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Ghost Dog

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 15,469

About Me

Brit gone native. Cooperative member. Ecology. Cartography. Programming. Music production.

Journal Archives

May says won't trigger EU divorce until UK-wide approach agreed

EDINBURGH, July 15 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday that Britain would not trigger formal divorce talks with the European Union until a "UK approach" had been agreed, bidding to appease Scots who strongly oppose Brexit.

May made the comment after meeting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, head of the pro-independence Scottish government which says pro-EU Scots should not be dragged out against their will and has been looking at ways to keep Scotland in the bloc...


Ok. So does this mean that, without SNP approval, UK will not trigger the article & leave EU???

Obama extends visit to US military base on 1st visit to Spain

... Obama will no longer be making a stop in the Andalusian city of Seville, which was scheduled for Sunday. He will instead spend the day in Madrid, before traveling to the US military base in Rota. From there he will travel back to Washington on Sunday night...

... The US military base at Rota is home to 2,846 US military personnel and 2,610 relatives. No US president has ever stopped there, even though the base has been operating for the last 63 years.

Obama’s agenda is still likely to include meetings with King Felipe VI, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and several members of the opposition...


Britain is changed utterly. Unless this summer is just a bad dream (Ian McEwan)

... We may assume that powerful Conservative figures wanted Boris Johnson gone, for historical as well as proximal reasons. Someone lofty may have spoken smoothly into the ear of his lieutenant, Michael Gove, to persuade him he was prime minister material and that he should desert. When he did and Johnson stepped aside, a so-called grandee, Michael Heseltine, was on hand to disembowel the corpse. Then, for his 15 minutes, Gove was before us, cross-gartered like foolish Malvolio, until another grandee, Kenneth Clarke, in concert with the Daily Mail, was ready to knife his guts. Two down in the summer of contempt.

Or it happened another way. We Kremlinologists can only guess at what’s being turned over in the clubs of St James or the farmhouses of Oxfordshire. But we do know that what all sides are calling the greatest political crisis of our generation is a creature imagined into being by the Conservative party alone. It, not Ukip, offered the referendum; it fought it, it won as well as lost it. For such services, for the mayhem and poison that followed and are clouding the leadership contest, we should now be watching it shredded by an effective, eloquent opposition. But by their silence Corbyn and his troubled, paranoid court have delivered us, in effect, and for the time being, into a one-party state, and not the Leninist version certain courtiers dream of.

Now you watch on helplessly as your prime minister is chosen. It is, of course, constitutionally correct that you have no say in the matter. But it’s hard to shake off that below-stairs feeling. We can do no more than gossip round the kitchen table. The butler has a theory, and so does the second chambermaid. Even “boots” knows all about tactical voting. Our first-naming paradoxically measures our distance from events. Is Boris biding his time, or is he truly finished? What does it tell us about the party, post 2008, that Andrea, an ex-banker hostile to the minimum wage, could soon be prime minister? Was Theresa’s reticence during the referendum campaign astute and tactical? Or merely an expression of her character? Or is she the remainers’ mole? Can we believe that the chancellor isn’t plotting? We hear footsteps above our head – more comings and goings. But who?

You might cling to the butler’s mole theory even as you worry that your hopes are loosening your grip on reality: the powerful faction that wanted to remain, and whispered flattery and enticements in Gove’s ear, has cleared the field of Johnson, the other side’s most powerful contender, and eased one of its own into place as PM. The exit negotiations begin and are inevitably protracted in a game with such stacked odds. Our European friends, watching their own backs, will not be offering kindly terms. Only a fool would want to invoke the dread article too soon...


EU’s 27 leaders minus Cameron to look for reset in September

(Slightly edited).

European Union leaders will gather in Bratislava, the city straddling the Danube River, in September, after a summer of “political reflection,” to hammer out a way forward for the bloc in the shock of the post-Brexit world.

Soon to be shorn of the bloc’s second (now third)-largest economy and buffeted by a rising tide of anti-EU sentiment from Paris to Warsaw, the 27 national leaders will meet knowing that Britain’s vote to leave forces them to weigh change to win back citizens’ support. They just can’t agree on what that should look like...

... “The dividing lines have been between different actors on different issues -- north and south on financial and economic issues, east and west on asylum and migration,” Sandro Gozi, undersecretary for European affairs in Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government, said in a phone interview. “The last thing we need is new dividing lines.”

Is Italy Europe's Next Big Problem?

From German insistence on fiscal rigidity and the legacy of austerity, to economic sanctions on Russia, relations with Turkey and the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, Europe’s political fault lines run deep and tension has been building for years. Rival camps and further flashpoints on the horizon mean the struggle to reset the European Union could get messy...


After the EU vote, it's time for some clear thinking on trade (Joseph Stiglitz)

...The benefits of trade and economic integration between the UK and EU are mutual, and if the EU took seriously its belief that closer economic integration is better, its leaders would seek to ensure the closest ties possible under the circumstances. But Jean-Claude Juncker, the architect of Luxembourg’s massive corporate tax avoidance schemes and now president of the European commission, is taking a hard line: “Out means out.”

That kneejerk reaction is perhaps understandable, given that Juncker may be remembered as the person who presided over the EU’s initial stage of dissolution. He argues that, to deter other countries from leaving, the EU must be uncompromising, offering the UK little more than what it is guaranteed under World Trade Organization agreements.

In other words, Europe is not to be held together by its benefits, which far exceed the costs. Economic prosperity, the sense of solidarity, and the pride of being a European are not enough, according to Juncker. No, Europe is to be held together by threats, intimidation, and fear.

That position ignores a lesson seen in both the Brexit vote and America’s Republican party primary: large portions of the population have not been doing well. The neoliberal agenda of the last four decades may have been good for the top 1%, but not for the rest. I had long predicted that this stagnation would eventually have political consequences. That day is now upon us...


Well, duh. Blair illegally invaded Iraq because... Special Relationship

... Once more, this answer asks us to accept that a leader can change utterly, a metamorphosis that psychiatrists would struggle to explain(*). Here was a pragmatic leader who had always navigated a third way around challenges, who had built up a broad base of support and consistently reminded his party that nothing could be done without winning elections. Was he willing to blow everything on the basis of a suddenly acquired passion for Iraq and the Middle East? This also makes no sense.

The answer to the mystery is rooted in a political context, one ignored by previous investigations and one that will almost certainly be underplayed by Chilcot. The first part of the answer is to ask the right question. It is not the one that misleadingly opens this column. Blair never had to answer the question: should the UK invade Iraq? He had to answer a different one: should I support President Bush who has decided he wants to remove Saddam Hussein?

Given Blair’s political past and character there was always only going to be one answer to that question. Blair had been brought up politically in the 1980s when Labour lost elections partly because it was seen as “soft” on defence and anti-US. When Blair came to power in 1997 his words outside No 10 were as much about a rejection of his party’s 1980s past as they were about the future. “We were elected as New Labour. We will govern as New Labour,” he declared revealingly and defensively.

US presidents did not approve of 1980s Labour. New Labour would be close to US presidents. At the start of his second term in 2001, before the attacks on September 11, Blair told visitors to No 10 that one of his second-term objectives was to prove that a Labour prime minister could work with a Republican president of the US. Brought up on defeat he was neurotically worried that the Conservatives were forming close ties with Republicans in Washington. In his conviction that New Labour must be different he moved towards his doom...


(*) I can explain it: if not already psychopathic, power tends to corrupt the holder and/or drive them mad.

UK's proposed corporation tax cut will be blow to Northern Ireland (& the Republic)

The UK is set to dramatically slash corporation tax rates to woo businesses deterred by Brexit — just as Northern Ireland is preparing to cut its own rate.

While the move places the UK in direct competition with the Republic for vital foreign direct investment, it will scupper Northern Ireland’s chances of attracting investment after the rate here falls.

Chancellor George Osborne has revealed plans to aggressively cut the tax to less than 15% as he outlined his plan to galvanise the British economy.

This would take Great Britain close to the 12.5% corporation tax rate which has been a cornerstone of the Republic’s economy and helped attract major employers including Apple, Pfizer and Google...


The ICC is prevented by the USA from applying International Criminal Law

to cases of Illegal Invasion, although this is very much the ICC's jurisdiction.

See this DU thread.

Surely, a UK High Court can put this, um, presumed right honourable gentleman on trial for this, the Supreme Crime, as the Nuremberg Trials so put it, if the evidence so merits?

Chilcot inquiry must restore trust in government, says top lawyer

In DU Foreign Affairs.

UK Chilcot inquiry must restore trust in government, says top lawyer

... “Has it fairly and accurately summarised the exchanges between Mr Blair and President Bush and the meetings that took place between them?” Sands asked. “That gives us an insight into whether or not the material has been fairly and accurately interpreted by the Chilcot inquiry.”

Sands said he would look closely at the inquiry’s account of what happened at a meeting between Bush and Blair on 31 January 2003. “At that meeting Blair had in his pocket advice from Lord Goldsmith saying ‘You need a second resolution’. We know he then left the meeting with Bush and gave a public statement in which he said nothing had been agreed and spoke in parliament a few days later and basically said ‘Nothing has been agreed’. But I know from the note of the meeting prepared by David Manning [UK ambassador to Washington 2003-07], which is in my book, that recorded at that meeting Bush saying the bombing would begin in March and Blair saying: ‘I am solidly with you, Mr President.’”

The inquiry will not offer a view on whether the war was illegal. Its main remit is to learn the lessons of what went wrong. A key issue will be the analysis of how suspect intelligence was used to justify the invasion of Iraq, chiefly the now-infamous claim that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Last year Blair apologised “for the fact the intelligence we received was wrong”. But many experts suspect the intelligence was manipulated to misrepresent Saddam’s capabilities.

In 1995 Hussein Kamel, an Iraqi official who defected, told CIA and British intelligence officers and UN inspectors that, after the 1990-91 Gulf war, Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks. But in the build-up to the invasion, key figures in the Bush administration repeatedly cited Kamel’s testimony as evidence that Iraq possessed WMD. Blair included it in his speech to parliament ahead of the invasion. When pressed in parliament to make Kamel’s testimony public, Blair said the UK did not possess a transcript...

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