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Denzil_DC

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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 4,180

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Brexit's Irish Question

People, money, Ireland. These are the three big questions on which the immediate future of the Brexit project hinges. When European Union leaders meet in October, they will decide whether “sufficient progress” has been made in talks with the British to allow for the opening of substantive negotiations to determine the United Kingdom’s relationship with the EU after it leaves in March 2019. As the EU’s lead negotiator Michel Barnier put it last May:

I…made very clear that the [Irish] border issue will be one of my three priorities for the first phase of the negotiation. Together with citizens’ rights and the financial settlement. We first must make sufficient progress on these points, before we start discussing the future of our relationship with the UK.


By the border issue he means the question of whether a hard customs and immigration border is to be imposed between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

And so the Irish Question rises yet again, looming on the road to Brexit like the Sphinx on the road to Thebes. It threatens to devour those who cannot solve its great riddle: How do you impose an EU frontier across a small island without utterly unsettling the complex compromises that have ended a thirty-year conflict? The “people” part of the preliminary Brexit negotiations concerns the mutual recognition of the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa. The “money” part concerns Britain’s outstanding obligations to the EU budget and the calculation of the final divorce bill. Both are awkward and politically divisive issues, but it should be perfectly possible to reach a settlement.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/09/28/brexits-irish-question/


X-Posted in Editorials & Other Articles

Brexit's Irish Question

People, money, Ireland. These are the three big questions on which the immediate future of the Brexit project hinges. When European Union leaders meet in October, they will decide whether “sufficient progress” has been made in talks with the British to allow for the opening of substantive negotiations to determine the United Kingdom’s relationship with the EU after it leaves in March 2019. As the EU’s lead negotiator Michel Barnier put it last May:

I…made very clear that the [Irish] border issue will be one of my three priorities for the first phase of the negotiation. Together with citizens’ rights and the financial settlement. We first must make sufficient progress on these points, before we start discussing the future of our relationship with the UK.


By the border issue he means the question of whether a hard customs and immigration border is to be imposed between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

And so the Irish Question rises yet again, looming on the road to Brexit like the Sphinx on the road to Thebes. It threatens to devour those who cannot solve its great riddle: How do you impose an EU frontier across a small island without utterly unsettling the complex compromises that have ended a thirty-year conflict? The “people” part of the preliminary Brexit negotiations concerns the mutual recognition of the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa. The “money” part concerns Britain’s outstanding obligations to the EU budget and the calculation of the final divorce bill. Both are awkward and politically divisive issues, but it should be perfectly possible to reach a settlement.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/09/28/brexits-irish-question/

Theresa May Takes Her Darkest, Most Desperate Turn Yet

It is one of the great ironies of Brexit that the United Kingdom’s messy divorce from Europe, sold as an effort to reclaim parliamentary sovereignty, has instead delivered its opposite. Last Monday, the House of Commons voted in the early stages of the European Union Withdrawal Bill to give the government sweeping powers to make laws without parliamentary scrutiny. These powers are named after Henry VIII, England’s most authoritarian monarch, but they in fact bear a greater resemblance to Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933, which allowed the Fuhrer to bypass the Reichstag and govern by proclamation.

Allusions to Nazi Germany are generally overwrought, but this is no exaggeration: Prime Minister Theresa May does not have an absolute majority in the British Parliament, just as Hitler didn’t in the Reichstag in 1933, which is why she has been forced to resort to his strategy. If the withdrawal bill is passed as it stands, May will be able to make laws by decree and reverse and adapt primary legislation without consulting Parliament. It is the greatest attack on the British constitution in at least a century. Parliamentary sovereignty—the very thing that Brexiteers said they were voting for in leaving the E.U.—may be about to be vastly reduced by a cabal of right-wing Conservatives who say they are obeying the people’s will. Such power grabs, of course, are always done in the name of the people. The full title of the 1933 Enabling Act was “The law to remedy the distress of the people and the state.”

The derangement of Theresa May’s minority government in the United Kingdom is something to behold, and it is also more than a little frightening. Even in the America of Donald Trump, there has not yet been any real attempt, save a few controversial executive orders, to strip Congress of its powers. But in Britain—the Mother of Parliaments, according to the Victorian reformer John Bright—we stand idly by as May attempts to neutralize our elected representatives. It seems incredible to me that I am reporting on this, but even more alarming is that there is so little concern expressed by the majority of the press and the generally acquiescent BBC. The point is that after the referendum last year, and despite the poor result in the General Election, the right-wing of the Conservative Party has continued traveling in an increasingly undemocratic direction and has, so far, swept all before it. The normally rather sober Hansard Society, an organization dedicated to promoting and strengthening democracy, has called the “broad scope of the powers in the Bill, the inadequate constraints placed on them, and the shortcoming in the proposed parliamentary control of them” a “toxic mix” that will undermine Parliament’s ability to hold May to account or to meliorate the most damaging policies arising from Brexit.

MPs are so caught up in the madness of Brexit that, for the most part, they cannot see the power grab for what it is. Fears are expressed and noble speeches given but in the dead of night on Monday, MPs voted by 326 to 290, giving May an effective majority of 36. This included seven members of the Labor opposition, who astonishingly defied their party, which has just begun to soften its line on Brexit so as to accommodate increasing worries about the economy, employment and workers’ rights. These seven Labor members—Ronnie Campbell (age 74), Frank Field (75), Kate Hoey (71), Kelvin Hopkins (76), John Mann (57), Dennis Skinner (85) and Graham Stringer (67) have an average age of 72, which underlines a truth about the Brexit vote and the lurch to the right in Britain. They are the product of something profound going on among an older generation, even among some left-wingers. These people yearn for a past that does not exist and they do not give one solitary damn for the future of young people who will be forced to inherit the economic mess.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/09/theresa-may-takes-her-darkest-most-desperate-turn-yet


X-posted in Editorials & Other Articles

Theresa May Takes Her Darkest, Most Desperate Turn Yet

It is one of the great ironies of Brexit that the United Kingdom’s messy divorce from Europe, sold as an effort to reclaim parliamentary sovereignty, has instead delivered its opposite. Last Monday, the House of Commons voted in the early stages of the European Union Withdrawal Bill to give the government sweeping powers to make laws without parliamentary scrutiny. These powers are named after Henry VIII, England’s most authoritarian monarch, but they in fact bear a greater resemblance to Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933, which allowed the Fuhrer to bypass the Reichstag and govern by proclamation.

Allusions to Nazi Germany are generally overwrought, but this is no exaggeration: Prime Minister Theresa May does not have an absolute majority in the British Parliament, just as Hitler didn’t in the Reichstag in 1933, which is why she has been forced to resort to his strategy. If the withdrawal bill is passed as it stands, May will be able to make laws by decree and reverse and adapt primary legislation without consulting Parliament. It is the greatest attack on the British constitution in at least a century. Parliamentary sovereignty—the very thing that Brexiteers said they were voting for in leaving the E.U.—may be about to be vastly reduced by a cabal of right-wing Conservatives who say they are obeying the people’s will. Such power grabs, of course, are always done in the name of the people. The full title of the 1933 Enabling Act was “The law to remedy the distress of the people and the state.”

The derangement of Theresa May’s minority government in the United Kingdom is something to behold, and it is also more than a little frightening. Even in the America of Donald Trump, there has not yet been any real attempt, save a few controversial executive orders, to strip Congress of its powers. But in Britain—the Mother of Parliaments, according to the Victorian reformer John Bright—we stand idly by as May attempts to neutralize our elected representatives. It seems incredible to me that I am reporting on this, but even more alarming is that there is so little concern expressed by the majority of the press and the generally acquiescent BBC. The point is that after the referendum last year, and despite the poor result in the General Election, the right-wing of the Conservative Party has continued traveling in an increasingly undemocratic direction and has, so far, swept all before it. The normally rather sober Hansard Society, an organization dedicated to promoting and strengthening democracy, has called the “broad scope of the powers in the Bill, the inadequate constraints placed on them, and the shortcoming in the proposed parliamentary control of them” a “toxic mix” that will undermine Parliament’s ability to hold May to account or to meliorate the most damaging policies arising from Brexit.

MPs are so caught up in the madness of Brexit that, for the most part, they cannot see the power grab for what it is. Fears are expressed and noble speeches given but in the dead of night on Monday, MPs voted by 326 to 290, giving May an effective majority of 36. This included seven members of the Labor opposition, who astonishingly defied their party, which has just begun to soften its line on Brexit so as to accommodate increasing worries about the economy, employment and workers’ rights. These seven Labor members—Ronnie Campbell (age 74), Frank Field (75), Kate Hoey (71), Kelvin Hopkins (76), John Mann (57), Dennis Skinner (85) and Graham Stringer (67) have an average age of 72, which underlines a truth about the Brexit vote and the lurch to the right in Britain. They are the product of something profound going on among an older generation, even among some left-wingers. These people yearn for a past that does not exist and they do not give one solitary damn for the future of young people who will be forced to inherit the economic mess.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/09/theresa-may-takes-her-darkest-most-desperate-turn-yet

Girl, 7, finds 4ft SWORD in same lake where King Arthur was said to have hurled Excalibur



A seven-year-old girl stumbled across a 4ft sword in the same lake where King Arthur's Excalibur was said to have been thrown.

Matilda Jones was paddling waist-deep in Dozmary Pool in Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, when she came across the blade while on a family holiday.

The lake is said to be the spot where legendary medieval leader King Arthur is said to have returned Excalibur after being fatally wounded in the Battle of Camlann.

Ironically, dad Paul Jones, 51, had recounted the famous folklore of King Arthur to Matilda and her four-year-old sister Lois just before the recovery.



http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/girl-7-finds-4ft-sword-11106508


SPOILER: The dad reckons that the sword's probably only about 30 years old (if that, judging by the pics above).

It does give me an excuse to post an antidote to my other very depressing post about Twitter abuse by linking to these fun threads:

https://twitter.com/TechnicallyRon/status/904761506860027905

TechnicallyRon ✔ @TechnicallyRon

OK this girl now rules Britain. Those are the rules. There are books about this. Send her to Number 10 immediately. https://twitter.com/4danlopez/status/904693033391837184
Dan Lopez @4danlopez

Schoolgirl pulls 4ft sword from Cornish lake https://buff.ly/2iTTYUd


Includes the inevitable

Unsocial Media: Tracking Twitter Abuse against Women MPs

“I’ve had death threats, I’ve had people tweeting that I should be hung if ‘they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight’… I’ve had rape threats…and n*gger, over and over and over again”
Diane Abbott, UK MP and Shadow Home Secretary, July 2017

Diane Abbott’s testimony during a recent parliamentary debate about intimidation against members of parliament (MPs) was the first time many people heard the extent of sexist and racist abuse facing women in UK politics. But for women MPs who are active on social media platforms, these harmful encounters are something they must contend with daily.

At Amnesty, we’ve been investigating the extent of online abuse against women MPs active on Twitter in the UK through individual interviews and by using machine learning to detect abusive tweets sent to women MPs. The findings outlined in this post provide a detailed look at abuse on Twitter in the run-up to the 2017 election — in which Diane Abbott’s case stands out for all the wrong reasons.

...

While online abuse is certainly not limited to women in the public eye, women politicians face an extraordinary amount of abuse on social media. To understand just how much abuse women MPs face online we worked with a data scientist to analyse a sample of Twitter data from 1 January to 8 June, with a focus on the six weeks prior to the 8 June UK election. We wanted to understand how many of the tweets sent to women MPs were abusive, whether some MPs were targeted more than others and if there were trends in such targeting.

...



http://preview.tinyurl.com/y9lftktk

(TinyURL given above because DU won't render the full link correctly, which is: https://medium.com/@AmnestyInsights/unsocial-media-tracking-twitter-abuse-against-women-mps-fc28aeca498a)
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