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peter
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The big story in our news today is the Nancy Pelosi visit to Taiwan and the Chinese reaction to it. That they are pissed is an understatement. They are by accounts shifting a huge chunk of military hardware over to the region around the coast of the island today, in order to carry out some very pointed manoeuvres intended to send out a very clear message.

This was reported yesterday as the biggest global diplomatic crisis since I don't know when (they seem to have forgotten what is going on in Ukraine which, yes, is more than diplomatic, but started that way) and concerns are that it could rapidly escalate into something way bigger if it isn't got under wraps very quickly.

What beggars belief to me is that it seems that Pelosi was advised not to go, but went anyway despite the warning from Biden that she should not? How.....why...... would she do this? Does Biden have no control over what the Speaker does? Why would she send such a provocative signal out to China at the time that the world most needs to be simmered down? The situation with Russia and Ukraine is surely trouble enough of itself without drawing China into the mix. There is a looming world food crisis as it is. If China and the US/West suddenly come asunder in a diplomatic affray that threatens to spill over into military confrontation, then our current travails will pale into nothing.

What was Pelosi thinking. Does she want to precipitate WWIII?

----------------------0--------------------

In a significant boost for the, if not against the ropes, then at least slightly winded Liz Truss, in her battle to win the Tory leadership contest, ex Chancellor and Health Secretary Sajid Javid has thrown his cap into her corner. This makes up the full set for Truss. Not a single one of the other candidates knocked out earlier in the contest has elected to support Sunak, and it really must be felt now that it is only a matter of time before he throws in the towel.

Given the desperation of, and direction that his campaign has taken, I don't think that he would, even if he pulled off a miracle and turned his campaign fortunes around, be able to mount a viable leadership. Javid has said that under Sunak we would be "sleepwalking into a high tax, low growth economy." This is how I believe most of the Tory membership will see things too (what is the name of that thing where you select arguments to justify a position that you have already decided to hold, rather than reason from arguments to a position?) The Tory membership have taken against him, the Tory media are not going to accept him, and even in the Parliamentary Party where his initial support was greatest, when the chips were down they demonstrated that they didn't want him as leader. (I bet Dominic Raab and Grant Schapps are kicking themselves!)

I'd like also to add to the little story I told last night that Sunak is suggesting that people who are overly critical of the UK should be 're-educated' into right thinking. I'm betting that when his campaign is finally over and he flees to the United States to write his memoirs, said memoirs will be highly critical of the UK. I'm betting that he will not be shy about pointing out the elephant in the room - the one thing that none of the papers or television channels is saying as to why the Sunak leadership challenge has failed so badly; that the membership of the Tory Party (and most likely the parliamentary party as well) are not going to accept a leader, a Prime Minister, who is not white. They did not vote for brexit, for 'taking back control', for a step backwards towards a past in which the joint was in the oven, the Queen sat on the throne, and England was closer to Jerusalem than, well, Jerusalem, just to see a brown face standing at the door of Number 10 Downing Street. Not going to happen!

----------------0----------------

Nothing that I see convinces me that I was wrong in believing that the restrictions on foreign travel that were introduced in the Covid crisis (remember that) would never be fully lifted, or that such travel would ever be allowed to return to pre-covid levels. It was, I always said, simply too great an opportunity to miss, to get a situation that had long been looking for a solution, under wraps.

The news that British Airways, in order to meet the 100,000 passenger footfall a day target of Heathrow airport, have extended their bar on the sale of short-haul tickets for a second month and are now considering extending it to long haul flights as well, simply adds to my conviction that I was right. "It's nothing to do with that," I'll hear you say. "It's down to staff shortages, fuel shortages, whatever!" will be the cry.

And I'll say "Okay. But it's funny how all of these things always seems to end up with the same result as that which was desired by the powers that be in the first place?" The short haul ban on ticket sales alone, will wreak havoc, not only with domestic travel, but according to Guardian travel correspondent Simon Calder, with connection flights from elsewhere coming through the airport. All of this is going to result in a significant reduction in air travel, and the longer it goes on, the more fixed people's behaviour will become in acceptance of different destinations for holidays and short breaks. As I get older, I'm getting less and less convinced by all these 'coincidences'. Or maybe I'm just a conspiratorially minded cynic?
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Hope this provides a bit of an explanation. Hope it is enough. It's all I've got.
I'm really sorry for having given the impression I obviously did. I wasn't remotely criticizing, thinking anything was wrong, needs to change, or anything at all. I was just amazed and amused that one person wrote 190 pages in (what I thought was) a single year. If that actually had been the case, I'd say you deserve an award. If it had been the case, or as it is, by all means, carry on!
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Not a bit of it Fist - I never thought for a moment that you were being critical. I am aware that this is not the norm for forums like this though, and really appreciate the freedom that you guys and the mods give me to 'break the rules' (as it were). Just wanted to give a bit of background.

More power to your elbow brother - you rock!

Wink

Just heard the following amusing little story. Apparently a seventy years old guy in South Africa was up in court for speeding at 100 mph and his excuse to the judge was that he did everything at great fast. He dressed fast, ate fast, read fast and drove fast too.

"Okay," the judge said, "Let's see how fast you can do the next six months in prison."
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When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....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: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Energy companies enjoy boom-times with profits up five hundred percent from last years levels, while people face a winter of deciding whether to heat or eat. The Bank of England yesterday said that the economy was in its most parlous state for sixty years or since records began (take your pick) and that inflation would, despite their hiking of interest rates, probably hit thirteen percent later this year. We are in for a recession that will last for two years, they reckon, with the economy shrinking by two percent (as compared to growth of economies in Europe and America over the same period), the worst performing of the G7 nations. All in all, they tell us, we're screwed - for the next few years at least.

It was all that BofE chairman Andrew Bailey could do to stop from putting that little square of black cloth onto his head as he read out his forecast, you know - the one that judges wear when they condemn a man to death. I'm surprised he didn't have a guy in a grim reaper suit with a sickle standing next to him as he read out his dirge. Not once did he mention brexit however, or the Government mismanagement that has brought us to this pass. It was all the Russians - the damn Russians. (Thank God we've got them to blame, in order to keep people from going out onto the streets and tearing up the flagstones.)

Bailey seemed surprised that inflation was going to be as high as it has been since the bleak period of the 1970's when the Arab nations hit the world economy a reverberating body blow by hiking up the price of oil. He was equally surprised that the recession was going to be as long and as deep as it now seems that it will be. In fact it appears that only one person seemed to have predicted what was coming )as far back as the bad old days of the pandemic)........me!

And what of our Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer? What have they to say as the Governor of the Bank of England reads out the terminal prognosis for our economic health in the coming years..... Well, nothing actually - because they're both on holiday.

And you can understand why they'd want to be. Having been in power for twelve years it's their bloated faces that stare sullenly out of the dock. There is no Jeremy Corbyn to blame here. No Labour Party mismanagement, no ploughing of the money-tree to point the finger at. It's all in their laps, all on their watch like it or not. All of the shaky finger pointing at Covid, at the Russians, isn't going to cut it against the backdrop of the figures. On every scale you look at, on every economic pointer in the book, we are doing worse than just about every other nation in the developed world. And there's only one significant difference between us and them and you already know what it is. Brexit! Like it or not we bent ourselves over and gave it to ourselves where it hurts - and now we pay the cost. Of this morning's press, only the FT has the courage to call it out. Describing how we are in a worse position than either America or the EU it says the following,
Quote:
[The BofE's] forecast suggests that Britain is facing a much bleaker economic outlook than either America or eurozone. Households are more exposed to the energy price shock than in the US and less protected by government measures than in the eurozone, while the UK economy has also been damaged by the effects of leaving the EU.


Phew! Talk about understatement! You can say that again. But at least they are acknowledging what everyone and his mother (with the lone exception of Nigel Farage) now knows to be true...... that we blew it big time.

So what's to be done. Bless me if I can tell you. Still - I have got a few little bits of advice. If you are into playing on the stock market (I'm not, but a bit of thinking tells you that the following is a good bet) put your bet onto the shipping companies that bring goods into the UK. Road haulage is becoming increasingly unfeasible for the haulage companies coming in through dover and so alternative routes will have to be sought. All you have then is the container ports, so this is where it will go. Fresh produce from the continent will effectively stop, so in households we had better get used to eating home produced vegetables and fruits, and forget the all year round supplies of a high variety of different continental products. We are going to have to get used to eating tinned foods again (another good area for investment - canning plants and their associated industries). Back in my youth that was what we mainly ate alongside home produced vegetables, and that is the way that things are going. Get used to less - quickly. Life is going to get duller - and simpler - pretty rapidly. The Netflix, Sky, Amazon Prime lifestyles we live are going to row back for the bulk of us (I'm doubtful that I'll be able to keep my internet connection up for any great length of time) and it's going to be back to 'freeview' tv for many.

But take heart. I spent most of my life living without the internet or mobile phones and it wasn't so bad (I don't actually have a mobile phone even now; I don't want to be at the beck and call of a device that decides when I should use it, rather than the other way around). Time is more productively used without the distractions of phone and tablet. In many ways richer. It will be different for sure, but will bring a simplicity back into our lives (by force) that we have of late, forgotten.

Learn to be careful with your use of energy again. Heat one room as opposed to the whole house - you'll get used to it. Buy warm comfortable clothing for wearing inside the house and learn which foods are most efficient at providing internal heat.

What we have been used to is over. Get used to it. This is the 'new normal' that they told you was coming. You can't say that you were not warned.
_________________
When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a look round your local convenience store next time you are dropping in for your paper or smokes or whatever? It really is, as Margret Thatcher"s father impressed upon his doting daughter, visible evidence of the (romantic) miracle of a world where trade is - well - everything.

In that one small space, as he pointed out, you have spices from fifteen different countries in far flung regions of the world, fruits from the south, grains from the north and east, produce from anywhere and everywhere that mans ingenuity can contrive to get it there in fettle fit enough for use. He was absolutely correct in this, and more - it is trade between nations that keeps them in contact, keeps them at peace.

And as I read today's papers I am saddened to see that we, through our own stupidity and selfish interest, are putting all of this at risk.

By we, I don't of course mean just us of the West (though God knows, we share blame enough) - I mean the whole lot of us. As the old saying goes, it takes two to tango.

The consequences of Nancy Pelosi's ill-timed visit to Taiwan are that the relationship between China and the US has gone into a tailspin. Communications on things such as climate change are to be shelved and of even more immediate danger, between the various militaries that both countries have in operation around the South China Sea. The risk of accidental contact spiralling into outright conflict rises exponentially. We have the saddest of situations in Ukraine, with Europe once again seeing it would seem, acts of wanton cruelty being perpetrated by forces who have been brutalized by propoganda into viewing their opponents as less than human. And relationships within Europe itself become strained as different countries weigh different factors - food, energy needs, political versus economic union - into the balance, and find all too often their neighbours approach wanting.

And the upshot is that the small miracle demonstrated by that convenience store is put at risk. As borders go up, communication lessens and suspicion and tension grows, trade is the ultimate victim. The world becomes smaller, more parochial.

And oddly (and this is where for me, it gets strange) I find myself in agreement with Liz Truss!

Putting aside the fact that I have said from the start that she would win, I actually agree with her that the failed policies that have brought us (the UK) to our current situation are not going to be the ones that will get us through this and back onto the straight and narrow. Now it might seem a far cry from my comments about world trade to our own little domestic competition, but we I think (especially given our trading history) have our role to play. And I think that perhaps Truss is more cognisant of the route back to success than Sunak.

This is a volta face for me and I'm going to have to try to justify it.

I began by thinking that Sunak, while I disagreed with just about everything he stood for, was probably - no, clearly - correct in saying that we had to pay back the debts we have incurred before splashing out money on any kind of spending, tax cuts or otherwise. This seemed plain common sense. Truss on the other hand, I saw as merely courting the Tory membership vote, with her promise of tax cuts. But then I got to thinking about it. I heard a guy talking about how, post brexit, we have gotten ourselves economically, into a sort of death spiral. It makes sense.

We indulge in brexit for whatever reasons you care to believe we did it, and we knock the crap out of our trade with our closest neighbors. Covid and the war in Europe kick in and here we are. Inflation, falling growth, the economy shrinking, taxes up to the highest levels for seventy years, borrowing through the roof.

So we plunge into a period of ur-austerity while we try to get the latter back under control (the Sunak model). This causes the economy to shrink yet further as people tighten their belts, public spending on works and in payment of wages (or wage increases) falls yet further and the economy shrinks yet more. Interest rates are used as a means of controlling inflation, and these cause people to have less disposable income and hence to spend less. Business suffers and many fail. Jobs are lost and Government tax receipts fall yet further. The response to this is to impose more fiscal restraint and the economy shrinks in consequence yet again. And so it goes..... round and round, until the downward momentum is unstoppable and ultimately we pitch up somewhere (God only knows where) way down below where we currently stand.

This is clearly not what Sunak believes will happen - but forgive me if I take what he believes with a pinch of salt. He has been instrumental in bringing us to the situation we currently occupy.

Now the Truss model, if I understand it, is this. That you are never going to break out of the downward spiral that I describe above, unless you put money in people's pockets, unless you give business the boost it needs to get the economy up and running again. In her argument, I believe, Sunak's proposed increase in corporation tax will do exactly the opposite of that - it will stifle business just when it needs to be given a boost. By lowering the tax burden on individuals, reversing the proposed increases in NI contributions, you get the money into people's pockets from whence they feed it back into business. Business thrives, tax receipts to the Exchequer increase in proportion and the economy judders into action once again. Well, at least that's the theory.

I've said before that business is the bedrock upon which everything else rests. And not the financial business of Sunak in his prior career in the city (though for sure, that has its place in generating income), I mean the small and medium sized businesses that have been crippled by the pandemic, by brexit and by the increase in fuel/energy costs resulting from... whatever. It seems to me that Truss at least seems to get this. That a time comes when you actually have to get the economy started again, rather than just consolidate, draw down, and recuperate in a parsimonious fit of prudence that sees you recover yourself into the dustbin.

So against what I ever would have expected, I actually find myself probably closer in closer alignment with Truss than Sunak at this stage in the game. (God, what am I saying!) Don't get me wrong. I'm a social democrat by nature. I believe in a mixed economy of state ownership of the key utilities providing a base upon which business can rest and be given freedom to do its own thing. But then remember, so was Liz Truss back in the day of her student political activity. And she was a remainer as well. I hope, within her - perhaps even below the level of her awareness - some vestige of memory exists of these positions.

Combine that with her optimism which might actually be for real, rather than just a faux covering for a policy spouting serving no other purpose than to woo the aged membership of the Tory Party who can vote her in to power......combine these things..... and we might.... might....just be getting somewhere.
_________________
When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2022 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Politicians are ambitious by nature - and self-confident to a degree that would make most of us blush. This must be taken as a given in all thinking about them, in all consideration of why they are doing whatever it is that they are.

So Truss is most definitely, as she has been accused of being, a careerist. Like Johnson before her, it's doubtful that she has much ideology behind her. But what she does have, what they all have, is background and it is to here that we must look if we are to glean a clue as to what we might expect if she were to secure the mantle of Prime Minister.

Because once having reached the top of the greasy pole, once having achieved the precarious balancing act, one footed and wobbling atop the circus-style pole with arms outstretched, it is then that her real self will come out.

We saw it with Johnson. We all knew that like Cameron and Blair before him, he was of the milieu that believes in its almost God given right to occupy the positions of power in our society: that his upbringing and preparation via the corridors of Eton and the debating societies of Oxford was a natural path to the door of Number 10, an understanding as clear and obvious to them as that a river will, unless prevented by outside factors, run naturally to the sea.

But in Johnson's case there was more - or rather less. And as I noted the other day, it is epitomised by his behaviour since he lost his premiership. He has dropped even the pretence of caring. About the country, about the people, about the chaos we are in, the chaos he and his party have led us to. And this is the point I am making. It isn't that he stopped caring - he never did. And it was only when he actually achieved the highest office that he considered his birthright, that this could ever come out.

Prior to this, like Truss, he had to play the game. It is interesting to note that Johnson had identified the deep rooted desire of the Tory Party membership to leave the EU long before he became the champion of their cause and used it to cut his path to Downing Street. I've been reading a book by Jeremy Paxman, The Political Animal, written in 2002 in which he speaks to the newly elected representative for Henley, Boris Johnson about why he is entering politics. He doesn't get much of a coherent answer but interestingly he notes that Johnson has observed a deep unhappiness on the doorsteps he has stood on, about our membership of the EU. This book was written by Paxman long before Cameron and his disastrous use of the referendum promise as a lure to Tory voters potentially going to jump ship in the forthcoming election and vote UKIP. (Incidentally, I said at the time, over in my Tank thread, that he, Cameron, could well pay a heavy price for that gamble; I never dreamed for a minute that we all, each and every one, would pay it alongside him. Who could have dreamed that it would bring us to here, to today!) But having achieved his ambition following his canny identification of the route by which it could be reached (and another thing you have to understand that Paxman pointed out - Johnson's career at both Eton and Oxford was stellar, he was a natural high-achiever), the complete lack of any belief or actual interest in the job (Johnson only ever wanted to be Prime Minister - he never actually wanted to do the job itself) was always bound to come out. And surely, it did, with the disastrous results we have seen.

Now, back to the matter in hand, Truss is in many respects, no different. So we can treat with suspicion anything she is saying, anything she is doing, has done, for the entirety of her career to date on the basis that it has served her route to where she currently is. All else (bar one thing, and that was a mistake) has been sacrificed upon the alter of her ambition, her careerism. The one true thing that we have seen of her was her position as a remainer during the referendum competition...... possibly. In this case there was very little to be gained by supporting one side or the other, so unless like Johnson, you really didn't care whether we left the EU or stayed in, the likelihood is that you would come out on the side you genuinely supported. It is possible that Truss is as without inclination in this respect as Johnson was, and would have on this basis simply selected the side she thought most likely to win, campaigning for it with all the vigour of a zealous believer - but I don't think so. Nothing in her background would suggest this level of self-absorbtion, and I believe it is to this background that we must turn for clues as to what we are (unless an absolute disaster derails her campaign) about to get.

And it is here that I find my (best) hope. As I've said, I believe that Truss is a natural remainer. I've got a feeling that this nearly slipped out when she let on, earlier in the campaign, that she might allow foreign workers temporary work visas to come and help with the annual harvest as happened when we were members of the EU. It is interesting to me, that this what could have been fatal slip (the membership, who have the power to make or break Truss's leadership bid, would most definitely not have been happy with this) was immediately followed by one - the one that the media seized upon, about her knocking down the wages of provincial civil servants - that they would be perfectly onside with. Was this a really skillful bit of media manipulation by her team, a dead cat par excellence, with which to divert attention away from her potentially damaging boo-boo? It would be naive to think that a good team were not up to pulling off a damage limitation exercise at this level.

But I digress. The point is that Truss is a likely remainer. She absolutely idolises Margret Thatcher, and Thatcher considered her work in establishment of the single market the highest achievement of her premiership. There is no reason not to believe that Truss will, behind the closed doors and carefully hidden in the dark corner of her mind, be in favour of re-entering the single market and customs union. This would be a massive step towards setting things back to rights for this country.

Secondly, we know that Truss is simply not of the entitlement feeling background of her predecessors. She is of staunchly middle class, grammar school(ish) stock. Her parents were center thinking (if not possibly skewed even a bit toward the left) and her position as President of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats shows that, in free choice, she is a natural center ground politician. I think that her much vaunted shift to the right is so much smoke and mirrors; you simply don't throw off your background to this extent - or if you do, your conversion is always going to be weak and subject to revision back to your earlier position when the chips are down (for all your apparent zealotry on the surface). When she actually realises that she has made it - that the power to do as she pleases (within the constraints of what the right wing of her party will let her get away with; neutering them should be her first job as PM) is hers - then the true Truss will out. It is at this point that the party may discover that they have elected, instead of a foam-mouthed, tub-thumping quasi-frontist, rather more a sheep in wolves clothing...... and I mean that as a compliment!
_________________
When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2022 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might have said above that I draw a line directly from Cameron's fateful decision to offer a referendum on EU membership, through the six odd years that have followed, to the chaos and ever disintegrating situation we find ourselves in today.

Many people will balk at this. "Covid-19'" they will shout. "The Russian invasion of Ukraine!"

Yes, they will be correct. But the undeniable fact is that Brexit has left us weakened and more vulnerable to these shocks than would otherwise have been - and by a quiet possibly critical degree.

A key vulnerability in the months ahead (and one that in our wildest nightmares,we never would have thought that we would have to be considering) is going to be food security. We import some forty percent of our food from the EU, but this is likely to change big time for a number of reasons.

Firstly, as I've noted before, the trouble involved for hauliers to transport food to the UK is rendering it not worth the candle. Delays and costs as a result of hugely increased paperwork on returning to Europe mean that a full fifty percent of the round trip is rendered unviable. Why then, would a business owner choose to trade these routes unless the profit on the one half of the journey was hiked up hugely by price increases at the UK end? His lorries can quite easily find routes within the EU proper where carriage is carried out at all stages of the (probably circular and multi-destination) route, making the trip to the UK both unnecessary as well as unviable.

This situation is exaggerated by the drought which is not only effecting the UK, but is also widespread across the whole of Europe. Crop returns are going to be hit in a big way by this, meaning that we will be competing for limited fruit and vegetable availability with countries within the EU for the much diminished harvest. This again will exacerbate the difficulty we will find with finding hauliers to make the troublesome journey to the UK.

And of course our own harvest will be severely diminished by the drought. The potato and cereal crop will be poor and the quality of that which is available will be not that to which we have been accustomed. Already in our supermarkets, that fresh produce which is still finding its way across from the continent is showing signs of significant reduction in quality. It isn't that it is taking longer to get here - arrival into the UK is in no way hampered (on the contrary in fact: if you are a contraband smuggler coming to the UK, you've never had it so good) with our borders being almost totally open in the inward direction. No, the reduction in quality here is simply a result of the reduced profit in coming to the UK. The only way to make the product viable to sell at all is to reduce the purchase price, and that means buying up all of the crap stuff with short product life. As well as this reduction in quality it is also the case that some products are simply not available. Gaps appear on shelves, often in inexplicable places, with increasing regularity and without warning.

As the autumn draws closer and the effects of the drought on harvest levels across the whole of the continent begin to bite, the situation could become serious in the extreme. There is simply no way of telling. But I know from experience just how fragile the entire system is. We in retail, spend our days piling stock onto shelves in a continuous race to stay ahead of the purchasing power of sixty-five million people. A moment's break in the chain and 'whoomph!', the shelves are empty. A shortage of this product here, rapidly translates across to that product there, as consumers shift to alternative options. Before you know it, with a bit of hoarding here, a bit of supply chain issue there, the whole deck of cards comes tumbling down. This happens, and we had a small version of it during the Covid pandemic when isolation was effecting delevery driver availability (as opposed to product availability which has the capability of being much worse.

And all of this begs the question, how well will a population used to a permanent situation of plenty accommodate this? Caught between the pincers of food availability on the one hand and exponentially rising prices on the other (and of course the two things are related) how will they react? They have seen energy firms enjoying profits of five hundred percent that of last year (the BP chairman has had a salary rise from one to four million pounds per year, every Shell employee has received an eight percent bonus on their salary - all done on the back of international energy price rises that they have had nothing to do with) and yet they cannot afford to put food on the table. How long are they going to swallow this. Cold and hungry as the winter months begin to bite, how long before their unhappiness turns to anger.

And what is our next leader, be it Truss or Sunak, going to do about that? If shop windows start going in and cars start burning, what then?

Unhappy thinking folks, but it's maybe time to start thinking the unthinkable. This is where war in Ukraine, and our disproportionate response to Covid and yes, brexit, brexit, brexit, have led us. And as for the Tory hopefuls; you'd have to be mental to want the job of PM at this time.
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....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2022 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me be clear (as the politicians love to say - an immediate indicator that they are going to be anything but), I was never a Grease fan, so I was somewhat surprised this morning to feel a twinge of sadness when I read of the death of Olivia Newton-John, aged 73, after her long battle with cancer.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a completely heartless ***t so, as with all people who retain a shred of humanity in this self-centered world, I don't like hearing about anyone's having died - but it's a part of life and we are adapted to deal with it. I tend thus, to absorb the deaths of people I don't know with the same equanimity that everyone else does (I think); I'm sorry about it, but don't beat myself up over it.

But this was slightly different. I actually felt a small pang of more genuine sadness - it seemed in some way to strike just a bit deeper than usual. Why was this? What was going on here?

Two things I think. Firstly Olivia Newton-John was part of the heritage that my generation grew up with. The image of her and John Travolta singing "You're the one that I want" is hardwired into our collective memory. In some ways (for all that the movie depicts an era from a generation before mine) it is us. With it's slightly over-sweet lyrics and feel, it's rose tinted view of a time even then passed, we could look back at it and identify ourselves with it and say, "yes - I remember. That's how it was!" (Nb, remembering our time of the seventies, not the grease-ball time depicted in the film.) And yesterday a little bit of that died.

Secondly, I think I felt that sadness because in a world that I find little (in the human realm) to feel good about, in this woman I seemed to see something good. I don't know her from Jack, but I never got the impression that she was anything but a nice person. She was pretty and sweet, and didn't seem to do any harm either in terms of her influence as a celebrity or in her (reported) personal life (not that I followed it, I have to admit). So there is a bit of a loss for us all there as well, I think. So I say with all sincerity Olivia, God speed to you - not lost but gone on before.

---------------0--------------

I don't think it's going to make a rats arse of difference, but I have to report that, as was always going to be the case, the Truss campaign for the Tory Party leadership seems to have stumbled upon the - I can't use the word stupidity, because it isn't fair... Truss isn't stupid - weakness (let's say) of their champion, when it comes to extemporaneous comment.

Truss has never been good at winging it. She works best from a script, and the scrutiny she has been placed under of late has put too much opportunity forward for this weakness to be exposed. Consequently she has said things that, although in no way going to prejudice her in the eyes of the voters she is (currently) seeking to please, her opposition have been able to seize upon and use as a stick, via the media, to beat her with.

The main thrust of potential damage comes from their argument that, in saying that she will prioritize tax-cuts over handouts (music to the membership ears, but anathema to everyone else) has all but destroyed the Tory chances of winning the next general election under her leadership. Now this, the voting members might listen to. Not enough to overcome their reticence to vote in a non-white Prime Minister, but sufficient to give them pause.

Meanwhile today's press (where it comments on the leadership battle) report a rift in the Truss camp. Comments from insiders tell journalists that Truss is being advised to tone down the Conservative rhetoric of refusing to help people through the cost of living crisis, and take a more nuanced approach. The voting Tory membership, however, are not ones for nuanced approaches though; they prefer money in their pockets and a good understanding by the proletariat of exactly where they stand - nowhere! Truss supporter Ian Duncan-Smith has said that the reported rift is simply Sunak's team engaging in a bit of the 'dark arts' for which these campaigns are famous. Could be, and if so, they are certainly getting the better of the newspaper coverage, which, while never the once saying anything good about Sunak himself (they seem to have given up on that) is almost entirely about Truss's problems. Significantly though, it has been reported that Johnson's Downing Street team have been in communication with Truss about measures for dealing with the economic crisis (and the media are screaming out for Johnson, recently returned from holiday, to take up the reins of Government once again and address the nation's woes) but Sunak has not been consulted. Perhaps they know something that we don't.

But as I say, I don't think that any of this is of the slightest significance. The membership are going to vote for Truss (unless I have completely misjudged them) and virtually nothing that she says or does is going to change this. Or perhaps, more correctly, I should say that they are not going to vote for Sunak - and here are the reasons. He's brown skinned. He's seen as having stabbed Johnson in the back (and the hand that bears the knife never wears the crown - forget Javid.... they have). He's seen as a socialist because of his big-state leanings when dealing with the pandemic. He's not going to give them tax-cuts.

They are going to vote for Truss because she is white and right, for the money she will give them, for her loyalty to Johnson and because she has convinced them she is a right-winger. Also she reminds them of Thatcher.

Job done Truss. Now sort out the fucking shit-show that your party have created of our country.

(This last being a futile comment because it will be generations before we recover - if ever - from what they have done to us. Those who supported brexit - politicians or plebians - are never going to admit in a month of Sundays that they have made a terrible mistake, so they will do nothing to make it right. They will blame the failure of brexit on remainer civil servants in Whitehall stymying progress and the EU exacting revenge for our leaving, never the once considering that the idea might have been a heap of shit in the first place. (Incidentally, every time one of them uses this excuse, immediately reply with the comment, "So you do conceed that brexit is a failure then?" - this will rapidly puncture their ridiculous arguments and bring about a back-tracking.) Because of this need to not admit to the failure of their brexit religion, they will never, never do that which is necessary to mitigate the worst of its effects, and on this alter will the future of our country, our recovery be sacrificed. The only way to prevent this is to emasculate right wing of the Tory Party, both in the Parliamentary and membership sides, and this simply isn't going to happen. Thus are we knackered and condemned to finding a new place, much, much lower down the rankings in the world - a sort of middle-third world player who does what they are told and in which widespread poverty is endemic. So much for taking back control.)

--------------------------0---------------------------

Can anyone still take the Daily Mail seriously? I ask this question rhetorically because I know that many still do, hanging all of their arguments and thinking on what they read in its pages each day, and as the newspaper with the largest circulation in the country it has significant influence on what actually happens, when people vote according to the principles espoused in its content.

Yesterday the paper ran a front page headline, followed up with content within, suggesting that the parliamentary privileges committee investigation into whether Prime Minister Johnson deliberately misled parliament with his assertion that "no rules have been broken" (during the pandemic lockdown), should be dropped.

In doing so it was following the comments made by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries (that's a laugh in itself) that the Conservative MPs sitting on the committee, where they were until very recently in the majority, should resign their seats on it, because not to do so would be unpatriotic. The investigation is, in Dorries' mind, a stitch up. The verdict of 'guilty as charged' has, she says, already been decided upon, and thus to allow, or partake in, it's going forward, is to be a traitor both to the Party and to the Prime Minister himself.

That Johnson is guilty is blindingly obvious to all but the most blinkered Johnson supporters, and so yes, she has a point that the investigation is to some extent already a done deal - but this is to miss another very real, and much more important point. That the investigation goes forward and comes to its almost inevitable conclusion is of critical importance in the signal that it sends out. The message to our parliamentarians that the kind of thing that we have seen of late - the casual flouting of the rules of probity and rectitude that must....must.....govern standards of behaviour in public life - cannot be allowed to continue. The damage that the egregious displays of contempt for the truth, the barely concealed avarice and self-serving of which the PM's example is but the tip of the iceberg, does to our democracy is devastating and not to be tolerated if we are to retain even the shred of appearance of being other than a completely degenerate nation - a despotic state in all but name.

The Mail saw fit to attack the Conservative MPs on the committee - one had made, it said, a swipe at the Prime Minister by saying that the next administration must put honestly and service in the national interest at the heart of its governance - listing in each case things that they had said or done that showed them in a disloyal light. Party Grandees and highly respected members were dissed alike as being unpatriotic and self-serving for being on the committee. Thus does the party's main organ of communication (to the masses, at least) turn on the very members of its own tribe, in commendation of a purge of anything that remains decent, and respectable, and worthy of preservation, within the Party as a whole.

And they have got it (as usual) absolutely wrong. If it is to survive, the Party has to purge itself of this total slide into sleaze and corruption. Truth and integrity must become its central principle - and visibly so - if public trust in itself, and in our polity more generally, is to be restored. This process should absolutely begin with the sitting of the parliamentary privileges committee, the establishment of Johnson's clear and undeniable guilt, and if this be done, his immediate and permanent removal from parliament, henceforth to enjoy the shame and ignominy incumbent with such a judgement. Johnson's time in parliament has been a shame in which we have all shared, to our national disgrace. Now is the time that like James Cagney at the end of Angels with Dirty Faces, he can actually perform a real service to his Party and country, by being held up as a clear example that in our system, we do not tolerate politicians who flout the dignity of their office in such an egregious and unprincipled a manner.
_________________
When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2022 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not going to happen. It's never going to happen. But here is my idea of what could make our next leader a truly great one - or at least one that would go down in history as having made the most significant of contributions to their country, in helping to steer it back on course to a more 'strong and stable' ( Wink ) future.

I referred above to the forthcoming investigation of Boris Johnson by the parliamentary privileges committee. This must be done without delay - and done in a rigorous and visibly fair manner. If his misleading of parliament was inadvertent as he claims, then so be it, he must be exonerated. But if it can be established beyond reasonable doubt (that's a key phrase) that he must have known that transgressions were occuring under his watch, then he must have his parliamentary privileges removed immediately and permanently. This sends out signals to MPs and the general public both, that the intention to 'clean up the act' is both genuine and serious (ie in the way that it will be pursued).

The next thing for the new incumbent of Downing Street to do is to make a public statement to their new Government. They need to tell them that they, Ministers and MPs alike, are there to serve the public and the nation. That while they remain in position, it will be expected that they will keep this in the forefront of their thinking at all times. Further, that any deviation on their part from this will result in immediate and summary dismissal. This is the benchmark of standards that can be expected of those in public life and it will be upheld throughout the course of the administration's term of office.

Third, the new incumbent needs to, in public statement, level with the British people. For too long have they been treated as children, allowed to hide their faces from the reality of the harm we have wrought upon ourselves. That they, the public, were led astray was not their fault. They were subject to promises that could not be kept, fantasies of thinking that bore no relationship to reality, and ignored the warnings that time has shown to have been absolutely and completely on the mark.

The extremity of the situation we now find ourselves in requires no less than a statement of similar gravity to that which Johnson made before the Covid lockdown, explaining that something must now be done to attempt to mitigate the worst of the consequences of the implementation of the referendum result. That trade links must be re-established with our closest and biggest trading partner, that the labour shortage must be addressed, if we are to effect any kind of recovery. That now is the time to face up to the reality of the decision we made, and recognise that in execution at least, we have made a mistake. A terrible mistake that must be rectified.

I do not believe that the public of this country are not capable of receiving such a message in the spirit in which it is given. If now is the time for truth, (let our new leader say), then let it run both ways. It is a fact that those who still fail to recognise that the brexit project has failed (at least, as I say, in the way our withdrawal has been handled) are either those who are so blinkered with xenophobic nationalism that they are simply blind to what is happening around them, or those who really don't give a fig about the country, but have vested interest in the continuation of this most hardest of brexits. To the vast majority however, the consequences of the way we have handled it are apparent. To these thinking individuals, the sight of a Prime Minister who is capable of levelling with the country, of spelling out the realities and putting forth a plan for recovery, will not be too much. They will take the message on the chin and heed it. They are capable of rising to that.

Having done these three impossible things, our new leader should then announce an immediate general election in which they will fight on a platform of re-entering the single market and customs union. That we need to reset our relationship with the EU into one that while still respecting the result of the referendum, returns us to the position of a friendly and cooperative trading partner, rather than the antagonistic and contrary one in which the current withdrawal agreement has placed us. Having stated this, they should then step back and let the people decide.

None of this will ever happen. It's fantasy football for the politically interested. No more than idle musings.

But Boris Johnson came to power on the basis of a lie. How about one for a change, that comes on the basis of truth.
_________________
When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2022 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Liz Truss was apparently never in favour of lockdowns. She didn't support them when she was in cabinet and she doesn't support them now. She has said that if she wins the leadership race to become our next Prime Minister, that no such thing will ever occur on her watch.

Well as a vocal critic of the policy myself, I can hardly complain at that, but all I can say is that it's a damn shame that she didn't have the cojones to come out and say this back in the day while they were going on.

Suddenly, now that the disastrous consequences of what we did in our hyperbolic response to the virus are becoming apparent (consequences which many of us warned of at the time - it wasn't rocket science to predict them, after all) everybody and his mother is suddenly remembering that they too were against this hugely damaging overreaction, which was forced onto our lives.

Now that the economy is in tatters, supply chains upon which our society relies (like that which ensures our access to our prescribed medicines, which the Daily Express reports today is broken and failing to meet the demands placed upon it) shattered, and our health service broken asunder, suddenly no-one can be found who actually supported the policy.

In a rather sheepish little report tucked away on the lower corner of the front page, today's Telegraph refers to the tens of thousands predicted to die as a result of missed and delayed cancer screenings, and even quotes "leading oncologist" Karol Sicora on the subject. That would be the same Karol Sicora who I used to watch on YouTube during the worst days of the pandemic, screaming out in warning of what we were doing, but who could not be seen for love nor money on any of the mainstream media outlets because his arguments on what we were laying up for ourselves ran counter to the official policy of the day.

Now that the shock of war and pandemic aftereffects are blasting our economy back into the seventies, that millions are being forced into fuel poverty and quite possibly thousands will die thereof (because who will ever know the contributory element that this will play in death statistics) will the BBC give us a day to day running total of the 'deaths from the pandemic response - within 28 months of the negative effects'...... I somehow doubt it.

But at least we have Truss as a latter-day convert to our cause. It's too late now of course. The damage is done and there will doubtless be millions of excess deaths, of lost life hours, of people whose lives will be ruined, savings and security blown out of the water, before the effects are diluted away like blood in the flowing waters of time. But here we are. With dull repetition of the brexit scenario, those of us who saw the (blindingly obvious) consequences of what we were doing, globally as well as domestically, get to say, "We told you so!", but without any shadenfreude, any feeling of satisfaction at being right. Because now we all pay the price. Not the one of us from the great to the small will escape this cost. Money, power or both may serve as brief insulation for a while, but when the base of the pyramid is eroded, how long can it be before the apex will fall?

But as Liz Truss is now discovering, hindsight is a wonderful thing - but it's just a damn shame that some foresight did not come before it.
_________________
When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2022 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today leadership hopeful Liz Truss tells us that "Profit has become a dirty word" in our society. She laments this, arguing against a further windfall tax on the energy companies as a disincentive to investment and research were it to be applied.

I agree that for a company to profit from its activities, to realise the rewards of the risk it takes with its investment of capital, should it pay off, is fine. More than that, it is desirable. None of the business activity upon which the tax revenues of a country are dependent are (in anything other than a wholly communist state) are possible, unless the profit motive exists.

But a windfall tax is a different thing all together. It is a tax on profit that results not from endeavour, but from external occurrences that, by fortune alone if you like, put wealth or increased profits onto a business' books. More akin, if you like, to inheritance tax. In the case of the energy companies, increasing world prices since the restarting of the world economy post Covid, have fed through onto the balance sheets of our energy companies, generating hugely inflated profits for the executives and shareholders alike to enjoy. And this while the consumers at the other end of the chain are rinsed in order to supply these profits, by virtue of the mandated control system by which prices are calculated.

With a population on the verge of going into a winter during the course of which, tens of thousands of households will not be able to afford to heat themselves, where elderly and vulnerable people will suffer and die on the back of these profits, Truss's position is clearly wrong.

Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, tells us that we should not ask for inflation meeting wage rises: that to do so is to fuel the wage-price rise spiral that is behind inflation. That unless we accept small or no wage rises, in essence, a pay cut, then the wage-price rise spiral cannot be broken.

But there is a bit of slight of hand going on here, a bit of smoke and mirrors that it is important to get out into the light. And it cuts right to the heart of Truss's contention that profit should not be a dirty word.

Because what we have got here is most definitely not a wage-price rise spiral. On the contrary it is a profit-price rise spiral, with wages fighting to keep pace. In other words, exactly the opposite of the situation that Bailey describes. Because it is companies, desperate to maintain their profits (or even greedy to increase them) in the post Covid resurgent economies that is pushing up prices. Because as demand for energy surged, and this fed through into the shortfall of supply that pushed up prices, the costs of everything they did increased, and rather than take a hit to profits, they then passed these costs on to the consumer (often with a bit more on the side) in the form of price rises at the point of consumption. And bang - there you have your inflation.

But the trouble is, as has always been the case with business following a period of disruptive change (think the change from 'old money' to the new decimal currency of the seventies (?), think the oil price rises of the same) they like at these times to slip in a little bit more. To squeeze an extra shilling here, the odd few pence there. "Bad weather?" Bit of a price rise that never goes down. "Supply chain problem?" Extra few pence on that product there. "Pandemic recovery and war in Europe combination?" Blimey boys! Pay-dirt!

And with people who are watching their lives torn asunder, savings decimated and disposable incomes plummeting, suddenly profit doesn't start to look so good. Because while companies laugh all of the way to the bank, people fall into destitution in their millions to pay for it. And never is the suggestion mooted that just maybe some of the hit of that initial energy cost increase should be taken by the companies themselves, absorbed onto the books in the form of a reduction of profits, rather than being dumped, dumped and dumped again upon the bowing shoulders of the consumer.

No, this would never do. Because in Truss's world, Profit is not merely good - it is the God. The God before which all must bow down, and if necessary, be sacrificed.

Sorry guys, but I'm not sure that this time it's going to work. I'm not sure that this generation are going to 'suck it up' n the way that previous ones have. This time, after all of the crap that the last six years has brought us, I sense movement in the beast. Grumblings and growlings that tell us that the mob is stirring, that time and circumstances and simply too much pumelling over too long a period have awoken (or at least are well on the way toward doing so) a behemoth that will not readily be soothed back to sleep.

We are about to enter a period of compressed change, and what will emerge from it might well be beyond the capabilities of even the movers and shakers to control. And that is a situation that will not be conducive of smiles in the high corridors of power.

(As my wife rightfully pointed out to me earlier, this is the policy of third world countries - to wring money out of a wretchedly poor population in order to maintain or increase the wealth of a small (an ever smaller, in our case) sector of society who thrive in the face of the poverty and destitution around them. Either the people will accept this transition to a third world mindset in our country - or they will not. This remains the biggest question we now face, and it will be the one which will cause the incoming prime minister the most sleepless nights as they bed-in to their newly won role. Uneasy, as they say lies the head that wears the crown (unless of course it was Boris Johnson, who could lie with ease at any time, day or night.)
_________________
When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2022 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Northern Ireland Protocol and its destabilising effect on the thin deal we currently enjoy with the EU is about to hit the headlines again as a deadline for some required act of UK compliance is reached on August 16.

I'm not sure what it is - it might be submission to the pre-trial stages of the ECJ court proceedings in respect of UK non adherence to the terms of the protocol or something - but it is going to be, whatever it is, one of the first major headaches that our new PM is going to have to address, within days of their accession to the role.

Apologies for not being clearer as to the nature of the deadline (it's pretty complicated stuff, and the media will make it clear in due course) but one thing I can tell you is that the situation presented to the new PM is going to be both intractable in nature and critical in importance in terms of our economic future.

An expert on EU-Uk law (a Professor from Cambridge) I saw talking about it on YouTube, said that, despite what Boris Johnson had tried to tell us, that the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, currently at committee stage in its passage through the House, was a mere tinkering with the original text - the proposed changes included in the Bill (being passed unilaterally by the UK parliament) are significant and wide ranging, representing a fundamental rewriting of the whole Protocol. She said further, that it was pretty inconceivable that the UK participants in the drawing up of the text of the protocol could not have understood its full implications in respect of trade borders down the Irish Sea, and the claim now that such was the case was really for the birds. On the back of this, we can only assume that the original signing of the withdrawal agreement was not done in good faith with the intention of abiding by its terms.

How damaging this act of mendacity by Frost and Johnson will prove to be when it is taken into consideration by every other third party that we ever try to reach an international agreement with from this day forth, we shall have to wait and see, but in terms of the wait for the more immediate effects of our mendacity, it will not be long.

There is still a substantial body of feeling in the House that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that we currently enjoy with the EU was merely a prelude to our full emancipation from the EU when the Agreement is due for reconsideration in 2026, at which point we will essentially be leaving fully under what is commonly understood to be a no-deal situation.

The TCA, while it is thin, does have the advantage over the no-deal situation insofar as it does contain a zero quotas and tariffs clause that lifts it above the essentially GATT agreement that in other senses it pretty much replicates. If we loose this on the back of the failings of the Northern Ireland Protocol, then we essentially return to trading on WTO terms, not existentially threatening in terms of the UK economy, but not much fun for the companies who currently remain exporters to the EU, who will suddenly find their goods subject to quotas and tariffs ala the bad/good old days (take your pick) of pre-EU days.

There are other things going on, like for example Jacob Rees-Mogg's pet project of overturning the original European Withdrawal Agreement of (what) 2018, which saw the whole body of EU-UK law dumped en masse into UK law, essentially so that it didn't have to be sorted through item by item, gargantuan task to put it mildly. Rees-Mogg wants to see all of this law removed and torn up, good and bad alike, on the basis that it is (he claims) undemocratic. His reasoning is that it was not voted through parliament, but conveniently forgets that we, as members of the EU (with disproportionate power is the body as it happens) were party to the drawing up of this law at the time of its making. No doubt Rees-Mogg has some vested interest in seeing particular aspects of this law jettisoned, as he did with our leaving the EU in the first place. His personal fortune it was reported at the time, rose by millions simply on the back of share price and company valuations on the day following the referendum. No personal interest there then.

But back to the matter in hand, both Sunak and Truss have made a bidding war on how far and fast they will go in tearing up EU laws, part of their leadership campaigns, with Sunak currently winning with his promise to eject huge bundles of law within 100 days of taking office (Truss has only promised to do the same in a year).

But as I say, it is going to be much sooner than this that the proof that brexit is far, far from being 'done' raises its ugly head. Look forward to a major diplomatic confrontation within days or weeks at most, during which the seeds of destruction for our next leader will undoubtedly be sown - another scalp to brexit, the gift that keeps on giving, as yet another PM falls under the bus with 350 million a week written on its side.
_________________
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

List of The Benefits of Brexit to Date

1. Fifteen percent reduction in exports to the EU.

2. Predicted four percent hit to GDP in the long run.

3. Supply chains from the continent devastated.

4. Threat to food security from reduced motivation to transport to the UK.

5. Inability to access the necessary transient labour to carry out the annual harvest.

6. Staff shortages in the NHS, the care sector, hospitality and HGV drivers, with severe
consequences as seen.

7. Collapse of UK-EU relationship with imminent trade war looming.

8. Huge disruption to travel to and from the continent. Queues and long waits at all ports l
eading thereto.

9. Significant loss of product range in numerous areas of retail, especially significant in
food sector.

10. Employment conditions, holiday allowances and working time directives under threat
from all sides as employers test the waters on new found 'freedoms'.

11. Reduction in cooperation with our continental neighbors on the problem of asylum
seekers and illegal immigration.

12. Zero reduction in net immigration as numbers of EU migrants no longer coming is
matched by a four-fold increase in immigration from non-EU countries.

13. The jeopardising of the fragile peace in Northern Ireland

14. The reduction of foreign direct investment in the UK by an estimated 22 percent.

15. The loss of the Erasmus scheme facilitating study abroad for students.

16. The security implications of no longer having full access to the Schengen Security
System, a vital tool in the monitoring of who is entering the country.

Put it like that, I begin to see my error in thinking brexit might be a bad idea. Can't think why we didn't do it years ago!
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When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2022 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think of a corner shop. Think of it in terms of it having a kind of 'gravity'. By which I mean that the closer people live to that shop, the more they will be drawn to use it. The further away from it they live, the lower the gravitational attraction toward that shop will be, until ultimately, it becomes negligible.

What would you think then, of an owner of such a shop who said, "I'm not going to do trade with the people in my surrounding streets and neighborhoods. I want to sell to the people in the next town, or the next county - don't want to deal with the ones on my doorstep..... don't like em." You'd say such a trader was mad. Not the full shilling.

Well this 'gravity of trade' exists at national levels as much as at local. It is a simple fact, an immutable law if you like, that countries will trade more with those closest to them, and decreasingly so with countries as you move further away. And as with any other of nature's immutable laws, any attempt to defy it will not tend to end well. And brexit was of course, just this. There simply wasn't anything about that which we trade in, which made the denial of facilitation of trade with our closest geographical neighbors sensible.

In the course of compiling my little list above (see previous post) I had need to remind myself of this and that, and did searches such as "effects of brexit on education" or "effects of brexit on security". In not one of the results of these searches, in any area at all, did the studies - official or academic - yeild anything but negative effects, projected or already actualised. Such was the result of our decision to leave the EU. It has been described as the greatest act of self harm a country has inflicted upon itself in history, and we as the only country in history to impose sanctions upon ourselves. There seems, if the results of the searches are anything to go by, to be truth in this.

During the referendum campaign, Michael Gove famously said that, "People are fed up with experts!" The implication was that every man and his mother's view of the desirability of leaving the EU (or otherwise) had equal weight. At what point was this ever - ever - true? When you have an operation done in the local hospital, who do you want to do it? A surgeon, an expert with the knife who has studied and honed his art - or the bloke who you met in the pub last night who knew a lot about Manchester United? At what point did it ever make sense to throw a decision of this complexity into the public arena - and on the decision of a simple majority, decided if you like, by one person - your mate from the pub most likely - and with no second confirmatory vote, just to be sure, just in case we had a bit of buyer's remorse, a few second thoughts when we actually saw how hard this was going to be and where we were likely to land up.

And here we are, crippled in virtually every area you can choose to search out, and it's only going to get worse. In my shop we were supposed to have a delivery on Saturday. It's been cancelled until Tuesday - no drivers to make the run. Same in the shop across the road. One of our sister shops hasn't had a main delivery for eight days. By Tuesday our shelves will be nearly empty. And this is replicated the length and breadth of the country. It isn't the heat either - it's been ongoing for ages, sometimes better, sometimes worse - always worse than before we stopped continental drivers from making up the shortfall in our own. We're supposed to be recruiting and training more in order to meet this shortfall, but it doesn't seem to be working.

So the politicians who led us into this place, what have they to say for themselves? Nothing. What have the media, broadcast, printed or social to say? Nothing. At what point are those responsible for this state of affairs going to be made to account for their role in this debacle? Never it seems. On the contrary, they sit in the highest office and enjoy the fruits of the carnage they have wrought upon others, upon future generations of the people who they were supposed to represent, whose future interest was supposed to be their chief concern.

Ask anyone you know who voted for brexit to list five benefits that we have actually got out of leaving the EU. No damn it - one! Even one will do! Now contrast it with the list - far from exhaustive - that I knocked out in a few minutes yesterday, of the penalties. Now ask the same of the politicians and influencers who conned the fifty two blokes from the pub upon whose 'wisdom' our future, the future of our children, was decided.

Look at us. Just look at us! If I sound angry it's because I am. A bloke I worked with told me he, "wasn't interested in politics?" But he was interested enough to vote for brexit, by his own admission because of immigration. And on the basis of his bigotry, his racism, my future, your future, your children's future, and your children's children's future was sacrificed - and now it's time that somebody has to answer for this.

In our media, this is the subject that dare not raise its head. But bollocks to that. It's time for an accounting. Time for those who led us here to stand in the dock and be held to account.
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When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2022 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Look at us. Just look at us! If I sound angry it's because I am. A bloke I worked with told me he, "wasn't interested in politics?" But he was interested enough to vote for brexit, by his own admission because of immigration. And on the basis of his bigotry, his racism, my future, your future, your children's future, and your children's children's future was sacrificed - and now it's time that somebody has to answer for this.

I saw something relevant -- and funny -- and rather POINTED -- this weekend. Thought I'd post it here. It may be old news to some.

Trevor Noah, in Afraid of the Dark, wrote:
“That’s why I’m voting for Brexit, right? Because this bloody country is going to the dogs. Right? This bloody country. And I want Britain back. That’s why we voted for Brexit, because we want Britain back!”

From who?

“These bloody immigrants come over here. They’re up to no good, right? I hate these bloody immigrants. They need to go back to where they came from.”

But why do you hate them so much?

“I’ll tell you why I hate them. Because they’re not even trying to be British. That’s why. They don’t even try to be British.

They come here. They bring their own bloody culture. They bring their own food, spit their own bloody languages, try to take over the whole bloody place.”


That sounds British to me.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2022 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing I'd have to agree with that Wayfriend - but for the fact that one of our leadership hopefuls has said that he intends to make being overly critical of Britain a quasi-criminal offence, with 're-education' centers being set up to deal with those deemed guilty of it! Needless to say, it will be his Government that will be deciding on what the definition of overly critical is. All I can say is good luck to the bloke who tries to re-educate me on the nature of what it is to be British!

Wink
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....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: Tue Aug 16, 2022 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that we know from the publication of the Forde Report that accusations of anti-Semitism were used as a weapon in the successful efforts to undermine the Corbyn leadership, we must ask ourselves why this was done? What caused the right wing of the Party to turn against the democratically arrived at decision of their own membership, that Corbyn should lead them in their fight against the entrenched Conservative Party Government that has so dominated British politics since time immemorial.

That they were not alone in the desire to see Corbyn removed from the position of Labour leader was evident at the time when, in an example of solidarity not usually seen, printed and visual media were united in seizing upon any and every opportunity to reveal his credentials as an anti-Semite, a terrorist sympathiser, a closet communist and the next thing to the antichrist.

But why? What was it that stirred up such unanimity of purpose against this mild mannered man who clearly hated confrontation in any form, but seemed to attract it wherever he went.

The answer of course is fear. But not the fear that you might have expected. Not fear of the man himself.

No, the fear was rather of what he represented. The fear was of the mass who had voted him into place. That the people had taken the power upon themselves, decided what they wanted, and made it happen. It was this that was unacceptable to the powers that be, not the man himself. And not even per se what he stood for. It was the demonstration of the people acting for themselves, of breaking away from the guiding hand of an elite group - call it the extension of the Oxford University Debating Society, of which prominent members of the Labour Party, Starmer included are very much a part, if you like - that had to be resisted at all costs. This was what could not be tolerated and was why the battle against him found such unlikely bed-fellows as the right wing media, the BBC, the parliamentary Labour Party uniting together in condemnation of a man who had worked tirelessly in support of the oppressed, the downtrodden, the unrepresented, for the entirety of his political career.

The election of Corbyn as party leader represented a threat to the vested interests in our society, interests that hold sway on both sides of the political divide, so that now, whoever wins elections and takes up the reins of power, it is guaranteed that nothing will ever change.

This is the great smoke and mirrors trick that is still being pulled off to this day, even in the face of the Forde Report findings. That it was never about Corbyn. It was about you, and me, and the rest of us. It was about making sure that we continued to be led, by this side or that - no matter which - and never, never, never, had the temerity to think or God forbid, act for ourselves.

So when hear that Sir Kier Stamer has come up with another plan to save us from the evil energy bosses ( Rolling Eyes ) or that Liz Truss is going to ship half of the country to Rwanda, you shouldn't jump to take sides - because that's the point and you've already missed the trick. And when you hear another story about how Corbyn was cheated out of his leadership, how the election win that he should have had in 2017 was denied him, because behind the scenes funding was being syphoned to Labour candidates who were undermining his campaign (which was lost by a mere few thousand votes) and you aren't that bothered, well you fucking well should be! Because it was you who was cheated. Even if you didn't vote for Corbyn - it was you who was fucked over by interests that worked together to make sure that no-one like you would ever have a voice that would be heard. That all you would ever get to do would be to listen, to follow. Never to decide for yourself, never to make the running for yourself.

No, you should be mad because it wasn't Corbyn that was cheated out of his victory - he was and is (though a good man) immaterial. It was you...... and you don't even realize it!
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When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2022 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Tory reputation as 'the nasty party' is well earned and exemplified by the governments they form.

Take the current attempts by Home Secretary Priti Patel to prevent the revelation in open court, of extracts from two foreign service documents that suggest that in Rwanda, to where the Government proposes to ship unwanted asylum seekers without any hope of return, "torture and even killings" are used as a means of enforcing state control.

Patel knows full well that in the face of such revelations, stated openly and with candour, the proposed Government policy becomes even more difficult to defend than it currently is. So in the manner of any good apparatchik with totalitarian leanings she simply attempts to withhold the information from the public domain under a slubbered up application suggesting that its revelation could harm UK-Rwanda relationships.

Nice one Priti. Good to know that you at least can be relied upon to maintain the party tradition and not let any pesky reservations of ethics or morality get in the way of a good crowd-pleaser.

---------------------0--------------------

It's not by random chance that London sits at the administrative centre of our country and that the South-East dominates both in terms of wealth and attention, in comparison to other 'lesser' parts of the country.

It goes right back to pre-Roman times when a habitation gathered around the first narrow point/ford where the Thames could be crossed, inland from its broad estuary - a natural meeting point for all attempting to cross between the rich lands north and south of the river. Important for the Romans as well for this reason (think of troop movements), the city grew from these humble roots - and its natural position, close to the key landing place for ships arriving from the continent only added to this importance.

More broadly, the South-East is the agricultural heartland (well, sort of) of the country. Flat, rich and easy to cultivate, they quickly rose above other parts of the country in terms of their wealth, dominance and desirability as places to live, and their proximity to the thriving hub of commerce and communication with the continent (to which the Roman administration still retained significant connection, despite being pretty much autonomous in its governance) only made this more so.

And nothing has changed. London and the South-East have jealousy held on to this position of dominance, wealth and service availability lessening in inverse proportion to the distance from the capital.

The levelling up agenda of the Tory Government is an attempt to redress some of this imbalance, but in truth is only really a sop to the red-wall seats that gave it power in the last general election and has never really been pursued with much enthusiasm, for all their loud words. By claiming to be supporters of a redistribution of power and wealth to the provinces and away from the centre, it is the Tories hope that come the next election, they will retain some of that support which Boris Johnson won with his brexit dissembling election manifesto, and retain power thereby.

But I happen to think that they're on to something.

I've shouted elsewhere on these pages for reform - and this is exactly the place where I think that it should begin. Our system is archaic. Its adversarial nature - two parties sitting opposite each other in permanent disagreement and confrontation (not to mention in an antiquated and rat-infessted building with water running down the walls) - brooks for no cooperation, no working together for the general interest of all. Time for it to be swept away.

Abandon the old building - tear it down and utilise the space created for some more useful purpose - and move our administrative centre to a more central place (I'd suggest Northampton as the nearest to centre point of England you can get) from whence services can be distributed more equitably. Build a new Westminster (call it, imaginatively, New-Westminster) with a debating forum in keeping with most others of the modern world, in the shape of a semicircle. Begin, once and for all, to redress the balance of this country away from the South-East and toward the provinces. This would be a major step toward the establishment of a new polity fit for the coming centuries and away from an archaic and antiquated center of gravity that has outlived its useful life - especially and all the more so, since we have deliberately chosen to turn our backs on the original reason that it was situated where it was in the first place.
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When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We finally got our delivery in the shop, a miserable affair with many product lines unavailable and limited supply of others. Even after the delivery had been put out, the shelves still have a bare look about them with multiple gaps and absences.

Our company has put up a notice of apology stating that this is due to supply chain issues - but only a minimal number of people will get that it is at least fifty percent brexit related. Certainly the pandemic drove many drivers away from the business, not to return when the thing was over, but this should easily have resolved itself by now.

What we are seeing now is the result of two related things. Firstly we have no continental drivers resident in UK now - and these used to make up a substantial part of the delivery driver contingent of the country pre-brexit. Secondly, the haulage companies of the continent are simply eschewing the UK routes because, as I've noted above, they cannot accommodate the time delay on the return run (made all the worse by the additional paperwork and administration if they try to carry goods as well) and still remain profitable. So our supermarkets simply cannot get the goods into the UK at the rate we use them up.

My natural inclination is to tell every customer who complains that we haven't got this or that, that if they voted for brexit then this is exactly what they voted for, but I refrain because the bulk of people simply wouldn't have it in them to be able to accommodate the truth. My co-worker last night was completely unaware that brexit was anything to do with the supply issues we are experiencing. She explained to me that she had voted for brexit because she "liked Farage - what he was saying." Put it another way, she wanted all of "them coloured people" out of the country. Yeah, that worked out didn't it! Rolling Eyes

-------------------------0---------------------

Faux sincerity is always immediately obvious - those guilty of it always betray it by trying too hard - and distasteful to the observer. There are three candidates who are the worst offenders, Kier Stamer, Nadhim Zahawi and Sajid Javid, who all make my skin crawl because of it almost every time they open their mouths.

Take Nadhim Zahawi, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. Commenting on yesterday's news that inflation had gone into double digits for the first time in decades - forty plus years - he said with his face full of concern....... exactly nothing. He knew how hard things were, he totally got it that tens of thousands of households would simply hit the wall in the coming months, and he and his department were laying down plans for every which way to make this better - there was no limit to what he was going to do...... But of what those plans were we heard nothing. Not a jot. Zahawi with his hundred million tucked away in the bank and his future as a minister of the government held in abeyance until the leadership race is completed, simply isn't going to put in the roadwork on a job that someone else might reap the benefits of.

Similarly, Javid was on the breakfast tv shows doing his support for Liz Truss thing, and speaking with so much sincerity, so much sincerity, it was almost painful to watch him. He did believe that tax cuts were the starting point to dealing with the cost of living crisis, he did believe that sending people such as his own immigrant parents to Rwanda was the right thing, he did believe that Liz Truss was the next thing to Jesus Christ when it came to dishing out the loaves and fishes, that she would walk upon the turbulent economic waters and turn them into the wine of recovery and success.

And he said it all with such sincerity that even the interviewer was laughing at him (the excellent Judge Rinder as it happens) and saying that he wasn't a hundred percent sure that he (Javid) was being quite as truthful about his impression of Truss as he might be. Everyone and his mother could see that Javid didn't mean a word of it, just like Zahawi, but he was bleeding sincerity from every pore. Everyone knows that Truss is simply saying what the old Tory Party membership want to hear, and that it's all bollocks: that getting voted in is the only thing that matters to her at the moment and that she will say that black is white and the moon is made of green cheese if it helps in that cause..... but Javid has to keep up the pretence. It's all bollocks.

Damn it. Give me a good old lying bastard like Johnson every day. At least he doesn't bother to try and cover up his blatant dissembling with a mock pretence of honesty. He just smirks as he does it because he knows he's lying and he knows that you know it to - but he just doesn't give a fuck.
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When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2022 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And now we've touched upon the subject of sincerity let's move on to that of honesty.

Boris Johnson was elected both to the leadership of his party, and then the country, on the back of a lie. The lie was that he could solve the brexit trilemma. That of the mutual exclusivity of maintaining the integrity of the single market and customs union, not having a border down the Irish Sea, and not having a border on the island of Ireland.

It couldn't be done; it was not possible to satisfy all three of these conditions simultaneously. But Johnson lied and said he could, and was voted in on the back of that lie. (It is a moot point as to whether people actually believed him, or whether they simply wanted out of the dilemma we were in and were prepared to run with the lie in order to achieve this.)

Sir Kier Stamer lied in order to win the Labour Party leadership. He pretended to the masses that had joined in support of Corbyn that he was the Corbyn continuity candidate, and then he reneged on all of his election promises once he had achieved his goal.

Liz Truss is now lying in order to win the Tory Party leadership race. She is saying that tax cuts will save the economy when she knows that this is crap. But it's what the membership wants to hear and so she is saying it anyway.

All of this begs the question as to whether we will ever get another leader elected on the basis of the truth. Are we so far down the road now that we can no longer stand the truth; that unless a politician lies and dissembles and tells us what we want to hear, we will no longer accept them.? Was it ever thus or has it really just come to this?

Perhaps the truth simply is to unpalatable to be told. That we have screwed ourselves with our brexit, and our pandemic, and now the descent of Europe into war. That we are now a basket case headed inexorably down the road into quasi third-world obscurity, and the end result is preordained whether we slow it down with a bit of austerity or a bit of borrowing and blowing, one way or the other.

And maybe the thinking is that even though the truth will out one day - it has to come out, like the truth of what had happened to the Jewish people during the Third Reich, which must have been impossible to speak of with any belief or credence until it became absolutely unavoidable, undeniable - that the longer that this time is put off for, before the truth is eventually spoken, then the less likely it will be to cause public anger and uprising?

Is this where we are?

(Edit; Apologies if the Holocaust reference is insensitive. It was the only example I could think of to convy the meaning, the 'vibe', of what I was trying to get across. That feeling that 'this can't be so' if you like. The situations are of course in no way comparable in any other respect.)
_________________
When your wages are so low that they do not meet your basic needs, then debt and wage bondage inevitably follow. At this point you are effectively existing in a state of slavery.

....and the glory of the world becomes less than it was....
'Have we not served you well'
'Of course - you know you have.'
'Then let it end.'

We are the Bloodguard
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