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Sunday, February 10, 2019

I see no ships

At the Battle of Copenhagen, Horatio Nelson famously put a telescope to his blind eye and announced that he could not see the signal calling on him to end the action and to retreat.

It wasn't quite 'I see no ships' but it wasn't far off, as the British Admiral, Sir Hyde Parker, was offering Nelson an honourable route out of a bloody action, which he feared could not be won against overwhelming odds.

Nelson's courage and leadership would be quite handy in today's political climate, as the UK Government faces up to its own incompetence in dealing with Europe and, indeed, with its own members, in trying to reach a rapprochement with the EU.

And before some clever-clogs comes along to draw a parallel between the Napoleonic wars and Brexit, it is worth pointing out that England was allied with a number of European countries in the fight against France.

Unfortunately, we are stuck with the likes of Transport Secretary, Christopher Grayling, whose record of failure is staggering. As the Independent reports, Grayling is facing calls to quit after the government scrapped a multi-million pound ferry contract to provide no-deal Brexit services, awarded to a firm with no ships.

The paper says that the under-fire transport secretary was widely criticised in December when it emerged he had given a £13.8m contract to Seaborne Freight, to provide extra ferries to ease pressure on important freight routes between Dover and Calais. He and his department have now admitted defeat, terminating the contract after another firm, Arklow Shipping, stepped away from the deal:

The row began when tender documents slipped out on Christmas Eve revealed Seaborne Freight had never run a Channel service and owned no ferries.  It also emerged that the company appeared to have copied its terms and conditions from a takeaway outlet.

Grayling had already faced criticism last summer because of timetabling chaos on the railways. This fiasco had left thousands of passengers stranded. A regulator's report concluded that nobody took charge even when it became clear the project was in serious trouble.

Despite these controversies, the Transport Secretary remains a leading member of a government drifting rudderless, clueless and with no discernible leadership skills as the storm clouds gather around us.

Collectively the cabinet are holding eye pieces to their blind eye as they fail to see what is becoming increasingly clear to the rest of us, the best deal is to stay in the EU and any other course of action could hole the UK below the water line.
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