Category Archives: Politics

Political stuff

Julian Out for Summer

Happily, Sweden has just dropped its nonsensical rape charges against Julian Assange. JA should now be able to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

The Metropolitan Police say:

Whilst Mr Assange was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for an extremely serious offence, the MPS response reflected the serious nature of that crime. Now that the situation has changed and the Swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, Mr Assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence.

So, he still has to answer for jumping bail. But no more risk now, it seems, of being sent to Sweden, which has a terrible record of “extraordinary rendition” to the USA.  Hopefully, there will be a decent street party for him when he comes out.

The end of a disgraceful chapter in Sweden’s history.

ArdinThere will be no party, presumably, for his one-night stand Anna Continue reading

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The Trump effect

Donald Trump is obviously not entirely unintelligent. By the same token, not even his biggest fan could deny that he frequently says things that are, to put it kindly, maladroit.

But here is the thing. Every time he says something that makes us think, “Hey, that’s not right”, his political opponents come along and say something even worse.  This week, for example, he said, “No politician in history, and I say this with great serious, has been treated worse or more unfairly”

Mandela sadIt was a remark which demonstrates an extraordinarily distorted view of himself. And it prompted this picture on Facebook, showing Nelson Mandela behind bars, looking sad (as he would be) but with a wistful and tolerant half-smile. The implication, of course, is that Nelson Mandela was a politician who had been treated worse or more unfairly, and that it was really dumb of Donald Trump to forget it.

But Mandela was not sent to prison as a politician. He was sent to prison as a terrorist. We will probably never know quite how many people Mandela killed, either directly or indirectly. Some reports put it at about 200 deaths, and many others injured. Like Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness (also mass murderers), he is one of these people for whom the past has, in some sense, been erased by their subsequent efforts towards peaceful resolution of broader conflicts. The families of all their victims are required to relinquish their anguish. And there is some sense in that, for Continue reading

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Wrong, wrong, wrong

Unhappily, I am going to have to admit that I was wrong about Brexit.

I and many others well informed about UK and European affairs, took the view that effect of Brexit on the UK would be relatively marginal. The EU is a relatively small proportion of the world market, and the UK is going to continue to trade with the EU in any event. Happily, the UK never joined the Euro, and so the problems that being yoked into that currency has caused countries like Greece were not going to affect the UK anyway.

We expected, of course, some whingeing from whichever side lost the referendum. If the country had voted to stay in the EU, there would have been some predictable moaning in the pub from the Brexiteers. And the lovies were hardly going to be happy with a vote to leave.

But what we wholly underestimated was the sheer volume and persistence of the moaning from the Europhiles.  It is at a level that is causing real damage to Continue reading

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Long Term Whether Forecasting

Speculation reigns as to whether the UK will do a Brexit deal with the EU.

My guess:

  • There will be an early deal (or perhaps just a de facto stand-off) allowing EU citizens to remain in the UK and vice versa;
  • There will not be any deal over the terms of Brexit; the UK will leave the EU in March 2019 without a deal. There are too many countries and interests wanting a slice of this or a slice of that, all with a veto;
  • There will however be a trade deal between the UK and the EU either by March 2019 or shortly thereafter, with tariffs set at nil or near nil.

If this be right (time will tell) the Government stategy looks about right: the Mayflower stressing Continue reading

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The Life of a Pixie

finger waggingSo. The Poison Pixie is upset.

She wants a second attempt at an independence referendum. The UK Government says, “No”. She complains that the UK Government is not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. So she could perhaps use some Scottish taxpayers’ money (there is precious little of that) for a non-binding “wildcat” ballot. But those in Scotland who disagree with her desire to bring financial ruin to Scotland would probably not participate. So such a wildcat ballot would be a farce, and then she would complain that the people of Scotland are not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. She could appeal to the EU, but the EU mave made clear that they are not interested in talking to her, so she would complain that the EU is not treating her with the respect she thinks she deserves. Continue reading

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Whisky and Whine

Hugging_Face_Emoji_2028ce8b-c213-4d45-94aa-21e1a0842b4d_largeAccording to the United Nations, Norway is the happiest country in the world, edging out previous winner Denmark and third placed Iceland. The UK was 19th happiest out of 155 countries. Not bad. Of places with decent weather, Australia led the way at 9th.

But here is the thing. The top three all have quite high suicide rates.[1] Much higher than the UK. Which stands to reason, in a macabre sort of a way: if the most miserable people in any population commit suicide in substantial numbers, then those who are left will be, on average, less miserable. Continue reading

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Tony’s Angel

tony-blairTony Blair freely admitted (but only after leaving office) that his faith was “hugely important” to the decisions he made.

This week, he has made a speech telling us that the Brexit referendum result was wrong, and that the people should now change their minds.

I wonder if he was told this by a messenger from his God?  And if so, was it the same angel Continue reading

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Le Pen is mightier than the Bored?

fillonThe New Statesman has opined that

No, the fall of François Fillon doesn’t mean Marine Le Pen will win

This follows, of course, revelations that Fillon, the former darling of the centre-right in France, has had his nose in the trough a bit too deeply, even by French standards, by paying his wife “wages” of hundreds of thousands of Euros of taxpayers’ money for doing, it seems, no work at all. Perhaps the French, who are usually quite relaxed about these things, have been roused from their usual boredom by the fact that the wife is Welsh. It might have been OK if she were a Parisienne? Fillon looks to be finished as a runner.

Anyway, since the New Statesman is typically wrong about everything, this might well mean that the road is indeed now rather more open for Marinne Le Pen to win the forthcoming French presidential election.

I watched the whole of Ken Clarke’s speech in the House of Commons on the Brexit vote. He did not look or sound at all well, and cut Continue reading

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Delightfully simple, or far too difficult?

where-we-export-to-graph_0Having  listened to a great deal of commentary about the complexity attach it on to the Brexit negotiations, I have come to the conclusion that there are two separate projects underway, one which is comparatively straightforward and the other being very complex.

The straightforward project is leaving the European Union. As the Prime Minister has said “Brexit means Brexit”. And so the answers to all sorts of questions ought to be very easy Continue reading

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Seriously Obese Cats

fat-catsI am no believer in the notion that Jack is always as good as his master. Just occasionally, he might be. But far more often, the captains of industry are smarter, have trained more and now work harder than most. I have no problem with them earning, say, 20 times what the person sweeping the floor in their business earns. Or even 20 times what their average employee earns. As my old friend Will Hopper noted in his excellent book The Puritan Gift, that was pretty normal among the great companies of the Western World as they were becoming great.

But 200 times? No. That is obscene. No one needs 200 times. Not only is it grossly unjust, but it is bad for business. But it is happening, in the USA, and also in the UK. The Spectator Continue reading

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