World watch

Monday GMT


There’s a lot of things happening of interest around the world, from the Brexit split between the United Kingdom and the European Union to Donald Trump’s young presidency in the United States, from the civil war in Syria and the associated surrounding Middle East mess, to growing tensions around North Korea and China


  1. Missy

     /  May 23, 2017

    In the Conservatives Manifesto was a policy on social care which increased the limit before people started paying to 100,000 pounds, but including the individual’s house in the means testing (it wasn’t before). Any cost recovery would come after death, however, the opposition labelled it (offensively in my opinion) a dementia tax, and said that she was costing children their inheritance. This hit the Conservatives in the polls, and those taken over the weekend showed a decrease in support. Today was a mini u-turn by Theresa May as she announced the Conservatives would consult on a cap on care costs.

    Meanwhile Labour are going after the student vote – perhaps smelling blood in the water of Lib Dems who are traditionally the party of students (until the disastrous coalition that is). Jeremy Corbyn today announced that if Labour were to win the election they would fast track the abolition of tuition fees for university and bringing the policy forward to this September. This promise came today as Labour urged young people to register to vote today. All voters need to be registered by 2359 tonight.

  2. Missy

     /  May 23, 2017

    The Green Party launched their manifesto today.

    The Highlights are.

    * Use the government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland to create a network of local people’s banks for every city and region
    * Crackdown on tax dodging
    * Wealth tax on the top 1% of earners
    * More staff at HMRC
    * Reinstate the higher level of corporation tax for large businesses
    * A Robin Hood tax on high value transactions in the finance sector
    * Inheritance taxed according to the wealth of the recipient
    * Support and promote small businesses, co-operatives and mutuals
    * Roll out high speed broadband
    * Increase local authority funding to provide good quality public services and invest in communities, creating thousands of jobs
    * A single budget covering health and social services to make life easier for people who need to access several types of service.

    Workers Rights:
    * Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income
    * Phase in a four-day working week (max 35 hours) – and abolish zero hours contracts
    * Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid
    * Increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020
    * A minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards to be women
    * Abolition of the cap on employees’ national insurance so the wealthiest pay more
    * Scrap age-related wage bands and raise national minimum wage to living wage levels for all
    * Trade rules that respect human rights, labour standards, environmental standards and climate commitments with mechanisms for individuals, groups and communities to bring grievances.

    Environment and Energy:
    * An Environmental Protection Act to safeguard environment, protect and enhance biodiversity, promote sustainable food and farming, and ensure animal protection
    * Insulation to make every home warm
    * Investment in flood defences and natural flood management
    * Cooperate with firms and countries to limit global temperature increases to well below two degrees and aiming for 1.5 degrees
    * Replace fracking, coal power stations, subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear with renewable energy
    * Invest in community owned energy
    * One-off fine on car manufacturers who cheated emissions testing regime
    * Create a new Clean Air Act
    * Strong protection for the Green Belt, National Parks, SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
    * Tough action to reduce plastic and other waste
    * Introduction of deposit return schemes, with a zero waste target
    * Strengthen the global deal on climate change, including by delivering climate justice and promoting ecologically sustainable development so poorer countries can cope with the impacts of climate change.
    * Renationalise energy, water, railways, buses, the Royal Mail and care work

    * Reject the Prevent strategy and pursue community-led collaborative approaches to tackling all forms of extremism
    * Introduce non-biased political education and promote active citizenship.

    * Reverse privatisation of the NHS to ensure all health and dental services are publicly provided and funded, and free at the point of access
    * Bring mental health care in line with physical health care
    * Ensure people experiencing mental health crises are supported close to their home and support networks
    * Introduce mental health awareness training within the public sector and encourage a more open dialogue on the issue in wider society
    * Provide an immediate cash injection to ensure everyone can access a GP
    * Major investment in social care for the elderly and all those who need it
    * More funding for sexual health awareness campaigns, greater access to free condoms and sexual health clinics
    * Remove VAT from sanitary products and ensure they are provided free of charge to those in extreme financial need. comment: My understanding is that as the Greens would like to remain in the Single Market (which means the UK will remain subject to EU law) this policy will be incompatible with it. I understand that due to EU regulations the lowest possible VAT that the UK can put on Sanitary products is 5%.

    Social Security and Pensions:
    * Redress pension injustice to enable older people to continue to be active members of society
    * Redress benefits injustice with a social security system that gives people confidence they will get support when they need it, including disabled people.

    * Reinstate housing benefit for under-21s
    * Stop local authorities declaring young people “intentionally homeless”
    * Invest in community house-building projects to provide affordable, secure housing options for young people
    * A living rent for all through rent controls and more secure tenancies for private renters
    * An end to letting fees and the introduction of mandatory licensing for all landlords
    * Support the development of renters’ unions
    * Build affordable, zero carbon homes, including 100,000 social rented homes each year by 2022
    * End council house sales and scrap Right to Buy at discounted prices
    * Abolish the bedroom tax
    * Bring empty homes back into use
    * Trial a Land Value Tax to encourage the use of vacant land and reduce speculation
    * Treat the housing needs of single people and childless couples in the same way as families
    * Help first-time buyers by aiming for house price stability – axing buy-to-let tax breaks
    * Back community-led approaches to building affordable homes
    * Significantly improve housing choice for deaf, disabled and older people – and increase the numbers of homes built to lifetime home and mobility standards over the next five years.

    * Return the railways to public ownership
    * Re-regulate buses, investing in increased bus services especially in rural and other poorly served areas
    * All public transport should be fully accessible and step-free with a phase-in of free local public transport for young people, students, people with disabilities, and older people
    * Invest in regional rail links and electrification of existing rail lines, especially in the South West and North of England, rather than spending money on HS2 and the national major roads programme
    * Cancel all airport expansion and end subsidies on airline fuel
    * Invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling
    * Safe places for learning to cycle, so people of all ages and those with disabilities can choose to make local trips on foot, by bike or mobility scooter
    * Help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads.

    Families and Communities:
    * Tackle racism and discrimination on the basis of faith or disability, real equality for LGBTIQA+ people, equal rights for mixed gender couples to have a Civil Partnership
    * Give power to local communities by allowing for 40% of the local electorate to secure a referendum on local government decisions or to recall their MP
    * End the sale of personal data, such as health or tax records, for commercial or other ends.

    * Lower the voting age to 16
    * Introduce proportional representation (PR) for parliamentary and local elections
    * Increase diversity in representative politics, with job-shares, a 50/50 Parliament
    * Replace the House of Lords with an elected second chamber
    * Defend the Human Rights Act and UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights
    * Reinstate funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission
    * Protect the BBC and tighten the rules on media ownership so no individual or company owns more than 20% of a media market
    * Protect against anyone having too much influence or undermining democracy
    * Give Parliament a vote on any new trade deals.
    * Revive the role of democratic trade unions.

    Foreign Affairs and Defence:
    * Cancel Trident replacement, saving at least £110bn over the next 30 years
    * Increase the overseas aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 1.0% of GDP
    * An ethical foreign policy that builds capacity for conflict resolution, and ends support for aggressive wars of intervention
    * No more arms sales to oppressive regimes.

    * A humane immigration and asylum system that recognises and takes responsibility for Britain’s ongoing role in causing the flow of migrants worldwide
    * Implement a UK-wide strategy to tackle gender based violence, including domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, FGM and trafficking.

    * A referendum on the final Brexit deal with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU
    * Protect freedom of movement, press for remaining within the single market
    * Guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens in the EU
    * Guarantee the rights of young people to study, work, live and travel in the EU, including through schemes like Erasmus.

  3. Missy

     /  May 23, 2017

    Trouble for Nicola Sturgeon last night, carrying through to today’s media.

    Last night was the Scottish Leaders debate, and during the debate a Nurse stood up and challenged Nicola Sturgeon on her record with the NHS, and breaking her promise on pay increases made in 2008. Health is devolved to Holyrood, so the Scottish Government are responsible for it, not that that fact stopped Sturgeon from trying to blame the Conservatives and Westminster.

    After the debate had finished an SNP MP, in an interview with the BBC in the ‘spin room’, said the Nurse was the wife of a Tory Councillor (the nurse is unmarried). This spread very quickly, and true to form SNP supporters on twitter, known as cybernats, started bullying and smearing the woman, subjecting her to vile abuse. It took 20 mins for the SNP to admit they were wrong, however, by then the damage was done and the cybernats didn’t let up. It is unclear, but highly likely, that the SNP knew she wasn’t the wife of a councillor. A Conservative MSP, who overheard the SNP MP and a Scottish Government Minister discussing the Nurse, says that he believes they had made it up to discredit the Nurse. When the SNP denied the conversation he recounted the conversation and detail to a further media outlet.

    This may not make too much of a difference to the SNP in Scotland, but it isn’t a good look for the SNP, and the fact that Nicola Sturgeon seems to want to forget it happened and move on makes it look like she condones bullying. This isn’t the first time that the SNP have had issues with their supporters, members, and MP’s bullying those that criticise them online.

    • Different hemisphere same rules apply – nasty leftie pollies being nast,y then denying it and trying to avoid responsibility.

      Nice reporting as always Missy….

  4. Joe Bloggs

     /  May 23, 2017

    Michael Flynn invokes the fifth amendment…

    “So there are five of them taking the Fifth Amendment, like you see on the mob, right? The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” – Donald Trump, 2016

  5. High Flying Duck

     /  May 23, 2017

    UK radio correspondent reports on 1ZB are that Theresa May is struggling in the campaign – coming across as robotic and arrogant – and that the Conservative campaign itself is one of the worst in over 40 years, with the so called dementia tax and a bizarre push to reinstate fox hunting rubbing many voters up the wrong way.
    Corbyn, for all his faults is coming across as more genuine.

    In Wales a 10 point conservative lead has turned to a 10 point deficit in the space of 2 weeks.

    Any truth to that assessment Missy?