Tag Archives: EU

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.


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.

Please End This Soon!

As the May-Robins Withdrawal Agreement gets totally smashed for a second time even the most delusional members of parliament must have finally got the message that it is a dead donkey of a deal.

Few Grandads would claim to foresee the future but it did not take Nostradamus to predict –  back in October 2018 – that this agreement would be a very bad deal for Britain. Westminster and Whitehall should Drop the Dead Donkey!


Similarly many Grandads would simply say it was just common sense to aim for the best outcome as outlined in our posting of two and a half years ago (13-Sep-2016) –  Now any Grandads with a strong commercial background would probably conclude that the best strategy would be to go for the simplest terms agreed as quickly as possible. In fact terms that could be as simple as a polite goodbye with no concessions or commitments. This would put the UK in the same situation as non-European countries and non-EU members like Turkey. So trips to the rest of Europe could involve visas (and therefore for EU citizens coming to the UK) – providing the EU is really prepared to commit to the cost of extra policing at its borders that this visa checking would incur.

Clearly a quick and clean separation would sweep away all the uncertainties but it would also upset those that want to hang on to EU membership for as long as possible. Notable amongst these would be the SNP. However acting decisively at the first opportunity would shorten the period of unrest; even if it brought to a head the issue of a second referendum on Scotland leaving the UK. Surely a price worth paying when considering the alternative of years of political wrangling.

Instead our leaders we have made us suffer all this avoidable angst without coming up with a solution that is any better than that proposed plan of a polite goodbye. But at least we have a date, in law, to leave – the 29th of this month. Westminster politicians will no doubt vote against it. Yet in reality the earlier actions of Mrs May, and those same politicians, have manufactured a situation where there are no viable alternatives. Even the EU is facing up to the UK leaving this month deal-free.

With 15th March approaching some classics scholars might be wondering if the advice of the soothsayer in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to Beware the Ides of March could equally apply to one or more of our current political leaders. After 993 days of political bluster the pent-up anger must be about to boil over and then anything could happen …


Monster Mash (18-Apr-2018) – After many months with little news the Telegraph has now reported that Martin Selmayr’s promotion broke ‘letter and spirit’ of EU law, Brussels watchdog finds. Coming a year after the actual coup and with little apparent impact on the culprit it looks like Selmayr will be safe in his well-funded job – for life; even if the EU one day collapses into its rotten core.

Public Petitions (9-Jan-2019) – Even though those seven petitions have already been debated in the House of Commons (and then ignored) some remain open for voting. And still in the runaway lead is Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019. As at today 352,127 UK voters had put their signatures to this petition. So when you consider the 66,972 signatures for Leave the EU now and the 22,750 signatures for Walk away now! We voted for a No Deal Brexit there are a lot of UK citizens unhappy with those Westminster politicians (and civil servants) that want to remove No Deal from the available options. In fact the big question is – why is this best supported option not now our Government’s policy?

Meme of the Day (11-Dec-2018) – The headline Treasona May Ducks The Bullet Again.. could have been used repeatedly as the Brexit soap opera lurches from one contrived – then avoided – crunch point to another. It’s been just over two months since that meme was first published but the same scene has been replayed so many times since it could have applied almost weekly.

EuroBillions (15-Nov-2018) – The winners of the biggest jackpot in world history (probably) are getting very upset that they have yet to receive any of their prize money. Apparently the auditors are not prepared to sign off the complex lottery processes given the extremely unlikely nature of the result. With so many winners spread over twenty seven countries and yet nothing at all for the country with the second largest number of tickets raises obvious concerns. And even the compliant audit team senses that something is rotten in the state of Denmark (to quote William Shakespeare).

Simply Leave!

A petition to the UK Government and Parliament has been submitted with the request that we leave the EU without a deal in March 2019.

At the time of writing 189,000 UK citizens had taken the time to vote in support of an option that many thought was what they had voted for back in 2016.

Leaving was never offered as an outcome that was subject to the EU agreeing on a deal with the UK. It was simply leave.

Our political leaders followed up the 2016 vote with the slogan No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal. Now they say Any Deal is Better Than No Deal.

The voting public were told in no uncertain terms that continued membership of the EU was in the country’s best interests and that leaving was an uncertain route. They still voted to leave; just leave.

After all the wasted time and effort to create a Frankenstein exit plan it is clear that Just Leave was the best course of action from day one.

Now will this petition actually change minds in Westminster? There is some hope but very little expectation …

A Lack Of Volunteers

When it comes to a choice between saving the nation – or protecting their own position – far too many of today’s politicians seem to put their own self-interest first.

Today in Westminster we have a Conservative party in power but with over a hundred of its members not in support of their leader. Meanwhile their allies, the DUP members, have pulled their support – meaning that the Conservatives are in a minority;  no matter what.

In this weakened situation the opposition have all the fire power needed to take the government apart. Yet no one seems prepared to make a decisive move. And so far Labour, LibDem and SNP members have done little more than rant a little louder than usual.

Grandad can only assume that the prospect of taking the poison chalice from Mrs May’s grasp is too great a risk to their comfortable existence on the opposition benches. Without a Brexit agreement in place they would have to come up with one themselves – or capitulate. Sadly the quality of the opposition is such that they could then make the situation even worse.

To quote Blur – Modern life is rubbish

From Bad To Worse

So it has come to this .. Our Prime Minister reduced to leading her government into a political dead-end with the prospect of an overwhelming defeat. Her master plan for leaving the European Union has pleased no one except the eurocrats. It is a plan so weak and subservient to the EU that both pro-leave and pro-remain supporters have combined to condemned it – and that’s just within her own party!

Nine hundred days ago it was hard to imagine that a UK government could spend all this time and then come up with a plan that is worse than either staying put or leaving without a deal. Somehow Olly and Theresa have achieved just that.

With project fear turned up to max against a clean break no deal exit – will the majority now be convinced to scrap the whole sorry charade? Who knows?