Tag Archives: Scotland

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.

Scotland and Independence – Respect the 2014 Referendum result

The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Ms Nicola Sturgeon, is a charismatic and intelligent individual, and without her leadership it is highly unlikely that the SNP would have reached the heights it now occupies both in the Scottish and Westminster parliaments. Furthermore, in the past, the leadership qualities of some of those in the pro Union parties in Scotland left much to be desired.

It was the fantasy economic case the SNP tried to argue in the Independence referendum in 2014, their unrealistic view of the future oil price in particular, which led to the majority of Scots voting to remain in the UK.

However, the SNP have again been encouraged to talk of yet another Independence referendum, this time on the basis that the majority of Scots voted in June to stay in the EU, despite the fresh embarrassing revelation that some of Ms Sturgeon’s own colleagues voted for Brexit!

Ms Sturgeon now needs to be told that ‘the express will of the Scottish people’ , a slogan she never tires of ranting, has already been delivered unequivocally by the Scots, as per the 2014 referendum result, and that THERE WILL BE NO 2nd REFERENDUM ! Mrs May must get this message across to Ms Sturgeon once and for all. Mrs May should, however, prioritise regular consultations with the Scottish Government, on the Brexit negotiations once they start. Not to do so would be inexcusable in view of the huge mandate held by the Nationalists.

A recent welcome development in Scotland, is the re-emergence of the Conservatives, after years in the doldrums, as a force to be reckoned with under their leader, Ruth Davidson, who is ably backed by Mark McInnis and Rab Forman, among others, in the party’s headquarters. However, they are simply not aggressive or proactive enough and they must do more to tackle Ms Sturgeon in the short term, rather than use their traditional tactics of the long game. Time waits for no one!