I’m very pleased to share the news that on Thursday the 4th of May I was elected to be a district councillor for the two councillor ward of Sproughton and Pinewood, It was an uphill campaign very much overshadowed by national events. However, there were only twenty two votes between the leader and myself and despite the new requirements for voter identification we had a higher turnout. The E.A.D.T., published the photo below with the inference that my candidacy and election relied more on luck rather than hard work and general support. But perhaps they also recognise the XVIth Century saying which implies that the harder you work the luckier you get. Thank you to everyone who assisted, supported and generally gave me encouragement. I look forward to the next four years and hope that if I can be of personal assistance to anyone in my ward then they will not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07592 629 328. Thank you very much once again to everyone who voted.
I had always thought that it was Deng XiaoPing who said that it was too soon to tell whether the French Revolution had been successful. I’ve since been updated insofar as it was Chou EnLai talking to Richard Nixon in 1972 and the comment referred to the 1968 student demonstrations Nevertheless, it does illustrate that revolutions tend to have long tails. In modern times we can look at the 1917 Russian revolution and the Irish Civil War of 1922 as illustrative. Tim Stanley writing in the Daily Telegraph on 31st October under the banner headline that “the Brexit revolution has come to an end” argued that as with France in 1799, the elites are back in control, but Britain has still been changed for the better. “…why did the Tories elect Liz Truss even though it was obvious six weeks ago, now confirmed, that Rishi would be a far better PM? My theory is that we all subconsciously knew that Sunak spelled the end of the Brexit revolution. Not its reversal but, like Napoleon’s coup of 1799, the defeat of its radical spirit. Brexit conforms to the four stages of the French Revolution: crisis, contradiction, purification and reaction. In 1789, Louis XVI called an Estates General in his quest to raise cash; in 2016, David Cameron called a referendum to eliminate Euroscepticism. Both backfired. The Estates General demanded a constitutional monarchy and the Brits voted to leave the EU, so Louis fled to Varennes and Dave to his garden shed. Theresa May now tried to ride two visions of the new order – protectionist and paternalist vs free trade and liberal – and with Parliament fractured, and counter-revolutionaries conspiring, she was unable to get us out of the EU. This necessitated the election of Boris Johnson, the British Georges Danton, a literate rake, a champion of the people. His instincts were small state but, being a populist, was inclined to give the mob what it wanted – hence he marched us out of Europe but also rebranded Tory politics as faux-European. Conservatism became Gaullist: culturally conservative and littered with grands projets. I liked it, but Boris will be Boris and his regime collapsed in scandal. With the PM forced to retire (Danton took refuge in Acris, Big Dog at the Casa del Campo), we entered our Jacobin phase of ideological intensification. Yes, Liz Truss was our Maximilien Robespierre, and though her utopian vision was far more modest than critics made out, the very idea that we might guillotine the board of the Bank of England triggered a Thermidorian Reaction. The French decapitated Robespierre and installed a collective leadership till Napoleon took power. In Britain, some faceless men pulled off a coup to install Sunak in four days flat, which was impressive for a country where it can take six months to replace a boiler. Looking back on the 1790s, many Frenchmen asked what the point of their revolution had been. They killed a king and finished with an emperor. Yet feudalism was also eliminated, and the French now saw themselves as a nation, with a Left and a Right, both espousing liberties – the rights of the people – they each claimed to be more willing to protect. Here, Britain is out of the EU for good. The greatest testament to the permanence of Brexit is that even the Labour Party accepts it, and is patriotic and critical of free movement (have you noticed how often its MPs are on GB News?). At some point, a Labour government, or a Tory one, may well put us back in the Single Market, for if we are not willing to reform tax and trade on the lines Citizen Truss wanted, then we’ll wind up a stagnating economy trapped behind a tariff wall. And how else do we resolve Northern Ireland? But even if that came to pass, we have still dodged the bullet of European political integration, re-establishing Britain as an Atlantic-facing nation, global and yet parochial. Sunak, elected in just 2015, is a child of that revolution, even if he doesn’t entirely understand what the founding fathers wanted. I recall seeing him interviewed at the 2019 Tory conference where he was asked to name the best bit of Brexit. The correct answer is “freedom”. He gushed, “Free trade zones!” I preferred it when Boris reputedly said “F business”. I translated it from the unpardonable French to mean: “Something matters more than making money, and we will not be dictated to by the markets” – which is precisely what has now happened. Rishi will never blaspheme against business. His job is to sell austerity, hiking taxes on the middle class and cutting services for the poor, sugaring the pill by appointing Suella Braverman to the Home Office and Kemi Badenoch to equalities; culture war bribes to the Red Wall sans-culottes. I’ll be honest: I miss the hope-filled Sturm und Drang of early Brexit, of the sense of forces unleashed and institutions scaled. One could almost hear the glass shattering in Whitehall. But I have no right to impose an ideological vision on the country, especially when the chief issues now are feeding our people and keeping the lights on (I’m not Greta Thunberg), and I take comfort in what our revolution has achieved. It has given us greater sovereignty, an empowered parliament, municipal conservatism, controlled legal migration, levelling-up, a renaissance of journalism, books and independent TV. I believe our era will be regarded as a golden age of debate, when, after decades of consensus, real ideas were passionately interrogated and regular citizens elevated to the king and queen of politics. Like the French in 1799, we are a different society now: Labour stands for the King, the Tories kneel before the voters of Grimsby. Brexit has made Britain a better place.” But we still voted for Truss and ended up with Sunak. The Conservative Party activists are pondering their futures as members and candidates in next May’s local elections are asking how many Hail Mary’s do they need to win their seats. See https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/10/31/brexit-revolution-has-come-end/
Earlier this month the Conservative Home website showed Liz Truss leading Rishi Sunak by 32% polling 60% membership support versus 28% for Sunak. So, one must ask why hasn’t Sunak thrown in the towel and conceded that the gap (which has shown no sign of closing) is too big to allow him to achieve a majority of party voters. (Spoiler alert: I voted for Truss). The answer must be that Sunak has been saying the Hindu equivalent of Hail Marys hoping for a slip up by Truss. It seemed as though his prayers had been answered, when Truss was reported saying that as a country, we need to work better as our productivity has for a long time lagged behind that of our rivals. The usual suspects have derided these comments as attacks on the working man, but we do need to achieve greater productivity and stop resisting more effective ways of being more productive. The railwaymen’s strike is a good case in point where they wish to keep all ticket offices open, when it is no longer necessary to keep each office manned. Fortunately, the Truss supporters have rallied to her side. The Left wish to dictate our choices, often by removing them or by seeking to occupy a spurious higher ground. Earlier this year Liz Truss was criticised for lunching a U.S. Trade Representative at a private Mayfair club. The lunch for ten people cost £1,400, which all in all doesn’t seem too bad. If Labour was not afraid of Liz Truss, they would not try to denigrate her. Sunak should concede the battle and let the party get on with winning the next election. Meanwhile I voted for Liz some time ago.
Just when you think that lessons have been learned, you realise that very few people pay attention to history, whether it is recent history or not. Readers of this blog may recall that on May 3rd 2016 I posted a commentary on the then continuing saga of East House, which Suffolk County Council had handed back to Babergh who didn’t know what to do with it except to evict the tenants and leave it empty. The unfortunate history of East House is that whilst Babergh made up its mind, the market moved on and any rehabilitation/upgrading with a view to selling was rendered uneconomic. This week’s news is that Babergh District Council are to increase the debt threshold for Babergh Growth Ltd., from £3,7 million to £7m to facilitate cash flow. The company is responsible for the redevelopment of Babergh’s former offices in Corks Lane We can assume that the cash will be flowing all one way for some time to come as the cash holdings of the company were only £61,433 at 31st March 2021. The development is expected to realise 57 homes. Due to increased costs and impacts from Brexit, the war in Ukraine and inflation, the costs of the scheme have gone up by £680,000 over four years– which begs the question why is there an increase in borrowing powers of £3.3 million. And now comes the prize-winning comment from the Great Leader of the Rainbow Coalitioned Council (John Ward) “Ultimately the development is still expected to break even or even show a modest profit” Why are we undertaking a marginal project? You can almost hear echoes of “With a fair wind and a few sunny days, this time next year we could all be millionaires” It’s time to go back to basics. The economic outlook is not good and the project needs to be reworked to bring the projections back to a reality which will give comfort to the residents that their leaders know what they are doing.
Scratch a Green and discover what sort of melon they are. Are they red on the inside (closet Socialist) or yellow (closet Liberal). I’ve always had my doubts about Robert Lindsay, leader of the Greens on Babergh and a County Councillor in Suffolk. I was not too surprised when Lindsay announced that he would have reduced Council Taxes by increasing car parking charges specifically in Hadleigh and Sudbury. So far, as expected. On Monday (21st Feb) the Greens at the Babergh District Council Meeting went further. Cllr Lindsay expanded on the Green ambition that if all parking was taxed appropriately the monies raised and saved could go to subsiding bus services and providing grants and other support to those businesses adversely affected by the parking regime. So it’s in with more bureaucracy in the guise of serving the people with the additionality of opportunities for waste and corruption in money dispersal matters So, now we see their true colours. They are not interested in global warming as such but are keen on redistributive taxes. The car parks are to be a money maker. And what if that’s not enough? Will they advocate (like some councils) taxing parking spaces at work? Will they regard garages at home as facilitating car ownership and therefore taxable? At District level Robert represents Bildeston and its surrounding area. Bildeston is a large village with just over 1,000 inhabitants. It also has free, maintained parking in its village square. Is this square to be monetised? Is it to be exempt? Do the villagers know Cllr Lindsay’s ambitions? We should be told, but I don’t think we shall.
It’s never too late too late to nominate someone for a Darwin Award. Earlier this month the Sun reported that last May, Lee Williams, a hospital patient in University Hospital of Wales removed his oxygen mask and lit a cigarette. Thirty eight patients had to be evacuated during the ensuing explosion and fire. A doctor and two nurses were treated for smoke inhalation and shock. The explosion closed the hospital for two weeks. Damage was assessed at £50,000. Williams ended up in intensive care and almost died. Currently our man is enjoying the Queen’s hospitality having received a five year sentence, which hopefully will be long enough to protect the rest of us, whilst he appreciates the dangers and evils of smoking.
Saturday’s Telegraph (5th September) reported that a hair salon owner in Stroud, Gloucestershire, was asked to remove an advert for a “happy” stylist because the word happy “discriminated against people who aren’t happy”.
The Department for Work and Pensions has since apologised, calling it a mistake. The Telegraph further noted that one could follow woke logic to its ultimate conclusion and ban the advert for discriminating against those who can’t cut hair, or against anyone who doesn’t want a job. So long and broad is the list of “problematic” words that adverts in the future might have to be just a picture of something associated with the position, such as a pair of scissors and a large question mark. We voted to leave the EU because we thought it discriminated against common sense and whilst you might think that common sense is not so common after all, every now and then someone steps in and corrects the idiocies that abound in local government. Three cheers for the DWP!
Earlier this year, Leo Varadkar (Taoiseach of Eire) was reported to have said: “I don’t think the UK has yet come to terms with the fact it’s now a small country. I think the reality of the situation is that the European Union is a union of 27 member states. The UK is only one country”. The EU’s attitude towards Britain has not been lost on other trading nations throughout the world. One of the side effects of the Covid-19 lockdowns is that restaurants and fast food outlets are not selling as many french fries as previously. Consequently, there is a mountain of 2.6 million tons of frozen EU chips looking for export markets. The population of New Zealand is less than 10% of the U.K.’s and their farmers are apprehensive that there will be a chip tsunami heading their way. Potato NZ have discussed possible responses with the NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) should there be a flood of EU chips on the NZ market. In a typical bureaucrat fashion, the Government have responded that they are keeping an eye on the situation and that under WTO rules there needed to be evidence of actual harm or a risk of harm to the industry before an anti-dumping action could be taken. When I first read of Potato NZ’s action, I thought it was a case of crying before you are hurt. But it is. NZ’s potato growers supply approximately 85% of their domestic market, a large proportion of which is consumed in the hospitality business. They are quite rightly fearful that EU producers will roll over them like invading tanks. Meanwhile NZ and the EU are negotiating a free trade agreement. If NZ is to have open borders for EU goods, then the potato growers of N.Z. are not the only ones who should be feeling fearful.
We have returned to England and are in the throes of buying a house. Meanwhile between moving the buying process along and setting up paint samples – alas we have three different kinds of white and I cannot tell the difference – every day seems to bring a different moan or calamity warning about Brexit. But every now and then there is a glimmer of unintended humour to brighten up the day.
One such shaft of brilliance was a letter in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph which could unkindly be sub-headlined “the view from the manse”. Supporting the proposal to buy Greenland the writer gives no thought to the outcomes for the present inhabitants – only to characterize them as requiring (permanent) subsidies and being alcohol addicted.
What these people need is “American investment and can do spirit (which) would enable it to do what Denmark had failed to do: … up and running”.
It’s a bit like the kettle calling the pot black. One day the Scots will live the life they long for: devoid of subsidy and alcohol, and they will not like it!
If you need a break from Trump, Brexit, Boris, Hunt, Iran and so on I cannot recommend more highly the Israeli police series Hashoter Hatov (Good Cop) It’s available on Netflix and ticks all the boxes:
It’s cross cultural.
It’s intellectual (foreign language with subtitles), but occasionally risqué.
It’s family centered from the police station to the actual families.
It’s only 30 minutes for each episode so you can binge-watch without guilt.
The humour and situations range from the real to the bizarre into the surreal but always credible.
Finally, it let’s you laugh at other people’s problems without excessive schadenfreude.