With less than a week to go now Boris Johnson appears to be on course for victory in Britain’s first winter General Election for 90 years. He should win a working majority, but it’s not looking like a landslide. Boris has run a poor campaign, ducking TV interviews and giving several hostages to fortune. He was less than welcoming to your splendid President, who, as expected, was on his best behaviour during the NATO summit in London. (At any rate he was better behaved than Justin ‘von’ Trudeau.) The Brexit Party look set to win both Barnsley Central and Barnsley East.
The whole point of electing Boris Johnson as leader was that he was supposed to be a good campaigner. He still is, up to a point, but he’s hardly set the country alight. He still enjoys campaigning and is good at talking to the voters. The problem is that with a manifesto heavily trimmed by the Cabinet Office he hasn’t got that much to say. The Tories have been reduced to double counting and other sleights of hand in order to pretend to be offering something really significant. There isn’t much enthusiasm for Boris’s ‘oven-ready’ deal. Perhaps he should have called it a ‘pierce film lid and place in center of oven’ deal. If he’s not careful the DUP and the Brexit Party may yet microwave it.
It’s perfectly clear that the Cabinet Office have got some sort of hold over Boris. That seriously reduces his usefulness to his party. So far as the electorate is concerned it appears to be a choice between the lesser of two evils, which is good news from Boris’s point of view since his opponent is Jeremy Corbyn, who doesn’t even watch the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day. The Tory poll lead this weekend is hovering between 9 and 12%, fairly healthy with only six days to go till polling day.
The NATO Summit
This was a rather low-key affair, held in Watford of all places. President Trump was charm itself, as usual, and seems to have enjoyed his visit to Buckingham Palace. Some of his fellow leaders were less than graceful, frankly, and appeared to be suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, which may explain the scary look on TIPWNOI’s face this week.
The President is rather more popular in Britain than the MSM might have you suppose. Indeed he is rather more popular in America than they suppose, which is why they failed to predict his superb victory in 2016. He handled the media very well at his press conference.
Boris’s handlers were keen for him to put as much distance as possible between himself and the President, which looked rather odd. It looked a defensive move and was. It’s even odder when you think that Boris wants to negotiate a free trade deal with you guys and rightly so.
Labour of course are opposed and have been talking nonsense about drug prices. All a free trade deal would do is lower the prices of American drugs by removing tariffs.
There’s no chance of the NHS changing the way it contracts for drugs nor of the UK changing the patent period. The arguments on that go both ways, of course – the longer the patent period the more incentive a company has to develop new drugs. The UK’s record in drug innovation vis a vis the US has not been brilliant, frankly. I’m not paranoid about ‘Big Pharma’, indeed I’m not sure how having smaller drugs companies with fewer research facilities is going to help.
This Week’s Question Time
Regular readers already know this but for the benefit of my new readers (reader?) Question Time is a long-running current affairs program on BBC1 where an invited audience puts questions to a panel of five politicians and opinion formers who then refuse to answer them. This week a rather confused young man called ‘Josh’ wanted to know how Brexit would solve the country’s problems, including the NHS.
Along with most of the panel he was blissfully unaware that EU membership costs the country some £5 billion a week, most of it in indirect costs such as additional regulatory costs and labor displacement. The direct costs are tiny by comparison.
The NHS, as a very large employer, has been particularly badly hit by the EU’s absurd Working Time Directive, which costs it about £10 billion a year. Almost every hospital trust in Britain has had to engage huge numbers of agency staff, at vast expense, because doctors and nurses can’t work enough overtime. It would have made sense to exempt the NHS from the Directive, but of course Britain was a prime target. Our much-vaunted seat at the so-called ‘top table’ has never done us any good.
Another questioner wanted to know why there wasn’t a threshold in the 2016 referendum. A better question with respect might have been to ask why there was no referendum before we joined what was then the EEC. The only previous referendum on membership was held three years after we joined. (As in 2016 we voted to leave, but the count was rigged by the Cabinet Office.)
The questioner, a Remainer, said that fellow Remainers would abide by the result of a second referendum. That’s what they said the first time around! The problem, in America as well as Britain, as that nice man Nigel Farage pointed out to Andrew Neil on BBC this week, is the lack of losers’ consent. Ardent Remainers no more respect the result of the 2016 Referendum than Democrats respect the result of the 2016 election.
Another common theme of Remainers is that Brexit has left the country divided, as though we were united before. The facts are that this country has always been bitterly divided over membership. We weren’t consulted before we went in and were lied to repeatedly, before during and after the rigged ’75 referendum.
Prime Minister Harold Wilson, a German agent and fanatical Remainer, told us that there would be no loss of essential national sovereignty. Lord Diplock, a Law Lord and another fanatical Remainer, said in widely-reported remarks that British judges would respect the British constitution and uphold a post-72 statute contravening community law. His Lordship must have known full well that the European Court of Justice had already held that community law was supreme and that his fellow judges would cave in to EU pressure, as indeed they did. My former clients, the Metric Martyrs, were criminalised for doing what an Act of Parliament expressly authorised them to do, a constitutional nonsense.
Thresholds are desirable in referenda introducing constitutional innovations, such as breaking up the UK. In 2016 we simply voted to restore the status quo ante.
Speaking of lies the SNP’s leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, repeated the canard on the same program that the SNP want independence. They don’t. The Scotch Nats want to take Scotland back into the EU. They don’t want Scotland to be run from Edinburgh. They want her run from Brussels. They see Scotland as essentially a German client-state, consistent with the SNP’s origins as a front for the Abwehr.
Labour talk about in-work poverty, that is to say people with jobs being below the official poverty line. Sadly there are a lot of people in that position, but that’s mainly because wages have been driven down by mass immigration, particularly from the EU. In other words Labour plan to make the problem worse, not better.
Then an extraordinary thing happened. There was an intelligent answer from the panel! This is so unheard of on Question Time that I’m surprised that the moderator, Fiona Bruce, didn’t fall out of her chair. The intelligent panellist in question was none other than Richard Tice MEP, Chairman of the Brexit Party. He pointed out that Labour’s plan to raise more money from Corporation Tax by raising the rate was flawed and that receipts had actually gone up when the Tories reduced the rate.
Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s economics spokesperson, responded by saying that a group of people had persuaded themselves that this was a coincidence due to the banks returning to profitability. The problem is that this group was at an even greater disadvantage than Anneliese in understanding economics – they were economists. Anneliese of course would hardly have been made shadow economics spokesperson had she known anything about economics.
Mind you the Tory on the panel, James Cleverly, wasn’t much better. With a surname like his I wonder why his careers adviser at school came up with politics. As with Virginia Roberts surely a different career path could have been recommended.
There’s bound to be a post mortem at BBC HQ. It’s unlikely that the experiment of having an intelligent panellist on Question Time will be repeated.
The Ukraine Nonsense
This is proceeding along predictable, and party, lines, although some Democrats may be about to break ranks. The impeachment hearings have been a farce. The real issue is how Hunter Biden ended up on the board of Burisma, an issue which has got Joe Biden so worried that he’s taken to abusing elderly veterans.
Backed by a Democrat-supporting constitutional law academic TIPWNOI thinks that President Trump has behaved like a king. No, he’s behaved like a president. The US Constitution confers considerable executive powers on POTUS, including the conduct of foreign policy.
The Democrats and the State Department don’t like the result of the 2016 election, but tough. After defeat comes the occupation, in this case the occupation of the White House.
The idea that US national security would be adversely effected by pulling financial support from the Ukraine is nonsense. German national security might be affected, but not American. The Ukraine is an anti-Russian German client-state which used to be run by a bunch of clowns but is now run by only a single clown.
Left-leaning US academics appear to have a thing about kings. For the record the Kings and Queens of England have always been bound by the law. As the maxim goes, “the law makes the king”. Queen Elizabeth is the Fountain of Justice and embodies the law. It’s French kings who aren’t bound by the law, or rather make it up as they go along, rather like French presidents, in fact.
Three crackpot psychiatrists, if that’s not a tautology with respect, one with a close connection to the CIA, have opined this week that the President is mentally unstable. This is just Deep State nonsense. None of these quacks has even interviewed the President so far as I know.
Like myself the President is shy and retiring (!). He’s a fundamentally nice and decent man. What these quacks really meant to say is that he isn’t arrogant and they expect a president to be an arrogant son of a bitch, no names, no pack drill.
The quacks, who probably believe in global warming and may not be best placed to question the rationality of a president who has seen through the hoax, might have been better off asking to examine Adam Schiff. As the president hinted, in a humorous tweet, the House Intelligence Committee chairman may have some issues justifying professional intervention.
No doubt the quacks in question thought that President George W. Bush was being serious when he said that the problem with the French was that they have no word for ‘entrepreneur’. The guy had an MBA. OK, I know it was only from Harvard, but even so I’m sure that he was speaking with his tongue firmly in cheek.
The Fake Photo
I see that a woman has now popped up to say she saw HRH the Duke of York at Tramp nightclub that night. Oh really? Why wasn’t this claim not made before? I’m not buying. It’s a fake. There have been copies of the Mona Lisa more genuine.
This week’s movie review: The Mule (2018, dir. Clint Eastwood)
Given an airing on Sky this week in Britain The Mule is a charming movie, directed by Client Eastwood in his 88th year. Not only did he direct, he also played the lead, Earl Stone.
I love the DEA to bits, but so sympathetic is Clint Eastwood’s aged veteran, with a daughter who won’t speak to him, down on his luck, that you find yourself rooting for him. Based on a true story Stone is chosen as the ideal drugs mule – elderly, white, a safe and steady driver, and polite to law officers. He even plays Country and Western, at least I think it was C & W! (I’m afraid about the only times I have ever had C & W on the car radio have been on I-70 in Kansas, when there wasn’t much else.)
The critics didn’t like it but they didn’t get the point. It’s not an action movie. If you want Dirty Harry watch Dirty Harry. In many ways Eastwood is playing against type in this movie, showing his great versatility as an actor. OK, so there’s not a lot of character development in Dirty Harry but he didn’t write the script and anyway with a character like Inspector Callahan who wants development?
The Mule made my day. You can’t watch the first half without a broad smile, nor the half without shedding a tear. It’s a life-enhancing movie and a wonderful tribute to a great actor and fine director.
Michael Shrimpton was a barrister from his call to the Bar in London in 1983 until being disbarred in 2019 over a fraudulently obtained conviction. He is a specialist in National Security and Constitutional Law, Strategic Intelligence and Counter-terrorism. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Intelligence Studies at the American Military University.