FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, PESTMINSTER, GET A GRIP

So, who knows whether Liz knew about the fact that she was putting her money into offshore accounts; who knows if she knew that money was tied up in Bright Homes, the rip-off company for the very poor?

If she didn’t know (and it is said that she takes a great deal of interest in these matters so she probably did), then she should have. Certainly, the banks of advisors that we pay for should have told her and explained to her the risks she was taking.

Don’t you think that it is time for a look at how we finance this bunch of scroungers?

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Other news we saw concerning our lards and messers is that another Tory Whip, Chris Pincher, has reported himself to the police and to the party’s sleaze squad for being what his accuser described as a pound-shop Harvey Weinstein.

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The knives are out for Andrea Leadsom who dobbed in SIR Fall-on (yer sword) for being a dirty wee sod. And I have to admit it does seem a particularly sneaky thing to do at this time when she has sat on the whole thing for 6 years or so.  Still, when it comes to the Tories, you’d have to go a fair way before you find one that wasn’t sneaky and self-serving, and kicking a man when he’s down is pretty much expected.

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Talking of which, when the hell is Colonel Davidson, self-appointed Augean Stables Clearer in Chief, going to do something about the tweeting habits of Murdo Fraser. Having some time ago shown his football preference (and that of his queen) was Rangers and very definitely NOT Celtic (Remember the Queen’s Eleven), he has shown his preference over many a tweet. Nothing wrong with having a favourite team of course, but his burning hatred for Celtic seems to know no bounds.

Yesterday at the match at McDiarmid Park there was a minute’s silence for war dead. Murdo tweeted that fans had not respected the silence (or so he heard on the “wireless”), although fans from both sides said that it was absolutely respected. It seems that he was just trying to cause trouble. Isn’t there enough trouble at the moment, Murdo?

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And poor old Gordon Brown. He’s got a new book out and has been emoting all over the place about a wide range of issues. The latest ’emote’ has been his anguish over the Iraq War. (The other day it was how much he felt that the banks should have been made to pay for what they did in the lead up to 2008, when, if you’ll remember, he was the Chancellor and then the Prime Minister…so not entirely without power!). Anyway, the old duffer is now anguished about the Iraq war, which well he may be, given the consequences of that enormous folly. And, of course, he’s still banging on about his agreement with Blair, which Blair, ever the gentleman, broke.

I expect they have told him that he will sell more books if he gets a bit teary-eyed about stuff. So that’s fine.

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And it’s not all just happening at Pestminster. Mark McDonald, an education minister in Holyrood, has demitted office because of “inappropriate” behaviour. He says he might have been too “humorous or friendly”. I’m inclined to think that no one would be required to stand down from a job for being humorous or friendly. Make what you will of it.

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Oh and lastly, that great friend that Mrs May invited to make a state visit, almost before the he had finished making his inauguration speech, has set his cap at bagging the privatisation of the Saudi Oil Company for New York, when the Brits hoped that it would go to London. The man who was going to be the UK’s greatest Brexit friend has (not unreasonably) gone for the massive prize of handling the Saudi deal knowing how much May wanted it.

If that’s her closest friend, what are her enemies going to do to her… Oh I forgot, they are a bunch of perverts, weirdos and cheats called the Tory Party and they are busily making her premiership the biggest nightmare since the one on Elm Street.

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RANDOM THOUGHTS

Tony Blair

It seems that Tony Blair has put himself forward as a peace negotiator between Spain and Catalonia.  Apparently the Devil is too busy.

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Oh noooooo… it seems to have happened

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… there has been a schism in the UKIP. Anne Marie Waters is having a party!

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All the talk this morning seems to be about Mrs May. The pound has fallen again, even against the Euro (which is damaged by the situation in Catalonia).

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Grant Shapps appears to be the driving force in the “plot” to remove her, which must be a comfort to her, as, to date, he’s been spectacularly unspectacular in most of what he’s ever done. Govey is fighting her corner, reminding anyone bored enough to listen that 14 million people (slight exaggeration) voted for her in the General Election. I’m not sure that Govey fighting your corner is much of an asset, but then who have to remember how close Govey is to Mr Murdoch! And Mr Murdoch fighting your corner is an altogether different kettle of fish.

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SO, HERE’S A POSITIVE ASPECT OF THE THATCHER LEGACY

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Mrs Thatcher once said something to the effect that Tony Blair was the legacy of which she was most proud. In short, she reckoned that she had successfully managed to make Labour look like a down market, pound shop imitation of herself and her Tories.

I suppose it beats her legacy of broken people, broken towns, broken lives, broken dreams… and the whole wealth of the UK being centred on her beloved London. But it was a sad day for the noble Labour movement which had achieved so much for us (especially through the work of the post war government of Clement Atlee, without whom I suspect we would still be living in the 1930s).

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I suspect Mrs Thatcher would have been decidedly less proud to know that she had inspired the political career of Nicola Sturgeon.

So, I guess that would explain why, to me, Nicola is a bit of a hero.

In a way, Nicola’s statement makes it worth the inordinate cost of the state funeral Thatcher got when she finally left us in peace.

If she left us a broken country, at least she inspired someone who can fix it if we’ll let her.

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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BLAIR IS BACK

0If you thought that Trump and Brexit weren’t quite enough to finish off the world as you know it, the good news is that not only is Tony Blair making preparation to do a Norma Desmond style comeback (hopefully without the close-up), but he’s dragging  Spud Murphy and possibly even McTeacake with him as advisors.

Oh, how we laughed!

Apparently, he wants to save the UK from Brexit because he thinks Tessy Mayhem is a lightweight and that Corbyn is a nutter. So clearly, he’s learned a lot about diplomacy from all the murdering dictators he’s been working with over the last 10 years.

Clearly, by employing Murphy as an advisor (I assume that the Rt Hon’s conflict settlement agency hasn’t been doing too well),  he is hoping to lose Labour another 97% of its seats at the next election. If he sticks to meddling in Brexit, with that team I’d say we’ll leave in 2 years’ time without one single concession, and with a boot up our backsides.

If I were the Defence minister at Westminster I’d get buying a pile of ammunition, because Blair can’t be anywhere near the seat of power without bombing a few middle eastern within an inch of ruin and then withdrawing wearing one of his smug smiles and saying “job done, Mr President, Sir”.

The picture at the top of the article is either Blair wearing his military outfit, ready for a good bombing somewhere, or it’s a bus inspector who’s just heard that Blair had the effrontery to call someone else a nutter!!! I’m truly not sure which.