Archive of Postings to August 2018

16-Aug-2018

A Voice To The Voiceless

Guradian20180815

To quote from The Guardian’s sales pitch ...

The Guardian is editorially independent... it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

And for just an extra 20 a time you can also share the wit and wisdom of these two great 21st century thinkers. Sadly Grandad will not be able to attend ...

tags: media, spin, fake news, minor celebs

 

15-Aug-2018

Free Money

Events at the Scottish Government often seem to relate to either complaints about the British Government, promotion of Scottish independence or parochial matters like awards for the best chippie.

Man2But now comes the news that the Scottish powers-that-be have decided to spend around 11 million of tax payers cash on overseas aid to Malawi. A surprising choice of priorities considering that Scotland is explicitly excluded from giving out overseas aid. It being the exclusive responsibility of the UK government. But since no one has yet taken issue with the Scottish minister authorising these payments - or the Scottish Government’s Malawi Development Programme - it looks like Westminster is turning a blind-eye to the offense. At least for now.

However the news did not go down well nearer home as critical postings were soon rolling in from irate Scottish tax payers. There were lots of comments with similar sentiments and these are just three examples -

That's one big food parcel which is off remit for the Scottish Assembly but they do like to kid themselves they are an international body but in reality are a devolved region of the UK. Like many on this forum I have to question why any foreign aid is being handed out when taxes here have been increased and domestic public services are being trimmed in some cases like Health unacceptably. All this so Sturgeon can strut her big man stuff as an 'international politician' using our money incorrectly. And the Malawian president can say 'cha-ching' as he trousers the dough for another jet. Any word yet about how the money is to be spent or do we trust one of the most corrupt governments in Africa to account for it?

WTF are the lunatics in Holyrood doing? What has overseas aid got to do with Scotland.

Utterly outrageous ,surely this is a reserved matter ,and since when do we need an 'International Development Minister' This is just another example of the SNP trying to pretend they are something more than a devolved administration. 11M ffs could be better spent closer to home and leave International aid to the proper government. 1M involving the shambolic NHS Tayside you couldn't make it up. We are funding these stunts so as to allow Sturgeon et al to kid themselves that they are something other than glorified councillors.

So while this may not make the news outside of Scotland it is one more example of how our politicians are ignoring the people they are paid to represent. An example that joins an ever-growing list. One day the people may demand more direct accountability .. and hopefully getting it will be a peaceful process.

tags: overseas, aid, misguided, unaccountable

 

9-Aug-2018

No Lucky Winner

Even though the scoreboard shows 777 days since the UK’s vote to unjoin the European Union there seems little to celebrate - in the political world at least.

Scoreboard777_300The Government’s current official position looks like an unworkable botch-up of assorted schemes and cunning plans that have been tried - and have failed - before. Something that satisfies no one but causes the least political damage. With this we certainly need some luck to avoid a chaotic 2019.

However one thing that has not changed is the gradually increasing flow of taxes to Brussels. In the 111 weeks since our Leave vote the estimated net EU payments totals 29,780 million. Now we - and the auditors - can never be sure of any EU figures but the amount will be still be vast no matter how much the numbers are adjusted.

With the promise to pay another 39,000 million to leave the EU we have a UK Government that will have spent around 70,000 million of our future taxes. On what? Nothing much!

And since we don’t have that amount spare it will go on the national debt - where it will incur many more millions in interest costs.

Chamberlain_Munich-300How did we get in this mess? Certainly the root cause must be our Prime Minister’s decision to give senior positions to MPs, civil servants and advisors who opposed the vote outcome. An approach that has directly led to the current Brexit-in-name-only plan.

It is now just 10 weeks - 70 more days - before a final exit plan is scheduled to agreed with the EU.

So will another Conservative Prime Minster come back from Europe with an agreement that settles our future? Will we have peace for our time? Or are we watching a rerun of the failed appeasement policies of the 1930’s?

There is no way that No Deal could be any worse ...

tags: Brexit, EU, stagnant, softer, weaker, 777 days gone, 232 days to go

 

2-Aug-2018

One Small Step

The Bank of England (BoE) has today increased their base interest rate to 0.75%. In practice the least that that they could move. And an increase that has been long expected by the markets.

Euro_BankerN1UKDespite being such a minimal change the media is already filling up with stories about how mortgages and savings will be affected. But in reality the rate rise will have limited impact - especially when compared to other countries and historic rates in the UK.

To a degree interest rates reflect the strength of a nation’s economy - with lower rates being used to help shore-up poor performance. So the 1.5% rate in Australia and Canada, the 2.0% rate in the USA and the 4.35% in China indicate that their economies are performing better than here. On the problem side however Japan’s -0.1% and the Eurozone’s nil% indicate that their economies are a little sick.

However this simplistic interest rate measure cannot be taken to extremes since the opposite effect can apply - for example when prices rise too quickly. Price inflation is traditionally brought under control by increasing interest rates. And not just by the odd 0.25% months apart. Any sudden price inflation can cause central banks to react with much bigger rate hikes. And it would not take much for UK rates to revert to where they were in 2008 - that is 5.25%. Now that would be noticeable after a decade of historic lows. Just remember that 5.25% used to be considered a moderate rate - and highs of 15% and more occurred during the 1980’s.

However the chances of that happening in the short term seem to be very low - especially since the BoE governor, Mark Carney, intends to stay in post until June 2019. And he will, quite likely, want to head for some new appointment with a clean sheet. But then we could be wrong and Mr Carney could be aware of problems threatening for later next year ... and is going while the going is good.

tags: BoE, interest, low, rise, abnormal

 

23-Jul-2018

End of Term

Schools are out, holidays are here and for much of the UK the weather is Scorchio! And with Westminster’s summer session ending tomorrow we can all have a much needed break from both work and politics - possibly.

Get-Away-300Sadly our government has left us with homework - in the form of a 104 page document setting out The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Now very few voters are going to bother to read this important White Paper; especially at the start of the holidays. And the few that do try might change their minds by page one - which starts out -

In the referendum on 23 June 2016 – the largest ever democratic exercise in the United Kingdom – the British people voted to leave the European Union.

And that is what we will do – leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, ending free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in this country, leaving the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, and ending the days of sending vast sums of money to the EU every year. We will take back control of our money, laws, and borders, and begin a new exciting chapter in our nation’s history.

Even those with little interest in politics may be able to spot some issues already - just two paragraphs in. For example taking back control of our money - when exactly did we cede control of the pound to the EU? And ending the days of sending vast sums of money seems to ignore the 39,000 million already promised to be sent to the EU in the years after 2019. And stopping free movement can never happen as long as there is an open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic - since simply flying to Dublin, from say Athens, will still provide an open door into the UK.

But, in reality, what we the general public think of this plan has little importance. It is what the EU thinks that is the next big issue. And things have not started well.

Just one day after its release The Guardian reported -  The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has forensically picked apart Theresa May’s white paper after a meeting of the EU27, warning that the prime minister had failed to offer Brussels a firm basis for the negotiations. While The Irish Times led with - Brexit: UK's White Paper largely unworkable, says Barnier.

So new boy Dominic Raab may have to cut short his holidays as Barnier told reporters: We have a lot of work to do with our teams. There are, as you know, 13 weeks left, before the October European council. In this time, short time, we have two things to do. We must finalise the withdrawal agreement and we are not yet there on governance.

However at least one man in Whitehall should be able to enjoy an even more luxurious break this summer considering the extra 20,000 he apparently received for simply doing his report-writing job. Go Olly!

tags: Brexit, UK, EU, cunning plan, white paper, summer break, heatwave

 

16-Jul-2018

Meme of the Day

TheMekon_04-630

tags: Brexit, UK, EU, self important, unelected, superior, meme

 

14-Jul-2018

Meme of the Day

fudge3B

tags: Brexit, EU, fudge, weak, divided, meme

 

13-Jul-2018

Weaker and Weaker

Scoreboard8_630

Despite the positive result of finally passing into law the EU Withdrawal Act the past 50 more days have led to a feeling that the British government is heading towards an ever-weaker Brexit proposition.

The most obvious development has been the apparent sidelining of David Davis and his Brexit department by a scheming civil servant we will call Olly The Mekon. A Whitehall insider setting Brexit policy while assisting the Prime Minister down a path that is, it seems, of his own choosing. It was hardly surprising that Davis resigned given the content of this official UK exit plan seems to have been prepared without his involvement. Worse still came the leaked comment by the PM that this confidential UK plan was shown to the German Chancellor before being released to Davis, the Cabinet and parliament. Talk about stabbing everyone in the back!

At this point it is worth recapping some earlier analysis with one telling report being published in 2016, before the Brexit vote, that outlined The process for withdrawing from the European Union.

This civil service document painted a very gloomy picture; mainly highlighting their perceived problems in leaving the EU -
- It could take up to a decade or more to negotiate firstly our exit from the EU, secondly our future arrangements with the EU, and thirdly our trade deals with countries outside of the EU, on any terms that would be acceptable to the UK.
- This long period of uncertainty could have an impact on financial markets, investment and the value of the pound, and as a consequence on the wider economy and jobs.
- Issues such as the rights of the approximately two million British citizens living elsewhere in the EU, access to markets for vital industries, and the status of Irish and Gibraltan borders would all need to be addressed.

And as was said here in 2016, after the Brexit vote, The report may be excessively negative but it does make some valid points. 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. ..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.

Today it is touch-and-go who will win in the struggle between those representing the views of the pleb majority and those using their higher state of consciousness to lead us all down their path of personal ambition. Sadly the plebs have too few political representatives to get the views actioned. And our superiors seem blind to the prospect of the UK becoming a little more than a colony of the EU.

What a legacy for our grandchildren and truly a Friday the 13th scenario.

ps If you don’t remember the The Mekon aka The Greatest Brain in the Universe then you probably never read The Eagle.

tags: Brexit, EU, progress, softer, weaker, 750 days

 

12-Jul-2018

Euphoria Dies Down

RoyalMail2018OPEveryone who cares is already fully aware of what happened last night. And there are more than enough comments and opinions flying around to render anything extra from Grandad superfluous. So just adding our bit to the chorus of thanks for a great effort by everyone involved.

Looking forward there is still that play-off for third place but that can only be an anti-climax after the earlier rounds.

And as the football euphoria dies down we have the prospect of witnessing some dangerous games being played by politicians of all parties on both sides of the Channel. A wrong move here would mean that we will all suffer - and for well beyond the 2022 World Cup ...

tags: football, sport, great effort, proud nation, back to work

 

9-Jul-2018

Sunlit Summer Continued

BudBeer2018-2It’s hard to believe but the situation for England is unchanged one week further on - continued dry, sunny weather and still being in contention at the FIFA World Cup.

With lawns around the nation baked yellow, burning moorlands, political turmoil and bumper exposure for Budweiser we face the final two games for the four teams that remain.

Clearly everyone backing England want the final match to be on Sunday - especially since the alternative is a pointless match to determine a meaningless third place on Saturday.

What more can be said but ... Come On England!

 

tags: football, sport, 52 years, good luck, drink to that

 

3-Jul-2018

Sunlit Summer

BudBeer2018-1England is enjoying that rare situation of having a football team still in the FIFA World Cup and a continuous spell of dry, sunny weather. A combination that is both exceptional and one that puts a strain on the nation’s drinks supplies. Clearly a situation that the beer and soft drinks suppliers did not allow for in their sales projections ... even though closures at the carbon dioxide suppliers may have contributed to the threatened shortages.

At the football England’s progress has been made that much sweeter by a degree of schadenfreude at the early departures of Germany, Argentina and Portugal. However tonight’s game against Colombia may be too tough a barrier to England’s hopes of a quarter final place. But a win tonight - along with forecasts of continued warm weather - could clear out the remaining stocks of drinks Chez Grandad well before the weekend.

 

tags: football, sport, 52 years, good luck, drink to that

 

Earlier postings ...

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FOOTNOTES

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