POLITICS CORNER

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 08 Mar 2018, 04:12

That's why the young man in charge of Saudi Arabia was getting the glad hand in Downing Street yesterday from T May. They are buttering him up to persuade him to float part of Aramco on the London Exchange even though it will mean changing the rules to allow it to happen. The fact he has slipped us a £65billion bung won't harm his case either. This is important especially in view of EU President Tusk's bleak interpretation of the new draft guidelines, no cherry picking! Spreadsheet Phil glosses over it as he is convinced that money will talk and he may be right.
One section of industry who will not be pleased is the fishing industry. Tusk says that in any relaxation of the rules one thing must be a red line. Before anything can be given away the EU has to keep its fishing rights in our waters. If it's a choice between the financiers in the City and the fishermen guess who is going to lose out.
See THIS BBC report on Vince Cable's intervention in defence of Gibraltar. Not a lot has been said about The Rock but under the present guidelines Spain can veto the UK extending financial trading rights to the thriving money market. Yet another 'small matter' that has been swept under the carpet. What gets ditched in the negotiations is going to be very important and will not help ease progress.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 08 Mar 2018, 10:11

Some sense being spoken by the British Chambers of Commerce...
`Growth 'more important than Brexit'' LINK

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Mrs May keeps telling us how the British economy is thriving but the numbers show a different story. Have a look at this web page for the statistics and I've copied a table of data from it here. Note that the data for 2018 is for only two months.... LINK

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bruff » 08 Mar 2018, 13:32

I haven’t posted much on here for the past few months largely because I usually note a few random witterings on the politics thread and well, the groundhog feeling was just too much. We were all too predictably hurtling towards what was yesterday’s dénouement of sorts from the EU. I am of course talking of Brexit (hence my use of the original French in the previous sentence, complete with acute diacritic on the ‘e’, just to annoy any passing Brexiter). This outcome yesterday was just so expected having been explained and commented on so much by me and others months and weeks past, and I just got a bit wearisome. But if you’ll forgive me, I linger a while and pop these and a few more thoughts to the Board once again.

So on the capabilities of our current leaders. Well, let’s look at our Chief Negotiator Mr Davies. Described by Brexit éminence grise (I’ve done it again!) Dominic Cummings perhaps unfairly as ‘thick as mince and lazy as a toad’ he only went and proved it the other day in an article in The Malta Times. Here he noted the £2B in trade between the two countries (UK and Malta) and that the UK would look for a deal that ensured no tariffs were paid on services. OK….

Look, there are no tariffs on services. None. Anywhere. You don’t pay a fee for your legal advice at the French-Italian border, or for your accountancy advice in an e-mail from Barlick to Tallinn. The issue with services is non-tariff barriers. Mutual recognition of qualifications, data protection, intellectual copyright, all this stuff. The EU Single market is the only, the only, marketplace where these non-tariff barriers have been removed and are being removed. Nowhere else has even started. And this edifice has taken the best part of 3 decades to establish. Three decades. Because it’s hard. Not because there are 20-odd countries to satisfy. Because it’s hard.

So that was a long explanatory paragraph to say that the UK’s chief negotiator has not the first clue what he is talking about and not only that, felt it worth demonstrating this in the newspaper of an EU Member State. [I might also note, that £2B trade between Malta and the UK is rather more than the current trade with NZ who some Brexiters see as ripe for a trade deal. Fine. If we quadrupled trade with NZ miles from anywhere, in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the world, we might make up about 3x the loss of Maltese trade. Just Maltese trade……because as we’ve noted on here, our trade with Belgium is 13x the trade we currently do with NZ so we’d have to go some to make up for flipping Belgium. Belgium!].

It’s instructive isn’t it. For years, we have been treated to tales of bumbling Brussels’s bureaucrats, third-raters who couldn’t hold a candle to our lot. Well, compare and contrast the performance(s) of our chief negotiator and the EU’s. M Barnier is an administrator out of the top drawer, a man speaking with absolute clarity and authority on the matter to hand. Crystal clear in both explanation and illustration. Just look at the logic and simplicity to his flow chart that, using the UK’s own statements, leads inevitably to a Canada deal given the legal basis of the EU. All we do is throw a tantrum.

So here we are.

Fisheries has caused a stir as one could have predicted. Very emotive for a certain type, who’ll blithely talk about a 200 mile limit around the UK coast which rather ignores geography – there is not much Dover Sole to be hauled from oggin outside the cathedral at Reims. But given we’re been right all along on here about the intractability of the Irish border, and what the final outcome would be at best (a FTA), let’s have a go at what’ll happen with the fish. The EU will say we’ll have continued access to your fisheries and you can have continued access to our skies. Fisheries (as a sector not the UK fisheries) are worth about 70 billion to the EU as a whole, and it’s about 0.5% of the UK economy. Air travel or the skies, is knocking on a trillion and the UK has about 30% of the EU market given EasyJet has so much over there. So we’ll cough up the fisheries mark my word. But I’ve no sympathy: too many jumped in a flotilla with Nigel and sailed up the Thames. They deserve everything they’re going to get. UK fishing has never been able to sell the UK market anything it wants to eat for year as cod and haddock are in the Arctic now (in the main). The stuff they caught they had to flog to Europe. And they voted to make that more difficult. It is hard you know, to keep calm in all of this…..

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 08 Mar 2018, 14:33

I am so pleased to see you posting Richard, I have not forgotten the number of times that you have alerted us to the more arcane aspects of Brexit, notably Ireland. The border had never occurred to me until you brought it up way back. Likewise the importance of the non-governmental agencies. I regard anything you say as magisterial and your confirmation of my distrust of Davies is welcome. I also agree entirely with you about Barnier and his transparency, he is the best source of guidance our pathetic government has but they have cast him as the pantomime hate figure and unfortunately the majority of the public have swallowed it hook line and sinker.
Another 'hate figure' is the collective EU administration. Of course, as a nation we denigrate our own Civil Service as well. As you may remember I have never subscribed to either of these views, if we had listened to our advisers more we would have been better off. Your illustration of the gradual erosion in the EU of the non-tariff barriers is a concrete case in point. You put flesh on my gut instincts. That's where you are so often of service to us and please help keep us on the straight and narrow. I am handicapped because I have read too much history and while I can get a handle on the broad sweep of events and trends that I see I haven't your inside knowledge of contemporary matters.
I heard a programme on R4 this morning in which a BBC correspondent has been going round the major ports of Europe asking the people most affected what they see as the problems and they confirm what I have thought about our assessment of what is needed to keep even a minimum of trade moving when the customs and trade barriers go up on our exit. If these experts are to be believed we ain't seen nothing yet!
Thanks for posting, please give us more, you help keep us honest, you put fishing into context for me today, I have a misty eyed view of the industry because of my love of the sea and the old fishing ports, you have brought me down to earth and more in touch with reality and reminded me of the fact that even a one man band like a Nephrop fisherman I know in Arisaig who was connected direct into the Spanish market by a refrigerated wagon he met in a lay-by once a day which did a daily round of the West Coast and shipped the catch, even a couple of boxes, seamlessly into the EU market fast enough for them to be still alive when they got there. I also knew about the 'Klondikers' moored offshore which took thousands of tons of fish out of the market which never saw our markets.
I'm waffling aren't I.... It's my age. Thanks again you have made my day. Best, Stanley.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 09 Mar 2018, 10:39

I've been educated and entertained at one and the same time, thank you Bruff! And Stanley has said in his usual eloquent way all that I would want to say to Bruff for his contributions to OGFB.

David Davis...I've been influenced by the Dead Ringers radio programmes and every time I hear his name I think of him phoning Mrs May and starting the conversation with: "It's me, the Brexit Bulldog!" :smile:

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tripps » 09 Mar 2018, 11:10

It's getting very complicated isn't it? With typical naivete I believed what they said before the vote - it was all straightforward then. Here's what David Cameron said at the time.

Cameron on Brexit

He got a First in PPE from Oxford didn't he? I think should consider handing it back.

PS I'd like to put a 'diacritic' (thanks Richard) on the final e in naivete, but I don't know how to do it. :smile:
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 09 Mar 2018, 11:49

The easy, cheat's way to do it is by copying and pasting the word from a web page: naïveté :smile:

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Whyperion » 09 Mar 2018, 14:04

Tizer wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 10:11
Some sense being spoken by the British Chambers of Commerce...
`Growth 'more important than Brexit'' LINK

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Mrs May keeps telling us how the British economy is thriving but the numbers show a different story. Have a look at this web page for the statistics and I've copied a table of data from it here. Note that the data for 2018 is for only two months.... LINK

Image
That excludes as I hear this week changes to employees contracts as J S Sainsbury's as the continuing removal of liquid cash from the real economy pressures their results.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Whyperion » 09 Mar 2018, 14:26

chinatyke wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 09:43
Stanley wrote:
05 Mar 2018, 04:29
I have never seen this country as badly managed.
You've got a short memory then!
Perhaps it should be , as badly managed by someone who purports to know what they were doing.
GB really got what he wanted and effectively couldn't handle it because he was trying by cash to change some inequalities in society, and did not (or want to) notice things like proper government accounting, and 'economic cycles'. John Major really until the interest rate wheels fell off had some kind of plan that his own party (mostly on Europe) did not want, most of us muddled through , but really it would have needed fundamental change from the Thatcher economic experiment for any better alternative. Two things really have dominated UK politics since 1750 (query , since Roman Times?), 'The Irish Problem' - they cannot rule themselves (and that includes The Present Republic) , and they don't want to be ruled by anyone else. And 'the European Problem' everything from powermongering by the French, or the Germans, or The Dutch, or The Russians (etc).

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bruff » 09 Mar 2018, 16:12

It’s known as Ireland these days rather than the Republic of Ireland. And goodness knows why folk still keep mentioning Eire (very few if any Irish person refers to the country as that I’ll bet), especially as and wait for it………………………. if you do not use the correct diacritic and refer to Éire, then Eire means a burden. I have to say I have no idea what is meant by the Irish not being able to rule themselves.

As an Englishman I tend to stay well clear of Irish matters as most of us have very, very little understanding of the matters at all no matter how much we might like to think we have. One of the most educational and enjoyable experiences I had was in Belfast the other year when we took a Black Cab Tour of the Falls and Shankhill, driven by an active participant in The Troubles. I would encourage anyone to take one of these tours if in Belfast.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 10 Mar 2018, 04:57

I couldn't agree with you more Richard about Ireland. The nearest I have ever come to a satisfactory explanation of what is happening there is to explain it by blaming those who invaded the country on the grounds of acquisition or to 'help' them by giving them a different way of running themselves, think Gertrude Jekyll and her masters in Mesopotamia or the US, Russia and us in Afghanistan. Basically they all had the same fault, they didn't understand or feel comfortable with a decentralised tribal or clan structure. I'll stop there and let you make your own minds up but it's a fascinating subject.
The 'Irish Problem' that we have created could be solved now at a stroke by unifying Ireland under the Republic and letting them sort themselves out. It would be messy for a while but eventually would settle down. We have only ourselves to blame for any consequences, we have been trying to sweep water uphill there for centuries. If you disagree, think of the parallels in other parts of the world where by 'colonisation' we did exactly the same thing.
Behind all this is the purely artificial construct of 'The United Kingdom'. This in itself has always been an attempt to convert a tribal structure into a united whole and on present evidence has been a failure. The faltering steps towards 'devolution' and the strains this introduces in the system are attempts to ward off what I have always seen as inevitable. England, Scotland and Wales (some would include Cornwall and Northumbria as well) are 'different' and it's high time we stopped pandering to London Centric ideas of 'punching above our weight in the world' and accepted the realities of a small island of the coast of Europe that no longer has an empire.
As part of the Millennium Project I was asked was I a patriot and if so, who for. My answer was that I didn't see myself as being a patriot for anything in particular. My loyalties and affections are for my locality, if you like, my tribe and to a certain extent Australia where my father was reared. Perhaps the answer to a lot of these questions lies there, allow people to have their own tribes and manage their own affairs under some sort of Federal System which gives power to the regions on the same scale as London has at the moment. Like Ireland, it would be messy but at least it would be our mess!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 10 Mar 2018, 10:32

I tend to still refer to the `Republic of Ireland' instead of simply Ireland because the latter name often results in the listener or reader asking me which part I mean or assuming I'm talking about Northern Ireland. Strongbow, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke, not the cider, has a lot to answer for. It surprises me that Bulmers manage to sell Strongbow cider in Ireland but I believe the packaging is different - perhaps they've dropped the archer image from the labels.

Trump's busy claiming that he's making a stand against North Korea...but will he make a stand against the NRA when the guns that the NRA promotes are responsible for killing more Americans than are the weapons of Kim Jong-un?
`Florida shooting: NRA sues as Florida enacts gun-control law' LINK

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 11 Mar 2018, 04:28

The American obsession with guns is part of the greater conundrum of understanding them as a whole. I like most Americans and have many friends there but have always had a problem with many of their attitudes, I suspect they are easier to understand if you stop regarding them as a Western European nation and class them as 'foreign'. GBS was perhaps right, "Two nations divided by a common language".
Later.... I have just been listening to Trump making a campaign speech for a Republican seat in Pittsburgh. It was actually a presidential campaign speech and he is talking about North Korea and his tariff moves as though they are done deals. This is either a brilliant electoral ploy or a hostage to fortune. Time will tell..... (LINK)
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 11 Mar 2018, 10:20

We too have had many American friends but they've mostly been well-educated, mostly scientists. None of them wanted guns and I'm sure they'd be only too pleased to see guns banned. I've never felt they were much different from us Brits, except a bit louder, but often more polite. I can't imagine them supporting Trump. I think it's best to view the US as a more socially divided nation than even the UK. A large part of the population still knows little about the outside world even though other travel widely. Many are much more religious than us Brits. And the more gullible majority have been brainwashed for a long time by the likes of the NRA into thinking that every stranger is out to shoot them.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 12 Mar 2018, 04:49

My experience is the same Tiz. Think about Uncle Bob for a good example....
I can remember the cultural shock I had when I first saw armed police on the streets. Then I saw Reagan get shot live on daytime TV......
I see Phil Hammond is going to tell us that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know what he's on but if he pulls that con-trick off it'll be the biggest scam since Post War Credits!
PE this week points out that Boris advocating global trade is still peddling his canard that we have £25billion of trade with S Korea when the figure is actually less than a billion. He knows it is untrue, he has been told about it but still persists. This man is our Foreign Secretary...... Standards in Public Life?
See THIS report on the latest disturbing allegations flying round in Parliament, this time in the Shadow Cabinet. It appears that the caravan has moved on and instead of sex, bullying is the 'in' topic. It doesn't surprise me but it's a disturbing trend.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Big Kev » 12 Mar 2018, 20:58

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-la ... 43373328
Be interesting to see how this unfolds...
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 13 Mar 2018, 03:34

Indeed and not a word about the police investigations into a £5million BT contract where questions are ongoing about irregularities.
Philip Hammond is going to make a financial statement today having first made quite sure that everyone understands that while he is going to present an upbeat picture there is to be no relaxation of austerity, his aim is still the old discredited standard of 'sound money'.
This in the face of uncertainty about Brexit, historical low rates of growth (The lowest in the G&) and reports about falling tax revenues from UK businesses who are exporting their profits. Add the influx of dirty money into London and the ongoing problems with the 'brass plate' economy and the problems with myriads of Limited Legal Partnership companies being manufactured in back street offices and used for secretive property and financial deals. Not a pretty picture but Phil is going to tell us that everything is going well. Tell that to the people suffering under austerity, expecting eviction at any moment due to the broken housing market and trailing down to the local food bank...... Disraeli once wrote a novel 'Sybil, or the Two Nations', worth reading again I think because he was also looking at a divided society.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Big Kev » 13 Mar 2018, 06:59

Stanley wrote:
13 Mar 2018, 03:34
Indeed and not a word about the police investigations into a £5million BT contract where questions are ongoing about irregularities.
Or of the 'witness intimidation' enquiry, it'll all come tumbling down soon.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 13 Mar 2018, 09:42

Mrs May has come to the conclusion that the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury was all down to Russia. She is positive, in all probability, circumstantially, likely that they were involved. Or in her words, it could be someone with access to that type of poison who could be Russian. The Kremlin's response is ' hang on, he was your spy which we gave back to you years ago. Things have moved on. There is a case to suggest he may now have been spying for someone against you and it could be your agents who poisoned him'. Conspiracy theory No 1. Trump is backing Mrs May. Nice to know that just when we are leaving the EU we could be applying trade sanctions against the biggest country in the World. Boris's forward planning for optimizing trade relations. Get ready to launch the gun boats.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 13 Mar 2018, 10:09

This is one case where I have to agree with Trump's action:
`Trump blocks Broadcom's bid for Qualcomm on security grounds' LINK
"US President Donald Trump has blocked a planned takeover of chipmaker Qualcomm by Singapore-based rival Broadcom on grounds of national security. His order cited "credible evidence" that the proposed $140bn (£100bn) deal "threatens to impair the national security of the US". There were concerns the takeover could have led to China pulling ahead in the development of 5G wireless technology...."

----------------------------------------------------------
Stanley wrote:
13 Mar 2018, 03:34
Philip Hammond is going to make a financial statement today having first made quite sure that everyone understands that while he is going to present an upbeat picture there is to be no relaxation of austerity, his aim is still the old discredited standard of 'sound money'.
This in the face of uncertainty about Brexit, historical low rates of growth (The lowest in the G&) and reports about falling tax revenues from UK businesses who are exporting their profits. Add the influx of dirty money into London and the ongoing problems with the 'brass plate' economy and the problems with myriads of Limited Legal Partnership companies being manufactured in back street offices and used for secretive property and financial deals. Not a pretty picture but Phil is going to tell us that everything is going well. Tell that to the people suffering under austerity, expecting eviction at any moment due to the broken housing market and trailing down to the local food bank...... Disraeli once wrote a novel 'Sybil, or the Two Nations', worth reading again I think because he was also looking at a divided society.
I don't often quote someone's long post in full but Stanley's post this morning drilled straight through to my own concerns, and especially his words `divided society'. This division of society, for me, is the major factor in Britain's current troubled state, and probably fundamental to the problems worldwide. It crystallised in my mind last night when I read a news report from Institutional Shareholder Services that Tesla will increase Elon Musk's salary to $3.7 billion. Note that the word is `billion', not `million'. there is something seriously wrong with how we estimate the `worth' of a human being. Time for a change, I think.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 14 Mar 2018, 04:57

Kev, I'd forgotten about the witness intimidation.......
Tiz, nice of you to say so. Maz says there is too much politics on the site. She is entitled to her opinion of course but like you I try to assess what's actually happening outside the media hype and direction. That's why I bang on about society and the damage that is being done by the present policies.
Not long ago I cited an interview entitled 'You won't see this repeated' on Youtube. It was a retired police inspector talking about the increase in knife and other violent crime in urban areas. He said that the main factor was the withdrawal of officers from the streets due to budget cuts and the lack of intelligence from the street. They were quite right, I never saw it anywhere else.
That's just one small example of what is happening inside society and the important thing is that it doesn't take long for this deterioration to start but decades to rectify it. This is true of so many things that are happening as a result of austerity. Look at the NHS, even if the will was there, it will take decades to repair the damage that has been done and McDonnell was quite right yesterday when he replied to the Financial Statement and pointed this out. I take notice of Piketty and Stiglitz and one of the facts I elicit from their evidence is that 1.5% GDP per annum isn't even enough for maintenance, The IMF yesterday issued a statement that based on prospects for growth we are now at the bottom of the G20. How can Hammond have the brass neck to translate this into 'light at the end of the tunnel'?
Sorry, I do go on don't I. One last fact courtesy of T May, we have the most expensive higher education system in the world. Another fact courtesy of SCG, historically we have underfunded primary education and the status of teachers. These two areas alone are in themselves a recipe for future decline.....
I can't resist one last shot. Remember that ten years ago I was fulminating about the fact that chucking all the cash at the banks was the wrong thing to do. At least half should have been 'helicopter money' scattered on the poorest in society who do not save or hoard. They would have injected it immediately into the economy and stimulated it. The multiplier effect would have ensured that the money travelled through the system working again all the time. This would have maintained the tax take. Economics 101! What do we have now? A statement that the corporation tax paid by the big foreign financed companies has fallen 7%. Nice one lads, Phil Hammond take note.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 14 Mar 2018, 08:57

Light at the end of the tunnel? Not just yet we shall have to wait another 9 months to see if this is just a mirage. We will probably get signs of the 'green shoots of recover' which will have to be nurtured through the Brexit period so add another couple of years.
Meanwhile a study by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has projected that by 2021 (three years) there will be another 1.5 million children in poverty.Link. Is this one of Hammond's unmentioned targets. We shall have to pay for this legacy for years to come none of which will affect the top 1%.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 15 Mar 2018, 04:35

Quite right P and I agree with you.....
I listened to the whole of T May's Statement to the House yesterday but I am still in the dark as to what incontrovertible evidence there is 'proving' that Russia is the source. I agree that all the evidence we have been made party to points that way but surely we need something concrete to justify what is being done in retaliation? Of course the argument is that the fine details can't be disclosed on the grounds of 'national security' but in order for that to work we need to trust the government and I'm afraid that particular commodity is thin on the ground.
I know that obfuscation and manipulation of the electorate is part and parcel of the Westminster Game and accept that a degree of it is necessary in our system but too often these days I get the feeling it has become something far more objectionable.
Quite predictably Jeremy Corbyn is coming under fire for not blindly supporting the government and I'll admit that he might have phrased his criticisms better but what he said was actually pertinent and made sense. Even Churchill said that jaw jaw was better than war war. The danger I see here is that we could very easily be burning bridges that we will regret.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 15 Mar 2018, 08:59

'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story'. Is Mrs May trying to emulate Mrs Thatcher where the Falklands war kept her in power through a period where she could easily have been out on her ear? There is a strong feeling running that she is acting 'strong and stable' against waiting for more concrete evidence to strengthen her own dismal polls. Would we have expelled American embassy staff if he had been shot by an American made gun? Belligerent posturing and turning off diplomatic channels will never solve disagreements. What happened to the 'moral high ground' that we were once proud to adopt? Have we reached the point where we throw our toys out of the pram if we can't get our way? A calmer approach is called for.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by PanBiker » 15 Mar 2018, 09:37

Part of our monthly branch meeting tonight will be meet the PPC, Azhar will be joining us. We will be planning on how to bring down the government at the first available opportunity. :smile:
Ian

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