12 July 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
Thai seal to run Brexit?
by Don Urquhart
On Saturday Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess collapsed at a house in Amesbury, Wiltshire, having ingested Novichok, the same nerve agent that caused the Skripals to fall ill in March.
In the Commons the Home Secretary Sajid Javid knew who was responsible:
It is now time that the Russian state comes forward and explains exactly what has gone on.
The Home Secretary is playing to the patriotic outrage we feel when johnny foreigner has abused us. I was incandescent on Tuesday at the foul tactics employed by Colombia’s footballers, although I softened a little towards them when reading of the death threats issued to the two lads who missed in the shoot-out.
Anyway back to Javid. I think he’s making the same mistake as so many people made in March by making full-on accusations without a shred of evidence.
There you are. I am now a fully paid-up Russian stooge. It’s like being accused of racism for supporting Brexit and anti-Semitism for criticising the Israeli government. I can take it but I wish the debates about these things were more evidence based.
Labour published an updated anti-Semitism policy. On Daily Politics today it was reviewed by Tory Lord Finkelstein (David Cameron’s biographer) and arch-Blairite Polly Toynbee. Nice balanced panel. Well done BBC yet again.
Meanwhile, Theresa May is hosting the cabinet at Chequers. They will be agreeing the outline of a White Paper describing UK objectives in our negotiations with the EU.
Remainers and Leavers will all find something to object to.
The Leavers often point to the 2017 manifestos of the two main parties to support their arguments. They say that both committed to leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union (not true in Labour’s case) and stigmatise any backsliding as a betrayal of the electorate.
In the General Election of 2017 Brexit was a minor issue for Tory and Labour voters. The former voted to keep Corbyn out and the latter to dislodge the Tories.
Between them the two major parties obtained 85% of votes and this figure has frequently been used by leavers in a misleading way. Most Labour and Tory MPs voted to trigger article 50. You have to be a simpleton to believe that this means that they are all pro-Brexit but the assertion is routinely trundled out.
Three major problems people have with the NHS:
You have to wait too long to see a specialist to find out what is wrong;
You can’t choose when and where you are seen;
You can’t recuperate in peace and privacy.
According to an email from Saga Health Insurance these problems are easily solved by lobbing them some money.
I would feel more confident about this if their IT system had managed to chummily insert my name properly.
The most interesting response to the Chequers statement is the tweet of Michel Barnier:
Chequers discussion on future to be welcomed. I look forward to White Paper. We will assess proposals to see if they are workable & realistic…
The usual suspects have been quick to “polish” or denounce the item across the media. Barnier’s positive response aroused in me the suspicion that he is not really bothered what the UK proposes and that he will move Heaven and Earth to achieve any agreement because it is essential to the continuing financial stability of the EU. Chequers could have proposed the launching of an insulting Michel Barnier balloon over Brussels and his first and fundamentally only question would have been:
How much are you prepared to pay?
And Theresa May’s answer would tell us what she is prepared to pay to keep herself in power.
A glimmer of hope from East Africa.
Eritrea and Ethiopia are to re-establish diplomatic and trade ties after long years of hostility.
In Asmara Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaia Afwerki announced that the two countries are to re-establish diplomatic and trade ties after long years of hostility.
It is the first time the leaders from the two East African neighbours have met in almost 20 years.
In the UK David Davis resigned from the government over some little local difficulty.
The resignations of Davis and Johnson leave the Prime Minister with a docile cabinet and to that extent the Chequers away day was a success. As is her wont she has kicked the can down the road yet again. The Chequers Statement raised more questions than it answered. According to last night’s Newsnight the White Paper which was to define the UK position and promised for July 12th has been delayed. This is the document that everyone has been waiting for and in particular the EU negotiators. More kicking the can down the road.
Her core argument for her own MP’s is “Challenge me and you get Jeremy Corbyn”. Just look at them – not much chance of high principle and conviction winning the day over that one.
In yesterday’s Commons debate the Prime Minister promised a meaningful vote several times so for Remainers all is not lost.
A week ago we watched film of 12 boys and their football coach imprisoned in a cave with water levels rising. Getting them out before the waters went down was not considered a viable option. Then they realised that there was really no option and over three days they got the boys out using great skill and courage.
It was a triumph of classical project management – getting objectives clear, formulating a concrete plan, obtaining support from many different types of people and keeping them aligned through an excruciatingly difficult process.
That is why I am nominating the Head of the Thai Navy Seals, Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yuukongkaew to take over as British Prime Minister for the duration of our exit from the European Union.