Monday, 29 July 2019

General Election

What would be the main reason to call for an election, to boost the majority of seats in the house of commons to allow bills an easier ride, however, on the 8-June-2017 Theresa May found out that it was not that easy.

If Boris Johnson asked parliament on 19 September for an election on 24 October, the last Thursday before the expiry of the Brexit extension, it could happen if two-thirds of MPs vote for it.

The opposition could force a general election only by bringing down Johnson’s government. Corbyn would have to pass a motion of no confidence and wait for 14 days. That process would normally have needed to start on 25 July, the last day before the summer recess, by tabling the motion of no confidence, to be voted on 3 September, the day parliament reconvenes after the summer recess.

Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour is ready to fight an election campaign against Boris Johnson but refused to express a preference between leaving with a Labour-negotiated deal or staying in the EU. The Labour leader said he was “absolutely” gearing up for an election, with a summer campaign plan, new policies on a green industrial revolution and candidates already selected in almost all marginal seats.

When this was first mentioned after the announcement of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, I did not think it would be a good idea and would detract from the business of Brexit. However, considering the past few days since then it now appears that the knives are out for Jeremy Corbyn and therefore I have changed my mind as I believe that Boris Johnson would defeat Jeremy Corbyn a lot easier in an election than his replacement, whoever they may be.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Boris Johnson's cabinet

Sajid Javid – Chancellor
Priti Patel – Home Secretary
Dominic Raab – Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State
Stephen Barclay – retains role as Brexit Secretary
Ben Wallace – Defence Secretary
Amber Rudd – retains role as Work and Pensions Secretary, also becomes Minister for Women and Equalities
Liz Truss – International Trade Secretary
Matt Hancock – retains role as Health Secretary
Michael Gove – Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Theresa Villiers – Environment Secretary
Gavin Williamson – Education Secretary
Nicky Morgan – Culture Secretary
Andrea Leadsom – Business Secretary
Robert Jenrick – Housing Secretary
Robert Buckland – Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary
Alok Sharma – International Development Secretary
Grant Shapps – Transport Secretary
Alun Cairns – retains role as Welsh Secretary
Julian Smith – Northern Ireland Secretary
Alister Jack – Scottish Secretary
Baroness Evans of Bowes Park – retains role as Leader of the House of Lords
Geoffrey Cox – retains role as Attorney General
Rishi Sunak – Chief Secretary to the Treasury
James Cleverly – Minister without portfolio and Conservative Party chairman
Jacob Rees-Mogg – Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
Esther McVey – Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government
Brandon Lewis – Home Office minister, and will also attend Cabinet
Jo Johnson – Minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Education, and he will also attend Cabinet
Oliver Dowden – Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
Kwasi Kwarteng – Minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and he will also attend Cabinet

This is no longer the Conservative party, it is the Brexit party.

New back benchers.
Philip Hammond – resigned as chancellor in the last hours of Mrs May’s premiership
Jeremy Hunt – Boris Johnson’s former leadership rival announced he was returning to the backbenches after serving as foreign secretary
Penny Mordaunt – departs after a brief spell as defence secretary
Rory Stewart – leaves the international development department after already saying he would not serve under Mr Johnson
David Gauke – the ex-justice secretary made no secret of his disagreements with Mr Johnson
Damian Hinds – leaves the Department for Education
Chris Grayling – departs after a much-criticised spell as transport secretary
David Lidington – had been Mrs May’s de facto deputy
James Brokenshire – the close ally of Mrs May had served most recently as housing secretary
Liam Fox – the Brexiteer has been removed as international trade secretary
David Mundell – the ex-Scottish secretary said he was not surprised to return to the backbenches
Karen Bradley – removed as Northern Ireland secretary
Greg Clark – his departure as business secretary was widely anticipated
Mel Stride – returning to the backbenches after the briefest of spells as Commons leader
Jeremy Wright – the culture secretary has also departed

Monday, 22 July 2019

New Prime Minister

Tomorrow a new PM will be announced and he [as there are no ladies left in the race] will start work on Wednesday 24th July, what will be his first priorities?

Brexit / Middle East Situation / Economy / Health [physical-mental-social] it's not easy is it?

Negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU will of course be a priority for the incoming Prime Minister, but they will also be responsible for the more ‘business as usual’ aspects of running the UK and this includes health and social care in England. With an ageing population and more of us with complex needs than ever before, it is essential that the new Prime Minister focuses on the needs of our oldest citizens to ensure that they have the care and support they need.

Brexit itself can be broken down to individual details like leaving with a deal, or without a deal, or further down should the country be asked again after three years of debate, the people now have more knowledge to assess which raises the question of another referendum, but how divisory would that be with the general population? It has been made crystal clear that conservative politicians do not like the idea of a second referendum as it smacks of disloyalty towards the public.

Perhaps the Iran situation will be considered more immediate as it is happening now and Brexit can wait until October.

His first job will be to create a cabinet of ministers to advise his future decisions, not an easy task in itself, loyalty has to be the first identifier as you would want a group that supports but you would also need those that are competent in the roles they are given. I am not sure how long this process will take and how much pressure the Iran situation will leverage the decisions.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Act of Treason

On the today programme this morning [Saturday 13-Jul-2019] John Humphrys was talking to Sir Michael Fallon who was stressing the point of the official secrets act 1989 that the perpetrator of the leak should be found and prosecuted. Something I mentioned in my last post.

However I very much doubt he read this, but I am glad that a little more effort in the leak enquiry might take place rather than the usual whitewash.

He went on to stress that publishers of the leak should also be prosecuted, mainly pointing a finger at the press, this alarmed me slightly and John Humphrys picked up on it. Humphrys asked directly whether the press should be prosecuted and Fallon reiterated that it was a matter of the official secrets act and if anyone published these or other documents they should be prosecuted. Humphrys then pointed out that the Mail on Sunday had already published these documents, so they should be prosecuted.

I can only describe as a _very_ long pause from Michael Fallon took place before he restated his position that anyone 'in future' who publishes government leaked documents should be prosecuted.

I have to side with the Mail on Sunday over this because of Freedom of speech & press and I hope I am not labelled an anarchist because of it.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Foreign Service

Earlier today Kim Darroch resigned from his position as UK Ambassador to the USA.

Sir Nigel Kim Darroch KCMG is a senior British diplomat, who has served as the British Ambassador to the United States since January 2016.

The announcement came immediately before prime minister’s questions. Speaking at the start, Theresa May said she had spoken to Darroch and told him it was “a matter of great regret that he has felt it necessary to leave his position”.

She told MPs: “Sir Kim has given a lifetime of service to the United Kingdom and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice. I want all our public servants to have the confidence to be able to do that.”

Jeremy Corbyn called the treatment of Darroch “beyond unfair and wrong” and said that he had given “honourable and good service”.

I am surprised that someone who considered they have performed their duties correctly should take this step, however, I can understand that with the amount of publicity that this situation has created Sir Kim might have felt it was obviously the right thing to do, which makes me sad. He would have been given his instructions by the Queen and it is quite clear that he has upheld his position completely and his discretion has been compromised by the leak.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Civil Service

There have been a couple of stories over the past week which are concerning if true.

What do we expect from our civil service? Unbiased advice and support. The government can be made from any political party depending on how the votes are cast by the public, so the policies can be from the right, left or centre. However this should not matter to the civil service.

Politicians have personalities and this should not be of concern to the civil service.

One of the stories last week was that memos were circulating showing that support for Jeremy Corbyn if he became Prime Minister would not be fully available, deciding who you give your support to and how much should not factor in the equation that the civil service adopts. The country would be adversely affected if this situation would exist.

Another story was that when Boris Johnson was Foreign Secretary he was not informed on all relevant matters, again such choices should not even be considered as the politician in charge of the ministry should have ALL the facts presented to him/her. What gives the civil service the right to withhold available information based on personal preferences.

If we want the civil service to be impartial, then this really needs investigating by someone like the public accounts committee to monitor the situation and improve it.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

The Lionesses

Although the Lionesses lost their semi-final last night, what have they achieved this year?

The inspiration of youngsters, tens of thousands maybe hundreds of thousands of girls will now be asking for football to be on the agenda.

The game was watched by millions of fans across the world and very exciting it was too.

The impact this team has had cannot be underestimated. A record-breaking peak of 7.2 million people tuned into watch England's quarter-final victory against Norway, the highest UK TV audience for a women's game. The record for TV reach has also been smashed this tournament, with the 22.2 million who have tuned in so far almost doubling the 12.4 million mark set in 2015 during the World Cup in Canada.

By taking big strides in promoting and normalising the women's game this summer, the Lionesses will no doubt have helped to inspire the next generation of female footballers to pursue their passion just like any boy might - and that quite frankly is more important than any silverware will ever be.

Monday, 1 July 2019

The Weather

We as Brits love to talk about the weather, it's cold today, it's wet today, it's hot today, it doesn't matter what the weather is we start most conversations with it. This has been going on for centuries before "Global Warming" became a thing, it is part of our DNA.

However, currently across Europe nature is suffering quite badly because of the weather.

Most of Europe will be blanketed by an oppressive heatwave as the continent suffers unreasonable warmth this week, with officials across the European Union announcing severe warnings against dehydration and heatstroke. The heat wave will be centred from Spain into France and Germany.

AccuWeather said a storm stalling over the Atlantic Ocean and high pressure over central and eastern Europe will push hot desert air from Africa northward across Europe. This setup has triggered dangerous heat wave warnings across western and central Europe for the remainder of the week.

From Madrid to Paris, Belgium, Frankfurt, and Berlin, these metropolitan areas are likely to see a multi-day heat wave, with daily temperatures around 90F-100F.

Last Year's heatwave led to increased mortality rates, lower crop yields, the shutdown of nuclear power plants, wildfires, water shortages, what could be in store for this year?