01 October 2019

Leg spin

For once, Boris is keeping his hands on his own thighs ...

Boris Johnson, flanked by Miriam Cates and Priti Patel, was in the audience for Sajid Javid’s speech at the Conservative conference yesterday

31 July 2019

Pots and kettles

Mr Unreliable [?] from his glass house, throws stones at Mr Untrustworthy.  The Times reports:
Nigel Farage launched an outspoken attack on Boris Johnson’s Brexit chief at No 10 yesterday, accusing him of being untrustworthy.
The Brexit Party leader said that Dominic Cummings, a former head of Vote Leave who is now arguably the most important Downing Street official, was not a “true believer” in Brexit and suggested that he secretly wanted Britain “bound to the EU”.
Mr Farage told the prime minister that he could not enter into an electoral pact with the Conservatives while Mr Cummings was masterminding the government’s no-deal Brexit strategy.

“He thinks we’re all cretins and members of the lower order,” Mr Farage said. “He has never liked me. He can’t stand the ERG [European Research Group of Brexiteer MPs]. I can’t see him coming to any accommodation with anyone. He has huge personal enmity with the true believers in Brexit.”
"When thieves fall out, honest men come by their own."


30 July 2019

Regarding the bottom

The advent of Boris has placed Scottish Tories up a certain creek without a paddle.  The Times explains:
Once upon a time — though not all that long ago, in fact — the Scottish Conservatives launched what was ungallantly dubbed “Operation Arse”; they would do whatever it took to sink Mr Johnson’s chances of becoming prime minister. And for good reason, for they could see the trouble that he would cause them.
He is a politician who believes in little other than his own ambition fuelled by his own estimation of his charm. Proven reserves of one of these commodities are rather greater than of the other.
In Scotland, then, it is not so much that Mr Johnson is considered an arse but that he is a very particular type of backside. Minds were made up about him long ago and I doubt that many will be changed by this or any other charm offensive. He is some distance from being one of us.
And when the general election comes along, the Scottish Tory MPs face wipeout ...

29 July 2019

Thugs or snowflakes?

Compare and contrast these Times reports

More than 17,500 boys aged 14 have carried or used a knife or other weapon, according to research for the Home Office.
A judge who jailed two boys after the death of another 17-year-old boy has condemned a “warped culture” in which possessing a knife is seen as “cool and aesthetically pleasing”.
A report looking at people born in 2000 and 2001 said that about a third of those who said they had carried a knife had also been attacked.
Patrick Green, chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust which campaigns against knife crime, said: “This report signals that unless we act quickly we risk losing a generation to knife crime. Our focus must shift to prevention and more support for children.”
 And here:
As police forces prepare for the government’s ambitious recruitment drive, they have identified a formidable new challenge: hiring millennials.
The Home Office has been told that rookies have been “wrapped in cotton wool”, are routinely shocked that police are expected to work nights and weekends and “do not like confrontation”.
Police officers and staff told the Front Line Review that such expectations “may be a generational phenomenon related to people who have recently reached adulthood — a ‘millennial thing’ — and not unique to policing”.
The report added: “Participants gave examples of recruitment interviews where candidates had stated they do not like confrontation or were shocked by the need to work different shift patterns and possibilities of cancelled rest days.” One senior officer said that many recruits had “no idea what they’re coming into; they’ve lived in a society where they are wrapped up in cotton wool an awful lot . . . their mental health or their ability to cope with certain situations is just not evident from day one”.

24 July 2019

Boris pantomime

The Guardian reports -
In his acceptance speech, Johnson said his task “at this pivotal moment in our history” would be to “reconcile two noble sets of instincts – between the deep desire for friendship and free trade and mutual support and security and defence between Britain and our European partners; and the simultaneous desire, equally heartfelt, for democratic self-government in this country.”
His attempt to strike a moderate tone was dealt a blow by Donald Trump, however, as the US president labelled the former mayor of London, “Britain Trump”. “He’s tough and he’s smart …They’re calling him Britain Trump. And people are saying that’s a good thing. They like me over there,” he said.
All together now, Oh No We Don't! 


20 July 2019

Quote of the day

From The Guardian - here
Fire up the campaign montage, then, and let’s have a look at Boris Johnson’s best bits. Over the past four weeks alone – three-and-three-quarters of which he was kept in a padded black site by his carers in case he accidentally said piccaninnies or bumboys or fucked the help or something – Johnson has: failed to defend the UK’s most senior ambassador against an absurd attack by the US president, to a degree that contributed to that diplomat’s decision to resign; had the police called to a late-night screaming argument at his girlfriend’s flat; been exposed as incapable of understanding basic elements of his own supposed trade plans; claimed like the maddest of all mad bastards to have some wine-crate-based model-bus-building hobby; lied unnecessarily and repeatedly about everything from the total inviability of his flagship policy to how long he’d owned a bike before it was stolen; refused 26 – twenty-six – times in a row to even say when a faux paparazzi picture of him and his girlfriend was staged and taken; declined to say how many kids he has; shamelessly suggested he might prorogue parliament, taking him one step closer to his childhood ambition of being some sort of nightmare king; waved a kipper around to illustrate a claim that 30 seconds of Googling would have revealed as more complete bollocks, as has been his stock in trade for more than 30 years; and more. Much more, though for space reasons I have to draw a line here.

09 July 2019


The Times analyses the Boris Brexit strategy:
Mr Johnson says he possesses not just “an understanding of government” but also “a very clear picture of how to get it done”. This amounts to preparing for a no-deal Brexit while saying you don’t want a no-deal Brexit. It is akin to arguing that, gosh, shooting myself in the foot is a bad idea but even so it is very important to keep the option of shooting myself in the foot on the table. This being so, the best way of not shooting myself in the foot is to prepare to shoot myself in the foot. Both feet, if it comes to that.
As strategies go, this one certainly goes. There is a whiff of Blackadder about it, however, and it seems a cunning plan in the Baldrickian sense. Moreover, it also rests upon the assumption that other EU leaders have no awareness of what is said and written in Britain. Newsflash: they can hear us and many of them can read us too.
It will end in tears ...


03 July 2019

Geriatric triumph?

The EU appears to be in the hands of the wrinklies.

Christine Lagarde 63
Ursula von der Leyen 60
Josep Borrell 72

Are they fit enough for all those late nights of Brussels haggling?

Although the putative President of the Council, Charles Michel, is a mere stripling at 43.

It remains to be seen if the Parliament will agree to these appointments.


28 June 2019

An exercise in futility

The Indepemdent reports -
There’s been another round of Tory leadership hustings. Boris Johnson’s position on Brexit is still meaningless garbage. He still wants to “disaggregate bits of the withdrawal agreement”. He still wants to deal with the Irish border question “during the implementation period”, all the while continuing to have “frictionless trade” with the European Union.
It’s still the case the European Union say they will not countenance this. It is still the case that there is no implementation period unless an agreement is signed. It is still the case that his own deputy prime minister, David Lidington, has had to put out a statement saying exactly this – that the almost certain next prime minister’s plan for Brexit is a complete non-starter.
It’s still the case that the trade secretary Liam Fox, ardent eurosceptic of several decades standing, has also had to write an article saying Boris Johnson’s Brexit position is legally impossible.
But still Boris Johnson continues to say it, and so we must continue to say it is garbage, though it makes no difference to anyone. 


26 June 2019

Boris is a fantasist ...

... promising the impossible.  The Guardian reports
Johnson first doubled down on his commitment to leaving on 31 October in an interview with Talkradio, saying he was in no way reneging on his firm pledge.
“We are getting ready to come out on 31 October. Come what may,” he said. Asked to confirm this, he added: “Do or die. Come what may.”
He then said he would scrap Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement and seek a completely new deal before then, as minor changes would not satisfy him.
“I mean more than a change,” he said. “It’s got to be, we need a new withdrawal agreement – if we’re going to go out on the basis of a withdrawal agreement.”
Not only has the EU said it will not reopen the withdrawal agreement, but the timetable would be extremely tight as parliament is in recess over the summer and then sitting for about 10 days before party conference season begins. MPs return midway through October, just a few weeks before the deadline.
Furthermore, Boris will not become PM before the end of July.  Brussels closes down for the whole of August and there will be nobody to negotiate with.  In addition, the EU Council, Parliament and Commission will be paralysed until they have sorted out who will be the new president of each of those bodies, a process which they will do well to have completed by November.

PS  Incidentally, the phrase "do or die" harks back to Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade -
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
And we know how that turned out ...

01 June 2019

Oh yeah?

Image result for trump images

 A fine example of wishful thinking.  The Times reports
Donald Trump has rejected claims he is unpopular in the UK, saying he believes he is “loved” by the British people as he prepares to start a three-day visit....“I don’t imagine any US president was ever closer to your great land,” he said. “Now I think I am really — I hope — I am really loved in the UK. I certainly love the UK.”
Silly man.


24 May 2019

Quote of the day

President Trump ...
"I'm an extremely stable genius. OK?”
... perhaps not so accomplished when it comes to modesty.

22 May 2019

Some journalists have a twisted mind

The Times reports:
Paddy Power’s never done political correctness. So no big shock to see the bookie price up the next politician to get “milkshaked”. It has Nigel Farage 2-1 favourite to make it a double, followed at 3-1 by Tommy Robinson — now on a hat-trick after two strawberry affairs earlier this month. Boris looks a rather generous 10-1.
And maybe this sort of thing shouldn’t really be encouraged. But it is only milkshake.
And doesn’t the bookie risk something similar to the Sutton United FC pie-eating coup? Mr Farage could always stage manage another milk attack — after placing a big bet with Arron Banks’ money.


15 May 2019

The Minister with four ovens

The communities secretary’s multiple ovens prompted an angry reaction

James Brokenshire, communities secretary, displays his kitchen (and wife), presumably as part of a leadership bid.

But who needs four ovens?


13 May 2019

Quote of the day

From The Guardian (here):
There is something truly grotesque about the unrestrained political beauty contest into which May’s most senior colleagues have now flung themselves. Fashion shoots, posed photographs with spouses, “My vision for Britain” articles: you would never think that the UK had been granted a second extension by the EU, or that May’s withdrawal agreement had failed three times, or that the cross-party talks must deliver soon or collapse.
Extraordinarily, most Tories see no contradiction or impropriety in this. So great is their faith in the power of leadership that they do believe that, say, Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab could do a better job in Brussels than May, and – by sheer force of charisma and personality – whip the EU into line.
This is the deep, collective delusion of a tribe that depends unhealthily upon the magical powers of its chieftain. It is no way to run a party, let alone a country.


02 May 2019


Red Box reports comments on the sacking of Private Pike aka the Defence Secretary:

One cabinet minister said within minutes of the news breaking: "It didn't take Miss Marple did it?"
Another cabinet minister said: "Who would have thought it was him? Apart from everyone who knows him."
"He has form for this," said a third. "He has made a complete prat of himself."

01 May 2019

Go figure

The Guardian reports:
Sainsbury’s results, released this morning, show that the company burned through £46m in costs on the Asda deal before competition regulators torpedoed it last week.
Like-for-like sales fell 0.2% last year, while profits shrank from £309 to £219m.
Perversely, Sainsbury's share price has risen by over 4.5% this morning.

I will never understand the stock market ...


25 April 2019

Weird story of the day

From The Guardian (here):
A parrot has been taken into custody in northern Brazil following a police raid targeting crack dealers.
According to reports in the Brazilian press, the bird had been taught to alert criminals to police operations in Vila Irmã Dulce, a low-income community in the sun-scorched capital of Piauí state, by shouting: “Mum, the police!”
The parrot, who has not been named, was seized on Monday afternoon when officers swooped on a drug den run by a local couple.
“He must have been trained for this,” one officer involved in the operation said of the two-winged wrongdoer. “As soon as the police got close he started shouting.”
A Brazilian journalist who came face to face with the imprisoned parrot on Tuesday described it as a “super obedient” creature – albeit one that had kept its beak firmly shut after being “arrested”.


09 April 2019

Making omelettes

Image result for eggs

The Guardian gets righteous over wasted eggs:
Britons are throwing away 720m eggs every year – three times more than in 2008 and at a cost of £139m – according to research.
The scale of waste has been blamed on overcautious consumers relying on best-before dates to decide if eggs are fresh enough to eat, and the growing popularity of vegetarian and “flexitarian” diets has boosted overall sales.
Last year sales of eggs in the UK were 7.2bn – a 4% rise on the previous year – according to recent figures from the British Egg Industry Council.
720 million eggs sounds a lot.  But actually it is less than 12 eggs per head of population.  For every person in the UK to chuck away 12 eggs in a year does not seem so bad.

Furthermore, if the total eggs sold in Britain number 7.2 billion, then the level of wastage is a mere 1%.


04 April 2019

The flicks

How often, do you suppose, does she actually attend a regular cinema?  The Guardian reports:
Helen Mirren has launched a broadside against Netflix at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Speaking at a Warner Bros presentation of her new film, The Good Liar, she said: “I love Netflix, but fuck Netflix.”
Mirren continued: “There is nothing like sitting in the cinema.” The convention, at which studios air sneak peeks of forthcoming films, has previously been sceptical about streaming services.
"Nothing like sitting in the cinema"?  Plagued by the sounds and smells of those guzzling popcorn, while irritated by the noise of mobile phones. While those of us who are slightly deaf rue the absence of subtitles.  Having to attend at a pre-set hour.  And all at a cost which vastly exceeds a monthly subscription to Netflix.  Yeah, there's nothing like sitting in a cinema ...


30 March 2019

The Brexit Day that never was

Quote of the day from The Guardian (here):
This was the day when Big Ben was supposed to ring at 11pm to mark the UK’s departure from the EU. When the Red (white and blue) Arrows did a fly past. When new 50p coins were worth 40p. Instead, we were back in a looking-glass world where everyone knew less than they did before. It can’t be long before no one knows anything. Back to the future.
Everything was up for grabs in Schrödinger’s Brexit: when we were leaving, if we were leaving and how we were leaving; who would be the prime minister, and if there would be a general election. Anything and everything was still possible. Parliament had said something but no one could interpret the language it was speaking. A delegation of ministers was going to No 10 to speak to Lino, but there was no guarantee she would be there. She is lost even unto herself.
There was just one certainty. By voting with the government, Boris Johnson had traded his principles for his career. But then we had always known he would. Johnson’s untrustworthiness is the only solid thing the country has left to hang on to. A Newtonian rock in a Quantum Brexit. We really are that far up shit creek.


28 March 2019

Shades of the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Monroe Doctrine was adopted by the US in the early 19th century to discourage European powers from interventions in Latin America.  It appears to be thriving in the 21st century.  The Times reports:
President Trump has called on Russia to “get out” of Venezuela after it deployed troops and equipment in the crisis-torn country.
American officials said the Russian team that arrived in Caracas at the weekend included cybersecurity personnel and special forces. The 100 officers, one official said, came to Venezuela to prop up President Maduro’s embattled regime and secure investments.
Several tonnes of equipment were seen being unloaded from two Russian planes, an Antonov An-124 and an Ilyushin Il-62, at Caracas airport.
Worrying.  Especially as President Trump is no JFK ...


27 March 2019

Lies and consequences

This is what happens when you give credence to anti-MMR propaganda.  The Wall Street Journal reports:
A New York county has declared a state of emergency over one of the worst measles outbreaks in the state in decades, banning unvaccinated minors from public places to help curb the spread of the disease.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said Tuesday the ban—the first of its kind in the country—will go into effect at midnight.
The extreme measure comes as the county has recorded 153 confirmed measles cases in the past six months, mostly in children under 18, according to the county’s health department. The outbreak is concentrated in the orthodox Jewish communities in Rockland County, including the towns of New Square, Spring Valley and Monsey. Some in those communities oppose vaccinations for religious reasons.
This guy has a lot to answer for.

22 March 2019


From The Times (here):
The Luxembourg prime minister, the deliciously named Xavier Bettel, thinks Brexit is like waiting for Godot. So here’s my quote of the week. At one point in Samuel Beckett’s play, the two key characters look at each other. “I can’t go on like this,” says one. “That’s what you think,” replies the other. Beckett is our Brexit guide. Who knew?


The headlines say it all

The Telegraph

The Guardian Friday


20 March 2019

So much for "taking back control"

The Times reports:
Theresa May will ask the EU to delay Brexit today amid warnings from Brussels that the price of an extension could be a general election or second referendum.
Cabinet ministers are expecting the prime minister to ask for the Brexit deadline to be pushed back to June 30 with the option of requesting a longer delay left open.
Mrs May will then travel to Brussels tomorrow with little to offer the 27 other EU countries, all of which must agree to any postponement. By law Britain will leave the EU with or without a deal in nine days’ time.
She has made a horlicks of it.


19 March 2019

Round and round the garden ...

Speaker Bercow's latest intervention has caused a minor kerfuffle.  The Guardian reports:
This was a whole new level of Brexit clusterfuckery. The previous week’s chaos now merely looked like one of the more unfeasible Matrix plotlines. Just with no Keanu Reeves. A room full of chimps could make a better fist of things. Some MPs talked of proroguing parliament; others of a general election – with 11 days to go till 29 March. Hey, at least it’s still double figures.
For Lino [Leader In Name Only] it was just one more humiliation. Not only would she be going back to Brussels to ask for changes to the withdrawal agreement she wasn’t going to get. She would now be asking for an extension on a deal she was now unable and too scared to put to a vote. Not even the Four Pot Plants can help her now. But on the plus side, at least we’re giving the rest of the world a good laugh. The UK: not just a reality freak show, but also a feel good movie. We fail so they don’t have to. It’s a legacy of sorts for the government.


15 March 2019


The Times reports:
Theresa May will ask the European Union to delay Brexit until at least the end of June after narrowly seeing off an attempt by MPs to seize control of the talks.
The prime minister is set to make a third attempt to win Commons backing for her deal on Tuesday. Even if she is successful Mrs May must now ask Brussels for extra time to complete the necessary legislation.
Acording to Albert Einstein (allegedly), the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. And if the prime minister wants to keep banging her head against a brick wall, it merely confirms the diagnosis.



06 March 2019


Image result for fish fingers

Everything will be all right.  Well maybe.  Bloomberg reports:
Forget about continental specialties like foie gras or Wienerschnitzel, or the Champagne toasts. Yet even if the U.K. leaves the European Union without a deal, there’ll be plenty of that British staple, fish sticks, on the menu.
Nomad Foods Ltd., which sells frozen fish and vegetables under the Bird’s Eye brand and other labels, said it’s building stocks of fish sticks -- known in Britain as fish fingers and often served for school lunch with peas and carrots -- to eight weeks from five weeks to prepare for a chaotic Brexit.
“It’s millions, millions of fish fingers, as you can imagine,” Nomad CEO Stefan Descheemaeker said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
I think I'm more concerned about the likely absence of foie gras ...


27 February 2019

Like ferrets in a sack

The Times reports:
In one of the most rancorous cabinet meetings of recent times Mrs May yesterday reluctantly and in a “testy” manner presented ministers with her plans to offer MPs the chance to vote on March 14 to delay Brexit day, according to a source. She suggested “several times” that she did not see the need for a delay, as she had done the previous day in public, even as she set out her plans to allow MPs to vote for one.
“She did not seem to like her own plan and appeared sympathetic to those of us who suggested it was a bad idea,” said one cabinet member. Michael Gove, the Brexiteer environment secretary, asked whether the vote to delay Brexit day from March 29 would be a whipped vote but she did not give a conclusive answer.
Liz Truss rounded on “kamikaze” colleagues who she claimed had undermined the prime minister’s Brexit negotiations, in often heated exchanges. She and Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, were the two most vociferous critics of the trio.
Ms Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, took on leading cabinet Remainers, including her boss Philip Hammond, in a two-and-a-half hour cabinet meeting which confirmed the bitter divisions at the top of government that are continuing to impede progress on Brexit. “Andrea was visibly quite upset at what happened,” said one. The Commons leader had suggested that the cabinet was losing credibility with the back benches and damaging the credibility of the party.
Once upon a time, the cabinet was expected to exhibit collective responsibility.  Like so much else, such a quaint notion seems to have evaporated in the Brexit mists.


18 January 2019

Headline of the day

From Le Monde (here):
Brexit : les Britanniques bientôt en manque de papier toilette ?

Yeah, it means what you think it does ...