Archive for November, 2017

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The latest Marf cartoon: The Twitter Bird Devours the American Eagle and Everything It Stands For

Thursday, November 30th, 2017



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A tweet that seems to sum up British politics today

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

I’m a huge fan of the books by Tim Shipman, if you’ve not read All Out War then you should, a book about the events leading up to the referendum result, the byline was  ‘The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class.’ It helped informed me in great detail about the events leading to the UK’s momentous decision to Leave the EU.

His next book, Fall Out, is out today, on the events following the referendum including Mrs May’s calamitous decision to hold a snap election and the Brexit negotiations so far.

As we can see from Joe Twyman’s tweets, the bad language has increased since the referendum, I suspect a third book by Tim Shipman covering from today to March 29th 2019 will see a further increase in the bad language.

TSE



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The last 48 hours makes me content to keep on laying David Davis as next PM/Tory leader

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

‘He’s useless. He’s absolutely useless. He’s as useless as a marzipan dildo.’

Whenever I think of David Davis I’m reminded of the marzipan quote by Malcolm Tucker from The Thick Of It, which is why I’ve been laying David Davis as next PM/Tory Leader markets for quite some time and the above tweets seem to reinforce those views.

Of course it maybe a case on confirmation bias on my part but then we have Jacob Rees-Mogg saying “(There is a) growing concern that Her Majesty’s government seems in these negotiations to be dancing to the tune of the European Commission.”

Today’s Times reports that

The British proposal is understood to commit the government to work towards “avoiding regulatory divergence” in Ireland after Brexit even if the rest of the UK moves away from European rules. This would involve the government devolving a package of powers to Northern Ireland to enable customs convergence with the Irish Republic on areas such as agriculture and energy…

…The outlines of a “standstill” transition arrangement, effectively prolonging British EU membership, are ready to be tabled after the expected sign-off on the principles of a withdrawal deal at the December summit. EU sources said that the transition deal could be agreed in January before negotiations begin on a future trading relationship.’

Ensuring Northern Ireland has a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK doesn’t seem the sort of thing the Conservative and Unionist Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland should be promulgating, and I’m sure effectively prolonging the UK’s membership of the EU will not enamour David Davis to Leavers.

Much like Boris Johnson’s tenure as Foreign Secretary is confirming all the worst fears about Prime Minister Boris Johnson, David Davis’ tenure as Brexit Secretary is confirming all the worst fears about a Prime Minister David Davis, incompetent and the Minister for Winging It (Badly), bet accordingly with those two.

TSE

PS – It was also a bad 48 hours for Gavin Williamson, who as Chief Whip was the genius behind the government boycotting opposition day debate votes that has led to these problems for the government.  Quite frankly his ‘cleverness’ is the epitome of a Pyrrhic victory with could see David Davis held in contempt of Parliament. He seems another definite lay on the next PM/Tory leader markets.



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The first reaction to the Royal Engagement from YouGov and Prince Charles looks great for the Republican movement

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

TSE



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Donald Trump’s re-tweets are going to cause Theresa May some problems

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Mrs May will have to publicly repudiate Donald Trump or her opponents will paint her as a friend of racists & neo-Nazis.

One of the few things I like about Mrs May is that she’s been strong on opposing bigotry and racism, a prime example being her changing the police’s approach on stop and search, fundamentally she’s a decent person and privately she’ll be appalled at Trump proving David Cameron’s maxim about twitter, again.

But given the position she finds herself in the post Brexit world, can she risk alienating Donald Trump by criticising his actions and withdrawing the state visit invitation? Labour are already urging her to do that.

As someone who enrages the likes of Britain First and the EDL on sight I know these re-tweets by Donald Trump will embolden them more, this isn’t a story that will just blow away. Theresa May can either condemn Trump now or look like she’s been forced to do so, I trust she will do the right thing sooner rather than later.

Although some of her advisers might tell her to go the Jeremy Corbyn route and just ignore it, given the opprobrium Corbyn received during the general election campaign for his past and current associations, it didn’t stop Corbyn increasing Labour’s share of the vote and seats.

TSE

 



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Betting on Time’s person of the year

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Following Friday night’s tweet by Donald Trump I thought it’d be fun to look at the betting markets on the winner of Time’s Person Of The Year Award. I can understand why the hashtag MeToo is favourite, in 2011 ‘The Protester’ won, so groups and collectives can win.

My tip is Colin Kaepernick at 14/1, the American Football player who began the ‘taking the knee’ protests over racial injustices in America, it enraged Donald Trump a lot, which led to even more protests by players in the NFL. Colin Kaepernick was recently awarded GQ’s 2017 Citizen Of The Year so his protests has earned him awards already.

Just a bit of warning, I’ve been betting on Time’s person of the year for around a decade, and I’ve only had one winner in that time, Donald Trump who won the award last year.

TSE



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Theresa May agrees €100 billion Brexit divorce bill with the EU

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

TSE



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Symbols for our time

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

In an age of hashtags, social media campaigns, lit candles and all the rest of it, it is easy to sneer. Such narcissism. Gesture politics is castigated as the last word in pointless posturing, mainly designed to make the politician – rather than the persons at whom it is aimed – feel good. “Action this day. Not words or images” – as Churchill did not say.

But symbols and gestures do matter. Done right – an image, a simple action, wordless – they can sum up a cause, express anger, help heal a wound or set an example. They often bring a touch of the sacred to pedestrian concerns. They can inspire action. They can make us pause and reflect and remember. They often transcend boundaries. Symbolic gestures – and the rituals which often accompany them – form part of the rhythm of our story, whether personal or collective. So here is my list of some of the most important – and beneficial – symbolic gestures of recent times – and two which should have happened – and why they matter.

1. The Queen bowing after laying a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin in 2011 and then opening her speech in Dublin Castle with Gaelic. A minute’s silence and a few words helped bring a full stop to a long, troubled relationship in a way which had been unimaginable for so long. And it was precisely because of who did it that it mattered. There are many others which could have been chosen: Martin McGuinness and HMQ shaking hands and smiling, Cameron apologising unreservedly for Bloody Sunday. But royalty’s enduring appeal and power is fundamentally based on the way it can both express and transcend the work done by here today/gone tomorrow politicians. For those who care about Anglo-Irish relations, it was a genuinely moving moment.

2. Mandela attending the rugby World Cup final in 1995 and shaking hands with the Afrikaner captain. Nothing better exemplified what Mandela said about wanting to unite the country. Nor his emotional intelligence in reaching out to something that mattered to South African whites – sport – and which had long been used by apartheid’s opponents to exemplify that community’s isolation.

3. Pope John Paul II praying at the Wailing Wall in 2000. The Catholic Church had earlier formally apologised for its attitude to Jews. But the sight of the frail Pontiff praying – and seeking forgiveness – at one of Judaism’s holiest shrines made explicit and human what had been previously set out in archaic and ornate language few ordinary people would read.

4. Playing the American national anthem at the Changing of the Guard after 9/11. A small thing but to Americans in London at the time it felt like someone reaching out to hug them. Look at Bill Clinton’s response to a British journalist at the time to see what it meant.

5. Vietnam veterans protesting in Washington by throwing their medals over the barriers designed to keep them out. When those who had fought and won medals threw away what had been so hard won, so hard fought for, it brought home like nothing else how toxic that war was to the US’s very best idea of itself.

6. The decision by Emmett Till’s mother in 1955 to have an open casket showed America the reality of racism: the beaten and bloodied body of a 14-year-old, unrecognisable as the child he was. There was a faint echo of the “Am I not a man and brother?” coins of the anti-slavery campaign two centuries earlier. This – a man in chains, a child pulped – is what your ideology means.

7. Mitterand and Kohl holding hands at Verdun in 1984. Nothing better symbolised the hopes of a Continent for no more war.

8. Willy Brandt falling to his knees at the gates of Auschwitz in 1970. He expressed the shame and sorrow of a nation both as his nation’s representative and as a German who could justifiably claim to have been a good German during the war.

9. Mrs Thatcher turning up, impeccably dressed, not a hair out of place, walking to the podium at the Tory Party Conference in 1984, barely hours since the assassination attempt on her and while others were still being rescued. Before even saying a word, her mere presence – defiant, angry, determined – symbolised democracy’s resistance of those who would use violence to impose their will.

10. “Liberté Egalité Fraternité” emblazoned at Wembley Stadium 3 days after the Bataclan terror attacks in 2015. Sport again. Using the emblem of the attacked nation. And a reminder that the French are, au fond, family. The image of the statue of Marianne draped in the French tricolore at the end of the march after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015 could also have been used. But that was a nation speaking to itself. This was one nation reaching out to another.

And the two which should have happened.

• After the furore caused by the Danish cartoons, they should have been published in full by every outlet in the free world. Free speech needed its “I am Spartacus” action. Saying that you believe in freedom of thought and speech is no good if you fear exercising it. Understandable why no one newspaper did so. But this was a time when solidarity and collective action really was needed. Instead we got demos and apologies in 2005 and murders and outrage in 2015.
• Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent speech about what has been done to the Rohingya was a missed opportunity to speak out with moral clarity about the evil done to the innocent. It was a speech by a politician. Not the speech of a leader who knew what it was to suffer human rights abuses.

Plenty I’ve left out. Over to you.

CycleFree