Tag Archives: Caroline Flint

James Delingpole: clueless Brextremist comes unstuck over ‘no deal’ and WTO rules

Rich and clueless: James Delingpole thinks Brexit is a hit worth taking – because he won’t be taking that hit.

In one of the few appearances James Delingpole has made on This Site, he is quoted as saying he smoked cannabis while listening to Supertramp with David Cameron while they were both at Oxford – and one would be forgiven for asking whether he went back on the whacky baccy before appearing on Andrew Neil’s This Week to support a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Mr Delingpole made a short film extolling the virtues of reverting to World Trade Organisation rules on trade and tariffs between countries, and then appeared in the studio for an interview in which Mr Neil, Caroline Flint and Sam Gyimah – who quit his job as a government minister over Theresa May’s Brexit deal – exposed his attitude as nonsense. Watch:

For accuracy: The hysterical laughter at the end of the clip was added by whoever made it; in reality, Andrew Neil said, “Okay. Well, that’s honest – and on that, we’ll move on. Thank you.”

But we can’t move on.

Mr Delingpole has admitted that his claims are based on nothing but hot air.

Under WTO rules, a country like the UK would have to accept an automatic level of tariffs on all goods coming in and going out. If we chose to waive those tariffs, they would be waived on all trade, and there would be no point in trying to strike free trade deals.

For a net importer like the UK, both situations mean we lose money.

That’s why Mr Delingpole said, “We’re going to take a hit”. But is it a “hit worth taking”?

No! At least, not for ordinary working people. The privileged rich, like Mr Delingpole, may find themselves able to accommodate it.

Rod Thistledown McKie made this point on Twitter: “The thing about those “taking a hit” is they don’t include the likes of Delingpole himself. They are working class voters, for instance Airbus’s 100,000 workers estimate, and they are going to be very, very annoyed with the people who promised them the Earth.”

Airbus has slated the Conservative government’s failure to negotiate a workable Brexit deal, warning that it may leave the UK if Theresa May forces the UK to crash out of the EU with no deal. Airbus employs 14,000 people in the UK, with a further 110,000 in its supply chain.

That’s 124,000 jobs in jeopardy.

None of those jobs are held by Mr Delingpole, of course.

But he, and his Brextremist ilk – like James Dyson, who is famously scarpering to Singapore to build his latest invention which has been dubbed a “moral vacuum”, taking his company’s Corporation Tax contributions with him – did promise those people a brighter future.

And now they are walking away, leaving a huge mess behind them, in the knowledge that they won’t be taking the hit.

And people are going to be angry. This response, for example, is mild:

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/1088745468845273089

Should we not be talking about imposing penalties on people who talked up the fictitious benefits of Brexit in order to induce the electorate to support it – when they did not have good reason to do so?

Is there no way to force them to put their money where there mouths have been?

And if not, why not? Poor people stand to lose everything – why should the clueless rich get away scot free?

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Theresa May’s Brexit is collapsing around her – but she may have one small hope

Theresa May: Will Brexit bring her down?

Theresa May is in serious trouble over her plan for Brexit. In fact, there may be only one chance for her to put her plan into operation – but if she takes it, her humiliation will be complete.

Allow me to explain:

Tory Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab spent October 14 in talks with Michel Barnier, in a bid to resolve the “big issues” preventing agreement between the UK and EU27 on the terms of our separation at the end of March next year:

It did not go well:

Here‘s how The Independent covered the situation:

“A Brexit deal has not been struck despite “intense efforts” in Brussels on Sunday, Michel Barnier has said.

“Mr Barnier’s announcement immediately deflated speculation of a breakthrough in the difficult negotiations, following Mr Raab’s surprise trip to Brussels and the summoning of ambassadors to a meeting at EU headquarters.

“One of the most pressing issues is the Northern Irish backstop, a mechanism to avoid a hard border.

“The EU’s version of the backstop, which would see just Northern Ireland remain aligned with Brussels’ rules, has been called unacceptable by Ms May and is loathed by her DUP allies.

“Ms May’s counter-proposal is for a “temporary customs arrangement” for the whole of the UK, but Tory Brexiteers fear this could become an open-ended position which would prevent free trade deals with countries around the world.

“No further negotiations are planned before European leaders including Theresa May meet for a further summit in Brussels on Wednesday, according to a senior EU diplomat.”

Journalist and commentator Paul Mason paints an accurate word-picture of the situation, I think:

As the reports indicated, Mr Raab’s – and Theresa May’s – problems are not limited to disagreement with the Eurocrats:

The article refers to Mr Johnson’s latest column in the Daily Telegraph, in which he urged Mrs May to “stand up” to “bullies” in the EU. It also points out that Mr Johnson is the most likely to benefit from Mrs May’s humiliation, as he is considered the most likely to replace her as Tory leader (what a horrible thought).

On the other side…

This article refers to a tweet by Anna Soubry, who is currently an outspoken Conservative backbencher. She states:

This is – of course – a view that is diametrically opposed to that of Mr Johnson.

So we can see that the Tories are as bitterly-divided over the EU as they ever were, even though the referendum of 2016 was intended to end this conflict.

Clare Hepworth is right, but I would go further. She will never be able to reconcile the differing point of view.

So what’s her “one small hope”, that I mentioned in the headline?

Simple:

Named in the article are Gareth Snell, Ruth Smeeth, and Caroline Flint – to whom we may reasonably expect to add Kate Hoey, John Mann, Graham Stringer, and Frank Field – who resigned the Labour whip after a vote of ‘no confidence’ in him by constituency party members, prompted by this very issue.

But Aaron Bastani is correct – nobody who is serious about Labour regaining office can countenance this.

Labour’s pro-Brexit rebels (who also appear to be very much anti-Jeremy Corbyn) know that party members are keen to end the Parliamentary careers of MPs who do not support current policies, and may use the selection process in the run-up to a general election to choose new candidates.

Supporting Mrs May might seem a wise tactic – but another general election must take place sooner or later, and party members will not forgive what they will see as treachery.

Remember: The NHS is being sold off piecemeal, its patients’ health treated as commodities to be bought and sold; Universal Credit and the sickness and disability benefit system are leading to the deaths of many thousands of people; privatised utility companies are failing to deliver the services required at a reasonable price… The list of infamy goes on and on.

We need a change of government as soon as possible. Anybody in the Labour Party who helps prevent that will be signing a death warrant for their political career.

As for Mrs May – she’ll take all the help she can get, but the fact that she might have to get it from Labour rebels will be humiliating for her. Mortifying.

But she’s a Tory. She’ll accept any embarrassment if it keeps her in a position to inflict harm on you.

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These Corbyn detractors need to get their stories straight

Flint: Resigned her place in the shadow cabinet and is now complaining that women have not been given top jobs.

Flint: Resigned her place in the shadow cabinet and is now complaining that women have not been given top jobs.

Some of Labour’s right-wing women seem to be agitating against Jeremy Corbyn – unwisely, perhaps, considering their previously-stated positions.

The Graun quoted Caroline Flint and Lisa Nandy, both complaining that women have not been appointed to top jobs in the shadow cabinet, in line with comments by Harriet Harman at Labour’s women’s conference.

Ms Flint said: “We haven’t got women in the top jobs in our party. That includes the major offices of state. I think that is a missed opportunity.”

Maybe it is, Caroline – but you missed it! Ms Flint, lest anyone forget, announced her refusal to accept any position in the shadow cabinet two days after Mr Corbyn was elected leader. She said she could “best support the Labour party and the leadership from outside the shadow cabinet.”

Now she’s complaining about the lack of women in top positions? Let’s have some consistency, please, Caroline!

Worse still, Lisa Nandy told Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan she was “uncomfortable” that Labour’s leader and deputy leader were both men. This is bizarre. She saw that women and men were on the ballot papers for both positions. The Labour Party chose the people who most members considered were best for the roles. That’s democracy.

Is Lisa Nandy opposed to democracy now?

Furthermore, Ms Nandy is the new shadow energy secretary, meaning she has accepted a job in the shadow cabinet – but is still content to snipe at the leaders, and the system that put them on top – a system in which she participated.

Ms Nandy said she supports a long-standing proposal that either the leader or deputy leader should be a woman. In the name of gender equality, this is all well and good. But Labour relies on the principle that a job should be done by the best person for it, regardless of background, privileges, sex, religion or any other possible reason for division.

Demanding that possible candidates be disqualified because of their sex is an act of negative discrimination (is there any other kind?) and should not be allowed.

The simple fact is that the Labour Party did not support the female candidates for leader or deputy leader – not because they were female, but because of their policy proposals.

Regarding the shadow cabinet appointments, This Writer does not have inside information about the deliberations that took place. However, considering the complaints about those appointments are coming from two people who have deliberately left Labour’s front bench, it is clear that they should not be taken seriously.

Let’s not have any more of this.

Additional: It seems John Prescott agrees with me. Not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing… He said: “I think that’s their right, of course, [not to serve in the shadow cabinet] but then don’t complain if the cabinet’s not of your own making. I mean, we’ve just seen that with Harriet, about five or six of their leading women refused to stand, and then complained about the make up of the cabinet. Look, that’s just not on. It’s each individual’s right to do that but don’t criticise a cabinet when it’s made up from 45% of the women members in the PLP and more women than men in his cabinet. So why the hell are you moaning?”

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Another Cameron lie: Energy companies’ profits are unaffected by his changes – and we still pay

Cost shock: Even the Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph has been complaining about high energy prices - as demonstrated by this cartoon from 2012.

Cost shock: Even the Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph has been complaining about high energy prices – as demonstrated by this cartoon from 2012.

To borrow a favourite David Cameron phrase: Let us be clear on this – any savings on your fuel bills as a result of the Coalition government’s policy change will be added to general taxation in another way and you will still pay.

Energy firms’ profits, which have tripled since 2010, will be unaffected. Cameron’s plan is akin to shifting deckchairs on the Titanic (to borrow another well-known saying).

Why on Earth does he think anybody is going to be deceived by this silliness?

Even with the changes in place, prices will still rise by an average of around £70, at a time when people were already being forced to choose between (let’s have yet another now-tired phrase) heating and eating. Average household incomes have dropped by nine per cent since David Cameron made himself Prime Minister by the back door three years ago.

Average pay for bosses of FTSE-100 companies has risen by 20 times the rate of pay growth for most workers, just in the last year. And let’s not forget that they were getting much higher than average pay already!

It should surprise nobody that all of the ‘Big Six’ energy firms are part of the FTSE-100 – or were, before foreign takeovers.

This means average pay for these companies’ bosses should be around £2,321,700, while profits have risen to £2 billion – up 75 per cent on last year (according to the Independent reports).

None of this will be changed by David Cameron’s measures, which were hastily cobbled together in a bungled bid to regain the initiative from Labour, whose plan to freeze energy prices and re-order the energy market has captured the public imagination.

Instead Cameron – who once campaigned under the slogan ‘Vote Blue – Go Green’ – will postpone green policy targets to a later date, cutting the so-called ‘green levy’ on the energy firms accordingly. This means the UK will be forced to rely on greenhouse gas-producing carbon fuels for longer.

Subsidies for people in fuel poverty will be moved into general taxation, meaning we pay for them rather than the energy firms who should.

“Even after these changes to levies, energy bills are still rising and the average household will still be paying £70 more for their energy than last winter,” said Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Caroline Flint. “Any help is better than none, but you can judge this Government by who they’re asking to pick up the tab – the taxpayer. The energy companies have got off scot-free.

“This shows why nothing less than a price freeze and action to reset the market to stop the energy companies overcharging again in the future will do.”

She was expected to tell the IPPR thinktank today: “If David Cameron and Nick Clegg think just doing what the energy companies ask of them is the answer to bills being too high, they are wrong.

“Energy bills have gone up by £120 this winter alone, so even with a £50 cut in levies, people’s bills will still be higher this winter than last year. The real reason bills are rising year on year without justification is because the energy market is broken.

“Instead of bailing out the energy companies, David Cameron should stand up to them and stop them overcharging people.”

But we all know that David Cameron never stands up to his corporate masters, don’t we?

(Vox Political‘s Mike Sivier will be talking about the energy scandal, along with the continuing cover-up of DWP-related deaths on Sonia Poulton Live today. You can see it by visiting www.thepeoplesvoice.tv, starting at 5pm.)

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