24th June 2016
I couldn't make my mind up about what decision to make with the referendum yesterday. In the end I decided that leaving the EU could not be the catastrophe that the doom merchants kept saying. Okay so the vote to leave has created a horrendous mess and it highlights the major failings of people in positions of power and influence. The Stock Market crashed today because speculators feared loosing money on their investments. They had no concern in anyone's interest, just the easy opportunity of making money without risk. So the Bank of England will protect any run on the pound and ultimately the UK taxpayer supports rich businessmen.
David Cameron has destroyed his own political career when it had the possibility of going on for some years. He's also destroyed the careers of some close friends – such as the Chancellor. Or at least seriously impeded their progress. Ultimately he'll probably have caused the break-up of the United Kingdom. It is likely that Scotland will have another referendum to leave the UK. Now that Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, they could well have their own referendum. But if unity with Eire is what some people expect, then all the sectarian violence could well start again. By resigning so soon, David Cameron just walks away from a mess he's created through the referendum, which will affect people and countries for years to come.
My only concerns are, will my State Pension be affected, will the milk still be delivered to my door, will I still be able to order home delivery via the Internet and will I still be able to access the technology as much as I can now? And I don't see any interruption to all of this. I reflect upon the fact that I bought a house thirty-eight years ago and before house prices lost control. If I had to buy the house now it would cost twenty times what I paid for it. I bought it with the practical future in mind and I'm glad I had such a pragmatic approach at the time. This all may sound very simplistic but it's no different to how people appeared to have voted. Ultimately I have to consider myself as I always considered the apprentices I was in charge of in the past and put their concerns forward.
The one thing that has not changed, nor will it do so is my access to state-of-the-art technology in the shape of 3D printing and robotics. Both of these are exciting technology and while the prices have continued to fall the capabilities have increased. The Internet allows me to access more and learn continuously despite no longer having the responsibilities of work. There are commercial possibilities that I have not yet fully examined, as random filament slip problem was impeding progress. It was likely due to an incorrect setting of a particular screw that controls the feed-through of the filament. I suspected that it was something like this I but needed the technical support team to experience the problem, which they apparently did. So they knew where to look and what to replace or tighten. It's come to the end of its warranty so having it checked was highly desirable. That this was done at their suggestion makes me very happy that the repair culture has changed advantageously over the years. Built-in obsolescence is no longer a typical feature – well not for 3D printers.
25th June 2016
Well David Cameron has 'cut and run' as they say. He promised to stay on but resigned immediately and with some emotion. He's killed his career and brought down his Chancellor as well. He had no contingency plans in place and so no one knows what's going on or who's directing what. Immediately after the referendum result was known, the Governor of the Bank of England made a brief speech in an attempt to steady the Markets. It did some good but the outlook looks grim. The European leaders are furious and would like to kick us out now instead of having to wait two years. The irony is that the UK referendum may force them into making some reforms, which is all the UK ever wanted; but it got shouted down whenever it complained.
I am getting more annoyed as very minute of confusion passes. Yes I may have decided leaving was the only way of getting any movement, but the way in which David Cameron paved the way for the far right to win instead presenting a rational argument is breathtaking. I consider him to have been totally incompetent and I think he should also resign as an MP and just go to the country. There's going to be some major problems and losses, but can one really ignore the fifth largest economy in the world with a market of 65 million people! I didn't think that President Abama's reminder that any new trade agreements with the UK will go to the back of the queue, was necessary to say. It's all the scaremongering and such threats that finally pushed people over the edge and risk everything.
26th June 2016
I think that there's a difference in the UK between the electorate and the elected representatives. That is that they don't experience the same daily pressures or have the same outlook. The MP's go into the Houses of Parliament and debate (noisily at times) issues that affect the country, but that's all they do, debate. The electorate provide the engine that drives the economy and thus provides its wealth, and they go to their various daily jobs in order to gain personal income to support their families (or simply themselves). It's this dichotomy that the polls, the politicians and the Stock Market were totally blind to last week. It's why the people voted the way they did.
But the contradiction about a democracy is that it's winners and losers – sometimes by such a fine margin that neither fall into that category. Yes 52% of the electorate voted in favour of Brexit, but 48% voted against. How is that a democracy when just 4% of the electorate dragged just under half of the electorate into a decision they didn't agree with? So this morning I was watching various politicians being interviewed in the many politics programmes that are broadcast on a Sunday. It was like watching a party to which everyone had been invited but who gravitated to two halves of the room – like when you pick a team at school.
But there was no governing leader, such as the coach, as the politicians refused to declare their support for any colleague, yet criticise those they felt to have been ineffective and declaring those they simply felt lusted for power. If it was likened to a ship, there would be a series of officers without a captain. The ship would still sail along but in no determined direction despite having a manual available for guidance. When Wendy, my mother and I travelled to Mauritius in the 1950s, there would be days without seeing any land – it was just ocean as far as you could see. You knew the ship was chugging along because you could feel the vibrations of the engines, but you had to assume that its direction was right and the destination guaranteed.
I think that it will become apparent through negotiations that the full expectations of what Brexit guaranteed, will not be fully realised. The EU as a group of twenty-eight countries had become too entrenched in a political union to allow any possible disruption from any member. This was such a block on reform that was why it was inevitable that Brexit was a possible route. But the point is that a wiser and more considered politician than David Cameron might have thought it out better. He panicked right at the start three years ago, and convinced himself that he was right above everyone else.
I don't believe that the UK will collapse but do expect it to slide down in importance – and perhaps wealth – over the next few years. But I can be smug about it because I cannot be threatened through losing a job and my engagement in state-of-the-art technology is greater now than it was when I was working. Of course the Queen sits constitutionally in Winsdor Castle, probably viewing everything with dismay, but confident that she will remain Queen over the whole of the UK – and still I think Scotland.
27th June 2016
To be honest I am surprised at how much Brexit has had on the financial markets around the world. I was obviously aware that London would take a big hit, but even though the markets are linked to each other, I didn't understand how much they would react. I think that there's been a big shock around the world because the UK is a significant trading partner with many countries. The levels of imports/exports vary with each, but with a buying population of almost fifty millions, it does make a difference.
The campaign for and against Brexit was conducted on a simple premise. Stay with the EU and accept whatever laws and rules they dictate, or leave the EU and determine your own destiny. The discussions never went much further than that and were conducted with such vitriol on both sides, that it created a vast centre of undecideds. People ultimately had to consider how it affected them now and worry about the future when it happens.
The worst aspect was the total ineffectiveness of the politicians. They were supposed to provide a rational understanding of the consequences for or against. But all they did was compete with each other to imagine the scariest possible future scenarios. What the public did was roll the decision ball and scatter them asunder. They all fell and they're still falling with the Prime Minister running scared – to his foxhole as the tv presenters keep pointing out.
In theory the Queen could step in and take temporary command. Yes it would cause a constitutional crisis, but not much worst than it is at the moment. She is very conscious of her neutrality and so is unlikely to takes sides, but anyway there is a rapidly diminishing bank of competent politicians to choose from. It seems that there is no single politician that either political party chooses to support. The irony is that the Queen has a greater understanding of international relations than any British politician – she's been there while they really have no such experience.
But you can't live your life in a bubble of fear and you have to believe that you can determine your own destiny. It manifests itself in many ways and at many levels – what job you have, what training you get, what experience you build up, where you buy a house, what car you buy, relationship and entertainment choices. You cannot leave your house each day and expect an inevitable Armageddon. The UK has been subject to serious pressures in the past and had to survive – and has done so. It has always had an inventive and richly cultural population. I like it here!
So somehow everyone in the UK has got to join together, stop sniping and head towards the future with positivity. Okay so the majority have chosen a bumpy road instead of a smooth easy one and is dragging the rest kicking and screaming. The remaining twenty-seven EU leaders – well actually just France and Germany – have been upset at being accused of not considering cultural differences between each other. Not so they cry and point to their protection of Greece – some protection! I cannot believe that the UK will sink into oblivion or that as an island it will float aimlessly; but there's no doubt that there are big changes ahead.
27th June 2016
So far everyone is blocking each other's progress in the race for power. The Chancellor has finally spoke but David Cameron has not said anything more. The Opposition has an entirely new cabinet now as the existing one resigned on mass over
the week-end. Even the deputy Opposition leader is now suggesting a new leader, having thought about it on his visit to the Glastonbury Festival over the week-end.
The Stock Market continues to rock and the pound is falling - it's lucky you came to the UK when you did. The banks are assessing where they main business offices should now be located and EU institutions art starting to cancel basic travel and monetary agreements. The EU leaders continue to throw bitter comments at the UK and now fear a right-wing backlash across Europe. The decision may well have been made on the referendum but everyone is still steamed up about it all. It's like a Jerry Springer political show with discussion degenerating into accusations against each other.
Meanwhile Scotland is desperately trying to detach itself from the rest of the UK and go back in direct power to two hundred years before the political union or four hundred years when it was just James VI of Scotland and not James I of England, in the same person. Then move forward to, probably political union with the EU. Interestingly, pre-Norman Conquest of England, Scotland was governed by Norway - which isn't in the EU.
28th June 2016
While John Kerry on his visit to London yesterday, said that the special relationship with the UK would not change with Brexit, the UK is now almost like a recalcitrant child whose gone off to sulk, and disconnected from the main group. The UK has been so naughty in refusing to follow the rules that it's now being punished and told to stand in the corner. As would be the case with past friends, they just walk past calling out pointed comments as they pass. The markets who previously saw the UK as an integral member of a group, now see it as too bloody-minded to worth dealing with any longer. If you bite the hand that feeds you, everyone is going to stand well away from the cage. Whether or not the cage is opened at any time and the UK lead out under restraints, is too soon to consider. Time must pass before any meaningful dialogue can be entered into. The UK stands weakened by its own actions and is now abandoned to its fate. The rest of the group can feel confident of their position as they held back their thoughts and left the UK to come out in open dispute. If you don't accept the general status then you don't survive or at best you go and live in a cottage in the middle of the forest.
28th June 2016
The Chancellor of the Exchequer warned about the dire financial consequences of leaving the EU, and it's apparent that these are becoming realised. The problem was that the promoters of both campaigns declared they doubted the sanity of the opposing group and hurled insults of increasing bitterness. People were called morons and David Cameron at one point said a vote to leave might cause a Third World War! It's no wonder that in the end with just histrionics dismissing any rational argument, that people had to vote how their own heart told them and damn the consequences.
Products and services are now likely to be more expensive, if not directly then through indirect influences. If you go abroad on holiday, the exchange rate may well encourage more taken at home than abroad. The English seaside is unique and was at one time extensively promoted in the railway posters of the 1930s. Petrol will become more expensive and affect haulage costs which will feed down to products through distribution. So gas extraction through Fracking may become cost effective but obtained as a last resort. Subsidies will disappear from the EU Common Agricultural Policy but the restrictions on fishing will no longer apply. Currently if you catch more fish than the permitted EU quota, you have to dump the excess.
At one of the Speech Days at my last school, the guest speaker was Lord Woolton. He had been Minister for Food during the Second World War and had controlled the distribution and rationing of food throughout the UK. He determined essentially what people were permitted to eat and in what quantities. The UK did not grow as much then as it does now and so food had to be imported and the convoy ships ran the risk of being sunk by enemy submarines – and many were. No one knew where the distribution centres were and so they didn't get bombed. The headquarters of the Food Ministry were also secret and in fact operated from a Welsh seaside town.
Well if you're put under pressure by the restrictions of what is no longer available, you have to change your way of living and that's what rationing caused. Lord Woolton got together a group of scientists who determined how many calories a person needed and what foods they came from. They worked out a ration that satisfied the calculation and food ration stamps were issued to everyone. The rich could no longer continue with their lavish entertaining, but ironically the poor now ate better than they had ever done, as the differences in food consumption between the two societies equalised. It's now considered that people were healthier during the war because their eating choices were not voluntary but decided by the government.
People today could not survive on the wartime rations, yet it would end obesity at a stroke. But a lot of imported foods these days don't need to be and the impending higher tariffs should make home grown produce more competitive. Apples are grown in the West Country, sugar beet is grown in East Anglia, strawberries are grown in Sussex and Hampshire, tomatoes can be grown in quantity in large greenhouses, English sparkling wine is now at matching quality to that of French Champagne. Fishing within British territorial waters will no longer be accessible to the EU. Even steel could become more expensive to import and thus create a revival in the UK steel industry.
29th June 2016
So now it is panic stations! The general public is genuinely shocked at the power they actually have to make momentous decisions - the politicians even more so. A General Election is different because the party with the greatest number Parliamentary seats takes power and governs (?) but not with a simple majority. By comparison they may actually have less votes than all the opposition parties combined, but the only calculation is the number of seats. Ironically a Yes/No referendum is actually fairer. It may seem that there is as much procrastination in deciding the rights and wrongs of any issue, but the decision is finally split just three ways – yes, no or can't be bothered. And it's the can't be bothered group who never appreciate the controlling power they have. In the end the only passion they have is to complain about the result in denial of the fact that they had the influence to change it.
There have been two occasions in the UK when the public decided the issue themselves and caused a momentous change in history. One was the English Civil War (1642-1651) when violent revolution brought Parliament against King Charles I. His belief in absolute monarchy meant that he would not accept opinions different from his own. His attempt to arrest five Members of Parliament in 1642, is why the Queen is not allowed to enter the House of Commons today and can only address MPs in the House of Lords. However the resulting republic after the Civil War was ultimately considered to be too restrictive with the voice of the public being dismissed by those in charge. So in 1660 the monarchy was restored. Nevertheless there were some beneficial improvements, such as the creation of a standing army.
The second momentous occasion was 'The Glorious Revolution' of 1688, when fearing the return of Catholicism to England in the person of James II – Charles II's brother – he was deposed in favour of his daughter Mary. She ruled as a Protestant monarch equally with her husband William III, who previously had just been ruler of the Dutch Royal House of Orange. After Mary died, William ruled alone without issue and after him his sister-in-law, Queen Anne – Mary's sister – ruled as the last of the Stuarts and also died without issue. With the House of Hanover providing the only Protestant claimant, George I became king in 1714. But he only spoke German and his lack of English gradually gave more power to his ministers and the constitutional position of the monarchy was set in motion.
It is said that we learn from history, but there's no positive instances of this being the case. The European Common Market was set up in the 1950s to establish a trading group and prevent members from going to war with each other. Later however in the 1990s the rules were changed and it was no longer just a trading group, it became a political union. The UK tried to extricate itself from overall control by exacting concessions as a participating member – much to the outright annoyance of the rest of the EU. But it could only go so far and the problem of the EU not recognising the different cultures within the EU has caused discord within countries. In the UK politicians trying to stay in power have misrepresented the values of the EU and made disastrous decisions that the referendum has now highlighted.
1st July 2016
In 1605 Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament – thus the King and the government – and he failed. We celebrate that failure still today with Bonfire Night (the pc name) every fifth of November. In 1940 Germany tried to bomb Britain into submission and though they got close, ultimately they failed as well. In 1984 the IRA tried to murder the British Government by bombing the hotel where the Cabinet were staying. They seriously damaged the hotel and injured some aides, but they failed too. So the UK survived all of these attacks from religious beliefs and attempted conquest.
But now in 2016, because of the blind belief resulting in the complete misreading of Parliament and the British electorate, David Cameron has successfully destroyed the British Government and the country's stability. Not only that but he has indirectly set in motion the tensions that are currently tearing apart the Official Opposition. He is also likely to have caused a disintegration of the UK with the probable independence of Scotland. As everyone blames each for not giving enough support for the argument to remain in the EU, the real culprit is David Cameron. His mishandling of the referendum, both in holding it in the first place, and not building in safety clauses will now be his legacy.
In continental Europe, the anger of the political elite is consolidating itself and their bitterness towards the UK is hardening. These are political views which deny the importance of mutual trade at the business level. There will be adjustments to make through hard fought agreements and there's no doubt that the UK will be poorer and now sent in a different direction. Most of the new economic conditions will be adverse, but some will beneficial. There is an opportunity to re-establish industries that have been sidelined and even shut down through an unequal emphasis on financial services. It will probably take more than a generation to settle down to the new status.
But today is the one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in the First World War. Britain went to war in defence of France and Belgium against Germany, and allowed its soldiers to give the ultimate sacrifice. Over 20,000 men were slaughtered on the first day and a million over the one hundred days of the battle's duration. With the exception of the French, the majority of these casualties were British and Commonwealth. The fighting did not take place on British soil, it was trench warfare along the Franco-German border. Many soldiers still remain buried somewhere in the land with just a name on the war memorial to remember them. Thus to dismiss Britain as anti-European is a travesty. It should be a reminder that it was the refusal by the European Commission to permit open discussion and express concerns, thus dismissing the UK as the fly in the ointment that ultimately lead to the referendum decision.
4th July 2016
When Henry VIII's roaming eye caused him to decide that loyalty to just one person in marriage just didn't cut it, it brought him into conflict with Catholic Europe in the person of the Pope. His desire to have his marriage annulled went much further than any acceptable compromise that could be considered. So his solution was to break the religious connections that had certainly been in force since the Norman Conquest and create his own church with his own rules. Despite being previously honoured for his support of the Catholic church up until this point, by being given the title by the Pope of Fideo Defensor (defender of the faith) – which is still displayed on coins to this day – he no longer accepted the unquestioned rules of the Pope.
His actions went much further than a simple disagreement, for not only did he create his own church for the whole country, but he raided all the Monasteries and Abbeys for their wealth. He took away their plate, stripped their roofs of the lead and dispossessed the religious communities of their power. It cannot be denied that these religious communities had acquired so much wealth and consequent power that they were a law unto themselves. They could not be questioned and compromise of any kind was not part of their language. So the country took a different route which nevertheless progressed independently through the world. Henry VIII's sickly son, Edward VI did not survive his teens and his sister Mary tried to reassert the Catholic status by punishing those who disagreed. A more considered approach was taken by Elizabeth I, who's reign has come to be seen as a golden of exploration and culture.
Ultimately over the passage of time, the development of a political elite achieved the separation of the King from direct rule to a constitutional position. But despite the experiment of a republic after a Civil War in the seventeenth century, it was felt that the King should remain as Head of State, but not interfere with the governing of the country. This isn't to say that politics was free from corrupt ambition at first, but constant revision gradually weeded out the less acceptable features. So today we live in a democracy where the will of the people is respected and acted upon, where practical. We place this power in the hands of an elected few because it would be anarchy otherwise to have everyone sitting at the table demanding their own views held sway.
But the governing elite must understand the population it represents and protect them through laws applicable to everyone. A change in circumstances, whether within the country or from without will dictate any necessary change in a law. But these are not the private dictate of the ruling government and politicians should bear in mind the consequences of leaving major decisions to that of the general public – they can be simplistic in their views. However a true democracy means that occasionally it's desirable to check and see if everyone is of the same mind. It's unlikely this would be the case anyway, so the question – in the form of a referendum – is just checking. If you're confident that the answer is likely to go your way, you may decide that it in itself can be taken as read.
But if you're still going to take the decision as an absolute and as an instruction to act without further question then you must stand by it. A Prime Minister governs in times of better or worse but stays at his post. David Cameron has opened a Pandora's which he may not have realised had the disruption that it currently achieving, but his decision to resign leave immediately displays an incompetence in the first place. Being a nice guy and getting laws passed for the overall benefit means nothing if you don't have the personal strength to see it through.
5th July 2016
So now the very person that David Cameron had engineered the referendum to eliminate politically – Nigel Farage – has resigned as leader of his party UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party). He announced his resignation yesterday saying that he had achieved his goal and he couldn't possibly achieve anything more. His original purpose was to establish a movement which eventually got the UK to leave the EU. His language may at times have been inflammatory and his opinions outrageous but he touched a nerve with a significant part of the general public. They hid their support by not voting in his party's candidates at elections; but the referendum allowed everyone to vote on their conscious and not through ideology. This was a serious misreading by the political elite of a thinking electorate. Instead of his opponents defusing his views by rational argument they trashed his character and overused the book of nasty words and insults.
With just one MP in parliament he had no real political power. Moreover this one MP out of a parliament of 650 MPs had defected from the governing Conservative Party just two years ago, yet UKIP had been founded in 1993. Ironically it has more MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) than all the other opposing groups in the UK combined. However the bitter comments and accusations are now coming fast and furious from representatives of the remaining twenty-seven. Their statement of intent that negotiations for Britain to leave the EU will be uncompromising as limiting as possible, rather confirms that the likelihood of reform was never on the cards, no matter they may have implied. So the deal that David Cameron claimed to have obtained prior to the referendum was never going to be implemented. It was very much like the time when Neville Chamberlain returned from his discussions with Germany in the 1930s, when he waved a signed piece of paper believing that it meant something.
The immediate resignation of David Cameron on the day the result of the referendum was announced showed how he had no consideration of any vote other what he personally believed. Consequently he had no contingency plans and it seems that no one else has any either. Only the Governor of the Bank of England had prepared a plan some kind to support the financial markets. But these markets are managed by speculators who see profit making at the expense of the people who provide the profit in the first place and treat the stock market as a gambling casino. Only time will tell how much damage they will provoke. As far as they're concerned it's every man for himself and damn the consequences.
So now the people who voted to leave are faced with no political leader to run the country. All the main political parties are fighting amongst themselves – they have no confidence in their own MPs and view the electorate unworthy of any consideration to offer their choices. In fact in the case of the Labour Party, practically all the MPs are attacking their Leader in parliament, in the country most of their members support the Leader. In the governing party who should have been lead by David Cameron, irrespective of the referendum vote, he has gone in hiding and left everything to collapse. It's the will of the people he says and I wash my hands of everything. That he is still an MP without any loyalty to the country, but not a Leader any longer, is an affront to the public. He should resign as an MP as well, for he has proved that he has no political competence after all.
6th July 2016
Let's take a step back from Brexit and return to the year 2003, at a time when Britain and America invaded Iraq with the purpose of deposing Saddam Hussein. Their decision was supported by the belief that hidden somewhere in Iraq was a cache of weapons of mass destruction. It was believed that these weapons could be employed against the UK – in effect the West – without forewarning or a declaration of war. The growth of Al Qa’ida and its increasingly violent progress against the US, culminating with the attack on New York in 2001, created a revenge culture that sought a reason to attack Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. His autocratic and despotic dictatorship would have been sufficient to invade in a previous time. But gun-boat diplomacy is a thing of the past and some semblance of rightful authority is now needed.
At the time the British Prime Minister was Tony Blair, of the Labour Party and the US President was George W. Bush jnr. The US goal was regime change and to remain until this was effected. The UK goal was security issues, but offering unquestioned support to the US. The Special Relationship between the UK and the US is often quoted as being a reason for both countries to march out together. But there has often been – certainly in recent years – a questioning of exactly how this benefits each country. It generally requires the sacrifice of the lives of citizens of both countries in wars that are not fought on each country's territories. This was seen in both World Wars of the twentieth century.
So a case was put together by Tony Blair presented to parliament to make an invasion valid and the action followed through. Now for the past seven years a detailed analysis has been under way with a judicial enquiry within the UK that has examined the justification and consequences of the invasion. The conclusions are that the security information was highly suspect and inadequate. Other operational factors were considered to be at fault. Worse still was the absence of a post-war plan to repair the country and rebuild its society. This lack of a post-war plan has lead to the continued destruction of Iraq and the wider area, to this day.
Politicians do not get elected on the basis of their qualification to govern, they gain office by persuasion that they as ordinary members of the public, have as much clarity of vision as anyone else. This is defined as democracy and ultimately assumes that all decisions within government are for the benefit of everyone. But democracy also assumes that there will be differing opinions on sections of government policy and thus allows interrogation in parliament through an official opposition. When this interrogation is detached from parliament and given to the public to decide free from government control it has no less validity. The consequences of any such approach to decision making has as many far reaching effects as the aftermath of a war – it's just more subtle.
9th July 2016
What tipped the balance in favour of leaving the EU in the referendum two weeks ago, was the attempt to scare the public into fear of the unknown. In the end they were prepared to take their chances and so many undecideds voted to leave and damn the consequences. The younger voter who now claims they have been robbed of their future, used social media to discuss the pros and cons, but on the day many did not vote. It may have been different if the voting age had been lowered to sixteen, but for some reason this was not considered acceptable by the government. In the end the campaigns were slanging matches with who could throw the worst insult. The rational arguments of making a proper case were lost.
It seems to me that there was an opportunity to offer a very clear explanation both for or against by producing films that detailed all the arguments. The government (David Cameron) spent £9millions on publishing a booklet, distributed to every household, presenting the reasons to stay in the EU, but this was a waste of money and a dismissal of creative talent. When the NHS was founded in 1948, people needed to know exactly what it was and how it was going to affect them. In order to explain this, a series of short films were issued by the Central Office of Information. Before the NHS in 1944, a new and comprehensive Education Act was passed and a later film explained that as well.
These films used humour, cartoon animation and simple documentary to explain the main points. They were not complex films and they assumed a good intelligence of the people watching them. Literacy was not as high as it is now and so such films did not require a high academic background to understand what we being put across. Halas and Batchelor were a husband and wife team who produced many information animations for the COI. Had something like this been created to explain all the aspects for and against the EU, the decision may have been different. Although the absence of any caveat built in to the referendum result could well have avoided the current political and economic mess.
12th July 2016
Yesterday there were two Prime Ministers apparent, then there was just one Prime Minister presumptive. All the time there was one sitting Prime Minister. Tomorrow there will be a new official Prime Minister and we'll be off and running at last. It almost came to the point where the government was about to collapse, but it picked itself up at the last minute. I'd like to say that there is an official Opposition, which all democracies should have, but the Labour Party is tearing itself apart daily. This is another reason why some Conservatives suggested now would be a good time to call for a General Election, as there is no active opposition. But, horror of horrors, it's conceivable that UKIP could gain enough MPs to challenge the Labour Party as the official Opposition - even become the governing party. Nothing is impossible now.
13th July 2016
It's sometimes seen with a certain degree of incredulity the length of time it takes to elect a US President. Even allowing for the size of the country and all the States, it seems rather laborious. Well while the UK Election campaigns are shorter, everything has been running at break-neck speed this week. Yesterday morning there was one sitting Prime Minister and two candidates to replace him. By lunch-time there was just one opposing candidates and by the early evening, the sitting Prime Minister had resigned and the opposing candidate endorsed the Prime Minister presumptive.
Nothing changes without the Queen's approval and she was in Norfolk opening an air rescue station with her grandson Prince William, who's ordinary job it is – outside of his Royal Duties. So the Queen had effectively to be bussed into London by helicopter and waited in Buckingham Palace to effect the official changeover of Prime Ministers late afternoon today. New Ministerial appointments began straight away and will continue for the next couple of days. The big Offices of State were confirmed today.
The removal vans had arrived in Downing Street earlier to whisk the Cameron family away, and the occupant of 10 Downing Street had changed in just one hour. George Osborne, the Chancellor (finance minster) under David Cameron had been kicked out and so he has been forced to resign along with his previous leader. Now all the shuffling takes place with new people and old people, but the make-up is one of Brexit.
The EU leaders may be congratulating Theresa May on becoming the new Prime Minister, but they do so through clenched teeth and still spouting unpleasantries. I think that the UK will become the martyr of the EU, because the anti-EU parties in other countries in Europe have now seen that you can decide your own destiny. The re-establishment of UK trade agreements will now be pursued in earnest.
13th July 2016
Yesterday morning, Theresa May, the new Prime Minister, began creating her Cabinet by sacking some existing ministers and bringing in new ones. By the end of the afternoon today, she completed doling out all the various positions. The four great offices of State – Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary – were dealt with. She had been Home Secretary, so that was now given to someone else – as a reward for loyalty as well. David Cameron and his Chancellor, George Osborne, had more or less ruled as duopoly and formed a clique around themselves. It's ironic that had it not been for the referendum and the absolute presumption that it was going to be a Yes vote, that George Osborne could have continued as the Chancellor right through to 2020. But he was tied to David Cameron and when he resigned, that meant George Osborne had to go as well.
Then there's Boris Johnson, who had not previously been in government and was astonishingly pushed right into the Foreign Office. He had been elected Mayor of London for two terms and was successful in that job. The 2012 London Olympics was considered to be one of the best ever and included disabled athletes competing with equal importance. Now it is true that Boris is rather seen as a bit of a buffoon and has made some offensive remarks about foreign leaders. He is not as stupid as people are led to think and has many qualities that will come in useful. He voted to leave the EU, and as Foreign Secretary he has two new sub-departments each with a minister who is directed to handle the negotiations to leave the EU and also to seek out foreign trade agreements.
The decision to leave the EU has clearly shocked the other twenty-seven countries and their leaders are very worried. This is because a number of them have anti-EU parties in opposition who see the UK as being allowed to make its own decisions. Where the countries with significant anti-EU parties are kept under control and not allowed a voice, for fear of rocking the boat too much. So the anti-EU rhetoric that encourage fears to be promoted in the Brexit campaigns are being now being expressed by the EU countries. Their comments are being delivered with anger and ridicule and frankly confirm the very fact of a failure to reform, which is why the UK was forced to review its membership.
21st July 2016
The repercussions of the UK referendum are still being felt more around the world than in Europe at the moment. This is likely because for the next two years the UK remains a member of the EU, so nothing changes. The get-out mechanism which is to trigger Article 50 of the EU Treaty requires that this two year period must happen first. If all negotiations – mainly trade agreements – are then completed, the door closes and the UK is no longer an EU member. But if the fine detail is difficult to resolve and it takes longer, then the UK will still be outside of the EU anyway but without firm trade agreements in place. However after the two year period the UK can legally enter into trade agreements with all countries outside of the EU and some countries are already preparing for mutual discussions.
Those who voted to remain in the EU are still unable to come to terms with the new situation and talk every positive into a negative. They are supported by speculators on the Stock Exchange, the IMF and political leaders of the other twenty-seven members of the EU. Those who voted to leave the EU generally remain confident and on either side no certainty can be guaranteed. But to see the consequences of leaving the EU as only a doomsday scenario, is a narrow viewpoint that dismisses everything that's good and progressive about the UK. The pound/dollar rate is now 10% lower and while this makes imports more expensive it also makes exports correspondingly cheaper. It can also be beneficial for tourism into the UK.
Once the residual shenanigans that were the post referendum shuffling of political power, settled down in the government, a new Prime Minister and Cabinet were quickly established. The single winner was the new Foreign Secretary – Boris Johnson – who now has not only to deal with world events, but also to apologise to the many foreign politicians he bad-mouthed when he didn't hold a position of power and now is likely to face them all. It was a bold move by the new Prime Minister to appoint Boris to the second highest position in the government. It took everyone surprise and they are still trying to work out the reason behind the decision. Whatever foreign leaders think of him, they're going to have to deal with him or snub the UK altogether. He's smarter than people think but a strong personality can often veil a natural intelligence.
29th July 2016
A politician’s job is to be the representative of a group of people who make up a constituency in a defined area. Overall such politicians form another group which is the governing party and the official opposition in parliament. They're given the responsibility of making life changing decisions through laws for the general public, because it just isn't practical or possible for each individual alone to govern themselves. It's no longer a naïve belief that politicians only act altruistically on behalf of the public, there's a personal ambition tolerance which we have to accept. There's also a competence quota they are supposed to have and a self-belief that doesn't contradict a constructive approach to dealing with world trade and geopolitics. David Cameron ultimately failed in these.
The consequences of Brexit hangs over the country like a nuclear winter which requires a period of cautiousness before it's safe to go out. But the problem is that it's the UK's nuclear winter and not that of other countries. Their concern is that it doesn't spread across their borders and cause consequent chaos. This is also the case for individuals and big business. If politicians and trade could be separated, then maybe some decisions would be quite simple because the vision is clear. But such experiments in the past have proved to be limited over time. An example is the East India Company which was formed in 1600 for the purpose of trade with India. Like many such companies through time and unfettered by government control, they started with the establishment of trading posts on the coast, later moving into the hinterland. But their size and power grew beyond even that of the government back home and after social unrest it came under direct government control in 1858, becoming the Indian Empire – which lasted until 1947.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, trading blocks of country groups began to be formed. These offered free trade but were soon wrapped in political protection – a feature that was secondary where trade and education were the key drivers. The problem with the EU was that politics became the primary objective with trade interpreted on that basis. It didn't need a referendum to clarify this and redefine the status if necessary as the facts should have been clear to any governing politician. The presumption that all members of the public are financiers and academics who understand the intricacies of business and politics is frankly a pipe dream. This is not to say that the public are stupid, but that some decisions are too complex to be left only to them. That's why a government is elected.
The decision of Brexit is the shock of the new. The decision was given back to the people who demonstrated, rightly or wrongly, which direction the country was to go. There remains such division of opinions that really we're no further forward. The new government hit the ground running, thanks to David Cameron's total loss of confidence and abrogation of his final Prime Ministerial duties of easing the country into the next stage. Consequently the new Prime Minister is re-examining the decisions and actions of the previous government. There are many decisions that have needed immediate action and already cracks are beginning to show in decision making of major projects. One of these is the construction of a nuclear power station to involve French and Chinese investment, but has suddenly been put on hold when everything had already been agreed. This is a poor start for a government having to renegotiate trade deals with the world.