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Archive for August, 2018

Silence is not golden


Today the TUC and CBI, who are not usual bedfellows to say the least, came out once again stating what a disaster Brexit will be for workers and business, respectively.

What we could call the government’s ‘risk management’ documents are now in the public domain and they make grim reading.

Meanwhile, much of the UK press continues to harp on about sunny Brexit uplands. There is no political opposition. So-called conservative rebels are all playing politics and vying for position (with the exception of Ken Clarke). Her Majesty’s opposition does the same. Opposition is provided by the TUC, CBI and individuals, which last time I checked is not how a Parliamentary democracy is meant to function.

Interactions in the necessarily limited (in terms of numbers and types of people) Twitter community demonstrate the predicament we are in.

The Grim Leavers, continue to duck all the evidence, though their numbers seem to be reduced and they are largely confined to ad hominem. They go quiet the moment issues of funding the Leave campaign are raised.

Conservative ministers and MPs duck and dive, often block on Twitter. In the few interviews where they are challenged or at a Parliamentary Select Committee their performance is so poor that in any other employment their employer would likely sack them on the spot.

Core Corbyn supporters, and Labour MPs in general, fail to acknowledge the challenge that Brexit will make the Labour manifesto impossible to deliver and go quiet on this question. Waiting for the Conservative Party to destroy itself only works if you have taken a diametrically opposite position. The Labour Party have not.

The Labour party and many of its members also seem not to understand the difference between income and wealth. The latter is not taxed and can only be taxed as part of a large economic bloc. Social progress is impossible without tackling wealth inequality and income tax cannot reduce this.

So we are here:

1. We don’t have any English political leaders in the two largest parties, the other two parties are too small to make a parliamentary impact.

2. In the absence of leadership, I see little political appetite to revoke the Article 50 notification.

3. One interpretation is that May is giving the Brexiteers enough rope to hang themselves, one task they are excelling at, and then will reverse Article 50 notification. This is wishful thinking, her track record on immigration against all the evidence, suggests that immigration is a key driver for her and one reason why as a Remainer, she has become a Brexiter. Immigration is what defines her as a politician, she is after all the architect of the Windrush scandal. So she has no ‘cunning plan’ and will not revoke Article 50.

4. Brexit is likely to happen, because the UK has done nothing about the Irish Border or the rights of EU citizens in the UK. Brexit will be the disaster predicted before the referendum. A second referendum is possible, but would require a parliamentary majority, unlikely given Parliament’s track record on Brexit and the lack of evidence-based thinking on show.

5. Any transition will require the UK to actually put something sensible on the table rather than tabloid rhetoric. With just seven months to go, there is no sign of anything remotely sensible.

6. Hard times are likely post Brexit – on a scale not seen since the 1930s.

7. The assumption that we can post Brexit re-apply for membership successfully is no more than a guess. I can see a scenario where re-joining the EU will require very major concessions on Gibraltar, Schengen and all our other opt outs, including the financial ones. It is also quite possible that we are not let back in at all, because the continued asset stripping of the UK (people and business) effectively exports unemployment from the EU27 to the UK and boosts their employment and economies. An economy heading south is not a very attractive proposition, when you can do trade deals with, say, ASEAN, whose middle classes outnumber the entire UK population by several fold.

 

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Cold Calls


Cold calls

Still get these, always remind me of the Fonejacker sketch on ‘internet service providings‘.

 

Today’s was on Life Insurance

Call 1 from 07679 547 3865

Me: “I don’t have life insurance”

Them: “Thank you I will get our main office to call” then hang up

 

Call 2 from 029 2168 0599

Them: Life insurance, blah, blah, blah”

Me “I don’t have life insurance’

Them: hang up.

 

Phone carefully switched off after each call, of course.

 

Had I had more time, I would have gone along and requested insurance for not having a life or something similar.

The most aggressive in my experience are the car crash insurance scam, who kept calling me a while back. Having some spare time at home when they called I decided to admit to having had a number of recent car crashes. Unfortunately, when I mentioned the number, 1000, they decided I was not serious and hung up. Must have got a black mark against my name, as they never called again.

 

Double glazing? Happily for them I live in a house with no windows, seems to work every time.

 

New kitchen? I live in a tent.

 

Problem with my windows computer? I ask about how one can remove viruses effectively from… …glass.

 

One can of course try to block them, but they always come back and it seems to pay to spin them along with something literal/fantastic.

 

On a more serious note, such scams need a real deterrent in law, because there is always one fool. After all, some years ago we received an e-mail from one of the managerial departments in the Univeristy soliciting interest in PhD students funded by the Nigerian Petroleum Board. So far so good. Reading the short description of the funding, research expenses were a miserable $3 million. The fact that such rubbish was forwarded to academic staff angered some colleagues, though my view was don’t get out of bed for less than $100 million.

 

The good news is that Fonejacker style replies will definitely get you blocked for a year or two, and it is quite entertaining.

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