Friday, 25 November 2016

The Left Wing

How do losing political movements react to defeat?

They comfort themselves with the notion that the electorate did not properly appreciate their achievements in office, failed to understand what was at stake. Consciously rejecting virtue and reason, through base motives of greed or prejudice they have knowingly chosen the dark side.

This position found a home in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, which now seems to regard winning elections as at best a secondary concern, and colours the tone of much post-referendum commentary – the suggestion being that many Brexit supporters came to their view through something worse than ignorance.

Disapproval of the voters also seems to be rife among anti-Trump elements. You can see it in the protests, and in the calls for moderate Republicans not to “normalise” the president-elect by taking jobs in his administration.

American voters were crying out for change, yet the Democrats offered its antithesis: the Washington establishment incarnate. People in states and counties the Democrats had come to take for granted worried about their jobs, their futures, prospect for their children, the ballooning cost of healthcare, the state of their roads and bridges, immigration, terrorism, the effect of trade deals on their industries, and America’s place in the world – and the Democratic candidate responded: did you hear what Donald Trump said about an ex-Miss Universe?

But other things that were closer to home mattered more to people than Trump’s flaws, and he was taking about them.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Letter from Aleppo

East Aleppo, the heart of Syria’s peaceful revolution, is besieged on all sides and facing unprecedented levels of attacks from the sky as the Syrian regime and Russia moves to ‘exterminate’ all those that remain.

In the last five days all hospitals, including the last children’s hospital, have been bombed out of operation. All White Helmets centres have been destroyed. East Aleppo’s trapped 275,000 residents are living in terror as thousands of missiles, barrel bombs, and mortars rain down on them.

Despite the brutality, the medics, rescue workers, parents, and entire communities refuse to give up. They have rebuilt hospitals time and time again, saved families from under the rubble of non-stop air strikes, and opened schools and libraries underground.

Aleppo, one of the birthplaces of civilisation, has been failed utterly by the leaders of the 'civilised world' who stand by idly and watch this massacre unfold.

[written by a resident]
Daily Dispatch: “No words can describe what we experience and suffer everyday”

Aoum Obaidah, is a mother of three and teacher at an orphanage in Aleppo city. The orphanage looks after 47 children. She writes to you about what life is like for the 90,000 children living under siege in Aleppo.

“I wish the children in Aleppo could breath clean air, free of the smell of gunpowder, chemicals or even death.

The children of Aleppo don't go to school anymore, everything has been destroyed, and even if a school still exists, it’s too dangerous for children to attend.

The children of Aleppo will die eventually, either from the cold, lack of food or medicine. They will die because they don’t have milk or even a piece of bread.

Assad and the Russian's bombs do not differentiate between a stone or a human. I can’t protect my children from the bombs. If a day passes without losing one of them, it is a miracle to me.

When you see a hungry child walking barefoot, then you know he is from Aleppo. When you see a child crying for his mother or father, lost under the rubble, then you know he is living under siege in Aleppo. When you see a child bleeding to death, tears filling his or her eyes, then you know it is a child from Aleppo.

My message to all mothers in the world is, learn and teach others how to keep your children safe, not hungry.

And whatever happens, never let them go.  Always hold them because you never know when you might lose them."

Monday, 21 November 2016

JAM

[just about managing]

The new in phrase JAM coined by social media and the need for shorter sentences might be fun, but it does represent about 10 million people fall into this group.

What could this weeks autumn statement say to them?

Since her [Teresa May] statement outside 10 Downing street last June, is it possible for the government to help these people specifically?

Which areas could she help?
Childcare
Social Care
Welfare

The only problem I can see with this is, the people who are going to pay for this are the recipients!

Whether or not you regard yourself as a member of this group rather depends on your expectations in life. There are rich folk who will complain that they are “just about managing” to afford a holiday on a palm-fringed island because of the cost of paying the school fees.

In the absence of a clearer direction, the hard Brexiters have been making nearly all of the running in the Tory party. This is making business increasingly nervous that Britain could crash out of the EU without a deal on trade that they can live with.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Child Abuse Inquiry

Aileen McColgan, who was leading the inquiry’s investigation into abuse in the Anglican and Catholic churches, quit over concerns about the inquiry’s leadership, which means there will be a fourth chair. If this isn't a scandal, then what is?

Eight members of the legal team have left in the two years that the inquiry has been running and now serious concerns have been raised over the leadership and transparency and as yet they are still to start the actual work of the inquiry.

Presently MPs are saying that this is a really important inquiry into historical child abuse and it has had a very difficult two-year history so far. What we want is for it to get back on track. There are a lot of survivors depending on it to do a good job.

However, they do not seem to realise that it appears to the outside as a corrupt core.

Now the latest nail in their coffin has come from the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association which says failure to manage the investigation is allowing the abuse to continue. One of the biggest survivors’ groups involved in the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse is to formally withdraw from the investigation, which could start the domino effect for the other groups causing the inquiry to become pointless.

The inquiry while remaining independent now needs a senior figure like a judge to take charge and steer it in the right direction.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Proportional Representation

I have spoken about this before after the 2015 election:-

http://caldariborderzone.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/electoral-reform.html

but I feel it needs to be reiterated as now the first past the post system is not fit for purpose.

Proportional representation is a type of electoral system that decides the make-up of a parliament by allocating seats on the basis of the number of votes each party received. Although there are many different types of PR, this is the base requirement for a system to be described as proportional.

Rather than the winner-take all approach of other systems, PR ensures that votes carry equal weight. To do this, multi-member constituencies are used. This means that a single area elects more than one representative. The size of this area can vary according to the system, ranging from the size of the whole country to a county or local vicinity.

As I said earlier PR is dominant over Europe and the rest of the world and it is about time the UK adopted one form of it.

Months after the election result, a new survey by pollsters BMG has found that 57 per cent of the public agree with the principle that “the number of seats a party gets should broadly reflect its proportion of the total votes cast” – compared to only 9 per cent who disagree.

The scientifically weighted poll found a similarly large majority in favour of changing the current voting system. 51 per cent of the population said they were “unhappy with the current electoral system and want it to change” compared to only 28 per cent who want to keep FPTP.

In 2011 the Government held a referendum on whether to replace the current First Past the Post system with another system called Alternative Vote.

Alternative Vote was not a proportional system, however, and failed to inspire any enthusiasm. The bid was defeated and the existing system retained. It must be pointed out that AV has no similarities with PR what so ever and if a PR referendum was called it would be completely different.

The Wiki will give you a complete description of what PR is:-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_representation

Friday, 11 November 2016

Post Brexit

The much-hyped severe Brexit recession does not, so far, seem to be materialising – which really shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, the actual economic case for such a recession was surprisingly weak. But we are seeing a large drop in the pound, which has steepened as it becomes likely that this will indeed be a very hard Brexit. How should we think about this?

Originally, stories about a pound plunge were tied to that recession prediction: domestic investment demand would collapse, leading to sustained very low interest rates, hence capital flight. But the demand collapse doesn’t seem to be happening. So what is the story?

From the trade side, imagine a good or service subject to large economies of scale in production, sufficient that if it’s consumed in two countries, you want to produce it in only one, and export to the other, even if there are costs of shipping it. Where will this production be located? Other things equal, you would choose the larger market, so as to minimize total shipping costs. Other things may not, of course, be equal, but this market-size effect will always be a factor, depending on how high those shipping costs are.

In Britain’s case, we think of financial services as the industry in question. Such services are subject to both internal and external economies of scale, which tends to concentrate them in a handful of huge financial centres around the world, one of which is, of course, the City of London. But now we face the prospect of seriously increased transaction costs between Britain and the rest of Europe, which creates an incentive to move those services away from the smaller economy [Britain] and into the larger [Europe]. Britain therefore needs a weaker currency to offset this adverse impact.

The weakening of the pound should achieve this.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

President Elect

Donald Trump announces that Secretary Clinton has just called him with the congratulations, and so it begins.

Middle class and working class people in America have said they have had enough of corrupt career politicians and now the questions.

Last Friday Donald Trump unveiled a two-minute television advert in which he rails against the political establishment, juxtaposing clips of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George Soros and Janet Yellen against grim images of empty US factories. That was just one piece, but it appears to have worked.

Trade:
Trump has opposed the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and called for fundamental changes to the Nafta pact with Mexico and Canada. He has also threatened to impose punitive 45 per cent tariffs on goods from China, stoking fears of a trade war.

Foreign Policy:
Trump has said that Mr Obama’s deal with Iran, which seeks to prevent the Islamic Republic from attaining nuclear weapons, would be dismantled or at least restructured and I suspect a much closer relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Healthcare:
Trump has signed up to the Republican pledge that Mr Obama’s signature Obamacare reforms must be “released and replaced”.

Tax policy:
Trump has promised the biggest tax revolution since Ronald Reagan, pledging to cut taxes across the board. He says no American business would pay more than 15 per cent of their profits in tax, compared with a current maximum of 35 per cent. The top rate of tax would fall from 39.6 per cent as the Republican reduces the number of tax brackets.

Supreme Court:
With the highest court in the land currently split 4-4 between conservative and more liberal judges, Trump faces relatively easy confirmation of his pick by a Republican Senate.

Climate change:
Trump has called global warming a hoax invented by China to make US manufacturers uncompetitive and vowed to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement, which built on a deal Mr Obama struck with China.

Immigration:
Trump has campaigned on his pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border, called for a ban on Muslim immigration and the deportation of 11m unauthorised immigrants. However, he has subsequently made more ambiguous statements, promising instead “extreme vetting”.