Also, anyone know how much bribe money is now on the table for Northern Ireland?
Anyone care to hazard a guess that the Scottish Secretary, Union Jack, is fighting for the same sort of money for Scotland, which also voted to stay in the EU?
Does anyone know what constituency in Northern Ireland this loonie represents?
Ross Thomson MP
As a Unionist I’m pleased that the new deal @BorisJohnson has secured ensures that NI will be in the UK customs territory forever. The anti-democratic backstop has been abolished. Meaning that the people of NI will be in charge of the laws that they live by. #GetBrexitSorted
I’ve recently read suggestions that Mrs May was always a Leaver.
However, as the Home Secretary in a government which stood for Remain, and given that it seemed unlikely that Leave would win, during the referendum campaign of 2016, she pretty much sat on the fence, making occasional, and rather reluctant, statements supporting the government’s Remain line.
Given that politicians rarely do anything actually totally principled, this line was presumably adopted in order that she could be seen as a contender for leadership when Remain won and Cameron eventually stood down in a UK which would still be inside the EU.
Aye, well, the best-laid plans o’ mice and men… and politicians, eh?
Leave won and Cameron, although he said he wouldn’t do, resigned the prime ministership, and then a few days later, although he said he wouldn’t do, he resigned his seat, bought his £25,000 shed and disappeared in disgrace, into obscurity (hopefully forever).
So then a rag-tag of ridiculously inappropriate and underqualified people stood for the leadership and so, by default, the job of prime minister. She had to join them; this would be her last chance. Although she must have known that it was a thankless task.
Jeremy Corbyn notwithstanding, it was relatively unlikely that a Conservative party that had taken a Britain divided every which way could form a government once it was over and done. And who could guarantee that Corbyn wouldn’t be replaced by someone electable?
Anyone in the Conservative Party with even the slightest potential to be a ‘leader’ swerved what was going to be the job from hell. They say every political career ends in ignominy, but this one was going to be a bobby dazzler of an end. And so the line up was a load of also-rans. Particularly unfortunate when it could be argued that REAL leadership was needed in 2016 more than any time in the last 70 years.
Fox, the already disgraced ex-minister, ex- leadership candidate, ex doctor, with a history of outrageous expenses claims and a relationship with Adam Werrity which saw him give his unvetted young friend access to the MoD and highly confidential meetings at home and abroad, managed 16 votes).
Crabbe, the hard-right Christian, anti-gay, who thought it appropriate to vote to reduce benefits for disabled people by £30 a week and who resigned his cabinet post after it was discovered that his Christian beliefs and marriage did not preclude his engaging in “inappropriate” texting to a young woman. (He later repeated this behaviour as a backbencher and so it wasn’t a one-off aberration.) Also, in the expenses scandal, it could be said that he used the system to maximum effect, spending our money to do up a place he went on to sell shortly thereafter, and transferring his second home allowance to his first home. He managed a whole 34 votes. Not as embarrassing as Foxy, but close!
Gove, the idiots’ idiot. Or maybe he’s just Sarah Vine’s idiot? He’s more a figure of fun than anything else, from his strange vocal delivery and mannerisms to his never-failing ability to put his foot in it. He too is a committed Christain, so committed in fact that he gave a copy of the King James bible to every school in England and Wales when he was their secretary of state for Education. His first act in government was to announce and publish a list of cost-cutting measures including stopping school building projects. Unfortunately when he announced this in the Commons with a flourish, it was still a work in progress and Govey ended up with egg on his face. To try to avoid personal criticism, he blamed the snafu on his Civil Servants! Good start to a ministerial career. In addidtion, he too had some rather dubious expenses, some of which he paid back. For all that he racked up 46 votes.
Leadsom the fox hunter, was the candidate that you would have said was from the left field if she hadn’t been so right wing. I’d never heard of her, and when I heard her speak I felt I could understand why. To call her unimpressive would have been massively overrating her and a bit of an insult to the word “overrated”. She too, of course, had some skeletons in her cupboard including donations from a brother-in-law in Guernsey, which is abroad. She was accused of beefing up her pre-political CV full of senior jobs in finance. And not without reason. It was said that when she was “City Minister” she was “seen by departmental officials as “a disaster”, “the worst minister we ever had. … She found it difficult to understand issues or take decisions. She was monomaniacal, seeing the EU as the source of every problem. She alienated officials by continually complaining about poor drafting.” In other words, she excused her thickness by blaming it on officials. Again, a seriously bad move. And everything from the cost of champagne to Britain losing the Eurovision was the fault of Brussels! She managed to upset a lot of people by pointing out that May would be an inappropriate Prime Minister because she didn’t have any children. (Just imagine if a man had said that!) For all that she managed 84 votes on the second ballot and then withdrew before the members’ ballot leaving May the winner. (I have the distinction of being blocked by her on Twitter! It’s a bit like an OBE, but better.)
May herself was, as I said, a useless candidate. She had a reputation for being anti-immigration, anti-foreigner and for being intransigent, unlikely to take advice from anyone but her husband and, as Ken Clarke said, “a bloody awkward woman”. As Home Secretary, she was responsible for a multitude of measures to make life more difficult for people from outwith the UK. Many of which had consequences that even a robotic operator like her should have been able to see. Making employers and landlords responsible for checking immigration status was bound to lead to anyone who looked even slightly foreign being refused accommodation or work. The “go home” vans and the destruction of Windrush papers were the tip of the iceberg. And that’s before you start on other matters like the ‘mess’ she made of the sex abuse scandal. The shredding machines in the Home Office must have worked overtime on her watch.
She had told people (specifically her friend, Damien Greene, of the ‘porn at work’ scandal) when she was “up” at Oxford, that she wanted to be Prime Minister. Margaret Hilda was, at that time destroying the fabric of the country from her grace and favour in Downing Street, and it seems that May wanted to follow in her footsteps. (I mean did you hear the drivel on the steps of Downing Street? St Francis eat your heart out!)
Everything about May points to her being anti-European. And the way that she has embraced the hard right ERG group and the DUP suggests that that is where her sympathies lie. Surely it didn’t escape her (or advisors’) notice that the Irish situation was fraught enough without her going into an expensive de facto coalition with an extreme BritNationalist party filled with a visceral hatred of “Catholic” Europe and with blood-red lines to prove it.
She has refused to work with Scotland and the majority in Northern Ireland to try to work out any kind of compromise, although it is clear from the Danish experience, that that could have been a possibility, and she seems to have no rapport at all with the more moderate members of her own party like Grieve, Soubry, Clarke and Heseltine, whom she actually sacked.
She seems to have made no effort to soften the deal in any way and she has insisted that the bad deal that she made is the only deal and may be heading for failure in these last three weeks before we leave. She’s shown no inclination to investigate the allegations of corruption and dark money allegedly associated with Leave Campaign and has insisted from day one that the tiny majority was the will of the British people.
When you think about it, before Cameron promised the referendum he should have had impact assessments done for every area of life, in every area of the UK.
Then, once the referendum was a live thing and the campaigns had started, the impacts could have been made public and preparation should have been underway in all departments. Perhaps it would have dispelled the nonsense of £350m a week to the NHS.
Immediately after the referendum, then, the incoming PM could have been ready to start negotiations with the EU.
Cameron was stupid to think he could unite his party by calling the referendum, and arrogant beyond belief to believe he couldn’t lose it. (He did believe that. Eton boys don’t lose stuff, you see. They always get their way.)
But he was criminally negligent to order that NO preparation at all be made in any department for a leave scenario. For that negligence, he should be in court.
Not that any of this is meant to imply that I feel sorry for May.
I don’t. She knew what she was getting in to. She knew that not a thing had been done. She had, after all, been Home Secretary. Maybe she thought she was clever enough to sort it. If so she was most definitely wrong.
Or maybe she was so desperate to be prime minister that she simply didn’t care that the job was well beyond her capabilities.
But even taking all that into consideration, she’s had over two years to sort something out. (Or she would have had it she hadn’t messed about with a general election in which she lost her majority, paid a £2 billion bribe to Arlene for her support and then was stuffed when Arlene didn’t get everything she asked for.)
We are now within the last few days available for negotiations and … Well, you pretty much know where we are.
But here’s a few things to remind you anyway:
Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez reiterated in a press conference with Portuguese PM last night: if there’s no solution on Gibraltar he will say No to Brexit Deal on Sunday.
In case of no-deal #Brexit: Is the government preparing to deploy the army to deliver medicine?
Conservative Liz Truss: We are preparing for all circumstances
Theresa May was unable to make a breakthrough in Brussels yesterday evening with Jean-Claude Junker, despite last-ditch talks over her Brexit deal.
It might have helped if idiot ministers had told the truth.
The day before the referendum, @PennyMordaunt lied on breakfast TV about Turkish accession being fast-tracked and said it shows the EU doesn't value democracy, free speech or the free press. pic.twitter.com/DSKrdF2UAT
So, I’m assuming that, unless David Mundell has found yet another excuse (athletes’ foot always worked for me at PE), his resignation will be on Maybot’s desk when she gets in from her unsuccessful meeting in Brussels.
Ruth Davidson and David Mundell will be handing in their resignations at high noon. A Tory always keeps its promise.
Of course, we don’t know if any of this stuff is true, because no one, not even the Scottish government has been informed, but as Robert Peston pointed out, Scotland is hardly likely to be happy about the Northern Irish being able to operate within the EU frameworks, while Scotland cannot. Nicola Sturgeon did not demur.
The PM has offered to call me after her Cabinet meeting – I have suggested that we should speak ahead of the meeting so that @scotgov concerns about what is emerging can be relayed to the Cabinet BEFORE they take a decision. She has so far refused. The “respect” agenda in action.
Robert PestonVerified account@Peston
With Northern Ireland alone remaining in EU single market for goods in backstop, potentially for years, won’t @NicolaSturgeon insist Scotland should get what she would see as the privileges accorded NI (even if DUP sees it as a burden)?
Nicola Sturgeon Retweeted Robert Peston
Indeed. PM’s approach would take Scotland out of the single market (despite our 62% remain vote) but leave us competing for investment with Northern Ireland that is effectively still in it.
And, as Peston points out, the DUP isn’t happy for the exact opposite reason. Although it would likely be of great economic value to their province to remain more closely tied to Ireland and Europe, they want no truck with all the extra jobs. It would mean not being 100% subjugated to Her Majesty and her flag. (NB: Exceptions apply here regarding dinosaurs, gay people, abortions and anything else that suits Orange people.)
More than 800 jobs in the company are set to go and most of us know someone who will lose his or her well-paid job. That’s before you take account of the knock-on effect on other business. And for the well-trained workforce, there aren’t that many jobs in Dundee that pay the kind of money Michelin pays.
The reason given for the closure is the cheap far eastern imports of the smaller size tyres that are made in Dundee. Certainly, Michelin tyres are really good, but they are also very expensive. The somewhat illogical move towards larger cars (and larger tyres) and the price are the reasons for the fall in sales. There’s nothing much one can do about that.
However, I can’t help thinking that there may be an element of Brexit uncertainty for the French company. Hundreds of UK and international companies are moving out of the UK. It would be odd if this company hadn’t taken Brexit into account.
The Tay Cities deal is being underfunded to the tune of £50 million. In the meantime, the DUP have secured another billion pounds from the magic money tree that Mayhem keeps in her backyard.
Mundell is being his usual completely useless self.
Over and over again he has made statements, promises and threats on a variety of matters, and over and over again zero has happened. Even his threat to resign came to zilch.
He promised more powers would come to Scotland after Brexit. In fact, Edinburgh will enjoy fewer powers. And, as Clive Ponting has said, maybe Brexit will mean the Tories get what they have always wanted and the Scottish parliament is disbanded
It’s a worrying thought that John Heffren may to an extent be right. The Tories have little to lose in a place like Dundee and frankly little to gain by working to keep Michelin here. No matter what they do, Dundee won’t vote Tory.
And wouldn’t it suit them nicely if the Scottish government failed?
Jim Fitzpatrick reveals new information on how the DUP and Vote Leave worked together in the EU referendum. Did they break the law? And he digs deep into the finances behind the DUP’s record referendum donor in a money trail that leads to Ukraine and beyond.
Yes, I know it’s the BBC, but every once in a while, they come up with something good.
It looks like Vote Leave and the DUP may have been on the fiddle and maybe some people in Northern Ireland and some in New York are going to be looking into it.
Don’t expect any help or encouragement from Downing Street though, as Arlene Foster owns May, lock, stock and barrel.
Last summer, after her unnecessary and disastrous general election campaign, designed to give her a strong and stable majority as she went into Brexit negotiations, the Maybot was obliged to purchase the allegiance of Northern Ireland’s weird party of creationists, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for a sum of somewhere between £1 billion and £1.5 billion to make up for the majority that she had just lost.
(Just a little aside here. I’m always a bit dubious about anything, party or country, with the word “democratic” in the title. If you need to tell people you are democratic, you probably aren’t… Democratic Republic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria… are you noticing a pattern?)
I’ve nothing against a coalition government or the compromises that are, perforce, a part of that kind of arrangement. But this wasn’t and isn’t a coalition arrangement, nor could it be, given the geographical limits of the DUP. It was and is, quite simply, a bribe to get for the Tories and May, the votes of DUP members in the House of Commons.
There are those who say that it was pretty much unnecessary. The DUP are the right wing, Protestant, unionist, queen and country (in short Tory) party of the province. Hardline Brexiteers, they would have voted, almost undoubtedly, with May even without a bribe.
But May couldn’t be sure of that, and what the hell, it wasn’t her money she was giving away.
(Another aside here: When the bribe was announced it caused consternation. Money above and beyond the budget to devolved government is supposed to be based on the Barnet formula. In other words, if NI gets money, so must, proportionately, the other countries of the UK. So our brave wee Viceroy Fluffy made a point of telling the BBC that he would not allow Northern Ireland to benefit from this sort of money without Scotland getting its fair share too. And that was the last we heard of it as Mrs May directed him to fetch the biscuits to go with her tea and he became permanently distracted with the more pressing matters of ensuring that the boss’s refreshments were supplied timeously or returning to the backbenches to be replaced by a wooden dummy….see below.)
Now, however, Gina Miller, the woman who took the UK government to court (and won) on whether or not parliament should have a say on the issuing of Article 50, has sent a legal warning to May that the £50 million pounds already paid to NI as part of this “arrangement” may be illegal, because it was given without being voted through parliament.