Bridges, Boris, Brexit and Brum

Jas Sansi ponders the next four days in Birmingham with the Conservative Party Conference and suspects it will be anything but plain sailing. 


Conference feels like a family gathering where tensions are at boiling point. The Sunday Times splash has Boris Johnson going head to head with Theresa May in a heavy weight battle for number Ten. 

Family arguments are never pleasant and rarely produce a winner. The best we can hope for are net curtains sparing passers by from ugly scenes. A big ask when global media are camped in Brum and eager to dissect every comment emanating from a bubbling cauldron. 

Despite the optimism of a fringe program packed with conversations about voting demographics, home ownership and the NHS, there is only one topic hanging in the air and that particular B word does not stand for Boris. 

So less of a conference and more of a family gathered as the matriarch lies dying in bed. Tensions of who inherits the silver and who becomes the new head of the family. It’s a horrible mess.

The Sunday Times piece includes post Brexit plans of a bridge between Britain and Ireland, and a Festival of Brexit Britain. Boris couldn’t get a bridge built across the River Thames, how on earth will he span 40 miles across a choppy Irish Sea?

The former Foreign Secretary also suggests putting HS2 on hold and instead rolling out a high speed link in the North; I though HS2 was a high speed link in the North! 

How about we put Brexit on hold whilst we plan how to prevent Republican Terrorists, forced out of retirement by the tearing up of the Good Friday Agreement, from blowing up Bojo’s bridge?.

Party Chairman Brandon Lewis was welcomed to Birmingham on BBC News this morning, grilled on a data breach. It’s Theresa May’s birthday tomorrow, who’s going to be first to wish her ‘appy birthday?

See you at Conference.

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham

@jassansi 07930 837 505




Will Birmingham Produce the break through on Brexit?


Jeremy Corbyn heads back to London by train, whether or not he finds a seat, he can take comfort in the knowledge Labour Conference Liverpool was a success.

The message delivered to the Conservatives is simple; deliver Brexit without damaging the economy, workers rights and standards, or trigger a general election.

This is an offer the Tories cannot accept. It leaves only the option of a People’s Vote in the event of a increasingly likely No Deal. A Peoples Vote ensures the next move goes to those who triggered the most chaotic episode in post war UK; the electorate. 

A circle is only complete when the end point returns to the beginning.

The political centre of gravity shifts to Birmingham on Sunday 30th September. The Conservative Party Conference returns to the ICC and the tension between Remain and Leave factions of the party will be felt in a fringe program dominated by Brexit. 

A circle is only complete when the end point returns to the beginning

Autumn leaves on trees may not be all that are falling over four days at Conference. 

Time was never on our side. As soon as Article 50 was triggered, advantage went to the EU, an advantage they have never conceded. 

Will there be a Birmingham Agreement on Brexit before Theresa May steps onto the stage at Symphony Hall on Wednesday? 

Jeremy Corbyn armed with an election manifesto will be watching, will you?

The Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham ICC

30 September to 3 October 2018

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Brexit is Spear and Shield

Jas Sansi tries to make sense of Brexit as we enter the final months of negotiations. 


China has an expression for contradiction, its ‘Mao Dun’, literally ‘Spear and Shield.’ Its said to have come from a trader who boasted his shields could not be penetrated by any spear, and his spears were so sharp, nothing could stop them. 

He was lost for words when asked what would happen if somebody threw one of his spears at one of his shields! Hence the expression for contradiction, Spear and Shield; Mao Dun. 

Brexit isn’t working. 

We wake up every day with a new Brexit headline and social media runs with it, Remainers and Leavers adopting opposite sides of the argument.

This has been the narrative of our country for the past two years. London voted to Remain but is in charge of delivering a Leave vote it doesn’t believe in; Mao Dun.

Those who wanted us to leave the EU should have devised a plan first, designed a strategy to roll out the plan, and executed the plan with Brexit being the outcome. 

Brexit would then have been a precise point in our country’s history. The goal posts would invariably have moved, but we would know where they have moved to.

History will criticise us for making a decision and then trying to reverse engineer a position to ensure the decision is viable. We stabbed in the dark without even taking the time to grab a knife.

..the Chequers proposal has managed to unite both Leave and Remain

Brexit is a destination without a map, an objective without a strategy, an ambition without drive. 

Leave campaign over spent, there is evidence of overseas collusion, Cambridge Analytica manipulated personal information to push the Leave agenda, Brexit Buses promised £350 Million, bill boards warned of Turkey joining the EU. The list goes on and on and on. 

The Remain campaign didn’t exactly paint itself in glory; Project Fear, Punishment Budgets and mostly led by a Government that slashed public spending and made Austerity their mantra. 

There are no good and bad sides in any of this.

Right now, we have a Prime Minister committed to the Chequers proposal, it has managed to unite both Leave and Remain sides here in the UK and the EU negotiators; neither side wants it.

Remain are pushing for a People’s Vote and Leave have consigned themselves to a Brexit with No Deal. Referendum has unleashed further Referendum, No plan has morphed into No Deal.

Brexit is Mao Dun. The contradiction is wanting all the benefits of EU membership but without the membership.

The only outcome I can see once the Chequers Proposal is voted out by the Commons is extending Article 50 and calling another General Election. There is no making sense of Brexit.

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham

@jassansi 07930 837 505



Back in the Ring

Countdown to Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham begins. If today’s wrestling match between Dancing Queen and Bicycle Man is anything to go by, expect fireworks. Jas Sansi is missing Summer already.


Today is the first Monday in September. Balmy Summer evenings and holiday jaunts are a distant memory. All energies are focused on sharpening pencils as we all, metaphorically, return to school. 

No one has sharpened their pencil more than the Big Daddy of Brexit, Boris Johnson who didn’t even have the decency to wait for the school bell before launching a scathing attack on Theresa May’s Brexit strategy. 

Backbencher Boris suggested “the scandal is not we have failed, but that we have not even tried.” There was me sitting behind Bojo in form 10B muttering the real scandal is promising £350 Million a week to the NHS etc etc…

Headmaster May waited for playtime before replying ‘this is a time for real leadership…’ and everyone gathered round to watch the fight, which as we all know, no longer happens in the playground but on twitter. 

Cough sweets are being stock piled…

Is this a leadership challenge? Yes. Is there an alternative Brexit strategy? No. Is there light at the end of the Brexit Tunnel? Yes. Is it a High Speed Train? Probably. 

The circus is coming to town. In twenty eight days, Birmingham hosts the 2018 Conservative Party Conference. If seven days is a long time in politics, imagine what can happen in four weeks. 

There’s no way the Tories will open conference without a leader so Theresa May will be on stage at the ICC dancing to the tune of the Chequers Proposal. Cough sweets are being stock piled ahead of the PM’s address.

Party Conference will be a logistical and security challenge. Birmingham is currently a building site, as a city, it feels like we have more cranes than Dubai and more traffic than Bangkok. 

I’ll be on site for the duration of the Conference. We need a finalised proposal by the end of it which the European Parliament can ratify in time for 29th March 2019 when we officially leave the EU. 

Will we have one? Don’t hold your breath.

Conservative Party Conference, ICC Birmingham 30 September to 3rd October 2018

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham

@jassansi 07930 837 505