• Madame Mayhem: Between a rock (the EU) and a hard place (Trump’s USA).

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    Above, a map of the Nord steam 2 gas pipeline (click on image for full size rendition).

    There is a saying: “Be careful what you wish for… You might get it!”

    In what little by way of biographical snippets that have emerged about Madame Mayhem’s past, we learn that she long harboured an ambition – now realised – to become Prime Minister of the UK.

    Tenure of this office is nearly always stressful and demanding as can be seen by comparing the images of Tony Blair taken in 1996 and 2006. Madame’s tenure is proving to be exceptionally stressful which must be a worry as she has the additional burden of Type 1 diabetes.

    As the excellent Doctor Richard North continues to describe in unremitting unpleasant detail the depressing farce of the Brexit process in his blog-post today….
    GOTO: http://eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86967
    ….the British Gazette will instead encourage our readers to again look beyond the confines of UK politics further afield for there is a juggernaut on it’s way towards us. That juggernaut has a name: Donald J. Trump!

    For Madame the crisis that is coming down the tracks will be the cruellest of all ironies for it will have been triggered by the attempted murder of Mr Sergei Skripal in Salisbury with a Novichok nerve agent.

    Following the murder attempt Madame took the wholly appropriate, correct and proportionate response and imposed a series of diplomatic restrictions upon Russia. NB: Failure to act as she did would have been a grave mistake for all sovereign states MUST take measures to enforce sovereignty when it is transgressed upon. Madame’s response did not stop there however. Again, her subsequent actions were wholly appropriate, correct and proportionate; these were to seek the support of the UK’s NATO allies, the most prominent being the USA.

    In responding at it did, the USA’s actions were again, wholly appropriate, correct and proportionate. However, the government of the USA is fundamentally different from the government of the UK – deliberately so for the Founding Fathers of the American Republic specifically drew up the Constitution to see that this was so. At the time, the Founding Fathers sought to enact in law a situation where the Executive (the elected “temporary monarch” called a President) could not rule in the manner of King George III but this rule was to an extant shared by the US Congress.

    The reason why this organ recites this minor history lesson is that in the USA, actions have consequences that are due to earlier enactments and NOT (unlike the UK) executive decisions (which are today made by the Queen’s ministers).

    Thus when on Monday 6th August, the US State Department concluded that Russia was behind the poisoning, two days later on Wednesday 8th August, the US government announced sanctions on Russian banks and exports. These sanctions, which will be enforced under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act), will come into effect on Wednesday 22nd August.

    The Nord Stream 2 project is being undertaken by a consortium including Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell, Wintershall, Uniper and Engie.
    GOTO: https://www.nord-stream2.com/
    Yesterday, at a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel near Berlin, President Vladimir Putin stated: “Together with German partners we are working on the new natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, which will complete the European gas transport system.”

    If is difficult to overstate the importance of the Nord Stream 2 project to the Federal Republic of Germany. The Germans are embarked on a programme of modernisation of their power generating capacity that will cause Russian natural gas to the the principal energy source for the electrical production. Coal/lignite sources will be decreased in order to meet Germany’s “climate change” commitments. Wind and solar (PV panels on house roofs) of course can only generate a small and unreliable fraction of Germany’s requirements. It is also important to note that Germany has abandoned nuclear technology as a means of power generating and there is virtually know support for nuclear electricity amongst the German population. Getting Germans to endorse nuclear electricity will prove as successful as getting Comrade Corbyn to support privatisation!

    It this therefore necessary to emphasise that there is no possibility whatsoever of the US government persuading the German government to abandon the Nord Stream 2 project.

    Thus it appears the stage is set for a confrontation: The Trump administration will announce that US firms will not be allowed to take part in the Nord Stream 2 project – directly or indirectly. Any attempt to breach this will be met by criminal prosecution for the companies and their directors which for the companies will mean colossal fines and for the directors, prison. The Trump administration will however go beyond this and announce that any non US firms directly or indirectly involved with the Nord Stream 2 project will themselves be subject to sanctions. Thus these firms will have to chose: do they want to do business in the USA or do they want to do business with the Nord Stream 2 project and/or Russia? It will be their choice. They can do one or the other, but they will no longer be able to do both!

    This will have major consequences for the firms directly and indirectly involved in the Nord Stream 2 project; which includes Royal Dutch Shell in which your Editor holds shares!

    Royal Dutch Shell will have a decision to make. Shell has made considerable investments in the USA and will have to decide which to keep – their US investments or their involvement in Nord Stream 2. Your Editor has no inside information but would imagine that Shell’s directors are fully aware of the situation and therefore we will not be surprised if Shell announces that it is selling it’s stake in Nord Stream 2 to another oil company. It is to be hoped that Shell will be able to sell it’s stake at a figure that will hopefully reflect a profit or failing that, to “break even”. If Shell is forced to sell at a loss this will have important consequences for the UK.

    This is because the “B” shares of Royal Dutch Shell are one of the most important stocks traded on the London Stock Market. Again, it is difficult to overstate the importance of Royal Dutch Shell to the UK. This is because so many institutional investors (insurance companies, pension funds and what Americans call “mutual funds”) have shareholdings in Royal Dutch Shell. This is because of the dividends paid by Royal Dutch Shell.

    Whilst the fate of Royal Dutch Shell’s participation in the Nord Stream 2 project is naturally of concern to your Editor, there are in fact more important concerns. Namely, the extent to which the Trump administration may seek to pressure the Germans into giving up that which they will not – the Nord Stream 2 project. It could well be the case that the Trump administration may impose wide ranging and punitive tariffs on all manner of German exports.

    The difficulties for Madame Mayhem are crystal clear. The Trump administration’s actions against Germany will be ostensibly taken in support of the UK and it’s wish to see that measures are taken against Russia for the attempted murder of Mr Sergei Skripal and the murder of Ms Dawn Sturgess. The Trump administration will expect the UK government’s full and unstinting support.

    Of course Germany’s reaction will be key and it will be through the EU. The EU will in response to the Trump administration’s actions announce further measures against the USA. Which will apply to the UK until 11:00PM on Friday 29th March 2019.

    Then there is Russia. Again, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the Nord Stream 2 project to the Russian economy. This is because whilst Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and has very large military forces and a strategic nuclear capability that rivals that of the USA, it’s economy is actually SMALLER than the UK’s (pre Brexit). Russia’s exports are principally:
    - Oil and Gas.
    - Minerals (inc Gold)
    - Weapons.
    - Civil nuclear technology.

    Then we have perhaps the most important aspect of all: the Trump Factor. President Trump has shown himself to be erratic, impulsive and unpredictable. When President Obama stated that “he [Trump] was temperamentally unsuited to be President” – he was correct.

    IF President Trump is angered and takes measures against the UK for failing [in his estimation] to take suitable measures and demonstrate support for the US’s actions [which Trump will declare are in support of the UK] then this could well bring about a completely new paradigm vis-à-vis the Brexit process.

    UKIP’s leader Gerard Batten is seeking to have the party he leads put on a general election footing as he (correctly) has concluded that the political situation in the UK is extremely unstable and a general election could be called in the not too distant future.

    Readers may well ask: “Where is the British Gazette on the need for another general election?”

    It is this:

    - A general election should NOT be called and therefore take place until after the European Council meeting on Thursday 18th October 2018.

    By that time we should also be made aware as to the nature and the consequences of the US sanctions against Russia, Germany and the EU.

    Unless the impossible happens and the EU concedes on all fronts and accepts the points made in Chequers Agreement as a “firm basis” for an agreement, then the UK faces the likelihood of a “Hard Brexit” compounded by alienation from the USA.

    Should such circumstances occur, the political flux will be such that a general election will become a very likely prospect.

    In such circumstances the two major parties (Tories and Labour) will be in no fit state to fight an election! That is because both will be riven asunder by splits and divisions!

    Apart from the Greens, Plaid Cymru and the SNP the ONLY political parties who will be able to present a united and coherent response will be the Liberal Democrats and UKIP!
    The most likely outcome will be Labour being the largest party but well short of a majority, the SNP back up to taken nearly all Scottish seats, and the Liberal Democrats doing as well – or better – than they did in 2010. UKIP will not win a single Westminster seat.

    It is to be expected that under those circumstances, Comrade Prime Minister Corbyn will form a minority Labour government on a Confidence and Supply basis through agreements with the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the SNP.

    This will mean that Strict Mistress Sturgeon will have Comrade Prime Minister Corbyn agree to a Second Referendum of EU membership – namely whether or not to repeal the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 (c. 9), the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (c. 16) and other associated statutes.

    It is likely that the populace vote to remain in the EU. In such circumstances, Comrade Prime Minister Corbyn will attempt to do what Prime Minister Wilson did in 1964 – govern for a couple of years and have another general election in the hope of forming a majority government. His approach will be the same as every other politician pursuing this strategy: that is to bribe the electorate with their own money! Comrade Prime Minister Corbyn will then embark on a massive programme of public expenditure whilst at the same time, paying for it by printing money and borrowing. The idea being that should he then obtain a majority he will then be able to implement the massive tax hikes necessary to cut and pay back the debt!