Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A Convenient Obama Visit

Clearly President Obama is here to help Cameron in his pro EU campaign. Why else would he come, after all, he appears to dislike this country and all it stands for?

The main outcome of his visit, apart from some photographs with the Queen and Prince George for his album, is that he has shown himself to be a hypocrite and has allowed his dislike of this country to to overcome whatever common sense that he might once have had. His main argument for us staying in the EU seems to be that we will be put at the 'back of the queue' when it comes to discussing trade agreements as the US would rather negotiate with one group of 28 nations than with a single country.

I would suspect that anyone else involved in negotiating with the EU would argue the exact opposite, it is far easier to reach agreement with a single country than with a group where they all individually have to concur with the decisions reached by their negotiators. But that aside, Obama won't be president in eight months time, so he can't possibly predict what a future administration might do.

As reported in Breitbart, his view is also contradicted by an official from their Office of International Trade who, in an e-mail said
“This is the first time I’ve heard of the assertion that the UK is too small to have an FTA with the US… clearly the UK is not too small to have an FTA with the US if we have one with Oman.”
But neither is the trade deal with the EU likely in the near future, as Obama told the press that a U.S./EU trade deal is “not going to happen anytime soon”.

In any case, does it matter? We are trading with the US at the moment, apparently without any agreement, and it is difficult to visualise why there should be any change if we left the EU.

Finally, for a laugh, the reply that Obama gave when asked by a student in London what he wanted his legacy to be.
"Saving the world economy from a Great Depression — that was pretty good"
 I thought that was Gordon Brown's line!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Project Fear continues.with Forecasts

Today we had the Treasury forecast that if Brexit happens, we will all be £4300 per household worse off by 2030.

If this is as accurate as recent Treasury forecasts concerning the country's budget and growth for periods of just one financial year, any forecasts as to what might happen after 16 years are just wishful thinking. A recent statement by the 'Remain' campaigners admitted that wages for the lower paid would continue to be depressed due to the high levels of unskilled immigration, so it would seem that the lower paid lose out either way!

By some convoluted thinking, the Chancellor also suggested that taxes would have to rise if we left the EU because we would no longer be getting the present grants from Brussels. But since we paid them the money in the first place, and they took a large cut before paying back some of it in grants, if we kept our taxes at the present level and paid the grants directly, the Chancellor would have the whole of the cut taken by Brussels to start paying off our debts or allowing more spending on the NHS.

Of course, with proper border control and hopefully less immigration than at present, the strain on the NHS would be significantly reduced, under which circumstances the NHS would probably be able to cope without any major budget increase.

But the Treasury is not the only state organisation to be incapable of economic forecasting; the Bank of England is just as bad. For several years running in their annual forecasts, they have suggested that interest rates would start rising within the next six months, when in fact, as far as both savers and borrowers are concerned they are still falling. Now they have suggested that rates would rise in the event of Brexit; is this forecast any better than their previous ones?

It is also suggested that trade with the EU would decline in the event of Brexit. Why should it? I'm sure that Mercedes, BMW and VW will still want to sell us their cars; if the EU imposes trade sanctions on our exports, we would be free to do the same and the Germans would be one of the biggest losers.

There is also the suggestion last week that Brexit would result in major repercussions and a slump in not just our economy but that of the world at large. However a few weeks previously we had been told that our country is too small 'to go it alone'. These contradictory arguments make you begin to wonder if any of these so called experts have the vaguest idea of what they are talking about. Why should the actions of a 'tiny insignificant country' (their phrase) like ours have any effect on the world economy?

I'm awaiting forecasts from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries concerning plagues of locusts decimating our crops and the absence of Spanish trawlers from our fishing grounds causing massive problems due to under-fishing.

An afterthought:
Has anyone in the remain side provided a forecast as the increase in the EU budget by 2030? I suspect that the additional cost to each family of belonging will far outstrip the £4300 that Osborne claims will be the cost of Brexit. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Cameron's Pro-EU Leaflet

We've just received our copy of THAT leaflet; I haven't read it yet and probably I won't even bother. The claim that it is HM Government's position on the EU is blatantly untrue as a number of members of the Cabinet don't agree with the case that is put forward and in this country, until Blair, we always had Cabinet government not a Prime Ministerial dictatorship. Even worse, as far as I am concerned,  is the Prime Minister's arrogance in sending out the leaflets in spite of a pending debate on the subject in Parliament, thus putting himself above Parliament.

Because the contents of the document are not impartial but a one-sided case for remaining in the EU, it undermines the public's belief in any statements by the government or its officials, a change from my younger days when the contents formal government statements or publications were generally accepted to be true.  For example, the Chief Medical Officer recently made a statement on the dangers of alcohol and recommended lower limits. Once, I would have considered statements by our Chief Medical Officer to be advice that I should think about very carefully before ignoring it, but these days such advice has become merely another piece of state propaganda and is treated as such.

It is well worth reading the piece by Lord Tebbit in today's Daily Telegraph, he puts forward what is wrong with this government in far more elegant terms than I could ever achieve.