SO, HOW’S IT ALL GOING, THERESA?

Disjointed stuff here about what I’m hearing about the UK’s proposed agreement with the EU as it trickles in.

So, as predicted, it’s all going swimmingly, straight to the bottom of the sea.

The utterly secret deal that everyone seems to know about is causing consternation.

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.

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.)

joke nigel1
Not THAT kind of orange, you numpty. He’s VERY unhappy.ย  Signed Munguin.

Up to now, it’s not looking good for the prime minister and her plan.

ย This is going to be one of these days where the news trickles in bit by bit. Unfortunately, I’ll be out all afternoon. But that shouldn’t stop the discussion.

Updates welcome, Munguinites.

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THAT MAGIC MONEY TREE ONLY SEEMS TO BLOOM WHEN IT SUITS MAYHEM

!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Michelin closure is a huge deal in Dundee.

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 UKย  and international companies are moving out of the UK. It would be odd if this company hadn’t taken Brexit into account.

Image result for michelin dundee

The Tay Cities deal is being underfunded to the tune of ยฃ50 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

He failed to stand up for Scottish farmers whenย  Gove spent EU money, destined for Scotland, in England.

He assured us that when May paid the first bribe of a billion pounds to her pal, Arlene, that Scotland wouldn’t lose out. It did.

And now he has said that despite the Michelin situation we will get no extra cash… not even get what we were promised in the City Deals.

Image result for michelin dundee derek mckay

Despite the utter uselessness of Mundell and the Brits, our own government is working hard to try to retain the jobs in Dundee.

Replying toย 

๐—ข๐—ฏ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—น๐˜† ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—™๐—น๐˜‚๐—ณ๐—ณ๐˜† & ๐—ฅ๐˜‚๐˜๐—ต ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฆ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜/๐—š๐—ผ๐˜ƒ ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐— ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป ๐——๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ. ๐—”๐—น๐—น ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ ๐˜€๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—น๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ

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?

DULCE ET DECORUM EST

 

I’ll have no truck with the ceremonies in London where royals and political leaders gathered to pay their respects to people who died in a war that ended at 11 am 100 years ago today (and in the many conflicts since).

Not because I think we should forget war, and most assuredly not such a stupid pointless war as the one from 1914-18 that killed so many millions of people and wrecked the lives of countless more, because we should never forget this kind of monumental folly.

No, rather we should remember and learn from them.

But I want nothing to do with this tra la la, because that is what it will be. There’s no learning to be done. Just the Brits showing off their ceremonial prowess.

Image result for the queen at the cenotaph

The “great and the good” will be there in their expensive black clothes, looking suitably solemn, many of them wearing the “exclusive” poppies that posh people seem to get a hold of. And they will bow their heads in a show of respect for the dead. The dead that they, or their ancestors or predecessors, sent to war, sometimes arguably justifiably, and sometimes most definitely not.

All the remembrance has taught us nothing because, of course, it is rarely the sons of the great and the good (with a few honourable exceptions) that end up in the firing line.

Image result for the queen at the cenotaph

Then, once the ceremony is over, those and their likes will retire to the Foreign Office, mix with minor royalty and doubtless sup taxpayer-funded drinks. Duty done for another year.

Now all of that is fine… or it would be, if along with appearing at the Cenotaph* and looking sad, they would take action to ensure that those who did not die in their many and various wars, but who came home with horrible injuries to body and mind, and the families of those who did perish, were looked after by a grateful state.

Like so much else in this country, remembrance and the poppy have been devalued by politicians who use them as a political tool. If you don’t wear a poppy you are not patriotic. You don’t support ‘our brave boys’. Be ashamed.

Image result for ex servicemen begging for money

Incidentally, funds raised by the Scottish Poppy Appeal are directed to:

  • Providing direct financial assistance to ex-Service men, women and their dependents in Scotland.
  • Funding an advice service, including pension claims and appeals.
  • Supported employmentย for veterans with disabilities.
  • Grants and research for ex-Service organisations that deliver specialist services to veterans in Scotland.

All very worthy.

But my question is, why has this ever been necessary?

Are we not told over and over again what an important state Britain is, and how we punch above our weight and gain respect from countries all over the world for doing so?

Are we not one of the richest countries in the world?

So, why oh why are people who are sent by the government to do Her Majesty’s bidding and who come home less than whole, not looked after by that rich above-weight-punching government?

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I can only presume it’s because that government is too busy doing up palaces, paying for weddings of nonentities and continuing to punch above its weight LONG after it had any right to.

It’s not me who should be ashamed.

So, I’ll take no lectures on respect for troops from any of them.

Image result for harry patch as a young man

Today I HAVE been thinking about the unimaginable conditions that these men, and possibly a few women, had to endure in France. I’ve read some poems and listened to memories of people like Harry Patch, who was, I think, the last surviving British soldier from the 14-18 war, and who spoke with such horror of what he, at 16, had had to witness. And I wonder how that could possibly have happened, and worse, still be happening.

Image result for destruction in Yemen

I’ve thought too about the people who, because of war today, are starving and dying of completely or avoidable curable diseases in Yemen, of the scenes of destruction we have witnessed so recently in Libya and Syria and of the ongoing misery in Palestine.

For all the remembering that they do, they never seem to learn.

…And then I’m reminded that Bonespurs Trump wouldn’t brave the rain to show some respect for Americans who died in France.

(*I chose the Cenotaph ceremony because that is where the people who make decisions on wars, their funding and their aftermath, will be gathered. Not in Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast. And not in any of the towns and cities across Britain.)

MOLDOVA COULD KICK UK WHERE IT HURTS

It appears that Theresa May’s government in its incredible ignorance of just about everything was unaware that, unlike in the UK, elsewhere in the world, little countries do have a voice AND A VETO.

Yes, the UK government walks all over Scotland and if she were not dependent on Arlene Forster for her survival, would walk all over Northern Ireland. London ignores Wales. And they assume that other little countries can be ignored too.

But, in the WTO (and the EU) it seems that it only takes one country, no matter how small, poor and globally insignificant, to say NO, NOPE, NON, or in this case NU… and yer arse is in the fire, as they say.

Indebted to Dave for sending me this blog.

Edit 18.48: And to Hutch McPherson for the original article

I’M TELLING; WE’VE BEEN PUSHED AROUND BUY THE BIG FOREIGN BOY

ยฃยฃยฃยฃยฃยฃ

After more than two years of being ruthlessly pushed around by the EU, it is time for the UK to resist.

WHAT?

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.ย 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?

Image result for david camerons fat belly

So, when the result came in Dave fled for the hills,ย  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.

Replying toย 

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…

I mean you must that thought that through, right?

No?

Ah! Oooooooo K.

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…

Image result for article 50 letter

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.

Image result for barnier and davis first meeting

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 threeย had clearly done their devoirs,ย  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.

Image result for theresa may lost the 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 ยฃ1 billion of OUR money to secure the voted of a minority party of religious bigots and retain her position.

Image result for theresa may goes to palace and meets queen

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.

Image result for trump plays golf

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.ย  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.

Image result for brexit bus lie

Lord, Boris, you really are a tosser.

 

 

 

Another brief musical interlude

Dedicated to Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and (Anni)Frida and all ABBA fans

by Panda Paws

Itโ€™s Party conference season and the third largest party by membership in the UK has just finished theirs.

Many, if not most of us, are still traumatised by the sight of the Prime Minister sashaying on to the stage to the tune of “Dancing Queen”.

Donโ€™t know about you but I certainly thought “Mamma Mia”!!!

No doubt designed to divert our attention away from the continuing clusterfu, sorry omnishambles, of Brexit where Westminster wants to have all the benefits of membership without being a member. Well, the EU isnโ€™t for budging and it looks like the Tories are about to face their “Waterloo”.

And what is Ruth Davidson doing to help a Scotland that voted to stay in the EU by a higher % than to stay in the UK?

Heehaw.

I might not have liked her politics, but Annabel Goldie was a far better leader than the celebrity politician will ever be. Ruth โ€“ things were so much better “The Day Before You Came”.

She has no policies other than no referendum; which is probably why she goes “On And On And On” about it.ย  Opposing Scotlandโ€™s right to self-determination is the “Name Of The Game”.

Scotland needs to get out and get out soon. Devolution is “Under Attack”. We should send an “SOS” to the world โ€“ help. And the EU seems to be more supportive than in 2014. Partly because the UK will no longer be a member that they will feel obliged to rally behind but also because theyโ€™ve now seen what weโ€™ve had to put up with for years.ย  There have been warm words so we “Thank You For the (mood) Music”.

But Westminster wonโ€™t let us go easily; they need our “Money, Money, Money”.

The SNP need to get proactive and “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” a date for an independence referendum sometime in 2019. Then it really would be a “Happy New Year”. But we the Yes folk need to play our part in persuading people to our side โ€“ it will need us to be dedicated and give of ourselves. Each of us will need to be a “Supertrouper” (did you know that Glasgow is immortalised in its lyrics?) Otherwise we risk it “Slipping Through My Fingers”.

An independent Scotland has the chance to soar like an “Eagle”. “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, thatโ€™s what we all want. But we cannot lose because in the fight for our nationhood, the “Winner Takes It All”.

Do you want an independent Scotland, because “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”? Itโ€™s time to end this union and say “So Long”.

Note from Munguin: I am grateful to Panda Paws for this piece… for which she will, of course, be adequately recompensed. The Czech, as ever, is on its way. Although Tris tells me that its an Italian this time.

In summary, I think what we are all saying to Mrs May is that we don’t want to “take a chance on” her. Even if we all think she’s the biggest chancer ever.

 

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE

So,ย Bjรถrn Ulvaeus is anti-Brexit.

And Benny Andersson has previously warned a right-wing party in Denmark not to use Abba music in political campaigns.

But no one yet knows how they feel about the Maybot stumbling about on stage to Dancing Queen

Musicians obviously have the right to be consulted about who uses their music. The Foo Fighters kicked off in 2008ย when John McCain and Sarah Palin used their track at a rally.

Trump recently used an Adele song at a rally which drew this strict retort from her management: “Adele has not given permission for her music to be used for any political campaigning.โ€

This is maybe something all politicos might think about before they appropriate someone else’s music. Not everyone wants their music associated with a particular cause, whatever it is. Permission should always be obtained in advance of use. Remember it says somewhere on all discs: “Unauthorised public performance, broadcast and copying prohibited”

But, I think, if I were May, I would get in touch with these two and see if they would allow her to use this…

Even if not, just listen to these voices…