Tag Archives: brexit

ITS TIME TO STAND UP FOR BRITAIN

STOP TALKING THE COUNTRY DOWN !

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?

THE CONSERVATIVES  –   A DISASTROUS CAMPAIGN 

EXCEPT IN SCOTLAND THANKS TO DAVIDSON’S LEADERSHIP 
BUT THE MUCH RESENTED TIMOTHY AND HILL HAVE GONE

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.

ELECTION 2017

EU DIRTY TRICKS – WE COULD WALK AWAY!!

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.

WELL DONE PHILIP HAMMOND –

SHAME ON THE WEAK-KNEED TORY WIMPS !!
Just putting this latest short blog to bed from a delightful guest house in the foothills of the Himalayas, somewhere between Darjeeling and Kalimpong, prior to returning to the UK shortly.

Now into my eighties, I was unsure of whether it was very smart to travel so far upcountry. But my fears were unjustified and although my friends from my early days here nearly 60 years ago, the immensely likeable Captain Tendufla who owned the Windamere Hotel in Darjeeling, and the great Sherpa Tensing who was Director at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute there are now gone, the same serene and heady atmosphere continues to pervade the whole District.

I recall that one of the most coveted jobs in India was that of manager of Lloyds Bank in Darjeeling. A more idyllic existence could hardly be imagined. We were all captivated by the superb view from his office window of the snow covered peak of Mt Kanchenjunga. The bungalow in which he lived was also to die for, I wonder which lucky man, or woman, has that job now?

As a frequent visitor to India, and this time to a more rural part of the sub-continent, I’ve always been greatly impressed by the enormous goodwill and friendship accorded we Brits by Indians everywhere. With the upcoming Brexit negotiations in mind, my Indian friends wish us well for the future and are keen to further develop the strong cultural and trade ties between us.

So I have no doubt that a more outward looking Great Britain, while still retaining strong links with our friends in Europe, will have a great and successful future in expanding our ties with other great trading nations including India.

How encouraging then the words of Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, at the weekend when he declared that the British People have a great fighting spirit, that we would fight back if the EU blocked a Brexit trade deal, that we will forge new trade deals around the world, and that the UK will go from strength to strength!

Compare this Churchillian rhetoric to the vacuous comments by the weak-kneed wimps of the Tory Left, John Major, Michael Heseltine and others who have joined that peerless epitome of political opportunism, the Socialist Tony Blair, in trying their best to reverse the Brexit process. Shame on them!

No one is listening to these bitter yesterday’s men!

NOW FOR A BIT MORE LIGHT –

THE UK TO LEAVE THE SINGLE MARKET AND CUSTOMS UNION –

We hope!

The media and the rest of the chattering classes are all geared up for Theresa May’s big speech tomorrow in which more definitive information on the Government’s Brexit strategy is expected.

The problem of uncontrolled migration from EU countries into the UK was a key factor in the Referendum outcome last June. If the result is to be respected, it follows that the UK must leave the single market and also the customs union. The only way we could stay in both is if we were allowed full and continued access to EU markets on the same terms as we now enjoy, but without being shackled by the freedom of movement requirement, and without the imposition of tariffs. This is the position for which our negotiators should aim. Would the EU countries not benefit from a similar future reciprocal trading situation with the UK, ie an ‘open’ relationship?

Obviously, British markets will remain vital to other EU countries. We should therefore be confident in our attitude to the negotiations to access and operate within the single market, without the freedom of movement and any other conditions. If the EU proves to be obstructive or unreasonable in the negotiations, and all things considered one cannot see why they would want to be, we should waste no time in giving Brussels notice of our intention to leave the EU at a time advantageous to us. Future trade would then be conducted under WTO rules.

Following the PM’s recent comments, it appears that leaving the single market may well be the direction of travel. It would be far from the end of the world. No trade agreement exists between the UK and the USA, for example, yet they are our largest single export market. Free trade deals with other countries facilitate and help to expand existing trading bonds. These ties have been continued by successive generations of British entrepreneurs on a foundation built by their predecessors over many centuries. Our business men and women are the real deal-makers.

With goodwill on both sides, we can retain our current strong trade links with Europe. But we must also re-establish serious trading links with other non-EU countries, unhindered by unacceptable conditions imposed by Brussels. If necessary, and as a matter of priority, the Government must be prepared to introduce radical new measures to make the UK an even more attractive place to do business. Here, inter alia, I refer to significant changes to existing tax and investment rules. In other words, we would change the UK economic model to make us seriously more competitive.

I’m sure Mrs May will not disappoint! 

ITALY DOES A BREXIT ! 

This is the headline many Italians will be looking for after the Referendum tomorrow.

Officially, the Referendum has been called by PM Renzi to decide on whether the constitution should be changed to limit the powers of both the Italian Senate and Regions in the country’s bicameral parliamentary system. This was set up in 1948 by the allied powers and specifically engineered to prevent a return to Fascism. 

There is genuine opposition to Renzi’s plans based on the fear that it would lead to a centralising of power. However, the establishment are greatly apprehensive that the electorate will seize this opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the way business is conducted in the Eurozone.  Many are also unhappy that Renzi seems to have made the vote about himself. This miscalculation may therefore provide voters with the ideal opportunity to punish a serving prime minister.  Renzi has made a commitment to resign if he loses the vote. If he goes, a number of anti-establishment parties like the Five Star movement has promised to hold a referendum on retaining the Euro. This would send the rest of the Eurozone’s leaders into very dangerous territory.

Undoubtedly, the wave of popular unrest globally which swept Cameron out of power in the UK, and  lead to Trump’s victory in the USA, is about to engulf Europe. The EU is a war zone fighting off disintegration and economic collapse from within. The Right is on the march everywhere and both France and Germany face critical national elections next year where incumbent leaders face unprecedented challenges from powerful Eurosceptic movements. 

Furthermore, if the Austrians on Sunday choose as their president the gun-loving populist and Islam critic, parliamentary speaker Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party, this would further exacerbate the mood in Europe. While Hofer has not threatened to leave the EU, he is committed to a referendum if Brussels moves to further centralise EU powers.

For Italy itself a No vote on Sunday will not only lead to dangerous political instability, but to massive problems for the country’s banking sector for a start. Italian banks hold huge bad non-performing loans which are reported to total some Euros 360billions which are unlikely to ever be repaid. Obviously, this will have a huge effect on the Eurozone’s other banks. There are serious legal and financial constraints which would prevent a bank bailout by the Italian Government. These constraints are imposed by the Eurozone’s banking regulator. So the cherished Eurozone project of closer banking union may be doomed before it’s off the drawing board.

It seems that British PM May has everything to gain by playing a long cool Brexit game. The later she leaves invoking Article 50,  perhaps the more amenable the other EU leaders may be to her exit strategy, considering the other huge and potentially insurmountable problems they may have on their plate!

Japan

No credit to the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr Shinzo Abe, for expressing the wish last month that Britain ‘ act responsibly ‘ in the Brexit negotiations with the EU. This caution was unnecessary, and almost insulting to Mrs May, as if she would want to conduct these critical negotiations in any other way!

Compare this to the Malaysian Prime Minister’s comments when he referred to the historic ties of friendship between our two countries, and expressed his confidence that, notwithstanding Brexit, these would continue.

I’ve long admired the enterprise and hard work characteristics of the Japanese people, and have been fortunate enough to visit the country often. Better kindness and hospitality would be difficult to find anywhere.

However, it would do no harm to remind Mr Abe that Japanese administrations in the not so distant past, have not acted at all responsibly, resulting in tragedy and irreparable damage to both their own people and to other nationalities, notably the Chinese. In particular, I refer to the disgraceful mass murder and mass rape of the population of Nanjing (Nanking) in the winter of 1937/38, when it is estimated that over 250,000 people were massacred by the Japanese military. Is this event truthfully covered in Japan’s school history books?? Are the many other similar war-time Japanese atrocities in Asia?

Look before you leap Mr Abe !