January 2021 Turning the Page.

Turning the Page:  Reflections on Vexed Questions

Well, somehow, we’ve managed to arrive in the New Year despite the ravages of Covid19 and the Remainers. I suppose one should be glad that the crisis saved us the spectacle of sore losers throwing a tantrum whilst, at the same time, restricting the vanity of the winners. I would remind the latter that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the chef needs to produce something more in the nature of an Egg Soufflé than a Scrambled one! This suggests that 2021 will not be about points scoring or Covid19, (though perhaps a little more on its offspring), but the economy. Indeed, it’s always the economy, and therefore how the Prime Minister is going to deliver on his promises to those punters pouring through the new door in the “Red Wall” who bet their shirt on him. We shall have to wait and see.

Given the pandemic has, not surprisingly, been difficult to control, one shouldn’t be surprised if the government faces a temporary fall in the public’s confidence, creating a perceived hiatus in their traditional fleeting popularity. As we seem to have a surfeit of experts in Fleet Street, I’m surprised the contagion isn’t over! Anyway, the down side for the political reality of the moment appears to be an unexpected and alarming series of Brexit working party groups to argue the toss, and refine aspects of a deal that was said to be done - shades of tinkering with a ‘Bad Deal’ one could say! One might hope it’s a ‘big deal’ as the punctilious Lord Frost is to become GB’s EU supremo and responsible for international policy. I wonder how they’ll deal with certain imports now the EU has officially approved the sale of worms as food fit to be consumed by humans – as well as beetle larvae, crickets etc.? False News one might hope. Then there’s the perceived growing public concern of the favoured political class looking after their own, particularly the educated elite and wealthy urbanites crowding into the nation’s capital – supercharging that lowbrow aphorism, “Follow the Money”. Well, now the money needs to go somewhere else if Boris is going to burnish his claim to fame. The general trend of his utterings seems to suggest he might have this in hand, and is aware of the need to follow through. If he activates a chunk of what he proposes, then he will likely get another term, especially if the economy starts to grow and the ‘feel good’ factor cuts in.

On a more personal note, in respect of Covid19, I’m still a little ambivalent over groups, and especially schools, as it seems that young people can be the silent carriers, perhaps safe among their peers but the catalyst for disaster elsewhere. On the economy, I’d like to see some investment in Fusion Energy, powering self-sustaining plasma which is the cleaner, safer way to go, will put a lot of Global Warmers out to grass, and give us all the cheaper energy that will be needed for all those electric cars which I suspect are further away than the manufacturers, let alone the government, would hope. That’s if political activist Carrie and Dilyn the dog, deign to approve, of course.

But there are other angles he’s likely to address first as they seem to have the support of the silent majority. He won’t have forgotten ‘Vox populi vox dei’, just yet. For example, the popular notion that the BBC has been wallowing in the public’s largesse for far too long while grandstanding their woke nature and miasmatic identity culture suggests that undoubtably the licence fee may be in for the chop, especially if the Conservative big wig, who’s been flown in to tidy the BBC up, doesn’t prove a flop. A Brexiteer he may be, but he seems very attached to the licence fee! Just the opposite would see a lot of extra pensioners vote for Boris, one would suppose. Italy, by the way, has circumvented any skulduggery for the moment on the compulsory licence fee, despite the household not having a TV, by parking it in the electricity bill that only riddle breakers with a penchant for Financial Times crossword puzzles, or my sharp and sagacious other half, can circumvent. Nevertheless, assuming guilt before it’s proven is not a very civilised procedure. Then there’s the House of Lords whose sittings will likely be changed into a salutary walk now the writings on the wall for them, leading perhaps to a much-reduced Upper Chamber with substantial savings on their perks. It’s apparently the largest “Second Chamber” in the world, full of time servers, so why not? Less economically rewarding are those recalcitrant judges who will have their perverse adjudications binned as being a little too precocious, and well beyond their remit. But parliament makes the laws, and that’s all a Supreme Court should consider, cognisant that the House can retrospectively modify any legal judgement if it seems fit. All to come when Boris gets his wind back. Sadly, it won’t blow away ‘Ginge and Winge’ as Piers Morgan dubs them! The public really need a rest from these overindulged juveniles. Come to think of it, from Piers Morgan as well! One feels that Thackeray was spot on the mark when he found no better place for specimens of the Snob than in the political world, though I think he was remiss in neglecting to include the legal ones, royal ones, and the feckless boneheads that litter the pages of the popular press. His ‘Book of Snobs’ is an amusing read for those who like to see the pretentious and the pompous brought down a peg or two, and miss the ancient pages of the Punch magazine. It was a much more perceptive magazine than Private Eye, appealing to the older, more literate reader, perhaps, which suggests its demise lay elsewhere.

Sadly, nothing optimistic regarding the immediate political future can be said of Italy, who start from an already depressed economy, where Conte’s idea of setting up task forces to handle Italy’s share of the 209-billion-euro Rescue Fund smacks at old fashioned cronyism – ‘brown envelopes under the table’ being almost an Italian proverb. The more so now it’s been approved! The great problem for Italy is being wedded to borrowing, now at a staggering 2530 billion euros, something successive government have found impossible to resist, not least because the alternative is massive austerity which will entail them being shown the door. Despite never being elected, and beset by the present altercation, Conte has chosen to resign leaving the future up in the air. But who actually knows in the present incendiary climate? No one in parliament is eager to anticipate the event, as at that point one third of the seats in parliament are to be scrapped, representing a lot of churlish ex-members. In the meantime, he is carping about a lost mountain of Pfizer-Biotech/Moderna vaccine, hijacked by Germany – not exactly your caring sharing partner. But then the EU banks are generally insolvent, with Germany owed hundreds of million euro’s it can never recover and Italy owing hundreds of million euro’s it can never repay! And Italy’s not alone in the EU. Perversely, as the UK wheels out millions of Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs, Conte has had to wait for his country’s share of a vaccine to arrive in a supply deal done by the EU, which is risible when AstraZeneca has a biochemical plant on their own patch at the Milanese commune of Basiglio. Apparently, Italy among a small group of countries, tried to organise their own supply of vaccines, but their hands were tied as the EU doesn’t want any usurping of their control. Individually they’ll probably have to go to the ‘back of the queue’ in Obama’s inept words. Interestingly, having mentioned the majestic Salisbury Cathedral in my last blog, the church is now a vaccination centre with the organist playing classical music for the waiting patients. As I suggested then, the church must reach out to the people. If an internationally famous cathedral can do it, so can they all. Back to the main theme, there are rumours of a Chinese vaccine becoming available, but can you imagine anyone really wanting one of those? Not that EU nations have much choice if that’s the best von der Leyen can do. Smacks of desperation. Italy seems to be forever under the thumb of an incompetent political class sitting on a hardworking, potentially dynamic, highly competent people. One day they must wake up and realise the EU is an ideological project imposed on them without their consent, a move that will enable them to forge a new progressive administration suited to their needs and ambitions. At the moment, Renzi, considering all the fuss a political problem, has pulled his IV party out of the government, perhaps triggering a future snap election. It’s not absolutely clear, but I believe the President has asked Conte to stay on as caretaker. Alternately, the President could enforce a Technical Government in an effort to avoid an election, though no one can say the one led by Mario Monti was a great success, lasting for just over a year. Still, that was better than Enrico Letta with just 300 days! Italian politics has always been volatile. In the meantime, Salvini, along with other political buzzards are circling the carcase! I think they’ll have a protracted wait, unless a miracle happens.

All this is small fry against the monumental ‘car crash’ surrounding the United States Presidency. That it was a flawed election was patently obvious to anyone who followed the sequel evaluating the circumstances of Republican losses; the litany of voting machine manipulation, fake ballots, cemetery votes, et al. It highlighted the public mistrust of the political establishment, and why Trump had come to represent that scepticism. According to a Gallup Poll, he’s the most admired President of modern times, knocking Obama into a top hat! I doubted that for a minute until I recalled, that despite the newspaper’s paranoiac dislike of Trump, we read he’d obtained the largest share of Hispanic and black votes in United States history. Given the glaring discrepancy reported by members of the election observers at the polling booths across the country, it would have seemed politic for the election to have been set aside and subsequently rerun. The failure of the nation-wide judicial system, of greater significance than the nations media, to even consider an investigation smacks of collusion to say the least, and must bear full responsibility for the following violence. As an example of how far eschewed the society and its administration have become, the son of Supreme Court judge Shlomo Mostofsky has been arrested and charged with crimes during the New York riots. Not much on that was reported in the newspapers, naturally. If correct, that such an important official cannot instil a sense of responsibility in his offspring, beggar’s belief in their own competence. Knowledge that the problem with the electoral system was being addressed was in every one’s interest except the perpetrators, and would probably have quietened the explosive anger. Considering that both Democratic heavyweights, Clinton and Biden faced serious criminal investigations, not surprisingly, given the present desperation of what is known as ‘The Swamp’, it would appear natural that the matter should have been swept under the carpet and deemed ‘currently inactive’ by the police department. perhaps indefinitely under a Democrat government. Sadly, all this does not inspire confidence in the future security of the western world. Given the self-righteous, hate fuelled propaganda of that left leaning party, (at least during election time) those with an interest in justice might ask themselves one question, despite the truth is being hidden under a fog of confusion and misinformation:

Is a political party, having propagated the massive fraud of false evidence of Russian interference and collusion in the 2016 election linked to associates of Donald Trump, and demanding his impeachment, capable of rigging the ballot boxes in the 2020 election?

Given that he was subsequently cleared by an investigation costing 20 million dollars, the answer should be obvious, even to the most naïve observer. Trump’s persona may not have made him the most appealing of Presidents, but he should be judged by results, which appears to have left the United States materially better off than that under Obama, sensibly pulled back US servicemen from petty wars in insignificant countries, besides allaying the fears of a political system that did not seem to be working for black and Hispanic voters. He also made the west aware of the sly agenda of the Chinese republic who must be relieved the United States now has a President they may be able to compromise, given his reported less than ethical use of his position as Vice President for financial gain. Lok out for Biden’s ‘make-believe’ aggression in that direction. ‘Moving on’ with the Democrats in their same old direction will not solve the problem, only exasperate it. If you avoid the popular press, who have certainly compounded problems, you’ll find there’s is an awful lot of anger in America that’s not going to go away by rubbing salt into wounds. You cannot intellectualize this. There is nothing more dangerous than raw, emotional anger that will not listen to reason, choosing instead to form subversive groups. Someone like Hitler, Stalin or Mao you might hate, but Trump you can really only dislike. If you doubt it, looking in the mirror might help you realize more than you know of ‘group think’. That is the problem. To the Democrats and left leaning press he is anathema, an execrable image that stands in the way of their covert and conspiratorial ambitions. What we have seen are the depths they will stoop to in an effort to damage a not very likeable character who has managed his country rather well. In spite of all his dissenters, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Mr Trump.

Unhappily, the same can be said of Nicola Sturgeon who seems to think Scotland has a great future outside of the Union. Patently it does not, despite the EU using such a threat to play hard ball with Mr Johnson, immediately back tracking when they signed on the dotted line. There is no way they can afford to subsidise a bankrupt country as Scotland would surely be, nor override the opinions of Spain and Belgium who, given their problems with independence elements within their ‘borders’, would vote it down, probably with the support of France who have their own Basque region with a different language in the Pyrénées. I am fully behind a nation waving their flag, and I am also behind a majority wishing to retain their individuality, but I have to say, I believed the Scottish people a lot more savvy that Sturgeon appears to be. A hard border has definite attractions when listening to her chauvinistic hyperbole. The real facts are surely obvious to anyone who bothers to consider them. We’ll pass on the raw figure that 60% of its trade is with the UK and consider some overlooked areas that will cause serious financial problems for the Scottish people who at the moment are being blind-sided. All of them to do with losses. Scotland’s health service is massively funded by the UK with the obvious loss of free prescriptions needing to be funded by the citizens through taxation, if not directly. Then there’s the problem of Scottish regiments, hopefully choosing to be absorbed into British ones or staying at home and costing Scotland bundles of cash when they realise the civilian support and material back up needed to maintain them. Such is also the problem at the Nuclear submarine base at Faslane that employs 7000 service personnel and civilian employees. The submarines can move south to Portsmouth with the essential service men, creating a boom in the workforce there, but there’ll be a lot of unemployed workers on the Clyde, and they probably won’t get a lot of help considering Scotland’s 15 billion Fiscal debt which is not the rest of the UK’s problem if Scotland’s an independent country. A debt that the EU will not find attractive either. Sturgeon and fellow travellers consider all will be well – oil well that is - not considering that the western world is weening itself off any dependence on fossil fuels, making such a source virtually worthless in the future. I fancy they won’t be joining anytime soon, and if the Scottish people have any nous, they’ll make sure they never do.

 Given all the troubles in the world, and the political crises everywhere, now is not the time to keep your head down.  Keep ahead, instead.