Follow by Email

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Demand for Food Bank assistance increases.

http://www.independent.co.uk/helpahungrychild/food-banks-christmas-hackney-london-uk-run-dry-trussell-trust-demand-high-help-a-hungry-child-a8092711.html


Food banks could run dry this Christmas as demand soars.

Image result for Food banks could run dry this Christmas as demand soars.

This is the United Kingdom in the first quarter of the 21st Century.This is the United Kingdom where zero hour contracts, cuts in benefits and delays in payments, low pay and below living wage or salaries, increased mortgage payments and rents, ever increasing costs of fuel for heating, cooking and lighting are driving people into poverty. It is not only benefit claimants who are being forced to turn to the Foodbank and other charities in order to feed themselves and their families. Increasing numbers of working people now resort to regular referrals and visits to the local Foodbank in order to provide some sort of meal for their families.We have all seen the reports and perhaps some of us have first hand knowledge, of situations where nurses and other NHS staff have become regular users of the Foodbank charities. The obscenity of this scandal is compounded by the fact that many of these nurses are in fact working two or sometimes even three shifts in order to boost their meagre insufficient earnings.

Image result for Food banks could run dry this Christmas as demand soars.

This is the United Kingdom, where newspaper comments sections are full of ignorant, obscene and selfish contributions to the effect that people who resort to Foodbanks have only themselves to blame as they are more concerned with smoking, drinking, drug taking, and their 57inch plasma televisions

Image result for Food banks could run dry this Christmas as demand soars.

Sometimes, more and more frequently unfortunately, we should feel ashamed to be British. Perhaps not as repugnant, but certainly as divisive and loathsome as many comments in the media, many predominately conservative Members of Parliament have given tacit support to this vile and reprehensible judgement of those where circumstances have inflicted hardship and poverty on our fellow citizens. Rupert Charles Ponsonby, Dominic Rabb, David Gauke, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadhim Zahawi,  Iain Duncan-Smith and others have at some time over the years have made comments to the effect that those who use Foodbanks should plan their finances better, spend less time in pubs and restaurants, give up their expensive cars and televisions or some other combination of snide remarks which only demonstrate how divorced from reality they actually are but still seek to curry favour from the bigoted and ignorant sections of the British public.

Related image

The crisis for over one million people resorting to Food Banks and other charities is here now. It is widely predicted that the figure of one million will grow significantly over the course of this winter.
The scandal of poverty within our society is a stigma which we all bear. For as long as we allow these attitudes to continue and as long as we allow our elected representatives to tacitly endorse the circumstances which encourage and perpetuate this degradation, so will the growth of demand for Foodbank and other such charities continue to expand.

We can and must reverse this outrageous blight on our society,


















Monday, 11 December 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 10th December 2017

https://paper.li/f-1346065353#/


Good morning everyone.




Image result for donald trump jerusalem

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, is a very dangerous man. Made all the more dangerous by his irrational policy decisions and his vitriolic outbursts against any who criticise or oppose him. His domestic policies in respect of scrapping Obamacare, withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and other measures, coupled with his foreign policy decisions in connection with Syria, North Korea, Iran demonstrate a man who has no grasp of the subject and no plan or intention to resolve the issues. His latest miscalculation in recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, undermines and contradicts 70 years of United Nations efforts and defies International law and opinion. Perhaps even worse, his action totally destroy any prospect of a "Two State Solution", and condemn the region and its people to bloody conflict for years to come.
Read the full comment at: https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/recognising-jerusalem-as-capital-of.html (copy and paste link)


Image result for theresa may brexit in brussels


Peeling away the euphoria of Friday morning's news from Brussels and the sketchy reports of late night or early morning meetings involving Theresa May, Arlene Foster, Jean Claude Junker,  Leo Varadkar, Donald Tusk et al, there seems to me at least,  to be a number of issues which remain outstanding and have perhaps been "kicked into the long grass" for resolution at a later date, if ever. The most contentious of these is the question of the border between Ulster and the Irish republic. Arlene Foster has said within the last few minutes that "there are still issues which need to be clarified".
It seems to me that the statements, "no hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland" and "no border down the Irish Sea", certainly implies that Northern Ireland will remain as part of the single market and  customs Union which is certainly contradictory to the position held by Theresa May and the hard line Brexit wing of her cabinet and party. I do not believe  that the majority of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union on the 23rd June 2016, actually agreed with a "Hard Brexit" departure, since so many issues not least of all the Irish border question, remained unresolved. From today's "Agreement" it is not possible to draw any other conclusion than Northern Ireland will remain part of the single market and customs union after March 2018. If this is in fact the intention of today's agreement, how does this reconcile with the "Hard Brexit" scenario which has become the objective of many conservative MP's and cabinet members over recent months. "Brexit means Brexit" has been the standard response to any question on customs union, workers rights, EU nationals, single market and all the other issues associated with leaving the EU. The problem facing Theresa May is the fact that if special arrangements are granted to Northern Ireland to resolve the Irish border problem, then the rest of the United Kingdom such Scotland and even London would have compelling arguments for demanding that they too should have their own arrangements for remaining at least in part as members of the single market and customs union. The hardline Brexiteers in government and cabinet, and also certain parts of the United Kingdom media, would never accept this as a part of a solution.
What is abundantly clear, is that any solution must be the same for all parts on the United Kingdom. To have one area treated differently from another area is completely unacceptable and therein lies the problem. On the one hand there are those who demand a complete withdrawal from the EU seeking to rely on creating some form of trading agreement at a later date, and on the other, those demanding that issues regarding customs union, single market, workers rights, EU nationals and all other issues should be resolved before we depart the EU.
Theresa May has a huge problem. It will be interesting to see her soulutions.

You may read further comments on the "Brexit" chaos at:


Related image


https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/euphoria-in-brussels-but-devil-is-in.html

Related image

https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/after-only-48-hours-it-is-clear-that.html

Image result for a new book written by Alasdair Crosby – Cheers! Drinks and Drinking in Jersey Through the Ages.

Meanwhile, back in Jersey, In 1824 Isaac Coutanche of St Martin scoffed 18 raw eggs and some raw pork, before washing it down with ten glasses of gin and a couple of brandies.Not surprisingly, he was taken very ill and, within two days, the poor chap was dead.
That short tale is one of several fascinating insights into Jersey’s relationship with alcohol over the years, all of which are revealed in a new book written by Alasdair Crosby – Cheers! Drinks and Drinking in Jersey Through the Ages.
A little light reading for after Christmas diner, if there is nothing on television. 

Image result for Sunday Express we have the EU over a barrel

Finally, an absurd outburst from the Sunday Express (who else) but not this time, primarily concerned with the weather."After Theresa May's triumph in Brussels, we've got the EU over a barrel", screams the headline. Perhaps they should stay with weather forecasting and leave the grown ups to report the news.


Again, with appologies for the continued brevity,

Have a nice week

John

Sunday, 10 December 2017

After only 48 hours it is clear that all is not well.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/08/uk-cabinet-soon-to-hold-debate-about-ultimate-brexit-aims-sources-say


Theresa May secures Tory goodwill but preparations for next battle begin


Image result for theresa may getting on plane to brussels

Now that the dust begins to settle after the frenetic and premature jubilation and plaudits flowing around parts of the media and amongst certain amongst Conservative MP's, hailing Theresa May's performance and early morning dash to Brussels as a "victory", there emerge strong rumblings from "sources", that all is not well in cabinet and government. 


Related image

Notwithstanding all the praise heaped upon the Prime Minister from some very unlikely quarters, Iain Duncan-Smith, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and a particularly bizarre contribution from Michael Gove who claimed that, "the final whistle had blown and that Theresa May had won", it seems that closer examination of the "deal" reveals that, certainly from the hardline "Brexiteer" standpoint, the United Kingdom in the form of Prime Minister May, has caved in on practically every "red line" that ever existed in the UK "negotiating position" and that the way is now clearly set for the softest Brexit imaginable in March 2019. This will of course be totally unacceptable to the Members of Parliament and those elements in the media who have long been pressing and campaigning for a Hard Brexit at any cost and only now it seems, some 48 hours after the "victory" in Brussels are they coming to the realisation that far from achieving their objectives, they are still some way from ensuring that the United Kingdom leaves the EU completely, including the single market and the customs union.

There is already a simmering row in cabinet between the "Remain" and "Leave" elements, over the commitment to "full alignment" between the UK and the EU, which is meaningless in EU law. The provision was included simply to secure Republic of Ireland approval for the final document.
Hardline Brexiteers in cabinet and on government benches, are pressing for a "Hard Brexit" when Britain begins trade negotiations with Brussels as "payment" for their supporting Prime Minister May's deal last Friday. Brexiteers have now gained a majority in the cabinet after Gavin Williamson came out in favour of a "clean break" from European regulations.



Related image

The stage is set for an epic battle over the course of the next few weeks and months as the "hardliners" in cabinet and commons seek to ensure that the United Kingdom withdraws from all EU regulations and commitments, which is diametrically opposed to the agreement of last Friday which amongst other things, ensured that there would be no border between the Republic of Ireland and Ulster nor down the Irish Sea. The whole of the United Kingdom must be subject to the same conditions as every other part. If there is to be no border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland then all of the United Kingdom must remain part of the single market and customs union at the very least.
The media will be lining up behind their respective camps and throwing their weight into the "Hard Brexit" or "Soft Brexit" arguments. For the most part, we might expect that the debate will be reasoned with perhaps a leaning towards their particular viewpoint. However, neither camp should pay too much attention to this mornings "Sunday Express" nonsense which is just another indication of the papers completely absurd grasp of a story.
"After Theresa May's triumph in Brussels, we've got the EU over a barrel", screams the headline. Perhaps they should stay with weather forecasting and leave the grown ups to report the news.




Friday, 8 December 2017

Euphoria in Brussels but the devil is in the detail

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/08/sufficient-progress-in-brexit-talks-announced-after-mays-dash-to-brussels


'Sufficient progress' in Brexit talks announced after May's dash to Brussels

Related image

Peeling away the euphoria of this morning's news from Brussels and the sketchy reports of late night or early morning meetings involving Theresa May, Arlene Foster, Jean Claude Junker,  Leo Varadkar, Donald Tusk et al, there seems to me at least,  to be a number of issues which remain outstanding and have perhaps been "kicked into the long grass" for resolution at a later date, if ever. The most contentious of these is the question of the border between Ulster and the Irish republic. Arlene Foster has said within the last few minutes that "there are still issues which need to be clarified".

Image result for irish border brexit deal

It seems to me that the statements, "no hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland" and "no border down the Irish Sea", certainly implies that Northern Ireland will remain as part of the single market and  customs Union which is certainly contradictory to the position held by Theresa May and the hard line Brexit wing of her cabinet and party. I do not believe  that the majority of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union on the 23rd June 2016, actually agreed with a "Hard Brexit" departure, since so many issues not least of all the Irish border question, remained unresolved. From today's "Agreement" it is not possible to draw any other conclusion than Northern Ireland will remain part of the single market and customs union after March 2018. If this is in fact the intention of today's agreement, how does this reconcile with the "Hard Brexit" scenario which has become the objective of many conservative MP's and cabinet members over recent months. "Brexit means Brexit" has been the standard response to any question on customs union, workers rights, EU nationals, single market and all the other issues associated with leaving the EU. The problem facing Theresa May is the fact that if special arrangements are granted to Northern Ireland to resolve the Irish border problem, then the rest of the United Kingdom such Scotland and even London would have compelling arguments for demanding that they too should have their own arrangements for remaining at least in part as members of the single market and customs union. The hardline Brexiteers in government and cabinet, and also certain parts of the United Kingdom media, would never accept this as a part of a solution.
What is abundantly clear, is that any solution must be the same for all parts on the United Kingdom. To have one area treated differently from another area is completely unacceptable and therein lies the problem. On the one hand there are those who demand a complete withdrawal from the EU seeking to rely on creating some form of trading agreement at a later date, and on the other, those demanding that issues regarding customs union, single market, workers rights,  EU nationals and all other issues should be resolved before we depart the EU.
Theresa May has a huge problem. It will be interesting to see her soulutions.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, destroys the "Two State" solution.


Trump confirms US will recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

Image result for Trump signs order to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel

A stupid, provocative and bigoted announcement from an opinionated megalomaniac and dangerous man who demonstrates a complete ignorance of the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. His decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel attempts to appease an estimated 8.7 million people in one small country, but at the same time alienates billions of others around the world. His press conference yesterday at 1pm American Time, has destroyed any prospect of a "Two State" solution or any other kind of settlement and has ensured that fighting and resistance to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem will continue and intensify as resentment to on going occupation and the expansion of illegal settlements accelerates in the coming months and years.
Related image

In one brief statement and signing of the Presidential Order, Trump has thrown his weight behind one side of the dispute and forever destroyed any claim for the United States to be an "honest broker", for Middle East Peace. Within minutes of Trump announcing this madcap intention, countries of the world were uniting in condemnation of the harebrained perilous promise. China, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Syria, Vatican and others including the Palestinian authorities. Trump has confirmed his intention to drive this world into armed conflict with his constant flow of provocative policies and announcements. His intentions for North Korea, Syria, Iran and numerous other theatres testify that Trump is a threatening bully who's ignorance and self importance is a danger to the whole world.


David Davis and the non existent Impact Statements.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/dec/06/david-davis-questioned-by-brexit-committee-about-impact-assessments-politics-live

MP's renew demands for contempt of Parliament vote against David Davis after Brexit hearing.






Image result for https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/dec/06/david-davis-questioned-by-brexit-committee-about-impact-assessments-politics-live



Calling David Davis a liar in the house of Commons would be considered as "Un parliamentary language".
However, we are not in the Commons, and Davis recently said that the Assessment reports existed "in excruciating detail".
This morning he told the Brexit Committee that the Impact Assessment Reports do not exist. Either Davis was lying then or he is lying now.
Whichever way you look at it, David Davis is a liar.



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Democratic Unionist tail, wagging the Conservative government dog.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/05/pressure-grows-on-theresa-may-as-dup-reveals-brexit-shock


Pressure grows on Theresa May as DUP reveals Brexit 'shock'

Image result for Arlene Foster and DUP MP's no deal on brexit

It always was a bad idea. Bad for the country that is and bad for democracy in the United Kingdom.The only one to benefit from the sordid backroom bribe of £1.5 billion paid to the DUP in June of this year was Theresa May herself, who has managed to cling to the office of Prime Minister with the support of the 10 MP's from Ulster. That support collapsed on Monday (4th December) as Arlene Foster appeared in front of the cameras to announce that the DUP, "will not accept any kind of  regulatory divergence which separates us economically or politically from the rest of the UK" adding that, "The Republic of Ireland government is trying to unilaterally change the Belfast agreement without our input and without our consent. Of course, we will not stand for that." With those few words, the DUP in the shape of Arlene Foster its leader, effectively destroyed Theresa May's attempts to resolve the Irish border issue and move the Brexit negotiations onto the next phase and the crucial issues of the United Kingdom's future trading relations with the European Union following our departure.   

Image result for theresa May. dup refusal to back deal

Regardless of whether we as individuals voted leave or remain, or whether we agree with the government's position in the Brexit negotiations, there is a fundamental issue involved in this whole fiasco. The DUP have declared that it is they, rather than the government of the United Kingdom, who will determine the pace and the content of Brexit negotiations from here on and to an ultimate conclusion before the  "Brexit Agreement" is put to Parliament for debate and final ratification.
Theresa May faces a difficult if not impossible task over the coming days. Firstly, she has to get the conspiratorial DUP back "on side" in support of her position as Prime Minister, and we can only speculate as to what inducements may be necessary to achieve this objective. Last June, the exercise cost the British taxpayer £1.5 billion. Secondly, May has to placate those elements within her own cabinet and party who have, since last Monday regrouped led by Gove and Johnson and are now again openly challenging her commitment to "hard Brexit" and her competence to continue in the position of leader of the party. Thirdly she has to convince Jean Claude Junker, Michel Barnier and the European Council scheduled for December 14th, that she still has the authority and government support to continue negotiations. European leaders and MP's in the Commons, have already expressed grave doubts that Theresa May will be able to deliver any form of Brexit agreement.Three tasks which are of themselves complex and probably irresolvable without a significant shift in the ingrained mental attitude of Theresa May herself which has been conspicuously absent during her tenure as Prime Minister and even before that. Moreover,a solution to any problem would have an impact on the other two which would complicate and probably negate any resolution.
There can be no compassion for Theresa May and the position that she now finds herself in. The problems she is facing are entirely of her own making and result from her intransigence over the course of her Premiership, particularly over the past 12 months and her determination to cling to office no matter what the cost.
She deserves no sympathy, nor will she receive any.