The Swiss Watch

Businesses in Switzerland are watching with great interest – and with some trepidation – at the slow progress of the UK’s divorce from the European Union. Perhaps, inadvertently,  one participant at the recent British Swiss Chamber of Commerce (BSCC) meeting hit the nail on the head by stating: ……….At the moment, Brexit is a big vanity project for politicians and not at all about the reality of what will happen.

Where the UK and her politicians are concerned it would appear this comment is ‘spot-on’ as Theresa May and some members of her party; ably assisted by so-called ‘experts’,  coupled with unknowing think-tanks and journalists; has driven herself into a  cul-de-sac with her ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ plan – and is now unable to find a reverse gear, without losing face. At this point – where the words ‘vanity project’ are concerned – I would also add into the mix the suggestion I made in my preceding article.

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Like many, I question the intent of those who ‘govern’ us

When the referendum question was posed in 2016, the question on the ballot paper was: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union. Nowhere on the ballot paper, nor in the question, was it posed whether we should leave the Single Market.

Following a campaign run by both the Leave and Remain sides, a campaign based on lies and misinformation, we are now in the hands of a group of politicians, some of whom voted to remain. They have conflated, through their ignorance – or maybe deliberately – the question how leaving the European Union can be accomplished. In so doing  they have confused leaving the political part of the European Union with the trading part of the European Union – again, possibly with deliberate intent.

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The complexities of the German language

Regular readers will be aware that, at an advanced age, I have decided to learn the German language in view of my, now frequent, trips to Switzerland, At my advanced age, unfortunately my memory is not that which it was when I was decades younger; consequesently readers will readily understand the problem that confronts me at the initial hurdle.

One of the first lessons impressed upon me was to remember the gender of nouns and which was the nominative and accusative case, in order to decline any adjectives which may be required. I have quickly come to agree with the student, in the following, who declared that he would rather refuse two drinks than decline one adjective in German – and it takes a lot for me to decline one drink, let alone two!

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The Chief ‘Cashcow’ of the ‘Cashcows’ speaks

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has an article which is to appear in the next issue of The House magazine, due out on 16 October in which he proposes some improvements in the manner by which the House of Commons carries out its business.

He begins by summarising recent changes since 2009; and writes: These were mostly the work of the Wright Committee of 2009-2010, whose recommendations included the election of Select Committee Chairs and the creation of the Backbench Business Committee which has, to borrow a phrase, acted to “take back control” of a section of our timetable on behalf of backbench MPs, aka the poor bloody infantry.  In view of the fact, so aptly demonstrated by themselves, that our present MPs are not fit for purpose, one assumes he meant to write bloody poor infantry – but I digress.

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Is May ’owen’ Paterson, or is Paterson ‘owen’ May?

Regular readers of Witterings from Witney, who have followed me to Seaham, will recall I am partial to the odd pun or two. Consequently, for any new readers, I ‘translate’ the heading to this article, bearing in mind that our ‘ever-knowing’ (not) media have their finger on the pulse of important news in their reporting that ‘Our Revered (not) Leader’ is planning a cabinet reshuffle.

In view of the foregoing, the question has to be asked whether she is ‘owing’ Paterson a ‘return to government ‘ for his undoubted allegiance to her ‘programme’; or he thinks she is ‘owing’ him a ‘return to government’ for ‘promoting’ her ‘programme’ – albeit her ‘programme’ is a load of crap (of which more shortly).

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Spending other people’s money

That is dead easy, especially if the other people have no real say on the matter and they are not informed of the true cost of a programme it is intended be implemented.

First, though, a little digression. Angela Raynor: When I became pregnant at sixteen……  (source). Well Ms Raynor, had your mother and you had a good education, you would have  known, at 16 years of age it is a good idea, to be quite blunt, if girls kept their legs closed.

Sure Start: a programme with the aim of “giving children the best possible start in life” through improvement of childcare, early education, health and family support, with an emphasis on outreach and community development (source). When standards of education has been reduced to the point where public money is being wasted; and  has so been done over decades purely for political idealogy, is it any wonder that parents do not have, or seem to have, any idea abut ‘parenting’, coupled with children being taught about ‘personal responsibility’?

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Being ‘taken for a ride’

We either live by democracy or we do not, we either follow the will of the people or we perish.

Wherever one cares to look we, the people, are being taken for the ‘proverbial ride’; especially where democracy per se is concerned. At this early point it is necessary to, once again,define the word ‘democracy’. It is derived from the Greek: ‘Demos’; People; ‘Kratos’: Power – People Power. If the ‘people’ do not have the  power to control their elected ‘representatives’, then it must follow that there can be no ‘democracy per se’.

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Therein lies the problem

I note that Oliver Norgrove has recently had two articles in the MSM; one in the Daily Telegraph and t’other in the Guardian. As a Senior Citizen, of some seniority now, I feel able to state that I have been following the writings of ‘young Norgrove’ for some time; and as a result, hold him in high regard.

In his article for the Guardian he writes that he is tempted to vote for Labour in view of the intransigence of the Conservatives for a ‘Hard Brexit’. He writes: The result of all this is that I’m likely to vote Labour at the next general election. I have soured against a Tory party that is extremely close to wrecking a political endeavour I will defend until my dying day……But in all this there is opportunity: to switch tack and opt for pursuit of European Free Trade Association membership, as advocated by the Efta president, Carl Baudenbacher. If Labour was to do so, they could highlight the absurd hypocrisy in the Tories claiming to be the party of economic strength whilst they drive us unnervingly towards a cliff edge. It’s a move that would attract huge support in more metropolitan and remain-supporting pockets of the country – precisely the areas Labour will need to appeal to if it is to have a chance of a majority at the next election. Business will also take note, bewildered at the very real prospects of a default no deal or stunted trade flow that a Tory Brexit might cause. The Norway option is Labour’s chance to restore public faith in its capacity to build a strong economy.

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The ‘Mind Benders’

When the referendum last year was confirmed, from then (if not before) all we have had from our politicians and the commentariat was crap; crap in that they knew not what they were talking and/or writing about (and still haven’t).

The latest crap we are being fed is from Labour who want a transitional deal which includes continued participation of the Single Market and continued membership of the Customs Union. This has dutifully been hailed by the Financial Times as: the best news to come out of British politics in a long time and putting Labour: many steps ahead of the Conservatives. Both the statements from Labour and the Financial Times have one thing in common: they are both crap; but hey, we are supposed to believe them because they emanate from two supposedly reliable sources.

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Do politicians have a ‘shelf life’?

I ask the question in view of this article.

Long ago I lost count of:

  • politicians dismissed from cabinet owing to misdemeanors, incompetence, or ‘rebellion’; only to be re-appointed a few years later;
  • politicians dismissed from cabinet and then jumping on a bandwagon of their leader, hoping for re-appointment;
  • politicians dismissed from cabinet by the preceding prime minister, yet are re-appointed by the successor purely to keep them ‘on-side’ so that they do not cause ‘trouble.
  • politicians with a degree in Politics,  Philosophy and Economics (PPE) appointed to cabinet posts for which they had no firsthand work experience.

Rosamund Irwin, the author of the linked article above, is quite correct to write that Theresa May leads a cabinet of the ‘resurrected and recycled’; but then what prime ministerial practice, within his/her tenure at No 10, has she not followed for her own benefit?

In a separate article Sebastian Whale asks when did we stop trying to understand each other. Sebastian ‘wails’ abut the lack of co-operation twixt politicians of opposing political views – yet never mind political party discourse, just when have they actually ‘talked’ to us?. Yes, politicians may well talk to each other, but more likely their topic of conversation is more to do with leaders of their party who they consider idiots or possibly the inflated prices in their  subsidised restaurants. Yes, he mentions Stella Creasy’s amendment to the Queen’s Speech that allowed Northern Irish women to access abortions on the NHS in mainland Britain, supported by whip-defying Tory MPs and a cause long championed by among others, Conservative chair of the Equalities Committee, Maria Miller; but how more quickly might that have been introduced if those people it affected had had a voice in the matter?

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