Theo's Blog: Is it The Loch Ness monster? No, it’s a duck.

EU Referendum barometerV14

EU Referendum barometerV14

This week we see my Theo-EU-ometer moving slightly more towards Brexit.  Again, purely from listening to the Vote In campaign, and if I’m honest, very little of influence from the Brexit campaign.

In the past we’ve had iconic partnerships Laurel & Hardy, Morecombe & Wise, Dave & Nick (The Brokeback Mountain kids) and this week we were treated to The 3 Amigos Osborne, Cable and Balls, a group sounding like they’ve just come out of Miss Whiplash’s closet.  Listening to Osborne’s speech at Stansted Airport, the home of Ryanair and its colourful CEO Michael O’Leary, who also took centre stage extolling the virtues of the EU whilst conveniently forgetting his very public speech a few years ago where he likened the EU to “the evil empire from Star Wars”, compared the EU Commission’s headquarters to the Death Star and further suggested that “any streak of innovation and intelligence would be beaten out of you” if you even went near Brussels.  Osborne better make sure he keeps his job as a politician as he’s not going to cut it as a stand-up comedian, especially since Michael Gove has run off with the Tory party joke book and has now got the foppish King of Jesters delivering the gags for the Brexit campaign.  To be totally honest the minute he started talking about conspiracy theories, the Loch Ness Monster and the Brexiters, in the same breath I did have a chuckle as I have always thought he was the rightful heir to the Mandelson Machiavellian political crown.  Actually, Nessy the waterborne creature is not the symbol I would associate with this Referendum…I would humbly suggest a duck would be more appropriate!  But, more of that later.

Talking of conspiracy theories, it looks like the recent revelation that David Cameron has come under fire from Leave campaigners after he reportedly wrote to business leaders to discuss a Remain campaign strategy even before sealing a renegotiated deal with the EU, is the smoking gun that proves my theory from last week’s blog suggesting that Cameron believed he had absolutely no chance of negotiating anything substantial with his friends from the EU, and his position was clearly that of a lame duck and the boys and girls in Brussels were fully aware of that.

I unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, didn’t have the benefits of an expensive schooling at Eton and to cap that struggled academically due to my dyslexia.  But one thing my parents were able to give me was copious amounts of common sense, which is why I am struggling with the Vote In campaign and some of the great and good that are warning of catastrophe and fire and brimstone ahead if we leave the EU, as none of it makes logical common sense.  Which is what I have based my entire life and business career around.  If this is really the consequence of us leaving the EU, why has the Prime Minister put the country in harm’s way? The EU hardly making any concessions whatsoever to entice us to stay and further, a big slug of the influential Tory cabinet saying we’d be better off out.  None of this makes any sense, which brings me back to the Cameron and Osborne conspiracy.  If I’ve learnt anything in life, it is that “if it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it almost certainly is a duck”.  I along with the public really do hate having our intelligence insulted and I’m afraid at the end of the day there’s every chance that the Stay In campaign are going to find that the Great British Public will feel the same and vote with their feet.

As much as I love Boris’ open, refreshing commentary on things, sometimes he does have the ability to give the other side a bullet or two with his comments, especially in his article mentioning the H word, which was taken out of context and used by the Remain camp.  It was noted that Donald Tusk, the European Council President, was morally outraged and offended by these supposedly un-humanitarian comments and felt it his duty to speak out about them, citing Boris’ ‘political amnesia’.  Is this the same Donald Tusk who, only but a couple of months ago, so charitably stood on the stage in Greece and said: “I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants, wherever you are from: Do not come to Europe…Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing. Greece, or any other European country, will no longer be a transit country."  The vast majority are refugees in fear of their lives Mr Tusk, but you can call them whatever suits you politically…!

Nigel Farage has also been stirring the quote-pot, but his opinion that if the results are close that would lead to a second referendum is ludicrous, as we haven’t even had the first one yet.  I agree with David Cameron in that it’s called a referendum, not a never-endum!  But Mr Farage may have a point that if we vote Brexit there might just be another Referendum close on the heels of this one.  Watch this space.

The Bank of England’s Mark Carney was also in the news this week, spouting that ‘R’ word.   His impartial intervention is a bit like a Labour party member judging the outcome of a Labour party inquiry on anti-Semitism.  Oh!  See, it’s everywhere.  The IMF, and Christine Lagarde, were also throwing their tuppence worth in.  Would that be the self-interested, EU-funded, Washington-based IMF?  Christine even had to stop herself from calling Washington home in her speech and with a bit of back-tracking, telling us what we should do…but that it was up to the voting public, having already made the statement!  You can’t help but see through those ‘stitches’ slowly unwinding.

Trump has been at it again, continuing his public ‘courting’ of Cameron and Khan, which seems a bit more like pulling hair in the playground than grown-up political relationship building.  Donald Trump challenging Khan to an IQ test suggests to me that perhaps he’s trying to compare the size of something else instead!

With the Euros almost upon us, the Keystone Cops exercise at Old Trafford which caused the abandonment of the match against Bournemouth really goes to show that if we are going to protect the public from terrorist attacks, then we must have the highest level of detail and vigilance over people who are tasked with this very difficult job.  Leaving pretend bombs strapped behind toilet doors that nobody found until the public entered the stadium does not really hit the mark.  Well-intentioned but raises more questions than it answers.

I find myself closing this blog on an incredibly serious note.  The Paphitis household is up in arms and Mrs P particularly is spitting feathers, as are many foodies around the UK, that the BBC is closing the BBC Food website as part of £15m cuts from the corporation’s online budget.  She’s so incensed that, with a pointed finger, has insisted that it would be a good use of our children’s inheritance to take this online interest and invest. BBC, let’s talk, or my life won’t be worth living.    The food-stained petition is, I’m sure, gaining signatures as I type!  Also, in these cuts is the news that BBC Newsbeat’s online and App services are in the firing line…good job we don’t need to inform young people about politics and issues that affect their lives….dear, oh dear, oh dear.