Wednesday, November 04, 2009


So, lots of things happened yesterday, and I don't have time to post on all of them individually.

Václav Klaus, the Czech President, became the 27th and final leader to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. It will now come into effect from December 1st, creating official President and Foreign Secretary roles and changing virtually all EU-wide lawmaking from unanimous to majority decisions. This, in the language of the EU, is "simplification" rather than a ratcheting up of power. I'm anti-Europe, but I don't think this change is as catastrophic as others have made out - in particular, we now only need a majority vote to begin repatriating our sovereignty, and centre-right politics are in ascendance across the continent.

Since this is now unavoidable - unless some kind soul were to cause a general election in the next four weeks - I support David Cameron's decision to drop the referendum calls. As William Hague says, it's pointless - it can't unratify the treaty and it's too late to stop it. The idea of putting it in as a manifesto pledge is much better. Unlike a referendum which might go either way (see Ireland), a Tory victory will guarantee a mandate for action - and, if the polls are to be believed, such a victory is on the cards. I guess we'll see what Cameron has to say today.

There's been another huge bail-out of the banks by the UK government - £40bn more thrown at RBS and Lloyds. Alex was in quickly with the news, and reports on today's FT coverage. "Worlds biggest bank bailout" as Metro's front page shouted. City AM leads with the story as well, but focussing on Neelie Kroes' influence.

GM has pulled out of the Magna/Opel deal, which is probably bad news for the Vauxhall workers - GM is now going cap-in-hand to the UK and German governments. I can't see Lord Mandelson changing his stance, especially as finances are getting ever tighter, and the German promises were for a different deal and were made prior to an election that's now happened - very easy to change.

M&S are now selling other brands - I thought this was nationwide when they started the trial in April, but apparently it is now. Good. I don't buy shoddy own-brand colas. This now makes their lunch deal much more attractive as I can get a bottle of Diet Coke with the much-better-than-Boots' sandwiches.

Toyota has pulled out of F1, with immediate effect. Poor Kamui Kobayashi... I hope he can get another drive after his fantastic performance in the last two races. If not, we should support him by going and eating sushi at his family restaurant! Bridgestone are going, too, which is a shame. I was hoping there'd be tyre choice back on the strategy menu now that fuelling is off.

- KoW

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