Friday, 23 February 2018

Genius or idiot

In the past 20 months of the Brexit process, people have tried to pin the mechovalian pin on the PM, in the hope that there was some grand scheme behind the fog of incompetence. But all you have to do is look at her record as Home Secretary to see she was no good at that either. So, in order to decide what today's events mean, some might say that this is to delay, until the final minute, a decision as to what UK wants from brexit, and if that is single market membership, then it would be too late for the Brexiteers to do anything about it, as the fallback position is regulatory alignment with the EU.

It could be just as true the opposite, an endless delay in deciding to give the UK the excuse to walk out. But they would have to honour the phase 1 agreement. if not, would become untrustworthy on the international trade scene.

May has decided to delay all votes in her Brexit Cabinet until after Easter, in April, meaning that there would be just 5 months left to agree the framework of a trade deal, before the ratification process.

Tlak all day was of an agreement with managed divergence, but then that would be against EU laws, and WTO rules, as any fule no.

So the next few weeks we might know, but then if the phase 1 agreement is not implemented, then there can be no talks on any possible transition.

Oh dearie me.

Thursday 22nd February 2018

The last four posts were written with me coming down and suffering with flu. Yesterday was the worse day, but I still wrote in the evening, as I always do. So my point being, maybe they are short and to the point, but with reason.

I woke in the hotel at five, I bean to cough and was aching. So, the doubt in my mind as to whether it was flu of an allergy attack were clarified; flu it was.

I got up had a shower and after dressing went down for breakfast. Two hours had passed somehow

And then there was the short drive to the office, but all had changed; the old offices are gone, a new factory built, and everywhere huge turbine components lay everywhere. But these were much, much bigger than I was used to.

And with the factory and much more work being done, parking is at a premium, so I had to leave the car on the side of the road and walk to the main gate and then to the reception. Thing is this was as much a social visit, as meeting up with colleagues from previous projects, and me not having been here for 15 months. I am greeted with hugs and shrieks (yes) when they see me.

In the end the only real change is the turbines just get bigger. Asdo the problems.

We put the blade in Bladerunner I go to see the quality team, and nothing changed there either.

After a safety brief, I go on a tour of the site; 85m long blades, nacelles the size of two houses, and towers ready to be loaded. All on a grand scale.

But all the time the fl had me in its grip; I ached and sneezed and coughed. I felt shit.

I sit and cough my way until the second part of the day arrives, the tour round the new factory. Although not quite inspected, we are welcomed and shown round. Everything is huge. I am impressed. And at quarter to two, the day is done, and all I am fit for is heading back to the hotel waiting to take my aching bones to bed. Which is what I do, no radio on, the curtain drawn. And I sleep the afternoon through, waking up when it was dark. My head feels the size of a small planet. I realise now it was from a lack of fluids, but I could have gone back to bed. Instead I had made arrangements weeks ago to meet up with friends in the Dronning Louise for a beer.

Jesper calls me to say he is leaving the yard and will pick me up if I wanted. That sounded great.

So he whisked me the other side of the town, finding a free parking space, so we could walk to Dronning Louise, taking an empty table by the door, ordering drinks and burgers. I had a coke, and I have to say, more than the food, made me feel human again, the headache went at least.

Another colleague, Henrik Muller came in and sat with us. He is recovering from cancer, but we don't ask, just good to see him putting on weight and smiling again.

Jepser takes me back to the hotel, dropping me off at the door, but my plan for nine hour sleep is dashed when as soon as I lay down, I begin to cough, barking like a dog. The hours pass, midnight comes and goes, but sometime after one I do drop off, getting close to three hours sleep. I need rest, peeps.

Wednesday 21st February 2018

Another day, another training day. Part 2 of the legal training that is more interesting than it sounded, but then I found I was coming down with the flu, slept poorly and so struggled to stay awake Through the day.

And with a drive to Esbjerg in the evening, it was going to be a long day. I would also have to pack, check out, which is fine if you plan ahead, get down to the reception at half six when the breakfast bar opens, sort the bill out and go for breakfast, meaning I would leave for the office with plenty of time, and avoiding the manic cyclists.

As before, time to catch up on mails before the training starts, and never has three hours dragged like that. I did fall asleep a couple of times, waking myself up with a gentle snore.

To top matters off, there was a four meeting in the afternoon, via Skype, and even though it ended at four, an hour early, no point in trying to leave to drive south as the traffic was stacked right up.

I leave at quarter past five and to my surprise the motorway was pretty empty, it was snowing gently, so I took my time, but it was OK, watching the snow fall from an increasingly leaden sky.

Fifty two On the road to Esbjerg, darkness fell, but I could put my foot down and put all those horses in the car to use, returning to familiar ground beside the sea. I got the last parking space outside the hotel, checked in, then walked along the main street to the square for dinner at Dronning Louise, I have a huge plate of nachos with tow half pints of something called Kinky Cowboy IPA.

By now the flu had taken hold, so I walked back down to the hotel, tried to watch the football on TV, and follow Norwich via Twitter. The BBC said the game at Wolves had ended up as a 2-1 defeat. I was only to find out in the morning that City got another equaliser with the last kick of the game, holding the league leaders, and showing more signs of forward progress.

Delaying the Brexit inevitable.

Today, as The Cabinet try to thrash out their differences at Chequers regarding what it is Britain wants from Brexit. A leaked memo yesterday was shown to be a bit premature, as several Brexiteers say that had not been agreed. Showing once again that if there is no agreement in Cabinet is not possible, then what chance is there to be an agreement of any kind with the EU, if half the Cabinet wouldn’t support any deal one way, the the other half the other way.

Madness, but par for the course.

It looks increasingly likely that other Global companies will relocate to Europe, the latest being Unilever who is deciding between London and Amsterdam for their new HQ.

And the House of Lords indicated today that it cannot support leaving Euratom, which is a surprise as it was in the A50 letter and that got passed. And apparently no one noticed that this could threated cancer treatment in a post-Brexit UK.

It is March next week and the phase 1 agreement has to be made into law, and each day Brexiteers realise what it means in terms of the Irish Border and if there is no agreement then the fallback position is, in effect, UK will abide by SM and CU rules, but having no input into any new rules. And this was seen as a triumph at the time, but some of us saw this fudge coming back to bite May on the bum.

I’m sure it’s all work out fine.

Tuesday 20th February 2018

And here I am at the Radisson Blu again, awake before the alarm, listening to the builders outside, prearing to start some building. There is a huge crane just outside my window, which I watched when I arrived yesterday, but it is silent and in darkness now, even the aviation lights are off. Is that right?

I go down for breakfast, meeting up with colleagues as usual, swapping news as they look at their mobile phones for messages. I have fruit and for a change, pancakes, syrup and bacon. Not maple though, but good enough.

I am out of the hotel at just gone seven, driving out of the carpark and onto the main road with no mad cyclists around, so I hit none.

Which was nice.

Down the hill past the art museum, over the canal and up the other side through what I guess is the university and onto the the main road to the office. All without drama and not hitting anyone. And it wasn’t snowing.

Yet.

I have an hour to get work done before another round of training begins. I wish I could explain why I have at least six lots of training before the end of March, but I can’t. Quite when we’re expected to actually do our real work is another matter. Training is all about the legal ramifications of the contracts we work with, and is due to last until midday Wednesday.

I won’t bore you, but I also won’t lie. I struggled to stay awake, even after eight hours or more of sleep. There seemed to be no end to it.

But it did end, so back down to the office to try to catch up on the mails before giving up at five and driving back to the hotel. Again no drama, even if it was getting dark and plenty of mad cyclists about, but I don’t hit any, and at the junction before the hotel, there is a green filter arrow so I can turn right before the cyclists are set free.

I go to the gym again, but a sore back cuts the session back after 20 minutes. And again, I won’t lie, it wasn’t much fun either.

After a shower, I get dressed and go to the café in the hotel again; its easy and it means not going outside. I have tagliatelle with shrimp, but the sauce is just tomatoes. And is none too good, but I eat the rest and follow up with some stinky Danish cheeses.

Fifty one At the bar, Manu is there, and he pressures me to have a beer with him and a colleague, which I go. He had been drinking halves, but upped it to pints, in my honour I guess.

But after one, everyone has had enough, and we bid each other goodnight and we take ourselves in a convoy of three lifts to our floors.

Choices. Choices.

Today, a position paper was leaked which the Government is going to release tomorrow, saying that Britain is aiming for a transition period lasting as long as it takes. Those of you still with me will maybe not be surprised, as this is the reality of the situation. The 62 Brexiteers will be none too pleased, but then if they vote any deal down that does not give them what they think they want, it will broing May and her Government down, and an election, with the possibility of a Corbyn PM.

The fearless free press have been slinging mud at the Labour leader dragging up a long discredited story about him being a Czech spy in the cold war. There is no evidence for this, the Czech and East German archives offer no proof, and the single source of the story, among other things, claimed to have organised Live Aid. So can’t really be trusted.

That the Sun broke the story, then joined in by the usual suspects, Mail, Express and Torygraph, shows how rattled they are at a Labour Government reversing Brexit. I say that with the usual proviso, that although they do not have a position, they could switch to one if there is an election.

This comes as the latest sector to publish Brexit warnings was aviation, with the reality that with Brexit all arrangements allowing UK based airlines to operate in Europe, other than originating from a UK airport, and the same with the US too. Without a proven inspection regime, the US might just refuse to allow any UK flights to cross into their airspace.

Tomorrow is the big day, the big policy announcement from May, and expect chaos. I mean even more chaos than usual. We are getting near the endgame now, common sense would be to pause of halt Brexit, but the headbangers and press are screaming “the will of the people”.

Monday 19th February 2018

For some reason I slept very poorly Sunday night, being awake an hour before the alarm went off at half four, and what sleep I had grabbed up to that point was fractured. I felt like shit.

But, not shit enough not to call the trip off, worse case I could miss going to the office and go straight to the hotel once in DK. But for now, I just have to get up, have coffee, get dressed and be ready to leave.

In an hour.

This I manage, Jools taking me down to Martin Mill in the steady drizzle that had replaced the clear skies of the last three days. At the station, once I had bought a ticket, I wait in the dry until the train was due, seeing it approach from around the bend as its headlights reflected of the wet tracks. I have to sit on the other side of the train, which upset my OCD as I like to sit on the same side, but hey. I might see something new.

At least I have a seat, those getting on at Ashford and Stratford have to fight for the few remaining empty ones. But as it is now getting light, I can look at the passing countryside emerging from the gloom outside the train

I have breakfast as usual, and while I eat, I get a message that the flight is delayed. From the car hire people. This is confirmed by a colleague who has had an update from BA that we might be flying at half eleven. We are to go to the airport as normal.

What we don’t know is if the delays affect everyone and whether the airport will be in chaos when I get there, or will be as normal.

So I sit on the DLR looking out the window, looking at people and their shoes. As you do.

And at the airport, I get my boarding pass and find it quieter than normal, at least for BA passengers, no queue, so I leave my case and go through security and find a place to sit to wait for Tracie to arrive, when she does I join her in the restaurant for a coffee while she feats on poached eggs on toast.

Fifty Later, Big Jesper joins us too, sitting at the gate as we wait for the plane to arrive. We see it touch down through the drizzle and taxi over to the gate. Only about an hour late.

Once on board I force myself to stay awake, reading a magazine and taking breakfast which was now lunch but still rolls and cheese.

It is cold in Denmark, you won’t be surprised to hear. And when I tell the guys in the car hire office how warm it was at home over the weekend, they really don’t believe me. But delight in telling me of a cold front heading to Denmark over the weekend with temperatures down to minus 10.

Jesper, Tracie and I are given a 520 each, as we are going to travel home on different days. So we drive out of the car park in convoy, all in identical Beamers. As you do, And as it would be half three by the time we got to Aarhus, we all decide to give the office a miss and go straight to the hotel.

The drive is as it always is, except now with roadworks as the four lane road is going to be made into a six laner, with roadworks for the next two years or so. I drive at, or just above the speed limit and have a great time, my inner child is very happy.

At the hotel, I decide to stretch my legs, so go down to the fitness centre to do a half hour or so, listening to Brendan Benson and singing along as I work out.

And after showering, I could have gone for a wander find a little place to eat, but its too easy to eat in the hotel, have a beer and burger and fries as I finish WSC. But by this point, I am so tired. I call Jools, yawning all the time, and with there being no footy on TV, go to bed before nine.