How Many More Wasted Days?

Having spent 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.

Scoreboard10F_300

Looking forward there are now exactly 100 days to the latest deadline at the end of October.

So 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?

Many Grandads 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 …

Choices Made?

At our 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.

UvdLeyen1

And 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.

Meanwhile 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 nominal 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.

World of Plastic

Sometimes dismissing the old while embracing the new does not make for real progress. It is change without improvement.

IMG_20180710_132559-300

There 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 better life.

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.

Similarly 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 …

Feedback

Time’s Up – 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 Odette Lagarde.

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.

Then 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.

And 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.