Sunday, 18 February 2018

Sick of being labelled dumb?

An article in The Sunday Times today titled 'Brainy Brits come out for Brexit' echoed my own thoughts. A group of intellectuals from economists, lawyers, philosophers, historians and scientists have come together to counter the argument that Brexiteers are thick.

Lately I've been getting pig sick at the unrelenting bias in the media against those who voted for Brexit. Labelled as thick, idiotic, unthinking, misguided and worse, as racists - those who voted for Brexit are beginning to get very annoyed.

As I've said before on these pages, I voted Brexit because I don't believe that Britain should go in the same direction as a unified EU with a single army, government, currency and foreign policy. I don't believe the words spoken recently, that those aims are not the EU's. Those aims have been clear for decades. I wanted control back, and for the EU politicians to stop outvoting the UK at all manner of summit meetings - imposing second rate politicians such as Jean-Claude Juncker on us. I wanted to stop paying loads of money to finance inefficient French farmers and the corrupt common agriculural policy, and greedy Spanish fishermen trawling their nets through British waters while British fishermen go empty handed.

It wasn't about immigration for me, but sovereignty.

That means every morning when I wake up, switch on the Today programme, listen to the business section, I listen daily to the proclamations of doom by various businessmen brought on and cajoled into anti-brexit sentiment by the presenters.

When I watch question time or listen to any questions, I see three or four remainers out-numbering the single brexiteer.

When I watch any TV satirical comedy, the all jokes will be at the expense of dumb brexiteers or the brexiteers in the cabinet. If the EU has just shoved out a draft that Britain will be punished in negotiations, the comedians have a go at British MPs and negotiators for daring to go in with a demanding position. There is no opprobrium for the EU side creating the threats. If it's not that it's because 'we want all foreigners to go home'. I'm beginning to tire of it all...

Another comedy the other day, which has never approached politics in any way, suddenly had the two thickest characters saying that they'd voted Brexit. It makes you want to chuck something at the screen.

There is a deep bias in the media, which we all know about, for trying to obstruct Brexit, trying to make out that we didn't have a clue what we were voting for, that it was stupid to vote for Brexit, and only enlightened people voted to remain. It is demonstrated daily by the presenters, the choice of panellists and choices of news stories.

I am sick of it. Please treat us with respect, as we have to the remainers.


Friday, 2 February 2018

Brexit lies

A lot has been said about the lies told in the referendum campaign. But since then there a whole load of things said in the generality which are patently untrue.

One that gets me is the 'No one voted to leave the single market'. Well all the main leaders of both Remain and Leave stated that a vote to leave the EU meant to leave the single market also.

Another one has popped up. 'No one voted to be poorer'. Well, the remain campaign was entirely focused on their preposition that a vote leave would make us all poorer, and yet despite these protestations of doom, we still voted Brexit. So, no, we put sovereignty and self-rule above the economy, i.e. we'd take being a little poorer for the right to Govern ourselves.

These things really annoy me!


Monday, 1 January 2018

2017 is over. Here comes 2018

It's the end of another year, and as is now tradition I mark my predictions and make some new ones. In what is becoming a more unpredictable world, this is getting increasingly difficult!

So here's goes my pitiful efforts from last year.

  1. Lewis Hamilton will regain the F1 World Championship    1 points.
  2. Daniel Ricciardo will be second in the F1 World Championship and it will get tense with Max Verstappen who'll come third.    0 points.
  3. Ferrari will fall further into disarray, with Vettel and Raikonnen leaving at the end of the year.    0 points.
  4. Francois Fillon will beat Marine Le Pen in the second round of the French Presidency, Emmanuel Macron will be pipped in the previous round.     0 points.
  5. Angela Merkel will remain German Chancellor.      1 points.
  6. There will be another Eurozone crisis following Greece intransigence.      0 points.
  7. Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March as predicted by the Prime Minister       1 points.
  8. A rough outline of Brexit will be presented. Not a member of the Single Market, a free trade agreement on goods, no free movement of peoples and a sector-by-sector membership of the customs union (wheich we'll not get).     1 point.
  9. The parties will stay roughly where they are in the polls, Tories 40%, Labour 27%, Lib Dems 10%, UKIP 9%.      0 points.
  10. 2 more Labour MPs will either defect or resign.      0 points.
  11. In the Copeland By-Election Labour will narrowly beat the Tories, by less than 2000 votes. UKIP will be a distant third.      0 points.

I make that 4 points out of 10 which isn't very good. No one would have predicted a General Election last year along with the crumbling of the Theresa May's reputation and Jeremy Corbyn's revival. I did get the winner of the F1 World Championship but not the other places. Anyway, I'll make some more predictions for 2018...

  1. Lewis Hamilton will win the World Championship for a fifth time.
  2. Max Verstappen will be 2nd in the World Championship, with Red Bull beating Ferrari to 2nd in the constuctor's Championship.
  3. There will be disarray in Ferrari this year as their car is not as successful as the 2017 version.
  4. There will not be a General Election in the UK in 2018.
  5. There will be a quick agreement on a a Brexit transition deal and a final deal will be ready in October.
  6. It will be a very difficult process and possible constitutional crisis trying to get the EU Withdrawal through the House Of Lords.
  7. The Labour Party will have a little crisis over their position on Brexit with some resignations, and Corbyn will end the year less popular.
  8. At the end of the year the Tories will still be at 41%, Labour at 37%, Lib Dems 10%, UKIP 3%.
  9. UKIP will file for bankruptcy.
  10. Moves to impeach Donald Trump will fail.

Here's to another year.


Sunday, 22 October 2017

Brexit round-up

We're five months into the Brexit negotiations. Many people think it is not going well, but I think differently - in fact I think is is going as well as can be expected.

We all knew beforehand that the EU would make a big effort to extort as much money out of the UK as possible - so it's unsurprising that the EU is holding out as long as possible before trade talks begin. In fact these parts of the negotiations, I believe, will be the hard part and the trade negotiations should be easier. That's because we start from a position of already having free trade and so there must be an effort to increase tariffs from one side or the other.

I believe that if we're close to starting trade talks then we must have got over a lot of issues with some sticking points remaining. But they should not be too much of an obstacle to a successful deal.

What I don't like is the back-biting on the Tory benches, and the rubbish spoken by prize idiot Juncker and his MEP side kick Guy Verhofstadt. Each time they speak they want me to urge walking away without a deal. They make me so angry! I heard their state of the nation speech and the old views of a federal Europe. I just think thank God we're getting out in time. If the EU continues on that path it is sure to disintegrate.

Nick Clegg and others make me angry in another way, by saying things which are patently untrue (and I know the £350m a day was an exaggeration). Peter Mandelson, the other day, said that 'no-one had said leaving the EU would mean leaving the single market' - when he actually said just that in the referendum campaign. Cleggy is pushing for a different kind of Europe with differing levels of membership. If only the EU had agreed to this before the vote, when Cameron wanted a different settlement. It's too late now.

I think there will be a deal, and once there is, it will be very difficult for MPs to back away from it.


Nearly number 4 for Lewis

It's getting to the end of the F1 season and in a few hours it is possible we will see Lewis Hamilton crowned World Champion for the fourth time. Though it is unlikely. The likelihood is that he will be World Champion next week unless Ferrari screw up again. He will deserve the championship.

At the beginning of the year he was having a little difficulty with the Mercedes W08. The car is fast but the tyres have to get into the right working temperature and at some places that has been difficult. The Mercedes is temperamental and not the overwhelming power of previous seasons. In many ways this years Ferrari has been a better car. It's a car for all seasons, been good at all circuits and in Vettel's hand's has been extremely quick. It's only failure has been in wet conditions.

Until a few races ago it looked like it could be either Vettel or Hamilton winning the world championship, and it still technically is, but it is now overwhelmingly Hamilton's to lose. Ferrari has partially imploded. Vettel made a second mistake (after Baku) in Singapore being too aggressive into the first corner, and then reliability gremlins raised their heads in the next two races. I thought reliability may become an issue for Ferrari but not to this extent.

The problem for Ferrari, now, is that it looks like the image of the pre-Jean Todt era. In which case failure is not an option, and heads roll, on a regular basis. No one feels safe and are expected to have immediate results. When Jean Todt and Ross Brawn took over Ferrari they kept the president Luca Di Montezemolo away from the team as far as possible and took failures as something they could all learn from and  improve. It took them 3 years to become the super force of the 2000-2006 era and there were plenty of failures and blow-ups but it came good.

I read that pre-1996 every morning all senior managers arrived to find a daily assortment of press clippings on their desks from the very critical Italian media. Not exactly bring the spirit of team harmony.

We now stand on the cusp of Lewis Hamilton's 4th World Championship. He had a difficult start to the season but has come back stronger and at the moment no one can really touch him. He is outstanding, especially in qualifying. He now holds the record for most pole positions, most first row starts. He still needs to win 30 more races to equal Schumacher's record which is a tall order, but if anyone can it's Hamilton. I believe he stands at the same level of greatness.

In actual fact slightly greater. Why? Because he has not insisted on having a number 2 driver. Rosberg was equal number 1. Also he has not been dirty on the track like Schumacher vs Hill in Adelaide 94, Villeneuve Jerez 97, and Alonso Monaco 2006. He lets his driving do the talking. FIrm but fair.

In a few hours we will know. Let's hope Austin is wet and a good race. I can wait until Mexico, in fact it may be better so that I can open some champagne.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Down and nearly out

It's been a few weeks since the General Election. Now the dust has settled, the Government is in position with a deal with the DUP, and the Brexit negotiations have started. So how do I feel?

Depressed and resigned.

I'm unhappy to see how Theresa May has been treated. Yes, she ran a crap campaign. Yes, she avoided debate and yes she wasn't brilliant in the interviews. I was mystified before the election why Mrs May had sky high approval ratings, I'm now mystified by the entire country and press turning on her so completely. She increased the Tory vote by 6%, that's not failure in my book.

The contrast is with a jubilant Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn, who did have success in increasing the Labour vote by 10%. All those MPs who complained beforehand are now falling into line. They seem to think they won the election! It's just the maths that prove them wrong.

The Tories are still in power, able to negotiate Brexit.

So why depressed?

I'm depressed that 40% can vote for a wish list of undeliverable promises, paid for by taxes on companies (with no side effects). I'm depressed that 40% can vote for someone who has sided with every enemy of Britain: Hamas, IRA, Russia and Iran.

I'm heartened that even with a rubbish Tory campaign, a realistic manifesto but with no goodies, ann a good Labour campaign, Labour still could not win the election.

I fear the tide maybe turning. It looks like the lessons of history are about to be ignored, and we may take a leap into the socialist quagmire. Maybe I'm resigned to it. Maybe this is a fight that needs to be won every 40 years ago. Let them into power, let them make a great mess of everything, and then come along to fix it.

Unfortunately we've just done that. The Tories have tried to fix the issues for the last 7 years, pulling us out of a huge deficit and it looks like people's appetite for corrective surgery is at and end and they want to go on a spending spree again.

I'd like to see a Tory Government come in occasionally with benign circumstances, able to shape the country and not look like heartless bastards. But it never happens!

It is also depressing that the new Government seems to have no rudder with many ministers saying what they want. Philip Hammond specifically needs reigning in. It's time Theresa May put her kitten heel down and laid down the law. Even if threatened by her ministers. This cannot go on. It already has the feel of the 1992 Major Government.

I think Theresa May needs to stay until Brexit is complete and then hand over to David Davis, or one of the younger crowd. I'd like to see Dominic Raab get a big job, so that he may become a runner when the time comes.

Anyway, I need to lie down.


Friday, 9 June 2017

Oh my. Britain makes a bad decision

In all my days, the British people have made the right decision at a General Election. This time they haven't.

The result looks like the Tories just shy of a majority, and Labour strengthened. This likely looks like Theresa May will have to resign, and Jeremy Corbyn will stay. That's the wrong way round.

Although the Tory campaign was woeful, I thought the British people would choose a proven pragmatist over an untried idealist.

I was wrong. Like some of the opinion polls. I'm going to stop giving predictions.

A hung parliament at this time, 11 days before the start of Brexit negotiations, leaves the country up in the air. Will Theresa May still be PM, or will there need to be a quick election? Will there have to be a new General Election?

It saddens me that so many of the population were seduced by the Corbyn spending and motherhood and apple pie, thinking that they wouldn't have to pay for it. It's so naive. Maybe letting Labour win and grind the country into the ground will wipe away the hopes of the ideologues, but we'll all suffer.

It will be interesting for the next few hours.


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The polls will open tomorrow

The polls will open tomorrow at the end of this snap election.

It's been an interesting period, but not the most enlightening. I'm not sure we know much more than we did when it was called. It's been a horrific time for the UK with two terrorist attacks too.

What can we draw from this period?

It's been the worst Conservative campaign I can remember. It's not been inspiring, it's not been focused and it's not been leading the news cycles. I remember the days when the Prime Minister would hold a news conference in the morning, and the news at lunch and in the evening would lead with it. That was in the 80's and 90's though. Jeremy Corbyn has been leading the bulletins.

I like Theresa May, but she has been robotic. I don't think she likes the set pieces, but is much better when it is more informal.

Jeremy Corbyn has had a great campaign. I suppose we should expect that: he has been campaigning for 30 years non stop, addressing rallies and protesting. He has done a serious responsible job in Government though and his time as leader of his party (apart from the last few weeks) has been atrocious.

Tim Farron's campaign has been rubbished. They attached themselves to the 50% of the 48% of remainers that want to overturn he result, that's 24% of the electorate. And they're doing worse than that, polls show that at 7%. I cannot remember anything liberal or democratic about their manifesto. The only thing that stands out is 1 pence on income tax and a second referendum. Both are unappealing.

UKIP are nowhere, the greens just annoy.

I was wrong the other week when I thought the Tory campaign would come good, and Corbyn would come a cropper due to his bad temper.

And the polls have narrowed.

But I don't believe them. I think they over-represent the youth, and the Labour areas. Remember to add 3% on the Tory shares, and take 3% from the Labour shares.

I expect tomorrow the vote share will be around Tories 46%, Labour 33%, Lib Dems 13%, UKIP 4%, SNP 4%.

We shall see tomorrow, but it will be an exciting evening (as always). I love elections!