Ambassador Darroch’s unresolved resignation

The shoddy, shabby treatment of the. British Ambassador to Washington raises the immediate question: who leaked his very accurate assessment of Trump? My favourite explanation is  that the Foreign Office computer system was hacked by an insider with a view of getting Darroch replaced  – by Nigel Farrage. Who would want this and why?  Principally, Boris Johnson (an …

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The crisis among conservatives

“In Britain and the US a deep crisis of conservatism has been building since the end of the Reagan and Thatcher governments. It is a crisis of competence, of intellectual energy and coherence, of electoral effectiveness, and – perhaps most serious of all – of social relevance.”.  (The Guardian, 28 May 2019). If this is …

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As we await the results of the EU Parliamentary elections…..

Support for remaining in the EU is above 80% in most EU countries. Asked how they would vote in an in-out referendum, 94% of people in Luxembourg said “in”, as did 92% of people in Portugal, and 91% in Ireland and the Netherlands. In the UK, the poll found that 55% want to remain, making …

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Britain is the bolthole for crooked money from all over the world

More than 87,000 properties in England and Wales, worth £100bn in total, are owned by anonymous companies registered in tax havens.  (The Week, 23 March 2019) If you think this is sleazy, wait until Britain is out of the EU.  Given the main cheerleaders of Brexit one has to conclude that one motivation of the …

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Reconnecting with the voters

If we really want the parties to reconnect with voters, we should import – from Australia, say, or Brazil – a far more important innovation: compulsory voting. Obliging people to cast a ballot may sound illiberal: but it has the huge advantage of forcing political parties “to reach beyond their comfort zone”. Labour could no …

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Emotion in the White House

The U.S Attorney general, William Barr has excused the wild behavior of the President by explaining, without a hint of humour or irony, that the President gets “emotional”. Wow!  One of the frequent Republican accusations against women in charge of anything is that they are too “emotional” to be able to run whole countries or …

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A plague on all their (British) houses

When asked which of the main British political parties they felt an affinity with, 19% of voters said the Tories, 15% Labour, and 3% the Lib Dems; 54% said none.    (Lord Ashcroft Polls/The Mail on Sunday,  April 2019). The political class has betrayed the country, and the country knows it.  No wonder Epicurus disliked …

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Where the British went wrong. (a bit long, but something to debate)

We are now well into the third version of the German European empire.  Startling claim?  Only if you haven’t studied history. German Empire, Mark 1  (if you exclude the medieval “Holy Roman” version):  the strikingly stupid German Kaiser, sitting astride a belligerent Prussian- dominated army and a burgeoning industrial economy,  jealous of the British and …

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Good news! We can stop worrying about treachery!

So the Mueller Report has cleared Trump and his staff from conspiring with Putin and Russia to win the election.  Phew!!!!   Thank goodness. The thought that one’s own Head of State was a traitor would have been intolerable. For the sake of peace of mind this is great news.  Mueller is a good man and …

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War with Iran? Part 2

Continued from yesterday: The Trump administration is, in fact, experiencing increasing difficulty finding allies ready to join a new Coalition of the Willing to confront Iran. The only two charter members so far, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are, however, enthusiastic indeed. Last month there was a rally in Warsaw to promote war, featuring Netanyahu as …

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War with Iran? Part 1 (divided into two for readability. It is long, but very important – it may not be reported in the mainline media)

(The following 3 paragraphs are by Tom Engelhardt, editor of Tom Dispatch, the inside, go-to publication for military affairs, edited for length. Go to tomdispatch@nationinstitute.org It is possible that the next U.S. military disaster of the twenty-first century might be Iran. That country has, of course, had a significant spot on Washington’s war-making to-do list since …

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By the way…………

Since 30 March 2018, at least 250 Palestinians have been killed and 6,000 injured with live ammunition amid Israel’s use of force against “Great March of Return” protestors in Gaza. Among the casualties, three health workers – Musa Abu-Hassanin, Razan al-Najjar and Abdallah al-Qutati – have been shot dead by Israeli forces while trying to …

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Brief thoughts on the crisis in Venezuela

Maduro is a tyrant; any defence of him is inexcusable. Under Maduro’s presidency, Venezuela’s economy has collapsed, inflation has skyrocketed and goods shortages are increasingly common. Despite being blessed with abundant natural resources, systemic corruption, cronyism and an authoritarian political culture have left the country in ruins. No one can defend Maduro and have any moral …

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Why Liberal Republicanism is an oxymoron: A response to David Frum

The Atlantic’s David Frum is one of my favourite American columnists. A thoughtful conservative and provocative Trump critic, Frum doesn’t shy away from eviscerating both the Right and the Left. In contrast to ever-increasing partisanship, Frum’s independence of thought and lack of partisanship makes for refreshing reading. Last November, Frum made the comprehensive case for …

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How can this be right?

President Trump has named a former Fox News journalist with no background in international relations as his pick for America’s new ambassador to the UN. The crucial role – which former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will be leaving at the end of the year – has previously gone to scholars, diplomats or experienced politicians. …

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