Rob Causer's Web Place

Back Again

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted but a lot has happened in my personal life. That said I’m back and the time elapsed means that there is much that needs addressing. Where to start?

It’s surely got to be Prince Andrew and his legal woes. Now obviously there has to be the presumption of innocence until proven guilty but… The refusal to accept service of the legal papers, the refusal to engage with the process until the eleventh hour (repeatedly) , that interview and the move to get the case dismissed on a technicality. Not exactly a ringing declaration of innocence is it? Obviously he’s not the sharpest knife in the Royal drawer but surely someone could point out to him that the only way he gets any kind of return to public life is for him to stand his trial and be found innocent. Unless, of course, he knows he isn’t innocent hence all the fuckery… Seems he was more worried about being able to dress as an Admiral at his father’s funeral. You have to love the way the Royals all promote themselves to high military rank and all have rows of medals just, it seems, because they can. That said though, in Andrew’s case ‘Vice Admiral’ would have a certain appositeness about it I think.

Next target has to be ‘Insulate Britain’. I don’t think, even at the height of the Extinction Rebellion London disruptions, I’ve ever seen so many smug self righteous people in one place. How the motorists stopped by these cretins resist from punching them I do not know. Perhaps that’s why the Police are there. In fact it’s almost certainly why they are there quite quickly but it takes hours to clear the roads. Going back to the XR London protests, I had business in London and travelled into BT Centre by the Underground. On every platform there was at least one large British Transport Policeman. Another commuter asked one of them if they were there to stop XR protesters and the policeman replied that he was there to protect the XR people from the commuters. A couple of weeks later an XR guy was pulled off a train at Canning Town and got a kicking – funnily enough XR seemed to lose interest in climbing onto trains after that. It’s all of a piece though; take a worthy cause: Black Lives Matter, Animal Rights, Insulate Britain and then warp it beyond recognition. Black Lives Matter. No one should disagree with that idea. But, but, but following the BLM protests BT (now ex employer) commissioned an Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan (no me neither). Out of this came a load of training modules including one called ‘Let’s Talk About Race’ a two hour ‘not optional’ online presentation. I looked at some of the supporting collateral and it was all directly out of the BLM playbook, White Privilege, only whites can be racist and so on and so forth. All presented as accepted fact. But it’s not, it’s opinions, not only that it’s bollocks as well. One of the happiest events with me leaving was the penultimate email to my work account nagging me to sign up for the training: “It’s not optional”. OK, this was in the context of me signing up for the last possible session when it was rolled out in June then cancelling it. So, it turns out it was optional after all. Animal Rebellion. Their latest wheeze was to climb up an empty DEFRA building to demand that the Government commits to cut all taxpayer support for animal agriculture and invest in plant based alternatives instead. So, not vegetarianism but veganism, compulsory veganism at that. First thought is who the fuck do they think they are telling me what I should eat, second thought is how is the UK going vegan going to make any measurable difference to Climate Change? Usual bollocks on their website – OK, understand that it’s not cows farting, it’s not livestock farming, it’s not meat eating that’s the problem. It’s human population growth that’s the problem because it needs to be fed, have somewhere to live, means of travel, healthcare – all this is driving Climate Change. Absent releasing an engineered virus to take a decent chunk of the global population out… oh wait a minute. Seriously though Covid shows actually how difficult that would be as, in terms of excess deaths worldwide, I don’t think it’s had much effect – horrific though those numbers actually are. And finally, to Insulate Britain; for the life of me I cannot see how repeatedly closing the M25 and various Central London streets helps their cause in any way shape or form. In fact, I’ll go further: stopping ambulances, lorries carrying house insulation to name but a couple of instances, I can’t honestly think of a better way of alienating the general public. They are on record crowing about everybody is now talking about insulation and their campaign but completely fail to realise that people are sick of their lives being disrupted by people ‘who know best’. Make no mistake, you *have* to get public opinion (or a majority thereof) on side or if you try to impose this kind of thing you will end up decorating a lamp post.

Shocking scenes on the Belarus borders with Poland and Lithuania with migrants ‘encouraged’ to stage through Belarus into the EU. That said, I’m surprised the EU is condemning this behaviour because how is what France is doing different? (yes, yes, sea not land, not offering ‘tourist’ visas but it’s the same behaviour – copyright Erdogan a couple of years back with Syrian refugees I believe?). But, of course, do as we say not as we do for the EU. It looks like Article 16 will have to be triggered and that has, I believe, the consequential risk that the whole Withdrawal Agreement becomes at risk. Sub optimal to say the least but perhaps inevitable. Firstly the Withdrawal Agreement (including the Northern Ireland Protocol) mandated both parties to come to an amicable and pragmatic implementation to make the whole thing work. This has clearly not happened and, from what I see, the UK has been the adult in the room and tried to make it work whereas the EU has insisted on the letter of the law and been actively trying to pick fights. Secondly the NI Protocol is not working – 80% of all Customs checks by the EU are happening in Northern Ireland, so that doesn’t look fixable, in addition, let’s not forget that the EU has already triggered Article 16 over the vaccine issue so it’s not quite the nuclear option they are trying to make out. Thirdly, French fishing licences. The EU signed an agreement that provision of a licence was contingent on evidence that the boat in question has previously fished in those waters. But now the French are screaming and threatening blockades and tariffs because the UK is not giving licences to boats that cannot evidence a history of fishing. It’s the same logic as deployed by Stella Kyriakidou on the Pfizer vaccine that contracts only mattered for things like sausages and the EU should be able to jump the queue for vaccines despite ordering them after the UK. So, worst case, we go No Deal should we be worried? I don’t think it’s going to make things worse for the UK, in some ways I think it will force us to diverge further from the EU as we will have lost the need to play nice so we will perforce move toward the ‘Atlantic Singapore’ model that the EU fears. It will also free countries up to do side deals – take Spain as a for instance, Valencia is asking the Spanish Government to work on the ninety days in one hundred and eighty ruling as this is hitting their semi-expat community (Brits who own property in Spain and who spent the winter months there but are not resident permanently) which is an important revenue stream. If Valencia, so Andalucia but, of course, it’s a Schengen stipulation so difficult in that context to do anything about it. In any event, I can’t see No Deal as being worse than the current situation where France seems to be behaving as if we are already at war.

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