Category: Uncategorized

The Best Political Question

Great question to Gov. John Kasich on Meet the Press today:

“If you were just a citizen and not an elected official, would you be a member of the Republican party?”

6mins in…http://www.nbcnews.com/widget/video-embed/896023107800

 

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Rubber Hits the Brexit Road

Tomorrow marks a big day for Brexit, with the bill to trigger Article 50 likely to pass through the House of Commons on Monday. That’s led to speculation that Article 50 itself could be triggered before the end of week – essentially after nine months of prevarication the rubber will truly hit the (exit) road.

Frankly I’m still amazed at the approach Theresa May has adopted. Choosing to pursue the hardest possible Brexit without even a scrap of recognition or focus on the wants of the 48% who voted to remain – many of whom she will be looking at for votes in 2020. I understand it, by standing explicitly on the basis of the mandate of the 52% she feels safety in purity, reassurance in simplicity – “you’ve given me directions and I’m acting on them”. But my amazement comes from her folly in not even trying to prepare the Leavers she is delivering for of the complexity and inherent risks of attempting to strike a trade deal and amicably leave the EU within 24mths. I believe this is will ultimately be her undoing. There are a large proportion of the 52% who do not – and do not care to – understand the Herculean task that awaits the May government, and she has made no effort to prepare them for this. By not explaining the complexity of the process she will be hung by the simplistic analysis of success v failure.

She could have easily taken the tact below and lost ZERO political capital and ZERO Brexiteer support…

“With a clear mandate to deliver a future for Britain outside the European Union I will move ahead as quickly as possible to make this a reality. It is clear that as a country we voted to control our own borders and our own regulatory framework, therefore membership of the Single Market is a structural impossibility. I am the Prime Minister that will make your mandate a reality, and in doing so you must trust me to get the right deal for Britain alongside our European partners. But two years is not a long time, the vision I now share of a Global Britain, in complete control of its own destiny relies on this country being as economically secure in two years time as it is now. Compromise on some aspects of our short-term future will be necessary, as will be an understanding that March 2019 will not see the completion of the process of transforming 21st century Britain in the vision which both I and I believe the majority of the country forsee. It is therefore with confidence, but also realism that I will approach the negotiating and bargaining position of the United Kingdom. A Conservative government and a Conservative Prime Minister will deliver to change you require, but as your Prime Minister I must counsel the whole country on the complexity and difficulties the Government will face, but ultimately for the right ends.”

By not attempting to educate the 52% of the complexity of Brexit she will  ultimately be skewered by the same 52% not accepting her inability to deliver a simplistic outcome. In other word she still hasn’t explained that having and eating cake are incompatible.

Incidentally, this is well worth a watch, personally I’m petrified at the prospect of having to make by own furniture…

 

 

 

Gaslighting

I was interested to read this article from the unlikely source of TeenVogue earlier today. As you may expect it isn’t a publication I have ever read before, but that’s what made it so surprising. To see an Op-Ed piece so well crafted in what you might think wouldn’t be such a politically charged publication has certainly seen it shared widely on Twitter.

In short the piece explores Donald Trump’s approach to the truth, or to be more appropriate, Donald Trump’s approach to disregarding the truth. The latest and most pernicious example of this is without doubt the unfolding report from the CIA that Russia was actively involved in specific actions to promote and aid a Trump victory in last month’s election. An episode which I am sure will have a lasting effect on the Trump Presidency and the 2020 election.

The final paragraph of the piece is the most powerful:

“The road ahead is a treacherous one. There are unprecedented amounts of ugliness to untangle, from deciding whether our President can be an admitted sexual predator to figuring out how to stop him from threatening the sovereignty of an entire religion. It’s incredible that any of those things could seem like a distraction from a greater peril, or be only the cherry-picked issues in a seemingly unending list of gaffes, but the gaslights are flickering.”

“The gaslights are flickering” – this specifically refers to a phenomenon I hadn’t heard of until today – Gaslighting. Quick research explains its origin in the 1930s play ‘Gas Light’. It refers to psychological manipulation of one or a group of people to which they will question their perception and sanity. The gaslight specifically refers to the dimming of the light in the house which one of the play’s characters is aware of but coerced into believing she is imagining.

Many around the world feel trepidation about President Trump; his potential actions, his potential reactions and his potency. I certainly share those concerns, heightened given the fact the world is arguably more uncertain at a country, continent and global level than at any point in my lifetime. But as the article explores, the most distressing aspect of Trump isn’t the reality of what Trump may do, but the lies and spin he may layer on top of what he does, both for justification and pretension. We live in a ‘post-truth’ world – ironically one of the facts no doubt Trump would deny – but the brazen capability Trump and his incoming administration seem to have to dismiss facts and impact the US public’s perception of the factual truth is summed entirely by the image of the dimming gaslight.

 

 

The Big Green Button Bill

Waiting for Godot

“There’ll be rioting in the streets,” I’ve been told over and again, “if the result of the Referendum is ignored.”

But here’s the thing.

There’s no good outcome from this. There are only more and less bad ones.

The promises the Leave camp made to voters – that immigration would (in some sense) stop or that £350m per week would be available to spend on the NHS – have already been jettisoned. But these are only small things. The Leavers had no plan. David Cameron has resigned and no one is running the country. Day by day our economy is bleeding out. When these things eventually come to sound in a huge hit to investment and economic growth and public finances; when Project Fear is revealed to be Actual Reality, and benefit spending is slashed, and hard working voters find they’ve lost their jobs, and there is less public money available to spend…

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The Pressure is Mounting…

We really shouldn’t underestimate the power that a continued financial slide will have. No politician is stupid enough to see Rome burn and not call in the fire engines at some point. Business will be screaming, the BOE will be screaming, other countries will be screaming through every channel possible, the Royal Family will be screaming – pressure to act will be mounting by the hour. Can you imagine even two more months (the Conservatives stated there would be a new PM on 2nd Sept) of decline for the £ and the FTSE? We’re in this position after two days!

In my opinion there are only four things which can bring (some) stability:

1) A snap General Election to form a new Government
2) Triggering Article 50 immediately
3) A second referendum which essentially says Vote to Remain or Vote to Leave, with the caveat that Leave triggers Article 50 immediately
4) A vote in Parliament to not act on the result of referendum