Britain is the only country…

…where there has been economic growth, but the workers got poorer.

In Italy and Portugal GDP, between 2007 and 15, is down, as are wages. Fair enough.

In Denmark, Latvia, Slovinia, Spain and Finland there has been a reduction in the GDP over the period 2007-15, meanwhile, workers have become better off.

In the top right-hand quadrant (Sweden, Norway, Slovak Republic, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Czech Republic, US, Ireland, South Korea, Japan and Israel both economic growth and Wages have increased.

Alone, standing out like a sore thumb, in the UK, although the GDP has increased, ordinary workers are worse off.

Better Together No Thanks, Ukok.

AND

Meanwhile, once again in OUR united kingdom,  a tiny, temporary committee of MPs set up explicitly to consider doubling the publicly funded income of the Royal Family took thirteen minutes to decide that, yes, the Royal Family should indeed have its income doubled.

We all know that Buckingham Palace has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. We know its repairs now will be at a huge cost to the taxpayer. (Not unreasonable questions might be: Why has it been allowed to get to into this state? Why were not repairs and improvements ongoing? Could the queen have managed her finances better? Why are we bailing out her failures to look after the palaces?)

According to a report in the Independent: The project will involve replacing around 100 miles of electrical cabling 30 miles of water pipes, 6,500 electrical sockets, 5,000 light fitting and 2,500 radiators. I assume that most of this is to do with health and safety rather than aesthetics given that everything will have to be replaced looking exactly as it did. It seems to me that the palace has been neglecting its responsibilities to the high number of staff of all sorts it employs there. (I imagine that it can do this legally as ordinary laws do not apply in royal palaces.)

In 2014, the Public Accounts Committee reported that the royal household had mismanaged its finances. it seems that it did so disastrously. The estimated cost was £350 million, but we know that that will have increased considerably by the time the work is done.

We can only imagine that if the household managed to mess up Buckingham Palace’s repairs and renewals, then other palaces, housing other members of the queens expensive family will also need to be investigated. Will Kensington Palace (above), St James’s Palace, Thatched Lodge, Clarence House and the unrestored parts of Windsor Castle require the same sort of expenditure? And in Scotland, what is the state of repair of The Palace of Holyrood House? What kind of bill will that involve?

In my opinion, it is time to rationalise the housing arrangements of junior or pensioned members of the royal family. I’m not asking them to live in council flats, but family members who don’t work for the country shouldn’t be living in palaces at our expense. It’s not like any of them are living in penury. Many have country residences.

Other countries manage perfectly well with a president and their partner being kept at the expense of the people. Why we have the queen’s cousins and grown grandchildren being accommodated at our expense is beyond me. An argument that one day Beatrice might be the queen won’t wash. One day Munguin might be first minister. He doesn’t expect the salary and a suite in Bute house now, on the equally remote off chance.

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ISN’T THERE SOMETHING IN THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE ABOUT CASTING OUT BEAMS AND MOTES?

Theresa May is in Glasgow today, with only a marginally larger crowd than Mr Corbyn managed to draw in Perth, telling Nicola Sturgeon to get on with the day job running schools and hospitals while she occupies herself with more important matters.

But it seems that rather than holding Mr Trump’s hand, coz he can’t do stairs, she might like to look at the state of her own schools and hospitals.

And while she is at it, she might like to take a quick glance in the direction of her police forces  (here and here) and prisons and what ails them.

Mrs May might do well to heed her own advice and get on with running England’s public services which have been allowed to rattle down under Tory and Liberal mismanagement.

As far as I know she hasn’t come up to tell us we’re racists.

After the sycophantic interview with the BBC, where Union Jackie Bird seems to beg her to refuse Nicola Sturgeon the right to call a referendum, she probably thinks she’s on safe ground in this country.

Still, I see Ken Dodd got a Knighthood. So that’s alright. We can all be tickled!

FORGET IT WAS BLAIR. LET’S CONCENTRATE ON THE QUESTIONS RATHER THAN THE PERSONALITY

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There can be little doubt that if you wanted a cause to succeed in Britain, one of the very last people you’d chose to be the cheerleader for it would be Tony Blair. (But then no one chose him; he just did it.) He undoubtedly has some fans left, although I think most of them form the hard-right-wing of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Outside of that, I suppose George W Bush likes him, I’m sure that Jim Murphy is still a fan and Mystic Meg look alike,  John McTernan, is bound to be lurking somewhere in his slipstream, making prophecies from hell.

But with something as important as Brexit, it might have been comforting if those arguing against Blair had a little more to dish out than personal insults (not that I’m averse to anyone handing Mr Blair his backside on a plate).

Here then, are some questions that another Blair fanboy, Alistair Campbell, has come up with and had published in the European. I lift the text from their website (see link), unaltered and without their permission or Mr Campbell’s. (OK, I’m no fan of Alistair either, but this is good stuff. Credit where it is due.) The illustrations are mine.

So, without further ado, questions to those who are leading the cheers for Brexit: 

1. Do you accept that many people who voted Leave did so without knowing the full terms of Brexit?

2. Do you accept that it is open to the people to change their minds if they decide Brexit will in fact harm their own and the country’s interests?

3. Do you accept that there is no monopoly on patriotism and that there might be a patriotic case for wishing to reverse the referendum decision, if enough people feel it will be damaging to the UK?

4. Do you agree the government approach can now Be defined as “Brexit at any cost”?

5. Do you accept that people are entitled to be concerned at the scale of that cost, economically and politically?

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6. Do you accept that the financial cost of withdrawal, the UK having to pay for previous EU obligations but not benefit from future opportunities, could be as high as £60bn?

7. Do you agree with the Prime Minister’s and the Chancellor’s former views that maintaining our partnership with the biggest political union and largest commercial market on our doorstep fulfills rather than diminishes our national interest?

8. Is there not something surreal about the Prime Minister and Chancellor now claiming hard Brexit is a huge boon for the country when during the campaign they said the opposite, in Hammond’s case with real conviction?

9. Do you accept that politics, not economics or the genuine national interest, is now driving the Hard Brexit chosen by May?

10. Are you seriously saying the PM’s vision of Britain as a “great open trading nation” is best served by leaving the largest free trading bloc in the world? Might her vision of Britain as a bridge between Europe and the US be more realistic if we remained part of the EU?

11. In what way will her call for a fairer capitalism be met by moving to a low tax, light regulation economy?

12. Do you accept that if the right-wing ideologues pushing a hard Brexit so Britain becomes a low tax, low regulation, offshore hub have their way, we will need huge tax and welfare changes? Were they voted for in the referendum?

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13. Will this approach in fact lead to less not more public money for the NHS?

Less not more protection for workers?

14. Is it not the case that the UK government could make these changes now, but wouldn’t because they know they do not have public support for them?

15. Is there any chance at all that Brexit will lead to £350m a week more for the NHS

16. Please define the “big argument” that Tony Blair argues is missing from this pursuit of hard Brexit, and how it will benefit Britain economically.

17. Do you agree that of the many arguments put forward for Leave in the referendum, only immigration and the ECJ (European Court of Justice) are still really being pursued?

18. Do you accept that the Leave campaign deliberately conflated the ECJ and the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights)?

19. Can you confirm that that ECHR is not and never has been a EU body?

20. Can you name any laws the UK has not been able to pass because of the ECJ?

21. Can you confirm that of net immigration into the UK in 2016, over half was from outside the EU?

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22. Do you accept that as May wants to keep those EU immigrants who come with a confirmed job offer, and students, this leaves around 80,000 who come looking for work without a job?

23. Do you agree that of these 80,000, roughly a third comes to London, mostly working in the food processing and hospitality sectors; and that the practical impact of Brexit on our “control” of immigration is on analysis less than 12% of the immigration total?

24. Do you agree that most of the immigrants we are talking about in this 12% work hard and pay their taxes?

25. Do you think the biggest constitutional, political, economic and social change of our lifetime is merited by such numbers as set out in questions 22 to 24?

26. Do you accept that the immigration most people worry about – that of people determined to challenge our security and way of life, in the name of a perverted view of Islam – is not affected by Brexit?

27. Do you agree that the post Article 50 negotiations are going to be as complex as any we have experienced, covering a vast number of areas?

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28. Do you accept, as a matter of fact, that the single market covers around half of our trade in goods and services?

29. Do you accept that leaving the Customs Union may adversely impact on trade with other countries like Turkey?

30. Can you confirm that we will need to negotiate the replacement of over 50 Preferential Trade Agreements we have via our membership of the EU?

31. Do you accept that EU-related trade is actually two thirds of the UK total?

32. Do you accept scientific research and culture are both going to suffer as a result of Brexit, and indeed already are?

33. Are you content to have the WTO as a fall back strategy should we fail to reach a satisfactory deal within two years?

34. Do you accept this too has enormous complexity attached to it; that we would need to negotiate the removal not just of tariff barriers; but the prevention of non-tariff barriers which today are often the biggest impediments to trade?

35) Do you agree that the fall in the value of sterling against the euro and the dollar as a result of Brexit is an indication that the international financial markets believe we are going to be poorer?

36. Do you accept that therefore the price of imported goods is up and so will be inflation?

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37. Do you agree that the single market and enlargement were huge foreign policy successes for the UK?

38. Do you agree that the single market has brought billions of pounds of wealth, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and major investment opportunities for the UK?

39. Do you agree that enlargement has enhanced EU and NATO security?

40. Do you accept that in the early 21st century, most countries are seeking to forge rather than break regional and economic alliances?

41. Do you agree we can do more on issues like the environment with others than alone?

42. Do you agree that the route taken on and since June 23 has helped revive the argument about Scotland leaving the UK?

43. Do you accept that the failure to address the question of how to maintain EU freedom of movement without a hard border between Ireland and the UK is destabilising the peace process?

44. Do you accept the government is obsessed with Brexit, and has no choIie but to be so?

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45. Do you accept that the scale of government focus on Brexit is having a detrimental impact on their ability to deal with other issues, such as the NHS, education, the new economy, crime, prisons – and, er, immigration policy?

46. Do you accept there is a cartel of right wing newspapers skewing the debate in the broadcast media, and whose support for May is contingent on her pursuing a hard Brexit policy?

47. Do you agree that had the business survey mentioned by Blair said the opposite – namely huge confidence in Brexit – it would have led the news because the cartel would have splashed on it, not ignored it?

48. Do you accept Brexit has divided the country across its nations, regions and generations, contrary to May’s claim to have 65million people behind her?

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