This is May's moment to talk turkey over the pork barrel. Bozo must be left at home and muzzled

22 Jan 2017 at 13:02

I think that it is time for all of us to join Post Realism Politics. I am a passionate Remainer, but is delusional to convince myself that Brexit will never happen. It will. May gave us a pragmatic road plan of where she wants to lead us. It is strewn with potholes, land mines and ravines that have as yet to be crossed. But as imperfect as it is it gives the country focus. For fellow Remainers in Parliament I would urge them not to vote against the triggering of article 50. Hold the government to account by all means. Argue, debate, vote. But just try and get it right. The Lib Dem position is rather patronising. It’s basically that ‘a load of ill educated working class xenophobes got it horribly wrong due to the mendacity and down right lies of politicians egged on by the right wing press. We will now educate them and given them another vote to correct the error of their ways’.
Oh, for God’s sake grow up.

The burning and drifting hulk of what was Labour is both sad and bad. Sad, because although I am not a socialist, the Labour movement had its heart if not always it’s head in the right place. Bad, because although I am a Conservative, a massive Tory landslide and the total destruction of Labour would be a democratic disaster. Labour backbenchers will probably be given a free vote on Article 50 simply because the PLP is out of control.

The Kippers are interesting. They could win Stoke Central but I think that it is unlikely. All their foxes have been shot by May. Just what are they for? Fromage tried to position them as the nation’s conscience holding May’s feet to the fire on Brexit. Politics abhors a vacuum and the Tories have filled the void. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Douglas Carswell re rats and campaigns for the Tories.

After a refreshing lunch at the Savile Club, I watched (in the bar of course) the Trump inauguration. I, like the rest of the world, expected something unifying, healing, magnanimous and a glimpse of something Presidential. Instead, we were treated to a rust belt stump rant. A shiver would have ran down my spine had I not realised that the whole point of the American Constitution is to prevent dictators doing what they want. But there is absolutely nothing we can do about him. He is there. If Americans want to hobble him start fighting to take back control of both houses. Candle lit vigils and women’s marches won’t help them to do that.

But May has a unique opportunity. A bit of flattery goes a very long way with the Donald. She should lay it on with a trowel with a cement mixer chugging away in the background. However, the big question is what to do with Bozo. Easy, leave him at home. Keep him off the airwaves. The man is a dangerous distraction. He will say something stupid. It will be the Bozo show and a reminder to Trump of all the insults that have been hurled at him. And a little humiliation of our Foreign Secretary will go down well at the White House. This is all about two world leaders talking turkey over the pork barrel. It mustn’t be fucked up.

This must be May’s moment while the rest of Europe looks on in envious horror.

The real winner is Philip May. His role is to be entertained by the First Lady who scrubs up well.

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Trump should make it clear that NATO means Nato and decide whether Putin is a psychopath or a sociopath

15 Jan 2017 at 20:43

Great Britain and the western world is sailing in perilous waters. More perilous than I can ever remember. And I go back to the days of the Cold War, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination of Kennedy. I remember the grainy public information adverts that were to be shown in the advent of a nuclear attack. Protect and Survive is well worth digging out of the archives. The idea was to soothe the British people into the laughable belief that they would not be fried to a crisp or die a lingering death from radioactive fallout if they taped their windows and hid under the kitchen table. In village pubs there was a discreet grey box which emitted continuous beeps. If they stopped it meant last orders. Forever.

Then, almost by accident, two political giants emerged. I say by accident as Ronald Reagan was always scoffed at as a rather dim B movie actor and Margaret Thatcher a prim grocer’s daughter. They understood the meaning of freedom and set about freeing the Soviet bloc counties from the tyranny of Moscow. I remember the sheer elation at the fall of the Berlin Wall (I still have a piece as my researcher was there by chance when it happened). Gradually country after country was liberated. They are all now part of the EU.

But the monster of European nationalism has once more been unleashed and could sweep through the continent. These dangerous tendencies led to dictatorship in Spain, Portugal, Greece and the then Yugoslavia and of course Germany. With the exception of Germany all this is all in my living memory.

The founding fathers of the EU understood this so they wanted to subsume national pride into a European ideal of oneness. It was noble, but doomed to failure because the gradual stupidification, arrogance and other worldliness of the Commission. Juncker and his crew have a lot to answer for. They float on a tax free cloud above mount Olympus. They are rightly terrified that a successful British Brexit will lead to the rest following suit. These people have no imagination nor leadership. They don’t realise that times have changed. They just dig in their heels and will do their best to punish us. To make us an example of what will happen if any other state dares to challenge them. But time is running out. Theirs.

New EU elections happen in 2019 and the Commission is replaced. If Merkel is still in post and we have a sensible government in France a new blueprint for the EU must be drawn up. The crisis in the Middle East has made the free movement of people a nightmare. But the Treaty of Rome deals with the free movement of workers. There has to be central reforms which benefit the whole of Europe. Cameron understood this, but because of the intransigence of Juncker he failed. This is a time for courage and imagination. It is Europe’s last chance.

Perhaps this is why May will be revealing that it is her plan to remove us from the single Market and the customs Union. At first I recoiled in horror. I still think that it would be very bad for British business. I would imagine that her speech will nuance this a little to give her a bit of wriggle room. But to get results from the Commission a gun has to held to their heads. They must be in no doubt that we mean what we say. There can be no room for that great Brussels delicacy, Euro fudge. But this is a high wire act without a safety net. There will be consequences in the markets and a fear of relocation of some major banks.

The uncertainty and chaos that will soon grip Europe is meat and drink to Putin who is a very dangerous man. He wants us divided. He wants to drive a wedge through NATO. Trump has got to understand that the only way to deal with him is through strength. Putin is the master of manipulation. He can sniff out a weakness at fifty metres. He can outstare and abuse an opponent and then shower them in flattery. He successfully unnerved Merkel by bringing his dog to a meeting. She has a phobia about them. He is massing troops and tactical nuclear weapons along the borders of the Baltic states who are terrified. He is constantly aggressively probing British air space and is adept has cyber disruption. For generations Russia has been the experts of camouflage and misinformation. For the latter they have a doctrine and a name for it, Maskirovka.

So this is the scenario. Putin has cleverly sowed distrust amongst American intelligence agencies and Trump. It means that they will be loathe to brief him fully in case they are compromised.It means that British intelligence will be reluctant to cooperate fully with them for fear of us being compromised. It means that the Five Eyes will be constantly fretting how much information that they should give to the Americans. Putin must be grinning from ear to ear. Five Eyes keep us safe. They have been successful in helping us keep terrorist operations off of our shores. Trump’s election has made the world a more dangerous place. The first thing he must do is reassure the Baltic States that NATO mean NATO.

But how strong will Trump allowed to be? Of course we have to work with him as closely as we can. Yet his Presidency will be hobbled from the start. The American people and both Houses will worry if his business links to Putin are true and damaging. In the light of the resignation of some of his staff because of their Moscow connections and the comments by his son about business interests, there is enough to keep bitter Democrats causing trouble for years to come. One American intelligence source said to me the other day that he would be surprised if Trump survives a full term and that there is a very real chance that impeachment proceedings will be instigated. But the next in line is Pence. To my mind he is far more dangerous just as a creationist.

The first issue for Trump is to decide whether Putin is a sociopath or a psychopath. It might be time for me to dust down Protect and Survive and reinforce the kitchen table.

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It's time to take the politics out of the NHS. HMS Make My May should unload her torpedo tubes

12 Jan 2017 at 20:55

There is nothing particularly new in the NHS winter crisis meltdown. In the early eighties there were no hospital budgets nor targets. Regional health authorities were given a load of cash from the government who then gave it to district health authorities who then distributed amongst hospitals. By September klaxons began blaring, red lights flashing as hospitals realised that they would soon run out of cash. The Christmas crisis was on its way. So backbenchers would lead delegations to ministers with the begging bowl. The argument would always be that NHS inflation was higher than normal inflation, that elderly people were blocking beds, that there was a lot of waste. We were always given some more cash, but not enough. ‘Too little to late’, Labour would scream. And we would loyally parrot that there were more doctors and nurses than ever before and that we were cutting waste and managers. Things improved a bit under major. Still more doctors and nurses than ever before. Still not enough money to meet demand, still the elderly were blocking beds and there was a new phenomenon. Bottomley beds. People dumped on trolleys because of lack of beds. Labour gave us a ‘twenty five days to save the NHS’ election and they swept into power. In the early days they poured money into the system. But……it was not enough to meet demand. Labour loyalists took over from us chanting that there are more doctors and nurses than ever before etc.

The truth is that there will never be enough money to meet demand. And the crisis will get worse. The NHS as we know it is flatlining. In a few years, unless there is radical reform, it will die a horrible death.

Sadly, the Number 10 approach is to shoot the messengers or rather the off messagers. Submarine May has upped periscope and doesn’t like what she sees. She certainly doesn’t like the cut of Simon Stevens’s jib. So true to form HMS Make my May has plunged back to the depths to reload her torpedo tubes. You’ll be surprised to learn that the government line is more doctors and nurses, cutting waste, sacking managers. But with one particular Mayan spin, ‘the NHS has been given more money than it asked for, get on with it’. Everyone knows that this is manifest bollocks but is treasonable so say anything else. The last health secretary to boast to a Prime Minister that money is not the problem was dear old John Moore. The strain of this serious error of judgment nearly killed him. The NHS is not like any other government department. It is a sacred and mystical entity in the eyes of the public. To radically reform it would be seen as tantamount to slaughtering Peppa Pig and turning her into bacon butties. But the winds of change will have to blow away the cobwebs of system that can no longer effectively function.

All the health secretaries I have known over the year have been decent men and women. And I go back to Norman Fowler. I’ve never met Hunt, but he is no different. He is doing his best in impossible circumstances. He like the rest, is a good guy.

May does have a get out of jail card. There is a growing view from all parties that we have to take the politics out of healthcare. It is the only way. But will she and Corbyn have the courage to do it? Because what needs to happen is a commission with a clean sheet of paper to look at all the options. And I mean all of them. However, there must be two principles set in stone. Healthcare must to open to all and free at the point of delivery. Nobody should have the terror of having to pay for their or their families’ healthcare.

And after the commission has reached its conclusions there is no reason why the Department of Health cannot be depoliticised. Why not have the Secretary of State from the governing party with two ministers of state from the other parties? The health of our people is far to important to be left to grubby and meaningless party slogans sniffing for cheap votes. This is the only way to avoid a real humanitarian crisis. Norman Lamb could be the midwife to a mould breaking idea. I just hope that politicians have to courage not to take him to the slaughter

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HMS Make My May should not scupper a depoliticiseation of the NHS

12 Jan 2017 at 18:45

There is nothing particularly new in the NHS winter crisis meltdown. In the early eighties there were no hospital budgets nor targets. Regional health authorities were given a load of cash from the government who then gave it to district health authorities who then distributed amongst hospitals. By September klaxons began blaring, red lights flashing as hospitals realised that they would soon run out of cash. The Christmas crisis was on its way. So backbenchers would lead delegations to ministers with the begging bowl. The argument would always be that NHS inflation was higher than normal inflation, that elderly people were blocking beds, that there was a lot of waste. We were always given some more cash, but not enough. ‘Too little to late’, Labour would scream. And we would loyally parrot that there were more doctors and nurses than ever before and that we were cutting waste and managers. Things improved a bit under major. Still more doctors and nurses than ever before. Still not enough money to meet demand, still the elderly were blocking beds and there was a new phenomenon. Bottomley beds. People dumped on trolleys because of lack of beds. Labour gave us a ‘twenty five days to save the NHS’ election and they swept into power. In the early days they poured money into the system. But……it was not enough to meet demand. Labour loyalists took over from us chanting that there are more doctors and nurses than ever before etc.

The truth is that there will never be enough money to meet demand. And the crisis will get worse. The NHS as we know it is flatlining. In a few years, unless there is radical reform, it will die a horrible death.

Sadly, the Number 10 approach is to shoot the messengers or rather the off messagers. Submarine May has upped periscope and doesn’t like what she sees. She certainly doesn’t like the cut of Simon Stevens’s jib. So true to form HMS Make my May has plunged back to the depths to reload her torpedo tubes. You’ll be surprised to learn that the government line is more doctors and nurses, cutting waste, sacking managers. But with one particular Mayan spin, ‘the NHS has been given more money than it asked for, get on with it’. Everyone knows that this is manifest bollocks but is treasonable so say anything else. The last health secretary to boast to a Prime Minister that money is not the problem was dear old John Moore. The strain of this serious error of judgment nearly killed him. The NHS is not like any other government department. It is a sacred and mystical entity in the eyes of the public. To radically reform it would be seen as tantamount to slaughtering Peppa Pig and turning her into bacon butties. But the winds of change will have to blow away the cobwebs of system that can no longer effectively function.

All the health secretaries I have known over the year have been decent men and women. And I go back to Norman Fowler. I’ve never met Hunt, but he is no different. He is doing his best in impossible circumstances. He like the rest, is a good guy.

May does have a get out of jail card. There is a growing view from all parties that we have to take the politics out of healthcare. It is the only way. But will she and Corbyn have the courage to do it? Because what needs to happen is a commission with a clean sheet of paper to look at all the options. And I mean all of them. However, there must be two principles set in stone. Healthcare must to open to all and free at the point of delivery. Nobody should have the terror of having to pay for their or their families’ healthcare.

And after the commission has reached its conclusions there is no reason why the Department of Health cannot be depoliticised. Why not have the Secretary of State from the governing party with two ministers of state from the other parties? The health of our people is far to important to be left to grubby and meaningless party slogans sniffing for cheap votes. This is the only way to avoid a real humanitarian crisis. Norman Lamb could be the midwife to a mould breaking idea. I just hope that politicians have to courage not to take him to the slaughter

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May has been well and truly Rogered. Her Laager louts must be brought to heel to fend off a constitutional crisis

4 Jan 2017 at 13:07

Let it not be said that Theresa May hasn’t been well and truly Rogered. The radioactive fallout from the atomic detonation unleashed by our man in Brussels will linger and poison for years to come. This is the beginning of May’s nuclear winter of discontent.

What is so troubling is that Ivan Rogers did not resign over policy disagreements. Far from it. His job was to get the best deal for Britain’s exit from the EU. His sin is that he is an expert. The most skilled negotiator that we had. His job is to advise, to give policy options and then do his best to carry out ministerial instructions after a decision had been made. His mistake was to by pass Timothy and Hill on a press briefing when May was Home Secretary. These guys never forget and never forgive. Roger’s revenge was to do it again. Number 10 never had an inkling about what was about to unfold. And their response was pathetically amateurish. The official line at the moment (it will change because it is so ludicrous) is that he is leaving early as his posting finishes in October and wants to put in a fresh team for the long haul. And the ‘ill founded arguments and muddled thinking’, refers to the civil service who should have been working on how we Brexit before the result of the referendum was known. The second stage will be to rubbish him as a Foreign Office, Brussels lacky, who wants to sabotage the May master plan. But as the Queen discovered there is no master plan nor even a plan. Just blind faith. The Brexit strategy is like an American motivational DVD. ‘You can do anything you want if you really believe in yourself. Sadly not. But the ’plan’ is probably nearer to that great philosopher Noel Edmund’s cosmic theory. His belief is that by writing what he wants in life and puts it under his pillow the cosmic forces oblige. This is government by miracle. A particular brand of Voodoo economics where anyone who warns of the serious consequences of Brexit are nothing more than doom mongers who want to thwart the will of the people. Judges are unelected and therefore can’t be trusted. And experts? Pah!!!

Many commentators were quick to compare May to Thatcher. Those of us who actually knew her, rather than the saccharine myth and legend that swirls round her by those who should know better, realise that May ain’t no Thatcher. She used to love political arguments. She would row with Ken Clarke and Jim Prior. Sometimes she would accept that she was wrong. Thatcher actually believed in compromise. May’s Achilles kitten heel is that she surrounds herself by control freakery. Surely the lesson from Gordon Brown’s disastrous premiership is that you can’t micromanage government from Downing Street. And it is foolhardy to try.

But Rogersgate is far more serious. It has sparked a debate about the role on an impartial, professional civil service. The Mail and the Telegraph will now launch on a attack on our civil service. If May doesn’t stand up for them government and decision making will die an atrophic death. It could trigger all sorts of horrors on the back benches and beyond. She is going to have to get a grip. There will be calls for Timothy and Hill to go. They won’t as she is fiercely loyal. They will now become the lightening conductors of protest against her. It won’t be long before cabinet ministers will be briefing against them a little more openly simply because they will be concerned that they will be the next to be undermined.

Sadly Timothy and Hill will be the gift that keeps on giving. The wagons are now forming around Number 10. And her elves will be dubbed the Laager louts. They must be brought to heel. Fat chance. This administration faces a constitutional crisis which must be managed with care and sensitivity. I won’t hold my breath.

I can understand why the PM wants to keep her cards close to her chest. The fear is that they are all jokers.

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With Grayling in charge of transport Truss prisons and Bozo upsetting Johnny Foreigner God help us all

18 Dec 2016 at 09:53

If Labour wasn’t so hopelessly out of touch this government would be flat lining in the polls. As a Tory who wants May to do well it saddens me that it has all descended into the beginnings of a shambles. Bozo is a national embarrassment spreading mayhem and derision wherever he is sent. At first the FCO rather warmed to him because of his novelty value. But now they despair. I was having a drink with a former Perm Sec of the Foreign Office last week and asked him how the Office regarded him. His eyes rolled heavenwards, ‘all over the shop….the man is clever but not intelligent.’ But he is still seen as a threat by the paranoiac praetorian guard who seem to be starting more fires than putting them out. But Bozo is not much better. He is so thin skinned. Rolling up to Number 10 and moaning about how he has becoming the butt of ministerial humour borders on the laughable. Boris, old son, you are the ministerial joke. That’s why you were appointed.

And then there is Chris Grayling. Just follow the trail of gastropodous slime from the scene of any political disaster and it will lead to this inadequate personification of toss pottery. It was Grayling who cut back the number of prison officers, who presided the over the highest level of custodial suicides. And now he is in charge of transport. His naked party politicking over breaking promises over the future of TFL railways in outer London even prompted that staunch loyalist, Bob Neil, to call for his resignation as he was ‘unfit for office’. I am sure you will have spotted the Grayling penchant for sensitivity and deftness of touch in his handling of the Southern Railway fiasco. He such sits on his hands when an incompetent train company and a militant trade union are squeezing the life and jobs out of commuters. This is probably the time for May to step in and exert some clout. Preferably before Christmas. And the General Secretary of the RMT’s Dave Spart outburst that he was out to bring down the government and replace capitalism with socialism will sadly fuel the rabid hopes of the bonkers wing of the party who want to smash the trade unions. Have they learned any lessons form Jim Prior who sadly died last week? Of course not. They don’t understand that a non party political trade union movement can be a force for good when you have the likes of Mike Ashley and Philip Green sailing an unregulated ocean of speculation with the skull and cross bones billowing in the wind generated by their workers genuine worries.

Let us not forget Liz Truss. Three words. Spineless and hopeless. Spineless because she failed in her statutory duty to protect the judiciary. Hopeless because she could solve the prison crisis relatively easily. Listen to Michael Gove.

And poor old Jeremy Hunt. A fundamentally decent fellow with the right instincts, but who accepted some pretty dreadful advice during the junior doctors dispute. Well, that seems to have disappeared with his reputation surviving whilst that of the BMA flutters in tatters. Jeremy, old son, stay at home this Christmas. Don’t be caught laying on a beach when the usual disasters at Christmas happen and be ordered home. But be aware that emergency services can’t cope. Ambulance trusts are cutting back at a time when A and E are leaving patients in ambulances for three hours at a time. People are dying because of this.

But all is not lost. I read that Jeremy Corby is re launching in the new year. A veritable Bernie Sanders. Champion of the underdog and scourge of the Westminster elite. And who will spearhead this breaking of the mould of British politics? Step forward Jayne Fisher a former employee of Sinn Fein. and her catchy title? Stakeholder Engagement Manager. Bram Stoker eat your heart out.

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It's time the Ice Queen and her Court started Chillaxing. Charm rather than vitriol is the most effective weapon in politics

11 Dec 2016 at 09:32

David Cameron’s reign at Downing Street is not without criticism. But it was a hell of a lot laid back than that maelstrom of chippy suspicions and bitter recriminations that swirl around the court of the Ice Queen. It really is time that she and her team did a little chillaxing. Cameron was chairman of the board and very comfortable in his own skin. Perhaps a little too cool for some of the Tory Bellendery whom felt slighted, belittled and ignored because they didn’t go to Eton or live in Notting Hill. For some it was just one big inferiority complex fest and for many of them it was well deserved. Why can’t May stop fretting over the the disloyalties, the veiled rebukes and the rough and tumble of nastiness which is the meat and drink of political life? You’re Prime Minister, old thing. All the cabinet want your job. The right wing press hate you (don’t worry, they hate everyone). Every minister you have sacked is plotting revenge as are those that you have never appointed. The Amish wing want their loony demands yesterday and now the New Bastards are going to give you hell. So smile. Rise above it. Be charming. Embrace your enemies, but with a gun under the pillow. And don’t let them know that they are really pissing you off. They are like children. They wind you up for the reaction.

The Nicky Morgan eruption was laughable. A gentle rebuke to the PM that if you are giving an interview to a newspaper about the JAMS it’s not a brilliant idea to wear an outfit that is as financially out of their reach as a Ferrari. So ultra loyal Fiona whizzes off a bad tempered and childish text not to Morgan but the kind and gentle Alastair Burt. Now, this will surprise you. It was splashed all over the newspapers!

Bozo was slightly different. He is so off piste that he is up to his moobs in powder snow. What he said about the Saudis is of course true. But if you are Foreign Secretary you are mad if you say it publicly. May had to issue a rebuke as she had just returned from the Middle East and Boris was on his way. After his ‘who needs friends when you have Yemenis’ quip. He’ll probably goose the King’s favourite wife and make a opening gambit of ’it’s a Shia pleasure to meet you all.’ If only he had the deftness of touch of George Brown.

And now we have the New Bastards. Rather than scream at them and threaten with Gavin Williamson (oh, pleeeeeese. He at least realises that charm is the best weapon). They are going to be a real problem. So what does Downing Street do? Belittle them of course. Hopeless. Amateur ville.

Come on Theresa just lighten up. And call of your Dogs of Bore. If you think that this year was bad 2017 is going to be a nightmare.

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Boris fucked but will survive. I'm dreaming of a white Brexit

4 Dec 2016 at 20:45

am not sure what is more terrifying about Bozo, his interchangeable, multi dimensional views, or his complete lack of preparation. On Marr this morning he floundered over Aleppo and sank without trace over our role in targeting bombing sites for the Saudis in Yemen. The Foreign Office is a Rolls Royce operation who know how to brief their ministers with precision. It is now being driven by a Robin Reliant driver. Lack of intellect is not the problem, but sheer bloody laziness is unforgivable. His answers to Marr was like me at the despatch box pissed out of my skull at the Oxford Union. And I have done that a few times. But I am not the Foreign Secretary. I just tour the airwaves winding up the Brextards, not world leaders and their ambassadors. To watch him being cross examined by Keir Starmer was cringeworthy. He hadn’t a clue. Worse, he didn’t care. Crack a few jokes, wink at Andy and blunderbuss the viewers with vacuous sound bites is his modus operandi. The Foreign Office are in despair. Downing Street is in meltdown. They regularly brief against him. Cabinet ministers openly make jokes at his expense. The novelty act is over. He is a dangerous embarrassment. The Honey G of the cabinet who has not yet been given the boot. And he won’t be. Well, not just yet. Only when he ceases to be a serious threat to May. He was put there to fail. And at least at that he is a success. His foot mouth in history will be to explode in a mushroom cloud of glorious triviality.

I haven’t made my mind up as to whether May is a political genius or just bloody lucky. It doesn’t matter. Politics is achingly predictable. The experts warn us of the horrors of a hard Brexit. The Mail and the Express go ballistic. The judges interpret the law on triggering article 50. The Mail and the Express go intercontinental ballistic. But …….. there has been a change in tack. The only big beast on Brexit, David Davis, has read the runes. The punters, who may think Johnny Foreigner is nicking their jobs, wives, sisters and shagging the royal corgis don’t like the idea of their living standards plummeting. So deals will have to be done. I’m looking forward to a white Brexit.

But aren’t the Brexiteers shoved into cabinet simply because of their sheer awfulness just……..awful? Priti Patel must be a Stephen King creation. She still believes in the free movement of capital punishment. There is a chilling certainty that every time her arachnid mouth opens a baby dies.

And dear old Moggy? Yes, I know he’s not in the cabinet and never will be. But for someone who was once a national treasure the nation asks when he can be reburied. The poor fellow has gone tonto over Brexit.

But the May honeymoon is over. Richmond was horribly predictable. Sleaford less so. I predict a small Tory win. The tectonic plates are shifting. Farron may be a bit of a tit but don’t underestimate him. In the dreary backwaters of local government they have been making significant gains. And, dear God, don’t make the Tory mantra a warning that voting Lib Dem is a wasted vote. It isn’t. They made a good fist of responsible government. And Labour? Totally fucked……for the time being.

What will be interesting is the soft Brexit vote on the Tory back benches. They were terrified of their constituency associations. Now they will begin to wobble. Do I vote for article 50? The sensible answer is yes. But with strings attached. The strings are pretty simple. Some freedom of movement of workers (everyone forgets that’s what the Treaty of Rome says) and access to the single market.

Many years ago we at PUNCH predicted that David Davis would one day become Prime Minister. Alright, it was after a very refreshing lunch. But……I don’t think it will happen. On the other hand it could. Nevertheless, he is now a very big beast indeed. His alliance with May and Hammond? Top gear.

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Trump and his freak show will make America Grate

12 Nov 2016 at 11:36

As a fully paid up member of the elite, Westminster bubble, liberal, Bremoaning scumocracy some of you might be surprised at my views of our EU leaders reaction to the Trump presidency. Incompetent, patronising, arrogant and a shining beacon to why most of them are unsuited to diplomacy. Any fool knows that Trump is hopelessly out of his depth, a bigot, a loudmouth and is to foreign affairs what a Black and Decker chainsaw does for circumcision. But it’s best not to remind him. Pious lectures about an EU that only exists in the Disneyland of the addled mind of Juncker is like poking a grisly bear with a sharp stick tipped with itching powder. And for God’s sake Merkel remember that grandpa Trump was a German called Drumpf. Fete the Donald, flatter him (he loves it) and then send him on Bunga Bunga party groaning with pneumatic Romanian girls with big tits. You will have made a friend and ally. Mercifully our Foreign Office got it right. Precisely the right tone and May was rewarded with a Thatcher analogy which is always a great headline in the Mail. And I suspect Trump would be fascinated to meet Bozo in the same was as anyone would like to stare at a dog in a tuto that does hand stands. Anyway, they have an awful lot in common. With a bit of luck he might adopt him as some sort of mini me pet.

In many ways grandpa Drumpf was even more of phenomenon than the new President. He made his money out of barbering, brothel keeping and the gold rush. He died at the age of forty nine leaving the equivalent of $600,000 Oh, and he married a woman named Christ. So Trump’s gene pool bubbles away like a witches caldron of testosterone, adrenaline and nitroglycerin.

After the initial horror of his election I am not quite so depressed, admittedly not a very high bar. His acceptance speech was gracious, magnanimous and on the cusp of being Presidential. He is not going to wreck Obamacare but tweak it. And he raises a fair point about NATO. It is quite wrong that America pays 75% of the cost. Our allies must pull their weight. But he has to make it clear to Putin that NATO does mean NATO. That we will protect any member who is attacked. Also encouraging is that he has promised to built up America’s armed forces so Putin won’t be under any delusions that Trump will be a walkover. In many ways their ruthless, narcissistic, megalomaniac similarities might make the world a marginally more safer place.

Heaven knows what he is going to do about Mexico and the Muslims. I wonder if he thinks that Muslims come from Mexico. Or that Sinai is just the plural of sinus. But his most important task is to try and heal a bitterly divided society. Banning abortion would not be a helpful start.

So much depends on his administration. Newt Gingrich really is an awful old man. Sarah Palin beyond despicable with a gene pool where nobody would fear drowning. These people will really make America Grate.

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Who will defend the High Court Three? Welcome to British mobocracy. Pitchforks provided.

8 Nov 2016 at 09:21

What dreadful little lickspittles to the Mail and Telegraph this government has become. You would have thought that over the weekend May and Truss would have had paused for reflection and whilst lauding a free press condemned them for personal attacks on the judiciary. Not a bit of it. They care more about a few cheap headlines than the erosion of the rule of law. When Igor Judge, the last Lord Chief Justice, appeared on Newsnight last night and reminded us that the Lord Chancellor has a statutory obligation to protect the judiciary and that Truss’s statement was ’ a too little too late and not a lot’, ministers should sit up and listen. Not a bit of it. They sat up and begged for a Dacre Bonio. And Rees Mogg’s reputation as great Parliamentarian diminishes by the the day. Does he not realise how chilling his words were yesterday when he warned that there may be a time when ‘judges need to be held more firmly into account?’ By whom? Parliament? The people?

There is a chilling resonance with the Mail’s front page ‘Enemies of the People’ headline and the German newspaper headline in 1933. Six judges are pictured under the banner ‘Enemies of the people get out of the way of the German People’s will.’ And now the slimily creepy Farage is threatening to lead a March of 100,000 of his goons to the Supreme Court. Welcome to British mobocracy. Pitch forks will be provided.

The only Brexiteer with any substance to openly support the judges is Gove. He described the the High Court Three as, ‘brilliant thoughtful wise and decent men…their judgement deserves respect.’ I miss the old boy. He may be unstable as a Russian nuclear reactor, less trustworthy than Iago and a more accomplished stilettor than Brutus, but he was a great Lord Chancellor. He cleaned up Grayling’s carnage. He threw a lifeline to a drowning legal profession and built bridges with the judges. Because he genuinely believes in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Truss is finished. Not through incompetence, one can forgive that in ministers. But through cowardice. There will be a time in the near future when she will have drinks with the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chief Justice. She won’t be able to look them in the eye. They will treat her with Arctic courtesy. This is what happens when you put a career politician in an ancient and sensitive great office of state. May should job swap her with David Liddington at the earliest opportunity. A decent man who has always been undervalued. And Javid? Another careerist greaser and chancer. A self made man who worships his creator.The writing is on the wall for him too.

The trouble with the referendum result is that the people are now mouthing the words of Michael Caine in the Italian Job, ‘you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.’ I don’t think that they voted to blow the whole van up. And there lies May’s dilemma. She has to do tough negotiations the the EU. She has to make them believe that Brexit will happen, which at the moment they don’t. Of course Parliament has to be consulted over the mood music rather than the brass tacks of negotiation. They have a right to decide whether we want the benefits of the single market or not. There is a message here. Every time there is talk of hard Brexit the pound and the markets tumble and every time there is talk about soft Brexit both lift. But Parliament alone must decide this. And one way or another eggs will be broken. May will have to make the most difficult decision that any Prime Minister has to make. She has a straight choice between party and country.

May is beginning to realise that controlling immigration to an acceptable level (whatever that might be) is nigh on impossible. To be fair as Home Secretary for the last seven years she probably knows this already. The price for a trade deal with India is more visas. A tricky one to sell back home. A tricky one for the EU too. That is why a trade deal with India fell by the wayside. But now it appears that much heralded Canada deal which was nearly scuppered by the Walloons could have the kibosh put on it the by the Dutch.

There is a lot of dangerous talk about rushing through a resolution (wrong in law) or a one clause Bill (right in law but wrong in head) to rubber stamp our exit. Worse, if this fails call an election. Well, Parliament doesn’t like to be ridden over roughshod. And neither do I. This government is not exactly a beacon of competence. To ask us to trust them and them alone to steer us though the most difficult decisions since Suez is an ask too far. Some of us just might consider fighting such an election as independents.

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