TRAINS AND BOATS AND PLANES

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ON THE GOOD SHIP

James Brokenshire was on the Marr show today, saying that Transport Secretary (England) Chris Grayling was completely up to the job. He didn’t exactly say that of course, not being a complete idiot, and therefore aware that May could, indeed should, replace our Chris with the Downing Street cat or perhaps a lump of wet clay next week.

In a government of incompetents, led by an incompetent prime minister, Chris Graying stands out as the incompetents’ incompetent.

grayling

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He proved to be an utter disaster at the English Justice ministry, with his successor having to overturn most of what he had done. Jail privatisation has resulted in companies reducing staffing levels, replacing experienced officers with inexperienced recruits… and needless to say not enough of them for the growing prison population, resulting in the odd riot here and there.

His successors are looking at introducing the policy put forward by the Scottish government of not imprisoning those whose crimes are worthy of a sentence of 1 year or less.

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At Transport Chris Graying has overseen chaos on English trains including the all-important London commuter services and those in the North of England which were supposed to be a part of the Tories’ big plans for the regeneration of that region.

And we should not forget that Graying was spent time at the DWP. Need we say more?

Image result for grayling ferry mess

What can we say about the pizza delivery company that was supposed to be running ferries it didn’t have, from a port that had no capacity for them to a port which had no customs or infrastructure, and upon which Grayling assured us that due diligence had been carried out by his department?

While that contract has now been cancelled due to the inability of Pepe’s Pizzas to fulfil any of the terms (despite the due diligence so carefully applied), we now have two other contracts to bring goods from Europe. Unfortunately, given the “taking back control” aspect of the Brexit fervour, these companies are French and Dutch! The failed company was, of course, British.

Mais, alors, nous aurons les passeports bleus en moins de 60 jours!

grayling4

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Image result for james kelly

In another issue to do with transport, James Kelly (Labour’s “sit down” stand up Scottish comedian) has (among others) for the last few days, been ranting about the scheme to give councils the power to make a charge for workplace parking in an effort to raise money and reduce traffic.

Mr Kelly, who is a Glasgow MSP, is highly critical of this scheme.

Mr Kelly has said “People should not be facing the SNP’s tax on getting to work. Workers here in Cambuslang and across Scotland do not want this tax, especially when ScotRail and local buses are a shambles under the Nationalists.”

Of course, all public transport could do with improvement, but it should be noted that ScotRail is among the best, if not the best performing rail company in the UK, despite the appalling standards of the infrastructure.

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However, as Glasgow councillor Mhairi Hunter points out “It would be awkward if Glasgow Labour’s 2017 manifesto included a commitment to investigate introducing a workplace parking levy”.

And awkward it is:

As indeed does Labour in Edinburgh.

Well, what say you, Mr Kelly?

Nothing?

Well, in the immortal words of the Presiding Officer: “Sit down, Mr Kelly”

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SOPPY SUNDAY

n orantiger
Morning. My pussycat and me have been having a lil sleep.
n puppy
Who could resist those eyes?
n mates
Hey, I’ve been looking for a hat like that for ages. Mind if I have it?
n pup1
Woof. I’m ferocious.
n pretty flamingo
If I make a pretty reflection, would you take a photograph of me and put it up on Soppy Sunday?
n arora oban frank
Arora at Oban taken by Frank..to whom thanks.
N BC Canada, pure
Pure clear water in BC Canada.
n cheetah
Did you say I was a cheater?

n chick
I did drop something…
n ducky
Royal birdies.
n bison
Never go out without your fur coat on, said my mother when I was just a calf.
n burg eltz
Burg Eltz
n elepnat
The ferry company that isn’t a ferry company has lost the contract, you say? No ferries, no port, and only a Hawaiian Pizza to deliver. Why would you ever put Chris Grayling in charge of anything?
n ice
Beautiful Iceland.
n sleep
Zzzzzzz…….
n frog
If I kiss you, will you turn into a beautiful princess?
n mooo.jpg
What d’ya think of my tattoo?
Thanks to David for this, and indeed for the link to the other fantastic pictures on this site. Really worth a look.

n okiss for mum
This pic is especially for Ed, who is under the weather at the moment, with the message “Get well soon, Ed, from Munguin and his new Republic.”

 

SAY CHEESE

OH…

I’ve got a suspicion that the talks didn’t go too well.

I suspect they heard the news that the Bank of England has said that damage to Britain’s economy from Brexit has increased. It has cut growth forecasts and held rates where they were.

Image result for ross thomson and theresa may dummy

Alternatively, I suppose, someone might just have described Ross Thomson’s barroom activities to them.  Maybe her smile here is because she had her hands where the sun don’t shine, instead of the other way round.

Or maybe, horror of horrors, they heard that Gibraltar is, in fact, a colony.

Brexitcol

Whatever it was, for heaven’s sake don’t let them near the milk. They’ll sour it.

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YOU HAVE TO LAUGH

Image result for jamie greene MSP

I have to admit it, I’m a Twitter addict.

After Munguin’s Republic (to read your comments), it’s invariably the first thing I look at on the net.

On a regular basis, I see silly tweets from a wide variety of politicians, Scottish and otherwise. My favourites are, of course, the likes of Richard Leonard, demanding that the SNP take water back into public ownership, pay Glasgow council female employees fairly, or something equally embarrassing that Labour is failing to do in Wales or failed to do during their 13-year tenure in Downing Street, but that the SNP MUST do, and Labour would definitely do were it to ever gets its hands on power in Scotland.

Even sillier are tweets from the likes of Murdo Fraser about the Queen’s Eleven, almost certainly typed later on in the evening, if you get my drift!

There is no shortage of Tories making idiots of themselves on Twitter. Miles Briggs, Ross Thomson, Jackson Carlaw, to name but a few. And my favourite: Jamie Greene.

Today in true Greene style, Jamie hit out at the First Minister, who has been on business in the USA and Canada.

He accompanied this graphic (did he pay staff to do it, tut tut, or is he a wee whiz on the ‘puter himself?) with text that read…

“If Nicola Sturgeon wants to go to the US to talk about independence then the should pay for it. The Scottish taxpayer should not be left with a bill of thousands of pounds so that the First Minister can fly first class, grandstand and talk up .”

Now, the reason I mention this is not to highlight Jamie’s graphic or literary skills.

Rather, I wanted to show the utter pointlessness of this kind of tweet.

It raised a lot of interest, of that, no doubt. I counted roughly 200 replies and there may be more by now. And, of course, I didn’t read every one in detail, but from what I could see, not one single person was agreeing with Jamie. (I’ll take that back if someone finds a supportive tweet. As I say, I didn’t read every one.)

Now, given that one criticism of Twitter is that people tend to follow and be followed by,  people with roughly the same outlook and opinions, and given that Jamie is a Tory list MSP, you might expect that the bulk of his followers would be Conservatives or at least have Conservative leanings.

It seems, then, a bit strange that there is so little support for his tweet.

On the contrary, people have laid into this intervention with some interesting counter facts.

Firstly, of course, as various people pointed out, Nicola Sturgeon didn’t go to the USA to talk about independence, she went on a trade mission. That is a part of her job.

Any idiot could have found that out in any number of ways.

Well, I’ll rephrase that, almost any idiot could.

Jamie also seems concerned that Nicola travelled first class.

Now I have no idea whether on not she did. I suspect that on a transatlantic flight, where you are expected to start work, be photographed and do interviews the minute you deplane, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do so.

I’m sure that her counterpart in London doesn’t travel tourist on these flights.

And I’m sure that when Fluffy took himself off on a trade mission to South America on behalf of the British government, he didn’t travel steerage. So there really is a bit of a pot and kettle thing going on there.

The job of the first minister includes representing Scotland all over the world. That’s the deal. It specifically says that in her job description: “ promoting and representing Scotland at home and overseas”. Not to do so would be a dereliction of duty, and as far as I know, all first minister, regardless of party, have done it. I suspect that they too did not travel tourist.

So far so bad, Jamie.

Many tweeters point out a series of other facts to Jamie, just in case he was unaware of them, a fair number concerning the incompetence, wastefulness and general slackness regarding taxpayers money in matters within the purview of the government run by his own party.

brexitliam

That one is my favourite… (To be fair I really really dislike Foxy, the disgraced former defence minister.) And there’s a wee additional comment to that particular graphic.

One guy pointed out that there was, in fact, a trade deal ready to sign.

It’s with the Faroe Islands, and according to him, it’s for whelks! (I’m sure you appreciate, knowing my love of the Nordic nations, that I mean no disrespect to the people of the Faroe Islands. I’ll bet it’s for more than Whelks. But Liam did promise us 40 deals just awaiting his signature on behalf of the queen, and no matter how good the trade deal with Thorshavn, Whelks won’t sustain us far into April. Keep up the good work your doctorness.)

As always in these matters, people do kinda go off topic ever so slightly, and mention is made of a fair few matters, not in the least concerning Nicola and her job, rather matters where the UK government has wasted endless amounts of Scottish and British taxpayers’ money.

One interesting one, I thought, was in the matter, recently in the news, of Labour MPs being bribed with cash for their constituencies to vote for Theresa’s hairbrained scheme to leave the EU, but to tie Britain to all its strictures without giving it any say in their composition. In fact, not so much “taking back control”, rather giving away the very considerable control that they had (a veto on some matters and a heavily balanced qualified majority vote on others).

It concerns a letter to the Times (no less) from Lord Thomas of Gresford QC (no less).

It seems that Jamies’ prime minister may be skating on very thin ice in this respect. And, that being the case in respect of Labour MPs,  may she not also have done so in the matter of the cash bribe(s) to Arlene’s Orange Fest?

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Nice of Jamie to facilitate the more open discussion of this matter, not (as far as I know) aired much by the BBC and hidden away in the august setting of the relatively little read  Times’ letters’ page.

Jamie’s tweets may be read here.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, ISN’T IT?

If you’re thinking that you’ve seen this illustration before, then you are right. But I thought it was appropriate.

Mrs May has set up a working group The Alternative Arrangements Working Group to see if they can come up with a solution to the Backstop débacle. It’s going to go like this:

-This backstop thing.

-Yes?

-We could propose a time-limited one?

-EU has said no.

-One we could cancel any time? -Already rejected.

-What about technology?

-Guys, we can’t even implement a new train timetable in our country!

[Pause]

-OK. let’s meet again tomorrow.

(Thanks to Matthias Eberl for that)

The backstop is there because to meet the terms of an international treaty (The Belfast Agreement), there must be no border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

But there has to be a border between the EU and the UK (or Ireland and Northern Ireland)

Conundrum.

Of course, no one gave any thought to that (did you, David Cameron?) when they proposed this referendum. No one said: “how will that work with the land border with Ireland? Oh dear, no.

brexitbus

No one painted it on the side of a bus either. Probably that’s because the people behind of the Brexit campaign barely knew that Ireland had left the UK around 100 years ago.

So, the solution for the moment is for the UK in a transition period, to remain closely tied to the EU, not taking back control of its borders, not taking back control of its money, not taking back control of its laws, just like the British people voted for…or so we are told.

Of course, the real Brexiteers don’t want any of that nonsense. “Leave means Leave” after all! And they most certainly don’t want this situation to be open-ended as surely it must be…until a solution can be found.

The DUP, which, you will remember, Mrs May bribed with a billion quid here and there (remember when Fluffy said that he would demand a Barnett Consequential for that… how we laughed!*) absolutely will not tolerate a border in the Irish Sea because that would make Northern Ireland less British and her majesty would somehow seem less important. So that’s another bright idea gone. (If only daft Maybot hadn’t had that election and didn’t have to depend on the Northern Irish MPs)

You see how complicated it’s becoming.

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It has long been said that there is an electronic solution. If so:-

Where is it?

What does it cost?

How long with it take to install?

How much equipment will shippers/transport companies need?

How will it be guaranteed?

How many staff will monitor it and how much training will they and hauliers need?

Who will pay for haulier training on either side of the border?

How will it deal with roads that meander across the border 5 times in a 10-mile stretch?

What about premises that are partly in one country and party in the other?

bre3 irlanbd

How many crossing points are there?

How many cars, lorries tractors cross each other points in a day?

If it is such an obvious solution why has it not already been installed?

And if it exists why are there lorry queues at borders in Norway/Sweden and Switzerland/France. After all Norway and Switzerland are seriously rich countries. If such a solution exists they can certainly afford it.

Will this equipment be able to tell the difference between EU compliant goods and those that are not. Will it, for example, know a chlorinated chicken from a free-range one?

Brespis
Thanks to Awatha on Twitter for this.

Still, with something like 6 weeks to go they have set up a working party, to see it the Tory Party can stop fighting with itself and find this elusive solution. If they skip tea breaks and don’t sleep maybe they’ll get there.

As long as they can agree on something by the end of the week that should give them time to get an agreement with the opposition parties and then with the EU, get it all installed and up and running.

Still…if a week is a long time in politics…what is 6 weeks?