Where Angles Fear to Tread

September 27, 2016

Debate Night… US Election special

Filed under: Liveblogging, Politics, US Politics — Right Angle @ 1:06 am

It’s 2am in the UK and a late night in the USA as Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump meet at the debate stands. This will be uniquely American, with Hilary having to ensure she doesn’t come across as lecturing and Donald Trump needs to ensure he doesn’t become Clarkson (hit someone!).

Let’s see what they can do over the next 90 minutes.

July 11, 2016

May & Eagle appear in July

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics — Right Angle @ 7:13 pm

Today has definitely been a weird day in UK politics. And that is with the backdrop of the last 18 days since the Brexit vote.

Angela Eagle was preparing for a press conference (well trailed with the press) to declare a challenge to Corbyn, when the Conservative leadership contest between May and Leadsom took a very unexpected turn.

Early this afternoon Leadsom announced she would stand down, with a statement that made it clear no-one else could come back in. Queue confirmation from Gove that he would not contest May’s leadership campaign and the 1922 committee scrabbling for a decision. Cameron has agreed to stand down, and May will start on 13th July (no earlier as the Queen is currently not in residence in London).

This all somewhat overshadowed Eagle’s announcement, but there is much more time to review this later – and there will be complex reviews with Corbyn saying he will on on the ballot and others saying he needs 20% of the MPs to back him first. This could be the start of a breakup of the Labour party, and May must be tempted to call a snap election – although she has said she won’t.

More interesting times are definitely ahead whilst we wait to see when May will activate Article 50, and what Brexit will look like. Will we have a further negotiation and an ‘EU-lite’ to vote on? Who knows, but there will more reason for me to return to this blog in the near future.

Right Angle

June 30, 2016

Boris isn’t here anymore

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics, Uncategorized — Right Angle @ 6:28 pm

Today was going to be a review of the runners and riders within the Conversative leadership election. The deadline was 12 noon, and I was already writing the reviews is my head…

So onto number 1, the bookies favourite and joint leader of the Leave campaining – Boris Johnson. He has experience of running a large metropolitan area, led the Leave campaign to victory, left the Mayor seat behind to (one assumes) become PM after Cameron and as such he… isn’t standing…!

And the rest of my article is just shock. I didn’t expect it and don’t really know what to say. So after a long day at work the best approach is to say very little and consider this change in the party.

For completeness the candidates are:

  • Theresa May
  • Michael Gove
  • Stephen Crab
  • Liam Fox
  • Andrea Leadsom

Now the MPs need to reduce this list to 2, and let the Conservative party members decide. It’ll be an interesting few months, and is an issue I will return to in more detail, once I’m over my suprise.

Right Angle

June 29, 2016

Corbyn & Labour

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics — Right Angle @ 6:05 pm

It’s always a risk for a dyed in the wool Tory blue like me to comment on the woes of the other party, but I have reason to do so. Democracy in this country suffers when one party is too strong, or the other too weak (1980s, 2000s are the ones I remember). With the changes in Scotland the Labour party needs to be strong, and hold the Conservative government to account.

They need to co-operate with the SNP on UK issues (not those just affecting England and Wales) where they share a common ground and they need a strong leader and a strong Parlimentary party.

We have a period of change ahead of us, and we need people in parliment who will question the decision of the party in government so that they are forced to remember that there are people in the country who didn’t vote for them. The FPTP system tends to play into the hands of parties forming governments and this is a good thing (in my mind), but both need to be able to participate.

So last night, the PLP (Parlimentary Labour Party) held a vote of no confidence in their leader – Jeremy Corbyn. It is not binding, and does not require him to do anything but a leadership challenge is looking likely. The problem is that Labour party activitists/members (those with the final vote) are being polled as still in strong support of him, so any coup is unlikely to work unless the PLP can keep Corbyn off the list they present to the activists. There is – naturally – differing legal opinion as to whether this is possible.

The real problem for Labour though, is whether Corbyn is electable with or without the support of the PLP. And the honest answer is I don’t know. Many of my friends who have supported Labour in the past say no, but that is a highly unscientific sample.

So just when we need leadership and rigorous checking of government policies and ideas, we have both parties in middle of leadership ‘discussions’.

Right Angle

June 28, 2016

A curve in all but name

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics — Right Angle @ 6:04 pm

Since the result of the Referendum a lot of my friends on facebook, twitter and in real life have shown (what I assumed) was an unfortunate lack of acceptance of the democratic process. The petition to re-run the referendum within impossible boundaries so that neither side could ever win (60% on 75% turnout!), the anger at leave voters, and the concern to the future.

However on reflection (and with reference to my business books) I realise this is natural and even has a theory attached to it. For those who don’t know it is the Change Curve (although as a mathematician I am duty bound to say that it goes up and down not in one simple parabola).

I love change, it’s a key part of my job and without it I would be bored witless. However, I know from the same job that many people struggle with change and it shouldn’t suprise me that people are struggling with this one. Why has it taken me so long… well things do – sometimes I need a rest and staying up all night to watch an election is not always the best thing to do!

So, onto the theory for those who don’t know it. (‘Designed’ by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross)

  • Shock

People are unable to process the result. They don’t know what to do, never expected or planned for it, and sit quietly (or loudly) in a corner. In democracy of course, there is also the shock that 52% of the country think differently to you – despite recent evidence to the contrary we are a very communal species. The stock market and the FTSE 250 are almost certainly still here. They don’t seem to be settling yet!

  • Denial

For when people move on from shock, comes the denial. It can’t be happening, there must be a way to stop it. Why is this happening to them? The perfect example is the call for a re-run of the referendum so that we can try again to get the right answer.

  • Anger

There seems to be a lot of people at this stage, and many more to go through it in the next weeks / months (and even years potentially). This is currently directed at the Leave supporters who voted for the change. Those of us, who sat quietly (or not so quietly) and shocked (see back to stage 1) those who voted Remain and were told on polling day that they were winning.

  • Depression

The lowest point on the curve for country moral and cohesion. If everyone reaches here at the same time we’ll have a problem but fortunately that is unlikely. Some people can stay here a long time, but if you find yourself down here know that there is almost always someone at the next two steps who will willingly help you get through it. Speak to them, seek them out and ask for help. Avoid people who use the phrase ‘get over it'(… if that was me in previous blogs or twitter you should probably ignore me too).

  • Acceptance

I know some Remain voters who are already here. An acknowledgement that what is changed is changed and that it can’t be undone. Of course with politics that isn’t always a guarantee and so people may take a while to get here, some may not need to get here and if the referendum vote is somehow changed or ignored I imagine that the Leave campaigners will immediately start on shock and follow the same journey.

Politics is of course different to business, and whereas you have options on the way with business – and (normally) a person with a plan who will push it through, or someone who has done it before – with Politics we don’t currently have the leadership or direction to help people reach this stage.

  • Integration

Integration to the solution, pressing forward suggesting ideas and solutions and a willingness to get involved. There may be changes even at this late point but those who have reached this stage tend to deal with them better than those who haven’t.

So why is this important? Everyone reaches the points on this graph/process at different times. Those who voted Leave should already be at the end of the it, but some will be at the beginning as well – especially as the PM has quit, and Labour are in turmoil. So lets help each other if we spot them in any bad places – knowing that these things exist does make it easier to spot them and I find that it helps me talk to people.

So, sorry it took a few nights’ sleep to wake up to the fact, and to actually engage my empathy – it’s sometimes a struggle. I hope you don’t consider this to be belittling or unfeeling, that is furthest from my intention. I only share this (with a little addedexplanation) because it has helped me in the past. Use or otherwise at you leisure.

– Right Angle

June 27, 2016

Where do we go from here?

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics — Right Angle @ 5:48 pm

Following the Leave campaign victory in the referendum a large number of people are asking if there is a plan. A perfectly reasonable question but one that should be answered by both sides. The Remain campaign had the entire resources of the civil service behind them, but the BBC are reporting that the PM told them not to make plans, and the Leave campaign had some very clever people involved who surely should have given it some consideration.

Businesses, the Bank of England and HM Treasury clearly have done some contingency planning but a plan is still conspicuous by their absence. Still at least someone found George Osbourne, so he hasn’t emmigrated yet!

So – in no particular orders – areas to concentrate on:

  • Reassure EU Citizens in UK
    • Guarantee those EU citizens already in the UK that they have leave to remain and the only difference will be that they may not be able to vote in local and Westminster elections. This guarantee needs to include all EU passport holders in the UK at the time of the referendum (or those on holiday from their normal home in the UK) and needs to be done quickly.
  • Trade deals with non-EU countries
    • There is nothing stopping us start negotiating with other countries to take affect after article 50 runs its course. It would probably be easier to start with US and the Commonwealth countries
  • Trade deal with EU
    • Strangely trade after leaving is not included in Article 50 (which is a vague piece of legislation), and so we need to start discussing this. This will clearly require some common sense with our EU counterparts, but I can’t imagine they want to get into a trade war, as we import more to them than we export from them
    • This doesn’t need to be free trade as this would come with a requirement for free movement, but should be tarrif and paperwork light
  • Discussion with EU
    • Discuss the outline of steps to be taken after article 50 is invoked. The EU leaders have initially said that they will not start discussions before article 50, but delay only hurts them, and so agreeing an outline, arranging meetings, and ensuring the relevant people are available to discuss would seem to be sensible preparation
    • When finished this roadmap should be published so that Business can use it to make some plans
  • Invoke Article 50
    • At some point we need to do this and start the formal process of leaving. During this time we need to ensure that we secure people already in the EU from the UK and vice-versa to ensure no individual is deported, or moved as part of this. As we have 2 years to complete, with extension only granted by all 27 other members of the EU this seems to be a hard deadline. As such we shouldn’t rush to do this.
    • Get any money back we have leant EU countries as part of any bailouts (either directly or indirectly) – except Ireland who we leant money to directly
  • Freedom to travel within EU
    • Discussion of freedom to travel within the EU and the UK without the need for visas (ala the EEA inc Switzerland)
    • For short term business and for personal purposes.
  • Hire good people quickly
    • We don’t have a lot of experience of negotiating trade deals, or leaving the EU so experts in these types of discussion will be required. This will mean paying people the market rate for these jobs and paying well. It will be worth it.

I’m sure you can all add additional tasks to this list, but it’s a first start from me.

(In the interests of full disclosure I have borrowed so of the points above from friends following discussions with fellow Leavers and staunch Remainers – any errors are mine, not theirs — they know who they are!)

– Right Angle



June 26, 2016

Not in my Name

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics — Right Angle @ 8:37 pm

Just a short note this time, as I need to rest a little following the interesting Referedum result. However, I feel the need to say two things. One very important and other almost so.

Whilst the Leave campaign did lead on immigration, many of us who voted for them have reasons other than immigration and not liking people who don’t look like us. (Middle class, white people). I am aware that some of the people who supported the Leave campaign, and some who voted for it are racists. I understand that the side they were supporting won, but the vast, vast majority of the British public are not racists.

So, stop it – now. It is not acceptable, and not right to make people feel anxious or worried, or threatening them, leaving notes on their cars, or shouting at them in public. Anyone who does so does not represent the British public and if I see any of it happen I hope I am brave enough to call people on it – even strangers.

Please remember this as you dig into your Curry, Pizza, Chow Mein, or Fish & Chips.


And secondly, the Remain campaign had 40 years to reform the EU and a final warning that we might leave and succeeded in very little. It might be kind it those who voted Remain were to give the Leave campaigners slightly longer than a 3 day weekend.

– Right Angle

June 24, 2016

Is it time for a Government of National Unity

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics — Right Angle @ 11:36 am

Following the result of the EU referendum it is clear that the majority of people who voted want to leave. What we now need to do is get everything in place to survive on our own, but we have 40 years of laws which refer (in varying degrees) to EU legislation.

Ideally I would expect a ‘copy Europe’ approach to speed things along and then we can make changes at our leisure without having a huge gap in legislation that people can drive entire counties through.

For this we need law makers – in both the commons and House of Lords – to act in the areas they know best. We also need to ensure that the 48% of the public who voted to remain and the 63% percent of people who didn’t vote for the Conservatives in the General Election. A use of all the experts in these Houses, and others outside it, to rewrite any affected legislation with the minimum impact on intent – would ensure that the socialist section of British society were not ignored, and that the Laws we rewrite aren’t only done from a perspective of the Conservative views.

I say this as a staunch Conservative supporter, but we must ensure everyone is with us on this journey.

-Right Angle

Vote to Leave

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics — Right Angle @ 5:45 am

Vote to leave declared the winner as Remain vote can no longer catch them. It look likely that Leave will win by over 1M votes but only 52/48 (4 percentage points). This will of course cause a number of things to happen.

The international markets, banking industry, and stock markets will definitely take a tumble. This could be short or longer, but won’t recover by Monday! Short is measured in months. If you have investments, savings, mortgages it may be best to leave everything where it is for a while. During periods of uncertainty this services / products tend to get more expensive.

Scotland will ask for an independance referedum which would seem difficult to say no to – although the timing would need to be agreed. In two referedums the Scots have voted to: Remain in the UK in the EU; and stay in the EU with the UK. There is no guarantee that they would vote for leave UK, possibly enter the EU (as they would not be certain of being allowed in – this would depend on the rest of the EU). The also held the first referendum when Oil was worth a lot more than it is now.

Republicans in Northern Ireland seem to want a vote on joining the Irish Republic which they would almost certainly never win. However it may be wise to revisit the Good Friday Agreement, just to ensure it will legally survive once we leave.

And, we need to invoke article 50 at some time so that we can begin the process to leave.

– Right Angle

Called for Leave

Filed under: Politics, UK Politics — Right Angle @ 3:49 am

BBC have called the Referedum for Leave campaign as they can’t see a way for Remain to win. Now we need to see how close the Remain campaign can get to the Leave total. If it is close (say 1M votes, or 4% (ie 52/48) would the EU offer us a better deal and ask our parliment to let us vote again?

They did say they wouldn’t because of contagion in the rest of EU would cause others to threaten to leave. However, Germany will not leave, and we are a very large net contributor so others threatening to leave is not as bad as the UK leaving. So they may offer us another deal.

We will have to see.

Right Angle

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