectionist trade block, which has sclerotic growth, a doomed currency union, and is being outperformed by thrusting, vibrant and free economies across the oceans, would be a good thing for the United Kingdom. It didn't happen, of course.

What did happen was a co-ordinated response between May's team and her EU allies.

First came Liam Fox on Sky, who urged voters to write to ther MPs saying they did not want to see either 'no deal' or 'no Brexit'. Whoaaa there! Where did that come from? Clearly it was not a mistake, for a little later Donald Tusk, an unelected official serving as one of the EU's several Presidents, said MPs will be faced with leaving the European Union without a deal or cancelling Brexit altogether if they reject Theresa May's deal. There it is again. Brexit will be cancelled unless we do as we're told.

So in the past week the Axis forces of May's government and her EU allies have agreed a new attack option. If they don't get their way, they'll cancel the largest and most significant vote ever held in the United Kingdom. 

Breaking
========
I've just caught the tail of a news report that Gove has today echoed (in a column in the Remainer rag the Mail) the above - saying if MPs don't accept May's deal, Brexit could be 'called off'. Clearly this now has legs.

The implication is that May is threatening that if she and the EU lose their Commons vote on the 11th, they'll impose another referendum on the UK - and one with 3 options, that splits the Leave vote and is designed to reverse Brexit.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Operation Hysteria - Day 2

Operation Hysteria continued yesterday with a pathetically weak and dithery interview on 'Today' by Ben Wallace, before he left to open the International Handcuff Exhibition. Wallace is a minister who struggles to make his presence felt; he must have endured a multitude of social events with his interlocutor's gaze fixed over his shoulder seeking someone more interesting with whom to talk. 

'Today' managed to tease from him that Brexit would end the EU wide security agreement under which we exchanged information. But surely we do this already under a number of bi-lateral agreements that would continue? Well, yes. And there will be nothing stopping a security official from the UK picking up the phone to his opposite number to warn of a threat? Well, No. And neither we or our security counterparts in Europe will stand idle and keep silent about a terrorist or security situation? Well, No. So there will be little difference? 

It is simply not credible that the UK will leave either itself or other European nations more vulnerable to terrorism by cutting links and co-operation. Brexit or no Brexit, we will share and security and law enforcement professionals in Europe will share with us (except perhaps Germany, which protects herself against the EU by not only having a law that prohibits the export of wealth but also the export of intelligence). What we will escape is the EU laying claim to our formidable strengths in SIS, MI5 and GCHQ, and with a satellite network of our own (the cost of a single year's EU membership) we will stand as a bridge between the US and Five Eyes and the EU. Let us not forget that since the US was enumerated amongst the EU's potential future enemies, we need a fusible link, a filter, that can start to restrict the flow of sensitive defence intel to the EU. 

Meanwhile, the markets have shrugged-off the economic hysteria just as our C@W friends said that they would. It also emerged that Carney's Halloween figures were 'scenarios' rather than 'projections'. The difference is as follows. Projections are an honest assessment of the economic effects of various Brexit options, given the likely behaviours of the parties and alternatives available. The Bank's scenarios are based upon there being no alternative goods, services, trade routes, sources, contracts, deals and markets other than those lost through no longer being part of the single market, upon the UK not having one single entrepreneur who will be flexible enough to react, nor a single business that innovates, invents or substitutes and nary a government but one that continues to be hidebound with pettifogging EU rules. In other words it's not worth the paper it was printed on.    

Thursday, 29 November 2018

May & Others - vs - British People & British Parliament

We have moved into an extraordinary position. Mrs May and her cabinet, with the CBI, the FTSE100 and the industrialists of the European Round Table, the EU Commission and all of the UK and Europe's career officials, bureaucrats and unelected functionaries on one side, and facing them in battle the people and Parliament of Britain. We are resisting the most enormous forces pitched into an offensive against us - they have power, wealth, resources and a tame media. What they don't have is democracy, and a Parliament currently showing a bit of spirit. Now she is throwing absolutely everything she's got into a final Blitzkrieg, one last gamble launched in the depths of winter, driving her forces toward Brussels. 

And despite the distortions and falsifications by that grubby little rag the Daily Mail of Survation polling, a Clean Brexit on WTO terms is more popular with the public than the Robbins Treaty by 41% to 35%. Lord Ashcroft will also be carrying out his own polling nearer to the 11th. 

Thanks to a leak, Guido has May's order of battle, and we will be posting rebuttals here of each attack on the truth by Operation Hysteria on the day following - thus today for Economic Hysteria, tomorrow for Security Hysteria and so on ....
November 28: Economy
November 29: Security
November 30: International trade
December 1: Digital
December 2: The Brexit deal
December 3: Money
December 4: Immigration
December 5: Transport
December 6: Industrial strategy
December 7: Brexit for the whole U.K.
December 8: Consumers
December 9: May vs Corbyn Debate
December 10: Agriculture and fish

ECONOMIC HYSTERIA

Phil Hammond was the first of May's dags off the block yesterday - together with a quivering whine in support from the Bank. However, they shot their bolt with the lies and distortions of Project Fear at the time of the Referendum and now there are few credulous enough to give their silly projections much credence. One hint at the wider co-operation within May's forces came with the Bank's use of the term 'disorderly exit'. It is a phrase not commonly used in English about Brexit, you may think. And you would be right. It is the direct English translation from the German term* for a Clean Brexit and has been lifted straight from a Bundesbank document, according to one commentator yesterday. 

For a rebuttal of the Hammond hysteria, it would be redundant to repeat some of the most cogent stuff about on the web. I'd recommend giving our friends over at C@W a look for a telling post and knowledgeable comments on this. 

* 'ungeordneter Brexit'

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

May unlikely to survive Commons defeat

The Prime Minister's appearance in parliament yesterday confirmed as nothing else could that the Robbins Treaty will not get through a Commons vote on 11th December. From every side of the house, in refined parliamentary voices, our MPs said "Pish! We don't believe you" as Mrs May struggled to repeat in slightly different ways the same six lies on which she's depended since giving up on "No deal is better than a bad deal". This itself has gone the same way as "Strong and Stable" and others of Theresa's trite little maxims. She is set to tour the country for the next two weeks repeating those same six lies ad nauseum to anyone holding a microphone, and her supporters and Brandon Lewis' office have been sent off to conquer social media. I suspect they've all been instructed to publish six tweets in support of their doomed leader, but judging by their output, their hearts are not in it. 

Conservative MPs have a finely tuned sense of survival, and by last night they had begun to realise that the game was up. Mrs May is unlikely to survive her coming Commons defeat on 11th December, and her supporters know it. Brandon Lewis, who will fall with Mrs May, has nothing to lose, but others including I suspect James Cleverly, just last week the most prominent of Mrs May's social media warriors, has suddenly gone very quiet. Other MPs have practised for eating-up their Christmas sprouts; some who can't quite bring themselves to repeat Mrs May's six lies have just done their homework by re-tweeting those that can. "What he said". Then running away with proof for the Whips. 

Before that 'meaningful vote' on 11th December we have five days of Commons debate on the Robbins Treaty. The Lords have no vote, but the Commons will consider their views on the 12th. Then those protracted and complex amendments from earlier in the year kick in.  As the Commons Library advises
a Minister of the Crown would be obliged to make a statement under s. 13(4) European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 no later than 21 calendar days thereafter. The Government then has seven sitting days within which to move motions in both Houses on the statement.
The House is due to rise for Christmas on the 20th, returning on 7th January. The Chief Whip already has his timetable sketched out; 

After Christmas things are equally tight. As the guide advises;
If, on 21 January 2019, no political agreement has been reached regarding the Withdrawal Agreement and/or the framework on the future relationship, a Minister of the Crown must make a written statement within five calendar days, as per s. 13(11) European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

This means a written statement as to the Government’s intentions must be made by Saturday 26 January at the very latest.

The motion must then be moved within a further five sitting days, meaning Parliament would be asked to debate the Government’s intended course of action no later than Monday 4 February.
Now two matters which are being trailled in the press. The first is the extent of the government's defeat, punted by those who believe that it is possible to be a little bit pregnant. If the majority against May is not over 100, they say, it's an invitation for her to ask the House to vote a second time, after she's made a purely cosmetic visit to Brussels to record some encouraging noises, but no actual changes to the WA, from the Commission. 

The second is what is being billed as the TARP option; between the first and second votes, Hammond and Carney will co-ordinate a crash in Sterling and UK stocks, thus scaring MPs into agreeing the Robbins Treaty in the same way that US Congressmen were frightened into passing TARP on the second go. 

I think both are unlikely. I think by the 12th, the Conservative Party will be looking for a new Leader - the May government will effectively have fallen. The question is whom will Her Majesty invite to form the next government - for Ministers are needed to get those key Brexit actions through.

Thoughts?