Betwixt and Between

Its Summer and I’m busy going to places and events, well it is that time of year and if you don’t do it now, when will you ? It is also traditionally a time of year when politics gets rather boring and the Press start the “Silly Season” for fake or dubious news stories. This year is little different and that in itself is quite interesting.

We have just had a “failed” election that has seen little meaningful change, a bad run of tragedies involving terrorists and a terrible high rise fire that has probably claimed 80 lives on top of which we have started Brexit negotiations. Overall you would expect this year to be very different indeed and yet…it really isn’t which is odd. Continue Reading →

Rule as a Minority Government

It has been a truly shitty passage of time recently in the UK with the Manchester massacre followed by London Bridge and now the dreadful events at Grenfell Tower where the death toll is likely to exceed both the previous events. The result of the General Election was not great either but regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the result, my instinct is to trust the gut reaction of the British electorate.

If politics is the ‘art of the possible’ then perhaps Theresa May and the Tory Party should grasp the point that handled rather better than their general election campaign was, she may well have have been dealt a very strong hand and might be best advised to rule as a minority government. Continue Reading →

We Live in Interesting Times

To me there is a bit of Deja-vu about this election that recalls the one Ted Heath fought because of the miner’s strike, the electorate ran away then too ! There will be much musing over the runes and entrails by political commentators over the next few days, no doubt but the bottom line is simple:

She was right to go for a longer Parliament than she had to deal with Brexit and regardless of whom the next PM is, that is a bonus secured for the UK but the campaign was flawed and wrongly drawn around her rather than other policies. The Tory Manifesto was quite right about the upcoming problem of Care Costs but in political terms, it was unwise to mention it, the public are often truth averse however irrational that might be. David Cameron deliberately ‘bribed’ the OAP vote, Corbyn did the same with young people and the promise of “Free Universities”, it’s mucky, it’s nonsense but it is politics. Continue Reading →

Merkel Speaks Out

There is an article in The Economist about Angela Merkel’s comments at a Bavarian political rally that Europe no being able to rely on the USA or the UK any longer and that Europe must forge its own destiny and such like stuff: http://www.economist.com/blogs/kaffeeklatsch/2017/05/what-s-brewing-germany

Whilst unusual for a cautious woman, her comments should be seen in the context of the early days of German election campaigning plus a recent brush with “The Donald” at both NATO and the G7. Continue Reading →

Home Truths

I was reasonably pleased with the Conservative Manifesto that Theresa May launched the other day because she didn’t repeat the mistake that David Cameron and George Osborne did in 2015 with promises not to raise taxes that tied their hands completely, she has left herself enough ‘wriggle room’ which makes most sense in uncertain times.

But she did something else which is just as important if not more so, she made the point that if things were going to get fairer in British society then some reallocation of resources between different groups in society is inevitable, this is truth long overdue and something that politicians of all parties should acknowledge, despite the general election. Continue Reading →

The Problem is Still the Euro

As I have written before, my view last June when I voted to ‘Leave’ was that ‘Remain’ would win by at worse 60/40 and more likely 70/30 so I was as surprised as the next person to wake up that Friday morning and find that we had voted for Brexit. However and despite my expectations for being on the losing side, it wouldn’t have troubled me over much because my belief was and still is that the EU as we know it today, will not exist in 5 years time and the reason ?

Simply the existence of the Euro and the fact that it is so poorly constituted that even the countries that are part of the eurozone must question whether it is a good idea. The question today as we gear up for Brexit negotiations is whether the unreality and Alice in Wonderland world created by it, are already spilling over into those negotiations. Continue Reading →

Shooting Foxes Too…

The main reason for calling this general election hinges around the Brexit negotiations, Theresa May having a big enough majority to ensure that she has sufficient room for manoeuvre when striking a deal with the EU without being constrained by a minority within her own party much given to back seat driving be they Leavers or Remainers.

But it is also something else too, an opportunity to ditch the 2015 Conservative manifesto which laid far too many constraints on a ‘new’ Tory Government and as a side issue, it also has the effect of shooting the foxes of a few other people in the process. This may not be considered very “sporting” in some circles but, it is rather effective. Continue Reading →

Probably the Right Move

Theresa May’s announcement that she would seek a vote in Parliament to call a snap general election is probably the right move on a number of important levels and especially with regard to the Brexit negotiations. Regardless of the opinion polls which show a huge margin over Labour, if in the end she can increase her majority to 30/40 seats in the House of Commons, she will be far better placed both domestically and in Brussels to deliver a good deal for both sides.

Of course, a landslide victory is unlikely given the partisan nature of politics in the Celtic Nations. Continue Reading →

The Right Call

As in any negotiation, there are often doubts as to which path to follow, which ‘thing’ to push and which to hold back on but sometimes and once you have taken a decision, you can get confirmation that you were right by the reaction of others. When Boris Johnson announced that he was calling off his trip to Moscow, the voices of minnows such as Tim Farron and Alex Salmon criticising him were just the utterings of a pair of born losers but the amount of noise being generated by the Russians is proof of having made a good call.

Given the situation, like moving a piano, there can only be one voice directing how things are moved, one voice to ensure that there are no misunderstandings because the stakes are far too high to allow for any error and right now that has to be an American voice. Continue Reading →

Brexit Begins

So today is an historic one, it is the day that we formally trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and start the two year process of extricating the UK from the EU as a member state. Obviously there is much speculation both in the UK and within Europe on how this will all go but with one common theme, fear and uncertainty on all sides.

The main reason for this is because following the debacle of the aborted “EU Constitution” which was rejected by both the French and Dutch electorates, a crude rehash became the basis of the Lisbon Treaty with Article 50 tacked on to assuage those fearing a ‘Federalist Agenda’. The problem was that it ( Article 50 ), was never intended to be actually used like some kind of nuclear weapon so frankly exactly how it might work in reality was never fully worked out. Continue Reading →