Thursday, 30 June 2016

Corbyn v Farage

There are a lot of similarities between Corbyn & Farage, in terms of their personality. Both are demagogues appealing to different people, the difference in terms of actually getting power is that Farage has a far more sympathetic and powerful right wing press behind him.Corbyn has some very badly behaved followers who constantly lead to sanction and investigation from the party by spouting rather unacceptable views. The Faragists and their views on sexuality related weather events and explicit racism are well known. Today as the press release of the Chakrabarti inquiry: Labour not overrun by anti-Semitism  some of Corbyn's supports could be controlled their mouths.
Despite his own person record of ignoring party policy, Corbyn is intent on making it easier to punish MPs who do not toe that party line. He only managed to follow party policy 7.5 out of 10 in the run-up to the referendum. This need for personal control is something both have.
The biggest similarity that they have is who bad they are at basic politics. One of the most important rules is to never leave you self-hostage to fortune, Farage did that with his 48% is unfinished business. Corbyn does it on regular occasions his 7.5 out of 10 was one.
Corbyn's supports say he just being honest and Farage's that he is just express the views everyone thinks. However there are ways of getting you message over without leaving yourself open to attack and neither of them is any good at it, while Corbyn seems to be able to survive the Guardian and Mirror pointing out his mistakes, the rightwing press does a far more thorough job, his supporters ignore these problems but the public do not.
In public every opportunity has to be taken to attack the opposition's arguments the political player cannot sit and wait till they are asked to do this but must turn every question about their policy into either something positive about their own policies or a criticism of their opponents. Corbyn is incapable of doing this, he is incapable of politics.

Corbyn v Foot

The similarities between Crobyn& Foots policies are very similar, however just about everything else is different, Michael Foot was a political player who had not shirked away from public office, and had held senior government posts, he also had a non-political job before he became a politician, though admittedly only as a journalist.  He was a generally a more intelligent and better-educated person than Corby.
Foot was the leader who produced The longest suicide note in history the Labour parties 1983 manifesto, the result of this election was a landslide victory for the opposition. It was a manifesto which still haunts the labour party. It was arguably responsible for the next 3 Tory victories as well, and over these years the population moved to the right, to such an extent that the Labour party had to move to the right to get elected and in order to keep in power has to stay to in the center ground rather than gradually move to the left. Where it did maintain it leftwing identity was in more intellectual areas of politics which have always chaffed with large sections of Labour's natural supporters. Who began to feel more and more left out, certain areas like child poverty did go down, but the dominance of big business and the growth in the pay gap between the rich and poor grew.
The 2008 financial crash brought back questions about the Labour government ability to run the economy and allowed the Tories into power in 2010 with and an austerity budget.The picking of Ed Milliband as Labour leader, what tipped the balance for Ed where the Trade unions, he was not the pick of the MPs. The Unions liked his more left-wing rhetoric but unfortunately, he was a political liability, prone to gaffs, and able lieutenant but not a leader.
Despite widespread unhappiness with the Tory government, the rise of the SNP and UKIP added to the woes of Labour, who despite a small increase in lost seats, in Scotland. This was on a platform that was more left leaning than Blair and Brown, and with a leader of greater ability, it would perhaps have lead to a Labour lead coalition with the SNP. Arguably the difference was the selection of Ed Milliband rather than his brother David,
The recriminations lead inevitably to the end of Ed's leadership, and because of changes to the way the leader was elected brought Corbyn to the role.
If Corbyn is allowed to go forward to the next election he will damn Labour not to defeat in just that but in several elections afterwards, as I suspect his manifesto will be an even longer suicide note. In order to get back into power Labour will have to shift back to the position of Blair et all or even further right, that is if it can get back into power at all. It place could well be usurped by a new 3rd party.
In order to do anything the party must be in power, the duty of the Labour party is to be elected on the most leftwing agenda it can, if this is not leftwing enough for some then they should leave and join a pressure group. A sustained period of Labour government with competent management of the economy and gradual drift to the left is the best and only way to ensure socialists ideals.
Corbyn is not a man who can deliver this.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit 3

If you cut it down to BoJo wanting to be PM and Gove wanted to be free Euro regulations so he could stage his libertarian/laissez faire experiment. Then it makes sense.
Farage was just used by them to bring along the racists xenophobes, to get the vote up.
However, the majority of disgruntled Labour voters think the UK is already too libertarian/laissez faire .
The next stage should be some massive distancing of themselves from Farage. 

The racists aren't going to get reduction in immigration as that will help keep wages down.
They hope the peasants will not notice they have been used for a while.
If all goes to plan we will be paying the same into the EU, with nothing coming back but BoJo & his backers will be using the UK as a sweat shop to trade the mainland.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Brexit 2

I had a look at article 50, I have reproduced it at the bottom, strange thing is that it doesn't require a referendum just that a government apply. Given the UK government's normal method of working you have to ask what is the referendum really for? It is scary that almost on a whim a government could decide to leave the EU with no electoral mandate.


The legal position is quite clear the government is required to do nothing. The legislation made this an advisory referendum, you and I, given advice should take the time to consider it but we are entitled to ignore it, we are also entitled to ask for a second opinion.
The EU itself can do nothing until it receives a Chapter 50 notification, in some way it is being irresponsible in making comments, the decision is still in the hand of the UK government. 
One learned professor of Law in Scotland claimed I was rather ill-informed on this but the problem is there is no case law, the nearest you can get is in commercial law, with things like cooling off periods and misselling. Everyone is ill informed on the subject of the legalisation until it goes to court. I have had legal advice which I have ignored before and be proved right to do so when the court took my side. I have also one a case representing myself when the organisation I was up against had got barristers advice and was trying to scare me with the idea of costs, I won.


The Sovereignty of the UK parliament was one of the big concerns of the #brexiteers, they wanted it preserved and maximised, by making the vote advisory, the UK government kept maintained that sovereignty. It would be hard for them to complain about sovereignty being used to thwart their ambitions.


The settled will of the people is hardly what we have at 48%-52%, even Farage said as much when claiming that 48%-52% or closer would be unfinished business, admittedly he was trying to legitimise a 2nd ref in his favour.
The government itself was voted in by less than 40% of the people and happily ignored the other 60% but according to a lot of people that is just the system we have and we have to put up with it. Well, the system we have put the word advisory in and kept Parliament sovereign, so the system we have does allow the choice.
UKIP amongst other have suggested recall votes and in one case UKIP has actually asked for one, the trigger point being a petition by 10% of the electorate, so what happened if the call for a second ref gets to 4,532,510, will the Kippers join in and request a 2nd vote.


Even before the vote, this was termed the beginning of post fact democracy, reflecting the sheer amount of lies told, it seems that lots of people had no real idea what they were voting about. They didn't read the average size print, just the headlines of their favourite tabloid. Admittedly the had the opportunity to become informed about the subject but didn't take it, but they still claim they didn't make an informed choice. If there was a larger margin then the decision would be clear


Omnishambles, no one comes out of this looking good, well at least no one in the UK. The legislation was a mess, the campaigns were a mess. the entire thing was a mess.
The other question is why aren't Boris and Co demanding the article 50 be enacted immediately? This referendum was not about getting a simple answer to a simple question, it is deeply bound up with political manoeuvrings in centre right politics

Where are we?

In a mess.
One thing is for sure the next time someone thinks of having a referendum they should think long and hard about the rules best out of 3 is not a bad idea, it would give more time for thought and reflection and in the end a more considered view.
It probably should be binding unless there is a very small margin.

Article 50

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

Friday, 24 June 2016


Of all the fuck witted and stupid things the UK voting public has done over the years, this is by far the most stupid. The arguments articulated by the leaders of the #Brexits campaign where grossly inaccurate and totally non-convincing, however, they are not why the people voted they way the did. They voted to punish David Cameron and the London elite, without a single thought of what the consequences might be.
It is not the first time the people of this island have done such a thing, when in the last general election, some of the Scots voters decided to punish Labour for sharing a platform with the Tories, that was up there as well. For that we got a more powerful Tory government, this vote of protest will let in some of the even nastier parts of the Tory party, it will drive Scotland away, ensuring decades of Tory majorities, who with their power base in the south of England will continue to pour cash into that area.
The EU for all its faults gave the money where it was most needed, this mob will not. Congratulate yourselves on giving David Cameron a bloody nose, all you had to do was rip off your own arm and smash him in the face with the soggy end and then punch him with the other hand till you got a contusion fracture. He will pop down to A&E and then spend some time at home convalescing with his millions, before a good long holiday and then making some more millions. You'll be trying to live on a shrinking amount of disability pay and perhaps scrounge of your equally impoverished kids.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

A New Edge Hill

Today I spent a few hours in the Liverpool Records office, reading some of the early plans for Merseyrail, mainly one called MALTS(Merseyside Area Land Use/Transportation Study: final report: report A to the Steering Committee) which was as much fun as it sounds.

Edge Hill Spur

One thing that comes over clearly is how important the Edge Hill link is, the purpose of the line was to prove a connection from Central low level to Edge Hill for trains heading south on the Northern Line, even though it was not done, the junction, as it was built. made allowance for the later completing of the line.
2 slight different scenarios were suggested in the document.

1. Use the Wapping tunnel, white in the above picture, providing 2-way connections accessed via the blue tunnel(0.25 miles), which would need to be built. The also used a then existent fly over to take one track over the approaches to Lime Street to avoid conflicts with the main line,essentially a flying junction.

2. Use the Wapping tunnel only, as a connection for trains going down to central. Trains go up to Edge hill, after a short section in the Wapping tunnel, used the yellow tunnel(0.7 miles) to cross under the mainline and connect to the Victoria tunnel for access to Edge Hill, so essentially a burrowing junction. This is useful as the flyover has since been removed.

A third scheme has since been suggested.

3. Use the blue & Yellow tunnels for trains in both direction. This also avoids the major conflict but is not quite as efficient as using the flyover.

Whichever way it was done the line would provide access to St Helens via Huyton to trains on Merseyrail. If I had to pick I'd pick scheme 3, with some stations such as Blackburne Place & Oxford road and Joe's Folly or Paddington Square as it likes to be called.

One of the major advantages is that by extending the Ormskirk service to St Helens and perhaps the Kirkby train to Ditton, space at central would be freed up, no more would train's be standing at what were intended to be through platforms.

Update: 15/08/2016 In the Liverpool Echo Article Wirral line upgrade: why will passengers face six months of misery? the picture toward the bottom with the train passing through may show the tunnel prepared for the spur leaving to the left.

Closing Lime Street

The bit that surprised me was that in 1969, when the document was written, serious consideration was given as to whether Lime Street should be closed, with mainline services finishing at a new station at Edge Hill. The idea would have been to use the Edge Hill spur to provide access to the city centre, I could find no suggestion that even a small station should be provided at Lime Street.
Connected with a better underground system the proposal is not wholly impractical, though it would not be good for the prestige of the city as Lime Street station is a magnificent portal. This proposal is only a few paragraphs in the document and when it was written Central high level and Exchange were both still in use and the proposals may have led to one of them being retained. It is not practicable without them.
There is no mention in the document of using the full length of the Wapping and Victoria tunnels to provide a greater reach for the system but that could well have been an option.


Now with the possibility for HS2 & HS3 Lime Street is again looking rather small and difficult to expand, but while I would not close it, what would happen if an HS2/HS3 terminal was built at Edge Hill? With the full array of add-on services to spread people around the area. If the Stock Interchange Line(SIL) was brought back into service then trains from the Wirral could have direct access via the Edge Hill spur to the new station?
Providing a Tram-Train service down the Wapping tunnel along the strand and then back up the Waterloo Victoria and vice versa would connect large parts of the city. If really pushed then perhaps the Tram section could be overhead. The tram section is in purple on the top map.
Most non-GC services calling at Edge Hill would provide another line into the city or perhaps a dedicated shuttle with the mainline access to Lime Street reduced to just 3 lines.
My HS2/HS2 proposal has always involved getting to Ditton, then gauge expansion to Lime Street, some of the other proposals from 20 MilesMore still get us to Edge Hill.
It is a plan worth thinking about IMHO.

Stock Interchange Line(SIL) in red.

Update  26/10/2016

In Liverpool City Region Long Term Rail Strategy Merseytravel seemed to have opted for the Wapping Tunnel route, the original MALTS suggestion but all  the destinations mentioned are to the south, not St Helens, so no crossing the mainline. The SIL is also mentioned.