Mike Vickers' Blog

August 31, 2019

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Good Friday Agreement, Jeremy Corbyn, Johnson, Reality, The Troubles, Varadkar, Yeats — derryvickers @ 7:40 am

WB Yeats

The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

Just two examples



Where is the Good Friday Agreement now.

Oddly only the US Congress may save Ireland from a Hard Border.

August 30, 2019

Greta Thunberg – On her way

Filed under: economics, Greta Thunberg, USA — derryvickers @ 7:48 am

I like the poster

Greta surrounded by plastic rubbish



Let’s hope that someone in the US spends time to listen

August 29, 2019

Gina Miller to the Courts Again

Lawyers for the campaigner Gina Miller have made an urgent application to the high court for a judicial review of Boris Johnson’s plan to prorogue parliament, in the first shot in what will be an intense battle in the coming days to torpedo the prime minister’s plan.

“This is a brazen attempt, of truly historical magnitude, to prevent the executive being held accountable for its conduct before parliament,” said Miller,

“Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller has as filed an urgent application for a legal challenge to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s “cynical and cowardly” plan to prorogue parliament.

“Whilst prorogation is an acceptable UK constitutional practice, no prime minister in modern history has attempted to use it in such a brazen manner,” Ms Miller wrote on a fundraising website set up fund the urgent application to the high court for a judicial review.

Ms Miller, … said the decision to suspend parliament a few weeks before the Brexit deadline was a “dark day for democracy”.

Opponents say it stop MPs from playing a full part in the Brexit process as the time they will have to pass laws to stop the UK leaving without a deal on 31 October would be cut.

I could add that if MPs fail to get a debate then the UK is heading for 1984.

Lets hope that Gina Miller gets to take her Action to the Supreme Court again and achieve the Rightful Publicity.

And that Bercow can resurrect good precedents.

, Mr Johnson has set our country .. break with the EU which will .. leave the UK – should it survive in its current form – hopelessly divided for many years to come.

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Good Friday Agreement, Johnson, Westminster — derryvickers @ 10:35 am

From Today’s Scotsman Editorial
And the Scotsman is well in the centre of politics

Supporters may try to spin this otherwise, they may try to say that a Queen’s Speech is overdue and that Mr Johnson is merely exercising his right to set out the agenda of his government, but it is abundantly clear that, having committed himself to delivering Brexit on October 31, he is willing to play dirty in order to keep his promise.

His actions have, of course, generated considerable outrage among those who believe – as The Scotsman does – that Brexit is a mistake and that the No Deal variety merely compounds that. There is talk now of whether Mr Johnson might be brought down, about whether parliament – or a version of it – could sit, elsewhere, during the proposed period of prorogation.

But, regardless of whether pro-Remain MPs are able to formulate a workable plan or not, yesterday’s announcement has implications that rage far beyond the matter of Brexit.

Nicola Sturgeon yesterday accused Mr Johnson of “acting like some kind of tin pot dictator”. The First Minister may have employed some typical political hyperbole in that assessment but she got to a truth at the heart of our national debate. That truth is that convention can be damned.

Without a written constitution, the way in which our politics is run has been decided over centuries of statute and consensus. We can now safely assume that the rules of engagement that have sustained our politics for so long no longer apply.

Rather than treating the House of Commons as sovereign, the Prime Minister now seems to regard it as nothing more than an inconvenience. For all of his talk of democracy, he now treats with contempt the right of MPs to represent their constituents.

When Mr Johnson decided, more than three years ago, to throw in his lot with the Leave campaign, he did so not because of a great passion for Brexit but because he judged that such a course would be most likely to enhance his career prospects. His motivation was neither sovereignty nor “taking back control” but the advancement of Boris Johnson.

If nothing else, the fact that he is now Prime Minister proves that Mr Johnson’s decision was the right one for Mr Johnson.

But is this really the premiership of which he dreamed? For a man who fancies himself something of a modern day Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister is behaving in the most unstatesmanlike manner in order to save his own skin. With Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage cranking up the No Deal rhetoric, Mr Johnson has set our country on course for a painful break with the EU which will, we fear, leave the UK – should it survive in its current form – hopelessly divided for many years to come.

August 28, 2019

Johnson – our new Dictator

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Johnson, USA, Westminster — derryvickers @ 5:34 pm

UK Democracy died Today. Johnson is our new dictator; just as Trump is in the US

One can only hope that, like Charles 1, he loses his head

From the Guardian


The real secret of populists, from Donald Trump to Matteo Salvini to Johnson, is the conflation of transgression with truthfulness. The willingness to engage in bigotry and violate hard-won social norms against racist, homophobic or misogynistic language convinces people that these politicians “speak their mind” and “say what they think”. Paradoxically, their lack of virtue confirms their veracity.’

Oddly while Salvini wants to remain in the EU and change it, Johnson wants to leave; perhaps to Dictate on his own.

August 14, 2019

The Westminster Government well passed it’s Sell By Date

Just read


And you will gather that the Westminster Government along wit is MPs and just wallowing in the mud.

It could be that there is no formal constitution so no firm ground or may be its just that the current crop of MPs are not just up to it.

Scotland needs to brake away so if MPs are considering unilateral leaving the EU, Scotland must consider unilaterally leaving the UK.

OK no Barnett Formula but even if formal agreement there is unlikely to be any equivalent.

Time for home brew Referendum and if Yes then Scotland should declare UDI.  Little Westminster could do – it hasn’t even the resources to send a gunboat up the Forth.

August 12, 2019

And this is British Democracy

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Politics, Westminster — derryvickers @ 7:15 pm

Now in tatters and must be replaced.

I fear the Tories won’t do so

Not sure that Corbyn has the brains either:

The Guessing Tree

Surely this is phantasy?

August 6, 2019

Scottish Independence – A vie from Ireland

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Politics, Scottish Independence — derryvickers @ 9:30 pm

I think that Fintan O’Toole’s essay – The Art of Leaving and Arriving Brexit, Scotland and Britain – in Scotland the Brave? (Twenty Years of Change and the Future of the Nation edited by Gerry Hassan and Simon Barrow) makes the case for Scottish Independence far better than the SNP’s.

O’Toole doesn’t follow the SNP’s view that ‘All will be sweetness and light’ after independence, just the opposite. But he makes the more powerful case that the UK and Westminster is dead and must be drastically reformed. The corollary is that Scotland should take the opportunity to free itself now.

You can find a shortened version at


BTW the book is a good read even though I find Hassan excellent at identifying what’s wrong but fails miserably at proposing solutions. The proposals in the book are suggested by others.

Ventilation and Sewage Problems at the new Sick Children’s Hospital Edinburgh – Codicil

Filed under: Politics, Scottish Government — derryvickers @ 9:21 pm

It now appears that Audit Scotland has been involved all along


The findings reported do not change my overall view that the real problem lies with the design contractors and they must be called to account at least to ensure that they do not receive further NHS contracts.

As for Jeanne Freeman and the Scottish Government at large, they must be seriously crticised for not publicising previous Audit Scotland reports. But this looks to be typical of the SNP Government in working within a Cloud of secrecy.

August 5, 2019

Ventilation and Sewage Problems at the new Sick Children’s Hospital Edinburgh

Filed under: Politics, Scottish Government — derryvickers @ 9:07 pm

Much political angst is being written about design problems with the new / almost built new children’s’ hospital in Edinburgh and whether politicians are wholly to blame.

I accept that the buck on the Children’s Hospital stops in principle with Jeanne Freeman as it does with The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow; nevertheless, the fundamental problems in both cases must rest with the architects and their design contractors for ventilation, air conditioning and sewage.

The problems at the Children’s Hospital are not new. I note back in august 2106

“The new Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh was due to open in autumn 2017.

However, NHS Lothian now expects the date to be pushed back to spring 2018.

Dunne Group entered administration, followed by JB Brickwork going into provisional liquidation”.

If one wants an intermediary then we should be looking at the Scottish Government Officers responsible for drawing up Hospital Building contracts, how they specify them and monitoring these contracts once in place. In the case of the Royal Sick Children’s Hospital that work looks to have been subcontracted to a PFI: IHSL; a practice long since deprecated.

By al means call in Audit Scotland but please avoid making political capital out of the problems.

And let’s hope that there doesn’t have to be a demolition job. It will be remembered that the Holyrood Scottish Parliament was 4 times overbudget but is now a Scottish Show Piece.

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