Tag Archives: UKIP

My Last Words on EU Referendum

This is my final blog post on the referendum.

I have found the entire debate profoundly depressing. The media coverage has simply intensified that feeling.  Both sides have produced dud numbers and fatuous arguments; very few journalists seem capable of rigorous interview and many columnists, most of all Toynbee, seem to inhabit a world that I do not recognise.  I approach Thursday with one overwhelming thought, and that is that politics in the UK is broken and that must change.  Now.

Continue reading My Last Words on EU Referendum

Leaving The EU Isn’t Rocket Science

Several of the weekend’s newspapers have criticised the Vote Leave campaign for failing to spell out how the UK will actually leave the EU in the event of a vote for Brexit.

Its an odd accusation as the process is set out in Article 50; basically we negotiate.  Talk of the Norwegian or Swiss models is claptrap – we’re the UK and will adopt our on terms.  I covered this in my recently published (and sadly not yet widely read) pamphlet on the EU debate Tilting At Windmills and so have produced the relevant chapter below.  Enjoy.

Continue reading Leaving The EU Isn’t Rocket Science

An alternative to budget commentary…

My objective assessment of which way to vote on 23rd June turned out to require more effort and words than I had anticipated.  At 12,000 words its too long for a blog post so I have uploaded it to Amazon and it should be available in softback and Kindle formats tomorrow, St Patrick’s Day. I will blog the link to Amazon, and have put the summary and conclusions on a new page on my blog site (click here).

Regular readers of this blog may not be surprised that I will still be voting out.  I did find myself surprised at the reasoning; in the final analysis I conclude that::

A vote for Brexit is very probably to the UK’s advantage provided that the UK and EU can agree sensible exit terms.

Brexit is probably not in the rest of the EU’s interest, but given a pro Brexit vote it is vital for the EU to agree sensible exit terms with the UK as soon as possible.

Surely the politicians couldn’t screw that up?  Could they?

I had not appreciated the EU’s position and they really are in a logical and factual bind. I suspect that much of the hyperbole comes from this.  In the pre-internet age that might have worked, I don’t think it will today.

While producing it I have continued to marvel at the low quality of debate, complete with wild extrapolations, over use of “could” and “might”and all the other intellectually bankrupt practices that have sadly become commonplace in politics.

I have encountered very few who say that they intend to vote to stay; those that I have are mostly still in education.  I concede that this observation may say more about my narrow social circle than about the way the country will vote but most of my social circle rarely agrees with me.

My only worry is that, having voted to leave, we cannot find a politician robust and capable enough to lead the departure negotiations.  At some stage Cameron is going to have to accept the possibility of a Brexit vote is larger than he believes and start preparing to enact the people’s will.  If he does not have a clear statement of what we expect from Europe (and how we intend to get it) ready to publish no later than a few minutes after the vote is counted Sterling and the Euro are going to have a roller-coaster ride which could well cause unnecessary economic damage to both UK and EU.  Not having such a plan in place is, I think, evidence that Cameron is neglecting his duties to a level bordering on misfeasance.



Corbyn – Saviour of UK Politics

For the media the election of Corbyn as leader of labour is the gift that keeps on giving; he even shares a nickname with one of their previous generous copy sources, Jeremy Clarkson.  As ever the pursuit of entertainment has missed the fundamental point, which is that Corbyn has probably rejuvenated Westminster politics and saved it from the blind alley that it was going down.  We should all be grateful – I am. Continue reading Corbyn – Saviour of UK Politics

In or Out? A Rational Approach to the EU Referendum

Now that the dust has settled on the general election we face some 18 months of campaigning and debate about the long overdue Euro referendum. Depressingly it seems that the quality of debate has already sunk to infantile and I type this in the hope of raising it slightly.

Continue reading In or Out? A Rational Approach to the EU Referendum

If Milliband and Bercow agree on something you just know its wrong…

The unholy alliance of Ed Milliband and the Speaker, John Bercow, seem to think that preventing MPs from holding second jobs, in effect establishing professional MPs by statute, is both a good idea and what the public want. This is utter bilge, as anyone but a Westminster insider would instinctively know.

Continue reading If Milliband and Bercow agree on something you just know its wrong…

David Cameron is the new Marie Antoinette

So David Cameron wants everyone to be given a pay rise. That’s about as sensible a comment as Marie Antoinette’s suggestion that the peasantry rioting about bread shortages be fed with cake instead. Does our Prime Minister have any idea how commerce works?

The overwhelming majority of employment in this country comes from firms with fewer than 500 employees and of that the majority are in firms with fewer than 20 on the payroll. With few exceptions these companies are privately owned, usually by the management. As they struggle with the cash flow problems endemic in a country in which credit terms are routinely abused and often run to over 100 days the last thing they are able to do is add to their working capital problems by increasing their payroll costs.

Profit margins are tight anyway and as most markets are highly competitive the opportunity for squeezing more out of the customer are limited. If additional pay costs cannot be recovered through increased prices profit margins will fall unless productivity increases. Increasing productivity often requires investment, which has ultimately to be paid for from profit. It is clear that Cameron knows as little about how a company works as Marie Antoinette did about baking. This is basic stuff. Cameron’s ignorance of it, in spite of his first class honours degree in PPE, supports the theory that economics is accounting for the numerically challenged.

To be fair to Cameron, he’s not the only political leader in this country whose understanding of commerce is extremely week and whose experience is weaker. Milliband also has a degree in PPE from Oxford (although he dropped the philosophy element) and a masters in economics from the LSE. Since then he worked as a TV researcher and then moved into politics. His commercial experience is even weaker than Cameron’s (Cameron’s father is a stockbroker, Milliband’s a Marxist lecturer). Clegg’s career is slightly better; his degree is in Social Anthropology and he did some work with the European Union. However he has never run a company, or done anything commercial.

So who in the upper tiers of the United Kingdom actually knows anything about commerce? Well the obvious answer is Nigel Farage, who eschewed university for trading on the London Metal Exchange for over 20 years. However there are some others who should be considered, The Royal Family. While they do not have to earn a crust in the traditional sense many of them are involved in commerce. Prince Philip spent 21 years with the World Wildlife Fund and founded the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme. Prince Charles runs the Duchy of Cornwall and the Princes Trust. Prince Edward ran a TV Company. Prince Andrew has lobbied hard to support British Exports, Prince Harry crated the Invictus Games and The Duchess of Cambridge grew up in a family that built a company worth £30 million from scratch. Not all of their ventures have been successful but that is not the point. The simple fact is that the most privileged family in the land has a better understanding of and greater experience in commerce than at least 75% of the leaders of main UK political parties.

Clearly in a world where economic policy dominates political activity it is ludicrous that so few or our political elite have relevant experience. The size of the national debt (£23,000 per head and climbing) surely shows the folly of having a leadership whose only commercial knowledge comes from one third of a degree in economics. How we change this is not yet even being debated.

David, Ed and Nick should look perhaps recall the fate of Marie Antoinette, who met her demise at the guillotine.  Perhaps they should work for a living.  In the interim we should vote UKIP and hope that the ensuing chaos persuades the Queen to dissolve Parliament and run the country directly until politics is cleaned out.  At least her family has the experience for the job.