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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a proposed ban on the sale of petrol/diesel powered cars by 2030 (I think) Av. You'll be able to continue to drive existing vehicles (for a while at least), but my bet is that you will pay a hefty surcharge on the fuel if you do. They have to allow this because so many people simply won't be able to afford the new electric models and towing of caravans and trailers is not yet possible for electric vehicles.

But the proposal is as full of holes as an edam cheese, not least because millions of people don't have onsite parking and must park on the pavement outside their house. They can't run wires across the pavement to their cars and there are no charging points on the roads. Ergo they will not be able to run electric vehicles and will be forced back onto public transport. Maybe this is what the Government wants - who knows.


---------------------------O-------------------

It seems that the latest victim of the Covid virus might be the trade deal the EU upon which our recovery and future prosperity is dependent. The talks have apparently been suspended because one of the negotiators has tested positive for the virus. Now there's a thing. It's not like there is any urgency about the situation or anything is there..........

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leaks of an internal investigation report (hitherto kept under wraps) say that Home Secretary Priti Patel 'mistakenly' breached ministerial guidelines in her treatment of staff in her office which led to the resignation of Philip Rutman, former Home Office permanent secretary. Difficult to see how bullying and abusive behaviour can be carried out accidentally but then I am of the old school that knows that on the recieving end of such behaviour attack is the best form of defense.

---------------------------O-------------------

Can it really be possible that in this surreal world that we find ourselves in the Government is actually considering the option of closing down the economy with a further 25 days of post-Christmas lockdown in order to give people a five day window over the festive period in which to get rendered. ......err sorry, meet their families? Is this for real? It has been suggested by the boffins that five days of lockdown are needed to compensate for each day of lifting of the restrictions. In the words of the immortal Viv Stanshall from his brilliant Sir Henry at Rawlinson's End, "What fresh lunacy is this!?!"

---------------------------O-------------------

A final Brexit word - the talks, suspended yesterday as a result of an EU negotiator being tested positive for the Covid virus, are to be continued remotely with word having it that Monday is about the final day on which they could reasonably come up with a result and still meet the deadlines after which the ratification processes would not be possible within the time constraints. Apparently much of the time consuming aspect of this process concerns the translation of the legal texts into the different languages of the EU 27. It has been suggested that the document be presented in English to all countries, but that the French are unlikely to wear this (the perfidious bastards Wink ) I'm convinced that the documents are essentially ready already, and that much of what is going on is to try to navigate the problems posed by the internal market bill, a circle that won't be easily squared and upon which the whole process could founder.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sooner it's all over the better...Covid fatigue, Brexit fatigue, we're all just too damned fatigued for anything now. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2020 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You said it Av! I'm fed up to the back teeth with all of it....... and yet I find myself incapable of letting it go. Sarah Vine (Michael Gove's better half) said that politics is a drug and she hit the nail on the head! Perhaps I should take up crack cocaine as a less harmful substitute? Wink

Just to add to the Priti Patel story above - Johnson has declined to accept the findings of the report that he himself commissioned, that Patel was culpable, deciding rather that she did not break the ministerial guidelines. The report's author Sir Alex Allen immediately resigned his position. Well the PM is the boss - if he says it's Friday, it's Friday!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The decision not to allow Jeremy Corbyn to return to his post as an MP in Parliament (known as 'denying him the whip' in parliamentary parlance), despite his being reinstated to membership of the Party is a purely political one by a leader desperate to avoid being tainted with the brush of anti-Semitism that was so effectively used to destroy his erstwhile boss. Like Brexit, Kier Stamer does not want to touch it with a bargepole (let alone remind people that he sat alongside Corbyn when all of this supposed anti-Semitic activity was taking place). The poor man is stuck on the horns of a dilemma; he knows full well that Corbyn is no more anti-Semitic than he himself is, and that the charges, if put to the working class Jewish movement of the country for comment, are laughed out of court - yet he will so grovel to the powerful forces that sit behind this activity that he will go so far as to make even the suggestion that the problem has been exaggerated for politically motivated reasons a crime for which suspension from the party can result.

That neither Corbyn nor the Momentum movement from which he sprang is anti-Semitic in a deliberate sense is beyond question. Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is only as deep as you are prepared to see it encompassing any form of criticism of Israeli policy toward the Palestinian people or big business, and in this form is no more tangible than anti-muslim feeling in the Tories. These are not deliberately adopted positions as far as platformed policies go, but simply the feelings that individual people hold in the sense that they gel alongside their particular political leanings. (Edit; actually that's not strictly true - in fact it's probably bollocks, but I'll leave it in in case anyone wants to challenge it, but also because the idea that the 'feelings' aspect of it does have its role to play as well.)

So why is it that the anti-Semitic smears took such a hold in public discourse when Corbyn was leader (and now Stamer is trying to deal with the residue, the fallout from it) where the almost identical state of affairs in the Tories in respect of anti-muslim sentiment went virtually unnoticed? (Incidentally - I've heard no more about the investigation into anti-muslim behaviour in the Tories that all of the leadership candidates promised at the instigation of Sajid Javid during the television debate at the time, but that is by-the-by.) The answer of course is that in the case of the Labour accusations, the right wing controlled media were able to set the agenda and maintain the drip, drip, feed of keeping it in the front of the queue of news stories, where in the case of the Tory equivalent story, it flew in the face of their own interest and received no coverage.

And for this reason there will never be a successful Labour movement in the UK that is not born of the ground up. It is time for the young up and coming socialist thinkers - and they are out there as the original election of Corbyn shows - to forget the mainstream media where they will never be given a fair hearing (that being divided exclusively between the Tories and the Tory-lite leftist liberal elite) and turn instead to the places where their ideas can be heard, the internet and smaller radio stations where they might stand a chance of cohering into a socialist movement worthy of the name. As I've pointed out in earlier posts, the Labour Party itself is effectively lost to the any nascent worker movement sentiments that exist in our society, as is the chance of any fair representation in the mainstream media, and the sooner they get this the sooner they will be able to direct their attentions toward the places where their ideas stand a chance of gaining traction.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boris Johnson is quietly getting himself into the shit over this Priti Patel business as details emerge as to how the thing has unfolded since the allegations of bullying against the home secretary were first made.

Ms Patel has an unfortunate personality and demeanor that doesn't endear her to people, but even given this, there is something distinctly unlikable about the woman (who has this unpleasant habit of wearing an ever present 'smirk' as her default expression). Thus it is no suprise that following her exoneration by Johnson of the charges made against her, she intends to exact retribution against her department in the form of a root and branch overhaul in which their working practices will be tightened up, and weekend working instituted.

Revelations in today's papers tell how Johnson, in the face of the embarrassing report instigated by himself, attempted to water down it's criticism of the Home Secretary, by persuading the now resigned chairman (from whom, presumably this story originates) to soften the findings against her, before the report was released. This has Johnson's particular brand of corrupt leaning stamped all over it; not exactly damning, but indicative of his general moral turpitude and the belief that the normal rules do not apply to him and are there for lesser mortals to abide by, not him.

There is nothing here to finish him off - but a drip, drip, effect of these types of revelation (the recent PPE contract scandal being the last, only last week) will take their toll. Far from resetting his premiership, the PM continues to dig his political grave as the weeks progress and it will only be a matter of time before his back benchers decide to rid themselves of this liability that threatens to throw away their eighty seat majority almost overnight.

Thank you TF for telling me this would happen back in the bad days post Johnson's election victory. I didn't believe it then, but boy have time and circumstances proved you right!

Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was he just a type of stalking horse to get the whole Brexit thing through and running? Somebody they knew would fumble himself out of public favour in short order, but it didn't matter because he did what he was supposed to do?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty much sums it up Av!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a point of order, I have been labouring under the apparently mistaken assumption that any trade agreement between the UK and EU made in the next few days would have to be ratified by the EU 27 and the UK in all of their respective parliaments.

Although there now appears to be ways of avoiding this on the EU side (paper thin deals with only stuff that doesn't require individual ratification, postponing ratification until after the transition period has ended, but implementation of the deal before, etc), in the case of the UK it appears there is no requirement for any agreement to put before parliament at all.

Earlier in the year when a US trade deal was more to the fore in political thinking, the Government put through a motion that allows them to effectively rubber stamp any trade agreements they make, without the need to put the agreement before parliament for ratification by vote. Hence the details of the Japan trade deal struck by Liz Truss still remain largely undisclosed (it's rumoured to be a pig of a deal), but never did the Tory MPs who voted this governmental power through ever imagine that it would effectively give Boris Johnson the power to agree to a deal - or not - without even having to approach them for their say so.

But this, almost surreal place, is apparently just where we are at. By some accounts (buried deep in the better quality press) the deal between the UK and EU is pretty much finalized. There are a few remaining nitty bits to nail down, but the legal texts are all but written, the EU is happy with where it sits and only one question remains......... will Boris Johnson accept it. So it would seem that the most lazy and disinterested in anything like details PM we have probably ever had, the most self serving and chameleon like reptile that has ever held the office, the acknowledged most indecisive ditherer and grasshopper brained individual to have ever occupied Number 10, will be the man upon whose decision the future prospects of 65 million people will depend........

Sob
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not quite...it depends on the people whose lead / advice / instructions / whatever he follows. Wink

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thin comfort there Av, I'm thinking. Lat time I checked, Carrie Symonds was not a part of the Government! Wink

Meanwhile, while we wait for the EU/UK negotiators to emerge from their bubble, inside which some movement (crab-like rather than gazelle-like I heard one pundit describe it) is undoubtedly occuring, it is worth noting the following. As the end of the transition comes ever closer the participants in the negotiations will find their minds evermore focused on exactly what a no-deal scenario represents - and it's not necessarily what we have all been thinking.

Any deal now put together (and there will be one) will be so thin that the economic benefits derived thereof will be so minimal as to be barely distinguishable from no-deal anyway. No, the failure to emerge with a deal now (broken say, over fishing or whatever) would not be on the economic front - that has already happened - but on the geopolitical. It is unthinkable that UK - European relations should be poisoned for possibly decades to come because of a failure, or worse an acrimonious breakdown, of these talks. Whatever happens on the trade front (and it will be minimal) will be dwarfed by the much larger ramifications of failure to reach agreement on all of the other aspects that these talks are taking in (though these are much less often talked about).

So there will be a deal, nugatory in terms of trade, but crucial in terms of geopolitical implications for the years ahead. Failure to reach one is not an option, and as the days pass by, this fact will be becoming ever clearer to those involved in the negotiations.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw this this morning:

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-11-25-france-accuses-the-u-k-of-dragging-its-feet-in-brexit-talks/

Quote:
The U.K. is stalling in discussions on a trade deal with the European Union and the outcome of the talks remains “highly uncertain,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a parliamentary committee in Paris...

...“The U.K. continues to drag out the discussions on side issues and is playing with the calendar,” Le Drian said. “We will not let the schedule take precedence over the content. It’s up to the British to abandon tactical postures and make the necessary gestures...”

...“We hope for an agreement, but note that as of today we are not in step with being able to obtain it,” Le Drian said. “Sometimes, it’s better to have no deal than a bad deal.”



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's interesting Av; France are more than any other country, digging down on a specific interest (namely fishing) that they have a particular interest in being seen by their public, to be protecting the interests of. Compare it to say, the German car market, which stands to be hugely more effected than the French fishing market, yet has not been raised so much as once by Merkel as an obstacle to getting a deal done. It may well come down in the final days to an intervention at the level of individual member states - say Merkel plus or minus the backing of other EU member state leaders - having a 'quiet word' with Macron and saying "Hey - we need to get this done." If this deal were to fail on the basis of something as ridiculously insignificant (in the bigger picture) as fishing rights, it would be a travesty of the arts of diplomacy of the highest level. Jesus - here's the EU and the UK; we are starting - starting! - from a position of complete equality in terms of regulations and standards...... and we can't agree a trade deal going forward that accommodates both our desires and best interests. It would be a total nonsense.

There will be a deal; there has to be. There will be wriggling, odd bendings and contortions, but there will be a deal! Put your shirt on it.

Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it any wonder that we don't know our arse from our elbow when it comes to what is actually going on in the UK/EU trade negotiations. Take this morning's coverage on yesterday's activities - activities that clearly included some robust exchanges on the question of access of EU fishing boats to UK coastal fishing waters. Currently the EU has free access to UK waters (and vice versa) from which about 700,000 tonnes of the 6 million tonnes total are landed. To the best of my understanding the EU have offered to drop their percentage catch by around fifteen to eighteen percent of the current quantity they land - about 650 million pounds worth (an offer that was apparently made some weeks ago).

Now this is where the facts end. The FT reports that the offer was yesterday rejected as derisory by the British negotiating team, the Telegraph reports it as "EU ready to fold on British Fishing Rights" and the Express uses even more undiplomatic language saying that the EU will "cave in" on their demands. Of these, I'd probably trust the FT version most - they are less likely to put a Number 10/Brexit favouring spin on the story - but what does seem clear is that wide divergence still exists on this issue. But this notwithstanding, both sides know it would be a travesty if the whole negotiations were to fail on this issue and it will not happen. To this end there is talk of a separate transition period, applying specifically to the fishing rights issue, to continue post the end of the transition period proper. In other words a fudge.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now here is a real problem for anyone attempting to keep a hold on what is going on between the UK and EU behind closed doors as we speak. The reportage we are getting is simply not consistent.

This weekend's FT clearly says that the EU have offered to drop their share of the catch from UK fishing waters by 15 to 18 percent; today's Telegraph says that the EU have agreed to "grant access" to the UK of the 15 to 18 percent of the catch.......very different things. Both papers report that the offers they report were considered "derisory" - but it would help us to make our own decisions on this (and by extension which of the UK or EU we thought were being the unreasonable one, or indeed both), if we could rely on the facts that are reported.

Yet another possibility seems to be emerging as a possible "fudge" candidate, in the form of a 'time-limited' trade deal - say one that was agreed, but was subject to automatic review in say four years time. But whatever the case, it seems that we might reaching decision time; multiple sources are reporting that this is the final week of negotiations, after which an announcement will be made. On the back of this the PM is stressing his preparedness to accept what he still refers to as "Australia terms", in other words no deal, presumably with the intention of continuing his game of 'chicken' right down to the wire. It's an interesting thing that it should be on fishing that the deal could fall apart (I don't think it will, but let's assume I'm wrong and it is a possibility). The nation's fishermen were first and foremost amongst those who wanted out of the EU, being extraordinarily unhappy with the access that EU fishing fleets had to UK waters (though there is a dispute with the French as to what exactly are UK waters) and the quota system as it applied to the quantities that they could land - yet it is they who of all are most dependant upon a trade deal being reached because far more of the UK catch is sold in EU countries than to the home market. If no deal is reached it will be they who will suffer badly thereby as an industry, and they who will have most grievance to bear that they were misled into believing a post exit deal was a no-brainer by the Leave campaign. I think they're going to be stuffed either way (along with the farmers). Prepare to hear lots of whining in future years from these two most ardent leaving sections of our economy, in the years ahead, as the scale of the shafting they have given themselves becomes apparent.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of points on the above.

Firstly, at work last night, I was able to verify that it was correct that the reportage of the situation pertaining to the EU offer on fishing rights was indeed completely at odds, the Telegraph reporting that the EU had offered us a 15 to 18 percent proportion of the total catch from UK waters, while the FT reported that they had offered to reduce their own current catch by the same percentage.

The first, put out by the Brexit supporting Telegraph, is clearly a much less palatable expression of the offer (suggesting as it does that the EU would take a hugely larger proportion of the fish from UK waters than we would ourselves) than the second, and I wonder to what extent it is designed to 'lay blame' at the EU door should the negotiations fail on this most (economically) trivial of matters.

Second, Minister for Agriculture George Eustace has announced a twenty year plan for UK food that will no doubt see UK farmers nicely compensated for the loss of the generous subsidies they are accustomed to recieving from the EU Common Agricultural Policy payment schemes. So it appears that far from being shafted the farmers will continue to be feather-beded in the post brexit era, just as they were during it. Were this not to be the case, we would (for reasons I fail to understand) apparently be totally unable to complete with our EU competitor food producers and would see farming becoming a much reduced activity in this country and would see our self sufficiency in terms of food production be significantly reduced. Fair enough, but it doesn't hurt that the rural community has consistently formed a core support for the Tories in the UK in terms of voting contribution now does it - as nice a confluence of expediency and excuse as you could ask for.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today's Express has a small photo of Tory Cabinet Minister Michael Gove looking smug and sitting over the words "Gove; UK to finally stand on own two feet".

What exactly does this mean? Is it a clue that we are finally to understand that there is not going to be a deal? Being told that we must "stand on our own two feet" is something that normally happens to us in our callow pimpley youth by our finger wagging parent and in response to our having approached them 'greasy hand outstretched' for a 'sub'. I was not aware that membership of the EU had anything to do with not standing on our own two feet - rather I thought it was to do with being involved in a mutually beneficial relationship with our equals that gave us the best possible chance of a decent future in the difficult decades ahead. But perhaps Gove knows better.

Are we to understand then, that like every other thing the Tories have turned their hands to, when it comes to "the simplest set of negotiations ever undertaken", Gove and crew have fucked it up? Like Brexit - fucked it up. Like the Election of a competent party leader - fucked it up. Like the putting together of a competent Cabinet post election - fucked it up. Like the Covid response - fucked it up. Like Test and Trace - fucked it up. Like the economy - fucked it up. Like our collective future - fucked it up!

When the fuck are the people of this country going to learn?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Peter, I think one of the most common mistakes people make is that they assume that the people in charge actually have some clue as to what they are doing. Very Happy

--A
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a naked display of having ones cake and eating it, Kier Stamer instructed his MPs to abstain in the vote on the introduction of a tougher tier system in England in order to combat the virus. Up to this point generally onside with the Government, the vote presented the Labour leader with something of a dilemma in that he didn't want to be seen to be doing anything damaging to the country (and flying in the face of his previous support for simply opportunistic reasons) - but by the same token it was anathema to him to support the Tories when he had a serious chance to put the boot in by voting against

The lib-dems and SNP had already said they would abstain and with a predicted hundred or so Tory MPs said to be considering voting against their own Government, a Labour vote against could have cost the incumbents the vote. As it happened, only 55 Tories did vote against the measures and so the Labour decision to abstain did not alter the fact that the Government would have won in any case - but I think it will be seen as an act of cowardice on Stamer's part, that he neither had the courage to support a policy which all knew he was in favour of (his complaints about under supporting of the hardest hit businesses notwithstanding), nor vote against in a preparedness to take on his adversary foursquare in a head on confrontation.

This morning's accounts of the vote tells that the PM and Health Secretary actually stood in the lobby pleading with their MPs to go through the yes lobby - an unheard of act of cravenness, but probably one that deflected the much bigger revolt that the media had predicted earlier in the day.

The continuing toll of lockdown on the economy was highlighted on the evening news by the announcement of the going into administration the high-street chain store Debenhams, shedding thirteen thousand jobs to add to the twelve thousand lost with the failure of Arcadia (Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins amongst others) the previous day. Both companies were in the financial shit already to which the lockdowns have delivered the final death blow. Further reports to add to the Government woes indicated that the boarder preparations for the end of the transition period were hopelessly confused and in the case of Northern Ireland almost absent altogether. The uncertainty being generated by the talks between the UK and EU still being ongoing at this late stage is not helping, with companies not knowing whether any deal will affect how they must approach boarder transition in January, but all recognise that deal or no deal, confusion and chaos is likely to be the order of the day come the end of the transition period. NI are requesting a further 'adjustment period' (effectively an extension to the transition period) in order to see them through this - but whether they will get it or not remains to be seen.
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What the Establishment take hold of the Establishment keeps hold of - and if you have to ask what the Establishment is then you're part of it.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
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'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2020 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shouldn't think they would get it, seem to recall the EU already offered one to the UK and had it turned down.

Asking for one now would, as you said in a different context, seem to be trying to have their cake and eat it I guess. Very Happy

Just crash out and have done with it. Deal with the chaos later. Very Happy

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