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Scottish Tories August 29, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…Ruth Davidson – Scottish Tory leader – has just confirmed she’s resigning which presumably is bad bad news for the Tories there given she was as close to a human face as they could get. How does that play for them even given the Tories marginal position there? And speaking of resignations Lord Young has gone over the proroguing of parliament in Britain. There is a lot of anger over this – how does that play out too?

What a difference a month makes… August 29, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Remember one T. May, feebly firing off letters to the EU, arranging meetings in European capital cities, making bombastic and risible speeches. She was – by all accounts, and more specifically in the view of the vast majority of Tory members – pretty rubbish as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And in no small part because of the activities listed above.

Fast forward mere weeks and there’s a new sheriff in town, firing off letters to the EU, arranging meetings in European capital cities, making bombastic and risible speeches.

Apparently this guy’s just fine according to Tory members – despite or because of those activities listed above.

Granted the events of the last 24 hours take matters in a different direction – perhaps intentionally in the sense of ‘do something, anything!’.

Government formation August 29, 2019

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A piece in the Phoenix this week had me thinking. In it it argued that both FF and FG continue to ‘unofficially’ to ‘court the GP, LP and SDs with sweet talk of a broad coalition after an election’.

But it cautions that there is an elephant in the room which the larger parties are overlooking. This, the magazine argues is the bloc of Independents that they also need to reach sufficient numbers to have a majority.

The thinking is that FF and FG would come in around 55, add in 10 GP TDs, 5 LP and three SDs and one reaches 73 seats. That’s still well short of the 81 needed. The only ones who can make up the difference are the Independents and best positioned at the moment are the Independent Alliance. This is because a bloc is easier for the larger parties to negotiate with as against individual Independent TDs. The Phoenix thinks the four Independent Alliance TDs will retain their seats and perhaps gain a few more (which is interesting in itself, since I’ve heard word that some think Ross may be vulnerable). The magazine also thinks some Independents already in situ might be wooed into the Alliance. There is, of course, the rural Independents, though this seems really to be more a flag of convenience for speaking time. Still, it is a plausible argument.

The only thing that might make one a bit hesitant about its thesis is this. A government comprising FF/FG plus three distinct political parties and a group of Independents as well a couple more individual sole trader Independents is one which is going to see a lot of folk wanting a seat at the Cabinet table. Perhaps that might mean the continuation of the current approach of a minority government kept in power by the grace of whichever of the larger parties is the ‘opposition’ party at the time. Of course a big enough bloc of Independents might even see the need for one or other of the smaller parties lessened. It’d be entertaining to see who loses out in that scenario.

Proroguing Westminster August 28, 2019

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Is it me or is there something deeply unseemly about an unelected head of state and a Privy Council signing off on the suspension of the British parliament for five weeks?

Class analysis… August 28, 2019

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Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, has sparked a new wave of criticism about the promise of US immigration enshrined in the inscription on the Statue of Liberty by saying it was for “people coming from Europe”.


The dispute started when Cucinelli proposed an amendment to Emma Lazarus’s sonnet inscribed on the statue to read: “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”



he fresh remarks came after Cuccinelli originally triggered outrage by saying that the famous poem on the base of the statue – which starts “Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – should be amended to reflect that immigrants coming to America should not use public benefits.
Following those remarks and speaking to CNN, Cuccinelli said the poem was “… of course referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class.”

Let’s consider the weirdness and complacency of that supposed class analysis – as if class didn’t exist in the US. But then consider too the effectively ethnonationalist attitude to ‘Europeans’ and immigration.

Cuccinelli could consider that rather like the Irish ‘back’ then Italians weren’t considered ‘white’. Then again, Cuccinelli, whose mother is of…er… Irish descent… is a Republican politician, climate change denier, etc, etc and political appointee, so perhaps that history is of little interest to him.
Yet, as noted on the recent Slate.com Politics podcast this is about class, it is about a view of the world where those who have means are welcome, those who don’t aren’t. And also noted – there’s no sanction for the employers of those who use ‘illegal’ migrants.

How Brexit will impact… another example… August 28, 2019

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This from RTÉ is quite useful, a short primer on how Brexit will impact on online purchases from the UK.

“In the event of a no-deal Brexit, immediate changes will come in the form of increased VAT, import tariffs and changes to consumer rights protection for products bought from the UK. I hope this doesn’t happen,” Minister McEntee said.

“But it’s so important that people are aware that buying online will change when the UK leaves the EU and these changes will be immediate if they leave without a deal.”

Check this out from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission:

When you buy from a business outside the EU, you pay Value Added Tax (VAT) if the value of the items plus shipping is €22 or more. VAT must be paid on imported items at the same rate that applies in Ireland for similar goods.

You also legally have to pay import charges such as customs or excise duties on items you buy from outside the EU which are valued at €150 or more. Before ordering from outside the EU, find out what VAT and import charges you may have to pay.

I buy the occasional item from SecondSpin in the US – CDs and DVDs. But it’s essential to keep the cost of the overall purchases in the very low 20s (euro) and IIRC postage as well – otherwise VAT comes into play. This is true IIRC as well in regard to books and other items from the US.

For a sense of how this works this isn’t the worst from NewsTalk. Big changes ahead.

What you want to say – 28 August 2019 August 28, 2019

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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

Don’t they mean the Republic? August 27, 2019

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Ireland’s population is estimated to be almost 5 million, with non-Irish nationals accounting for almost 13% of the total population, figures published by the Central Statistics Office have shown.The report by the CSO has shown population growth of 64,500 in the year to April 2019.

Sing when you’re winning… August 27, 2019

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Here’s an interesting phenomenon. The poll rating for the Lega in Italy has fallen in the last week or two as the possibility of a PD/M5S administration has increased.

Even more interestingly neither PD nor PD have picked up much but ‘Others’ seem to have taken a bit of a boost.

Salvini’s ploy to collapse the government appears to have – at the least – caused some damage to his own party. Though keeping it in perspective the Lega remains the party with the most support.

The real question is whether even at this late stage Salvini can patch things up with his erstwhile partners in M5S. Given that the poll ratings for the latter crew fell from the high 20s a year and a half ago to even the mid-teens that wasn’t a exactly a successful experiment.

Bomb the weather August 27, 2019

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The Trump suggestion – later denied – about using nuclear weapons against hurricanes has, in fairness, a long pedigree. First suggested seriously in the early 1960s there was, as this piece in National Geographic notes, even a contribution at the Project Plouwshare conferences in the late 1950s on peaceful uses of nuclear explosives which suggested precisely that by a meteorologist, Jack W. Reed. Reed appears to have been unmoved by fall-out, something perhaps more prominent in a post-Chernobyl age. But then as National Geographic notes, it wouldn’t have worked in any event.

In order to shrink a Category 5 hurricane into a Category 2 hurricane, you would have to add about a half ton of air for each square yard inside the eye, or a total of a bit more than half a billion (500,000,000) tons for an eye 25 miles in diameter. “It’s difficult to envision a practical way of moving that much air around,” NOAA says.

And it’s not legal under international law either. In relation to Trump there is a question as to where he got the idea from? Off his own bat – well, he means well, or something that snagged in his consciousness while engaging with the wilder shores of the internet?

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