Tag Archives: Theresa May

Signs and signals

24 Apr

Last Friday Phillip Hammond, our esteemed Chancellor of the Exchequer, indicated that after June 8th he would be free to raise both income tax and VAT. Theresa May declared that she would be ending the triple lock which secures the value of state pensions. She also said that the foreign aid budget would remain at the current level.

Now the possibility of raising taxes is in marked contrast with the manifesto promises of George Osbourne, and I genuinely salute him for his honesty. We can presume that taxes will be raised because he wouldn’t have said such a potentially damaging thing without making plans.

Theresa May’s statement about pensions could possibly alienate a fair number of Tory voters. The commitment to foreign aid spending is a little more curious. This spending is a favourite target of the right wing press and Mrs May normally pays close attention to their agenda. So the question that needs to be asked is why this is being maintained.

In order to do quick trade deals with countries once we exit the EU we need to offer sweeteners. It seems fairly clear that Mrs May offered access to the NHS for US health insurance companies as just this kind of sweetener. Her problem is that he areas remaining unprivatised are few and far between. The family silver has already been sold off to speculators.

It would not be too difficult to arrange part of the foreign aid budget to be used for developments which would help to sweeten trade deals. Such help is normally of the brown envelope kind. And this is necessary because the reality of doing trade deals is that they are not fair and even, in no way a level playing field.

BrownEnvelope

I was told that I was cynical for thinking this, but will I be proved right?

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In Purgatory

3 Aug

On the 23rd of June the UK voted by a narrow margin to leave the EU in a plebiscite with a simple majority. On that day, under those conditions, the Leave faction won the day.

The immediate result was to see the end of the careers of David Cameron and Nigel Farage. I suppose the result had to have an up-side. I have a nasty suspicion that Farage will be back, after all, he resigned once before. I just wonder what racist issue he will pick to hang his sign on to.

Cameron’s only job was in Public Relations. The man did not just encourage spin, he was spin.  The much quoted figures of new jobs are a chimera, as most were just part jobs, incapable of supporting a single person, let alone a family. That is why the tax revenues fell so much over the last six years. People were not earning enough to pay tax. He gave sound-bites like a one nation Tory, but acted like a total git. The gap between the mega rich and the poor increased hugely during his time in office, and it did not go unnoticed.

It is understandable that those at the bottom end of society were very angry. When presented with such visible targets to blame many accepted that the black propaganda against the EU and immigration was true. When the case to remain was presented by Cameron, the man no-one believed, they chose to vote the other way, even where it appears to be a case of turkeys voting for Christmas, as in the Welsh town that had benefitted a great deal from EU funds, but voted to leave.

Currently we are in a position whereby our beloved new Prime Minister has given the Tory Leave campaigners the chance to work out how to exit the EU without totally destroying the economy. When they fail, as they will, she can sack them and have the entire leave element in the party discredited. Then is the time to hold either another referendum or a General Election, and not leave and never invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Until that happens we are in a kind of limbo, with falling production and investment, and a falling pound. We are looking at a prolonged recession and financial uncertainty. It is more of a purgatory, where the sins of the leave campaign, the lies and the racism, the jingoism and total lack of foresight, the refusal to listen to advice and the naivety, is burned out of us all.

Diplomatic skills

14 Jul

Theresa May, forming her cabinet, has appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. That is THE Boris Johnson, who has all the diplomatic skills of a fox in a chicken coop.

When I heard of the appointment on the news last night my jaw dropped. Was this some kind of joke? On reflection I can see that it in solves several problems for our new Prime Minister.

To sort of quote LBJ, “It’s better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.” For some reason I have never understood, Boris has a certain popularity and following within the Tory Party, unlike Michael Gove. So it is better to have him inside the cabinet.

If he does a terrible job in the role of Foreign Secretary, he will be sacked, and will lose all credibility. If he wants to make a go of it he will have to learn to behave, and that will mean that the Remainers within Tory ranks will have won the final argument. Either way he will have been neutralised or gelded.

What you need to know about Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is that he has been trained for power by his upbringing and education. His is the politics of the debating chamber, the Oxford Union. This is about scoring points in meaningless debates among a vanishingly small and unrepresentive segment of the population. It has nothing to do with any real world.

So, the question we wait on is, what kind of job will he do? Watch this space.