‘WE’RE not ready yet!’ – Liz Truss about Brexit customs and excise arrangements. In fact, there is nothing as yet arranged about anything, and no assessment about the economic impact of Brexit following Covid-19.

The Chancellor in his “sweetie give-away” laid no fundamental groundwork for a planned recovery for the economy in broad outlines. It is “prop up and hope for the best, something will turn up”, which will actually be Brexit chaos in a likely format of No Deal and stuttering trade arrangements globally. The powers are in denial and throw out a few good “pokes of sweeties” like a Saturday penny to deceive and deflect!

The throw-away comment by Michael Gove about not raising tariffs from EU imports until June 2021 indicates the utter lack of strategic planning over the last four years. Laissez-faire has nothing compared to this paralysis over Brexit. The EU, for its part, will instigate full customs checks after the extension period is over. Westminster could not even plan systematically for Covid-19 in its “devolved” responsibilities for NHS England, let alone carry them out without U-turns.

The “sweeties” are only going to soothe and give a quick sugar rush, or should that be a “Rish”? They are to distract and build up the feeling of a quick gratification to follow the Hooray Henry Chap in No 10. It is a policy based on the lowest common denominator, gratification – “eat, drink and be merry”– forgetting the postscript to that, namely, for “tomorrow we die”. A £10 maximum cashback will go far when you come to loose your job or company and are reliant on Universal Credit with added sanctions.

Sleepwalking into disaster is not a good image. It is deliberate, a feckless lackadaisical saunter along the road of a PM too detached from hard graft to bother. The blame, as usual, will follow, as we have seen, already being shifted to “others”, not the policy deliverers at Westminster. Civil servants, care workers, others, but not No 10.

The scrutiny organisations and centres are going to be deprived of information about what is going on “behind the scenes”. Policy advisers are becoming ad hoc policy framers and hidden executive authorities, a state within the state, unseen and unaccountable. It is the end of the process of centralisation of power in No 10 by governments in the British state without a written constitution since the 1960s. Kitchen cabinet, inner factions, Thatcher’s bid to appoint civil servants who are “one of us”. Now the Cummings-factor, come what may: ‘The PM has my blessing’ and the rest (even the cabinet and permanent secretaries) can tremble as I pull the levers.”

A culture of fear and dismissal on a whim is a practice lifted from the Stalinist Kremlin, without the show trials and gulags. Chairman of the European Research Group Mark Francois gave the game away when he, in a moment of triumphalist hubris, let slip that “Cummings was going to turn up” and sort them out at the Ministry of Defence.

This does not auger well for the future.

John Edgar


FARMERS in England have shown their displeasure at the current negotiations with the EU and US, by doing a slow, ominous circuit of the Palace of Westminster in their tractors. It didn’t seem to be reported widely by the mainstream media.

They didn’t copy the French farmers last year, who “pumped” raw sewage on to the French regional parliamentary buildings as their show of displeasure.

In a recent radio interview, the editor of a farmers’ magazine stated that Scottish farmers were petrified of a possible/probable No Deal with the EU, and they chaos it would cause. It would weaken our already weak bargaining position in the UK/US negotiations, which is like a David and Goliath battle, but David has no sling.

Current food-related health issues being reported are astounding and alarming. US health statistics report that one in six illnesses is due to food causes, whereas the same reporting for the EU was one in 28.

That is, the US has 4.5 times more food infections than in the EU – that can’t be a good goal to seek. Can we get the

US to change to EU Standards?

The US Agribusiness Senate lobby groups are very influential in determining US agriculture policy

and regulations, with nearly 50 Midwestern state senators. It needs a majority of two-thirds – 67 senators – to agree to change.

The possibility of a UK/US deal was supposed to force the EU to relax its standards.

The EU don’t want the cheap US food being dumped into their market, so that negotiating tactic looks flawed.

Big is beautiful in America, or “never mind the quality, feel the width”!

Alistair Ballantyne