Thursday, December 20, 2018

Stupid Boy!

Mrs May was on top form, having a dig at Corbyn for dithering over calling a confidence vote and then he mouthed what looked awfully like stupid woman at her. I disagree completely with Corbyn's Marxist ideas on how to make the UK a fairer society but did give him a nod of complicity, having uttered exactly the same expression when she called the last general election. The PM isn't the only highly intelligent person who can do fundamentally stupid things and I suspect her worst aspect is a stubborn inability to accept that she has got things wrong - but then the whole construct of government is based on never admitting mistakes, right from the top down to the lowly civil servant.

Corbyn isn't immune to this and the whole shadow front bench appears to have ruined their brain cells by ingesting endless Marxist mantras, now knowing they can be deselected on a whim if they don't churn out the correct socialist response. When challenged on these fundamental views the reply is, of course, to react with denial and go into attack mode on the, er, stupidity of anyone who can't see the correctness their thinking.

Corbyn didn't want to call a confidence vote unless he was sure he could win it because the next step would be to call for a People's Vote. All those EU laws regarding both business and individuals would severely restrict implementation of nationalisation and grabbing business wealth, whilst Marxists would rather commit mass suicide than admit that the wealthy also have human rights!

It would have been even more amusing if Mrs May had been quick witted enough to reply to Corbyn's insult with "Stupid Boy."

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Four billion wasted on welfare

The government seems to have admitted that the benefit/welfare costs of EU immigrants is circa four billion quid a year... a lot more than expected, all the more reason to have a retrospective five year residence test before they can be accessed. No EU permission required if the test is applied equally to Brit's. Including the personal tax allowance would raise another 5-10 billion.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Mrs May's Walkabout?

Mrs Thatcher gloried in not turning, Mrs May tries to imitate that resoluteness but usually ends up with egg on her face. Thus every time she insists there will be no second referendum it is more cringe-making than worrying. There is no democracy in forcing the country out of the EU with no deal when less than 30 percent of the populace would support such an exit, nor in forcing through May's deal when that is supported by less than 40 percent. Mrs May needs to go on a long hike over Xmas to get her mind back into the reality of public support for any kind of Brexit now being in the minority.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Clueless Politicians

Not enough support for May's deal, even less support for no deal and a pointless fudge to stay in the single market and customs union. Anything that keeps Freedom of Movement viewed dismally by most leavers and anything that excepts FOM seen as cherry-picking by the EU, except for the much derided deal postulated by Mrs May. But, worth repeating and repeating, you can have FOM as long as you have a five year residence test before there is any access to welfare, housing, etc without upsetting leavers too much. That in turn means the best deal is staying in the EU.

Friday, December 14, 2018

No deal Brexit can work...

No deal Brexit can work but only if the UK goes back to a proper, no frills, market economy... anything else will ruin Sterling and lead to hyper-inflation. Going back to the market means welfare spending will need to be taken down, over a few years, from 200 billion to 50 billion! And government departments mostly scaled back or even closed down altogether, whole layers of useless bureaucrats, commissioners, consultants, etc removed. This will get the budget into surplus and paying down the horrendous debt built up by incompetent politicians whilst at the same time moving the unemployed back into work, perhaps with the minimum wage upped to cover the loss of tax credits. At the same time, cartel-like actions of large companies will need to be subjected to massive fines whilst individuals will be able to import whatever they like from wherever they like tariff free.

Support for the above is possibly at sixty percent of the populace and at twenty percent of the MP's, yet again another dislocation of the politicians from the people. The alternative is just to keep on going and stay in the EU.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A good win for Mrs May

A good win for Mrs May but the price that she had to pay was to rule out leading the party into the 2022 election... that means she has no incentive to cling on to power and if she can't get her deal through parliament she has the option of calling for a People's Vote on the deal versus remain. In that context will the EU give her more concessions or will they offer a better deal to stay in the EU? Or will the threat of a second vote bring the Brexiteers into line?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mrs May to go?

Mrs May is halfway to Australia, such is the big hole she has dug for herself - on the back of tunnel vision. The only way out is to keep digging or to get some large burly chaps to rush to the rescue at the last moment... but, no, the lady is going to keep on going until the dire end - leadership challenge, confidence motion and whatever else the gods can throw at her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

EU needs to offer better deal

Mrs May has dug herself into a nice hole, the only way out is an excuse for a second referendum... the only way she will support that is if the EU offers a better deal than they did to Cameron - five year residence test for access to welfare, etc., frozen payments into the EU budget so they go down in real terms and in relation to GDP, plus some concessions on the EU courts... the EU can dress it up as Eurozone countries moving to more integration and a looser arrangement with non-Euro countries.

The Brexiteers may explode with rage but they are not even 20 percent of parliament and Mrs May comes out of it as giving the choice back to the people and getting the best possible deal for remaining. Even if she is deposed she will still be a success in historical terms.

Monday, December 10, 2018

More Gibberish

Got to laugh, politicians complaining that Mrs May invoked article 50 too soon and should have done more negotiating first - forgetting that the EU refused to negotiate until Article 50 was invoked. Labour whining that we would be stuck in a customs' union indefinitely if the backstop was in play and then saying they want to keep us in the customs' union, not to mention paying huge sums for access to the single market. Right-wingers suggesting we might need some war-time grit to get through the first couple of years of a no deal exit, bound to go down well with a couple of generations who would scream child abuse if they had to walk more than a few metres to school. A day before the vote on May's deal, the EU courts confirm that we can unilaterally revoke article 50 - that has to be some kind of fix, and I say that as someone who wants to remain. Only sure thing, Mrs May loves power and will do what it takes to keep it.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

How bad will Brexit leave things?

I want to remain but don't actually believe the horror stories about the effect of leaving without a deal. Temporarily setting all tariffs to zero will solve most problems on our side of the Channel and the EU would be forced to follow suit just to keeps things calm at their end. You only have to look at the current French protests over a relatively minor matter of fuel tax rises to get an idea of how they would react to some serious downgrading in the loot they make out of selling to the UK. 

As long as the government explains why 50-100 billion in lost revenues have to be cut out of the budget and that interest rates will have to rise to help Sterling out, a couple of years down the line the country will bounce back stronger than ever. It is actually quite important to roll back the State as it has become far too intrusive and expands to feed off whatever revenue it can get its hands on.

Brexit isn't that big a problem in the context of the polar ice-caps melting away at a frightening rate and the Ebola virus mutating into strains that can't be cured and spreading ever faster through the populace.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Brexit Trade

Boris Johnson wants the threat of WTO rules and not paying the EU any money used to get a better deal - but would we be allowed to join the WTO if we defaulted on money owed to one of their members? Circa 20 million is due to be paid over the next forty years to cover various obligations and a similar amount over the implementation period to pay for access to the single market. The latter would not need to be paid if we left without a deal and went straight to WTO rules (if allowed). If that saving then went to offset removing all imports tariffs for the next two years it would get rid of the problem of our ports being clogged up (not at the EU end though) and push down the costs of products to offset the further ruination of Sterling - although higher interest rates and a drop of 50-100 billion in government spending would also be needed. Are Boris as PM and John Redwood as chancellor up to that job?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Brexit Debate

Nothing new in the parliamentary debate on May's deal. May mildly impressive, Corbyn so mealy-mouthed he couldn't even admit the possibility of a People's Vote. Like most of the shadow front bench, reasonably intelligent but brain ruined by silly Marxist mantras. Boris is fading from public favour and his pronouncements show why. My guess, the public are in favour of remaining versus no deal by 60/40 and more like 80/20 for MP's.

Just enough time for a general election and revoking article 50, something the LibDems should stand on - even if they don't win they most likely would hold the balance of power. Conservatives might win on a no-deal Brexit stance but would not have a majority so Lib/Dem-Labour coalition of sorts, the wannabe Marxists will do anything to get into power even if staying in the EU mutes their ambitions.

But you never know, Ken Clarke might finally make it as replacement PM, go out in a blaze of glory by revoking article 50, country before party...

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Brexit and Growth

The government is relying on growth going forward to get it out of the debt trap set by Gordon Brown's all-consuming welfare state, itself constructed to make sure so many people were dependent on the State they could never bring themselves to vote for the Tories. The theory is that the growth will increase GDP so that the actual debt pile as a percentage of GDP will fall over time, to a more sustainable level. This is a bit different to Osborne's idea of running a budget surplus and actually paying the debt down and could tellingly be described as fiddling whilst Rome burns... at the moment, combined with Brexit, this represents the ruination of Sterling.

It also ignores the business cycle, the boom and bust nature of the market. Post 2008 governments around the world decided QE and very low interest rates were the way to avoid a deep recession, the UK particularly adept at ruining its currency and cutting interest rates close to zero, getting away with a relatively mild house price drop of 20 percent and lowering taxes to keep things ticking over. In the USA and many Euro countries there was a much deeper fall in house prices and much higher unemployment. That these countries are showing a higher growth rate than the UK should come as no surprise as the market was allowed to work its magic on poor assets and they are now bouncing back, albeit from a lower level.

Already governments are fretting that they have few tools to fight another recession - debt is far too high, interest rates are already ridiculously low, the populace is taxed so high Dennis Healey would be smiling in his grave... and no-one really knows what the effect of muting the market via QE will be on the next bust, especially in the UK which has low productive capacity, a total lack of any kind of self-sufficiency in food or other essentials and a remarkable reliance on services, which by their very nature tend to be easily relocatable to lower taxed regions.

One element of growth which the government relies upon is immigration, the more people in the country the more money the government makes, the better the GDP, especially if they can conveniently ignore expanding public services at the same time. This leaves the locals in a barely restrained state of rage, aiding the vote for Brexit. Nearly all the UK's problems are caused by having 5-10 million too many people in the country.

So what does all this mean for Brexit and growth. Conventional wisdom is the UK will continue growing but at a slower rate if we do Brexit. Right-wing Tories offer the hope of slashing public spending and taxes post Brexit which will then spur growth to new highs, especially if they can make most of the world a free trade zone. Historically, this kind of change does actually work, the less State you have - up to a point - the better things work. The problem is too many people have become reliant on the welfare system for the Tories to get a majority on the back of slash and burn of the public sector and their total inability to reign in the greed of post-nationalized industries does not inspire the populace with trust in their motives.

At the moment, we are going to have Brexit and the big State (Mayism) or Brexit and the all consuming state (Corbynism) and the only thing you can say about either is that when the next Bust hits the business cycle neither will work! The government should not have even considered Brexit until it had its finances in order and loaded to deal with the next recession.

Latest news is that the UK can unilaterally cancel Article 50 right up to the point of final agreement so Mrs May needs to eat some humble pie and admit that the government finances and the country's economic state are simply not up to the shock of Brexit in the context of the coming bust in the business cycle.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Labour on Brexit?

Whilst shadow ministers often have radically different ideas on Brexit, the leadership seems to be saying that they want a customs union and access to the single market without actually being in the current customs union and actual single market... this is just gibberish in the context of the EU not allowing any cherry picking. If they are going to actually stay in the customs union and single market then may as well stay in the EU, have some say in these associations. Of course, Labour's Marxist policies of wealth confiscation (of businesses at the moment but when that does not work people will be next) isn't allowed under EU rules, neither is mass nationalization at notional values, nor, thank god, confiscation of people's property or money.

A Labour party that kept us in the EU after a People's Vote on May's deal versus remain that was then constrained, if they won the next election, by EU rules would not be a complete disaster, the benefits of being in the EU outweighing higher taxes and spending needed to implement their social policies, though they would still face the problem of a large segment of their voters not wanting swathes of low skilled immigrants from the EU...

So what would Mrs May say if Corbyn turned around and said, in their coming TV debate, that he would support May's deal through parliament only if there was a People Vote on it versus Remain? Adding that if Remain won he would introduce the aforementioned five year residence test to keep immigration under control in the context of having to accept Freedom of Movement.

Mrs May would have to do the sensible thing if she wants to cling on to power and agree to that People's Vote and then move to a neutral stance during the period running up to the second referendum, turn round and say she will do whatever the people instruct.

Corbyn will hope that her right wing are so enraged that they will destroy the government and he will roll into power on the back of saving the country, whilst toning down his policies to appeal to a wider audience - concentration on building houses and capping prices in the post-nationalized industries (which will eventually make them so cheap they can legally be taken over by the State down the line).

Saturday, December 1, 2018

EU may render Brexiteers headless chickens with new residence test

If the EU really wanted to put the boot in, and render the Brexiteers as headless chicken, then they would come forward with a new five year residence test for access to benefits, social housing, child benefit, tax credits and perhaps even the personal tax allowance. If applied equally to Brits EU permission is not needed but the political chaos that would result if they made the offer a few days before Dec 11 would be amusing.

At a stroke, most people's objection to immigration would be removed and the UK would become a much less attractive place for low skilled immigrants. To really bring the point home, make it retrospective so that people in the country for less than five years would be removed from social housing to hostels or their home country (if they can't support themselves). This would free up 200,000 social housing units, a new priority given to young men sleeping rough.

Because the government would have the ability to exclude front-line staff from the rule this would not have an effect on the NHS. The saving in benefits around 500,000,000  quid but if you include the personal tax allowance then it would be billions of much needed money. To further emphasize the point, that money could be directed at new social housing.

Further savings could be made by charging immigrants who have been here less than five years for access to the health service and schools.

The timing of this offer, just before the parliamentary debate on May's deal, would make staying in the EU a much more attractive option for MP's, many already on the edge, and would be such a radical turnaround for the UK that the case for a People's Vote would be almost mandatory.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Mrs May about to "kneecap" the hard Brexiteers?

As mentioned before, my guess is the deal will go through on December 11th but with the requirement for a People's Vote on the deal versus remain. My next guess is that 40-50 Tory Brexiteers will vote against the deal unless they suddenly realise that the only way to avoid a People's Vote is to vote for the deal.

But if it does go through with those hard-right Tories voting against it then who is going lead the leave campaign in the People's Vote, they can hardly turn round and say that May's deal is worth supporting if they just voted against it! Just when they thought they had Mrs May on the run they find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

You can almost sense Mrs May's amusement at their new predicament, she seems to have upped her game after having to suffer in silence during the negotiations. Corbyn next on her list of victims, if she does best him in the TV debate then she probably won't be giving up her job even if she loses the People's Vote - by the time that comes round, she will be claiming kudos for allowing a second referendum and taking a neutral stance on the result, claiming just to be reflecting the will of the people!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Brexit Predictions

Seems like a concerted, belated, attempt to educate the masses as to the effect of Brexit, no-deal Brexit being especially bad with house prices falling by thirty percent, Sterling further ruined and interest rates at over 5 percent...

If the BOE was actually doing something useful, rather than idling along, interest rates would have already recovered to a more normal level, QE would have ended and the government would have been forced to balance its books. At least the banks now appear to have enough capital to survive a much needed house price correction (more like a fifty percent fall in London to sort out the silly market there).

No doubt in my mind that house prices will fall, most likely in 2021-22, but not related directly to Brexit, more a reflection of the normal house price cycle - a most uncivilized aspect of the free market, boom and bust, that causes socialists much angst. Brexit will be blamed, though.

If history teaches us anything it is that interest rates need to be raised before everything goes wrong, otherwise they have to go up to a much higher level to save Sterling... cowardly government have long used devaluations to save themselves from being strung up by the populace and the huge swathe of people now dependent on the State won't be happy bunnies when most of their benefits are taken away.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cost of Brexit and Welfare

Even the best Brexit deal is going to leave the government short or revenue compared to staying in the EU. No new news here, George Osborne threatened an emergency budget to prepare the country for Brexit, with some deep cuts to spending - if you like, some real Austerity. Mrs May had no stomach for this and replaced the chancellor with someone who is highly regarded in his ability to fiddle around whilst Rome burns.

The Brown/Blair years constructed a huge welfare state with the main intention of getting a massive swathe of the populace totally dependent on keeping Labour in power - this is why the Conservatives have so many problems getting a majority. Only when Cameron offered a referendum did they break through - a certain segment of the population's hatred of foreigners was greater than their hatred of Tory governments! This was fueled by a rapid increase in population and social housing being given to foreigners whilst the locals had to make do with temporary housing, or in the case of single young men, sleeping rough.

Yet that welfare states, despite being one of the most expensive in the world, fails to solve the problems of poverty, instead it encourages young couples to have babies so they can leap up the priority list for social housing, with the strange expectation that the State will pick up all their costs... it's a failure of imagination that the only thing they can think of to exit their state of relative poverty is to have kids, which in turn - given falling government revenue post Brexit - will end up pushing them deeper into poverty.

The rage of the poor at people who are getting ahead by working hard is matched by the rage of the latter who find it hard to get ahead when the government steals so much of their money in tax to pay for the poor. I use the word theft because the government lacks any kind of efficiency or innovation in the way tax payer's money is spent, the welfare bill the prime, but by no means only, example of this.

With strict immigration controls promised, post Brexit, there should be plenty of jobs to go around and the cost of welfare then needs to come down by a huge factor - just where all the dosh goes needs to be deeply examined - and given back to those working hard in the form of radical tax cuts. This will then energize the country and focus the minds of the populace on their own prospects rather than burning themselves up with angst and hatred.

Monday, November 26, 2018

How May's Deal Will Get Through Parliament

For the vast majority of brexiteers, May's deal isn't half bad. For sure, some of the has-been Tory politicians are leaping up and down because they haven't got what they want - ignoring the nasty reality of the Irish border issue - but given all the constraints it is about what you would expect.

Compared to staying in the EU, for normal people, it ain't a very good wheeze - gone are citizens rights from EU, gone are the ability to live, work and retire in 27 countries (ok for the rich, they can buy themselves in anywhere they like). Yes, if we stayed in then FOM would still be there but you can restrain it by the previously mentioned five year residence test, which would then give us the best of all worlds.

So how does Mrs May get it through parliament. Previously, I suggested it would be voted down and then a People's Vote on no deal or remaining. Thinking further about it, I suspect that it will be passed in full but with the amendment that there will be a final People's Vote on May's deal versus remaining. Even the LibDems will support such a deal, let alone the decent MP's left in the Labour party. Would Corbyn deny his membership their wishes?

Referendum usually take six months but they will have to do it in three, the amendment will have to be totally solid so no time is wasted trying to debate variants on the vote and just let the civil service fast track the backroom stuff.

This squares the circle. The people get a final say, if it is still leave then the May deal comes into effect rather than a leap into the no-deal unknown. About 70 right-wing Tory MP's will be so angry they may explode but they are barely ten percent of the house...

Saturday, November 17, 2018

How to make Freedom of Movement acceptable to Leavers

Freedom of Movement (FOM) is a wonderful thing for EU citizens, the problem is not with FOM but the UK's overtly generous welfare system.

Thus the solution to an excess of low skilled immigration into the UK isn't to stop FOM but to curtail access to the welfare system for people who have not been resident in the country for a minimum of five years.

Under EU law, all citizens have to be treated equally, so as long as the residence test is applied to Brits as well as Europeans the UK govn does not have to seek EU permission, although getting confirmation from the EU would be to score political kudos for the government. A non-continuous option would then cover Brits who have left the country and returned some years later.

Unless the five years of residence was met, there would be no access to benefits, social housing, tax credits or child benefit. A good case could be made for not allowing people in this category to claim the personal tax allowance, as well. The cumulative effect of this would be to save billions for the treasury as well as decrease the attractiveness of the UK as a destination for low skilled workers. Nurses and other essential frontline staff could be granted an exception to the residence rules if necessary.

These new rules would have to be in effect before a second vote on staying or leaving the EU comes into effect. Promises of later reform would be laughed at.

A brave government (if there is such a thing, these craven days) would make the residence rule retrospective! Imagine the sheer shock of a long ignored mass of British people who suddenly find that a huge amount of social housing has been freed up by moving immigrants out (either to hostels or deportation if they can't look after themselves) and themselves in. No longer would foreign families have priority over homeless young men. Finally, the government would be seen to be listening to the British people.

The heat would then be taken out of the Brexit debate for a vast swathe of Leavers, any new vote won by the Remainers.

At the same time, to toughen things up further, the length of time it takes to get a British passport would be increased from 5-6 years to 10-12 years (as per Germany), together with a much stricter English test. 

These ideas are in line with what goes down in other EU countries but no political party will implement them!

The Conservatives because it would make Brexit largely pointless. Labour because they want out of the EU so they can grab a large chunk of business wealth - illegal under EU and single market rules. The LibDems won't budge on their belief in open immigration and easy access to welfare even though it means leaving the EU.

Pathetic, isn't it, that our politicians have an easy solution to the problems of FOM but would rather plunge the country into economic chaos so they (rather than the people) can grab power from Brussles, which for all its faults (and there are many) has a long history of protecting individual rights.

Boris Johnson to support People's Vote?

This seems like an absurd idea on the face of it but Boris wants to be PM and to do that he has to persuade a lot more MP's than are represented by the ardent Brexiteers. The only way I can see that happening - given that he is quite widely disliked amongst Conservative MP's -  is by supporting a People's Vote whilst at the same time reassuring the Brexiteers that he will win the second referendum. Doing that he suddenly has lots of remainer MP's on side. 

Yes, risky, especially if MP's reject May's deal (there would then be no point putting it to the people) when the choice would be between the Brexiteers No Deal and Remain.

If the EU were really clever they would then come forward with the residence test outlined above to make FOM bearable for a huge swathe of Leavers. Boris might even try to claim credit for it - I will expect a knighthood in the post, though!

Solving the Northern Ireland Border Issue

If we are going to Brexit let's have a proper exit, not the worst of all worlds - economic chaos whilst losing FOM and protection of individual rights. The only way to get where the Brexiteers want to go is to let NI become an independent country within the EU, protecting the Unionists by requiring any future referendum on unity with Ireland to have a 75 percent majority. Lots of kicking and screaming but it is the only way to make Brexit work properly.

Losing NI does not mean we will lose Scotland because the same border control issues will come into play and very few in Scotland will vote for a hard border with England. Nor be willing to pay to create one.

Brexit Free Trade should start with individuals not companies

All these free trade deals somewhere down the line sound great but why not let people import tax and tariff free from anywhere in the world (once out of the EU, no doubt there are laws against it) now that it is so easy to do so using the internet? This really would crash prices downwards and as soon as it took off the market would offer third party warranties etc. Feedback loops on sites make this relatively safe to do, these days. If the government did this they would get immediate kudos with the populace.

Brexit will make individuals susceptible to the power plays of large companies and govn departments.

I have had two run-ins with powerful organizations recently. One large energy provider refused to accept my meter reading after I changed providers and the local council threatened all kinds of fines when I refused to give them my national insurance number so they could confirm my identity for the voter's register.

The energy company basically just laughed when I threatened them with the UK ombudsman and absolutely insisted there was no option but to pay the bill that they had issued, along with the usual threats of credit rating downgrade, bailiffs, etc. This argument went on for months until I finally sent them a letter saying that I was going to report them to the EU's bureau of consumer affairs. By ten o'clock the next morning I was showered with emails and telephone calls saying it was all suddenly fixed and there was nothing to pay, they seemed desperate to make sure I would not take the matter any further. Most people don't even know that EU department exists, much less that UK companies are so frightened of it. 

The council use the works and pensions database to crosscheck the validity of voters' registration. They only get in contact with voters if it does not work. No problem with that save that your NI number, DOB, full name and address are then put on both of the voter registration databases. This information is then searchable by all kinds of dubious companies even if you have ticked the box not to go on the public database. I refused to give them the requested information and only got them off my back when I informed them they were in breach of the EU's data protection laws. Suddenly they would accept sight of my passport as confirmation of my identity.

Post Brexit what am I supposed to do?

Bill Fowler