too many weeks getting Mrs May to go, and then weeks more finding a
replacement, the Days-Not-Out total has grown to 1,125.
Looking forward there are now exactly 100 days to the latest deadline at the end of October.
will Mr Johnson be able to cut the EU apron strings by then or will he
simply get tangled up and have to call for yet another extension?
will be looking at the calendar and thinking that many of those 100
days are going to be taken up with holidays, party conferences and end
of term wind-downs for the outgoing EU leaders. Getting out in 100 days
is a big ask – so doing it in as few as 20 to 30 working days seems even
more problematic. When you add in the time that the Government might
need to spend on issues other than Brexit – and the number of
anti-Brexit trouble makers – Bojo will need to move very quickly to get
anything done in time.
He has the leadership of the Conservative Party – but very little control at Westminster. Place your bets now …
beloved European Union HQ the parliament has selected its leader for the
next five years – from a candidate choice of just one! Despite this
non-existent range of options Ursula von der Leyen still struggled to
get enough votes to confirm her appointment as President.
again those Grandads who favour staying members of the Europa Projekt
will surely know all about their new ruler – but for the rest of us here
is a quick update. Frau von der Leyen is currently the German defence
minister – useful for those EU Army plans – but not exactly a high flyer
in German politics. Back in childhood her father, Ernst Albrecht, was
one of the first European civil servants who later moved back to Germany
and became Prime Minister of Lower Saxony. A post that may have helped
Frau von der Leyen become a minister in the Lower Saxony state
government in 2003 and then in the federal government in 2005. In recent
years she has been considered as a contender for the post of Chancellor
and ironically NATO Secretary-General. However her performance in
government has not been much of a recommendation for high office being
the lowest rated minster in national polls. Some see her being gifted
the top EU job as a way of removing her from German federal politics.
in the UK we are still waiting to learn who has got the most votes for
the job of Conservative leader – and with it the keys to 10 Downing
Street. Unlike the EU election process the UK contest had an over-supply
of candidates even if the voting was limited to party members. The
expectation is the Boris Johnson will win with a massive majority – by a
similar margin to the earlier votes by MPs.
But the fractured nature of UK politics mean that even if Johnson does have much more support than anyone else there will still be party members trying to block and disrupt his time in office. Moves that invalidate the idea that they are in a single political party. The issue of Brexit has split both the Conservative and Labour parties so that we now have a least four separate groupings who are only nominally on the same side. If the factions lead to an early general election then it could be the Brexit party and the LibDems that gain – merely because they have unequivocal positions on the biggest issue this country has faced in a life time.
Sometimes dismissing the old while embracing the new does not make for real progress. It is change without improvement.
are so many examples in everyday experience that you would think that
everyone was aware that pursuing the new was not necessarily a route to a
Take the use of plastics. As a London commuter in the 1990s the majority around me were drinking bottled water out of single-use bottles. The branches of W H Smith in the main stations must have sold millions of bottles over the decade. Then the attitude was only the old or deluded were not smart enough to adopt this essential lifestyle improvement. Water shipped in – ideally from some exotic location – was de rigueur.
no one brought their own bags with them when shopping. Carrying your
own bags was even considered as labelling you as a potential shoplifter.
Everyone was given nice clean, shiny, disposable plastic ones when
checking out. It avoided the hassle of carrying a reuseable one. It was
the modern convenient way to go. Again it was only the old fashioned that declined to follow such new ideas.
How different in Grandad’s childhood – milk and pop
in re-useable, returnable bottles; groceries in sturdy bags and
household junk collected by rag-and-bone men for recycling. A process
that has been replaced today by a never-ending stream of single-use
plastic bags being pushed through letter boxes all around the country
every day of the week. Not very eco-friendly!
Certainly plastic has become an essential material in the 21st century – but we now need to be a bit more old fashioned and wise in what we use it for …
– After much horse trading and secret deals the top eurocrats have
agreed – probably – on who will become the next EU presidents. The
changes are – at the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is to be
replaced by Ursula von der Leyen; at the European Council Donald Tusk is
to be replaced by Charles Yves Jean Ghislaine Michel; at the European
Parliament Antonio Tajani is now replaced by David Sassoli; at the
Eurogroup Mario Centeno has been in post since 2018 and at the European
Central Bank Mario Draghi is to be replaced by Christine Madeleine
Surely all those Grandads
who believe in continued EU membership will know all about the
excellent qualities of these fine presidents – but for the rest of us
it’s more like … Who? or How did they get that job? Interestingly
there was no news about the future role of Michel Barnier even though he
was lined-up for a top job only a few weeks ago.
BBC Sinks Even Further
– Despite clearly expecting plenty of negative feedback on the plan to
means test TV licences the BBC has continued to fire more and more
bullets at its own feet (snowflake warning; metaphorical language – no
BBC staff or members of the public were physically or mentally harmed).
The announcements of the salaries of both on-screen talent and senior BBC staff triggered plenty of reaction. And not much of it was in support.
the sheer pointless waste of sending the main evening news presenter to
Lyon to interview the BBC sport presenter also in Lyon seemed to go over
the heads of the executives responsible. Apart from the benefit of
providing Clive Myrie with free tickets to the football match and a stay
in Lyon on expenses the whole segment was just one more source of
ammunition (another metaphorical). Given the situation the BBC might
also have reconsidered the need to relocate morning weather forecasts to
Wimbledon during the tennis – but it is likely that Carol is a tennis
fan so would have resisted missing her days at courtside; with pay.
as this posting was being prepared came the news that the BBC is facing
a legal challenge over its impartiality and biased coverage. It’s hard
to see how this can succeed – given the resources that the BBC can throw
against it. But having threatened millions of pensioners with a loss of
benefit every unjustified expense and biased report is going to be
jumped on – by lots of critics.