Lock Down

Locked down, on my own, no one but me

No hello, no why? No, just not anything.

How I wish I were with someone, anyone, especially you

But I’m not, I’m locked down with me.

I’m locked down, what does this mean? Lock down.

A lonely prisoner locked down on my own

I don’t even like myself, at least not too much

I am afraid of myself if I let myself go and scream!

I wish I could be locked down with you

I don’t know who you are, but it’s you I want

I want to be free, to be with someone I know but don’t

So I can be surprised by our startling face ups.

If I was locked up with you, would you be nice to me?

Would you be nice enough, to be nice to.

Being in lock down on my own, is good, it’s cool

Because I know I am alone and free.

Boing in lockdown, I can pray, and write a poem

I can wish, to meet all my other me’s.

I can imagine, imagine this and that

And be in love, with whoever I may want to be.

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What do you think Brexit means?

–The European Union has developed from a trading bloc concept post second world war to the political union institution of today. It started as a trading proposal and then developed into a political union. The treaty of Lisbon 2007 replaced the EU’s key treaties — the 1957 Treaty of Rome primarily and conceptually a trading agreement, and the treaties of Maastricht (1992), Amsterdam (1996) and Nice (2000) Each step following on from the treaty of Rome has moved closer and closer to a federal Europe. Indeed the treaty of Lisbon is the accepted foundation of a Federal European Constitution.


The idea of a political and eventually a federal Europe has above all been the most effective way of keeping the peace in Europe, and in many ways expanding the idea of democracy to former communist and totalitarian states. This has undoubtedly been an enormous boon to the peaceful advance of Europe as a whole. The other benefits are that Europe has a much stronger voice in world affairs and much more clout when it comes to both soft and hard influence.


The Lisbon treaty has laid down the primacy of the European institutions over, (though shared in some limited issues), national sovereign governments. The European Union’s exclusive decision making encompasses the customs union, competition rules, monetary policy over euro members, common fisheries policy, commercial and international policies. This effectively means that the EU centre has primacy over all things regarding the internal market including, social policy, territorial cohesion, agriculture and fisheries, environment, consumer protection, transport trans-European network energy, freedom security and justice, public health.
Individual states are left with a much modified freedom of legislation. The greatest change has been the introduction of the Euro as a common currency, a massive operation that was implemented in a political euphoria that resulted in catastrophic economic consequences for the PIGS, (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). Portugal has been the first to begin recovery from this catastrophic politically motivated financial change. The desire to spread the economic unity of a single currency remains one of the most intransigent issues which the EU faces. There are eleven currencies in the EU presently and all except two, UK and Denmark are bound to accept the Euro as their currency. The European Central Bank will therefore hold sway and all the member states who will eventually have to accede to fiscal union, i.e. The ECB will have the last word on budgets and thus austerity or expansion.


There are rules which govern the translation of national currencies to the Euro. Hopefully lessons of the past (Greece et al) will be learned. This is where many Euro sceptics shy away from the Federation idea, clearly to have a currency union will require the surrender of national decision making (sovereignty).


The other argument that is a worry to some, is the overall primacy of the EU in commercial policy. In the interests of the common customs union and other trading matters, the EU is defensive as well as enterprising. The EU whilst protecting its internal market, restricts access to other external markets and insists on unity of trading principles from all its members. Membership restricts members’ ability to exploit their individual specialist skills or knowledge – another Euro sceptic objection. Defence and Food industries (agriculture and fisheries) are two which are particularly sensitive to non-European opportunity.


Whilst the Pound Sterling remains outside the Euro, and the UK dominates the defence scene in Europe (which is quickly changing), the issues of international defence relationships are also vexed questions, particularly to the UK, which with France, is a permanent member of the Security Council. . The relationships of NATO and with the United States are confused with the EU aspiring to flex its own muscles on the world stage. Good or bad? Probably the former in the longer term, but there are serious issues with some member states who seem not prepared to invest in defence but still want the collective protection.


Many of the European states are keen to accept the democratic ideal, though several still have autocratic and populist aspirations. Here membership of the EU is an undoubted force for progressive good. However, the cumbersome nature of many national ideas is also a hindrance to unity and deftness to respond speedily in a very dangerous world. The strong will need to surrender their leadership international roles and be more sensitive to consensus politics. Leadership of the EU is now vested in France and Germany, how long will that be comfortable for the smaller nations.


One of the great planks of the European idea is freedom of movement and this was one of the emotive issues when the UK held its in/out referendum. The awareness of the good of immigration, has since dawned on the British public, and perhaps this has become a lesser-issue for many, but not for all. Control of our borders is a cry not only of the UK but many EU countries in the light of mass migration from the Middle East and Africa. This issue is not going to go away and seemingly will affect all nations for the foreseeable future.


The European Court of Justice is clearly an important pillar of European integration, there is much confusion in the minds of many that the Court is involved in minor admin, (e.g. the price and shape of bananas) and whilst no doubt the Brussels community is a humungous beurocracy the Court plays an essential role in the furtherance of judicial rules across the EU.


In this blog I have tried to draw attention to some of the pros and cons of the European dilemma. Not the British dilemma, which courts division, the breakup of the union, and much risk besides. One thing is for certain that if the UK leaves the EU it will have a detrimental effect both in the UK and the EU. There will be a shrinkage of the EU economy, and the UK which currently makes up 17% of the EU economy,will certainly find, at least in the short term, some very difficult issues in the financial services and agricultural industries in particular.


The possibility of the reunification of Ireland is a problem that nobody wants to face, yet it may be the only answer to the Irish problem. That would prove a detrimental financial blow to the Republic of Ireland and there is no real support there for such a move. The UK on the other hand, could foresee the unification of Ireland as a boon, since Northern Ireland has a substantial fiscal deficit running into billions of pounds/euros.

Scotland also may opt to have another vote for cessation from the Union, which if granted in the earlier days of withdrawal from the EU, could swing away and cause a huge uproar in constitutional and legal affairs in the UK. The Welsh who have the greatest fiscal deficit (per head of population) may well agitate for independence, but reality makes such an aspiration unlikely to succeed.


So there are great risks on both the EU and UK sides. Whist there have been many divisive shrieks from both sides of the Brexit arguments, no one can prophesy the future with any certainty.


In sketching the threats and opportunities that face us all, I hope some will be given food for thought.

The magic money tree and other delusions of the great British revival.

Brexit, here we go again, why?  Boris and Jeremy are both promising to take UK out of the EU, no matter what. (respecting democracy they say). Additionally they are both promising all sorts of goodies in the form of  giveaways such as tax reductions,  National Insurance thresholds, not to mention corporation tax.

What complete nonsense! We need to take note of these wild promises, not only because they are undo-able, but because both candidates have a warped idea of what leaving the EU means and where on earth the promised money is to come from. 

We know for sure that the consequence of the UK leaving the EU will result in further confusion, even worse if we have a ‘no deal’ exit.  So how are these guys going to shake the magic money tree?

Well of course they could save money from areas such as defence, overseas aid, abandoning our nuclear submarines and withdrawing from our overseas missions.  Where else are we to find money to improve education, law and order, the NHS, Social care etc etc.

There is confusion here.  Are we leaving the EU so that UK can trade freely, generate growth in the longer term and remain a first class power, retain our seat on the UN security council, remain a nuclear power in defence terms, remain a leading partner in NATO?

At the same time we are to suffer, certainly in the short term a decline in national wealth.  If Boris and Jeremy want to put the Great back into Great Britain then they have to square the circle.  Both candidates for the leadership of the Conservative party are either fibbers or magicians.

Neither has been brave enough to say, “Look, we’re going to take a substantial hit, but it is going to be worth it in the longer run. What we want to achieve is a new UK which will surely lose its hard power because we can’t afford it, but we can recover and attain soft power through trade and a limited international presence. There is no magic money tree, we all have to work and aspire to become the future independent and prosperous UK”

What is the vision?  I wish they would tell us.  No wonder we say Bah! to politicians!

Boris for a day – it’s dark out there!

Telling the future is always hazardous, but I am prepared to bet that Boris the boorish philanderer will be come Prime Minister of UK. Happily though, it will only be for a day or two at the most. Surely, if Boris gets in, and the blue rinse Tories are daft enough to get him there, there will be a vote of no confidence and a general election will follow.

The bad news is the chaos that will follow that. It is hard to imagine, but the options are not pretty. A hot bed of Lib Dems, the Brexit party run by Nigel Farage, the tail end of Labour, or maybe the resurgence of a more moderate Labour, an active and insurgent SNP and a minority of Tories of whatever hue. It seems most likely that the mother of parliaments will become the home of a huge mix of political variations with a coalition being paramount. The key issue of ‘Brexit’ will remain the elephant in the chamber, it depends if the Brexit alliance can hold the rest at bay.

The numbers, that’s the issue. Despite the apparent huge changes the UK will be in the same boat. The one item/personality that can change all this is not Boris but Nigel Farage.

The next general election will be fought as another referendum on Brexit, like it or not! Let us hope the electorate vote decisively one way or another. This is where my future prophesying lapses.

The prospect of Nigel Farage is one I might contemplate down in the Pub, but not for more than a millisecond, who else do I see on the horizon. It’s dark out there.

 

The blind leading the blind.

Having watched last night’s debate with five conservative hopefuls to fill the hapless gap left by Mrs. May, I am astonished that not one of these candidates has the foggiest idea how to deliver what they promise.

Boris Johnson was clearly the best, at not answering questions at all, he just bumbled along assuring us it was completely unimportant that he condemned Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe to a double term in an Iranian jail. In fact, he said, it was the Iranians fault in the first place and what he said as Foreign Secretary was neither here or there. Can you believe that?

Believe it or not, not one of his opponents picked him up on this. How can they possibly tolerate such clear idiocy from Boris or anyone else. I was hugely disappointed that Jeremy Hunt did not pick up on this.

It seemed to me, they all, with the exception of Rory Stewart, were toadying to Boris as the inevitable winner and next prime minister for places in his cabinet.

What a complete farce, nobody knows how to deliver Brexit, and nobody will tell us what they are going to do to manage the UK’s EU exit.

On other policies, they were all suitably vague and united, again except for Stewart, on giving away loads of money on tax breaks.

I don’t know if they turned out just to show how useless they all are, but they certainly succeeded.

Boris, backwards to the ruling class.

So, we really do need a posh bullshit merchant to bluster our way to Brexit! So it seems, if you believe the results of the first conservative election results. I think it speaks volumes about the Conservative MP’s who are scared to death of losing their jobs. Dear Boris launched his campaign saying nothing except possibly “Tally ho! follow me!”

He followed this baloney with claims of his success as the Mayor of London, carefully avoiding some of his positively gargantuan cock-ups. He then took questions which he entirely ignored with one exception, and continued his bluster about what a good man he is . Tally ho! Bullingdon Club lads to the fore.

I can never forgive Boris for his dreadful betrayal of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, by a total disregard for his responsibility, his off the cuff stupidity and his downright arrogance.

If the conservative rank and file are stupid enough to support this nomination I for one will never vote Tory again.

Israel Folau – free speech?

Israel Folau has been fired by the Australian RFC for making his thoughts known about homosexuality. Firstly this is very bad news for the Australian team preparing for the upcoming IRU World Cup. That aside, the issue here is not what Folau said but what Folau is allowed to say as a citizen of the free world.

I understand he made a comment that folk who conduct themselves in a way that is prescribed in his religion will go to hell, where ever that is? I am not knowingly a member or of a behaviour type to receive Mr Folau’s wrath, nor can I remember the full list of those condemned to hell. Nor am I concerned.

What does concern me is that this excellent athlete has stated his religious views and everyone is free to agree with or disagree with him. Personally I disagree, but I absolutely believe he has the right to express his religious views if they do not incite hatred or encourage malevolence.

Going to hell, seems not the most desirable place to end up, but hey, you believe what you believe. The statement does not imply any other imposition of punishment of any form on this earth – so what is the problem? The statement he made says much about Israel Folau, he is a religious man who lives by strictly defined values. He may be at at odds with some of us, but surely that is not only acceptable, it has to be his right to express himself.

I hope the Australian Rugby Football Union relent and practice what they preach which is an inclusive organisation, both for ideas, free speech as well and sexuality.

Brexit, failure or ambition.

David Cameron has tucked his £800,000 advance up his shirt and walked away from the biggest political upheaval the UK has ever seen. I sincerely hope that as few as possible buy his book which no doubt will point to his genius and integrity in creating this major cock up. Whilst not mentioning Libya (another huge mess) he will no doubt point to his achievements as he sees them. How anybody can be remotely interested in this failed ‘has been’ is beyond me.

Nevertheless, President Macron’s impassioned plea for the goodness intrinsic to the idea of the EU is a compelling one. He does not labour on the failures such as the PIGS bankruptcy and unemployment, but he does claim the Euro has been a success with which I heartily disagree.

What went wrong then? Now we have no end of dissent about both the purpose and the practice of the European idea. The Brits are clearly fed up, many for the wrong reasons. The Austrians, Hungarians and Poles have perniciously right wing governments and dissatisfaction with the EU is widely the rule.

There is a clear disconnect between the ‘man in the street’ and the European Union as a consciousness of belonging to something of worth. Brussels appears as a nightmarish bureaucracy populated by greedy politicians who are profligate in the extreme. Easily dis-likeable and easily pilloried.

Cameron recognised the dis-like and the dissent but he washed his hands of the whole affair and committed to a referendum nobody (except perhaps Nigel Farage. ) wanted. He presumed, I think, that remain would win and all would be well. That they did not, came, I’m sure, as a a complete surprise, and off marched DC the victim of his own innocence and naivety.

Is it too late to turn back the clock? Since the referendum no one has a solution to a problem nobody wanted. Impasse!,

Please will somebody – anybody – attempt to clarify what is good about the EU and what is bad about the EU, and what would be needed to improve the institution. The idea of the EU – unity, peace and concord, – good. Practice – graft, gravy train, issues with borders, law and order, defence, unification of standards – vary from very good to very bad.

Why is the reversion to so called sovereign status good, why is nationalism bad?

All I know is faffing about doing nothing is bad.

Brexit means Exit!

We know what we know, we are aware of some of what we don’t know, and we don’t know what we don’t know.  So why does everyone say “now we know what happens when we leave the EU.” Oh no we don’t – sheer fantasy like the Boris’ big bus.  

As I have said many times before ‘he who tells the future tells lies’.  Actually, he tells what he wants us to believe and he, whoever he is, is seldom right. 

The fact remains that the idiot Cameron allowed the uninformed to make a choice that was, and is, very unclear.  He offered the in/out option and the people in vast numbers voted, the majority for out.  Oh what a bugger!  Not what David of the shiny face wanted!

Enter stage left the dreaded Blair the man who misled the country so wilfully into Iraq.  He’s now mincing around Europe canvassing the EU to make our exit so difficult we’ll have no choice other than to cancel after what he says will be a positive peoples  vote.

If ever there was a motive to stick with the majority this is it, this deplorable truth spinner who’s made vast sums parading his ego as the saviour of the centre ground.  He has much in common with Macron who also has a ‘God’ syndrome.

No my friends, we voted out, no way back, out without a deal or with a deal, the people have spoken. It might be they spoke rubbish but it doesn’t matter its called democracy.  If you have another idea, maybe a Trump PM, or the loony left, take your pick. Me, I’m for believing in democracy even if the direction might be flawed.

Anyway who knows? I for one don’t know what I don’t know!

There’s none so deaf that will not hear!

The UK is transfixed with Brexit which is understandable, but just take a minute to look around and see what chaos rains across the European Union.

France is in chaos, Germany uncertain, PIGS broke, the Euro uncertain, the world environment being trampled over by not only Trump but several of his kind in the EU, and we worry about Brexit!  Even worse a range of people who should know better keep on prophesying doom and gloom and no one seems to think there can be any upside to leaving the EU.

It’s time for calm thinking.  The EU dream is all but dead, coming apart at the seams, and it is fair to say that the UK is one of the main causes or at least one of the main  manifestations of this unravelling.

The Brits for all their faults, are smarter than many think.  There is no doubt that the EU will suffer enormously from the British exit, far more that the UK.  In areas like technology, research, defence and intelligence the UK is miles ahead of its peers in the EU.  In terms of finance and banking London holds sway and will continue to do so. Yes there will be short term disturbance of all the markets but it will settle and the UK will be substantially better off without its levies to the EU, with opportunity to trade fairly and widely inside and outside the EU.

Hopefully the vicar’s daughter in Downing Street will be replaced by a leader of imagination and charisma that can exploit the great opportunities that will doubtless come.  It will not be too long before the gigantic bureaucracy that is Brussels will be knocking on the UK door seeking advice and succour on any number of fronts from defence to technology.

The French always resisted the entry of GB into the European fold.  There is little to choose between the posturing Macron and the elegant but strutting de Gaul.  Their attitudes remain unchanged, in wanting to see the resurgence of an imperial France as a joint European leader without the Brits who have always retained more soft power. The french dig up the streets in protest the Brits just wring their hands. 

The real disadvantage of the unravelling of the EU is not so much the UK’s withdrawal as the rise of populism throughout Southern Europe. The stability that the EFTA and EU  imposed has been comforting, but the rise in the uneven material wealth in Hungary, Roumania, Greece and say Germany has given rise to enormous dissatisfaction and the rise to this uneasy populism. Instead of de-emphasising nationalism the failure of the EU’s fiscal system has exaggerated it.  The whole political ideal of Delors has been or is being turned on its head.  

In the UK referendum many people voted to leave for the reasons they perceived to be the most crucial.  Those who have least feared they would lose most and voted primarily against the free movement of people which they saw as a strain on the UK welfare and NHS.  Now that the reality of world economic migration is striking home everyone has a much more reasoned view of migration in general.  Immigration is no longer the issue it was. Nonetheless the great majority of Brits are loath to change their minds.  The population seems at odds with Parliamentarians who are as ever more cautious and unadventurous than the great majority. Democracy strikes again!

The question is should MP’s vote as their constituents tell them or vote according to their conscience. An impasse!  How the French love that word – but the people say “Let’s go, the world awaits.”

Brexit – we arrived exactly as this blog predicted.

The chaos that passes for our parliamentary democracy is the direct result of the dreadful political error in allowing a binary choice in a grossly over simplified referendum.  This has been compounding by the dogged but narrow minded Prime Minister May mismanaging the consequent negotiations to leave the European Union.

I wrote about what to expect back in May 2016 see my blog “Cameron – democracy what a chancer”  I then prophesied what was to happen and by and large I was almost precisely correct.

What I could not prophesy was that Mrs. May would call a disastrous election and then personally manage the negotiations with the EU from the view point of the vicar’s daughter she is.  That is to say, she set off by seeking to agree to what the EU wanted because she was sorry we were to leave.  Perhaps, it would have been better to have set out by adopting the stance that the UK was leaving and this is what the UK expected to happen.  I am not suggesting that the difference in the two approaches are apocalyptic but the nuance and difference has proved to be crucial.  She has allowed the EU to turn the screw and now we find ourselves with a deal that nobody except the PM finds palatable.

I have a feeling that many people will want to see the ‘May’ proposal rejected by Parliament and negotiations reopened after an extension to the article 50 period.

The EU will say no, of course, as they will try to press their advantage, but they may be chastened by the closeness of opinion and the growth in the likelyhood of the ‘no deal’ option.

If the PM prevails then we can only hope that in the fulness of time things will move on to new ideas and new partnerships. This is a big ‘what if’ issue the preliminary agreement is seeded very much in the EU’s favour. The current negotiations are preliminary but the EU has seeded them with one sided options which are the main object of disdain and revolt that has emboldened the Euro-sceptics. If these one-sided issues could be made less one sided and more equal then there would be far fewer opposition to the May proposals.  This may force the UK governments of the future to be in permanent state of angst against the EU.  Not an attractive proposition.

If it is not too late, Mrs. May has to be more assertive and go back to the table and negotiate away these one-sided  EU impositions, then she may became the saviour of the piece.

In the meantime the EU has plenty of problems of its own. Brexit will hurt both the departing and the depleted. Many feel the Euro and all that that implies will tumble and that the Brexit question will become in theory and practice much less crucial in the great scheme of things.

Not so surprising, Saudi Arabia?

I’ve been around a bit, and one of the most vivid memories was of my first visit to Jeddah in the 1970’s.  I was stuck by the strangeness of it all and even had a booking foul up which meant I was marooned over the weekend in Jeddah (Friday).  I wondered about and my curiosity was peaked by the crowd outside the rear of the Red Sea Palace Hotel.  I chanced upon the most revolting dehumanising thing I have ever witnessed, namely a public execution.  I did not tarry but scuttled off, shaken to the core.

Since then the Saudi regimes of the various so called royal rulers have continued to routinely chop off heads  of anyone who they disagree with or those who are deemed to have offended the religious beliefs of the Kingdom’s rulers.

Human rights have been and remain the last thing Saudi royal family consider.  They rule by fear and have no truck with the idea of self determination or even self expression.  The  idea of the noble Arab raising from the desert tribes is truly nonsense, and without oil Saudi Arabia would be nothing.  With oil it could be one of the best educated and progressive countries in the world, alas that has not turned out to be the case.

Are we surprised then when the Saudi regime bumps off in the cruellest way a dissenter. Sadly we are not, which begs the question of why does the West espouse the Saudi regime. The reasons are many, including not allowing China/Russia to have control over an important energy source, the biggest pocket book in the world to buy anything from fighters and bombs, as well as hospitals and luxury goods and property in London and Paris.  Also I believe an honest desire to influence these primeval Saudi rulers towards democracy and the respect of human rights.

Clearly this last objective has failed miserably.  The issues of the pocket book remain.  Who cares if the Saudis kill and maim and starve children in Yemen?  Nobody if they can make a buck from selling the Saudis militaria.  Should we care?

Please, I hope we do, and we should lobby our Parliamentarians to stop this trade no matter what the cost.  A Yemeni child or a Saudi journalist or those Saudi citizens  awaiting a barbarous beheading should be given the chance to live. What price on them?

Imagination vs Fear of the unknown. Brexit is certainly unknown.

There we have it, stay in Europe or strike out on our own.  So far we’ve had umpteen warnings of the catastrophes that will beset the UK if we come out of the EU, so far they haven’t happened.

I wrote two years ago that what has come to pass has indeed happened, quelle surprize! However the lack of leadership from all political parties has added immensely to the conundrum.  “He who tells the future tells lies.” (old Arab proverb) Bare it in mind and accept that we have no idea of what is going to happen.  Absolutely no idea.

There are some out there who feel that launching into the unknown is a crazy thing to do.  They have a point.  There are others who argue that independently the UK will be better off, controlling our trade, taxes, laws and borders.

The worst offenders in irrational arguments are the regional players in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who keep barking on about the financial support they’ve received from the EU ignoring the fact that the UK as a whole is a net contributor.  The aggregate of their argument is that they get a better deal regionally from Brussels than they would from Westminster.  This is a curious argument from those who seek more local power and yet want to bow the knee to an unelected European commission.

The other great argument is about the motives of the Brits to leave the EU.  It is argued, probably authentically, that the great majority of voters voted for Brexit based on their xenophobic attitude toward immigration.  This sad but reflects the oversimplification of a yes/no referendum.  It also reflects poorly on the British sense of values.

We would all do well to go back to the core of the argument, i.e. Do we want to be ruled by an unelected council of ministers whose credo is ever more integration into their idea of a United States of Europe.

Me, no!  That’s it, you may want that, OK if the majority want that, that’s OK with me too.

Just keep in mind that if we leave we have to stride out and do our best to thrive. I hope in so doing we continue to welcome friends of every colour and creed.  I want to see my country thrive as an example of skill and adventure for the good not only of the UK but the world at large.  I just happen to believe that we will do this best as we Brits have done over the centuries.

 

The (dis) United Kingdom.

As Rishi Sunak settles in to sort the impenetrable problems of the UK there is a sizeable minority still agitating for national dismemberment into four smaller entities or if you will three and an integrated Ireland.

The wee spicey leader of Scotland is the nearest to achieving independence but none in Wales, Ireland or Scotland have so far have faced the issue of fiscal deficit. Each separate national entity depends, whether they like it or not, on the South East of England including greater London which contributes the by far largest income to the UK Government.

In the meantime everyone is whining about the cost of living, inflation and all. Nichola Sturgeon, in Scotland, Adam Price in Wales and Sinn Fain in Northern Ireland are all to the foe, all omitting the real issues of interdependency, At least Drakeford, the First Minister in Wales professes to be a Unionist, but sees no issue with a cooperative agreement with Plaid Cymru..

In 2021 all countries and all regions had fiscal deficits, London being the lowest but still with a deficit of £800 per head, N Ireland had a deficit twelve (12) times that. But its not all about balancing regional expenditure and income. It is about the fiscal whole of the UK – regional and national home rule aside.

What Sunak faces now, some of his own doing – is an overall deficit whose only short term route to cure is austerity. Whilst cutting money supply we must bring supply and demand into some form of balance. What do we do know? The demands of the Defence of the realm, The NHS, Education and Welfare all have legitimate voracious demands.

Where is the opportunity for growth in all this?

It seems that each region in the UK must front up as a contributor to the UK economy as a whole and not continue either as a begging bowl economy or a separate economic entity. One for all and all for one seems appropriate. That we will suffer in the short term is inevitable, but at the same time we must save personally and nationally. We must stop asking, and politicians must stop giving in to popular demand, be they right or left wing.

The story of the UK must be based on fiscal discipline and fairness in bearing the burden. Petty nationalism does not seem a way to go.

How big the UK £ pie? Will it go round?

Essentially the title encapsulates the Government’s issues. How to make the pie bigger? Surely that must come first. Clearly we need to pass round larger slices to the NHS, Education, Defense etc etc.

Mrs Truss PM at the time of writing, for reasons which are easy to understand (if not agree with) was entirely focussed on making the pie bigger through some fairly simplistic actions, i.e. Making UK a low tax and attractive base for international talent and corporate investment. A simple and superficial idea, but sadly life is not as simple as that. For the uninitiated, lower income from lower tax base has to be balanced with expenditure, therefore there will have to be radical reduction or radical borrowing certainly in the short to medium term. How the PM and Latin speaker, Kwarteng didn’t take this into account is nothing short of astonishing. Even the most elementary economist knows all about Laffer’s curve and fiscal lag.

How could anyone, be so narrow minded and still be voted in as our leader is a mystery to many, but now the s**t has hit the fan and the UK is now seen as unreliable and chaotic. The consequences are appalling, with the cost of borrowing escalating and adding to the flames of rampant inflation.

The Pie is therefore getting SMALLER, that’s what inflation does!

Enter a new Chancellor – a realist. A steady hand on the economic tiller, ‘Jeremy Hunt’. Guess what? Not only do we face inflation, the only one medium term way out ie to save and save some more – AUSTERITY!!

This is undoubtedly a bad situation made worse by a narrow minded leader who is not qualified to lead the UK especially now. If we had a surplus and Brexit had turned out well, if, if, if only!. But Brexit has not turned out well, the world economy is shot, kind support of the maniac Putin and the UK has become a laughing stock because of the ‘Blue Rinse Brigade Tory Members’ who voted in the hopeless leader Truss.

The pie is smaller, and getting smaller. How then does the Government react. Do they put aspects of incentivised growth on the back burner? Do we go flat out on Austerity?

How do we contain the demands of workers all demanding a salary/wages are hyked to keep up with at least medium turn inflation?

The UK is in danger of abandoning its place as the mother of democracy, the ideal state that can no longer sustain its place as one of the world’s great powers. The mess before our nation is not soluble in the short term unless we have a respected Government Leader, and a population that understands the problems which are vast from; migration to climate change, from freedom to totalitarianism. They are all up for grabs in the medium term.

Truss must go!

Don’t let the silence of Old Age shut you down.

Growing old is not for sissies, or so they say. There is no doubt that the onset of things like arthritis, deafness, sight failure, and other ailments are all hard to bare. Nonetheless, we must take on board that we are lucky to be old, to be still around, and that we may still have something to offer. The real hardship is none of these. It is loneliness and inertia, waiting for an end that surely must come.

Yes, it must, but just waiting is the silliest waste that can be, for now is precious, now is when we can do something, now we are alive. Here are some things we can do: read the paper or a book, listen to music whatever kind you like, paint a picture, even write a blog. . Some of the lucky ones can stare at a stamp collection, or a collection of anything and be happy with an accomplishment that has taken a lifetime. The luckiest can share and rejoice with others at their wonderful achievements.

The others, it is they who transcend all else, if we are lucky enough to live in love then everything else does not matter a jot. Life is worth living and its easy to see why. There is humor and laughter, there is sharing and fighting, there is caring and weeping. There is no silence.

Grief at the loss of a loved one is wrapping of ones soul in silence, and there are degrees of grief, believe me. There are degrees of grief, losing your mum and dad, losing your son or daughter, losing your partner. All are different, and all grip your heart and soul in slightly different ways, always with the cold fingers of loneliness and isolation. Here is an end that we hoped would never be, and losing a ninety year old parent does not hammer us as hard as losing a nine year old child. The Blanket of cold loneliness thaws at different speeds and ways.

One of the hard things in growing old is the fear of losing ones partner, whether there is loving dull routine or hysterical ups and downs. It doesn’t much matter if you’ve loved for a day or a millennium the dependency is absolute and the fear of loss even before that awful day can be haunting. That cold silent harbinger of grief overshadows the joy that should be our daily gift.

So my advice to everyone, young and old, is simple, enjoy what you can when you can. Remember you won’t have today again. So care for today, care for everyone who passes through. Be proud of what you did yesterday, and know that when the end comes as it must, you made the best of it. If you’re lonely and cold get warm with whoever you meet.

The Kings and Queens of the Britain

Queen Elizabeth the Second – what comes next?

Anyone who claims to be a democrat would argue that whoever is our Head of State should be elected. The Monarchy is an anathema of by gone days. Yet, the passing of the great Queen Elizabeth the Second, has shown an incredible outpouring of grief, and such a torrent of respect that it would be hard to imagine for anyone, outside our own families.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was without doubt a Head of State that brought the Commonwealth of Nations into being, a new bastion for democracy, showed a consistency and fairness in all things, and despite the load managed to be loved by so many of her (subjects) constituents.

Many will argue that the privilege of Royalty is an old fashioned concept, no longer needed, and that indeed the late Queen did have deficiencies as a person (Aberfan), as a mother (Returning from Australia to pat young Charles on the head), as a family matron (the failure of her children in marriage and in the wider world). All these reservations have some merit, but, despite them this great lady held the country in her heart, was a great proponent of democracy (The Commonwealth of nations expanded from few to many in her reign). She did it in a way that was constant and kind. She did it with a generosity of spirit that embraced 007 and Paddington Bear, as well as the umpteen Prime Ministers who passed through her door.

Being above politics, for some means that you have to take election, or currying favour, out of the equation. In the British Constitution of parliamentary democracy the Royal Head of State works well with the balance of the elected and non elected establishment. Of course, the House of Lords has become unbalanced in shape and form and needs constitutional reform, a task that the new King will not be able to avoid entirely.

Personally, I must give thanks for the life of Elizabeth my Queen for Seventy years. Her life has been in many ways an example to us all. I sincerely hope that a slimmed down monarchy continues to be head of our British constitution. If I were a religious man I would shout, “God save the King!”

Putting down the mad dog.

President Putin, is clearly not balanced. He has become paranoid about his own role as a saviour of the Russian empire. He has become a pariah to most of the world with the support of a very few authoritarian ,so called , leaders. He is killing men women and children with apparent indifference, whilst the world looks on.

To some extent the free world is afraid to face up to this ‘mad dog’ because he has access to the largest nuclear assets in the world. What does that say about our international control system?

Our failure to defend the frees state that is Ukraine has been predicated on these awful facts. Namely a madman with nuclear resources can do what he likes, and there is no way to stop the murder and mayhem that Putin imposes on Ukraine every day.

Sanctions on Putin and his gang of kleptocrats will have some effect but in the meantime women and children are being murdered in Ukraine every day.

The only way to stop the mad dog is to put it down. It, is the right word, for Putin is inhuman and exhibits all that can be bad in a human frame. He is selfish, power mad, greedy, self obsessed, and paranoid. If he were any sort of animal he would be put down as a danger to other species.

Make no mistake, this lunatic is laying waste to a nation. To families, communities and a young long suffering nation that is just beginning to enjoy the fruits of freedom and fairness. Putin is in fact cocking a snook at freedom as a value. As he sees it, his way as an omnipotent being, controlling, killing dissent as the only way of leadership.

The corruption that is embedded in Putin’s Russia will, we hope, lead to an end to this dreadful scene. Army’s are without conviction, shops without bread, ATM’s without cash all a result of this maniac’s self indulgence. That is what will bring Putin down. How soon? is the question. How many more Ukrainians have to die while the world shows its disgust, but more importantly the Russian people are awakened to the evil that is Putin.

The Russian people are the only power that can bring the mad dog down. Propaganda from the West must be the main weapon couple with extreme sanctions must squeeze the message home.

If Putin is brought down then what will succeed him? Russia most surely will be sorely hurt. The old machine of authoritarian propaganda must be replaced with a democratic model. To do that will take many years and great wisdom. These are questions that must be part of the plan that not only brings the mad dog down, but that looks toward a more democratic future.

Ukraine, Ukraine, long live Ukraine!

Madman murders masses!

Putin is clearly unbalanced. What do we do when a totalitarian Head of State loses his sense of what is normal. We know he is moving toward bombing Ukraine with chemical weapons and the West and China are doing nothing to stop him. How do you stop him? That’s the question.

He clearly has a virtual complete grip on the Russian media, so most Russians, though not all, believe that Russia is not the aggressor but the victim. How the Russian people receive the truth is possibly the most important issue before the West. How do we inform the Russian people of the TRUTH?

How do we defend a free state? Presently it seems that Russia has invaded Ukraine without a second thought. Putin lied about the build up, he teamed up with the other evil monster the President Of Belarus, the west did very little except rely on sanctions which is something, but what further sanctions can we press if Russia uses chemical weapons. Famously Obama failed to respond in Syria, Russia is going to bomb Ukraine flat and follow up with a dose of chemical poison. Will the West do anything? Probably not! That is what Putin is banking on, the West will continue with its self interest and ignore atrocities and the murder of thousands of people, whose only sin was to seek a democratic way of life.

There we have it. In a nut shell, any lunatic with a nuclear arsenal can do anything he wants to independent countries who are not members of a major defence alliance. If the West does not stop Putin now, then there will be no end to Putin’s aggression. Moldova next, then the eastern provinces of Hungary and so on . People will die in their thousands and the world will wring its collective hands.

Obama has a lot to be sorry for, not least he lacked the guts to enforce his red line on chemical weapons in Syria. I hate to say it, but Biden is an old man with a weak mandate. Putin knows the USA has no stomach for a fight.

If we have not got the guts to provide the Ukraine with jet aircraft and heavier aggressive missile systems then we deserve all we get. Putin wins!

Ashamed of my Government, too little, too late!

The UK is moving more slowly to lessen the load for Ukrainian refugees than any other European nation. Despite the fact that Johnson blows his trumpet about how generous the UK is in welcoming refugees, the UK remains the slowest responder to the humanitarian crisis for the people of Ukraine.

The miserable responses and lack of flexibility in setting up visa stations under the guise of security is just laughable. More visa officers would be the answer, not no officers at all. To make refugees who have relations in the UK travel from Calais to Paris or Lille to wait a further five days at least whilst the UK Govt checks finger prints and masses of other unnecessary documentation is both inhuman and completely lacking in sympathy for the plight of the refugees.

Of course there is a security risk of Russian spies slipping through the net into UK, but surely that excludes mothers with children, and those in clear need of medical support. Even if Mattha Hari is about to infiltrate the UK surely there must be a way to follow up once admission has taken place. To pretend that our security comes before compassion is so typical of the selfish British view. Why do we not think other European power are under the same risk factors?

Boris shouts about his own immigrant forebears, most of whom have done very well thank you. Well enough to produce Bullingdon Boy bullies and inveterate liars. No wonder so many are ashamed of being British.

Putin’s shot in his foot will hurt us all.

The invasion of Ukraine is one of the great tragedies of the modern age. There’s no need to elaborate. Putin is the one crazy man who is the sole decision maker, he has now the most dreadful dilemma, his invasion looks as if it is failing by any measure. Further the Russian people are beginning to understand that the war, is a war, that many Russians are needlessly dying, both army conscripts as well as Ukrainian cousins. The cost to Putin is now gathering weight and soon, if the Ukrainians hold out, the bankrupt Putin will no longer afford to wage this useless war.

What then? Will the mad Putin pull the nuclear trigger, or will he sue for peace? It seems unlikely that the Putin we know, will sue for peace. His delusions of the Russian empire resuscitated by the great man Putin will be in ruins, and we must hope that an internal revolution will remove this megalomaniac from the seat of absolute power. If not, then it seems that an escalation of conflict will be his most likely scenario.

In Putin’s mind the West has gone to war economically, but in the minds of Ukrainians Putin has been allowed to pillage a sovereign country without any physical response. Economic sanctions is one thing, but artillery and bombs are quite another. Are we to believe that any nuclear bully can do what he likes and all of us are afraid to escalate physically into what will be the inevitable nuclear war?

By crushing Russia economically we will subject the Russian people as well as the rest of the free world to dreadful depravation, from food to shelter and warmth. What will that say about the west? Will we drive a wedge between West and East for the foreseeable future? Will the distrust be strengthened? Will the Russian people be driven by desperate plight to believing another one-man, strongman ethos to drag them back to an equitable normality?

As an optimist, we hope that Putin has really shot himself in the foot. That the days ahead will lead to the end of his lunatic reign. That Russia and Ukraine will be a family again and that a democratic environment will be re-established in both countries. Only the Russian establishment can bring this scenario into being, by ousting Putin, counting the cost and seeking not only forgiveness but hope for the future.

The west at large will have to bare the burden of reconstituting the smashed fabric of the Ukrainian country, culture and people. The World and United Nations must somehow ensure that nuclear blackmail is made impossible.

Putin has cast the human race down. Some where, some one, must make the difference. Not only of selflessness, but of vision and generosity of spirit that can affect all those in power, be they democratic or alternative. Putin by his cruelty may be saving the world.