Correction, here’s what it means for you for a few months, till the UK leaves all that behind. Don’t you love that, although it is an EU/Canada treaty, somehow the EU flag has disappeared and another, relatively unassociated one, has replaced it? Odd that! A mere oversight, soon to be corrected, I suspect.
But don’t get too attached to the jobs. Remember that in March 2019 they will dry up… Oh, and I see they haven’t removed the UK flag and replaced it with the other signatory to the treaty yet. Sure to happen soon, though. Don’t worry. It’s in the “capable” hands of Liam.
Progressive you say? Taking people and the environment into account, you say?
Oh dear no. That would never do.
No, leave that nonsense to the progressive go ahead countries in the world. Much better for us to stay with the good old days of Empire where folk knew their place, we knew where we were and what was what.
But, strangely, still no one in Liam’s department has sorted the flags thing out. Probably too busy with plans for the royal yacht that Liam’s going to sail around the world on accompanied by Kate Middleton.
But wait! Having Tweeted this last night, the Department for International Trade, more of which you can read about here, removed these tweets this morning. They must have seen the flag error at last.
Or maybe someone pointed out to them that rejoicing in the good fortune of Europe, fortune the UK will not benefit from for more than a few months, only made the UK look sadder and more lonely and isolated.
Still, maybe Liam will sort out his royal yacht and sail off into the sunset, Kate at his side and retake the Empire for his Queen.
I wonder if William will hang out with Adam while they are off on their adventures.
Mrs Thatcher was a fan of the single market apparently, according to a tweet today from Guy Verhofstadt as he settled into the ‘Salle Margaret Thatcher’ for a Brexit steering group meeting. He cited this quote for evidence:
Even Mrs Thatcher with her known dislike of all “foreigners” (except Americans, whom I imagine she considered to be honorary Englishmen) could see that the European market was a jewel. It’s well over 300 million now (510 million). How mad must the great dictator be to want us to be out of it?
Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot… that mad!
It’s always brought a smile to my face when British Prime Minister after British Prime Minister has trotted around the world in a self-important manner spouting off about democracy.
Surely, Britain is one of the least truly democratic countries in the West, I thought.
After all, we have an unelected head of state whom we were always told was ceremonial and had no powers at all. It turns out that in truth not only does she and her immediate family have immense influence, she and her eldest son, have real powers which they use to have laws changed.
They also have the use of the Privy Council, which can make declarations in the name of Her Majesty. These are the law with no scrutiny allowed.
Next, the government can use Statutory Instruments, also known as SIs, a form of legislation which allows the provisions of an Act of Parliament to be subsequently brought into force or altered without Parliament having to pass a new Act. They are also referred to as secondary, delegated or subordinate legislation.
Then there is the House of Lords, the second largest legislative chamber in the world (after the National People’s Congress of China… a country of 1.4 billion people). It comprises firstly of 90 hereditary peers, self-selected by the Earls, Viscounts, Marquesses, and Dukes (which we still have in this bastion of democracy). The rest of us are excluded from voting on who these people should be (and once elected by their peers they can remain there until death). Only other hereditary aristocrats have a vote.
A further two hereditaries sit as of right, because of positions they historically hold in the royal household. (It’s already beginning to sound like something dreamt up for an 18th-century comic opera, isn’t it?)
Next in this massive house, are archbishops and bishops of the established church of the state religion. Listen to that: state religion! Finally, there is a rag bag of who knows how many ex-ministers and failed politicians, rich people who have given money to one of the three main parties… and a few oddballs the reason for whose presence can only be wondered at.
Then there is the supposedly democratic part of governance. The Commons, elected by a ridiculous first past the post system which can give an absolute majority on a vote of around 35%, and in which two-thirds of the seats never change hands. And this all underpinned by a party whipping system designed to keep most MPs very firmly on message.
Under this prime minister, we have seen some rather odd and disturbing developments which further undermine the feeble democracy that we have.
Ironically they have come about in the wake of Brexit, which was supposed to return power to parliament from supposedly undemocratic EU institutions, like the council of ministers (comprising of elected ministers from the member states) or the European parliament, elected on a proportional representation system.
The first happened when our ridiculously inept prime minister called a general election to prove that she was strong and stable, expecting to win a thumping majority, and in fact lost the small majority she had inherited from David Cameron. Looking more than a little ridiculous she reached out to someone even more ridiculous: the ex-First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the DUP, currently under investigation for the mishandling of a large sum of public money, Arlene Foster.
The DUP agreed to use its 10 members to back the prime minister in certain matters (because of EVEL, Irish MPs cannot vote on any legislation that is England only) in return for £1.5 billion. Pretty much a bribe, using public money…our money!
Next, May decided to “fix” the committee system so that, despite not having a majority in parliament, the Tories would have a majority of members on every important committee in parliament. (Somewhat ridiculously they have more members than any other party on the Scottish Affairs Committee)
Finally, May has brought in and had passed in the Commons, a Bill that will give ministers the right to alter the law without any reference to parliament. The powers have been nick-named Henry VIII powers, after England’s most authoritarian monarch, but many commentators feel that they resemble much more closely The Enabling Act (1933), which allowed Hitler to bypass the Reichstag and rule by ministerial (his) power.
It is a dangerous road to take, and as I said, all the more ironic because, apart from xenophobia, it seems to me that the biggest cries from the popular press were that British laws should be made exclusively by British representatives in a British fashion in Britain, mindful of Great British values (whatever they are). And of course that we keep being told that we MUST respect the British people who voted for Brexit.
Ho hum, funny old world.
Sunday, September 3:
Monday, September 4:
(I’m indebted to “BJSAlba for the second diary entry.)
It sounds a bit like “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”, but I remember my father saying something about politicians which went… “you play ball with me, and I’ll hit you over the head with the bat.”
That seems more likely to me. Be wary.
I see that after a protracted period of donning camouflage gear, hiding in the shadows and being uncustomarily camera shy, Ruth Davidson has emerged to explain to the BBC, and to us, why she has allowed the reinstatement of racist councillors.
She says that everyone must be given a second chance; a chance to change their behaviour. I agree with her. People need a second chance. Even people who are late for m Jobcentre interviews. But it seems to me that the councillors are mature people and that to change their outlooks on race and homophobia, not to mention what is appropriate behaviour online, may take a little time.
I think, had I been Ruth, I’d have seen how the training was going before I welcomed these people back into the fold. But that’s me, and I’m not a Tory.
Oh, and now Ruth, then there’s this MP chappie who made a racist comment today about Travellers and inspired this email from a young traveller. Best get him in for a session on views… and while you’re on it, there’s always Murdo.
You’ve got some right charmers in your party, haven’t you?
She might, while she’s in the mood to speak out, like to apologise for this. After all, Scots voted to stay in the UK union and to stay in the European union. I certainly know some who changed their mind about independence for Scotland when they were told they would be thrown out of the EU and would find themselves a small country on the edge of Europe, all alone, with no trading partners, apparently waiting in a (non-existent) queue for EU membership.
Then, because we were not independent, Scotland’s substantial vote to remain in the EU was overturned by a very marginal vote in England to leave the EU.
The broad shoulders of the union spat that one back in our faces. We’ve got Darling’s “best of both worlds” sitting here alone and scrambling around for a trade deal, any trade deal, with Donald J Bloody Trump. Still, Alistair is now a right honourable and noble aristocrat with a great job for life. So all the travails won’t bother him. Privilege of Peerage, don’t you know?
Thanks, Ruth. Your lies facilitated this.
These broad shoulders don’t half cost a lot when it comes to getting about. So grateful to be part of the United Kingdom.
Labour seems to be determined to blame the SNP for the fact that we have a privatised railway system in Scotland. And that ScotRail is operated by a Dutch company.
The Scottish government, following the Smith Commission, was granted powers to award rail franchises to public sector organisations in the 2016 Act (too late for the last bidding process). Humza is preparing a government bid for a future bidding process.
It strikes me, though, that Labour’s 1997 manifesto for the Uk contained a promise to renationalise the railways which never came to pass when they won… and in the 13 years that they were in power.
Odd that! But in the meantime:
In view of recent discussions about GERS, I thought you might be interested in this article that Iain sent me.
Oh and lastly, but not leastly, this gem…
Steve Bell in the Guardian. Thanks to “BSJAlba” for bringing them to my attention.