So Brexit means Parliament will vote on all those pesky EU laws and we will regain our sovereignty. There are two possible outcomes: either parliament will regard them all as sensible or necessary, in which case Brexit is a very expensive way of feeling smug about our sovereignty, or parliament will keep the laws that allow us to participate in European trade but water down the laws that protect workers’ rights, human rights and the environment, so that businesses and politicians are free of “unnecessary” regulations. In which case Brexit is a very expensive way of making the UK an unpleasant place to work and live in. Does it make you proud to be British?
Canon Christopher Hall makes the legitimate case for subsistence farmers after Brexit. There was a fine crop of huge Leave poster boards in prairie-size fields throughout the country, so the owners of those fields should “bear the price of Brexit”, but they won't. The government has undertaken to compensate them to the level of their soon-to-disappear mammoth EU subsidies – an undertaking which, given the plethora of field posters, may perhaps have been given prior to the vote.
Bury St. Edmunds
After the dishonest and mendacious Brexit campaign, should we find it worrying that the Brexiteers keep talking about forging new trade agreements?
I read with growing incredulity the results and political rhetoric from the Colombian and Hungarian referendums. Then, after a minute or so of rumination, I found myself extremely happy that it is not only the UK that can make an absolute embarrassing mess with no real idea what to do next.
Last chance for change
The chance that Labour has under Jeremy Corbyn is a golden one that may not return again in my lifetime. I'm 20 years old. For the forgotten youth, for the working class, for the 90 per cent, there is finally a voice. Not a voice focussed on careerism, not a voice that seeks to line his own pocket, but a voice that seeks change, a voice of clarity, setting a clear narrative to rid the country of poisonous austerity. To bring about a society where people do not have to rely on food banks simply to live. To stop the destruction of one of the things I am most proud of in our country: the NHS. To simply bring about fairness, when there has been so little in the last 11 years.
Our country is crying out for the voice and now we have it we must not let it be silenced. People are beginning to wake up to the horror that neo-liberalism brings – homelessness up by 55 per cent, running into the millions f you include those who are hidden homeless. This is happening while the UK sits as the third most unequal society in terms of income in Europe. We, the very people who are being squeezed by those at the top, cannot allow such an unjust society to exist.
Change is not a question or an idea. It is absolutely vital that we seize this moment, hold the current government to account, win the next general election to remove a Prime Minister who was never elected in the first place, and start repairing the damage the Conservatives have inflicted before they bleed our country dry.
Cash cuts costs
Ben Chu's call for the phasing out of cash rejects most of the arguments in favour of cash, but ignores one major issue. Cashless transactions allow financial institutions to levy a hidden tax on even the smallest of transactions. For small businesses in particular the costs involved in “renting” the machines and absorbing the transaction fee can be punishing. Some large employers offer their own versions – an employee card loaded in advance with cash which can then be spent in the modern version of the company store over the following weeks. I would be much more impressed with Chu's arguments if the profits involved in cashless transactions more closely resembled the costs involved. Or perhaps the Royal Mint could itself diversify so that at least the revenue generated at least returned to the public purse.
I have just read your article about the biometric passport. This year I became the proud owner of one, after my old passport ran out. Unfortunately it does not seem to work. On making enquiries it seem they think the passport is too “shiny” to work. Surely, in common with most manufacturers, those entrusted with producing these important documents employ some form of quality control.
On preferential terms
John Rentoul told us that The Independent refers to the Prime Minister as Ms May because that is its house style. He thinks this is right and that it feels dated to comment on the marital status of women. I am very likely alone in my view that the weirdly constructed sound Ms (hardly a word) is miserable, depressing and patronising. When I married and did not change my surname, I chose to continue to use Miss on those few occasions when some formality was required, rather than be a dreary Ms. While it is now, sadly and inexplicably, the most popular form of address for women (including married, separated and divorced women), some still choose to be addressed as Mrs. I think The Independent should ascertain the Prime Minister's preferred form of address and pay her the courtesy of using that, rather than simply using house style.
Could the answer to Hamilton's question about why his engines fail is that it is because of the way he drives? That would explain why only his car is affected.
A tale of two Andys
The news that Andy Street will be leaving John Lewis came on the same day that Capita, led by Andy Parker, made a disastrous profit warning has prompted me to mention my contrasting experiences with these two companies. It is my policy when I have a problem to go to the top of the relevant organisation. Hence, when I had a problem with a laptop I had bought from John Lewis that my local store was unable to deal with to my satisfaction, I emailed Andy Street and got almost immediate action even though it was the weekend. Soon after that, I had an unenforceable parking charge notice from Capita via its ParkingEye subsidiary (all PCNs are unenforceable in Scotland; this one was doubly so) and contacted Andy Parker to discuss my misgivings with him. He repeatedly refused to engage with me, as did the Capita chair and the chair of the Capita audit committee, who should both be interested in risks in the business. I had to turn up the volume considerably to finally get a response, which came in the form of a threat of legal action and also a declared intention of initiating a mischievous misinterpretation of my motivations. So, John Lewis really is a national treasure. Thankfully, Capita has never had any pretensions in that direction.