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UK Watch Thread


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#201
wjfox

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A friend of mine posted this on Facebook.

 

An excellent summary of the UK's situation from 2010 onwards, the lead-up to Brexit, current events, and our future prospects.

 

---

 

In 2010 the Tories implemented hard-right austerity dogma trashing the economic recovery and creating an austerity generation blighted by wage suppression, exploitative employment practices, catastrophic public service cuts, and soaring rents/house prices/utility bills/public transport fares.

 

In 2014 the Tories brazenly lied to the Scottish people that voting "no" to independence was the only way to prevent Scotland from crashing out of the EU. They won the independence referendum by a fine margin, but the lies they told the Scottish people would soon come back to haunt them.

 

In 2015 the Tories promised to hold an EU referendum as a desperate effort to poach votes off UKIP. A reckless self-serving ploy that won them a majority at the 2015 General Election.

 

In 2016 the Tories held the EU referendum but it backfired dramatically as high profile Tories (Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Priti Patel, Iain Duncan Smith) defied the party leadership and lied through their teeth to promote Brexit, while the extreme-right (ukippers, biffers, Leave.EU) cynically blamed the atrocious social and economic consequences of Tory austerity dogma on immigrants and the EU. This set the UK on a course to quitting the EU despite none of the people promoting Brexit having presented anything even remotely resembling a coherent plan for how to manage the transition, or what a post-Brexit Britain would actually look like!

 

In July 2016 Theresa May was appointed Tory leader and Prime Minister after her allies in the Tory party and the mainstream media bullied her rival out of the contest. She set about pushing a hard-right interpretation of Brexit in order to poach UKIP voters in the expectation that the combined Tory-UKIP vote share would hand her a huge parliamentary majority.

 

In March 2017 the Scottish parliament held a democratic vote to authorise another independence referendum. One of the strongest arguments in favour of the 2nd referendum was the Tory lie that a "no" vote would preserve Scotland's place in the EU, which was followed less than two years later by the right-wing of the Tory party goading the English electorate into voting to drag Scotland out of the EU against their will.

 

In April 2017 Theresa May and the Tories decided to call an opportunistic snap election, but despite pulling in the majority of the hard-right UKIP vote, they squandered away their parliamentary majority because Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party achieved two political feats that were widely considered impossible at the time: bringing out the youth vote, and engaging non-voters.

 

After her vanity election failure Theresa May was reduced to begging the Northern Irish DUP bigots for support, which came at the cost of a £1 billion bribe (paid by the taxpayer, not by the Tory party). Another potentially larger price tag is that the British government colluding with the DUP at a time of heightened political instability and sectarianism in Northern Ireland is jeopardising the peace process.

 

From June 2017 onwards Theresa May has behaved like a puppet of the tiny hard-right fringe of Tory MPs because offering a fanatically right-wing interpretation of Brexit is the Tories' only chance of survival. They're electorally dependent on their brand new Blue-kip demographic of ex-ukippers because the slightest move away from hard-right blue-kip extremism towards the more liberal and socially progressive values of the under-50s would cause an exodus of Blue-kipper Tory voters and cost them the next election.

 

We're now in November 2017 and it's been 17 months since the Brexit vote, yet the Tories are still deadlocked on the first round of Brexit talks, meaning time is running out to conclude the vital trade talks phase of the negotiations. The more time the Tories squander on the first phase of the negotiations, the less likely it is the UK will get a trade deal with the EU, and the more likely it is that we'll end up with a catastrophic "no deal" cliff edge Brexit (which is exactly what Theresa May's hard-right Brexiteer puppet masters actually want to happen, because it would allow their disaster capitalist mates to snap up £billions worth of British infrastructure and assets on the cheap in the resultant economic meltdown).

 

All throughout this process of stumbling from one crisis to the next, the Tories have continued applying their socially and economically ruinous austerity dogma, meaning that after a decade of falling real terms wages, British workers are facing yet another decade of pitiful wage growth, with wages projected to only return to the real value they had before the bankers' insolvency crisis in the mid-2020s. What's even worse is that this astonishingly bad wage growth projection doesn't even account for the dreadful consequences of a "no deal" cliff edge Brexit, because the Tories are refusing to share their Brexit impact assessments with their own economic watchdog, let alone opposition political parties or the British public!

 

So the Tories are turning the UK into a low-wage, low-skill, low-productivity, low-growth, low-welfare economy in front of our eyes as they slow march us towards the "no deal" Brexit cliff edge because they're intent on prioritising their own narrow party political interests above the interests of the British people or the British economy.

 

And here's the kicker. There are still millions of people out there who blame Labour!


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#202
Sciencerocks

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Donald Trump's UK visit 'postponed' as tensions with Theresa May rise over Britain First retweets
Source: International Businesss Times

US President Donald Trump's planned visit to Britain in January has reportedly been postponed as the leaders on both sides of the pond find themselves in an escalation of words.

Trump was set to go to the UK for a "working visit" in the New Year to formally open the new US Embassy in London. It was set to be a scaled down version of a state visit with no meeting with the Queen to allow Trump to come to the UK without the potential for mass protests.

 

Read more: http://www.ibtimes.c...etweets-1649700



#203
Alislaws

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I agree. The recent forecasts on growth and productivity are grim. We are not going to be the 5th/6th largest economy for much longer. Maybe it's time we start the empire again :p

I know you're joking, but when we built the empire the UK was a hundred years ahead of most of the rest of the world in technology and industrial development, and had among the highest standards of education etc. and we spent 80% of the time fighting people armed with sticks, rocks and occasionally swords and spears and bows with our muskets, rifles and cannons. 

 

If you think the people of Britain today are capable of leading a global organisation of any kind, let alone a militaristic empire, you're as deluded as the Brexiters.

 

Most of Britain's "greatness" in the last 50 years has come from foreign investment and educating immigrants. Britain basically is good at Lawyers and finance and that's about it. 



#204
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Damian Green resigns from cabinet

Damian Green, one of Theresa May's closest allies, has resigned from the cabinet after an investigation found he had breached the ministerial code.

He quit after he was found to have made "inaccurate and misleading" statements about what he knew about claims pornography had been found on a computer in his Commons office in 2008.

In his resignation letter, Mr Green apologised for his actions.

BBC's Laura Kuennsberg said the PM "had little choice but to ask him to go".

In her written response, Mrs May expressed "deep regret" at his departure.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...litics-42434802

 

 

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#205
wjfox

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FFS.

 

---

 

Richard Branson's Virgin healthcare firm scoops £1bn of NHS contracts

Fri 29 Dec ‘17 19.00 GMT

Richard Branson’s Virgin Care won a record £1bn of NHS contracts last year, as £3.1bn of health services were privatised despite a government pledge to reduce the proportion of care provided by private companies.

Overall, private firms scooped 267 – almost 70% – of the 386 clinical contracts that were put out to tender in England during 2016-17, according to a new report. They included the seven highest value contracts, worth £2.43bn between them, and 13 of the 20 most lucrative tenders.

The £3.1bn in contracts, a big rise on the previous year’s £2.4bn, prompted concern that profit-driven companies are increasingly involved in delivering care, in a development that undermines repeated assurances by the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, that they play only a marginal role.

“These figures clearly show that privatisation has a strong momentum within the NHS,” said Paul Evans, the director of the NHS Support Federation, a campaign group which monitors the privatisation of NHS services and which produced the report. “The doors to private sector involvement in the NHS remain open despite promises to move away from market-based approaches by NHS leaders and politicians. Privateers continue to win huge new NHS contracts.”

Virgin’s £1bn haul means it now has over 400 separate NHS contracts.

 

https://www.theguard...-nhs-contracts?



#206
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#207
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BBC London Calling

13 hrs

This interview will never be shown on TV again

https://www.facebook...66522800105652/



#208
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An entirely predictable crisis, because it's the same whenever the Tories are in power. The NHS, arguably our greatest national treasure, is allowed to collapse, until it resembles something from a third world country. Then Labour are left to pick up the pieces.

 

These are the quarterly figures for 2010 to 2017.

 

 

DStfBpJW0AA-pVR.jpg



#209
caltrek

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Jeremy Corbyn is About to Transform the Labour Party - Again

 

http://www.independe...n-a8149886.html

 

Introduction:

 

(Independent) Not many people will have noticed the news, reported on Monday morning just as Theresa May’s ill-fated reshuffle began, that Jeremy Corbyn has set up a “community campaign unit”, a small but growing department in his office that will focus on organising with communities and groups of employees, helping them to campaign on local and workplace issues.

 

This sounds pretty innocuous, but it might turn out to be one of the most transformative political decisions of the Labour leader’s career, because it could change how we think about political parties. If Corbyn gets his way, when you think of Labour, you won’t imagine rows of MPs on green leather benches, or a smartly suited minister chatting to a reporter. Instead, you’ll think of activists reinvigorating their estate’s tenants association, while others organise their co-workers and stand with them on picket lines.

 

Ed Miliband tried something like this half a decade ago, with little success. But Corbyn’s popularity gives him the authority to try again, and the plan seems at least feasible now because Labour has many more members: more than half a million, compared with the Tories’ rumoured 70,000.

 

Some Labour stalwarts would like the party’s newbies to come to more constituency and branch meetings, but among the incomers are highly experienced campaigners whose talents may lie elsewhere. Like the members of Greece’s Syriza, the Corbynistas are drawn both from the trade unions and from the social movements: environmentalists, students, feminists, anti-racists, disability campaigners and LGBT activists. Many of these people have been organising in communities and in work places for decades, and if the new unit does its job, they’re going to start doing so under the Labour party banner.

 

Some parliamentarians fear this could breed chaos in their party. They imagine, not unreasonably, activists wearing Labour T-shirts going off-message on the local evening news. Community organising is, however, a hymn sheet from which all Labour members can sing. In Doncaster, the left and the right of local parties were brought together in their pioneering campaign against unfair lending by BrightHouse to its rent-to-own appliance customers


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#210
Sciencerocks

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Britain bans entry to prominent U.S. Holocaust denier

Source: Reuters

JANUARY 17, 2018 / 11:14 AM / UPDATED 5 HOURS AGO

Reuters Staff

London (Reuters) - Britain has banned a prominent American Holocaust denier from entering the United Kingdom, according to a copy of correspondence from the interior ministry. Mark Weber, director of the California-based Institute for Historical Review, has questioned the scale of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed.

“You are the subject of an exclusion decision taken personally by the Home Secretary on 28 April 2015 on Unacceptable Behaviour ground,” the letter to Weber dated Dec. 22 from Britain’s Home Office said.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who became premier in 2016 amid political turmoil prompted by a shock referendum vote to leave the European Union, was Home Secretary at the time of the decision.

“She personally directed that you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here is not conductive to the public good,” according to the 2015 decision.

 

 

 

Read more: https://www.reuters....r-idUSKBN1F623Z


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#211
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#212
caltrek

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Donald Trump Ordered Theresa May to End British Protests Against Him: Report

 

https://www.alternet...inst-him-report

 

Introduction: 

 

(Alternet) Last year President Donald Trump ranted about nonexistent “no go” zones in London to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May — and she was forced to tell him that he was mistaken.

 

In a detailed Bloomberg article on Trump’s relationship with May, former May strategy director Chris Wilkins says that “Trump turned to May and told her he believed there were parts of London that were effectively ‘no-go areas’ due to the number of Islamic extremists” during a meeting between the two world leaders in 2017.

 

Wilkins claims that May didn’t let Trump’s bogus talking point stand, however, and spoke up to “correct him” and inform him that London did not have any so-called no-go zones.

 

Elsewhere in the story, Bloomberg reports that Trump berated May for the unfair treatment he received in the U.K. press and refused to set foot in the country until she could guarantee that he would not be greeted with mass protests.

 

“May responded to say such treatment was simply the way the British press operate, and there wasn’t much she could do,” Bloomberg writes. “In the secure bunker underneath the prime minister’s office, her advisers listened in to the call in astonishment at Trump’s demand.”


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#213
Maximus

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Oxford admits more women than men for first time

As elite institution marks watershed, poor white males are among least likely to go to university

 

The University of Oxford offered more undergraduate places to British women than men last year for the first time in its more than 1,000-year history.

 
Of the total figure, female sixth-formers also outnumbered their male peers, according to data published from Ucas, the university and college admissions body.
 
A total of 1,070 18-year-old female UK applicants to Oxford took places on undergraduate course in autumn 2017, compared with 1,025 men of the same age. Women won more offers and places after applying in record numbers.
 
Among applicants of all ages from the UK, women also received more offers to study as undergraduates than men despite fewer applying than their male counterparts. The number of British undergraduates of all ages taking up their places – according to the Ucas data published on Thursday – was split exactly with 1,275 men and women apiece.

 It's good that more women are receiving tertiary education, but this depicts a similar trend to what I was talking about in the USA Watch Thread. 



#214
Maximus

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Proposed defence cuts and could signal decline of British global capability

 

Britain could enter into a period of relative military decline and without a fresh strategic defence review, there is a fear this decline will become irreversible which will impact on our standing in the international arena.

 
The current government is considering pursuing massive cuts to all three arms of our armed forces including the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Marines. The statistics speak for themselves. Our military will be cut to its lowest strength for centuries – even lower than during the Napoleonic conflict with future army strength predicted to be lower than the current 82,000 regular troops in the British Army.


#215
caltrek

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The Blood Feud Among British Conservatives

 

http://www.spiegel.d...-a-1189484.html

 

Introduction:

 

(Spiegel) On a relatively temperate evening in late November, around 600 conservatives gather in London for what is essentially a public therapy session. They've been promised they will learn about the future of their party here at the Emmanuel Centre, a massive circular building in the heart of Westminster. The event has been organized by The Spectator, a weekly political magazine that generally maintains close ties with the Tories, but has lately despaired of them.

 

Organizers have placed a caricature at the front of the podium: It depicts the government as a mob of furious saber-rattlers preparing to finish off Prime Minister Theresa May between them. Rather coincidentally, three words from the New Testament, Matthew 1:23, can be seen on the cornice above in bronze: "God with Us."

 

..."Things are bloody awful at the moment," says historian Anthony Seldon, adding that even the Suez crisis in 1956 seems minor in comparison to Brexit. If you think about it, Seldon says, things have never been this bad in the Tories' 230-year-history -- and things could get worse yet. If the party doesn't "loosen the buttocks," Seldon says, a socialist might soon move into 10 Downing Street.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#216
Yuli Ban

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That's what happens when you let a character from Sesame Street dictate your policies and then you vigorously chase after the desires and votes of a sliver of the entire electorate, dragging along your constituents until they're forced by the Cost-Sunk Fallacy to follow suit. Brexit shouldn't have won. I honestly believe that if the vote happened a year earlier or later, it would have lost; it was the most opportune time for it to happen. And notice how Brexit was a victory for democracy and the will of the people but having a second referendum to make sure is "against democracy and the will of the people". Surely if it's the will of the people, a second referendum would be a victory lap for Brexit, right? Why not see, just to make sure?

 

Labour's problem right now is that there's a massive disconnect between the rabble and the master. Blairites are like Clinton Democrats here in America— centrist to a fault, thinking they need to attract moderates and subsequently slipping further and further to the Right in an attempt to compromise, while almost gimpishly accepting daily beatings by Tories who call them "socialists", "communists", "Marxists", and the like when they are about as corporate capitalist as you can get. I remember there was this quote by a TV show that went something like "the conservatives laugh at and call liberals 'communists' and unpatriotic losers and the liberals whimper and wet themselves pleading "d-d-d-d-don't h-h-h-h-hurt m-m-me!" while rolling over and doing whatever conservatives want with absolutely no pay off." 

Corbyn is one of those old-school socialists who is never going to run from the label, so they might as well not even bother trying to stick it to him. And the problem with that is he is an old-school socialist. So by nature, he's Euroskeptic since the EU is the most corporate-capitalist invention since Wall Street. The opposition should realistically oppose the ruling party except when they genuinely do come to a compromise in ideals, and the weirdest part here is that Corbyn— the '60s New- Left Marxist-Leninist— is in agreement with the likes of Nigel Farage— the ultranationalist who probably would have sucked up to Oswald Mosley— over the issue of whether or not to remain in the EU.

 

It's a total clusterfuck all because the Tories sold out to UKIP.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#217
wjfox

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...the EU is the most corporate-capitalist invention since Wall Street.

 

Is it really, though? It offers major protection for workers, health, human rights, the environment, etc.



#218
Yuli Ban

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I never said corporate-capitalism is sealed evil in a can, and it's certainly better than nationalistic anarcho-capitalism that would sooner enslave the poor than offer protections for them. But to an admitted socialist like Corbyn, even "humane capitalism" is still capitalism. Just ask Joe or AsWeRise.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#219
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#220
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