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 ...



97 years old but still allowed to drive on public roads?  A danger to himself and others.
The Duke of Edinburgh has escaped unhurt after the car he was driving was involved in an accident close to the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.


Tit for tat

Like children in the school playground (here):
US President Donald Trump has postponed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's upcoming trip to Brussels and Afghanistan, asking her to stay to negotiate an end to the partial US government shutdown.
The president was able to halt the trip by denying the use of military aircraft to Mrs Pelosi and a delegation.
On Wednesday Mrs Pelosi had urged Mr Trump to postpone his State of the Union address, amid political deadlock.
 And the pettiness is not confined to the USA (here):
Such is the anger with the Speaker at senior levels of government, it has been suggested he could be blocked from getting a peerage when he retires.
Ministers are furious at what they see as John Bercow's "bias" during Commons debates on Brexit.
The move would break a tradition dating back 230 years, that former Commons speakers are automatically offered a seat in the House of Lords.
You might think that they had more important issues to address.


17 January 2019

Flogging a dead horse

Kuenssberg of the BBC casts some doubt on the Prime Minister's motivations anent Brexit:
Meetings, on their own, are not a Plan B. Conversations, are not by themselves, compromises.
Before she decides which way to tack, or how far to budge, she may need to ask herself if the talks she wants to hold with other political parties are occasions when she is really open to ideas - or just ways of managing the political situation.
Does Mrs May have the imagination (or the inclination) to step beyond her red lines?  Or is she thirled to the deal she has reached with the EU, perhaps with a minor modification or two?  Even though that would never command the support of parliament.

Can you see a way forward from the "conversations" with senior parliamentarians? 

No, me neither.


09 January 2019

Failing Grayling

Image result for chris grayling picture

Odd that the parliamentary sketch-writers focus on the Transport Secretary's physical tics (as well as his manifest incompetence):

The Times:
Mr Grayling’s left cheek started to twitch, as it did during the Northern Rail timetabling fiasco.
The Guardian:
Grayling’s only outward sign of sentience is a twitch in his left cheek, and this nervous tic was in evidence well before he was called upon to answer an urgent question about his decision to award a £13.8m contract to a ferry company with no ferries. The cheek is Grayling’s last remaining centre of intelligent life: when it wobbles, it’s a sure sign he’s in danger. Even though he isn’t aware of it himself.
The Independent:
The tell for when not just the world but Grayling himself knows Grayling has cocked up is an occasional twitch in his right eye, as if the lower eyelid is determined to scratch an itch in the upper one.
And as Labour’s Andy McDonald filleted, seasoned and served up the full horrors of the Seaborne Freight contract with a spectacular precision that can only be described as Salt Bae-esque, the transport secretary’s right eye socket danced like a dying fly on a halogen hob.
Steering inexorably towards a disastrous no-deal Brexit is not the best time, perhaps, to have an utter incompetent as transport secretary.  Nevertheless, no need to focus on the man's physical disability ...


05 January 2019

When the cat's away, the mice will play

From The Guardian (here):
The prime minister may have been regretting her decision to give parliament two weeks off for Christmas at a time of constitutional and political crisis. If only because it’s given so many members of her cabinet the chance to prove not just how hopeless they really are but also how anxious they are to replace her.
Sajid Javid cut short his South African safari to personally deal with the “national emergency” of a few dozen refugees getting washed up on Kent beaches by talking tough on immigration to any passing TV camera. Long after his leadership bid has bitten the dust, Sajid will be getting grief from his family for ruining their holiday. Good.
Not to be outdone, Gavin Williamson, the fireplace salesman also known as the defence secretary, used the break to announce he would establish new military outposts in the far east. Because the empire worked out so well last time. He then hastily diverted some warships to the Channel to crack down on rubber dinghies and was last heard of planning a pointless raid on Dieppe.
For the pièce de résistance, we had Chris Grayling – who else? – awarding a ferry company that had no boats and seemed to specialise in pizza deliveries a £13m contract on the grounds that it was British. The stupidity bar has never been lower.