by John Ward
It may seem hard to believe, but trust me: the Italian election, the weakness of the EU, and the growing strength of Waspi and 2020comms all add up to a Brexit solution for Theresa May. It will require a lot of bottle, and the guts to face out the Tory troublemakers. Has she got what it takes?
S&P Global ratings say that the Italian rating remains the same “despite the election result there”. Bit of a Freudian slip on the pro-EU bias front, but not to worry. What the S&P bulletin – the rating stays at BBB/Stable/A-2 – should have done was say:
“The rating stays exactly the same as it was – absolutely unsupportable in the light of Italy’s real problems”.
It’s yet one more case of IABATO – It’s all Bollocks and that’s Official. As the S&P commentary hilariously points out:
“In our view, there is currently a lack of visibility on the composition of the new government and, as a result, on its policy direction, which will continue to be a key driver of Italy’s creditworthiness.”
No shit? So blind lepers are trying to do a deal with headless Nazis in Rome on how much they hate Brussels – but even though that should completely annihilate the rating, we’re not going to change it.
Ever since the US housing short of 2008, it’s hard to find anyone among the people I respect on the bourses who thinks the ratings agencies are anything beyond paid whores. They compete for business, and if the Sovereigns, central bankers, house builders and Wall Street gargoyles don’t like what Fitch says…well then they’ll go down the road to someone else.
As Trump said in 2016, “It’s all rigged”. I just don’t see much in the way of pump riggings in the swamp bailing it out. Surprise, surprise.
Here’s the objective Truth: the total of votes cast by people who believe anything from the EU is not very democratic to Juncker & Merkel should be lynched were the clear majority of voters….far in excess of the 52% scored in the UK. Brussels can spin for Belgium if it wants, but the voters have dealt the Union a massive blow, period.
They won’t care of course, because they only care about one thing: an Imperial, anti-Russian front called the USE….with much of its military bill paid by NATO, and very low wage costs so it can trade profitably.
Tom Slater sums it up elegantly in Spiked this morning, when he describes the real Brexit situation as follows:
Somebody – anybody – please send this to the UK Labour Party National Executive with all speed. They won’t read it, but if you send it registered, they can’t say they didn’t realise.
Either way, Italy is a blow to EU authority on three levels, fiscal, economic and sustainability. Fiscally, Greece was a gnat’s bite on the bum; but Brexit means a loss of trading and membership income that (as we already now from Brussels leaks) has caused a bleak memo to be sent to Member States pointing out that certain investments will now not take place, as it were. Adding an Italian governmental/banking collapse to the mix would mean serious problems….and growing unease in Germany, where they are still struggling to get past 1923 in the calendar.
Economically, another round of directional deadlock will only exacerbate the close-to-failed State of Italy. I travel in and through Italy quite a bit, and the factor (as usual) not taken into account by the Red Carpeteers is the human one: many Italians have given up….and an awful lot of them are civil servants. This is far more obvious in the country than it is in Greece. Italian growth is forecast to drop to 1.5% this year, and 1.3% in 2019. That’s bad enough, but it’s optimistic….as well as missing the key point: the infrastructure is a mess.
But EU sustainability in the light of 5Star’s triumph is now the issue facing Brussels…and much more in focus than it was three years ago. Greece rebelled against federalist control freakery and German freakonomics, but was summarily squashed as if it might have been a modern-day Abyssinia. The Big Guns of Verhostadt and Juncker have been added to the tug-of-war team on Brexit, but slowly the reality of that equation is dawning on the informed commentariat: that ‘degree of weakness is directly proportional to amount of noisy insults’.
Theresa and the Mayflower crew do not need anyone to send them Tom Slater’s piece, because they know perfecly well that they should just walk away from the Brexit filibuster. But as is the case with Islam, the Tory Party needs a Reformation.
It all boils down to simple realities that should be faced, not fudged:
- The Leavers won the referendum on the EU, but the Remainers are in the Executive ascendancy.
- The People voted to Leave – and were encouraged to expect exactly that – but Whitehall sneers at the electorate on most things….especially the European Union.
- May would genuinely like to deliver a “fair” Brexit, but she is in constant fear of the Rees-Mogg/Johnson/Davis/Cash wing calling for a leadership contest…or the Hammond/Hunt/Fallon throwing more toys out of the pram.
- The Tories would do anything to avoid such a contest, for they fear a split Conservative Party would fall victim to calls for an election….which they think they would lose. (I don’t agree, but let’s stay focused)
It sounds like a checkmate painted into a corner, but it isn’t. May needs to call the bluff of the warring factions by doing two things:
- Give Brussels a deadline now, without warning. Say “If I go any further than these compromises, I will not have not carried out the Will of the People. Take it or leave it: this or nothing….neither hard nor soft, just a good springboard”.
- Reverse the Waspi hardline position, and return to Age 60 as a female retirement age, offset by giving everone now 35 years old or less a clear warning: there will be a separate subsidised pension scheme for you, but the contributions are largely up to you.
There would be blood, don’t doubt it: but the potential advantages for her and those Conservatives with a functioning brain are huge. First, the Waspi vote – it averages over 6,000 per constituency – would swing to the Tories and make it mathematically unlikely that Corbynista Labour and Momentum could ever form a Government. Second, it would say put up or shut up to all those from Brussels to UKIP via the Treasury Fifth columnists currently enjoying their day basking in the gentle sun of irresponsible power. Third, May could bring Rees-Mogg into the Cabinet, promote Johnson, and say to the diehard Remainiacs – “Go on, I dare you”. I do not think, given the popularity of these moves, they would dare. And a powerful Jacob/Boris/Theresa triad would all be urinating away from the tent.
Now the obvious riposte to this fortune-telling is, “Why on Earth didn’t she do that at the Election last year? Why hasn’t she done something since?” And that’s the Rub.
The one fly in this ointment of medicinal compounds is Mrs May herself. She lacks the vision, courage and creativity to throw away the endless speech scripts being written for her by third rate “strategists” and say “I’m doing this for the good of all Britons, for democracy, for Party Unity and for honesty with all our trading partners….now back me, or sack me”.
They would quite possibly sack her. But if only because of why the grandees put her there in the first place, I don’t think they would.
If I were Mrs May, I’d set the feathers ruffling by taking some Whip soundings.