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