Flying The Albatross

Flying The Albatross

After yesterday’s fanfare over the Conservative and Unionist party’s ‘solution’ for the UK/Ireland border it has already been debunked by the Irish Taoiseach and the EU, although BJ has denied that the policy had been floated by him in order to gauge the level of fire. The flack was intense so the policy has been rolled back a bit and now ‘most’ of the customs checks will be carried out in depots and warehouses, prior to lorries leaving. This would apparently mean that there would be no infrastructure required at the border. But the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister today admitted that customs checks would be required in order to have different trade policies on either side of the border, which is one of the main reasons for leaving the EU apparently.

Of course, with those different trade policies the cost of goods on either side of the border will be very different due to availability and differing tax regimes. Those differences in prices lead to smuggling, which is highly profitable. The Ireland/UK border is notoriously porous and it couldn’t be effectively sealed during the troubles, so what makes Boris think that he can seal it in 30 days?

The idea is almost as ludicrous as the Prime Minister. It is never going to be accepted by the EU, but that is not the point of it. It is an albatross, flown with the intention that it is shot, then the bad luck will fall on it’s detractors who will be labelled as something or other. Then the Tories will blame the EU for not accepting something which will never work, even in a unionist generation.

The overall Brexit strategy that we see going on at the moment is one of blame avoidance. Nobody wants to take the blame for the fallout from Brexit. Boris wants a general election, that would mean that parliament would be dissolved when Brexit hits. He would then be free to implement martial law and use all of those Henry VIII powers which old Mrs May left him. Failing that he wants to blame the EU and their intransigence for not accepting his wonderful offer.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t want to take the blame for Brexit either. He definitely doesn’t want to be PM when Brexit hits, he wants the Tories to carry the can. And so they should. This whole Brexit debacle exists because of the Tories and their differences over the EU. But Labour have to carry a lot of the blame as well, their ambiguity over Brexit has seen them fall to fifth place in Scotland. When leadership was required Jeremy sent the question to a focus group while he went to his allotment and tended to his kale. But Brexit suits Jeremy too, then he will be able to create a socialist utopia from the ruins of the UK.

The simple fact is that there isn’t going to be a new deal. That leaves Theresa May’s deal or No Deal as far as the deals go, but the choices before us are not binary as the politicians insist. We also have the option of revoking Article 50 and having No Brexit at all. Those are the choices facing the UK at least.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also have another choice: that is to part company and go our separate ways. England can become an insular little pariah state if it wishes. Scotland can forge it’s path in the world and become the light in the north, a beacon of hope and tolerance as an example to the world. Northern Ireland can choose to re-unify with the Republic of Ireland or even become an independent state of their own. Wales can choose to become fully integrated into a Greater England and create the state of Wangland, or join the other Celtic nations and govern itself.

The end of the UK is nigh, don’t shoot the albatross.

A typical Ireland/UK Customs Clearance House

Once, twice, three times a border

That is the big idea from the UK government as a solution to the Ireland/UK border after Brexit. Here’s a quick rundown of how it is proposed to work:

  1. The UK will set up “customs clearing houses,” definitely not customs houses. Anyone who says that is just spreading Project Fear. These will be set up at distances of between 5 and 10 miles from the border proper. So they cannot be called border infrastructure because they’re not on the border, although they will be performing the function of border customs posts.
  2. Hope that Ireland will do the same.
  3. As goods shipments arrive at the clearance houses they will be checked and manifested, or they could be fast tracked if they were pre-cleared. So some nice delays here. Again expect Ireland to do the same.
  4. This bit is the best bit. Each consignment is sent into the de-structuralised zone (a zone 10-20 miles wide either side of the border in which no border structures are permitted.) Tracking of the consignments will be performed by GPS or mobile phones or something. When the shipment gets to the end of the de-structuralised zone (DSZ – pronounced Dee-Ess-Zee) some other bit of technology will ping someone that the tariff is now due. Oh, and hope that Ireland does the same.

So far, so vague and unattainable. Bear in mind that the DSZ and all of it’s infrastructure, processes and procedures need to be in place in 31 days. Does anyone believe that the Conservative and Unionist Party of the United Kingdom can achieve that? They can’t even organise a parliamentary recess for their conference. Mind you, I don’t suppose that most party members will notice, they’ll be too busy sexually touching the totty.

There are a couple of wee niggles with Dominic Cumming’s plan (let’s not delude ourselves that the acting Prime Minister is capable of original thought). Three wee niggles actually. There will effectively be three borders; one on the UK side, one on the Irish side and the Irish border itself. The DSZ will exist between the two outer borders (assuming that Ireland wishes to get involved in this faerie tale). The border infrastructure will eventually be built and bang, literally bang, it will all become a target for people opposed to hard borders.

The infrastructure will then need to be protected. Step in PSNI to uphold the rule of law and protect the border infrastructure which isn’t border infrastructure because it isn’t on the border. Then bang, literally bang, the police will be the target. Who will protect them?

Cue the UK armed forces, patrolling the DSZ and protecting the police who are protecting the border infrastructure. And bang, we’ve gone back 21 years. The Good Friday Agreement will be burned on the streets and the peace, such as it is, will be destroyed. I can’t see too many folk on the island of Ireland voting for that, and a vote there will be. The DUP will be the Northern Irish party who will be trying to persuade the people of the province that Dom’s Deal is a good idea. Mind you, going back 21 years probably isn’t enough for the DUP. They would rather go back 329 years.

Anyway, that’s the goods sorted out, but what about the livestock? Oh and the people, although they are one and the same to most Tories. I guess we will just have to wait for the good news to arrive.

Lifeboat

Hey Nicola, where’s our #indyref?

So here we are, 31 days from the tory made disaster of Brexit and no one has readied the lifeboats. That’s one calendar month, probably less by the time that you read this, from the looming cliff edge that is the far right’s wet dream. The Rees-Mogg led Extreme Right Group (ERG) are creating a huge extra workload for matron to clean up in the morning. They just can’t help themselves, they’re dreaming of a plummeting pound for the forex traders to cash in on, they’re dreaming of falling share prices for the hedge funds to cash in on too. In fact the Prime Minister herself stands to profit hugely from Brexit. Brexit is an exercise in turning the UK into a tory playground complete with street urchins.

That being the case, why is Scotland still being dragged down with the rusting hulk of the Britannia? Why has the First Minister not ordered the launching of the independence referendum lifeboat? After all, the Scottish Government has a triple lock mandate to hold that referendum, don’t they? So what’s the problem?

The problem, dear reader, is that the lifeboat has some holes in it, so the First Minister regretfully announces that it just won’t float. Except she hasn’t announced anything of the sort, but that’s what she would like to say. But the problem is you, yes you. And Nicola Sturgeon. You see it was politically expedient to rekindle the fire of independence when the Brexit vote was announced. It got us all excited, because we wants it. It got us out campaigning for the political wing of the independence movement, the SNP. Which helps during elections.

But now the mood music is delay. Just until we know which way Brexit is going. You understand, don’t you? Once we’ve got some clarity on which side this decrepit hulk will list, then we’ll know when to launch the lifeboat. Except it’s holed, that boat is. In fact it’s got more holes than Fluffy Muddle and Touchy Thomson could hope to see on a late night in Boaby’s Bar in the Palace of Westminster. So there will be more delay, maybe five years by some accounts. We’ll all be drowned by then, won’t we? Why won’t Nicola just use the mandate?

First up is the small legal issue of the constitution being reserved to our Imperial Masters in London. If we want to hold a legally binding referendum then we need the agreement of overwhelmingly unionist UK parliament. But they don’t want to see their oil fields and driven grouse shooting estates disappear. Especially with the looming Brexit debacle, where would one scurry off to in one’s helicopter when the starving people are rioting in the streets? No, the Imperial Masters aren’t going to let us have a legally binding referendum, or even an advisory one. The constitution is reserved remember? Take it to the Supreme Court and see what they say.

But let’s say that by some curious quirk of the UK electoral system, the UK parliament were to grant Scotland a legally binding referendum, what then? Well we would all go and have a look at the lifeboat, our saviour from this wretched union. Then we would start to see the holes.

We’d see the great big currency hole with the Growth Commission patch on it. You know the one which says currency union without saying currency union. The one which says that we want a third country to make our fiscal policy for us, which isn’t really independence after all.

We’d see the Inter-Great Britain Border (IGB) hole. There will need to be border posts at Coldstream won’t there? Customs checkpoints at Gretna? That would depend upon the relative EU status of rUK and Scotland, what would that be? Who knows?

There’s that EU hole, that looks quite chunky. Will we be in the EU or the EEA? Or EFTA? That depends upon Brexit, doesn’t it? Or Spain? If we have already left the EU, how long will it take to re-join? Do we even want to re-join? How will we make these decisions and when?

Then there is the 2021 hole. The one that says Holyrood elections. We have a mandate until then but can we use it? Prior to the first independence referendum negotiations took place between the Scottish and UK governments which resulted in the Edinburgh Agreement of 2012. I don’t know how long those negotiations took but they wouldn’t have happened overnight. How long do you think they would take now with “Now is not the time,” Theresa as Prime Minister?

If the UK Prime Minister is good at anything she is good at delay, prevaricate, frustrate and extend. She has all the time in the world to delay a second independence referendum and the UK parliament will back her to the hilt. If the Scottish Government play this game with her, we will arrive at the Holyrood elections with no Section 30 order and a government which has achieved very little in its previous term. That’s a Scottish Government which would probably lose that election, and the mandate would expire with it. The Tories would be delighted.

If the Scottish Government wish to avoid this scenario then they will have to provide some big improvements in the lives of the voters. They need to provide affordable housing, built by local authorities and not big business. The need to provide a nationalised railway and a nationalised energy company. The need to get out there and do the easy stuff that will have a real impact on people’s lives. They also need to admit to the Yes community that the promised independence referendum isn’t going to happen within this parliament, that would allow them to get on with the business of governing. The day job as the tories jibe.

Meanwhile those holes in the lifeboat need fixing…

Never Trust a Tory

The farce that is the UK government gets worse with every passing hour. First of all we had the Irish Conundrum where PM May was about to announce, “I have in my hand a piece of paper,” only to be scuppered by the DUP’s Arlene Foster. It turns out that the text was agreed between the UK and Irish governments but nobody thought to run it past Westminster’s kingmakers first. The DUP weren’t best pleased with it because they want the full Brexit with none of the hash browns and they definitely didn’t want an Irish Sea border with the rest of the UK.

Then we had media darling Ruth “Colonel Rapeclause” Davidson, Saviour of the Union, Slayer of Alex Salmond, EU Refrendum Winner, First Woman on the Moon, giving us her take on the Brexit deal. This was almost the same text as the DUP produced, which isn’t surprising when you think that the Orange Lodge is fully integrated with the DUP and the Tory’s Scottish Accounting Unit. Ruth was only saying what the Grand Master of the Morningside Lodge told her to say. It was surprising how nobody really cared what the Colonel said, apart from the “Scottish” media who gave it a good airing. The Rape Clause supporter has had so many positions on Brexit that you could write a whole new Karma Sutra with them. By touting the DUP’s line she slid the knife into May’s back along with the rest of the Brexiteers, with which May was heard to utter, “Et tu Ruthie.” The Colonel just can’t wait for that safe Tory seat to come up in England so that she can play politics with the big boys and girls in the proper parliament in London.

Today we had the exquisite sight of David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, telling a House of Commons committee that the Brexit Economic Impact Assessments do not exist. These will be the same documents that he said existed a whole 18 months ago and has repeated since. Lets think about that for a moment. If what he said today is true then the Tory government in London has not bothered to work out what the likely economic impacts of Brexit will be, but they will push ahead with it anyway, oh and Davis lied repeatedly. Or, the Assessments do in fact exist but Davis is prepared to lie to parliament in order to keep them hidden safe in the knowledge that his cronies will cover for him and he will endure not the slightest censure. It really makes you wonder what they say, if it was good news then they would have been shouted from the top of Tower Bridge, even if they were not too bad they would have been shouted from Westminster Bridge. As it is they are being kept at the bottom of the Thames where nobody gets to see them. If they exist that is. Either way Davis is a liar, but we’re so used to being lied to that we just shrug and get on with our lives when we should be marching on Parliament and demanding that this government must go!

Then we had the amendments to the Brexit Bill which would guarantee that non reserved powers would be returned to the appropriate parliaments when they are relinquished by the EU on Brexit day. These were voted down by Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish unionist MPs who see London as the centre of the universe and all you plebs in the outer regions are only there to pay taxes and die in penury. You’ll have had your devolution then. Mark my words, come Brexit day the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly will be abolished. Just like the Northern Irish Assembly has already been.

Philip Hammond has been banned from using the RAF’s Royal Flight aircraft after running up a 6 figure bill which hasn’t been paid yet. Isn’t it amazing that the Chancellor of the Exchequer hasn’t paid for the use of these aircraft on official business? If I was in the EU I would wonder if the UK would honour any Brexit divorce deal.

A little later Hammond gave us another insight into the workings of the Tory cabinet when he told a House of Commons Committee that the cabinet had not discussed the “end state” of Brexit. In other words they have absolutely no idea what they are aiming to achieve with the whole Brexit process. No destination, no road map, no clue! Downing Street “clarified” Hammond’s remarks a little later by saying that they would have a wee chat about it sometime nearer Christmas. 18 months after the EU referendum the Tories still don’t have a clue where we’re going. Why are the people not outraged?

This shower of shit which is laughingly called a government is going to drag us into the darkest sewer of depravity. A place where government ministers will spank the monkey while perusing pornography on their government computers. A place where we will have no human, employment or any other rights. A place where the corporations will be kings and we will be slaves, destined to be worked to death for a pittance with no safety nets of the NHS or any other “benefits.” A place where the filthy rich will get even filthier and richer, and all at our expense.

But the people of Scotland have a choice, we can choose to be flushed down the toilet with the rest of the UK or we can choose to tread our own path. We can choose to be drowned in Tory turds or we can choose to breathe the sweet, nectar filled air of independence. Independence is a state of mind, lets shake off this insanity and take responsiblity for our own lives.