Rather a lot of these around this week!

Rather a lot of these around this week!

That was the week that was 22nd November - 2nd December 2018
 from "Garry of the North":-

The final agreement on the withdrawal from the EU:- if the UK breaks any of the 291 rules covering Northern Ireland the “Back Stop” (May’s red line) comes into effect.

The length of time before the law comes in to reduce the amount you can gamble has been reversed, thank goodness, there are still estimated to be 50,000 children under 16 addicted to gambling with an additional worrying number heading towards having a gambling addiction. By the way, do you know you pay no tax on gambling wins in the UK ? Seemingly one reason for this is because if HMRC tax wins they must give allowance for losses…this, to me, is a strange argument…why must they? (Gambling winnings in France are taxed. Casino winnings that exceed €1,500 are taxed at a rate of 12% and must be declared as income)

One person in every 200 are sleeping rough or are in temporary accommodation.

Russia and the Ukraine are heading for conflict with Russia flexing its muscles by capturing three Ukraine war ships in what the UN says are international waters.

The east of Europe looks increasingly volatile. I have had some experience with Russian and Estonian workers working in this part of France. The Russian Estonians had Estonian ID cards but would - or could - not take Estonian citizenship. (Amongst requirements for becoming naturalised in Estonia, one must speak the language) They chose to speak only Russian, watched Russian TV and considered themselves Russian. The Estonians on the other hand always spoke Estonian and held Estonian passports. In 2010, only around 84% of Estonian residents are classified as Estonian citizens, others have very few voting rights (Ha! That sound sounds familiar - have you, as a Brit abroad - registered to vote yet??)

  Tallinn, capital of Estonia

Tallinn, capital of Estonia

I visited my Estonian friends a few years ago to see the problems for myself. In Tallinn the capital the population is split 50/50 between those who identify as Russian and those Estonian. It’s a volatile area.

Back to Brexit - a couple of things that came out this week that will affect us living in France, now the UK EU deal is on the table. When asked if those of us on State pensions would have the payments rise in the same manner as today - in line with UK residents, but not the British diaspora in some non-EU areas Theresa May said it was up for debate”. She could not confirm our pension payments would continue to rise once the UK was out of the EU. Also, we will not be able to vote in local elections as was are now. Further loss of income and of rights are on our horizon. These outcomes are outrageous! We all chose to live here because of the rules and regulations that applied to our situation at the time we settled, now likely to be snatched away under our noses.

Lastly, we have seen over the last couple of weeks the yellow jacket demonstrations in Paris, we in the North have also seen then at most roundabouts, however these have been delays of no more that 10 minutes, it would be interesting to know how others in the different parts of our Country have been affected?

(Note from Data Officer - my travel back from the Uk to west Brittany was disrupted quite substantially, as my ferry was diverted from St Malo to Caen and delayed en route courtesy of the gilets jaunes action - or the “Jilly Johns” as a friend of mine calls them).

That was the week that was 12th - 21st November 2018
 from "Garry of the North":-

What a strange few days, Ministers resigning, former resigned ministers returning . No-one really knows what is going on, let alone Theresa May!

Some business leaders in Northern Ireland think the back stop deal is the best option for NI, Arlene Foster (DUP) appears to disagree! Now, I heard this Wednesday Andrew Neil (Politics live) say that so many people do not understand what politicians are talking about these days. “Back stop, No deal” are examples - in fact many think a “No Deal” means remaining in the EU! Good Grief!

These are not unintelligent people, just those who do not follow what is really going on. Remember the £350,000,000 for the NHS every week following Brexit?

Last Sunday, five bridges were blocked in London in a day of protest. “Extinction Rebellion” co ordinated the action and more protests are planned concerning the climate, Still, these are nothing like the protests against Macron and the high fuel prices we are presently experiencing here in France.

Some chemists in the UK are being accused of illegally self-controlled drugs over the counter without prescriptions like tamasapaz. (Data Officer cannot resist adding here - a self-controlled drug? What’s one look like in a raging temper! Ha! Ha!)

The CBI said that a majority of their business members support the May-bot’s Brexit initiative. However: 90% of CBI member business’ do NOT export to Europe. That is not representative of 90% of business in the UK. Funny how one can make figures say what one wants them to say! We’ve seen rather a lot of that in the past couple of years from all sides!

Before Brexit started, Briton had a brand that was working and successful - not now.

Late on Monday night, I watched a debate in parliament by the SNP about how terrible it was for people coming into the UK today. I know many debates I watch have few members there, Still, what I was very surprised to see was that not ONE Labour MP was present.

This next new item does not directly affect us, as we are luckily living in France, but NHS missed all of its targets over the whole 12 months in the UK! NHS England is looking at changing its targets! Ridiculous situation.

Over the last two weeks most - including Jeremy Corbyn - have been saying that is Parliament did not vote for the May-Bot’s deal, and May was heard to say it could be no deal or no Brexit, so we have hope at last.

May shocked everyone by referring to EU citizens “jumping the queue” in Britain, as it they had been cheating in some way! There has understandably been a furore about that since.

What is a scandal apart from the stockpiling of foods & medicines is the fact that the UK Government in peace time has a contingent to mobilise the army in the event of a no deal

Also, a statistic out says that more than 25% of people living in the UK today are living in poverty. Where is all this going to end?

France, Holland and Denmark have reservations about the UK withdrawal agreement - primarily to do about fishing rights around the UK. Spain has concerns about Gibraltar following Brexit. Watch this space!

That was the week that was 1st - 11th November 2018
 from "Garry of the North":-

Remembrance Day 2018 - Village - France

Writing this on Sunday, I have just returned from our village’s monument where local children all read out a piece thanking those who died for them 100 years ago. The children also sang the Marseilles with pride and passion. I have to say, I was as proud of them as their parents must have been.

Back on Politics and other news, HMRC (the “tax man”) said that the difference between what people do pay in tax and what they should pay is the biggest ever, I look forward to the Singapore low tax haven after Brexit!

  Things have moved on a bit (and not for the better) in the slot machine world

Things have moved on a bit (and not for the better) in the slot machine world

Tracey Crouch earned a lot of respect by resigning from government on principle. The reason was because the government have capitulated with the gambling lobby to change the date that fixed odds betting was meant to be reduced - from £100 pounds to £2 pounds - in April 2019. However in the recent budget it was announced that it was going to be delayed by 6 months to November. Clearly this will further harm those addicted to gambling and surely force more misery that could be stopped. I applaud you Tracey - who said that 2 people a day commit suicide because of gambling debts.

Last week saw the legalisation for some medicinal use of cannabis. About time too! after looking into all the research, the Libdems have been calling for this for a long time - see their Manifesto

Another sad statistic to come out this week is that 100,000 people have lost their jobs in the UK over the last 3 years. Many more to come if there is not a deal over Brexit which is, worryingly, looking mopre and more likely.

An increase of 56% of UK kids are being excluded from schools since 2014 of which 80% are ending up in gangs, caught up in crime and anti-social behaviour. I thought it was good that Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London is pragmatic. He knows there cannot be a quick fix. He is looking at Scotland at what they have done and has said it will take time to turn this around, up to 10 years.

Channel 4 conducted the largest survey on Brexit since the 2016 vote. The survey results, revealed during the show, showed that if a #PeoplesVote #FinalSay was to take place now it would be 56% remain as opposed to 46% leave. Of further interest was that 63% agreed there should be free movement, 20% disagreed and 17% didn’t know.

Sunderland which polled at 39% remain and 61% leave in the referendum of 2016 returned 49% remain and 51% leave in the poll.

The governement is still not to be moved on the matter though, and neither is Jeremy Corbyn on behalf of the Labour Party. That Labour “Remain” voters do not appear to be leaving that party in droves is one of the great mysteries of our time!

Arron Banks took some stick and his insurance business and Leave.EU have been fined £153,000 over a data protection breach. Us LibDems were also brought into the spotlight by being accused of selling personal data to the tune of £100,000 pounds to “Britain Stronger in Europe”. At first when I heard this, my wife and I found this very concerning. However looking into it, the party has strongly denied the accusation and stated they shared electoral register data supplied by councils (as many do) and certainly not private membership information. I am content at this explanation.

I used to be one of those people you see wearing a rosette at polling stations - taking people’s voting numbers to help with getting the vote out. In all the years I did this, we Liberals, in the constituents I helped, never had a date base - we just took the numbers!

Over the last couple of days, Macron met May and also Macron met Merkel. The difference between the ambiance of the two meetings were like chalk and cheese! May also met the Belgian PM. They left in different cars in a convoy and two police out-riders had an accident. The Belgian PM got out of his car to check on the police man to see if they were OK. May did not get out of her car… did she lock her doors as well?!

Lastly, Macron’s great grandfather was British and fought for Britain in the WW1 trenches.

That was the week that was 24th - 30th October
 from "Garry of the North":-

Monday’s Budget report first…

Watching the Budget took me back to the 2001 Budget. I was the pundit for the Sussex Argus at the time - quite funny really looking back.

Nostalgia over - back to 2018! Before the Budget, Laura Kuenssberg on BBC’s Politics Live, said “Next year, will we have the same Chancellor or Prime Minister?" Indeed...

Another pundit on the show said last year was the “Annus Horribllis” for the High Street.

The Chancellor started his budget by saying that the last time the Budget was on a Monday was in 1962. Well, that is putting the clocks back over 10 years before the UK joined what is now the EU. The Conservatives really do hark on about the “good old days” and really do need to catch up!

He also said: “Austerity is coming to an end”. Last week, the May Bot said “Austerity IS at an end” . So where are we - is Austerity over, soon to be over or maybe not over at all? Well, I can tell you it is certainly not over for us over here thanks to the sterling to euro exchange rate which eroded by more than 15% since the Referendum.

There is money being put aside for the NHS. Over the next 10 years, there are new plans for the mental health crisis and there are plans for greatly increasing staff numbers. Hang on a minute - where are all these staff coming from? They cannot get enough staff NOW, prospective employees are scared of making any commitment that goes beyond B-Day next March. Are they going to train the whole of the population of the Isle of Wight?

 London Air ambulance

London Air ambulance

There were lots of promises for money going to defence, mental heath within the military and welcome funding for the air ambulance service.

Not to mention 420 million pounds to help with pot holes and bridge repairs.

The Government will abolish any new PFI’s (Private Finance initiatives). I hate it when you only get initials!

It is a bit rich from the Tories now - the Labour Party have been banging on about this for quite some time and a bit late for the contractors and people working for businesses like Carillion. They were building UK’s infrastructure but went bust, leaving not only the sub-contractors out of pocket, but also the UK tax payer with unfinished Hospitals and other projects.

Mr Hammond also said that “The change of the high street is irreversible” . That's positive, I must say!

But before the Budget Speech ...

So near, but yet so far. It was reported that 46 Conservative MPs sent letters to the Chairman of the 1922 committee to ask for a vote of no confidence in their leader. It was only two sort of the number needed.Do you think she's got the hint yet?

The home secretary has apologised to immigrants for the scandal that demanded DNA tests for British citizenship. Caroline Noakes (Immigration MInister) apparently knew of this in February, but in May she said she had only known about it "for a couple of working days" and therefore had not had time to look into it...Clearly she hadn't worked many days between February and May then....

Fifty of the 165 Debenham stores are to close, leading to large job losses. The low-end stores like Lidl, Aldi & Primark plus the high-end like Harrods are all doing well. It's those in the middle getting hit.

“Sir” Philip Green was outed by Lord Peter Hain under Paramilitary privilege where it would appear that “Mr Green” apparently took out an injunction against the Telegraph from publishing details of his inappropriate behaviour concerning females and non-white Britons. Well done my Lord for exposing this!

Should it turn out to be true, maybe we can strip the "Sir" from Philip Green's title? It seems he was happy to do so himself.

John McDonnell had a few scabs on his head & nose. Channel 4 News asked if he had been in a fisty, he said (My quote of the week): "Coming home from parliament, I got off the bus and it was dark and I fell over because someone had fly-tipped at the top of my road.”

More than one million incidents of fly-tipping were dealt with by councils in England in 2016-17, the fourth year in a row that the number of incidents had increased. Looks like his council hadn't got round to dealing with this lot though - take a torch next time Mr McDonnell!

If, as anticipated, the Chancellor in the Budget next Monday heralds money for roads, we must thank the last Chancellor for it. It was George Osborne who promised this initiative.

Lastly, Andrew Neil on “This Week” said that FaceBook will now be known as “Clegg Book” following Nick’s controversial acceptance of a new job.

  Whiling away time waiting for negotiation to make some progress…

Whiling away time waiting for negotiation to make some progress…

That was the week that was 17th - 23rd October
 from "Garry of the North":-

This week’s Brexit rollercoaster has only been heading one way, downwards. The UK will still have to pay back the 39 Billion pounds in the event of no deal. This is one rollercoaster that, for sure, has not passed its safety checks!

John Major said that Britain will be worse off with a no deal Brexit and that staying in the single market and customs union is the only deal that would get through parliament.

At the EU summit everyone had been committed to an agreement over Brexit by October 2018. What went wrong? In fact the Italian Premier said, “No news from May, no next summit date”. Meanwhile May was reporting “good progress”. Something somewhere does not add up!

My first quote of the week came from Lithuania: Xavier Bettel, who, realising progress was grinding to a halt, said: “I am able to come back as often as we need to come to find a solution but I am not here to come to have a cup of coffee and shortbread.”

Peston on Wednesday evening “Is Theresa May a Boadicea? What happened to Boadicea” (Boadicea was known as Buddug in Welsh) I think I prefer the Welsh pronunciation in reference to our PM (you can hear it at https://forvo.com/word/buddug/)

John McDonnell said that the Brexit minister is now known as “Rabb C Brexit”

May left Brussels on Thursday with only an offer of a Brexistention although she said it would only last a matter of months after December 2020. Additionally, it could cost an extra ten billion pounds needed to be sent to the EU with no rebate. Good deal Theresa!

A poll in Italy, back in May 2018, that says only 44% of Italians want to stay in the EU. Nonetheless, that marked a turnaround from the previous October when 48% percent were negative. Nevertheless, clearly, the EU bloc cannot allow the UK to have their cake and eat it, since they must prevent potential further fragmentation.

The despicable actions of Saudi Arabia who, it appears, sanctioned the killing of an exiled Saudi journalist and the slow reactions from the UK has also hit the news. Could it be the 4.7 Billion pounds of armed sales the UK sell to that Kingdom have something to do with it? I do believe one thing, I believe, begrudgingly that even Jeremy Corbyn would have responded in a better way if he was PM.

On Saturday, and estimated 700,000 people from the four corners of the UK and beyond marched in London demanding a “Peoples Vote”. What an uplifting sight that was! But now the hard work must continue, there is no time to sit on our laurels, congratulating ourselves. My quote of the week comes from Amanda Platell on the Andrew Marr show. She referred to a placard at the #PeoplesVoteMarch on which was written “NEXT WEEK THE CLOCKS GO BACK AN HOUR: NEXT YEAR THE CLOCKS GO BACK 45 YEARS”. My sentiments entirely.

Also, Amanda who has her ear to the ground in Parliament said she truly believed that there was a 50/50 chance that Theresa May will NOT be the UK’s Prime Minister by the end of next week. This is not necessarily a good thing….

That was the week that was 7th - 16th October
 from "Garry of the North":-

The state of crime was prominent at the beginning of the week, with statistics such as: Out of the 438,000 reported robberies last year, only three per cent were successfully solved. Naturally, the lack of officers is being blamed.

“Screening out” (a term used to mean cases not being investigated) is being used all over the UK. For example, West Yorkshire police are screening out 56% of all crimes. In other words more than half of all crimes will not be investigated.

West Yorkshire is by no means alone - Sussex has a 50% rate of screening out and Bedfordshire has 56%.

Since 2010 there are 22,000 fewer police officers in the country.

If a shoplifter steals under £200 worth of goods, they will not face court! Some say that vigilante justice could be just around the corner in the UK. What a ludicrous - and dangerous - situation.

Along with private schooling and private healthcare, private security is also becoming main stream.

James Hamilton-Paterson was promoting his new book about the de-industrialisation in the UK on Sky News. He told us that at the end of the 2nd World war, 53% of all World shipping was built in the UK - Sadly, this is far from the case now. During his interview, James came up with my chosen quote of the week: concerning the negotiations over Brexit - “The government have an IQ of mildew”.

Kent goes from the “Garden of England” to the “Carpark of England"

The Brexit car park started to take shape during the week although the local Tory MP Mr Tom Tugendhat seems to have had no idea it was happening! He criticised Chris Grayling, apparently on assurances that a contingency should not be needed after Brexit.

 Space-saving idea for the M26?

Space-saving idea for the M26?

Now we find out work has begun on “Operation Brock” work has already started on Kent’s M20. There will likely be further closures ahead. It has also been revealed that the Government are planning to use the 10-mile stretch of the M26 between the M25 and M20, which is around 65 miles from Dover as another area to park lorries.

Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association said “Imagine spending 15 hours parked up on a motorway with no lavatory or washing facilities - the mind boggles”. Portaloo manufacturers could make a mint!

That was the week that was 1st - 6th October
 from "Garry of the North":-

Firstly, I have found it so sad to see the devastation the tsunami has caused in the Philippines, 1700 people so far found dead and it looks like that number will rise by another 5000 who are missing. It took me back to Boxing Day in 2004.

I was on holiday on Penang in Malaysia and was due to go to Phuket two days later. Although we were very lucky as 34 people died about half a mile along the beach we were staying on, watching that wave come in was one of the most frightening things I have very seen. My heart goes out to the people affected - almost all the survivors with no insurance to help rebuild their lives and this combined with a very poor economy.

Back in the UK, the austerity that has been going on for ten years started because of the banking crisis - mainly due to the reckless investment strategy of RBS that the UK tax payer had to bale out.

We have had the party conferences and it was telling that the Labour Party - who were claiming the Conservative party had caused the problem - were in fact the party who let the banks behave the way they did and agreed the bale-out in 2008!

At the Conservative party conference the Boris took to the stage. The thing that came out of his speech was that as he is doing such a good job at dividing his party. It seems he is doing a wonderful job for us who want a 2nd vote - thank you Boris!

Anna Soubry said on the Peston show on Wednesday evening that pro-remainers at the conference were not allowed to hold a meeting in the conference centre (so much for Free Speech!) However Boris was allowed to lunch a leadership campaign. The two politicians on the show, Anna and Stella Creasy (Labour) both want a Peoples vote with “remain” on the voting slip.

Aaron Banks - UKIP’s past principle banker - hopes to now join the Conservative party and is promoting Boris by paying for his FaceBook promotion. How far to the right are they swerving?

I did not think that much of Theresa May's speech. To say she was proud to be the first PM to visit Kenya in 30 years when Macron has been courting African Countries ever since he has been leader to help the French economy did nothing to impress me of her overseas diplomatic skills.

The Tory app for the conference (which had no password) allowed for personal details of most at the conference to be shared. So much for GDPR! What great promise for the technology needed for the Tory's suggested option for the Irish border problem! Here come more chaos, methinks!

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dobbs said that the problem with the back-stop agreement was for the NI assembly to agree on. Just one problem Mr Dobbs! Although being paid, the assembly members have not been sitting for 2 years!

My quote of the week comes from Milton Jones (Mock the week) talking about the proposed Festival of Britain after Brexit, said “Everyone living in tents and sharing showers. It’s a festival, it’s a festival!”

That was the week that was 24th - 30th September
 from "Garry of the North":-

HIV & Hepatitis C has been in the headlines this week with the opening of an inquiry for those who were infected because of contaminated blood products. These came from the USA where people are paid to give blood, (such as prison inmates), due to a shortage in the UK. This started in the 1970s and continued through the 80s and 90s. Why has it taken so long? 3,000 affected people have died during this period. Over 30,000 have been infected - why has it taken so long for this inquiry to start?

These people have also had to take the stigma that was certainly around in the 80s and 90s. It was brought home again to me when I watched “Philadelphia” this week.

I hope this inquiry will hold accountable those unelected civil servants and government members who knew about it and did nothing.

Another thing I found really upsetting this week was that it has come to light that on the 16th May 1996, John Major (then PM), sent a letter saying that people who were infected with HIV/Hep C - through blood given by the NHS - should apply to the lottery fund for treatment! Before I heard this, I never had a problem with him, that has changed in my mind now.

I used to give blood in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I recall I was only given a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits. Well, I have never drunk tea so maybe more should have been encouraged to donate by offering a slightly wider choice?!

BREXIT!!! (for sure, a week cannot go by at the moment without this cropping up!)

At the start of the week, it was said there could be a people’s vote at the Labour conference with an option to say in the EU. Well that was Sunday. Then, on Monday, it was declared a people’s vote would rule out that option. Then Keir Starmer stood up and categorically said there would be an option to stay within the EU on any vote. Thank you Keir! Jeremy Corbyn confirmed he would stand by the will of the Labour members who are 90% in favour of a 2nd vote on Brexit (thoughn on what terms…). We will see… the Liberal Democrats have been consistent in their pro-Europe messages all the way through this mess, the Labour Party….well, I rest my case…

Cats cradle...impossibles.jpg

A no-deal Brexit would likely mean problems with flights to and from Europe, which could include extra costs. Buses, coaches, boats of course, will also have difficulties. Then there could be the need to visit a vet 4 months before you intend to travel between the UK and EU with animals. These negotiations are unraveling like a very bad cat’s cradle!

To look on the bright side - there could be a bonanza in discounted holidays if you book for next April and beyond, but “Buyer Beware”!

One positive for the world this week.

The original Blimp, Donald Trump, got laughed at during his speech at the UN when he said he was running the most successful administration in US history!

That was the week that was 17th - 23rd September
 from "Garry of the North":-

This week has been mainly about Brexit. I have heard talk from some, saying: “We were OK before we joined in 1975”. What a load of tosh! We were trying to join for years.

Charles De Gaulle vetoed the UK’s application before we were finally let in, I remember. It was the year I left school at 16, I was paying tax, could join the army and even get married but could not vote! Two years later at 18 I would have been able to vote, just as those who were 16 during the referendum would now be able to vote in a 2nd referendum and these are the people who would be affected by the vote more than other groups.

Teresa May, on Tuesday, tried to deflect Brexit by announcing an extra 2 Billion pounds for social housing for 2021/2022! One slight problem, it is possible she will not be Prime Minister next month let alone 3 or 4 years, so this can only be seen as a smoke screen.

On Thursday, the BBC reported that the Chequers’ Brexit deal (my quote of the week) “Was in tatters and was unraveling like an over-baked Battenberg cake”

 May now wants the EU to come up with an answer to Brexit! Unbelievable! This is the woman who invoked article 50 without a plan. She has some cheek, the EU didn’t ask the UK to leave!

She has told the EU 27 that it is “My deal or no deal” so we are at an impasse again. She also said if there was a no deal, EU nationals will be secure, nothing about us ex-pats, looks like we are being forgotten by her.

Jeremy Hunt has asked for calm.

  Three foolish monkeys on a platform…

Three foolish monkeys on a platform…

David Davis, Kate Hoey and the Farage were together on a platform in Bolton, the 3 less-than-wise monkeys. 

Emmanuel Macron said “People on the leaver side were liars”.

Things seem to be looking up on some fronts - 86% of Labour members want a 2nd referendum. Their leaders have said they will listen to their members at conference and said they will support a people vote if the members asked for it. (But - watch for the terms of any referendum they suggest following Unite’s Len McCluskey saying Brexit referendum should only offer ‘Deal or No deal’ choice. It’s beginning to sound like a television show…in the UK edition broadcast on 7 December 2009, a contestant named Corinne opened her box to reveal (and thus win) 1p, having turned down first an offer of £88,000 and then an offer to swap boxes, which would have given her the top £250,000 prize. )

That was the week that was 10th - 16th September
 from "Garry of the North":-

A quote for the start of the week came from the BBC’s Mock the Week last Sunday evening when a panellist commented: “If the Conservatives were a family, they would have a social worker by now”.

Peter Mandelson on Monday said: “The 29th March leave date must be extended”

Chris Bryant Labour Rhondda said in a commons debate and is my quote of the week when he said “How can you take back control of your borders when you do not have border controls?

Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe. An example was given on how tomatoes from Holland coming through the port take 12 hours from being picked to being put on the shelves in British supermarkets. A no-deal Brexit would likely add an extra 5 hours! Multiply that up across all goods!

Sir Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover said that a hard Brexit would lead to a loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the UK and one consequence for him could lead to a move out of the UK. At present, many staff are likely to move to a three-day week.

Another problem with a no-deal Brexit could mean British drivers using their UK licences could need to get an International licence to drive over here on the continent - there is therefore even a chance you will need one to drive between the North & South of Ireland! I am pleased I have a French one.

The French foreign minister said that trains and planes could be going nowhere if there was a no-deal.

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, this week stated that house prices in the UK could fall by a third under a no-deal. That could be the only good thing to come out of a no-deal! However, I believe that a fall in house prices would be more of a consequence of over inflated prices, as seen in the past several times. When house prices are inflated, you get a boom or bust bubble. I feel it is time for house prices in the UK to fall and my feelings are that it will happen even if the UK stays in the EU.

Mark also said that a hard Brexit could cause the same financial crisis the UK had in 2008.

Today, we have had Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, call for a 2nd vote on Brexit, more and more people of influence are coming to the conclusion that a 2nd or "Peoples vote" is the only way forward.

That was the week that was 3rd September - 9th September
 from "Garry of the North":-

Well, we are now back in full flow, our Blip, the Boris said that the Maybot’s “Chequers” agreement was two-thirds of “Diddly Squat”. His body mass index is certainly “Squat” but more than “Diddly”.

Amber Rudd said on the new “Politics Live” morning BBC show that “Politics has become more toxic because of social media. Momentum have made it worse”

Emily Thornbury was asked in that same show if she thought there would be a 2nd vote on Brexit . She commented Labour would not rule out anything, but would prefer a general election.

Philip Rycroft who is the permanent secretary to the department for exiting the EU said that the PM - our very own “Maybot” - was in charge of the UK’s exit of the EU negotiations, but when asked when people/business might know if a NO DEAL in the negotiations was likely” said: “between September 2018 and March 2019”!

Then we had the case of Steve and “Air” Park. Air (the name she is known as) is from Thailand. She came to the UK and married her partner Steve 4 years ago. However, her 6 year visa has run out. The UK government now have refused her a new visa and appear to have told the couple (both of whom were working) that the solution is they can just move to Thailand. Never mind Brexit - this sums up what a caring Country the UK is!

Both Joan Ryan, North London and Gavin Shuker have had votes of no confidence from their local Labour constuency parties. This brings me on to Thursday:

Our Sir Vince has come up with an initiative about the centre ground in politics. Also today, Tony Blair said it was a time to chance the centre ground. I have a lot of time for Tony Blair. I remember singing “Things will only get better” in my lounge on the morning after his election win in 1997,

I believe us Libdems can be the only party to lead this initiative. I remember how in March 1981 the SDP formed and entered into an informal alliance with us Liberals. On the 16th June 1981, this arrangement was formalised into an alliance, with both parties agreeing to stand down in each others favour. Between 1981 and 1983, the parties together won seats in by-elections in:

Croydon North West (Bill Pitt Liberal)

Crosby (Shirley Williams SDP)

Glasgow Hillhead (Roy Jenkins SDP)

Bermonsey (Simon Hughes Liberal)

In the 1983 election, the alliance won 25.4% of the vote, the Labour Party 27.6%, very close.

In 1988 the two parties became one. It was not an easy time for some of us Liberals, the SDP appeared to me at that time to be the more aggressive or should I say assertive. However,there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then - now we are one happy family - and I think we could adapt again to become the leading centre left party fit for the 21st century.

That was the week that was 27th August - 2nd September
 from "Garry of the North":-

Crime starts this week’s update. It appears crime is rising in the UK. The old police station I knew in Worthing (biggest town in West Sussex) which was always open, closed years ago. The new smaller one is open between 9am and 8pm, although closed on a Sunday and Bank holidays! It is good to know the UK police know when crime happens!

 Vanishing from a street near you?

Vanishing from a street near you?

A driving factor for this crime increae must be the lower numbers of police on the streets in the UK. 

Here in our local town, 2 miles from our village, with its population of 2,500 people, the authorities are refurbishing all the officers' housing, I really feel safer here in the North of France than I would in the South Coast in England. What has gone wrong in the UK? 

Is it all about low tax and low services? It makes you wonder and thank our luck we are here in France.

You can find out more about the Liberal Democrat plan for addressing the rise in crime here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/rights

The “MayBot” was in Africa (clearly not auditioning for “Strictly Come Dancing!") trying to drum up business post Brexit.

Macron had visited all of the three she dropped in on many times before the “MayBot” did -  does that mean you cannot make your own deals while in the EU? Please someone tell the Brits!

Incidentally, Kenya was pleased to see a British PM arrive for the first time after several decades -  that should bode well!

Scallop wars broke out off the coast of Normandy.  Two sides to this:- agreed conservation or greed? Whatever the legal stance, take your own view, I’m a Francophile.

Many UK trawler businesses have sold their fish quota to the Spanish fleet, which could mean after a hard Brexit the UK could face another Spanish Armada - this time who will win?

My quote of the week comes from Kevin Maguire during his Sky newspaper review on Wednesday.  Talking about Brexit, he said: “13 miles of portaloos down the M20 after 29th March next year" -  was that on the side of that bus”?

This week Panasonic said it is planning to move its HQ to the continent - another loss for the UK.  However, on the same day as this was announced,  Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was visiting “Signature Flat Breads” to talk to them about the benefits of Brexit. They have about 900 employees of whom 500 are non-UK Europeans - that bodes well too!

That was the week that was 19th August - 26th August
 from "Garry of the North":-

It is so pleasing to see an end to the silly season. My wife had told me to “get a life” because there was very little to report on for the previous four weeks. Politics is a large part of my life, so I have got it back now!

During this week, I contacted my MP, Sir Peter Bottomley (as my UK constituency is Worthing West). In an email, I told him how Brexit is affecting British citizens here in France – and of course all over the rest of Europe. Surprisingly, he replied almost immediately though the correspondence between us was a little confused (it was pretty late at night!)

The following day we spoke on the phone.  He was very pleasant, saying that it did not matter what political view one had which led me to use, as my quote of the week:-“Ignorance and apathy are the problems today

He has also offered to give us a comment or two under the “Brexit vote – two years on”. I look forward to receiving it.

Other LibDems up here in the North have also contacted their MPs, I urge you all who can to do the same. Make a noise!

  Doing Nothing is not an option...

Doing Nothing is not an option...

7 months until “Brexit Day”. 8 weeks only until our Government is meant to give the EU details of their Brexit proposals for a negotiated exit deal, which will be good for the UK and Europe. Don’t hold your breath!

The UK have finally given some advice, a “White Paper” about a third of issues so far on what the likely out come of a no-deal Brexit will be, what problems we all may have and what advice you need to help you cope. The EU have been putting in place their own “no-deal papers” for over a year – why is the UK government so apparently incompetent? (answers on a postcard please!)

One odd highlight: sperm donations from Denmark are under threat.  The UK relies on these for IVF treatment.  This one should help keep the Brexiters happy – it’ll keep the population down!

There was a lot that Dominic Raab said that was very worrying, but I don’t want keep raking over what problems a no-deal will mean to us, we know most of them by heart now.

However, I know many of you have been deeply depressed since the Brexit vote which has caused some to need professional medical help - all I can do is tell you, LibDems are fighting back - even more so in France! Talk from Raab about not losing your BLT sandwich is quite disingenuous and derogatory to people’s intelligence.

In other news, Australia is now on its 6th PM in 8 years, maybe we should take their lead!

Those of you on the Libdem email list would have received details of a really exciting initiative from the executive here in France. Us few in our group in Northern France have been putting these flyers. Every business we approached has put them up:-  Vets, supermarkets, Bakers, chemists, bars/restaurants. Please do what YOU can, because “DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION”:- Otherwise, in Raab’s last briefing white paper, we may be advised -  as for nuclear war, “Stand up, open your legs, bend down and kiss your backside goodbye”.

That was the fortnight that was 6th August - 20th August
That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

This silly/holiday season has started with the “Boris” - talking about Muslims wearing letterboxes, he has brought “Trumpification” into British politics. Also he was reported as the “worst” foreign secretary in history! Yet he is baying to get into number 10. Dominic Grieves said Boris was not a fit and proper person to lead the Country and added  he would leave the Tories if the "Blimp" was elected leader. An argument goes that BOris is deliberately "UKIPifying" his party deliberatly with such inflammatory remarks. We are also seeing the spectre of "entryism" - a deliberate policy to build the hard right in the Tory party.

A sad fact is that in a poll, the Country was split 50/50 on his remarks and is quite thought-provoking. ( Curious fact from Data Officer - did you know that "YouGov" who conduct so many polls are nothing at all to do with the government?)

The “Corbyn”.  In 2014 he, as a backbencher went to Tunisia allegedly to lay a wreath in support of the Palestinians who were killed following their barbaric attack on the Israeli Olympians in 1972. I remember that atrocity.

So we now appear to have the Tories as anti-Muslims, and the Socialists as anti-Jews.

I am so pleased at least us Liberals can remember a Great British scandal, thank you to that late great leader, Jeremy Thorpe, we can never be accused of racism in any way!  We are Open, Tolerant and United. 

Our own strong "Cable" has been out and about encouraging the #PeoplesVote - see our August Newsletter.

So, the Pope is visiting Ireland next week - all of the DUP MP’s who have been invited to meet him have declined! I am in no way religious, however what a snub to a great man and leader of the Catholic faith. The Irish problem looks like it will not go away and I have applied for Irish Nationality!

Lastly, I know the hierarchy in our Libdems in France are planning an initiative for “Exit Brexit”. I hope you will all embrace this, as I will and do what we all can: - “Doing nothing is not an option”. Again - see our August Newsletter! 

That was the fortnight that was 29th July - 5th August
That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

This is the week in the year our MPs have their extended holiday, (cut 5 days short!), 5 hour delays on euro-tunnel, flight cancellations -  all allegedly due to the wrong type of sun!

Arron Banks who gave millions of pounds to the Brexit campaign, although no one knows where that money came from, has been accused of lying about the diamonds he said were found in his diamond mines and also about his links to Russia and their influence in the Brexit vote.

The Royal Welsh Agricultural show took place this week. Wales voted overall to leave the EU yet has 90% of its food presently sold in the EU. Watch out for bonanza deals on Welsh lamb on the UK supermarket shelves after March next year - it may be the closest UK citizens get to a Brexit dividend!

Good news for Wales:  Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France! Who needs football?

Who needs to win the World cup!

A sad fact this week showed that there are 33,000 working homeless people this year in the UK. These are people who work in the UK but have nowhere to live, many that are housed in hostels have to leave by 8am in the morning and cannot return until 7pm in the evening. What a terrible indictment of 2018 British society. the percentage of people living in temporary accommodation has risen by 73% in three years.

Living in France but coming from Sussex, I am sad to hear about those commuters who need to travel to London to work each day. 23% of passengers who arrive in London during peak times have to stand these days.

MP’s have called for greater power for the electoral commission because there is evidence that voters have been manipulated by on-line campaigns (many of us were hardly surprised by this news!)

Dominic Cummings, the “Vote Leave” chief ("£350,000,000 a week for the NHS")who has refused to give evidence in the past to MPs,  called it “Fake News”!

A good story this week for me:- Both Kate Hoey and Frank Fields have lost the confidence of their own constituency party over their pro-Brexit stance/ They  are facing moves to be deselected.

What is happening with the weather? Heat, sun, clear blue sky and brown grass.  I live near the English Channel not the Med! 

Quite funny, Jeremy Hunt, said in his visit to China that his wife was Japanese.  It turns out his wife is in fact Chinese after all! And this is from the UK's foreign secretary!

Brexit continues: Farm owners were asking, when only 0.6% of people in the UK who work in agriculture are British, how the farms will be able to continue post Brexit?

Life in Northern Ireland: Peter Robinson, unionist and ex-DUP said that there could be a border poll, he also said that there could be a united Ireland!

Insulin providers who supply 1,000,000 UK users, are starting to stockpile 4-6 weeks supply in case of a no-deal Brexit.

Dover has one-sixth of all UK trade passing through. The local district council say they have no provision for a "no deal"!

Interest rates have gone up in the UK from 0.5% to 0.75%! There is talk of house prices falling, mortgages payments spiralling! I remember 15% mortgage rates under Norman Lamont. I feel the younger people of today really have no idea what can happen! I believe, as has happened in the past, UK house prices could plummet as mortgages effectively dry up.

Mark Carney, Bank of England chief, said a no-deal Brexit - which is still possible - would be a terrible outcome for the UK, but UK banks were making contingency plans so people would still be able to access money! Meanwhile, on Twitter, some Brexiters were calling this part of "Project Fear".

The soap opera continues - trouble is - this is Real Life.

17th July - 23rd July 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

Writing this on Sunday and after it appears there was nearly a general election called last week, I would urge all those who are eligible (left the UK under 15 years ago) to ensure they register to vote and renewed their "Overseas Registration" please...https://www.gov.uk/voting-when-abroad will tell you about it and also give the links to get registered. 

Register to vote!

If you have not heard from your own local UK constituency that you have been registered to vote after an application or renewal - please ring them and check if you are on the Electoral Register - many, many applications were reported as "lost" before! We cannot afford to be complacent!

At the beginning of the week, “vote leave” (£350,000,000 extra a week for the NHS) were found guilty by the electoral commission and referred to the police, fined £61,000 for over spending half a million pounds on their campaign.  Those responsible are now arguing about this. However, they were asked five times to answer questions but never did!

Our blimp Boris did his speech and there was only one thing he said that I understood - apparently the UK now has more overseas missions than any other country, we now overtake France (who needs to win a World cup then?).

Theresa May went in front of the liaison committee, which is made up of the chairs of all committees. She said that there would be a reciprocal agreement between the UK and EU on collecting tariffs (which has since been “discounted” by Michel Barnier).

Bill Cash asked if the white paper was shown to Angela Merkel before she showed it to MPs? Mrs May answered the question in her normal decisive way, so who really knows?

The “common rule book” for trade - which the white paper said the UK would abide to, is arbitrated over by the ECJ (I thought that was a "red line"?).

Ireland was still seen as the UK’s biggest problem in relation to Brexit -  if there is no agreement the UK will fall out of the EU with no deal at the end of March next year.

Ian Paisley looks like he will be suspended for 30 sitting days in parliament for accepting 2 luxury holidays in Sri Lanka, paid for from their government,  in return for asking the UK government for preferential treatment for Sri Lanka. Does that mean we can get 10% of the tax-payers money back from NI that Mrs May offered for the support of the DUP?

On Wednesday, the Taoiseach in Ireland said they are recurring an extra 1000 custom & veterinary officers  needed for airports and seaports.

It has been agreed by the government that arrangements about aircraft flying after the UK leaves would have been sorted out by this summer. However, this has now been put back. Lillian Greenwood, chair of the transport committee, asked Mrs May what people (who were now enjoying their overseas holidays) should do about booking next year’s holidays as of yet here is no agreement with either the EU or the USA?

My quote of the week comes from Lillian who said “Book your flight at your own risk”.

My 2nd quote ot the week, (I could not resist sharing this illuminating comment) was on C4’s Last Leg on Friday. Guest Anna Soubry, when asked what she thought of Trump said:-  “He is a dick-head”. Quite a succinct summing-up?



9th July - 16th July 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

Firstly, I hope you all had a great 14th July, one of the best traditions in our adoptive country! Here in my little village we had a great day, fishing, BBQ, drinking, playing games, all in the heat of the Pas de Calais (yes, really - it was hot, hot, hot)! Over half of our village turned out - could be because everything was free!

What a week in politics, plus the Trump Blimp flew high...

  A comparison between two statesmen...

A comparison between two statesmen...

Our Sir Vince started the week by saying that “Trump is not a friend of our Country, he should be treated in the same way Putin would be”

On Monday, that other blimp, Boris Johnson was due to chair a summit of the six Western Balkan states who wish to join the EU. As we now know Boris was not letting anyone know what he was doing and was trying to write his resignation letter before the PM told the commons of his departure (see waffle section link above for Boris's lie in his resignation letter)

The two-day Balkan summit was very successful and there were thanks from the Prince of Wales who held a dinner for all at the end.

Trump arrives in the UK.

In an interview in the Sun he laid in to the PM, saying that she did not take his advice (which turned out just to be “sue the EU”)... He also said the Boris would be a great, really great, really really great PM ... He also demeaned Sadiq Khan by implying he was the reason for the terror attacks last year!

I want to use a Boris word about what that US Fat “man” said but I have more respect for myself. He should look at the appalling lack of gun control in his own country (that has led to so many child deaths in USA schools) before he has the nerve to criticise the Mayor of London.  I think Sadiq has been doing a wonderful job.

Quote of the week comes from Dara O’Briain from Mock the Week. This occurred after the white paper was released - which was sent to the press 3 hours before our MPs saw it. 

Dara said that the UK’s opening gambit was more like being in the EU than it was before:-

“After we finish our negotiations when we leave the EU, we will all be speaking French!” Suits me...

Lastly, well done France winning the world cup, at least the English have a better goal keeper (in my opinion).

2nd July - 8th July 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

STOP PRESS: Since this: resignations from David Davies, Boris Johnson, two others.... losing count!Must be breaking all kinds of government records!

The week I was expecting is all to be about what was going to happen on Friday, a meeting with the unruly cabinet -  a "meeting of minds" - more like a "clash of wills" probably!

However, the news then appeared that there were some shenanigans regarding the funding for the Brexiters during the referendum in 2016. Rumours and blame had been flying around for some time in Social Media and in the papers, 

So: - “Vote Leave” (350,000,000 a week for the NHS) have been accused of cheating? What a surprise?! They had been giving money to “Be Leave”.

It is illegal for two campaign groups to coordinate a joint campaign under electoral law. Let's hope there is proof and those who knew are brought to book.

Esther McVey, the work & pensions secretary told the commons that “universal credit” should be rolled out more quickly. Yet the Independent Audit Office -  in fact in an open letter  - said the opposite on two accounts, McVey was forced to reply on Wednesday and give an explanation in the commons, it turned to be a bit of a non-apology!

In normal times, a minister who appears to lie to the Commons would have to resign, although this is a cabinet with Boris Johnson in it! These are not normal times...

Land Rover again, like other major manufacturers, said that a bad brexit could mean 40,000 jobs directly under threat together with a further 160,000 indirectly.

I have been looking at the Irish backstop in great detail, I have put mine in place by applying and paying the fee for Irish citizenship through my grand-parents last Wednesday, rather that sending all the paperwork off in the post, I will go in person to the Embassy in Paris on Tuesday.

Friday happened!! France won the football! Also the government had their all-day breakfast meeting. Theresa May calling it a triumph and that there was now “Collective Responsibility” within the Government & everyone was behind the “white paper” which will be published next week.

Boris (never able to shake that schoolboy behaviour ...) said that the deal was like a turd that the spin doctors were polishing. Dear, oh dear! How low do our MPs have to sink...

Quote of the Week:

On the Andrew Marr show (where most of the talk was about the deal that Theresa May was proposing  Andrew said, “We now have a leader we can trust in, thank you...Gareth Southgate”.

25th June - 1st July 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

Airbus & BMW started the week by stating that if there was not going to be a good deal in the upcoming Brexit talks for business they will have no option but to take most of their infrastructure & jobs to mainland Europe, to which our foreign secretary Boris Johnson reportedly said “F*** Business! What a great negotiating stance, some could say Trump-like!

Car investment in the UK is reportedly now down by 47%. Is Boris concerned, it would appear not interested.

Liz Truss got in a little trouble with her party for saying that her colleagues should be honest about tax rises needed for their demands for extra spending, also a “wood-burning Gove” could be seen as a lot of hot air.

It has come to light after 10 years that the UK government could have been compliant in the USA’s torture treatment of their assumed enemies. An investigation to what the UK knew and did is being called for.

Macron,  here in France, is to bring back National Service of a one month duration for 16 year olds. Living in the North, which has the highest youth unemployment in the Country, I think this is a good & brave idea.

Channel 4’s "The last leg" were talking about Boris, joking about his trip to Afghanistan, saying what would Boris put first his morals or his job -  no contest!

My quote of the week comes from that show when Adam Hills said “I believe Boris will lie in front of the bulldozers, he did lie in front of that bus!”

Writing this after France won that great game against Argentina yesterday, we still have two flags hanging from our veranda. I am hoping the cross of St George will still be there next Sunday, at least we haven’t run out of CO2!

23rd June 2018 - Anti-Brexit March - Enjoy! It was not tens of thousands, it was over one hundred thousand and some estimates are 500,000! Keep up the pressure! 

Tens of thousands of anti-Brexit campaigners have marched through central London on the second anniversary of the vote to take Britain out of the EU - demanding another referendum on any final Brexit deal. (Click to subscribe for more Channel 4 News videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel4news?sub_confirmation=1)

18th June - 24th June 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

Donald Trump started the week saying “The USA will not become a migrant camp” after splitting families & keeping young children in cages with only tin foil to keep them warm near to the Mexican boarder.

The PM promised an extra 20 million pounds a year for the NHS in real terms by 2023, how would it be paid? Supposedly from “the Brexit windfall” following the UK leaving the EU and for any shortfall from taxation. The office of budget responsibility said that there will be no extra money after Brexit.

But as we know, since the referendum, tax receipts have fallen by 300 million a week partly as a result of poor productivity and a weaker falling currency and as this promise from the PM has not been costed, so it looks as if -  if this promise is going to be met -  it must come from tax rises.

We Libdems are the only party to have costed a health care tax, looks like the other parties will have to take our lead!

The Tories are talking about a 3.4% rise in funding, but the Institute of Fiscal Studies says it needs to be at least 5%.

The debate about legalising cannabis came to the fore after young Billy Caldwell returned to the UK following treatment for his chronic epilepsy from the world’s second largest paediatric hospital in Toronto. At his return, he had his cannabis-based medication confiscated, necessitating Billy's readmission to hospital in the UK. Fortunately his medicine has now been returned to him, it does seem strange to me that a cannabis-based medicine would be banned when Opium-based treatments are readily available.

26 countries around the world use this medicine and Australia is aiming to be the world leader in cannabis health care.

We LibDems have had a common-sense approach to legalising cannabis in certain conditions for some time...

Brexit was again centre stage this week with the Tory so-called rebels led by Dominic Grieve threatening to help get a “meaningful vote” on the outcome of the Brexit deal, he as before did not go through with his threats, I was pleased to see my favourite "Libdem on the Tory benches", Ken Clarke, stick by his morals and vote against his party.

11th June - 17th June 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

This week started with the 45-minute private summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un to save the World in Singapore, which followed their 12-second hand shake.

The North Koreans have never kept to their agreements in the past and following Trump’s change of mind on the plane following the G7 summit last week, I’m not that sure the world is a safer place now!

My quote of the week comes from PMQs, following the Labour leader talking about the division in the Conservative party, the PM said of Labour (who are distributing leaflets to their members on how to deselect their own MPs ) “That is division”.

Also, Ian Blackford (the leader of the SNP party in Westminster) refused to sit down, having demanded longer than the 15 minutes that was given to discuss devolved power following Brexit. He quoted it as a “power grab” , was told to leave the chamber and was followed out by all the other SNP MPs.  This meant Libdems took over their rightful place as the 3rd largest party in parliament!

One more Brexit area that will affect almost every single person in the UK is the use of a sat-nav (commonly known as a GPS).  GPS is in fact an American satellite system, so us Europeans have been putting together our own system, known as “Galileo” which is expected to be a vast improvement over GPS.

To date, the UK hs been a very important part of the development  which has already put 22 of the 24 satellites in space needed to run the system, with a further 2 as standbys. However,  the UK and the other 27 EU nations have not yet come to an agreement for what is going to happen going forward. That means it is unlikely post Brexit that Britain will be allowed to participate. A further loss of jobs would ensue which will have to go to other EU counties.

Lastly, I cannot go without mentioning Lucy Salek’s courageous attempt to take the Labour stronghold of Lewisham East seat which as we know was always goinbg to be a very difficult challenge. All the more impressive then that she changed the Libdem percentage of the vote  from 4.4% in 2017 to 24.6%.  A heartfelt well done to Lucy!

 “The only way is up”

June 15th 2018

Congratulations to Lucy Salek in Lewisham East  and the LibDem campaigners who helped to make a big impact on the residents' voting patterns there and moved us up into second place behind Labour and ahead of the Convservative Party. LibDems are a rising storm!

Lucy V Salek Lewisham East Liberal Democrat candiadte 2018.jpg

Report from the Front Line - Tipping Point?

Graham Colley reported in LibDem Voice about campaigning in Lewisham East:-

"I spent Saturday afternoon on the doorstep in a former Conservative ward. I can tell you that most began as undecided but were happy to listen and be convinced. Conservatives know they cannot win. They are still unsure that they should turn their backs on their traditional support. Labour voters almost always say that ‘are unsure’.


"After 50 years of doorstep politics I still cannot tell you that we are at that ‘tipping point’. However, when my doorstep canvassing is interrupted by a LibDem deliver and when electors on the street tell us ‘you LibDems are everywhere’, you know you are ’on a roll’.

"It is clear to me that the voters of Lewisham East want to be convinced. They want to defeat Brexit but need to be helped across their line of traditional support.

4th June - 10th June 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

  • On Monday, the commons had the second reading of a cross party bill to ban buying or selling ivory in the UK.

  • Also on Monday, when David Steel was asked about a story I covered last week about Jeremy Thorpe, he was also asked about the ongoing discussion in Northern Ireland regarding abortion which is a very emotive question.

    • He replied: “It should be up to the UK government to decide because the NI government has not been governing for almost 18 months”.

    • It is good to see someone give a straight answer to a straight question.

  • PMQ’s on Wednesday, the PM as usual would not give any answers to any questions, particularly concerning the release of the white paper on the UK’s proposal to leaving the EU, which was promised in early June.

  • This is now being delayed until after the 17th/18th June EU summit! So not only will we not know, neither will the EU!

  • My quote of the week comes from Jeremy Corbyn, when asked by the PM if he would rule out a second referendum on Brexit, his response was “silence”. Only time will tell!

  • On Friday at the G7 conference, the so-called special relationship between the UK and USA did not appear that special as Trump would only have one-to-one meetings with the French and Canadian leaders.

    • Macron, who it seems will answer a question said “Donald Trump will not be in power for ever”!

  • Lastly, I want to wish Lucy Salek good luck in next Thursday’s Lewisham East by-election.

  It's our Garry! front row, 2nd in from left

It's our Garry! front row, 2nd in from left

I have a personal interest, having been born just up the road in Bermondsey. My life long football team will be her local football team.  We are having a problem with a compulsory purchase order over Millwall FC land. The club chief executive has written to all the main candidates:-  Lucy’s answers are quoted below.  The only candidate not to answer (as of last Friday) was Labour.

It is clear to see who is most concerned and knowledgeable about local worries and problems...

The answers from Lucy, LibDem parliamentary candidate for Lewisham East:-

1. Do you support the use of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) over the Millwall land?

No. As I saw when I came to the Den earlier in the campaign the community work that Millwall FC do is powerful. The Liberal Democrats will stand with Millwall in the fight to protect the club from Lewisham Council. I am extremely disappointed that Labour have badly let down the club and community.

2.  Do you approve of the sale of council land to private property developers?

The most important thing with any decision is that a council speaks to all stakeholders involved in any project. It is also vital that the council always do what the they can to protect community services. Clearly in the case of Millwall FC, none of these safeguards have been met.

3. Do you agree that Millwall Football Club should be a participant in any development of the land around its stadium?

Millwall should be involved with any development in the land around The Den so that the club can continue to do its vital work for people of all ages in our community.

29th May - 3rd June 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

  • As there was no parliament last week, I was thinking this was going to be a very barren week, on Monday.

  • Nevertheless. my quote of the week soon came from my baker Emile, (partaking of a small glass when he delivered our bread), said “Did you know about the terrible hailstone storms in the Bordeaux area? There is going to be a shortage of rosé wine!” I thought that would be my main concern for a while.

  • Then things started to change.

  • We had a fake death clam in Ukraine, a reporter was allegedly killed by the Russians, but they came back to life the next day!

  • The NHS, it was reported that the NHS needs a further 7 billion pounds to bring it up to date.

  • On Thursday, the start of potential trade wars began, the USA imposing a 25% steel & 10% aluminium trade tariff for imported metals, this was followed by talk for the EU imposing tit-for-tat trade tariffs.

  • There was anger from the UK, the director of UK steel stating: “We have no special relationship with the USA”

  • The Chief Constable of Northern Ireland is asking for an extra 400 police officers needed, at a cost of tens of millions of pounds, for the border post Brexit, this is being backed by police federation of Northern Ireland.

  • Lastly, following the revelations of the Labour party’s problems with anti-Semitism & the Conservative anti-Muslim rhetoric, the case concerning the former Liberal leader, Jeremy Thorpe (who sadly passed 4 years ago) has been reopened by the police. Jeremy Thorpe was acquitted in 1979 following an accusation from a former friend, Norman Scott that he (JT) had tried to have him shot.

  • The assumed hit man, Andrew Newton, who was believed to be dead, has been found alive and well in Surrey. This seems to be the week of the resurrected.

  • Back in the day, as a “Young Liberal” in Horley Surrey, we had written to Jeremy to ask him to be our President, so this tale has raised many distant memories of those times.

  • This is all come about because the BBC have over the past 3 weeks been showing a dramatisation of the scandal.

21st - 28th May 2018

That was the Week that was* from "Garry of the North":-

  • Resignation: Ken Livingstone resigns from the Labour party following his remarks regarding insistence that Adolf Hitler was “supporting Zionism”.

  • Brexit and Economy: On Tuesday, Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor said that since the Brexit vote in May 2016, each household has been £900 a year worse off.

  • Also, the economy is £40 Billion smaller since the vote, this also includes the full in sterling.

  • Quote of the week: Andrew Neil on Wednesday, during his daily politics show following Mark Carney’s statement “40 Billion lost in the economy means £300 million lost every week in tax revenue. What did they say on the side of that bus?!”

  • Ireland: On Friday, the vote in Ireland to repeal the 8th amendment went yes by 66% to no 33%.

  • Northern Ireland: are now asking – “Why not us?” The DUP - who stand by these"draconian laws” - are the 10 MP’s that are still propping up our Conservative Government!!

(Note: Views expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the committee or of the Liberal Democrat Party)

24th May 2018  From the Ipswich Star: 

Former Ipswich mayor Inga Lockington has had her application for British citizenship turned down by the Home Office – because officials will not accept that she is a UK resident…

She married Dr Tim Lockington in 1979 and has lived in this country ever since.

She had not applied for UK citizenship until now because as an EU citizen she had the right to live here – and until two years ago Denmark had laws which said she would lose the citizenship of her homeland if she became a naturalised Briton…

The Home Office letter says: “As you have not provided a document certifying permanent residence or a permanent residence card issued by the Home Office, we cannot be satisfied that you were permanently resident in the United Kingdom no the date of your application for naturalisation and it has been refused.”

Mrs Lockington said there was no need for EU citizens to have a permanent residence card.

Sal Brinton (President, UK Liberal Democrats) tweeted: I have known Inga for close to 20 years, she’s had indefinite leave to remain in her passport since 1979. Hostile environment for lawful EU citizens already here. Disgraceful! Home Office denies citizenship to ex-Ipswich mayor Inga Lockington

13th June 2018


Liberal Democrat candidate Lucy Salek said: "I will always defend the right to peaceful protest but the toxic and threatening atmosphere outside the hustings tonight was totally inappropriate"

Police took the decision to close the hustings held in advance of the Lewisham East by-election amidst the concerns that the demonstrations concerning the Far Right Candidate were causing a potential threat to public safety.

Our LiberalDemocrat candidate (riding high in the polls), continued:-

"If Labour had attended the hustings they could have joined with me in defending our values.

"But instead they stayed away, fanning the flames of intolerance and refusing the people of Lewisham the chance to hear from those who wish to serve."

Women’s Equality Party candidate Mandu Reid said: "The biggest parties should have been standing shoulder-to-shoulder against hate".

A Labour spokesman said: "This has nothing whatsoever to do with the official Labour campaign.”

Paris: 14/05/2018 LibDems in France took part in organising a well-attended Brexit Forum in Paris. A report will be in our next Newsletter (you can subscribe by clicking on the "Take Action" tab). A diverse set of questions were raised with Catherine Bearder MEP and Tom Brake MP.

  Catherine Bearder updates the Forum on "Brexit" To right of her (in photo) is our Chair, Paul Fisher. Far right is Tom Brake MP. To the left is Yves Robert, National Coordinator of the Individual members of ALDE

Catherine Bearder updates the Forum on "Brexit" To right of her (in photo) is our Chair, Paul Fisher. Far right is Tom Brake MP. To the left is Yves Robert, National Coordinator of the Individual members of ALDE

13th -20th May 2018   That was the week that was!

  • Harry & Megan married - a wonderful day for them and the crowds. Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

  • Question time (Thursday) on BBC1 – the question to the panel was “What is your opinion on the USA opening their embassy in Jerusalem”?

    • Provoking our Quote of the week: Diane Abbott “No other European country has their embassy there”

  • Euratom: “Should there be a failure to agree a withdrawal agreement by March 2019, the UK would have to operate outside of Euratom and source radioisotopes from outside of this framework.” Brexit briefing 2017

    • This week it was agreed that the UK have no chance of being ready to meet any of the requirements in this time frame!

  • The answer to the Irish border question is getting quite bizarre, the Tories are split on two options, which could result in a leadership contest if one is adopted over the other. It seems the EU may not be enthusiastic about agreeing to them either!

  • 23 months since the referendum over Brexit, this week neither the Conservatives & Labour parties are any closer to agreeing what sort of Brexit they want.

  • The Libdems remain the only one of the "top three" parties to give clear, unambiguous answers

    • Stay as a member of the EU or at the very least, a final referendum on the outcome of any proposal the Government eventually cobbles together.
      News collated by Gary Spencer, LibDem Local Group:- Pas-de-Calais

A former council leader in Hull , a member of the Labour Party for more than 40 years has now cancelled his membersHip. In a leTter to Jeremy Corbyn he stated
"...The fantasy of building socialism in one country is absolutely not worth abandoning our commitment to the most socially progressive social, economic and political experiment humankind has ever engaged in. I am not the sort of member you should be losing but you’re about to lose me".

(The LibDems won 31 seats in Hull duRing the May 2018 Local Elections. On tHe City Council, they increased their share from 17 to 24 seats )

  • LONDON: 13/05 Theresa May stated she could be trusted to "deliver Brexit" but not without compromise on all sides. In a feature in the Sunday Times, she stated "I will need your help and support to get there and in return, my pledge to you is simple: I will not let you down." (Many of us felt let down by her a long time back...)

  • PARIS : 12/05/2018 A person was killed in a knife attack which wounded four others in the heart of Paris. The assailant, thought to be a terrorist, was shot dead by police. President Macron emphasised after the attack that France "will not yield an inch to the enemies of freedom.

  • EUROVISION: 12/05/2018 During the song by the UK entrant, a protestor rushed the stage and grabbed the micophone, shouting out something about the UK media. He was budled away and singer SuRie managed to continue her act.

Fabulous Local Council results in May 2018

council election 2018 results.JPG
Uploaded by Kingston Council on 2018-05-04.