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Friday, September 18, 2020
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TCW’s Brexit Watch

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POOR old Boris has caught the bug, mildly he says, but nonetheless that makes him vulnerable for the German-led EU team to trip up our centre forward. And vulnerable to his colleagues mishandling the media on questions about the Government’s Covid-19 planning – in particular, which countries we are relying on for tests and protective equipment.

Italy eventually was supplied with personal protective equipment – PPE in the jargon – by Russia and China rather than by a friendly EU member and neighbour. Germany finally sent supplies after being shown up by the Moscow-Beijing axis. According to the Mail the aid from Russia was described as useless. 

So here’s a piece of advice, Boris, to contemplate in your isolation. We must stop relying on Germany and China to make so many things that we can just as easily make ourselves. Brexit is the moment to make this switch.

As for encouraging ex-police chief rants that people enjoying themselves should be chased home with baton rounds, it’s a pity they haven’t done that with young criminals armed with knives.

Any law which cannot be properly enforced is bad law. 

Also some public school alumni have difficulties understanding the thinking processes of ordinary people. Boris and his Cabinet are no exceptions, and struggle at times to pitch things so there are no misunderstandings of what is meant to happen. They need help to understand the mindset of the most petty-minded and often self-appointed guardians of public well-being.

As for Max Hastings ranting about old people – Max, if you think we’re that much of a burden on society, and we includes yourself, put your money where your mouth is and let a younger journalist have your columns. 

Meanwhile in/from Switzerland:

This weekend the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) accused the Federal Council of stepping beyond their authority by deciding on all the recent measures without proper consultation with both houses of the Federal Parliament, the Cantons and local authorities, not to mention a much wider representation of business. The SVP want the lockdown lifted by mid-April. They say the damage to the economy is avoidable if everyone works together. 

Yet again the Government has been caught taking part in secret talks about Swiss taxpayers supporting the costs of keeping open Kloten Airport at Zurich for much reduced traffic and propping up the airline Swiss – originally two charter airlines snapped up by Lufthansa when Swissair went bust and were renamed – meaning that Swiss taxpayers end up paying for Lufthansa instead of the German taxpayers. Most people here want President Sommaruga and the Federal Council to stop giving the Germans money every time they beg for more. They should buy the airline.  

Meanwhile the streets are almost empty and the shops give you a number so they can control how many people are in a confined space at one time. The fine weather is a godsend for parents! Rain is expected this week. I hope the internet will take the strain of all those children with laptops and handy phones.    

Switzerland’s ‘Mr Coronavirus’ is Dr Daniel Koch of the Swiss Public Health Institute. Swiss Info has a rather good piece about him.

I trust there is communication between the NHS and Dr Koch.

Keep in mind the mentality that we are fighting on the Continental front line. Even some British socialists feature in the NZZ, the Swiss German language newspaper which is more and more a mouthpiece for German socialists these days. A recent edition features two pages of anti-British poison from writer Hilary Mantel, who leaves me yawning as she spouts the tired lexicon of Project Fear and the usual fading myths. Many Germans and Swiss think she knows what she’s talking about or desperately want to believe her. Anything rather than pay for Italy.

I won’t bore you with a translation but if you’re English, rest assured that Henry VIII would have put her on the ducking stool. She wants us poor ignorant people to vote again on Brexit. Why she’s invited to peddle this line to the Swiss – who want their Federal Council to stop delaying and announce the new date for their referendum on the terms of free movement, particularly who pays for social services – frankly beats me. The Swiss see themselves as a dumping ground for the eurozone unemployed. A bit like Britain?

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Adrian Hill
Adrian Hill
Adrian Hill. Former soldier and diplomat, afterwards member of CBI Council and author.

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