Thursday, 20 October 2016

Oi thickie. We knew what we voted for?

I'm getting increasingly incensed by being told that I did not know what I was voting for in the EU referendum. I feel like a large number of the political elite are extremely condescending.

Yes, I'm thinking of you Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband. Here is Nick Clegg in full condescension mode.

Apparently not one single voter said to Nick that they were voting leave to 'stop British exporters from their untrammeled access to their largest markets in Europe'. Well, I must say I'm surprised, that's what most people were saying on my high street! No, it's a straw man set up to be ridiculous.

The video shows leaders of both the remain and leave camps saying that leaving the EU would mean leaving the single market. We all knew that we would still be trading with the single market but would not be bound by the wealth of regulations in the rest of our economy.

Most people I know who voted leave knew £350m a week would not be going to the NHS - it was indicative, but wanted to have control over our laws, regulations and borders. Hence, we knew it was going to be a so called 'hard' Brexit.

We felt the EU was going in the wrong direction, and had been for a quarter of a century, and repeated attempts to change direction were rebuffed.

They are treating us like we are stupid, but

We knew what we were voting for - you thickie

Of course, Nick Clegg knows that most people did know what they were voting for. He is not thick, I just said that for effect. Like he does.

He is pushing for votes on various aspects of Brexit. The more votes the better. He wants to frustrate the process at all stage. He gives not one damn about democracy. The Lib Dem 2005 manifesto actually proposed an in/out referendum but he forgot about this when it became inconvenient.

There will be so many different ways in which Parliament will be pushed for votes, the Government is going to have to be vigilant.

I hope that Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband lose their seats at the next election. Let's show them what democracy is all about.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Free Trade Agreements, access and membership of the Single Market

Now that we have made the momentous decision to leave the EU, we are constantly asking ourselves what does Brexit look like?

In much the same way as people get confused about the difference between debt and deficit, there is a great deal of confusion between free trade agreements, membership and access of the single market. I thought I might give you what I understand to be the differences, and what I think we should aim for.

Firstly, free trade agreements are generally agreements between two countries in which they agree not to impose tariffs (a tax) on imported goods and services. This may be across the board or only on goods, or in certain sectors of the economy. Many countries have these and there are some cases where there is a free trade agreement between a country and the EU. Within the EU we are in effect in a free trade agreement with the other 27 nations of the EU.

What is the EU single market? It is a customs union in which all members agree not to impose import tariffs, i.e. a free trade agreement between the 28 nations including ourselves.

Is that all? No. The single market is more than that. When you sell goods into the US the goods you sell must adhere to US regulations, likewise with the EU. The Single Market makes it so that every country within the EU has the same regulations, so as a member you know that if you make something for France it will also be good enough for Germany. Being a member of the Single Market means that you agree to adhere to all the EU regulations for all your goods and services (though the single market in services is not yet harmonized).

That sounds great, so we must have access to the single market? Yes, of course we must have access to the single market - but that's not really in question. The US has access to the single market, Western Samoa has access to the single market. Access just means that you are able to sell into the single market - well you can as long as the goods you sell adhere to EU regulations, just like with the US.

So what's the confusion? Some politicians and commentators confuse access to the single market with membership of the single market. We will have access, but whether we are a member is the crux.

It sounds good to be a member of the single market, so why would we not want to be? Those EU regulations which we need to adhere to, we also need to adhere to them for any goods which we don't intend to export to the EU. In fact around 95% of our economy does not export, and some of this regulation is very heavy handed. We could have lighter British regulation for all our economy, and then apply EU regulations for only those exporting to the EU.

Any other drawbacks on being a member? Yes. The EU has made it so that the single market negotiates with other countries on free trade agreements as a Block, which is why we have not been able to have FTA's with like minded countries like the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and tigers such as India and China. Being outside, we can push ahead with new FTA's.

Furthermore as a custom's union, the single market does impose import tariffs on external countries, even if the UK does not wish to. Agricultural goods from Africa are cheaper, but with tariffs are more expensive. This is to protect inefficient french farmers and the common agricultural policy. Outside the single market we can drop those tariffs and get cheaper food from Africa which will help us and help Africa.

Also the EU single market membership holds that free movement of peoples is a pre-requisite which is why immigration has become an issue and, unless the EU becomes more flexible, the reason why we will have to stop being members.

The way in which Theresa May has set up the new departments, one for Brexit and an International
Trade seems to infer that we will have to stop being members of the single market (otherwise we could not negotiate FTA's).

I would bet my bottom dollar on not being members of the single market but having a free trade agreement with the single market in all areas which are already covered.

Hope that explains.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A big day for May. A bad day for Labour and UKIP.

Theresa May becomes Prime Minister today, and I wish her well. She's a bit cold but maybe that is going to be useful in the upcoming negotiations with the EU.

I just hope her re-shuffle shows a break from Cameronism and embraces Brexit. I want to see George Osborne moving on from the Chancellorship, the Foreign Office is ok. I don't want to see Philip Hammond as Chancellor as he is gloomy, miserable and still scare mongering - even now. We need an optimist and someone radical to simplify the tax code. Maybe Gove, maybe Dominic Raab.

She should keep Gove in as either chief negotiator or to finish his Justice reforms. Boris should be brought in as maybe Party Chairman or Education Secretary. If not Gove then David Davis would be great as chief negotiator. She does have a few good female talents to draw on, Priti Patel, Amber Rudd and Anna Soubry. She could put Andrea Leadsom in as Treasury Number 2. We'll see.

Yesterday's meeting of the Labour NEC came up with the correct result of having Jeremy Corbyn on the ballot paper. He needs to be destroyed by a legitimate democratic voice and not a stitch-up. They then came up with silly rules to exclude new members from voting, but allowing registered supporters. They need to sort this out quickly. If Corbyn is ousted, Labour would do well to copy the Tory party process.

UKIP went equally mad yesterday and excluded every one from their leadership ballot who has not been a member for 5 years. The party has only been in existence for 20 years or so and the last 5 years has been their best. In one foul swoop they have taken out their brightest and most able media performers, especially Suzanne Evans and Douglas Carswell. Carswell does not want to be leader but Suzanne Evans would have added respectability to the party as she is likeable. It's now got an unknown in Stephen Wolf and Diane James who I don't rate. I think UKIP won't be around as a political force in 5 years time.


Monday, 11 July 2016

Understanding Corbynistas

I had a conversation with a left wing friend the other day and he was saying how great a leader Jeremy Corbyn was. I was incredulous. How could an otherwise sensible man believe this? He couldn't understand why I couldn't see it.

Today I was listening to the Iain Dale programme on LBC and to a man who was calling Angela Eagle a Blairite or Thatcherite! In the days of Tony Blair you would have said that Angela Eagle was on the left of the party (just not as left as Corbyn). The caller then said that the vast majority of people who don't vote are supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, but obviously there is no evidence for this at all!

I think the caller exposed something though which I think is key to understanding Corbynistas. I think that people on the far left believe that everyone, by default, has the same beliefs as them.

I mean how could anyone believe anything different? And if they do believe something different, then if you're right wing then you must be evil and if you are centre-left then you are a traitor.

It is for this reason why moderate Labour MPs are being bombarded with extremely negative messages on twitter and facebook. They are being bullied with horrendous and vicious attacks - some sexist, racist and homophobic messages - from the supposed party of equality.

It is so easy to surround yourself with people who have the same views, especially on the new media of Twitter and Facebook. It's called the 'echo chamber' as you have your own views echoed back to you. Momentum is a big echo chamber of the far left and their member's are extremely vociferous in giving their views, but I doubt it will ever get more than one million members.

The members of the far left, though, forget about the silent millions of centre-left voters who want a reasonable Government with a bigger state but not a ruling state. It will become clear to them when the Labour party splits as it soon will in one way or another. But the people who don't support the people's front are traitors anyway aren't they?


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Corbyn vs PLP (or Eagle vs Corbyn)

It looks like Angela Eagle is set to challenge Jeremy Corbyn for leadership of the Labour party on Monday.

I cannot believe how slow the Labour party coup has been. It's taken two weeks already and the Labour party looks like a joke. The Tory party does this so much better, they do not accept crap leaders for long. And if Angela Eagle is the best challenger it shows the paucity of talent in the Labour ranks.

The Labour party is a mess from top to bottom. The party members are not representative of Labour voters. The Parliamentary Labour Party is not representative of the membership and Corbyn does not represent the PLP.

If Jeremy Corbyn wins there will have to be a split. The moderates will have to leave and set up a new party.

If Angela Eagle wins, will Momentum split taking Jeremy Corbyn and his small band of far left wingers?

I don't think the broad church of the Labour can sustain any longer, it just remains to be seen who takes custody of the Labour name and party machinery.


May vs Leadson

The Tory party leader and next Prime Minister will either be Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom.

I think Michael Gove would be the best Prime Minister, he is a radical with great ideas on social justice. Unfortunately, by the way he treated Boris Johnson, he has seriously damaged his credentials and so was third out of the leadership contest.

The two ladies fighting it out now do not fill me with enthusiasm, like David Cameron did, and so I hope the hustings will show some ideas which get my mouth watering.

I think, though, that I want Theresa May to win. I think her experience will be very valuable. She has styled herself as the new Iron Lady and I hope she is able to live up to the original. I don't like the fact that we have two months of campaigning, we desperately need a new PM soon to start taking away the doubt in this post-referendum world. In fact it would be great if Andrea Leadsom stood down so we could have a new PM immediately.

The last few days has shown that Andrea is a bit politically naive and I hope she learns from this. She seems to have picked up the right wing and UKIPpers - which worries me greatly. She would benefit from a cabinet job in Theresa May Government.


Rosberg vs Hamilton

Last week in Austria Nico Rosberg made a mistake, collided with Lewis Hamilton and damaged his car. Note, how I lay the blame on Nico Rosberg. Lewis Hamilton left Nico plenty of room to turn, Nico left Hamilton none and only turned at the last moment.

Let's trace this back.

Rosberg started it.

In Bahrain 2014 we witnessed a fantastic race with overtaking hard but fair on both sides, with Hamilton coming out on top. All nice and clean. Apart from the fact that Rosberg had used an engine setting with more power - against Mercedes' own rule to get close to Hamilton.

Two races later in Spain, Hamilton retaliated and used the 'forbidden' engine mode to stay ahead of Rosberg to take the win.

Then Monaco. In qualifying, Rosberg had a very suspicious off, destroying Hamilton's lap as Rosberg was running ahead of him on the track. He even reversed back onto the track. It was clearly a foul. Hamilton was incandescent.

In Hungary, Hamilton had another problem in qualifying with his car on fire and so he had to come through the field. Hamilton and Rosberg found themselves running 3rd and 4th. Hamilton was asked to allow Rosberg to pass, but as he was still in the hunt for the win he said he wouldn't slow down - Rosberg would have to get closer, which he didn't.

In Spa, Rosberg got a good run on Hamilton up Les Combes and tried to pass but managed to clip Hamilton's rear tyre puncturing it. There was a public flair up and the first laying down of the law by Toto Wolff.

Turn to 2015.

In Japan, Hamilton was aggressive into the first corner, leaving Rosberg 'out to dry' as Hamilton had the racing line.

In Austin, again into the first corner on a wet track, Rosberg was slightly ahead on the outside, with Hamilton on the inside trying to turn and with cold brakes going straight on pushing Rosberg out. This is the most similar situation to the recent Austria incident, but Hamilton had cold brakes and tried to turn. Incidentally, Rosberg said he was 'slightly ahead so had the luxury to take the racing line.' Remember that.

Now to 2016.

In Spain, Rosberg passed Hamilton off the line but was in the wrong engine mode and stopped picking up speed as they went through turn three. Hamilton closed fast and went for the inside but Rosberg closed the space and went into Hamilton. Both were out, but both were at fault.

In Canada, Rosberg again got partially alongside Hamilton after the start but was on the outside and Hamilton again, with cold brakes, was about to take the racing line with Rosberg having to take to the grass. They had banged wheels.

Finally Austria. Interestingly, Hamilton was slightly ahead on the outside, Rosberg had failing brakes. This time Rosberg said 'he had the inside line and so was able to take the racing line' - which is the opposite of what he said in the race in Austin! He didn't even take the racing line, he failed to turn in and specifically pushed Hamilton wide.

In conclusion. Rosberg started hostilities. Hamilton has raced hard but fair and when he forced them to touch, they banged wheels with both cars continuing. Rosberg when racing wheel to wheel makes too many mistakes and causes bits to fall off cars. Hamilton is a better racer. That's why Hamilton has 3 world championships.


Thursday, 30 June 2016

They say a week is a long time in politics. The world has changed

A week ago Britain voted to leave the EU.

Since then the political landscape has changed quite a lot.

Firstly the PM has resigned and will be gone by 9th September. David Cameron has been a good Prime Minister and has led this country out the worst of the credit crunch. He gave us a good Olympics, gay marriage, and some great Education reforms. Unfortunately, he also gave us the NHS reforms which were not well thought through. I think he ended up surrounded too much by his own clique, but he did give us the referendum, on which he found himself on the wrong side. We may find that we miss David Cameron more than we thought!

The doom-mongers seemed to have a point as Friday markets opened. Both the pound and FTSE plunged. There two days of falls, and now three days of rises and now the FTSE 100 is at a ten month high. The FTSE 250 and 350 indices have also nearly reached their pre-brexit values. The pound however is still low, but I'm sure it will come back.

There has been a series of warnings from some companies taking about relocation, but these are the same warnings as before brexit. We don't know whether they will carry out their threats for a number of years.

The EU has gone into full fingers in ear mode, and Juncker is looking like a right pillock. Hopefully Angela Merkel will be the voice of sanity.

On the trade front, the PMs of Australia and New Zealand have reached out for full trade deals, as has Paul Ryan, the speaker on the US House of Representatives. So much for being at the back of the queue.

Predictably the remainers have signed a petition to try to get a second referendum. Just like the Corbynites and countless others they will continue to be deluded. There will be no second referendum.

What annoys me, is the refrain 'Old people have stolen the future of the youth'. The youth may have voted 75% to 25% in favour of remain, but that's of those who chose to vote. In fact only 24% of those eligible to vote went for remain, so it's not like they were overly exercised by the issue. Decisions are taken by those who turn up.

For most of us, we have been wanting a referendum for years to put right the bad decision made in 1975 - and I still have plenty years left. Remainers have been putting it to the youth that they will not be able to travel or work abroad after Brexit. What crap, we were able to before being a member of the EEC and we will be able to after Brexit!

What is despicable is the number of hate crimes against members of the public by racists and xenophobes. What a crying shame that's happened and I would have thought that we cold be a more civil society. I wanted brexit to be a more fully committed member of the world rather than as part of an insular club.

The Tory party has started to choose a new leader. It looked likely to be a predicted Boris vs Theresa contest but was thrown into the air by Michael Gove ditching Boris, going it alone leading to Boris pulling out of the contest (though he never officially entered). It appears to be to do with Gove losing confidence in Boris, but it has left a lot of Boris supporters screaming blue murder about betrayal.

I wasn't sure who to support. I'd like to support Gove as Theresa May is a bit too cold and we need some optimism and vision. I'll wait to see if any of the contenders have some interesting policies up in their pocket.

What I think is clear is that the poison of Europe will gradually leave the Tory party and it can once again be the political winning machine that it was for most of the 19th and 20th centuries.

You may not recognise the person above. It is Paul Flynn, 81 year old Labour MP. Today he made his debut at the despatch box after being an MP for 29 years. The Labour party is a complete joke. Every day has seen resignations from the shadow cabinet and shadow ministerial teams. Pat Glass made history after being appointed as shadow Education secretary on Monday and resigning on Wednesday. A whole 2 days.

I think Jeremy Corbyn has scraped the barrel of Labour MPs to form his shadow team but he can only fill around 30 positions (he needs around 90). The rest of the PLP has voted JC down in a vote of confidence by 172 to 40. Any normal leader would know that he should resign, but Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist workers misfits know that it's probably their only chance to shape the Labour party in their image and so they are clinging on.

It looks like Angela Eagle will challenge in the next few days, but if JC stands in the subsequent selection, he will probably win and then there would be a serious split in the party. This has been on the cards for some time, but brought into focus by the referendum.

Fascinating times. Let's see what the next week brings!


Friday, 24 June 2016

David Cameron resigns

I suppose it was inevitable, but I hoped the mould could be broken and David Cameron could hang on but alas not.

David Cameron has just announced that he will step down before the Tory party conference in October. It's sad, very sad. They say that all political careers end in failure, and so that is how this last act will be seen.

Such a shame.


The referendum is over: Brexit

We will find out what David Cameron is going to do within the hour.


Eu referendum: Update 4 p.m.

Leave are now leading the votes by roughly 500,000. 51.3% to 48.7%.

I don't think Remain can win now and that Leave will get it.

The sun is about to rise, and I would like to go to bed soon. Alas the excitement of where we go from here will keep me awake. Will Cameron resign? Will he trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty today?

Exciting times.

Dare to believe in democracy.

Very tired, slightly more tipsy.

Eu referendum: Update 2 a.m.

It's 2 am. My initial thoughts that Remain would win have now been dispelled. It looks increasingly clear that Leave might make it (we still have most London votes to go).

The current outlook is Leave 53%, Remain 47%.

So far I have yet to see any area of England, apart from London, voting in favour of Remain.

It looks like we're going to be in for some rocky times over the next few days before the impact sinks in.

It's going to be a long night.

Quite tired, a little tipsy