Wednesday, January 30, 2019

We're British, no backstop, please...

Parliament now supports Mrs May's deal sans the backstop. The EU says the withdrawal deal can't possibly be modified in any way. Yet the result of that will be no deal and the EU has said there will be no hard border in Ireland, then has an open border with a free trading UK... the EU seems to have destroyed it own argument with the logic of its position. So something will have to change.  With Ireland dependent on NI and UK trade to a much greater extent than EU trade, if they want to survive no deal they will have to have a "border" with the EU rather than the UK! Where that ends up will be amusing!

Meanwhile, SNP MP's are furious but by the same logic they can only leave the UK and become part of the EU - post Brexit - if they have a hard border with the UK, which they would have to agree to pay for pre-referendum and build before they left. Also by ignoring the overall democratic mandate of the UK's referendum, they are also going to have to respect the democratic mandate of the border countries, moving the border northwards if the border countries vote to remain part of the UK. Scottish independence likely to end up an even bigger mess than Brexit.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Retail falling apart

Whilst the stale politicians try to bore the populace and fellow MP's into compliance with the same endless, senseless mantras, the poor old retail sector is falling apart at the seams. The core of the problem is the ruination of Sterling making imports too expensive whilst the clever consumer refuses to pay more to allow retailers to make up the difference. Some companies, like Poundworld, are simply squeezed out of the market whilst the department stores and supermarkets are offering eye-watering discounts to steal each other's customers - the clever shopper able to get a discount on a discount. These deflationary prices do not appear in the measures of inflation which are based on retail prices that may well have gone up but few are willing to pay such ticket prices. Lovely if you have the time to be a clever shopper.

The fall of Sterling was originally caused by the incompetence of  the Brown/Blair era, having convinced themselves that the boom-bust cycle had been abolished they racked up public spending to a level that left no escape room when the bust came. Then the Coalition did a softly-softly style of austerity that didn't quite address the underlying problem of excessive State but had Brexit not happened would probably have got the spending finally in balance by now with Sterling on a strong recovery path and BOE rates above inflation (with house prices coming down a touch). 

But Brexit happened Cameron ran away and Osborne was sacked, the new PM failed dismally to correct the spending problem and the BOE didn't rush to Sterling's aid with reasonable interest rates - and poor old Sterling sank, with the aforementioned problems working their way through the retail sector. Just like Brown ignoring the entire history of boom-bust the BOE ignores what happens if you don't get ahead of the game on interest rates, at some point they then have to go up by a huge amount to save the currency!

Friday, January 25, 2019

General Election?

Completely beyond me how Mrs May can call a general election when her party has no cohesive policy on Brexit - what would they put on the manifesto? No idea. Would Labour actually start doing the new politics it was originally muttering about and lasted about five minutes before the usual screaming half-truths took over, in between endless Marxist mantra chants, and actually opt for cancelling Brexit, plus a much muted (by EU laws) manifesto that would also pull in the voters? At least if Labour then won we could all fast exit to Spain or Portugal without worrying about being chucked out later on...

Best guess at the moment, the Brexiteers will do a rapid U-turn and support Mrs May's deal at the next vote, they would die a death if Labour got in with or without a promise to cancel Brexit.

Friday, January 18, 2019

EFTA?

Personally, the only problem I would have with joining EFTA is how long it would take our useless politicians to change their minds and start the Leave process all over again. Labour because there would still be too many rules holding them back from pillaging business and individual wealth to fund their spending plans. The Conservatives because they still want to free the UK of all EU shackles. EFTA would solve the Irish border problem, keep freedom of movement and get that all important ease of trade. The EU would still demand its pound of flesh for access to the single market - if we are lucky 5 billion quid a year - but we would be free to farm and fish to our heart's content. No individual trade deals but it would lock us into the existing free trade deals and some kind of fudge would be needed for the UK to play a role in future trading deals via the EU.

Immigration was one of the big reasons to leave, FOM would have many people screaming their heads off but my much mentioned 5-10 year retrospective residence test, with foreigners moved out of social housing, before any access to welfare, etc., would balance that out.

Whether the existing EFTA countries would let us join is another matter, though having the weight of the UK behind them would make their position more powerful in future negotiations with the EU. Swings and roundabouts.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Same old same...

The no-confidence debate was the same old stale mud slinging contest with the notable exception of Michael Gove who brought some religious fervour to the debate. Corbyn stuck to his Marxist roots by not moving on to the People's Vote after failing to get a general election, presumably horrified at the idea that businesses and individuals would remain protected by a myriad of EU laws if Remain won. Mrs May continues to dig her way through to Australia, if she wants to keep her deal on the table the only way is to ratify it with a second referendum... come on Mr May, whisper some sweet reality into her brain!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

May's deal goes down...

Mrs May's reaction to the historical defeat of her deal was to offer parliament the chance to bring forward their ideas... as long as they were negotiable or in May-speak as long as they agreed with her own ideas. The only thing really surprising was that Sterling didn't tank, the markets think there is a good way out of the mess, presumably a second vote that remain wins. Corbyn got so excited over his no-confidence vote that he started to sound like a Dalek... exterminate, exterminate!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Crucial Vote Amendment...

If Mrs May wants her deal to go through parliament today then it should be amended to be subject to a People's Vote with the deal versus remain. QED

Sunday, January 13, 2019

EU must sweeten a bitter pill

Whether we end up revoking aritcle 50 or in the EEA or having another vote or something else entirely, the EU can make such a change much more acceptable by doing the following:

A very strict, five to ten year, residence test that excludes newcomers from the whole welfare system, social housing, benefits, etc. Made retrospective, it would free up circa 200,000 social housing units for British people. Possibly, even the personal tax allowance would be included. Exceptions for nurses and the like so as not to impinge upon essential services.

Freeze net payments into the EU, over time they will decrease in real terms and in relation to the size of the UK's economy. This in recognition that the UK won't be joining the eurozone or further integration. Currently some of the money the EU gets from the UK comes back into the country, over time this would move back into control of the UK.

Some easing of control of the European courts over our ability to deport foreign criminals and some easing on the fishing and agricultural limits.

These changes would need to be implemented before a second vote and people need to see foreigners moved out of social housing so that they know that at long last the government is taking them seriously.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Pro EU Centre Party

The problem with proposed pro-EU parties is that they tend towards the parallel belief that the Big State is a good thing whereas I want minimal taxation, only essential welfare and a light-touch State but also want to stay in the EU... I have the perverse view that the further away the centre of power is from the individual the less likely is its wrath to descend upon my tender head. No idea, then, who I should vote for...

Ruined currency makes UK less attractive

The UK has a long history of our crooked politicians using currency devaluations as means to keep on spending excessive amounts of tax-payers' money whilst still making it an attractive place to invest, the ruined currency makes assets and investments cheap unless you are British and have all your dosh in Sterling.

Normally, this would be accompanied by high rates of inflation but this time around there is no price elasticity, companies put their prices up and find sales dive. Often they have to offer steeper discounts than before, the end result for the careful shopper is actual price deflation (you can often get discounts on discounts if you play the system).

High ticket items like cars and motorcycles, we have more crookedness with dodgy leasing deals trying to bolster high retail prices but the consumer is not so easily duped into never owning the purchase and having to roll over the finance to infinity, often with absurdly high interest rates. Falling sales the result, with knock-on effects for the big producers of job losses and perhaps closures - my money is on Honda's Swindon plant to be the first to close if no-deal Brexit happens. If you shop around you can find 15-20 percent off the retail prices!

Meanwhile, exporters into the UK find their margins hammered with the result that they start looking for more profitable markets elsewhere; even before Brexit the supply chain begins to be disrupted by lack of supply that has not yet fed though to higher prices because the market won't take any increases.

Where all this ends up is anyone's guess...

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Post Brexit Data protection going to zero

The government runs two huge databases. One based on driving licence/passport information, the other on national insurance numbers. Access to government services is moving to cross-checking these databases to limit fraud possibilities. Voter registration by councils has access to the work and pensions database (based around NI numbers) to check on would-be voters but then distills this information on to the voter's registration database, which can be searched by an endless array of dodgy companies and by individuals if they pay a small fee to these companies. 

There is a strong possibility that such a movement of individual data is illegal under EU data protection laws - certainly, if you refuse to give your NI number to the council they will back off if you mention such protection rights. Usually, the council just cross checks the info they have on the voter with the database, without informing the voter nor giving him or her the choice of whether they want their NI number and DOB on the voter's register (whether the public search box is ticked or not it makes no difference to the access of information on the database as far as the companies that access it are concerned). 

Of course, MP's and serious VIPs have the option to register via the anonymous register which can only be searched by the likes of the police and tax man. Joe Public has to get a court order to be included on this register, along with dire warnings that things like mortgages will become impossible as banks, etc., won't be able to access this information.

Then, a database exists that protects individuals' information but they aren't allowed on it because the government deems that information not important enough to protect! Arguably, as well as a breach of EU data protection laws it is a breach of European human rights.

The idea that one branch of the UK government will protect individual rights against another branch of that government is, at best, optimistic, especially when compared with the fear with which UK govn workers exhibit when you threaten them with being reported to various EU bodies. Post Brexit, then, the ability of individuals to protect their data needs to be urgently upgraded so that they have the basic right to stop non-government bodies from accessing it!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Boris says no deal closest to what people voted for...

Boris may be correct that a majority of leavers voted for a quick, clean cut with the EU but the then chancellor George Osborne pointed out that for this to happen there would have to be a large cut in spending to make the country ready for life under WTO rules... two years later the government has done nothing to balance the books, the BOE hasn't protected the currency by increasing interest rates to above inflation and the only achievement from Mrs May is that she has negotiated a deal that ends Freedom of Movement whilst forcing the UK to keep its laws in alignment with the EU. End result is the worst of all worlds if we leave with a deal or leave without one!

Apparently, Boris is already sanguine about a second vote, saying Leave would win it easily despite the polls suggesting that circa 60 percent of the populace actually want to stay in the EU. The only way that Boris will get on to the final leadership ballot will be by saying a second vote is going to happen, thus appealing to the majority of remain Conservative MPs whilst at the same time telling leavers they can win such a vote. Once in power, all bets will be off.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

More Control...

The only people who are going to have more control post Brexit are the politicians and large companies. One of the good things about the EU is the ability to impose taxes right across the region so that big companies can't easily escape them. The burden of tax urgently needs to shift from individuals to companies and the only radical way to do this is to impose an EU wide turnover tax. This tax needs to be variable so that companies that do something useful would pay a low rate and companies that are seen to rip people off pay a much higher rate.

Another problem with the EU is the dislocation of people from the elite rulers, the parliament - the nearest normal people get to having a say - seen as largely sidelined and useless. Imagine then if there was a mechanism that allowed EU citizens to vote on the rate of turnover tax applied to the often cartel-like actions of some companies. Energy companies act like cartels, for instance, then people could vote to hit them with a much higher turnover tax. The same for finance companies that charge sky-high interest rates. The list is endless...

My own experience already suggests that UK companies are shit-scared of being reported to EU institutions but happily laugh off threats of complaints to UK ombudsmen. Imagine how they would react to the threat of a higher turnover tax if they are caught ripping off people. The use of a turnover tax is important because it is the one area where clever accountants can't fiddle the actual figures, unlike off-shoring profits or balancing them against loans from areas of low taxation.

Imagine how people would feel towards the EU bureaucracy if they said there would be a 5-10 percent reduction in income tax, the revenue to be replaced by the turnover tax. Individual countries would still be able to change the income tax rates back, bringing in all that extra revenue, but it would be political suicide to do so.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year, New Hope?

The worst possible result of Brexit is a fast exit from the EU and then a Marxist Labour government conning its way into power. Sterling completely ruined, huge rises in taxes and the government hovering up all the surplus wealth in the country. The rich and clever will fast exit while they still have something to exit with, the welfare class will expand exponentially whilst the political class will reward themselves with huge, tax-free expense accounts whilst they rush around dipping their snouts into all available troughs. Not a pretty picture, comrades.