Differently Victorious

With all the dark inevitability of a Greek tragedy*, Mrs May continues her betrayal of the British people.

From the Telegraph we read that in her determination to secure an agreement, any agreement, with the EU Mrs May has instructed her so-called “negotiators” to concede every single point of disagreement:

British negotiators expect to clinch a deal on Brexit transition terms as early as this weekend following a series of climbdowns to secure a deal from the EU

To be honest it’s not hard to reach a deal if you give the other side everything they ask for!

Mrs May is basking in cross-party approval of her stance on Russia and the attention of the press is distracted; so, as we suspected, the time is as ripe as it ever will be to give away the farm.

Negotiators are scheduled to work throughout the weekend in a bid to finalise a legal text for the 21-month agreement that will be hailed by Downing Street as a significant win for Theresa May, and a key stepping-stone on the road to Brexit

Of course it is being spun as a victory, (as was Dunkirk) but in truth it has been obvious from the start that May has no stomach for the fight.  As Home Secretary she was notable for her authoritarian instincts allied to a supreme absence of principle.  She has no intellectual attachment to British exceptionalism (we invented the common law after all, which fundamental incompatibility is one of the main reasons why membership of the EU is so profoundly baleful) and in fact has done as much as anybody to consign it to the past.  To treat people who care about their history and their culture as “little Englanders.  Rather like Obama’s contemptuous dismissla of American patriots as people “clinging to their guns and to their bibles”.

She is a managerialist authoritarian and her approach to Brexit has reflected this.  The UK has had plenty of miserable PMs since Thatcher, in fact they have all been.  None of them has made any effort to stand up for the British people.

Well, know this Mrs May – we may have no guns, and we might have swallowed all the humiliation you and your ilk have heaped upon us in all these years.  But in the end we will win, we always have.

It was the British people who forced John to sign Magna Carta, and who cut Charles I head off.

We have form.  And you take the piss at your peril.

*PG Wodehouse

Holding The Government To Account

Jeremy Corbyn is taking flak for his defence of the position of the Russian government against Mrs May’s accusations of murder and mayhem, and threats to turn their computers off.

Quentin Letts in the Mail is on fulminating form, laying on with gusto:

Corbyn, the counsel for the Kremlin, descended into peevish, dribbling gibberish: QUENTIN LETTS watches the Labour leader’s remarks on the spy scandal met with disbelief from MPs

This blog is no respecter of Jeremy Corbyn.  However, it is the role of the House, and especially the Leader of the Opposition, to hold the Government to account, and to question actions which might have important consequences and be quite possibly mistaken.

It is not unreasonable to point out that the Government should be prepared to present concrete evidence for its accusations, and it would not be wrong to question whether Mrs May’s approach is sensible given the limited means at her disposal to punish the Russians.

It doesn’t in fact matter that his position was no doubt based more on opportunism than principle.  At least he asked the question, even if he was too useless to insist on getting a proper answer.

We should always be highly suspicious of parliament when it acts harmoniously and in a spirit of cross party goodwill.  That is when clusterfucks like the “Energy and Climate Change Bill” get passed.

The catcalls, booing and animal noises which genteel comentators so deplore are in fact the mark of the adversarial approach which is the check and balance of the British constitution.

 

An Island Of Coal In A Sea Of Fish

At one time it was said that England’s fortune was to be an Island Of Coal in a Sea Of Fish.  That was true once.

But then, our priceless fishing grounds were given up as dowry when we foolishly walked down the aisle with the EEC (as it was then known), and are likely not to be returned with the ring on the occasion of our divorce.

And then, that act of unimaginable national self harm, the Energy and Climate change bill (prop. E Milliband) committed the government to shutting down all coal fired power stations ASAP.

Christopher Booker again:

our few remaining coal-fired power stations [are] running flat out to contribute up to a quarter or more of all the electricity the country was using…last Friday 67 per cent of our power was coming from unsubsidised fossil fuels, and only 11 per cent from “renewables”.

The fact is that when the remaining coal stations are closed, the country’s energy supply will be severely compromised.  There is no way on earth that so-called renewables can make up the difference.  No way.

One of the many consequences of this idiotic policy is the sad case of Drax power station, which has been mostly closed or converted from coal to run on wood chips.  This supposedly sustainable environmentally friendly fuel is derived by felling vast square mileages of virgin forest, chipping the results, shipping the stuff halfway across the US and then across the Atlantic and finally burning it in a process which is significantly less efficient than burning coal which could be mined in this country.  Disastrous in both economic terms and CO2 emission terms.   Absolute madness.

It sometimes seems as though the government are absolutely determined to ruin us all.

Update

Raedwald has an interesting post about the Governments new generation of fisheries protection vessels which with the trademark perfidy or Mrs May’s administration, are going to deployed everywhere, except to protect UK fisheries.

A Rough Ride About To Get Rougher

Further to yesterday’s post which pointed out how a timely spat with Russia is just what the spin doctors ordered to make Mrs May’s government look tough and combative prior to a major Brexit betrayal, today we hear that the EU’s “negotiators” have conceded something we already had.

The Continental Telegraph has the story:

Britain will be free to sign trade deals during the Brexit transition period without permission from the European Union after a climbdown by Brussels, The Times has learnt.  EU negotiators have accepted the UK’s demand that it should be able to pursue an independent trade policy while remaining inside the customs union and single market.  Publicly, the EU’s negotiating guidelines still state that Britain will not be able to implement trade deals “unless authorised to do so by the union”. Behind closed doors the position taken by Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, is understood to have softened significantly. The latest draft of a potential transition deal says that Britain will be able to both negotiate and sign trade deals during the period.

In two weeks there is an important EU Council meeting at which it is expected to settle the Irish border question, and given May’s record so far it is hard to avoid the conclusion that someone and probably lots of people, are going to be sold down the river.

As Christopher Booker writes in the other Telegraph, the time is drawing nigh that various illusions about Brexit are going to be shattered.  One such risks being fishing grounds:

Hammond says EU fishermen could have access to British waters post-Brexit  .He then stated that we would be reclaiming full control of our fishing waters, oblivious to the fact that this would be against UN law, which protects other countries’ “acquired fishing rights”.

The going is getting tougher, and as usual Mrs May has only herself to blame.

 

 

Unwholesome Growths

Spring is famously the time of year when all-but-forgotten hardy perennials re-emerge to delight us.

Some are less welcome than others.  One such is the renewal of the drive to eliminate cash as a means of exchange and store of value, as described by Ross Clark in the Spectator.

It always takes a few hours for the nasties in a Budget to become clear. That is as true with today’s seemingly content-less Spring Statement.

A reasonable sounding proposal made by the lamentable Chancellor Mr Hammond (memorably described by Tim Worstall as “like Gordon Brown but with higher taxes and more spending”) was to eliminate 1p (ok) and 2p (less sensible) coins, and then move to eliminate the £50 note, not because its value has been eroded by inflation, but because pesky people use it as a store of value (er, what it was designed for actually…)

This stuff has been putting down roots for years, David Cameron nearly blurted the plan back in 2015:

a proposal to end physical currency very nearly made it into David Cameron’s Conservative conference speech. Britain, he was going to say, would become the world’s first cashless economy by 2020.

and its tentacles reach in to the UCB, the Fed, the IMF – big cheeses from all these institutions have been making these noises for years.

It is obvious that this is one of the next big things, it being the only way The Powers That Be can think of to head the next recession off at the pass, that is by helping themselves to savers’ money at source from their bank accounts rather than having to go around mob handed looking under matresses (although you can be sure they wouldn’t balk at that either).

As Ross Clark explains, this will be a move deeply at odds to the interests of the citizen, for a host of reasons; and it is one that must be resisted.

Bitcoin, gold, uncut diamonds…

Delusions Of Grandeur

Via Zerohedge we get an update on the Russian government’s reaction to Mrs May’s attempt to achieve with a couple of nerds in a basement in Cheltenham what Hitler failed to achieve with four million men…

Not only is Russia groundlessly and provocatively accused of the Salisbury incident, but apparently, plans are being developed in the UK to strike Russia with cyber weapons.  “Judging by the statements of the Prime Minister, such a decision can be taken at tomorrow’s meeting of the National Security Council.  We invite the British side to once again consider the consequences of such a reckless move

She’s making herself look a fool and that wouldn’t bother us particularly, except that by extension she is making us look impotent and weak.

A more measured approach than handbags at dawn would achieve equally much (although what she expects to achieve is rather hard to say) and make everything easier to manage, especially the inevitable final climbdown.

Theodore Roosevelt gave some wise advice to a certain Henry L. Sprague, on January 26th 1900, he wrote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far”.

Somebody should tattoo this on May’s forehead.

Update:  Philip Johnston at the Telegraph has obviously read our blog…

Blood For Votes (Home And Away)

Dominic Lawson in the Mail has an excellent article pointing out that Russia, despite its vast size and noble history, is in fact a basket case.

Totally dependent on Oil & Gas revenues (at collapsing prices) for foreign exchange and hopelessly corrupt and mismanaged at home, the results are shocking as described by:

Sunday Times reporter Matthew Campbell in January, when he travelled to the southern Urals:

‘I have only witnessed impoverishment like this before when reporting civil wars in West Africa and Latin America.

Here, the miserable conditions are intensified by industrial squalor and the brutal Russian winter. Even in the tumultuous years after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 I did not see poverty like this.’

As they demonstrated so magnificently during the second world war the Russian people have depths of stoicism unimaginable to softer folk (like us).  However even they will have a limit, and when the tipping point is reached life will become very difficult for Mr Putin and his oligarch mates.

Hence Lawson’s totally plausible theory that this killing is a bit of typically ruthless KGB-style political theatre to occupy the front pages and the TV news up to the forthcoming election.

So far so good.  The alarming part for this blog is the reaction of PM Mrs May, exemplified by an idiotic article in the Telegraph by William Hague, not so long ago HM Secretary of State for Foreign, which is itself a pretty alarming state of affairs.

The slumbering West will have to wake up. If we allow a totalitarian society to jump ahead of us in new technology by the middle of the century, our way of life will be in deep trouble

Hague is right to point out that weakening the west’s defences so dramatically since the end of the Cold War has been a mistake, but one that has been obvious for long enough, and was certainly so when he was a bit less irelevant and in a position to do something about it.

May herself seems to be girding her loins (pass the mindbleach!) for some sort of showdown with Russia about this.

It is impossible to avoid the notion that all this sabre rattling is designed to take attention away from the manifest failings of her Brexit strategy in which she has systematically ceded on every single point made by Bruscles.  And to conclude from this exercise of trying (and failing) to look like Mrs Thatcher during the Falklands, that May has no intention of changing course and will continue to concede everything she is asked to.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has expressed frustration at British demands over the transition deal but recent signs are that the UK will cave on the major points of disagreement. 

Sometimes the depths of one’s contempt is difficult to put into words.

Here We Go Again…

The latest twist to the saga of the Brexit so-called “negotiation”.

There is a story on Breibart that our ex-friends in Brussels are threatening a massive fine against the British government if Trump exempts the UK from his recently announced tarifs on steel and aluminium.  Well it makes for good headlines, even though we doubt that British exports of these materials to the USA are really going to make much of a difference.  And can you really fine person A for what person B has done?

This is just more theatre, and we wonder why.  The Telegraph reports that the British people are growing fed up of the bullying hectoring tones and more hysterical bollocks like this is only going to harden opinions.  Perhaps that is what Brussels wants?

The fact that Trump’s tarifs are an act of economic self harm is never raised.  No politican who values his seat will ever point out the truth, that cheap imports are a good thing.  That is what trade is all about.  Mutual advantage.  And so this mercantilist sparring goes on and on and we all become poorer.

It seems to this blog that the tide of public opinion also on the continent is now shifting against the highhanded arrogance of the Brussels “elite” and it is quite possible that in the year that remains before the channel tunnel is filled in and the port of Dover closed, that things will move rapidly in the direction of common sense.

The British side in the “negotiation” despite its faults, the primary one being that of giving in under pressure on every point so far, have nonetheless tried to respect the expressed will of its electorate and act in what is perceives to be its best interests.

Brussels is playing a stupid political game that they can afford to, not having an electorate.  They look like nothing other than the last days of the Hapsberg Empire.  However the real power in Europe lies still in the national parliaments despite Brussels’ supposed sovereignty and as election after election across the continent returns Eurosceptics the presure will mount.  Even mighty Germany only had trouble forming a government because Merkel was reluctant to form a coalition with AFD who won more votes than anybody.  In other words a very significant slice of the German electorate were effectively disenfranchised at the behest of Brussels.

It is a striking fact that on almost every occasion that Europeans in all countries have been asked a more or less explicit EU question in an election or referendum, they have on the vast majority of occasions at least, voted against the EU.  Their governments have then gone ahead and done whatever they wanted of course (Greece was only the saddest example), but that can’t last and as tensions rise eventually Brussels’ hegemony will crumble.

Until recently it looked like a case of an irresistable force meeting an immovable object.

The latest shenanigans in Brussels show that the object is no longer immovable.

Their days are numbered.

 

Merde Alors!

Not wholly unexpected after the debacle in Edinburgh we suppose!  France always raises their game against the boys in White, and didn’t disappoint yesterday.  Enland were competitive for the first 40 minutes, and managed to maintain a fair simulacrum of intensity and passion, but they ran out of steam alarmingly quickly in the second half.

We are now far from confident that Eddie’s men can beat the paddies on Paddy’s day, in a weeks time even though it is at home.

And the auguries for the world cup which didn’t look too bad after the autumn internationals, have suddenly taken on a darker tinge.

Hold The Front Page!

Accusations of corruption, nepotism and foul play among the Brussels Super troughers at the heart of the EU hardly makes for a story likely to cause your average Fleet street editor to interrupt his long luncheon.

However, this time it seems they have exceeded even their own dismal standards.

There have been several stories carried by politico.eu regarding the ascension of Martin Selmayr (by all accounts, a loathsome individual) into the plum position of Secretary General of the Commission (head of 33000 overpaid troughers).

Never heard of this position?  Neither have we, and that’s the way they like it, transparency is not their stong suit.

The French are complaining because he’s German.  The ladies are complaining because he’s not female.  Everybody else is complaining about the combination of brown envelopes and naked threats required to achieve the elevation – they’re shocked I tell you, shocked.  So much so that the recent weekly press conference descended into a shouting match.

The Commission’s normally sedate midday press briefing turned into a verbal brawl between reporters and chief spokesman Margaritis* Schinas

Ace blogger Raedwald verbalises our disgust (but not, alas, surprise) at these shenanigans with his usual passion and an extensive vocabulary born a long career spent on the better sort of construction site.

Worth a read.

*Funny name for a bloke, mind you he’s Greek