9 Jun 2017, 7:41am


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  • Sowing the wind in the summertime and the living is easy…

    Nearly a year ago the Will of The People™ amply guided by the Will of the Press Barons™ spake of their dreams of throwing of the foul yoke of Brussels, and the Pound took a dive of about 20%. And people said either it was a price well worth paying for freedom from EUSSR tyranny, and anyway, since we make so much of our own stuff and grow so much of essentials like food, the effect on inflation was going to be a mere few percent, so chill out you goddamned remoaners etc etc. In the frenzy of cheer and Enlightenment values we had the Daily Mail calling the judiciary the enemies of the people, perhaps they should have been true to their hearts and used the term Volksverräter

    Well, fast forward a year, which is often when the harvest from last year’s sowing is due, and what have we got? Presumably loads of hospital building, increased pay for NHS staff in the pipeline and all that good stuff we had plastered on the side of buses? Let’s hear it from Mark Carney then.

    Uncertainty for companies about the outlook may also have made them unwilling to raise wages at a faster pace until they have more clarity about future costs and market access

    Oh well, guess that’s the price of freedom then, guys. You don’t get ‘owt for n’owt. I was reminded of this as a couple of Conservative dudes cruised round a few days ago wanting to know if they could count on my vote. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while, to ask a genuine Tory how David Cameron could have been allowed to fuck things up so beautifully by asking a question to which he didn’t really want to hear the full range of answers. An affable old Tory gent, Geoffrey Van Orden responded that it will be fine and all right on the night. He was the first aristocratic-viewpoint Brexiteer I’ve come across, because the Ermine is of lowly stock and doesn’t normally move in such circles. I know enough ordinary folk who were into the sovereignty side of things, and tended to be a little bit older than me. That’s fair enough, it takes more than one viewpoint to make up a world, and at least these retired folk aren’t subject to the vicissitudes of finding work. Nor have they had the possibility of going abroad to earn money and escape the tyranny of British housing and its vile BTL landlords ripped away from them, so although I don’t agree I can see they hold a valid different opinion. I have also run into a couple of the xenophobic sort of Brexiteers, I try and avoid the lowlife scum end of the spectrum. But since it is largely the wealthy gentry and their mouthpieces of the right-wing press that brought us this joyful freedom, I was interested to see what an example was like in the flesh.

    I noted the public school accent and education, which gave him the edge in verbal dialectics compared to me, although I also observed the entitlement to rule character. He identified me as a Remainer and feigned sympathy for the cause which he clearly doesn’t have. Was clearly chilled about the way Brexit has made political discourse pretty nasty in this country, and is of the view that if a few Poles get roughed up, well, that’s just statistical variation, correlation with Brexit not causation, dear boy. I guess the ends justify the means.

    Geoffrey showed me just how much further away from the heat the rich really are

    The ermine is hopefully on the right side of the impending Brexit economy suckout, but it worries me. Sure, I read things like this article and with this sage reflection:

    The fuse of currency depreciation had been lit, and was quietly making its way towards the tinderbox of rising inflation, higher household debt and increased pressure on spending power.

    The average household is now spending an additional £21 a quarter on groceries compared with last year. That may not seem a huge amount, but with inflation on the up that could mean an extra £119 over the course of this year. Airfares, package holidays and energy bills are all rising while wages remain the same.

    and think to myself well, if £120 a year is going to push you over the edge then you’re hosed anyway. You way as well stick your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye right now. And FFS, airfares, package holidays – you need to pay your energy bills but cut out the holidays if you find the wolves howling ever closer to the door. To be honest the prescription is always the same, cut the wants before the needs, live within your means, and avoid picking up commitments that you can’t afford to run.

    But it’s still a worry for me, I am many multiples of that £120 a year from the breadline but they’ll all add up. Whereas the likes of the old buffer Geoffrey swan blithely through that sort of worry, because they are so far away from being washed away by the incoming tide that they spout about grand plans, which broadly sum up to a Trump-esque “Make Britain Great Again”. I never did understand why they had so many wartime films on the telly in the 1970s but it seems that the sentiment burns on in many Brexiteers’ hearts, particularly if they are of a certain age.

    Geoffrey talked lovingly about his fine work with the Indian trade delegation when I reminded him that I am old enough to recall the National Front marching through Lewisham in the 1970s and that sort of intolerance of t’other seems to be on the rise again. Apart from a minor technicality of him doing this as a MEP which will be worth a bucket of spit after Brexit, it really isn’t the days of the Raj any more, and I think some of these old boys are going to have to be pushing up daisies before Britain finally starts to deal with the world as it is in 2017 rather than as it was in the 1950s. Having shitloads of money just seems to insulate you from some of these realities.

    I had a really great choice in this election of nothing I like at all. One the one hand is the Maybot going Brexit means Brexit and on t’other side we have somebody who was probably a closet Brexiteer anyway. I had the choice between something I never asked to happen and a genial but ineffective old buffer that reminds me of other aspects of socialism in the 1970s like that creep Arthur Scargill and his band of merry thugs flying pickets exercising their God-given right to stop other people working because they had the power of force.

    A plague on both your houses

    But we seemed to have had a general election with no overall winner, which was probably the best result for my views, although what I voted for was lost, so thank you the rest of the British public. It seems the despicable rightwing press was largely ignored in their seething spewage. The Tories buggered this up in the first place by having a Brexit referendum at all, and now seem to have lost a lot of their pre-Brexit majority. Good for Theresa May returning to the electorate after such a big change in the background 😉

    Theresa May’s WTF? expression

    But what I feared more than a Tory landslide was a Corbyn majority. Corbyn has done well and hopefully will do his job in diluting the Empire-dreaming hard Brexiters. It’s not a good result, but it’s probably the least worst. You sowed the wind, Tory PM Cameron, with you damned manifesto promise of an EU referendum. Now the hard Brexit nut-jobs have reaped the whirlwind by being just too full of cock. Maybe we’ll have to try and talk in a civilised way about Brexit, rather than revel in the arrogance of ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’

    Oh and though I had no part in it since I couldn’t bring myself to vote Corbyn, I am pleased that

    Labour’s gains included the symbolic toppling in Ipswich of Ben Gummer, the author of the Conservative manifesto.

    It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good 😉

    It seems to me that we don’t want any of them to lead. What we want is for them to work together. We keep hearing how Britain is divided, but we are not, really, not in an irreparable way. I haven’t fallen out with anyone over Brexit, Scottish Indy etc and I doubt many have, despite being encouraged to feel that I should by the media and politicians.

    There was a fellow on Radio 4 who said that the electorate delivered a pretty good ‘none of the above’ 😉 I was appalled by the written press though. 13 pages in the Mail on trashing Corbyn is just way OTT. He may have some left field views, but doesn’t actually charge around with horns and a swishy tail, and I’m glad that press coverage didn’t stick!

    It looks like younger people are becoming more engaged in the political process. Maybe those who did not bother to vote in the referendum realise that it is important to have your say. They could have made quite a difference last year.
    That said, the Conservative share of the vote increased and the Labour vote increased even more compared to 2015 so it looks like the country is becoming more divided.
    The Conservatives promised a referendum in their 2015 manifesto so I do not blame them for delivering on that pledge – who knows, they may have won that election because of that promise.
    Clearly membership of the EU was a big concern for many – hence the outcome. Just as leaving is a big concern now for those who voted to remain.
    Its clearly going to be difficult reconciling the two sides and I really would not like to be a politician right now but its a time for stability and vision and I’m not clear where its going to come from but I’m certain Mr Corbyn is not the solution. Intersting times!

    The EU is a big issue, and the sovereignty argument has much merit, and seems to be hardening. It doesn’t have to mean no deal though. The absolute failure to plan or even sketch out for a no was a shocking dereliction of duty. It’s always unwise to choose to ask a question where you don’t want to hear the full spectrum of answers, particularly a binary question!

    Agree that a hung parliament is perhaps the least worst result. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that comrade Corbyn made a good fist of the election campaign. However, making a good fist of LAST June’s campaign would have been preferable, and that particular f’up I don’t see myself forgiving him for in the foreseeable future and beyond. And then of course there was his capitulation at the A50 parliamentary vote, his illiterate budget proposals, and his half-witted semi-tolerance of semi-extremist nutcases on the grounds that some of them had had difficult lives. Not cool.
    Your account of your new friend Geoffrey made me chuckle. Last month I spent a week stuck in a confined space with one of those. Joy. That’s the risk of going sailing with a friend’s family – you can choose your friends but they can’t choose their parents. It was amusing at first, though the hilarity wore off rather quickly. You’re spot on about money providing insulation from reality. I often I wish I could afford to be a little more clueless 😉

    Now a week with suchlike is cruel and inhumane treatment. Hopefully the boating and the G&Ts made up for it. Whereas ten minutes was OK. Heck, I’d go for a beer with him, but only to get a handle on what the world looks like through the other end of the telescope!

    One of the good things to have come of this is the wingnuts seemed to take the view that a vote for Brexit was a vote for hard Brexit. I’m not sure that case is carried now. Still, sounds like Nige is back to bang the drum for that…

    Indeed, as Richard pointed out below Nige is being defrosted and will no doubt inflict himself on this island’s gentlefolk again in due course.
    We were a dry boat while at sea, but luckily ended up spending all except two nights in moorings or at anchor. Had lots of red wine then 🙂
    The gent in question was alright overall, a fount of knowledge on coastal and marine geology (oh the luxury of having the time to pursue knowledge for its own sake!), but also held certain curious beliefs about going to war with Spain over Gibraltar if need be, and Spain can ask Argentina how that would end, about Britannia having been the world’s beacon for all things civilisation for centuries and that the other folks should recognise this and want to trade with us somehow because of that (honestly, I didn’t quite get that one… as in they give us whatever stuff they make and we give them civilisation in return? We didn’t go into the specifics). About not accepting the rule of some unelected body of useless imposters handing down laws to us (like the House of Lords?), and is there a plug we can pull on the channel tunnel (but how about the French? do they not deserve a little civilisation? surely it would be cruel to cut them off? I don’t recall where we ended up on that one, we had had a few by then).
    Yes, so all in all, a good trip.

    Still sitting on my cash pile…whose leg do you have to hump around here to get a good stockmarket crash?

    Brexit? Nope – my portfolio went up 20%…

    But this one – a dead cert surely? Hung parliament. May cut off at the knees. UK leaderless and rudderless. Euro-types laughing at us Rostbifs. “Experts” taken by surprise…again. Farrage being defrosted ready for redeployment. Probably another election before the year end. SNP no longer able to force IndyRef2, but that baton will be passed to the 52% who will not be happy if Brexit is cancelled due to the political equivalent of leaves on the line. Corbyn is now a credible political force and may be with us for some time…be careful of what you wish for / who you vote for. (On the bright side – we get to see more Diane Abbott interviews. Someone do a mix-tape, please.) It really is the End of Days…FTSE bound to be around the 2,000 mark by lunchtime…time to get my lucky stock-picking underpants out of the wash…

    All I wanted was the FTSE100 to tank, so I could snaffle some unearned gains like the grasping little Tory that I am. I mean, is that really too much to ask? FTSE up by 0.38%… Sigh.

    At this rate it’ll take Godzilla to rampage through the City before there’s a descent buying opportunity…

    What we gotta hope for is the market crashes faster than the currency! How about the FTSE 250 or Aberforth ASL. the FTSE 100 gets the Brexit boost from the fall in the £, it’s like double-dipping now.

    I also carry too much cash at the mo for the total amount of my portfolio and that worries me too.

    9 Jun 2017, 2:47pm
    by Raymond H MacDona


    That ill wind is indeed blowing good for those of us who enjoy the occasional ramble in the UK.
    I remember when we visited London in the late 90s the exchange rate was 1 GBP to 2.25 CAD. Now it’s 1.71 and given the fact that it’s often cheaper to fly to London than many US and Canadian locations I am sorely tempted. Jet lag gets me though; the older I become the worse it is.

    > Jet lag gets me though; the older I become the worse it is.

    You know what the solution to that is – you need spend a much longer time over here 😉 Six months maybe?

    Well I’d like that but I don’t think I could get my wife away from the grandkids (and our cat) for six months.
    I did find a bit of a solution for jet lag the last time we visited. We came by ship and spent a couple of weeks cruising round the British Isles. We finished up with some time in London. I got jet lagged going home but it was only one way.

    Given we’re due a crash anyway now, [on the basis of 1/decade as a price for neoliberal crony economics] the electoral prize on offer this time is most certainly a poisoned chalice. It would be pushing conspiracy theory too far to postulate that both sides were doing their utmost to avoid winning, but comically, the facts support that.

    I’m pleasantly surprised that about half the electorate saw through the scare tactics and vile dog-whistling of the nasty party’s spin, (as well as vicious imported-from-the US attack ads) but saddened that the other half were either not capable or just didn’t care that their fellow-citizens were in pain after over 7 years of needless austerity.

    It’s so good to see the young wake up to fight for their rights though …..& cheering to know that with every passing day adding more to their ranks while antediluvian bigots cark it, the scales of justice shift. [I’m not ageist by the way; from their point of view I’d be ancient too, but at least not bigoted]

    One of the joys of no TV is I never got to see those attack ads. But the vile rightwing press was dreadful.

    The Grauniad’s Long read was interesting on the half that is hurting – having an outsider from the US describe it was an interesting angle for me.

    Sir, the anticipation of your witty analysis of the shakespearean drama that is our politics today is becoming too much to bear …..will thou not take pity on us – Sit & deliver? [Or are you waiting the unfolding of further ‘events’ :)]


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