Armistice Day 2017

I take my turn at the local Catholic Church to do the readings at mass and prefer to go to the Saturday evening mass rather than Sunday morning one. This Saturday was my turn and it also happened to be the 99th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, the 11th hour of the 11th day… Both during and at the end of mass there were specific references and prayers related to Remembrance Sunday. Especially nice the hymn “For those in peril on the sea” and after a chorus of “God Save the Queen” we finished with “Jerusalem” !

This bought to mind many people like my Irish Grandfather who fought with the Dublin Fusiliers during WW1 and especially my own Father who served in the Royal Engineers throughout WWII. Continue Reading →

Quo Vadis President Trump ?

It has been an interesting week in terms of International politics and all centred on one man, the President of the United States, Donald Trump. I must be honest and say that to a large extent, I have felt rather cheered by events if only because he is demonstrating an ability to be a bit unpredictable and far more pragmatic compared with Obama and that has unsettled his adversaries.

But what is perhaps more interesting is the signs that Donald Trump is indeed learning on the job and making some positive ‘adjustments’ as he goes which is no bad thing either. Continue Reading →

MPs Need to Back Off

On Sunday morning Nick Clegg the former Leader of the LibDems, Deputy PM and well known lover of all things EU proposed that Theresa May should present her plans for Brexit to the House and prior to starting negotiations with Brussels. As a ploy to overturn the democratically expressed wishes to leave the EU, it was all too obvious, an attempt that by using Parliamentary procedure, the whole negotiations would descend into total farce and totally cobble the UK Government. Shame upon that man !

Although fortunately not in the real sense, the Brexit discussions need to be treated by the UK the same as going to war, you do not tell your ‘enemy’ your plans any more than you would in a shooting war. Continue Reading →

Will They Ever Learn ?

The other day, François Hollande, Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi of Italy met up for a conference as the three largest economies of the EU, to decide on the way forward following Brexit and all the other issues that the EU and Eurozone in particular face. This was a sensible move as Italy has some very serious economic problems, both France and Germany have general elections next year and there is no “EU View” yet on how to deal with Brexit.

Unfortunately, arranging such a meeting was far easier than anything that emerged from it except alarmingly, a call that amounts to “More Europe”, do these people never learn ? Continue Reading →

The Problems of Leadership

Europe has always been divisive in both the main political parties but if anything, far more so for the Conservatives so it must be quite frustrating for experienced Labour politicians to see the “golden opportunity” of attacking the Tories going begging because of the Labour Party getting hung up on Trident because of Corbyn and his cronies.

The truth is that over 500 rebellions against your party whip whilst a backbench Labour MP, really isn’t the best training ground for becoming the Leader of that party. Continue Reading →

For the Sake of Europe

I have written several times of late with regard to the UK Referendum on our continuing membership of the EU and whilst I am a supporter of David Cameron, I suspect that he will attempt an early Referendum by Summer/Autumn of this year and that would be a big mistake. It would not just be a mistake for the UK but more importantly, for Europe as a whole.

This post is to explain my views but is not specifically about advocating either an IN or an OUT vote. It is about the circumstances we find ourselves in, not just the UK but the whole of the EU which has become a victim of “Events” outside of normal national political control. Continue Reading →

Will It Make a Difference ?

Possibly next week we shall see the Government bring forward a motion for Parliament to approve the extension of bombing missions to cover Syria as well as Iraq and following the events in Paris, it is likely that the motion will be passed.

I suppose the basic question and the one most employed by the foot dragging and reluctant MPs on all sides in the House of Commons is whether British involvement will make much difference in military terms. The answer to that in the purely military sense is likely not very much however, it is the wrong question in the first place because it is far too narrow. Continue Reading →

Economic Migration

Whilst many of the refugees we see flooding across EU borders are fleeing for their own safety, it is likely that the vast majority are in fact economic refugees whose motives are purely directed to their idea of a “better life”. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, it is after all historically the main motive for migration the current situation is unsustainable on a whole number of levels and will require drastic and different policies, does the EU have the determination to take action ?

Already it is certain that immigration will have a dramatic and negative effect on whether the UK stays within the EU and further that the “Free Movement of People” will not be embraced in any post membership trading arrangement with the EU by any UK Government. Continue Reading →

Not That Easy

The following headline and sub head from the Telegraph is easy to laugh at which no doubt is why they published it: “Create an EU army to keep back the Russians, Jean-Claude Juncker suggests. European Commission president says pooling Europe’s defence resources could help send a message to Vladimir Putin”.

The obvious answer is that if NATO is insufficient as a deterrent to Putin then a “United States of Europe” Army is no more likely to be so. However, the real reasons run deeper than that, the intricacies far more complex and exploring Mr Junkers ‘proposition as I attempt to below is worth an attempt. Continue Reading →

Turkey At a Crossroad

Within Europe, there has been a desire or hope by most except perhaps notably France to see Turkey as a potential partner and therefore part of the EU, in due course. However you interpret current events, the reality is that this is not the case, Turkey’s political position is very like most of the other remnants of the Ottoman Empire, a bit of a mess. Whether for the right or wrong reasons, the French view on blocking Turkey from joining the EU seems correct – a big NON!

The situation is fairly complicated and like the events in the Balkans, we may be witnessing a continuation of a slow burning chain reaction that indeed started with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and will keep Turkey firmly tied to the Middle East. Continue Reading →