‘Sunday morning and I’m falling, I’ve got a feeling I don’t want to know…’ 1

 

Has there ever been a motlier bunch of people telling us they are the best choice to led us to the promised land?

This week the column looks at the 3 of the parties, and their significant failings.

First up is the incumbent government, led by the quintessential 21st century politician; this isn’t a compliment, more a realisation that lies, and treading on anyone and everyone to get where you want is the modern way.

‘Has there ever been a motlier bunch of people telling us they are the best choice to led us to the promised land?’

Last week I mentioned the dark plot that has seen the investigation into Johnson/Jennifer Arcuri scandal buried until after the election.

Now the US businesswoman has spoken out accusing Johnson of brutally casting her aside ‘like some one-night stand’ and leaving her ‘heartbroken’ since he became prime minister and the controversy over their four-year relationship became public.

Referring to one recent call to Johnson, she says: ‘He heard my voice. And I knew it was him. And he hung up. He said ‘Yes, hello’ and I simply asked: ‘Why did you block me?’ I wasn’t calling to cause problems, I merely just wanted a simple … acknowledgement for what had happened.’

On another occasion, shortly after Johnson became prime minister, Arcuri was told: ‘There are bigger things at stake’, and I was brushed off as if I was one of Kennedy’s girlfriends showing up to his White House switchboard, you know, here to do my, you know, calling.

And I felt so disgusted and humiliated that I was told: ‘Bigger things are at stake; never mind you, he’s too busy for you’.’

 

‘If you don’t answer, I’ll just ring it off the wall, I know he’s there, but I just had to call’ 2

Editorial comment; She’s lucky, when it came to negotiating a Brexit agreement Johnson dumped the whole of Northern Ireland!

 

Ahh, and now we have that mantra; Get Brexit done.’ It’s their obsession, the answer/solution is Brexit. whats the question?

It sounds too simple because it is. Johnson might think he’s the master negotiator after his last minute deal with the EU, but that was only achieved after he effectively caved in and signed up to something his predecessor said would never be acceptable, and that he himself had damned 12-months before. That’s not negotiation it’s a surrender.

‘It’s their obsession, the answer/solution is Brexit. whats the question?’

But get it done he must; lets assume he wins a majority; the withdrawal agreement bill is passed, and we leave the European Union on 31 January. Researchers at the Institute for Government have provided a good guide as to how long these negotiations typically take about four years.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has accepted that a ‘basic free-trade deal’ could possibly be negotiated by the end of next year, however:

 

  • A basic deal on tariffs would risk falling foul of EU member states worried about the danger of Britain having tariff-free access to the EU market but able to cut standards, including workers’ rights.
  • The government has repeatedly claimed it is seeking a ‘best-in-class’ trade deal covering services and internal security matters, such as access to EU databases,

 

Johnson has said that he will not ask for an extension to the transition period, and many fear a new cliff edge or no-deal Brexit on 1 January 2021, as the UK leaves the transition period without a comprehensive trade deal.

This leaves us with either years of discussions shattering the idea of ‘getting Brexit done’, or a short, sharp compromise leading to a looser relationship with our largest and nearest trading partner.

The only certainty with his Brexit is that business’s free access to Europe’s labour market will end, replaced with bureaucracy, border controls, quotas, and points systems.

The fact that no migrant will be allowed into Britain without already having a government-approved job, means that businesses in construction, welfare and hospitality could lose a 25% of their labour overnight.

Furthermore, Johnson’s talk of ‘setting business free’’ to trade with the rest of the world is without substance, there are no trade deals, other than trivial ones, with the rest of the world in-place, none of which even begin to compensate for lost European trade.

The Brexit thesis that supposed our relationship with China and the US would enable us to be ‘rule-making’ rather than rule-taking, almost beggars’ belief.

And now to climate change, a subject of far greater consequence to us all than Brexit ever will be.

Next week, Channel 4 will broadcast the first ever election leaders’ debate focusing on the climate crisis. Johnson seems to regard this crisis rather like the recent floods as not important enough for him to concern himself with. The broadcasters are still awaiting confirmation as to whether he would take part and could place an empty chair in his place should he not attend.

Editorial comment; empty chair, empty vessel, what’s the difference?

Perhaps it’s just as well he doesn’t attend if the party’s shenanigans during this weeks’ debate between Johnson and Corbyn are anything to go by.

During Tuesday night’s leadership debate, the @CCHQPress account was renamed ‘factcheckUK’. Although the handle remained the same, all other branding was changed to resemble an independent factchecking outlet. It may not have been immediately apparent to an individual who saw the account’s tweets in their feed that it was a product of Conservative party HQ.

In an almost unprecedented political intervention by the social network, Twitter said it would take ‘decisive corrective action’ if a similar stunt was attempted again.

And now the NHS; Johnson claims that the best way to fund the NHS appropriately was a robust economy, which he said Labour was committed to wreck. His government would build new hospitals and recruit ‘thousands’ of GPs and nurses.

The interviewer pointed out that this is no different to the promises made by Jeremy Hunt when he was health secretary and they have not materialised and challenged the PM’s claim that his government would give the NHS a £34bn funding boost, saying the actual amount was £20.5bn. Johnson insisted £34bn was the correct number, but he seemed uncertain.

And, if £34bn on the NHS wasn’t enough, Johnson has announced another election package costing hundreds of millions of pounds for neglected towns, claiming that the measures will build upon the £3.6bn towns fund first announced in July.

Interestingly, towns that have been singled out in the new measures include

 

  • Cleveleys, near Blackpool, where the Conservatives are defending a majority of 2,023, and
  • Willenhall in Walsall North, where they hope to improve on a 2,601 majority.

 

Whilst this sounds wonderful it is only undoing what 10-yr of austerity has caused. Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities secretary, said: ‘The Tories are destroying our high streets and towns. A decade of vicious cuts to the services that people in our communities rely on has taken 60p in every £1 from council budgets.’

‘A decade of vicious cuts to the services that people in our communities rely on has taken 60p in every £1 from council budgets’

Lets now turn our attention to the Labour party, where its all very disappointingly normal; no sleight of hand, or dark deeds. Unfortunately, whilst it is all very well intended it’s only a dose of old-fashioned socialism, the type that saw Michael Foot roundly defeated in elections.

It’s a very simple plan, decimate the rich, increase an already high tax burden on the middle classes because no one else can/will pay, to raise lots of cash that will be spent to the detriment of the economy.

There are lots of things wrong, not least the wealth gap but this isn’t the way to go about it.

 

‘You’re on the never never, You think it can’t go on forever 
But the papers say it’s better, I don’t care ’cause I’m not all there..’ 3

And now to the Brexit party who have announced not a manifesto but a ‘contract’, an idea borrowed from Salvini in Italy. Pledges include:

 

  • ‘a clean-break Brexit’ with no extension of the transition period
  • ‘cracking down on illegal immigration’ and to ‘reduce annual immigration’ to 50,000
  • addressing wage stagnation and the skills gap by introducing a fair points system that is ‘blind to ethnic origin’ and will always provide a ‘humane welcome for genuine refugees’.
  • scrapping HS2
  • invest ‘at least £50 billion’ in local road and rail schemes in ‘development-starved regions’

 

But my absolute favourite is this: a commitment to referendums if more than 5million want one. Therefore, if Remain can muster 5-million people we can have a referendum on Brexit.

Editorial comment; this will be the first election pledge to be broken

However, we mock Farage to our detriment, it is his willingness to let himself look ridiculous, or to make and break alliances without concern for appearances that makes him so dangerous.

He will suffer anything in search of his holy grail; leaving the European Union and forcing the realignment of the British right on nationalist and reactionary grounds. And he is close to achieving his goals, the Conservatives have been pulled on to his territory, with right-wing populists in the ascendant and the more liberal-minded MPs leaving.

‘it is his willingness to let himself look ridiculous, or to make and break alliances without concern for appearances that makes him so dangerous’

Despite this ‘success’ Farage still understands the value of his most powerful weapon: his reputed appeal to ‘left behind’ voters, which is why he hasn’t stood all his candidates down and is keeping the pressure on Boris to ‘get it done’

Whilst his party is rooted in the right-leaning English middle classes, it is the appeal of Faragism to a minority of working-class voters in former industrial towns of England and Wales that is the secret of his success.

He can capitalise on this because the media lets him. A predominantly right-wing press provides him with a forum for debates and controversial talking points.

To see what is required as defeating Faragism is to miss the point, it is bigger, it is about defeating the extreme right that the Tories under Johnson have osmosed into. People need to realise that actual control over their lives comes from equality, not national or ethnic privilege.

Are we fighting the battles of the 1930’s-40’s again?

 

‘Can you hear me call, Can you hear me well, Can you hear me at all…’ 4

 

OK lyric spotters, a double double treat this week and some pretty fiendish stuff; however if you can navigate the trail that Philip has set, and then grab some tasty morsels just off piste, this could be a record breaking week for some lucky players. Just a reminder that players will need to be registered in good time to be considered for the big prizes.

So 1 proffers us a track that Philip says ‘if it wasn’t so dark it could be Simon and Garfunkel’; well, it’s definitely not and if you correctly identified The Velvet Underground with ‘Sunday Morning’ your three, count them, three, points are hard won.

Next, 2 only a singleton for the delectable Ms Harry et al with ‘Hanging on the Telephone’; however, a little known fact is that it was a cover of a track penned and performed by The Nerves – two points if you got there and big bragging rights.

Third up 3 is a track about which Philip says ‘if ever a song encapsulated a moment in history it was this. Should be a gimme, 1-point’; well, I agree with the sentiment, and am pleased to have added a cracking track to the personal playlist, but I didn’t get anywhere near The Clash and ‘1977’. I think the man may be in a class of his own.

Any chance of a last minute shot of redemption? Got to be some Bowie in there somewhere, right? Well, of course there is 4, but this is in glorious collaboration with Iggy in what Philip describes as ‘what you get when two members of rocks holy trinity work together, genius’ –  here with ‘Sister Midnight’ Enjoy!

 

 

Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

 

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