The ‘Universal Credit’ benefit, together with the rest of the UK’s welfare system, is a national disaster – TIME to start ditching the whole bloody lot?

The terminal state of the British welfare state is ample summed-up by the furore that has arisen daily in recent weeks both across the airways of TV, Radio & Newspapers, and at Westminster about the ‘Universal Credit’ benefit now being widely rolled-out across the UK, wouldn’t you say? The cries from far and wide are that this benefit is the cause of absolute misery to hundreds and thousands, because those utterly dependant on it are not getting the free money quick enough. They are squealing like pigs to the media about how they are being disgracefully let down, eh? No one seems to stop and question just why the hell all these people critically need the State to step-in to continually support their lives, do they?

Well, the actual name of this benefit says it all, doesn’t it? The adjective ‘universal’ actually means “relating to all people in the world“, or is even defined as being comprehensive, common, across the board, all-round, and in reality all those words sum things up as far as all UK benefits go – so every Tom, Dick, and Harry can get them, whether British or foreign national, and moreover that includes those having neither ever having paid a penny into the system, nor ever every done a day’s work in their lives, nor ever every paid any bloody tax, and that benefit availability includes rights to those of course who are asylum seekers, Islamic hate preachers & their terrorist followers, criminals even of the worse kinds likes of killers & rapists, and indeed all else, whether immigrants or not.

And the most galling thing that sticks in the craw for many of us, is that they get paid-out money, or given houses, or free medical & hospital treatment, free education, even child support sent to children living overseas who have never even been in the UK, free drugs for addicts, et all, NOT as a matter of charity, but as a legal RIGHT which is enforced by the Courts, no less?

Now, we in the UK aren’t the only Country that has been bamboozled into providing a state welfare system, but by a long chalk we have been the most ‘stupid’ in just how far we have progressed with it, and how long we have bleeding well persisted with it, despite all the evidence stacking up over decades, which shows that it is a total waste of time, doesn’t meet the intended objective, and that it is in actuality destroying our society, wouldn’t you say? It is all driven by ‘do-gooders’ who don’t understand nor appreciate the damage they are causing to our society’s way of life?

That itself comes of course, on the top of the ‘additional’ mad squandering of the bulk of nigh on £14BILLION currently allocated to Foreign Aid, much which just goes straight into the pockets of overseas corrupt greedy rulers and individuals, or is often used in unacceptable and extravagant, grandiose foreign projects – until 2016, WE were the ONLY country in the whole wide WORLD that allocated 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to overseas aid [and it has now become a legal requirement here, to boot!], aren’t we? Yes and ONLY Germany has done that level since. [The most aid from Britain is going to Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria].

The evidence is of scandalously wasteful delays and incompetent management of overseas aid projects paid for by us UK taxpayers, isn’t it? Just that has been seen fairly recently regarding a £2 billion gaggle of negligently conducted overseas programmes for climate change and renewable energy projects, covering active or earmarked spend – like solar power plants (Kenya, Mali), rubbish-burning power plant (Maldives), wind farms (Ethiopia), and for example a £250m one, which reportedly has produced only enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of a British street of just 100 houses, for goodness sake?

Somehow, sometime, somewhere, over the past seventy years, British society’s the cake mix of welfare has curdled in its preparation, and we now are baking a sickening mess, aren’t we? It all needs a radical overhaul, but the current UK political parties are no longer ones of courage and grit prepared to protect our lives, wouldn’t you say? Welfare should be handed back, lock, stock, and barrel to charitable organisations where it rightly belongs – and the government should then provide hands-off support and some finance to them.

The commendable original intention of the historic ‘Beverage’ proposals on welfare back in 1948 were to help the downtrodden poorest members of our community with financial help from the taxpayers, and do away forever with the poor laws of the Tudor times. But it has all rapidly and seriously, wrongly gone downhill and got out of control in the last seventy odd years, hasn’t it?

Welfare which was meant to be simply an effective ‘safety-net’ to catch those who have fallen, so they can quickly recover, and get back on their feet, to resume normal lives, has become a massive ‘constraining net’ that traps millions of our families in it, to the extent that whole generations of them never work or support themselves or their children.

It is a system that fails to help those actually most in need because of the hangers-on, is utterly dysfunctional, encourages long-term unemployment, debilitating dependency on others, destructive incapacitating illiteracy, commonly assignment to substandard if not slum accommodation, abandonment of family values including care for their elderly, demoralising reliance on foodbanks, establishes social housing sink estates of ‘no-go’ areas dominated by gangs, populated by career criminals, and fuelled with drugs rather than food. We have created an iconic “free” system of health care (supposedly the envy of the World?), which we neither adequately fund nor manage, so it continues to suffer dreadful failures and deliver poor survival outcomes compared to other advanced countries (e.g. on cancer).

Furthermore, welfare has played the major part in destroying traditional family values, including marriage, whereby respectable morality has been replaced by unbridled promiscuity, so Britain now has the highest rates of fatherless families within the developed world, and ‘just announced’ is that in UK places of high benefit dependency, two thirds of children are born into unmarried families – and the bottom line of all that is that British children are being brought into the World to commence an ongoing life of poverty and depravation. Year on year the number of children that have to be taken into care rises significantly, and soon there will be 75,000 kids’ lives blighted, when about another 5,000 will also get adopted as well – is that representative of a responsible caring family society looking after the next generation, eh?

Why in this Country do we persist to convince ourselves that our extensive welfare state is something to be proud of and cherished when its adverse consequences are so blatantly damaging to the very fabric of our society, eh?

Many of those on benefits are unashamedly milking the system, and a glaring example of that is the press’ nicknamed ‘queen of benefits’, who rakes in £40,000 from the state each year, has had 13 children with 4 different men, and not satisfied with that level of scrounging, she booked an expensive family holiday  to Menorca with money stolen by her latest man.

You read of situations whereby a family have had the good fortune to have financially climbed out of your average lifestyle, so have got the big house and all the trappings, but when their bubble bursts for whatever reason, they go on state benefits – but they then ‘demand’ they are allowed to keep that ‘higher than you ‘lifestyle, with you paying the bill, eh?

There is an astounding number of UK basic benefits – well, there are bloody SIXTY of them indeed.

The costliest 10 are: Tax credit, Housing benefit, Child benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Council Tax Benefit, Statutory Maternity Pay, Carer’s Allowance.

The other 50 are: Adult social care, Attendance Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment, Budgeting Loans, Child Tax Credit, Child Trust Fund, Cold Weather Payment, Community Care Grant, Constant Attendance Allowance, Crisis Loans, Employment and Support Allowance, Funeral Payments, Guardian’s Allowance, Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme, Health Costs, Health in Pregnancy Grant, Healthy Start Scheme, In Work Credit, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Industrial Death Benefit, Invalidity Benefit, Job Grant, Local Housing Allowance, Maternity Allowance, Mobility Supplement, Over 80 Pension, Pension Credit, Pneumoconiosis (including asbestosis), Byssinosis and Miscellaneous Diseases Benefit, Reduced Earnings Allowance, Retirement Allowance, Return to work credit, School uniform allowances, Severe Disablement Allowance, State Pension, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Sick Pay, Sure Start Maternity Grant, Training premium, Travel to interview scheme, Unemployability Supplement or Allowance, Universal Credit, Vaccine Damage Payment, War Disablement Pension, War Widow’s/Widower’s Pension, Widowed Parent’s Allowance, Widow’s Pension, Winter Fuel Payment, Working Tax Credit.

It’s difficult to find out just how many of the people here in Britain are actually on benefits (the data is incomplete and fragmented), but there are probably some 5 million or more, and about one in a dozen of them won’t even be UK citizens. It is not a sustainable situation, and we need to progressively roll back on the benefits culture if we are to save our society, don’t you think? Universal Credit was just a small step in that direction, but our parliamentary idiots just don’t get it, and are trying to wreck it, aren’t they?

Reported, other countries aren’t making such a pig’s ear of it with benefits, so it is said that the even developing country Singapore copes better with their housing needs, while the more modern economy of Switzerland do better on health care, and the high living standards Dutch’s old age pensioners aren’t amongst their poor.

[The UK needs to actually deliver the welfare reform that was the ambition of the Government of seven years ago – it is not simply about saving money, but the need to turn the clock back to times when the British population had self-respect, standards, and the desire to stand on their own two feet, surely?]

 

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The remaining “Remoaners” will stop at nothing to scupper BREXIT – they deny being TRAITORS though?

unionjack yinyang2

The Tyburn Tree gallows London 1571 [executions at Tyburn 1196 thru 1783]

We currently have a situation in the UK whereby from within the certainly large number of those people who voted for ‘Remain’ in the EU Referendum, there are hoards of them that will NOT ever accept that they, against all expectations, actually LOST the bleeding argument – they therefore fall into the despicable category of extremely ‘bad losers’ don’t they? The galling fact is that while the major prominent BREXIT deniers publically profess to accept the decision, their actions show that they are bloody liars, wouldn’t you say?

Whilst the vast majority of those who voted to remain have accepted the Country’s majority decision to leave the EU and understand that we needed to come together in a common cause as a Nation in national unity, to jointly fight the battle within the EU to negotiate a ‘mutually’ good package and deal for the UK’s departure, there persist to be others who are determined to undermine these events because they cannot understand nor accept the potential and vision of a free UK – successful, autonomous, controlling its own destiny, and making its individual way in the World of the 21st century.

Oh yes, it may be the insult of choice that us others call them ‘Remoaners’, but many of us also see them as Traitors, who are prepared to treasonably betray their own Country, or commit treacherous acts of deliberate disregard for trust to give aid to enemy, and in the process, they are willing to deny us other citizens the basic principle of democracy [something that millions of our ancestors fought and died for, in two horrific world wars within the past hundred years].

Many Remainers, those in favour of the EU (Europhiles), have spent the past seventeen months since the Referendum sneering at the Leavers, those wanting to cancel our European club membership and ditch forever its unalterable control and servitude (Eurosceptics), are claiming that those who turned-out in their millions were simply the ignorant masses who didn’t know what they were voting for, or were racist, or reckless little Englanders determined to recluse the Country from the World, or were ‘past-it’ oldies who would soon be dead anyway (having denied the young the legacy of any real future).

If these BREXIT deniers succeed in thwarting the will of the people on leaving the EU, in what turned out to be the BIGGEST vote ever in favour of something in Britain, it will show that democracy doesn’t work, so will ring the death bells for the rule of law in the UK, as well as obliterate any remaining respect for the political species, wouldn’t you say? The EU Referendum vote was the first time that us ordinary people have been allowed to have direct participation and a say about the crass political decision to hand over control of our Country (without even a fight) to others, as this was unilaterally decided upon by the elite, wasn’t it? The people’s instruction was for the Government of the day to reverse that decision

The population became exceptionally well informed and showed remarkable skill and understanding when sifting the wheat from the chaff  before coming to their decision – that is fully (even if sadly) demonstrated by the family arguments, including rifts, that opposite views resulted in. That is precisely why it is extremely insulting for the losers to continually denigrate and pour scorn on the winners after the result, in an attempt to rubbish the outcome, wouldn’t you agree?

The diehard Remainers who haven’t accepted the result, blatantly lie through their teeth that people didn’t vote to fully ditch the EU, because all the evidence shows that both sides made it crystal clear that we would have to leave the Single Market, and the Customs Union, and the European Court of Justice – and in reality ALL us voters on either side  knew precisely that.

Cutting out all the crap, the single main reason the electorate voted ‘LEAVE’, was to send the clear message to Parliament that they weren’t apathetic about politics, so wanted our politicians to ‘TAKE-BACK-CONTROL’ and do THEIR job they had been elected to do (and paid well for, eh?).

The scare-mongering Remainers with their Government-led “Project Fear” campaign in 2016 predicted numerous (20?) dire consequences if we dared vote ‘leave’, including the immediate effect of calamitous ‘economic shock’ causing a UK recession, flight of businesses from the Country, increased unemployment up to half a million, a crippling cut-off on inward investment, drop in growth, interest rates up, national security jeopardised, et al. Well, it didn’t bloody well happen like that in the least, but what actually occurred certainly was a long overdue fall in sterling, which as we all well know, has certain beneficial effects (improvement on exports, plus inbound tourism, as well as reduction on imports).

Now ALL the major parties and their leaders (in addition naturally their cohorts) were in favour of REMAIN so are still squirming in embarrassment as being so out-of-touch, and hence NOW desperately want to derail BREXIT and disgracefully are trying to do so by ALL means available and possible, whatever DAMAGE it causes to our wonderful Country. So, to save face they want Britain to get a bloody nose over BREXIT (and that includes letting the EU take us to the cleaners), simple to be proven right in the end, don’t you think? Those conscientious people who used to support the Labour Party, are disgusted that it is selling our Country down the river in a doubtless fruitless attempt to unseat the current Tory Government – that including not least, surreptitiously using the currently debated BREXIT bill [intended to be a simple non-controversial technical method of initially legally incorporating EU law], as a runaway juggernaut vehicle to overturn the Referendum result.

How else to you explain their inexcusable actions, starting here at home when they DEMAND that the UK must NOT leave without a DEAL – i.e. they require our negotiators to accept just ANYTHING the enemy (make no mistake about that they are, will you?) negotiators come up with, eh?

Then there is the astonishing assertion by the EU mercenary conscript army of Leave MPs, mostly nobodies at Westminster, violently fighting on our front line in the colours of the Brussels’ forces, against their own Countrymen, whence they insist that they MUST perform their constitutionally duty, including protection of democracy freedoms, so consequently MUST be allowed a hallowed role of making the final decision on BREXIT [which would be to scrap it] and to determine our future governance and legislation [which would be to hand-it over to Europe’s non-elected administrators].

This gross pretence, follows-on from the undeniable fact that not only did they voluntarily (even if expectantly?) promised the British people that very right in the EU Referendum (and stressed the importance and critical significance of that historic decision), but more significantly, some 45 years ago, they had actually handed-over the right, with total ultimate responsibility, to regulate the fate and destiny of this Country [and for determination of ALL our laws] to the European’s unelected bureaucrats. As claimed defenders of UK sovereignty they have been very conspicuous by their absence over all those years, wouldn’t you say?

The damaging consequence of these MPs’ enormous disservice to the country by the undermining and sabotage of Britain’s negotiating position, is that we will NOT get a GOOD deal, since we will only be offered a RUBBISH deal – and that will involve us unnecessarily gifting 60 to 100 BILLION pounds to those tyrant pirates sailing out of Brussels. [We should leave with NO DEAL and not give them a bleeding penny].

Anyone who has been involved in the world of politics, or has watched TV’s “Yes Minister” and “Yes Prime Minister”, will recognise that the Civil Service seriously hanker after running the Country without the constraints of satisfying the volatile demands of the general public, which inevitably ties the hands of elected politicians and prevents the introduction of unpopular governance. And so it is with the EU, which is indeed ruthlessly controlled by an administrative class, and there is no way that is going to change, is there? Despite its warts & all, the British people believe in an elected democracy, with its built-in checks and balances on power, and the voters’ability from time to time, to change those put in charge.

Everybody here recognises that the UK would prefer to negotiate a Trade Deal with the EU and leave on good ‘friendly’ terms when negotiating the relationship for the future – but the EU mandarins have decided otherwise from the outset, haven’t they? They have put discussion on trade on the backburner until we agree to pay a massive ransom to leave – a payment which has no legal basis. Exactly why then, did the scumbag 18 out of 20 Labour MEPs vote in Brussels to STOP trade talks even starting? Indeed, why did 2 totally irresponsible Tory MEPs also do exactly the same thing [it got the them expelled from the party though]? How would you classify the actions of those men and women then, either  ‘traitorous’ or ‘treacherous’? It must be one of them, surely?

In the last War, the British traitors weren’t simply people who refused to fight for this Country, were they? No, those non-combatants were simply ‘semi-respected’ as “conscientious objectors”, but the big traitors and treacherous men and women were those in our midst who fought for or supported the other side, weren’t they?

Oh yes, after the War, there might have been only ten or so visibly brought to proper trial justice (half of them hanged), amongst them being those of the likes of notorious Lord Haw-Haw, fascist William Joyce, civilian Dorothy O’Grady   – but in the present BREXIT war, there are multitudes of these Remainer tricksters and spies communicating with enemy – all publicly denying wrong doing, whilst at every turn siding with the enemy and materially supporting it, in determinedly trying to bring this Country down. They constantly deliver inflated setback reports to promote misinformation and propaganda for the enemy, all designed to derail BREXIT and demoralise a government still supported by the British people who are backing it whole heartedly to deliver a successful BREXIT.

Those recalcitrant MPs guilty of scuppering BREXIT, can rest assured that although the Act of Parliament defining high treason remains on the United Kingdom’s statute books, they themselves if tried for high treason, and if found guilty will NOT be hanged, drawn and quartered in accordance with the statuary penalty of 1351, as was say Oliver Plunket, Archbishop of Armagh, at Tyburn in 1681. No, that level of punishment was abolished in 1870 in favour of hanging, but beheading remained the monarch’s option of right. Well, the EU sunk the UK’s death penalty at the end of the last century – nothing to stop us reinstating it though as soon as we leave the EU, is there?

 

[Some MPs should perhaps dwell on the fact that “high treason” is still punishable by “life imprisonment’, eh?]

THE MEPs WHO VOTED AGAINST THEIR COUNTRY AT THE EU ON 3rd OCTOBER 2017:

Labour: Lucy Anderson London, Paul Brannen North East England, Richard Corbett Yorkshire and the Humber, Seb Dance London, Neena Gill West Midlands, Theresa Griffin North West England, Mary Honeyball London, John Howarth South East England, Wajid Khan North West England, Jude Kirton-Darling North East England, David Martin Scotland, Alex Mayer, East of England Linda McAvan, Yorkshire and the Humber, Claude Moraes London, Simon West, Midlands, Catherine Stihler Scotland, Derek Vaughan Wales, Julie Ward North West England [Whip – no action taken].

Tory: Julie Girling South West England, Richard Ashworth South East England [Whip withdrawn]

British ‘Whitby Jet’ Gemstone – an unappreciated, undervalued, underrated, unique and beautiful treasure resource?

Robin Hood’s Bay Yorkshire

Raw Jet   Faceted Jet

It is a strange thing about life that we often abandon and belittle some wonderful places and things close at hand ,or on our doorstep, in favour of those from far away that in reality have less intrinsic interest, relevance, and worth, don’t you think?

If you need convincing of that, just take a trip to explore the delights of the impressive scenery in the Yorkshire countryside, including its breath-taking North York Moors and a little further west the Dales, where in both you can see much endless landscape to die for (including numerous sheep, of course?), together with desolate farmland, with dry-stone walls, hedges and open moorland, and lovely little unspoilt villages dotted around here and there.

Perhaps you might even stumble upon, and so discover, on the Yorkshire coast, the iconic lost in time ‘has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed’ Robin Hood’s Bay, which is a magnificent small ex-fishing village of houses built mostly of sandstone with red-tiled roofs, within a maze of tiny narrow hilly streets, and with its large bay, located a few miles south of the well-known resort of Whitby – that itself is renowned for its inescapable drawing power of fish (just caught!) and chips (you’ll never eat better, they say?). Sandwiched between two cliffs, this quaint place of Robin Hood’s bay is reached by a steep road down from the top of one of them.

If you do get there, you just might get to hear about a much-forgotten beautiful gemstone called “Jet”. Well (apart from the likes of jet engines?), what most of us British know about something jet, is simply its use in the terminology of “jet-black” as that being the epitome of blackness; hence for ‘the real blackest blackness’ we resort to saying ‘as black as jet’ as coined by Shakespeare [whence other terms such as ‘as black as coal’, ‘as black as pitch’, have to take a back seat, don’t they?].

However, apart from the beaches around Robin Hood bay (and indeed Whitby) famously serving-up both archeologists, together with today’s fossils hunters & collectors, with a hoard of ‘in outstanding condition’ Jurassic reptile and plant remains (it yields excellent ammonites, reptiles, and shells), they are the source of hard Jet, which is the fossilised wood of the ancient trees of some two hundred million years ago – and results from the process of huge high-pressure carbon compression combined with salt water, and being subjected to complex chemical changes.

Now, Jet’s use as an artefact and gemstone, and so fashioned into items of jewellery, has been around for at least ten thousand years and it certainly has had periods of popularity in Britain since the Bronze age of a few thousand years past, and in particular in the late Victorian era, but as a fashion it has faded here in modern times.

Raw Jet is a material that is very easy to carve but is difficult to work with to create fine details without breaking, so it requires the investment of skill in manufacture and care in design, but it polishes-up extremely well and that results in a marvelously deep lustrous shine, whence its blackness can be a great contrast when set in silver, don’t you think? The deep glossy black of true fine Jet doesn’t fade but keeps its luster and it is warm to the touch (unlike say black glass) and it is only found in Britain in limited quantities along a seven and a half mile stretch of this North Yorkshire coastline.

It is the area’s strong onshore winds, resulting in high tides with consequential mountainous seas, that causes unremittingly natural erosion weathering of the shale bank cliffs, which has over time immemorial exposed the historically buried, small seams of Jet which were and still are wash as pieces into the sea, only to be later deposited along the local beaches. Oh yes, it is still possible to find sea washed pieces of raw Jet along this part of the coastline, and unbelievably this remains the only way Jet is found here to this very today. [But doubtlessly the locals well know (and keep very secret), the locations of the best places to beachcomb for this beautiful iconic material, eh?]

Just remember though, that the very finest quality Jet is definitely from Whitby and it is an exclusive and very scarce valuable material, so if you like it and chose to buy its stunning trinkets, just keep the fact under wraps so a little bit secret, as we don’t want the price to rocket due to increased popularity, do we?

You should know that Jet has also been known as ‘black amber’, as it may induce an electric charge like that of amber when rubbed, and also that historically it has been believed to bestow some ‘magical’ protection upon the wearer!

[One Whitby Jet Jeweller has survived, even from the heady days of popularity in Victorian times, so is still going strong there from its original shop of nigh-on 160 years ago – skilled craftsmen still producing fine quality Jet jewellery, it would seem].

 

The ‘Past’ used to be recounted from generation to generation – perhaps not any longer in the twenty-first century though?

 The White Horse above Kilburn

 Joiner’s shop as from 1900s

One of the saddest things in modern day life, certainly in the UK if not indeed in most of Western society, is that families no longer have that special time together, and indeed that close distinct personal relationship, whereby the most elderly and decrepit members will sit with the youngest, but nevertheless the most eagerly mentally receptive, to reminisce about their own childhood, and to recount tales of times long gone by, with fascinating stories of lives and times of the past, and all that vision leaving even small children spellbound in wonderment of how things had been then in those days, and in their imagination thinking how they themselves would have enjoyed (or suffered!) it, rather than experiencing their own current mundane days, perhaps?

Many of the current older folk in Britain, will know quite a lot about not only their Mum’s and Dad’s past lives, but will have also some knowledge about their other relatives’ and particularly their grandparents’ lifestyles – because it will have been passed-on ‘by word of mouth’, in the tradition of our ancestors, century after century since time immemorial?

However, that seems to have all changed for the worse, and that change would seem to have been driven by modern technology – in particular by computers, electronics, mobile phones,  social media and the rest, eh? Even within a household, many people no longer talk (well not face-to-face, then?), but just text each other, even in the other room, if they have something to say, perhaps?

Well, there is a lovely little village in north Yorkshire that has changed little, certainly in terms of appearance, over the past couple of centuries, with its solid stone built houses well withstanding the winter bracing weather and the passage of time. Its name is Kilburn (not to be confused with an area of London of course!), and nestling below the Hambleton Hills and its White Horse, it lies on the south-western edge of the North York Moors National Park.

It is well worth a visit and stay if you fancy seeing the delightful scenery of the Moors area, much of which is desolate farmland, with dry-stone walls, hedges and open moorland marking out the landscape, where you can take diverse walks along footpaths and country lanes (if you are up to it!).

A past girl of the village has left a fascinating account of her childhood memories of what life was like in Kilburn a hundred years or so ago, and it is reproduced below for your enjoyment, hopefully?

Mary Robinson’s Memories

Mary Robinson made these notes before she died in Scarborough at the end of the twentieth century. She was the blacksmith’s daughter and remembers Kilburn when she was a girl in the 1920’s.

Unlike today, life took place at a very slow kind of pace. The cottages seemed to have been the same for many years with many few alterations made. Most of them were of stone, and all had a little house in the back garden, or back yard, called a closet. I do not think that anyone in the village had indoor sanitation, and most people had not even heard of it!

Most houses had a portion of land on which haymaking was done, after the local farmers had cut it for them. We were all involved with this, raking and shaking, and leading the hay. The son of the people at the little shop and post office used to get as many of us young folk as possible to assist him with his hay. We looked forward to this event as we were rewarded with a large supper his mother made for us at nearly ten o’clock at night after the hay was brought in.

The fields near the village had strange sounding names that made you think of who might have owned them in the past. ‘John Woods Hill, ‘Shipley Field’, ‘Skilbeck Wood’. There were also the ‘Garden Shares’, and the ‘Little Plantings’. To get to certain of these fields we had to use lanes like ‘Tig-Tag’, ‘Trenchers’, ‘Pick and Look’, and ‘River Lane’.

No one in the village owned a car, but it was a wonderful sight to see all the different kinds of horses. My father was the blacksmith and farrier and so it was wonderful to see the horses being shod, or doctored. He also travelled the farms doctoring horses, sheep, and cows. Dad left school when he was thirteen, but seemed to have the gift of curing sick and lame animals, something her certainly did not learn at school.

The blacksmith’s shop was a hive of noise at times with all the farm horses and hunting horses. Miss Cooper Abbs from ‘Oldstead Hall’ would bring their little Shetland ponies, a pair of which they used to draw the trap. Big horses that were used for heavy work, toured the countryside; it made me wonder how a man managed to shoe them, as they were so big. On other days the shop was quiet and my father would retire to the pub with his farmer friends to drink all day. No work was done, but much shouting came from across the road. It was bedtime when they all staggered home. One farmer who lived a couple of miles from the village was placed in a trap and the pony would take him home. I was very frightened of those times; if my father had had “words” with any of the men then he would be in very bad humour. I used to listen for him coming into the house, and was frightened for my mother although I had no reason to be. I often still hear the anvil ringing, or see, in my mind’s eye, my mother and dad hooping wheels at the side of the bridge. I can still hear the horses taking loads of hay, or harvest, down the village street.

I remember the day at school when a lady from America gave all the children gifts and sweets. A big bag of sweets was something we got only once a year, if at all. Pocket money consisted of our Saturday penny once a week. Money was scarce, and I remember trailing around the farms with my mother taking the horse shoeing bills. Sometimes she received 5 shillings, or two and sixpence off the bill, which meant we had to go two or three times before the bill was paid off. One farmer gave us milk in lieu of his three horses being shod regularly, and we got meat from the butcher in the same way.

Most of the village was owned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and ‘Rent Day’ was held once a year at the pub where a big dinner was provided for those about to pay their rent. The three Miss Boltons and their brother John ran the pub until John died in early middle age. They were such nice ladies and lived at the pub most of their lives. In those days people were strong, worked very hard and ate well, making rent day the hardest of the year for the Boltons.

If anyone wished to get to the little market town 6 miles away, they either had to walk there and back, or went on the carrier’s wagon. Occasionally we went for the day in our summer holidays. It was a big treat and I enjoyed listening to the folk talking and joking in their broad Yorkshire accent, and watching the scenery go by from the back of the covered wagon. It was such a leisurely drive.

There were around 170 people in the village then, and so everyone knew each other. Entertainment was what you made at home, or through the little happenings in the village. On a summer’s evening my friend Janet and I would go sticking. I think we just about cleared all the hedges of dead wood. Some farmers were not well pleased about this and told us off, but we did enjoy doing it and it meant we always had plenty of wood to heat the old oven in which the cooking was done.

The main part of the village contained the joiner’s shop, the blacksmith’s shop, the shop and post office, the pub, the school, and behind the square stood the church in the churchyard. The joiner’s shop was a flat building behind the pub with smaller shop across the road Mr Thompson. Any boy leaving school to become an apprentice though himself very lucky. One of my brothers went to work for Mr Thompson. He earned 7 shillings a week, and he loved it. In order to a little more money my brother would go rabbiting, setting traps and snares to catch them. He would get up early in the morning to check his traps, walking many miles across the fields to do so. One of my favourite dinners was young rabbit pie with new potatoes, fresh peas and a bit of bacon.

Each house baked regularly. We always looked forward to a plate pie such as apple, gooseberry, blackcurrant, raspberry, red current, rhubarb, and of course blackberry. When the brambles were ripe we would go off for the whole day picking and return with stones of fruit. At the same time, we would we would climb our favourite apple tree to gather the fruit. They had such lovely names; Lemon Pippin, Flowery Town, Fair Maid, Dry Bottle, Honey Apple, Keswick, and Cock Red. Once home again mother would start making pies and jam. She had to sir the large brass pan over the fire constantly for fear of the jam burning. Any spare fruit was sold in Thirsk.

In the winter evenings we made clipped rugs from old clothes. As our family was large we had a large supply of garments that could be cut up. The rugs were made on a quilting frame that held a candle at each end so we could see what we were doing. The finished rugs would go down on the floor instead of carpet. My brother would play the violin by ear and my dad played the concertina, or melodeon. I liked to go to the farm to collect the milk in the morning and evening. The farmer would also play the melodeon and he sang to me whilst the summer crickets chirped in time with his song.

When anyone in the village died there was a big ceremony. All the relations got black-edged cards. I remember my mother took me to a funeral tea in the long musky room at the pub. The tables just groaned with food, but everyone looked sombre in their deep black clothes.

I thought the girls in their teens looked very bonny, one in particular lived at the high village and some of us would visit her house to have our hair cut for six pence a time. In the old granary at the village farm were held dancing classes, where a young woman from the next village payed the piano. A very bonny young lady who was an excellent dancer, taught the young folk to dance. I was not allowed to join the class as I had not left school, but would sneak up our orchard and along Hack Lane to watch and listen.

My youngest brother was nearly 7 years old when my sister was born. In the village there was always one person who would act as midwife, and this time it was Janet’s mother who came. Janet and I were helping her in the house until we were bustled out. We were dying to know if the baby was a girl as I was the only girl amongst six boys. The doctor was an Irishman and although he was always kind to mother I was frightened of him and would hide in the cupboard under the stairs if I saw him coming. However, on this occasion I held my ground and we watched him arrive and then, some time later, depart. We went to the back door and opened it very gently. Inside Dad and Mrs Mawe were arguing about the weight of the baby; we heard her say, “It’s a girl”. The door squeaked so we closed it and Mrs Mawe shouted that we were to get away as she could not be bothered with us just then

 

[Interestingly, an early 1847 title map of local fields included these other previous picturesque names: ‘Pickle Nook’, ‘Cony Close”, Broom Field’, ‘Kirk Ings’ (land near water perhaps once church property), ‘Intack’ – a piece of land taken in from the waste), ‘Priest Brigg’ (probably once the property of the parish priest), ‘Butter Hill’, ‘Poor Field’ (still held by Kilburn Charity), ‘Thistle Close’, ‘Cell Garth’ (marking the site of an ancient religious cell?), ‘Beck Ings’, ‘Lamp Ings’ (perhaps the rent maintained a light before the alter in the parish church), ‘Old Wife Close’, ‘Little Thief’ , ‘Bean Field’, ‘Licorice field’, ‘Twelve Days Mowing’, ‘Bleach Garth’, ‘Cricket Field’, but or course in recent years these have become more of a local nature.

Note for the younger person then:

“Old money” or pounds, shillings and pence changed on 15 February 1971, when D-Day – Decimal Day, came, and Britain switched over to the new decimal currency we know today, where 100 pence made 1-pound sterling.

So, in the 1920’s one penny ‘pocket money’ is the equivalent of about 4 tenths of a new penny now, ‘sixpence’ for a haircut is just 2½ new pence (but we no longer have a ½ pence coin!), while wages of ‘7 shillings’ would be 35 pence in today’s money, eh?

The ‘purchasing worth’ of an old penny would have been just 15 new pence, sixpence about 90 pence, and 7 shillings about £13!

[Wherever you live on the globe, if you yourself are getting- on in years, just tell YOUR story of your childhood to your own children and grandchildren in words before your memory fades too far. Equally importantly write it down as well if you can, so others can also read about it all. If you can send it or notes to me then I will certainly put it together for you and publish it to the wider world as well]

 

Despite ‘BREXIT’ looming, the Bank of England is on the verge of increasing ‘Bank rate’ – screwing-up the British economy?

           unionjack yinyang2 

 

Now the Bank of England (BoE) is the central bank of the United Kingdom, founded in 1694, and its mission is promoting the good of the people of Britain by maintaining monetary and financial stability, isn’t it?

Yep, but it would appear to many of us that instead of diligently performing that mission, it is about to embark on action that jeopardises it completely, wouldn’t you say? Well, the powers that be there, led by their overrated (?) leader, Governor Mark Carney, seem intent on increasing Bank rate from where it has been for the past year at the ‘emergency level’ of ¼%, back to its previous ½%. Now that may not seem much to those of us not financially literate, but you can be assured that it will have a significant effect on the UK’s economy – and that it could moreover later be disastrous, to boot?

Back in June, the 2 constantly ‘overoptimistic’ hawks amongst the 5 other ‘sensible’ majority dovish policymaking members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), voted to do that very thing and did so AGAIN in the two subsequent votes when there were then 8 and 9 members voting respectively. However, last month Carney in his routine press conference disgracefully indicated that the Bank was preparing to reduce stimulus and a rate hike was likely in less than a couple of weeks’ time from now. Well, if you are not sure about that, you had better believe it, because the financial markets certainly do, as shown by an immediate surge in the pound sterling to a twelve-month high, no less?

This comes about because’ inflation’ [that means the cost of living] has been rising, driven by the weakness of the pound, as Carney says? (or more likely oil?). Yes, the consumer price inflation level reached 3% this month (up by over a seventh in just three months, and is now the highest in 5 years), and Carney believes it hasn’t peaked yet! So what?

It is more than likely that, even without action, inflation will simply fall back when factors stabilise, isn’t it? That is because wages are NOT tracking inflation upwards and employment levels remain high. Also, overheating the economy at this time may not be such a bad thing in light of other negative factors that it faces in the future.

Now, that inflation figure rise has to be seen in relation to the ‘target’ set by the Government of just 2%, and when the Bank fails to control the Country’s finances to within 1 percentage point of that amount (up or down) the Governor has to write to the Chancellor to explain himself, eh?

Well, it is looking bad regarding next month’s figures as well, and if so it will require a bit of letter writing by Carney and since the only power the Bank now has, is to alter the Bank rate, it is on the cards that an increase will actually happen. Indeed, some financial pundits (like say the Sunday Times’) say “Stop the dithering and raise interest rates” – that exhortation seemingly is just to avoid upsetting the players in the financial markets who feel they were misled and were planning to make a killing on their gamble on that increase actually happening, rather than offering some sound advice on what is best for the Country, don’t you think?

Now, you may well wonder, as just an ordinary member of Joe Public, why YOU should give a damn about the machinations of Bank rate, as you aren’t amongst the financial Wizz kids or market wizards of the UK or overseas, perhaps? Well, it most certainly DOES concern us ALL because Bank rate impacts most of our lives, not least because it is the basis for so much more that goes on in them, doesn’t it?

For a start an increase in interest rate, while it tends to reduce inflationary pressures (so it will drop), it also tends to moderate downwards economic growth, and increases the cost of borrowing (which equally applies of course to government debt), reduces disposable income, and puts a break on consumer spending.

When the cost of borrowing goes up inward investment gets reduced. Mortgage outgoings and cost of bank and credit loans goes UP of course, as do savings’ incentive [due to improved returns – including that inbound from overseas (hot money)], and all that leads to reduced consumption, as well as a fall in house prices. Personal debt is likely to increase as banks, credit card, and other lenders are willing to lend even more (greater returns). Oh yes, the pound will go up (so your overseas holidays will be cheaper), BUT imports will rise while exports will drop.

Therein lies the policy dilemma facing the BoE – to halt the surge in inflation but suffer a slowdown in the economy, dwindling consumer spending and declining inward investment, eh?

Many of us don’t think it is at all sensible to start raising interest rates, and whilst in June the MPC’s vote was 2-5 against it seemed most likely, but now it is 2-7 against, it would seem LESS likely, surely? Some strong advice to Governor Carney then – bloody well stop signaling and hinting what the MPC in future MIGHT do about raising Bank rate. ALL you are doing is pissing EVERYBODY off by your guesses, eh?

Just to explain briefly then why the MPC is likely to stick with the current rate. Increasing Bank rate DOESN’T have an ‘immediate’ impact on inflation – it is much more sluggish than that, isn’t it? Also, longstanding policy is to only tinker with the rate if the combined ‘judgement’ is that inflation is going to be too high downstream – say in a year or two? Furthermore, other risk factors affecting the economy HAVE to be taken into account, don’t they? Those of us who have had direct past experience of risk management, will know that you establish what factors are involved, what is the likelihood of an event, and most importantly what are the consequences IF that event occurs – then the RISK to be taken into consideration is simply the factor of those two multiplied together.

Well, even us laypeople KNOW that a factor affecting the UK economy that has ‘definitely’ to be taken into account is the outcome of BREXIT, don’t we? Now, it may well have been considered previously that the risk of a bad outcome was LOW, but nevertheless the consequences of that result would be extremely HIGH, surely? However, things have got even worse as life has moved-on somewhat now, and negotiations with the EU are in a dire shape, so the risk of a bad outcome (without a smooth transition, particularly regarding stabilised trading arrangement) has itself risen to HIGH also. With BOTH elements now HIGH, it MUST be concluded that the risk to the UK economy is significant and potentially catastrophic, surely?

Indeed, regarding BREXIT, it is increasingly likely that Britain will either get a “No Deal” outcome (so the Government is now preparing for exactly that!), or it will cost the Country a king’s ransom – either way, the effect on the economy is likely to be severe, don’t you think?

Now, that is why a responsible MPC needs to do everything in its power to protect it beforehand and should not just walk away from raising Bank rate before BREXIT is achieved [JUST 17 MONTHS AWAY!], and its impact absorbed, but should run for the bloody hills, shouldn’t it? If things go badly and the economy does go down the toilet, there is virtually nothing that the Bank will be able to do about it, so the resulting recession will be a long and crucifyingly painful one, won’t it?

What the Government and the bank of England SHOULD be doing is putting the brakes on the seriously increasing household debt, which is currently a big threat to the economy’s future, not by raising interest rates (which can cause defaults & arrears, especially with ‘most’ mortgages being on the top variable-rate), but by allowing inflation to increase, which effectually reduces the ‘real’ value of household debt.

Then of course it should lower housing demand and expand supply by scrapping the Governments ridiculous ‘Help to Buy’ scheme [which not only has pushed-up house prices but has been hijacked by the rich & privileged wealthy – it simply allows them to buy more expensive properties while developers make a killing [as there is no cap on income for applicants, and these beneficial loans are available also to existing homeowners] – indeed their incomes average well over £40thousand , but with the money build ordinary Council houses, as that being the only realistic or proven way of getting ‘affordable housing’ availability.

There is also the need for getting shot of (that is DON’T renew in January) the Funding for Lending arrangement that allows banks to obtain money for loans cheaply from the wholesale financial markets/BoE, which means of course that banks and building societies don’t have to move their arses at all to attract savings from the general public (thereby, due to minimalistic interest rates, that reduces ANY incentive to save, to the extent that people don’t bother anymore, and instead just acquire debt when needs must).

Furthermore, the BoE needs to put up effective hurdles to ALL lending and credit to the general public, which is currently dished-out like a never-ending supply of sweets – there should be absolutely strict high ‘affordability’ checks before debt CAN be acquired by ANY household, surely? [At the present time if Bank rate was at a desirable level of around say 2%, it would mean that household debt at the current level would be utterly unsustainable – so it HAS to be brought down, then interest rates can go up later and return to normality, doesn’t it?

The Bank of England being set of a ‘target’ level of inflation has just encouraged nutcases to get hot under the collar about it being missed, when it is something that is pretty meaningless on the scale of things, surely?

 

[The Government Chancellor ‘Philip Hammond’, can solve the futile inflation debate crisis at a stroke overnight – by just resetting Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s inflation target to be 4%, eh?]

 

BREXIT proceeds – down a long ‘dead-end’ road?

unionjack yinyang2

 

The latest episode of the new docudrama program called BREXIT, released on the UK’s Drama documentary channel, is being shot today over in Brussels, isn’t it?

This fascinating BREXIT series was of course first mooted in 2013 (when UKIP emerged from its cocoon), but it has since had a record production run of two years now as it recounts a war fought in Europe by a relatively small but highly accomplished Country (Britain) that while beset with rampant internal strife and division, is fighting overseas against the combined amassed forces of the other European states (including the mighty & influential Germany) over money, trade, people, and power.

It is pure staged-managed theatre of Machiavellian dramatised actual events that is packed-full of lies, deceit, intrigue, duplicity, backstabbing, and treachery. Its controversial far-fetched storylines are full of twists and turns, involving characters lacking empathy, but is so blurred that it is often difficult to differentiate fact from fiction. It is broadcast partly with subtitles because of significant foreign content, and there is of course some bad language involved, as well.

In the latest audience attracting shock event, UK Commander-in-Chief Theresa May has charged-out to Brussels today for crisis emergency parley with EU’s ‘appointed’ top Generals, it is said to break their impasse on BREXIT. That is of course a quite unbelievably bizarre twist because just over 3 weeks ago she had also disembarked in Florence with her own generals on an important mission to deliver an address in the Catholic church of Santa Maria Novella [like most of us, you might well ask “why there?” Perhaps she was preaching the ‘modern St. Theresa’s words, eh?], and she proposed a treaty that was supposed to do exactly that same thing, didn’t she?

Yes, and indeed she returned home with the explanation that “the purpose of the Florence speech was to move negotiations forward,” and she told the House of Commons “And that’s exactly what has happened” – indeed a Neville Chamberlain style declaration of ‘peace for our time’, wasn’t it?

The ironic value of Chamberlain’s own claim was that his concessions’ settlement of “the Czechoslovakian problem”, indeed just led to unabated further Hitler aggressions, so that less than a year later, the UK inevitability declared the war on Germany, didn’t it?

Compare that to May’s Italian speech’s caving-ins to the EU on “money, power and trade”, which indeed just led to unabated further aggressive EU demands for Britain’s surrender, so that less than a month later it predictably simple fuelled the fire set under the witches stake pyre they have built under Britain for the blasphemy crime of ‘repudiation of the EU’, eh?

Now, May’s planned further direct intervention today in the ongoing negotiations is a massive worry to all BREXITiers, because it means one thing and can mean only one thing, cant it? Yes, and that is that she is going to concede even further territory to the enemy in an attempt to negotiate the UK’s final surrender, don’t you think?

What she ‘should’ be doing is to throw-down the gauntlet at the EU this week and threaten both the set of incompetent upstart EU generals, together with their hands-off European Council, that Britain will withdraw from all further peace negotiations until such time as the EU confirms its willingness to discuss the future trade and other relationships. She should make it crystal clear that Britain does not accept, and never has, that there is ANY legal obligation to pay a so-called “divorce settlement”, so therefore the offer to pay a future contribution to the EU budget will be withdrawn in the absence of such discussions taking place

The problem that UK has faced from the outset is that the EU have been allowed to seize the upper ground, when they unilaterally determined the procedures governing the negotiation and set of laws around that whence they gave themselves a remit where they choose the weapons, the place, the ground and all the other rules of war, didn’t they?

Now, in any war situation, NO military leader would willingly enter into a battle encounter, in adverse terrain, where their troops are outnumbered, and outgunned, would they? No, they don’t these days, behave like Lord Cardigan who ordered his light brigade troops to bravely charge the guns, only to be decimated and trounced, do they? You see, instead they skirmish around and carefully choose the time, the place and the type of battle to ensure that they have a reasonable chance of winning it, and they don’t rely on supreme over confidence and the naive optimism that the enemy will adhere to the normal conventions of war, do they?

Well, what Britain should have done is walk out of the Brussels talks right at the start in June [which was a full year after the Country had voted to end the EU alliance before it reached its certain destination of a United States of Europe – if the ship isn’t torpedoed and sunk beforehand, eh? That would have properly demonstrated to the unelected Brussels leaders that they could choose to have an ongoing collaborative ex-comrade, or a future embittered sworn enemy, wouldn’t it?

Instead the EU now believe that BREXIT won’t be happening anytime soon and that moreover when it does, it will be an unconditional surrender under THEIR terms and THEIR’S alone. The EU leaders are totally unconvinced that the British Government is in any state of unity that would be required for an agreement that will stick.

Now that is hardly surprising when we have the holder of the second most senior and prestigious post in the British government, the grossly irresponsible Chancellor Philip Hammond, traitorously sabotaging May’s BREXIT position on negotiations just last week , is it? [Tellingly, that followed him having a ‘long lunch’ with sacked ex-Chancellor and dedicated May hater George Osborne, the architect of ‘Project Fear’ and to this day, a staunch Remainer and committed Europhile. Now, exactly what excuse could Hammond possibly have for meeting-up for a tête-à-tête with Osborne when it has been made quite plain that this man’s burning ambition is to bring the Government down and also to scupper BREXIT, do you think?].

When the people voted to for our politicians to take back control, they didn’t expect that they would be let down, when in fact the Government have blatantly lost control of the UK’s destiny which again is back most firmly into the hands of the EU bureaucrats.

The EU have the upper hand not least because they see the UK Government as very weak so they will delay as far as possible, the process of getting any sort of deal out of them, and even then don’t expect any last minute compromises, will you? May needlessly put herself in a bad place when she called a snap election and failed miserably and that has diminished her influence with the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who indeed has her own, if not bigger, problems as she also failed in her re-election process and has yet to cobble together a complex coalition government.

Naively, May has even been trying to solicit Merkel’s personal support in persuading others in the EU to agree this week to trade talks starting, when all others know that that in fact a truculent Germany together with spoilers France, are trying to block any summit communiqué allowing the EU to begin those very trade negotiations.

There is never going to be a Deal with the diverse EU so let’s put ALL our time, energy, and money into being ready for the challenge of a ‘No Deal’ outcome, and avoid a chaotic BREXIT don’t you think?

[AT THE END OF THE DAY LET US GET  THE BREXIT THE COUNTRY VOTED FOR]

 

It is said that Prime Minister Theresa May is planning a Cabinet reshuffle – will that save her skin?

unionjack yinyang2

 

 

Conspiracy theories abound in politics and so it is with lamentable Theresa May’s Government just now, isn’t it?

Things are in a mess, so the rumours are rife that moves are afoot behind the scenes to remove her as PM and without doubt they have to be given important credence, don’t they? Well, first the lady started out from a bad base having been a ‘Remainer’ who apparently underwent a divine conversion to a ‘Leaver’, so she could at long last achieve her ultimate ambition to lead the Conservative Party – that indeed was at a time when the diehard European Union supporters had been given a good thrashing by Joe-Public in the EU Referendum, that told our erstwhile politicians in no uncertain terms that Britain HAD to leave the EU NOW.

Having won the vote decisively, the BREXITiers fully expected that they would be finally listened to by the Tory party, so would be led through the wilderness into the promised land by a fellow-traveller and certainly they did NOT think it would be a ‘seemingly-sham’ Europhile like May at the helm, eh? Hence she started with a big question mark above her head as to whether or not she could be trusted with the onerous task ahead, didn’t she? Well her BIG problem now is that she has proved to be NOT up to that strenuous job in hand, isn’t it?

You see, she got the PM’s role, while seeing-off the leading lights of the BREXIT campaign, to lead the Country out of the EU on the premise of her seemingly false claim that SHE was an astute leader with proven negotiating skills in dealings with the EU – she blew that concept out of the water just a few weeks ago when she caved into the BREXIT remoaners and out-of-the-blue, capitulated to the EU’s unreasonable negotiators’ demands, by both promising them amongst other things, an unwarranted further shed load of our money, together with the UK’s willingness to virtually STAY in the bloody EU for AT LEAST another 2 bleeding YEARS, no less?

Now, that isn’t so say that some or all of that ‘might’ have been NEGOTIATED away IF it had proved to be a GOOD deal for Britain in the END to get our Trade and departure arrangements put well in place, BUT it was simply given away at the outset, and we got a big fat ZERO in return – well, that is NOT the art of ‘negotiation’ by any stretch of the imagination, is it? The EU are just laughing their cotton-socks off at enfeebled Mrs May, and planning their next big ‘punishment’ onslaught against us as a demonstrably weak opponent – we have certainly anything but, gained the status of a future close ally of Europe, which May naively seemed to expect to result-in from her ‘give-away’, eh?

Furthermore, this fiasco has come on top of her bizarre performance as Prime Minister and Party leader by unnecessarily calling a snap General Election in June and running it so crassly that what was a seemingly massive unassailable poll lead, simply evaporated overnight, so that left empowered and rejuvenated a previously in the gutter Labour opposition, lost the Tory majority in Parliament, and hence resulted in an uncomfortable & uncertain “supply and confidence deal” DUP coalition just to hang onto power (while requiring an unfair massive £1billion NI bribe to secure it). That situation meant that she was living on borrowed time and couldn’t rock the boat by subsequently even modifying her cabinet as she had clearly planned to do, didn’t it?

Hence those two setbacks alone, had severely damaged her credentials as a strong in command Prime Minister when going into a sceptical Conservative party Conference this month. It had became therefore imperative to her survival that she had what is called ‘a good Conference’ and put-up a ‘band-standing’ show – not least because spendthrift Jeremy Corbyn had just exactly achieved that in spades at the Labour’s do a week or so beforehand, eh? But it just didn’t happen did it? No, she had a pretty disastrous personal performance that impressed NOBODY in her own Party, let alone the general voters and most definitely NOT the very concerned & anxious BREXIT majority.

May’s keynote closing speech to Conference, was an embarrassment from start to finish, not only because it was seemingly inadequately and badly prepared, but it just did not contain enough of substance that could rally the troops to the standard. That itself was additionally marred by the lady being beset with persistent coughing problems and loss of voice, which is the last thing that she needed when a confident and stirring delivery of any message she might have had, was what was required – and indeed essential?

Now, the suspicion will linger-on (whether right or wrong) that her problems were brought-on by her getting caught-out by a known prankster (in an unprecedented breach of security) getting to the lectern and handing her a P45 form (i.e. a sacking notice) – hardly the sign of a PM at the top of her game, demonstrating power and control, eh?

Finally, as she spoke letters of the Conference’s Tory slogan started falling-off the wall behind her, the kind of thing that a comedian would have as a prop to get a resounding laugh – not what was wanted by a leader desperate to make an impression in front of a watching world audience, is it?

The party whips succeeded in outing and exposing a maverick, failed, Tory ex-Chairman as someone behind a plot to ditch Mrs May as PM and it would seem that he had indeed gathered a gaggle (he claims 30 but others say half that?), of equally failed, past-it cabinet members, disgruntled ex-ministers, and ambitious but overlooked, nobody MPs – well short of the number (48), he needed to unseat an incumbent Prime Minister, eh?

Nevertheless, major newspapers are widely peddling the story that May is going to undertake a major Cabinet reshuffle to fully demonstrate her authority, show power, and destroy any disloyalty or criticism of her leadership. Well, if that is true she needs to beware, because past experience has fully demonstrated that reshuffles simply just DON’T do that, haven’t they? Moreover, it is being mooted that she is going to demote or even sack “Foreign Secretary” Boris Johnson because it is said that when he publically announces that he is fully behind her, she believes that he also may have a knife in his hand?

Now just remember that highly motivated and intelligent powerhouse, Johnson, is anything but one, when even the worm can turn, can’t it? Well, we do have the example of ‘mild mannered’ Tory minister Geoffrey Howe’s criticism of Labour’s Chancellor Dennis Healey being described by Healey as “like being savaged by a dead sheep”, yet after being “demoted” from “Foreign Secretary” by PM Margaret Thatcher, Howe was the one that much later got his own back by bringing her to her knees with a resignation speech attack, that likened her behaviour to a cricket captain ‘breaking the bat of the opening batsman’ – then the final coup d’état to her Premiership was delivered by a challenge by enraged ex-Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, publicly charismatic, a darling of the Tory right and adept media performer, whom she had silenced & sidelined to the backbenches beforehand. So quite a few warning shots to May in that little storyline, that might be advisory about her options regarding Boris, don’t you think?

When May was elevated to the heady role of Prime Minister, she came to it as a highly experienced politician (ex-councilor, ex-party chairman & ex-shadow ministerships), and then, as a born ‘survivor’ indeed, she became the longest serving Home Secretary for some sixty years.

However, she was nevertheless an abject FAILURE in that six years of her ONLY job actually IN Government wasn’t she? Her first significant act as PM though was rightly to rid us of rich-boy and austerity besotted, Chancellor George Osborne, but that was probably simply “pay-back time” [perhaps HE was the real reason she had previously failed?], rather than the right reason of heading-up the anti-BREXIT Treasury with a doctor treating it with high doses of ‘antieurophile’ medicine to cure it of a near terminal sickness. Unbelievably she appointed Philip Hammond to that role when in fact he himself was a massive carrier of the same bleeding decease – what a mistake, eh?

Now if May is looking for any disloyal and treacherous member of her Cabinet, she need look no further than snake-in-the-grass, Hammond, as not only has he consistently undermined her efforts to successfully progress BREXIT, but when the chips were down on Election night and the die was cast on the Tories losing their majority, so jeopardising her tenure as PM, he called Johnson to jump ship and support him if he stood for the top job, eh? If May wants to get shot of him, she won’t have created a dangerous enemy, as he is only a lightweight with few friends & cronies, isn’t he?

Also, when May took over, she wisely gave Johnson [a major player in convincing the public to vote for BREXIT), the third ranking of the Great Offices of State [Foreign Secretary], which ensured that he was on board HER ship and not in a submarine lying off it in wait and trying to sink it, don’t you think? A further astute move was to promote Andrea Leadsom (a most prominent and top performing member of the Leave campaign and her final leadership challenger), to a cabinet post as Environment Secretary [ranked 16 in the Government].

She has since made a BIG mistake thought, for after her election failure shenanigans, she unfathomably merely demoted Leadsom to just Leader of the Commons, a role which while ‘attending cabinet’ is decidedly well out of it – now that has sent absolutely the wrong signal to voters about May’s own feeling of security regarding a challenge (and without doubt will have just encouraged such ousting via a leadership battle), as well as on her commitment on BREXIT – that outcome despite her replacing Leadsom with Michael Gove [another prominent Leave campaigner].

That said, no serious UK politician (and if you wonder, Corbyn doesn’t fall in that category at all?) wants another General Election at this juncture, and even those of us who believe that May should go, think it is best regarding the Country’s ability to succeed with BREXIT, if she now knuckles under and firmly does the job properly. To be allowed to do that she probably needs to bring another prominent BREXIT person into her Cabinet and inner sanctum – popular, humorous, manneristic, religious, long-term staunch Eurosceptic, Jacob Rees-Mogg, might fit the bill as the new Minister without Portfolio for ‘No Deal’, to coordinate between departments involved in BREXIT (say Treasury, Foreign Office, BREXIT Dept, International Trade, et al), perhaps?

At long last, the Government reportedly are taking steps to put in place ‘funded’ plans (rather than ‘pie-in-the-sky’ ones?), to enable Britain to leave the European Union in early 2019 following a “No Deal” outcome to the current negotiations in Brussels [that result long predicted in these blogs, eh?]. If that media report is true, then perhaps May has brought Hammond and the treasury to heel and then the Country will have the technology and resources to operate outside of the Single Market? At least it would (albeit at the twelfth-hour?) give the essential message to the EU that THEY also will face economic damage if the UK leaves it after 2 years of fruitless negotiations, don’t you think? All the indications are that the UK’s demonstration of so-called  “flexibility” will NOT be reciprocated by the beuarocrats that run the show in the EU, wouldn’t you say?

 

[Certainly, if Britain gives some credibility NOW to our ongoing capability to deal with leaving the EU without payment or close ongoing relations with it, then the ball, despite what they say, will be solidly back in their court, won’t it?]

 

Another gun massacre of innocents on America’s streets – chances of new gun laws?

It will come as no surprise to anybody in the entire World, that there has been yet another disgusting major mass gun shooting of civilians in the US by another nutter in possession of multiple and excessive ‘legally held’ powerful deadly weapons with unlimited ammunition, then to be used to slaughter others. This time it has happened in Las Vegas Nevada, the home of gambling, the plush hotels, and the exciting night life, where visitors from every country might expect to massively lose their dollars, but certainly not their lives, surely?

When these disgusting events happen in America (and they ONLY happen in America, don’t they?), there is widespread speculation on whether it will be the one that finally brings the Congress to it senses and lead then to the enacting of a federal law to curtail the civilian holding of guns. So, is happening this time and there is a very short answer to the question of “what are the chances of tightening gun laws in the United States?” – answer “absolute ZERO!”

So those of us dreamers who think that ANY President of the United States of America will lead their fellow politicians down the path to sensible and normal gun control can just fallback to sleep, because it is dream and simply that, isn’t it?

That is not to say that none have ever tried, is it? No, most recently we saw Barrack Obama, just a couple of years ago, tearfully announcing on TV his personal impotence in dealing with America’s gun laws to halt the ‘routine’ ongoing slaughter of innocent civilians (well there are now hundreds each year, aren’t there?). That occasion had followed a further event in his Presidency of a heavily armed maniac, in possession of over a dozen guns and substantial ammunition, going on a rampage – shooting sixteen people, killing killed nine and wounding seven. There had been nine such carnages in the previous half dozen years beforehand, including the three years earlier massacre of twenty young school kids, and six adults and two wounded at an Elementary School.

Last year, a shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida, killed 49 people with another 58 injured some critically, which was previously the deadliest mass shooting – furthermore, it was a hate crime and act of terrorism by an American born Muslim, who was later cornered and shot dead by police.

So now, as you may well know, on the Vegas Strip just a week ago tomorrow, a mega rich, retired, elderly man [son of a convicted (psychopathic?) bank robber], holder of a hunting licence, executed a meticulously planned public shooting atrocity of unimaginable proportions. From the impregnable safety of a hotel suite’s windows 32 stories above the ground, he incessantly ‘machine-gun’ fired hundreds or rounds for nearly a quarter of an hour on a massive 20,000 crowd of innocent people below attending a street music festival some 500 yards away. He had executed 57 people and injured another 489 some critically, before he ended it all by also shooting himself to prevent being apprehended.

At the same time, he had also fired at and tried (but failed} to blow-up an aviation fuel tank located nearby and within range, at the International Airport

It is the worst mass shooting by somebody in American history – perhaps that notoriety was indeed his motive, as it seems there was no other?

He had previously stashed in his hotel rooms, 23 firearms furnished with numerous high-capacity magazines and copious amasses of ammunition. In addition to that he ‘legally held’ a further stockpile of 19 firearms, and thousands of rounds of ammunition found at his home [as well as several pounds of the powder explosive tannerite (like as used in the 2016 New York and New Jersey bombings that injured 35 people)] – indeed he had bought 47 weapons in the past year alone (and no one batted an eyelid?). In his car was also found a quantity of ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser that can be used to create a powerful explosive.

Moreover, in his attack, he had also employed a ‘bump fire’ gun modification (legally available in the US) to convert his weapons into ‘fully-automatic’ ones that substantially increased their fire-power rate to 90 bullets every 10 seconds, and additionally they were fitted with telescopic sights.

You see the big attraction of guns to such murderers, is that they are very effective killers, that allow such cowardly action to be carried out without the perpetrator ever even having to come into close contact with their victims, seeing that they have substantial lethal range and good accuracy [for instance the lightweight AR-10 rifle he used has an effective range of 650 yards, a fire rate of 700 rounds a minute as standard ‘unmodified’ (no federal restrictions on ownership in the US), and has a recoil easily controllable even under rapid fire].

The curse of all these vile shootings is of course the American Constitution’s Second Amendment proclaiming the ‘right to bear arms’, which was in reality ‘solely’ intended to allow local militias to be armed and to be able to defend their communities against any central government oppression – NOT for EVERY sick Tom, Dick, or Harry to wander the streets heavily armed to slaughter all and sundry, was it?

You see, the basic problem in the United States is that the population there have been brainwashed into genuinely believing that having guns is somehow part of their ‘genetic profile’, because that preposterous assertion is relentlessly promulgated by the despicable, but nevertheless extremely powerfully influential lobbyists, the National Rifle Association (NRA). So your average American isn’t satisfied with actually owning a gun are they? No, they have to have say 4 or more different ones, as otherwise they don’t feel they are a true & genuine American, while the more committed US citizen, has to progress to also have ‘assault style’ semi-automatic weapons to boot, don’t they? The fact is that in the States just about ANYBODY can obtain AS MANY guns as they bloody-well like, without any questions asked, by buying them just one at a time, can’t they? Nearly half of the American population now own a gun, or live in a household with guns – astounding? It has become a badge of honour – a symbol of personal freedom, indeed?

The NRA and its fellow travelers opposed the tightening of gun control because they say people need them to defend themselves against criminals, and moreover since new laws won’t stop a mad man, while curtailing the freedoms of law abiding citizens – just tell that to the dead and injured in Las Vegas who could NOT have defended themselves no matter how many guns they possessed, eh? What always happens following such atrocities in America is the sales of guns actually goes UP, as their brain-addled population thinks it gives themselves added protection – idiots?

Hence, the USA’s gun death rate is now three times that of Australia’s, when it was very similar, before the Aussies came to their senses and introduced proper and sweeping gun controls more than 20 years ago, didn’t they?

Oh by the way, don’t expect President Donald Trump to step-up and put things right, will you? No, he is a big supporter of the gun-toting brigade (gets him votes you see), while his son is a voracious advocate of rifle gun silencers to encourage the young to use guns and avoid their frightening bangs, eh?

If you haven’t seen them before, the statistics will no doubt shock you?

While in the past two-hundred-and-fifty years of American history, some 1.2 million service Americans have been killed in ALL conflicts and wars put together, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan [so Revolutionary war, 1812 war, Indian wars, Mexican war, Civil war, Spanish-American war, World war I, World war II, Korean war, Vietnam war, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and Global war on terror], that is more than outweighed in the last ‘50 years’ alone by Americans killed by gunshots on the USA streets alone – which comes to more than 1.5 million people (men, women & children), for god’s sake?

You probably don’t know that the Las Vegas unparalleled atrocity wasn’t the only mass shooting of at least 4 people last Sunday? Well, there was another one, with two men and a woman killed plus a further two people injured (all in their twenties) in a Kansas incident – oh yes, these mass shootings are indeed ‘daily’ occurrences these days in the States, you see?

So far this year nearly three-hundred-and-fifty people have been killed in mass shootings and that simply emulates last year, which ended with 432 dead and the year before with 369.

However, on the scale of things, mass shootings are just the tip of the iceberg as far as gun violence in America is concerned, which involve homicides, accidental deaths, suicides, other causes, and police shootings which account for a far greater proportion.

The indisputable statistical fact is that the more civilian-owned guns in a country, the more firearm deaths there will be, and that is amply demonstrated in the US which is home to 88 guns for every 100 people – the runaway world leader for gun ownership and gun violence. It is said that some hundred-thousand people are shot and thirty-thousand actually killed in each year in America, so terrorism isn’t the greatest threat to American life and limb, is it?

 

[Britain, Australia, Germany, Norway are all counties that had relatively minor firearms issues but nevertheless have introduced stricter laws to protect their citizens from gun abuse, often including the need for strict valid justification for owning a gun, but don’t expect the ‘Las Vegas’ event to be the last in the US, nor for it to change anything one iota about guns in America, will you?]

The INEVITABLE end result of the EU ‘BREXIT’ negotiations – ‘NO DEAL’?

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Many, many, moons ago a number of posts here, offered the opinion that there would be ‘no deal’ that the UK could extract in reality from the European Union. Well, that is even more so still the same view now, when we are at the end of apparently the fourth session and some 4 months into such ‘formal’ pseudo-negotiations in Brussels.

Absolutely NO progress has been made whatsoever, so really we are still standing at the starting gate, but moreover and more importantly progress is UNLIKELY to be made when they restart next month (nor indeed ever before March 2019 when Britain is due to leave the EU?).

You see, the EU has unilaterally set unreasonable and dictatorial preconditions on the way negotiations can precede, and their BREXIT negotiators haven’t yet ended their stonewalling tactics. Their imposed rigid format has formed an impenetrable barrier to getting anywhere in Brussels, and as many of us thought at the time, Britain ought to have recognised that and rejected it out-of-hand at the outset, shouldn’t it? The EU has had the upper hand ever since and still do. EU attitude is, and will remain, “you British must capitulate to ALL our outlandish demands” – now, that is not ‘negotiation’ by any stretch of the imagination, is it?

In what doubtless will prove to be a vain attempt to break the existing logjam, PM Theresa May has stupidly stepped-in last Friday to announce an unwarranted commitment to give them enough dosh to ensure that the EU budget, even 2 years after we leave, doesn’t suffer whatsoever from the UK leaving, and neither will any of the existing members (no increase in their fees or reduction in receipts), and moreover the UK will pay-up all financial obligations from the ‘past’ (when we in fact have absolutely NONE, but the EU will claim is a king’s ransom).

Oh yes, our lead negotiator David Davis now says he believes (really?) that the deadlock has been broken and May has unlocked a change in the EU’s mood because the UK has shown “flexibility – what is meant is that we have “given-in” and made massive concessions both financially and otherwise, so that we have given-up all our trump cards (which as well as money, had included citizens’ rights & security cooperation), with nothing whatsoever to show for it. That is a mad negotiating strategy as anyone who has experience will know – you just don’t do those kinds of things when you can’t trust the other party, or when you are dealing with a demonstrable serious lack of goodwill on EU side, do you?

Cutting to the chase then, the opinion voiced here in a number of BREXIT blogs before, is that at the outset we needed to accept that the EU’s twenty-seven other countries would be incapable of ultimately agreeing any kind of ‘acceptable’ deal with Britain about our departure, and we haven’t even yet reached that FINAL hurdle which is still some seventeen months away, have we?

Instead of putting all our eggs in the basket of negotiating the mirage of a “good deal” which is the false ambition of the existing Government, we should putting all our energy and resources into the plans to deal with the likely “no deal”, surely? The May Government is making the same mistake as the Cameron one did by not having a plan that prepares ourselves for the ‘unwanted’ outturn. The worst thing about not doing that is that the EU side of the table know that we are bluffing when we say “No deal is better than a bad deal”, because they can see we will have no option, because we have no other plans lined-up, so we will have to accept any crumbs of comfort that they deem to offer the UK, don’t they?

They have now faced us down and ‘we blinked first’.

We know that in the event of a no deal outcome, we will have to continue with our same trading links but under World Trade Organisation rules, and we will certainly want to do that, because there are a multitude of small UK companies that already have long standing ‘strong’ relationships with customers in the EU and they fully expect their trading to continue, don’t they?

Perhaps for example, the Government could set-up a ring-fenced WTO financial treasury fund operating for 5 years, to which the tariffs paid by European companies exporting stuff to us are paid in, on which British companies exporting to the EU can draw down. Now, since the EU export MORE goods to us than the UK exports to them that would give stability to our companies until new trading agreements around the World are in place. This would be a particularly sound approach because the EU market is a progressively shrinking one for us, while there are other major expanding markets

Just remember everyone, that the EU autocrats have so far stuck to their guns in refusing to even start discussion on future trading arrangements until we agree a “divorce’ settlement which could be say €100 billion – but IF we ever agreed to that, you can bet your bottom dollar that it would NOT get us a trade deal though (or anything else) because they will demand that we BUY that privilege on top, so that the UK pays in for evermore, eh?

As it stands, with the new dynamics of the negotiations after Theresa May’s intervention, the debate on how much budget we will have spare by leaving the EU, to plough-in and save our cash strapped NHS, becomes irrelevant as it will be a negative number, won’t it?

 

[THIS IS NOT THE BREXIT THE COUNTRY VOTED FOR. Time for our Government to get real at last in our EU negotiations, don’t you think?]

 

The North Korea has moved inextricably towards deliverable nuclear warheads – the potential consequences?

 verses  

There has been a ‘war of words’ between North Korea and the United States which has been dire in recent weeks, and as recounted here in a recent post earlier this month, President Donald Trump has both embarrassed himself and America by his stupid participation in it all, even unnecessarily enflaming it at times to encourage ‘Kim Jong-Un’ and his entourage to talk and act BIG.

By doing so, he’s taking the world dangerously close to a precipice, with no clear face saving exit for either himself or his adversary (as the saying goes “never back a dangerous animal into a corner”).

Trump simply doesn’t understand that a strong tough President speaks softly but carries a big stick [as advocated by American president Theodore Roosevelt over 100 years ago], and not the other way round, does he? Where is ‘the iron fist in the velvet glove‘ when Trump is penning his thousands of stupid ‘presidentially undignified’ tweets, eh? Where was his understanding of the pivotal role of a President when he was yelling and blustering last week at the United Nations, threatening to wipe tiny North Korea and its crass leadership off the map? We ALL know perfectly well that the US does HAVE the capability to do just that thing if it has the will – so why demean himself by actually threatening IT, eh?

Neither does he appreciate that North Korea has a dictatorial ruthless ‘Supreme Leader’ (aka ‘god’) who HAS to be followed by the people (even if necessary, on the road to death & destruction), whereas America merely has an ‘elected president’ who has a Congress subject to voter influences, in overall charge (which he has found out already to his chagrin, by his humiliating abject failure to amend even Obamacare, or indeed get anything else done whatsoever, in his tumultuous eight months’ residence at the White House).

Now, Trump is someone with an innate incapacity to personally admit failure, even when he recognises it himself, as he has just demonstrated by his most recent subterfuge of the deletion of his mega supporting tweets for the ‘losing’ candidate in a primary for a Senatorial election, and even for his inability to recognise that he had fallen short of essential action, when just at a time of a national calamity, he had incompetently seriously misjudged the seriousness of the devastating hurricane crisis in Puerto Rico. Yet instead, he tries to divert the public’s view and attention, by inventing a spat with black football players who he says disrespect the flag. Behind all that fiasco, he faces the backdrop of a haunting and mounting Russia investigation that could bring his presidency down, but which he persists on casually brushing it aside as “fake news”, when it most certainly is not, doesn’t he?

However, in reality these are insignificant minor matters on the gravity scale of things though, so make no mistake about that, will you? No, there is only ONE ISSUE of magnitude that concerns the World, as it should him (but apparently doesn’t faze him), and that is the one of the out of control escalating nuclear showdown with North Korea.

There can be no doubt about it, but the USA does ‘have’ to halt North Korea’s march towards worldwide deliverable nuclear capability, as no one else will (definitely NOT the increasingly defunct UN, eh?), but it has to find a way and all indications are that it will not be diplomacy but through military action because too much water has already flowed under the bridge by past inaction, hasn’t it?

The consequences of such military conflict though will be very substantial and definitely objectionable, because of the significantly loss of life & limb involved, to which many will understandably baulk. However, the result of doing nothing will not produce a better outcome, will it? There will be certainly the same if not greater penalty to pay by America sitting on its hands, as Kim Jong-Un will not stop short of nuclear power status but will use it to dare to attack & conquer South Korea, don’t you think?

Moreover, what we should all understand however is just what power in short order that North Korea would have to threaten the World with their nuclear weapons, that they most decidedly have, but probably not yet gained all the sophisticated ability to deploy them globally.

Now, America as the most advanced nuclear country, has a nuclear weapon fifty-thousand times more powerful than the current North Korean’s bomb, but so what? That just means that while the North Korea could cause a million casualties in say New York, when America could hit four million in the North Korean capital Pyongyang – does that make anybody feel any better, any more safe, then eh?

When their intercontinental missiles complete development, possibly within a couple of years, North Korea will be able to reach the potential targets of say all the cities of London (656,540 causalities), Seoul (506,850 causalities), Tokyo (399,450 causalities), San Diego (189,350 causalities), Honolulu(179,030 causalities), Sydney (161,390 causalities). Who is going to sleep soundly in their beds when a nuclear power, militarised, warmongering outfit run by megalomaniac nutter is on the march, eh?

 

[When the sand of time run out on curtailing ‘Kim Jong-Un’ and his erstwhile North Korean empire, we will know that the end of civilisation, if not life on Earth itself, is nigh, wont we?]