RICHARD PORRITT with the week’s big stories, including some good news on electric planes, some bad news for the Polish economy and some credit for Emmanuel Macron
So we have got to that sad moment in the breakdown of any relationship where the shouting is over, the tears have dried up and all there is really left to talk about is money.
But how much? Since the divorce bill was first mentioned it has fluctuated from a ridiculous ‘we won’t pay anything’ to an eye-watering ‘£100bn’.
Now, just days before Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker are set to have that D-Day dinner, sources have told me that it is set to be ‘less than 50 big ones and more than 40’. Big ones? Bloody massive ones if you ask me.
As soon as that bill is revealed expect the Brexit bunch to start bleating. Of course there still is a very good, sane and sensible way of avoiding that bill …
Big week for the Brexit Secretary ahead as he faces a grilling over accusations he treated the House of Commons with contempt by heavily redacting the Brexit impact papers.
After much coercion Davis finally handed over the 850-page dossier on the chaos leaving the EU is set to create – but lots of information was hidden.
And now Brexit Committee chairman Hilary Benn has Davis in his sights, claiming the censored release was ‘both contrary to the instruction given to the Government in that motion and to the clear expectations that I set out to you in our discussions’. This is going to be blockbuster stuff.
The battle for the Labour Party continues apace – if you thought Jeremy Corbyn had put his naysayers to bed back in June, you were very wrong.
And the tussle reached the airwaves this week when Progress director Richard Angell took on holier-than-thou, very soft Remainer Owen Jones on the BBC.
Jones began the debate by claiming it was ‘utterly ludicrous’ that there was a Momentum-backed bid to purge the party of Blairites – perhaps now is a good time to remind him of the disgraceful treatment of Wavertree MP Luciana Berger by members of her local Labour group who demanded she apologise for resigning from the front bench?
He added that Momentum played an ‘historic role’ in Corbyn’s election campaign. He lost!? Unlike Blair and Progress who won three on the bounce.
Some good news this week as three major European companies announced they would team up to develop the future of passenger planes by creating a hybrid jet that uses an electric turbofan and three conventional engines.
British giant Rolls-Royce will join France’s Airbus and Germany’s Siemens in a show of pan-European unity that should shame the Brexiteers – proof, if needed, that we are better off working together.
The plane is an effort to develop and demonstrate technology that could help limit emissions of carbon dioxide from aviation and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. And the first one could be ready as soon as 2020.
In a joint statement the companies said they were aiming to pre-empt the European Union’s long-term goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from flying by 60% and meeting other noise and pollution limits they said ‘cannot be achieved with technologies existing today’.
This grand European project has some competition though – US firm Zunum Aero, based in Washington state, says it is working on a 12-seat hybrid-electric commuter jet.
And some bad news – for the Polish economy at least.
The right-wing, populist and somehow ruling Law and Justice party has voted to banned Sunday shopping completely by 2020. It is a move that has been widely criticised by the general public and economists who fear it could eliminating tens of thousands of jobs and hurt supermarket chains.
Shoppers will still be able to spend online and in bakeries on the sabbath – a loophole the Polish Catholic is not happy about, claiming Sundays should be work-free for all.
The good news is that the move could prove so unpopular Law and Justice – a party with very questionable views on homosexuals and refugees – get booted from office. In Hungary in 2005 Viktor Orban’s government was forced to make a swift U-turn on a similar move after they bombed in the polls.
Emmanuel Macron catches some heat in these pages – but credit where it is due.
His speech this week outlining his Government’s tough new stance to tackle violence and harassment against women should be applauded.
The overhaul will see more funds to encourage women to take action, the strengthening of laws against offenders and better education starting at nursery school.
During his speech marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women he said: ‘It is time for shame to change camps.’