Greg's Occasional News & Views

10 December 2017

Short, sharp and sweet (?) this week – we’ve got so many social engagements I don’t know whether I’m coming or going to the next one. It’s been a good week although the weather can’t make its mind up – we had freezing cold mornings with a sharp frost early in the week, mild and relatively pleasant conditions mid-week followed by torrential rain and gale force winds toward the end of the week. And, we are allegedly due some snow today! Ah, the English weather – there’s always something to talk about.

We finally managed to make it to one of the Village Film Nights on Thursday which was huge fun. These started in October organised by a couple of village friends and are held on the first Thursday of each month. Unfortunately, we’ve been away for the last two – firstly in China and then in Los Angeles. So, it was nice to be able to attend this month’s performance. The film was Waking Ned which although we had seen it before, was still good fun. I say we’ve seen it before – certainly, Ms Playchute and I have watched the film at some point in the past and had a recollection of the main plot line. But as for the detail? We had long ago forgotten not only the detail of the story but also just about everything else. It’s a great social occasion at a time when, as the weather closes in, villagers tend to hibernate. Not only was the film good fun, there was a fish and chips meal in the interval – what’s not to like?

We had some friends and acquaintances around for dinner on Friday evening. People have been so kind to us “newcomers” to the village – our reciprocity was long overdue. Penelope prepared a feast and it was good fun. One of the couples is actually newer to the village than are we!

This afternoon we’re off for a bit of cultural enlightenment – we’re taking Bubble to a production of The Jungle Book at the Derngate Theatre in Northampton.

The calamity that is Brexit continues on its merry march. I know I’ve written many times about how (a) the UK government still doesn’t know what it wants out of Brexit – what’s the end state? And (b) the negotiations are being handled by inveterate idiots. This week’s fiasco revolved around the government presenting a position paper to the European Union outlining its thoughts on the “magic” border which will exist between Ireland and Northern Ireland after Brexit. Unfortunately, they hadn’t bothered to consult the DUP whose ten MPs are all that stand between Theresa May and another general election. When they found out that the “magic” in the border proposals meant treating Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK, they rejected them, not surprisingly.

Cue a week of mayhem and mishap in government.

Philip Hammond [the Chancellor] let slip that the Cabinet hadn’t even discussed, let alone agreed, on the ‘end state’ for Brexit. Yes, 18 months on from the EU referendum, our Government has not yet discussed, let alone come to a view on, what kind of Brexit it wants.

And finally in the “You couldn’t make this up” category:

David Davis, the minister responsible for leaving the EU, finally admitted that his Department has not conducted any formal assessments of the impact of Brexit on various sectors of the economy.

This after at least 12 separate occasions when he said the exact opposite:

“We currently have in place an assessment of 51 sectors of the economy.” – House of Commons 20 October 2017

“We are carrying out an extensive programme of sectoral analysis on the key factors that affect our negotiations with the European Union.” – House of Commons 1 December 2016. He added, on this occasion, that the analysis would be completed before Article 50 was triggered.

“We continue to analyse the impact of our exit across the breadth of the UK economy, covering more than 50 sectors – I think it was 58 at the last count – to shape our negotiating position.” – House of Commons 2 February 2017

And on and on and on.  If you want to join the fun yourself there’s a short little “quiz” in the Guardian asking you to identify when and where Davis previously lied to Parliament. Hmm, misleading Parliament used to be a sackable offence – just sayin’.

Love to you all,




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