The Week: Britain’s Inevitable Nosedive Into The Abyss
TruePublica Editor: I wish this was an opinion piece. Sadly, it is not. Utterly dreadful news about the governments handling and overall management of the United Kingdom seems to be an acceptable par for the course these days. Put the kettle on to calm the nerves and some other scandal has come and gone. There was a time not so long ago when Theresa May, her band of rather dim chancers and a largely corrupt mainstream media were banging on about ‘strong and stable.’ Remember that? It was June 2017. Barely two years later, Britain is in a political and economic nosedive where strength and stability have been replaced with political incompetence and intransigence.
Take, for instance, the Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley. She actually managed to blurt out that killings by soldiers during the Troubles were “not crimes”. This is in the same week where suspected terrorist activity from dissident Republican groups have suddenly emerged. Inflaming tensions is at best stupid but only goes to show just how out of depth this minister is.
We should not forget that Theresa May’s government is propped up by a gang of thugs in the guise of the DUP in Northern Ireland, so you would think that May would at least pick someone with some functioning grey matter. National security is now quite demonstrably at threat and we should also not forget that Northern Ireland is at the very centre of what the Tories euphemistically like to call ‘negotiations’ with the EU27.
Get Briefed, Get Weekly Intelligence Reports - Essential Weekend Reading - Safe Subscribe
Then there was previously sacked but reinstated Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd. She was forced to apologise for calling Labour’s Diane Abbott “coloured” in some sort of 1970s sitcom-since-banned gaff. Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom was up next for the competition for most stupid and insensitive public comments. She managed to work out that Islamophobia should be addressed to the Foreign Office. You couldn’t make it up if you tried. A million or so ‘WTF’ comments ensued from normal people unconnected to these public figures because they could see the rank ignorance spewing out from those who should know better. Then there’s Liam Fox – another one previously sacked, but this time for breaching national security in a former life as the idiot in chief of our armed forces. He decided in some sort Graylingesque attempt to convince people he knows what he’s doing with trade deals, so spent £1.9 million on an ‘Exporting is Great’ online campaign, which included £107,000 for a podcast. I’ll bet we all feel better for that then.
It was only ten days ago the UK repudiated the International Court of Justice, in a vote which they lost 13:1 over the Chagos Islands. All this did was to demonstrate Britain’s universal contempt for international law. This was quite rightly met with derision by the wider international community, reducing Britain’s global influence even further.
In an attempt to top that, Theresa May’s government actually stopped a vote that could have required Britain’s tax havens to make their registries of company ownership fully searchable by the public. This was nothing more than a blatant act of sabotage of justice and the rule of law – much as the refusal to accept the ruling of Chagos.
Then we had the news that Universal Credit staff are being ordered to visit benefit claimants whilst they are ill in hospital, some even waiting for life-saving surgery – “to help determine their eligibility for state support”. Among many critics, Gail Ward, from the campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts, said: ‘It’s disgusting and immoral.’ It’s more than that Gail – it’s gruesome, shameless and odious.
It no longer matters that Chris Grayling – the poster boy for political stupidness has become a sensation in the USA media simply for being able to remain in employment after such an unbelievable scale of failure. “How does he survive” they ask – and that’s coming from that lot across the pond. Even in their fantastical world of endemic corruption, Grayling would have been thrown to the dogs out of embarrassment. But over here, he’s a human shield for Theresa May’s irresponsible and foolish threats of accepting her awful deal – or it’s over the proverbial cliff for us all.
Over the cliff
With just three weeks to go British businesses are already feeling the impacts of a no-deal Brexit. The reason is that they have had no choice but to prepare for it. Industry has already spent billions on contingency planning, which it will not be able to recoup even if a last-minute deal of sorts is done.
It is a fact, whether you’re a Brexiteer or not, that U.K. firms are already reporting drops in sales, exports and investment. Farmers are also watching contract orders for this year’s harvest dry up.
Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI’s chief economist said last week – “The spectre of no deal is holding them back from investing in new factories, new overseas markets and new jobs.”
The CBI’s survey said 57 per cent of its members were “extremely concerned.” What is more concerning is this. The U.K. government has produced figures showing that domestic business investment has fallen for three consecutive quarters. The last time business investment fell for more than two quarters was in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crash.
So that is the trajectory – Britain is heading for an economic crash. This is not fear-mongering. “Investment is evaporating; the economy is undoubtedly slowing down” – reiterated Newton-Smith.
Pauline Bastidon, from the U.K.-based Freight Transport Association, is also worried that no announcements have been made on what tariffs to apply on imports and exports. “It’s difficult if you’re buying new clothes, books or electronic devices and you know the taxation is going to be higher, but not by how much. It could go as high as 35 or 40 per cent in certain cases. Exporters can’t do anything about it, but what they could have is clarity to calculate the total cost.”
It has completely escaped the minds of those wandering aimlessly around Downing Street that shipping times to, let’s say, Asia, takes around six weeks. So companies exporting British cars, food, clothes or electronics by sea have no idea of the trading regime their goods will encounter when they reach their destination. The Middle East and the huge market of India fell into that same shipping time dilemma the government has caused to exporters this week.
It has also escaped these mindless ministers that Bentley (which sends 60 per cent of its cars to markets beyond the EU), along with Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover who ship their products primarily from Southampton could soon be facing WTO rules by the time these shipments arrive, forcing additional tariffs onto their showroom sticker prices. The sector is already facing a five-year low in sales and is now having to stock-pile parts to make products that might not sell due to being uncompetitive. British new car production nosedived 18.2 per cent in January alone this year, the eighth successive month of annual declines. Whilst all that cannot be blamed on Brexit, the worry for exporters, experts have warned is that the UK may face a seven-year wait for frictionless trade under WTO rules if it crashes out of EU. Then what?
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said – “The clear and present danger remains the threat of a no-deal Brexit, which is monopolizing time and resources – is undermining competitiveness.”
The examples above are by no means exhaustive but they are without a doubt incredibly damaging in the short and medium term. Why would anyone invest in Britain knowing a negative political and economic environment will be dominated by Brexit for probably a generation. I mean, no-one knows what’s going to happen any more – you don’t invest in don’t-knows. The last time a bunch of bankers tried it – they blew up the global financial markets and needed trillions to save them from extinction. In Britain, the government have not told you, for obvious reasons, that that fiasco cost the taxpayer an eye-watering – £1.8 trillion – not £500bn as has been said.
Incompetence and Intransigence
What’s worse is that Theresa May, by far the most incompetent PM since Dickins met his maker, is unable to sack the mentally deficient in her government because they would instantly turn into yet more discontented backbenchers and vote against anything she scrambles together regardless – just making the whole thing much worse.
Government ministers and their so-called advisors trundle week after week up to Brussels making yet more demands and come home, as expected, empty-handed and full of accusations and excuses, whilst the leaders of the EU27 stare at each other in disbelief. May then heads off to parliament and has two strategic tactics – using threats and lies. Both inevitably fail – every time and it’s back to square one, where we started when May triggered Article 50 without a plan in the first place.
And let’s not forget who we are dealing with here. May lost a majority in an election of her calling. Her government was found to be in contempt of parliament – a political first in Britain. She was handed the most overwhelming political defeat in British history over her failed Brexit deal. And yet she is leading Britain’s most delicate political challenge since a global war engulfed the nation. Britain needs much, much more than this at this time.
This is a government characterised by its lying, its threats, its contempt for the rule of law, its incompetence, intransigence and the willful waste of desperately needed billions on ego-driven pet projects that almost inevitably fall apart.
It is like being in some sort of satirical political sit-com where an orgy of failure is its central theme. Unfortunately, that is exactly where No10 Downing Street is right now – and that’s not just some lefty opinion, that’s a fact.