Image: By RevolutionBahrainMC (CC-BY-3.0)
What is the Labour Party Brexit Strategy these days? Other than to use Brexit to try and get themselves into power by telling Leavers and Remainers alike what they want to hear?
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW
The first thing to note is that I will be driving up to Birmingham tomorrow afternoon for the UKIP 25th anniversary conference, starting with the Chairman's reception tomorrow evening.
Although I won't be able to do my usual studio style video, I will endeavour to bring you updates over the next few days on a mobile basis.
Now I've talked to my tech savvy mate and he says it's all very simple, all I have to do is – I wrote it down somewhere ….. ah yes, I just need to go to 'IT UNES' and get 'APP'.
And from what I can gather 'App' seems to do everything from games to photos to films to uploading to presentations to spreadsheets – seems a very clever thing this 'App'.
Anyway I'll get 'App' this evening so all will be ready for tomorrow! Once I've worked out how to put it in my trusty Nokia 3210 and located where the camera is on it, of course.
Now back to Brexit.
The Labour Party stance on Brexit has become as clear as mud in recent days now that there seems to be increased calls for deferring Brexit, from the likes of Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor.
This has prompted the Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, to write to his opposite number in Labour, Keir Starmer, to ask him to clarify the Labour Party position.
In his letter he said:
"More than two years on from the referendum, with the right deal within our reach, – now that's definitely his words and not something I would endorse; anyway – "More than two years on from the referendum, with the right deal within our reach, the vast majority of British people will see that instead of trying to make Brexit a success, Labour are only interested in trying to frustrate the process.
"It's vital that the British people have clarity and honesty from their elected representatives and, as such, it's incumbent on you to answer the following questions, to give people a clear sense of Labour's position:
1. Will you respect the result of the referendum and rule out holding a second referendum?
2. Will you rule out delaying Brexit and extending Article 50?
3. If you propose to delay Brexit by extending Article 50, for how long?
4. What would the question be in your proposed second referendum?
5. All of this would require, as the original referendum did, legislation approved by both houses. When and how would you legislate for your proposed second referendum?"
And he goes on to say that it was time for Labour to urgently clarify where it stands on Brexit. I wouldn't advise the Brexit secretary to hold his breath on that one. And I would add another question, on what legal basis would you suspend the Article 50 procedure?
Moving on. The anti-Brexit press is still hard at it pushing the stories once again that the police will be mobilised to quell the rioters the day after Brexit Day when all the food disappears from the supermarkets and all the doctors surgeries, hospitals and pharmacies shut down due to lack of medicines.
But, as the Guardian said in its own piece on this:
"Police made it clear they have no intelligence to suggest disorder or severe disruption, but have been considering if and how they would handle a no-deal Brexit leading to chaos on the streets."
On top of that the police do not think it necessary at this stage to stop all their officers' leave over the period either.
One point that puzzles me is that the Guardian article points to the Schengen Information System as something we would lose, saying the UK police accessed the system 539 million times last year. That's one check for every single EU citizen plus a few tens of thousands left over! Now that's either one very productive police officer, or it is an automated system and it would be nice to know what information was being shared and whether it was one way or two way.
The other points to note are that SIS is designed to protect the Schengen Zone, not the EU border – they are different.
Also, Ireland and Cyprus are not part of the Schengen zone or the Schengen Information System, although Cyprus will have to be at some stage.
And importantly, the UK already only has limited access to the SIS in that it "..cannot issue or access Schengen-wide alerts for refusing entry or stay into the Schengen area".
Now, to return to the purpose of the Schengen Information System – under Regulation 1987/2006:
"The SIS enables border guards and visa issuing and migration authorities to enter and consult alerts on third-country nationals for the purpose of refusing their entry into or stay in the Schengen Area."
And under Regulation 1986/2006:
"Vehicle registration services may consult the SIS in order to check the legal status of the vehicles presented to them for registration."
So, I would guess that the SIS needs all the third country data it can get from all its non-Schengen neighbours in order to protect its own borders. So surely it is in the interests of both the Schengen states and the UK to continue timely information exchange?
And in the final analysis, the UK is not in Schengen now but uses SIS, so what's the beef? Surely the EU and UK can very quickly come to an agreement on the swapping of data regarding crime?
Now, back to hospitals the much needed medicines and potential riots: the EU companies want to sell us this stuff because they want to make a profit. The NHS has the money to buy the medicines so will place the orders. Our customs people will not want to stop the medicines coming into the country and the UK government is hardly likely to put a tariff on those medicines is it?
I think that the only disorder that will kick off will be when a Remainer goes to buy lunch and finds out that they've got there late and their favourite and quirky sandwich filling is sold out!
Ah, yes inflation.
The ONS reports today that the Consumer Prices Index 12 month inflation rate rose from 2.5% in July to 2.7% in August and when including homeowner / occupier costs it rose from 2.3% in July to 2.4% in August.
I know, let's blame it all on Brexit! Well, the usual suspects will anyway.
Seriously though, in the grand scheme of past inflation this is extremely small beer as you can see from this graph.
And the pound rose on the news as rising inflation puts pressure on the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee to raise interest rates.
Let's see what Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, said:
"The main driver of the higher inflation rate was a surprise pickup in core inflation, from 1.9% to 2.1%. This appeared to largely be a function of noise, rather than a genuine sign of escalating underlying pressures, with the bulk of the increase coming from the volatile recreation & culture sector. We would expect this impact to unwind in next month's release.
"Inflation is likely to remain sticky for the remainder of the year, as the impact of a higher oil price, previously announced rises in domestic energy prices and renewed sterling weakness feed through. But with underlying pressures soft and some powerful (downward) base effects set to come into play, we think that inflation will progressively slow as we move into 2019.
"Given the likely temporary nature of August's pickup in inflation, we would not view it as vindication of the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) decision to hike interest rates. And with inflation likely to drop back as we move through next year, we continue to expect a maximum of one 25 basis points rate hike in 2019."
Seems reasonable doesn't it?