RANDOM THOUGHTS

It appears, from Radio 4’s Today programme interview, that Liam Fox wants to hold US/UK trade deal talks in secret.

You might well wonder why.

Well, maybe it’s because it will allow corporate lobbyists to influence the talks while the UK public and parliament will have no idea what is on the table as quid pro quo.

What you reckon Mr Fox… Oh sorry, DOCTOR Fox, wants to hide from us?

NHS?

Workers’ rights?

Agriculture?

Environmental standards?

Fracking licences?

Foreign affairs?

Defence?

Is it because, if it is done in public, the “ordinary” people will see the UK fold its tent every time the US makes a demand?

What do you think?

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Also on the Today programme, the BBC out and out lied about Africa and trade deals. Mrs May is in South Africa to drum up support for a future trade agreement.

Mike Galsworthy pointed out:

Argh! talking crap about why we have “huge tariffs” on “African countries” & whether we can lower tariffs. This is ignorant. 33 African countries have ZERO tariffs to EU – coz they fall under “Everything But Arms” agreement.

Also, on top of this, the EU has various deals with African regions in development, aimed at helping Africa integrate into global trading system (EU is Africa’s biggest trading partner)

The EU has *huge* interest in the economic development & stability of Africa… especially given the proximity and immigration issues. With these trade deals, I understand EU even planning to invest to help African producers meet EU quality levels to help boost exports to EU.

Small wonder that the BBC’s “flagship” news programme has lost 800,000 listeners in a year.

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That’s £500,000,000 per annum, by the way.

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35 thoughts on “RANDOM THOUGHTS”

  1. As brexit approaches I’m becoming more and more worried. Shit will hit the fan, bounce off the fan and cover everyone in these islands. It’s going to make the 1970s seem like the days of wine and roses. Oh shit. Bye Bye NHS, hello fracking, bye bye Scottish parliament, hello government of national unity.

    I’d like to think I’m being paranoid but having read the Shock Doctrine… HELP, M’AIDER etc

    Queue the Animals (no not the Soppy Sunday ones!)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It gets more and more likely that the whole thing is going to be a total disaster… which of course will be Brussels’ fault, and nothing to do with the fact that the British government couldn’t get their act together and didn’t know what to demand… because they were fighting rings around each other, and the DUP. Imagine being like this when the main opposition party pretty much agrees with you.

      And now, that horrid French president won’t work against the interests of Europe and for Britain having Boris’s cake and le mangant!.

      As they say in France, Tessy: One cannot have the butter and the money for the butter. (Odd lot!!!)

      If this is us holding all the cards, I’d hate to see what it would be like if the Europeans had a few cards of their own.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah the magic money tree has been in action twice in the last few days.
    First we are to have our own GPS system, a better one than the American, the Russian and the EU system, £100m for the research, the ongoing costs likely to be in the £100billion region.
    Wee problem I can foresee, How are they going to launch the satellites? Ask a friend! like Russia or China, maybe it will be India that will do the business as they have a capability RUK hasn’t had for many years. Yes I remember we in Scotland are to get the launch site in Sutherland, don’t know any UK builder of rockets other than for Guy Fox night.
    NOw today mother theresa promises Africa £4billion to create jobs for the young folk of Africa. Wonder if she’s any idea of the numbers there, after all it’s only 4x DUP money.
    Too late is the cry, the EU and China are in there already, have been for nearly 10 years. I did some work in Botswana at the new college in Gabarone, all brand new and fully resourced, in fact better equipment than was found in Scottish colleges.
    No doubt Philip is in there with here’s a great idea, you borrow the cash at 3% and lend it to them as aid at 10% as long as they buy equipment from us, can’t miss making our fortune. They’ll need plenty of guns and bombs, well that’s about all we make now and Nissan, Toyota, Honda and LandRover are off to the EU to build there.
    In the meantime we can expect an easy job of raping them again for their resources, they’ll have forgotten all about their colonial master race from the last 2 centuries, I don’t think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye, I reckon the only reason she sticks out this job is so that Pip can make loadsamoney before they head off to the sun, surrounded by security men, like that ******** Cameron.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’m sorry, I should have mentioned the “disgrace”.

      But he’s very particular that you call him DOCTOR Disgrace… not just mister.

      Like

  3. John Cleese is off to a new life in the sunny Caribbean ostensibly to escape the avalanche of fake news from HM press.
    Don’t think they have many tenements there and HM press is likely to be pretty non existent so he should live happily ever after.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t know about avalanches, but they do have hurricanes! Maybe he could amuse himself by opening a hostelry for ageing, clapped out British thespians/politicians/hacks and call it Faulty Showers or something.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Secrecy is something we will get from the UK in almost all its dealings with the US. After all, the TTIP talks broke down over the insistence of the US that disputes should be resolved in secret. Their desire for secrecy has not diminished. Here’s how it works.

    The UK has some rules about hormone levels in beef or the egg production pipeline or paint additives or fracking rights for non-UK businesses. The detail doesn’t really matter. What happens then is that a US company with no real intention of exporting to the UK realises that the UK would not have accepted their goods in the past but now there is an argument that they should under the side agreements of the FTA. It might even be a group of UK investors that sets up a US subsidiary also with no intention of exporting to the UK but knowledge of the ambiguity between the FTA and UK law. They take the UK to the dispute resolution committee, which is held in secret. Nobody learns when US companies (or sham US companies set up by UK investors) win their case. What they win is a settlement to carry on not exporting to the UK in return for a payment to offset their “losses”. Some you win, some you lose but overall this is easy money.

    If the public learned about the payments the scheme would never be tolerated. Keep it in secret, however, and there is a burgeoning trade in the FTA equivalent of ambulance chasing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This is pretty much what happened to Canada multiple times under NAFTA. The US want secrecy for their own reasons. The UK wants secrecy for quite distinct reasons (they don’t want to reveal the details to a doubtful public) but if both sides want secrecy that’s what they’ll get.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Exactly.

          They don;t want us to know that all the cards we so famously held were, in fact, jokers, held by jokes.

          Whatcha think of this good old chap?

          Like

  5. Random thoughts… a fitting description of me, as certain less than kind persons might say… Yes. Well. About the number of members the various political parties in these United Kingdoms have…

    …Stu Campbell over at Wings published a story yesterday (27 August 2018) about the imponderable conundrum of just how many members the Scotch Office of the Labour Party has. Here’s his article, entitled “The eternal mystery”: (shortened URL) https://is.gd/XbvQjP. The safest conclusion seems to be that Jackie Baillie’s been fiddling with her abaci again.

    In a moment of mental aberration I decided to pursue the matter further, so here’s something dated 22 August from EvolvEPolitics: https://is.gd/HKQBBL. This is interesting in that it uses a similar method to Stu Campbell’s by trying to relate membership income to number of members. The headline is rather good: “Last year the Tories earned less from living members than they did from dead supporters”.

    Now, to march further back in time, which is of course like marching backwards going forward in time, we march back to May this year, and here’s what the House of Commons Library had to say about the matter on the first of that month: https://is.gd/575cHR. Alert readers will notice that the SNP and Plaid membership figures are shown as percentages of the total UK electorate rather than as percentages of the electorates in the places where people can actually vote for them, which would have the benefit of actually being a useful exercise.

    Further back again, to 7 January this year, the Canary came out with this story – https://is.gd/D3Nosu – entitled “The Conservative Party is too ashamed to publish its membership figures. Here’s why…”

    I found that last one particularly interesting as it drives home the point that the older Tory Telegraph-reading demographic is going the way of all flesh. As we know, the polls here in Scotland show that the same dynamic applies here not just to Tory Scottish Unionists, but the other flavours of Scottish Unionist as well.

    Alert readers will have noticed that there is agreement between the House of Commons library figures and the figures given by the Canary. I jalouse that this is because they have the same source, the Economic and Social Research Council’s Party Members Project, whose website is here: https://is.gd/K6SRS5. The report itself (pdf) is here: https://is.gd/hIH7hE. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find those numbers in the ESRC-PMP material, though – they may be in the spreadsheet which the House of Commons briefing gives a link to as a supporting document, but all this thinking has already given me a headache so that’s your lot for today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I notice someone pointed out that Scottish Labour doesn’t actually exist, I see that when you look at the joining page for Scottish Labour, it says Join Labour and its slogan is “Help us campaign for a fairer Britain”.

      Internally, they may provide some sort of statistic about what branch has how many members, but in fact, it seems to me that you are joining “Labour” and not “Scottish Labour”.

      https://secure.scottishlabour.org.uk/page/content/membership/

      Wiki says they currently have 21,000 members.

      It adds: The Scottish Labour Party is registered with the UK Electoral Commission as an Accounting Unit (AU) of the UK Labour Party and is therefore not a registered political party under the terms of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great random thoughts and hope the headache subsides.
    On the papal visit to Eire.
    The pope has asked for forgiveness over the abuse of people.
    The Ten commandments are a bit just a bit lean on the abuse of our fellow occupants of the planet Earth.
    No mention of “Thou shalt not molest or abuse”
    You would think the rules were written by priests, but that can’t be correct.
    On mother theresa’s worry about the quality of journalism in the UK, we are just about to pass into LAW the subsidy of private newspaper publishers who only print the news as supplied by the establishment.
    The cairncross report will rubber stamp the bbc’s regional reporter subsidy.
    It has always been so, a wee bribe to keep the establishment in comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I realise that Christians are very much into forgiveness, but there is something, to my mind, rather unforgivable about child molestation by people in a position of absolute moral and physical control of children.

      I don’t pretend to understand the forgiving of sins, so I’m probably way out of line here.

      But these people with absolute power for so long ruined so many people’s lives from such a young age.

      I doubt if I could forgive that.

      I think it is high time that the church looked again at its celibacy rules. After all, if priests are not going to obey them, what are they for?

      If they got married and had family lives, maybe they would be less inclined to take their frustrations out of kids.

      I like Pope Francis, but I think this is a rather big ask.

      Pravda?

      It’s very worrying that subsidy.

      That and the fact that MPs who steal from their employers (us) are to be excused from having their names made public so that we can vote for them again giving them an opportunity to get some more of our money down their necks, or up their noses… or whatever.

      Like

  7. tris

    To be fair the brexiteers are
    Being quite transparent on
    Their intentions.

    Singapore on stilts with comparable rights and living
    Standards. Obviously the old
    Aged U.K. scum who support
    Brexitt imagine they will be immune from the coming terrors.

    Unfortunately for the elderly
    Brexit scum once the USA 🇺🇸
    Privateers take over their health care they will be killed of in droves and good for that

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Niko.

      Everyone has a right to their view, but leaving aside your emotive language, basically what you are saying is right.

      People like Fox and Gove, Johnson and Patel probably really want a no deal Brexit. Poverty will undoubtedly follow as, as you say, we get Singapore on stilts.

      But they will be alright, of course.

      I suspect that once health is privatised, you are right again.

      People will be bankrupted for contracting cancer or simply getting old and needing a lot of attention.

      And you get what you vote for.

      Unless of course, you are Scotland, in which case you get what your neighbours vote for.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. The Cairncross panel
    Dame Frances Cairncross will be supported by a panel of experts which includes Peter Wright, Matt Rogerson, Ashley Highfield, Geraldine Allinson, Mimi Turner, Douglas McCabe, Stephen Woodford, Akshat Rathi, Polly Curtis, and Azeem Azhar.

    Jo Adetunji is a journalist as a reporter for The Guardian has also written for The Independent.

    Geraldine Allinson is the Chairman of the KM Media Group she worked for Northcliffe Newspapers and the Midland News
    Azeem Azhar runs Exponential View, a newsletter looking at how our world is changing in the face of the accelerating pace of technology. This is built on the back of 20 years as an entrepreneur, corporate innovator and journalist
    Polly Curtis joined HuffPost UK in August 2017 as Editor-in-​Chief and was digital editor at The Guardian, where she led digital plans for the Scottish referendum

    Ashley Highfield is CEO of Johnston Press plc, one of the largest local media groups in the UK, and owner of the i newspaper
    Douglas McCabe is a leading expert in tech and publishing media and was director of sales development and market insights at Waterstones
    Akshat Rathi has worked for both established publications and new media startups. He is a reporter for Quartz
    Matthew Rogerson is the Head of Public Policy at Guardian Media Group​
    Mimi Turner is Founder of brand strategy consultancy Mimi Turner Associates and spent three years working for Richard Desmond as Group Director of Communications of Express Newspapers
    Stephen Woodford was appointed CEO of the Advertising Association in September 2016
    Peter Wright has been Editor Emeritus of Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, MailOnline and Metro

    The review will not address politically motivated disinformation and propaganda.

    Almost the same as priests writing the bible perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep… Thanks for all that information, Dave.

      I’ve never heard the title Editor Emeritus before.

      That’s a really weird one. I realise that the word can be used in any title where a person has retired from a job, but wishes to continue to use their title. So you could be Chief Mechanic Emeritus, or Checkout Operator Emeritus.

      I’ve always thought it rather pompous.

      I’ve heard it used with professors and popes, I suppose, but ex-editors of tittle tattle sheets…. come on.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In all future correspondence, I shall be addressed as “Mr. Edward Freeman PPE”. The PPE stands, of course, for “Polyglottal Polymath Emeritus”. Only a select few will be permitted to call me “Pretty Poly” to my face, however, as a subtle reflection of friendly intimacy.

        Liked by 1 person

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