Boris’ Historic Election – Thank You EU

Congratulations to Boris! Now perhaps we can go back to having too much food, too much drink and too much indulgence over the Christmas break, without having politics upsetting us all?

Johnson this morning – photo from BBC

This huge victory will set the direction of politics for the next 10 years. Yes, we predict another term for BoJo starting in 2024. I am indebted to my older contact who has already pointed out that by December 2024, Labour will have only had one election-winning leader in 50 years. FIFTY YEARS!!! Step forward Tony Blair. You achieved the success that eluded Jim Callaghan, Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock, Gordon Brown, Ed Milliband and now Jeremy Corbyn. Oh, and John Smith too…… Did I miss any?

Jim Callaghan – never won
Michael Foot – never won
John Smith – never won (though to be fair he never tried)
Neil Kinnock – never won
Gordon Brown – never won
Ed Milliband – never won
Mr Corbyn – he didn’t win either (twice)
Tony Blair – the only one to win in 50 years – and yet they hate him!

And to what can we allocate this massive swing in the vote for the Tory Party? Why, the EU!! What a change for the European project to be assisting the blues! It was the disdainful response of Frau Merkel to David Cameron’s pleas for moderating change that set the ball rolling towards a leave vote. This was compounded by the EU inaction during the referendum campaign. Where were Messrs Junckers and Tusk during the lead up to the vote? They were not in UK sharing the vision and love were they? Their next mistake was to play hardball too much with Mrs May, forcing her on to the defensive at home. One has to surmise that they thought a Remainer-Parliament was their best hope of keeping the UK on board. But they overplayed their hand, sending Theresa back with too much of a surrender bill. This off-hand treatment was compounded by the humiliation and shunning that Mrs May received from the other EU leaders at Salzburg. So the scene was set for Parliament to respond to the lack of co-operation… which led to Boris becoming leader…. which led to the election. One has to hope that they will work with Boris as an equal!

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Brave Bold Boris Boosts Britain

Boris’s First Cabinet. (Photo by Aaron Chown – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

What a great start he has made! Mr Johnson has his critics, not to mention his complex private life. But the change of mood since Wednesday has been palpable. It feels like a spring back from the doom, gloom and managed decline of the 1970’s (Mrs May’s dour attitude) to the sunlit uplands of Tony Blair’s Cool Britannia in the 1990’s. For an in-depth review of the new cabinet, we recommend the Politico website.

 

This is what we see Boris as having done well;-

  1. A wholesale new government, with everyone pulling in the same direction. This is quite a change from the try-to-appease everyone approach of the May administration.

  2. Stamping his authority on the cabinet from Day 1 by standing up to Jeremy Hunt

  3. Putting Michael Gove in charge of No Deal preparations and funding him properly. This is a sign to all that the new Government will take No Deal if a better alternative is not forthcoming.

  4. Surrounding himself by a team of advisers who are known to mean business.

  5. Announcing a raft of other policy initiatives – for example putting money into extra police, focussing on the Northern Powerhouse, and spending on defence. Suddenly, it looks like the Tories have spending plans based on conviction rather than just trying to react to Mr Corbyn’s ideas. This is signalling also that if a General Election comes, the Conservatives have a manifesto in waiting.

  6. Keeping Carrie out of the limelight to avoid distracting headlines.

  7. A bravado performance in Parliament, answering questions assuredly for more than two hours. Boris seemed positive, competent and inspiring. We can only imagine his political opponents were downcast, and several of his doubters in the Conservatives were starting to be won over. Nothing improves one’s political fortunes as much as appearing to be a winner!

  8. Making telephone calls to other World Leaders, but travelling first around the UK to ensure his interest in the provinces can be seen.

We agree with the Team Boris analysis that there can only be one of three outcomes over the next 4 months;

  1. No Deal Brexit

  2. The EU blinks and negotiates

  3. A general election.

Opening deep talks with the US at this stage shows a much more determined approach to negotiating with EU. Brussels clearly has disdain for the choice of the British people, but they will not want the UK moving from the EU’s orbit into that of the Americans. So playing off the two powers against each other is a very smart move. Suddenly, No Deal has a geo-political angle rather than just being a punishment for UK.

Summary

Boris has had a great start and now has the political momentum (with a small M!!). He could well prove unstoppable by the time Parliament reconvenes in September if he keeps this going over the summer.

Unlike most of the media, we see Boris’s start as making No Deal less probable, because his strength will more-likely make the EU re-open talks.

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Labour’s Clause IV is Back – Could Farage Become PM as a Result?

When Tony Blair amended the Labour Party’s Clause IV in 1995, suddenly, New Labour became electable. With the latest leaked plans to confiscate energy, railways, Royal Mail and utility companies, Corbyn has revealed a desire to revert back to the 1970’s .

Corbyn is getting scary now…..

Will he be re-opening the mines next? This whole concept is way more scary than the prospect of the return of flares and disco!

But if removing the Reds’ commitment to “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange” made it possible for Labour to be elected in the 1990s, could these policies make them unelectable in the 2020s? Well they are having an effect. Why else would they be only matching such a dismal Conservative Party, and not 30% ahead in the polls?

There is one conundrum though. Membership of the EU would make such theft of property much more difficult. So why are Labour so keen to stay in the EU? Is it just about provoking splits in a badly torn Government? Is it that Labour are just as split as the Tories, but trying to hide it by sitting on the fence? Does the parliamentary Labour Party actually support these policies – or are they just keeping their heads down, afraid that local activists will de-select anyone who doesn’t toe the Momentum line?

The scary truth is that the leftie arguments are gaining traction with the public. Those of us grey enough to remember the 1970’s know that public ownership just breeds laziness, tribal in-fighting, ill-considered and reduced investment, and terrible customer service.

Gosh, there are so many pics out there of Mr Farage with a pint!

NOBODY is out there making this argument though. The Tories seem to be too transfixed by their own death-spiral to counter the economically-illiterate shouting from across the way. I spy a gap for the Brexit Party. Our next PM may well be Boris Johnson – but the one after that could well be Nigel Farage, if he cares to seize a broader agenda.

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Brexit Decision is Too Late

Here we are, less than 3 weeks to go, and Parliament still cannot agree what it wants.

Houses of No Decision

Wouldn’t it have been better if they had had an honest debate 2 years ago? They could have noted that there was no way the EU would give us a cushy deal. With that in mind, they could have chosen between;-

a) This house believes that we must go ahead with Brexit whatever the cost. A No-Deal is likely, but with two years to prepare, we can face it with our eyes open and spend plenty of time and money in preparation, thus minimising the disruption.

OR

b) This house believes that the general public has made a huge mistake in voting for Brexit. Therefore we will not enact Article 50 and hope by the next election they will understand that we were right all along.

Choice b) may have caused a storm in the letters page of the Daily Telegraph, but probably no more disgruntlement than our present predicament.

Tony Blair looking serious

By choosing a “Third Way”, the politicians have pleased nobody, and caused the greatest economic mess we have faced in a generation. Ha that the phrase “Third Way” is a Tony Blair-ism. Bet he wishes that it was his largest political legacy!

So what will happen this week?

  1. Theresa May goes ahead with the three promised votes, loses all of them, goes to Brussels to request an extension, is refused and we leave with no deal anyway. Chance 15%

  2. As above, but the EU say we can’t have a short extension, but they would let us pull Article 50 altogether – and so we stay in. Chance 5%

  3. As number 1, but the EU lets us stay in for 2 more years to sort ourselves out. Chance 0%

  4. Mrs May postpones the vote tomorrow because she is “close to a better deal”. Parliament allows her one week. Chance 20%

  5. Mrs May offers to resign as soon as her Deal is agreed. The Brexiteers take the bait and the Deal is passed on Tuesday! Chance 10%

  6. As Item 1, all votes go ahead and are lost. Mrs May goes to Brussels and is given an extra 4 weeks to sort out the major practicalities. Parliament tries to take over, but can’t get a majority for anything or anyone. So we leave on 26 April with a Fig Leaf Deal. Chance 40%

  7. Something else less predictable. Chance 10%

What a mess! As any cynical observer would note, we don’t know any more than anyone else!

Theresa May

But how on earth are people who work out in the real economy supposed to plan? How can anybody run a real business? All this indecisiveness and prevarication in Parliament has had a properly negative effect on UK’s economy – an effect worse than if a real decision had been taken 2 years ago. Even at this 11th hour and 59 minutes, it looks like the can may well be kicked down the road again. Meanwhile, business plans are mothballed, activity is moved overseas and other Government business is ignored. This lack of leadership is worse than anyone ever imagined.

To paraphrase, A Bad Decision Would Have Been Better Than No Decision

Not very funny is it?

PS. This time my percentages do sum to 100%. (Unlike last time) Let’s have that picture of Rachel Riley in Countdown to celebrate!

Rachel Riley in Countdown
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