Post Brexit, the future is…… Australian!

by Ray_North on September 22, 2016

images-1G’Day Sport!
Throw another snag on the barbie and open us a tinny.
We had better get used to it, because the future of Britain is no longer dependent upon our relations with Europe, but, according to the Government and the Brexiters, Australia.

Yep, fear not – the fact that the EU is showing no inclination towards a treaty which allows us all of the benefits of the single market without the inconvenience of free movement of people; or that the Americans aren’t really in any state to offer us anything, whilst the old colonial nations of India, Pakistan and Canada haven’t exactly gone beyond platitudes either, it’s all going to be ok, because the Aussies have said that they’d love to deal with us.

But, not for another couple of years – which I’m going to put that to one side, lest I be accused of having no confidence in the great nation of Britain.

The truth is that having been part of the EU and the Single Market, part of the group of nations responsible for ensuring the socio-economic success of one of the historically most turbulent continents in the world (forget Africa, just look at what we, the French and the Germans have been doing to each other over the last 200 years and more), the idea that our future is going to be improved because we have a trade deal wth Australia that is independent of the EU is utterly preposterous. Indeed, how the supposedly intelligent Brexiteers can offer us, with a straight face, Australia as an alternative to the EU is beyond me.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love Australia, I think Sydney is a wonderful city, and I’ve nothing but time and respect for most of the Australians I’ve met. I’ve got nothing against the idea of closer economic or trade ties with the Aussies, but, to suggest that a trade deal with Australia can somehow compensate for the absence of an influence in Europe is just plain stupid.

For a start, even if we do conclude a trade deal with the Aussies, at best it will simply include an agreement on tariffs, perhaps an arrangement regarding border regulations for imports and exports, maybe some commercial incentives – but nothing will enable us to actually dictate the employment practices, manufacturing regulations, tax structures and border controls. And, of course, we will never have a say over who is in control of the Aussie Central Bank and their government; nor, will we have a direct democratic link to their Parliament. These are all things that we enjoyed with EU – we had a say on the tax policies of our fellow Europeans, we had a say on the policy being pursued by the European Central Bank; we had a direct democratic link to the Parliament. All things that half the country took for granted. Things which made our trading relations with Europe absolutely sensation.

We won’t have any of that with anyone else, be it Australia, Canada or Timbuktu.

When we get to the nuts and bolts of it Australia isn’t even near to being one of the UK’s top trading partners, we export more to Switzerland and Belgium than we do to Australia – whilst much of what Australia exports, typically minerals and food produce, we will still probably get cheaper from elsewhere regardless of a trade deal. Nor is Australia, with the best will in the world, at the forefront of the technological industries or the business and financial industries which are vital to the UK economy. Nor are Australian companies likely to relocate to the UK, because of a shortage of room, a shortage of skills or regulatory compatibility which has been the case with Dutch, German and French companies in the last two decades.

The reality is that whatever trade deal Britain makes with Australia, it won’t go a single inch towards compensating for our exit from the EU. The fanfare about Australiimagesa, was clearly a bit of froth blown around by the Brexiteers to try to compensate for the fact that they have absolutely no clue what is going to happen to the UK now that we are out of Europe.

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It is getting scary now – Donald Trump might win

by Charlie_East_West on September 15, 2016

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2016 is proving to be a shit year. Our iconic celebrities are dying, the Tories have no real opposition and don’t even get me started on Brexit. There is enough shit news out there at present but potentially even worse is to follow. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Donald Trump has a real chance of becoming President. This horrible, borderline fascist, bullying, dangerous salesman may well have his hands on the nuclear button very soon.

Numerous left of centre, liberal friends of mine remain unconvinced. They point to historical trends, demographics and polls to highlight why he will lose, and yet, unfathomably, he is surging in the polls. He has moved ahead in national polls, and critically has moved ahead in key swing states of Ohio and Florida and is running neck and neck in states like New Hampshire.

Perhaps we all live in an echo chamber seeking out confirmation as to why Trump can’t win. Perhaps he will lose. Perhaps perhaps perhaps. That is all we have right now, a whole set of presumptions about old election trends to keep us warm at night rather than keeping us awake at night worrying about the appalling consequences of Trump winning. We remain utterly convinced that a flawed yet capable politician like Hillary Clinton will win. Surely the American electorate are not so dumb as to vote for Trump?

Yet, there he is. Teflon coated billionaire Donald Trump, winning the GOP nomination and now pushing ahead of Clinton in the polls. So, we all have to get our heads out of the sand and consider a massively inconvenient truth. Donald Trump can win this election…And here’s how:-

Trump has already succeeded in winning elections – over the past year of 56 primaries and caucuses, the GOP establishment threw the kitchen sink at Trump and yet they still lost. Despite Trump’s pissing off the entire party and offending millions of people with his fear and loathing brand of xenophobia, nothing could stop his momentum. This has to be acknowledged and to prevent him winning in November, the reasons behind his ongoing success have to be tackled (and quickly) by the Democrats.

Turnout is key – Trump gets his vote out and gets new voters in. And therein lies a massive problem for Hillary in November – who is going to have the most obsessive, motivated, angry protest voters – who will actually show up to vote? Yes. It is him. Hillary meanwhile has a major apathy problem. If she doesn’t get her vote out then she is in big trouble. And this leads me onto…

Hillary’s terrible campaign – she is continuing to pick the wrong fights with Trump. By stating that he is a nasty piece of work is the wrong strategy. The GOP tried this and failed. She is continuing down this path and guess what? she is failing. We all know what Trump is, yet his momentum continues. So why bother even going there? What Hillary needs to do is change the message and fast. Hope is surely a better selling point than fear, or perhaps I am being idealistic. Perhaps we now live in a world where fear beats hope. If so, we all live in dangerous times.

The key swing states – The US election now feels like the EU vote. It is turning into a massive protest vote based on all the wrong things to get angry about – like immigration. But, the actual result will be decided by a number of key swing states – within the rust belt north east (and also Florida). The rust belt states and their communities have had their hopes dashed and their American dreams broken. It feels like a Springsteen lament up there. This creates a hopeless disenfranchised mentality – and one that Trump is manipulating and exploiting by stating that he will ‘Make America Great Again’. Although Clinton was ahead in these key states, her poll lead is slipping fast, and in the case of Ohio, Trump is now ahead in the polls. If she loses in the rust belt, it is over. She is toast.

Trump is likely to hold the traditional midwest and southern GOP states, so it becomes a dogfight over the swing states in the rust belt and also in Florida. In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. Add up Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – that is 64. Add in Florida and Colorado and Trump wins. Recent polls indicate that he is now within the margin of achieving this.

So what is the situation right now? The polls in the key states are narrowing. Clinton has health concerns. Trump has momentum and energy. This one is going down to the wire. It is getting very scary now.

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#1085: 2016, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree

September 15, 2016

When Nick Cave’s 15 year old son Arthur died of head injuries after falling from a cliff last July, a parent’s greatest fear and worst nightmare became so horribly real for him. After a period of private mourning, Cave has now released a breathtakingly beautiful, grief-strewn album about the tragic loss of his son. A […]

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The boundary changes aren’t just about party politics

September 15, 2016

If we’ve learned one vital from the Brexit debate, it’s that the people of the UK are profoundly underwhelmed by our democracy – the prevailing feeling from the doorstep was that not only did people have little confidence in Europe, but, but they didn’t have a great deal of confidence in Westminster either. People felt […]

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Northern Ireland Boundary Proposals: Good News For Sinn Fein?

September 12, 2016

Tuesday sees the Boundary Commissions for England and Wales publish their draft recommendations for the Parliamentary constituency boundaries for the next general election. But as a taster, Norther Ireland’s commission published their draft recommendations a week earlier. These appear to offer good news for Sinn Fein, less good news for the Ulster Unionist Party and […]

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Back Of The Net Special With Ray North – The Legendary Pre-Season Preview

August 17, 2016

Ok – it’s a week late, but I’ve been on holiday, and there’s been the Olympics and, well, you know, life gets in the way. But, I’ve now got five minutes to spare and can share my thoughts on what I think will be the most interesting football season, since, well, since the last one. […]

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…..Meanwhile, back at Lib-Dem Headquarters…….

August 15, 2016

Everything should be going really well…. shouldn’t it? Er no. Despite the fact that the Labour Party is in absolute disarray, the Tories have conducted a swift, but bloody civil war, and half the nation (well almost) has decided that it is in favour of Europe, the Lib-Dems are still struggling. Opinion Polls last week, […]

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#1084: 1980, Grace Jones, Private Life

August 10, 2016

There are great albums and then there are very good albums. For me, truly great albums are a pantheon of about 50 or so and few artists record more than one. For example, taking The Beatles, Revolver, Abbey Road and Sergeant Pepper are great albums whilst Help, Rubber Soul and The White Album are very […]

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The Republicans Can’t Dump Trump

August 8, 2016

As Donald Trump’s chances of becoming the 45th President of the United States have plummeted over the last ten days (13 points behind Hillary Clinton among likely voters in the latest Monmouth University poll released today) there has been growing speculation that the Republican Party might need a Plan B to stay in the running. […]

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#1083: 2009, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Home

July 25, 2016

We had a couple of days of sunshine up here – which was strange as it was July, school holidays and up here, is North Wales where things don’t tend to get sunny. What was even stranger was that the sunshine co-incided with me having a few hours off work – so, I decided to […]

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Jeremy Corbyn and the Cult of Personality

July 25, 2016

Battle is joined. After Angela Eagle had the balls to step up and challenge Corbyn for the Labour leadership and then nobly stood aside for Owen Smith so there was a unity challenger, we now have maybe the last chance to save the Labour Party as a coherent political force. Something that after Brexit and […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #69: 1971, Wake In Fright (Ted Kotcheff)

July 23, 2016

John Grant: ‘What do you do?’ Doc Tydon: ‘I drink’ The title is misleading. This is not a horror movie. Well  maybe it is in a way, but it is certainly not a horror movie in a traditional sense. There isn’t actually a bad character in it, let alone an evil one. Pretty much every […]

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#1082: 1977, Suicide, Ghost Rider

July 23, 2016

Last week saw the sad death of Alan Vega, the lead singer of New York electronic punk act, Suicide, who have so far never had a song in Songs To Learn and Sing. With their minimalistic electronic sounds and repetitive drum machine backing, Suicide were in their way almost as influential as Kraftwerk. Famous for […]

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Euro 2016: Well done Wales and why England are so woeful….

July 18, 2016

Let’s take some brief morsel of respite from our increasingly bizarre world and consider the recent European Football Championships. I predicted before the competition that the last four would comprise of Poland, Italy, Germany and France – I got two right, but the Poles and Italians, who both looked good in the group stage, perished […]

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Will You Be My Running Mate?

July 14, 2016

To take my mind off the car crash that is British politics, and the Labour Party in particular, I am having a look at the key decision that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be taking over the next eight days on the eve of the two parties’ conventions: who will stand to be […]

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Does Jeremy Corbyn Need the Support of 51 MPs to be on the Leadership Ballot?

July 11, 2016

By the end of Wednesday we will have a new Prime Minister, as Theresa May succeeds David Cameron, without challenge. The Tories will to power is once again triumphant – they made the mistake once in 2001, choosing IDS over Ken Clarke – we know now that they won’t make it again. Andrea Leadsom will […]

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I was wrong about Jeremy….

July 11, 2016

This time last year, I embarked upon a short-lived and rather embarrassing Summer romance. I was tired with my relationship, bored with doing the usual things and listening to the same old stories; I wanted something new and exciting, I wanted something different. I wanted that button popping passion that comes an illicit and dangerous […]

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Labour’s Catch 22

July 10, 2016

Given that there is now going to be a leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn, as he refuses to stand down despite losing the confidence of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the position seems to be: (i) Labour’s NEC implementing the Rules keep Jeremy Corbyn off the ballot (as he will not be able to get the […]

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Some Initial Thoughts On Chilcot and the Legailty of the Iraq War

July 7, 2016

As if we haven’t had enough to be thinking about in the last couple of weeks, Sir John Chilcot chose this week of all the weeks in the seven years he has been writing his report on the Iraq war to release his report.  The media has focused heavily on the report’s criticisms of Tony […]

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#1081: 1957, Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock

July 7, 2016

A couple of reasons for my pick today.  Firstly I went to see Elvis & Nixon with Jackie South last Sunday.  A small but entertaining enough film (with a superb performance by Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon) about the bizarre true story of the King of Rock N Roll turning up announced at the White […]

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Britain. Stop it now. Go home. You’re drunk.

July 6, 2016

Britain. Stop it now. Go home. You’re drunk. Success lies in the choices. And when you are drunk, you tend to make some pretty stupid choices. Our choice on June 23rd was a spectacularly stupid choice. Voting to leave the EU is a bit like what happens when you try and fix a faulty watch […]

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What, in the name of God, is going on?

June 30, 2016

Right, so let’s get this right…. The Tories don’t like Europe, but some Tories dislike it an awful lot more than others. So, David Cameron, to try to unite his party and take the steam out of UKIP (and for that matter the more pro-European Labour and Lib-Dems), declares that he will hold a referendum […]

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#1080: 2016, Meilyr Jones, Refugees

June 23, 2016

Our ‘europop’ theme on Songs To Learn And Sing has faltered and lacking inspiration for it myself I’ve decided to post this instead – a beautiful, touching song from my current favourite album, 2013. In some uncertain indirect way it feels appropriate on this big political day with so much at stake. PS Bear with […]

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Why I’ll Be Voting Remain

June 21, 2016

We are now only 40 hours or so from polls opening on the most momentous vote the British public has been asked to take since, well since last time we were asked to vote on this very same issue in 1975. The difference is, of course, this time it looks very close indeed. Given the […]

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The EU isn’t perfect, but it is so much better than the alternative

June 20, 2016

Of the All That’s Left gang, I was the one who hadn’t made my mind up on the day the EU Referendum was called. After all, the criticism that the EU is not that democratic and instead is a club where deals get made behind the scenes is a fair one. What is worse, it […]

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Week 24: Villain – Donald Trump

June 19, 2016

Last Week’s Villain of the Week was Donald Trump This is an Award we can be pretty sure that Donald Trump is going to win a lot between now and the General Election on the first Tuesday of November. He is the most egotistical, most bigoted and least suited candidate to have won the candidacy […]

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Villain: Week 23 – Tyson Fury

June 19, 2016

Villain of the Week for 2 weeks ago was Tyson Fury Tyson Fury is obviously a very talented boxer. But sadly he is also a bigot. He has in the past made a series of anti-semitic, misogynistic and homophobic comments.   Sadly, despite the controversy around his nomination for BBC Sports Personality of the Year for […]

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Week 22: Villain – Alexander Gauman

June 19, 2016

Week 22’s Villain of the Week Award went to Alexander Gauland, the Deputy leader of the AfD We are a few Villain of the Week Awards behind. This is wholly down to me and a crazy month. But in an attempt to catch up and rather pertinently given both the nasty racist rhetoric of a […]

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By-Election Special: Tooting

June 15, 2016

Today sees the by-election in Tooting following the resignation of Sadiq Khan as he takes on the Mayoralty of London Much of the talk about today’s Tooting by-election has been about the tightness of the result last year. Without the advantage of Sadiq Khan’s 11 years’ incumbency, is Labour in trouble in this part of south […]

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Week 24: Prat – Sarah Wollaston MP

June 15, 2016

This week, Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston wins our regular award for prattish behaviour It is, of course, entirely acceptable for politicians to change their mind. That is particularly true of course if they change their mind to agree with me, for example deciding to vote Remain rather than Leave in next week’s EU referendum. It […]

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