No More Nominations

It’s 4 pm so nominations for candidates in next month’s general election have closed.

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And after a short delay a full list of potential members of parliament for all 650 seats should be available to the voters. A list that should be notable if only because of the number of changes since the last national vote. Even without all the schemes for tactical voting – ie voting for someone you don’t like so has to disadvantage someone you like even less or just not fielding a candidate – there were around seventy seats where the previous MP is not standing.

Given that there are also seats where the previous MP is standing but has changed allegiance the total number of new MPs must be approaching a hundred. And that does not allow for the fact that the Labour Party has switched from – at best – neutral to firmly pro-EU. A move that that will change voting patterns that have been in place for decades in some pro-independence constituencies.

With the political turmoil of the past few years the 2019 result is going to be hard to predict – but it is quite possible that Friday the 13th will see the no end to the unrest …

Top Banker

The role of president of the European Central Bank (ECB) is vitally important for the prudent management of the euro. A tricky task when it is used in nineteen countries with widely-divergent economies.

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Until last week the role was filled by Mario Draghi and under his management trillions of extra euros were created and mainly used to fund government borrowing and EU industries through buying their bonds. This was intended to have the effect of getting businesses to expand.

On Friday Christine Lagarde started her eight year term as ECB president – and set out with a commitment for further euro printing. But that was arranged by Draghi before he left. An unusual move in the circumstances – and one that was opposed by seven of the twenty-five strong governing council. A body that reflects that basic problem with the EU – the differences between the financial policies needed in, for example, Greece and Germany. It is also a body that Mde. Lagarde will need for help – since she lacks any central bank experience herself.

But that never stopped her at the IMF so the chances are that the euro will not fall into terminal decline – despite various predictions in recent years. Just as long as the Germans can keep their economy buoyant … and stick with the euro.

Another False Dawn

It’s November and the UK’s position with the European Union remains unchanged. Despite all the promises we are still paying the EU vast amounts so that they can spend our taxes on themselves and their pet schemes in Europe and on aid around the world.

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Now the mythical leaving date has been moved to the end of January 2020. This gives the politicians just thirteen weeks to complete their scrutiny and implement some form of exit plan.

But the first six of these weeks will be spent campaigning in a  general election. Then at least the next three will be spent getting the new parliament in place and taking a Christmas-New Year break. Then no more than four weeks will remain for the new balance of power to take control and finalise a plan.

Of course the numbers are critical in determining how these four weeks progress – if at all. The so-called Liberal Democrats (George Orwell’s fictional NewSpeak becomes fact!) intend to revoke our request to leave if they get the chance. And there are constituencies that voted to remain in 2016 where today’s voters think that this is acceptable practice. With a number of MPs switching their allegiance the party could gain seats – but perhaps not enough to have another female Prime Minister just yet [sorry Jo]

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Meanwhile the Marx Brothers – and Sisters – say they will delay leaving yet again so that they can negotiate a better leaving deal and then campaign to remain through a second referendum. One that excludes the option to leave as a free agent under world trade terms. Considering that many Grandads from outside of Greater London who voted to leave in 2016 are also traditional Labour voters this approach seems doomed from day one. The only question is how many seats will Labour loose?

At the Shrine of the Dead Donkey the Conservative position is let’s back the May-Robbins-Johnson deal and move on. This policy could be good enough to convince enough voters and so add enough seats for a new government to have a working majority. Its major weakness is that it leaves the country shackled to our friends in Europe. And that man Barnier is already lined-up to extract the maximum punishment in the trade talks still to come. Given the time and effort spent to get to the current position – and what has happened with other trade deals – we could be suffering at the hands of the EU for many more years.

Finally we have the party that highlighted the problems created when widely divergent nations are tied to a common bureaucracy. In this election the Brexit Party will suffer from being seen as a one issue party – and from the Conservatives reluctance to spell out what their deal really means. The voting public are smart enough to treat Euro elections differently to domestic ones. So the TBP will not gain as many seats as they did earlier this year. However they have the possibility of gaining some and these could be critical in influencing the outcome of those four weeks in January.

It all depends on how well the implications – and shortcomings – of the current deal can be explained. And if the new parliament reverses the no-deal block that was imposed by political scaremongers in the last session.

Time to book some holidays away from all of this …