Staying in EU is the war. However, the current battle is to ensure the Conservatives don't get into power, invoke Brexit means Brexit and end up with no deal which somehow will be better than a bad deal.

Here are some articles categorising the inconsistencies in the "strong and stable" conservative campaign in support of that battle...

Some definitions (more formal definitions are available)

European Union (EU)

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.

European Economic Area (EEA)

The European Economic Area (EEA) is the area in which the Agreement on the EEA provides for the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital within the European Single Market, as well as the freedom to choose residence in any country within this area.

It is quite possible to be a member of EEA while not being a member of EU.

The Referendum Question

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

 

So, we know the referendum was close (48.1% vs 51.9%) and we also know the result was not legally binding. But please note: even if the Tories or any other "Brexit means Brexit/will of the people" flavoured party wants to take us out of the EU there was no referendum on leaving the EEA. Consequently...

any negotiations to take us out of EU that include us leaving EEA will be undemocratic, non-constitutional and illegal.

The slogan "a country that works for everyone" at the Conservative Party conference in 2016 doesn't quite match the reality.

Sheryl Murray is the con. party candidate for South East Cornwall. At a recent hustings she said "So, say for instance somebody has no house or if their financial situation had changed while they were going through reassessment and their benefits is [sic] delayed then sometimes they need to call upon the food bank. But I am really pleased we have food banks in South East Cornwall."

Needless to say there was uproar at the meeting and SM suggested ignoring one particular section of the audience. One woman declared "How dare you stand there and say you'll ignore me? I'm sitting down now but you're being rude." SM's response? "I think we leave. I'm not being subjected to this... You've all witnessed this horrendous behaviour... Perhaps the lady should leave?

The lady in the audience explained: "You were being very very rude and I am not leaving. If you want me to leave, you call the police".

The Tory response was a call to Bob (the coordinator?): "Right Bob would you like to ... go and do that please".

- - -

Hmm... 

There are several Magic Money Trees and one has been located in the off-shore tax haven of Panama.

The "Panama Papers" are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney–client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities, which belonged to the Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca. They were leaked in 2015 by an anonymous source.

The graphic on the right highlights countries with politicians, public officials or close associates implicated in the leak on April 15, 2016

The leaked documents contain personal financial information about wealthy individuals and public officials that had previously been kept private. According to The Guardian, "More than £170bn of UK property is now held overseas. ... Nearly one in 10 of the 31,000 tax haven companies that own British property are linked to Mossack Fonseca." Included among the Panama Paper documents are the names of six members of the House of Lords, several of whom have been donors to the Conservative Party, as well as other Conservative donors.

- - -

Feel free to make contact with the location other Magic Money Trees

During Question Time on BBC, Theresa May came under fire from a nurse, Victoria Davey, over the 1% cap on annual public sector pay rises, asking how was it "fair" that her 2009 pay slip "reflected exactly" what she earned today. Mrs May said she recognised the job nurses did, but the Conservative Party "had had to take hard choices across the public sector".

Could somebody remind me what's happened to MPs salaries over that period?

- - -

Ok, here's the answer: an MP's basic salary has increased 14% (from £64,766 to £74,000)

Just a quick one this morning.

Where was our strong leader when condemnation of Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement was needed?

At the Police Federation Conference in 2015, Damian O'Reilly predicted having to put soldiers on the streets due to police cuts. Theresa May, then the Home Secretary, dismissed his comments as "scaremongering" but two years later, that has come true.

The numbers are almost unbelievable. Since 2010 when Mrs May became Home Secretary, 1,337 trained firearms officers have seen their jobs cut. After the Manchester bombing 984 soldiers were deployed on the streets of Britain yesterday to help free up armed officers.

On LBC James O'Brian commented "Maybe she meant something different when she accused police officers of scaremongering when they said they would have to adopt a paramilitary style of policing but within two years of levelling that accusation, it's almost a straight swap."

I'm not sure but I think the British Army might be a bit stretched at the moment and I would rather fund the police to do their job properly.

The idea that the Conservatives and a particular "bloody difficult woman" are the ones to handle the negations with the EU and the concept that "no deal is better than a bad deal" has been troubling me for a while. James O'Brian had a go at tackling the issue of no deal but I now think I have the answer.

The conservatives continuously ask us who we trust to negotiate. To start from a position of no deal and negotiate a worse position requires a very special skill set which I fear the conservative party has. Who on earth plans to negotiate poorly?!?!

 

 

Yes, we've done the disrespectful thing recently - see "Why don't you fuck off?" but you need to know...

At a hustings in the campaign to win the seat of former MP Jo Cox, Conservative hopeful Dr Ann Myatt praised the first rate event and continued "We have people here from all faiths, we have people here from different parts of the community and we have not yet shot anybody so that's wonderful." She explained that the comments came at the end of a tiring day - that doesn't bode well for her ability to cope with a life in parliament, now does it?

I suggest she withdraw her candidacy.

 

There seems to be no doubt in May's mind that leaving the EU will make the UK less secure:

"So my judgement, as Home Secretary, is that remaining a member of the European Union means we will be more secure from crime and terrorism". Theresa May 25th April 2016.

"In security terms a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened". Theresa May 29th March 2017  invoking Article 50.

This is not a good stance on which to build a case for leaving the EU and cobbling together building a strong and stable government over the next 5 years - but it gets worse. On the causes of terrorism there seems to be no coherent thinking.

Boris Johnson, now foreign secretary, seems to think that British wars overseas have increased terrorism: "Isn't it possible that things like the Iraq war did not create the problem of murderous Islamic fundamentalists, though the war has unquestionably sharpened the resentments felt by such people in this country and given them a new pretext?"

In an 11-minute interview with by Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News, defence secretary Michael Fallon condemned that comment. This statement came after Jeremy Corbyn's speech on terrorism. 

Still with this?

Prime Minister: Leaving the EU will make the UK less secure.

Foreign Secretary: Overseas wars encourage terrorism

Defence Secretary: Oh no they don't

cue Pantomine Horse?

By the way...

you can read the full text of Jeremy Corbyn's speech on 26th May but the parts that seem to have stirred things up are:

"We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home."

and

"I want to assure you [our Armed Services, Foreign Office and International Development professionals] that, under my leadership, you will only be deployed abroad when there is a clear need and only when there is a plan and you have the resources to do your job to secure an outcome that delivers lasting peace."

A few days ago after the appalling attack in Manchester, James Heappey wrote me a campaign email:

"Campaigning resumes at midday today after pausing for a few days to reflect on the horrendous attack in Manchester. The tone of the campaign ... will hopefully continue to be respectful over the next week" [my emphasis]

My reply:

So where does “Why don't you fuck off back to Scotland?” fit into that plan?

To explain:

When meeting the sixth form at Millfield school in Street, Somerset, Heappey asked pupils how they would vote in the proposed second Scottish independence referendum. A Scottish girl said she would support independence. Most reports assert that Heappey then asked her "Why don’t you fuck off back to Scotland?"

A good starting point to read the many reports is Heappey's page on Wikipedia.