Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Red Box II

Curiouser and Curiouser. You wait years to feature in Red Box, only to feature twice in a week in early February. Then, lo and behold, you feature twice in a week again in late February. I am beginning to think this must be an easy gig since Times readers are overwhelmingly remainers, just like their columnists, and some balance is required. Can anybody point me towards a publisher of short stories in similar urgent need of my contributions?
Anyhow, on Monday Matt Chorley’s Red Box email published answers to ‘What song do you think best represents the current political landscape?” I got a name check, though not a quote, for the second of my suggestions:
The half-baked understanding of issues and fractious behaviour of MPs could (with a slight movement of the apostrophe) be represented by Frankie Laine's song "The Kids' Last Fight". However, the remarkably desperate efforts to restrict a second referendum's options to Remain or May's Deal (Remain in All But Name) does rather suggest Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart".
Then today’s question was ‘What is the point of a second referendum?’ My quotation was a perhaps slightly misleading first two sentences of:
The objective of a second Leave / Remain referendum would be to invalidate the first one before it's been implemented so no-one can prove Leave works. Unfortunately, Leave would win again. To remove any possibility of democracy it will, therefore, be Remain versus May's Deal (otherwise known as Remain Mk II). Even Remainers can't lose a Remain versus Remain referendum. Can they?

Friday, 8 February 2019

Red Box

Those who have noted my Blog items and Quora answers on and around the subject of Brexit may not be surprised to find that I subscribe to Times reporter Matt Chorley’s daily ‘Red Box’ email from the political coal face.
Matt includes a daily ‘Have Your Say’ section, in which he invites readers to email him about a chosen topic. To my considerable surprise, this week he quoted my responses on consecutive days.
The first topic derived from a poll of Times readers which found David Cameron attracted most blame for the Brexit mess. In reply to the question ‘What would you say to David Cameron if you bumped into him?’ I apparently sent in the only email supportive of our Former PM. It was, of course, too long, so just the first two sentences merited quoting. Here’s the full version:
David, you should ignore the Remainers who keep blaming you for Brexit. The fact is, you were the first PM in 40 years with the guts to ask whether The UK was happy to stay on the road to European Federalism. According to most of the political elite, it didn't matter whether the people agreed with this destination, just so long as no-one ever asked them. You may not have expected the result, but you had the grace to accept it. That's actually called democracy. It's just a pity you didn't stay on to see it through. Like you, your successor doesn't agree with Brexit. Unlike you, she doesn't understand it either.”
The second question, stemming from Donald Tusk’s colourful simile, was ‘Which Brexiteer would you consign to a special place in Hell, and why?’ Having learned my lesson the previous day, I kept this short.
Since Remainers are 'holier than thou' and therefore expect to be consigned to Heaven, there are no Remainers in Hell. In which case Hell can't really be all that bad.”

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Will life be better after Brexit?

Lunch in Strasbourg
The decision to leave the EU was taken long ago, yet the sort of questions which were asked back then are still being repeated. The answer is the same. Those who didn’t accept it back then won’t accept it now, because no significant new evidence is available. If they want proof and won’t do anything until they get proof, then sadly they will be part of the problem, not the solution.

Having more control over our national life, because important tools are back in our own hands, does not necessarily make things economically better. It depends upon us. Life after Brexit is going to be more what we make of it and less what we rely on others to make of it for us. It will require all our best efforts.

How many great discoveries were made by people who might have enjoyed a perfectly comfortable life without rocking the boat but wanted better? By contrast, how many achievements fell to grumblers who sat back and waited for those embarking on a new path to fail, so they could scoff and say ‘I told you so’?

I hope I’m wrong, but I get the feeling some people would rather see their country fail than admit the possibility that it could be made a success outside the EU.

A world economy growing faster than the EU is out there, but we have to get out and compete in it. Prosperity won’t be handed to us on a plate. Like most worthwhile investments it will require hard work, risk-taking and short term sacrifice. If a substantial proportion of us sit back and wait for others to prove they can deliver, we shall inevitably neglect a substantial proportion of the new opportunities we might have taken.

The proverbial Five (or Six) Ps work backwards as well as forwards; not only Yea-sayers but Nay-sayers influence the future.