A Friday the 13th fright

I wake up on Friday the 13th to find the serial liar and philanderer has bagged a clear win. Guess that’s a clear vote for Brexit then. Bring it on, it’s what people still really really want, and at least this time there’s a sort of actionable form of Brexit on the table. I did not contribute to this result 😉

A serial liar in the wild

Yes, I’d have preferred a hung Parliament and a second referendum/revocation. However, that was clearly a minority sport, and this time it’s clear, and it’s for something actionable, unlike the original misbegotten EU referendum which was for an undefined negative. I still despise the weakness of that referendum to settle a catfight in the Tory party, its lack of needing a supermajority for constitutional change etc. But now it’s clear that it’s unequivocal and it’s what most people want, so let ’em have it.

The financial aspect

Can’t really understand why, on sparking up Iweb, I am significantly better off. Sure, I bought IGWD which is sort of VWRL hedged to the pound, and it has gained some due to the lift in the pound due to some Brexit clarification. But most of my holdings are international equities or indices, and one would expect them to tank in £ nominal terms, giving back some of the gains I received earlier.  While I do hold a fair lump of IGWD it isn’t enough and hasn’t changed so much, However I do have a fair amount of VMID, and that shifted more.

Against my gut judgement I’d invested all my ISA bar about £2k. The Santa rally seems to have come early this year. Will it stick, or will the rising pound reverse the Brexit boom I got a couple of years ago? In the end I will probably be better off that my £ denominated pension income is worth more in terms of the value of foreign stuff that I can buy even if my ISA takes a gut punch. Maybe next year will be the time to buy relatively beaten-down in £ terms foreign assets with my last ISA contribution fo all time.

I predict Brexit won’t be done within five years

Sure, we will be non Europeans, hopefully out by Jan 31st. Will we have a finished trade deal by 2025? Nah. In the words of one of pifflepaffle’s alleged heros when talking about another European adventure1,

this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is probably the end of the beginning.


  1. concerning the battle of Al Alamein but against Rommel 

47 thoughts on “A Friday the 13th fright”

  1. It’s the nature of the 2019 campaign – deliberate lies and misinformation, shamelessly ducking hard questions, etc – that make this result especially hard to swallow. Every bad actor rewarded for their actions.

    Agree it is at least unambiguous, if not representative thanks to first-past-the-post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. > if not representative thanks to first-past-the-post.

      Although in more marginal cases that can be said, but not really in this case even if you look at the popular vote. The Tories got 43.6%. If you add Labour and the LibDems you get 43.7% but there’s not that much common cause between them.

      It’s clear enough. And it’s in BJ’s favour, and while I am not capable of understanding why the hell Brexit is so important to people, it clearly is very important and more of them spoke this time. Good luck to ’em all

      This Indian dude has an interesting commentary on where the Western left of centre has dug itself into a hole which makes sense to me. There was a lovely young lady who came along and earnestly pressed a Labour leaflet into my hand. I asked if Jeremy Corbyn should happen to lose this election, could they please learn the lesson and put up someone who people like me could believe can lead. I didn’t actually have that much against their manifesto and am grateful that they attempted to shift the Overton window. A beatific smile came across her as she informed me that the leader is chosen by the membership, and in that moment of incomprehension I figured that this problem will take some time and another couple of elections to fix, before Her Majesty’s Opposition will be able to get its shit together and, er, oppose, and do all that checks and balances stuff. But the Indian chap put it better, and his roll-call of other examples around the world was interesting too

      Liked by 1 person

      1. An Opinium poll asking people why they did not vote for a particular party concluded that, for Labour, 43% said Corbyn, 17 % Brexit and 12% economic policies. I had already suspected that he scared the horses so far as a lot of middle of the road voters were concerned. I’ve just returned to my fastness in the Scottish Highlands (an entirely different political landscape) from a pre-Christmas trip to the home counties. I spent Thursday with some very good friends who put a peg on their noses and voted for Johnson; they would have preferred to vote Lib. Dem but could not stomach the risk of a Corbyn-led government. They could have tolerated tax increases and nationalisation of a few previously privatised industries but they thought that Corbyn himself was dim and unfit for government; they thought his economic policies were absurd, distrusted him on foreign policy and were worried about his Stalinist advisers. All polling seemed to indicate that Corbyn was a uniquely unpopular party leader. If he had had any political nous and prioritised party and country over his own fantasies, he would have stood down because of “ill-health” some time ago.

        So far as the future is concerned, it’s more uncertain than ever. Given Johnson’s track record, we can disregard the Conservative election manifesto and any post-election speeches so we have little idea of what his policies will be and, most importantly, how he will respond to events. Chris Grey’s Brexit Blog contains some interesting and somewhat disturbing speculation. In a democracy, it is important that the government of the day, of whatever political hue, is held to account and the most effective means of doing that is to have a functioning opposition; the current situation is therefore dangerous.

        So far as personal finance is concerned, I think IWeb are sometimes late in showing valuations – it’s worth checking on Trustnet or similar. I too checked my ISA and was surprised that I didn’t take a hit because of sterling’s bounce. I had anticipated both the election result and the initial market response but I’ve been preoccupied with my partner’s hip replacement operation and recovery over the last few weeks and had neither the time nor inclination to tinker. If all turns out well in the UK over the next few years I’ll be surprised and delighted; I’ve been heavy on hedged global bonds and unhedged overseas equities with very little UK exposure for a few years and would be fairly philosophical about an underperforming (compared to FTSE All-Share Index/FTSE 250-heavy) portfolio. In any case, I’d be likely to rebalance at some point but I have a guideline about responding to events; I ask myself ‘how will significant will this be regarded in 10 or 50 years time by historians?’. My view is that the election was no surprise and its significance is dependent on the policies and performance of the incoming government. Some would also have argued that the election result was widely predicted and the outcome was therefore already priced into the markets. It was entirely predictable that there would be a sterling and UK equity bounce driven by joyful Brexiteers and Conservative voters and those not wanting to miss out.

        I should probably set myself 6-monthly reminders to review my asset allocation but be prepared to respond more rapidly if there are any major events or changes which I deem to be more than ephemeral noise.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Seems like there may have been other macro reasons for the general lift in spirits. So the Brexit suckout will show soon enough.

        > All polling seemed to indicate that Corbyn was a uniquely unpopular party leader.

        The Corbyn mania was an enigma to me. More so, I fear, than Brexit. I could just about imagine myself into a scenario where Brexit made some sort of sense in a bizarro world. Oh Jeremy Corbyn, just couldn’t get there from here. And I know people that felt that way about JC, though they couldn’t explain it in a way I can understand. That smile of adulation on that young lady made me feel that she was not in the same world as I was…

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      3. Yup – it is clear, and I have no problem with the outcome (Cons in power) or even the disproportionate number of seats won (44% of vote gets 56% of seats) since that is by design. It just rankles when people conflate the two numbers and use the seats held as evidence of a mandate from the electorate as if it were a popular majority.

        Anyway, buckle up for another 5 years. Can’t wait to see who emerges as the chief influencers in the government. Will it be the so called “one-nationers” making noises about investment or the usual hard line conservatives continuing the project of the last 10 years. And if the long-awaited recession or (worse) long deflation arrives what will the response be. Nervous times.

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      4. For me i voted remain but voted Conservative this time as I felt brexit was now inevitable. More importantly Parliament was paralysed and the actual important governing wasnt getting done. Best to rip the bandaid off quickly and move on than another 3 years like that last 3

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  2. It is at least done, the people have decided and now they will get what they want.
    Maybe we are all wrong and Brexit will be a great thing….But I’m not holding my breath.
    I’ll probably be fine either way, I’m at the far end of my FI journey, not there yet but close enough that if TSHTF I could reign my wants in and be fine.
    There is a part of me that will laugh a lot if Brexit turns out to be shit and those who wanted it get screwed, is that mean of me?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. > I’m at the far end of my FI journey, not there yet but close enough

      I too am glad I am at the end of my working life rather than at the beginning. As for the value of Brexit, well, at least the signal is clearer than IMO the pretty marginal original referendum result. And it has at least some sort of form now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For those of us who are quite a bit younger than you fine gentlemen, is there anything us young-uns could do to help ourselves out while this theatre production carries on? Getting on the side of capital seems good, but capital in what? Everything seems high right now!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. > is there anything us young-uns could do to help ourselves out while this theatre production carries on? Getting on the side of capital seems good, but capital in what? Everything seems high right now!

        I’ve got some sympathy with everything seems high, though I was not distressed to buy the UK recently, largely for yield, which isn’t a young person’s game, but valuations are less high for the UK.

        If I were starting now, and if I had gotten rid of debt (subject to the usual provisos about the nature of student debt not being the same as other debt), I would go for the big picture ticket. This is not advice, DYOR etc…

        I’d prioritize a significant emergency fund first, to forestall hard times and forced choices. It doubles as a slush fund should a crash come and you have the required balls of steel. The standard suggestion is three months running costs, I’d up that to up to a year. If house purchase is in your medium term future then it can do triple duty as a deposit fund. Yes, you will lose some to inflation, but the flexibility costs money. If the house deposit is a foreseeable prospect within 10 years look towards the benefits of a LISA with a government bung towards the house deposit which assuages the inflation hit, while giving you the flexibility to give up the bung if a market crash takes your fancy and feels like a better allocation of capital…

        Look at job opportunities, and in particular you make the biggest gains when switching jobs, so stand back and appraise the opportunities in your industry and if there is something you can do to improve your prospects. Young folk have lots of human capital, and this is when a lot of potential gain is to be had. A 5% increase in salary pays more over the years then a shedload of VWRL 😉 Particularly if you don’t use it to inflate lifestyle but buy VWRL each year with half the increase (live a little bit higher with t’other half)

        The other way to look at it, however, is that over a thirty year working life, so what if you buy at the top for the first couple of years? You will see two, thee, four stock market cycles over that period. Go back and take a look at the FTSE100 index and get your magnifying glass out and look at the 1989 Black Friday crash. Not so bad after 30 years, and UKX is not a total return so it doesn’t show the dividends you will have been receiving through 30 years.

        In contrast to many I am not sold that young people need to stress on starting a pension ASAP. Buying a house is a different form of saving. Over a 30 year working life and a typical 5% real average returns on the markets compound interest roughly doubles your money in total. Yes, your early pension contributions are roughly quadrupled in real terms, but you tend to earn more as you get older, so the lifecycle difference in contributions is not so huge. As long as you’re saving something, there’s a case to be made that house deposit has a bigger call on resources. OTOH you should never leave employer match on the table – a 100% bump-up on your contributions along with the 4x compounding lifts those early contributions handsomely.

        A young person has some advantages due to their high latent human capital that old gits like me whose human capital is all shot don’t have, but yes, they may need to play their cards differently. Good luck in your journey to FI, and remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

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      3. > much sage Ermine advice
        Thank you for the very detailed reply Ermine (I think you should make a blog post out of this – what would you do starting now). I disagree only on the pension part but that’s because my employer does a cracking deal on them. I sacrifice 15% post-tax salary for 33% pre-tax. An over 100% return is not available anywhere else right now that I’m aware of, even if I can’t access it till 58/60. I don’t need that cash and I am very fortunate to be in that kind of position.

        I also have a house with my wife. At 1.8% interest on the mortgage I’m not convinced it’s worth paying down that much, but I need to put my savings somewhere… I suppose I shall keep calm and carry on filling up my ISA – though I’m sticking with a low-cost global tracker / global bonds for now 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. > I need to put my savings somewhere… I suppose I shall keep calm and carry on filling up my ISA – though I’m sticking with a low-cost global tracker / global bonds for now

        It’s not a bad strategy at all. If you feel valuations are high one way to express that is to favour bonds more than your risk tolerance would normally set you at, with the expectations to shift into equities when the suckout turns up. You seem to have most bases covered. Markets are cyclical, they won’t stay sky-high for ever 😉

        As an existing homeowner the LISA is less attractive, though I’ve still be tempted to open one to have the flexibility of a pension saving you can draw down before 60.

        > I disagree only on the pension part but that’s because my employer does a cracking deal on them.

        I totally agree! Never leave free money on the table. It’s part of your pay – simply deferred pay in that case.

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    2. Totally agree with Dazzle, as well as the Ermine. I am reminded of what H.L. Menken said: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” I think they are about to…

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    3. What has escaped me is what the new government stands for besides getting brexit done – which is meaningless.
      There are massive problems that should be tackled but I doubt the tories have a plan or even care.
      One example is the housing crisis. Builders and bank shares soared on Friday but don’t expect any more houses to be built.
      Australian style points based immigration system will take years to come and I bet that we won’t see the 50,000 “new” nurses for that matter.
      It’s been a vote for the status quo and maybe it is the right choice for brexit (sticking plaster wise ) but voting in a nihilist? We will.come to rue this mistake.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Although many have charged the Tories with a manifesto that is content-free other than “get Brexit done”, if you look at their manifesto which is linked from here there are some untargeted and handwaving aspirations:

        A majority Conservative Government will continue to increase the number of homes being built. But we must also rebalance the housing market towards more home ownership – while ensuring fairness for the new generation of renters

        Which is a shame IMO – I am not sure that general home ownership suits 21st century lives, particularly the early part of modern working lives. Some of the other detail is intriguing:

        We will get rid of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act – it has led to paralysis at a time the country needed decisive action.

        We will gerrymander like Republicans:

        We will ensure we have updated and equal Parliamentary boundaries, making sure that every vote counts the same – a cornerstone of democracy.

        We will suppress poor voters – sorry, that is we will demand to see ‘your papers please’ when you vote

        We will protect the integrity of our democracy, by introducing identification to vote at polling stations, stopping postal vote harvesting and measures to prevent any foreign interference in elections.

        One surprising quantifiable positive is

        We will lead the global fight against climate change by delivering on our world-leading target of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as advised by the independent Committee on Climate Change.

        I am unlikely to see that, or would be very old, but I would have expected them to deep-six that sort of thing. It is asserted as a guarantee on page 2, and net zero is quantifiable, though of course there be much wiggle room in the net part of net zero 😉

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    1. I agree, Weenie. The most appalling lie in the whole Brexit schemozzle was the absurd claim that we would be “leaving Europe”, sometimes delivered to imply that we must never again look at a Rembrandt or listen to Beethoven. It’s hard to know whether the use was preposterously dishonest or just stupid.

      What struck me was virtually nobody spoke up for the EU. They spoke up for “Europe” i.e. the land of Dante, Cervantes, Molière, etc. They spoke up for NATO, disguising it as “sixty years of peace” or the like. They spoke up for a pink unicorn EU, the EU that would be magically modified in future to suit every British desire. But the actual existing EU received hardly a word of defence.

      Note to ermine: we remain on the continental shelf come what may.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Ah, but will we think of ouselves as non-Europeans? An interesting study by Jan Eichhorn of the University of Edinburgh indicates that our view of how ‘English’ we are may have influenced whether we are for leave or remain. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/the-black-box-of-brexit-identification-with-englishness-is-the-best-clue/#Author

      Anectdotelly, a very good friend of mine, a solid citizen (would take his neighbours washing in if it was raining etc) – so no rabid right wing loony, voted leave (although later changed his mind) – and when asked, he identified himself as English, whilst his wife, who voted remain, identified herself as British.

      Both myself and my own wife identified ourselves as Europeans.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember how close the family ties were between Britain and Canada when I was a wee lad. I can still remember the Coronation celebrations of 1953 (she’s our Queen too.) We were an ocean apart but no matter. Those ties were pretty much gone when I stood in line at Heathrow in the 90s – with the rest of the world while the EU folks just breezed into London.
    No matter – the UK remains one of my favorite places to visit and explore. Besides my globe-trotting niece the cruise director is dating a young man from Bournemouth now. International relations are looking up – or should I say Commonwealth relations?

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  4. A trade deal with the EU is just one of the landmines this gang of liars with stumble into.

    In case you hadn’t noticed there is a big faultline between what half the countries in the United Kingdom voted for versus the other half.

    Scotland and Northern Ireland voted for independence and reunification respectively. England and Wales voted for English nationalism.

    Given how loathed the tories are in Ireland and Scotland I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t a united kingdom left by the time a trade deal with the EU is finally ready to be signed

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, details, details. Differently united he’ll say. Ireland may look different now the unionists are a minority. And it’s possible I’ll need to dig out my English passport to go north of the Tweed in my later years. Sic transit gloria…

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    2. What on earth makes you think that an SNP share of the vote reported variously as 43% and 45% is a vote for independence?

      Why is the NI vote a vote for reunification? Maybe it’s a vote for a wee bit of NI to secede and join the Republic? Maybe it’s not even that.

      Still, if you want to be hysterical it’s your privilege.

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      1. > What on earth makes you think that an SNP share of the vote reported variously as 43% and 45% is a vote for independence?

        Exactly the same kinda logic that a 43.6% share of the vote for Tories is a vote for the Tories biggest priority – get Brexit done. FPTP is the way we do things in the UK, and I’d say 43-45% for the Scots Nats in Scotland is a pretty clear vote for their biggest priority. The clue is in the name of the SNP, and just like Boris on Brexit, the SNP made no bones about their biggest priority. Boris ain’t gonna give it to them and he holds the keys, but it’s going to piss people off in Scotland. What’s sauce for the Brexit gander…

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  5. The huge swing away from Labour in our region, traditionally its heartland, was also about settling old scores against individual Labour MPs who, despite representing strong pro-Brexit constituencies, had never showed any support at all for leaving.

    In particular, Blair’s lapdog who succeeded him in Sedgefield, the arrogant Phil Wilson, had effectively handed himself the black spot after saying publicly that he’d do what he thought was right, irregardless of what the locals had voted for. Pissed off an awful lot of people, that remark did.

    Needless to say, he got his comeuppance in fine style on Thursday …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You state that Johnson is a serial liar. Please give some examples.

    A hung Parliament and a second referendum/revocation would have meant a Corbyn led government. How did you view the likely financial and economic consequences of that, compared to the alternative we now have?

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    1. @gm. How about:-
      “One of the reasons we’re having this election is because we have a Queen’s speech that was blocked by parliament”.
      On prorogation – “One of the reasons I wanted to have a Queen’s Speech was so that we could bring back the domestic violence Bill”.
      “Delaying Brexit is costing £1billion a month”.
      “The Tories are building 40 new hospitals”.
      “NHS spending rise is the ‘biggest in modern memory'”.
      “Jeremy Corbyn wants to scrap MI5”
      “There will be no checks on goods going from GB to NI and NI to GB because we are going to come out of the EU whole and entire. That was the objective we secured”.

      Should I go on?

      ER, and 350,000,000 per week for the NHS?

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    2. > You state that Johnson is a serial liar. Please give some examples.

      Obviously starting with the vote leave bus, but continuing on thusly

      See https://boris-johnson-lies.com/

      > would have meant a Corbyn led government

      In the same way as a Johnson-led minority government wasn’t able to push its extremes, I don’t think a Corbyn-led one would have been able to either. And I don’t think i am rich enough and not at a stage of life where I would have taken a huge hit from it. But I can see others’ concerns 😉

      > compared to the alternative we now have?

      Increased privatisation, issues with the NHS, increased crime because the welfare state is being systematically destroyed (see Universal Credit) and the sort of shit that we are doing to the unemployed where for an increasing number of people there aren’t enough jobs that pay properly.

      But the result is clear enough, so it’s what most people wanted. Clearer than the original referendum IMO. Fair enough.

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      1. I was with you in hoping for a hung parliament – it was probably against my own interests in the short term, but I voted for Labour for the first time in my life because I’m in no hurry to ‘get brexit done’, and the longer it drags on the less likely it seems it’ll happen.

        It was also unlikely that a Corbyn-led coalition could have actually implemented the worst excesses of the Labour manifesto.

        But as you say, some form of Brexit seems like a done deal now, and we’ll just have to hope that it ends up being ‘soft’ enough to the point of being almost indistinguishable from actual EU membership …

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, now it’s clear for those who still needed it why billionaires buy news outlets in the mainstream media. Most of the populace simply passively ingest the ‘bullsh*t update patch’ to their brain and unthinkingly trundle off to comply with the new orders as obediently as any robot or computer.

    What with the moderates having already been forced out pre-election, the new rulers will certainly take this result as a request for an encore of Austerity, austerity, austerity, but on steroids now, not in c-minor, so the director’s cuts. It’ll be pure schadenfreude watching the legions of those poor (moneywise) voters who somehow contorted themselves into believing Massa would be nice to them now, when their eyes are popping out with the pain to come.

    Credit where its due though, give it up for the psychological genius, party spin doctors, who master-minded a nationwide demo of the Dunning-Kruger effect. It’s like a kid choosing to live with their abusive father after the divorce because they blame the mother for doing nothing about it. The only hope left now is that Scotland ‘takes back control’ by ‘just getting their independence done’, given their case for leaving the UK union has all the alleged relevance of the brexit claims and so much more besides. Good luck to Northern Ireland too if they can unify for the common cause of a better future, but as for the Welsh, I’d call it Stockholm syndrome if that didn’t sound European .

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  8. Gettingminted.com has a point although he’s too dumb to really grasp it.

    The reality is very many EU minded voters just voted for the lower taxes of a Tory party rather than vote labor or liberal democrat to get a second referendum.

    Conversely a lot of poorer anti-EU voters were willing to vote against their own economic interests just to get out of the EU.

    The problem with the now dead and buried liberal consensus in this country is that that generation of politicians discredited themselves with their own rampant greed and lack of moral restraint (e.g. Blair, Osborne etc.)

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    1. Let’s try and disagree with each other with respect – play the ball not the man and all that. The points have merit, but so do those of others. One of the things that seems to be clear here is that Clinton’s adage that it’s the economy stupid doesn’t seem to apply. I’ve seen the case made that when people feel some existential threat then some other things – tribe and culture may matter more.

      The fortunes of the West are declining, and people do feel that. I would have a much harder time graduating now than in 1982, if i had children that sort of thing would trouble me. I do take the point that humanity in general is still getting ahead, but First World citizens lower down the scale, not so much. And as you said, some exponents of the liberal consensus didn’t discharge themselves well, particularly in the aspect of living values.

      I don’t understand why Brexit matters so much to so many. But it clearly does – much clearer that the marginal original referendum result.

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  9. @The Borderer, @ermine. Thanks for responding. I just wanted to more fully understand your views.

    I have been more concerned about a Labour government that was much less supportive of business and of investors (to say the least), and a continued Brexit impasse, than about “get(ting) Brexit done”. I regarded such a Labour government as a possible black swan event, that would have a severe impact on the whole country as well as on my own situation.

    Now that we have a decisive outcome we will see whether what has been promised (“invest in our NHS, schools and police”) can be delivered. If it can then I think some of your concerns can be addressed.

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    1. > invest in our NHS, schools and police

      as a crude proxy, NHS waiting times are increasing. This is after more than five years of Tory government. This leopard ain’t gonna change its spots, because all right-thinking people they know have BUPA. As I get older I expect to pay for this sort of thing.

      Police. Well, I suppose restoring the ones they got rid of in the past few years is a start, but extra police are not the answer to increasing crime due to social changes that mentally torture the unemployed, who through globalisation find they cannot earn the sort of living their parents did. I have no idea what the right answer is, but I do know that Universal credit is a step in the wrong direction. So with all due respect

      > If it can then I think some of your concerns can be addressed.

      No. I was on the losing side here, my interests will be shat on. Sometimes life is like that. FWIW I didn’t think Corbyn would ever get a clear majority. I have no love for the man, I wish he had never happened and that he had the decency to finally offer a mea culpa. I didn’t even vote for the bugger. For Gawd’s sake “we won the argument but didn’t convert that into a majority for change” – this is a fellow who just doesn’t do “I screwed up”. But it’s yesterday’s news and he’s an irrelevance now. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson the serial liar will continue to lie – building 40 hospitals is actually upgrading six and that’s even before two sunsets have passed. Oh and the stupid twat Cameron’s clever jape will happen.

      But what the hell. The sun will still rise tomorrow, the birds will sing in Spring, and thankfully I don’t have to try and earn a living in the dog-eat-dog deregulated nirvana to come. It could be a lot worse.

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  10. I agree with Grumpy Old Paul re Corbyn and his ex-communist advisers, except that I could not have stomached the tax increases. Given Corby’s Marxist leanings, his insistence on punitively taxing income, his definition of “the rich” being anyone who earns over £80k (and not the tax-exempt land owners) demonstrates a unique dimness of mind. I’m afraid there won’t be a quick solution to the (lack of) opposition problem, either. The reason why that fuckwit continues to cling to party leadership after Thai spectacular defeat is that he wants to install another Marxist fuckwit as his successor.
    This was not just about Brexit, and until Labour realise it we’re stuck with the Conservatives leading the country.
    Funny, although I loathe Johnson, his vision of Britain outside the EU (Singapore in Thames) actually works for me, financially, much better than Labour’s socialist version. #silverlinings

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    1. #silverlinings “although I loathe Johnson, his vision of Britain outside the EU (Singapore in Thames) actually works for me, financially”

      Singapore isn’t actually a democracy its a series of rotten boroughs and the government routines uses the justice system to harass any political opposition into jail

      People will accuse me of sensationalism but a cursory look at Poland and Hungary will tell you that all it takes is about a decade to install such a system

      The toxic combination of an amoral prime minister, the UK’s unwritten constitution, a right wing press and a big tory majority makes this completely possible in the UK

      Personally I am f*******g scared

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  11. Since Thatcher initiated the neoliberal revolution in the UK, England has lurched ever more to the right with every election, the new labour interruption just being a blip whereby enough so-called ‘leftwing’ opportunists shared power for a while by enacting the same agenda with a human mask. This is how a country incrementally slides into autocracy and the blame lies with most voters choosing (even by their abstentions) to look the other way, until one day they realise they are living in the world of Orwell’s faceless dictatorship, totally controlled by a daily diet of propaganda.

    The ruling elite are manipulating human psychological weaknesses to effect this contradiction whereby as the pain of chronically falling living standards increases in people’s lives, they somehow blame anyone or thing but the root cause and then vote for a more extreme populist. These successes are quickly imitated across the globe so that this is now a dominant pattern, the entire BJ drama was faithfully played out from the Trump example and we now have our own poundshop Trump.

    It’s hard therefore to see a solution, since this system crocks the economy, which corrodes living standards, which increases desperation, leading to governments that entrench the policies that guarantee this status quo. The irony of a flawed democracy being gamed to lead the electorate back to feudalism is lost on almost everyone. I don’t see a way out, its a beautifully designed system to protect the kleptocacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Part of the roadmap that Dominic Cummings is working towards as he pulls the strings is outlined in this thought provoking research piece “A resurgence of the regions: rebuilding innovation capacity across the whole of the UK”.

    Its difficult to argue against the logic of increasing the productivity of our largest cities throughout Britain, so that all parts of the UK drive national prosperity rather than many being a net drag on it. Turning decades of under investment, poor infrastructure and engrained fixed mindsets around though is going to take a massive effort and time. Whether or not we could have done this within the EU or not, is a debate but regardless of which side of the brexit vote people sat, collective brain power and effort is going to be needed.

    http://www.softmachines.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ResurgenceRegionsRALJv22_5_19.pdf

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    1. The thing about a blank sheet of paper is that the hopeful can project their desires on to it

      The places that elected the tories are mainly small towns and not the UKs major cities like Redcar, Scunthorpe, Wolverhampton, Bridgend, Wrexham, Grimsby and Stoke

      I would be very surprised if they don’t just throw public money at the seats they won to generate some prosperity to get them through to the next election

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  13. The thing you always find with negative, pessimistic people is that they’ve always got something to moan about, and are very quick to point out fault and what will go wrong but they never have any answers as to how to improve things or the ability and drive to take action to make things better.

    Nevermind, thankfully not everyone is like that.

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    1. “What’s Optimism?’ asked Cacambo. ‘I’m afraid to say,’ said Candide, ‘that it’s a mania for insisting that all is well when things are going badly.” Voltaire, Candide

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “What’s Optimism?’ asked Cacambo. ‘I’m afraid to say,’ said Candide, ‘that it’s a mania for insisting that all is well when things are going badly.” Volatire, Candide

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  14. >nobody spoke up for the EU
    But they couldn’t do that having blamed the EU for the last 30 years…”We’d love to help, but EU rules prevent it…”

    On Scotland, will they be prepared to leave the UK “without a deal” ? The Bernard Jenkin question, which needs to be repeatedly asked. This gives the unionists hope, if they play it right. Direct shipping routes from Scotland to the Low Countries have proved be be unviable so far…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG please save us from more misbegotten referenda. The lesson from Cameron’s catfight should be

      When advocating a change that involves a counterparty not under your control but with a say in the ultimate form (The EU in Brexit, England and Wales in Indyref), this needs to be a two stage process:

      1*) Are you in favour of seceding from this union with another party Y/N?

      * If you vote yes to seceding, we will establish a cross-party team to conduct the negotiations, trying to establish your priorities for any future relationship between the parties. When we have a defined form of this we will bring it back to the people for a straight 50/50 referendum on “do you want to go ahead with the Act of Secession under the negotiated/no deal terms resulting”

      Personally I would favour the bar for constitutional change to be 2/3 in Q1 so you don’t get the current Brexit situation where roughly have the people that care are pissed off, but that’s for Scotland to sort out. A supermajority is commonly required in other countries for constitutional change. But Cocky Cameron knew best, and that’s water under the bridge now.

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