Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Peanuts


The DUP and the Tories: What's the Big Deal?



So, Theresa has her deal and predictably people are complaining. Yet it's not really easy to see why. It seems to amount to a surprise that in politics votes mean deals being done and that this usually means that money is spent. Given that many of those complaining would have had no difficulties whatever with the various money splurges of Chauncey's Labour Party, including a wholly unnecessary commitment to give free tuition fees to students and cancel their debts, a naked bribe with our money to get the great unwashed to come out and vote, then what is the problem?

Or there's the SNP. If they had been in a position to do a deal with Labour then would they have done so for free? What price would they have extracted for their support do we imagine? Not that Scotland is in any position to complain when it comes to money even without this. Scotland does very nicely out of the Barnett Formula as it is. Their inability on this occasion to extract anything further hardly makes them paupers as a consequence.

During the 2010 to 2015 parliament, as I recall, the Lib Dems managed to prise very many concessions out of David Cameron in return for their support including Nick Clegg's ridiculous free school meals policy with which we are all saddled now for all eternity because once it is given it can never be taken away. They forced a referendum on the country that it didn't want but happily gave up their commitment on tuition fees as part of the quid pro quo. That said all you needed to know about Lib Dem policies. The rest is history.

The irony is that had Theresa May not abandoned the triple lock on pensions and not promised to means test winter fuel allowances she might not have needed the DUP's help at all. Instead she has had to have imposed on her what she should probably never had abandoned in the first place, however sensible it might have been economically and fiscally. If only the unionists could have insisted on her abandoning the 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid policy we could all rejoice.

It goes without saying of course that, though Labour are critical of this deal, they tried to have a similar one in both 2010 when Gordon Brown was trying to cling on and again as we approached the election in 2015 under Wallace. Had Brown managed to cobble together a coalition or some kind of confidence and supply deal he would have had to do a deal with more than one party so he was perfectly prepared to spend our money keeping himself in power. And the same would be true now under Chauncey. He is under the impression that he will be PM in six months time - he informed someone at Glastonbury of this over the weekend. The only way that that will happen is to do a deal. That would mean doing deals with the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, the Lib Dems and the DUP. How much of our money is he prepared to spend to do that? Or would he accomplish it all by taxing the rich and confiscating their empty homes? Even for Chauncey's Labour, the hypocrisy of criticising this deal is startling.

Anyway, the deal has been done and now we have a government that looks, dare I say, reasonably strong and stable for the first time in a couple of weeks. Now is the time to get on with some governing. Maybe the DUP might force the Conservatives to actually behave like Conservatives and stop apologising for their principles. That would be welcome. Chauncey told people at Glastonbury that he expects to be PM inside 6 months. Presumably he did so having inhaled some of the sweet aromas that waft around Worthy Farm at this time of year. This deal means that that is not going to happen any time soon. As the past few weeks have shown, a lot can change in politics very very quickly. And so this deal is well worth the money offered up to the DUP. Money spent on Northern Ireland's infrastructure rather than on Labour's gerrymandering is money very well spent.

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Monday, 26 June 2017

Peanuts


Glasto Chauncey: How Long Til Millennials See the Light?


I think the most depressing feature of the current hero worship of Chauncey amongst a certain section of our more intellectually challenged countrymen and women is that we all know damned well that in a few years time, when it has all gone disastrously wrong, they will all deny having ever cheered his name, chanted it, written placards about it, tweeted it, liked it on Facebook or got the gurning supply teacher who looks a bit like him and dresses a hell of a lot like him to pose for a selfie. Voted for him?  Gosh no. I always thought he was a wrong un.

I suppose we can content ourselves with this thought but you do have to worry don't you. Even if the Tories bring back a deal that gets the EU to pay us to leave whilst handing us the German car industry   and forces the French to give us the Gallic shrug in addition to our fish back there will still be people who find fault, not least the Labour leader who would claim that by speaking softly to people he could have instituted world peace at the same time. We have to worry though because the plan was that we would have a couple of years after the deal was done and it had been forced through parliament before we had to have another election. Now there is a good chance that we will have one either when all is going disastrously wrong or just when the inevitable compromises are being made. Result? Nobody will be happy, everyone will complain, everyone will claim that they could have done better and everyone will blame the Tories for saddling us with Brexit in the first place, history having been rewritten just sufficiently in the meantime. After all if we can convince ourselves that the Tories are responsible for a fire in a tower block and that it is their fault that many of those who were living there illicitly will never be identified then we can presumably blame them for Brexit very easily.

Perhaps the millennials who are now singing Chauncey's name at Glastonbury ought to remind themselves of a piece of recent history that is unrelated to his fondness for terrorism, left wing fascism, the Soviet Union and union militancy. Perhaps we should remind them that the man now being lauded for the brilliance of his electoral campaign in which he strode around the country with much energy, stood in great contrast to his performance during the referendum campaign. Where was his energy? Where was his fiery rhetoric? Where were his principles? Had the Labour vote held even slightly to the Labour line ostensibly in favour of remain and history would have been very very different.

But this should cheer us up. Yes the world has very clearly gone mad in recent months but this madness cannot last. Even if this current reverence for all things Chauncey, this cult surrounding a man who cannot dress properly and who looks like Steptoe and whose political opinions would make a beauty queen blush with shame seems baffling we can at least now understand how apparently sane countries can get swept along by populists. We have always assumed that such things could never happen in Britain, now we know that we are not immune. A man who was a national joke only months ago is now having his name chanted at a pop concert. How did that happen? I don't think any of us really know, least of all the man himself.

This is a 69 year old career politician whose career has been a failure, who only got his present position by mistake and who never dreamt that he would ever do so well at the general election. He is only still in position because he ignored the opinions of his own MPs. Oh and he lost the election. The last 2 leaders of his party to do that resigned the next day.

Now? Not only is he firmly entrenched in power, he is intent on forcing out his critics and centrist enemies. Yet he presents himself as the voice of reason, of compromise, of peace and loveliness.

I know none of this sounds very cheering, but it is. Because the left are ultimately extremely unpleasant people who imagine themselves morally superior. This means that they will go too far. They always do as a consequence of that very special sanctimony unique to them. They will be exposed and those currently enamoured by them will be disgusted and discomfited. Had the Tories been even slightly competent that would have happened at the election. Now, like a really scary movie with a most improbable storyline, we have reached the third act, the point when everything goes bad and all looks hopeless and lost and the villain is seen by everyone as the hero before his true colours are revealed just in time. All the Tories need to do to achieve this is have a hero emerge to rescue us all. No pressure.

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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Peanuts


The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 12 - Don't Mess With Moses on Pain of Leprosy



God and Moses are the best of pals. We know this because they spent so much time talking to one another on Mount Sinai. So you don't go dissing Moses. If God finds out, which of course he will because he is God, then you're in trouble. Even if you're Moses' brother.

The tribe of Israel was on the move. They were moving through the desert and making camp in various places throughout it.

Now I may have forgotten to mention previously that Moses had married an Ethiopian woman. In my defence the reason I forgot to mention this was because the Bible forgot to mention this. It tells us thus:

'because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.'

Now they tell us.

Anyway, for some reason this prompted some resentment in Aaron and his wife and they talked about it angrily. But God heard all about this. It's odd how sometimes God hears things and sometimes he doesn't isn't it. It's almost as if they make it all up to suit the story.

Anyway, God called Aaron and his wife to see him in the Tabernacle where he spoke to them from behind a big pillar of cloud. If only they did weather forecasts like that.

God told the two of them that Moses was his pal and that, though he was speaking to them from behind this big cloud, - it's not mentioned whether or not they had umbrellas - when he spoke to Moses he did so face to face. No clouds or speaking through visions or dreams for his mate Moses. In other words Moses was the main man, second only to God and God had his back. So why were they talking badly about him? Aaron and Miriam, his wife, were sent on their way but Miriam was afflicted with leprosy as punishment.

Why though wasn't Aaron punished? He was the chief priest. His sons had been killed by God for not getting things right in the Tabernacle, not wearing the right clothes in the right order or treading on the cracks in the pavement or some stupid reason. Aaron had been rude about God's best friend and his own brother and he was let off and his wife was punished. More casual misogyny there from the Bible and from God.

Aaron went to Moses to plead for Miriam and so Moses, humble chap that he was, went to plead with God for her salvation and cure. Don't worry, said God, just chuck her out of the camp as per my standing instructions about lepers and she will miraculously get better without antibiotics and you can let her back in again. So that's what they did. Fortunately they didn't move the camp during her isolation. They waited for her to stop being scabby. All in all she got off more lightly than her sons did. But not as lightly as her husband.

But the bigger question is, why have we only just been told about Moses getting married? It's like they make this stuff up as they go along isn't it.

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Saturday, 24 June 2017

Friday, 23 June 2017

Peanuts


Democracy: The Least Worst System



Sometimes you have to wonder about democracy don't you, or remember what Churchill said about it being the least worst system. Then again we are some way off from the next election, even in the unlikely event that Theresa May fails to do a deal with the DUP and they cut their noses off to spite their faces.

A poll out today says that Chauncey is now seen by a majority as the better prime minister over Theresa May. This seems to be based largely on the fact he is better at talking to grieving members of the public and dispenses hugs. These are clearly great attributes if you are a PM. Maybe he could try it on Angela Merkel. Or Donald Trump. It's almost worth voting for him just to see that.

Theresa May has not had a good couple of weeks of course, but she is by no means suddenly lacking in capability as prime minister. She is just not the colossus of competence and sure footedness we had formerly assumed.

Chauncey on the other hand remains the confused half wit those of us who pay attention have always known. Only 3 weeks ago his MPs considered him a deranged liability. Then they abandoned principle and decided he is a genius, having lost the election, but by a margin that looked respectable.   His various solutions to the country's ills remain dangerous and illiterate. He would create a defence and security crisis and bankrupt us. Most of the country saw this at the election. The others just saw the free cash he was promising and voted accordingly.

Now a few more have decided he is their kind of guy because of the hugs. Like I say, sometimes you have to wonder about the great British public and start casting your eye about for property abroad. But this should be concentrating minds in the Conservative Party. Mrs May needs to be replaced sooner rather than later. The smart money now seems to be moving in the direction of David Davis. He would be a good choice, indeed I was disappointed when David Cameron beat him to the leadership. If a coronation could be arranged then it should be done with despatch. Either way when Chauncey is regarded by a cretinous section of the country as the better prime minister then something needs to be done.  Do the Tories have a hugger?

Is the EU Capable of Making A Reciprocal Offer to Britain After Theresa May's Unilateral One?



The Brexit talks are underway and the French are being as French as they always are, which is to say arrogant, superior and treacherous. They are couching it in reasonable language of course but President Macron's talk of the door always being open to us to rejoin is actually just intended to divide and rule us. It may succeed.

Even those of us who are are and remain ardent leavers have had occasional bouts of remorse or at least of doubt these last 12 months since the referendum. And this has only been made worse since the election result. The remainers, who had been seen off, are now fired up again and promising all kinds of trouble for the government as it seeks to navigate its way through the negotiations and to get it all through parliament without a majority. Both main parties promised Brexit, but Labour has no idea what it stands for since it cannot agree. The Tories are similarly divided and arguing for different versions of Brexit. Add to this the fact that we are probably going to change prime minister some time in the next few weeks or months and we are entering treacherous waters.

Of course if the EU was really serious about wanting to keep us and our 12% of the annual budget in the EU then they would make us a decent offer to keep us in. But that would undermine their precious project. And so we have to play this silly game of demanding a huge divorce settlement and of telling us we are in a different universe during preliminary talks. Yesterday the PM went to Brussels and made a generous offer to give EU citizens in the UK the right to remain here with full rights as UK citizens after Brexit whilst rightly rejecting their more outlandish demands over timing and the jurisdiction of the ECJ. Can the EU reciprocate? Can it negotiate in the same spirit? If it wants us to stay then it should make an offer in that kind of vein.

This blog always argued that if the EU had made us a decent offer when it was talking to David Cameron then I could have been won around to staying in the EU. They didn't. I doubt that they are capable of such magnanimity because they are always looking to preserve their union and to forge it ever closer. That is what Britain rejected. It is why, though the Government will have difficulties, we are unlikely to be made a decent enough offer to ever tempt enough of us to want to stay in on the old terms. Different terms? Probably. But they won't be forthcoming.

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Peanuts


Rage? Not in this Lovely Weather Thanks



Do you get the impression that the election result has gone to Labour's heads a bit? During the election campaign they were on their best behaviour with Chauncey forever denying his worst excesses or unpleasant past. Now you get the impression that he believes his own publicity and he just wants to let himself be himself. They really do believe that they are on the cusp of a great revolution that will sweep the Tories from power and him to Downing Street. All he needs is another big news item to allow him to hug some unsuspecting member of the public and he will be carried aloft into Downing Street. He might even be able to crowdsurf there. In the meantime he doesn't have to bow to the Queen or pretend to engage in conversation with the PM as they walk to the Lords. It's almost a surprise he didn't stay in the Commons with his friend Dennis and ask him to become his new gag writer.

And Labour's over confidence has betrayed itself as they call on illegality or at least the confiscation of property for the sin of being in possession of a level of wealth they find unconscionable. How dare you own a flat you don't live in all the time? Confiscate it. They have also called for huge marches through London including yesterday's day of rage. Hilariously 300 people turned out for this day of rage. It was a day of we would be enraged were the weather not so lovely. That's probably why the Russians had their revolution in October. There is supposed to be a million person march in a couple of weeks time called on by John McDonnell the well known democrat. Perhaps they had best postpone it until the autumn.

Labour are wholly misinterpreting the current mood in Britain. Just because the country became less enamoured of Theresa May and because a certain bovine constituency became more amenable to being bribed by Chauncey and co does not mean that the workers are at last ready to bring revolution to our streets. People are probably fed up of austerity. I accept that. But it does rather presuppose that those of us who have been advocating it have done so because we are economic sado-masochists bent on budget surpluses to give us our kicks.

And ultimately, as we have to keep pointing out, though Labour did indeed do well in the election, the Tories did better. Quite a lot better. It's just that we Tories are not known for our marches. But then, as we saw yesterday, those bloody students may have turned out to vote this time, but they really can't be relied upon to get off their arses twice in a month. Given that they demonstrably have very short memories and clearly weren't paying attention in modern history lessons, it's not at all clear they will be arsed to turn out and vote again at the next election either.

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Peanuts


Cable for Leader? What's the Point?



What is the point of the Lib Dems? That seems to have been the question the British electorate asked over the election campaign and, presumably, could think of no reasonable response. It wasn't just that Tim Farron was and is about as effective a politician as a jelly blancmange - I doubt most people cared about his views on homosexuality. It was that the Lib Dems have reminded the country of how utterly pointless they are. They told us that they would not enter into coalition with any other party, come to no kind of electoral arrangement. So why bother? Why bother being a party that doesn't aspire to actually governing? Why bother voting for a party and taking seriously its manifesto when they stand no chance of implementing even part of it?

And now they are going through the motions of a leadership election. Chances are that they will end up being led by Vince Cable, a man whose reputation seems to hinge upon him having once said something quite witty about Gordon Brown at PMQs. Oh and he also claims to have predicted the financial crisis of 2008. He didn't.

Now Cable wants to lead his party but only for a couple of years after which he will hand over to Jo Swinson. He has the experience and that is what the party needs apparently. But why? Why does his experience leading a pointless party with very few MPs and zero chance of exercising power make any more sense than merely giving the job to Ms Swinson in the first place? Wouldn't she be just as likely to be as good if not better than a more experienced man, especially given that the Lib Dems have no intention of getting anywhere near power anyway?

The Lib Dems are confused about what democracy means, which is odd given that the word is included in their title. The age old complaint of the third party that the electoral system works against them is rendered moot given that they have no intention of ever using their influence again anyway. We have a hung parliament.  We have a nasty extremist Labour Party bent on violent revolution. We have a Conservative Party on the verge of a nervous breakdown or civil war and possibly both. Yet the Lib Dems don't want to use their 12 MPs to influence the direction of the country for fear of being tainted?

There is a reason that Lib Dems are loathed by the other parties and this is it. They are a party that seeks election for election's sake, that says whatever suits it according to circumstance and poses as principled and righteous but whose very raison d'ĂȘtre is compromise and selling out those principles. The Liberal Democrats are neither liberal nor democratic. They serve no purpose. Do people grow up aching to be Liberal Democrat MPs? To what end?

Vince Cable may well end up being his party's next leader if only because the other options are so desperate. But what is the point of him and his party? Their brief period in coalition answered that question. Now they pose as the party opposed to Brexit. Yet they would refuse to any kind of electoral deal to try and influence it. Why? Self preservation. Neither liberal nor democratic is it.

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