Category Archives: European Union

What does he think he’s up to?

The Supreme Court seems to matter not a jot to Boris Johnson. Even as I write, he’s probably plotting how to wriggle out of whatever they may conclude.

To me, he has conspired to prorogue Parliament just so that he can call an election, which he probably thinks he will win. On the surface of it all, he may be right. He might just win – even with an outright majority.

Personally, I can no longer decide which side I’m on: in or out. Part of me wants to remain in the European Union, because we’re stronger in it by being part of a large market, and because we may be able to influence how it [the EU] should be reformed. And reformed it should be. The other part of me wants to be out of it all together, so that they [the other Europeans] can get on with it, whatever it may be.

Either way, I am utterly fed up with people talking about Brexit when they don’t even know what kind of Britain they want – or what they’re being offered. Those who want another referendum based on questions about a future Britain – and there are many – have my sympathy. Especially when they say they will abide by the result. I don’t feel strongly about any party, let alone one that says what it would do if it were in power.

What does bother me is that Johnson and his cronies don’t seem to understand anything about what’s happening in the country, outside the Westminster village.

I live in East Devon, which is – by turns – prosperous and down-at-heel. Goodness knows where the local farming and agricultural communities think their money will come from, once they’re no longer able to enjoy EU grants. That’s to say nothing of the retail sector, which is facing its own problems.

But, of course, Boris knows best! We shall leave the EU at the end of October, come what may. Or to use his own words, “do or die”.

I’d rather die than listen to any more of his blustering rhetoric.

What the people of this country want is to get on with it, or so he says. Get on with what, I ask? We live in a broken society and nothing, but nothing, he has ‘promised’ will fix things as they currently are.

He is, it seems, beyond predicting.

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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.

Now that she’s almost gone….

It seems a long time but, at last, she is going. Or, by the time you read this, she may have gone.

May 4.jpg

Who comes next is still anyone’s guess. It could be any one of more than half-a-dozen. The Tory party seems to be in that much disarray.

Ah, well. We shall know soon enough. But that’s not really soon enough for me. I’d like to know now, so as to end all the uncertainty. After all, we don’t really know who will be Prime Minister through 2020 and beyond. And business, as well as everyone else, would like to know.

Is it too much to ask?

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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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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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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Do the politicians know anything?

The more I see and hear of it, the more I’m inclined to agree with my friend in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

He believes Brexit (or Britain leaving the EU, to give the process its real term, not it’s media-driven nickname) is far too complex to be left to mere politicians.

All they seem to do is shout at each other from positions of emotional weakness, and listen to what they want to hear.

Tattered Jack

Take the leavers, for example. Last year, before we were asked to vote “In” or “Out”, they told us that £350 million pounds a day was being spent on the EU which they would spend on the NHS. Where’s that money today? And where’s the talk of how it will be spent when we do leave? As leave we surely will.

I was recently in hospital and all I heard from the staff were comments about the lack of funds (£350 million a day, anyone?). I heard, too, how the NHS would not work if it were not for the cleaners, caterers, health care assistants, nurses and doctors – almost all the staff you would ever meet – who were born outside the British Isles but who chose to work in this country, because there is no work for them in their native land. Most of them do not know what they’ll do if they are told they must leave. “None of the local people want to do this job” was what I heard over and over again. Watch the television if you don’t believe me.

I first heard a remark like this from a pea-packer, years ago. Interviewed on television somewhere near Boston, Lincs, she said she would gladly give up work to care for a small child she and her Polish husband had had in the UK, but “everyone who’s British who’s interviewed says ‘no’ to the job”.

Does no one want to bend their back? Do the politicians think that all they need to show us is their posturing?

David Davis, for example, looks like a fairground busker who must’ve thought you believed him when he put it about that you would “See the bearded lady!” Was he referring to Mrs May? Where is said hirsute female? Perhaps more accurately, he looks like a sharp-suited shyster who has asked us to invest in a multi-million pound enterprise, knowing all along that the enterprise isn’t worth much more than sixpence of anybody’s money.

Would you buy a secondhand car from him? I know I wouldn’t. Neither should you.

As for Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, he very nearly blew it completely when he implied that Europe could “whistle” for Britain’s due payments.

The opposition is no better. They seem to have too many of their own axes to grind.

So why not leave it all to the bureaucrats? They have nothing to lose by sticking to the facts. The politicians have everything to lose by trying to suggest that we are all like them: no matter which flag they salute.

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At last, it’s all over. For now.

I’ve been waiting a long time to write that headline, or something like it. The recently held, unnecessary, ego-driven election to determine who runs the UK seems to have gone on forever; like some kind of degenerative, wasting illness that has to be endured.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard politicians speaking (or in some cases, barking) about almost everything, but we haven’t heard any of the detail we want to hear. For example, there’s been virtually no mention of the kind of country we can expect to be living in. None at all. At least, none that I can relate to.

Instead, we’ve heard only that we can expect ‘strong and stable leadership’ from an administration led by The Maybot, Theresa May, (what a joke that empty mantra seems now, after so many climb-downs on her part!) or one that’s ‘for the many not the few’ from ‘Jezza’ Jeremy Corbyn (at least that one sounds plausible, even though it seems to have been invented by a marketing guru).

It’s still a great shame we were not offered a No Confidence space on the ballot paper. For all that the turnout was encouraging to those that would clutch at any straw blowing in the wind, that’s where a great many Xs would’ve ended up.

After all, do we really want a government lead by a woman who looks and sounds as if she is the product of a machine? One that was made on the home counties production line, with all the small-mindedness that that implies? Do we really want to be governed by a person who, at the outset, looked like a young middle-aged woman dreaming of past glories and future triumphs but, by the end, looked like an old middle-aged woman, broken and sad, contemplating her own mortality?

Do we want a government led by a person who was once described by Ken Clarke as “bloody difficult”? By someone who refuses to debate matters on tv? By someone who tells us that ‘strong leadership’ will be needed in the now-stalled negotiations with the European Union, when we must know (unless we are all ostriches) that She Who Tells Us will not be at the negotiating table herself (just as she wasn’t in the tv debate), but that a person with the mindset of a man like David Davis, who describes Brexit as “the defining issue of our age”, will lead the team? Or might it be a member of the DUP?

Or do we want a government led by a person who, at the outset, looked like a broken old milddle-aged man not knowing what to do with retirement but now looks like a young middle-aged man rejuvenated by the thought that the even younger civil servants will do most of the heavy work, and that there are equally pressing issues, other than the dreary one of  leaving the EU, that have to be attended to?

The Conservatives made almost no mention of Britain’s housing crisis, our failing mental health provisions, or child poverty.

They didn’t even have the guts to present themselves as a team. The Supreme Leader was the only one we were asked to think about.

And now we are stuck with that thought; with her. For another five years, or for as long as it takes for her to change her mind – yet again.

Those of us who can’t abide the woman will – like my late mother who used to turn off the telly every time Mrs Thatcher hove in view – have to bear her as we bore Mrs T and survived. I guess we’ll survive Mrs M.

But will she be remembered? Margaret Thatcher

Now that the election is all over, we can only hope that she will disappear into obscurity.

I doubt there’s much hope of that. We all still recall ‘That Woman’. But Mrs May is likely to be remembered as The One That Got Away. For now.

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Choice or debate

Nearly six months now and I – like so many others – remain frustrated.

Why? Because no-one has yet resolved whether we’re In or Out of the European Union. If we’re In, what role do we have? And, if we’re Out, how will we live with the rest of the world?

On the In hand, we could look forward to being part of an admittedly flawed grouping of vaguely like-minded states. Growth would be slow, but it would at least be collective. Squabbling in the group would continue, but ultimately all arguments must end, and they usually do.

On the Out hand, we don’t know what to look forward to. Will our place in the world have changed that much? Will we, the UK, be a small trading nation having to make our way in the world much as Portugal might’ve done before it became part of the European Union?

The prospects are very confusing.

And they’re not made any the less so by the seeming inability of anyone anywhere to tell us what’s going on.

I know the UK voted on June 23 to Leave, but we still Remain. But in what guise?

It seems to me that we should have had an informed debate about the future of the UK before we were asked to vote, with everyone from all walks of life being asked to contribute to the discussion. That way we would have known what we were being asked to vote on. Instead, all we heard was people arguing about what kind of Europe – and thus, by extension, what kind of world – we would be living in, without considering whether or not we wanted to be In or Out of it.

As it was, no one really debated or discussed the relative merits of the European Union before we were asked whether or not we wanted to Remain in it or Leave it. They seemed to shout at one another, brandishing facts which have since proved unsustainable. It’s only now, after we have made an ill-informed decision, that Europe’s pros and cons are being fully aired. And it’s too late. We have decided. Leave is what we shall do, whether we like it or not.

The next few years are going to be regretful, that’s for sure.

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