Election Data Point

So, ‘This Brexit thing has given me a direct motivation to get more involved in the politics.’ That'll help then.........

So, ‘This Brexit thing has given me a direct motivation to get more involved in the politics.’ That'll help then.........

The Bank Holiday weekend has delivered a welcome respite for most from the General Election campaign which actually, is delivering all that was expected with few surprises. The Conservatives are pitching the ‘strong and stable,’ script with tedious monotony and downplaying their strong lead lest the volatile electorate begin to sniff some trace of a sense of entitlement from them. Labour continue to veer off in so many directions it is difficult to keep up, especially so for the blundering idiot charged with leading them over the cliff which he will achieve with almost no effort at all, (although I’m convinced he won’t make it to the end of the campaign and suspect he’ll have a breakdown long before the end of May). The LibDems have got themselves in a right old tizzy with their leader, Tim Farron, (he’s the one that looks like a Spitting Image puppet thats been left in direct sunlight for too long), seemingly unsure of where he stands on the gay sex thing and he now tells us he’s ‘a bit of a Eurosceptic.’ Right on Timmy boy. All those supporters who knit their own clothes and cut their own hair will have been pulling it out in clumps over the weekend. The SNP meanwhile are still being mean about the English and deflecting criticism about education in Scotland like true Dodgeball champions while UKIP appear to have spontaneously combusted without many people having noticed. Across the main parties there is an unseemly rush to the exits with shouts of ‘Carpe Diem,’ from a raft of special political advisors and party apparatchiks, anxious to grab a safe seat from retiring members of Parliament and the political press can’t believe their luck that Westminster just keeps on giving with their workload brimming over with yet another election.

So far so good. 

There is change though. Some of it subtle enough to be missed, or ignored by the mainstream. The first concerns Corbyn, which I will deal with in this post. There has been a gentle hidden hand on the tiller attempting to alter the narrative where Corbyn's relationship with Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA is concerned. The historical canvas is being recoloured to suggest that during all the years that Corbyn was involved with, and supported PIRA, he did so in pursuit and attainment of peace. This is facile nonsense. Corbyn voted against the peace process and with it the Anglo Irish agreement. This is the man who hosted Sinn Fein in the Houses of Parliament just weeks after the Brighton bombing. The same man who was a mouthpiece for the Republican pressure group in the UK, Troops Out. Corbyn regularly attended and spoke at commemorations for terrorists in the eighties and was general secretary of the left wing publication Labour Briefing,’ which supported PIRA atrocities and backed the Brighton bombing which lets remind ourselves, killed five and maimed 31. While Corbyn was honouring dead PIRA terrorists, PIRA ‘prisoners of war,’ and the active ‘soldiers of the IRA,’ families across the United Kingdom were grieving for those men women and children murdered by the terrorist and those left with broken bodies and minds, civilian and military alike. Corbyn and his acolytes are being allowed to rewrite history and it stinks. This man wanted the IRA to win and to win at any cost. If he had been sincere in pursuing a peaceful outcome he would have supported not criticised John Hume and the SDLP. He did not though. Instead he supported the bad guys and moreover, supported a continuance of extreme violence. 

DUP MP Nigel Dodds attacks Jeremy Corbyn, and Shadow Chancellor (John McDonnell) who in the past has called for IRA terrorists to be 'honoured' Notice the silence and glum expressions from the Labour benches after the question is asked.

The difficult truth for Corbyn is that the Provisionals lost. They were forced to negotiate when they realised they their organisation was riddled from top to bottom by British security intelligence and the cost of continuing was unsustainable. Even when the peace process was gaining traction Corbyn and John McDonnell could not bring themselves to support it. Corbyn in fact was a very long way from helping any successful outcome and over the years made a contribution to prolonging the conflict. 

The Manchester bombing in 1996; 3,500 lbs of Semtex and ammonium nitrate in an area where 80,000 people worked or were shopping.

The Manchester bombing in 1996; 3,500 lbs of Semtex and ammonium nitrate in an area where 80,000 people worked or were shopping.

Certainly, as far as I am concerned the concept of anyone voting for a man who supported people who would have liked nothing better than to give me or any one of my friends a headshot or blow us to bits all over the nearest three villages is total anathema. To my mind, anyone who does is spitting on the grave of all those who suffered at the hands of the terrorist and is disrespecting their memory. So too, are those who choose not to report the truth.

Brenda from Bristol with Crumble from Compton

Brenda from Bristol has a few words to say on behalf of all of us

Tonight, fifty or more Labour Members of Parliament will be staring into the bottom of their glasses contemplating P45's thudding onto their door mats in fifty one days time with love and best wishes from the Great British Public, (although it is regrettable to see that someone of Alan Johnson's calibre is standing down). Many of them will see it as a merciful release from the hell that is public life under their inept comedy act of a leader, Jeremy Corbyn. With all leave cancelled for political journalists the rest of us will be subjected to a daily battering from the media, led by that ghastly Kuensberg woman on the BBC. Thankfully, British elections are relatively short and sharp affairs and with the better weather, I am sure we'll muddle through as usual.

Theresa May has made what is probably the right decision in the best interests of the country, standing as she does at an extraordinary confluence of political events. If she gets the result she is aiming for it will strengthen our negotiating stance with Europe and indeed, will probably be welcomed by most of Europe who are if anything more keen to get the ball rolling to end the uncertainty for themselves inside the union. For her personally, she has launched a thundering broadside at her critics which is a bit cruel given the disarray her opponents are in but politically, is very astute.

Enquiring minds might though, be wondering if there are any other reasons which might explain why she has pulled the trigger now?

Of course there are.

I have been thinking for some time that Tony Blair is up to something. It was always unlikely that his ego would allow him to stand idly by and allow the Corbyn faction to completely purge the Labour Party and its machinery of all Blairites and everything they stand for. I also think whatever his plans are, they probably involve the repatriation of the exiled David Milliband from New York. That being the case it makes sense for Theresa May to announce an election before New Labour, or Old New Labour or whatever they'll call themselves have chance to launch and gain party and electoral traction. Clearly, inevitable electoral evisceration on the 8th June will trigger a Labour split or reverse takeover by the moderates but that, in whatever form, if successful still leaves them staring down the barrel of a new five year Tory term rather than the three that was left on the clock until this morning.

Second, my personal view of stock markets is that there is a high probability of a significant market event in the August - November time frame. I expect weakness in April to continue but rather than the 'sell in May and go away and don't come back 'till St Ledger Day,' mantra, I think we'll have a pretty strong summer rally. That will be the concluding move in what is a very mature bull market. The fall out from this market event will be significant, marking as it will not just the conclusion of the rally from the 2009 low but the end of much longer market cycles. I'll cover this in more detail another time but suffice to say, better to be Prime Minister with four years still on the clock, rather than eighteen months, when a bad thing happens economically.

Third, the summer Mediterranean Migration season has kicked off with large inflatables carrying hundreds of migrants leaving Turkey and Libya every day. This season is predicted to be a big one. If Turkey continues down the route it has chosen then a breakdown in relations with the EU could see the collapse of the agreement between the EU and Turkey to manage the flow of migrants. Pictures on our television news will not harm the Conservative campaign and will no doubt influence the imminent French elections and those in Germany later this year.

I'll be keeping a keen eye open for entertainment from Jezza and LibDem fall guy Tim Fallon who would look over-promoted running a minor branch of McDonalds. In fact, if he had four pens in his top pocket and a bunch of keys hanging off his belt he would be that man. The best fun though will be found watching the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson. That woman is a feisty ball of fire and would make a great soldier...... except once she was.

I Quite Liked It Before Actually

Last week the diligent fellows at the Office of National Statistics happily informed us that our little Island is about to get a tad more crowded. The current population is around 64m, that's just over 10m more than when I was born or roughly 20%, half of which has happened since 2001. The ONS reckon there will be some 74.3m of us queuing at the doctor's surgeries in 25 years time. Happily, I for one will have no need of South West Trains then because given they can't cope now they'll never manage with those numbers but what about the pubs? With apparently up to 29 pubs closing every week they'll never fit us all in. That's a national crisis brewing right there if ever I saw one.

The huge net increase almost all results from immigration, ('this is 6.6 million or 9.8% higher than the zero-net-migration (natural change) variant'), and the impact that has on the birth rate. While there are complicating factors, longevity being the most obvious, its clear that Tony and Gordon's social experiment of letting more immigrants in over a ten year period than came in the previous 1000 years is going to have social consequences although you can be sure, not for Tony and Gordon. 

There are positive economic advantages to the trend and we certainly don't have the grave issues of population profile which are threatening future prosperity in countries like Japan and Germany, although the Germans do appear to have woken up to the problem and in recent months have taken an industrial approach to solving it. No, our problems are more culturally orientated and connected to national and local identity. We've seen it be diluted in just one generation and its clear that the land that our grandchildren will be born to will be radically different to the one that we knew as children. It has I suppose seemed like a far away place for a long time as it is but I do retain a misty eyed memory of a country I saw the last vestiges of when a young boy. A place where men wore hats all the time, where courtesy came as standard and where anyone who collected his weekly pay in a brown packet whistled while he worked. 

Quite frankly, I would be back there like a shot if I could. So, just for fun lets take a quick trip back to the place where an ordinary GP with a curious and inquisitive mind could conjure up a world leading invention. 

There is nothing about that clip that I don't like. From the boffins in tweed suits, the GP with odd bits of Mecanno keeping his Heath Robinson contraption together, the ashtray by the telephone, the doctor doing house calls, the received pronunciation message, (IWOOT), and.... the soldering. Bit of a lost art, soldering these days. With built in obsolescence  manufacturers assume a 'use and replace withing 7 years,' marketing approach. Hardly anyone repairs anything. Not on my watch. Taking something apart in 20 mins and then spending 3 months figuring out how to put it back together is one of the joys of being a Dad, 'leave it to me son; I'll tackle this one,' or, 'no love, don't even think about buying a new one; I'll have that washing machine as good as new in a jiffy.' She did get a little anxious when I sent the little guy 30 ft under the floorboards when we wired the barn up but it was a moment of nostalgia for me; my own father sent me under the floorboards quite regularly actually when he was wiring up whatever was his latest project. Anyway, we got the young fella back and the place hasn't yet burned down. So, here we go, in praise of soldering, aforementioned youngest making an 8x8x8 LED Cube when he was 14...................... (don't ever start one of these btw... they are difficult, time consuming and a real baxtard to get to the complete programmed finished state).

Arguing Not Debating

The unedifying squabbling over the proposed televised pre election debates characterises the campaign so far. It’s full of half-truths, mistruths and untruths from all participants. That not one of them have the courage to face up, or face down the elephant in the room which is the out of control all-consuming monster NHS has become is immoral and appalling. It’s going to have to be dealt with by someone at some point and that point will be when we’re in abject crisis and there is no other choice. Some would say a crisis is now only ever one series virus away. Rather, the debates bring debate down to the lowest denominator with the contenders slinging as much mud as they can articulate knowing that there is no time to refute what they say and hope that some of it sticks. It invariably does.

Lord Grade waded into the television debate today and put television heads firmly in their box by telling them they don’t run democracy and it’s not their place to make pronouncements on who should appear, when and with whom. Well said Lord Grade.

There is rarely an incentive for an incumbent to appear in such orchestrated events. They can go badly wrong as Alistair Darling discovered last year in the Referendum debate. Moreover, the make-it-up-as-you-go-along mudslinging is a very real issue, especially if the debate is not strongly moderated which we also saw last year. I suspect this year that another factor is at work and that is that David Cameron has probably been told by donors categorically that they will not support him if he appears in more than one debate. This is important. There are likely to be two general elections this year, one in May and another in the Autumn to clean the mess up. That will require deeper resources than the parties can currently finance so any quiet conditionality, or “advice,” with donations may have more resonance than might otherwise have been the case.

David Cameron will be aware too that it is always easy to disadvantage the core support you know you can take for granted in order to play to the prejudices of the few floaters over whom the battle is really being fought. Yet the electorate is becoming more fickle and therefore fragmented so it becomes dangerous to take any of them for granted.

Perhaps we ought to remember that Tony Blair ducked debates on the advice of Campbell, something that appears to have been conveniently forgotten. After all, in 80yrs of television we have only had one set of televised debates and it was hardly fair. In my view,  I reckon the squabbling it goes on the less likely they will happen and that perhaps is a mild positive for democracy.

Tony Blair; Sanctimonious Twat

Oh thank you, thank you... I do love listening to high level psychopaths! -- Tony Blair, in a forward to Alistair Campbells new book, according to the Daily Telegraph, says that his empathy toward Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, David Trimble and Ian Paisley was vital in the peace process in Northern Ireland. Some of us might be moved to replace "empathy," with "giving hardened terrorists whatever they ask for and letting cold cynical murderers of soldiers, policemen and civilians off scott free."

Funny how it's all about Tony. It's as if I and the hundreds of thousands of others who spent part of our young lives in the Province over a 30 year period never existed. The Provisional's came to the table because we had won the intelligence war and people in Northern Ireland were exhausted by conflict.

He claims nonetheless that he is a successful mediator as he is good as "absorbing" other people’s pain. The former prime minister says he is able to make two enemies see each as human again as he can take on and transmit their raw emotions.

I wonder if our dead and wounded from the two subsequent Middle Eastern wars see it that way. 

Sanctimonious twat.


"The first such foreign policy defeat since 1782"

Last nights vote against intervention was a victory for Parliament who, for once, listened rather than heard and saw rather than looked. The lack of enthusiasm for catapulting us into conflict without a strong case being made to the country, without limitations and without a clear aim has been greeted with relief. Wisdom and maturity have prevailed.

The problem doesn't go away but there is a clear instruction to the government that having done exhaustive preparatory planning,  they must then engage and explain. We're not going to war off the cuff again. We value our country and the lives of our servicemen somewhat higher than the price of post Prime Ministerial American lecture tours.

The clear loser is David Cameron. The Prime Minister has a reputation in Westminster for being idle. He is thought not to anticipate problems coming down the tracks, (partly through not reading briefs thoroughly). This leads to ill thought out solutions hurriedly thrown together. If he spent more time working hard and less time on the beach, (more holidays than most Prime Ministers in modern times), he might not be so disconnected from the prevailing sentiment of the country, Parliament and indeed his own party. 

As my friend Stephen Lewis, (Chief Economist at Monument Securities), points out, 

"Before Mr Miliband and a number of Tory MP's frustrated his plans,  Cameron argued that any military action against Syria had to be ‘specific’.  ‘This is not about getting involved in a Middle Eastern war,’ he said.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mr Cameron’s stance, one thing is clear.  It would not be for him alone to say whether the outcome would be war.  That would partly depend also on the reaction of Syria and its allies to what they would see as NATO aggression.  One could sympathise with Mr Cameron in the position in which he found himself.  He knows that, to win general support for military action against the Syrian regime, he must at all costs avoid presenting it as the prelude to the kind of adventures Blair initiated in Afghanistan and Iraq.  There is every reason to believe he is sincere in thinking that Syria could be attacked with no further consequences.  Even so, it is disconcerting that he should contemplate action while taking for granted that war will not ensue.  In this, he shares a mindset that has developed within the ruling elite in the developed world.  It does not occur to members of this elite that their decisions might have results other than those they intend.  Consequently, they make no adequate provision for contingencies." 

That he has failed in his first big test creates a pretty big political problem for him. He is not without enemies within his party and many will now be less timid in articulating their concerns. It should be an interesting party season.

Having put a stake in the ground, perhaps the Americans will now prove to be more supportive going forward on issues like the Falklands and Gibraltar

Markets meanwhile, are somewhat relieved that short term uncertainty is removed yet have still to even countenance longer term political change which may result from the events of this week.

Congratulations though, to all those MP's who had the moral courage to stand up for what they believed in. 

Blair At Last Does the Right Thing


In the post, "A Tale of Two Men,"and again in "Shameless," I criticised Tony Blair for exploiting his previous high office for personal gain, without regard for the broken bodies, broken minds, the widows and fatherless children his actions had resulted in. In comparing his accumulation of wealth from speech tours and book advances I highlighted the activities of others who, despite being war wounded themselves, were actively working for the benefit of similarly wounded men. 

It's good to see therefore, that Mr Blair has done the right thing in donating the proceeds of his forthcoming memoirs to the Royal British Legion.

Royal Tournament Revival


One of the early acts of rampant vandalism against our national heritage and institutions, perpetrated by Tony Blair and his cronies, was binning the Royal Tournament.

Whispers reach me suggesting it might be back on, albeit in reduced form which is not a surprise given the hatchet that's been taken to all the services whilst ramping up their commitments over the last eleven years.

Still, it'll be good to have it back in any form. Goodness knows we'll need something to cheer us along in the dark and grim days that lie ahead.

For aficionados, here once again is the Last Run of the Field Gun competition.


Blair; Shameless

In the post, "A Tale of Two Men," I compared that shameless Tony Blair with another man who, sent to war as a Territorial, returned badly wounded and without compensation. Yet, he has devoted his energy to setting up a charity to help others with life changing injuries in his situation and their carers. What indeed did you do in the war Mr Blair?

It's interesting now therefore, that the Attack Dogs of the press are setting about Blair and beginning to dismantle any pretence of good works since he left office. When even the Guardian is joining in, you know it's not just angry middle aged men in Haslemere that feel deep distaste at the exploitation of his office for personal gain when we have so many young lives wrecked at his behest.

In fact, the Guardian is even launching a competition with a prize for anyone "who can shine the brightest light on those financial structures."

I don't much care about the opaque and complex tax efficient financial structures. I don't even care about how many millions of pounds Mr Blair has or will earn. I care that he appears to have absolved himself of his moral responsibility to give something back. Here is one example that has crossed our desk this week,

50 yr old ex infanteer with major PTSD issues after being involved in a rather famous incident in NI. Served 16 years, whole life is in a mess but one thing that needs addressing immediately is his bedding and mattress. He's completely incontinent, a direct result of his illness. Been too embarrassed to mention it to anyone.

If you want to help Mr Blair you can contact me at hofj@mentalcrumble.com and I'll tell everyone you did the right thing or no one, just as you wish.

A Tale of Two Men

Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more likely to drive me into the sort of apoplectic rage that makes me levitate off the sofa and attack the television set with blunt instruments, than seeing President Bloody Blair on it. Supercilious and superior git.

You can imagine therefore, the grating sense of irritation that enveloped me when I learned that his memoirs will be published in September. "Tony Blair: The Journey aims to 'describe the human as much as the political dimensions of life as prime minister'" Oh just fvck off......... I mostly won't be reading it and I'll never again buy whichever newspaper serialises what will inevitably be a self congratulatory and indulgent work of fiction. I can only hope it'll be the Guardian.

Some demented and delusional fool has paid a fortune for the rights. Up to £5m was the number banded around when the deal was struck with Random House. £5m? I'm bloody speechless. The chap at Waterstones isn't though, "This is a book that people have been anticipating since the moment Tony Blair left office, and should be the bestselling political memoir since Margaret Thatcher's," said politics buyer Andrew Lake. If you needed an explanation as to why Waterstones is doing so badly and dragging it's parent HMV down then look no further.

The thing is, and this is the real point here, Blair committed our Armed Forces to years of conflict in different theatres resulting in many, many hundreds of dead and thousands who will live with the legacy of life changing injuries. You can find the stats for Iraq here and Afghanistan here. In doing so, he presided over a government that whittled the Army down to the smallest it's been for 160 years. Just for the record, Morrisons Supermarket has more employees than the British Army which is now so small you could fit the whole lot into Wembley Stadium and still have plenty of room to march what little there is left of our bands up and down the middle.

Has Mr Blair donated or does he plan to do the right thing and donate any part of his £5m to the charities who are left attempting to pick up the pieces from the damage he's wrought? Well, no word of it yet but there is a moral responsibility on this man to contribute in some way to the lives he was happy to risk. Profiting from his time as Prime Minister during these campaigns is simply distasteful. It's been fashionable for years to think of Field Marshal Haig as a "butcher," or "donkey," after the slaughter on the Western Front. Haig though, devoted the rest of his life to the welfare of those who served and was held in very high esteem by his former soldiers. I know that Blair won't be the recipient of similar sentiment.

Fortunately, we breed better men in this country. Despite having the appalling affliction from birth of being a Yorkshireman, former L/Cpl Adam Douglas is one of life's winners in the game of, "lets make it as tough as it can be for ourselves." Mr Douglas forgot to duck when some Iraqi with anger management issues fired an RPG round at him in the second Gulf War.

“I had two spinal injuries, a badly damaged bladder and bowel, could only walk with the help of two sticks, and cannot walk up stairs. I had to wear incontinence products and had scars over my body but I was told I did not qualify for benefits because I wasn’t disabled enough. It makes you sick to think that I had fought for this country and this is the best they can do.”

He is 70% disabled but it took two years for his wife to get carer’s allowance.

Rather than sit around feeling sorry for himself he has set up the Forgotten Heroes charity to support injured soldiers and their families who are being failed by the system.

Mr Douglas isn't a professional charity administrator. He's simply an ex TA NCO who was sent to do a job and came back with his life changed forever, but rather than moaning, he's getting on with helping others. Just think what a fraction of that £5m would do for Mr Douglas's enterprise. Forgotten Heroes is might I add, one of a number of charities which I know of started by returning soldiers.

What did you do in the war Mr Blair?