Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Stay tuned for a developing show that will run and run…

Brexit Poster

Act One: The preamble….opening shortly



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The UK should be in no rush to trigger article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. There is  nothing to gain and much to lose.

Once we formally tell the EU the UK is leaving then the two year clock is ticking. Once that happens our negotiating power is seriously compromised. In extremis the EU Commission could just sit on its hands and do nothing, refusing even to speak.

The EU is already pushing the UK to trigger article 50, wanting to get the whole thing over quickly and before any head of steam builds up in other countries for a Frexit, Nexit or Grexit. That should tell us something.

And we don’t need civil servants negotiating our exit. And certainly not the same civil servants who negotiated and advised Cameron on the pathetic changes (sic)  he came back with last February. Let’s ensure we have hard nosed commercially savvy hard ball negotiators from the private sector. Individuals who are used to doing deals and staring down the barrel. The UK Foreign Office, whilst extremely competent in diplomacy elsewhere around the globe should not be anywhere near these negotiations when they are triggered. They are  and have been congenitally wedded to the EU and their natural mindset will be all wrong.

The Commission have apparently been told by Juncker there must be no informal discussions before the UK starts the Article 50 clock, and that is certainly Merkel’s view. Mind you that hasn’t stopped  Mrs Salmond planning to drop into the Berlaymont tomorrow to further her cause.

But two can play the say nothing game. There’s a case for letting the EU wait. Let’s see what happens. By leaving we’ve effectively killed off any chance of the EU developing its own EU Defence Force and its ridiculous aim of seeking autonomy from NATO. And with only France left to represent the EUs views at the UN Security Council  its representation has been cut by 50%. Let’s see what happens when we put forward informal proposals that as a quid pro quo for access to the single market without tariffs we’re prepared to be involved with the EU in some yet to be formed  associated member club to assist in these grand ideals.

Now there’s a thought. Back in fact  86 years to Churchill’s 1930 statement about  us being, “With Europe, but not of it.  We are linked but not combined. We are interested and associated but not absorbed.” To which is often added his words in a blazing row with General de Gaulle on the eve of D Day in 1944, “If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.”




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I have been appalled at some of the language and bile that’s been pouring out of the twitterati and elsewhere. One thing it is not is British as I have always understood the meaning of that term. I’m upset that many young people are blaming their parent’s post war generation on the sole grounds that we don’t have as long to live and be as affected by the result as they will, and as if we too don’t have the same concerns for the future of our grandchildren and genuinely believe we are better off out, just as much as they believe we would be better off in.

I was particularly incensed by the article by Giles Coren in the UK’s Times  on  Saturday. (see below). I shudder to think what his celebrated and genuinely funny and decent father would have thought. It’s so full of bile and hate that I was astounded and expected better from him. I thought I’d see what he was writing on the twittersphere and just couldn’t believe the foul language, and equally surprising were many similar comments full of hatred from his followers. Metropolitan London are quick to cry hate crime elsewhere. They need to seriously look at the motes in their own eyes and be careful the boys in blue don’t start calling.

The Giles Coren Article. Times UK – Saturday 25 June 2016

I had lunch with my mother on Wednesday and as our starters were being cleared away she turned to me and said, “So, Giles, how are you going to vote tomorrow?”

And I replied, “why?” because I sniffed a trap. I’m not saying my mother loves a lunchtime broigus, it’s just that she doesn’t usually ask a question unless she already has a strong opinion of her own fired up and ready to go.

On this, I was guessing she was for Brexit. My mother was (and remains) a great admirer of Margaret Thatcher, almost always votes Conservative, has an abhorrence of bureaucracy and red tape thanks to 40 years working in the NHS (and owning a house in France) and voted to leave the EEC in 1975.

And so her answer astonished me.

“I’m asking because whatever you vote, I’ll vote,” she said. “After all, I’m going to be dead soon so it doesn’t matter what I think. I won’t be affected.”

If only every older person in Britain had had the humility to think the same way this week and pass on their vote to a generation more likely to be affected by the result. We’d still be in Europe this morning. We’d be laughing at how ridiculous it was to have had a referendum in the first place and just getting on with our lives.

For make no mistake, it is the old people who did this to us. I assume you have seen the voting breakdown by age? In the 18-24 group it was 64 per cent to Remain and 24 per cent to Leave. In the 25-49 age group it was 45 per cent to 39. Only in the 50-64 bracket does the balance shift, going over to 49 per cent for Leave, as against 35 for Remain. And then among the over-65s it was an astonishing 58 per cent for Leave, against 33 per cent for Remain.

The less time a person had left on earth to live and face up to their decision, in other words, the more likely they were to vote to leave the European Union.

The wrinkly bastards stitched us young ’uns up good and proper on Thursday. From their stair lifts and their Zimmer frames, their electric recliner beds and their walk-in baths, they reached out with their wizened old writing hands to make their wobbly crosses and screwed their children and their children’s children for a thousand generations. (Except my mother — who wants it made clear that she was for Leave anyway.)

I always knew it would turn out this way. From the moment the referendum was called, the polls showed a massive majority for Leave in the over-65 group — bigger than any differential in wage, education, geographical location or political leaning. And it was how I formed my eventual decision to vote Remain. I just knew that I could not vote with the old people. Because old people are always wrong. About everything.

Take global warming, for example. In all opinion surveys that I have seen, belief in anthropogenic global warming declines every year after the age of 25. In other words, the likelihood of a person accepting the truth of global warming is inversely proportional to the likelihood of their being alive to see its disastrous effects. Is it because people become more stupid with age? I wouldn’t presume to say so. Although obviously Nigel Lawson has. But mainly it’s just that they give less and less of a damn what happens to the rest of us as time goes on.

The older people get, the more they think they have earned the right to do and think whatever they damn well please. And this leads to their being wrong. About everything. Not just about elasticated waistbands, brightly coloured outerwear, fluffy little pale blue hairdos, big chunky spectacles, beige trousers, Countdown and young people today. About everything.

Older people care less and less what happens to the rest of us

Take recycling. Old people never recycle anything. They think it’s all mumbo jumbo. And why should they bother? After all, by the time that bottle of milk stout is crushed, melted and made into another bottle of milk stout, they’ll be far too dead to enjoy it. They can’t work the TV, they can’t hear their mobile phone or answer it if they do hear it, they don’t understand the self-checkout at the supermarket or why there aren’t price tags on things anymore …

And then of course there is immigration. A report for the World Bank in 2012 found that, “It is old people everywhere who oppose immigration the most, across the board. In every country for which we have data (except Sweden) older natives disproportionately oppose immigration, regardless of income, education and employment status.”

And that is despite the fact that it is old people who benefit most from immigration, seeing as they no longer compete in the labour market and require, or will soon require, the sort of care that is made cheaper by immigrant labour. But, oh no, old people are against immigration because, well, because they are wrong about everything.

Should they have been allowed to vote in this referendum? I’m not sure that they should have been. A general election, yes. Everyone should get a say on what happens over the next five years. But over the next 50? I don’t think so. Not if you’re not going to be there to face it.

And don’t go telling me that we owe at least a debt of respect to the elderly. Respect for what? Don’t confuse the elderly of today with the elderly of the recent past. This lot did not fight a war (not many of them). They didn’t free us from the yoke of tyranny. They didn’t live in modesty and hardship and hunger so that future generations might thrive. They just enjoyed high employment, good pay, fat benefits, enormous pension privileges, international travel, the birth of pop music and lashings of free sex. We don’t owe them a thing. We should cut them off. Rewrite the franchise to start at 16 and end at 60 and do this thing all over again.

We won’t, of course. So we will be compelled to make our strength of feeling felt in smaller, subtler ways. In fact it is already happening. As early as lunchtime on Friday, Twitter was showing 15,000 retweets of what may come to be the standout mantra for Brexit 2016:

“I’m never giving up my seat on the train for an old person again.”

The Times


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The reverberations over Nigel Hastilow’s article last week, and its links to Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of blood speech’, (see earlier post), continue.

I have been struck by the similarity between the words in Hastilow’s article, and the words used by Margaret Hodge MP and Minister of State for Culture Media and Sport.

Contrast Hastilow’s words

“Today, far too many immigrants – they tell me – wheedle their way into Britain in order to benefit from the generosity of our welfare state. Asian Britons resent this as much as anyone. And no wonder. Does anybody in the country really want to see our population grow by almost half a million every 12 months so that in 24 years’ time it will have increased by almost 11 million?
Do we really want to see the country devastated by another three million houses or more over the next 12 years? Up to two thirds of these houses are only needed to cater for immigrants.”

with Margaret Hodge’s words in May 2007

“We should look at policies where the legitimate sense of entitlement felt by the indigenous family overrides the legitimate need demonstrated by the new migrants.”

Talking about her constituency she said:

“a recently arrived family with four or five children living in a damp and overcrowded privately rented flat, with the children suffering from asthma, will usually get priority over a family with less housing need who have lived in the area for three generations and are stuck at home with the grandparents.”

Commenting on her own article, Hodge said

“I set out to ask some difficult questions on the tension between ‘entitlement’ and ‘need’ in the allocation of social housing….I, of course, accept the need for more social housing and did so in the article. However there will always have to be rules to ration what will always be a finite resource.”

I see little difference between the view taken by Margaret Hodge about the housing aspects of immigration, and the views taken by constituents of Nigel Hastilow, which he reported in his article that caused all the trouble. The words used by both are remarkably similar, hardly surprising perhaps when they both start from the same basic premise of perceived unfairness.

The only difference of course is that Margaret Hodge was allowed to continue in office as a Minister, and Nigel Hastilow was asked to stand down as a candidate for Parliament. One has to wonder and marvel at the hypocrisy of some politicians and sections of the media, in their highly partial reporting.

Could it be that the statements Hodge made, came about from her own cynical calculation about the possibility of her losing her job as an MP? Did she see the election of 11 BNP councillors in her constituency, as evidence of a swing to the right, and that her electorate was getting upset about aspects of perceived housing unfairness. Was that why she spoke the words she did?

You might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment

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Nigel Hastilow was, until he stepped aside this weekend, the prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Halesowen and Rowley Regis constituency in the UK’s West Midlands. He stepped aside after being summoned to a discussion with the Conservative Party chairman Caroline Spelman.

The reason he has stepped aside is because he refused to retract the comments he made in a recent article published in the Wolverhampton Express and Star newspaper, and it seems, reading between the lines, that Spelman indicated that he would be de-selected if he didn’t.

So what were the comments he made? I’m posting the complete article below for readers to form their own view. In essence it was the fact that he mentioned the 20th April 1968 speech about immigration and anti-discrimination legislation, made by Enoch Powell the then Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West.

The speech, commonly described by the media as the “Rivers of Blood” speech, although Powell never used that phrase, using the words, “Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood”, referring to lines in Virgil’s Aenid predicting wars and conflicts, ( see Wikipedia entry. ) led to Powell being sacked as shadow Defence Secretary by the then Conservative leader, (later to be Prime Minister), Edward Heath.

I well remember the furore that followed the speech that weekend in 1968, and it is a measure of the sensitivity of the whole immigration subject in the UK, that it still reverberates and echoes nearly 40 years later. The usual suspects in the left liberal tendency that control much of our media these days, are, with their usual knee jerk reaction, once more baying for blood this weekend. I wonder however if this time they have shot their fox and this might mark a turning point in the whole debate. Time will no doubt tell.

I say this because unlike 40 years ago, and particularly in the last few weeks, the level of immigration in the UK is hotly debated in the country. It is by no means limited to mere anecdotal comments that could be argued were the essence of the stories 40 years ago. It is indeed ironic that this very week, the government has been forced to correct upwards the statistics on the numbers of immigrants that have entered the country in the last few years. Immediately before the Hastilow article, the subject was already at the top of the political agenda, and I don’t see this changing until the subject is addressed by politicians to the satisfaction of the electorate.

As an aside it is interesting 40 years on, to see how close to reality are some of the statistics Powell projected. Had he known we were only five years away from joining the EU’s fore-runner the European Economic Community, and the loss of immigration control over EU citizens, he might well have projected numbers even closer to reality.

My immediate question though is to ask what is so remarkable and unwarranted about the words in the article that required Mr Hastilow to step aside? A careful reading of it clearly shows that the focus of his comments were those native Britons who claim unemployment and disability benefit to which they are not entitled.

The answer, given the recent history of the debate on the subject, is nothing. So why has the reaction been what it is? The answer to that is undoubtedly complex and no doubt contains strands of political dogma, social and cultural engineering, the self loathing of Britishness that apologists for the days of the Empire revile so much, and more worryingly a desire to stifle debate.

Irrespective of the reasons, the first question we have to ask is why should honest and fair debate about the subject be stifled? That it is is probably the biggest problem this society faces today, for all sorts of demographic, geographical and logistical reasons, is surely unremarkable.

We once prided ourselves on our freedoms, particularly of speech, and it is dangerous when this is suppressed, and when the term ‘racist’ is mindlessly thrown at anyone who wants to debate the subject.

The Hastilow article in full is below – make up your own mind.

Britain ‘seen as a soft touch.

“The woman on the doorstep speaks in sorrow, not anger.
Her daughter has split up from her husband and is now a single parent with two young children.
They all live with granny because the daughter and her kids have been refused a council house. And, according to granny, that’s because all the available accommodation has gone to immigrants. The house is full. Granny looks a bit worn down by her new lodgers. The novelty of having the little ones to stay is clearly wearing off. The family seems resigned to the fact that nobody will do anything to help. They have more or less given up complaining about the way we roll out the red carpet for foreigners while leaving the locals to fend for themselves. When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most people say immigration. Many insist: “Enoch Powell was right”.

Enoch, once MP for Wolverhampton South West, was sacked from the Conservative front bench and marginalised politically for his 1968 “rivers of blood” speech warning that uncontrolled immigration would change our country irrevocably.

He was right. It has changed dramatically. But his speech was political suicide. Enoch’s successors in Parliament are desperate to avoid ever mentioning the issue. It’s too controversial and far too dangerous. Nobody wants to be labelled a racist. Immigration is the issue that dare not speak its name in public.

Yet everywhere you go, you hear the same story. There are simply too many people competing for the space, houses, benefits, public services and jobs this country has to offer. It’s claimed we couldn’t survive without immigrants to work in our hotels, pubs and restaurants, to pick our fruit and clean our hospitals. But that’s because we make life too easy for the five million or more people who could be working but enjoy life too much living off the state.

Why are 1.65 million people unemployed when it seems as if there’s a job for more or less anyone who wants one? Why are 2.4 million people claiming incapacity benefit when society is getting healthier? In the past they would have been accused of “swinging the lead”, “skiving”, “scrounging” or “cheating”. Now we’re told they need “up-skilling” and then they would be only too happy to work (but for their bad backs).

We only need so many Polish waitresses because so many people who were born and bred in Britain can’t be bothered to work. This week we have seen a slight but important shift. Immigration has come out of the closet. Even David Cameron, the most liberal Conservative leader for decades, has decided it’s safe to discuss immigration openly. This is not about race; it’s about numbers. I have been lectured on this, on separate occasions, by several Asian Britons. They argue that their families came to this country to work hard, get on, pay their taxes, earn a living.

Today, far too many immigrants – they tell me – wheedle their way into Britain in order to benefit from the generosity of our welfare state. Asian Britons resent this as much as anyone. And no wonder. Does anybody in the country really want to see our population grow by almost half a million every 12 months so that in 24 years’ time it will have increased by almost 11 million?
Do we really want to see the country devastated by another three million houses or more over the next 12 years? Up to two thirds of these houses are only needed to cater for immigrants.

How on earth can we afford to meet other costs – council housing, roads, hospitals and schools – linked to this staggering increase in the population? Do we really want increased taxes to meet the increased costs of an increasing population?
We must police our borders. Deport without debate bogus asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants. Abandon the “human rights” merry-go-round. Tell the EU we won’t take anyone from Bulgaria or Romania or any other country which wants to “join Europe”. And get rid of the 11,000 foreigners in our jails.

Alas, the Government hasn’t got a clue how many people it has let in already.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, the MP for Redditch, humiliatingly apologised this week after claiming 800,000 migrant workers had come to Britain since 1997. Turns out the real figure is 1.1 million.
First we’re told immigrants took 30 per cent of the 2.7 million jobs created in the past decade. Then the official figure was increased to 40 per cent. Now it’s 52 per cent – making Gordon Brown’s promise of “British jobs for British workers” look pretty silly.

It’s all guesswork, and the Government has even less of a clue how many illegal immigrants there are.
Of course it’s right that we share the international burden of caring for genuine refugees fleeing persecution and death. But we’re being exploited. Britain is seen around the world as a soft touch. We must remember that, as the grandmother I was talking to the other day pointed out, charity begins at home.:”

Nigel Hastilow – Wolverhampton Express and Star, Friday 2nd November 2007

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