POLITICS CORNER

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 14 Oct 2016, 09:27

Although some newspapers would like us to believe that Tesco has worked a miracle by forcing Unilever to ease off a bit on its demand for higher prices for its products the FT tells a different story. Unilever is no longer focused on the UK, it gets most of its income from abroad and sees its future in the `emerging markets', so it's not too fussed about what happens in the UK market.

A question for Richard. I keep hearing politicians and the like talking as if we could exit the EU but "stay in the Single Market". I assume they are referring to the European Single Market but how can this be? For example Wikipedia states: "The European Single Market, or Internal Market, is a single market that seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people – the "four freedoms" – within the European Union (EU). It's extended to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Agreement on the European Economic Area - but this also provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the European Single Market. As I understand it, Switzerland also gets access to the Single Market but only by being willing to accept the rules on freedom of movement. So how can these people expect the UK to be allowed to stay in the Single Market but not accept those requirements?

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bruff » 14 Oct 2016, 11:02

Tiz – the short answer is that people who say we can stay in the single market or have access to it on terms as good as we have, are either delusional or they are lying through their teeth. Your understanding and what Wiki says is exactly right and so there can be no question of their delusion or of their lies. There is no chance, and I mean absolutely no chance, at all, of our having anything like the access to the single market we have unless we accept free movement and almost certainly sign up the full single-market legislative base. Of course we can trade with the single market, as the US, China, canada and everywhere else trades with the single market. But absent a trade deal then tariffs and non-tariff barriers all apply until a deal is agreed. But this will be a trade deal, with access to the market. Trading with the single market is entirely different to membership of the single market.

However this is all rather moot. As we have mentioned on here, the UK voted to leave the EU. As membership of the EU means membership of the single market (and everything else like budgetary commitments), the UK voted to leave the single market. This is why Dr Schauble said before the vote that a ‘no’ would mean no access as self-evidentl,y if you don’t want to be in the EU then you don’t want to be in the single market. Mr Tusk said much the same last night. As have Dr Merkel, Mr Hollande and Mr Renzi. That this sends the blogosphere- and message board-Brexiters into meltdown is one of life’s current pleasures – what on earth are they moaning about? It’s exactly what they flipping well voted for!

I heard the other day that Dutch advisors and civil servants have taken to referring to the UK as the ‘spoilt little Prince’. Quite.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 14 Oct 2016, 11:10

That's a very helpful reply, Richard, thank you.
‘Spoilt little Prince’, yes, and perhaps we are back to being `Perfidious Albion'.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tripps » 14 Oct 2016, 15:41

Stanley wrote:Brexit and Marmite..... Discuss.....
Not sure there is any direct connection really, but has been lumped in with Unilever's cheeky general bid to raise prices. Just part of the cut and thrust of such large businesses - I guess it happens all the time. The price of Marmite is interesting though, and I'll keep an eye on what happens to it, and keep you posted.

I don't care for it much, but have bought it, out of curiosity, on a couple of occasions in the last two or three years. It had always cost £2.49 for the most common size jar. Even Aldi only managed to do it for just a little less. It seems the same price in all supermarkets, even the posh one, which is cause for suspicion in itself. I think that used to be called 'resale price maintenance' which is now not allowed. There is very little competition, just Vegemite, which is not available everywhere. Good case for the Competition Commission I'd say, or an entrepreneur to challenge the brand. I'd love to know what it costs to produce a jar .

I've been to Tesco today. but couldn't find Marmite, since they are remodeling the store, and everything has been moved. I saw Andrew - sorry - Lord Lansley looking as confused as I was. I spared him my usual conversation. :smile:

PS - Later that same day -
Looks like it's not Just Tesco that they are trying it on with
Let's try it in Ireland
Someone clever needs to explain that to me . :smile: Doesn't Ireland uses the euro, not sterling?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 15 Oct 2016, 03:32

I shall rest easier in my bed P...... (NOT!)
Tiz, he's good isn't he. I suspect Richard's pay grade is much higher than mine..... Having him guide us means that we must be as well informed as anyone, certainly better than our Brexit negotiation managers.....
As Mark Carney signalled in his speech, the artificial honeymoon of low inflation is over. Historically speaking, sellers in the market will take advantage of the changes in pricing due to a weaker currency by adding a small bonus for their profits on top of what is strictly justified, 'twas ever thus. I can remember when inflation was much higher and I have noted that now as then we are seeing the same process, a slow but inexorable increase in prices across the board. They call it 'the market' and following P's vein, we needn't worry because the market is always right..... I noted yesterday that in a discussion of the effects of the slide of the Pound the group singled out for sympathy were Theresa May's 'families on the edge', those who are only just managing on their low wages. I'd like to include all who are on low incomes and this includes the people regarded by many on the Right Wing as 'the undeserving poor'.
Trump..... I expected his campaign managers to rein him in during the last weeks of campaigning, making him sound more presidential and policy driven. If that was the plan it has failed miserably. What we have instead is a flood of wild allegations of conspiracy as well as his accusations. He begins to sound hysterical and deranged.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 15 Oct 2016, 08:47

Companies are also going to be adding something on to the prices because they need to top up their pension funds. Many funds are in dire straits. Part of my pension comes from Premier Foods and they're in a bad way now.

On the Trump issue, perhaps the Republicans are now standing back and leaving him to implode. Maybe also dropping in the odd burning match here and there. And a drop of petrol for good measure. :smile:

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 16 Oct 2016, 03:47

Once again there is a deathly hush hanging over Downing Street as no doubt the spin doctors search desperately for a positive slant on the fall of the Pound. I have news for them, there isn't one! The government's juvenile and hide-bound policies, driven more by Old Tory DNA than modern economic thought, are working their way through to the inevitable conclusion I have been banging on about since 2008. (Don't worry I shall not be rehearsing them again!)
Question is, what effect will it have in the Westminster Village. If they run true to form it will be to look for scapegoats, the old 'Not me guv' ploy. The natural targets are going to be the Gang of Three, Ossie, Cameron and of course those devious politicians in Brussels. Richard, in his admirably clear post yesterday clearly laid out the false arguments that are still being deployed, not a good augury for any eventual decision.
No good looking to the BofE, it is quite clear that the toolbox is empty, in effect the only thing they can do is to use more QE which is devaluation by another name. Then there is the danger of Harold's 'Events Dear Boy'. The global economy is on a knife edge and it would be foolish to believe that there won't be external shocks. We are back in the 1920s again and the fools are still using the same policies that failed then. If there is any light at the end of the tunnel I can't see it!
Then there is America. The Presidential Election has become surreal, Trump appears to be imploding but there is no guarantee, given the fractured nature of the mood of the electorate, that this means he will lose. I leave you to assess worst case.....
I've lived a long time but I have never seen such a bleak picture. In a way it is worse than the later inter-war years because at least we had a clear enemy then. On all the evidence the enemy now is our own government.....
Later.... Read THIS report on the criticisms levelled at Labour on the subject of anti-semitism. I have no doubt it exists but I also believe it is unfair to single out one party without mentioning that it exists far too often in society at large and the Tory Party as well.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 16 Oct 2016, 10:23

There was a 2-page article in The Times yesterday about all the academics who are planning to leave the UK due to the effects of the referendum result, a brain drain like in the 1980s. Also foreign academics are cancelling their visits here. It's going to be a hard knock for British engineering, science and technology.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 17 Oct 2016, 03:08

I am not surprised by that Tiz. I suspect that one of the major unreported topics at the moment is an assessment of the effects of the referendum and the uncertainty on both public and private decisions. Things like currency movements can't be hidden but private decisions are under the radar.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 17 Oct 2016, 09:18

The FT this morning is reporting plans to allow certain UK `sectors', especially finance, to be `exempt from Brexit'. The headline states: `Cabinet looks at paying billions to keep single market access for City'. We could end up paying more to the EU than we do now!

I mentioned recently that Russia plans to move nuclear missiles to Kaliningrad. Now it's going to send nine warships, including its only aircraft carrier to the Med to support its forces in Syria - which means they will sail past the British Isles. We don't know yet which of the 3 routes they'll take: beyond Ireland, through the Irish Sea or via the English Channel. Apparently they are expected to practice bombing `off the Scottish coast'. We don't want another `Dogger Bank incident' as occurred 112 years ago: Dogger Bank incident

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 18 Oct 2016, 03:52

Politics as a whole, both here and in the US seems to be in chaos. I watched Paxman on Trump and even he is baffled.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 18 Oct 2016, 09:28

I'm still puzzled about all this business of Labour and anti-semitism. Not being much interested in political parties I'm not able to comment on who's right in the argument about whether or not Corbyn is anti-semitic, anti-Jews, Zionists etc or allows anti-semitism to go on. What puzzles me most is that there seem to be widely differing views on what constitutes anti-semitism. And I don't understand why Ken Livingstone got into so much trouble over his Hitler comment, possibly because I don't know the background or context for the comment. What I keep seeing and hearing is that he said Hitler supported Zionism and I suppose if it's true then it's because he would have liked to have sent Jews back to the Middle East. But I don't understand why KL saying that should mean he's anti-semitic (for all I know he might be anti-semitic but why should this Hitler comment make him so?). If anyone can enlighten me I'd be grateful.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 18 Oct 2016, 17:53

I tend to view this as political mischief making. Since there is no clear definition in law where the aggrieved could take the inciter to court it all becomes a play of words. Clearly this is a very sensitive subject where Ken Livingstone, although technically right, should have kept his mouth shut. Personally, I see no point in upsetting people when there is no need to do so. It does however look like a number of people who, including many Labour MP's who disagree with Corbyn, delight in trotting out the rather worn undefined comment that he isn't strong enough. ie: he doesn't do as I tell him therefore he is too weak. I'm afraid they will try to keep this one running as long as possible.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 19 Oct 2016, 03:54

I agree with that analysis P. Any stick that can be used to beat Corbyn and Labour will be seized with glee. I also agree with Tiz, if stating a historical truth about attitudes to Zionism by a modern hate figure like Hitler is anti-Semitic that will include most responsible historians....
Trump now states that if he loses it will be because the election is rigged. He also says he is going to 'clean the stables in Washington' (as well as gaoling Hilary Clinton!). He demonstrates a lamentable ignorance of the US governmental system. The President is often cited as 'the most powerful person on earth'. This is crap, whoever holds the post is controlled almost 100% by the Senate and House. Whether the control is republican or democratic he will be gagged.
The machinations over the CSA enquiry are a total waste of time unless they are aimed at rooting out opposition to the enquiry in government which I seriously doubt. I have no doubt that such opposition exists but this is not going to get to the root of it.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 19 Oct 2016, 09:49

I'm coming to the conclusion that Trump's objective is simply to satisfy his giant ego. He wants to be called President of the USA. All the promises he's making now will come to nowt if he's elected, he'll just leave it to the administrators to run everything while he makes speeches, travels and generally wallows in the attention. When the voters complain that he hasn't made the changes he promised he'll do as he does now - lie to them, claiming that his work is being undermined by `the Washington elite' (ignoring the fact that he would then be part of that so-called elite).

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Bruff » 19 Oct 2016, 15:10

‘’……he'll just leave it to the administrators to run everything while he makes speeches, travels and generally wallows in the attention’’.

I’m not so sure about that and given the administrative arrangements in the US that might not be a cause for reassurance anyway. I heard James Rubin talking on Trump (he’s a former Clinton advisor I think) and he was pointing out that Trump is not exactly surrounded by advisors and well, if we must use this dirty word, experts. As Rubin said, Trump will often cloak his statements with the phrase ‘I know this’. That is, he ‘knows’. How, based on what? It doesn’t matter, simply: ‘he knows this’. It’s a subtle point that essentially says he doesn’t think, he doesn’t consider. He sees things in black and white; compromise and messiness is anathema. He after all, ‘knows this’. That’s why he is so dangerous.

And on administration in the US, all senior administrative posts in the various departments are political appointees. That’s why at the time of Hurricane Katrina the head of FEMA, the main emergency response agency was a chap whose previous role had I think been Head of the Nevada Gambling and Gaming Board. ‘Browny’ as the idiot Bush referred to him. The surprise I guess was that with him at the helm, FEMA’s abject response came as a surprise. Thus one can only imagine the types Trump might appoint. If he appoints any; after all ‘he knows this’.

Onwards to other matters.

Seems we’re not going to ask dentists to age child refugees from their teeth. Shame. We could have come up with their year of birth and tattooed it on their forearms. It could have been be popped alongside their names on the lists the Home Secretary thought employers should keep of their foreign employees for inspection, presumably, by the appropriate authorities. Someone said today the teeth idea was always a non-runner; far better to have them jump and see if they hit their head on the truck in which we’d cart them from Dover. No true child would be tall enough to bang their head.

I was wondering why a Tory MP would suggest the dentist thing. And then I realised this was a party that last summer, seemed as though it may install A Ledsome as PM, a person with the IQ of a yoghurt. And I wondered no longer.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 19 Oct 2016, 16:38

The whole idea of imposing an age limit to the 'children' we are prepared to take on humanitarian grounds is one of these arbitrary limits to make it sound as though we cared about these youngsters. We then start to quibble that some 21 years olds are claiming to be 18 etc. One easy solution would be to drop the limit to 16 years and then be relaxed about some which appear older than this. This would keep the numbers down to a minimum which appears to be the whole point of the exercise. Meanwhile, keep the bombing going and produce even more Syrian refugees. After all we can label them as 'economic' migrants and shouldn't be trying to here in the first place. I don't think that anybody who is being starved and bombed would consider themselves to be economic migrants. What an upside down world we live in.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 20 Oct 2016, 03:47

In an ideal world we would have politicians who have got to their posts because they have satisfied rigorous selection processes which guarantee that they have the makings of good representatives of their constituents and intelligent enough to contribute to policy making. Unfortunately, if such a system does indeed exist, it is evidently failing miserably. That being the case it follows that the more mechanisms there are which allow the electorate to participate in major decisions, like who should lead a party, the better. Contrast the electoral base of May and Corbyn. I share the pessimism I detect in Richard's posts, I suspect he has to deal with this problem on a daily basis and it must be very frustrating to say the least.... I have never seen such a miserable prospect.....
I the US, Trump has in effect declared himself the loser and signalled that he will 'hold America in suspense' as he decides whether to accept the decision of the voters. In other words he is campaigning to be leader of a democracy he doesn't believe in. It is surreal.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 21 Oct 2016, 05:00

Theresa May informs the EU that the UK will remain a full participant in discussions of the terms of Brexit until the connection is finally severed. I think she has failed to appreciate the reality of what will happen. Once Article 50 is invoked we are no longer driving the process, we become a supplicant and all the signs are that the harder we push the process, the harder the reaction will be. The bottom line is that we have poked a stick in a hornet's nest and and will have to suffer the consequences. Read the excellent book review I posted in What Attracted Your Attention yesterday. A very fair assessment I think.
In the US it begins to look as though Trump has shot his bolt. There is no cause for celebration here, Clinton is not the ideal candidate. America has been damaged by this process and what really matters now is the reaction of the Senate and House of Representatives. I have an idea they will be wanting to punish both candidates and Clinton's brave words about her policies may not necessarily become policy. Not a good prospect all round.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 21 Oct 2016, 10:01

After the referendum result was announced and everyone was saying we can't go back now, the British people have spoken and we must leave the EU, I took a contrary view and wrote that we might find that leaving was not possible, that we are locked in and trying to leave would be so devastating to the UK (and the EU) that we would have to do a big U turn and say we are staying. I now feel this is even more likely. If we had a referendum on whether or not to make a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Russia and the people voted 52% in favour, then many of those had second thoughts after realising the implications and that it wasn't just a case of sticking two fingers up at the Russians, would we go ahead? There must be a way out of this mess.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 22 Oct 2016, 04:37

I agree Tiz but unfortunately we are in thrall to a political system where the party 'in power' holds all the cards including the Royal Prerogative. May is driven by a complex web of influences, in order to gain the leadership she had to endorse Brexit or risk the break-up of her party. Viewed in this light her actions are dishonest as her primary task should be to do what is best for the country. That book review I posted puts it very well, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the accedance to what was after all only an advisory result is a massive political and economic mistake. It is a self-inflicted wound at a time when we are already in deep economic trouble. This is of course the culmination of decades of bad policy that led to the neglect of manufacturing industry, the retreat of government from responsibility for the commanding heights of the economy by first simple privatisation and now foreign ownership and the adoption of outdated economic policy based on austerity.
Overlaying all this has been the lie of the UK position in the world which owes much to outdated visions of empire and the deserved kudos we gained in WW2. 'Punching above our weight'. One consequence of this is clinging on to what is not an 'independent nuclear capability' and most recently two massive white elephants in the form of the aircraft carriers. Apart from being vastly over budget we have no planes to put on them and are now in the process of hiring the Queen Elizabeth to the US. There are of course many more examples.
The truth is that May's 'hard Brexit negotiations' are a myth, we will have no control. I think Tiz is right, it is mission impossible and will be seen as a massive miscalculation based on 19th century political dogma. You couldn't make it up!
Later, I have Just heard General John Allen, President Obama's chief adviser on the wars in the Middle East saying that the tactics have to change to avoid interminable war in the region. He says that what is needed is the equivalent of the post WW2 Marshall Plan. I think he's right. I have always argued that if the gold wasted on the wars had been injected in the form of aid we would be in a different world now.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 23 Oct 2016, 05:03

I caught Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru speaking about Brexit at the party conference. (LINK) and liked what I heard her say particularly about the xenophobic attitudes being voiced openly by politicians. What happened to compassion in politics....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 24 Oct 2016, 03:56

I heard a report yesterday that apart from the fact that vital decisions about the future of children at Calais in the Jungle being done in a shack with the minimum of services, until the last couple of days the Home Office has refused offers of assistance from social workers skilled in assessing children. This doesn't surprise me given other evidence we have of lack of cooperation at times between government departments. Someone should bang some heads together but who would that be?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 25 Oct 2016, 06:02

May, while playing hard to get over the substance of Brexit negotiations is having to start making concessions for those, including the devolved assemblies, who want a part in setting the parameters. We have no idea at all as to what, if any, progress is being made. In view of her mistaken view that we shall have influence over the EU once Article 50 is triggered, I suspect that whatever 'plans' are being made will have to be hastily modified. The big question is whether we can accept whatever terms we are offered in the two year period after the trigger and before the deadline. What a position to be in..... Now let's see, who was it got us into this mess in the first place?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 25 Oct 2016, 07:47

Stanley wrote: Now let's see, who was it got us into this mess in the first place?
You must have missed it. It was all Corbyn's fault. With his 7 out of 10 comment and his lack luster approach to the remain campaign we wouldn't have got into this mess. May is doing her best to recover from the hole he has got us in. Pointing out what a hard Brexit would look look she has demonstrated that it would hit the £ Sterling and while giving a brief relief to exporters the cost of imports will gradually drive up the cost of living. Total uncertainty on future trade deals and the possibility of extra tariffs to trade within Europe have caused firms to hold back on investments. Corbyn should have known all this before he allowed misleading lies to give the impression that working people would be better off. I will repeat again 'its all Corbyn's fault'.

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