Frantic Finish

It’s evening and the House of Lords has been passed a parcel. Not as a game to cheer up the holidays but in the form of that elusive deal with our former overlords – the European Union. They need to pass it on to our head of state for the final stage. And that needs to be quick so that the Queen can retire at a reasonable time – she is 94 after all.

Cunning_Plan_160Tomorrow should start out with all the legal steps completed and just one more day of transition before we are out of the EU. The predicted last-minute fait accompli bill did get through Westminster. But at least some of the politicians did make a big effort to search for any serious issues – and their green light helped it get through with a massive majority. Now for seeing how the deal works in practice … and how our European Friends treat us.

Just to add to frantic atmosphere reports of rapidly increasing Covid cases triggered the Heath Secretary moving all Tier 2 regions into Tier 3 – and many Tier 3 into Tier 4. While the Education Secretary rushed to push back the start date for school attendance back by one or two weeks. At least the other rushed announcement was good news – in that another vaccine had passed the approval process. And this one will be usable with room temperature storage …

So a lonely New Years Eve for most of the UK – but some rays of hope that summer 2021 will see the start of a new Roaring Twenties.

Tides’s In Time’s Out

Well our Westminster MPs have been packed off to their homes or constituencies without seeing anything resembling a trade deal with the European Union. Despite another fifteen days having passed little has changed in the mass media headlines and opinion pieces despite lots of talks and briefings.

Grandad3And the few changes that have happened don’t add up to much. At the bookies the sentiment has swung from deal to no deal and amongst EU politicians the stress levels have jumped with each day that passes.

Meanwhile out at sea the EU trawlers seem to have upped their policy of scooping up all marine life – whether saleable or not – to leave nothing in the waters that the UK gets back. A very short-sighted policy and one that confirms they expect to face UK controls shortly. Surprising the BBC seems to be trying to ignore what is happening – despite claiming a leading role in ecology issues. Yet Trawler-watch is one programme they have not scheduled.

So New Year 2021 is just two weeks away and the Brexit saga still drags on .. Will some last minute deal appear? Will MPs get recalled before year end? … Will we all wake up to find 2020 was a bad dream? .. Pass the port and mince pies I need to forget …

Time and Tide Wait For No One

The news of a vaccination against the effects of the Covid virus has filled the media headlines for days – especially at the BBC – just in time to brighten Christmas. But it’s not just Christmas that is fast approaching – it’s also the end of the session for the Westminster parliament.

BoJo2With no public announcements of even a draft trade deal with the European Union the prospects of anything other than No Deal come the end of December seem vanishingly small. There are, after all, just eleven working days remaining at Westminster. And there are plenty of other issues to resolve before year end. Further the situation in the EU is complicated by the treats of member states to veto anything they do not like. It is, of course, possible that nothing happens in practice and some sort of extension is agreed – hidden under another name

Yet those betting real money still favour a deal by the end of the year. So perhaps they have enough inside knowledge to predict that the politicians will try for a last-minute fait accompli bill and three-line whip to steam-roller a bad deal through Westminster before anyone has a chance to read it. That tactic may be just about legal but it could prove fatal to the career of any politicians who back it …