Lost Cause

In 2016 Grandad’s constituency voted to leave the European Union – by a big margin. And at the last general election it returned a Labour candidate – by a big margin – as it has done at every election since the 1920s.

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Overall 421 out of 574 English and Welsh constituencies probably voted to leave the EU. It has to be probably because the referendum was not counted by parliamentary seats so has been estimated by political analysts.

If leave had been a political party it would have had an estimated House of Commons majority of 268 seats – more than enough to control the House even if all the Scottish and Northern Irish seats were in opposition.

Soon after the vote it was becoming clear to many Grandads that the Conservative side was reluctant to press ahead on implementing the vote result. At this stage the Labour opposition had the opportunity to attack the government on its slowness of action. It could have become the voice of the majority wanting to see progress. The voice of those voters who formed the majority in those 421 seats.

Six months on the government were still delaying the notice of leaving the EU and the writing was on the wall for Corbyn and co. to take the initiative. If they could have read the clear message. The withdrawal letter did not get sent until nine months had elapsed. So the window of opportunity was wide open for months.

But instead the opposition was so inept that they failed to take the advantage and at the unnecessary general election they simply blundered on. Today, with just weeks left, they demand closer ties to the EU than the terrible May-Robins Surrender Agreement already provides! Clearly whoever is responsible for party policy has lost touch with both reality and many of their grass roots supporters.

How different if Labour had been the party demanding faster progress towards getting what the majority voted for – just leaving with no strings attached.

Can Anyone Be Trusted?

According to Prime Minster May – and her cabinet –  if any EU leave deal fails to get enough support in yet another vote rerun then the UK’s exit day will be 29-Mar-2019. The date that was put into law last year.

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However, according to His Ollyness The Mekon, not accepting a deal will put back our leaving date – not just by a few days but by an extended period. Our assumption being that May’s failure to get enough votes would then require the vote to be repeated time and time again until it does get forced through. And that could need a very long time.

Any change of leaving date would require a change in the UK law – and the agreement of all the EU members.

Which of these options is our government’s plan? Who is giving us a straight answer and who is trying to mislead us?

By the end of March we should have an answer – but both options are simply following on from the step that is deeply undemocratic. A vote on a very bad deal.

The May-Robins Withdrawal Agreement has already been comprehensively rejected by parliament. It suffered a record defeat. May and her cabinet should have accepted the result; not still be hawking it around Westminster. It is dead! It stinks!

They – the government and public service – should now be in full-scale preparation for leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation terms next month. They should have told all public and private sector organisations that this is our short-term future – as soon as the Withdrawal Agreement was defeated.

Instead we now see hundreds of head-less chickens in Westminster thrashing around while leaving everyone else to fend for themselves ..

Which Side Are They On?

Despite claiming to be our elected representatives Westminster has way too many politicians who still believe that they know best. We even had a senior figure telling us that we should all leave politics to the professional politicians.

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A nice try but one that would only be valid if we didn’t have to follow any of the laws or pay any of the taxes that the professional politicians seek to impose.Currently we have a rag-tag assortment of know-it-alls demanding that a no deal outcome is removed from the options available when leaving the European Union. This is such a basic mis-interpretation of the negotiation process that it beggars belief.

In fact it is such a fundamental error that you have to conclude that either those demanding it have an impaired mental capacity or that they are fighting for the other side.

If the former they need to stand down from their positions for everyone’s safety. If the later they need to face what ever treason laws are still enforceable and be removed from office.

Despite the obvious stupidity of having to agree a deal – no matter how unreasonable it is – that seems to be the way our parliament is heading. A direction being encouraged by branding a WTO Brexit outcome as crashing out over a cliff-edge leaving the population to starve in the dark.

The next few weeks will shine a spotlight on just how good our politicians are. And most have shown little sign of being capable of handling the coming situation …

Feedback

Monster Mash (18-Apr-2018) – After many months with little news the Telegraph has now reported that Martin Selmayr’s promotion broke ‘letter and spirit’ of EU law, Brussels watchdog finds. Coming a year after the actual coup and with little apparent impact on the culprit it looks like Selmayr will be safe in his well-funded job – for life; even if the EU one day collapses into its rotten core.

Public Petitions (9-Jan-2019) – Even though those seven petitions have already been debated in the House of Commons (and then ignored) some remain open for voting. And still in the runaway lead is Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019. As at today 352,127 UK voters had put their signatures to this petition. So when you consider the 66,972 signatures for Leave the EU now and the 22,750 signatures for Walk away now! We voted for a No Deal Brexit there are a lot of UK citizens unhappy with those Westminster politicians (and civil servants) that want to remove No Deal from the available options. In fact the big question is – why is this best supported option not now our Government’s policy?

Meme of the Day (11-Dec-2018) – The headline Treasona May Ducks The Bullet Again.. could have been used repeatedly as the Brexit soap opera lurches from one contrived – then avoided – crunch point to another. It’s been just over two months since that meme was first published but the same scene has been replayed so many times since it could have applied almost weekly.

EuroBillions (15-Nov-2018) – The winners of the biggest jackpot in world history (probably) are getting very upset that they have yet to receive any of their prize money. Apparently the auditors are not prepared to sign off the complex lottery processes given the extremely unlikely nature of the result. With so many winners spread over twenty seven countries and yet nothing at all for the country with the second largest number of tickets raises obvious concerns. And even the compliant audit team senses that something is rotten in the state of Denmark (to quote William Shakespeare).

On Track?

Surely Grandad is not the only one interested in any news of progress on that very expensive but largely forgotten project – HS2? You remember – the one that was announced seven years ago …

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But there certainly seems to be few investigative souls pressing the government and their contractors for any news of progress on the ground. True there is a government paper – Overview of the HS2 project, setting out progress so far and next steps – available on the official website. Unfortunately it does lack much relevance to 2019 since it is dated March 2015. In other words it is four years out of date!

This month’s postings on the official site cover the designs for Old Oak Common station and which construction teams have been selected for the Euston and Old Oak Common contracts. But these official postings cover little about the projected costs involved. However today’s press reports putting the cost at £1,000 million – just at Old Oak Common – have not been denied.

Now it is hard for the general public to keep track of all the elements of complex, extended projects – but just take a look back on this single element; Old Oak Common station. In October 2014 this website pointed out the issues around this station. Then London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, had ruled that an HS2-Crossrail interchange station would not receive any extra funding – so Kensington and Chelsea Council had underwritten the £33 million involved. With the way that project costs are climbing that £33 million will eventually pay for little more than the contractor’s tea breaks.

In 2014 politicians decried a proper interchange station at Old Oak Common – calling it Wormwood Scrubs International. But now comes the prediction that this critical hub will serve 250,000 passengers a day – more than 90 million a year – when it opens in 2026(!). It will replace London Victoria as the second-busiest station in the UK, after Waterloo. If that is true then it will be much busier than Euston.

Politicians still claim that they are unfairly treated when their confident pronouncements are dismissed as rubbish by a long-suffering electorate. But it seems that lies about HS2 are just as common as those about our relationship with Europe – and so many other things these days.

Into The Sixties

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It is sixty years ago tomorrow that a four-seater Beechcraft Bonanza crashed at around 1am in bad weather near Clear Lake, Iowa. All four on-board were killed. A tragedy but nevertheless an event where reports would normally be limited to just local news.

But this time the deaths of pilot Roger Peterson with singers  Ritchie Valens (17), Jiles Perry “Big Bopper” Richardson (28) and Buddy Holly (22) made news around the world. Not least in Australia and the UK where Holly’s popularity was high having toured both during the year before.

Even so at the time of his death Buddy Holly’s records had only appeared in the UK music charts for just over a year. With Peggy Sue, Listen To Me, Rave On, Early In The Morning and Heartbeat being the ones that charted before the crash. Despite this brief and restricted career his music and influences can still be heard today – some sixty years on.

For many 3-Feb-1959 was not The Day That Music Died but a tragic loss that shaped a new and highly successful era of popular music – Rave On!