Silence is often golden

Tory Leadership Campaign

Tory MPs will vote today in the first round of a series of to reduce the 5 candidates for the party leadership to 2 who will then be voted on by a postal ballot of party members.  On each successive ballot of MPs  (on successive Tuesdays and Thursdays) the candidate receiving the least votes will drop out until just two are left.

The Guardian has a tally:  “The Conservative leadership contest: who’s backing who“.

There are also two blogs which seek to predict MP voting intentions: Guido Fawkes  and Conservative Home and, of course there are also the bookmakers betting odds which are taken from William Hill.

Candidates Guido Fawkes Cons Home William Hill
Teresa May 100 122 4/9
Stephen Crabb 22 22 33/1
Michael Gove 25 26 16/1
Andrea Leadsom 37 39 2/1
Liam Fox 8 7 100/1
Undeclared 138

gove2The Telegraph reports:  Boris Johnson backs Andrea Leadsom for Prime Minister and opines that this may impact negatively on Michael Gove.  That may be an understatement.   There is a feeling among those who voted to leave the EU that one of the two candidates on the members ballot should be a person who supported the leave campaign.  But Gove’s claim has suffered greatly from his knifing of  Clown Boris. See this comment on the Guido Fawkes blog:-

A long-term Gove loyalist told Guido yesterday that he hoped the Chilcot drama tomorrow will provide cover for his preferred candidate’s likely humiliation on Thursday. The miscalculation of the Boricide has been devastating for Gove’s campaign. The polite, good-humoured, fun Gove – popular across the party – is now seen as a ruthless Machiavellian bastard. Gove’s ratings with Tory supporters have plummeted according to ConservativeHome, YouGov has also seen his personal net approval rating with Tory members plummet from +41 to -20 in a week.

Good news.  Hopefully the Poison Dwarf is toast.

 TLeadsonbyLeaveEUhe Mail has this: May is on the march: Now TEN Cabinet ministers and over 100 MPs back her bid for No 10 as Leadsom suffers ‘car crash’ hustings with Tory MPs     The Mail was not the only paper to pick up on Leadsom’s poor perfomance at the hustings and also the negative vibes about her connections with Aaron Banks.  The poster from Leave.EU will not help.  Nor this Financial Times article:  “Leadsom forced to account for financial history(£)“.   The BBC’s Norman Smith, however, opined this morning that the eventual outcome of the MP’s ballot might well be an all female ticket of  May and Leadsom because Gove has been irreparably damaged.

Labour Leadership

The Labour Leadership (or lack of it) battle continues – see this in the Guardian:  Angela Eagle threatens to break Labour impasse with leadership bid.   This is in reality a tussle between the Hard Marxist Left and the Democratic Socialists. See also this in the Financial Times: Watson vows ‘one last’ crack at persuading Corbyn to step down(£)   Hopefully, matters will be resolved before September, failing which there may be a breakup of the party.

Brexit & The Economy

The Financial Times has this: Pound hits new post-Brexit low(£).  The article also explains why  the FTSE250 index is more affected by Brexit fears than the FTSE100.   It is also worth exploring other Financial Times articles on the Brexit Impact.  See this on Foreign Banks in the City:  “The 9 ways Brexit will affect foreign banks(£)” and this on Euro clearing:  Battle lines drawn over London’s role in euro clearing (£).

Brexit fears are biting and the Bank of England is taking action.  See this BBC Report: “Bank of England eases special capital requirements for banks“.  Also this: “Bank of England warns Brexit risks beginning to crystallise“.

Also this BBC Report:  “Aviva suspends property fund due to ‘extraordinary’ conditions“.    By my reckoning that is actually the 3rd property fund that has had to defer repayments because of a lack of liquidity.  There are about 50 such funds but Standard Life and Aviva are the biggest. It is likely that others may have to follow suit.


Impatience in Europe

See this BBC Report:  “Brexit leaders ‘leaving the boat’ – EU Commission boss Juncker“.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the world’s smallest states (about the same size as Northamptonshire)  and with a population of just over 525,000 making it smaller than Cyprus and a little bigger than Malta which is the smallest EU state.  Yet, it has the 2nd highest per capita  GDP in the world –  USD 98,917 which compares well with Germany’s  USD 48,693 or the UK’s  USD 41,159.

But much of its economic advantage derives from it being the 2nd safest tax haven in the world and with that comes a very stable political system.  Jean-Claude Junker was a Luxembourg Minister from 1984 and  Prime Minister from 1995-2013 before becoming President of the Commission in 2014 succeeding José Mauel Barroso.

The Commission is the Executive of the EU answerable to the Council of Ministers of the Member States and to the Parliament.  But there is a difference between:

(i)  being the Prime Minister of a nice tidy little place which is exceedingly stable and wealthy;  and

(ii) being the Chief Executive of an administration whose activities affect the entirety of 28 member states with a total population of the order of 508.2 millions. The UK alone has 64.3 millions or 12.67%  of the total as compared to Luxembourg with just 0.11%.

The Centre for European Reform  (“the CER”) i think tank, which is pro European but not uncritical, has been doubtful about the way matters have been going in the EU for some time.  See this from 2013:  “What is wrong with the European Commission“.

If there is a single person within the EU institutions who stoked the fires for the UK Brexit vote, the prize must go to Mr Jean-Claude Junker. In a more recent paper on the impact of the Brexit vote, Charles Grant wrote:-

In the top echelons of the EU there are two competing approaches to the future of Europe. The European Commission, led by President Jean-Claude Juncker, believes in further integration. It generally seeks to respond to crises by pressing member-states to accept ‘European’ solutions that involve extra powers for EU institutions. The Commission does not seek to grab power in a cynical way – it genuinely believes that many problems require ‘more Europe’. And sometimes it is right.

But the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, takes a different line. In recent weeks he has repeatedly warned that more centralisation would turn citizens against the EU. “Obsessed with the idea of instant and total integration, we failed to notice that ordinary people, the citizens of Europe, do not share our Euro-enthusiasm,” he said.”  [from The Impact of Brexit on the EU].

The next months are going to be very difficult, both for the UK and for the EU.

Abbeye Saint MauriceIt would be very helpful if Mr Junker could take a short retreat, perhaps the Père Abbé of the Abbaye Saint-Maurice de  Clervaux  (Luxembourg) could offer him a cell.

Thereafter Mr Junker could return to his Commission  functions imbued with the conviction that silence is often golden – even for politicians.  A period of restraint on his part might save a lot of aggravation.

The EU referendum has taken place.  It does not result in any automatic process.  This blog shares the view of many lawyers that a vote in the Parliament is required and that will not be before a new Prime Minister is in place.

But it is the Parliamentary vote which counts – not the result of the Referendum.  That is an issue of English law and the EU text expressly provides that a state has to proceed in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.








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