The Disappearing Prime Minister 887


UPDATE

I was delighted by Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement today, both the content and the manner of her making it.

I am unsure why she put the window for the referendum as far back as autumn 2018 to spring 2019. Autumn 2018 is fine but spring 2019 is late – Nicola Sturgeon spoke of Scotland needing to declare its choice for independence before the UK actually leaves the EU or very shortly thereafter. But very shortly thereafter is too late. In diplomatic terms, a miss is a good as a mile here and in diplomatic terms at the EU, negotiating to get back in will be much harder than negotiating to remain a part of the EU.

My suspicion is Sturgeon is giving May a ladder to climb down on agreeing the referendum by making it potentially post-Brexit. I see no need to have been so accommodating to May. I am frankly puzzled.

But my major observation is that Nicola’s performance was excellent, the decision sound. Yet what struck me most was the lengthy question and answer suggestion. The mainstream media lackeys laughingly called journalists were not really putting questions. They were emitting deep-seated cries of unionist belief, wild anti-Independence assertions, with the lightest disguise as questions. It is a fair warning of what we have coming.

Even Gordon Brown had a honeymoon period. The temporary popularity of a new Prime Minister evaporates as a morning mist searched out by strong sunlight. The budget tax increases, combined with fierce pre-planned benefit cuts, are evaporating May’s popularity before our eyes. The reality of Brexit debacle will shortly hit very hard, and people will start to notice she is not actually very good.

I have been listening out to determine the extent to which May’s Thatcher voice is a deliberate impersonation, and in consequence have been most forcefully struck by how little we hear her voice. Those packaging her, together with a compliant media, seek to present her as much as possible through silent images. She is repeatedly on television entering places and greeting people, but remarkably seldom is her voice heard. She does not give nearly as many media interviews as David Cameron, because she is not good at them.

Prime Minister’s Question Time has almost vanished from our screens. When David Cameron was causing animal guffaws of genuine delight from Tory MPs roused by his facile debating skills, no week went past in which the BBC News did not show a substantial clip of Prime Minister’s Questions, edited for maximum effect in making Cameron look dominant and Corbyn look out of his depth. I do not believe any reader in the UK can honestly say such an image is not seared on to their mind. But now Prime Minister’s Questions almost never make the news bulletins for more than a very few seconds, because May is hopeless at them and is arguably bested by Corbyn fairly regularly. She has no ability for repartee, no timing and wins mechanical guffaws purely by reading out pre-prepared attacks on Labour and SNP that do not pretend to relate to the questions asked.

How do the broadcast media respond? Prime Minister’s Questions are suddenly no longer newsworthy. Unless you happen to be free to watch live – which rules out almost the entire working population – you would very seldom see May flounder. Indeed, the entire plan for retaining her popularity appears to be based on the public hearing her as little as possible. Personally, I have no doubt her recent Glasgow speech attacking not just Scottish independence but the very notion of devolution, was extremely helpful to the Independence cause. I can understand why the establishment try to avoid us actually hearing her.

Jeremy Corbyn should not now be abandoned. I was saddened to see Owen Jones stab him in the back. Jones appears sadly set on the trajectory typically caused by the salary of a Guardian columnist. He will now increasingly retreat into identity politics rather than the cause of universal social justice. I give it eight years before he spends his entire time attacking the left as having “lost their way”.

I could not disagree more strongly with Jeremy on Scottish Independence or on his approach to Brexit. Nobody would claim quick repartee or even set piece oratory were his strongest suits. He interviews fairly well but is of course handicapped by the extraordinary stream of scepticism and deliberate misrepresentation with which journalists approach him. But the honesty and integrity of his beliefs are why he was elected, and those remain at the core of his leadership. For the English and Welsh voter to be given a real choice, rather than just Blue or Red Tories, has horrified the entire neo-con establishment.

It is most improbable that Corbyn will be able to deliver a Labour Westminster victory in 2020, but it is not impossible. The alt-right spasm gripping England and Wales will diminish by then and Brexit enthusiasm will meet the cold real world. I can assure you the Tories are already considering how to avoid having Leaders’ Debates on television for the next general election. For Corbyn to be able to put a radical message directly to the public, and May’s deficiencies in debate to be so directly exposed, is something they will not want at all. May should be seen and not heard, is their motto.

The European Union has put a fault line through the Tory and Labour parties. The chips have fallen in a way that leaves both parties with leaderships that were more sympathetic to Brexit than they revealed during the campaign, and certainly have no interest in trying to stop it. The 48% who voted Remain are therefore practically unrepresented in England and Wales. As I suspect that 48% will increase – and there is a curious lack of opinion polls – this will become an increasingly acute problem as the body politic recovers from shock.

The Lib Dems would be the obvious beneficiaries, but they will not so soon recover from popular revulsion at the alacrity with which they abandoned all pretence at restraining the Tories, in return for ministerial limousines. They also have the least able and least charismatic leader in that party’s long history. Indeed, possibly in any party’s history, anywhere. The never appealing Brezhnev was more charismatic than Tim Farron even when he was being wheeled out to parades propped up and effectively dead.

The Labour Party is in the abject position that its pro-Europeans are very largely the totally discredited Blairites. That the delusional Blair sees the EU issue as his chance of a political comeback, is only evidence of what a terrible state the pro-EU camp is in. There are plenty of pro-EU Tories but they too are more concerned with personal careers, except the Clarkes and Heseltines whose course is already run.

It is difficult to believe this situation is sustainable. On the biggest issue of the day, which will have a huge impact on future living standards, 48% of the population, the best educated and most politically active 48% of the population, have no effective representation. Only in Scotland have we a coherent pro-EU political force, but circumstances are such this cannot help England.

The democracy of the UK has become severely dysfunctional. I firmly believe that a crisis is coming, and that Scottish Independence will be a trigger for the resolution of that crisis. Not only will it remove Scotland from the subjugation that has sapped its energies for centuries, it will give a profound and much needed jolt to the political kaleidoscope in England and Wales and lead to new and more relevant political alignments. It may also finally break the obsession with being a world power that so damaged British people for so long.


887 thoughts on “The Disappearing Prime Minister

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  • Loony

    The proposed new Scottish Independence referendum at least provides an opportunity for some informed intelligent debate about the issues, and allows for certain nuanced perspectives to be given the oxygen of publicity. After all it is widely accepted that Scotland has a strong intellectual tradition. Take this as an example

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZvEFjqVvgs

    These people have much in common with Tony Blair. They are all Scottish.

    • Zed

      Too true Loony! They all think the GDFTN has magical powers when in fact ALL politicians are just natural born liars. Poor deluded Craig trusting the GDFTN.

    • kailyard rules

      Thank you for directing people to a perfect example of the Loyalist and knee jerk Unionist mindset. A gang community of brainwashed throwbacks.
      And thanks again for reminding us of Scotland’s strong intellectual tradition.
      You demonstrate perfectly that weak sarcasm can be persuasive to the contrary.

  • Hieroglyph

    Of course, by 2018, this could all be moot. If Le Pen wins, France are out. If France leaves, so go Spain and Italy. And does Scotland really want to be part of Greater Germany? Think not. I personally suspect that by 2020, there will be no EU, not in the form we currently recognize. I also think Scotland will be independent – but not part of the EU.

    On the upside, Clinton didn’t win, so we aren’t facing nuclear holibobs. Big win – thanks America.

    • craig Post author

      There is thankfully no chance that Le Pen will win or that the EU will collapse. Deluded Little Englanders have been proclaiming the collapse of the EU and the Euro since the Euro’s inception. In fact both are in rude health.

      • branches

        Yes Craig, the euro is the world’s second largest reserve currency after the US dollar.

        But the UK mainstream media would have it that it’s been an unmitigated disaster and needs to be shunned.

        • Old Mark

          The Euro from its inception until 2009 benefitted from the reputation that the Eurozone acquired in the boom years as essentially the DMark writ large. The major Eurozone states, led by Germany, also ran current account surpluses (Germany still does) while the US consistently runs a current account deficit- so naturally the currency made serious inroads into the dollar’s status as principal reserve currency.

          Since 2009 however the bloom on the Eurozone rose has faded considerably; its share of official currency reserves has dropped from 27.6% to around 20%-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reserve_currency

          Possibly more vexing is the fact that the facility used by the Eurozone to deal with the sovereign debt crisis therein (the EFSF)- despite a massive commitment from the German taxpayer- is not triple A rated, and hasn’t been since 2012.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Financial_Stability_Facility

          The complacency exhibited by Craig and branches about the ‘rude health’ of the Euro isn’t borne out by its reserve status trajectory since 2009, and the continuous applications of sticking plaster to the ongoing sovereign debt issues in the ClubMed member states in the same period.

        • Kempe

          The Euro was not brought into being with the objective of becoming a reserve currency, its objective was and remains maintaining price stability across the Eurozone by keeping inflation below 2.0%. In this it has only been marginally successful, the figure pushed above the target again only last month.

          If countries abandon the Euro it won’t be because it’s failing as a reserve currency but because of the incompetence and tardy response by the ECB to national crises (Greece, Cyprus etc).

          • michael norton

            I had thought that the Euro was introduced to forever lock the countries of the Eurozone into a block with an undemocratic death-lock on them, so they could never get out, never, ever, again be independent nations.

      • Loony

        For one so interested in human rights you seem strangely disinterested in the human rights of the Greek people. Still at least the young people of Spain are enjoying their rights to a 50% unemployment rate – that after tens of thousands at minimum have been forced to flee the land of their birth.

        You seem prepared to ignore the economic suffering of half a continent in order to make some cheap jibe against English people. At the moment it is only the mass of the English population that are acting to lift the iron heel of oppression from the faces of their European brethren – and for their efforts they earn your contempt. .Yet no matter the opprobrium heaped up on them, the threats administered against them, or the traitors in the their own ruling classes, they remain firm in their resolve to slay the beast and to free the people. Taken as an aggregate whole the English people should be justifiably proud of both their common sense and of their unbroken resolve.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          At the moment it is only the mass of the English population that are acting to lift the iron heel of oppression from the faces of their European brethren

          Yup. Pop over to Calais and watch hundreds of Englishpersons lifting iron heels off French faces, any day of the week. Here’s some:

          https://www.calaiswine.co.uk/about-us

        • Vronsky

          Cue rousing chorus of ‘Jerusalem’, over some grainy clips of soldiers marching.

      • philw

        Hmmm. “Rude health”, heh? – One of your largest members leaving, one small one bankrupt and being asset stripped, others probably bankrupt (Spain, Portugal), the extreme right rising across the board, even in the most traditionally liberal societies, members of one country (Romania) being used as slave labour in others (UK, Italy), hundreds of thousands of migrants stuck in camps, your ‘ally’ (in reality ‘Master’, the US) making your armies parade up and down with theirs threatening your nuclear-armed neighbour. And so democratic. So beloved by its populations

        What the hell is it like when it is in poor health?

      • mog

        ‘Politics is not a game’.
        Well if it is, then it reminds me of three dimensional chess at the moment.
        The pro-independence Scots will surely be tempted to encourage a hard Brexit so as to win support for their preferred referendum result….(?)
        There are so many conflicting and believable arguments, bizarre alliances and counterintuitive strategies that it is hard to keep up.
        I am drawn back to the allure of straightforward ‘politics of principle’.
        Nationalism is a failed ideology.
        The enlightened response to English Nationalism is not Scottish/ Irish Nationalism.

        • branches

          Most nations of the world are independent sovereign states. That’s normality. Scotland needs it too. Nothing to do with failed ideology or the chauvinistic type of nationalism.

          When Scotland regains her independence there won’t be Scottish nationalism. It can evaporate.

  • giyane

    The corporate world, like the political world, is fucked. That’s why Jeremy Corbyn looks like a jar of soggy cornflakes at the back of the larder no one has opened for 2 years or more. The corporate world creates a totally delusional image of its success for its imaginary shareholders, while cost-cutting and deliberate non-investment have run down corporate infrastructure.

    The Thatcher Capitalist world has no interest whatsoever in maintaining the actual viability of its businesses. It is only concerned with concealing its non-viability, its dysfunctionality, so that dividends can be paid to shareholders.. By contrast a publically – owned institution like the NHS is so exposed to daily scrutiny that it cannot disguise its infrastructure weaknesses and work gets done to repair the NHS.

    The corporate world employs vastly-salaried managers to repeat the veneer of success, while ruthlessly controlling the right to speak, whistle-blow, or contribute to Company management. It is hard to understand why the corporate arrogance that destroyed Austin Rover, which never consulted its employees’ opinions on anything, is now upheld as a role model for UK enterprise.

    Craig has put his finger on it when he points out that Mrs May is unable to field questions. Questions that seek to investigate and remedy are anathema to the Thatcherist mind. China has a right to point out that none of its billions of inhabitants receives benefits to supplement their wages. They may receive indirect benefits in employment, housing, transport etc, but they do not depend on money being put in the bank for them by the state, borrowed on the never never from Saudi Arabia, who in turn gets to control UK Foreign policy.

    If businesses had to pay proper wages instead of riding on the back of tax credits, there would be no Corporate salaries, or share success. The whole UK boom is mortgaged to its eyeballs to the extent that everyone knows in their heart of hearts that a waft of Corbyn reality would leave us completely bankrupt.
    And Corbyn is blamed for pronouncing the UK economy dead, when it is the Tories who have destroyed the UK economy and hidden its de-composed corpse in a mausoleum in which we live.

    The EU, with its tradition of regulated banking, is never going to allow one de-composed limb of the UK economy, Scotland, to share its blanket. Nor will the EU rush to emulate the stinking cadaver called the City of London. In effect Brexit will cordon off the de-composing remains of the British Empire, even though the Atlantic wind will continue to waft the Tory stench over to the rest of the continent.

    • Hieroglyph

      I’ve worked in the corporate world. Specifically, a US-owned IT company. It was so bad it affected my mental and physical health, and I once almost got sacked for literally nothing. I asked questions when I shouldn’t have, apparently. I consider it no accident that increasing authoritarianism in political circles is matched and echoed by increasing authoritarianism in the work-place. Two sides, same coin.

      Oh, and almost everyone at a senior level was incompetent. But, that’s a given these days.

  • iain taylor

    I agree with lots of this. Sometimes history helps us in turbulent times. Scotland needs to look at (for example) the Baltic States taking advantage of the USSR’s political & economic weakness to grab freedom and Slovenia doing something similar in relation to Yugoslavia. Those situations are not the same as ours, but have more commonality than many would think.

  • michael norton

    BREXIT bill: Parliament clears way for talks with EU

    19 minutes ago
    From the section UK Politics
    Ministry of Truth

    So, it is all systems go for a very hard brexit, with hard borders.

    Bring it on.

  • branches

    A Unionist Cycle

    Summer 2014: Stay please Scotland and lead the UK.

    September 2014: Vote No Scotland and get full home rule.

    September 19 2014: English Votes For English Laws.

    Autumn 2015: SNP, you can forget any amendments to the Scotland Bill.

    Spring 2016: You can forget having a Brexit veto Scotland.

    June 25 2016: We voted to leave as the UK, so you’re leaving the EU too Scotland.

    Spring 2017: Repatriated Brussels powers will come back to London even if they are devolved powers.

    2017: Stay please Scotland and lead the UK?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      A Nationalist Catch-22:
      1. We can’t join the EU until we leave the UK
      2. We can’t afford to leave the UK until we join the EU.

      • branches

        Either we vote for independence and independent Scotland would be designated as the UK successor state – which some EU insiders have mentioned as a possibility, and in which case we don’t have to apply to join – or we vote for independence before the UK leaves the EU and would join the EU shortly after becoming a sovereign state.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          So still no real plan, then? I’d say it would make more sense to wait until after Brexit, to see if it really is a crock of shit or whether you’d rather be shot of the UK. Otherwise some moaning minnie is bound to say “But the rUK’s new wave of prosperity changes everything, we must have another referendum”

          I’m currently getting a mood of cheerful relaxation from the Establishment down here, anyway. Sure, it’s saying, give them their referendum. Which implies that they know something you don’t. Be very suspicious.

          • branches

            If the UK Establishment are saying give them a referendum it’s because they know that their only glimmer of winning is to agree to one. Either that or they’re suffering from mass delusion, which I admit is a possibility.

            Talking of delusion, anyone free of it can see that brexit will be a crock of shit.

            And that Scotland no longer has any power and influence within the UK setup. Not that we ever had a lot.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Still no real plan, then? Other than to be a net beneficiary of EU largesse (how? The UK contributes more than it gets – you don’t want to inherit that, even with the rebates)
            No power and influence? You’ve got 59 Westminster MP’s AND a parliament all to yourselves. Not to mention Stagecoach, transport extortioners to the world
            Out of the crock of shit into the probable crock of shit, indeed. What beats me is how the ‘nationalists’ (a misnomer – they’re social democrats prepared to surrender their nationhood to an even larger entity than the one they’re in) can sell this as independence at all.

          • branches

            Influence you reckon?

            58 of those 59 Scottish MPs oppose brexit and we’re being forced to go.
            68% of Scots opposed brexit and we’re being forced to go.
            A majority in the Scottish Parliament opposes brexit.
            The vast majority of Scotland’s third sector opposes brexit.
            But we’re still being told we’re leaving the EU.

            As Sturgeon said, May didn’t even begin to address Scotland’s interests.

            Don’t see any influence in all of that.

            The union is kaput.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Call me an old lizard, but I really don’t regard giving 62% of 10% of the population the casting vote on Brexit or anything else as being the living embodiment of democracy. And you expect ‘full’ sovereignty under EU control to mitigate your resentment? Bearing in mind that you do four times as much trade with an England which will no longer have full access to your economic bloc?

            Well, ok. Off you go. Enjoy. Just don’t let the food riots spill across the border, eh?

          • branches

            Well if England really wants to compound her post brexit situation by not trading with independent Scotland – and I don’t see the CBI being enthusiastic about such an idea – then Scotland would still have the European single market to trade in. What would England do?

          • Chris Rogers

            @Branches,

            Just one issue with your figures allegedly relating to those Scots who desire to be part of the EU, namely, are you suggesting more than 60% of the Scottish electorate desire Unon with Europe, or, and this being more exact, just regurgitating the actual Poll figures from last June, in which case you make no mention of those who could not be arsed to vote. May i remind you that the turnout for the EU Referendum in Scotland was lower than that for the Scottish Independence Referendum, of which, some 20% could not be arsed to get involved. Who speaks for these non-voters may I enquire, for as in making a mockery of the fact that the UK on the whole elected to leave the EU, the fact still remains nearly 30% could not be bothered to cast a vote, and of those who actually could be arsed to vote, a majority voted to leave. Now that’s democracy, something liberal intellectuals seem to have difficulty in cottoning on too. You are not Alexander Hamilton by any chance, whom as most know had a detestation of the Demos?

          • branches

            Chris Rogers

            I’m all for everyone exercising their right to vote. But if some people refuse to they can hardly be counted in any result.

            As for the Leave majority in the UK. Yes there was a Leave majority in the UK.
            As there was a bigger Remain majority in Scotland in percentage terms.

            The Scottish Government asked Cameron well before the EU ref for a Brexit veto and they were rebuffed.

            So what kind of democrat could regard that as fair?

  • nevermind

    Those who fan and amplify Erdogans type of fascism here, hallo Michael Erdogan Le pen, be cry that they are not allowed into the EU and generally whip up right wing fervour here, are either in the pay of some right wing media baron, stupid, or plainly out to troll us here in order to divert the threads.

    Turkey will not become part of the EU, not under Erdogans regime and it is most likely to go to war with Syria, a rogue NATO country that does what it likes, an IS financial and arms supplier who has undermined our non existent efforts to oust these criminals from the middle east, thank you Russia for getting the ball rolling.

    The UK off course will help Turkey, even if it does not deserve it, as long as there’s something in it for our sitting elite, we will carry on sending our poor canon fodder into battle.
    What have these brave soldiers who died in Afghanistan achieved, what did they die for? An expensive memorial? My heart sinks when I see that severely injured soldiers have to rely on charity to get better and rejoin life as it exists, these men and women should be helped and paid for by the country they fought for, despicable.

  • nevermind

    ‘The EU door is wide open for Scotland to be part of the EU’ this lunchtime from a very clever Green MEP Ska Keller, ex candidate for the EU presidency.

    The Italian delegate is not very happy with Mrs. May’s negative and confrontational pre discussion stance, which ‘eventually will be to the detriment of the UK and its people’.

    oh boy, now I got Michael all excited.

    • branches

      If The Guardian have reported him correctly then Dastis has contradicted himself. He said Madrid would prefer to see the integrity of EU member states be kept and there to be no secessions. But the UK is going to leave the EU and won’t be an EU member state.

      Also, once again, there is no EU membership queue. It’s not like waiting in line at the post office.

      • branches

        Also Dastis never said anything at all about a Spanish veto. Just the same as previous Spanish Foreign Ministers.

        All he said was Madrid would prefer if there were no secessions. Which he has to say given the situation of Spanish politics regarding Catalunya and the Basque Country.

        He could hardly say “Go for it Scotland!”.

  • Fence

    Craig,

    A question.

    If it is proven that there was indeed electoral fraud surrounding x amount of successful Conservative candidates during the 2015 general election would that progress to the Brexit Referendum being illegitimate (ie they should not have been in a position to call a referendum, would not have had a majority etc)?

    Also what happens to the Party and the candidates? Obviously a pathetic fine for the party that will ultimately be paid for by the tax payer and what….an election rerun in each constituency?

    Thanks

    • D-Majestic

      Wouldn’t it be spiffingly splendid if some Tories were deprived of their seats and that Brexit was nulled and voided on legal technicalities? A ‘Spiffing yarn’ indeed. Bring it on-as someone wrote earlier.

  • bevin

    It is hard to understand optimism about either the EU or the Euro. Whether or not Le Pen wins the French election the crisis in France is not going to go away. And the French working class are distinguished not just for the incompetence and fratricidal tendencies of their leadership but for their persistent belief in their own worth. If Macron is elected to ‘reform’ the Labour market back into the 1890s he will suffer the same fate as Hollande has.

    The crisis in Europe is very simple and it is related to the euro problem, if the currency is in ‘rude health’ it is so because those administering it have proved themselves to be eager for a fight with the working class. Anxious to ensure that youth unemployment rates remain high and oblivious to the idea that reducing the Continent’s young people to hopelessness and poverty will have consequences.
    Sooner or later the neo-liberal Establishment is going to be defeated. The economy is collapsing-Giyane is right about that- the current relative ‘prosperity’ is founded on conjuring tricks. It is this which gives the debates over “Brexit’ and Scots ‘Independence’ such an unreal air. Most of the discussions are about an economy that doesn’t exist- a robust trading economy, built upon the foundations of a skilled, hard working and innovative working class and steadily increasing demand both internal and overseas. People discuss the ‘oil’ reserves as if they owned them-they don’t, they have been given away like the Bank of England’s gold reserves were.
    There is nothing hopeless about the economy but the cure for its ills is going to have to be radical: the vast debt burden for example can never be serviced. The idiocy of spending large sums on “defence’-which is nothing of the kind but a sort of Danegeld paid to Wall St- has to end, there are simply more urgent calls on scarce resources than imperial re-enactments.
    The problem is that the ship is sinking, changing the uniforms of the officers won’t solve the problem, nor will throwing a line to another sinking vessel.

  • Republicofscotland

    With the Dutch going to the polls tomorrow, it would appear that the current PM Mark Rutte has played a blinder. Coming out strong towards Turkey and its ministers whilst, opposing bad behaviour from Turks living in the Netherlands, has saw Rutte steal a march on Wilders thunder. Now the Dutch electorate who intended to vote for Wilders, may just think that Rutte is equally strong and vote for his party.

    Wilders won’t win, and even in the unlikely event he does, the other parties have vowed not to work with him, or join forces with him to form a government, unlike the Libdems, who’ll get into bed with anyone, to have a meagre taste of power.

    Staying on the Dutch, in 1568, the Catholic church condemned the entire population of the Netherlands to death, for heresy. Which was probably due to the Dutch Revolt.

    I’m sure Erdogan would’ve approved the action.

    • Loony

      That is one way of looking at things, Another way of looking at things is the Turkish way. The Turks thought the Dutch might be interested in knowing that there are 400,000 Turks living in the Netherlands but that the Dutch army is an aggregate force of only 46,000.

      I do so wonder why the Turks thought this to be an interesting fact worthy of bringing to the worlds attention. Maybe it is one of the many benefits of immigration with Turks volunteering to cover any manpower shortages in the Dutch army. Or maybe Turkey was sending a different message altogether…

      • Herbie

        “The Turks thought the Dutch might be interested in knowing that there are 400,000 Turks living in the Netherlands but that the Dutch army is an aggregate force of only 46,000.”

        They were trying to colour revolution the Dutch.

        In a kinda mock way.

        That’s why the Turkish FMs plane was turned back.

        Amusing stuff.

        But the Turkish govt seems to be getting feistier and feister, and not much caring about how it treats significant European countries.

        Flooding them with refugees.

        Openly dissing them.

        Europe looks weak and weakening.

        The refugee flooding of Europe was also something pushed by elite courtier Peter Sutherland.

        So it’s not just the nasty Turks humiliating Europe.

        The plan seems to have support at the highest levels in the Western elite.

        • glenn_uk

          Very amusing, indeed. So 400,000 Turks are all fifth columnists (to a man, woman, pensioner and baby), and are going to take over a country of 17,000,000-odd? 7/10 as a way to stir up suspicion and hatred, but 0/10 for highlighting any actual existential threat.

          Putin must have emboldened Erdogan recently, but in the process they’ve put back Turkey’s EU application by about 1000 years.

          • Herbie

            “they’ve put back Turkey’s EU application by about 1000 years.”

            That was always the state of Turkey’s application.

            I love you. Yes. Tomorrow, tomorrow, manana.

            The Turks feel humiliated.

            They react.

            They flood Europe with refugees.

            But.

            The point I was making originally is that for Turkey to act in this manner against important European countries, indicates that they have support at a higher level.

            You see. Turkey doesn’t know if it wants to be Atlanticist or Eurasian. It’s confused.

            The big problem for Eurasia, and this is an Atlanticist colour revolutionist’s wet dream, is that there are, in that region, so many old empires.

            And very sophisticated old empires too.

            One would expect that they would be easily divided.

            Hasn’t happened.

            They’ve united.

            Or are uniting.

            And then there’s yer waverers.

            But.

            The King is not yet fully dead.

            We’re not quite yet at that point where that famous critical mass feels it safe to dive in to the new yonder.

            A work in progress.

            Pillows, perhaps.

          • michael norton

            I wonder how Ford, now think their choice to close down Ford Transit production in Southampton, England, after 50 years, moving the factory to Asiatic Turkey,
            looks now?

            Both feet in the mouth.

            Maye they did it for ethical reasons?

  • Republicofscotland

    What on earth is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn thinking, last night he protested outside Westminster along with many others, over the right for EU citizens to be given a guarantee that they can stay in the UK.

    Corbyn was doing this as the Commons rejected the Lords attempt, to do that very thing. Yet amazingly a week or so prior to last night, the Labour lords, and Commons MP’s, did nothing to persuade the government to protect EU citizens.

    Is Corbyn so afraid of intereferring with the will of the people, that he’s standing back and allowing the government a free hand over Brexit. When it all turns to shit, and it will, Corbyn will come into the crosshairs, of a very angry public, and asked why didn’t your party do something to stop this.

    • Republicofscotland

      Re my above comment, in complete contrast, to Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon has been doing all she can do to protect the interests if the Scottish public.

      The Fraser Allander Institute, has pointed out that Scotland woukd lose 80,000 jobs and workers would see a drop of £2000 pounds in wages, is completely uncceptable.

      That’s why Sturgeon has been forcec to call a second indyref, to try and protect Scotland from the carefree casino attitude of the Westminster government over the economy.

      • fred

        No they didn’t, they said that was a worst case scenario.

        What they did say though:

        As recently as 2011-12, a geographic share of UK North Sea oil revenues was worth £9.6bn, more than Scotland’s total public spending on education, training and environmental protection. Last year oil revenues were a paltry £60m, only enough to cover the recent refurbishment of Glasgow Queen Street rail tunnel.

        “There is absolutely no escaping the fact that these numbers paint a very difficult picture of how Scotland would start out or transition to becoming an independent country,” economists from Strathclyde university’s Fraser of Allander Institute said.

        “It is simply not possible to operate under independence with a deficit at this scale on a consistent basis,” they wrote in an online commentary.

        https://www.ft.com/content/b2ee7448-6a0e-11e6-a0b1-d87a9fea034f

        • Republicofscotland

          “Scotland will lose up to 80,000 jobs in a decade as a result of Brexit, but the rest of the UK will suffer even more, the country’s leading economic think tank has predicted.”

          “The Fraser of Allander Institute said Brexit would depress Scottish GDP by 2 to 5 per cent, but the UK’s greater reliance on EU trade meant it would harder hit.”

          “Nevertheless, even on its most optimistic scenario, based on Norway’s close relationship with the EU, the Institute said Brexit would mean 30,000 fewer Scottish jobs than there would otherwise be after 10 years, Scottish GDP down £3bn and average wages down £800.”

          http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14784240.Scotland_will_lose_80_000_jobs_in_a_decade_post_Brexit__economists_warn/

          As for oil and gas, it will be a bonus in a independent Scotland, not a mainstay.

          Of course Westminster has squandered the profits from oil and gas for 50 years, on the likes of the Falklands war.

          • fred

            A 9.5% fiscal deficit isn’t a bonus.

            You are prepared to believe the Fraser of Allander Institute about Brexit but disregard their warnings about independence.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            It’s called confirmation bias. And we’re all sometimes guilty of it. It mutates to a point where you simply don’t see counter-arguments. And this is the ideal state for a politician.

          • Republicofscotland

            In 2010 Britain’s fiscal deficit was 11% but I don’t recall people saying it wasn’t a viable independent country.

            Of course the Welsh have been making rumblings due to the second Scottish indyref, NI’s unionist majority is also on the wane.

            Brexit will be a unmitigated disaster, Scotland’s better off independent, HMS Brexitania, under May’s stewardship, is heading full steam onto the rocks.

            You’d better have your life jacket at hand, it’s the thing that says Yes on it it in big letters.

          • branches

            Michael Norton

            “…and you fuckers are coming with us”.

            Who could resist such charm and gentle persuasion?

  • Fence

    O/T – Nigel Farage

    After the recent controversy in France regarding presidential candidate Francois Fillon and ‘fake jobs for the wife and kids’ and the current investigation surrounding it, should someone be investigating Nigel Farage and his employment of his wife while an MEP, considering it has now emerged that they had been separated for a very long period of time? Is she still on his (the EU’s) payroll? How much of a job can she do when they are not in contact?

    Fishy.

    • Ben

      ‘Someone should be investigating. ..’ lol.

      You mean like Farage: courier for Trump/Assange and the Russkie Bund?

      What could be wrong?

  • Geoffrey

    I have asked this question on this blog several times : In the event of Scotland becoming an independent nation what would it’s share be of the UK national debt be and how would this be transferred to Scotland ?
    It is a serious question ,moot for both parties.

    • branches

      You cannot credibly talk about share of the debt without also talking about share of the assets.

    • Republicofscotland

      Geoffrey.

      A good point, during the 2014 indyref, the Westminster government, openly said that they would be solely responsible for the national debt, even though the Scottish government, said they would take their fair share of the debt.

      However, along with taking their fair share of the national debt, Scotland would’ve (if agreed) taken their fair share of movable assests into the bargain.

      I’d imagine a similar stance will be taken by the Scottish government. I however have no idea what the Westminster governments stance is now.

        • Republicofscotland

          In what aspect? or with regards to what? Without the proper context, one can say all countries are effectively assets.

          • Geoffrey

            Exactly…so with the asset comes the debt. Scotland is the asset. I presume that Scotland and the rest of the UK have agreed the fair attribution. Do we know what has been agreed ?

          • branches

            Geoffrey

            “Scotland is the asset.”

            Do we understand you correctly?

            The only asset Scotland is entitled to is itself?

          • Republicofscotland

            You’re way off base on this on Geoffrey. The assets are things such as warships, aircraft (though admittedly the UK doesn’t have many right now) you know things that Scottish taxpayers have paid their fair share to over the decades.

            Assests that Scots helped to pay for and to be more precise movable assets.

          • Geoffrey

            Of course Scotland is an asset. As is the USA,Germany the UK or the EU. Who do lenders lend to….? They lend to legal entities like individuals ,states or companies. If the legal entity splits up then the debt which is attributed to it should also be reattributed .
            My question is simply…:Do we know the terms of this reattribution ?
            No need to get all acusatory !

          • Geoffrey

            And of course Scotland would have its share of the UK assets along with it’s share of the National debt.

          • Republicofscotland

            “No need to get all acusatory !”

            ________

            Apologies Gefforey, that was not my intention.

            I’ve no idea what the set up is yet as to, or even if Scotland would take its fair share of the national debt, it’s far to early to say.

            In 2014, Scotland said it would take around a 8.4% of the national debt, probably based on population. However as I’ve already said, the Westminster government decided to become the sole debtor.

          • Geoffrey

            Thanks,RoS. I did not know that. That does not sound like a satisfactory arrangement for either party.

        • nevermind

          I’m sure that you could charge for these assets, Geoffrey, the deep water ports in Faslane should be worth 5 billion and Coalport another 7 or 8 billion of assets, over the top of my head.

          • Republicofscotland

            Nevermind.

            I’m sure that the Scottish government wants to turn Faslane, into a conventional naval base in a independent Scotland, and in the process employ far more people than currently work there.

            However lets just say for talking sake that, Scots decided to rent out Faslane. It would be America that we’d do the deal with not Westminster, over the on loan nukes.

          • Kempe

            ” I’m sure that the Scottish government wants to turn Faslane, into a conventional naval base in a independent Scotland, and in the process employ far more people than currently work there. ”

            They’ve never made a statement to that effect so just wishful thinking on your part (again). What would Scotland need a blue water navy for anyway?

    • jake

      Good question Geoffrey, but before I answer it can you tell me which currency you’d like it paid in? Will the rUK government let us use the pound(£) or would you prefer it in a currency we just roll off the presses ourselves?

  • Loony

    It seems that Nationalist Scots are, broadly speaking, looking to be led by a true Scotsman, who claims a socialist tradition, who is supportive of immigration, who is well connected who has an international reputation, who has a long track record of public service, who supports the EU and who is looking for a job.

    Not an easy job specification to fill. But luckily I have just the man for you.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1367&bih=637&q=tony+blair&oq=tony+blair&gs_l=img.3..0l10.2055.5446.0.7788.10.8.0.2.2.0.190.743.3j4.7.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..1.9.757.sylvBFNaJJs#imgrc=5K4JeRTLuspC1M:

    If you accept this person as your leader then millions of Englishmen will move to Scotland in order to be on the electoral register just to ensure that their votes guarantee your success in the Independence Referendum.

    How much do you want it? Enough to accept this?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      There won’t even have to be a referendum. Public acclamation will be enough. But there is a snag. Tony doesn’t get out of bed for less than a million, and it will be necessary to assure him that his modest income won’t suffer. On the bright side, he loves running countries, is an expert on governance and Arab sovereign wealth funds, and Scotland will become a global hub….like Rwanda.

      • Republicofscotland

        The only thing I picture more repulsive, than Tony Blair running Scotland, is the fawning hand holding episode of Theresa “spinning” May and her orange beau Donald Trump.

        Mind you Thatcher and Reagan or her other great love Pinochet, has me reaching for the sick bucket as well.

  • Sharp Ears

    Jeremy Corbyn to Theresa May today. HoC. EU.
    12.43 pm
    Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Lab)

    I thank the Prime Minister for an advance copy of the statement. The passing into law of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill marks an historic step. The triggering of article 50 later this month is a process that will shape this country’s future. There is no doubt that if the wrong decisions are made, we will pay the price for decades to come.

    Now, more than ever, Britain needs an inclusive Government who listen and act accordingly. However, all the signs are that we have a complacent Government—complacent with our economy; complacent with people’s rights; complacent about the future of this country. I urge the Prime Minister to listen to the collective wisdom of this Parliament, and to give the House a full opportunity to scrutinise the article 50 deal with a meaningful final vote. The people’s representatives deserve better than “take it or leave it”. If we are to protect jobs and living standards, and if we are to protect the future prosperity of the country, the Government must secure tariff-free access to the single European market.

    The Prime Minister has already made the threat to our negotiating partners to turn Britain into a deregulated tax haven. Is that what she means by “global Britain”? When the Foreign Secretary says that no deal with the EU would be “perfectly OK”, it simply is not good enough. Far from taking back control, leaving Britain to World Trade Organisation rules would mean losing control, losing jobs, and, frankly, losing out. The Prime Minister says that no deal is better than a bad deal. Let me be clear: no deal is a bad deal. Such a complacent strategy would punish business, hit jobs, and devastate public services on which people rely.

    The Prime Minister says that she is seeking to secure a future free trade deal with the EU, after initial negotiations have been completed. If that is the strategy, it is essential that the Government stop being complacent and focus on securing a transitional agreement with the EU at the earliest opportunity. That would at least give the British people and businesses some short-term clarity during this period.

    The Prime Minister said that she wanted to provide certainty on the issue of EU nationals as soon as possible. Why, then, have the Government voted down every Labour attempt to bring certainty to EU nationals, who make such a massive contribution to our community and our society? These people are not bargaining chips; they are mothers, fathers, wives and husbands. They are valued members of our community. The Government could and should have acted months ago. I agree with the Prime Minister that now is not the time to create uncertainty or play politics. She should tell that to the EU migrants in Britain who have no idea what their future holds because of the decisions made by her Government.

    Is the Prime Minister saying that she is content for refugees to remain in camps in Libya—is that a safe country?—or for Greece, Italy and Malta to shoulder the entire burden of refugees from north Africa and the middle east? While we welcome the conference on Somalia that she is proposing, we need to know what support Britain is offering to all those countries. Does the Prime Minister still believe that we have a collective responsibility on the issue of refugees?

    The Prime Minister said that she had argued about tackling vile smuggling rings, and about people being subjected to unimaginable abuse. Does she not agree that her argument would be so much stronger if her Government had been prepared to accept some of the victims of that unimaginable abuse; for example, the children who should have been accepted through the Dubs amendment?

    As we move towards the triggering of article 50, there is much uncertainty about Britain’s future. A responsible Government would set a positive tone with our negotiating partners, and would move to protect our economy, workers and citizens at the earliest opportunity. Instead, we have a reckless Government who are playing fast and loose with the British economy. We will fight for jobs and the economy, using every parliamentary mechanism that is available, and the Government should welcome that scrutiny.’

    http://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-03-14/debates/B5826F13-CE59-42DD-9DE4-ACDEA7E308DA/EuropeanCouncil

        • Ben

          It’s quite revealing how your version of facts engineers any discusion. I should think you would vehemently defend the scions of today’s breaking news. Is Assange : Leninist? Trump: IL Duce?

          Will they all sign a non- aggression pact and avert a WAR!!#×÷!! $×?

          You Progressives/alt Lefties make me puke.

  • Doug Scorgie

    fred
    March 14, 2017 at 09:33

    “This time the people should be informed of the facts which means negotiating and agreeing all terms before the referendum. Let the people know what they would be letting themselves in for.”

    ……………………………………………..

    Fred, when you say: “This time the people should be informed of the facts…” are you admitting that last time the people were not informed of the facts which should invalidate the referendum ?

    They were misinformed Fred by the MSM and other Unionist supporters (Project Fear).

    This undermined the democratic process in both the Scottish and the EU referenda.

    You say… “Let the people know what they would be letting themselves in for.”

    I think you should say: let the people know what they are voting for.

    • fred

      No I mean the bullshit propagated by the Nationalists.

      For instance the Nationalists told everyone rUK would pay people in Scotland’s pensions. This turned out to not be true.

      The Unionist stance was clear, they were negotiating nothing before the referendum which left the Nationalists able to just make it up.

      What they said in public wasn’t what they said in private as this leaked memo shows.

      http://b.3cdn.net/better/c1d14076ee08022eec_u9m6vd74f.pdf

        • fred

          I know where to start with the Nationalists, how about “once in a lifetime”? How about saying they would respect the result of the referendum.

          Stop bullshitting, we know who the liars and cheats are.

          • michael norton

            1) What currency will u use?
            2) Which face will be on your coins, banknotes and passports?
            3) Do u admit that Scotland will not be in the European Union?
            4) how will u fund Police Scotland?
            5) How will u fund the pensioners?
            6) How will u fund education?
            7) How will u fund “free” prescriptions?
            8) How will u fund Universities?
            9) will the people of Scotland be happy with a hard border with the rest of the United Kingdom?
            10) who will u sell your renewable electricity to?
            11) How will u fund ship building, now U.K. boats will no longer be manufactured in Scotland?
            12) how will u fund your Navy?

          • fred

            Make them keep voting till they give the answer we want then stop.

            Much favoured by dictators everywhere.

          • Republicofscotland

            Ah Michael good to see you can post a comment without swearing.

            If I were you I’d be more worried about my own backyard, regarding Brexit. If no deal is the outcome with the EU.

            You’ll be unceremoniously bounced out of the largest trade bloc on earth, and find yourself cast adrift into the WTO, were tariffs rule supreme.

          • branches

            Who said anything about stopping having referenda?

            There’ll be referenda in independent Scotland.

          • fred

            “There’ll be referenda in independent Scotland.”

            I don’t believe you. I wouldn’t bank on there being elections let alone referenda.

            Have they chosen dates for inderef 3 4 and 5 yet?

          • michael norton

            RoS I have no fear whatsoever that the United Kingdom will do exceedingly well in the future, outside of the undemocratic European Union.

            We wish u luck, u will need it.

          • Anon1

            RoS

            I’m afraid you are talking utter rubbish again.

            Former Australia PM, Tony Abbott, nailed it nicely:

            “During his 10-minute speech at the Politeia think tank event, Mr Abbott also insisted that Britain had nothing to fear from a “hard Brexit”.

            He said Prime Minister Theresa May should not worry about cutting ties with Brussels without a deal – pointing out that Australia had managed to trade “successfully” on World Trade Organisation terms for 40 years.

            He said: “Here’s the truth, the countries of Europe do not trade with Britain because it’s in the EU, they trade with Britain because it’s in their interest to do so.””

        • Republicofscotland

          Anon1.

          I’m pretty sure May’s statement of “No deal, is better than a bad deal” is exactly what she has in mind. Boris Johnson virtually backed up that claim by hinting the exact same thing on Peston on Sunday.

          It will be a hard Brexit because there’s going to be no deal. Of course some Commonwealth countries like Australia will see that as a opportunity. Though its 23 million inhabitants, falls well short of matching the largest trading bloc on earth-its remotness doesn’t help either.

          A interesting fact about Aussie PM Bob Hawke, is that before he became PM in 1983, he held the Guiness Book of Records, record, for downing two and a half pints of beer in the quickest time, eleven seconds. 😀…burp!

  • michael norton

    A Conservative MP has been interviewed under caution as part of an ongoing police inquiry into whether the party overspent in its campaign for South Thanet in the 2015 general election, when they were up against Nigel Farage.

    Craig Mackinlay, the MP who won the seat against the former Ukip leader, is said to have spent about six hours speaking to police about their investigation, which has been going on for about a year.

    Asked about the interview, a Conservative spokesman said: “We are cooperating with the ongoing investigations.” Mackinlay did not reply to a request for comment.

    There is growing panic in the Conservative party about the scale of police probes into election spending, which could affect dozens of MPs.
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/14/conservative-mp-craig-mackinlay-interviewed-under-caution-over-election-spending

    This may cause Saint Theresa May to call a General Election.
    If a General Election is called, the S. N. P.
    might start to unravel

    • Republicofscotland

      “This may cause Saint Theresa May to call a General Election.”

      ________

      Brexit looming, a second indyref on the cards, and you think May will undermine her position by holding a GE.

      Hmmmm..

    • John Spencer-Davis

      If the Conservative Party has done nothing wrong, why the panic? Surely they should welcome the opportunity to have the police look into the matter and find that the party has acted properly at all times.

      • Sharp Ears

        Back to the Road Trip buses, Mark Clarke, the suicide of Elliott Johnson, the involvement of Lady Pidding, Lord Feldman, Grant Shapps, David Cameron and the rest of them at Partei HQ.

        Lord Feldman ‘knew of bullying allegations’ over a year ago, Mark Clarke’s friends claim
        Exclusive Friends of Mark Clarke said Lord Feldman was aware of other bullying allegations involving him more than a year earlier in late summer 2014
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/12026028/Lord-Feldman-knew-of-bullying-allegations-over-a-year-ago-Mark-Clarkes-friends-claim.html

        ‘Friends of Mr Clarke also said that Lord Feldman “signed off the money” for “battle buses” which were sent around the country hundreds of young activists on the party’s “Road Trips”.

        The friend said: “Feldman loved the buses so much that when buses turned up all liveried he ran outside in order to be seen with the bloody buses.”

        Lord Feldman’s personal involvement in Mr Clarke’s RoadTrip project even stretched to the party employing his sister Deborah to run the fleet of buses.

        The friend of Mr Clarke said: “She was put there anyway to keep an eye on the whole bloody thing because Feldman did not trust Shapps.” ‘ 🙂

        Pressure building on senior Tories over expenses ‘mess’
        In furious leaked emails, Tory MPs accuse officials of “covering their own backsides” amid claims politicians overspent.
        http://news.sky.com/story/expenses-scandal-tory-mps-say-party-officials-covering-own-backsides-10801909

        ‘MPs implicated in the row said they felt “scared” about the outcome of the investigations and believe Downing St is worried.’

    • RobG

      A heads up to Sharp Ears. Thanks for all the links and comment. Don’t stop. You might be surprised at how many people appreciate it.

      We live in totally insane times. We need to speak out.

      Thank you for what you do.

      • nevermind

        seconded Rob G, sharp ears is here to stay, whatever flak is thrown at her/his post.
        I have hinted at the illegitimate Government some days ago but there seems to be nobody who can enlighten us what this will mean, what repercussions this might bring and what it will mean for the negotiations, who’s base is now seriously flawed.

        RIP Elliott Johnson, lets hope those who have exploited and bullied you will get their comeuppance.

        • Sharp Ears

          Thanks RobG and Nevermind. That is kind of you.

          We must stay together against the racists and fascists who come on here.

          For truth and justice.

          • Sharp Ears

            I omitted to include the Z supporters. I expect you read that the chair of the PSC, Hugh Lanning, has just been expelled from Israel.

  • Ben

    Are we at Peak Fake News yet?

    You know…news you can’t abide, so you just make up out of whole cloth?

    The Existentialists Rule!!!

  • Velofello

    Oh dear Fred…”and then you go and spoil it all by…” quoting the DAILY MAIL and STEPHEN DAISLEY! What next, quotes from Disney cartoons?
    Fred, why not? “just retire to a farm and charm the birds off the trees”

  • Habbabkuk

    Puzzled to see no vicious criticism of Charlotte Mary Hogg yet from the resident Vicious Criticiser.

    All the more puzzling because Ms Hogg is a successful career woman in financial services!

    Standards are slipping on this blog.

  • Alan McKinnon Findlay

    The best political analysis I have read in a long time – First class

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