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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 30 Aug 2017, 04:37

Looking at the 'news' about Brexit I remember what Richard predicted, that as our attempts to wriggle out of commitments and retain advantages were countered by the EU we would start to paint them as villains. He was spot on, this is surfacing as the EU holds the view that the divorce settlement, citizen's rights and Ireland have to be settled as soon as possible. They criticise the policy papers issued recently by the UK as being short on detail. They are screwing us down to making an offer of payment and making decisions about migration rights and Ireland. This has always been clear and trying to modify the terms and get trade and customs concessions is simply wasting valuable time as far as they are concerned. Someone has to blink!
The right wing papers are using extreme language about Barnier calling him an arrogant oaf.... Very helpful.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 31 Aug 2017, 04:20

See THIS BBC report of what Labour immediately branded as a 'delusional' statement by PM May in Japan. She says she is staying there until 2022 and will lead the Tories into another General Election. It appears that the EU has its doubts as well and this is a weakness in our negotiating position.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 01 Sep 2017, 04:13

Yesterday's press statements after the current round of EU talks shows just where we stand. As forecast May is denied her role as 'bloody difficult woman' so this is delegated to her dogsbody Davies. From what Barnier said, the UK is refusing to recognise the €100billion price tag of the divorce and still trying to pursue what he sees as side issues on trade. His brief is clear, he cannot move until the bill, citizen's rights and Ireland are agreed and he can't move unless all 27 EU countries debate and agree and that would take too long. As I forecast, he holds all the cards and all we can do is obfuscate until the deadline later this month when we will have to climb down and make a concrete offer on all these things. They have us over a barrel. As Richard forecast, the UK bangs on about the EU being deaf to any counter-proposals. All quite predictable and it won't be long before before the Tories have to come clean and demonstrate that all the wild promises made during the referendum were hogwash. That'll be interesting.
As for May's statement about going on and on, it has been universally derided even by her own grandees.
As predicted, Liam Fox, in Japan with TM is accusing the EU of blackmail. Very helpful and straight out of the Tory Idiot's Guide to Negotiation. Suppose he had said that he understood the EU's difficulties and asked for our own to be taken into account..... But no, they try to bully and bulldoze.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 01 Sep 2017, 09:31

Only a couple of days ago Lord William Hague, Remember him? said there was nothing wrong in going for the recent election. It was the voters who got it wrong. Link. Had they voted how they should have and given Mrs May a hundred seat majority we would have been in a much stronger negotiating position and could have told them to stuff it. But because you the voter made a mistake you have got us into a terrible mess. How's that for a bit of extreme chutzpah? He doesn't mention that with a hundred majority they would have also told the ordinary worker to get stuffed.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bruff » 01 Sep 2017, 10:57

Brexit negotiations and the fun continues. Cake and eat it is the order of the day. Usefully, someone has noted what ‘cake and eat it’ is in other countries.

Italy – the bottle full and your wife drunk
French – the butter and the money for the butter (and for added emphasis: ....and the smile from the [female] shopkeeper)
German – wash me but don’t get me wet
Spanish - be in the procession and at Mass
Bulgarian – the wolf fed and the lamb intact
Czech – you can’t sit on two chairs at the same time
Danish – you can’t both blow and have flour in your mouth
Dutch – you have to choose or share
Greek – you want the entire pie and the dog full
Portuguese – want the sun to shine on the threshing floor while it rains on the turnip field
Romanian – impossible to ride two horses with one backside


It is Lord Hague’s great delusion – and he’s not alone, million and millions share the delusion – that the EU gives a stuff about the UK’s Government’s majority etc. Mrs May could have garnered every seat in Parliament and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Because the process of leaving the EU is wrapped up in legally binding international treaties freely signed-up to by the UK. And this is not influenced one jot by a UK Government majority. Now it is true to say that on controversial matters a strong Government – if we define that as a Government with a sizeable majority – is preferred as it can see off the rebellious. But the EU knows full well that Brexit is the result of, to coin a phrase, a Tory cat fight that got out of hand and so that when push comes to shove, minimising detriment to the Tory party will always win out.

And just a plea – can we not refer to the Brexit 'bill'. This is a settling of obligations freely entered into. The EU have produced the expense lines against which they think the obligations should be calculated (I provided a link the other month). The EU has not come up with any figure in pounds, shillings and pence. The UK press has done this, in the main, for reasons best known to themselves. So I think the irritation from the EU is that the UK has not come up with its own ledger as a counter and so basis for negotiation. Of course, the UK might be arguing it has no obligations. If that is so then fine. The negotiations can be concluded and the clock can wind down to 2019. And we can see what the happens to the Irish border, UK pensioners on the Costas, Euratom, food supplies, Open Skies, the EHIC card and so on and so on and so on. We might also find out what all these developing counties to whom as a member of the EU the UK obligated monies, feel as we walk away from this obligation. We might have an idea at around about the time we look to open trade talks with them. They might not want our bootlaces.

On trade, read the other day that the value of UK exports to NZ was £1.1billion. Blimey that’s a big number that is. It’s a tenth of the £10billion we export to Belgium! And only a bit more than Malta!

We are a laughing stock. You only have to scan the foreign press. I think this is a good thing. We need a good dose of reality to wipe away the residual exceptionalism. We’re OK the UK, nothing more or special. Better than most places, not as good as some. A middling country. As they say, there are no big countries in Europe only small counties and those that don’t yet realise they are small.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bruff » 01 Sep 2017, 11:25

Just on us being a laughing stock – here’s some German reporting:

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/gros ... -1.3647563

Egal, was man von Großbritanniens Ausstieg aus der EU hält: Um seine Regierung ist das Land nicht zu beneiden. Die Premierministerin und ihre Helfer agieren wie Witzfiguren.

Translation:
Regardless of what one thinks about Great Britain leaving the EU: as far as the Govt. of the country is concerned there's no reason for envy. The way the PM and her stooges behave is a joke.

Ouch!

This is just one of lots that you can find. The other day, I Greek commentator noted that ‘anglophilia’ was decreasing and folk would simply look elsewhere. A Belgian paper noted that the negotiations the past days showed the UK has not a clue and hadn’t done its homework.

Oh well….dambusters theme, Rule Britannia, sticking it to the squareheads, Winston, a bull dog and two world wars and all that.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 02 Sep 2017, 02:41

P I heard Hague as well. I used to think he was quite sensible but have revised that opinion. He's just another Tory dinosaur.
Richard, love the definitions and I agree with all you say. What puzzles me is that they must know that their course leads to an inevitable train wreck, or do they actually believe the strategy is fine? If so it's worse than I thought because they must be ignoring all the sensible advice they are no doubt being given. Tin hats on Lads!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 03 Sep 2017, 04:03

My constant regret, which I first raised during the 'debate' preceding the referendum vote and is still valid today, is that it is all being decided on pure economic terms. Every point of contention comes down to money. I haven't heard anyone speaking out for the general principle that international cooperation and closer bonds is the best insurance we have against disputes and wars. Surely we saw enough in the great conflicts of the twentieth century to persuade us that on these grounds alone, the broad principle of closer ties with Europe was a progressive policy?
But no, the xenophobic tendencies of the Little Englanders and the wistful hankerings for the days of empire, laisser faire policies and 'our place on the world stage' have driven the debate which is nothing more or less than a desire to be in a position to try to exercise Economic Imperialism. 'Competition in world trade' is a type of warfare and the people that espouse it see no merit in nurturing the home market. This is why a policy of austerity, which damages domestic spending power, was favoured by these dinosaurs.
The bottom line is that this is what has driven down activity, productivity and investment in our manufacturing base. We shall not see any improvements in the UK economy big enough to ease the lot of the lowest 85percentile until these simple economic principles are recognised.
Later.... News coming in that May got a strong memo from her policy adviser not to have a snap election but she ignored it. She must be feeling a bit insecure because her Whips have issued a warning to potential rebels that if they fail to support the exit bill they risk letting Corbyn in. There appears to be a growing feeling in the Tory Party that there will be a leadership contest sooner rather than later.....
There is also informed speculation that an offer might be made to the EU of £50billion to be paid before 2022, the date of the next scheduled election. If true, this is the lowest estimate of what we can get away with. The EU is talking about roughly double that..... So much for the refund!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 04 Sep 2017, 06:58

Lots of frothing and fuming from the Right Wing because Mr Barnier has said in a speech that the British public need to be educated as to what Brexit actually means. How dare Johnny Foreigner presume to lecture us! In fact he is absolutely right. The vast majority of the public haven't got the faintest idea what the consequences of leaving are. The whole debate to press has been an exercise in obfuscation and spin (lies actually....) and it is high time that some stark facts are laid out by the government.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 04 Sep 2017, 07:41

Ms May slips off to Japan and announces that she is staying as PM for the long run. Perhaps even past the next general election. Very convenient of her to make these statements when she is thousands of miles away and the media coverage is minimal. Of course by the time she returns the caravan has moved on and the Davis - Boris team are back to name calling the EU. This is mushroom management taken to to the 'nth' degree. The mantra seems to be, keep the electorate in the dark and tell them nothing. What a way to run a country.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 05 Sep 2017, 04:21

Exactly right P. We are the victims of the biggest con trick ever. You'd think it would be illegal......
I heard someone excusing May for the conflicting statements that come out of Westminster and in particular the unhelpful comments from ministers. They said that, at distance, she couldn't be expected to 'micro-manage'. Really? When anyone complains about these things normally we are told that modern communications mean she is as much in control as if she was here. In that case she has completely lost control of the party and the warring factions are simply letting rip. It's a disgrace....
Later.... I have just been listening to the wonderfully anodyne and reasonable Chris Grayling on 'Today' avoiding direct questions on the prospects for the Brexit Bill. My problem is that as far as I can see he leaves a trail of destruction behind him as he flits from job to job. Can I believe anything he says? Unfortunately not!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 06 Sep 2017, 05:57

David Davies made his 'statement' to Parliament which basically told us nothing apart from the fact that negotiations were hard. I think we knew that! Noticeable that when pressed he did what Grayling did yesterday, attacked Labour. It's almost certain that in order to get things moving towards trade he is going to have to make an offer, rumour has it that this is going to be £50billion paid before 2020. But, and it's a big but, a leaked draft report on treatment of migrants after Brexit is not good news as it is hard on them with many additional restrictions. The government says that they will not comment on leaks and it is only a draft but it shows what the favoured rote is inside the Foreign Office. Mr Barnier will not see this as adequate. (And then there is Ireland)
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 07 Sep 2017, 03:53

Things are heating up as Parliament reconvenes after the holidays(!). See THIS for an account of the battle lines drawn up as the debate starts on the Brexit Bill. I share Labour's misgivings about the 'power grab' element. In order to make a measure like this workable quite extraordinary statutory powers will have to be exercised by ministers, imposing changes by diktat and not consensus. Once assumed, they will be reluctant to give up these powers and the ramifications could be quite horrendous for ordinary people. Remember the Tories are the ones who rail against 'command and control' government but here they are setting up their own version. It remains to be seen how many share this revulsion..... The DUP may have to start earning their backhander.
Jacob Rees Mogg has really exposed his claim to be a Tory Dinosaur! See THIS Guardian article by Suzanne Moore. She is absolutely right, this man betrays the attitudes which still lurk in the die hard Right Wing but which are usually better concealed.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bruff » 07 Sep 2017, 10:15

In some respects, it’s refreshing to see his (Mogg’s) honesty in noting that as a Catholic he’s against gay marriage and abortion in any circumstance. Too many would hum and hah over that. But the refreshed feeling soon vanishes. What is it with religious nut jobs? They have this unhealthy obsession with what everyone else is doing. He’ll be banging on about contraception next. God forbid that sex might actually be pleasurable activity as opposed to how shall we say, a manufacturing chore. Still, slight problem with his Catholicism aside, he’ll likely go down well with the blue rinse membership. Posh, presentable, and fecund in the one package.

The Brexit clown bus rumbles on. Loads of places who had no problem with EU baristas seeing their local EU barista leave because folk who don’t have a local EU baristas didn’t like the EU baristas they never had. Or something like that. Country’s gone mad.

Thankfully, we have five days in Porto in a month. Part of getting a feel for as many EU countries as we can so that we can toddle off to one of them in 5 or 6 years once we have the money. No point hanging around here. And the good thing is the Brexiters will be glad to see the back of the likes of me so that makes me very happy. A win-win really.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 07 Sep 2017, 11:45

Bruff, can't believe you are prepared to leave just when we have got it all sorted out.
Mrs May is here for the long run but on the horizon with a bit of luck she will be replaced by Rees-Mogg.
David Davis has made Concrete advances on EU trade. Only half of the House of Commons laughed.
The border problem in Ireland has been sorted to our satisfaction. Its just the EU who disagree with our proposals.
We have made it clear about immigration from the EU.Never mind all this free movement business.
The Tories are willing to accept the all the EU laws except the ones they don't like. In time we may get to know which ones they are.
And don't forget we can always rely on Donald Trump to tell us what to do.
So everything in the garden is rosy.
Why leave when we can see Blake's New Albion just round the corner?

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 09 Sep 2017, 05:21

And we are assured that 'the investment opportunities are enormous'.
I sympathise with you Richard but will not be leaving. Someone has to supervise the deck chairs!
We are assured this morning that Mrs May is going to address 'the catastrophic failure of the yoof vote' at the Party Conference. Rumours are that her idea of getting them onside is to lower student fees and other bribes. By this approach she demonstrates her contempt for their political nous. In Tory eyes it all comes down to money.
The Moggery view of sex is obviously relaxed, will the next one be called Septimus?
The ship of fools ploughs on inexorably towards what I believe is the biggest foreign policy mistake I have ever seen. It makes Suez look like a stroll in the park. Let us never forget that all that we are enduring and all that is to come is self-inflicted!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 10 Sep 2017, 04:17

There is a curious and eerie silence in political comment at the moment. Quite understandable on the part of Labour and the LibDems, all they have to do is sit back and watch the Tories dig themselves ever deeper into their hole. I have a suspicion that the reticence on the Tory side is because, faced with the full enormity of the complications laid bare in the Bill, they have become aware of how unstable the political ground is and many of them are re-assessing their position. I'd hazard a guess that a lot of back room discussion is going on. Downing Street will be aware of this and they also are in the dark as to how all this is going to pan out. We hear confident assertions that the first draft will get assent and go to the Lords but I wonder what this is based on? I make no predictions but it wouldn't surprise me if there were developments and some surprises. The one certainty is that the thing that concentrates a politician's mind wonderfully is the prospect of losing his or her seat. They know that in this respect they are skating on very thin ice!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 11 Sep 2017, 04:07

I'm expecting a turbulent week in Westminster. It could be quite a significant moment. I hope so, any change will be an improvement, they can't do much worse than the present situation. Watch out for cunning use of Parliamentary Procedure by the government.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 12 Sep 2017, 04:18

As expected, the government has got the first reading of the Brexit Bill thorough. Now the horse-trading starts. One wonders if this is the correct way to get the best outcome for UK PLC......
The announcement of the partial lifting of the public sector pay cap sheds light on this government's priorities. Police and Prison staff are the first to get relief, nurses and all the others are left hanging in the wind
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 13 Sep 2017, 05:20

If Downing Street thought it would get any credit for the easing of the public pay cap, they have been brought back to earth. There is universal condemnation of a 'rise' that still leaves those lucky enough to get it lagging behind inflation. Meanwhile on top of deteriorating public services due to recruiting difficulties and constrained budgets the unions promise strong opposition by industrial action. Oh and by the way, the Treasury insists that the rises be paid out of the already constrained budgets, there will be no new money.....
The National Audit Office takes the government to task for not investigating the effects of austerity on the homeless whose number has increased by 60% since 2011 'rough sleeping' has doubled. The Treasury of course responds by parroting the amount that is being spent on the problem without admitting that it isn't enough and this is a massive crisis for those affected.
Lord Bridges, who was in charge of Brexit at one time speaks in the Lords against the government's hard line in the negotiations. He says that the only way to start meaningful progress is for us to relax our stance, bow to the inevitable and make a sensible offer against the possible bill of €100billion. Sounds like common sense to most of us.
Keep an eye on today's economic figures. The dark clouds are gathering!
The accepted rule in Parliament has always been that the composition of the standing committees which scrutinise and refine legislation should reflect the position of the parties in Parliament. As things stood this means that the Tories would be in a minority. Big problem but a simple solution, the government has insisted that their DUP fuelled 'working majority' entitles them to a majority. The combination of Angela Leadsom and Jacob Rees Mogg carried the day. I did warn about cunning use of parliamentary procedures......
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 13 Sep 2017, 07:29

If you are expecting a public rebellion make sure that the police and prison officers are on your side. The military will always do their duty so no need to give them anything. Plan ahead for what?

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tripps » 13 Sep 2017, 10:42

Quote from Francis Maude today.

“The deficit is clearly not under control. We are in quite a sustained period of economic growth and yet we still have a budget deficit that is too big. We should be at this stage in a place where the budget deficit has been eliminated and we’re getting towards a surplus. We’re not. So the idea that there is suddenly lots of money around is complete fantasy… I’m not happy that we are giving the impression that we can suddenly spend money to alleviate a particular political pressure point.”
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 13 Sep 2017, 13:51

P the same thought occurred to me.....
David, in at least one respect he is correct, the deficit reduction strategy has failed completely.
"We are in quite a sustained period of economic growth" is in one way correct. What he doesn't mention is that before 2008 the miserable level of growth would have been seen as derisory. We need almost 3% per annum just to keep up with ever increasing demand in the economy.
As for jobs, they will be trumpeting the rise in employment figures but keeping quiet about the 0.4% fall in wages in the last twelve months. Again, at least 4% growth per annum is needed to keep pace with inflation so in effect wages have fallen again and are comparable now to what was being earned in 2006. How many of these 'jobs' carry a living wage or even full time hours. Have they allowed for the number of zero hours contracts and those with no overtime, holiday or sick benefits? This is not a thriving economy and also not mentioned is the fact that more cuts are in the pipeline until at least 2020.
Sorry, I stick to my thesis that even pre-Brexit, the economy is a basket case!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by chinatyke » 14 Sep 2017, 04:04

Received from a friend this morning:

EU treatment of Poland and Hungary reminiscent of the Soviet Union

Responding to Jean Claude Juncker's 'State of the Union' speech in the Strasbourg European Parliament Plenary (13/09/17), which called for a far higher level of federalism in the EU including one new powerful President and a much stronger EU Defence union, UKIP MEP Nigel Farage responded by saying...

“Mr Juncker, that was the most open, honest and truly worrying speech I’ve heard in my long years in this place. The message is very clear, Brexit has happened, full steam ahead."

“So new plans: there’s to be one powerful president for whole of the European Union, a finance minister with fresh powers so as you say yourself can intervene as of when he sees necessary, a stronger European army in a militarised European Union with a stronger and perhaps more aggressive foreign policy too and more Europe in every single direction and all of it to be done without the consent of the people."

“Your plan to fight the next European elections with cross-European, pan-European, lists funded by the European Union, but not as you said to fund extremists means what we will find is genuine, democratic parties of opposition will not be able to compete in elections on the same playing field. It is reminiscent of regimes of old. Indeed the way you’re treating Hungary and Poland already must remind them of living under the Soviet communists when you attempt to tell them how they should run their own countries."

“All I can say is thank god we’re leaving. You’ve learnt nothing from Brexit, if you’d given Cameron concessions, particularly on immigration, the Brexit vote, I have to admit, would never ever have happened. Yet the lesson you take is you’re going to centralise, you’re going to move on to this new, I think, very worrying, undemocratic union. And you’re deluding yourself Mr Verhofstadt if you think that the populist wave, as you define it, is over."


http://www.europeangeostrategy.org/2014 ... ries-2014/

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 14 Sep 2017, 05:33

That's one way of looking at it China but what strikes me, especially when I hear commentators here frothing at the mouth about Paul Junckers' speech, is what the hell has it got to do with us? He is looking at the state of the EU not the UK and its relationship with the EU. 12 Months ago I was convinced that the Euro was going to fail. I was wrong. What has happened is that the EU economy has gathered strength and is now performing better than us and the US. In case you hadn't noticed the Euro is climbing against the Pound and it isn't beyond the bounds of possibility that in 12 months it could achieve parity. The UK is the basket case now and there are no signs of it improving. Even those eternal optimists, the markets, are wavering slightly.
Meanwhile, what do we get out of Westminster. Not as you would hope, constructive comments about the progress of the negotiations but more froth over a reported remark by George Osborne that he wouldn't rest until Theresa May is chopped up and in his freezer.
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"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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