Sunday, 23 July 2017

It does not have to be like this


(I had intended my thoughts to be one post but it would be far too long so I have split it up into more than one.)

I am a Leave voter - I voted Leave and would vote Leave again. I voted Leave because I wanted to be out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and of the unelected Commission; so that MP's were answerable not to the Commission but to their electors in their constituencies, to the United Kingdom voter.

Mrs 'President' May said the following in her Lancaster House speech:

That starts with our close friends and neighbours in Europe. So as a priority, we will pursue a bold and ambitious free trade agreement with the European Union.
This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and the EU’s member states. It should give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate within European markets – and let European businesses do the same in Britain.
But I want to be clear. What I am proposing cannot mean membership of the single market.
European leaders have said many times that membership means accepting the ‘4 freedoms’ of goods, capital, services and people. And being out of the EU but a member of the single market would mean complying with the EU’s rules and regulations that implement those freedoms, without having a vote on what those rules and regulations are. It would mean accepting a role for the European Court of Justice that would see it still having direct legal authority in our country. (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-governments-negotiating-objectives-for-exiting-the-eu-pm-speech)

The United Kingdom was therefore going to leave the Customs Union and "So we do not seek membership of the single market. Instead we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement."

On the 29th March 2017, May then gave formal notice that the United Kingdom was invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. From what I have read it seems the Article 50 notification cannot be revoked. In response Donald Tusk wrote:
..While an agreement on a future relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom as such can only be concluded once the United Kingdom has become a third country  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/31_03_17_eu_draft_guidelines.pdf

The reason given for leaving the single market was thus so that the United Kingdom would not be subject to the 'Four Freedoms' especially Freedom of Movement of people.

On 29th March 2019 the United Kingdom will become a third country i.e. NOT a member of the European Union and only at that point can a new agreement be concluded - AFTER we have left. So what does third country ACTUALLY mean?

It means basically that access to shared databases will probably stop in the 'No Deal' scenario. Access to the Single EUROPEAN sky, medicines, agriculture, customs and other databases may well be switched off. Not because the European Union is vindictive but because the United Kingdom is taking the Sovereign decision to leave the European Union. It is a United Kingdom decision not an EU one.

Michael O'Leary of Ryanair, of whom I am no great fan, has already warned that No Deal will mean that flights to the European Mainland will cease and has stated that Ryanair flights might stop as early as September 2018.

Between 29th March 2019 and the agreement of a 'new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement' the United Kingdom will be in a 'limbo' until it appears on the official 3rd Country list maybe six months after 29th March 2019.

Then the United Kingdom will be officially a third country with all that implies - which will be the subject of Part Two. 

It really doesn't have to be like this.





Sunday, 4 June 2017

A meandering look at sexism and racism


In order to look at the subject of sexism and racism this particular post will probably be used against me as sexist and racist. I hope it is neither. I hope it is an overview.

Turning first to the harder of the two, Racism. Diane Abbott has the following tweet attributed to her:

“Desperate stuff by May. Claims I want to wipe DNA database clean. Never said that. Curious that she is singling me out for attack #BBCQT.” 

There is no getting around this: Ms Abbott is not white and happens to be female. However both these are irrelevant and Ms Abbott should know it. It is deeply irresponsible in my view for her to suggest that Mrs May was being racist if that is her implication. 

Mrs May is focussing on Ms Abbott because, well, Ms Abbott is the Labour Party's weakest link. Her interview on LBC was, from the Labour Party's point of view, a disaster and Ms Abbott has the unfortunate propensity to put her foot in it.

Looking at Sexism, it is my opinion that Mrs May should not be so easily acquitted. To suggest regarding Mr Corbyn naked is sexist and Mrs May should apologise to him. If any man were to suggest regarding Mrs May naked, then the Equality and Diversity lobby, not to say 'the sisterhood' of women MP's would be up in arms demanding that man's resignation.

It is the case that when you look at adverts in a commercial break, many are aimed at women; mascara, lipstick, skin lotions of all types to try to entice the women to buy those products to 'look better'. 

Politicians have said that women should be judged on what they have to offer, not what they look like. Incidentally the same applies to men although William Hague was ruthlessly lambasted for daring to wear a baseball cap.

Politicians like Harriet Harman who, perhaps more than any politician, is responsible for the breaking of the glass ceiling on behalf of women and for relentlessly pursuing the Equality agenda. She was ably supported, amongst others, by Theresa May before she became Prime Minister.

I happen to agree with these women. No one should be judged on their ethnicity, gender or sexual proclivities but on what they SAY. I suggest two questions initially: Is what the person said true? Does it make sense?

Unfortunately, all this work has been undone, ironically, by two women. First by Diane Abbott herself who, instead of defending remarks made 30 odd years before, said:

“I had an afro. It was 34 years ago. The hairstyle has gone and some of the views have gone. We have all moved on,”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/28/diane-abbott-under-fire--afro-remark-questioned-about-ira

The good work has also been undone by Theresa May who said the following:

Mrs May added: "Jeremy Corbyn's minders can put him in a smart blue suit for an interview with Jeremy Paxman, but with his position on Brexit, he will find himself alone and naked in the negotiating chamber with the European Union.

"Now I know that's an image that doesn't bear thinking about. But actually this is very serious. We are approaching the end of a long campaign but it is crucial that everybody remembers this important fact."

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/theresa-says-jeremy-corbyn-would-13112915

Earlier in the campaign, Mrs May was talking about 'boy jobs and girl jobs' in the home:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-philip-may-husband-boy-jobs-girls-one-show-take-bins-out-bbc-prime-minister-marriage-a7727481.html

All of this is sexist commentary by both these female politicians. 

Which just goes to show that when next promoting the cause of equality and diversity, not only politicians, but all those involved should take a long hard look at what they are about to say before opening their mouths and destroying their argument. 


A Lamentable Campaign



The following exchange is reported between Mrs May and Sam Blackledge in "The Plymouth Herald" 

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/three-minutes-of-nothing-herald-reporter-reflects-on-pm-encounter/story-30363961-detail/story.html

"Two visits in six weeks to one of the country's most marginal constituencies - is she getting worried?

TM: I'm very clear that this is a crucial election for this country."

Plymouth is feeling the effects of military cuts. Will she guarantee to protect the city from further pain?

TM: "I'm very clear that Plymouth has a proud record of connection with the armed forces."

How will your Brexit plan make Plymouth better off?
TM: "I think there is a better future ahead for Plymouth and for the whole of the UK."
Will you promise to sort out our transport links?
TM: "I'm very clear that connectivity is hugely important for Plymouth and the South West generally."
----
That is three "I am very clear" and one "I think"
Look at the answer on Plymouth - it does not answer the question! There is no substantive response and no plan. Similarly for Transport links; the politician did not answer the question
Then there is this:

"I've said that I think no deal would be better than a bad deal. Now I'm confident we can get a good deal with the right plan for those negotiations, because I think a good deal is in our interests and in the interests of the rest of the EU". (Mrs May).

"Now I'm confident we can get a good deal". OK Theresa what does a good deal look like? What Norway has? or Iceland or Lichtenstein or America or any other country? Tell us what does a good deal look like?

"with the right plan for those negotiations": What is the right plan? What does it look like, what will we be presenting in those negotiations?

"Because I think a good deal is in our interests". You don't say! surely not! 'and in the interests of the rest of the EU' (ditto)

This campaign from a Conservative Party point of view is a shambles. It has been built and run around the person of the Prime Minister: 'Theresa's Team'; 'My Manifesto'; 'A vote for me and my team' and is all about HER, not the party and not the country - HER. (It would be just as bad as if it were all about HIM).

In what is being billed as the most important election on the most important decision since the end of the Second World War (Brexit) you would have thought that Mrs May would present a Brexit vision.

It is not being discussed. 

I am a natural Conservative but I am not a Conservative Party supporter. The Party is not even Conservative. It is Blairite Labour. Where is the vision of where the United Kingdom's final home will be? - no one is saying.

This has been a lamentable campaign and unfortunately the leader of the Conservative Party is responsible for it.

This is not leadership or the pretence of leadership. It is utterly irresponsible and the Conservative Party (not least Mrs May) should be ashamed.











Friday, 2 June 2017

2017 General Election - A VERY Personal Perspective


This is meant to be the 'Brexit' Election. Mrs May said that she was calling it because so many people were trying to thwart the Conservative (May) Government's Brexit vision.

I want to try to keep this dispassionate. People should not be judged by their ethnicity or by their gender or by their sexual preferences but by what they say or, in this case, what they are not saying. 

In this Brexit election, Brexit is hardly being discussed. The Prime Minister started this campaign with a lead of 22% and this has been frittered away to a lead of 3% and within the margin of error. The cause of this is the way the campaign has progressed right from the moment it started. The blame for this lies firmly at the feet or in the hands of Mrs May and is entirely her responsibility.

The reason for this, in my view, is the way that the Conservative Party has run its campaign. It has been very presidential. It has also been lamentable. 

We have "Theresa's Team"; we have Mrs May calling the manifesto "My Manifesto"; we have her saying "a vote for me and my team" and in some circumstances the words 'Conservative Party' are very much an after thought. I am looking at a leaflet that says the name of my Conservative candidate 'standing with Theresa May', NOT  'standing with the Conservative Party'

We are 22 months from Brexit. The first negotiation will be in mid-June. We do not have any time to waste on pointless posturing. At the end of March 2019 the United Kingdom becomes a third country. President Tusk has said so in his reply to Mrs May:

"While an agreement on a future relationship between the Union and the United Kingdom as such can only be concluded once the United Kingdom has become a third country" 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/31_03_17_eu_draft_guidelines.pdf

This means that between the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union and the negotiation of a new agreement some kind of interim deal will be required or there will be a 'hard Brexit'. The question is 'What does a hard Brexit look like' and the answer is 'not pretty'. I unhesitatingly recommend reading http://www.eureferendum.com for more comprehensive analysis but the idea that 'No Deal is better than a Bad Deal' is garbage.

The Conservative Party and 'President May' still pretends that 'No Deal is better than a bad deal"

The Conservative Party and 'President May' refuses to recognise that if there is a 'Hard Brexit' there will be massive consequences for Cross-border transportation at Dover, Holyhead and at other ports as well as no flights from UK airports; we will have problems and disruption to trade such as selling Pharmaceuticals, Meat and other products.

The Conservative Party and 'President May' refuses to acknowledge the problems for customs and other databases to which we will have no access from the end of March 2019 under a 'No Deal' scenario for which we have no substitutes as far as I am aware. Government IT projects have not historically had a reputation for getting it right first time success.


At least the Labour Party want to make every effort to stay in the single market and we could stay in the single market and have some controls over immigration if we joined EFTA/EEA and invoked Article 112 of the EEA treaty - read Dr Richard North on this. The problem is that Mrs May will not countenance it. This is NOT strong and stable leadership (whatever that means) and anyway 'Brexit means Brexit' and 'Strong and Stable Leadership' are NOT in any way plans or a templates - they are meaningless mantras.

Mrs May is showing the most remarkable lack of ANY leadership let alone the Strong and Stable type.

The Conservative party does not deserve to govern. It has abdicated its authority by pretending it can achieve something which it is is impossible to achieve. 

The European Union will not negotiate a new deal in parallel with the exit agreement. The exit agreement must come first and THEN we can negotiate a deal. In between these two events which may take five years we need something else and Mrs May has 5 days to tell us what that looks like. 

No deal is not it and will not do.