An open letter to Michael Gove from Bob Robinson

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MICHAEL GOVE, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, MP

Dear Mr Gove,

“TRUCK QUEUES COULD BE 7,000 VEHICLES LONG WHEN TRANSITION ENDS” – MICHAEL GOVE – THE GUARDIAN.

Thank you for responding so quickly to my earlier open letters,(posted on the Facebook Lib Dem Chat Group) albeit not in person. You are to be congratulated for your candour – albeit somewhat late in the day. You do, I take it, clearly understand the implications of what you have said. As a retired bean counter, I spent my career eliminating the need for holding inventory by promoting the use of “just in time” manufacturing techniques – stock although an asset on the balance sheet is not as liquid as cash. Liquidity is going to be critical to our recovery. Turning inventory into finished goods adds value and turning finished good into sold goods is what generates business liquidity. Please do not feel that you can duck behind coronavirus as an excuse – the seeds for this were laid long ago when some balding chap with glasses appeared talking about reshaping British Industry – He was looking for the next generation of disruptive innovation. Perhaps at some point, you might like to tell me how that’s going? No Pain No Gain only works if the same people asked to bear the pain can be given cast iron guarantees that they, not rentiers, will enjoy the gain.

In the meantime, might I suggest, until you have a spiffing response, you might need to avoid the honourable members for Southport and South Ribble – (they are/were on your side of the House). Both constituencies sustain a substantial part of the United Kingdom’s horticultural sector – in particular, fresh salad vegetables to Supermarkets. In addition to top quality tomatoes and salads grown locally in the area – the growers put the Wonder into Golden Wonder crisps. In addition to growing, they have built specialist packing and preparation plants that employ many workers. Britain, however, has long passed accepting seasonality in fruit and vegetables and in the off season, imported produce is shipped from Spain and other warmer climes, minimising handling damages. These are brought in by truck and packed for major supermarkets. This ensures door to door delivery but it does have to run to a tight, just in time, timetable. I am sure that whilst, in your Botany class at school, somebody explained to you that once a lettuce is cut – it starts to die. Two days extra in transit will increase the amount of not fit for purpose lettuce, sitting either on shop shelves or customers fridges – imposing knock on costs to supermarkets and consumers alike. The shipping time is therefore critical. I am sure you will also appreciate that queues of lorries outside European ports will represent a tempting target for desperate people.

Katherine Fletcher, the newly minted MP for South Ribble and Damien Moore will no doubt be catching it hot and strong soon. Indeed, the local Tory Parties are traditionally supported by major growers. If your party’s cash flow takes a hit following recent revelations – you may need to look to your home-grown supporters for help. Damien Moore, by the way, was, in his former, life a Manager at Asda – he will understand just what this kind of (expletive deleted) could turn out to be for Supermarkets. He will also know the best way the sweep up Maltesers. Just ask yourself – if this what you want to happen to you?

Best regards Bob

www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/23/truck-queues-could-be-7000-long-when-brexit-transition-ends-ministers-warn

www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/04/uk–businesses-demand-urgent-talks-over-fears-brexit-border-chaos

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54260470

P.S. Archie Norman, the Chief Executive of ASDA, used to begin his welcome to new staff, including myself, by recalling his early experiences on the shop’s shop floor. Sometimes Maltesers would escape and represent a “slip” risk. The easiest way to sweep them up was not to chase them with a broom and shovel – but to tread on them. Nudge-nudge-wink-wink stamp-stamp Mr Gove – Know what I mean.

And then before publication but after writing the above this happened – The lorry and logistics crisis just got worse. The Guardian has just published the latest round of revelations including a twitter copy of the letter by Michael Gove to the RHA.

You could not make it up

Brexit – Just in case any Brexiters out there still think they may be right – They’re not! & The future of our vital financial sector post-Brexit – Warnings from Carney

www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/10/experts-strike-back-how-economists-proved-right-on-brexit

www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/03/britains-finance-sector-will-double-in-size-in-25-years-says-mark-carney

My friends Roy and Bob separately (but on the same day) drew my attention to two well thought out Brexit articles on the Guardian Web Site which you can read via the links above.

Both articles are economy related. The first shows why the predictions of economic gloom were are most probably right. The second picks up on the mad plan of many leading Brexiters to try to deregulate the financial sector again post-Brexit so that bankers can go back to playing fast and loose with the world economy again.

I must admit to have never being able to understand the motivations of those wishing to leave the EU. The concept just makes no sense to me as severe economic troubles were always to be visited upon us if we were daft enough to to decide to leave.

OK I’m not a racist, a Little Englander, obsessed by sovereignty or someone who has ever thought that the EU bosses us about so maybe that’s why I could not get my head around why 52% of those who voted in the Referendum did indeed want to leave the EU.

But what did those leavers really want or more to the point what did they expect to achieve by voting for isolation in Europe? I ask because what they wanted and what they will achieve may be wildly different! And where on earth are the Government and dear old comrade Jeremy Corbyn going with the ‘view’ of 52% the electorate? This wonderful ‘explanation’ of the muddle we are in just about sums up the hole the Brexiters have dug for us though:-

Our Food supply chain – Jay Rayner hits the nail on the head

www.indy100.com/article/michael-gove-jay-rayner-sarah-vine-7856676

The Indy 100 article – linked above – is well worth a read

I have been banging on for ages about the madness of building on high grade agricultural land around Sefton Borough and indeed elsewhere and this article, although written from a different perspective, really does highlight why I am so concerned about food chain sustainability in the UK.

If nothing else, and there’s a lot else, the quote below from the article must surely sober up even the most hard line of Brexiters and land developers, but it probably won’t:-

‘In the early 1990s Britain’s self-sufficiency in food reached its highest in modern times.

We were producing just over 70 per cent of all the food we were eating.

Since then the story has been one only of decline.

We now produce 60 per cent of our own food, but because of exports only around 50 per cent of the food we eat is actually produced here.’

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Gove – The man who has had enough of experts, or not?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38408686

The BBC has the article on its web site

Michael Gove talks of a Civil War without muskets and alludes to the Parliamentarians winning the war. His grasp of history is slipping in that after a period of turmoil there was a restoration on the 26th May 1660, albeit changed for the better by improved parliamentary constitutional procedures restraining an hitherto unbridled/autocratic executive.

As Jorge Augustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás the Philosopher better known as George Santayana said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

To which should be added:

“But those who have learnt from history can apply the lessons learnt – otherwise mistakes are just an expensive education wasted”

With thanks to Bob for this interesting take on the eccentric Mr Gove who does not believe in experts, except those he agrees with of course!

The Lib Dems are the voice of those who see a positive future in Europe

While the national emergency grows Labour and the Tory Party are pre-occupied with who is going to bag what job.

The look of wide-eyed, guilty panic in the eyes of Boris Johnston and Michael Gove on Friday morning hinted at what was later confirmed: the Brexiteers who had schemed for this moment all their political lives had absolutely no plan for life after Thursday.

But those of us who argued passionately that Britain should remain in Europe should also concede that there is little consensus among progressives now Britain has voted “out” – either how we will improve the lives of those who felt so left behind that they voted to Leave, or to build a winning coalition to rescue disadvantaged people from the clutches of right-wing escapism.

The Conservative Party has just crashed the economy, left Britain more alone than at any point I can ever remember, and betrayed the hopes of a generation – and while the national emergency grows, our governing party is pre-occupied with who is going to bag what job. Yet progressives must recognise that the reason we could face an early general election is because the Tories still think they can win one, despite putting a bomb under their much-vaunted reputation for economic competence.

And the basis for that frankly sickening Tory confidence is clear. Jeremy Corbyn is a decent man, but he never even enjoyed the confidence of Labour MPs to lose.

I fought a positive campaign, working with others, setting out an optimistic, open vision of Britain. But sometimes Labour seemed keener to give a bloody nose to David Cameron [or Jeremy Corbyn – Ed] than to keep us in Europe, even though membership of the European Union is way more important.

For a Liberal Democrat, this is visceral. I am an internationalist, who believes we must work across borders to face the great challenges such as the world’s largest ever movement of people, climate change, the rising power of multi-nationals and terrorism, along with the arrival in the international labour market of a billion Chinese workers which has depressed wages across the western world. A progressive political settlement needs international co-operation, and it has been the EU that has guaranteed worker rights, consumer protection and environmental safeguards.

But if you are a progressive, pro-European who recognises that you need a successful economy to deliver social justice, I just don’t see a future for you in Labour. Even if Labour MPs achieve their “Jexit”, might not Labour members simply elect someone equally extreme – leaving the path clear for a Tory Party to beat up on the poor?

And this makes me furious. The IPPR has shown that the poorest will be hit twice as hard as the richest by new inflation caused by sterling’s slide. The pound is at its lowest in 30 years. There is now a £900bn hole in the pension funds.

Low-paid workers are worried sick today about their jobs, with Tata Steel now at risk. Some leftists might enjoy seeing trading in banks being temporarily suspended, but the reduction in the value of the state’s share in RBS has already cost taxpayers £7.3bn. And as with the last recession, it will be the poorest who pay.

But there is a rallying point for progressives who refuse to settle for a future of glowering across the White Cliffs of Dover. That rallying point is the Liberal Democrats. Since I announced that we would go into the next election as the only party calling for Britain to remain in the EU, thousands have joined our party, at the rate of one a minute.

By yesterday, almost 7,000 had joined, and the number’s rising.

We must be the voice of those who see a positive future in Europe. Young people – 73 per cent of whom voted to Remain – are determined to keep opportunities to travel, work and study abroad. More than that, these new members want to demonstrate that Britain remains an internationalist, open and optimistic country.

But as a progressive I am just as concerned about the 52 per cent who voted to leave. Many, understandably, feel marginalised, with stagnating wages, insufficient training to gain better jobs, a housing shortage and struggling NHS. Ironically, the vote was less a rejection of Europe as a rejection of a Westminster that seems disinterested in the problems of people it purports to represent.

It is the disadvantaged whose modest living standards face a further assault thanks to “Brex-trick”.

My number one priority has always been to transform education and training, better housing and healthcare to give real life chances. The British are naturally welcoming, and many concerns that have been attributed to immigration are actually about the disgraceful lack of opportunity to move into better jobs, to get a house, or a school space for your child. These are challenges that I am determined to fight for.

Liberalism is about championing the individual against the powerful. That means standing firm for our Human Rights Act, against internet surveillance and illiberal extremism orders. But it’s also about protecting individuals from those giant evils that rob people of their freedom: poverty, poor housing and inequality. This is my pitch – to centrist and centre-left voters.

I believe in four core principles. Freedom – the right of people to live as they see fit; the second is democracy – a state that supports freedom has to be democratic, with power dispersed, which is why we fought to democratise Europe.

Tim Farron – Lib Dem Leader wrote this piece for the Independent on-line newspaper

Come on Brexiters – What’s your plan?

Well Brexiters you didn’t have a plan before you won and there’s little sign of one being put on the table for us all to scrutinise now you have won.

You may, in your view, have ‘got your country back’ but what on earth does that mean other than it being an emotional political slogan?

Your leaders (Johnson, Gove and Farage etc.) told big fibs during the referendum campaign, not least the one about extra funding for the NHS which they dropped like a stone as soon as the polls closed. Take a look at this on the BBC web site via the link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36641390

Or this so telling photo

97905329_BRISTOL_ENGLAND_-_MAY_14__Conservative_MP_Boris_Johnson_speaks_as_he_visits_Bristol_on_May-large_trans++KjggCdpvXjoraOzAlyzu1MOSRhbr0ZABex7Vh5dC_YU

Bo Jo also says the UK will continue to ‘intensify co-operation with the EU’ following the country’s vote to leave. What on earth does that mean? Certainly it is not what his Brexit troops will have wanted to hear!

But what was said by the Brexit leaders before the vote that really was meant?

Below is my posting from before the referendum (17th May) and can any Brexiter hand on heart say they are in any way able to answer the concerns I raised back then?

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2016/05/17/brexit-where-are-the-credible-facts-about-leaving-the-eu/

And when I continue to raise such concerns Brexiters say ‘get over it’, ‘what’s done is done’, ‘the people have spoken’ etc. as though they think that it is all over with now and it’s for someone else to sort out where to next. All ‘the people’ have said is what they don’t want; this is very far from being over – it could go on for 10 years!

So am I really being unreasonable to challenge those who voted to leave the EU to tell us all where on earth we are now going? Come on surely very Brexiter must have thought about it – you did didn’t you?

You have created a new political movement with a collection of rather right wing politicians at its head so what were you thinking the future would be when you created it? For goodness sake just spit it out, I might not like it and I may well campaign against your Brexit vision but to get anywhere we need to know where ‘there’ actually is.