30 June 2019
We all know that Boris Johnson is a xenophobic racist with the diplomatic sensitivity of a landmine (ask Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family) but the Daily Mail (!) has just revealed he called the French “turds” last year and that the BBC (!) spiked this bit of the interview. Also this week, a former editor of the Daily Telegraph (!), Max Hastings, who used to be Johnson’s boss and has known him since the 1980s, wrote an excoriating article saying that Johnson ” is unfit for national office”.
But there’s good news: Johnson said in an interview on Talkradio that “We are getting ready to come out on 31 October. Come what may”. Asked to confirm this, he added: “Do or die. Come what may.” Which means, dear readers, that he’ll resign if we don’t leave on 31 October.
He’s since tried to cover his back by saying the chances of a no-deal Brexit are “a million to one against” which just confirms that he still hasn’t got a clue about what’s involved; sadly, he refused to rule out proroguing parliament and forcing a no-deal through on his own. In other words, there’s a real risk the Conservative Party could be about to elect the UK’s first dictator.
There is however a stumbling block. Whoever the 160,000 voting Conservatives decide should be their next leader won’t automatically become prime minister since this requires the ability to form a government and a recent YouGov poll (not limited to party members) shows he doesn’t have a majority.
Thus, a referendum showing “the will of the party members” could be overturned by parliament. Anybody else not reminded of the Cameron Brexit referendum?
It’s also been pointed out that Johnson’s eyes are too close together so he must be untrustworthy, which is exactly as valid as saying he’s got blonde hair so he must be cute.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt has said that people need to make their own provisions for pensions and care in old age but he failed to say if the Government will increase benefits to give recipients enough extra money to be able to do this, or whether the government will set aside money for them in separate funds. If they do decide to set up separate funds, perhaps they could call them ‘National Insurance’ and the ‘National Health Service’.
Hunt’s also threatening mind-blowing reductions in taxes paid by companies. I think the argument goes something like this: more businesses will employ more people who will pay more taxes and have lots of spare money to save for their retirement. No, of course none of the savings will go to shareholders and already overpaid management, not at all like the Help to Buy scheme which mostly goes straight into property developers’ pockets. You can see why Hunt left business to go into politics.
As an accountant by trade, I keep asking people where they’re going to get the money to pay for all the give-aways but answer comes there none.
Sadly, because the Labour party is just as divided, has the wrong leader and is also trying to keep everybody happy, and the LibDems are also changing leaders, none of this matters anyway since it’s obvious that our entire political system is broken and I wonder if future historians will look back on the 2016 EU referendum as the one event that triggered significant changes in the British ‘democratic’ system.
However, some of the alternatives, such as proportional representation, would require turkeys to vote for Christmas and some, like requiring a third (say) of all MPs to step down every three years, would introduce other complications. Sensible suggestions on a postcard please.
One of my readers may remember that I was critical of investment managers a while back (the other may not) and claimed that the performance of their funds depended largely on luck. I even said that managing the top performing funds for ten successive years was still within the realms of chance.
Well, one of the top-performing and most respected fund managers, Neil Woodford, has recently crashed. I actually had some money (not a lot) in a couple of his funds but started to get leery last autumn so I cashed in my small profit and sold both of them in November. That decision was, of course, lucky. If I’d been skilled, I’d have sold them a year earlier and made a rather larger profit but remember I am an accountant so I’m better at telling people what they should have done yesterday than what they should do tomorrow.