Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Red White & Blue – or “Dinner means Dinner”

People talk about the sort of Brexit that there is going to be – is it hard or soft, is it grey or white. Actually we want a red, white and blue Brexit: that is the right Brexit for the UK, the right deal for the UK.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, quoted on BBC News Website, 6 December 2016 | Theresa May: We want a red, white and blue Brexit

Red as in bloody, white as in the eventual surrender and blue as in the party who will ensure that it gains the most? Is Red White and Blue Brexit any closer to reality than “Brexit means Brexit”?

Read more…

Tory Brexit Strategy

Brexit will be wonderful, we must have more positivity!

The world will want to trade with us. They need someone to drink their Prosseco, eat their cheese and drive their BMWs!

Don’t see problems – see opportunities (even if they are insurmountable opportunities)!

How? Boris and Co have obviously been taking something, so what is the Tory Brexit Strategy? There obviously is one – we are less than four months from irreversibly triggering Article 50 and starting a journey from the EU to some wonderful new uplands. Read more…

Will Democracy ever work for me?

Yes, I mean me personally. I got the vote in the mid 1970’s and democracy has never worked for me (talking UK). My vote has never made a difference and I have always been told that I must accept the “democratic will of the people”.

So I have, over and over and over again. Read more…

Enemies of the People

The country is split; horribly horribly split. This week’s High Court judgement has opened the split even more.

But dig deeper and it is not a Brexit vs Anti-Brexit split. It is a deeper and more dangerous split amongst the people of this country. The split is between those who have given up on the major institutions of the country (Parliament, Judiciary, City, “Mainstream Media”) – as well as the EU and all its institutions – and those who are still trying to have faith in some of the institutions.

Read more…

Is Trump an Alien?

A simple question that I have been asked; one deserving a simple answer.

The evidence? Read more…

Brexit and Parliamentary Sovereignty

One of the Leave Campaign’s arguments for Leaving the EU was to ensure that the House of Commons was the place where Britain’s fate was decided.

As far as I know Number 10 (or any minister’s office) is not part of the House of Commons.

I am, therefore, puzzled that some Leavers are up in arms about today’s High Court judgement that the House of Commons should have a vote before Article 50 is invoked.

Read more…

Shop in Shops or On-line

My mother’s old TV broke down yesterday. She is in a nursing home and spends a lot of her time watching TV. Immediate replacement today was required.

You would think that this would be a classic case for “going to the shops”. After a frustrating 4 hours, I wish I had bought on-line last night. Read more…

Great May! She’s cracked it: A Great Bill

We were told that the EU was terrible because it stopped us being a sovereign state. We voted to leave.

Now it appears that we can regain this sovereignty by our (non sovereign) parliament voting for a Great Repeal Bill.

The referendum has obviously had a positive result. It got rid of David Can’t and got us Theresa May. She has cracked it!

Read more…

No Mayor, No Wey-Aye

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed that a planned devolution deal for the North East will not go ahead after a majority of local leaders voted against it.

Mr Javid said he was disappointed that four of the seven councils to form a planned North East Combined Authority – Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland, and South Tyneside – voted against the deal.

He insisted they would have received guaranteed investment of more than £1 billion and powers over transport, skills and regeneration.

Legislation to devolve the powers and enable 2017 elections for a North East mayor has now been shelved.
Morpeth Herald (quoting Reuters), 8 August 2016 | North East devolution plans shelved after local leaders reject deal

This sounds like petulance – on both sides, but I suspect it is more complicated.

First the £1bn is not as massive at it sounds; it is £30m a year for 30 years. For a population of a little under 2 million, that is £15 per head per year.

Read more…

North East England is not Metropolitan

The mini devolution deal for North East (of England) is apparently in danger of running out of time.

In a letter sent to the councils which make up the North East Combined Authority, and which has been seen by the BBC, Mr Javid said: “I reaffirm the government’s commitment to implementing the North East devolution deal in full.

“[However] without an elected mayor the deal cannot progress.

“There is a significant risk now that we will run out of time to implement the deal unless you publish your governance review and scheme, and move forward with the consultation immediately.”
BBC News Website, 26 August 2016 | North East devolution delay ‘risks £900m investment’

Why does an area that includes two conurbations (Newcastle-Gateshead-Tyneside and Sunderland-Washington) and a huge rural area (Northumberland and Durham) need an elected mayor to manage transport, skills and training? The LEPs (remember them?) where set up by the Conservatives to address issues that included skills and training. Read more…

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