Wednesday, 31 May 2017

What happens next?

We're in a mess. None of the parties  promising good things if we vote for them will tell us, but tough times lie ahead. The symptoms are all around.Politics are unstable; the wipe out in Scotland, two elections and two referenda in three  years have broken the pattern of long periods of one party rule. Living standards are stuck, shored up only by record levels of debt. Growth since the Great Recession of 2008 has been pathetic.

Why? Because the British economy is failing. It can't now deliver. Manufacturing used to pay our way in the world but has shrunk from a third of GDP in the seventies to 10% today. The economy can't support the public spending, the services and the international committments  an advanced economy needs. Something has to give. No one will tell us what.

We can't pay our way in the world. The deficit is now 5% and rising, meaning that we must borrow overseas and sell off  assets to survive, leading to the highest level of foreign ownership in any advanced country with profits skills and demand exported as a result, creating a vicious circle where  sales keep the pound high and the high pound then boosts the deficit.

The North Sea oil was wasted to buy imports and keep tax revenues up rather than being invested as Norway has done, and is now running down.Membership of the European Union, supposed to boost us, now drains us with annual contributions around £17 billion and rising and a trade deficit of £ 50 billion, mainly with Germany accumulating ever larger surpluses which it won't recycle. We even have to  borrow to pay the bills to be damaged.

A gloomy prospect which will take tougher measures than we've experienced before to deal with it.Only two ways offer.The first is the Greek formula of squeezeing freezing and cutting to reduce costs, wages and public spending to new levels of competititveness ,building a low wage ,low cost,low skill economy.That painful process will take years It may not work even then if our competitors continue to grow

The second is the approach the young dragons have used of using a super competitive exchange rate to penalise imports and boost exports, building a powerful exporting sector benefitting from economies of scale and continuous upgrading. That means regional aid to spread the growth, an industrial policy to invest in new winners and sustain old ones, and  restraint on domestic demand to channel investment ,people and ability to exporting industry

Both are painful processes. The first reinforces existing trends. The second totally reverses the long term strategy of high exchange rates to please finance and fight inflation, free trade and market economics which preclude nationalistic economics and membership of the EU which prohibits the strategies Germany, China and the young dragons all used to grow. 

That's the choice the next government must make. Neither party seems inclined to think about it. Both would probably prefer to go on as we are with  a little tinkering and some redistribution. Yet to do that won't avoid damage. The huge debt bubble we've built up   to keep going may burst. The exchange rate of a country in peristent deficit must fall. Investors will flee and British firms escape, from prolonged uncertainty. Cuts in health, education , and housing will continue, unless we either increase taxes or boost the economy to pay for them. 

Which makes it time, more than time, to do some serious thinking about how we get out of the mess rather than the escapism of promising good things, happy times and an end to pain by voting for Snurple or Turple or even McGurple if you live in Scotland. If our politicians prefer to live in a fantasy world rather than tell us the truth they're condemning us to living in a much worse one.  

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Lessons of Paxo stuffing

There are serious lessons to be learned from last night's Channel Four grilling of the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister. 
Welcome to my TV 101 class
  1. The separate grilling formula worked better than the leader confrontation because it allowed issues to be followed up, brains to be tested and politicians to be tested without all the shouting, and point scoring of the old format. The greatest benefit was to keep out Clegg. Piggy in the middle always emerges better from any confrontation between major parties, but he's no use because he can't form a government and, as events showed will compromise anything in his efforts to get into power. Takes only two to tango . Four is a clumsy quadrille

  2. Paxo played the Telegraph reading Colonel Blimp rather than  the agile independent mind he used to be. Was this because he was slumming it for a new paymaster, Sky rather than the All Souls in exile of the BBC.The public were better, sharper and more to the point.
  3. Hypothetical questions are bugger all use. Paxo asked too many "How much will you pay to get out of jail"? "How many immigrants will you let in?" "Will you press the nuclear button?" "How many sheep make a mutton pie" "how stupid can an interviewer be?"etc
  4. A woman gets softer treatment than a man. It was left to the audience to understand how Theresa managed to dodge every question while Corby did at least make an effort to answer them.
  5. Dredging up the past by recycling old clippings from the Daily Telegraph is a distortion of history and an emotional slur. Corbyn was attacked for dealing with the IRA but both Major and Blair dealt with them to get a settlement.
  6. The public aren't daft and Faisal did a good job of reinforcing their points where Paxo performed for them and their reactions indicated they'd chuck him out.
  7. Best to avoid the silly questions where the answer is obvious like "why don't all the daft things you advocated in the past appear to the manifesto?" Paxo didn't.
  8. Everyone will make their own mind up on the basis of their own political conditioning about who won. That's good.
  9. More. More. More. 

Nine days to save democracy

It's getting dreadfully close to decision day but hopeful trends have emerged in what looked at the start to be a coronation for Queen of the May installing a Tory government with a majority big enough to do whatever it wanted would have been a disaster for democracy.We know that the only thing we can trust the Conservative Party to do is to give to him that hath. by taking away from them that haven't So what can give our hopeless Labour Party hope even at this late stage?

First Australianisation hasn't worked. Australia, as those of us who've been there and lived to tell the tale is a country in which neither the McNaughton rules nor the Geneva convention apply to the most brutal politics in the world. Lyndon Crosby brought its basic rules with him to apply them for the benefit of the Conservative Party. They are:-

A) Ignore policy and keep repeating a mantra like Strong and Stable
B) Denigrate opposition by portraying them as disloyal, dishonest and mentally disturbed
C) Bang on about immigration, the yellow peril the brown peril or the Euro peril . Suggest departing them all to Sweet Rockall - or Luxembourg. Whichever is worst.

It worked in Oz so why not here? Unfortunately Theresa proved weak and wobbly, Jeremy began to come good (at last) and immigrants already here got upset. 

Second the big interests behind the Conservative party began to point out that they wouldn't accept Tory proposals. Business didn't like criticisms of greed , loosing cheap Labour or protecting its workers. Wealth got scared about paying for its care and vested interests got nervous about Brexit.

Thirdly people began to see through the fog that taxes were going to  increase, austerity was going to go on, the debt bubble was about to burst and a country unable to pay its way in the world was in a mess.All this caused a loss of faith in St Theresa's ability to work miracles.

Fourth there was a growing realisation that giving unlimited power to a party with a big majority and a weakened opposition would be disastrous for democracy, rights of the people, defence of living standards, jobs, the health service and education. 

 Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, particularly if its handed to a party which has already proved itself so nasty and so dishonest  Remember they promised to bring peace and harmony in 1979. Look what's happened since.

Bugger party politics. Democracy is at stake . It's not a question of so many days to save the health service, or education, or defence, or social security,  or care homes. It's nine days to save our ailing democracy.  

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Will there be a real election?

Is this beginning to turn into a real election rather than a coronation? A You Gov poll says the Tory lead is down to 5% and the cock up over elderly care has shown that Theresa can be weak and wobbly rather than strong and stable. Then when she's called to account she hides behind a brick wall and lies. Bad for confidence. Bad for a tough approach to EU negotiations.
It could be a rogue poll?  Fear produced by the Manchester horror can swing support back to government. Corbyn's rise may heighten fear of beardy weirdies (Branson please note) but if the gap really is closing then people might be realising what this election is really about.

It's not about Brexit. Even if Theresa wins all the seats outside Scotland it won't stop the EU treating her like Yanis Varoufakis in drag. Look how little use the Greek referendum was. It only made the EU terms nastier to punish Greece for whipping up the people against the sacred EU.It's not about all the nice things the Tory Party is promising. They'll revert to type when they win and their type can be nasty. It's not about Labour's plans most of which are good and necessary but useless because they'll not get chance to implement them.

It's about whether we want a government with a big majority which can do anything it wants because it has no opposition to drag it to the Centre ground , stop the follies, and argue for sense. 

A majority as big as originally seemed possible means an elective dictatorship. A government with a small one has to listen. The nation voted for such a balance in 2010 when it rejected a tired Labour Party but didn't give enough seats to the Tories to form a government. Same in 2015 when they still didn't want Labour but didn't endorse the Tories either.

People want government kept on a short lead. They prefer narrow majorities because that forces ministers to listen rather than ride roughshod over every thing. They want a strong opposition to check the bastards and stop the reign of prejudice. Mrs Thatcher demonstrated the dangers of that and they don't want to repeat it.

Hopefully balance is  what they'll vote for. It's certainly what Labour must fight for and their best we'll get if the nation prefers Theresa to Jeremy. If the polls continue to narrow that's what we'll get and it would be the best possible outcome until Labour looks like a party of government not a civil war on wheels.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Can we trust Theresa?

Normally an election is a choice between two different policies, two routes to the future. The differences may be hyped and over exaggerated. The reality never lives up to the prospects. But choice is still exciting, uncertain and the result is unpredictable.

Not this time. This election has all the excitement of predestination and the unpredictability of rigor mortis. Theresa's going to win and the only uncertainty is about how big  majority will be?
She's so sure of winning that the  manifesto is hers not the Conservative Party's. It's designed to give her a free hand and open the way to do the dirty on pensioners and tax payers by avoiding the usual commitments to do no harm to either.

She's committed to Brexit which wrong foots the LibDems who're finding less support than they expected for reversing it and a Labour Party manifestly divided on the issue, Yet there's nothing said on what kind of settlement. Just Brexit means Brexit. That could mean anything from staying in the Single market and paying to do so or full fronted confrontation followed by a walk out.The only commitment is to cut immigration down to tens of thousands.Which is plainly impossible.

So the only question is one which arises when the voting's over, the media have run out of vilification of Jeremy Corbyn, and Theresa has been installed on her throne of rolled up copies of the Daily Telegraph It's "can we trust Theresa?"

She's already disappointed. She promised not to hold an early election. She came in promising workers on the board. She's sold out on that. She promised to help the just about managing (JAMs) but hasn't.  She talked of cutting taxes but can't and now she's changed gear on dementia tax.

The Tory Party certainly isn't to be trusted. In dealing out the cards they always want, and manage, to slip a few aces to business and their class and they're not going t o clamour for shifting the burden from the badly off to wealth. Business is going to oppose workers on the board, restraints on bonuses, takeovers and top pay restraints

As for the EU if it lives up to its blustering and turns nasty however strong and stable she is she'll be forced to choose between going back humiliated or walking away damaged. Either will reignite the whole row about withdrawal, the fears of loss of jobs, decline of the City of London and controls on the Irish border. Not the happiest of prospects for government, the unity of the Tory party or Theresa's own future

At the moment the electorate is inclined to trust, though mainly because they don't trust Jeremy or Labour, so they have no real alternative.As for me I like the new language Theresa's learning though she'll never replace the Labour Party as protector of the people though I don't think Tory leopards will ever be happy wearing Labour's red spots and  I'm sure that only a strong opposition can keep them to their promises. But then I'm 100 percent biased.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


This election is an exercise in predestination. The outcomes are predetermined . The public knows its being lied to by all the parties. We know in advance what the result's going to be. Yet no one has any idea of what's going to happen then. We're so comforted by certainties about the next three weeks that we'd rather not think about the troubles which lie beyond Theresa's coronation.

Everybody knows the Tories will win and win big. They're so confident that they're asking for an open mandate to do whatever they want .They'll get it though we haven't the foggiest idea what they'll actually do.

Everybody knows that taxes must go up to pay for our overstrained health service, our underfunded education and to end the long disinvestment in housing but no one's prepared to admit it. So the media can rubbish Labour's plans and create fear of something the Tories will do anyway.

Everybody knows that Brexit will mean bashing Britain's head against a big brick wall .The Europeans are a devious , duplicitous lot committed to humiliate us rather than see sense Yet all British  parties  still claim that they can do it better than the other lot even though in fact none can do owt.

Everybody knows that without a strong Labour opposition  the Tories can do whatever they want, come to any deal or non deal they want, tax as little or as much as they please and make austerity harsher or softer. Yet they still don't mind that Labour will lose seats.

Everybody knows that most of Labour's policies are right and necessary and that the Tories don't have any at all Yet they'll still vote for the latter not the former

Everybody knows that Corbyn is a good, honest man but Theresa is a cold  difficult woman  with a lot of Tory prejudices on grammar schools and immigration but they'll still rubbish him and  elect her.

Everybody knows that British capitalists are a ,lot of greedy, exploitative bastards who'd rather leach on the state and drain their companies than get out and compete in world markets. But they'll still  believe that business iscrippled by tax and regulations rather than its own incompetence.

Everybody knows that Labour benefits the many Tories the few but they don't mind because they feel that they themselves are the frustrated few who deserve a better deal at the expense of lazy, workshy bastards living like pigs, i.e. The rest of the country.

Everybody knows that the economy is kept going only by a huge bubble of debt which is certain to burst at some time. No one wants to know about that

Everybody knows that they'll achieve more together than they can separately .They won't because the British don't like each other that much

Everybody knows that this rant is right but they prefer not to listen to politicians who are  only in it for themselves and have already ruined a wonderful country, despite their own strenuous efforts to make it great.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Can we trust the Vicar's Daughter?

This election looks to be over before it's even started. The pundittieri and the press tell us it will be a Tory landslide. The TV screens  are full of vox poppers chanting"I've always been Labour but I'm not going to vote for Corbyn" and electoral calculus tell us that a swathe of Labour seats will be lost. Its beginning to look like a coronation rather than a contest.

But what comes next once May is triumphantly crowned? The LibDems accept the referendum but really want to ignore it and stay in. Labour's policy is a compromise with reality: withdraw on the same terms as we're in.Tony Blair Paddy Ashdown, and Cleggie, Britain's Mini Macrons want us to overule the electorate and lead the EU. To somewhere it doesn't want to go,

All a futile waste of time. Whatever our opposition parties say about what kind of Brexit they want, they're not going to get it.The outcome depends on a devious dirty dealing EU which will in the end do whatever Mrs Merkel wants. They'll  use the same tricky tactics they used to crush Greece, get Yanis Varoufakis out and reverse the decision of their electorate. It will be a dirty game in which they call the shots, encourage the domestic opposition, refuse to negotiate, and demand the impossible. There's nothing any opposition party in Britain can do or say about any of that. Nor can they influence the outcome. So why waste time arguing about that now?

Which leaves us with Theresa May. She's campaigning for a strong and stable leadership from a strong and stable electorate which will give a strong and stable mandate to negotiate a strong and stable settlement. That's what I want, though I'd much rather get it from a Labour government in better tune with the British people and I can't accept the other Tory policies the Conservatives are offering with it.

But what happens if she can't get her strong and stable settlement?  Strength gives parties power to betray as well as fight The EU is clearly thinking that faced with a brick wall the silly Brits will give up and return to their cells As the Greeks were forced to do. So what will Theresa do then?

Can we trust the vicar's daughter?. The elective dictatorship allows a party in power to do what it wants .The Tories would be bitterly divided, by a sell out, though they usually reconciles themselves with the facts. Some would even support a climb down. The LibDems,SNP and probably Labour would back that. The electorate would be angry and bemused. They tend not to like humiliation. But what can the peasants do? Having been betrayed before they're getting inured to it.

Sad choice. Much of the blame that we have to make it is Labour's fault. If the party hadn't drifted out of touch with the people it would have taken a more sensible position from the start rather than setting itself up as Polly Toynbee's army on the front line of the liberal elite. It didn't. It's been in chaos ever since. 

I'll vote Labour of course but the third of Labour supporters who voted Leave and the people we left behind in its old in its old heartlands should never have been forced into a position of trust Theresa or bust.Surely it's time for Labour to speak for the people not the EU.

Jeremy's Shopping List

Labour's election manifesto takes me back to 1983  when I stood for Grimsby on Michael Foot's manifesto, the longest suicide note in history, desperately hoping no one would read it. This year's is shorter (slightly) and different. Back then we proposed to withdraw from the EU and abandon nuclear weapons. Now we've stood on our heads on both, but the manifesto principle is the same; multiply support by multiplying commitments.

The less confident a party is, the longer its manifesto. Our  intentions are much better than the Tories but idealism makes us more naive. Mass support is declining . People are voting as consumers not loyalists. So as conditioned loyalties get weaker we try to build a coalition of causes, pleasing the unions by keeping guards on trains, the  environmentalists by suggesting blue water conservation zones, the students by abolishing loans and no doubt the tooth paste manufacturers  by requiring regular brushing of teeth though I haven't found that bit yet.

Long lists won't work. Those left out sulk - and there's nothing for stamp collectors or bee keepers. Those in argue. One man's fracking ban is another's P45. So we don't multiply support. We divide it. Some of our proposals are surplus. We should shut up about Brexit. We're out of line on the issue and can't affect the terms. They'll be set by the EU not us. 

A few are trivial . Several are popular, like re-nationalisation of the railways, but cram in too many and people don't believe any. A hostile media gets a field day to bog the campaign down in negative criticism, creating the impression that its all impracticable. A hint to Momentum.The more you please your party members the less you please the people.

It will all be carefully costed but more promises mean a bigger bill, creating   fear among electors hung down with debt They neither understand not believe any of the calculations.Power is a two stage p[rocess. First win it and show that Labour government works and doesn't lead to mass stick ups by rampant unions, then, having won confidence go on to the tougher policies that make society better.

The Tories are smarter : commit to very little, mix in a lot of "strong and stable" and go round hinting that they'll bring HS 14 to Oswaldtwistle, or Scotland, (but nothing in writing of course) and unveil their monstrosities only when they're ensconced in power. Lying is difficult for us, but it shouldn't be beyond the wit of my clever colleagues to see that we'd do better to concentrate on, say, three basic points; saving the NHS. social care ,and schools, building public housing to rent and generating jobs with better pay.

That's enough.The people want all that. Austerity has done enormous damage and the government is weak on all three. Surely a sensible opposition should go for the jugular not build as many sand castles as possible in its four weeks holiday from fratching at Westminster.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Soft soap and suicide notes

The party manifestos are eagerly awaited by the pundittieri keen to tear them apart to show how much cleverer they are than the politicians. In fact they're a more useful guide to party morale than to what any party will do in power.

The Tories are glowing with more confidence than they could have got from a Pelmanism course. They see themselves as gliding to victory. So they've no need to promise anything to anybody. They'll  offer a bland manifesto of "wait and see" with as few promises as possible and lots of strong and stable.

The LibDems can offer anything they want because they're not going to win So they'll promise lashings of good intentions, nice thoughts and lovely things which will never happen; proportional representation, a clean environment, beautiful beaches and lashings of Brussels but without any pictures of Herr Junker, Bulgarian immigrants or any mention of gaping trade deficits.

Labour looks from the latest leaks to be offering a surprise package bumper bundle. It fears defeat so it's attempting to multiply support by multiplying commitments in the hope that it can add enough interests together to make a majority. Purely naive. One man's joy is another woman's poison. So multiplying commitments divides support.

Add to this the further problem that many electors are nervous nellies easily frightened by long lists of things to do. The press will generate fear hoping to create a herd instinct rushing people away from Labour in fear and trembling. Herd instinct is the way bankers and media operate but in the public its usually a rush to the right and away from the radical reforms Britain needs.

Result : a mess. Labour' problem is not good intentions. It's got them in abundance and far more than the Tories. But Labour's naive the Tories ain't. The Tory trick is to promise little and deliver less. Labour promises far more than it can do and this defies credibility. The people tell pollsters they want the railways nationalised. It's obviously good sense but they don't believe that this can be done anytime soon and certainly not carried through with a list of other things to be nationalised. 

A sensible party restricts itself to a few basic policies' ending the crisis in the health service, stopping the cuts in education and curing the mess in social care are enough. Having shown that Labour government works it can then go on to the harder policies necessary to rebuild a strong economy to support the improvements the country needs. Our failure has always been to do that. Blair showed that Labour can win but he thought winning was enough and didn't particularly want to do much with power once he'd got it. That's Labour's great failure .We don't cure it by writing long shopping lists now.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Voters Beware

Voters beware. Since the polls and the local elections make it clear that Theresa May is going to get a thumping great majority to operate the elective dictatorship.  It also looks as though the opposition will be so weakened that it can't do its job of checking executive power This makes it essential that the Tories be tied down to moderation. We know what we're going to get.

At the moment all we have is the vague assurances of goodwill  and better priorities than George Osborne's. Government in the interests of everyone not just the powerful, help for the just about managing folk, concern for community etc. All well and good but not specific. 

We know that Theresa's already slipped back on several of her good intentions; moderate boardroom greed, review wasteful big spends like Hinkley, put workers on boards etc. Perhaps we can still trust the vicar's daughter even after that, though I still worry about her fixations on immigration and getting it down to tens of thousands as I do about her prehistoric determination to boost grammar schools. Pure folly

Personally I'm happy to give her a strong hand in the European negotiations . She'll need it against that gang of dirty double dealers. In any case it makes sense to start negotiations from a strong position not a humble willingness to eat any Euro-pie Merkel's marionettes care to offer. 

Yet I have to ask, and we all should, can we trust the Tory Party?
Will their nastier instincts to turn Britain into a low tax, unregulated tax haven , to weaken the unions, strengthen the gig economy, and tolerate tax fiddles by the wealthy be allowed to run riot as its loony right wants? Will the castration of local government and the starvation of the health service continue and will the Govian folly of wasting money on "free" (meaning more expensive) schools go on?

It would be insane to give that kind of party  a blank cheque mandate to do what they want even if they were led by the Archangel Gabriel. Which makes it essential for a healthy democracy to demands a tight and socially progressive mandate as the essential concomitant of a big majority. 

That means a commitment to fully finance the Health Service not "as resources allow" but now, to stop the cuts in school budgets and provide extra resources, to finance local authorities properly to provide care and maintain effective policing. The government is willing to bind itself on aid and defence spending, aka spending for foreigners and the US. Why not to spending which sustains the good society at home? 

An honest government should offer and an intelligent electorate should demand a strict mandate for moderation from a government seeking an overwhelming majority. If they don't get it they deserve all that's coming to them . And they deserve it hard. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

What the election won't be about

Mario Cuoumo said that elections are fought in poetry but governing is in prose. Our's is being fought in half truths and downright lies in a concerted effort by all parties to hide the truth and avoid frightening the electorate. As Britain's problems  grow, elections have to be fought in Fantasyland not the real world.

Take Europe. Theresa May claims that the main issue will be Brexit and that Britain needs a stable and strong May  to get a good deal. Both untrue. The health service and the pains of austerity will be more important and the election result will have no bearing on the EU's decisions. Witness the way in which the Greek referendum to reject Europe's tough terms actually angered the EU into toughening  them.

Opposition wants to get a soft Brexit or a No Brexit Brexit but the terms depend totally on what the EU decides to offer. Will it decide to punish Britain pour decourager les autres or just sit us on the naughty step for a bit. Nothing the opposition can do about either.

Horrendous problems are best ignored. Britain can neither pay its way in the world nor afford  the structures of welfare education and health a modern electorate demands along with the defence and aid requirements of a great power.Solving both problems requires an increase in taxes and a painful industrial policy to rebalance the economy. Neither is mentioned. Indeed the merest hint from the government that it wants to be free of manifesto constraints so it can freeze pensions and increase taxes on government finances has been denounced by Labour which prefers to denounce a race to the bottom on tax cuts and at the same time propose an increase for the rich.

All the other pressing problems, the strains on an underfunded health service, on education and social care all demand more money but are reduced to a confusing half full or half empty glass argument by government claims that funding has been increased and opposition's unwillingness to say how it will be paid for. 

Housing has become a serious crisis thanks to long years of underfunding by both parties . The Tories help ownership which pushes up prices .Labour demands more public housing for rent but doesn't propose to boost the counci housing which it undermined by privatisation. Name calling and arguments about who did what and when drive out understanding  and confuse a public half of which watches Location, location,while the other half is in despair. 

This election is being decided not by rational debate on Britain's problems and how to deal with them but by like or dislike of Theresa May, obsessive attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and feelings about  which of them you'd rather drink with in a pub with (if you can find one open).

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Welcome to Greeks bearing forecasts

Yanis Varoufakis has done a service to Britain and to Brexit with his account of the EU's bullying and  painful punishment of Greece. It shows that the EU allows nothing, democracy, sense, or national feeling to stand in its way. 

His book brings out the deviousness and delay which will be deployed against Britain. They'll look for willing stooges within the country to lead it back to the European path. In Greece they bullied Tsipras into submission. In Italy they pushed Berlusconi out and replaced him with a former EU commissioner. In Spain they forced austerity on the Prime Minister. In Portugal the President tried to keep out a critical government. Soon they'll have Macron in France

It will be be more difficult in Britain. Blair, Farron or Clegg would be willing Euro-stooges, but they're all busted flushes. Ken Clarke is a bit old and the other Tory Remainers don't want to endanger their careers.

The EU doesn't like governments to give their electorates any say. It humiliated Tsipras for calling an election to defy it. Now it's angry at Theresa May for asking for a mandate to strengthen her hand. To counter this it's encouraging her opponents to argue that all the problems are due to May's bossiness and lust to be obeyed. 

They've decided to put the frighteners on about the horrors to come because their third tactic is delay and intransigence. This brought Greece to its knees because  the EU flatly refused to write off debt, relax its demands or give them access to the EuroBank's money printing spree.. It even insisted  on appointing prison guards to stop Greece easing the pain.

Britain is bigger , and more difficult,  but the tactic will be the same. Make things as difficult as possible because that's the only way they can keep the Euro flock together. Buy off doubtful EU members by promising Gibraltar to Spain, a free border to Ireland and EU court jurisdiction over fishing to the Danes. Keep everything under the control of the Commission bureaucracy. It has most to loose from Brexit. Only it can keep the miscellaneous Euro-flock together . 

Then they'll play it tough. This is a normal European negotiating approach but to encourage the 27 to hang together it will be accompanied by portraying Britain as intransigent, misguided and deluded. The more it looks like mission impossible, the more they think the British public will will be worn down, the vested interests will quake and the government will give up its foolish whim to leave..

So, after denouncing Theresa May for months for not giving notice the EU will now drag out negotiations forever.First they demand  50 billion quid before anything  can be discussed. Then up the demand to 80 billion,.Then they'll add more to these "incontestable" demands by including the kitchen sink. Then they'll demand that the rights of EU nationals in Britain be guaranteed before anything can be done. Then they'll  demand something else they've not thought of yet-perhaps the Irish border. They'll insist  that we agree to all this before the nitty gritty can start.If it ever does. That's a point they don't want to reach because In a world of falling tariffs, freer trade and open markets it's difficult to impose the opposite on us.

That's the scenario. Junker's post prandial blabberings are a foretaste of what's to come. They won't allow Theresa May to negotiate. She's too tough. They'll only deal with juniors. They'll refuse access to Mrs Merkel the puppet mistress and force us to deal with her messenger a Euro-clever clogs under instructions not to do anything until we've thoroughly prostrated ourselves.

Here at home they'll encourage their British supporters, disgruntled Remainers,  any available malcontents, and opposition parties more loyal to the EU than the wishes of the people to undermine Britain's case and denounce Theresa as screwing things up. Then, bingo! We'll give up, having lost jobs, EU functions and self respect.

It may work. On the other hand it may anger the British public and discredit the knocker who discount the wishes of its electorate What it certainly won't do is endear anyone to the EU,  or persuade a humiliated country that it's a good idea to slink back, tail between legs, to sit on the European naughty step, and be told that it's only been punished for its own good. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Six weeks is beginning to look like eternity

Six weeks to go and its beginning to look like an eternity.The Conservatives aren't offering policies but strong stable slogans. They want a doctor's mandate for strong and stable government to make the trains run on time,get us out of Europe and end the crises in the NHS, education and social care. Why tie yourself down to anything when you're going to win anyway?

The LibDems are backing their new leader Blair but don't quite dare say what they really want which is to defy the electorate and stay in the EU. So their policy will be to say they're fulfilling the wishes of the people to leave the EU while telling them they got it wrong and really wanted to stay in the single market so they'll ensure this and we won't really leave. Something for everyone.

Labour isn't quite sure what it wants. It hopes not to loose quite as badly as the polls say so that it can claim doing slightly better as a triumph for Corbynism which turns out to be pro Europe and pro Trident not the reverse which everyone expected.They'll offer 57 varieties of approach to Europe .Some will be for staying in. Some will be for coming out. Some will be for shaking it all about while doing the Hokey Cokey The majority will promise to come out on the same terms as we're in. Then,once ensconced they'll lead Europe to a better world while keeping out of monetary union, Schengen Galileo and the directorate for imposing a uniform size on fish and chips.

The SNP regard Brussels as a better place to be ruled from than Westminster. The restaurants there are so much better.They'll offer an endless series of referendums (in Scots referenda) until the people finally vote to end the union while maintaining all the support they get from England. It may, or may not be necessary to join the Euro. We'll be told that later though because of the influence of Scottish canniness on the rest it won't be quite as bad as it has been for Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and assorted, idle Latins. Exports of kilts to Italy will rocket.

As for the Greens they'll promise that grass is twice as green, the beaches  twice as clean and diesel is banned. In Brighton.

UKIP will use its European funding to attack Europe and Pauli Nuthall will be nominated for the Nobel prize for fiction.

Is the excitement bearable? We'll know next week when the blank manifestos are published .The local elections will either confirm the polls or tell us they've got it all wrong. Then we can all go back to bed and leave it to the pundits and pollsters to tell us what we're going to do.