LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
12 January 2019
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Playing the Waiting Game


Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Let’s try to think of a time when the government didn’t
make an embarrassing farce of any attempt to do – anything. Can’t. Don’t
bother.

We have reached the point where we won’t be able to even say we are British
without wincing while people laugh. Clue to the latest: the no-deal Brexit lorry-
park ‘exercise’ beggars belief doesn’t it? Only we aren’t laughing. Well, it is
comforting; plus ça change.

Only 89 vehicles decided to come out to play the Dover Driving Over the Cliff
game. The government paid 150 £550 to participate. No cheating. No pass go.
No saying: “See EU. We’re ready to play the no-deal game. Look. We are
winning. Nearly 90 lorries. Wow! Be impressed with our unprecedented
stupidity. Oops. Forward thinking. And the purpose you ask? Erm.
We’ll have to
get back to you.
But look how well we are doing with the drones disrupting our
airports. Impressive.”

Time for facts: The FT has revealed a UCL study that shows that truckers at
Dover would face six-day queues to board ferries if each lorry was delayed by
just 70 seconds each. Yes. 70! And surely counting….

The study commissioned by the Department for Transport found that a delay of
80 seconds per vehicle would lead to a “no recovery” situation. Yes. 80! One
official said: “The whole country, I’m not making this up, is in a traffic jam”… a
permanent gridlock. Facts? Not to fanatically bigoted Brexiteers. They only
ardently adhere to fantasies based on nostalgia. All right. All right. We already
know this don’t we?

There’s more of course. Imperial College London has worked out customs
delays at Dover would mean ‘paralysis’ on the M20 and A20. Just two minutes of
extra checks would triple traffic queues to 29 miles. And, a 20-mile stretch of the
M3 motorway could be closed. To cope with the backed-up lorries.
Hopefully all those Leave idiots will be ‘paralysed’ in their British manufactured
cars. And what cars are those exactly? One of the only 35 active British car
manufacturers. The other 500 are – erm – defunct.


And the British manufacturing sector? Oh that. It will be at risk of collapse under
the weight of Brexit customs bureaucracy and friction-filled trade ‘plus ça
change’ problem then.


The defence secretary, spider man Gavin Williamson, reminded us last week
that
“this is our biggest moment as a nation since the end of the Second World
War
, when we can recast ourselves in a different way, we can actually play the
role on the world stage that the world expects us to play.” I know you must be
laughing hysterically. Well, you should be.


And lest we forget: Brexit will protect those ultra-rich domiciled in the UK from
the EU Tax Avoidance Directive, which comes into force in early 2019.
Getting
better and better.


Hoping for another laugh? Oh those deluded Conservatives always deliver a
comedic performance. 85 percent say new post-Brexit trade deals will
compensate for EU trade, and more than half reckon they will “more than
compensate” for it. You’re smiling. The survey also found that only a third of
Tory MPs think a no-deal exit is likely to cause disruption at ports. Ha ha ha.


Clue: according to consultancy firm EY, Financial Services companies have
shifted nearly £800 billion of assets, operations and staff to Europe since the EU
referendum and that is considered ‘conservative’. We know banks, brokerages
and insurers have said that they will move ‘some’ staff or operations. It says the
figure is “still modest given total assets of the UK banking sector alone is
estimated to be almost £8 trillion, but may become larger as we move towards
Brexit”.


EY estimates that the number of those relocating from London to Europe could
reach just over 7,000 in the near future. Waving while drowning.


Take the Money and Run

MEPs are entitled to a month of transitional allowance, that being the same
amount as their salary, for every year they have been in the Parliament. Oh you
just know what’s coming here. So Brexiteers Nigel Farage and Daniel Hannan,
both began their mandates in 1999, will be entitled to over €172,000
(£155,349.37) in transitional payments if they do not take on another public or
parliamentary appointment in the 20 months after Brexit day. No worries there.


Nige is already among the top 10 best-paid MEPs. How? Not from Aaron Banks
that we know, but because of declared outside earnings from broadcast
contracts of between €590,048 (£533,463.48) and €790,000 (£713,523.26)
since the beginning of this Parliament. Eye-watering isn’t it? And where does
our Nige plan to create his domicile after Brexit? You know; Europe. We so love
our Nige. Waving and – waving.


Best in Show

Oh, January; the pointless month of the year after the new year celebrations
and fireworks, so the thrill begins with the American Golden Globe Awards. You
know, awards chosen by fewer than 100 members who pay a membership fee
of $100.


Didn’t watch it, but you may have. So as you know this year Olivia Coleman won
in the musical/comedy category. Ah, Olivia beyond brilliant, and she didn’t sob
or say anything about housewives.


Just saying…. But as you surely know, The Wife, Glenn Close did. Her
acceptance speech was met with multiple standing ovations. Women in the
audience cheered in tears when she gushed: “We have to follow our dreams.
We have to say, (emphatically)
I can do that and I should be allowed to do that!”
(emphatically: shock, horror! ‘allowed’? really?)


I'm thinking of my mom who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life.
In her 80s she said to me, “I feel like I haven't accomplished anything.” And it
was so not right. And I feel like what I've learned from this whole experience is,
women, we're nurturers, that's what's expected of us.” Wait. No, no, no, Glenn.
And curiously you
never suggested to your mother that she could have a dream,
accomplish something? Too busy following Muhammad Ali then?


And seriously now, Sandra Oh won for a mannered performance from A to B
over the extraordinary Jodie Comer? Really? No. This has to be asked again.
Reeeealllly? And as for Killing Eve, at least there will be series two.


Well-deserved of course: Richard Madden, Ben Whishaw, but so was Hugh
Grant as Jeremy Thorpe. Brilliant.


Sunday 10th February we do it again at the BAFTAS. From The Favourite,
Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone are both up for Supporting Actress, Yorgos
Lanthimos for best director, and it has been named in the Best Film category,
Outstanding British Film, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production
Design, Costume Design, Make Up & Hair and Editing.
That should do it.

It’s Always Greener on the Other Side

All right. Here are H&MM generously, courteously – so far –
taking our cash.
£50,000 so far. MM wants green energy. MM wants to save money. MM a
£50,000 green energy unit installed at their family home. MM wants to save the
entire planet – on her own. Hmm. Can you do the maths? How much would they
have to use before they pass that £50,000 limit? And you know Harry shouted:
“Whatever Meghan wants! Meghan gets!”


Dying to know the details? The low-unit will provide all the heat, hot water and
electricity for Frogmore Cottage. Phew. We were so worried for them. Other
renovations are planned, including a satellite dish naturally. But are we green
with envy? They didn’t even ask us for the green light. OK. Must stop.
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