Now Jaguar Landrover say they will lose £1bn a year in the face of a hard Brexit. How long can this stupidity go on?


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Airbus has sent out loud warnings.  BMW is saying it will shift production from the UK. Nissan has already had the book thrown at it in terms of financial sops. Now the jewel in the UK’s automotive crown is making noises about the serious financial impacts of a hard Brexit.  Even the bastion of Brexit, The Daily Express, is leading on the Jaguar story with a warning.

Why?  straightforward really.  in the face of no European tariffs deal the cost of cars will go up and the cost of imported parts will increase.

This is not complicated economics to get one’s head around.  And yet, the government;  well, a few morons in the cabinet specifically, continues to be completely undecided about its Brexit strategy, never mind actually negotiating it.

This is all on the back of a wafer thin decision made by an electorate that has now largely woken up to the fact that the leavers voted on a belief that was founded on a bunch of lies.

£300+million extra a week for the NHS.  Does ANYONE now believe that?

We run an Air B’nB so have continental visitors day in day out.   Every single one of them, bar none, simply shake their heads in disbelief when conversation turns to Brexit.

We’re not in the Euro, so we face none off the risk that brings.  Our banks service trillions of £’s of European money with no strings.  We have no trade tariffs and anyone who thinks Europe will play it easy on that front should look at the Trump scenario.

We are in a brilliant position for trading with our biggest customer (and supplier).

A few sociopaths threaten the UK’s economic health through their mental health problems.

I still believe a second referendum is justified, fair and sensible.

No, not sensible.  Sane.

 

Brexit. The omnishambles of all omnishambles.


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Almost on a daily basis I sit slack-jawed as I read the latest developments in the ‘Brexit negotiations’ and in the words of David Byrne “I say to myself; How did I get here?  How did I get here?”

This situation is not just a mess, an omnishambles, it’s a national disgrace.

One contributor to the debate in the staunchly anti-Brexit Guardian said this morning;

“…the throwing away of Margaret Thatcher’s negotiated rebate…we being the only country to have one…the continuing use of our own currency…not being in Schengen …things that were we ever to apply to rejoin the EU we will never have again.

We are throwing away not only membership of the EU and the freedoms for ordinary people that brings , but PREFERENTIAL membership negotiated by a conservative Prime Minister who, love her or hate her, wouldn’t think this current crop worth employing as cleaners.”

Even the word – an abominable mash up – turns my stomach.  It just sounds made up, as it is, but also foolish, trivial and yet it represents the biggest single economic catastrophe that no nation on earth would contemplate, other than Britain.  Any why?  Because a tiny minority voted in a horrendously misleading referendum on manifestos that were warped (and misleading) on both sides, to teach the then government a lesson.  And, agree with me or not, in a significant enough minority (certainly more than 2% I would argue) to get rid of Johnny Foreigner.

Will that work?  Yes it will.  But only the best and most useful, most employable ‘Johnnies’ who are returning to their Easter European homes in their droves after the pound collapsed and they find it a better economic option than remaining.

Ridiculous as it sounds, David Cameron now looks like a visionary, except for one tiny thing; despite his total opposition to it he offered the country an opportunity to vote for this fucking monstrosity at a time when the rabid right were enjoying farcical, almost comical, support during the ‘Farago years’.

This absolute Frankenstein creation is now being ‘negotiated’ to frankly, derision by the likes of Michel Barnier.  Can you imagine his private conversations?  I mean can you? Through howls of laughter in Mansion House-esque European meetings.

“…and you wouldn’t believe what he proposed next…”

“Oh Michel, I don’t know how you can keep a straight face.”

Now it emerges that the European Court of Justice will remain the highest court of jurisdiction in our land in the farcically titled ‘Period of transition’.  Another red line crossed.  Another ridiculous outcome.

Just like the ‘we won’t give them a penny’ bombast that marked early ‘negotiations’, yup that red line was crossed too.

‘All the Johnny Foreigners will be turfed out on their ears’.  That red line was crossed.

Can anyone give me a good honest definition of the benefits of this decision?  The government is sharply divided on the whole matter.  Most of the Labour party (despite what they say) and all of the SNP is pro-Europe.

I understand, but DO NOT respect, in this instance, the democratic rules of the nation  that a decision is a decision.  I suspect ‘No’ would win by a considerable margin if this was put to the country as a snap referendum under the question…

“Given what you now know of the Brexit process do you wish to continue Britain’s exit from Europe’

Surely there must be a democratic mechanism to, at the very least, debate this and put an end to this extreme stupidity because I don’t want my children living with the dire consequences of this absurd xenophobic pig-headed fuckwittery.

It’s all terribly, terribly sad.

 

 

 

 

 

The UK election. Is it a watershed moment?


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When Theresa May called a snap election in the spring one could only assume a single outcome.

A massive Tory landslide victory.

Assuredly that the ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’ hypocrite, that didn’t want anything to do with Brexit, would march imperiously into power as, meanwhile, the bumbling idiot, that Jeremy Corbyn was portrayed as, made a total fool of himself. (Allied by his hapless henchman in Scotland.)

Nicola Sturgeon’s second independence vote campaigning (stuck record out of tune with the electorate for now at least) wasn’t helping in Scotland.  It gave ammo to the force of nature that is Ruth Davidson and although it wouldn’t fuel a Labour revival it might also help a pathetic Lib Dem campaign in a few key seats (mine included) up here.

However…

Things have changed.

Jeremy Corbyn has proven to be a passionate and believable campaigner for real issues that people believe in.  His Manifesto touched a lot of nerves.

(I accept he wasn’t good on Woman’s Hour)

Sturgeon has (bravely in my opinion) dropped the second independence call in the SNP manifesto.

May has revealed herself to be more bumbling and inept than Corbyn and actually just a bit shit at being a Prime Minister.

And so we see this.

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Not a landslide.

Not even a victory of sorts.

Now, of course, we all now know that the pollsters are more inept at their job than Jeremy Paxman last night but maybe we are seeing a realisation that with UKIP’s job done, and the Brexit vote being extremely narrow, and the Tories being inept, and Corbyn being a man of principle, and Sturgeon calling the independence dogs off, and neoliberalism taking one up the arse that there’s a possibility;

  • SNP will recover their strength in Scotland
  • Labour UKIP voters will return to Labour because they see May has no grip on Brexit negotiation
  • (and that they regret being described as racists)
  • The Tories will end up losing, not gaining, seats
  • Brexit will be fucked

I sincerely hope Brexit will be fucked and that this country will resume a degree of Social democracy that befits it.

Brilliant piece in the Independent (written by an English journalist) about the frankly disgusting arrogance of Theresa May.


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Regardless of your position on Scottish Independence, and I am not making a call here – that will come later, the disdain with which Theresa May is conducting Brexit for the entire population is beautifully captured in this piece…

The last time two powerful women were embroiled in an Anglo-Caledonian power struggle, it ended in 1587 with the Scot losing her head.

This time, according to the snap response to Nicola Sturgeon from south of the border, that’s how it started. The First Minister must have taken leave of her senses to demand another referendum now, squeals the shrilly authentic voice of English self-entitlement. She has to be either wildly irresponsible or driven by self-interest, or both, to plunge the UK’s Brexit negotiating position (whatever that might prove to be) into even more comical confusion. Surely.

That’s one way of analysing it (there is another to which we’ll come below). But if Sturgeon detonated her bombshell for maximum impact, hours before Theresa May was expected to activate Article 50, why would she have done it any other way?

This is politics – and while the Prime Minister lapsed into her most aggravatingly schoolmarmish mode to tell Sturgeon that “Politics. Is. Not. A. Game”, she knows that’s cobblers. Politics is absolutely everything, and a chunk of that is a hybrid sport mingling the complexities of grandmaster chess with the raw brutality of heavyweight boxing. This is largely why it fascinates, regardless of the dullness of most players.

Timing is crucial in all games, and in this one Sturgeon’s was gorgeous. Just as May was preparing to advance her Brexit strategy, she walked onto a scything sucker punch that left her bamboozled as she took the standing eight count.

Even making allowances for the wooziness, she then made a hideous tonal mistake. The last thing a British prime minister should do, when a first minister calls for a referendum, is treat them like a mischievous kid. Whatever politics is, that’s terrible politics.

Traditionally, the Scots have never much cared for being patronised by haughty Home Counties types belaboured by a powerful sense of English superiority. They didn’t like it from Thatcher in her post-Falklands reinvention as Brittania, or from David Cameron, Slayer of Unions, when he waited 2.07 seconds after the 2014 referendum result to raise the spectre of “English votes for English laws”. They won’t like it from May if she comes over all Gloriana, blackening her teeth and putting on the neck ruff to treat Sturgeon as a naughty younger cousin with foolish pretensions to being a grownup.

So the advice to the Prime Minister is to dismiss the notion that Sturgeon pulled a stunt to shore up sliding approval ratings, or distract from SNP problems with education, or strengthen her bargaining position over fishing rights in trade talks to come. Obviously these considerations may have played some part. A myriad of factors must have fed into an incendiary decision which Sturgeon must recognise as the gamble that will define her career.

But May should forget all that, and focus on the central reason for Monday’s coup de theatre. Sturgeon has always believed independence offers her country its best future. With Scotland a backseat passenger in a vehicle careering towards the cliff’s edge, she probably believes it more passionately than ever.

Now, you can agree or disagree with her there. For what incalculably little it’s worth, I agree. Were I Scottish, I would be mad for independence. I’d say sod the crude oil price, sod the Barnett formula and sod the pernicious English meme that poor wee Scotland hasn’t a prayer of making it across the road without Nanny May holding her hand.

I’d also say sod the uncertainties. With Brexit, how much more uncertain can it possibly get? And I’d certainly say sod the buffoons of Brexit – Gove, Boris, Fox, and the rest – who argued last summer that liberation from a union which restricted self-determination justified any risks, but will now counsel the Scots to keep a hold of nurse for fear of something even worse. How transparently hypocritical do these people need to get before a residue of self-respect automatically shuts their mouths?

That, sadly, is a purely rhetorical question. Within hours of Sturgeon’s announcement, the tabloids were unleashing the very scaremongering about economic calamity it found so distasteful from Remainers last summer.

Anyway, as I said, we’re free to agree or not about whether Scotland’s best interests are served by independence. What no one has any right to do is condescend Nicola Sturgeon by questioning her sincerity. She is not just an outstandingly bold and smart politician, but one of conviction as well.

Perhaps eventually the Home Counties will learn to respect her for that, though I guess she’ll need to win two Wimbledons, two Olympic golds, a US Open and a Davis Cup to even come close.

For now, the auld arrogance prevails to hint that each imperious rebuke from May will nudge Scotland closer to independence. Whether or not that would be a boon for the Scots, it would be a tragedy for those in England and Wales whose appetite for a Tory one-party state has been sated by the hors d’oeuvres they are being force-fed.

Elizabeth I was hyper-cautious in dealing with her cousin, delaying her execution time and again because she saw the risk in inflaming Scottish public opinion against her. It’s a lesson Theresa May might study. If she wants to nullify this threat, a little basic respect for Sturgeon and her cause seems a useful way to start.

Ali Smith: Autumn. Book Review.


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“It was the worst of times.  It was the worst of times.”

So begins the first of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, Autumn.

It’s a riff off Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities and she returns to it repeatedly in this extended part prose part, almost, poem.

It’s a study on time and it’s an abstract novel in its form and this can be (at times – no pun) quite tedious as she wordsmiths and wordplays her way through pages and even short chapters at a time, but if you can grimace your way through what I imagine most critics will see as the book’s highlights you find yourself immersed in a rather captivating platonic love story about a dying 100 year old single (gay?) man -a poet and songwriter – and a young, precocious English lecturer who has secretly loved him (her childhood neighbour) since she was 8 years old (and he was 75).

Daniel is dying. Elisabeth (sic) is visiting him in his care home and reflecting on their deeply respectful on-off life together, against a backdrop of a dysfunctional mother and an estranged (or dead) father.

Much has been made of this being the first post-Brexit novel but really it’s really a contextual backdrop give that the timeshiftimg story concludes in Autumn 2016 in the wake of Britain’s extremely divisive and frankly ridiculous decision at the polls.

It’s clear Smith shares my political stance and uses her Scottishness to highlight the differences between our green and pleasant land and the carbuncle that is Englandshire.

A feminist strand that runs through it is Smith’s clear admiration for the World’s only (deceased) female Pop Artist, beauty and actor, Pauline Boty, and, in particular, her painting of Christine Keeler: Scandal 63.  An artist of the time but out of her time.  Ignored but found, forgotten, found, forgotten, found, forgotten in the years after her unheralded heyday.

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Scandal 63 with the artist, Pauline Boty

At times I found this a challenging read but remarkably it’s also a page turner (it really does race along in very short chapters) and, in that respect that makes it quite an achievement.  I will certainly continue to read the quartet as it emerges.

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Does my bum look big in this?  Bum by Pauline Boty.

 

 

Brexitworld


This one’s gonna run and run but I liked my mate Doug Cook’s classy Meme on the subject.

Recalls the breakdown of the Westworld robots who are trained to say the same thing every time until they get a mind of their own.

Remember, May was anti-Brexit.

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How Brexit may affect Calais. The beginning of Europe’s schadenfreude.


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The mayor of Calais wants to change a deal (the 2003 Touquet deal), in which it was agreed Britain can carry out checks in Calais to stop migrants trying to get to Britain.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell.

The Touquet deal protects our borders in Calais from illegal immigrants (I prefer the term refugees mind you) allowing the UK to vet them in France not in Britain.

That’s why there’s thousands of Africans going totally radge and risking their own and the lives of our long distance lorry drivers as they desperately try to get through the Chunnel.

But we’ve decided to leave Europe mainly so that we can reduce the number of ‘immigrants’.  Or at least that’s what I’ve been hearing from England over the last couple of days.

Here’s the rub.

As the Calais mayor says “The British must take the consequences of their choice.”

What she means by that is… “Fuck you.  It’s your problem now.  We’ll let them through.”

And guess where they’ll end up?

See that big blue bit on the coast? About 400 miles south of the huge yellow bit?  I’ve pointed it out with a red arrow for you.

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That worked out well then, eh?

Incidentally, I think a lot of old people live there and they voted to muck their own pensions up too.

Sad.