St Valentine’s Day – by Mr Scrooge

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Short and sweet, and dedicated to my Wife this week.

Valentine’s Day

I have to say I find the whole day totally unromantic.

It’s all pre-programmed, millions of roses, chocolates and bottles of fizz bought and EVERYONE saying with more or less sincerity “I love you” –  going through the motions because it’s February the bloody 14th.

I love my wife more than life itself – she gave me a lift to the gym today – tomorrow I’m putting up the brackets for this year’s hanging baskets she always does so beautifully and then we’ll probably take the dog for a walk……me and the girl who makes my heart leap for joy every time I see her……just like the first time I saw her 31 years ago.

She’s still the most beautiful woman in the World

………….AND she’d bollock me for spending £20 on a bunch of roses I can get for a fiver tomorrow…

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    Actually, Leavers owe Gina Miller a “Thank You” – a bloody big one

    twat and ginaWhether you voted to Leave or Stay, I’m sure the vast majority of the 33,000,000 plus of us that voted, and those who didn’t, but perhaps should have, will find the vile attacks on Gina Miller abhorrent.

    One of the charges laid at her door is that she wasn’t born here, although she WAS born in a British Commonwealth Country.  And no she wasn’t born in Britain.

    Neither were Sir Bradley Wiggins (Ghent, Belgium), Prince Philip (Corfu), Cliff Richard and Spike Milligan (Both India), Emma Watson (“Hermione” in “Harry Potter” – born in Paris), Eddie Izzard (Yemen) – never mind the endless list of “English” sportsmen and women, Mo Farrah, John Barnes, Nasser Hussein, Mike Catt, Tessa Sanderson, Justin Rose and Chris Froome born overseas.

    A more serious charge is that she and her fellow complainants were attempting to derail Brexit with their High Court action.  The substance of their case was that the Executive could not trigger Article 50 using Royal Prerogative but that Parliament was Sovereign in this issue.

    The High Court found in favour of Miss Miller and the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court this week.  If Ms. Miller, or anyone else, had truly wished to derail the process they would have allowed the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 and THEN call “foul”.

    That would have meant that the Government had acted illegally.  And that would certainly have delayed the Brexit process, if not ended it completely.  The Judgement also means that future Governments, of whatever colour, will have to think very carefully about when to utilise the power of Royal Prerogative and Miss Miller and her colleagues may have saved us all from an even greater, and as yet unknown, abuse of power.

    So, far from vilifying her, Leavers should offer a vote of thanks that she has in fact eased the path for Brexit and we should ALL thank her for reminding the Government that since the head of Charles the First hit the floor outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall some 368 years ago come next Monday, Parliament is Sovereign in these Islands.

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      If you were England Manager we’d be chanting “You don’t know what you’re doing!”

      gisela-euI thought today I’d share a letter I wrote to my MP in response to an email sent out by the Chair of the Leave Campaign.  I make no further comment.  That is a matter for you.

       

      Dear Mr. Burt,

       

      I thought you might like to see my response to the Rt Hon Gisela Stuart’s email this week and I hope you might consider using it as a benchmark of the growing feeling in your constituency that Brexit is a nonsense.  The Foreign Secretary has already suggested that he has no issue with Freedom of Movement and the Brexit Secretary is today proposing that we use the money we save in not having to pay contributions to the EU to pay the EU to gain the access we currently have to the Single Market.

       

      What next?  Special visas to allow East Europeans to come and harvest the fruit crop? Or perhaps we might now join the single currency seeing as the Pound is now worth the same as the Euro.

       

      Perhaps the Prime Minister could stand up in the House of Commons and state that Brexit ACTUALLY means being exactly where we are now without opportunity to take part in European elections or have any say in the policy direction of the other 27 member states.

       

      Anyway, my response to Mrs Stuart in her role as Chair of the Leave Campaign:

      Gisela Stuart’s email My Response
      I wanted to quickly email to say thanks for signing up to our campaign to make Brexit happen  

      I signed up to both sides to try and get a balanced view.  A waste of time with your campaign with questionable assurances over the money coming back to the NHS and the total desertion of posts by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Andrea Leedsom who were clearly as surprised as the rest of us on the 24th of June when they found out that between you, you’d managed to dupe so many into voting for Leave

      Your help is vital I shall fight tirelessly to expose the Brexit folly and defeat you and your political colleagues and try to lead as many who voted for you back to the path of sanity
      Some MPs are saying they are planning to try and stop the Prime Minister from Triggering Brexit. Just the other day, Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron MP said “We will vote against Article 50 if our Red Line is not met” Daily Telegraph 11th November  

       

      Surely that is “The Rt Hon……”?  And good.  The vast majority of MP’s are Remain and this is a Representative Democracy.  They should follow their conscience and the fact that they are far better equipped than the vast majority of the electorate with the economic and political facts to know that leaving the EU will be disastrous for the UK and it will take decades for us to recover – something as a 53 year old man I do not expect to see in my lifetime.  They should vote without suffering the intimidatory tactics used by some members of your campaign or fear of deselection.

      Other MP’s will make up their minds closer to the time and I know how closely they will keep an eye on their inbox’s and their constituency postbag.  When these start filling up these MPs will stop and think.  

       

       

       

       

       

      Well I hope they are already thinking and are not being intimidated by your campaign or by the editors of the Mail, Express and Sun.  Your bullyboy tactics are designed to silence them into cowardice and you are stifling democratic debate.

       

      It’s “Inboxes” by the way.

       

      Your greatest fear should be that those postbags and inboxes will fill with those who have seen through your smoke and mirrors, those who already regret their decision on June 23rd, those who will come to regret the decision they made on that day, the newly enfranchised who were too young to vote then, those who didn’t exercise their right to vote but now see they could make a difference and those like me who took a measured judgement and saw that both campaigns were poor, inept and amateurish but voted to stay in the EU and we take comfort in the fact that at least the CPS hasn’t been asked to investigate the promises made by the Remain campaign as it has to do with some of the promises made by politicians in your camp.

      Next week an important Court Case on Brexit will begin  

      Er, no.  It’s been going on for months and hopefully next week the decision of the High Court will be upheld by the Supreme Court.  11-0 appears to be the likely vote outcome.  Even you are not above the law.  Brexit supporters wanted our Courts to be Sovereign.  They are and they’ve hopefully blasted you below the waterline.

      We need to be ready to speak out. This means contacting your MP to remind them of the referendum result on June 23rd.  

       

       

       

       

      Indeed.  I have already written to my MP reminding him that:

      ·         The referendum was advisory

      ·         Most of the British People did not vote to leave the EU

      ·         Two whole nations, Scotland and Northern Ireland are being dragged out of a body they voted to remain in

      ·         The majority was so small that many polls ( The Economist, IBT, ITN and the Independent) are showing the majority is now the other way

      ·         Brexit campaigners are pushing to move ASAP because they know soon their mandate will be gone, if it hasn’t already

      ·         With the over 65’s voting to leave at a ratio of 60/40 some 80,000 leavers have left this mortal coil, never mind the EU, since June 23rd

      Not necessarily how they voted, not even how their constituencies voted, but how the Nation voted  

       

       

       

      You’re quite right.  73% did not vote to leave.  Only 37% expressed an explicit wish to leave.

       

      Therefore I think you have given MPs an express instruction to thank the British People for the advisory role we have taken and decide in the best interests of the vast majority of the citizens of the UK, of Europe and the Rest of the World to vote to remain in the EU

       

      This has to be done so with the understanding that the 73%, whilst we don’t want to leave, do not wish to miss this opportunity to reform the EU for the good of all 28 member nations.

      We need to remind them that on June 23rd a clear majority of the British people voted to take back control of our borders, laws, money and trade  

      No, they didn’t.  27% of the population, and 37% of the enfranchised population voted to leave – many of those now realising that they really would like to change their vote.

      Now it’s time to just get on with it  

       

       

       

      Yes what you are saying is “Before opposition really grows when the inflation figures increase, the underlying food inflation hits consumers, the cost of living goes up and more businesses like Hewden crash”.  It’ll be a case of “JAM” today, “No Longer Managing” tomorrow.

       

       

       

       

      The Change Britain team will be back in touch early next week to let you know how to contact your MP  

      A kind offer, but I am already in touch with my MP – and will continue to lobby for him to vote to maintain our membership of the EU

      We voted to take back control on June 23rd  

       

       

       

       

      No we didn’t.  37% of the electorate voted to leave – many duped by the misleading and at times frankly untrue information put out by politicians in the leave camp.

       

      As Boris Johnson so eloquently put it:

       

      “If we left the EU we would have to recognise that most our problems are not caused by “Bwussels”, but by chronic British short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capital and Infrastructure” 2013

       

      And more recently and succinctly:

       

      “Leaving would mean embroiling the Government for several years in a fiddly process of negotiating new arrangements, so diverting energy from the real problems of this country” – Feb 2016

      We won’t let anyone – however powerful – stop that from happening Millions of people, the majority, are against you and will fight you, however much you try to pressgang us against our will.  This country will rise again despite the attempts of a few venal politicians who will be consigned to the dustbin of history in a very short time.

       

      As a courtesy I have copied Mrs Stuart in as well.

       

      Kindest regards

       

      Richard Gilbert

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        Suck it up……..

         

        quote-the-best-argument-against-democracy-is-a-five-minute-conversation-with-the-average-voter-winston-churchill-5-62-90

        I am so sick of being told what democracy is by people who don’t know.

        If I may quote the OED:-

        “democracy is a system of government by the WHOLE population, or at least those members of the state eligible to vote.”

        Yes, the referendum was a democratic vote won on the day by the Leave campaign.

        That does not mean democracy stops, anymore than it would after a General Election when a new government is formed.  There is also a coalition of parties called the Opposition.

        In the case of this referendum the Government is implementing the will of the 37% of the electorate – in this case a sufficient number to win the day – whilst those opposed are exercising their democratic right to challenge, persuade and argue for their point of view.

        Nigel Farage himself said that if the referendum result had been 52/48 to Remain the fight would go on.  As it should.  Since 1975 people have argued for us to leave. They have now had their day. I don’t agree with Mr. Farage or the 17.4 m who voted Leave on 23rd of June, but I’ll defend their right to speak to my last breath.  And I’ll also fight for the 16 million who voted Remain, and I’d also like those in the 13 million who weren’t bothered then, but maybe now, to speak for whichever side they now support.

        The Leavers are now in an alien position for them.  They have the ascendancy rather than being in opposition for 41 years so they aren’t used to being the ones being chipped away at.  They have now had their day.  “Suck it up”, “Remoaner cry-babies”, “It’s over” are all unhelpful ill-informed attitudes.

        Are some Brexit supporters so undemocratic that they wish to deny those who disagree with them the same rights to persuade as they have had for the last four decades?

        Or are they just afraid that as time goes by they may become the minority again if they give their opponents the oxygen of publicity?

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          The Age of Enlightenment?

          witchesAh, here we are again.  Halloween.  Of course most people will tell you that it’s an American thing that’s invaded us like McDonalds and Starbucks, and yes the plethora of plastic skulls and spooky sweets being discounted in the supermarkets as I type this are evidence of another invasion from our former Colonies 3000 miles to the West.

          But Witchcraft of an older sort is also in the news at the moment.  “The Names of Witches in Scotland” is a book discovered in the Wellcome Library and the tome has now been placed online.  The book was compiled in 1658 – a time of great turmoil in the country.  The second Stuart King, Charles I, had been executed less than a decade before, and the Restoration was two scant years away with the headless King’s very much alive son Charles II about to return in triumph.

          The countries of England and Scotland were divided between those of Royalist and Republican persuasion.  You were in one camp or the other.  No halfway house, no consensus.  One of the interesting strands that comes out of the Witchcraft book is that many of those 5000-odd accused were not on the margins of society, but often those at the very centre – healers when physicians and their fees were beyond the means of most.  Wise women, midwives, those who laid out the dead, saw to the living and supplied tinctures for warts and sore throats and period pain.

          Reading the accounts many of these people fell foul of petty suspicions and jealousies fueled by the uncertainty of the times.  Now we can look back safe in  the knowledge that within a generation the countries would be united by the Act of Union in 1707 and then would start on a journey that would see a small island nation on the edge of Europe embark on a 200 year long quest eventually resulting in the creation of the largest empire the world has ever seen.

          Of course we’ve moved on now haven’t we?  Perhaps not.  350 years down the track and we live in a nation divided.  You’re either for Brexit or a Remoaner – split pretty much evenly across whatever demographic you want to choose.  People blame the old for being selfish, the young for not getting out of bed  on June 23rd, the little-Englanders and the white-van man.  “Suck it Up!” “Get on with it!” “It’s Democracy!”.  Blah, blah, blah….all very helpful.

          A recent poll in England commissioned for ITN makes interesting reading.  The area the poll took soundings from was the TV region of the North East – Tyne Tees.  A staunch “leave” area on the 23rd of June and yet 16% of those polled who voted “leave” then would vote “remain” now.  Of course there’ll be arguments about the accuracy of the poll but those who conduct such things would be confident that even allowing the widest margin for error this figure is significant and if replicated across the country would overwhelmingly reverse the result of the referendum.

          Whatever, we are where we are, Brexit means Brexit (whatever the fuck THAT means) and like it or lump it we’re being told to get on with it.  Of course those who are unhappy with the result will continue to campaign to change the situation and those who want to leave will continue to try and press ahead, fearful that delay will see wholesale desertions to the Remain camp and the decision come March to not trigger Article 50 after all.

          Wherever your allegiance lies – and I have friends and family in both camps – I would hope we are all appalled to hear that German TV Magazine shows are advising their citizens to not speak in German in public when visiting the UK.  Similarly, hearing foreign nationals tell stories of being racially abused for the first time after living in the UK for decades is disturbing and unforgivable.

          Perhaps Lily Allen was a bit overtaken by the moment when she took it upon herself to apologise on behalf of the nation for the goings-on in the Calais Jungle but did she really deserve to be told by a Taxi driver to “find an immigrant to drive you you stupid tart”?  I think not.  Nor do I believe that the Ugandan-born Journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown deserved to be told by another cabbie that he was “not taking foreigners today”.

          I did have to smile at the Sun – well you’d cry otherwise – at the quote “Calls have been made for the BBC to sack Gary Lineker” for his comments on placements of child refugees from Calais to re-homing centres in the UK.

          Yeah, “calls” made ONLY by them, the idiots.

          But maybe it’s the “idiots” we have to thank for helping us find a way forward.

          Because it’s the “idiots” who are turning immigrants into the 21st century equivalent of witches and perhaps now, four months after the referendum, it’s time for the sane camp-followers from both sides to come together and condemn their behaviour.

          And once we unite on that one issue we can begin to move forward and unite on the other issues and settle our differences.

          I hope my American friends who have their own tricky decision to make next week will allow me to borrow their wonderful phrase and say that  here in the UK, we too can be One Nation Under God……………..

          ……………………..Or of course your deity of choice

           

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            Marmite Politics

            gwbush-marmitesqueezy

            Ken Livingstone once wrote a book called “If Voting Changed Anything, They’d Abolish it”.  For most of my life – the wave to the Pavilion for the hard earned half century is but a dim memory – that’s been true.  Wilson, Heath and Callaghan came and went – Thatcher is now a subject for history lessons and even the New Dawn of Blair is overshadowed by Chilcot.

            Change came without the need to vote.  No one voted to put a man on the Moon, or for the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Perestroika and Glasnost happened because one night over his cocoa Mikail said to Riesa “You know what Mrs Gorbachev? This bollocks needs to stop.”

            No one voted for Windows or the iPad, or the Internet or even Social Media.  Before Facebook and LinkedIn we relied on the pundits to gauge the mood of the Nation – now we are all pundits.

            And that punditry has brought about one, and possibly two, momentous decisions for which the ramifications are unknown.  The EU referendum and the US Presidential election have polarised the debate.  If you voted Remain on June 23rd then you’re now a “remoaner” being told to suck it up and accept democracy in action.  Are you a Brexitier? If so, you’re tarnished with being a small-minded, bigoted owner of a White Van….and no doubt you read the Daily Mail.

            Trump supporter?  Then you’re a woman-hating redneck who’s married to your sister and you want your old job at the lumberyard back.  Killary fan? Then you’re a Liberal who wants more war and don’t mind having someone who deleted 30,000 emails as your President. (Interestingly George W and his Administration deleted MILLIONS of emails – and yet that only ran on one Sunday night documentary – blokes eh?).

            What both campaigns have in common is you are either 100% in one camp, or 100% in the other – no common ground, no consensus.  And with opinion divided pretty much down the middle as the polls in the US suggest and the result on June 23rd showed that’s pretty scary because when the results start to be felt, and whatever they turn out to be, society needs to pull together to make the situation work.

            Which is where Marmite comes in.  Like Brexit, Trump, Remain or Hillary, you either love it or hate it.  And it is certainly a harbinger of things to come post-Brexit.  You see, until last night you couldn’t get Marmite in Tesco’s – or 150 other premium brands because Unilever wanted to put their prices up.  Why?  Because of Brexit and the catastrophic position of Sterling, or so said Unilever.  Tesco refused to accept the hike and there was a stand-off.

            Some will say that Brexit has nothing to do with Marmite – it’s made in Burton-upon-Trent.  But much of what we make here relies on raw materials from abroad – and oil is paid for in US dollars.  So many firms who trade exclusively inside the UK will have costs increasing and those exporting will have the advantage of a weak pound at point of sale offset by costs back up the production line.

            The love/hate dynamic with the US Presidential Election is just as stark and with the Global Security situation means that the next Presidency is probably going to be the most important Administration since FDR and the New Deal.

            The Marmite thing has been resolved but the smart money is on the arrival of smaller jars for the same price.  As time goes by “Brexit means Brexit” will mean something else.  How the US deal goes, well who knows?

            To the outsider it appears to be between a Liberal career politician who might have done some bad things and has been cleared on all counts and a pussy-grabbing misogynist who one UN Official today thinks would be a danger to the World.

            Still, it might not happen – at a Florida Rally this week Donald told his supporters to get out and vote on the 28th of November…….yay, go Donald – that’s 20 days after the polls close.

            I’m sending the both of them a jar of Marmite…….

            ………When it’s back in stock

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              The Difference between Stupidity and Genius is that Genius has its limits – Albert Einstein

              stupidisasstupiddoes1-1332506121As I sit and write this, two very different men are sitting on either side of the Atlantic thinking that maybe the last 24 hours have not been their finest.  In my time zone is the now Ex-England Manager, Sam Allardyce.  One game and 67 days in charge.  The shortest reign of any England manager in history.  He didn’t even get to be in charge of a home game – how the Tartan Army must be laughing tonight.

              The cause of his downfall?  Despite being on a salary of £3,000,000.00 a year (that’s three times what the average worker will earn in a lifetime before taxes, mortgages, utilities, food and everything else are deducted, assuming they are in full time employment from 16 to 65) he risked it all for another £400k a year doing work for a fictitious Far East company which turned out to be a newspaper sting.  Not only was he greedy, he was indiscreet, making derogatory remarks about his predecessor and staff and dumb enough to offer an opinion on how to circumvent the rules regarding transfers set down  BY HIS OWN EMPLOYERS.  

              I can’t see him working again in Football other than as a novelty act.

              Stateside of course there’s the Don.  Donald Trump.  After losing last night’s Presidential Debate (according to most news and political sources) today he blames the performance on a dodgy microphone that picked up his sniffing and a mediator who asked the wrong questions.  Saying that he’d not alluded to Mrs. Clinton’s husband’s dalliances during HIS time in the Oval Office during the debate so as not to cause her harm was nothing less than a strategy forged to do just that.

              Well, here’s the story big boy.  Blow your nose and accept that both sides got the same questions.  Trump lost because of his stance on race, gender equality and the fact that with 10 minutes to go in the 90-minute session fatigue gripped and the rhetoric became more delusional, erratic and at times nonsensical.  The result was an alienation of women (51% of the vote) as well as Hispanic and Afro-Caribbean communities – big piles of votes he can ill-afford to hand to Hillary.

              But my award for Stupid Act of the Week goes to somewhere much nearer to home for most of us.  Let’s face it, there have only been 43 US Presidents and even fewer England Managers – 18 now BFS has been seen off the premises. No, worthy as these are the winner for me was read out by Ken Bruce during his morning show on Radio 2 a few days ago.

              A holidaying listener had entered the village shop to be confronted by the notice which read “”We don’t stock batteries and light bulbs here.”  Being the canny Scot Our Ken is, he questioned the wisdom of such a note.  His feeling was that if people keep asking for something you don’t provide then there’s clearly a demand for whatever you are not providing and you are missing a trick by not doing so.

              So whilst it’s unlikely that you’ll ever get to be England Manager, or indeed President of the United States, it might be worth looking at your business, your relationships and your life and seeing if you’re not doing something that you really should think about doing.

              Because not doing so would be stupid, right?

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