POLITICS CORNER

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 23 Dec 2019, 09:41

Regarding those issues I've mentioned which successive governments have kicked down the road, Plaques quite rightly raises one that I missed but stares me in the face. Brexit. It qualifies not because they've failed to do it but because it was a daft idea in the first place. We enter the 21st Century at a point where the big issues are truly global and the only way to deal with them are through worldwide cooperation and what do we do? The government rushes to undo the work of decades and throw us into isolation, bowing to populist pressure and then making a dog's breakfast of it all in the process.

The FT's front page this morning raises another can-down-the-road issue. It reports concerns that tens of thousands of new homes will be built in areas of England at high risk of flooding. The story is based on an analysis of local planning documents which, it says, reveal councils are struggling to balance housing targets with a dearth of suitable land, as well as the growing threat of climate change. It highlights several examples, including the area around Doncaster where 6,000 new homes are intended for flood zones. This is not new. Within a 15 mile radius of where I live in Somerset thousands of new homes have been built over the last 20 years in areas that the Environment Agency flags up as a flood risk. When I tackled the Agency on this in a public meeting they passed the buck and said it was up to the Planning Departments, not them, to decide where houses could be built. The councils blame it on the government for forcing them to meet targets.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 23 Dec 2019, 09:58

Tizer wrote:
23 Dec 2019, 09:41
This is not new. Within a 15 mile radius of where I live in Somerset thousands of new homes have been built over the last 20 years in areas that the Environment Agency flags up as a flood risk.
I did something similar via the correspondence column in the local paper when the planning departments said they could build on a flood plain. They implied that by raising the houses on rafts would eliminate the flooding problem. This ignores the problem as to what happens downstream. All a bit like Tom Lehrer's 'Wernher von Braun' .. "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department" say Wernher von Braun.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 23 Dec 2019, 10:21

It also ignores another problem which often occurred in the Somerset Levels. You can build a house on elevated land but you end up as an island - you can't drive your car or walk anywhere, you need a boat to get out. A local builder thought he could defeat the floods. He bought land on the cheap because it was on the flood plain and built himself a fancy `manor house'. Then he used his machinery to build an earthen wall around it to keep the water out. When the floods came his house was dry but he couldn't get out anywhere! :smile:

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 23 Dec 2019, 13:04

Mail from a friend of mine, a good Labour Man. He suggests that the dénouement of the present government could be a re-run of the final scene in the film 'White Heat'. Remember James Cagney on top of the burning fuel tank shouting "Look at me Ma! On top of the world!"
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 24 Dec 2019, 04:30

Politics has died for Xmas. The egregious Leadsom thought it was a good time to release dodgy news but she was mistaken, Cobham rumbles on. All the comment i have heard from people who know about these things are unanimous, it is a very ill-advised sale. As one pointed out, the very fact that it was released at that time indicates how 'sensitive' the matter is.
Hostilities will be resumed in x number of days......
Later... News that Mr Johnson and his lady are flying to the island of Mustique for Xmas. I have no doubt that this will bring immense comfort for all those suffering under the yoke of austerity....
If you're at all interested, here is a potted history of the island from Wikipedia. (LINK)
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 24 Dec 2019, 11:55

Stanley wrote:
24 Dec 2019, 04:30
Later... News that Mr Johnson and his lady are flying to the island of Mustique for Xmas.
That's good news. If he escapes back to the UK send him to St Helena, that worked for Napoleon! (Anyone got some old green wallpaper?) :extrawink:

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 25 Dec 2019, 03:54

I hope someone has mailed him David's post about the lady in Cambridge.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 26 Dec 2019, 04:45

We enter the Dead Zone now until January. (Brexit negotiations?)
I remember reading Crossman's Diaries and I don't think things have changed much, There will be some very interesting conversations going on out there in the Shires and in London. We will get the clues in January when they return as to what direction we are going in. You know what I think, what we have to do now is watch them like hawks. I have a funny idea that as the realities of the world crowd in Johnson might find that a 'stonking majority' is no guarantee of an easy time in government. His new 'Red Wall' MPs will have to decide between the Stephenson Route of endorsing everything that comes from the spin meisters or holding the PM's feet to the fire over his promises. I think we'll get a good idea of the drift by the time January is out.....
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 26 Dec 2019, 09:59

Was the leaving of the EU inevitable? In the book 'Britain and France in the two world wars', a collection of studies on how the British and the French see the two wars from a different prospective consequently resulting in different memories and attitudes. The bottom line being we always think that the UK were the big players in winning both wars and it was really 'their' problem washing up on our shores. In effect WE won the war for them. This is obviously total nonsense but its now embedded in our collective memories.
From this extends the thinking that we can now drift away in splendid isolation and carry on doing what we do best. Again total nonsense. The Empire has gone and Churchill's often misquote of 'If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea.' is wrong and should be considered again under today's politics. Unfortunately, once these myths have been embedded into peoples thinking it may take another generation to remove them. So was 'Get Brexit Done' part of this ongoing mythology? I'm beginning to wonder whether there is more to it than meets the eye.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 27 Dec 2019, 04:20

I'm sure you are right P and have pointed out many a time that the days of Empire are over, at least in geographical terms. The fight for 'empire' goes on but it is now economic warfare conducted by the US and China, that's what the 'trade wars' are all about, spheres of economic influence. Look at how China is investing all over the world particularly in Africa. We don't have a hope in hell in that battle, that's one of the reasons why being in the EU was a good thing, collectively Europe can stand up to the two behemoths.
It's for the same reasons that you hear the phrase 'punching above our weight' which is pure nonsense. Look at the state of our armed forces to see how badly that concept has gone wrong. Trident is the biggest con trick ever and we have fallen for it. Think White Elephant carriers that could be sunk at long range by a single relatively cheap missile. No defence against that.
Johnson's vision of us sailing off into a golden dawn and fulfilling our manifold destiny is pure Boy's Own and in the end it will sink him and his party. What we have to watch is what happens in the interim. Austerity by other means, mistaken and damaging economic policies, reliance on the market which is a very flawed version of Capitalism that can only function on manipulating huge debts.
Next year is going to be 'interesting' but stupid!!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 27 Dec 2019, 10:11

Stanley wrote:
27 Dec 2019, 04:20
..that's one of the reasons why being in the EU was a good thing..
Lady Hale, on the Today programme this morning, mentioned the importance of our Human Rights Act. That's another benefit we got from close alliance with the EU. The Human Rights Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which incorporates into UK law the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 27 Dec 2019, 11:18

Express newspapers headline a couple of days ago.

The END of socialism: Corbyn’s fall from grace hailed by major political think tank.
And who says this?
Political expert Matthew Lesh, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute,

Should anyone then inquire who or what is the Adam Smith Institute think tank they will find a privately funded (big donations) outfit built on Neoliberal principles 'ie: Total privatization. Complete deregulation. Minimal government, and Austerity. Not what you could describe as a balanced programme of government. Is the Express correct with its headline 'The End of Socialism'? absolutely if you carry out Matthew Lesh's fascist doctoring. Why is Lesh saying this? to quote Mandy Rice-Davies, "well he would wouldn't he".

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by PanBiker » 27 Dec 2019, 12:40

It would take a lot more than an Express headline to change my viewpoint, total load of tosh.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 28 Dec 2019, 03:28

I'd argue against the Adam Smith Institute and Lesh any time and so as a matter of fact would Adam Smith if he were alive to do so. I recommend that he and his secretive organisation expose themselves and their donor list to public scrutiny and go and read the history. There was a reason why a Democratic Socialist movement founded mainly on the principles espoused by Marx and Engels rose from the ashes of right wing thinking at the end of the 19th century and it was nothing to do with Communism under Stalin. Lesh and his ilk are ignorant bigots. They are too entrenched in dogma and old-fashioned rapacious capitalism to see that what they are actually doing is creating the conditions for a resurgence of democratic socialism.
I see that someone is working on Brexit. The deadline for negotiating the UK's future relationship with the EU may need to be extended, the European Commission president has said. See THIS BBC report on her statement yesterday.
Then see THIS version of what she said in the right wing press. Compare, contrast and reflect. Ursula von der Leyden is not 'terrified' and it's a travesty to say so, like the rest of the article!
I see IDS is to get a knighthood in the New Year's Honours. What for exactly?
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 28 Dec 2019, 08:56

This gang of shysters adopted the name 'Adam Smith' to make it sound like a legitimate organisation. They are the type of people who would back Pinochet if he was still around and who we know Thatcher was one of his biggest fans.

It looks like the EU may be calling Johnson's bluff.
But Ursula von der Leyen told French newspaper Les Echos both sides needed to think seriously about whether this was enough time to reach an agreement.
She said she was "very worried" about how little time was available. "It would be reasonable to evaluate the situation mid-year and then, if necessary, agree on extending the transition period," she told the paper.

As I see it if they haven't reached a common negotiating point by mid year then its either an extension or its goodbye UK.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 29 Dec 2019, 04:16

I suspect you are close to the truth P. Ursula is a smart cookie and she has the advantage of all the members being solid behind her.
Did you here Today yesterday? Charles Moore was guest editor, he slagged off the BBC, brought in his climate denier mates who spouted the most dreadful lies wrapped up as concerned comment and in general reminded me vividly of the Thatcher Years. (He wrote her official biography [hagiography] of course) A chilling feeling that I was listening to the first probing advances of the type of rabid Tory thinking we have all been watching for.
[On the grounds of 'know your enemy', see THIS Wikipedia article on the Adam Smith Institute....]
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Whyperion » 29 Dec 2019, 05:46

Tizer wrote:
27 Dec 2019, 10:11
Stanley wrote:
27 Dec 2019, 04:20
..that's one of the reasons why being in the EU was a good thing..
Lady Hale, on the Today programme this morning, mentioned the importance of our Human Rights Act. That's another benefit we got from close alliance with the EU. The Human Rights Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which incorporates into UK law the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.
It is a pity the European Convention on Human Rights was run through EU institutions, brought in to stop state oppression of the populace, unlike pre WW2 German or the Soviet Union, or China.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 30 Dec 2019, 04:19

See THIS for a timely warning from a woman I admire. Baroness Hale warning of the consequences of cuts to the Justice System and Legal Aid in particular. This woman talks sense!
Later... See THIS BBC report on the announcement by Rebecca Long Bailey that she is going to stand for leadership on a platform of 'Progressive Patriotism', whatever that is.
My crap detector is whining. Patriotism is too easily confused with Nationalism and there is a danger that under the baneful influence of social media that 'progressive' could be interpreted as aggressive. It will also immediately be associated with immigration and the worst forms of insular thinking, racism and hatred will inevitably be drawn into the debate. I have a general rule that whenever a politician figuratively wraps him or herself in the flag it always means disaster. It would be good if she had a rethink, if she needs a platform there are plenty of simple and immediate ones to go for. I suspect this is a cunning wheeze to differentiate her offering from that of other candidates.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 30 Dec 2019, 11:31

I wonder if Rebecca has got confused and thinks she's putting herself up for leader of the Brexit Party? :extrawink:

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by PanBiker » 30 Dec 2019, 12:23

Stanley wrote:
30 Dec 2019, 04:19
Later... See THIS BBC report on the announcement by Rebecca Long Bailey that she is going to stand for leadership on a platform of 'Progressive Patriotism', whatever that is.
She has not declared her candidacy yet and if she does, as a member you will be able to read her statement as and when the shortlist is produced.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 31 Dec 2019, 06:38

I was aware of that Ian.... She has already spoken publicly about her platform.
Thinking about her somewhat off-beat pitch got me to thinking about the Labour Manifesto. Absolutely nothing wrong with most of the early statements but I thought it got a bit puzzling when the 'add-ons' started to appear on reforestation, free broadband and the promise to put the historic injustice of pensions for women to rest but not being clear about paying for it. The big contrast between the Labour offering and the Tories was that they kept their message simple. in the end it boiled down to one slogan, 'Get Brexit Done!' Labour explained everything on the doorstep but made the mistake of assuming that the electorate could take in such a complex offering. It sounds elitist I know but it is a fact that most people don't follow politics or economic policies and aren't willing or sometimes capable of understanding. Keep It simple should have been the watchword.
I see this morning that JC has said that Labour must lead the opposition to the Johnson government. I would have thought that was obvious. Concentrate on one thing, the 8 million living in poverty even though many are 'in work'. The Universal credit system is an open goal.
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 01 Jan 2020, 04:33

No politics this morning apart from the fact I am watching the buggers!
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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Tizer » 01 Jan 2020, 10:10

The last 10 minutes of the Today programme was excellent. They gathered together the BBC journalists such as Laura Kuensberg and Katya Adler and discussed their predictions for 2020. They kept returning to the topic of trade deals and how long they take. The fact that the deal with the EU will probably take more than a year and in the meantime the US will refuse to make a deal with us because they want to see what deal we make with the EU first. Also the fact that the EU will be looking for full regulatory alignment if it is expected to offer a comprehensive free trade agreement.

It's now 3.5 years since the EU referendum. I said then that Brexit would probably never happen. We're still a long way from leaving the EU. I may yet prove to have made a correct prediction! :smile:

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by plaques » 01 Jan 2020, 12:43

We are getting deep into geo-politics, We tend to think the UK is the centre of the universe and that everything revolves round us. America and Russia are the two big players in this game although Russia hardly gets a mention in the UK press. America would love a trade deal that handed over the UK in one fell swoop, but they are doing very nicely thank you as they are. Breaking up the EU may give them more leverage in Europe but the same would apply to Russia and they are much nearer. Once the UK completely leaves the EU it would be very hard to convince Joe Public to take any military action to defend the eastern countries. No doubt eventually we will get to know what America wants us to do.

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Re: POLITICS CORNER

Post by Stanley » 02 Jan 2020, 03:16

I don't think either of you are very far from the truth. Tiz is right about trade deals and as long as we act as a forward missile Base and intelligence gatherer for the US they aren't particularly interested in us so P is on the money as well.
Bottom line is we need to see events unfold and as nobody is telling us anything at the moment we have nothing but conjecture.
On the subject of Labour. I get the feeling that Corbyn is issuing holding statements. We need a positive move there.
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