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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.

National Holiday

It’s St George’s Day – and this year it comes with a promise that it will be made into a national holiday. Sadly the promise is subject to the Labour Party being in government – and is only a promise; not a guaranteed outcome.

The Labour party also promise to make the other three patron saints’ days holidays – as part of their land of milk and money which would blossom if they were in power … But then everyone believes that politicians never break their promises – don’t they?

However back in the present the Labour opposition are instead promoting even closers ties to the EU. More tied than the toxic Dead Donkey deal of Mrs May.

So we should sell our freedom to Brussels in exchange for an extra day off … bargain!


Time’s Up

At the European Central Bank the current president, Mario Draghi, is already preparing for his departure on 31 October 2019 – and it looks like he will make it out before his policy of issuing of trillions of new euros – mainly as cheap loans to EU corporations – comes to a sticky end.

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While at the British equivalent, the Bank of England, governor Mark Carney, is staying on until January 2020; to make sure that Brexit goes to plan. However what is not clear is exactly whose plan that is – even though Philip Hammond has something in mind.

Over in Brussels president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will also see out the end of his term on 31 October 2019 – and Team Juncker [yes that really is the name they use!] have already tabled their final works. So if the Brexit can is kicked any further down the road a new president would be in charge – interesting…

However that other key Brexit figure Donald Franciszek Tusk, president of the European Council, will be around for another month after Juncker; not ending his term until 30 November 2019. And the can will have to be kicked further towards Christmas for both posts to have changed.

So that’s four important figures that we expect to leave soon – yet we are totally in the dark about our national politicians. The local government elections are just next week and even though they do not effect Westminster directly the results will send a message to the parties about public sentiment. More importantly the EU elections follow on just three weeks later and the indications are that the public will vent their feelings on our failure to leave on that much-promised March date. The Conservatives are getting very worried.

It’s hard to imagine but if these EU elections do go ahead in the UK then the UK government will look even more out of touch and gutless. This potential major embarrassment to the government means that all sorts of cunning plans and under the counter exchanges will be tried to avoid them taking place – or, if they do, to restrict the powers of UK MEPs in Brussels. However given the level of incompetence in Westminster it may be Brussels that acts on this instead.

But the big question avoided so far is – when is time up for Mrs May? Stories of her demise have been floated repeatedly without result. Despite all those defeats and numerous resignations our PM blunders on quite unable, it seems, to accept anything other than getting her deal agreed. A deal so toxic for our grandchildren that it must be stopped from ever reaching our statute books. What’s in it for her? We may never know.

And at this point a Labi Siffre song from the 1990’s seems appropriate –

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me, you can decide
To turn your face away
No matter ’cause there’s

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Oh, something inside so strong

Shambolic!

What a bunch of useless no-hopers we have to suffer as being in charge of national decisions at Westminster.

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With the exception of a worryingly small group with guts and common sense, the membership of parliament has been shown to be not good enough to be in politics at any level.

If their latest batch of plans turn into reality then leaving without an EU deal will be banned and Mrs May will be begging Brussels again for yet another delay to the implementation date.

For what? To accept any deal – no matter how destructive? How much more absurd can Westminster become? How can a rogue leader be allowed to continue damaging so much?  And having caused so many problems for the future then aim to jump ship! How can vested interests be allowed to overrule democracy in such a blatantly obvious way?

It takes a lot for the average voter to get motivated by politics but this is too shambolic to go by without serious consequences …

Trust Fails

On 21-Feb-2019 a Grandad contributor posted a question Can Anyone Be Trusted? And now, with the passage of time, that question is gradually being answered.

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To quote – According to Prime Minster May – and her cabinet –  if any EU leave deal fails to get enough support in yet another vote rerun then the UK’s exit day will be 29-Mar-2019. Now we know that her deal failed, that leaving without a deal was not in her plans and that leaving on the promised date was to be ignored. Three critical failures in a single sentence of promises made by Mrs May show that there can be little remaining trust in her by the British voters.

The next sentence back in February was .. according to His Ollyness The Mekon, not accepting a deal will put back our leaving date – not just by a few days but by an extended period. This part of the question has still ten days to run before there is certainty however we should see some signs soon if this is indeed the hidden agenda.

Then there needs to be judgement calls made about who this plan came from, how long has it been in place and who knew in advance? But as things stand our Prime Minister’s official statements are running a very poor second to a civil servant’s bar room briefings when it comes to trust and accuracy.

The pessimists can say that this has all been planned by forces determined to stop us leaving. The optimists can say it is simply the result of gross incompetence. Either way the result of the 2016 referendum still needs be implemented. We must leave no later than 12 April 2019 …

And You Thought That Eurovision Was Bad?

Our PM went to beg for more time from our Brussels masters – as expected. But they did not approve her requested June extension – and instead instructed her on their demands. She has just two extra weeks to force through her bad deal. The public meetings were sweetness and light – but in private Mrs May was clearly out of her depth and sticking to the approach that had failed so often before.

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To quote from today’s Guardian – May’s appeal to the heads of state and government was described by sources as “90 minutes of nothing”. She was unable to offer any answers as to how a no-deal Brexit would be avoided if the deal was rejected again. The withdrawal agreement has, so far, gone down by 230 votes and 149 votes: the first and fourth highest defeats faced by any government in the Commons.

After May left the room, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, commented to his fellow leaders that he had gone into the summit with the belief that there was a 10% chance of the withdrawal agreement being ratified. “After listening to her, I now think 5%,” Macron said. The European council president, Donald Tusk, responded: “That’s a bit optimistic.”

Just how low can our inept administration sink?

We Want To Break Free

Some simple arithmetic for Conservative Party MPs –
a. May-Robins Dead Donkey Deal = Out of office for decades
b. No Deal = Conservative Party survives

Some simple arithmetic for Labour Party MPs –
a. May-Robins Dead Donkey Deal = Labour lumbered with the outcome
b. No Deal = Conservatives blamed for the outcome

So which is it to be – Deal or No Deal?

You know that No Deal got far more support than the alternatives in those recent petitions to the House. Take your lead from your real-world voters.

Update: Mrs May is about to announce something?

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!

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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 …

Lost Cause

In 2016 Grandad’s constituency voted to leave the European Union – by a big margin. And at the last general election it returned a Labour candidate – by a big margin – as it has done at every election since the 1920s.

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Overall 421 out of 574 English and Welsh constituencies probably voted to leave the EU. It has to be probably because the referendum was not counted by parliamentary seats so has been estimated by political analysts.

If leave had been a political party it would have had an estimated House of Commons majority of 268 seats – more than enough to control the House even if all the Scottish and Northern Irish seats were in opposition.

Soon after the vote it was becoming clear to many Grandads that the Conservative side was reluctant to press ahead on implementing the vote result. At this stage the Labour opposition had the opportunity to attack the government on its slowness of action. It could have become the voice of the majority wanting to see progress. The voice of those voters who formed the majority in those 421 seats.

Six months on the government were still delaying the notice of leaving the EU and the writing was on the wall for Corbyn and co. to take the initiative. If they could have read the clear message. The withdrawal letter did not get sent until nine months had elapsed. So the window of opportunity was wide open for months.

But instead the opposition was so inept that they failed to take the advantage and at the unnecessary general election they simply blundered on. Today, with just weeks left, they demand closer ties to the EU than the terrible May-Robins Surrender Agreement already provides! Clearly whoever is responsible for party policy has lost touch with both reality and many of their grass roots supporters.

How different if Labour had been the party demanding faster progress towards getting what the majority voted for – just leaving with no strings attached.