So, I’ve been following Marky Booth on Twitter as he patiently waited for parliament to be prorogued. I pinched this cartoon from him. Oh sorry, it’s actually a picture.
Anyway, twice in the last month, we’ve had to sit through Black Rod mumbling some antiquated nonsense, and some ermine clad ne’er do wells toffs doffing their caps, as Boris manages to once again shut down democracy with the compliance of Elizabeth Saxe Coburg Gotha.
Why they do all this dressing up in strange costumes and taking their hats off (only the men it seems) heaven only knows. Maybe there is a reason hidden in the mists of time and tradition. Maybe there isn’t and they just like dressing up is strange clothes. Who knows when it comes to the English aristocracy?
I was going to say, “who cares?” But I think I do. All these people, after all, are highly paid and/or on massive expenses and I help pay for them and their costumes which are doubtless expensive too.
And what is it all?
Why can’t the Speaker and Lords Speaker just read off a sheet that parliament is suspended until Monday by order of the queen and then everyone can go home, or wherever it is they go in London?
Well, of course,what it is for this time is so that on Monday the Toytown prime minister can have his party political broadcast read by the queen, who presumably will have had to come back from Balmoral, also at considerable expense, to read his list of promises, from her golden throne, after arriving in procession, accompanied by page boys, ladies in waiting and all manner of tra la la.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the promises that have been made over the last few weeks, and which will presumably to be included in this Clown Speech from the throne, are utterly unaffordable given the shitstorm of no deal that we are about to enter. Presumably, if she is paying attention Liz will already know that its a pack of lies, but will, nonetheless, read it out anyway.
So all the nonsense about 40 new hospitals (that on closer inspection became 6) and massive spending on infrastructure, or indeed for us Scots, all the money Johnson was guaranteeing to spend here to make up for the fact that Holyrood treats us so badly… you know, not making us pay for tertiary education or prescriptions or extra bedrooms or care for the elderly… you know the sort of thing… well, we can forget it. Tax increases and spending cuts to pay for this fool’s Brexit are going to be the order of the day.
Still, it is comforting to know that, no matter how bad things get, the Brits will always find enough money for tricorn hats and weird rituals.
I read that the queen (for which Maybot) has invited Donald Trump to make a state visit to the UK in June. That’s pretty short notice for the immense amount of preparation that will be required to keep him entertained and safe.
(Although to be fair, you could keep him entertained by giving him a bucket load of McDonalds and KFC, setting up Fox and Friends on his tv and allowing him free reign on Twitter.)
I’m a little dubious as to why this is happening.
When Trump made a visit back in 2018, there were mass protests and he was obliged to keep himself out of the way of ordinary people. He was helicoptered everywhere so that he could avoid facing the public.
There is no reason to suggest that it would be any different this time. Except that, on a state visit, he will be expected to go places and do things with members of the royal family and government (even if it’s raining).
A carriage ride down the Mall with royals is almost inevitable. And a big deal shite tie state dinner is normal. That means being close to the public. Crowds can only be controlled to a certain extent, no matter how many police the government is forced to deploy.
The royals may be less than happy to be involved with him.
The queen, of course, has no choice.
But Phil has retired from public duties. Charles is a conservationist and Trump and he are unlikely to make a happy pair. William and Kate have clear issues with him after he made sexist comments about Kate when she was snapped sunbathing nude a few years ago. Harry may have to be deployed, but his American wife will just have had a child… and Harry is pretty far down the pecking order for the so-called “leader of the free world”!
Then there is the issue of whether or not he will be invited to address a joint session of the Lords and Commons as were Obama and DubYa.
Bercow is on record saying that he wouldn’t approve it, although refusing permission is not entirely in his remit. The Lord Speaker may be of a different view.
However, I’ve seen a few MPs making it clear that should he be invited to speak, they will be otherwise engaged.
Rude? Yes, but then rudeness and Trump kinda go together.
Maybe, of course, the Maybot has a solution to all these problems. But based on her current form, I reckon that she’d have problems sorting out what to eat for lunch.
What I can’t understand is why she would add all that extra stress to her already stressful life and for what?
One last thought… I’ve not seen the proposed schedule, but I’m wondering if he will be moving outside England. Anyone know?
After more than two years of being ruthlessly pushed around by the EU, it is time for the UK to resist.
OK, so in my world (and clearly that isn’t the world of Eton, Oxford, Bullington Club, Westminster, and the Daily Telegraph), you haven’t been pushed around. And by “you”, I guess I mean England (and Wales) and your government.
You guys in the Tories decided to offer a referendum as a way of ensuring that people who disliked Europe would vote Tory and not UKIP in 2015. And to an extent, it worked.
Largely due to the UK voting system, your 11.3 million votes got you 331 seats, where are UKIP’s 3.8 million votes got them just 1 seat. Fair, huh?
Having got that far your right wing pushed Cameron to go ahead with the referendum, and he did, but in the absolute certainty (in his head) that he would win. And because of that certainty, he refused to allow any preparation for a possible no leave.Nothing.
When Nicola Sturgeon suggested that he just might lose, he told her not to be silly. Girls in politics, huh? What’s the Eton world coming to?
So, when the result came in Dave fled for the hills, beach, leaving whoever was his successor to pick up the pieces with not one single plan having been made. (It is worth noting here, however, that Theresa May had been the Home Secretary in the run up to the referendum, and so she knew that that was the situation when she applied for, and then got, the job.
Now a sensible government would have planned for both conceivable results. This would have meant in short order they could have put together a set of detailed pre-prepared proposals for leaving the EU, including how they would deal with the vexed (nigh insoluble) question of the Ireland/UK border, mindful of the conditions of the Good Friday Agreement and international trade laws regarding borders at the end of jurisdictions.
After 2 years of the EU responding to our decision to break up something we helped build with them, by giving us a range of Brexit options which we’ve rejected, it’s time you accepted that your whole plan is doomed to failure…
Not unreasonable the EU was pressing for some details as quickly as possible. Uncertainty affects both sides in these matters. And they undoubtedly thought that a country like Britain would ahve had plans in place. Of course they would…
Somewhat optimistically, on March 31 2017, your prime minister triggered article 50 in a communication with the EU and shortly thereafter the UK’s Secretary for Brexit was invited to meet with the appointed negotiator for Europe.
There we have a picture of David Davis and his bag carrier grinning like Cheshire cats and Monsieur Barnier and his assistants looking rather less cheerful. Could be because while the EU three had clearly done their devoirs, David’s homework had, just as clearly, been eaten by the dog.
No wonder you were home for lunch.
And that has been the pattern ever since, only interrupted for the period when your prime minister decided that, contrary to all her previous protestations, she was going to waste a month of precious negotiating time on holding a general election.
That just might have been acceptable if she had made a better job of appealing to people that she could do the job, but as it was, she lost her majority and was obliged to pay a bribe of £1 billion of OUR money to secure the voted of a minority party of religious bigots and retain her position.
Because it is a group of 27 nations, each with a vote (and a veto) on the final deal, the EU has operated on a fairly strict set of rules. There has been no doubt from the first day of negotiations that the “four freedoms” which are the founding principles of the EU are not up for negotiation. Freedom of movement of goods, finance, services and labour makes the EU what it is.
They’ve told the UK time and time again you cannot cherry pick.
Britain’s always reminded me of a bloke leaving the golf club but saying that he wants to be able to come in to the bar on a Friday for a pint with his mates, play a round of 18 on a Wednesday afternoon, oh and bring the other half in for a meal in the restaurant from time to time, all the while avoiding the annual fees and disregarding the management committee’s rulings.
The UK, on the other hand, is a group of four (five including Gibraltar) nations, none of which needs to be listened to at all (and one of which has grubby little beard snacking tea boys telling it to shut up).
The UK really needs to understand that the EU operates differently from Britain. I suppose you could call it democracy.
Your trouble is that within your own party, never mind any of the other parties in the Commons, you have divergent groups. Remainers, reluctant leavers, and the hard right who genuinely seem to think that Beelzebub himself is in charge in Brussels. So whatever Soubrey and her like wants, you can guarantee that Rees Mogg and his band will want the exact opposite.
Then you have to add into that mix, the DUP. Bought and paid for with British gold, they will support you, but only if they get THEIR way on everything and no one ever crosses their blood orange red lines. And their way is, well, pretty extreme and definitely weird and based on a hatred of Europe that may be something to do with the religious makeup of some of the southern countries.
So basically your lot has made a complete pig’s mouth, erm I mean, ear, of the whole thing. No more and no less than we would have expected from a bunch of over-privileged underachievers.
We have now five and a half months till our leaving day and the UK still has no position that it can put to the EU and that Barnier can be fairly sure will pass through the UK parliament and therefore which he can recommend to the member states to go back and vote on.
And you think you’ve been pushed around. If I were Barnier, I’d have pushed you under this bus.
I’m indebted to Grafter, who sent this documentary as part of the last post.
I knew the City was corrupt and that Britain was a sham of a decent Western democracy. I just don’t think I knew by how much.
I’m reminded of the time that Cameron, hosting a conference on corruption (being something of an expert, I have no doubt given the revelations in the Panama Papers), said something to the Queen (also mentioned in those papers), the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Speaker about Nigeria and Afghanistan being the most corrupt nations in the world.
If I remember rightly the Archbishop did pull him up about the fact that he was out of date (what else would you expect from an airhead like Cameron?) and that the current president was anti-corruption.
And the Nigerian president replied that he didn’t want an apology. but he would appreciate it if perhaps all the money being stolen from his country by corruption and invested in London might be intercepted and returned by the British authorities.
Of course, as Britain is also a fabulously corrupt country, Cameron had no reply and I shouldn’t think for a moment that that ever happened.
There the UK is. Punching above their weight all over the world. Being important. Being respected by some and feared (LOL) by others (quotes from David Cameron when he made a brief visit to Scotland to tell us we were Better Together). Actually, could anyone hazard a guess at who exactly fears the UK?
Today I read on the BBC website that kids in England and Wales are going hungry. They have, and I quote: “grey skin, poor teeth, poor hair; they are thinner”. They are stealing food from the school dinners and putting in their pockets to take home. They are noticeably hungrier after the weekends, and some schools reported that they stayed open during the snow because it was the only way the kids would get something to eat.
The report was about England and Wales. It came from a teacher’s union meeting in Brighton. I imagine, though, that there must be kids in that situation here in Scotland too. We all live under the same social security and tax systems.
And again, in England, doctors are reporting that even after the winter period they expect still to be operating at emergency levels, failing to reach waiting time targets. In short, the winter crisis is a year-round crisis now. Our health service is better organised and better funded, but it too is straining at the seams as the amount spent on health across the UK is considerably less than in comparable countries.
And that’s before we start on the state of the police services, the roads, the railways, the infrastructure, etc, etc, etc.
Fortunately, none of this is interfering with the expenses of doing up Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and finding millions for the security at Harry’s wedding. (Note: this came from the Express and comes with a dubious accuracy warning.)
How long can Britain continue to pretend that it is a leading rich nation when it isn’t providing the very most basic of services?
And once again, I have to ask: the people at the top in London, the queen, the prime minister, the top cabinet people, swear that they are devout Christians and that Britain is a Christian country.
What part of Christianity did I miss at school which says we should buy nuclear weapons and decorate palaces at the expense of children having enough to eat and old folk getting some decent health care?
Was it before or after walking on water and passing through the eye of a needle?
Aye, well. I think the UK has just been shown without any doubt that having cake and eating it is the stuff of fairy stories and princesses with golden hair. And that, indeed we are just like other countries.
“EU27 wants the UK as a close friend and partner and will enter talks on the future with an open, positive mind. But, given UK red lines, only an FTA is possible. It will be the first FTA in history to loosen, not strengthen economic ties. Drifting apart is the essence of Brexit.”
So goes the Tweet from Donald Tusk.
It is worth remembering that the Scottish government’s assessment (roundly rubbished by the London government at the time, but then shown to be accurate by subsequently published UK figures) estimated that the Scottish economy could suffer by £12.7 billion a year.
So bravo UK. You put all the red lines there. Now we’re supposed to sit back and suffer?
And for all those who are blaming the EU for being harsh on poor little Britain, here’s a comment from Hugo Rifkind:
You guys warned us that we wouldn’t be able to use YOUR money. You would put up border posts on all the roads crossing between our countries. You wouldn’t trade with us. You even told us that pensions we had paid into for in some cases 50+ years would stop.
OK, we know you lied, but given all that, I think the EU is letting Britain off lightly by comparison.
Still, I’m sure that the Queen, Charles and Maybot all sucking up something wonderful to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia today, will be making up for all the lost opportunities. Just think of all the weapons you can sell them so that they can go on playing puppeteer in the Middle East Proxy Wars!
I noted that in Mrs May’s Christmas message to us lesser beings (painful to watch as she tries to emote), she wanted to remind us that this is a Christian country.
She said: “Let us take pride in our Christian heritage and the confidence it gives us to ensure that in Britain you can practice your faith free from question or fear”.
She is, of course, the English/female version of the Gordon Brown “son of the manse”, the “vicar’s daughter”
I managed to avoid the Queen’s Christmas message (well done. Tris) but I’d lay a pound to a penny that she reminded us that in her long reign she has always tried to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. After all, she tells us that every year.
And we all know that the real power in the country is held by an unelected Christian fundamentalist, who apparently believes that the world was created by God 6,000 years ago and that he laboured for 6 days doing it, and took the seventh day off. And you mustn’t call her a dinosaur because there never was such a thing!
And yet these three women, strong advocates of Christianity, oversee a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
It’s a mean cruel little place in which a woman who is going to marry into the royal family can spend £55,000 on a dress for a photoshoot, parliament can spend tens of billions on doing up its own buildings, Buckingham Palace gets extra money for repairs… and at the same time doctors are prescribing food to patients who are ill because of malnutrition and we see the return of Victorian poverty illnesses like rickets.
And that’s BEFORE we leave the EU, which now all but a few predict will be an economic disaster for Britain at least for the foreseeable future.
The following came from readers comments in the article above. Just how inhuman do you have to be to put this kind of regime into operation?
Examples of Benefit Sanctions
“One case where the claimant’s wife went into premature labour and had to go to hospital. This caused the claimant to miss an appointment. No leeway given”
“It’s Christmas Day and you don’t fill in your job search evidence form to show that you’ve looked for all the new jobs that are advertised on Christmas Day. You are sanctioned. Merry Christmas”
“You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the jobcentre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week”
“A London man missed his Jobcentre appointments for two weeks because he was in hospital after being hit by a car. He was sanctioned”
“You’ve been unemployed for seven months and are forced onto a workfare scheme in a shop miles away, but can’t afford to travel. You offer to work in a nearer branch but are refused and get sanctioned for not attending your placement”
“You are a mum of two and are five minutes late for your jobcentre appointment. You show the advisor the clock on your phone, which is running late. You are sanctioned for a month”
“A man with heart problems who was on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) had a heart attack during a work capability assessment. He was then sanctioned for failing to complete the assessment”
“A man who had gotten a job that was scheduled to begin in two weeks’time was sanctioned for not looking for work as he waited for the role to start”
“Army veteran Stephen Taylor, 60, whose Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was stopped after he sold poppies in memory of fallen soldiers”
“A man had to miss his regular appointment at the job centre to attend his father’s funeral. He was sanctioned even though he told DWP staff in advance”
“Ceri Padley, 26, had her benefits sanctioned after she missed an appointment at the jobcentre – because she was at a job interview”
“A man got sanctioned for missing his slot to sign on – as he was attending a work programme interview. He was then sanctioned as he could not afford to travel for his job search”
“Mother-of-three Angie Godwin, 27, said her benefits were sanctioned after she applied for a role jobcentre staff said was beyond her”
“Sofya Harrison was sanctioned for attending a job interview and moving her signing-on to another day”
“Michael, 54, had his benefits sanctioned for four months for failing to undertake a week’s work experience at a charity shop. The charity shop had told him they didn’t want him there”
“Terry Eaton, 58, was sanctioned because he didn’t have the bus fare he needed to attend an appointment with the jobcentre”.
Added to this they removed £30 a week from the sickest people, they are in the throes of rolling out a system for benefits (Universal Credit) that does not work (still!) but not in Cabinet ministers’ constituencies, and amongst a list of other miserable mean minded policies aimed at saving money at all costs, most of the people of Grenfell Tower (the building that burned down because the richest council in England couldn’t be bothered putting proper insulation on it because it was populated by poor people, and for whom there was recently a big service in London, with bigwigs including Charles and William and the Maybot herself), are still homeless, and May laughed off the notion of child homelessness on the basis that kids weren’t actually sleeping on the cold streets in the open air…as many adults are. All fur coats and no knickers!
In England, NHS trusts are cancelling non-emergency operations as their health service falls apart for lack of money, staff and someone to manage it. Schools in some areas are washing kids’ clothes and taking parents to food banks or feeding them in breakfast clubs, while at the same time begging for money for books from richer parents. Prisons in England are in many cases privatised. The staffing levels are ridiculously low and the population ridiculously high. Violence is rife and riots are frequent.
I could go on, through other areas of public life: ships that are letting in water and that were built to carry aircraft we haven’t bought, Cabinet ministers falling like ninepins because they lie to the prime minister… the lowest pensions in the developed world to show how little we care about our elderly population (unless they are royal or lords) and the total mess that is Brexit deteriorating by the day…but by now you’re getting bored.
So that is the Britain which hails blue passports as a major achievement.
That’s the Queen’s idea of a Christian society.
That’s Mrs May’s idea of Christian government.
I’m not a Christian, but I was forced as a schoolboy to go to daily Christian services at school in England and made to do two lessons a week of Bible Study, so I know a few things about the basic principles of Christianity after all these years.
Either our teachers were lying, or the people who oversee this mess, Liz, Arlene and the Maybot don’t even begin to resemble Christians.