Category Archives: Overseas

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.

What More Can We Take?

This weekend should, according to previous promises by our Prime Minster, be the country’s last as a member of the European Union.

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And even though there are six remaining days for things to change, it seems almost certain that leaving at the end of October will become another promise that is broken.

True the lack of a majority in parliament has left the country with a government that is unable to govern. With an array of anti-exit political factions and vested interests against it any meaningful progress has become impossible – even the judiciary showed their bias.

Of course, for the many Grandads happy to support leaving without the far-reaching constraints demanded by the EU, this situation means that a bad deal has also been delayed – so far. But with many politicians demanding that No-Deal is taken off the table the chances of the UK actually escaping the spider’s web of EU control next week seem slim.

Obviously giving up on the present parliament and having a general election does offer a potential solution. But only if it results in a clear majority of MPs being in one camp or the other. Recent experience shows that another minority government could be the result – and then we are back in the same situation by Christmas.

The public’s view of our pseudo-democratic representatives must now have fallen to an all-time low – with plenty of justification.

Storm Approaching

As predicted last week, the new deal with the EU revealed today – and immediately accepted by Brussels – is the May-Robbins dead donkey treaty with some tweaks for the Irish issue but now with a divorce bill reduced to just £33,000 million! So it seems our all-new prime minister is actually Theresa May 2.0 underneath.

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If that is not the case then a Baldrick-style cunning plan could be in play – based on a guess that our self-serving politicians will defeat the dead donkey for a fourth time on Saturday – and then a hope that the EU would loose their patience and say no to another extension. Thus exiting without a deal on 31-Oct-2019. But that seems like another flying pig scenario!

For the other political parties the latest deal has already been rejected as a step backwards and provided them with more fuel for revoking our Article 50 leave request; probably via a one-sided referendum. A view that might now just win out. If it does then the only bright spot would be a general election to follow with an opportunity to vote in a Brexit parliament that would invoke Article 50 again – if the EU had not blocked countries using that route by then.

That tangled web is entrapping us more and more …

Darkening Skies

Today the bookies are rethinking their odds that there will be a UK-EU deal agreed as soon as next week. Clearly someone thinks that a deal is near.

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So while all the anti-no deal politicians ought to be happy at the  expected news it is more likely that they will live to regret their feeble-minded efforts.

Why? Because the only deal the EU have ever supported is their one-sided treaty agreed to by the May-Robins gang. A treaty that even these same anti-no deal politicians rejected no less than three times. This is the only deal that is ready-to-go – and one already approved by the 27 EU members.

Grandad could be wrong and a complete replacement for the 600+ page treaty might be created in time to be approved next week. But pigs might fly. So what about a few quick edits on the existing treaty? Well the only edits so far covered relate to the Irish land border. Nothing else has been aired in public.

The logical implication is that the original treaty – the dead-donkey deal – will be tweaked for the Irish issue and then put to the UK parliament for a fourth time.

And, as before, if approved it will commit the country to a much despised Brexit-in-name-only future. A Pyrrhic victory that leaves the UK with the worst of no-deal and worst of remain without any advantages. And a general election will punish the culprits but come too late to undo the mess.

Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

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.