Wednesday 25 January 2017

Time for some plain talking …

What a mess. Trumpet and Brexit. 

We start with an immoral if not illegal referendum. The referendum itself wasn’t illegal or unconstitutional. The promise to abide by the results was foolhardy and undemocratic. It was all anyway about a competition between a couple of old Etonions and it went wrong. Eton mess or what? 

A referendum anyway works differently from an election. It tends to ask a yes or no question – it certainly did on 23 June 2016 - and there is no further representation for the “losing” side. If we have a general election and the party we vote for gets 48% of the votes but the party that gets in get 52%, the 48% are still represented and their MPs can still influence outcomes. Nothing much happens as MPs are largely bound by what can and cannot be done. 

The latter incidentally mitigates a little what has happened in the USA. We can take heart from the fact that Clinton actually got more of the individual votes. Whatever the Trumpet says, much of it will not be possible and anyway he will be held in check by all of those who voted for Clinton. 

Our position with Brexit is slightly different. Mayhem informs us, going against her own conscience, that “Brexit is Brexit.” It is apparently the will of the British people. Which British people I ask? The 52% of people who voted? What about those living abroad who couldn’t who live on a promise of being in the EU? What about the youngsters? Won’t a lot of the people who voted for leave actually leave soon, kind of permanently? Let’s hope they’re all wrong about there being no reversal. 

There is also the alarming problem that many who voted for Brexit were voting for something else entirely.
First we have the £350,000,000 a week lie. It won’t be available for the NHS. 

Then, leaving the EU will prevent all of the problems that immigration cause. What are they exactly?  Immigrants pay taxes and NI and fill skills gaps. There are some illegals. Not that many. Let’s deal with them better anyway. 

The EU is not perfect and is badly in need of reform. There is dissatisfaction and unease in other states as well.  So, let’s get it sorted. Or drop all barriers world-wide. But let’s continue to trade freely with our nearest and dearest – there are fewer food miles. 

We have had two shocks. No one expected either Brexit or Trumpet. Many of us weren’t aware of the fundamental discontent at certain levels of society. The EU becomes a bit of scapegoat. The actual problems were caused by the sub-prime mortgage scandal, a by-product of greedy banking, and we all know which great nation started that ball rolling. The  problems were not caused by immigration or the EU. Despite its imperfections, the EU has brought us some effective laws and many decades of peace. 

A dark side is emerging. Fascism seems to be on the rise again. There have been so many shocking racist attacks. It’s interesting that Germany has reacted the most assertively to what is happening in the States and seems the most concerned by Brexit. They’ve been there, done that and know it doesn’t work and is abhorrent.  

And yes, I will “remoan” if you must call it that – on and on and on. If it had been 52% in favour of the Final Solution would you condemn me for continuing to condemn it?  I actually think it’s that important.  

Monday 9 January 2017

All change in Europe?

I have several British friends who live in other EU states. Two couples are coming back to the UK. One couple went to live in France on 27 June 2016. Interesting timing! Another friend has said she never wants to live in the UK again. It looks quite even then. 

There doesn’t seem to be a major exit of nationals of other EU states wanting to get out before it becomes difficult. However, there are fewer applying for the vacant posts. Two nationals form other EU states I know who live and work in England are applying for British citizenship. It means giving up their original nationality. Harsh. Those who are concerned about immigration may cheer but I worry about the skills deficit.
Wasn’t Holby City glorious the week before last? Silent Witness was good last week, too.  Good old Aunty seems to have rallied. 

You see, it’s not just tit for tat. The returning ex-pats are mainly the dreaded baby-boomers. (We’re such a nuisance aren’t we? Still, we can’t help what parents got up to in the 1950s and 60s. We’ve paid a hell of a lot of tax, by the way, and paid up to 15% on our mortgages and other loans.)  At least they’ll be spending their pensions within the UK. However, they certainly won’t be replacing the skills that are lost if we lose our EU workers. They’ll likely as well to put a strain on the NHS. Not only will they be old, they won’t be so used to the cold so they’ll get ill more easily. 

Scotland still looks as if it’s making a real effort to stay in the EU. Shall we go and live in Scotland? But what about Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and Winchester?        

May and her crew still talk about hard and soft Brexit. How arrogant. “We” have “decided” to leave the club. It’s up to the club to decide what sort of relationship it wants to have with us. We really have no say in this. Let’s hope they’re kind to us and reach out to those of us who never wanted to go.

Of course, it may all become totally insignificant. Extraordinary things are happening on the other side of the pond.