Category Archives: Public Policy

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]

Logic Holiday

The years of political argument – first about Scotland leaving the UK and then about the UK leaving the EU – have left our politicians struggling to cope. The resulting breakdown of traditional positions has lead to party members being so confused as to be supporting opposing views – at the same time!

Take the SNP leadership’s current position that Brexit going ahead will boost their case for a second Scottish referendum. So do they support Brexit? No they are trying very hard to stop it – so weakening their own case for a re-run of the vote.

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Then we have Labour pledging to get a better deal from the EU – and then planning to campaign against the improved deal on a remain ticket. A crazy plan that has left the EU side questioning the sanity of the Labour top team. Their position is so wacky that the party will have to allow a free vote to get round the cock-up.

Not to be left out we have LibDem politicians demanding a second referendum for the people to be heard but then vowing to ignore the result if it was another win for Leave. Why bother?

Plus we have politicians from all parties who keep telling us – with a straight face – that they know no one wants to leave the EU without a deal. Totally ignoring the national ballot carried out earlier this year where the Brexit Party took the most MEP seats and formed the largest single party. They campaigned to leave – no matter what. And if the vote had been under Westminster general election rules they would have won hundreds more seats than LibDem, Labour and Conservative combined. Yet politicians know that the people don’t really want it.

Finally we have the Irish backstop farce where the key issue is maintaining free access between the ROI and the UK. The EU took the position that the UK had to provide a solution using the slogan – you created the problem you have to fix it. In response the UK has agreed to maintain the present open border. The most it can do without any powers to control the ROI side of the line. Irish politicians – you would hope – should be prepared to do the same. But it seems they cannot do that without the permission of the EU – having given away their sovereignty in exchange some nice shiny euros. So this farce is an EU creation that politicians are trying to make the UK solve – without any powers to achieve it. Difficult is do-able and impossible will take a bit longer.

Away from Westminster we have the BBC headlining every bit of news that favours remain or stokes up leaving fears. Hardly the best way to convince millions of pensioner customers that they should pay for even more years of being told that they don’t know how to vote. Logic has certainly taken a holiday ..

Action Stations

What a difference to the previous Prime Minister’s administration!

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Today’s headlines in the mass media say there is a plan to bring an end to the current session of parliament and start a new one in mid-October; a few weeks before the latest deadline for ending EU membership.

This has certainly given the flocks of political pigeons around Westminster a mighty scare. Opponents of the 2016 referendum result were scheming up blockages and diversions aimed at ensuring we do not leave. But they had not allowed for this.

Sessions of parliament usually run for around 12 months and until recently started in November. But the current one started with the State Opening that was held 21 June 2017 – so it is already a record 14 months late; due to our previous PM’s repeated delays.

So be prepared for screams from the Westminster plotters and cheers from those wanting Brexit to happen sooner rather than later. And if approved this could also mean the end of the line for Speaker Bercow – surely a win-win situation …

Extinction Confusion

Groups of self-styled activists have picked up the issue of man-made climate change and are loudly demanding governments act to stop it; immediately.

Clearly this issue is far from new – and there are known solutions. And even though the protesters are seemingly fully committed to the cause, the implications of their radical demands are far-reaching and quite literally life-changing.

Eliminating the use of fossil-fuels would stop all commercial flights, ships, trucks and most personal transport; except for electric trains, bicycles and the limited number of fully electric cars. This move alone would spell not just the end of overseas holidays but also stop most of our essential services. With so much shipped in, out and around every day – everything from clothes to cans of beans could not be made or delivered to the shops. Foraging in the fields for edible vegetables could replace food banks. And actually growing crops without the use of diesel-power would cut productivity levels to near zero. Fighting for food would be the new norm – the young, the old and the weak would soon perish.

But the chances that this scenario would happen are near zero – since governments have shown themselves to be too ineffective to carry through such unpopular measures.

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Another approach to reducing the damage to the environment by human activity – is to control the human population. And not just by reducing the rate of population increase but actually reducing the number of people!

Since capital punishment seems unlikely to return in the short term the excess of people may have to be tackled by voluntary euthanasia. It would of course need to be a far bigger scale than those in present day Switzerland and Belgium. However nature may well assist – on a potentially massive scale – through drug resistant bacteria, exotic fatal diseases – and of course – climate change itself.

But as long as governments are in control of the situation they are not going to legislate for reductions in population. They need expanding populations to keep paying more and more in taxes to prop-up the currency and debt mountains.

So those protesters who really believe in their slogans face either a life in a pre-industrial landscape or volunteering to die for their cause.

But even after these extreme measures the Earth’s climate will continue to change. And the idea of flying-off to another planet to start again will be shown to be just a Dr Strangelove fantasy. Truly a dystopian future …

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.

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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.

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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.

Promises, Promises

The Conservative party are getting the most of the political coverage in the media – with the Hunt versus Johnson shoot-out. A contest that seems one-sided but is, at least, making the candidates face their membership directly while getting them out of the Westminster village straight jacket.

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But they are not the only party with leadership contest activity. The LibDems are also trying to choose between Jo Swinson and Sir Ed Davey to take over from Vince Cable. Meanwhile in the Labour camp Jezza Corbyn is using all his youthful charisma to keep himself as leader – despite media reports of civil servants briefing against him. Surprisingly the Brexit Party leadership are not being attacked for once. But then quite a few of them are now out of London; busy trying to get to grips with their new – but temporary – home at EU HQ.

So that makes at least six politicians all wanting to move into 10 Downing Street in the near future. Hopefully all the current hustings will be over within a few weeks – and we will then have a single, clear leader who can take us forward. And forward at a much faster pace – and with real commitment – on a path of democratic freedom and independence. Sadly this could all get bogged down by no confidence votes and a subsequent general election.

However these British manoeuvres seem rather parochial when compared to the eurocrats efforts to get their men into the top jobs. When it comes to inter-european political deals the Brussels incumbents are the equivalent of chess grand masters. Let’s hope we can escape while they are looking the other way …

Get On With It

British politics continues to gyrate in ever decreasing circles through arcane – and somewhat irrelevant – procedures that seem to be designed to make mountains out of proverbial mole-hills.

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Getting Mrs May out of office has taken far too long – even when she was clearly making a complete hash of the job. Crazily she has resigned but is still in Downing Street and looking to commit billions of our taxes to her pet projects. Someone has to say no.

Appointing a replacement has already taken weeks and could well run on until the start of the summer break – meaning nothing useful may get done before September. Why does it take weeks for Conversative party offices to vote? Even the Euro elections only take a few days.

By then we will have around eight weeks to the next EU crunch date – 31-Oct-2019 – and the opposition will be pushing for a general election – so it is quite possible that the next Prime Minister could set a record for the shortest spell in office. And the general public will still be waiting for our politicians to honour their promise of implementing our decision to leave the EU that was made back in 2016.