European and Democracy rally

Numbers much reduced since the previous week’s rally. And that’s because the anti-prorogation action had been hugely mitigated by the passing of legislation stopping a No Deal Brexit before October 31st.
Lilian Greenwood MP opened the rally.
Fuller res. photos available.

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Prorogation recommendation was kept private and denied

The proposal to prorogue Parliament so that Boris Johnson did not have to account to Parliament in the. run-up to the proposed British Exit from the European Union was kept private. When the press said this weekend that it would happen, the Government denied it. They lied.

Why deny it?
The prorogation takes away precious time for MPs to hold Government to account, as they press on with a proposal likely to lead to a No Deal Brexit.
The leaders of the Brexit campaigns during 2016 referendum repeatedly said that it would be easy to negotiate a deal.
It wasn’t. And ministers spent very few hours talking proposals through with EU officials.
People voting Leave were entitled to believe that leave would be done with a deal.
There is no mandate from the public for a No Deal Brexit.

Snap poll

The most remarkable interview that I saw on TV today was given by the BBCtv’s royal correspondent who said the Queen’s top officials had let their distress at the prorogation proposal, and the position it put the Queen in, be known. This was quite a strong signal, when the Queen is supposed to stay out of it.
Nicholas Witchell went on to suggest that what was driving the concern was the imprecation of the proposal for the union between Scotland and England & Wales.

From the Daily Mirror – BBC Royal Correspondent Nicholas Witchell said: “The Queen has never during her reign refused to accept the advice of her ministers.
“She is a monarch guided by precedent. Therefore she will have felt pretty boxed in – that she had no option.”She and her advisors, I have little doubt, will be frankly resentful of the way this has been done and will be concerned at the headlines which say ‘Queen suspends Parliament.'”

A border between England and Scotland will be pretty pointless. Whatever else happens, it may well be the outcome of the prorogation proposal.

Lame advice to councils on Brexit

A new Minister proposing a Brexit lead for councils might seem sensible, but it’s minuscule (quite correct, Jess Phillips) and ignores what has already happened. There are networks of emergency planning officers across the public authorities that have been looking at this. Nottingham City Council took a report (at full council) on planning for Brexit last year (November) at which a corporate risk assessment was required to be presented to the January Audit cttee. Like all of the new stuff from Gov’t. too little, very late and ignores what is already in place.
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/03/all-english-councils-told-to-appoint-brexit-lead

A People’s Vote will be needed

The British Government now says that the current deal is unacceptable, and that the EU better come to terms with new demands, else the UK leaves on October 31st.
Hmmm …
Can the EU move?
Can the UK be ready for new border controls on November 1st?
How will the Irish border be managed given the EU will expect it and the UK signed up to the Good Friday Agreement?
Whatever, there is no mandate for a No Deal Brexit. “We voted for Leave!” Except the vote was won narrowly with lots of reassurances that there would be a deal. Gove said it was going to be easy to negotiate a deal. Johnson said we should kinda copy Norway.
I’ll accept “No Deal” if the UK votes for it. But it hasn’t yet.
I want to Remain. I do accept that to Remain, we need another vote. It now seems that there is no sponsor for agreeing the existing deal brokered by Theresa May and the EU.
So now the choice can be binary.
Whatever, a People’s Vote will be needed.

Note:
The EU may well regret our departure. But they have plenty of other things to do, they may well think the UK will miss them more than they will miss us, and they may not be able to persuade all the EU countries to support new negotiations, and they have low expectations of us as negotiators.

D-Day 75th Anniversary

A bit disheartened by the pompous tv presentations of the events.
British servicemen were fighting to defeat the Nazis, and they’d resolved to have a new Britain, but instead it was repeatedly stated that it was “for freedom”.
I’d not seen the statues before, but the American one seems more human.
Nor had I seen the purple poppy – to remind us of the loss of animals.

A shame, given all the frictions there’s been with the U.S.S.R. and with Russia over the years since, that Russia couldn’t be at the events. The Steve Bell cartoon is controversial cos it talks about freedom for Europe, when of course, the Eastern bloc did not enjoy freedom post the German surrender, but D-Day can blind us to both the Russian effort and (infamously) the allied campaign through Italy.

Maybe I missed the representation or participation of Canada, the free Poles, and all the other countries especially from the Empire at the event.
I understand a commentator on BBC Radio 5 kept saying how the Canadians reached furthest into Normandy on D-Day; at some chagrin to those who know and celebrate the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry who were in fact went the deepest and captured the ridge overlooking Caen.

My own efforts to remember have instead been to watch more documentaries from the internet, and I was particularly struck by one that explored Monty more – concluding that he was a bit useless in communicating with peers and superiors, very good with his own officers and soldiers, and has perhaps been misjudged on Caen and on Operation Goodwood.
That his objective was for the Nazis to exhaust their armies and resources in the predictable and inevitable counter-attacks to any Allied successes, so when the break-through was to come, progress was much faster. (But how Caen suffered.)
I don’t know enough, but the “Patton” movie and other films suggests huge frustration at not taking Antwerp faster to relieve the burden of the long supply lines, and Operation Market Garden seems to be very much about wanting to gain territory quickly.

The UK is in a position of weakness

Trump came to the UK at May’s behest.
There were mass protests; and some crude smaller ones.
Trump out and out lied about being greeted by thousands in the streets when the streets along which he was driven were nearly empty of spectators.
And the BBC tv North American correspondent thought Trump had been quite clever and funny.

Key political conclusions are –
1. the UK is in a position of weakness with regards a trade deal with the USA;
2. Trump cares little for the UK’s love of the National Health Service, and at a later stage feigned even to know what was meant by the NHS.
Time will tell, but I also think the reputation of some senior Conservatives will be damaged by the visit.
Jezza too caught a crab, by making a big play of boycotting the state dinner with Trump (but not with China), but having also formally sought a meeting with Trump.