Category Archives: Europe

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 …

It’ll All End In Tiers?

It’s autumn and already the supermarket shelves are being stacked with Christmas specials while the British media tries to generate the false impression that there are shortages of essentials due to panic buying. For this Grandad mince pies are high on the essentials list – but with the raw materials to make them already stockpiled there are no concerns on that front.

Man38However taking a somewhat broader view there are plenty of things that could go badly wrong for Britain. First the infamous, but non-existent, trade deal with the European Union is needed by both sides – but not at any price. And those that expected the EU to take a pragmatic and fair approach have been rudely shaken out of their dreams. We have to hope that the politicians can stop playing their political games and come to a sensible solution. But it’s not something that has happened very often, or very quickly, in the past – and the EU has a worse than average track record; mainly because there are so many different countries trying to come to a common consensus. What suits Spain does not suit Germany, etc, etc.

With just three months remaining before the end of transition and just a few weeks before the next final deadline any businesses relying on importing or exporting across the Channel must be crying out for definite border policies and procedures. The optimistic view is that exports from the EU to UK will be VAT free and cheaper but the pessimistic view is that something as simple as buying an item on Amazon will involve extra processes that increase the final price significantly. Who knows? Certainly not Joe Public. And most probably not Joe Public’s member of parliament either.

Then a close second comes Covid-19 – or rather the various attempts by our leaders to solve a health pandemic by issuing random rules, laws and slogans. Today’s news that even if a vaccine is found and approved by early 2021 it will take all of next year to treat most people. So we face starting 2021 with both Covid lock-downs and massive hold-ups at all the ports. But our government has things under control, it says, and is looking to make things clearer by putting Covid restrictions into three tiers …

Some distance behind these two we have threats of political rebellions in Scotland and Ireland – plus even within Scotland – and an increasingly unstable situation within British royalty. With the head of state being in a high-risk age group, the heir apparent being past retirement age, the Duke of York being tangled up in US litigation and Harry, formerly known as Prince, having become a minister of the Woke-ist religion there is a minefield of potential disasters not far ahead for the House of Windsor.

Interesting times …

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.

We Cannae Take Much More Captain

As the political wrangling reaches fever-pitch the mood amongst the general population seems to range from despair to barely contained anger.

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How can so many of our elected representatives be so bad? Many – most – ignore their constituents’ choices and play juvenile games in an insulated metro bubble with zero regard for the well being of the nation.

At least the EU politburo is working towards an objective with a plan – even though it is flawed plan to create a European Empire ruled by a central cabal. Whereas every UK plan seems to be to try anything and hope we can all muddle through. All the time expecting that everyone involved will play the game with fairness and honesty. An ideal that cuts little ice in the 21st century.

The next few weeks are supposed to be our last under EU control .. but we have all heard that so often before.

Good Riddance

Given that it is now 1,200 days since the EU membership referendum result and that was preceeded by months if not years of pro- and anti- arguments you would think that every possible issue had been covered.

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But no. Instead we have shrieks and wails from anti-Brexit factions demanding months more of delays. For what? To discuss? To have a rigged referendum? To have a damaged general election? Or simply to remain- either by these repeated delays or by revoking our leave request?

Looking at our politicians – and judges – from outside of the metropolitan bubble gives Grandads little insight into their off-camera activities. But experience tells us that most are driven by self interest – be that personal, financial or idealogical. So we cannot see who is getting paid or benefiting from insider trading or who is trying to weaken or even break-up our country. But there can be little doubt that they exist.

And outside of the UK we have little support from powerful EU figures – unlike leaders in Australia and the United States for example. And the typical EU view is that we are there to be exploited and restricted in any way possible. Their words deny it – but their actions do not.

The country has to leave – and today would not be too soon!

Learn From History

As the horrors of the 1939-45 War fade from living memory they become just another part of history. And our present day issues with the European Union are almost always taken as short term; arguments unrelated to the bigger picture or long term perspective.

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They are in a different mental compartment to Nazi plans for controlling Europe from 1942. Yet the Treaty of Rome – the start of the current EU – was produced just 8 years after troops from the Western Allies had to carry out risky airlifts to get vital supplies to the people of West Berlin for the eleven months of a Russian blockade. Indeed British troops were still stationed in Germany when the Treaty was produced.

As a result few, if any, in those shouting, banner-waving mobs have any concept of the plans behind the EU’s on-going fiscal and legislative programme. To many a highlight of EU legislation is the capping mobile phone roaming changes [seriously – this was circulated as a major reason to remain just last month!]. Few have bothered to read – much less digest – the plans dictated by top eurocrats and EU civil servants.

However you would hope that all pro-EU activists – especially those who have spent the past three years shouting down anyone who disagreed – would have read what it says on the tin. Yet it seems not. Just this week we saw a pro-EU placard-waving marcher asked for their three favourite things about the EU. They could only think of one – the NHS!

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. [George Santayana]

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.

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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 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.

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.

Yet Another Pro-Brexit Vote

As the results of the EU parliament elections get revealed the situation in the UK remains much as before – despite the massive protest vote.

With The Brexit Party already having 28 MEPs and 31.6% of the vote it is very clear there is solid demand to leave the EU now – and to have the same trading relationships as any other non-EU country would have.

Yet the Westminster villagers seem to want to replace the failed Mrs May with a policy-clone. Someone who will seek a special EU deal while refusing to take the benefits that the world trade option offers. A strategy that will fail – again. And force the UK not just to remain but also to become part of the Europa Projekt – the United States of Europe.

Already we have Conservative leadership candidates – and their backers – saying that No Deal is a crazy, extremist suicide strategy that they will not accept. Even though the Conservatives have sunk to an all-time low of fifth place – with less than 10% of the EU votes.

Yet at some stage this refusal to accept democratic results will have to be tackled. Worryingly one solution – a final solution – is to make sure popular votes no longer take place. This would remove the risk to the elite that their plans could be questioned, challenged or even blocked by the plebs.

However another scenario is that the Conservative leadership choice becomes irrelevant once they have been wiped off the political map by a general election …