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Stanley wrote: 23 Nov 2020, 03:46 ..Sorry but like Ian I am beyond reasonable explanations. I want to see our whole rotten political system collapse and who knows, that might be exactly where this self seeking lot are taking us.
That's exactly what those people were saying who voted for Donald Trump. You'll remember how in 2016 I related how one of my friends, who'd been a life-long Labour supporter and her husband a union official, said she was emigrating to the US to live with her daughter and vote for Donald Trump. She wanted to see the `rotten political system collapse' and Trump looked like a way to do it! :smile:

Even more Republicans are putting Trump under pressure to concede the election to Biden. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said: "Quite frankly, the conduct of the president's legal team has been a national embarrassment". According to the BBC, Christie singled out for criticism Sidney Powell, a lawyer who appeared with Trump's legal team during a press conference on Thursday. She claimed, without providing evidence, that electronic voting systems switched millions of ballots to Biden, and that he also won thanks to "communist money". But on Sunday the Trump campaign issued a statement distancing themselves from Ms Powell, saying she "is practising law on her own" and was "not a member of the Trump legal team". A tweet from President Trump earlier this month explicitly named her as part of the team. You couldn't make it up if you tried! :smile:

Powell seems more mentally deranged than even Trump! See this Guardian article: LINK
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

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I can see this particular Nationally embarrassing situation coming to a head on January 20th. It could be the first time in USA history that a President has to be removed from office at gunpoint by the Secret Service. The U.S. constitution allows for this contingency plan.
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I listened to an explanation yesterday that Trump will face prosecution for various misdemeanours as soon as he is no longer President. That's why he's so desperate to stay in the White House. Also it was said that his claims about pardoning himself and his family (while President) are ill-founded.
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I heard that as well Peter. Trump has already stated he could pardon himself but the weight of evidence from the constitutional lawyers is that this would be a very foolish course to pursue as it would almost certainly end in defeat.
Trump isn't going to make it easy for them and the end is going to be nasty and brutish.
Meanwhile, over here, Johnson conducts fatuous discussions about Covid and Xmas whilst in the background the clock counts down, 39 days until we slide over the cliff edge. It's like something out of Pratchett's Disc World!
Later.... See THIS BBC report of the recognition of a Biden victory by the transition body forcing Trump to allow transition to start. Trump says he will still be taking legal action but this is the end.
Over here we have an announcement from the EU that any initiative on a deal must come from the UK. They have set their position and beyond being ready to call the EU parliament between Xmas and New Year to decide on any deal. The bottom line would seem to be that that's it, no deal is coming. The only way that can change is if the UK takes the lead and initiates change. Any chance of that happening?
(LATER. BBC news starts for the day and the lead item is Trump/Biden. Not a word about the EU saying that the ball is in the UK court. You'd think it wasn't happening.)
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Not a word about the EU saying that the ball is in the UK court. You'd think it wasn't happening.)

Brexit

Some extracts from the above article. Biased perhaps but make your own mind up.

It comes as Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has said that a no-deal Brexit would cause even more long-term damage to the UK’s economy than the coronavirus pandemic. The influential figure told MPs a deal was in the “best interests of both sides”.

The FT’s former editor Lionel Barber said he found it strange Bailey’s warning was not making too many headlines. “Surreal too that the (likely) deal will be Hard Brexit and there will be barely a peep.”

The Times’ leader writer Simon Nixon said: “Even more amazing given the greater long-term damage of no deal Brexit that Rishi Sunak nonchalantly claimed on Sunday not to be bothered about it.”


Joe Biden’s reported pick for the role of America’s top diplomat has referred to Brexit as “a total mess”, raised concerns over its effect on the Good Friday Agreement and compared it to a dog being run over by a car.

The planned 5.6 per cent increase to the national living wage – which was due to increase to £9.21 an hour in April – will be limited to only £8.90 an hour, a rise of 2 per cent, according to The Times. The Low Pay Commission are said to have claimed the full rise from the current rate of £8.72 an hour was unaffordable.

Could the planned cut to the foreign aid budget become permanent? Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are under pressure to explain just how often the plan to slash aid spending from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

All hidden under Christmas to be or not to be.
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That just about covers it Ken. It looks as though others are asking the same questions.
What a bloody mess!
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On a brighter note, see THIS BBC report on the latest we hear from Joe Biden. This relates to the effect of the current deal on borders with Northern Ireland. I think it's pretty impressive that in the middle of a mountain of matters competing for attention he takes time to give a clear opinion about the importance of the Northern Ireland Agreement. Pity our leaders haven't the same focus.
On a broader note, I like what I see in Biden. He looks to me like the traditional 'safe pair of hands'. My God did we ever need that more?
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Stanley wrote: 25 Nov 2020, 04:49 On a broader note, I like what I see in Biden. He looks to me like the traditional 'safe pair of hands'. My God did we ever need that more?
One of the things to remember is that the American working class like our own working class have been in a downward economic spiral for the past 30 years. By all accounts the thing that did it in for Hillary Clinton was that people at the bottom saw it as business as usual with no real change as for as they were concerned and went for a disastrous change. For years the UK has been punching above its weight pretending the Empire still exists and that we have a God given right to dictate terms to the rest of the world but now the world is hitting back. America is still the world's No 1 superpower but other countries are gradually catching up. How long it will take for America to realise that they have to improve the conditions of those at the bottom otherwise people like Trump with vague promises to stop the rot and 'Make America Great Again' will soon be back in the White House.
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Dead right Ken. Distribution of wealth is even more important in the US than in the UK. For years the workers have been conned by the myth of the American Dream and the fabled 'self made men'. They have at the same time been sold the bogey man of Socialism being equivalent to Communism. Bob has mentioned this many times.... There are signs that this is slowly changing and if Biden can tap into that he can make lasting change.
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Talking about being `conned by the myth', that's what has happened in the UK. Our government has spent four and a half years conning us with the myth that we can pressure the EU into giving us a good deal when we break away from them. The truth has always been that we were not in a position to `negotiate a good deal'. It was the UK that decided to break away, the UK that undermined the stability of the EU. Why should they give us any kind of deal at all? We'd entered into a contract and we were obliged to fulfil any requirements of that contract if we decided to leave. The EU was not under any obligation to help us, but are there penalties for leaving.

My impression is that our government has grown tired of the journey, has furled the sails and is now coasting into harbour with a no-deal Brexit.
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Stanley wrote: 25 Nov 2020, 09:28 They have at the same time been sold the bogey man of Socialism being equivalent to Communism.
In my opinion, people in the west are sold the bogeyman of Communism being the root of all evils. I live in a communist country and it is great! Admittedly, Chinese communism is different to what I'm told it is like in Russia, DPRK and some other countries and dictatorships. I was never a fan of socialism until I came here. Now I have more freedom than ever before and am witness to a responsible government taking care of its people.
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There speaks a satisfied customer.
Looking nearer home, yesterday we saw the tired old politics that gave us a 'hostile environment' in the Home Office and Benefits guaranteed to give less than working wage at work in Rishi Sunak's financial statement. After telling us it was the worst position in 300 years and unknown territory which could only be addressed by spending now and thinking about repayment later, he used the oldest trick in the book and capped what wages he could, even though the imposition of any kind of austerity in depression is universally agreed to be a mistake.
He then made a lot of forecasts based on predictions which can't possibly be trusted because nobody has been here before, everything rests on an unknown, whether a Covid Vaccine can work a miracle. An even larger boot is waiting to drop, the effects of leaving the EU. Many economists believe that in the long term this will have far more effect than Covid.
So am I cheered and happy? No.
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Stanley wrote: 26 Nov 2020, 03:16 Looking nearer home, yesterday we saw the tired old politics that gave us a 'hostile environment' in the Home Office and Benefits guaranteed to give less than working wage at work in Rishi Sunak's financial statement. After telling us it was the worst position in 300 years and unknown territory which could only be addressed by spending now and thinking about repayment later, he used the oldest trick in the book and capped what wages he could, even though the imposition of any kind of austerity in depression is universally agreed to be a mistake.
It has always been the intention that benefits should be below the lowest full time employment. The problem with this is that although it sounds logical that those on benefit should not enjoy a standard of living higher than those working and therefore encouraged into work a major problem arises when the earnings of those in work fall below the poverty level. We then enter a complex web of supplements all designed to keep wages and benefits down.
Rishi Sunak's doom and gloom statement appears to be based solely on the Covid pandemic, what we have spent and future spends and the affect of ongoing GDP. Normally conditions like this are classed as 'black holes' but only when Labour in in power. Clearly our GDP will suffer and will take years to recover; what is not clear is that he appears only to be talking about covid the affect of Brexit is not mentioned in any analysis that I have seen. The OBR (Office of Budget Resposibility) suggest that Brexit could reduce the GDP by 2% and still be 1.5% lower in 5 years time. His he trying to hide the affect of Brexit within the covid numbers? If not what is the real truth to the figures.
Johnson keeps telling us austerity is over, the questions is over for who? The increase in the Minimum wages reduced. Freeze on most of the public sector rises, also no mention of projected inflation rates which will reduce everybody's spending power. The extra benefits being paid to offset the government's shut downs is planned to be removed in spring. Amazing that putting people in a position to rely on benefits is not seen as an act of austerity.
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It's interesting to read in this article the list of people Trump has pardoned. The article says `Trump currently has the least number of pardons and commutations of any modern US president, according to the Pew Research Center.' But I'll bet there's a big difference between the types of people Trump pardoned and those Obama pardoned....
`Michael Flynn: Trump pardons ex-national security adviser' LINK
Regarding Flynn, Nancy Pelosi said: "Sadly, this pardon is further proof that Trump plans to use his final days in office to undermine the rule of law in the wake of his failed presidency."
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Quite right Ken. Thanks for going further into it, I had lost the will to live. I see nothing down the line except austerity so what's different from traditional Tory economics?
The pardons.... That's exactly what I thought Peter. I think that as we near January we will hear a lot more about this.
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We've commented here that not much news seems to be seeping out on Brexit. I think that's because our Team Brexit is hoping we'll all forget about it while we ponder covid and Christmas. But when you do a bit of digging you find news. For example this yesterday...
`EU threatens to pull out of Brexit talks if UK refuses to compromise' LINK
`The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has warned David Frost that without a major negotiating shift by Downing Street within the next 48 hours he will pull out of the Brexit negotiations in London this weekend, pushing the talks into a fresh crisis.'

Barnier probably saw this news on Tuesday...`
`No-deal Brexit would cost UK car industry £55bn, says analysis: Tariffs would make large parts of the business unviable, says study for the SMMT' LINK
`The UK automotive sector risks losing £55bn in manufacturing value within five years in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to new industry analysis. British car production could drop below 1m cars a year if there is no deal, compared with more than 1.3m in 2019, because tariffs would make large parts of the UK business unviable, said forecasts commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the industry lobby group...'

`The car industry has been outspoken in its opposition to a no-deal Brexit, which would result in 10% tariffs being applied to their products overnight, adding £1,900 to the average cost of a car imported from the EU. Industry executives have warned that a no-deal Brexit would jeopardise the future of UK plants. PSA Group has said it will only build its new Vauxhall Astra in the UK if there is a trade deal, while Nissan has said the business model of its Sunderland plant – the largest car factory in the UK – would be destroyed.'
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I think all you say is true Peter but it's no surprise to me. I know about 'cliff-edge' negotiations but when you get to the point we are at now, 34 days to Der Tag there isn't enough time to go through the process unless there is an extension.
I have said consistently that I believed that No Deal was always the plan. I believe that when Johnson won the election and got his majority his faction and the ERG sat down together and agreed on no deal because Johnson didn't want them sniping at him in government, he had seen what it did to Cameron and May. That's why May had to go, she genuinely wanted a deal. So Rees Mogg gets to be in charge of the House, Frost is appointed and told to go through the motions but make no concessions and the clock has done the rest. The arrival of Covid made everything easier, the ideal smoke-screen for inactivity.
The one big mistake they have made is that they actually believed the twaddle about a bright future and echoes of the days of empire. Only now is it dawning on them that none of that will happen, Brexit is going to be a bigger economic blow than Covid and all they can do now is lash themselves to the mast and hope that something turns up.
I have news for them, they have completely screwed up and what is coming down the line is going to change this country completely. All bets are off now, we are sliding down that slope we have warned about so often. Don't even bother to put your tin hats on, the only thing to do now is start burrowing.
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I forgot to mention that of the 34 Tory MPs who voted against the Government in the conservative rebellion on lockdown recently, 30 of them voted leave in the 2016 EU Referendum. Libertarians spotted, send them to America to join the Trumpsters! :smile:
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On Today this morning...a French minister talking about the Brexit negotiations pointed out that a no-deal exit means catastrophe for the French fishing industry but catastrophe for all of British industry. Our own politicians seem to have forgotten, or ignored, the fact that our industry is already in troubled waters due to the pandemic.

The dreaded Jonathan Philip Chadwick Sumption, Lord Sumption, OBE, PC, FSA, FRHistS was also on Today giving us the benefit of his experience as author, medieval historian and former senior judge to support his anti-lockdown pals with his thoughts on epidemiology and virology. It reminds me of Nigel Lawson, Baron Lawson of Blaby, PC, politician and journalist, who urged us all to ignore the warnings from scientists about about climate change.

Now for something different....Dishi Rishi isn't as smart as he would have us think...
`Huge wealth of Rishi Sunak's family not declared in ministerial register' Guardian
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That was noted a while ago Peter By Private Eye, they also gave some spicy details about his earlier career. An interesting choice for Chancellor!
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Stanley wrote: 14 Nov 2020, 03:47 I told you Shapps was lying. Shortly after you wrote that Peter Cominic walked out Lehmann's style with his cardboard box. He will say this was a planned departure. That will be a lie. He has been forced out by another faction who are fed up with his attitude and actions. Perhaps having all the power isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Good riddance.
[Question though.... Is Johnson fit to decide on anything? I look back at a horizon littered with bendy buses, garden bridges, water cannon, airports in the Thames, Bridges over the Irish Sea... and terrible appointments like Cominic Dummings. Watch this space.]
The Bendy Buses arrival was Ken Livingstones - Boris put them out to grass after less than 7 years in service and got the Borismaster double decker (two staircases, little downstairs room and hot as hell) designed and into use instead.
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Trump is reluctantly dribbling out the transition responsibilities to Biden. Shortly whole departments will be handed over with the usual changes to the top line managers. This involves hundreds of departments and thousands of staff. I think that we shall soon be hearing that no real effort has been made for the normal advanced planning that a super power like America needs to be doing on the world stage. Back home they will probably find that Trump has been asset stripping anything that involves social programmes and making sure that the taxpayers dollars are directed through his pals network ensuring that the money is spent wisely and not wasted on schemes that can be abused like the recent voting fiasco. Trump's denial of climate change will also be laid bare when they see that absolutely nothing has been done to offset its affect.
Welcome to the world of Trump.
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The Times cartoon yesterday showed Biden sitting at the Oval Office desk and saying `Thank goodness we've got rid of him at last'. When you look carefully, past the desk, you see a pair of shoes and the end of a long red tie sticking out below the full-length curtains!
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Dominic Raab told Andrew Marr this morning that a deal was subject to the EU accepting the "point of principle" that the UK would require "control" over its fishing grounds after the transition. "If the EU understand that point of principle and we have some pragmatism, we can get there." We've caused the EU over 4 years of hassle and expense and he's still expecting the EU make concessions. It's all been dragged out like this so that when we crash out he can try to convince us it was the EU's fault.
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I'll repeat what I have said so often before. 'No Deal' was always the goal. Only by getting the 'sovereign freedom' it gives us could the project to take us back to the glory days of 19th century laisser Faire be fully attained. How else can the capital holders manage a society with not enough work to keep the proles busy? They need a benefit system finely tuned to maintain the physical condition of the poor but only just. Ideally they need a pandemic or two to cull the lower classes and get the numbers down to manageable levels.
Yes Peter, I believe you're right about what Raab and his colleagues are up to. I do believe we warned of this some time ago. They want to be in a position where, when the shit hits the fan on January 1st, they can say "Told you so! The EU has betrayed us and wrecked all prospects of a deal by insisting on impossible conditions."
As for Gove..... I do believe he is responsible for making sure all the necessary systems to cope with communicating with Europe are in place in four weeks. I'll bet he's working on his 'Not me Guv' speeches already.
31 days to Der Tag. What interesting times we do live in.
Let us never forget who triggered this lot off. A weak Tory PM trying to find a way to control a bunch of rabid Right Wing back benchers hell bent on getting their own way. Notice they have gone quiet now. Mission accomplished I reckon. There is a good case for declaring what has happened to be a coup.
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