Category Archives: Brexit

So this is the new year

Well, it’s started well enough. Almost like any other. Loads of mind-boggling stuff on the telly. Too much drink around the place. Arguments already developing over the outcome of the UK’s election and the true nature of Brexit, and politics in general. The lot, really, just like any other new year.

Except this is a new decade, and we somehow seem to expect more than if it were just any old year that’s just starting. 1966, say. Or 2013. Of course, we didn’t know England would win the football World Cup in 1966. And I can’t even remember if anything significant happened in 2013. But they both shared a beginning, as did every other year that history has recorded.

The question now is: what will this year be like, and how shall we view it at its end?

I certainly hope we won’t be looking back and remembering that an important Iranian general was dead before the year was a week old, killed in a planned American air strike. No doubt, the media will be quick to remind us. If we should all live long enough to see the end of this year and the beginning of the next.

20/20 vision is a wonderful gift, but 2020 forecasting is a mug’s game.

What will he do next?

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 13.49.02To suggest that Boris Johnson is mad is not unusual. But his behaviour lately seems to indicate that he is, at best, delusional.

The way he carries on is typical of his class: behave as if the rest of the world doesn’t exist. He seems to think that he and his ilk always know best and that the rest of us can go hang. At least Mrs May lived her life in politics by tradition and did things according to the book. Not Boris. No way.

Now he is suggesting that Parliament should be suspended, and all the while grinning as if anyone who speaks to him – journalist, politician or anyone else – is an idiot who doesn’t know bombast from bananas.

Personally, I think he’s full of the former and may just be a living example of the latter.

Gawd knows what he’ll do next.

He could countenance bombing Washington, DC, for all I know!

I can only hope he doesn’t, and that he stops short of some other madness born of his misplaced notion that he was born to rule.

At last!

Theresa May 3So, it has taken a long time, but she will have gone by the time you read this.

By ‘she’ I mean the dreaded May. The ridiculous woman who once said it was her role to reunite the United Kingdom and has led the British Conservative party since David Cameron left his job as Prime Minister in 2016, almost three years ago.

The woman who has consistently shown us that she is unbelievably stubborn; won’t under almost any circumstance compromise; who consistently sat on the fence during the run-up to the 2016 referendum; and has ever since lived by her own twin mantra of ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘doing it all for the sake of the Party’. The woman who seems to be working towards a much-hoped-for legacy of being the Prime Minister who took the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

Some hope!

She seems mad. The only thing that has changed in the last few years is that she now looks like a very tired woman and, in her resignation speech on the steps of Number 10, actually showed us that she has an emotional side. Who wouldn’t have? After what she has put herself through? God knows what her husband must be thinking.

I am sorry, but I have no sympathy for her whatsoever. She brought it all on herself, accidentally or otherwise.

No one in her cabinet seems to support her, not even those close to the idea of leaving the European Union. She is utterly on her own, having set out promising ‘strong and stable’ government that ‘works for everybody’.

And all this is self inflicted, caused by her being so utterly unbending over the past few years. Yet, in her speech, she quoted Sir Nicholas Winton, who told her that compromise was not a dirty word.

I could say more – about how she keeps on endlessly repeating herself; won’t answer anybody’s questions directly; constantly grins in the face of all adversity, so that she seems to have only one fixed expression; always looks completely eyeless, as if she’s sizing people up as being with her or against her – and much more. But I won’t. Most of it has already been said by people more qualified and cleverer than me.

What – or who – comes next is the big question. I can only hope that it isn’t a dogmatist, of any political stripe – left, right or centre – or an ideologue. It looks as if it will be someone who ‘plays well with the voters’. Someone people can ‘relate to’. Which means we may be stuck with Boris Johnson (who’s suspiciously popular with the pink trouser brigade), Angela Leadsom (who probably endears herself to all those women who are mums) or somebody else from the far right.

What a prospect.

Aaaaaaargh!

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What is it with the Tories?

And what is it with Mrs May, in particular?

Just because she was wearing a red jacket at the recent European summit, she seems to think she can do whatever she wants. Wear the right clothes and you’ll sway them, seems to be her motto.

It’s the same with all the Tories in top jobs. Their arrogance and smugness seem to make them think that the rest of the world will fall in line with their thinking.

Do they have no idea that the other countries in Europe have feelings of their own? That those feelings deserve some respect? She says she wants some. But on whose terms?

Whenever La May makes a public utterance, supposedly on behalf of the British people, she is speaking for herself these days. She apparently has no convictions, other than that the British people voted by a very small margin that Britain should leave the European Union, and she will deliver on that vote. Whatever the consequences.

Since then, having sat on the fence over the vote, she looks as if she’s the puppet of the right, mouthing whatever they say – which mostly seems to be along the lines of ‘The British People Have Spoken And Their Voice Must Be Heard’.

The trouble is, none of knew what ‘leaving the EU’ meant, or how complicated it would be. None of that was explained at the time.

Now we – and the Tories – are paying for it.

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Do any of them have an idea?

They’re still at it. The latest Brexit development is that the UK government wants to tell Europe how it will leave the European Union, not just when it wants to. It wants it all its own way. Nobody else’s, no other European country’s view, will do.

I don’t know how government works – if this one works at all – so I won’t comment on that. It’s enough to say that the UK populace, and much of the rest of the world, seems to be thoroughly confused at every turn by whatever the government does next. Or says next.

Although it’s probably too late to say it, it would have been better if the whole ‘leaving the EU’ thing had been left to our civil servants. At least, they don’t have axes to grind, or egos to feed.

Not like our politicians. Only the other day, one of their number was denying that such a thing as islamophobia even existed. And he said that after Boris Johnson – the sometime Foreign Secretary no less – had written in the Daily Telegraph that women who wear the burqa look like “letter-boxes”.

How can even he think that, when his own head looks like a haystack stuck on top of someone wearing an ill-fitting suit? Surely, his brain can afford to do better than that? Especially it ought to do better for a man who has ambitions of becoming the next leader of the Conservative party.

But then again, maybe Johnson hasn’t got a brain. Maybe his head’s just full of classical references.

In which case, he’ll never have an idea about how to solve the UK’s housing crisis, or how to help the many poorly paid young people get a home of their own. He and his party seem to think that they all want to live in the greenbelts surrounding our cities. Has it ever occurred to him to think that some of the disused warehouses in our towns and cities could be converted into blocks of affordable flats? And that the young would quite like to live in them?

But that’s an idea.

It has to be said that I – and many others no doubt – despair of what the future holds for us. The rich will probably be OK. But the rest of us mortals, who don’t have vast funds and an old boy network to fall back on, will probably be as bewildered as we are now.

All we can hope is that the next group who have ambitions to run the country, whoever they may be, will also have an idea or two.

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What if …

Big BenWhat if the British Government was competent enough to, and capable of, managing the economy and bringing an end to austerity?

What if the same government was capable to negotiating a smooth transition from European Union membership to political and economic independence from the EU?

What if the same government could manage the NHS and its care services without thinking that ‘NHS’ was just a set of letters and instead realising that it means ‘National Health Service’?

What if the same government could solve what is often called the ‘housing crisis’ and give young people a degree of independence  and a chance living away from their parents and grandparents?

What if the same government could do something about Britain’s infrastructure and fix the potholes in all the roads?

What if the same government knew about life outside the ‘Westminster village’?

What if the same British government could find a way of operating without fighting itself?

Fat chance.

 

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They’re at it again

It never seems to stop.

The Conservatives are still blethering on as if they’ve all read the same hymn sheet.

Mrs May seems to be singing the Anglican tune.

Boris Johnson is warbling from a High Anglican, almost Catholic, book.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, seems to constantly refer to the Methodist Hymnal.

David Davis, meanwhile, sings from whichever hymnal suits him.

I wish they would decide on a single tune, or at least the same book of hymns, so that the rest of us could make out what they do believe.

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Why doesn’t he shut up

It’s only days ago that Tony Blair was interviewed in The Guardian by Decca Aitkenhead, when that paper devoted a whole page to the pair of them.

What a waste of space!

He had nothing to say, other than that we should all follow our consciences. He contends that we have been bamboozled into Brexit by a government – or by the Tories if you follow his line of thought – who have no time for anything else. Not the housing crisis. Nor the poverty gap. Or the north south divide. Nor dealing with the Grenfell Tower disaster.

How obvious is all that!

The Tories have devoted no time at all to anything other than badly handling our leaving the EU, and most of the press has colluded with them in talking about it. As a result, we all think that that is all that matters.

What piffle! It’s enough that no one says that, once we leave the EU, almost everyone will be saying: “We never had it so good.” The rightwing newspapers will be crying into their cups, because when we have to deal as an independent nation with France, or Germany or the Poles, Spaniards, Portuguese or Italians, we shall get no more special treatment than if we were Ugandans or Indians. Indeed, we may get less, because we have no natural resources to trade with.

Tony Blair may have been Prime Minister, but that doesn’t give him the right to believe it’s he and he alone that occupies the moral high ground.

Why doesn’t he slink away and shut up, like any good ex-Prime Minister should?

But then, Ms Aitkenhead wouldn’t have anyone to interview.

 

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What are they up to now?

It seems not a day goes by when the British government manages to put its foot in it.

Only the other day they demonstrated how inept they are by disagreeing amongst themselves on how much it will costs Britain to leave the EU.

On top of that, they seem to think they can do what they like and no one else will pay any attention. Don’t they realise that the EU has 27 other members, all of whom have to agree with each other before anything is passed into law?

‘Arrogance’, some call it. To me, it smacks of sheer incompetence born of the idea that no one knows best expect aunty. And she doesn’t even know what day it is!

The sooner we are over all this, the better it will be. Then we shall be able to live with whatever character Britain has when it is past this muddle and confusion.

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John Harris is right

You probably realise by now that I’m a Guardian reader. And you may have guessed that I like various of their columnists.

On Friday, September 8, one of them, John Harris, wrote a piece that’s almost beyond fault. It echoes some of what I said in my last blog; about we British are no longer willing to do the menial jobs done for us by so-called ‘immigrant labour’. How sad! Yet, how true.

And how prescient of Harris to conclude that, as he put it, “frozen into the brickwork of those newly built houses in Peterborough is a whole host of stuff – hard work, persistence, ambition, stoicism – that has played a huge role in keeping an increasingly fragile country in business”.

Would that anyone in charge today recognises this!

 

 

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