Friday, 17 March 2017

The pool of tears

Try as I might I cannot shake off the feeling that I am taking part in somebody else's dream. Each morning I wake up with the hope that the world is as I left it the night before but then reality takes hold as I remember that I was living in a nightmare even before I went to sleep, the surreal world of dreams now being more rational in comparison. I wake to a world where undeniable truths are replaced by the cockeyed logic of Brexit and Trump.

For instance, Hammond's spring budget where he spoke of building up a reserve to stave off the effects of Brexit once we finally leave the EU. It wasn't many months ago that the former Tory chancellor Osborne was warning us that the main problem facing the UK was the annual deficit and a burgeoning national debt. In one day of referendum all this has changed because choosing to leave the EU with a deal or even no deal offers a great future for this country. As Theresa May said, "no deal is better than a bad deal", then going on to say, "sentence first! then the verdict" ............. or was that latter quote uttered by The Queen of Hearts?

What utter nonsense all this is. Total confusion in government with the "Brexit" minister David Davies admitting that no analysis has been made of a Brexit without a deal. He then went on to say that such an analysis would be impossible because of what might happen in the meantime. I don't think I've ever heard a government minister say anything quite so stupid as that before* and it does ask the question,"how can Theresa May claim that no deal is better than a bad deal if she has no idea what a no deal scenario would look like? Have they not considered carrying out a risk assessment? The treasury and the Office for Budget Responsibility have both issued dire warnings of a no-deal exit but it seems that neither Davis nor May have been given copies of those reports.

Alice in Wonderland - George Dunlop Leslie
Brighton & Hove Museums & Art Galleries
For those who were lucky enough to be read bedtime stories the title of this post will need no explanation. Lewis Carroll (the alias of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) wrote about the dream of a little girl who falls asleep on a riverbank, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. At one point in the story Alice cries a flood of tears that end up being a pool in which she is swimming.  BelperStuff follows a long line of political commentators who have drawn parallels between Lewis Carroll's masterpiece and the doings of the great and famous but the similarities with the illogicality of the current political scene are striking. The author of this article: Hammond is not telling us what he should be - article in the Independent highlights the absurdity of the government's position. These people are all over the place, floundering in a pool of tears that is all of their own making. The U in UK is at risk as the Scots think about a further independance vote; the border between Northern Ireland and Eire is once again uncertain which threatens the hard won peace in that region (already the political complexion of Stormont has shifted to republicanism); we have no idea what will happen to British jobs or financial institutions and non-UK EU citizens in this country or British nationals living in the EU are considered to be bargaining chips. The two basic pillars of any society are the sustainability of it's economy and the rights and freedoms of it's people. We were assured at successive elections that the country was best off with a Tory government but just look at what we have ended up with!!!!!

But what if this is but a dream?

There is that one feint hope, that I might after all be dreaming all this.That in 2015 the country voted for a Miliband led government that did not hold an EU referendum, that carried out it's pledge to create a million jobs in sustainable, environmentally friendly energy and much more. Their manifesto wasn't perfect but I think that the Tory claim that the SNP would pull the strings of a coalition Labour government would have been so much better (if true) than a Tory party that has completely caved in to the deadly combination of a  eurosceptic far right wing in cahoots with the populism of UKIP. By voting Labour we would have avoided all that and no tears would have been shed ............. well not enough to create a pool anyway ........ at worst a puddle.

I have though to admit that this nightmare is a reality and I am afraid that our government will not wake up until it is too late. When they do finally pull themselves out of the pool of tears all that they will have achieved is to confirm that stupidity means stupidity.

The pool of tears. An original illustration by Tenniel


* I have not heard a government minister say anything as stupid as that ............. since ODS (Ian Duncan Smith) said, "I know what I know".
They can't walk away without a deal. An enormous number of things rely on certification of some sort or other. That the food is safe, that the planes are safe, that we can safely buy extra electricity from France. These are administered by EU bodies, some of them based here in the UK, we are good at standards. Already they are looking to relocate and a bidding war by European cities to host them has broken out. 

If the UK leaves without a deal, walks away without agreement then the food exports will cease, the planes, trains, ships and automobiles will stop moving. Exporters of all sorts will be unable to certify the electrical or mechanical safety of their goods. 

Drugs manufactured here will lose their certification and production will be switched elsewhere plunging thousands into unemployment. That is just one industry. The vehicle makers and exporters will be unable to sell their production and again production will be moved. 

The EU standards have been accepted by the rest of the world. To replace them the UK would have to establish de novo standards agencies in multiple and persuade every other country in the world, though the big trading blocs, EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, CIS, CER, AU will reduce the absolute numbers but complicate the negotiations. It could take 10 to 20 years to complete that process. If we started now it would signal to the EU that we intend to walk away and dam the talks before they start. The process cannot be hidden. 

When the Brexit ministers pretend to you that they can walk away and all will be fine they are either lying or pretending out of desperate bravado.

They can't walk away without a deal. An enormous number of things rely on certification of some sort or other. That the food is safe, that the planes are safe, that we can safely buy extra electricity from France. These are administered by EU bodies, some of them based here in the UK, we are good at standards. Already they are looking to relocate and a bidding war by European cities to host them has broken out. 

If the UK leaves without a deal, walks away without agreement then the food exports will cease, the planes, trains, ships and automobiles will stop moving. Exporters of all sorts will be unable to certify the electrical or mechanical safety of their goods. 

Drugs manufactured here will lose their certification and production will be switched elsewhere plunging thousands into unemployment. That is just one industry. The vehicle makers and exporters will be unable to sell their production and again production will be moved. 

The EU standards have been accepted by the rest of the world. To replace them the UK would have to establish de novo standards agencies in multiple and persuade every other country in the world, though the big trading blocs, EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, CIS, CER, AU will reduce the absolute numbers but complicate the negotiations. It could take 10 to 20 years to complete that process. If we started now it would signal to the EU that we intend to walk away and dam the talks before they start. The process cannot be hidden. 

When the Brexit ministers pretend to you that they can walk away and all will be fine they are either lying or pretending out of desperate bravado.

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