Brexit Update 2018

In 2016, following a referendum on whether or not we should escape the EU, which said emphatically, “Yes”, like many, I thought the deed was done. How naïve of us.

Two years later, this great country is still allowing itself to be browbeaten by duplicitous and disloyal politicians here and in the rest of the EU, civil servants and prominent members of commerce and society.

In addition, the DUP is playing a dangerous game with it’s intransigence over the border ‘back-stop’. If they blow the final stages of these difficult arrangements, they will evaporate the support many people in the rest of the UK have felt for the people of northern Ireland.

The complex nature of Britain’s relationship with the EU was established and progressively developed by politicians and civil servants, over the last 40+ years, with never an admission that more was going on than facilitating better trading relationships, or that one day it might become necessary to change or end our membership. They probably realised it was a risk but most would have been seduced from their first involvement with the realisation that an ever enlarging EU would give them personally hugely better career opportunities than ever they would have simply puddling along from one Election to another, in the political goldfish bowl of Westminster.

Well, tough! Now they have those complications to unravel and the Irish ‘back-stop’ is one of them. It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how they deal with it but there will be Hell to pay if it prevents GB from completely separating from this moribund and corrupt organisation.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

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Juncker reveals his giant EU master plan

As Juncker begins to reveal his new strategy to restore the EU, we should be very sceptical and cautious. It is difficult to understand why anyone would want to invest billions in countries like Greece, Italy or Spain at the present time unless there are some very attractive benefits buried in their contracts.

It sounds to me like the start of a new round of PPF schemes, on a scale that will make anything that has gone before look like Monopoly. Unfortunately our civil servants and politicians have proved time and time again that they always fail to protect the public purse, by ensuring fairness and value for money, and are never a match for shrewd commercial interests, when it comes to contractual small print in big infrastructure or business ventures. One thinks of the MG Rover sell-off by the Government  http://tinyurl.com/navsj8  and the more recent schools/hospitals PPF scheme that means the Taxpayer has to pay the private investors massive rents which return huge profits.

Yet more reasons to be done with the EU, before Juncker gets his way.

UKIP takes another big step onto the stage

After over fifty years of easy, trouble-free living, the UK politicians have become lazy, incompetent and greedy. They are scared of saying anything positive, for fear it will upset some minority, or result in litigation. They are all Yes Men.

They have no useful practical or working experience. They are mostly too rich to begin to understand what the famous man on the Clapham Omnibus, is worried about. They are sheltered from the nasty side of life by Special Branch. They are conceited and want to impress their peers and play on the European stage. They think the income from our taxes is theirs to play with.

They play with fire.

Nigel Farage has realised that, at present, the main things that most middle Englanders want are, much tougher immigration controls and to be out of the corrupt gravy train of the EU. As he espouses those ambitions, his support will grow. The EU has bled us white, and failed massively to conduct itself with probity or skill. It has failed – not that most of the population ever expected it to do otherwise.

We should urgently depart from this mess and try and rebuild our relations with our more natural, genuine partners, such as the Commonwealth countries, with whom we still do more than fifty per cent of our trade, despite the shocking treatment we meted out to them when we were sucked into the common market in the 60s, by Heath.

We should urgently rebuild our border controls and armed forces, so we can always defend ourselves, and cease massive overseas aid until we have restored our own economy and infrastructure and secured our sources of energy. And ditch the effete and hugely costly trivia of wind power, which is a complete nonsense.

Meanwhile, UKIP will attract more and more supporters.

Caravan Crap

My expensive new awning…

After two weeks in use the pin, on top of the moulding which holds the four central awning poles together, has sheared off, leaving a rough metal surface rubbing against the material!

Guess number 1:   Which well-known make is it?

Guess number 2:   What did the supplying dealer say when I rang for an urgent replacement ?

More Caravan Crap

I spoke too soon – or too late. Rear locker locks (both) failed even before I had started to use the locker, and after the first week of use at the end of March, the heating control panel has died.
This, in a 2013 model. And am now being told there is no accredited service company, in North Wales, to carry out the repair under the warranty. So what use is a warranty?
Honda, Mitsubishi, Dacia !  We need you now.

Caravan Crap

Just exactly why is so much about British made caravans and accessories, so bad in terms of build quality, warranty  protection and customer care?

The standard of integrity among the sales fraternity, that I have experienced over the last four years, as a retired returnee to caravanning, has been more reminiscent of the world of second-hand car dealers we were used to in the 50s and 60s, than trustworthy and honest sales professionals which other industries demand these days.

What we need to change this generally dismal scenario and poor value for money,is the arrival of a couple of new manufacturers to change the game,as the oriental car manufacturers have done for car reliability here in the UK and Europe.

Poor design of features,shoddy workmanship and failing parts are commonplace on most of the best known brands.

What are your experiences ?

Greedy Bankers Still Don’t Get It

This was the front page of the Daily Mail on Saturday, referring to continuing soaring bonus payments to elite employees, by banks guilty of long-running greed, corruption and criminality – such as the rigging of interest rates – mis-selling deceptions and gross overcharging of interest rates.

Clearly, the regulatory controls imposed over the last year or so are not worth a candle – poachers turned game-keepers still seems a pretty accurate term for those who are supposed to be exercising some degree of control and supervision.

As I have very little spare money to invest or gambol with – along with most of my fellow citizens, I suspect – what I need is a safe place to deposit my funds, where I can pay my bills from, and where I can occasionally get a loan. The idea of splitting routine banking services from casino activities was a good one in principle, but seemingly impossible for the Government to organise. We have continually heard how all the financial wizards, who have all but wrecked our banking institutions, would desert our shores for the Far, or Middle East. You know what? It’s a risk I would happily take.

We still have two basket-case banks on our hands, Lloyds Bank and RBS ( Northern Rock having somehow to escape to Virgin – which rather proves a point) for whom we are never going to get our bail-out money back. So let’s start with them and turn them into basic, no frills, banking institutions – managed by the Bank of England, as their ‘retail arm’ – and let the Russian-rouleteers gambol their money – and that of any daft clients they still have – wherever they like. If they make shed-loads, good luck. If they blow it all away, tough! It just won’t be our problem ever again. My bank charges should remain fair, my children could get a mortgage, or a business start-up loan, we could deposit and spend our money, without subsidizing highly paid failures.

I can still hear Gordon Brown, at the start of the crisis in 2008, burbling on about how it wasn’t his fault and how lessons would be learned but, let us not forget, this had all happened before. Remember Barings Bank? Destroyed by one person? No meaningful supervision? Sold for one pound? Were lessons learned? Self-evidentaly not. So, little reason to believe they have now.

Fiscal prudence did exist once. During the 60s and 70s, when I wanted a mortgage, I could only have one – and only for a maximum of three times my salary – if I had operated a savings account with a building society and had put together a significant deposit. Until then, you just had to keep on renting. That focussed the minds of both borrower and lender. Tough, but it worked.

Thirty years of runaway excess and greed have nearly ruined the country and the man on the Clapham Omnibus is paying a brutal price. It is remarkable there haven’t been riots in the streets. Savers’ interest rates are a national disgrace when BoE interest rates have been almost zero for over five years. So are bank charges, both up front and hidden, and the only way to put it even half right is to make a fresh start. Now!

Backdown on Syria

Sorry to see the PM have to back down, but I tend to agree with Max Hastings, in The Daily Mail, on Saturday.

To what extent the UK can, or should, attempt to reduce evil in the world is like contemplating infinite space. The cruelty is unimaginable to those of us who live in western Europe, but many countries are as bad, or worse.

Our armed forces are reduced to almost token sizes now and the cost of recent engagements must be staggering.

It is not right to turn the other cheek……..but, apart from some clearer conscience, what else to we get? In Afghanistan, we haven’t even managed to eradicate the supply of opium while there. Staggeringly, we were told by the BBC in April that “Afghanistan produces 90% of all opiate drugs in the world” A reduction in that statistic might have made our excursion there of some benefit.

The Middle East needs to be managed by the countries of the region.

Where are we now?

Well, we are six years into the recession and it may be time for some relevant comment to be made about how the government is – or is not – helping small business entrepreneurs to have a go.

By and large, it’s still a sorry picture as far as practical help and guidance to would-be start-ups is concerned. Banks are disgraced and scared of their own shadows. Agencies like Business Link have gone, to be replaced by, in some areas, at least, even more hopeless organisations.

Websites abound, but sooner or later, people need to talk to people.

What has your experience been like?

Destruction of War Memorials

On Sunday, The Daily Telegraph reported on  the increasing destruction of the Nation’s 100,000 or more war memorials, due to a combination of development, neglect, vandalism  and, most disgustingly, theft for their scrap value as highlighted by the charity, War Memorials Trust  http://www.warmemorials.org

It is difficult to imagine that a country which has produced so many brave souls, who have given their lives for their fellow countrymen over the years, has also produced people of such despicable morality that they will steal the memorials, but it is equally baffling that we dont do a bit more to stop it.

With the current high price of  metals, scrap yards are eager to receive metal from any source, but to continue to allow them to pay cash for their purchases is designed to encourage this criminality.  It is claimed that they require the vehicle’s registration number and the name of the driver – but dont do anything to verify either. By far the easiest single step to introduce some form of ‘audit trail’ would be to stop cash payments. And video each vehicle and driver. This, together with an occasional spot check by Police or Trading Standards officers and a visual check by yard staff ( not too difficult to spot something like a bronze plaque, even if broken ) would surely slow down this heartbreaking trade.