In northern England it used to be the case that the night before Plot Night – Bonfire Night – was when children would play tricks on people or raid supplies for their bonfire from any near-by competitors. But like most folk traditions the practice is long gone – probably because bonfires do not go well with tarmac roads or burning rubbish in the street!
In 2020 we have instead the political grandchild of Mischief Night – the counting and disputing of votes in the US presidential election.
With the only two realistic candidates having a combined age of over 150 years it seems that the US voting system is not producing the best choices. And this year the US voters only had the option of picking between two grandads – one who thinks he is on some reality TV show and the other who gets too easily confused to safely act as commander in chief of the US military. What a choice ..
But then who are we to complain. Britain – and indeed Europe – does have more than its fair share of political players who easily justify the title worse than useless …
will be the 75th anniversary of the start of the battle to free the
occupied European states from German control. The Allied landings on the
Normandy beaches marked the start of a long and costly campaign to
liberate north-west Europe.
invasion, if successful, would drain German resources and block access
to key military sites. Securing a bridgehead in Normandy would allow the
Allies to establish a viable presence in northern Europe. But it was
not easy fight and over the weeks that followed the Battle of Normandy
would incur the deaths of nearly 37,000 ground and over 16,000 air
personnel for the invading forces.
the five invasion beaches the landings at Omaha suffered the most
casualties but none of them could be called, by any stretch of the
imagination, painless. Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were
killed, wounded or went missing during the landings and subsequent push
their tremendous costs in terms of lives and national wealth the
invading Allies did not seek control over the countries they fought for.
Instead they chose to restore these nations’ freedoms and encourage
different it could all have been if the D-Day plans had failed – or if
the USA and the British Commonwealth had opted to simply defend their
homeland borders instead.
Faced with such an unattractive Brexit plan the option of trying to remain in the EU seems to be a serious contender again. A move that should appeal to all those now wanting a simple, quick fix that puts things back as they were. It would no doubt also have support from many multi-nationals, politicians and senior civil servants.
But this simplistic reversal does not allow for some rather obvious issues. One being the fact that Britain would not be returning to membership on its previous terms. All those special exceptions that the UK enjoyed in the past would not be available going forward. And worst of all the EU would still be committed to its master plan of creating a European super state unifying and integrating all its countries economically, politically and socially. This remains the only vision of the future that politicians in Brussels will allow.
The pound would have to go, along with imperial measurements and an independent military. While the much despised British rebate is already being lined up for removal along with our veto powers over key policy areas. Obviously the free movement of people would be strictly enforced, despite UK objections, since it is one of the articles of EU faith that cannot be challenged.
So ignoring the majority and forcing Britain to remain a member would not provide a safe, stable or familiar future within the EU. Rather it would commit the country to a series of destructive changes at colossal expense. At the same time our reduced voting capacity would mean that even fewer British plans would gain support in Brussels. And with poorer member states easily outnumbering the votes of net-contributors, like the UK, more EU laws would be weighted towards benefiting them. Benefits that would have escalating costs paid for by us.
Yes trying to remain by reversing the Article 50 request is an option. And it may even be a better option than the final Olly and Theresa plan. But both plans are spiders webs of rules and restrictions that incur huge sums of tax payers cash for very little in return.
Leaving with no deal makes more and more sense as time ticks by ..
There is often a feeling of Groundhog Day when it comes to politics in Italy. Even Grandads with just a passing interest in matters European will be aware of the staggering number of times the Italian government has changed during their lifetime.
And this week has seen yet another round political manoeuvres as the Italian President, elected politicians, the media – and now the Eurocrats – try to score points or get their supporters into positions of power. At one stage it seemed likely that the Italian populists would take control and implement a strong anti-Brussels agenda.
But it soon became clear that the EU will try anything to stop this happening – to the extent that one German MEP today suggested that the EU Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund could ‘March into Rome‘ and take control of Italy’s finances. In effect a repeat of what happened to Greece. A country still being asset-stripped to meet the demands of its ongoing bailout funding.
So will the Italian people get what they voted for? Will they have to vote again soon? Will their elected politicians deliver? Or will the Greater Europe Project take control of another state that does to comply? Either way it will all be too late to help our Prime Minister out of the hole she is digging for Brexit.
However being Italy it could be that there is a lot of noise and drama but nothing really changes – and that old slogan of Fix It Again Tony still applies.
On Saturday European politicians were congratulating themselves over the Treaty of Rome of 60 years ago. On Tuesday a majority of Scottish politicians were congratulating themselves over their step towards a second UK exit referendum. And later today the majority of UK voters will be congratulating themselves that our politicians have at last delivered of our national resignation letter to Brussels.
So quite a memorable few days. But also a reflection of some very unstable times and with the threat of more to come. Since neither the EU nor the UK are guaranteed to exist in their current form by 2020 – even allowing for the UK leaving the Brussels club.
With a majority of voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland favouring a future within the EU, both countries are even more divided over their future status. In the EU or out? In the UK or out?
England and Wales have a sizeable minority who want to follow the route set by Brussels – and have friends in high places able to make independence difficult. Meanwhile the EU is itself faced with a crisis of confidence with the loss of a major contributer and various national politicians who want to take power back to themselves.
We, clearly, are in times when the destiny of the nation – and every one of its citizens – hangs in the balance.
While most of our elected representatives have been on family holidays or important overseas study tours a few have been busy jostling for leadership of the Labour Party.
A contest that seems to have become a contest between old labour and even-older labour policies. In fact one of the few modern elements has been the repeat of Ed Milliband’s ill-fated strap line – Your Next Prime Minister. Otherwise it was the familiar messages about renationalisation, stopping privatisation and spending money that we don’t have.
But looking at the two candidates it is hard to imagine either of them ever being put in a position to implement any of their declared policies. One seemingly out of touch with anything outside his dogmatic bubble throughout the last forty years. [Who is Anton Deck? Was something on in Rio?] While the other is apparently unaware that it was strongly Labour constituencies – including his own – that were most in favour of Brexit and who is now calling for delays and a second referendum.
So once this contest is over the Labour Party will have gained many more activist members – but in Parliament it will still be lacking the influence its numbers should command. So then we are left hoping that the Conservative Party takes decisions that meet the voters’ mandate and protect the nation’s interests; while resisting the vested interests of lobbyists with deep pockets.