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Questions Of The Day (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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What a lot of nonsense is being said about Sajid's resignation. Last year Boris promised he was keeping Sajid as Chancellor to show everybody he was steadying the ship, this year he wants to get rid of him to go full steam ahead. He doesn't want to break a promise quite so quickly and quite so blatantly so he sacks him but calls it something else.

It's a different question as to whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. Again a lot of nonsense is being spoken about creative tension and the need for No 10 to be restrained by No 11 blah blah blair blair. But we voted in the Johnson/Cummins axis of evil to try something new so let's at least give it a whirl.

On a historical note: this is the first time we have a Chancellor of the Exchequer that I've never heard of. But we got used to this kind of thing with both Theresa May's Brexit replacements and Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinets and look how they turned out. Pointers to a greater future or fun while they lasted, one or the other.
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Grant



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Next thing should be to remove the Bank of England's independence when it comes to interest rate setting. To pretend that we are better off if a panel of the great and good set the rate is absurd.
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Chad


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But we voted in the Johnson/Cummins axis of evil to try something new so let's at least give it a whirl.

Yes I agree.

And Cummings is fully aware of Johnson's propensity to sway with the wind... so he is just ensuring the wind only blows from one direction.
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Chad


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Next thing should be to remove the Bank of England's independence when it comes to interest rate setting

It was probably the right thing to do, when it was introduced, but if the government is to be successful, with a new economic strategy, it needs full control of all the levers.
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Mick Harper
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You're both proposing one set of human beings doing something that is not humanly knowable. Just abolish Bank Rate and take it out of everyone's hands.

But while they are responsible for it, can I remind them for the nth time that you put up interest rates when you want to encourage economic activity on account of the number of lenders hugely outnumbering borrowers. You would think, after reducing interest rates to near-zero for the last ten years 'to encourage economic activity' and economic activity stubbornly refusing to respond for the last ten years, they might have twigged by now.
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Mick Harper
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... but there is no denying Boris’s attraction to shiny, new infrastructure projects. All of which have a habit of going wrong. When he was mayor of London, there was the Boris Island airport which disappeared under the sea, and the Garden Bridge that cost £40m not to even begin construction. John Crace, Guardian

The well known AE red flag, 'The List of One'. A project that never got started so we'll never know and one that didn't work out. But you have certainly illustrated why grey people like Siddiq Kahn usually get to the top, Cracey. If you don't do anything, nobody can criticise you for doing it. Spurs supporter of course.
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Mick Harper
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The EU Foreign Ministers have agreed to step up patrols in the Med to prevent arms being smuggled into Libya. They shouldn't have too many language problems because Italy and France have been two of the bigger illegal arms suppliers (to opposite sides).

It's a mark of Britain's changed status in the world that while David Cameron was the leading architect of the situation that created the present mess (so no change there), Britain is lucky nowadays even to be invited to Let's Save Libya conferences alongside big hitters like Turkey and the Gulf states with real fingers in the pie. Good. Keep it up!
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Mick Harper
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But the bit they're not telling you about is Israel's emergence from its diplomatic isolation. They've got big piles of offshore gas deposits and a need to pipeline it across the Eastern Med. So do the Gulf states. Turkey is trying to use the even-more-isolated North Cyprus to establish an 'economic zone' boundary with Libya -- but only if Libya will agree (i.e. be the first one on the block to recognise Northern Cyprus), hence Turkey shoring up Tripoli. This will give them a stranglehold on the pipeline.

I could go on but even the participants don't really know what they're trying to achieve. They only know they want to be sat comfortably in chairs round the table when the music stops. Meanwhile, as per, the locals look on helplessly. They should be the richest people in the world given their numbers and the amount of their oil but somehow I don't think they will be any time soon. They'll just have to carry on people-smuggling. Didn't the EU Foreign Ministers have that on the agenda last time they met? That's right, I remember now. They ordered increased patrols.
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Mick Harper
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And so the era of experimentation in government comes to an end with this Andrew Funny-Sounding-Name bloke departing. It was a wild ride while it lasted. We will not see its like again, nor will it succeed then either unless someone points out that if shit storms are not coming at you from every direction then you're not being experimental enough.

But just be glad: if Andy FSN hadn't said a few true but unfashionable things a few years ago and recorded them for all to read (on account of them being true but unfashionable) we would all have woken up tomorrow morning under a fascist junta. You genics if you want to, as Margaret Thatcher said. The last alternative thinker in government now I come to think about it. Or rather an unoriginal thinker who protected her original thinkers from the shit-storm. We shall never see her like etc etc.

Blimey, when are the Left, who are supposed to be doing all this kind of thing, going to show up?
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Mick Harper
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I ought to add that 'true' in the above post is to be understood as "I haven't heard anything which is clearly untrue". That, in my experience, is an excellent starting point for experimentational thinking.
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Chad


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And so the era of experimentation in government comes to an end with this Andrew Funny-Sounding-Name bloke departing.

Do you really think so?... Isn't this guy more notable for his political naivety than his experimentational thinking?

Cummings clearly won round one. This is a setback (for him) in round two.

You're probably right about the eventual outcome, but I'm sure it will be an entertaining bout, while it lasts.
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Mick Harper
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I think this is more serious than you're treating it. Or me.

Do you really think so?... Isn't this guy more notable for his political naivety than his experimentational thinking?

How do you (or anyone else) know? He said some things when he was twenty-one, we never found out what he believes now. He would be naive if he said them now (not if he believed them now). He might be, as averred on Newsnight, a Cummings clone but whoever heard of berating people for appointing like-minded people? Especially when there are no other like-minded people for miles around.

Cummings clearly won round one. This is a setback (for him) in round two.

This was another theme on everyone's lips. Who's in charge at No 10? An adviser gets his advice taken some of the time, not taken at other times, without being constantly accused of running the country one minute and soon to be shown the door the next. Have we forgotten Alastair Campbell so soon? Ah, but he wasn't a radical, was he?

You're probably right about the eventual outcome, but I'm sure it will be an entertaining bout, while it lasts.

The ship of state takes many years to deviate even a little bit off course. You're probably too young to remember but it took us several years just to leave the EU. Can't even remember who the presiding genius over that was.
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Mick Harper
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The Cook Islands are a major power in Rugby League but before you Rugger Bugger Unionists scoff, they have just overtaken the UK as players in the Libya Crisis when one of their tankers was attacked by government forces allegedly in international waters. Tripoli can expect a visit soon from some very burly Cook Islanders. Come on, you green-and-yellows with white piping.
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Mick Harper
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when one of their tankers was attacked by government forces allegedly in international waters

Britain is not the only missing player from the Libyan Crisis. It is not so long ago that the US Mediterranean Fleet (now there's a blast from the past) would trundle into the Gulf of Sirte to establish that these were international waters rather than, as Colonel Gaddafi claimed, Libyan territorial waters. (It is genuinely ambiguous according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.) The two sides would then decide on the correct exchange of military protocols.

Now, not only does the US merely look on, nobody even notices that it is merely looking-on. One cannot stress enough that these are changing times. Especially as nobody ever notices these are changing times.
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Mick Harper
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Canada is grinding to a halt because of a pipeline protest. "Not my problem," says Prime Minister Trudeau. S'pose not, Justin, you get on with whatever Canadian Prime Ministers get on with. Difficult to offer a solution when it's about a pipeline running across land containing one person and one moose per hundred square miles. Personally I'd consider it an amenity in such a landscape, a talking point if you will, but I'm not a Canadian. And I aim to keep it that way.
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