This is a rant.
Normally people look to the year ahead around about the beginning of January as they recover from that new year's hangover. But this week has seen a few events that are likely to change the shape of things to come, for the next few years at least.
Trump is now in the big chair, Glorious Leader May has had her speech and told us that Brexit is going to be so hard you could use it to cut diamonds, and a storm is beginning to swirl in a London teacup as news that Trident is a pile of steaming crap and our PM knew about it but kept it secret from parliament who went on to vote to spend £200 billion on it.
Lets start with President of the United States Trump and his brave band of men and women who are pushing the very boundaries. Or more correctly seem to have wandered off into somewhere rather strange.
Two days on the job and President Trump, and his people have given us a new phrase which has rapidly become a meme and a joke and a favoured catchphrase.
ALTERNATIVE FACTS ! ! ! !
Now me, I was under the impression that a fact was a fact was a fact, but no, it seems I was wrong. Only two days into the rule of the 45th President and we have moved solidly into the post truth era with a brave new concept, that of Alternative Facts. This one is going to run and run as a joke, sadly I think it's going to run and run as US governmental policy as well.
Hard Brexit, a Brexit so hard that the whole of Europe will fall down and beg us to trade with them on our terms, a Brexit so hard that the EU will collapse without us. Mere steel will have nothing on the Brexit we are going to get, you could cut diamonds with our Brexit. That's how hard it's going to be.
In fact our Brexit is going to be so hard that the rest of Europe is going to follow us, first we will have Frexit and then Gerexit and the rest, like dominoes falling. That's how hard our Brexit is going to be.
Yes this is a little silly but then I sat and listened to Mays speech on Monday about how Brexit was going to be, with the UK very definitely leaving the single market but wanting the “greatest possible access to the single market”. She said that parliament and the MPs would be given a vote on the trade deal with Europe before it comes into force but was (as usual) unwilling to actually explain what she mean and did imply that the MPs would vote on leaving the EU with a deal or leaving the EU without one but that the EU was a going.
She said she didn't want the EU to fall apart and threatened that that was exactly what would happen if she wasn't given her way. She said that the UK would not be paying vast sums of money for membership of the single market, but would be paying an appropriate contribution whatever that means.
She said that the UK would adopt "competitive tax rates and embrace the policies that would attract the world’s best companies and biggest investors to Britain" with the implied threat that the world's best companies would be attracted FROM Europe.
The UK will be taking back control.
She didn't mention what would happen to the UKs economy after yet more drops in corporation taxes, more cuts, more austerity etc, in fact she didn't say anything solid unless it was to contradict something solid she had already said. Silly.
Anyone actually have a better idea what Brexit will be after her speech than they had before hand, other than the fact that it will be a hard Brexit, the hardest Brexit, it will be the best Brexit, no one else will have a Brexit like it.
So... A Hard Brexit.
Then two days later we have our Chancellor saying that "immigration from the EU will remain crucial to filling skills shortages, delivering public services and maintaining Britain as one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business".
Or "we are making sure Britain remains one of the most competitive places to invest with corporation tax set to fall to 17%, by far the lowest overall rate of corporate tax in the G20". Attracting new business by becoming a tax haven, of course that means lower tax income which means more saving which means yet more Austerity, cuts etc etc. But hey, that only hurts 75% of the population, the corporations will be fine.
I'm no closer to understanding what anyone means by Brexit that I was when the poorly worded vote was announced but I am understanding one thing clearly. Brexit is going to be used to drive a massive section of our population into what is called poor, it is going to be used to gut public serves and it is going to be used to destroy the welfare state, it is going to be used to turn us into the US with massive costs, unaffordable healthcare, crumbling infrastructure and corporate profits, oh yes, those corporations are going to profit out of Brexit.
Oh and Trident. I've spoken a number of times about Trident, how useless and barbaric it is and how useless, a colossal waste of money and something no civilised nation should have in this day and age.
Now we find out that last year a Trident missile was test fired, and it went wrong. Hey these sort of things happen, that's why you test them. But normally they are tested in the workshops and maintenance rooms where every circuit is checked again and again. Still things go wrong and with a system as old as Trident lots can and do go wrong, after all it was designed to destroy entire cities during the cold war.
The problem isn't that something went wrong, rather that it was kept secret. A handful of previous test launches were all well publicised, great success, proof of British military power, lots of the usual national jerk off that is nuclear weapons. The failure was kept quiet, not a word.
Was it because the failure would damage the UKs standing as a nuclear world power, cough...
If it comes to a nuclear war I very much doubt the UK and it's one Trident submarine at sea with eight whole missiles is going to have any effect either way and more so, a test like this would have been declared in advance, to aircraft in the area, and to Russia. This wasn't a secret, these tests are declared so they aren't detected on satellite as a surprise and thought to be a secret attack.
In all likelihood there was a Russian fishing trawler sitting in international waters watching the entire event. The Russian government would have known it failed as soon as ours did. So any damage to the UKs reputation would have already been done. So why keep it secret?
Well to me at least it's bloody obvious that the failure was kept secret so it wouldn't change the vote in parliament about spending £200 or so billion on refurbishing Trident, new submarines, upgraded bases and all that. After all questions would have been asked if our MPs were being asked to spend that much money on something that had just failed to work. At least I hope they would.
Now that was under our man Dave, Glorious Leader May was the home secretary at the time so would have been involved at the cabinet level but it was Dave's fault.
The problem is that May has a well deserved reputation for holding us, the voting population AND our elected representatives the MPs in contempt, she refuses to answer questions, she evades and blatantly lies. Then she was challenged on this incident and she was directly asked not once, not twice, not three times BUT FOUR TIMES if she knew about this...
AND SHE REFUSED TO ANSWER.
SHE DIDN'T SAY SHE REFUSED TO ANSWER, SHE DIDN'T SAY IT WAS CLASSIFIED AND ANYTHING LIKE THAT. SHE JUST EVADED THE QUESTION AGAIN AND AGAIN, WATCH THE CLIP, SHE EVEN PAUSED AFTER THE FORTH QUESTION WAS ASKED, SHE THOUGHT ABOUT IT.
AND SHE GAVE US A BULLSHIT RESPONSE, UTTER CONTEMPT FOR US, WE ARE SO STUPID WE WOULD FALL FOR HER RESPONSE.
She has nothing but contempt for the voters, contempt for the MPs, she is Glorious Leader May, do as she tells you and don't ask questions because she knows best. The woman infuriates me!
Overall this week has not been good for my blood pressure, and we have years of this ahead of us. . . .
Enough of my Rant.
I need Coffee.