Author Archives: bombaychatterbox


Continue the Project. Really?

Anyone around still knowledgeable enough to inform any Martians landing in London that the steam engine and the train both originated in the UK, would probably be vapourised for barefaced lying. Apart from the ongoing HS2 debacle, the general state of our various railways is so bad that not even space visitors could be expected to believe we turned a great BRITISH early 19th century revolutionary idea, which largely drove the Industrial Revolution, into the current mess.

The original plans for the proposed HS2 new line from London to Birmingham have been so vandalised that the initial concept of connecting London Birmingham Manchester and Leeds via a new high speed line at an estimated cost of some £32bn in 2009 has now soared to a mind boggling £112bn and an urgent decision is now awaited on whether to continue Phase 1, the London to Birmingham stretch.

The main construction work is not even due to start until March this year but already there is talk of further delay. Government has already spent some £8bn on the project which is now not due for completion until 2027. Obviously this date is subject to unlimited extensions as further financial and construction problems begin to emerge.

Now everyone knows that you just do not throw good money after bad and that sometimes it’s better to take a hit and call it a day. In HS2, the British Taxpayer has a ready made bottomless pit with no prospect of calculating the final cost. Would anyone with any intelligence really have any doubt as to whether the venture should be halted?

However, a decision is due to be made soon by Government one way or the other. Latest reports have the PM set to continue the scheme ‘in defiance of his principal adviser’.

In the meantime, no one seems to have noticed that by the time Phase 1 comes into operation sometime in the 2030’s, the whole concept and design of HS2 will not only be 30 years out of date……………….

……………BUT, by then Japan will have the superfast 374mph Super MagLev fully operational on its flagship routes.

Aren’t we all on the wrong track Mr Johnson?



Our closest military allies have banned HuaWei from further involvement in the supply of communications equipment over fears the Chinese Government could use its systems for espionage. The USA, along with Australia, New Zealand, Canada & Japan, has been most vocal in calling for the UK to have no further dealings with the Chinese technological giant.

Britain’s MI6 Chief has said the UK should avoid relying on a monopoly provider of equipment.

Under the Chinese National Law, HuaWei is legally bound under the constitution like all Chinese companies & nationals to provide any information Beijing or the Chinese Communist Party demands. It has no choice in the matter.

It is also an ongoing fear that through HuaWei, Chinese hackers would find an easy way into Western intelligence shared information. The US Government is also trying to prevent Western companies using Huawei’s routers and switches.

Against this background, Britain has reportedly gone against the flow and told its intelligence partners that it will maintain its HuaWei relationship but confine it to the ‘peripheral’ part of 5G ie the RAN (Radio Access Network), known as the ‘dumb’ part of the network. This is because the smarter software, although handling a greater volume of traffic, will not actually affect the data.

So the UK believes by banning HuaWei from the core, and confining it to the RAN, this makes its involvement more manageable.

However, I agree with those cyber security experts who maintain that over time the ‘edge’, the name given to the boundary between the core and the periphery, will gradually disappear, as more sensitive operations are done closer to users.

How then will it be possible to exclude HuaWei, and obviously the Chinese State, from the network’s secret areas?

China has made no secret of her political and territorial aims. These are hostile to the best interests of the Western Alliance. Some say there is little doubt that certain elements of the British establishment have been seduced by Beijing and continue to overplay the benefits of expanding economic ties while greatly underestimating the security risk.

Quo Vadis Mr Johnson?


or future rules pertaining to UK dealings with the World’s biggest technology supplier

While this Chinese tech giant faces bans in the USA, Japan, New Zealand & Australia, over fears that the Chinese government could use it’s systems to spy on other countries, it is now working with all 4 UK mobile networks to test it’s 5G wireless equipment.

The British National Cyber Security Centre has decided it can mitigate Huawei’s 5G security risks. Meanwhile, the US Government is trying to prevent American companies using Huawei’s routers and switches.

The tech giant, with its back against the wall, reportedly has agreed to UK Intelligence demands to address risks in it’s equipment and software. The company’s founder has strongly repudiated claims that it would use it’s equipment to spy on the West for his government saying he would sooner shut down the company.

Huawei’s CFO Sabrina Meng, daughter of company founder Ren Zheng Fei, is under arrest in Canada on a warrant executed by the US Justice Department for alleged contraventions of US rules on trade with Iran which Huawei strongly denies.

According to some, President Trump’s tweets over the last few days imply a more conciliatory tone in this affair. However, despite the numerous accusations and counter-accusations made, observers may wish to note three hard facts:

1 Britain’s MI6 Chief has said that the UK should avoid relying on a monopoly provider of equipment

2 Under the Chinese National Law, Huawei would have no choice in the matter and is mandated under the Constitution like all Chinese Companies and Nationals to provide all and any information the government in Beijing demands

3 While it may be stating the obvious, it’s worth remembering that not every single router, switcher or other piece of equipment provided by Huawei could ever be forensically tested

Quo vadis Mrs May?


Let’s get back down to basics –

Mrs May is within sight of a good Brexit deal. All she needs now from the intransigent Mandarins in Brussels is a tight, legally enforceable codicil to the Withdrawal Agreement that we won’t be trapped in a permanent Northern Ireland Backstop, and for the Tory & DUP hardliners to agree that this will do the trick.

Tusk and his EU cronies are currently stonewalling May as a direct result of the hostile anti-Brexit briefings engineered by senior Remainers in the Labour and Tory camps over the past 2 years. They’ve even been hoodwinked into believing that Brexit can be stopped.

Comrade Corbyn’s cynical ploy came to a head today with the offer of his support to May’s proposed deal subject to the impossible acceptance of five conditions. Two of his conditions are agreement to a Customs Union with the EU & a Single Market sign-up. Both red lines to Mrs May & which Corbyn knows are anathema to Leavers as acceptance of these would preclude us doing separate trade deals with other nations AND we would have no say in future EU negotiations on trade!

Corbyn’s offer is a no-goer.

So Messrs Johnson, Rees-Mogg with other hard-liners, and the DUP must now take a step back and think long and hard about their rigid insistence that the Backstop must be removed in its entirety. If Brexit is lost because of their inflexibility, and this could easily happen, they will bear a heavy responsibility for which they would never be forgiven.

Encouraging for Mrs May are signs that the more reasonable Labour MP’s could support her in return for a Workers Bill of Rights, and a Community Development Fund, both of which are dear to their hearts.

Finally, business does not deserve to be kept in the dark on how to best gear up for the future and must be given certainty as a matter of urgency. As we all know, this is vital for jobs and investment.

May deserves success for her unstinting efforts to achieve a Brexit as fair to all as possible in invidious circumstances.



Of course I’ve no idea whether its deliberate or not, but anyone watching the British Bolshevik Corporation’s Business Live programme this morning could not fail to notice how both presenters repeatedly insisted on talking down the UK’s prospects of success in our negotiations with the EU.

This came after the opening round yesterday and statements from both sides. There was the definite feeling that guests were being encouraged to offer the same views as the presenters.

Sky News’ turn came an hour or so later with Bolton’s opening salvo that with the Queen’s Speech imminent, we still have a minority government. Did he expect things to have changed overnight? More to the point, did he want someone or something to change the situation overnight?

Are these people reporting the news or trying to make it? In particular, the BBC should be reminded yet again that it is a public service broadcaster and is supposed to be impartial in its presentation.

Many of us feel that it long ago crossed the line.

To add to the day’s fun, that rollicking laugh a minute Governor of the Bank of England, gave his Domesday assessment of the economy during Brexit in his usual coma-inducing style.

Do any of these people actually understand that trade between the UK and the EU is a two way street? People seem to have lost sight of the fact that the EU need the same hassle-free arrangements for their trade as we do.

Furthermore, the Conservatives and Labour for whom more than 80% of the people of this land voted recently, are far from poles apart on the need to leave the EU on the best possible terms for the UK. Isn’t it time we all showed some unity at least in talking this country up and by being positive about our future?



MRS MAY STILL DESERVES SUPPORT despite the election debacle. The luckless Timothy & Hill have gone. Chapter closed. May is still by far streaks ahead with the right qualities to get the optimum deal on Brexit. But she must discard running the show in secret and become a team player. The revelation that she allowed two people to shut out critical input from her own MP’s and Party activists is deeply disturbing . She may be forced out eventually, but Party unity must be the priority right now.

Of course, the current state of crisis in the country might have been avoided if PM Cameron had returned from Brussels last year, with one or two concessions from the EU. Instead, too clever for his own good, he tried to flim-flam the electorate with meaningless mumbo jumbo on what he supposedly achieved for Britain. He paid the price. So have the rest of us it seems.

May’s first big mistake was to have a 7 week campaign which has proven disastrous. Was it Macmillan who said a campaign should never be longer than 3 weeks as it gives your opponents too much time to cause problems? Sounds like common sense to me. I would settle for 4 weeks.

Secondly, no one with any real experience in politics would introduce such a controversial and quite unnecessary manifesto commitment in the Social Care minefield, quickly named by opponents as the Dementia Tax. As if this was not bad enough, two of the English language’s most reviled words -means test- were introduced to determine future Winter Fuel Payments! These words are anathema to most of the grey vote and no better way to alienate them.

Obviously, this sent the electorate’s perception of Mrs May as a caring politician immediately into free fall from which it never recovered.

Also, the quasi-presidential style of campaigning by the PM excluded most of the big beasts of the Tory Party whose experience and input should have been regarded as essential in the hustings.

Public Finances, Investment, and the needs of Business generally were little mentioned. There was a perceived reluctance to commit on future Personal and Corporate Taxation while Labour boasted loudly of their limited tax hikes for the rich. Some detail on the Government’s basic strategy in the Brexit talks would have relieved much public anxiety. Also, where did the Party reach out to the young? It will certainly have to recognise their much vaunted new found power next time round.

DUP support will save the Tories’ bacon for now. However, the combined tiny Commons majority will soon be eroded likely leading to another election by October or next Spring, if May is allowed to soldier on till then. Tory vultures are already circling.

Lessons must be learned or we could be stuck after the next election with the text book Socialist Mr Corbyn and the UK ‘s transformation into a banana republic.



The current spate of indiscriminate killing and maiming of civilians in Great Britain by Islamic terrorists reflects the limited success of the counter strategies put in place by Government.

The ‘Prevent’ policy, designed to counter radicalisation of young Muslims, can no longer adequately fight the evolving and moving target which Islamic terrorism has become. All our villages, towns and cities are now under threat.

Our police, emergency and intelligence services are second to none and are at the cutting edge in the fight against terrorism. This they bravely showed again after last night’s barbaric attack at London Bridge and Borough Market.

They must not be let down by a subservience to political correctness. The PM’s speech this morning, and the comments of Baroness Varsi who spoke for the Muslim Community, are to be commended. UK Muslims are rightly outraged by this latest atrocity committed during the holy month of Ramadan. However, further calls to bring communities together, and the promise to get tough with the extremists, must be backed up by robust new measures. Our anti-terrorist policy must evolve with the ongoing threat. The rules of the game have changed.

Last night saw the 3rd attack in as many  months which needed no great degree of weaponisation or planning to create carnage in our streets. The security services have foiled 5 attacks in the same period. Its been divulged that an astonishing 500 extremists are currently being watched!

We must then add the phenomenal number of 23,000 extremists in the UK who could become a terrorist threat, plus the hundreds, if not thousands, of UK Jihadis returning from the war-torn Middle East where ISIS is crumbling against a massive military onslaught. It is patently obvious that we simply do not have the means or the manpower to counter this extraordinary situation.

The Government must therefore urgently re-consider Internment and Deportation as entirely appropriate and justifiable additional measures in the war on terrorism. In particular, and at all costs, those ISIS fighters now returning to the UK from the Middle East must be detained before they can resume their clandestine activities.

We are fighting a real war and the civil rights of extremists must take a back seat to the safety of the British public.


SOCIAL  ‘NON-CARE’  !!          



In an otherwise commendable election manifesto, and leaving the Winter Fuel Allowance aside for the time being, many Conservative Party supporters and others thinking of voting for that party for the first time, particularly the elderly, are extremely disappointed with Mrs May’s complete desertion of the previous Conservative proposals for funding long term care.

Described by the Bow Group, the oldest Conservative think tank and representing all strands of conservative opinion, as the biggest stealth tax in history, the Tory manifesto today advocated an increase in the means-tested threshold above which people are liable for their full care costs to £100,000- .

BUT significantly, and in a sweeping new move, the full value of the family home owned by the person needing care, will be taken into account in future in determining that person’s assets. So on the basis that the average home in Britain is valued at approx £215000 – , care costs could reduce this asset base to the £100000 – threshold in just under 3 years. At least 70% of us will require some form of care in our old age. 75% of over-65’s in the UK own their own homes. Few have substantial cash holdings.

This proposed new policy is not only unfair but in essence against all accepted Conservative Party values, particularly the incentive to accumulate wealth for the family. It means that we will be leaving most of our estate to the Government. Once people realize that most of their estate will pass to the Government, and not their families, the Tories stand to lose much electoral support.

This is a tax on death and each family’s inheritance. It can do nothing for middle and working class families who save all their lives to live in a decent home, the value of which can be passed on to their children. 

As bombaychatterbox has argued before, Theresa May and Philip Hammond’s priority should be the funding of an alternative insurance system which will cover people’s residential and nursing care in their old age. 

This blog has pushed for a ‘Social Care Fund’ which could be covered by a modest increase in taxation and initially funded by the Chancellor selling the taxpayer’s stake in Royal Bank of Scotland. Apparently he’s prepared to sell this disaster now at a loss and its estimated that this would bring in some £20bn. Rather than plough all of it into the NHS as has been argued by some, part could be used to put Social Care on a properly funded basis, with part going towards the funding of a ‘State Mortgage Corporation’. The latter would provide loans for first time buyers with modest means, and also finance developers in the building of low cost homes. The electoral benefits are obvious.

Theresa May is undoubtedly the best person to take this country into the Brexit negotiations and the difficult period afterwards, whatever the outcome. A great pity she and her Chancellor have not seen the electoral dangers in what really amounts to a no doubt unintended, but thoughtless,  attack on the needs of the individual.

Mrs May you must reverse this death tax now !!   It can only benefit the Conservatives’ political opponents. Let us return to the previously accepted Dilnot formula as the basis for the urgent development of policy on social care. Otherwise risk losing a large part of the grey vote!



No, just the easy bit. Emmanuel Macron may have won the French Presidency but his victory celebrations are likely to be short-lived.

The 3rd round of the French elections will be held on the 11 and 18 June to elect the 577 members of ‘the 15th National Assembly of the French Fifth Republic’.

Arguably, these elections will be the most important in modern French political history.

On the face of it, Macron’s win has been convincing. However, only around 25% of his electoral support is estimated to have come from committed En Marche supporters with the rest going to him from voters who supported various other first round candidates and who were determined to keep Marine Le Pen of the extremist Front National out of the Elysee Palace.

As an independent, and unless his movement wins a significant number of seats in parliament, Macron will find it an uphill struggle or near impossible to legislate his proposed reforms. Youth unemployment of 25% and some 60% of income being derived from the public sector, are only two of the major economic problems with which he will have to contend.

With his election, badly needed restructuring in the Labour market, the problem of immigration, lack of investment , and the general French hostility to globalisation, do not disappear. He has also promised radical reforms to the pension system which will bring fierce worker opposition, and a 60bn Euros cut in public spending.

France could very quickly return to the days of unstable government, despite the peculiarly French practice of ‘cohabitation’ which may come to exist between Macron and the French Parliament. Macron has threatened to overcome parliamentary opposition by ruling by decree. However, the danger for him in going this route is to send the people into the streets, something he will obviously seek to avoid at all costs.

Essential to his plans for serious structural reform to the EU together with his ideas for deeper French integration within that entity, is Macron’s repeated criticism of German trade surpluses. The latter will win him no favours in Berlin. Let’s see how long he and Merkel remain in the mutual admiration club.

Indeed, we do live in interesting times.



True to form, the British Bolshevik Corporation has enthusiastically embraced with almost unbridled glee, the fake news coming out of Brussels on what was allegedly said at the PM’s dinner last week at Downing Street for Mr Juncker, the President of the European Commission .

However, all credit to Mrs May who has chosen to react in a calm and dignified manner to the BBC’s almost hysterical news reports, and their attempt to influence minds during this vital campaign. Whatever happened to fair and objective reporting??

Fake or real news, Mrs May can be trusted to stick to her guns by entering the discussions on Brexit with the power brokers of the EU in a cordial but determined effort to get a comprehensive free trade agreement with Europe, as much in their interests as well as ours, and to guarantee the future of both EU and British citizens living and working in each other’s countries.

It will quickly become apparent whether the strategy to be adopted by the EU negotiators at the Brexit talks is to be constructive and whether they are honestly looking for an outcome fair to all. Anything less will strengthen the hand of those of us who firmly believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for Britain. 

In the past week there has been a perceived shift by the principle EU power brokers to a more aggressive hard ball position. Should the other 27 EU nations prove to be deliberately obstructive and obtuse in the talks, little time should be wasted in giving them verbal notice that we intend to walk away unless they change their tune.

In the meantime, current polls in Scotland put the Unionist parties on track to regain some 13/14 seats from the dominant SNP, the Conservatives taking 10/11. This really would be one in the eye for Mrs Sturgeon who could then no longer claim she has a mandate to hold a 2nd Independence referendum. Bombaychatterbox might be really sorry to see one SNP member at Westminster lose his seat, as he doesn’t know anyone else who can frequently speak rubbish on TV for a full 5 minutes without taking a single breath! Except some others in the same party, that is.

Pending the release of the Conservative election manifesto, Mrs May has committed to not raising taxes as a general principle of Tory policy, and that in particular there will be no increase in VAT. Excellent news, but instead, why doesn’t the Government  consider an actual reduction in VAT?

Such a step would provide a stimulus to the UK economy in the run up to Brexit, resulting in higher consumer demand and extra jobs. A reduction from 20% to 10% in housing renovation and repair, for example, could provide a £7Bn stimulus to the wider UK economy in the short to medium term.

The pressing issue of Social Care, and how to pay for it, is also under scrutiny by the Government. Valuable work on this critical topic has been done by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, and others. Much of the research has been based on the release of equity in peoples’ homes to pay for long term care. However, it is reckoned that some 30% of the population will need this at some point in their lives. Not all of these people will own their own homes.

Is it too much to expect the much vaunted insurance and financial sectors in the City to find a social conscience? Its not asking much of them. Why don’t they come up with an alternative care insurance plan which Government could implement in the medium term? Of course, insurance cover would need to be arranged on the basis of the individual paying say, 70% costs by way of regular premiums going into a scheme from an early age, and the Government doing its part in say, providing 30%. If it happens in other countries, why cant we find the means here?                                                                       

Bombaychatterbox has argued previously that the Chancellor should now sell off the public stake in the Royal Bank of Scotland. The sale of this disaster according to some estimates, would bring in some £20Bn. Rather than see all the proceeds being sunk into the NHS, part could be used to initially fund such a care insurance scheme, with the rest going towards establishing a “State Mortgage Lending Corporation’.

The advantage with the latter is that the funds raised would remain in the lending sector and could be utilised by first time borrowers and others to secure housing loans on softer terms than they could from a High Street lender. Developers could also be considered for loans on preferred terms to build social housing.

No doubt the ruling Conservatives will prioritise in their manifesto what they see as electorally attractive. However, I for one will be most disappointed if they do not address, and preferably ban, the disgrace of zero-hour contracts. No 21st century worker should be subjected to this form of employer domination, and from what we hear, sometimes intimidation.