RANDOM THOUGHTS

£JOHN
John Redwood‏ @johnredwood

Once out of the EU Customs Union the UK could unilaterally cut all tariffs on products we don’t grow for ourselves or could offer to do so in return for some free trade response from those who would benefit. Inside, we can’t do this as the others don’t agree with this strategy.

Yes, that would all be fine, Mr Redwood, but it would involve leaving the World Trade Organisation too. You did know that, didn’t you?

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It appears that Fluffy Muddle wasn’t available for an interview this morning on Radio Scotland to talk about the EU withdrawal economic impact assessments from the British government, y’know, the ones that they had and didn’t have and then had again (or something).

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I suspect he must have been on early morning tea duties at Downing Street (tea tray at 6 am, tea, milk, 2 digestives, open curtains). But I wonder where his blue-blooded aristocratic assistant was. Don’t we pay him to be available for occasions on which the Rt Hon blokey is otherwise engaged in beard cleaning …or domestic duties… or whatever it is he does?

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And what about the Colonel, who assured us she attends British Cabinet meetings? Was she on manoeuvres somewhere with her rusty troops?

Why does no one want to talk about this stuff?

Murdo, oh Murdo????

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A Fife farmer has had to let crops die in the fields because he can’t get anyone to pick them since so many Europeans have left for home, or somewhere else in the union with more stability.

This is before we have actually left Europe.

It is a bit worrying that we will be bringing back control only to find that it’s all got out of control.

Some quote the unemployment figures and ask why we are so short of people when so many are unemployed. However, government figures (1.4 million) show an unemployment rate of 4.2%, which by common consent, is considered to be more or less full employment.

A substantial section of this is made up of people simply between jobs. Starting a new job in a few weeks but left the present one and needing “NI stamps”. After a few weeks they sign off to be replaced by others in the same situation.

This figure also includes the ever-growing number of people who are over 50 and over 60 (and unless you’ve been used to outdoor, hard physical work all your life it’s unlikely [not impossible] you’d be able to start …and be effective… in that kind of work at that time of life).

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Clearly, some older people have no problems landing a job.

 

Having worked in the employment business, I can assure you that it is harder for older folk to get into work. If it’s a physical job, employers are looking for younger people who will still be standing at the end of a hard 8-hour shift. If it’s office work, employers are looking for people whose IT skills are up to the lastest mark. In hospitality and retail, they tend to be overlooked too. When did you last see a barista in Costa Coffee, or an assistant in Next with grey hair

It also includes people who have disabilities but who are able to work if someone gives them the chance, but for some of whom a job bent over in muddy field wouldn’t be appropriate, or even possible.

Unemployment figures also include those who, for other reasons, are pretty much unemployable. (Michael Something of the Night Howard’s “prison works” may have been a cool slogan for the blue rinses and retired colonels, but the truth is it does damage people’s employment prospects in the future, one reason that Scotland’s government has tried to reduce the number of people incarcerated).

Then there are those who have drink and drug issues which render them unemployable. Not a small number.

So if, in the end, 2 million of the 3 million Europeans do leave, from what pool of labour will we recruit?

We need to remember too, that farm labour is a tiny part our problems. Perhaps even more important are the care staff for our old people’s homes, the highly trained medical staff that work in the NHS, doctors, nurses, radiologists, physios, etc, etc.

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Munguin4

Oh and, I won’t tell you again…

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SO HOW ARE WE DOING?

 

Just to cheer you up…

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Well, unemployment is down. ..
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…and growth is up…
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…and we seem to be doing better with wages…
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And foreign direct investment is ahead of the other two Celtic countries and all the regions of England with the exception of the London powerhouse.

 

It’s not all peaches and cream, and we’re not claiming all the credit for the Scottish parliament and government (before you start, Niko!).

Economic levers are massively (or bigly as Trump would say) in the hands of London so unemployment, for example, may be affected by decisions taken in London as well as Edinburgh. But there has also been good news for NHS Scotland with our waiting times lower than the other three countries and our university students are the most likely to be employed.

The Ernst and Young survey is largely positive but it warns that once the uncertainty surrounding Brexit takes hold, we could be in for a bumpy ride. As I said, decisions taken in London can affect our economic outlook.

BREAKING: performance now moved ahead of Improvement Plan target. PPM 93.7% (4% ahead of Eng/Wales) well done to railway workers!

And yes, even the trains are more likely to be on time here than anywhere else.

WHAT I LEARNED WORKING IN A JOBCENTRE by Fraser Stewart

This is rather a long video, and for those of a delicate disposition, there are a couple of swear words in it,  but it comes from a witness, an ex-employee of the jobcentre, who is prepared to go on record, showing his face, about what goes on in the job centre. I thought it was worth watching.

Fraser worked in the Dundee jobcentre and was happy trying to find work for his clients (sorry, they call them customers) until the Tory/Liberal coalition changed the rules and you got brownie points for destroying people’s lives.

I think that we must be pretty close to what passes for full employment in the UK. With something like one and a half million unemployed (4.9%). A large number of these will be people aged over 50 who, in general, find that it is a good deal more difficult to get a job unless they are professionally trained (lawyers, doctors, nurses, architects, teachers, etc).

Then there are people who are all but unemployable for a variety of reasons ranging from addictions to a variety of substances (including alcohol) to criminal records, or learning difficulties.

But the government knows that the general population doesn’t see it like that. “Hard working families up and down the country,” think that their hard-earned taxes are being thrown away on wastrels, so the unending battle to reduce the appearance of unemployment continues.

If you can’t get them a job, get them off the figures, and save us some money. Not our problem if they go hungry; not our problem if they have kids; not our problem if they get evicted, appears to be the thinking.

Shameful. And if you add to that the dreadful news about what is happening in the English Health Service, where the Red Cross has had to wade in to help hospitals which simply cannot cope, and stroke victims are left on trollies in corridors next to fire doors for more than 24 hours… and now one woman has died as a result of this neglect, it makes you very glad that prime ministers and monarchs alike keep reminding us that this is a Christian country, run according to the teachings of Christ.

Goodness only knows what mess we would be in if we were a bunch of heathen bastards.