Thursday, 30 May 2019

Donald Trump State Visit

American President Donald Trump will be making a State Visit to the United Kingdom from Monday 3rd June to Wednesday 5th June 2019, that's next week.

The official release says over the course of the three-day visit, the U.S. president will attend a banquet at Buckingham Palace, a tea at Clarence House, and will visit with the Prime Minister at No. 10 Downing Street.

In July of 2018, Trump travelled to Windsor Castle to have tea with the Queen and to take in a military parade, but that engagement was considered a working visit and not an official state visit.

Mr Trump, who has previously described the Queen as a "tremendous woman", will likely revel in the chance to deliver a speech alongside the monarch. It will involve around 150 guests with cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the US. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable and Commons Speaker John Bercow will not be there, however. The trio have said they will boycott the event. Hardly likely to cause any international ripples but behind the scenes there may de some disquiet.

Monday, 27 May 2019

The result

Brexit Party    28
Lib Dems       15
Labour           10
Greens             7
Conservative   3
Change UK     0
Plaid Cymru    1

This is only England & Wales. The polls before hand were:-

Brexit Party  37%
Lib Dem       19%
Labour          13%
Green            12%
Conservative   7%
Change UK     4%
UKIP              3%
Others            5%

In actual fact the polls were remarkably close.

The Brexit Party was formed at the beginning of April after we did not leave the EU on 29th March. The results speak for themselves, a huge cast from the public saying we are disappointed with the current politicians as they have failed us. If they manage to work Brexit before or by 31st October, not sure what they have planned then.

The Lib Dems have made a huge jump forward with this result, the best they have had for years even before the coalition and with people like Michael Heseltine [Conservative] and Alastair Campbell [Labour] both publicly saying they would vote Lib Dem, hardly surprising. What is surprising is that after this fantastic surge the leader Vince Cable steps down!

The Labour party have paid the price for sitting on the fence. For weeks the media have asked Jeremy Corbyn to say whether Labour was leave or remain and he has constantly refused to be clear in which direction he wanted the party to go. The membership have asked, his colleagues have asked and now he is going to have to decide and make a clear announcement which direction Labour is headed, or it will be curtains.

The Greens have doubled their position, a remarkable achievement and one which shows they did have a clear message and got it through to their supporters. One of the biggest points in their favour was climate change according to Caroline Lucas and probably something they will build on in the future.

The Conservatives were destroyed and it was hardly surprising. For three years Theresa May has prevaricated her way to this position and with hindsight it is very clear she has done everything in her power to frustrate Brexit and consequently we have not left the EU. Well now it is pay back time and the people have spoken without any ambiguity. Apparently it is the worst record since 1832, pretty devastating. They now have to decide what to do between now and 31st October and that is not very far away.

Change UK what can I say?

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

The Cabinet

The EU elections are tomorrow Thursday 23-May-2019 and to say there has been a bit of excitement about this election, is an under statement of mammoth proportions.

The last forecast today is:-
Brexit Party   37%
Lib Dem        19%
Labour           13%
Green             12%
Conservative   7%
Change UK     4%
UKIP               3%
Others             5%

It is not usual for the leader of the house [Andrea Leadsom] to resign the night before an election, but that is what happened this evening.

Earlier today could not be classed as normal, the Chief Whip had been powering round Downing Street supposedly keeping everyone in line! Sir Graham Brady of the 1922 Committee had invited/advised the PM [Theresa May] to attend in the evening, and as it is Wednesday it was PMQs.

Jeremy Corbyn used most of his questions on education and funding shortages, probably because the PM had announced that she would be making a Brexit statement immediately following PMQs. It also appeared to be a planned attack about NI [Northern Ireland] by the Brexiteers during PMQs also keeping their main attack for the statement at the end. One reason could be that there is not one conservative party at the moment but several and they are all feeling disenfranchised.

After PMQs and the Brexit statement the commons carried on as normal and it had been noticed that the conservative benches were not exactly full, front as well as back and it was noted that Andrea Leadsom turned up very late. When Theresa May returned to Downing Street several ministers had requested a meeting and she would not see any of them. However it appears that Downing Street did not know or understand and let Andrea Leadsom through.

The conservatives have a history of being split over Europe and what could transpire tomorrow might just seal the fate of the Conservatives and Theresa May could be responsible for the collapse.

Monday, 20 May 2019

The Conservative Party

The EU elections are coming up this Thursday 23-May-2019 and there has been a bit of a who-ha about the polls:-

Brexit Party    35%
Labour            16%
Lib Dem         15%
Green             11%
Conservative   9%
UKIP               5%
Change UK     3%
Others             6%

This is how they stand on Monday 20-May-2019.

Obviously we would say that this is a typical protest vote [if these were the results] but why is one of the main two parties [as we still have a two party state] in fifth position?

One reason could be that there is not one conservative party at the moment but several. The Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom, that is how it started.

Now there is Theresa May as Prime Minister with one part trying to get Brexit through, allegedly, Jacob Rees-Mogg on completely the other side of the fence, Boris Johnson has a conservative party that looks nothing like the other two, Esther McVey has just started a new populist movement, Amber Rudd has a more traditional view, which hasn't worked for Theresa May.

Some minor notables are Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Rory Stewart, Steve Baker, Justine Greening, Johnny Mercer, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, however, it is not clear what they would put forward as their vision of a future conservative party.

The conservatives have a history of being split over Europe and what could transpire over the next few days might just seal the fate of the original Conservative and Unionist Party.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

No Deal Brexit

I have spent the last few weeks thinking there was a "No Deal Brexit" legislation, after reading in the parliament library it shows that the vote on 13 March 2019 is not legally binding. So when people say Number 10 is working towards a no deal Brexit, it might still be possible.

How can a no deal Brexit happen?

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union provides for an EU Member State to leave the EU with or without a withdrawal agreement or ‘deal’.

No deal could be the result of various scenarios:-

The EU and UK do not agree on the terms of a withdrawal agreement and/or a framework for future relations because of lack of time and/or because there are intractable disagreements and no willingness to compromise, the talks break down.

There is agreement in principle on the substance of a withdrawal agreement but more time is needed and the other EU Member States refuse to extend negotiations.

There is agreement in principle on the substance of a withdrawal agreement but more time is needed for certain details.

The UK Parliament rejects the negotiated withdrawal agreement and framework for future relations in the vote under Section 13 of the EU Withdrawal Act.

The European Parliament rejects the negotiated withdrawal agreement and framework for future relations.

The Council does not endorse the withdrawal agreement by an enhanced qualified majority (20 of the 27 Member States, representing 65% of the EU population).

A withdrawal agreement is concluded and enters into force, but at the end of the implementation/transition period there is no agreement on future EU-UK relations; or there is an agreement, but it has not been implemented in the UK because the bill to implement it has not been passed, or it has not been ratified in the EU Member States and has not entered into force provisionally.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Trump plans to redefine poverty

The Trump Administration is looking into altering how it determines the national poverty level, which may put some Americans at risk of losing access to welfare programs, according to Bloomberg. The move might occur from changing how inflation is calculated in the "official poverty measure" according to a regulatory filing by White House Office of Management and Budget. That formula has been used for decades to try and determine where the poverty line is and what people qualify for social programs and federal benefits.

By changing the measure, the poverty level could wind up rising at a slower rate. One proposal has been a shift  to "chained CPI", which regularly shows a slower pace of price gains than the already rigged traditional measures. It shows slower inflation growth because it assumes consumers will substitute less expensive items when prices rise.

The change is being reported as an effort by the Trump administration to make it more difficult to access welfare programs. Last year, the president signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to strictly enforce current work requirements for welfare recipients and propose new stricter requirements that could reduce eligibility.

This is not the first time that the government has suggested using chained CPI to bring down the cost of government programs. While democrats will not like to hear it, President Barack Obama proposed switching cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other retirement programs to the index in 2014. Obama ultimately abandoned the proposal after outrage from congressional Democrats.

The U.N. Special Reporter on extreme poverty warned the U.S. that one of the highest rates of income inequality among Western nations, overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and worsened inequality among the middle class and poor.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Trade Talks

America has increased tariffs on Chinese imports from today [Friday 10-May-2019] to 25% from 10%. This follows a statement by president Trump that he no longer wants the USA to lose billions a year in trade deficits.

One of Donald Trump's campaign messages was connected with trade deficits and as a businessman he was going to deal with it. It is not a new problem, continuous trade negotiations have been going on for over 40 years.

This makes me reflect on Brexit.

One of the big issues for the remain campaign was the fear that the country would suffer after Brexit with poor trading relations with the rest of the world, and presumably they received support form the public in this matter. Obviously it was forecasting as no actual data existed.

That is also true now as we haven't left the EU yet we can only speculate as to what would happen with trade after the departure, but it is looking more likely that the effect will be less than originally predicted.

A no deal Brexit is already illegal as an act was rushed through parliament, however, failure to ratify a new Brexit deal would mean that, we pursue the option authorised by Parliament when it ratified Article 50, leaving the EU with no special trade deal and trading with the EU on standard WTO terms.

This means tariffs, some border checks and a rush of paperwork. It would bring disruption, but it would be temporary. Talk of chaos at Calais needs to be put in the context of French officials saying that, for no-deal, they would need to stop no more than one in every 100 lorries. Talk of air chaos needs to be tempered with the fact that the EU has already made a reciprocal offer to the UK in respect of air traffic rights and the validity of aviation safety certificates in the event of no deal.

Which comes back to the point of how does a no deal Brexit work when it is illegal?

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Real Donald Trump

A statement by former [370 of em!] federal prosecutors has been published showing Mueller's findings were more than enough to charge the president with obstruction of justice. However, one cannot charge a President.

They have however filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Dept. for failing to respond to record requests as required by law.

In the letter, the former prosecutors say special counsel Robert Mueller's report "describes several acts that satisfy all of the elements for an obstruction charge." Those actions include Trump’s efforts to have Mueller fired and to conceal it after the fact, his attempts to limit the scope of the Russia investigation, and the president’s tweets and public statements aimed at discouraging aides from cooperating with prosecutors.

Nobody of any real influence to do anything about this self-evident welter of impeachable offenses has any intention of doing it, not even if every Supreme Court justice back to John Marshall rises from the dead and signs onto this letter. The fact is that the very nature of political influence has changed, and it has been placed in other hands. If nothing else, this letter is yet another public demonstration of the fundamental impotence of bipartisanship in an age in which someone like this president can prosper.

What pressure can 350 former law-enforcement bureaucrats and high-ranking members bring that will not fall before the combined political pressure of the Federalist Society and the welfare state?

Monday, 6 May 2019

Local elections 2019

Last week there was one set of results, but a dozen different versions of what happened.

The remain side decided the backlash against the two main parties was a clear statement that the populace were fed-up with Brexit and wanted it dropped, no hard version, no soft version, no any type of version, just dropped.

The leave side were convinced that the backlash against the two main parties was a clear statement that the populace were demanding action now, no more prevarication, leave with or without a deal, just get on with it.

There was also the side that thought rather than a vote against the main two, it was a positive vote for the alternatives, the Lib Dems for a move against the two party state, the Greens as climate change has moved up the agenda, the Independents as each one had a message that resonated with voting public.

Then there were the spoiled ballots. No site has published the full list of spoiled ballots, in 2015 there were nearly 100,000 spoiled ballots recorded, while watching the results roll in some areas were prepared to release the data at the time:-

Basildon 800
Castle Point 414
Chelmsford 539
Folkestone 647
Great Yarmouth 693
Tendring 600

While all this is being mulled over and debated, in three weeks we have the Euro elections and currently the pundits have the Brexit Party way out in front. If it is true and they sweep in with a landslide, what does that do for the current position of politicians. The media will say it is the people's will and should be honoured, but if the main two parties have take two years already, hardly anything will change at the end of May.

But what if the forecasts are wrong?

The Brexit party does not get a landslide, they get a very small percentage not worth mentioning, what will the people have then?

Thursday, 2 May 2019


What is the deal with Huawei and why is everyone upset?

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK seizes the chance to be a world leader in 5G.

The Government asked the Future Communications Challenge Group (FCCG) of senior academics, industry experts and investors to give it’s views on driving forward its commitment in this area. The Interim report has now been published.

The fifth annual report for the Cabinet Secretary from the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board has now been published.

All these reports are very extensive and cover a lot of ground, so what is the deal?

It appears that "the idea" of a company that is state controlled by the Chinese should not have the type of access to the areas of security as HCSEC [Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre] is going to have and it has left the establishment feeling very uneasy for the future of the country, even though no one can put a finger on any specific action that may result from the union.