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Thursday, 19 April

17:11

Senior government ministers likened Theresa May's anti-immigrant legislation to Nazism, but voted in favour of it anyway! "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


In 2014 Theresa May introduced the draconian new anti-immigrant powers that the Home Office have subsequently used to dehumanise and persecute the Windrush generation.

These grotesque Faragist rules have been used to deny employment, deny housing, deny health care, and deny social security/pensions to British Windrush citizens, and to make thousands live in constant fear of imprisonment and deportation by their own country.

The parliamentary record makes it clear that a few brave MPs dared to stand up against the tide of extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric to criticise Theresa May's plans, and vote against them. 


Diane Abbott was amongst them, and she had the intelligence and foresight to predict that May's rules could be used to attack British citizens without documentation. The breaking of the Windrush scandal has proven her concerns to have been incredibly prescient and well-founded.

What we didn't know at the time was the secret behind the scenes debates within the coalition government, but in the wake of the Windrush Scandal the senior Civil Servant Bob Kerslake has claimed that some ministers in the coalition government were so concerned that they described Theresa May's new law as being "reminiscent of Nazi Germany".


...

15:27

IT Poll suggests pre-Christmas Brexit euphoria around Taoiseach is starting to wear off "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Im generally not minded to bother readers with polls unless they tell us something new or challenging. Todays Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI contains some details I think are well worth noting. Here are the headline figures


Not a lot of change in the general pattern (note that independents still sit on shrinking ground), though as Damian Loscher notes Sinn Fin is up three points to 22%, its highest rating in this poll since early 2016. He also notes that:

Sinn Fin is most popular, attracting 42 per cent of the vote among 18- to 24-year-olds. The gains Sinn Fin has registered in todays poll are sourced exclusively from the 18- to 49-year-old age cohort.

Mary Lou McDonalds performance rating as a leader is a significant improvement on Adams last rating:

In this April poll, post-honeymoon, both party and leader have given up some of their gains, with support for Fine Gael down to 31 per cent and Varadkars satisfaction rating somewhat lower at 55 per cent.

For Sinn Fin and Mary Lou McDonald, the honeymoon has just begun. Sinn Fin is up three points to 22 per cent while McDonalds first satisfaction score comes in at 39 per cent: a healthy improvement of 12 points on her predecessor Gerry Adamss rating in January.

Its a honeymoon, but it is useful to remember that even her boss, ahem, former boss in his early days in the Dail enjoyed the highest approval rating in the Republic and a prolonged period on 24% or more for the party.

The other aspect worth highlighting (though it has already been established in previous polls) it is the high approval ratings in the government, which at 44% is as high as FF was getting prior to 2008

With economic expansion already well underway, and employment even higher than it was back in the boom (and getting boomier) time noughties, the economy should be a strong factor in favou...

14:44

The depraved coalition deals the Lib-Dems cooked up with the Tories behind closed doors "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Polly Mackenzie was never a Lib-Dem MP, but as one of Nick Clegg's core advisers she played a crucial role during the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition period. She's just admitted the kinds of depraved horse trading that went on between the Lib-Dems and the Tories at the time in a Twitter mini-thread.
 

She starts off with an unobjectionable and actually rather astute observation about how the Tories seem to announce a new green measure or plastics ban every time they want to move the news away from their latest scandal, but she followed the Tweet up with some more observations that shine a light on the grotesque horse trading the Lib-Dems did with the Tories.

She claims that the clampdown on plastics was actually a Lib-Dem idea, and that they finally secured the limited introduction of 5p charges on plastic bags in return for their support for a toughening of the draconian Tory benefit sanctions regime.

Here are a few facts about the benefits sanctions regime:

  • Benefits sanctions condemn individuals and their families to periods...

14:34

Finding Yo Real: fighting machismo in Mexico City "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Machismo is widespread in Mexico. One organisation takes aim at negative masculinities with weekly group classes.

In a quiet street tucked away in Roma Sur, in central Mexico City, are the offices of the organisation GENDES short for gender and development. Founded in 2009, for almost a decade it has promoted gender equality in Mexico by fighting machismo and negative masculinities.

The group has done this through research and advocacy but also by creating space for reflection and intervention. Among other things they run group classes for men based on a model from the Training Centre to Eradicate Masculine Intrafamily Violence.

Last year, I attended and observed one of these classes, called Hombres Trabajando(se), which roughly translates to Men Working on Themselves, to produce a short film about the project for openDemocracy 50.50.

I promise to listen and accept the opinions of my partner and I promise to create a healthy environment for myself and for others are two of the 12 promises to maintain healthy relationships that the men repeat each class.

The men sit in a circle with two facilitators Guillermo Mendoza Rivera and Rubn Guzmn Lpez guiding them through a series of reflection exercises designed to help them connect to their true self or Yo Real.

One man says he is 37 and that this is his second class. My acts of violence were against my mother-in-law and my son. With my son, it was physical violence, and also verbal, with my mother-in-law it was verbal, he says.

The men take turns introducing themselves and sharing what kind of violence physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or verbal they may have perpetrated that week and whether or not they practiced a retiro an hour long time-out to anticipate and avoid violence.

The second half of the two-hour class focuses on a specific act of violence that one of the men has committed. Members of the class, led by Rubn, help the man unpack the situation and how it became violent.

Afterwards, Rubn tells me that this part of the class is like breaking down a violent act into movie scenes. By pressing pause at various points, the men consider how they could have acted differently.

During the class I attended, a man said he had recently hit his daughter after she ignored his instructions. It had been a tense evening: they had been waiting for a call from her mother, with whom they hadnt talked in months.  

The men reflected and discu...

14:32

The truth about Syria, Assad, the White Helmets & Israel "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

If like me you possess a yearning for the truth, a simple rule worth applying whatever mainstream media says IMAGINE THE EXACT OPPOSITE!   Check out this clip (7.52). Whether its an eye-opener or not is for you to decide. For me one thing is certain the narrative being pushed by the media & Western politicians regarding Assad

14:22

The civil service must share the blame with the politicians for our faltering administration "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Newton Emerson has written a thoughtful piece on that neglected topic, now  blindingly exposed by the RHI inquiry,  of how Northern Ireland is administered. He had already decided that the region is too small to sustain a comprehensive health service.

The inquirys verdict on specific blame could be years away. In the meantime, the first overarching theme to emerge has been something of a surprise namely, that Northern Ireland is too small to have a separate administrative existence.

A key motivation when adapting policies, as explained by inquiry witnesses, is a cargo cult-like focus on getting more money into Northern Ireland no matter how wasteful this is overall. In one instance, officials knowingly cost the British taxpayer 300 million to save Stormont 3.5 million because that was rational from their standalone perspective.

Suddenly, the jaw-dropping mistakes of RHI look like an inevitable feature of how Northern Ireland is run.

As the constitutional question cancels out and cutting services down to an efficient size is unthinkable, there is a chance for the RHI inquiry to provoke more practical ideas.

A sustainable administration in Northern Ireland would need to do less on its own, while looking to east-west and north-south partnerships for delivery.

And yet in the bad old days of monopoly unionism, Northern Ireland adopted the step by step approach to introducing the welfare state the NHS, expanding  income support and  universal secondary education  by adapting  the GB precedents.  The flaws were political rather than essentially administrative. A welfare state can only be based on universal principles which were bound to clash with  institutional discrimination. UK civil servants often came over on secondment to head up NI departments or take up full jobs. This was not always welcome but it seemed to work.  Sue Grays appointment may be the latest example.  I hope she shakes the place up. We cannot  wait for the inquiry  to report . The appalling practice  of  burning off  unspent revenue on any old thing before the end of the financial year must end. 

There is a recognised  problem of what experts in government call capacity as a result of expanding UK devolution  but it doesnt seem unmanageable if the  devolved  governments are not at loggerheads with  Whitehall and Westminster.  Higher and higher tech and ever growing  public demand may be creating a wholly new...

14:18

La democracia se vuelve digital "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Las plataformas digitales son un instrumento para democratizar la participacin porque superan las tiranas de espacio y tiempo tradicionales. Pero la mejora de la participacin democrtica tiene niveles de cumplimiento variados. English, Portugus

Imagen: Pixabay, Dominio pblico.

Este artculo es un extracto de un artculo original publicado en el eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta y se puede encontrar aqu.

Las plataformas digitales estn generando un impacto generalizado en la sociedad sin importar si se habla de produccin o consumo, de partidos polticos o de movimientos sociales, de Administraciones Pblicas, sindicatos, universidades o medios de comunicacin, ya que sus caracterizaciones transversales e intergeneracionales provocan un efecto que extiende su impacto prcticamente de manera desmedida.

En este sentido, las plataformas online tambin llegaron a transformar el cooperativismo y el procomn digital, ya que el ADN de este tipo de iniciativas son el cdigo abierto, la innovacin y la sociedad de los bienes comunes.

De esta manera,...

14:17

Democracy gone digital "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

To the extent that they overcome the traditional tyranny of space and time, digital platforms are tools for democratizing participation. But their impact on citizen involvement varies considerably. Espaol, Portugus

 

Source: Pixabay, Public Domain.

This piece is an excerpt from an original article published as part of the eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta series, which can be found here.

Digital platforms are generating a societal impact regardless of whether topics of discussion are of production and consumption, political parties or social movements, public administration, trade unions, universities or mass media, seeing as their intergenerational and transcendental characteristics provoke an effect which creates a significant impact on society. 

Accordingly, online platforms have also transformed cooperativism and the collective digital space, as the very DNA of these types of initiatives are open code, innovation and public goods.

Examples such as Fairmondo, a virtual market similar to Amazon of German orig...

14:17

A democracia se tornou digital "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

As plataformas digitais so um instrumento para democratizar a participao porque superam as tiranias do espao e tempo tradicionais. Mas a melhora da participao democrtica tem vrios nveis de cumprimento. English, Espaol

Fonte: Pixabay, Dominio Pblico.

Este artigo um extrato de um artigo original publicado no eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta e pode ser encontrado aqu.

As plataformas digitais esto gerando um impacto generalizado na sociedade, independentemente de produo ou consumo; partidos polticos ou movimentos sociais; administraes pblicas, sindicatos, universidades ou meios de comunicao social, uma vez que suas caractersticas transversais e intergeracionais provocam um efeito que estende seu impacto praticamente de forma excessiva.

Nesse sentido, as plataformas online tambm vieram transformar o cooperativismo e os bens comuns digitais, j que o DNA desse tipo de iniciativas so o cdigo aberto, a inovao e a sociedade dos bens comuns.

Desta forma, destacam-se exemplos c...

13:50

Feminist bots vs right-wing trolls: Brazils gender justice movements cross new frontiers "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Abortion has long been criminalised in Brazil. It is an issue that many have all but given up on except for feminist movements.

Abortion rights protest in Sao Paulo, December 2016. Abortion rights protest in Sao Paulo, December 2016. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.The battle over the criminalisation of abortion is revealing of the overall political scenario in Brazil. Criminalising and controlling issues of gender and sexuality is the moral foundation of a growing right-wing ideology that is driving the countrys political development. Now, with a political system weakened by corruption and collusion, the battle for abortion is playing out on the internet through individuals, movements, and even web robots (also known as bots).

In Brazil today, political institutions have been weakened to their most vulnerable since the military dictatorship ended 30 years ago. Women make up less than 10% of elected representatives, placing Brazil amongst the worst in the world for gender equality in politics.

The countrys first and only female president, Dilma Rousseff, was deposed by a 2016 political coup which showed the systems pervasive and severe sexism. Her predecessor, and the frontrunner for October 2018s presidential elections, Luiz (Lula) Incio Da Silva, is currently on trial for corruption. Almost 46% of the population believe that this is an unfair trial by the media and judiciary.

At the same time, targeted gender-based violence is rising. Marielle Franco, a black, lesbian city councilwoman from a favela in Rio de Janeiro, was assassinated on 14 March. Her murder has caused outrage in Brazil and beyond...

13:42

No appetite for a deregulatory post-Brexit Britain: new findings on public attitudes "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The transformation of the aims of Brexit emerged during the early days of the referendum campaign, when the cross-party campaign for leave realised where the route to broad-based success lay.

lead April 18, 2018. Peers in the House of Lords, London, as the Government suffers its first defeat over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill when peers voted in favour of a customs union amendment.PA/Press Association. All rights reserved.In January 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron made a long-awaited speech at the Bloomberg offices on the UKs future in the European Union. Camerons pitch that day was clear: the EU needed to adapt to the modern age; it needed to become more competitive and less bureaucratic; and it needed to embrace global trade.

As he argued for an in-out referendum, setting in train the series of events leading to the UKs impending withdrawal, he claimed that Euroscepticism was rooted in a feeling that the EU had turned out very differently to the institution the UK public had originally voted for in 1975.

The EU had become increasingly bloated, inefficient, and meddlesome the public wanted a return to a common market free of unnecessary rules and regulations. The single market, he exhorted, was incomplete; more had to be done to break down barriers in services, energy, and digital. At the same time, he railed against complex rules restricting our labour markets and excessive regulation holding businesses back and called for small firms to be exempted from more EU directives. He didnt once mention immigration.

Mays implausible reversal

Five years later, Prime Minister Theresa May gave a rather different speech in London as the UK prepared for EU withdrawal. Rather than expounding the single markets advantages, she argued that the UK would have to leave it, because to do otherwise would mean continued free movement. Rather than calling for deeper links in services, she ackno...

12:21

FP April 19 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

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10:20

Enoch Powells ghost and bigotry still haunt modern Britain "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We are better than Enoch Powell but, as recent events show, not by as much as we think.

Image: Enoch Powell, Allan Warren/Wikimedia, Creative Commons.

To mark its 50th anniversary, on Saturday the BBC controversially broadcast Enoch Powells infamous Rivers of Blood speech in full for the first time, recreated by actor Ian McDiarmid.

Powell, then Tory MP for Wolverhampton South West and Shadow Secretary of Defence, argued the case that immigration from the Commonwealth was irreversibly changing Britain for the worse. His speech took place only days after Martin Luther King had been assassinated.

So what of the BBC programme, Archive on Four, itself? It included numerous critical voices. But it opened with presenter (and BBC Media Editor) Amol Rajan describing Powell as a titan - and one of the great post-war politicians in Britain, alongside Clement Attlee, Roy Jenkins and Margaret Thatcher. Powells official biographer Simon Heffer then called him a great national statesman.

Labour MP David Lammy, referring to Powells incendiary prediction that the black man will have the whip hand, said the language was that of slavery reversed. Former Tory MP Matthew Parris thought that the speech was intemperate and filled with evident racism. Former Labour MP Peter Hain observed that the continual use of classical language (the speech notoriously ended with Powell invoking Virgil, Aeneid and the destruction of Rome with the river Tiber foaming with much blood) gave a cloak of legitimacy to racism. Simon Heffer did try to make the pro-Powell argument that he was not making a racist speech, but all the evidence wise suggested this is exactly what it was a racist speech, filled with hate and a lack of the most basic humanity for the people he was describing as the problem.

Much that was important was left unsaid. One such area was the extent to which Powells othering of fellow British citizens and racial paranoia had a distinctively English dimension. This seemed one of the great questions left untouched i...

09:52

Why the problem is economics, not economists "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

To avoid hitting an intellectual dead end, economics must embrace a wider diversity of views and focus less on the derivation of abstract models. 

In his excellent book Economics Rules, Dani Rodrik outlined what he saw as the rights and wrongs of the dismal science. One of his key refrains was that the problem was economists, not economics: that is, some economists mistook their models for the real world and applied them inappropriately, abusing a potentially useful set of tools. All too often the consequence was ideology masquerading as science, resulting in economic failures such as quantity-targeting monetarism in the 1980s; the 1990s Russian privatisation; and recently the 2008 financial crisis. According to Rodrik, good economics is about making sure you have picked the right model for the right job, basing your decision on sound theory and evidence. Any economist worth their salt should be pragmatic, not dogmatic. Rodrik is not wrong that there are some economists who are prone to misusing their models, in some cases to an alarming degree. Neither is he wrong about what good economics should entail: intellectual flexibility and a grasp of a wide range of tools for understanding the economy. Despite this, I cannot agree with the general idea that the framework of economics is not the problem with the discipline, and that if this framework were only taught and practiced better many of the disciplines problems would be overcome. In fact, I believe modern economics is characterised by the exact opposite problem: reliance on a single framework is hamstringing the research of capable, conscientious and (to a degree) critical economists. In other words, the problem is economics, not economists. The bad economics Rodrik highlights should be resisted for sure, but it largely a vestige of the past and does not represent the current direction of the discipline. This is what causes researchers who better represent contemporary economics to become exasperated in response to the myriad of articles criticising the discipline as if it consists solely of free-market ideologues who cling to models of perfect markets. Two Manchester colleagues of mine, Rachel Griffiths and Diane Coyle, have been involved in this debate recently, and the hashtag #whateconomistsreallydo illustrates the frustration and perplexity many of these researchers share at criticisms of the discipline. In a...

09:12

The UK government must stop detaining LGBTQI+ people fleeing persecution "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Here in detention it is the same as where I came from. I was so scared.

Image: Brighton Pride, Jon Southcoasting/Flickr, Creative Commons.

At this weeks Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London, the government has taken welcome steps to help protect the rights of LGBTQI+ people globally and the Windrush generation in the UK. However, it has remained silent on one matter that links these two issues: the treatment of LGBTQI+ people in the UK who are fleeing persecution.

On Tuesday, Theresa May acknowledged the role of the UK in putting in place laws criminalising same sex relations during the Colonial era, and said she regrets the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today.

She also apologised to Caribbean countries over the treatment of the Windrush generation.

These are steps in the right direction, but the government would do well to match its apologetic words with action in the UK to protect LGBTQI+ people who are seeking asylum because of persecution in their countries of origin. It needs to stop detaining LGBTQI+ asylum seekers.

The UK is the only country in Europe that detains people in immigration removal centres indefinitely. Around half the people that the government detains are eventually released back into the community.

Research by Stonewall and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group has documented the discrimination, harassment and abuse experienced by LGBTQI+ asylum seekers in UK detention centres. Many LGBTQI+ asylum seekers have described how being in detention reminded them of the persecution they were trying to escape. As one man from Pakistan described, Here in detention...

09:00

Changing the conversation on labour migration in Southeast Asia "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

A regional study interrogates some of the commonly held assumptions about which factors lead to better outcomes for migrant workers.

ILO/JeanPierre Pellissier.

According to the United Nations, the number of migrants from Southeast Asia heading to other countries within the region has increased more than fivefold during the last two and a half decades, reaching nearly seven million. And this official data does not capture the millions more who are employed without legal status in the region.

Despite this rapid growth in the number of women and men migrating within Southeast Asia, the outcomes for migrant workers remain poorly understood. While assumptions are often made about the end result of these movements and how best to ensure safe and rewarding experiences for migrants, the collection and analysis of empirical data has been very limited to date. 

Among the consequences of migration that have been more thoroughly examined, remittance flows have arguably received the most extensive attention. But while this topic is undoubtedly important, the heavy emphasis placed on the scale of remittances can come at the expense of a more balanced and migrant-centred understanding of the results of migration. Evidence suggests that the relationship between remittances and development is varied and complex, which raises the question of whether the often-unrestrained euphoria about their potential is actually justified. 

Another prominent framework through which migration experiences within Southeast Asia are understood is human trafficking. An unending series of studies continue to document the large number of migrant workers who are trafficked into exploitation. However, the probity of categorising migrants experiences into a simplistic binary of trafficked or not trafficked has been strongly questioned. In particular, the focus on victimhood and criminality within the trafficking discourse can serve to whitewash the root causes of migrant workers vulnerability to exploitation, diverting attention away from fundamental questions of economic and social justice.

...

06:03

Kyrgyzstans indispensable women are undervalued "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Kyrgyz women still tend to live and work in traditionally female occupations. RU

Gulnaz Mamytbekova. Photo courtesy of the author. All rights reserved.Last Saturday, Gulnaz Mamytbekova, a nurse in the intensive care unit of her towns childrens hospital was getting ready to move to Moscow. Everywhere Mamytbekova went, her daughter went with her. After 25 years working at the hospital, Mamytbekova wants to emigrate so she can earn enough money to give her children a better life. 

Gulnaz lives at her parents apartment 60km from Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. She is divorced and is bringing her children up on her own. Her day begins at 4am: Ive never once been late for work. Four hours of sleep is enough for an active life, she says. At a quarter to six, shes already at the bus stop, waiting to go to work. She hasnt been able to save enough to buy her own flat: her monthly pay packet, including all the extras comes to 13,400 som (136).

Gulnaz recalls the reason she couldnt receive any higher education. Back in 1993 and already a nurse, Gulnaz wanted to get into a medical institute, but says that the examiners were demanding a 7,000 som bribe. You could buy a flat for that amount then. We couldnt give them a bribe like that. And I decided to become an indispensable nurse instead, she tells me, clearly proud of her decision.

In Kyrgyzstan, higher education is more or less an essential, although few graduates actually find work in their field of study. People often joke that you only need a degree so that you can show off to your family, and so that they can say that their son or daughter has been to university. Mamytbekova graduated in nursing, with the highest grade, from a secondary level medical college and got a job as a lab technician, although she actually spent her time cleaning the floors in a childrens emergency department.

...

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Wednesday, 18 April

21:26

Fake News BBC parrot Theresa May's lie as their number one story "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Theresa May stood at the dispatch box and lied. She lied that the decision to destroy immigration landing cards was taken by the Labour Party in 2009 when it wasn't. She lied because she was desperately trying to deflect criticism over her grotesque 'hostile environment' policies that led to the dehumanisation, detention, denial of rights and even and deportation of Commonwealth British citizens. And most of all she lied because she thought she could get away with it.

If the British press had any instinct to hold the UK government to account they would have looked into her claim, immediately found it to be contradicted by the previous day's Home Office admission that the documents were destroyed in October 2010, and run a story criticising the Prime Minister for lying to the House of Commons, and for cynically misleading the British public in order to deflect negative attention away from herself.

But that's not what happened. That's not what happened at all. Instead of investigating her claim, the BBC and various other mainstream media outlets uncritically parroted her lie, and helped her misleadingly deflect the Windrush criticism onto others.

Of course the billionaire owned right-wing propaganda rags and the legions of Tory social media propaganda accounts got in on the misdirection act, but the behaviour of the BBC is much more problematic. They didn't just make Theresa May's lie the number one story on their website, they also uncritically regurgitated her lie into millions of homes and workplaces in TV and radio news segments.

When the state broadcaster refuses to...

18:01

Motivated by justice: defending the worlds courageous people "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Australian human rights lawyer and member of the legal team defending Wikileaks since 2010, talks about the hacker from Queensland who chose to fight against surveillance capitalism. Interview.

lead lead Photograph: George Hughes / Illustration: Celia LeoudiYorgos Boskos (YB): How did you get involved in the first place with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange?

Jennifer Robinson (JR): Julian first reached out to myself and a colleague of mine, the Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, in around September 2010. This was just before WikiLeaks was about to publish the Iraq war logs. Julian was in London, preparing that release, which came several months later, at the end of November. He was working with the Guardian and a group of other international newspapers.

It was around the time when there was concern about what might happen in Sweden, where there was an open investigation into sexual allegations that had previously being dropped. It now seemed that Julian might have to answer those allegations. So, Julian required assistance and advice. It was also the time, of course, that Chelsea Manning was arrested, and a US criminal investigation in grand jury had been announced.

YB: What was your first impression on meeting Julian Assange?

JR: Here was a man with a small group of volunteers and a backpack. And in his interactions with me what he was really doing was making his very brave decisions about what to publish. There were a lot of public threats being made against him at that particular time. He was incredibly security-conscious - conscious of the fact that they were pursuing him, trying to find ways to prosecute and investigate him. So apart from his remarkable work, the other factor was the strength of the state response that was building against him. He was perceived to be the most powerful man in the world, in that period. And why? Because he had access to that information.

YB: During your TEDx speech in Sydney in 2013, you stated that courage is contagious. Do you...

17:35

El va crucis de los emigrantes "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

La marcha anual que se organiza en Semana Santa para llamar la atencin sobre la situacin en la que se vive en Centroamrica ha conseguido este ao suscitar inters internacional. English

Emigrantes centroamericanos camino de la frontera con Estados Unidos. Image: http://www.pueblosinfronteras.org/

Puebla, Mxico, abril de 2018: la marcha anual de Semana Santa para llamar la atencin sobre la difcil situacin de los ciudadanos centroamericanos, que habitan una regin donde el ndice de asesinatos es el ms alto del mundo, ha suscitado este ao el inters de las organizaciones de ayuda humanitaria internacionales, de las Naciones Unidas y del presidente de los Estados Unidos.

Mientras la ONU instaba al gobierno Mexicano a facilitar un salvoconducto que permitiera un trnsito seguro a los cerca de 1.200 ciudadanos que cruzaron la frontera sur del pas, Donald Trump reaccionaba atemorizado, amenazando con desplegar unidades de la Guardia Nacional en su frontera sur, a ms de 2.000 km de distancia.

A la marcha, o caravana, se le conoce popularmente como el Va Crucis del Emigrante. Se trata de un evento de periodicidad ms o menos anual organizado por Pueblos sin Fronteras, una ONG que lleva ms de diez aos operando desde Arizona.

Como es bien sabido, un Va Crucis reproduce el camino que Jesucristo tuvo que recorrer, segn el Cristianismo, hacia su ejecucin: un recorrido en 14 etapas, o estaciones, en las que se relatan las cargas, humillaciones, consuelos, torturas y muerte que sufri antes de resucitar y ascender a los cielos en el da que hoy se conoce como Domingo de Pascua.

En la histricamente muy catlica Centroamrica, recordar el itinerario que marcan dichas estaciones es algo importante.

El Va Crucis de...

16:40

Theresa May's despicable response to the Windrush scandal "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


The Tories know that their treatment of Windrush citizens has been absolutely despicable, but instead of taking personal responsibility for it and resigning, they've resorted to the most ridiculous campaign of bluster, smears, misrepresentations, and outright lies.

The absurd Data Protection excuse


When a whistleblower revealed that the Tories had deliberately destroyed the archive of landing cards from the Windrush generation the first Tory instinct was to lie their way out of trouble.

The Tories initially tried to claim that the archives were destroyed because of Data Protection concerns.

The first thing to note is that this is a Tory government that wilfully sold off our private NHS medical data to drug companies and health insurers without our consent. To hear them suddenly pretending that they care about data protection laws is most absurd.

The next thing to note is that Data Protection rules have a very clear exemption for material of historical importance. You'd have to be completely cracked to imagine that the boarding cards of the Windrush generation who came to help Britian rebuild after WWII had no historical significance whatever and needed to be lobbed into a skip.


...

14:33

Who were the 18 MPs who bravely voted against Theresa May's anti-immigrant lunacy in 2014? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Back in 2014 the then Home Secretary Theresa May introduced new immigration rules designed to create a 'hostile environment' for immigrants. The introduction of these harsh new immigration rules was clearly a ploy to appeal to the extreme-right ultranationalist demographic, and it coincided with a significant upsurge in anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Tories, and especially from Theresa May.

In light of the Windrush scandal the Tories simply cannot pretend that they were not warned about the serious consequences of this piece of legislation. They were warned, and these warnings are recorded on the Hansard parliamentary record.

During the debate Diane Abbot raised concerns that these harsh new powers could have negative impacts on could have on "people who are British nationals, but appear as if they might be immigrants" (people like the Windrush generation and other perfectly legal migrants from the Commonwealth).

Theresa May completely dodged this question with the kind of evasive waffle we've all become so familiar with since she became Prime Minister.

The Lib-Dem MP Sarah Teather (who went on to quit parliament in disgust at...

14:22

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

This morning I  came across this classic clip from The Monty Python and the Holy Grail film. Ever after 40 years, it is still a great send-up of our political system. Enjoy.

A self-perpetuating autocracy

King Arthur: Old woman!
Dennis: Man.
King Arthur: Man, sorry. What knight lives in that castle over there?
Dennis: Im 37.
King Arthur: What?
Dennis: Im 37. Im not old.
King Arthur: Well I cant just call you man.
Dennis: Well you could say Dennis.
King Arthur: I didnt know you were called Dennis.
Dennis: Well you didnt bother to find out, did you?
King Arthur: I did say sorry about the old woman, but from behind you looked
Dennis: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior.
King Arthur: Well, I am king.
Dennis: Oh, king eh? Very nice. And howd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society. If theres ever gonna be any progress
Peasant Woman: Dennis! Theres some lovely filth down here Oh! How do you do?
[Dennis joins the Peasant Woman in the nearby filth patch]
King Arthur: How do you do, good lady? I am Arthur, king of the Britons. Whose castle is that?
Peasant Woman: King of the who?
King Arthur: The Britons.
Peasant Woman: Whore the Britons?
King Arthur: Well, we all are. Were all Britons, and I am your king.
Peasant Woman: Didnt know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
Dennis: Youre fooling yourself. Were living in a dictatorship! A self-perpetuating autocracy, in which the working classes
Peasant Woman: Oh, there you go, bringing class into it again.
Dennis: Well, thats what its all about! If only people would
King ArthurPlease, please, good people, I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?
Peasant Woman: No one lives there....

14:16

La evolucin de la participacin democrtica "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Repensar la representacin implica ampliar la comunidad de deliberacin y redefinir no slo quines pueden decidir en temas pblicos que les afectan, sino cmo se toman las decisiones. English, Portugus

Creado por Maria Boehling para opensource.com. Flickr. Algunos derechos reservados.

Este artculo es un extracto de un artculo original publicado en el eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta y se puede encontrar aqu.

Actualmente, se puede decir que la connotacin de la participacin ciudadana est cambiando y, dentro de su proceso de redefinicin, vemos cmo diferentes formas y desarrollos comienzan a tomar partido y a ampliar el sentido de lo que en antao significaba participar, elegir, debatir e interactuar.

Sin duda, la participacin es uno de esos temas que se convierten en el eje transversal de muchas discusiones pblicas, ya que constituye una de las reas que puede redefinir nuestras democracias en cuanto a los sistemas de gobierno.

De esta forma, observamos cmo diversas iniciativas de la sociedad civil comienzan a tener un amplio campo de accin en este aspecto, haciendo uso de las te...

14:15

The evolution of democratic participation "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Rethinking representation involves expanding the deliberative community and redefining not only who decides on public issues, but how those decisions are made. Espaol, Portugus

Created by Maria Boehling for opensource.com. Flickr. Some rights reserved.

This piece is an excerpt from an original article published as part of the eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta series, which can be found here.

Currently, it could be said that the meanings of citizen participation are changing, and within this process of redefining this concept, we see different forms and advances aligning themselves and extending the connotations of what once meant participating, debating and interacting. 

Without a doubt, participation is among those subjects which are becoming the transversal axis of many public discussions, as it constitutes one of the issues capable of redefining our democracies with regards to the very systems of governance.

In this vein, we observe how many civil society initiatives are broadening their scope, and making use of the technological tendencies offered by the intern...

14:15

A evoluo da participao democrtica "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Repensar a representao implica ampliar a comunidade de deliberao e redefinir no s aqueles que podem decidir sobre os temas pblicos que os afectam, mas tambm como se tomam as decises. English, Espaol

lead Criado por Maria Boehling para a opensource.com. Flickr. Alguns direitos reservados.

Este artigo um extrato de um artigo original publicado no eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta e pode ser encontrado aqu.

Atualmente, pode-se dizer que a conotao da participao cidad est mudando e, dentro desse processo de redefinio, vemos como diferentes formas e desenvolvimentos comeam a tomar partido e ampliar o sentido do que antes significava participar, escolher, debater e interagir.

Sem dvidas, participao uma questo, como tantas outras, que se torna o eixo transversal de muitas discusses pblicas, uma vez que constitui uma das reas que podem redefinir nossas democracias em termos de sistemas governamentais.

Desta forma, observamos como vrias iniciativas da sociedade civil comeam a ter um ampl...

13:09

The refugee crisis in the Mediterranean: the role of EU states, civil society and art "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

As the EU turns away from international human rights commitments, asserting border controls at almost any cost including that to humanitarian activists, what role can art play?

lead lead Italian rescue ship Vos Prudence run by NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres arrives in July, 2017, in the port of Salerno carrying 935 migrants, including 16 children and 7 pregnant women rescued from the Mediterranean sea.NurPhoto/ Press Association. All rights reserved.In the context of the refugee crisis[1]in and around the Mediterranean, the European Union is devoting its resources to the exclusion of refugees and migrants using increased surveillance and militarization of its borders, by affiliation with entities and States for whom human rights are not a priority. With an enormous death toll at sea and huge numbers arriving, civil society across Europe has mobilized to manifest alternative values of hospitality to welcome refugees and solidarity towards those at the borders. This paper will survey human rights reports and activist materials to consider these two phenomena, before asking questions about the scope for artists to respond to the refugee crisis. 

Four years ago, in October 2014, Operation Mare Nostrum, the Italian governments humanitarian mission in the Mediterranean to rescue people in boats in peril on journeys from Libya, was terminated. The replacement Frontex (EU) mission, Operation Triton, part-funded by voluntary contributions from the Irish state, has a markedly lesser focus on search-and-rescue and an increased focus on surveillance and border security.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that deaths at sea have risen nine times since the ending of Operation Mare Nostrum....

12:40

Just imagine what could happen if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


It's a good job Theresa May is a "moderate" isn't it? Unlike that scary hard-left extremist Jeremy Corbyn.

Just imagine if Jeremy Corbyn got into power.

I bet he'd immediately invite bigoted Northern Irish terrorist-backed sectarians into his government.

I bet Corbyn would sell off our British public infrastructure to undemocratic nations like China and to tyrannical middle east dictatorships too, and then fight tooth and nail to stop it ever coming back under British control.

I bet he'd repeatedly try to bypass parliamentary democracy, then sneer at anyone who objected to his terrifying autocratic tendencies.

I bet Corbyn would use his mates in the media to continually smear the political opposition, attack judges and academics who dare to scrutinise what he's doing, and...

11:53

The Europeanization of schooling: what is a European education? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

In an ambitious future, education as a common good means an education enjoyed by the whole community, built by citizens culturally capable of influencing, acting and imagining alternatives.

March 17, 2017 Students and teachers protest in Palermo, Italy. A nationwide strike called by unions against implementation of the Law 107, better known as the good school law. Antonio Melita/ Press Association. All rights reserved. Whether we are specialist or not, we all know more or less where the education system of our countries stands. We are all aware that our school systems are coordinated, monitored and assessed according to some vague European standards or criteria.

In general we dont object to that: we consider the Europeanization of our education systems as a guarantee of quality, of good functioning and also as a sign of that international cooperation, of European integration, which we increasingly need to fend off provincialism and nationalism.

Everything fine, then? No, not exactly. Unfortunately, things are more complicated than they appear. Let us see why.

The Europeanisation of education systems is a recent development. Theoretically, education should be the responsibility of member states: education in European countries has always been a national affair, functional to the consolidation of the identity and culture of a community. Each educational system has had its own history, linked to the evolution of its policy, geography, traditions, language and society. 

As it happens, however, although education formally remains a national competence, since the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, a new 'orthodoxy', based on the comparison of education systems, has been gradually introduced into the educational policies of the whole continent.

This new orthodoxy brings two problems. 

First of all, it has been imposed as a matter of fact rather than a concerted policy.  Some refer to "government without government" to characterize the process which, from the Lisbon Strategy of 2000 to the Rethinking Education Communication of 2012, up to the current ET2020 strate...

11:30

How women in the Balkans are using social media to fight sexism "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Women are primary targets of bias and online harassment in the Balkans. Now, a growing number are using the internet to fight back.

Facebook logos on a computer screen. Facebook logos on a computer screen. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.Bosnian science journalist and blogger Jelena Kalini often anticipates disagreements when she comments on social media posts. But she did not expect Bosnian writer Goran Samardi to flip a Facebook discussion about pregnancy in late February into a sexist intrusion into her private life.

I can 'milk' some of 'it' into a coffee cup and freeze it for you if you want to get pregnant, Samardi privately wrote to Kalini following a public chat on her Facebook wall. The two were only acquaintances. Kalini was shocked by his message and shared a screenshot of it on Twitter with the comment this is the bottom of the bottom.

On social media, people started reacting and sharing the screenshot. Some commentators criticised her decision to share the private message from Samardi. She explained that she intended to publicly expose the insult, because she wanted people to know about it.

Traditional patriarchal rules, gender stereotypes, and a disregard for gender equality demands are pervasive in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and other countries of the former Yugoslavia. Online, women are primary targets of bias and harassment. But now, a growing number of women across the region are also using the internet to combat sexism.

Online, women are primary targets of bias and harassment. But now, a growing number of women across the region are also using the internet to combat sexism.

Bosnian journalist and activist Masha Durkali was among the first social...

11:00

The Border Force row exposes differences between British and Irish citizenship that have to be settled "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Leaving aside the delicious irony, I would guess that Sinn Fein are right: the attempt to limit recruitment for the UK Border Force to British passport holders is discriminatory and would be overthrown  in court.  Why should anyone have to produce a passport for a job in Northern Ireland anyway?  This has echoes of the malign Windrush problem. without feeling the  pain yet,   Up to now only when you go abroad and need to produce a passport has the issue of citizenship arisen ; but it  is not quite as cut and tried as the unionist academic Graham Gudgin writes in the FT.

Brexit will make some sort of change  to citizenship for Northern Ireland people, but exactly what change is far from clear.  The ability of the European Court of Justice to disapply certain categories of UK legislation only recently recognised in the UK disappears after Brexit unless it is restored for NI in some form to remain compatible with the GFA legislation.  If not there could be different rights for British and Irish citizens and that would surely be intolerable. What is hardly mentioned is that everybody in NI of whatever citizenship description, retain their full British citizen rights and entitlements  if they move to GB and full Irish rights and entitlements if they move south .

Or so I believe. Perhaps like WIndrush cases, anomalies will be exposed under challenge but this has not happened so far. But Brexit may make  the difference.

The legal situation is pretty recondite but behind it lies  a political issue. If 40 % of the population call themselves Irish citizens, what leverage does that give the Irish government in the affairs of Northern Ireland if citizenship rights are no longer identical? How do citizens assert their  citizenship preferences  without displaying a passport and claiming different rights if rights eligibility diverges?  The Border Force row could become a test case.

10:56

Isle of Dogs **** "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Isle of DogsWes Andersons quirky imagination and deep love of film guarantee that anything he directs will give cinephiles much food for thought as well as entertainment, and in his latest stop-motion animation offering, Isle of Dogs, there is so much content that at times it is hard to digest. The basic plot is simple, however, like any good fantasy or fairy tale: a cat-loving despotic mayor in a dystopian future Japanese city banishes all dogs to an island used as a giant garbage dump. But his 12-year-old ward is distraught at the loss of his guard-dog, Spots, and sets off to find him. Meanwhile the dogs have started to organise themselves and a plan is put into place to turn the tables on wicked Mayor Kobayashi, with the aid of a feisty American girl exchange student in a blond fright wig. However, this simple tale is framed in settings of immense complexity, stuffed full of cultural and cinematic references. There is a distinct irony in this, as so much classical Japanese theatre uses almost no scenery, leaving the audience to imagine the location from the context of the words and action, whereas in Andersons film there is so much visual detail that at times ones mind is totally consumed by taking it all in, to the extent that ones concentration drifts away from the story. All the classic Japanese stereotype scenes are there, from sushi preparation to sumo wrestling and falling cherry blossoms, much to a soundtrack of dramatic taiko drums. But other references are more nuanced, including not only homage to...

09:18

Who is the winner in post-ISIS Syria? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

ISIS may have been defeated, but the battle for Syria's political soul is far from over.

The news of the liberation of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, was greeted with great enthusiasm by Tehran, Moscow, Washington and Europe. Since then, many commentators and media outlet began to anticipate who is the main winner in Syria in the post-ISIS era. 

However, before attempting to answer this question, it is crucial to discuss the objectives of the powers involved in the Syrian battlefield. 

By mid 2014, the Syrian conflict reached its violent peak when ISIS penetrated the Syrian borders and proclaimed Raqqa as its political centre. The rise of ISIS in the region created anxieties not only in the European capitals but in Tehran, Baghdad and Erbil as well. 

Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising, the Iranian government supported Assad's Syria, its traditional ally in the region. Since the beginning of the Iranian revolution in 1979, Assad's Syria supported Iran against Saddam's Iraq. Syria also provided a platform for Iran to strengthen its ties with its Lebanese allies, Hezbollah and the Palestinian factions of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. 

During the post Hafez al-Assad era, his successor, Bashar al-Assad continued supporting Iran in fortif...

08:31

Gassing and selective applications of a Red Line: lest we forget "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The gassing of people is considered exceptionally inhumane, officially a categorical red line dividing good from evil. This belief now threatens to trigger an escalation with unpredictable consequences.

lead Otto Dix, Assault Troops Advance under Gas (Sturmtruppe geht unter Gas vor). 1924. Tate Liverpool.As new rockets fly into Syria, it is time to consider the legal grounds on which the bombing is legitimised. This is important because it threatens to destabilise the already precarious region and displace, yet again, thousands of victims that the west is reluctant to accommodate.

The experience of chemical warfare in Britain has a complex history. British troops were one of the first to fall victim to chlorine gas attacks during the Battle of Ypres on January 2, 1915. Talented German chemists, among them the tragic Jewish Nobel Prize Winner Fritz Haber, were responsible for spearheading the chemicalisation of twentieth and twenty-first century warfare. British troops were one of the first to fall victim to chlorine gas attacks during the Battle of Ypres on January 2, 1915.

The legacy of WWI continues to haunt present-day reactions to chemical warfare. It was not so much the case that German gas attacks caused many causalities or to deny that the deaths that did occur were excruciating; it is rather the case that they dealt a major psychological blow to army morale, whilst awakening dystopian nightmares among the general British public.

The experiences of WWI would incentivise calls for laws against, what the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk calls, atmospheric terror. The Geneva Convention brought western countries together to formulate an international legal architecture on the prohibition of asphyxiating, poisonous and other gaseous and bacterial methods of warfare. This was not the first attempt to impose laws on gassing, but instead a continuation of a centuries-long effort to ban poison and gas from the battlefield. Some of the earliest proponents of international law, in...

06:28

How the Kremlins anti-corruption agenda masks federal control in the North Caucasus "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

But is there room for real political subjectivity between local and national corrupt power? RU

Vladimir Vasilyev at meeting with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, October 3, 2017. Photo CC BY 4.0: Kremlin.ru. Some rights reserved.Should we welcome the anti-corruption campaign launched by Moscow in Russias regions? This question is no less ambiguous than this one: Should we take part in the Russian presidential elections? With both supporters and opponents of the recent election boycott armed equally with logical arguments, this is a hard one to answer. But the fact that the results were known in advance renders the discussion somewhat meaningless.

Its a similar situation with Russias anti-corruption agenda. On the one hand, its obvious: corruption is an evil that must be eradicated by any lawful means. On the other, behind the good intentions of the Russian state lurks the ruinous prospect of a super-centralised Russian state. As with the countrys elections, Russian society is faced with the problem of its role in legitimising the methods of Kremlin rule.

Attack on the clans

Vladimir Putins unexpected visit to Dagestan on 13 March confirmed experts conjectures that the appointment of Vladimir Vasilyev as acting head of the republic last October was linked, among other things, to the forthcoming presidential elections.

Commenting on Vasilyevs appointment, sociologist Denis Sokolov reminded us that People Against Corruption, a party with links to the Spiritual Administration of the Muslims of Dagestan, and one that has united many oppositionists, was prevente...

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22:33

We can acknowledge Powell as a significant historical figure, without resurrecting his politics "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The decision by the BBC to broadcast Enoch Powells Rivers of Blood speech on Saturday was always going to be controversial.

The speech, made by Powell 50 years ago on 20th April, had a long-term impact on British politics, and transformed the climate on race relations in Britain.

In the speech, Powell spoke out against Britains liberal immigration laws, predicting dire consequences for the country if immigration was to continue unchecked.

He also attacked the race relations legislation that the Labour Government was bringing before Parliament, designed to outlaw discrimination on racial or ethnic grounds. He used highly offensive language to describe the impact of immigration on society.

As a result of the speech, he was sacked from the Shadow Cabinet and was labelled a demagogue and a racist. He became one of the most popular, and also one of the most feared and hated, politicians in Britain.

No full recording exists of the original speech. Instead, it was read out by the actor Ian McDiarmid, who was recently cast as Powell in Chris Hannans play What Shadows. The BBC defended the programme on the grounds that there was rigorous journalistic analysis of the speech and denied endorsing Powells views.

The prospect of Powells words being aired on national radio inevitably caused great upset.

Andrew Adonis tweeted that Powells speech was the worst incitement to racial violence by a public figure in modern Britain. The BBC should not be broadcasting it on Saturday. Since the broadcast, he has promised to refer the matter to Ofcom.

As someone who has spent many years researching Powells career, I shared some of the misgivings about the broadcast. Hearing his words from 50 years ago is still shocking. Dramatizing the speech in this way was also playing a slight trick on the audience.

The fact that the speech was never previously broadcast in full is historically significant: there is no recording of Powell delivering his most famous line I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood (famously misquoted as Rivers of Blood).

Powell later claimed that he wished he had left this phrase in the original Latin, though this was only a half-acknowledgement of the taboo surrounding the speech.

However, the voicing of Powells words in the context of a serious radio programme should not be seen as a celebration or endorsement of the speech. It is important to understand why it is still being talked about fifty years later.

Amol Rajans robust concluding remarks could lea...

20:12

RHI Inquiry: Dr Crawford Im not inviting a comment from you, thank you. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Coming back to Slugger (after a few weeks mostly out of the saddle), the most interesting item appears to be the RHI Inquiry. It is clear Sir Patrick Coghlin does not share the view of previous members of the judiciary that Stormont is a delicate flower.

The BBC reports that he

cautioned the public that if they heard something sensational in media coverage they should seek out the evidence themselves.

He said the inquiry had gone to great lengths to ensure there was a live stream of it.

He said he was not criticising the media but it was difficult to assess a witness contribution until they had finished their testimony.

Thats the only fair way to do it, he said.

At that point, Andrew Crawford suggested that some elements of the media were being selective in their reporting.

Sir Patrick stopped him continuing and said: Dr Crawford Im not inviting a comment from you, thank you.

Quite. There are many threads in this story and it is the judges onerous task, alone, to tie them all up at the end. What strikes me in the interim is how far we seem to be from the overheated reporting that helped crash Stormonts democratic institutions.

I wrote (either here on Slugger or on Twitter) about the time the story broke of the irony in how an environmental policy, an area often subjected to embarrassingly supercilious derision by the DUP, has caused them such deep public embarrassment.

But, rather than paying too much attention to the policy (as alleged in many initial news reports), it looks like DUP spads spent little (or no) time considering the environmental and financial effect of a properly constructed RHI scheme.

19:11

This is what will happen if we allow Theresa May, Western politicians & the media to keep lying about Assad & Russia "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Watch this clip & tell me how you feel. Ive said it a million times Theresa May, most Western politicians & the media are lying their arses off! Now Ive got to the point where Im fed up saying  WERE THE ONES ANTAGONISING RUSSIA! ASSAD HAD NO REASON TO GAS HIS OWN PEOPLE. WHERES THE GODDAMN EVIDENCE! STOP TELLING

18:50

I want to talk about my miscarriage "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

I am heartbroken, and Im begging you to ask me why.

Credit: Flickr/Anil Kumar. CC BY-ND 2.0.

I had been moving through the world with a secret. I dreamed of this secret as a little girl, through adolescence and even more regularly once I was married. But I had to keep this secret close in case it slipped away. I couldnt let it out until I knew for certain that my secret was here to stay.

My entire being changed the moment I found out that I was pregnant. I felt new light inside of me. Now it was my time to gripe about the struggles of new motherhoodgrievances Id been aching to have. My new narrative would be anchored in sleep deprivation, cracked nipples and hair loss. I couldnt wait to be a part of that world, part of The Club.

When you are trying to conceive you want nothing more than to experience those struggles, as opposed to the monthly cramps, tampons and ovulation monitors that remind you of your lack of fertility. A combination of working in healthcare and wanting a baby for as long as I can remember equipped me with extensive knowledge on pregnancy, childbirth, and new motherhood.

I knew the risks of miscarriage and how common this tragedy occurs. I knew that one in four women will lose their baby in the first trimester. Knowing this, I resisted letting myself speak too freely about my excitement. Even when I let people in on the secret of my pregnancy I reiterated the facts about miscarriage.

Several days after multiple positive pregnancy tests I announced my secret to my immediate family, and then to some very close friends a few weeks later. But I was still just out of reach of the supposed safety of 12 weeks. Stay silent until then. That way no one will ever know that you were even pregnant.

Why do we do this? Miscarriages happen all the time. We know that they are random physiological errors that can happen to anyone and not the result of poor care. Going to work was tasking. I was nauseous, exhausted and foggy. Perhaps if I had not kept my secret so close for so long, my employers would have had more empathy and compassion for what I was experiencing. Perhaps they would even have shared in my excitement and offered support. Perhaps they would have supported me when I experienced my loss.

I miscarried the day of my first ultrasound. I noticed blood between my legs that night and as I stood up, I knew. My secret was le...

17:08

FP April 18 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

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openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
Credit: Flickr/Anil Kumar. CC BY-ND 2.0.

15:10

Facebook, privacy, and the use of data "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

How to think about this, what to call for, and some links to help.

lead lead Apr 10, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. USA Today/Press Association. All rights reserved.Would you give up your firstborn child for free WiFi?

Of course not if you knew these terms and conditions. Except that is exactly what scores of people did when they were asked if they wanted free WiFi at Picadilly Circus, London. Nobody bothered to read the terms which contained a clause that forces you to give up your firstborn child.

The same level of unknowing vulnerability applies to Facebooks terms and conditions. You freely enter into a contract that is nonnegotiable and impossible to read, and yet carries implications far beyond the platform.

We now know that Facebook not only took our data, but also gave them to Cambridge Analytica, among many others. But which others? We dont know.

Why not? The answer to that question breaks up into three pieces:

The first is that Facebook is a de facto monopoly. Its business model is based on avoiding competition at all cost. Buying Instagram was a perfect example.

The second is that the authorities by and large ignore Facebooks monopoly position. They seem to think that, just because a monopoly is de facto, it can be left alone.

Of course, European law is quite clear on the question of monopolies: th...

14:22

Sacked Wetherspoons social media team claims misuse of data for VoteLeave scam "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin claims he closed down the groups social media accounts because they were taking up too much time.

But a (now deleted) Twitter account from former Wetherspoons social media team members, claims the accounts were shut down and deleted because the firm was in fear of being caught for social data misuse connected to what it called the #VoteLeave scam:

A cached copy of the deleted account can still be seen here.

...

14:14

Uma nova forma de geografia "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Libertemos a nossa forma de ver a realidade, aprofundemos novos olhares e enfoques, e teremos novas ideias e perspectivas para os problemas de gesto do bem comum. English, Espaol

Fonte da imagem: Wikipedia. Mapa original de John Snow mostrando a aglomerao geogrfica de casos de epidemia de clera em Londres em 1854, elaborado e litografado por Charles Cheffins.

Este artigo um extrato de um artigo original publicado no eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta e pode ser encontrado aqu.

Embora os mapas sejam um recurso til em termos de poder e tomada de deciso, estamos vivendo em um momento de transformaes e redefinies do que sempre chamamos de "territrio".

Este, que normalmente est relacionado ao conceito de espao delimitado e de...

14:14

A new form of geography "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

One of the risks of conventional politics is seeing the world through ideas which are subsidiary to a certain, old way of understanding the geography and the geometry of concepts. Espaol, Portugus

Image: Wikipedia. John Snows original map showing the clustering of cholera cases during the London Epidemic of 1854, drawn and lithographed by Charles Cheffins.

This piece is an excerpt from an original article published as part of the eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta series, which can be found here.

Despite the fact that maps are a useful resource in terms of power and decision making, we are currently living through a period of transformations, redefining what we have always referred to as territory.

Although this concept is usually associated with the idea of a delimited space, defined by administrative borders, today it goes beyond geographic traditions.

However, these historical features of maps become limits to innovation, seeing as they create mental and imaginary barriers. Borders that, although perhaps no longer in existence, our senses insis...

14:13

Una nueva forma de geografa "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Uno de los riesgos de la poltica convencional es ver el mundo con las viejas ideas subsidiarias de una manera de entender la geografa y la geometra de los conceptos. English, Portugus

Fuente de la imagen: Wikipedia. Mapa original de John Snow que muestra la agrupacin geogrfica de los casos de clera en la epidemia de Londres de 1854, dibujada y litografiada por Charles Cheffins.

Este artculo es un extracto de un artculo original publicado en el eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta y se puede encontrar aqu.

Pese a que los mapas son un recurso til en trminos de poder y toma de decisiones, estamos viviendo en medio de una poca de transformaciones y redefiniciones de aquello que siempre hemos llamado territorio, ya que normalmente se relaciona al concepto de espacio delimitado, definido por lmites administrativos, pero hoy su concepcin va mucho ms all de las geografas tradicionales.

Sin embargo, estas caractersticas histricas de los mapas se convierten en aspectos que limitan la innovacin, ya que generan barreras mentales y, muchas veces, imagin...

12:20

We need to talk about where Brexit funder Arron Banks gets his money "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

openDemocracy investigations raise fresh questions about Arron Banks's wealth and the real source of the Brexit campaign's largest donations.

Arron Banks. Arron Banks. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images. All rights reserved.Brexit donor Arron Banks likes to boast about his money. Reported estimates of his fortune vary from 100m to 250m. In his book, The Bad Boys of Brexit, Banks says that in 2015 he decided to spend millions of pounds on influencing British politics because my businesses in this country and overseas, where I own a number of diamond mines, were doing really well.  

Banks was the biggest backer of the Brexit campaign, donating more than 8m. In spring 2016, the one-time Ukip donor gave 6m in loans to Leave.EU. These loans - a huge sum for a British political campaign - were due to be repaid by the end of 2017. But Banks has not called in these debts, openDemocracy has learned.

You might imagine that a man who could afford to just write off 6m in loans to Leave.EU must have significant disposable income? Perhaps. After a major openDemocracy investigation last year found serious questions about the extent of Bankss wealth, the Electoral Commission announced that it is investigating whether, in the run-up to the Brexit vote, Banks and one of his companie...

11:07

Feeling Yerevans pulse: the new media talking about Armenias blind spots "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

A year ago, the media platform EVN Report was founded to surface everyday concerns and what the media leaves behind. As Armenians take to the streets again, its become an invaluable resource.

16 April: opposition politician Nikol Pashinyan speaks to a crowd in central Yerevan. Image: Roubina Margossian.

Read the latest in our ongoing Unlikely Media series. As part of this series, we profile new independent (and independently-minded) publications from across the post-Soviet space, and interview editors who are trying to make spaces for alternative journalism, political commentary and reporting.

These are turbulent times for Armenia. Following constitutional changes in 2015, the country transitioned from a presidential to a parliamentary republic. Some dismissed the move as a tactic by president Serzh Sargsyan to stay in power after his final presidential term expired in April 2018. The naysayers were proven right; two days ago, the ruling Republican Party of Armenia elected Sargsyan as its candidate for prime minister. Today, parliament votes on his appointment.

For many younger Armenians, its the final straw. Over the weekend, hundreds of opposition protesters marched in the Armenian capital and beyond to Reject Serzh. Theyve occupied streets, seized the public radio building, and ground Yerevan to a halt. The new independent media platform EVNReport has been indispensable in bringing perspective to these events.

The publication was born in the fallout of an earlier episode of mass unrest in Armenia. In July 2016, a motley assortment of nationalist veterans seized a police station in suburban Yerevan, killing two in the process. As riot police besieged the occupied building, Kajik Grigoryan, a 58-year old unemployed man, set himself alight as protests broke out.

Meanwhile, 49-year old Artur Sargsyan approached the fighters and gave them food, for which he was charged with supporting an armed terrorist group. After a long s...

11:07

Last Chance for EU Citizens? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

EU citizens register to voteToday, Tuesday 17 April, is the last chance for people to register to vote in the local elections on 3 May, if they are not already on the electoral roll. This is particularly important for citizens of EU countries other than the UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta, as it is unlikely that they will retain their voting rights after Brexit, so this may be the last opportunity they have to make their voice heard. The franchise in all UK elections is currently given to all legally resident Commonwealth and Irish citizens, but other EU nationals dont have the right to vote in the national parliament elections. However, everyone will lose their vote for the European elections, which are due in June next year, as the UK will no longer have the right to send MEPs to Brussels/Strasbourg. In London, which has all-out elections in all 32 boroughs, there are a large number of EU citizens; in some wards, one or two thousand, which means that their participation in next months elections could swing the result. Thats why a number of community NGOs, as well as several political parties, are urging them to register and to vote, to send a strong anti-Brexit message to 10 Downing Street (and to Labours Jeremy Corbyn, for that matter). A strong performance b...

10:20

The Windrush generation and the long history of not being quite British enough "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Britain has an ignoble history of exploiting Caribbean people when they were useful, then casting them aside as insufficiently British when they were not.

Image: Windrush arrivals in 1948, PA Images archive, all rights reserved.

Recent reports of the current Home Office crackdown on Commonwealth elders come as a horrifying surprise, but they tell of a history we have not faced. How did we get here?

Black soldiers and empire

The history begins in 1795 with the West India Regiment (WIR). The British army recruited from the Caribbean colonies to help fight for the British Empires interests. Recruiting from the Caribbean was economically resourceful for the empire since around 90 per cent of white troops who died when stationed in the area, did so from disease.

By the turn of the 20th century, the British Empire routinely recruited from colonies to assist in its wars. The British Army created a second infantry, the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR), to help support British interests in the First World War. It used the WIR to fight West and East African campaigns.

Alongside the West Indian regiments, Black British soldiers also served in the army as early as World War One. Walter Tull is perhaps one of the greatest forgotten legends. Born to a Barbadian carpenter, Tull went on to have an outstanding career in football, playing for Tottenham Hotspur and Northampton Town before becoming a well-respected military sergeant.

Tull died in battle, but to this day, Tull has not been awarded any posthumous honour for his military efforts.

As Phil Vasili writes: According to The Manual of Military Law, Black soldiers of any rank were not desirable. During the First World War, military chiefs of staff, with government approval, argued that White soldiers would not accept orders issued by men of colour and on no account should Black soldiers serve on the front line."...

10:18

Orbn, get lost to the tulipy cunt. Hungary threatens the European Union a photo essay from Budapest "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

"I joined a massive demonstration against the Orbn supremacy a week after the election, on Saturday afternoon 14 March. It completely filled Budapests wide avenues between the Opera and Parliament."

lead lead Orbn, get lost to the tulipy cunt. A famous Hungarian curse put to a new use. All photographs the author's own.The election victory of Viktor Orbn his third in a row in Hungary last week is a much greater danger to the European Union than Brexit. A clearly undemocratic Premier now threatens to overturn the rule of law and install himself as an effective dictator based on popular mobilisation, stirred by noxious racist and xenophobic strobes.

The menace follows his overwhelming election victory last week on Sunday 8th March. The recipient of billions of euros in EU support, much of which is apparently misappropriated by regime corruption, and benefiting from German permission, Orbn is arguably now coming to represent actually existing Europe.

Hungarys capital city voted against him and his party, Fidesz. The town is still covered in election posters. Idealistic images of the leaders of the fragmented opposition parties stare out from lampposts. From Jobbik, the rightist party that came second, to centrist and leftist movements like Momentum, founded last year, that gained just 3% of the vote and failed to enter parliament. A brief post-election report is filled with their now gloomy faces in defeat and resignation.

The thought that together they had 51% of the total was little consolation. The electoral system introduced by Orbn loaded the votes in his favour and gave him a two-thirds parliamentary majority, enough to do as he wishes with the constitution.

The countryside of this modest, 10 million strong people, backed Orbn to the hilt, after two terms in power and outrageous examples of corruption, support for Fidesz grew. Basically a significant part of Hungarian society wanted this type of governance to continue. This is not because these people are stupid...

09:47

Black Tunisian women: ceaseless erasure and post-racial illusion "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Four black women from all walks of life speak up about their experiences. They can no longer be silenced.

Rania, in a protest against racism. All rights reserved

I was six years old when I came running to my mother complaining about a grade that a teacher gave me and I still remember the look she gave me and then said: little girl, you have to study hard and work twice as hard as your peers, life is hard for people with our skin. If you fall, no one will be there for you. 

This memory still resonates with Houda, a 27 year old civil engineer. Supported by her friend Sabrine, she tells her story with excitement and a bitter sadness. Both girls grew up in the deep south of Tunisia and both emphasized the role of the black woman in their community. A role that requires a lot of sacrifices but little reward in exchange.

Sabrine and Houda, the faces of the strong black woman. All rights reserved.

Because you have a whole community on your back , your whole family says Houda with a confident tone, as a black woman, I am always thinking of how to improve the situation of my family and only with education and work are we able to do that. My mom was always my source of inspiration, she was the driving force of the whole family

The black body experience: sexualization, exotification, and myths

Rania and Maha, even though both of them come from different backgrounds, have chosen to be a walking manifestation of activism. Maha, a social geography researcher and Ph.D student,...

09:00

The false promise of the Nordic model of sex work "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The model of criminalising only the clients of sex workers is becoming increasingly popular, but what do those working with sex workers in Finland actually think of it?

Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity in 2016, Vancouver, Canada. Sally T. Buck/flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

I'm Essi Thesslund from Pro Tukipiste-Finland. We started 27 years ago, and we mainly work with workers in the erotic industry and sex industry. Ten years ago, we started also working with victims of trafficking. However, our position regarding so-called anti-trafficking work has always been quite critical. This is because, coming from the Nordic countries, the discussion around trafficking has been framed within a criminal justice approach to controlling prostitution, and whether we should criminalise the clients of sex workers.

Sam (oD): Ive heard you say elsewhere that there is no such thing as the Nordic model. But as anybody with an interest in the topic knows, there is something that is being sold as the Nordic model the basic idea of criminalising the clients but not the workers. This is becoming more popular, so I wanted to ask you to respond very directly to the suggestion that this causes no harm to the women involved. What are your thoughts on that?

Essi: I think it's very hard to have a person who is selling, a person who is buying, and to then criminalise one part of that transaction. How would that not affect the other part of the transaction? And what we have heard we have had many Swedish advocates coming to show us how they implement their policy is that they surveil sex workers to catch clients. We see this kind of policy as a violation against sex workers integrity and right to privacy. It seems to be difficult to get the clients without harassing the sex workers.

Finland didn't adopt the Swedish model, which does this. The Finnish model is the partial criminalisation of sex buyers. Finnish law differentiates between different kinds of sex work. Sex work is not illegal. It's legal to buy and legal to sell if the person is working individually. But its illegal to buy sex from sex workers who are working under a pimp, or from victims of trafficking, or from minors.

It seems to be difficult to get the clients without harassing the sex workers.

The partial criminalisation used to be implemented in some cases, but not so much anymore....

08:53

Syria: stop asking questions! "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Who gets to decide who is involved in pseudoscience and misdirection? Who asks the questions and who gets bamboozled? What role should the media play?

Times front page, April 14, 2018.The morning after the US-led airstrikes on Syria, The Times devoted its front page to an attack on academics who had questioned the rationale for the bombing. The headline article Apologists for Assad working in British universities was accompanied by a two-page spread claiming that the academic Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media was trying to shut down debate. For good measure, The Times also denounced the Working Group as Assads Useful Idiots in its editorial column.

A leading national newspaper singling out individual scholars as agents of disinformation and cheerleaders for despotism who, it strongly implied, should not be employed at British universities, raises urgent questions of academic freedom.

The Times maintained its support for the idea of untrammelled academic inquiry as sacrosanct, but argued that the work of the Group does not count as legitimate academic inquiry. Instead, it said, this coterie of Assad apologists is engaged in pseudoscience and misdirection, peddling obscurantism and sophistry. These are not serious academics pursuing a search for truth, but rather agents of disinformation whose work is a violation of the ethos of academic research.

I must declare an interest here: I am on the international advisory board of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. I can attest that the aim of the group is not to act as apologists for either the Syrian or Russian governments. Rather, its aim is to analyse media coverage and critique the propaganda claims that surround the conflict. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that western media have acted as conduits for such propaganda, but dont just take my word for it. 'Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the Americ...

07:24

Partners in piety: inside Ukraines evangelical business empire "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

This church will really change your consciousness and reform your life. But at what cost? RU

The Resurrection church in Vydubychi, Kyiv. Photo courtesy of the author.Sunday services at Kyivs Vozrozhdeniye, or Resurrection, church attract hundreds. Most travel by metro, trudging the last bit through an industrial estate to Vydubychi, a historic area on the edge of the city. The church itself is an immense metal box, painted to look like a blue sky with a few clouds floating in it. Above it, a banner showing a happy (traditional) family: Dream, act and win. Resurrection. With the surrounding industrial landscape, the building appears like a ray of light in a kingdom of darkness.

Precious, anointed ones, come this way. The security guys organise the crowd with ease, directing them to the few empty seats left. The interior could pass for a Eurovision venue a floodlit stage with a large screen, spotlights and multi-coloured lighting effects. The priests wear shiny red suits and bowties. The women wear dramatic make-up, and their hair is done to perfection. The services are rousing, often with an acapella prayer and a musical finale that brings the more impressionable members of the congregation to ecstasy.

The congregation, hungry for spiritual spectacle, repeat the words of the chanted prayers and shout Amen in American fashion, waving their arms in the air. A few speak in tongues after receiving the Holy Spirit. Many have brought notebooks to note the important bits of the sermons there are many of these, one after another.

The preachers talk about strength of character and faith, and quote passages from the scriptures, each in their own style, but all loud, full of inspiration and accompanied by guitar riffs. In between times, people are exhorted to sign up for church events and activities: going on a crusade; enrolling on bible courses where they can render powerful praise and worship unto God and hold healing sessions, not to mention summits at which Muntyan expounds his teachings about the fourth dimension, which will really change their consciousness and reform their lives. All these events cost money.

Althoug...

03:18

Bang! Bang! youre deid "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

By Russell Bruce

That was nae fair, getting big Jenny tae tuck her skirt intae her knickers jist as you went sneaking roun ma back. Pure Daily Mail diversion. clever though All gie ye that. Calls for ma team tae hive a tactical meeting the nicht.

Theres the bell, 16 minutes an the monitors oot.

Same time tomorrow then

From playground games life progresses to some kind of normality for most people, but to a very small number of individuals they get their hands on the actual trigger. To war, or not to war? For May and Macron this was their first opportunity to engage in military action. May made a clear reference to this in her first public statement and was obviously delighted to be seen holding Trumps hand again.

Few countries have the geopolitical complexity of ruthless dictator Bashar al-Assads Syria. Calculations may have been carefully made but the wisdom of the action is highly questionable. A number of ancillary considerations are not without meaning.

I am reminded of The Glass Bead Game by German author Hermann Hesse. It was not published in Germany until after WWII due to Hesses anti fascist views. The rules and description of the game are not tightly defined. Some have invented actual games with their own interpretation. I always saw it as a chess-like game in multiple layers with connectivity operating on both the horizontal and vertical axis. Making unexpected connections was certainly part of what Hesse wanted to engage his readers with.

The US did not want to hit any Russian targets. The Russians decided to stay out of things leaving Assad exposed to the16 minute barrage on three of the identified chemical weapons facilities or sites with delivery potential. At least two target possibilities were abandoned because of the danger of Russian or civilian collateral damage.

There is almost virtual universal agreement that the use of chemical weapons should meet with international condemnation. Sixteen minutes of high explosive impact does not solve this issue. In the wake of the action, and behind the scenes, detailed and separate evaluation is being undertaken by the US Pentagon and the Russians.

The difficulty of bombing Syria was always a fraught calculation because Assad had a Russian air defence system installed to discourage such attempts. With a missile fired the equivalent of every 8 seconds this was a chance to find out how many would make it through to target. It is certain that the sequence and frequency of missile firing bursts, from three locations, was pre-timed in great detail.

The Russians have a newer, more sophisticated system installed at their Syrian bases. They were not going to expose or engage it. Assad was on his own when the sky suddenly...

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Monday, 16 April

23:13

Russia haunts the western imagination "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Krastev (1)_0.gifThe dividing line between authoritarian Russia and liberal democracies is growing ever thinner.

 

 

Staring at shadows: Moscows Kremlin at night. CC: ePsilon/Flickr. Some rights reserved.If a Martian were sent to earth with a secret mission to figure out the trends of world politics, he would certainly be puzzled by the outsized role that Putins Russia plays in the 21st century imagination of the west. Almost half of Americans tend to believe that Moscow rigged the 2016 US presidential election; many Europeans suspect that the Kremlin shapes public opinion in their countries; and some of the leading western media outlets insist that Russias President Vladimir Putin is the worlds most influential political leader. While in the beginning of this century Russia was viewed as a mixture of failure and banality, today in the minds of many it has mutated into the model of the world to come.

Frankly speaking, neither Russias brutal annexation of Crimea, nor its military involvement in Syria nor aggressive meddling in American elections could sufficiently explain western obsessions with Russia. It is true that Putins Russia is a military power and that the Kremlin has demonstrated its willingness to use force as an instrument to achieve its goals. But let us not forget that Russia is a resurgent rather than a rising power. Its power and influence are just a bleak copy of those of the Soviet Union. Russia suffers from low European-level birth rates and almost African-level life expectancy. Its population has one of the highest percentages of university-educated people, but with the lowest labour productivity per hour worked in the industrialised world.

The country is profoundly corrupt and though President Putin is a strong leader, the prospects of Russias development after him (regardless of when that after will be) are highly uncertain. In the words of Vyacheslav Volodin, the current chairm...

22:18

Why are the UK establishment class waging ideological war on the OPCW? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Anyone who has been paying attention for the last few weeks must have noticed that the Tory government has launched a sustained ideological attack on the Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

This UK establishment attack on the Nobel Peace Prize winning organisation seemed to begin as a means of having a dig at Jeremy Corbyn over his insistence that the rules of the Chemical Weapons Convention should be followed in relation to the Salisbury poisoning.

Seeing Tories and the yapping dogs of the mainstream press attacking and ridiculing the OPCW seemed like the latest absurd manifestation of the anti-Corbyn agenda. It seemed that people were so unhinged in their desperation to criticise Corbyn that they'd actually resort to demeaning and ridiculing an organisation that is dedicated to ridding the world of chemical and biological weapons in order to score points against him.

But then the Syria airstrikes made it absolutely clear that this is way bigger than the myopic anti-Corbyn agenda of the British establishment class, these people have undeniably declared some kind of crazed ideological war on the OPCW.

The first thing that a lot of people noticed was that Theresa May rushed the decision to carry out airstrikes to jump the gun on the OPCW inspectors ...

21:11

FP April 17 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

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The dividing line between authoritarian Russia and liberal democracies is growing ever thinner.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world
Staring at shadows: Moscows Kremlin at night. CC: ePsilon/Flickr. Some rights reserved.

20:54

The myth of the Swedish education miracle "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The Swedish model is not especially efficient or good, but it is the one that has pushed as far as possible the post-authoritarian logic in modern European education.

lead A portrait painting of Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, 1793. Wikicommons/Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. Public domain.When it comes to education, the public debate in France, as in Germany, seems to have taken a very cartoonish shape. Its reached the point where we can predict almost exactly how the debate will go. The discussion will start with someone from the left wing highlighting Sweden as being the model to follow. A country which supposedly achieved high results while giving more room to creativity, imagination and free-time. The debate will unavoidably end with some right-winger replying that Sweden has a very high suicide rate, that the Swedish are not really happy in general even slightly neurotic and that this so-called model would damage the French art de vivre. On top of that, the new Swedish generation is said to be ill-mannered.

The problem I have with this debate is simply that all of the above is wrong. Firstly, Sweden's performance in terms of education, as measured by the PISA test, is very low. As an example, the country only ranked 27th in science, behind.... France. Secondly, the suicide rate in Sweden is absolutely not as high as claimed. With a suicide rate of 12 in every100,000, the country is about the European norm, even better, their rate is lower than Frances. Thirdly, when it comes to ill-mannered kids, anybody who has been to France recently knows that Frenchman really have no right to say anything about this.

In other words, in 10 years, and despite everything that has been written and said on the matter, nobody has taken 5 minutes to check the facts on Google....

But this debate says something extremely interesting about French society. The irrelevance of fac...

18:54

Cowardly attacks on female politicians appearance not just the work of social medias losers "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart has today rightly highlighted the unacceptable nature of personal abuse that was directed at her on social media recently.

Comments were directed at her and party leader, Arlene Foster, after the latter had posted a photograph of the pair on Twitter.

Lockharts intervention was welcomed by Sinn Feins Northern Leader, Michelle ONeill:

The personal abuse meted out to high profile figures in politics can be deeply unsavoury, and is usually attributed to accounts with anonymous profiles behind which individuals hide to avoid being directly linked with cowardly comments that can be misogynistic, racist, homophobic or sectarian in nature.

Lockhart is correct to raise this issue.

It is equally important to call out the actions of elected representatives and commentators who resort to similar language on screen or on social media to denigrate political opponents using looks or appearance as a weapon.

A number of years ago, Carla and Arlenes party colleague, Sammy Wilson, made this comment about two female elected representatives:

The other two Sinn Fein ministers are two women. I cant remember their names but their sisters called Cinderella.

There is only one way to interpret Wilsons words. He has form in this regard.

Coming from a prominent elected representative, the significance of Wilsons utterances to a party gathering would have a considerably greater impact on account of his status as an influential, high profile figure.

If Carla Lockhart speaking out makes a difference t...

18:30

The timeline of shame "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


In March 2018 the Saudi tyrant Mohammed bin Salman began a month-long tour of Western nations, securing new arms deals with Britain, the United States, and France.

In early March 2018 the brutal Islamist tyrant received a warm Tory welcome in London. Against a backdrop of widespread criticism of the repressive Saudi regime and their ongoing campaign of war crimes in Yemen, Theresa May agreed a new arms deal with the Saudi regime to supply them 48 Typhoon jets. This deal was signed off by the UK government despite their full knowledge that the Saudis have been using British-manufactured weapons to commit horrific war crimes.

Later that month Bin Salman rocked up in the United States to meet Donald Trump. The President of the United States demeaned his office and his nation by begging the Saudi tyrant to "share the wealth" by buying more American-manufactured weapons. The trip concluded with a new $670 million deal to supply the repressive kingdom with anti-tank missiles and spare parts for tanks and helicopters.

And then Bin Salman appeared in Paris to meet Emmanuel Macron. The trip concluded with...

18:25

Thats all-white then - an all-white panel on minorities and justice' "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

White people need to get better at seeing race, addressing it, and addressing our own complicity. Taking part in all-white panels especially on a subject where race is central simply isn't good enough.

Image: Katie Bruce

What if you had to guess what links the three people in this photo? Cousins? A budget Specsavers advert?

You probably wouldnt guess that we were the speakers at an international conference session called minorities and justice at Oxford University. Im the one on the left. An all-white panel on minorities and justice.

Six months ago the Lammy Review found that Black people in the UK are four times more likely to be in prison than would be expected given their proportion of the total population. As the UK Prime Minister Theresa May said, if youre black, youre treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if youre white.

Six months on and the theme of the Howard Leagues bi-annual conference at Oxford University is Redesigning Justice: Promoting civil rights, trust and fairness. 

According to the conference blurb, it will shine a light on seemingly intransigent aspects of justice systems including what equality and legitimacy mean 50 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King and why prison is still so central to justice responses to crime.

Bring it on. I submit my abstract and am excited when I get a place to speak. If ever there was a system in need of redesign it is the criminal justice system.

I am already at the conference when I realise that the session Im going to be presenting in is called minorities and justice. Im a white woman - there must be some mistake.

The programme is impressively vast, with nine parallel sessions at a time. The session in which Im speaking appears to be one of the only ones specifically about minorities and justice, along with the final plenary session. Within different sessions individual presentations also cover issues related to the experiences of minority groups and justice, mos...

16:32

Kidnapping: a tactic to silence journalists "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

What used to be more of a concern when reporting from active warzones is now becoming a reality of reporting in an alarming number of places.

Hundreds protest after the president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, confirmed the murder of three kidnapped journalists from the newspaper El Comercio, in Quito, Ecuador on April 13, 2018. NurPhoto/ Press Association. All rights reserved.In the spring issue of the Index on Censorship magazine, we interviewed Aasim Saaed, who was kidnapped and held in captivity for 21 days last year. He said his kidnapping departed from the past because it was carried out by state forces, rather than the more commonplace accomplices extremists.

People are definitely scared. Another guy was picked up recently, he added.

Saaed joins a cohort of abducted journalists and dissidents in the country. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, since 2011 more than 3,500 such disappearances have occurred.

There are usually procedures to be followed when summoning journalists We are now being intimidated, said journalist Charles Etukuri, who was also recently kidnapped, in his case in Uganda. Working for the publication New Vision, he thinks his abduction was because of an article he wrote in February detailing the death of a Finnish national in the Ugandan capital Kampala.  

On route to lunch, Etukuri was surrounded by men in military uniform, handcuffed, taken to an undisclosed location and held for six days. While in custody, his captors demanded that he reveal the sources behind the story, but he refused. They only let him go once they had gone through all of his private emails. Etukuri believes the problem lies with a few government officials in the security department.

Its saddening that the president who fought for establishing the rule of law is silent, he added.

Etukuri is the second high-profile journalist to have been kidnapped in Uganda recently. Freelance journalist...

16:11

Operation Lava Jato and the destruction of the rule of law "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The fight against corruption in Brazil should imply political reform limiting the influence of economic power on politics, particularly during elections.  But without respect for the law, this is impossible. Espaol, Portugus

The President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrives at the Federal Police Superintendence in Curitiba (PR) on Saturday 7 of April to face imprisonment. Image: Geraldo Bubniak/Zuma Press/ PA Images, All rights reserved

Corruption and illegal behaviour have characterised the ruling class not only in Brazil, but in many other societies from the more developed such as the US to the less developed around the world. 

The members of these hegemonic classes tend to be large agri-business owners, owners of banks or financial institutions, of industrial or service business, of media giants, of property, of national cooperations. And their members make up the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government. 

In Brazil, like in many other countries, examples of this type of expedience are:

  1. Financial engineering in order to avoid or reduce tax payments
  2. Pressuring the government to reduce taxes placed on the rich
  3. Tax evasion
  4. Sending and depositing resources in so called tax havens, usually product of illegal activities
  5. Fraud committed in the name of public contractors
  6. The collusion between political groups and illegal activities including drug trafficking
  7. The financing of political campaigns to support individuals who will represent the interests of the hegemonic classes in Congress

Brazilian society is composed largely of urban workers (employed, unemployed and underemployed individuals), of rural workers without land an...

14:59

US withdrawal: what next? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

With the war on the "Islamic state" in both Syria and Iraq almost over, the eye is now turned to the two superpowers; the United States of America and Russia.

Smoke rises after the Syrian army's shelling targeted the Douma district in Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus, Syria, on April 7, 2018. Picture by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. All rights reserved. In addition to their regional and international allies, the two superpowers will shift from the tactical towards the strategic insight. Therefore, we should see more homogeneous new alliances than those found during the last years of war in Syria.

There is no logic in the alliance between liberals and Islamists, as is the case in the strange partnership that let communists meet with capitalists.

War conditions may have imposed these interim alliances, in which they get temporary goals to achieve the strategic objectives.

In the Syrian case which is protracted since March 2011, it was common to see religious fundamentalists creating a political and military framework with liberals who aim to abolish religious manifestations in Syria and build a secular country. 

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (The Coalition), one of the most prominent Syrian opposition frameworks, includes politically incompatible entities such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Syrian nationalist opponents, and liberals.

"The Coalition" is also allied with radical Islamic factions such as Jaysh al-Islam (the Army of Islam), an ally in turn of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (Levant Liberation Committee) formerly Al-Nusra Front; the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.

Another example of the alliance of extremes is what we have seen between the Kurdish Democratic Union party PYD (the leftist with its identity and orientation) and the United States of America (the primary proponent of capitalist thought).

The main forces influencing the Syrian situation are the United Stat...

14:35

The Commonwealth gets extra attention "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Some 5,000 participants from government, business and civil society have arrived for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The central theme of the deliberations is Towards a Common Future.

lead Queen Elizabeth hosts Commonwealth Diaspora community at Buckingham Palace, in the lead up to CHOGM this April in London. Jonathan Brady/ Press Association. All rights reserved. Great Britain is known for its grand events and theatre. Magnificent pomp and pageantry awaits the leaders of 53 Commonwealth nations arriving here for their summit. The masters of ornamentalism have pulled out all the stops and a prominent role is being played by the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth, and other royals.

Some 5,000 participants from government, business and civil society have arrived for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The central theme of the deliberations is Towards a Common Future. Their vision is to promote peace, prosperity and democracy.

Providing relief

The Commonwealth has been playing a constructive role over the years by highlighting the problems of the developing countries and small island nations and by providing aid. Concerned British leaders and groups see it as an effective instrument for helping the helpless of the world through aid programmes. It fights malaria, malnutrition and other maladies in the member-countries. It provides relief in the face of natural calamities. Concerned British leaders and groups see it as an effective instrument for helping the helpless of the world through aid programmes.

Some want the Commonwealth to promote democracy and free speech by enforcing these virtues and punishing the offenders even throwing out a member-country straying from the democratic path. Some others feel that the institutions extra emphasis on human rights was driven by cold war considerations.

The business leaders expect every institution to promote commercial interests. So, the Business Forum will have a busy schedule during the summit.

A va...

13:48

Theresa May has sidelined and undermined the OPCW "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


On April 14th 2018 Theresa May cynically bypassed parliament and ignored public opinion in order to join forces with the most unpopular and unstable US President in history and launch air strikes in Syria. And she did this in the full knowledge that she was jumping the gun by attacking before the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors could get to Douma and carry out their work.

In doing this she tore up the longstanding convention that British leaders seek democratic approval for military action (unless the UK is under immediate threat) and totally abandoned the principle that it's important for our political leaders to present the evidence to justify our nation's actions.

If the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma was carried out by Assad's forces, then what would have been the harm in allowing the OPCW inspectors to do their work to prove it before the airstrikes were launched?

Surely carefully targeted airstrikes carried out on the basis of a democratic vote, and justified by independent OPCW evidence would have carried vastly more moral authority than rushed airstrikes against inexplicable targets?

When I say inexplicable targets, I'm talking about the destruction of the Barzah Scientific Research Centre near Damascus. Just three weeks before the site was destroyed by airstrikes, the OPCW announced that there was no chemical or biological weapons production at the site. Yet the Tory propaganda machine is trying to pass off this attack as the "targeting of a chemical weapons site".
...

12:23

First past the post is failing the Labour movement it's time to mend our voting system "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The inherent bias towards Tory seats in our voting system is set to get worse, and the arguments for reforming it have never been stronger, finds a new report out today. 

Image: Big Ben under scaffolding. David Holt/Flickr/Creative Commons.

The last time we had a choice about electoral systems the Alternative Vote referendum in 2011 Labour was undecided, and most trade unions opposed reform.

Indeed, one union leader argued: first-past-the-post delivers strong, single-party government.

2011 seems like a different world now.

Since then, weve witnessed three weak and wobbly elections none of which have delivered on First Past the Posts central promise. The way our politics works has changed almost beyond recognition with the shift in Labour just one sign of that. 

Trade unions in Scotland (the STUC) have now unanimously agreed that the balance has shifted when it comes to reform: the burden of proof now falls upon those that want to keep the status quo. For backers of Proportional Representation (PR) this shift is significant. It was trade unions getting behind electoral reform that saw Scotland switch to Holyroods proportional system in the 1990s.

But for Labour supporters, theres also a growing realisation that something has changed over the past few elections. An electoral system which once benefited Labour has become rigged in the opposite direction.

Assuming the contest was to end in a draw - i.e. the Conservatives and Labour won the same number of votes in a General Election today they would not be rewarded with the same number of seats in the House of Commons. The Conservatives would be the largest party by 12 seats an issue known as electoral bias.

Labour would need to do 0.8% better than the Conservatives to become the largest party. But to win a majority, the figures are more stark: Labour will need a lead of 7.4%, compared to just 3.4% for the Conservatives.

The reason for this absurd bias...

11:37

Why does the conviction against Lula threaten the rule of law? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The problem with Lula's conviction is the use of criminal proceedings as a political toolset with a long-standing authoritarian agenda. Portugus 

Ministry of Culture - Opening of the II National Conference of Culture. Some rights reserved.

On April 4, the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) denied the habeas corpus petition filed by former President Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, a constitutional remedy to prevent his arrest before his conviction becomes definitive.

Lula was sentenced first, and later on second instance, to 12 years in prison on charges of corruption, mainly for supposedly accepting an apartment as a bribe in order to facilitate dubious contracts with Petrobras, Brazil's State oil company.

The problem with Lula's conviction is the use of criminal proceedings as a political toolset with a long-standing authoritarian agenda. The official discourse is the redemption and moralization of politics, but its machinery disregards constitutional fundamental rights inverting the burden of proof and tainting the very principle of a fair trial.

To justify our thesis, our argument will be based on the following points: that conclusive evidence has not been presented in the Sergio Moro's sentence that could indicate Lula's crime of corruption and money laundering; that Lula's case was sped through the courts in record time, and the rights provided by the procedural laws were not respected; and finally, that, as illustrated by the habeas corpus decision made by the Brazilian Supreme Court, a restrictive interpretation of the law was used to the detriment of Lula.

The judge Sergio Moro has sentenced former president Lula for the crime of corruption and money laundering. In his ruling, the judge points out only a few indications that a property in the interior of the State of So Paulo (known as the Triplex of Guaruj) belonged to Lula....

09:30

Only structural change will deliver better education "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Maddy Bridgman who is the Public Affairs Officer for the Integrated Education Fund writes for Slugger about the Alternative Manifesto published today by the IEF

The Integrated Education Fund (IEF) has published its Alternative Manifesto for education based on the premise that we need to change our education system. Recent research (commissioned by the IEF from independent polling company LucidTalk) found parents reporting that some schools cannot afford to employ enough staff, and many buildings are decrepit. We have many high achievers in NI who deserve to be celebrated, but educational outcomes are not good enough for a significant number of pupils. We are artificially propping up a duplicated, expensive model which features thousands of empty desks. And somehow we think its ok to effectively segregate young people on the basis of the tradition or religion into which they were born.

Public servants acknowledge the budgetary landscape is bleak and, further, that radical, structural change is needed to mitigate this.

The recent budget briefing, issued by the Department of Finance, said:

Doing more of the same will get the same results as now at increasing cost.Transformation could result in better outcomes for pupils and for our economy,

And the Northern Ireland Childrens Commissioner in her report on the Cost of Education concluded:

The Northern Ireland Executive must ensure an end to the duplication of spend on the administration of the various education sectors in Northern Ireland. The focus of the provision of education within restricted budgets must be on ensuring that all children receive an education in line with Article 29(1) of the NCRC and fulfil their maximum potential.

We are confident, through our own research and our engagement with communities, that many more people recognise the need for change and many share our vision for an education system which meets the 21 century needs of every young person.

The LucidTalk poll found that there is strong support for structural change to the NI education system, with equally strong support for increased integration. A Sky News poll published just last week revealed 69% of people in NI were in favour of integrated education.

We are also confident that our vision for education helps meet the declared aims of politicians and policy-makers. The draft Programme for Government aspires to a flourishing, diverse but united community. The role that our education system can play must not be dismissed. To achieve our common vision, we need meaningful reform of the way educ...

08:50

FP April 16 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

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Enric Duran Giralt, anti-capitalist activist. Credit: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

08:18

A redneck revolt? Radical responses to Trumpism in the rural US "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

There are radical responses to Trumpism in rural and working class white communities. The story of one of them, called Redneck Revolt, reveals important lessons for the US left.

lead Redneck Revolt. Some rights reserved.This article is in Series 2 on confronting authoritarian populism and the rural world, linked to the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI). An overview and links to Series 1 can be found here.

The election of Donald Trump, coupled with the growth of right-wing populism around the globe, has spurred considerable reflection about the multiple divides that stratify the current US political spectrum, particularly the urban/rural and racial rifts. Rural and working-class whites have received special scrutiny for their higher-than-expected turnout, and are often casually portrayed as the root cause of Trumpism.

While support for Trump, and the right-wing populism he tapped into, is definitely high among rural whites, it is by no means total. In fact, the spread of Trumpism has also inspired the spread of efforts to counter it.

Redneck revolt: libertarian emancipation?

The story of one group in particular, Redneck Revolt, provides a glimpse into emancipatory efforts across the rural US. Ultimately, their work shows that the US left has too easily abandoned the countryside to regressive forces, and suggests that challenging Trumpism requires challenging liberalism itself.   

Growing out of a rural Kansas mutual aid society called the John Brown Gun Club, one of Redneck Revolts main projects is to recruit away from white supremacist organizations...

06:21

Russias Telegram ban is just the start of the battle over online anonymity "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The ban on the popular social network and messaging app heralds a new era of pressure on online privacy, including for western internet companies. 

13 April: activists from Vesna ("Spring") movement in St Petersburg deliver paper airplanes, the symbol of the now banned Telegram app, to the city's Roskomnadzor office. (c) David Frenkel. All rights reserved. On Friday, the internet messenger Telegram was banned in Russia. The first chapter of this story, developing at its own pace since June 2017, ended in a blitzkrieg by Russias internet regulator in a Moscow court.

Over these eight months, Telegram has increased its user-base from six million to 15m users catching up WhatsApp, Viber and Skype in terms of popularity in Russia. Indeed, in October 2017, Russia became the world leader in downloads with 12.5m, accounting for downloads across US, Germany, Italy, Spain and Ukraine all together.

Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for this surge in popularity was the companys public refusal to give Russian security services access to its users correspondence. This became possible after the Russian internet regulator, after several weeks of active correspondence and public statements, included Telegram against established procedure on the so-called Register of Organisers of Information Distribution, i.e. social networks and other similar applications, in June 2017.

By that time, there were already 97 companies on this register, including Russias most popular internet services. For some reason, Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Skype and Viber were not included. Meanwhile, LinkedIn, the internet radio Zello, as well as Blackberry Messenger and the Imo and Line messengers were blocked for refusing to place themselves on the register and store Russian users personal data in domestic data centres.

Services on this register have to store all their users correspondence for six months, including transferred files, audio and text messages. Moreover, companies have to store users metadata for 12 months. This information has to be given to the police or the Federal Security Service (FSB) on request. Theres...

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Sunday, 15 April

23:16

The Hillary Child-Sex Tape is Worse than you can Imagine "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

I know just how bad this evil bitch & her scum husband is. Years ago I posted CLINTONS: THEIR SECRET LIVES. It takes some believing but its the best documentary ever done regarding this miserable lot. Ive posted it many times & said I never imagined there could be a worse American family than Bush. I was wrong. Thanks to

18:04

The Cam-Book gate scandal will not restore our privacy, will it? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

For us to care about the practices of corporations, reclaim our privacy and contest mass-surveillance we should not need the shock therapy of Trumpian politics.

lead Shutterstock/Ollyy. All rights reserved.The Cam-Book gate is creating ripples across the world as both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scramble to control the damage. The data extracted from Facebook without the informed consent of the users was allegedly used to influence the outcome of the US elections, which saw the rise of Trump and his acolytes to power. Suggestions are being made that Brexit was orchestrated by using similar tactics. Cambridge Analytica has maintained that it obtained the data legally.

There is noise coming out of India as well about data breaches. It is mere politicking and not a serious debate as it is a country with no robust privacy laws, and the state is more than happy to give corporations such as Facebook enough leeway as long as they toe its line. India has requested user data from Facebook more than every other country except the United States. In the recent past, Facebook has also blocked users from Indian Occupied Kashmir for expressing anti-India sentiments on its platform and so has ...

18:00

Do we have the right to financial rebellion? A conversation with Enric Duran "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We need to practice economic disobedience so that radical alternatives can flourish.  

Enric Duran Giralt, anti-capitalist activist. Credit: CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Its not easy to get in touch with Enric Duran. Dubbed the Robin Hood of the Banks by the mainstream media, the Catalan activist defrauded the Spanish banking system of nearly half a million euros in the period 2006 to 2008. He used the money to fund a range of local and global initiatives aimed at building alternative structures outside the state.

In 2013 he skipped bail and has since been on the run within the EU, living what he calls a nomadic existence. For many, Duran is a living symbol of the power of civil disobedience. For others, including the Spanish government, hes a naive criminal. Either way, his ideas around the right to resist state power and the importance of building autonomous financial systems have gained fresh relevance today, both through the upheavals in Catalonia and the rapid growth of the cryptocurrency sector.

Ive been chatting to him for some time on the secure messaging service Telegram and we eventually set up a connection through the open source conferencing programme Jitsi. With his black beard and heavy-set eyebrows and a gap between his front teeth, Duran looks like a typical 41-year old Mediterranean man. Behind him is a framed print of a tulip, reminiscent of a hotel room. I smile as I ask him where he is, and he smiles as he responds that he cant tell me. It doesnt need to be known in any public intervention, he explains. This is a typical response from a man who seems to view all of his personal actions within the frame of achieving social change and what he calls integral revolution.

Integral revolution means comprehensive transformation from below of all aspects of life like culture, economic, social, personal, ecological, he says. We achieve this by empowering communities from below to build a new society, new systems that are not based on the state or capitalism. Its the familiar goal of prefigurative politics: building a new world in the shell of the old.

In order to achieve this goal, Duran helped set up the Catalan Integral Cooperative, a loose network of cooperative ventures. He has never revealed...

16:53

The Peoples Vote Rally "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

13270BDE-5C74-40BF-8ED6-AF751E5A5521Over a thousand people gathered at the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town this afternoon to call for a Peoples Vote on the Brexit deal that Theresa May and her Brexiteer Ministers are already having problems negotiating. Actor Sir Patrick Stewart who had been on the Marr Show earlier in the day, championing the Exit from Brexit cause gave a stirring keynote address, after which a cross-party panel of MPs took up the baton: Caroline Lucas (Green), Layla Moran (LibDem), Chuka Umunna (Labour) and Anna Soubry (Conservative). There was a tiny demonstration of pro-Brexit supporters outside the venue, but they seemed overawed by the long queue of people waiting to get in, eagerly picking up stickers and flags to wave in the hall. The central argument of the campaign (which has consistently LibDem policy, incidentally) is that the British electorate deserves to have the chance to say yay or nay to whatever is on offer for Britains future relationship with our current 27 EU partners. It is clear that many of the Leave campaigns promises cannot be...

16:38

Chomsky's linguistics and military funding: a non-issue "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

There is no evidence that Chomskys research program has been driven by a desire to devise a theory that is devoid of any potential military applications.

lead Noam Chomsky mural, Fairmount, Philadelphia, PA., June, 2011. Wikicommons/ Robert Moran. Some rights reserved.Chris Knights thought-provoking piece makes two independent assertions, though Knight sees them as crucially linked. The first is that the Pentagon had high hopes of applying the results of Chomskys theorizing for military purposes. The second is that Chomskys horror at the idea of serving the military in any way led him to develop a theory of language so utterly abstract and other-worldly so completely removed from any practical application that no matter what insights he came up with, nothing could possibly be used to kill anyone.

My opinion is that Knight is right on the mark in his first assertion and completely wrong in the second. Contemporary accounts and subsequent history bear out the deep interest of the military in language-related research. However, there is no evidence that Chomskys research program has been driven by a desire to devise a theory that is devoid of any potential military applications.

Military interest in linguistics goes back at least as far as the beginning of the Second World War. American linguists at the time were convinced, and were successful in convincing others, that their methods of analysis were directly applicable to the preparation of the language instruction manuals that the American forces would need.

As early as 1942, it was reported that the director of the program that forged a link between the field of linguistics and the war effort was called upon for advice on language problems by practically every agency of government which has these problems: Office of Strategic Services, Board of Economic Welfare, Department of Justice, as well as the numerous departments of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. 1.

Knight documen...

15:19

Goodbye WTO? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The WTO has to be reformed and updated, not discarded. And the EU should play its part, while at the same time promoting its own industrial growth.

lead World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, April 12,2018. The WTO says that global trade is expected to remain strong, merchandise trade volume growing 4.4 percent in 2018, 4.0 percent in 2019. Xu Jinquan/ Press Association. All rights reserved.The WTO is unfair to US. So tweeted Donald Trump on Friday, 6 April. The tweet followed his launch of a number of tariffs to protect US steel and aluminum, more or less direct threats to the EU, and further tariffs specifically targeting China. Is a global trade war about to begin? Has the WTO (founded in 1995, a true child of the global age) become pointless?

In 1995 the EU had been one of the WTOs main promoters, and not without reason. Even now, in spite of the protracted Eurozone crisis, the European Union remains the worlds biggest trade power (ahead of the USA and China), also because of its single voice within the WTO, where it is represented by its member countries and as a single bloc. Foreign trade is a key asset of Germany (let us just think about cars, electronics and pharmaceuticals), the Netherlands, Italy, all in the world top ten of the countries with the biggest foreign surplus.

In contrast, the US has the worlds biggest trade deficit. No wonder that Mr Trump wants to impose tariffs on foreign goods. For now, the EU has been exempted, but will this privilege last?

After all, Trumps proposed duties have a rationale: the USA wants to re-build its own industry. Why doesnt Europe think in similar terms? Industry creates high added value and the EU has lost a lot of industrial capacity and jobs, especially in the wake of the Eurozone debt crisis.

Even in a former industrial power like France the share of employment in the secondary sector is now...

14:35

Precariat spring: Spanish social movements get ready for a new cycle of mobilisation "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

During the last month pensioners, women and housing activists suffering from precarious conditions have taken to the streets with one key demand: an end to the precarity of their lives. 

lead Las Kellys pregonan maana las fiestas de San Cayetano, August 2017. Wikicommons/ Diario de Madrid. Some rights reserved.After the enormous demonstrations led both by Catalan and Spanish nationalists some people feared that social issues would be removed from the Spanish political agenda. Despite the great increase in income inequality, the government has proudly presented the last macroeconomic figures as the end of the crisis, and it sometimes seemed that those who had not felt this recovery were more focused on the territorial dispute than on confronting these claims.

These impressions were misguided. During the last month pensioners, women and housing activists suffering from precarious conditions have taken to the streets with one key message: they want an end to the precarity of their lives and to recover the rights some of them had before the economic crisis.

Even if these collectives seem to be very different, their protests should not be viewed as independent events. Rather, they represent the seed of a cycle of mobilization of the precariat that will continue during the months to come.

The precariat refers to a new social class formed by people who, having the material conditions that provided stability to previous generations, live unpredictable and unsecure lives. Pensioners are precarious because, despite having worked their whole lives and earned their right to their retirement funds, their pensions are not enough to make ends meet. Women live precarious lives because they are underpaid in comparison with their male counterparts, and after their workday they have to do the unpaid labor of caring in the household. Other groups are precarious because despite having a house, they experience utility cuts...

14:00

Why the EU condones human rights violations of refugees in Hungary "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

While politicians such as Merkel polish their shining armour, the dirty job done at Europes periphery shelters them from actually having to apply their principles on their own territory. 

lead lead March, 2017. Kelebija, Serbia. Newly-built Hungarian detention camp for migrants at the Serbian-Hungarian border. Krystian Maj/ Press Association. All rights reserved.On May 23, 2016 Abdullah, a 26 year old man from Afghanistan crossed the border from Serbia to Hungary. He managed to break through the razor wire reinforced border fence Hungary had just erected in the fall of the year before and was apprehended by uniformed men near a Hungarian village.

He and the eight other people who were caught with him were forced to return back to the border fence where 30 policemen waited for them. They were told to keep their heads down, not to catch a glimpse of what was about to happen. Yet, Abdullah raised his head, and saw the policemen approaching. They carried a big canister of pepper spray. Then the beating began.

After a while, the refugees were handcuffed and led to a little hole the police had opened in the fence. Suddenly, a police man approached Abdullah and sprayed his face with pepper spray. He could not see. The police men forced him to crawl through the little hole in the razor wire fence. As he was crawling, the policemen kicked his butt and laughed. By the time he had made it to the Serbian side of the border, he had suffered severe cuts. 

Abdullahs story is not unique. In 2017 alone, approximately 10,000 refugees were apprehended, and forcefully pushed back to the Serbian side of the border fence. The Hungarian border is now patrolled by a specially formed police unit that bears the official name of border hunters and by uniformed private vigilante groups. They go on the hunt for refugees.

A recently adopted law allows for these hunts. A refugee may be apprehended anywhere in the country and be pushed back to Serbia without being able to launch an asylum procedure.

Those that enter Hungary in one of the two transit zones may apply for asylum. Yet, their chances are sli...

12:48

The misuse of abuse: fears of potentially abusive litigation are overriding the reality of abusive companies in Europe "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Its time to look to the future of collective redress in the EU on the basis of the evidence, for victims of corporate abuse in all member states and for all types of harm.

lead lead A Volkswagen car model 'VW Tiguan' next to handcuffs. The photo was taken on 15 October 2015. Sascha Steinach/Press Association. All rights reserved.Dieselgate held up a mirror to the notion of an EU Single Market where the rights of consumers are respected and enforceable, humiliating European consumers and regulators alike on their own continent.

Whilst US VW owners successfully extract billions in compensation with class-actions (and VW management is also put behind bars), in the EU, where the majority of VW consumers actually are, the struggle to obtain even meagre redress for consumers continues (with VW management avoiding jail time as well).

Its just one example of an EU mass harm situation where victims have been left without effective remedy. When we consider other areas of harm such as environmental (e.g. toxic chemical spills, man-made earthquakes) or discrimination (e.g. firing or mistreatment on grounds of race, religion or gender), the number of people without the means to compel effective remedy from abusive EU-based companies continues to grow.   

Whilst Dieselgate finally sparked legislative movement on collective redress from the European Commission, the proposal remains restricted to consumer harm, contrary to previous recommendations for a general, horizontal scope from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, the European Parliament and Council of Europe.

Now this limited proposal must survive eleven months of intense lobbying to pass through the Brussels machinery. It is therefore crucial to get the facts and arguments concerning collective redress straight, in order that the proposal sur...

12:14

Homage to Catalonia "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

By Peter Rowberry

My wife Susan and I moved to Scotland just over a year ago. We knew we would get good value for money in the housing market, but more importantly, we have always been admirers of its strong national identity and that it has never succumbed to the greed and selfishness that prevails in England. The openness and friendliness we have found in the Borders has not disappointed, in fact it has exceeded our expectations. Since we moved we have become strong supporters of the Scottish Independence movement. We would recommend living in Scotland to anyone, but only if you are prepared to embrace the culture that makes it that it what it is.

A biproduct of the move is that our greater financial freedom meant that we could plan a foreign holiday. We decided to go to Catalonia, primarily to see the unique birdlife of the area, but also to spend some time in and around Barcelona. No-one who follows the news could be ignorant of the political problems surrounding the calls for Catalan independence, but this did not deter us.

On our travels we were impressed by the number of red and yellow Catalan flags flying in the small towns and villages, many of which also bore the blue and white star of the independence movement. It seems that, until recently, there was an uneasy truce between the Catalan state and the national government in Madrid, but this ended when it was proposed that teaching in schools should be in Spanish, not Catalan. Local people felt that this was aimed at undermining their culture and values, something they could not accept. On our last full day in Spain we toured Barcelona, during which we met members of the independence movement, who were camping out in the Place da la Catalunya, which could be described as Barcelonas equivalent of Trafalgar Square. We met with Edvard, whose English was near perfect, as was his guitar playing. They were selling yellow ribbons to call for the release of political prisoners, who have been held for up to six months.

Once Edvard knew we were from Scotland he was keen to exchange news and views. Regional conflicts in Spain are not rare, especially between the Basque territory and Madrid. The dispute was violent and the terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) undertook a series of attacks to press their claim for independence. In January 2011 ETA ended their campaign and pledged that there would be a permanent ceasefire.

...

11:30

Finance struggles to find a social conscience "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The finance sector has the capacity to enrich and reward the lives of many. The wealth it has helped generate has played a vital part in the decline in global poverty over the past 30 years.

lead CEO Larry Fink ( third from right),at Wilson Awards, Wilson Centre, 2010. Wikicommons/ Some rights reserved. The most remarkable thing about financier BlackRock CEO Larry Finks latest letter exhorting corporate captains to develop a social conscience was not the medias excited response the NY Times called it Wall Streets watershed moment, and Le Monde, an inflexion majeure in the evolution of capitalism. No, what was remarkable was that it was news at all.

Granted BlackRock the world largest asset holder owns a staggering 8% worth of the S&P 500 companies, so what Mr Fink says is always worth listening to. But is not his message precisely what all financiers and asset managers ought to be demanding all of the time from the businesses they invest in? More to the point, is it not precisely what the invested-in corporations ought to be delivering? Corporations must secure a reputational social license to operate, alongside their legal license of incorporation if they are to be commercially successful and sustainable. All investors should be demanding as much, and the rest of us should be expecting no less. 

Yet in terms of respect for the rule of law, let alone social responsibility, the finance sector has a lamentable record. It is not just that the sectors political clout has managed criminal law to grey out areas that were previously manifestly illegal (such as conflicts of interest). The numbers of bank prosecutions pursued by the DOJ following the 2007/08 global financial crisis, for example, are pitiful (roughly 70 per annum) compared to those following the Savings and Loans crisis in the 1980s/90s (1,837 in 1995 alone). Nor is it that overwhelmingly those cases that are pursued are settled rather than convictions recorded (by way of so-called deferred (or non-) prosecution agreements), even when admissions of wrong-doing are extracted from errant banks. 

What is most reprehensible...

Finance struggles to find a social conscience "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The finance sector has the capacity to enrich and reward the lives of many. The wealth it has helped generate has played a vital part in the decline in global poverty over the past 30 years.

lead CEO Larry Fink ( third from right),at Wilson Awards, Wilson Centre, 2010. Wikicommons/ Some rights reserved. The most remarkable thing about financier BlackRock CEO Larry Finks latest letter exhorting corporate captains to develop a social conscience was not the medias excited response the NY Times called it Wall Streets watershed moment, and Le Monde, an inflexion majeure in the evolution of capitalism. No, what was remarkable was that it was news at all.

Granted BlackRock the world largest asset holder owns a staggering 8% worth of the S&P 500 companies, so what Mr Fink says is always worth listening to. But is not his message precisely what all financiers and asset managers ought to be demanding all of the time from the businesses they invest in? More to the point, is it not precisely what the invested-in corporations ought to be delivering? Corporations must secure a reputational social license to operate, alongside their legal license of incorporation if they are to be commercially successful and sustainable. All investors should be demanding as much, and the rest of us should be expecting no less. 

Yet in terms of respect for the rule of law, let alone social responsibility, the finance sector has a lamentable record. It is not just that the sectors political clout has managed criminal law to grey out areas that were previously manifestly illegal (such as conflicts of interest). The numbers of bank prosecutions pursued by the DOJ following the 2007/08 global financial crisis, for example, are pitiful (roughly 70 per annum) compared to those following the Savings and Loans crisis in the 1980s/90s (1,837 in 1995 alone). Nor is it that overwhelmingly those cases that are pursued are settled rather than convictions recorded (by way of so-called deferred (or non-) prosecution agreements), even when admissions of wrong-doing are extracted from errant banks. 

What is most reprehensible...

10:55

I voted for peace, and all I got was this lousy culture war "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

I found this weeks 20 year commemoration of the Agreement quite surreal. Maybe it was because I was sick at home in my pyjamas and missed out on the bling of the big events. No basking in the glow of disgraced elderly politicians for me

Instead, I was more struck by how sad and stuck everything feels right now. It feels like we voted for peace, but all we got was this lousy culture war. By culture war, in this context, I mean this current mud fight between green and orange, ussuns and themmuns, my morality vs your morality, my symbols vs your symbols Ad infinitum.

How exactly, I wondered, do you commemorate a peace accord on life support?

But then I realised Were not all actually engaged in this culture war. Only some of us are. Other stories are available. If largely unreported. Ill return to this.

The structural reasons for our culture war are well known. Green and orange were built into the architecture of the 1998 Agreement. Designating as unionist or nationalist was incentivised by dishing out jobs and having cross-community votes and vetoes on that basis. Cultural goodies were handed out to each side, scrupulously ignoring the nothings, the neithers and the in-betweens. The green became brighter and the orange became deeper as each side shuffled towards the outer ends of the seesaw to keep the other in balance. The binary became frozen in time. 

But there was probably no other way to get the ball rolling. The two-community model was probably a necessary medicine.

And violence has plummeted. A vote for the DUP or Sinn Fin does not now mean what it once did. Its not necessarily an endorsement of the past, or even the policies of the present. Some of them even still like each other. Just like we do. Surveys consistently show that regardless of our politics, we still want to mix more, and get to know each other better.

However, here we sit, many draped defensively in our flags, middle fingers up in the polling booths. Some awkwardly voting for parties they never thought they could. Whilst others shake their heads in bewilderment, seeing no way out. Some days it feels like our stereotypes of one another are worse than they have ever been.

What the hell happened?

...

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Saturday, 14 April

22:11

FP April 15 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

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Protestors at the Enough is Enough demonstration this month, Dominic Lipinski/PA Images. All rights reserved.

FP April 15 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

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17:29

Plaza Girls a diary "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

This refugee crisis isnt about them. Its about us. The writing is on the wall. We are being confronted with the most difficult question that a civilisation can ask of itself.

lead Plaza Girls - Zine cover.For six weeks I worked at City Plaza Refugee Accommodation, a squat housing 400 refugees in Athens. This is a diary I kept of a magazine project I facilitated for a group of teenage refugee girls.

Day 1

The classrooms are at the top of the Hotel on the seventh floor. Normally only residents can go above the first floor, but since I will be part of the teaching team I am allowed.

It is quite a climb, and the wide staircase forms the central pillar to the Hotel with corridors coming off it either side. It is pretty dingy, with yellowing walls and stained blue carpets. Walls have been graffitied with markers, and there are holes and plaster coming off. It was clearly a hotel done on the cheap, and I think about the heiress-owner licking her lips at a plan to make quick bucks pre-2008. She no doubt was part of the ancien regime that creamed off the poor along with that government bringing Greece to its knees. A tiny bit of karmic justice then, Plaza Hotel.

We reach the top floor. Leigh, a volunteer, is very happy for me to join her class and we joke about my being an Ofsted inspector. With a lovely soft Irish accent, shes from County Clare. She went over to the Calais Jungle for a few weeks, and felt that the most useful thing she could do was a TEFL course. She now has the skills to teach English.

There are two girls in the class, a fourteen year old and sixteen year old. They are confident, cheeky and both from Afghanistan. Arian, the 16 year old has very good English and is obviously keen to learn. They are both bright eyed and hungry to engage with these two European women, and I too am bursting with questions but am mindful not to take over Leighs class. When Leigh leans over and whispers that she is completely exhausted, would I join in?   I start asking Arian question...

Plaza Girls a diary "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

This refugee crisis isnt about them. Its about us. The writing is on the wall. We are being confronted with the most difficult question that a civilisation can ask of itself.

lead Plaza Girls - Zine cover.For six weeks I worked at City Plaza Refugee Accommodation, a squat housing 400 refugees in Athens. This is a diary I kept of a magazine project I facilitated for a group of teenage refugee girls.

Day 1

The classrooms are at the top of the Hotel on the seventh floor. Normally only residents can go above the first floor, but since I will be part of the teaching team I am allowed.

It is quite a climb, and the wide staircase forms the central pillar to the Hotel with corridors coming off it either side. It is pretty dingy, with yellowing walls and stained blue carpets. Walls have been graffitied with markers, and there are holes and plaster coming off. It was clearly a hotel done on the cheap, and I think about the heiress-owner licking her lips at a plan to make quick bucks pre-2008. She no doubt was part of the ancien regime that creamed off the poor along with that government bringing Greece to its knees. A tiny bit of karmic justice then, Plaza Hotel.

We reach the top floor. Leigh, a volunteer, is very happy for me to join her class and we joke about my being an Ofsted inspector. With a lovely soft Irish accent, shes from County Clare. She went over to the Calais Jungle for a few weeks, and felt that the most useful thing she could do was a TEFL course. She now has the skills to teach English.

There are two girls in the class, a fourteen year old and sixteen year old. They are confident, cheeky and both from Afghanistan. Arian, the 16 year old has very good English and is obviously keen to learn. They are both bright eyed and hungry to engage with these two European women, and I too am bursting with questions but am mindful not to take over Leighs class. When Leigh leans over and whispers that she is completely exhausted, would I join in?   I start asking Arian question...

16:09

Struggling for a dignified life is a right, not a crime! The Moria 35 punitive trials "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

34 of the 35 arrestees are black; all of them have been charged with the exact same criminal offences despite the lack of evidence of their individual participation in demonstrations.

April 16, 2016. Pope Francis,accompanied by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Ieronymos, and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, spend five hours meeting migrants at the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. ABACA/press Association. All rights reserved.On July 18, 2017, 35 migrants were arbitrarily arrested after a series of protests outside the European Asylum Support Office, organized from inside the Moria detention center. Coming from different parts of the world but trapped under the same circumstances, many people united and mobilized to denounce both the unlawful delays in their asylum applications and the appalling conditions under which theyve been forced to live in the meantime.

34 of the 35 arrestees are black; all of them have been charged with the exact same criminal offences despite the lack of evidence of their individual participation during the demonstrations.

One of the accused was hospitalized for over a week as a consequence of police brutality, four faced restrictive residency on the island, and the remaining 30 were scattered across Chios, Athens, Attica, and Central Greece where they have been and will continue to be detained until the day of their trial. After nine months of waiting, it has been decided that the trial will take place on April 20, in the Mixed Jury Court of Chios.

Greece plays its part in EU hotspots      

This particular case should not be taken as an isolated event but as existing within the larger repressive framework of the Greek state and the EUs anti-migration policies. International agreements, such as the EU-Turkey deal, promote the externalization of borders in order to keep migrants from reaching European territory turning the islands into prisons where they are to be contained in a state of limbo.

As a resu...

Struggling for a dignified life is a right, not a crime! The Moria 35 punitive trials "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

34 of the 35 arrestees are black; all of them have been charged with the exact same criminal offences despite the lack of evidence of their individual participation in demonstrations.

April 16, 2016. Pope Francis,accompanied by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Ieronymos, and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, spend five hours meeting migrants at the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. ABACA/press Association. All rights reserved.On July 18, 2017, 35 migrants were arbitrarily arrested after a series of protests outside the European Asylum Support Office, organized from inside the Moria detention center. Coming from different parts of the world but trapped under the same circumstances, many people united and mobilized to denounce both the unlawful delays in their asylum applications and the appalling conditions under which theyve been forced to live in the meantime.

34 of the 35 arrestees are black; all of them have been charged with the exact same criminal offences despite the lack of evidence of their individual participation during the demonstrations.

One of the accused was hospitalized for over a week as a consequence of police brutality, four faced restrictive residency on the island, and the remaining 30 were scattered across Chios, Athens, Attica, and Central Greece where they have been and will continue to be detained until the day of their trial. After nine months of waiting, it has been decided that the trial will take place on April 20, in the Mixed Jury Court of Chios.

Greece plays its part in EU hotspots      

This particular case should not be taken as an isolated event but as existing within the larger repressive framework of the Greek state and the EUs anti-migration policies. International agreements, such as the EU-Turkey deal, promote the externalization of borders in order to keep migrants from reaching European territory turning the islands into prisons where they are to be contained in a state of limbo.

As a resu...

14:16

Who is gullible enough to actually believe that Theresa May cares about other people's suffering? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Just imagine how thick you'd have to be to actually believe Theresa May's faux concerns about the suffering of the people in Syria.

Just imagine how much gullibility it would take to actually believe that Theresa May bypassed parliament and defied public opinion to attack Syria because she cares so much about the people who live there.

Theresa May doesn't give a damn about Israeli snipers gunning down journalists and unarmed protesters in Gaza as if killing Arabs is some kind of highly entertaining sport.

She hasn't spoken out against this barbarism and her government still allow arms export licences to Israel so that the Israeli military can use British manufactured weapons against the massively over-populated open air prison that is Gaza.

Theresa May doesn't give a damn about her Turkish mates shooting the Kurdish Rojava in the back as they try to fight off the Saudi-backed ISIS terrorists in front of them.

She hasn't spoken out against these disgusting attacks and her government still allow arms export licences to Turkey so that they can use British manufactured...

13:09

BBC Wrong to Air Rivers of Blood "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

50C742FC-9CF2-4D0C-9C21-7E1CA9809270I worked for BBC World Service for 20 years from 1983 and was proud to be part of an organisation that broadcast quality, objective news around the world. From Hanoi to Santiago de Chile, millions of poeople tuned in to hear the stories their own local media denied them. So it has been personally distressing to me to witness how the Corporations standards and news values have declined in recent years, notably since we have had Conservative Prime Ministers in 10 Downing Street. The BBC possibly swung the Leave victory in the 2016 EU Referendum, by giving undue airtime to Nigel Farage (on Question Time more often than any other person bar the presenter, David Dimbleby)  and by failing to challenge politicians who came out with outright lies on air. But today, the BBC is hitting rock bottom by broadcasting in its entirety Enich Powells notorious Rivers of Blood speech, which stoked racism and anti-immigrant sentiment in 1960s Britain. To claim that it is justifiable to broadcast the speech now because it is its 50th anniversary is disingenuous. There has already been a surge in xenophobic incidents in Britain since the Brexit vote and the BBC should not be surprised if after today there are more. The producers and managers concerned should hang their heads in shame.

12:48

Antisemitism, cosmopolitanism and the politics of Labours old and new right-wings "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The determination of the Labour Right to focus on left antisemitism reveals as much about the Labour Rights divisions, history and current existential crises, as it does about the left.

Image: Protestors at the Enough is Enough demonstration this month, Dominic Lipinski/PA Images. All rights reserved. 

There is no more antisemitism in the Labour Party than in the rest of society, but there should be much less. There has been a lot of excellent commentary published over the past few weeks discussing this issue, as well as the broader socio-political relationships between the Labour Left, different sections of the Jewish community, and the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian lobbies. So Im not going to rehearse those discussions again here.

However, very little attention has been paid so far to the specific question of why the Labour Right has been so vocal on this issue in particular. This is a crucial issue and thinking about it carefully can shed considerable light on the current state of Labour Party politics.

So why has antisemitism become the issue around which the anti-Corbyn elements of Labour have converged so determinedly? The initial thing to understand is that the Labour right is composed of two distinct traditions, whose main organisers are currently committed to co-operating with each other, but who actually have very little in common. These two groups - the Blairites and the traditional Labour right rooted in the Labour bureaucracy - have their own distinctive reasons for wanting to promote the idea that the radical left is inherently anti-Semitic.

The Blairites

 The notorious Blairites, organised mainly by Progress, have a negligible organisational base in the party membership or the unions, and are not even particularly strong within the Parliamentary La...

Antisemitism, cosmopolitanism and the politics of Labours old and new right-wings "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The determination of the Labour Right to focus on left antisemitism reveals as much about the Labour Rights divisions, history and current existential crises, as it does about the left.

Image: Protestors at the Enough is Enough demonstration this month, Dominic Lipinski/PA Images. All rights reserved. 

There is no more antisemitism in the Labour Party than in the rest of society, but there should be much less. There has been a lot of excellent commentary published over the past few weeks discussing this issue, as well as the broader socio-political relationships between the Labour Left, different sections of the Jewish community, and the pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian lobbies. So Im not going to rehearse those discussions again here.

However, very little attention has been paid so far to the specific question of why the Labour Right has been so vocal on this issue in particular. This is a crucial issue and thinking about it carefully can shed considerable light on the current state of Labour Party politics.

So why has antisemitism become the issue around which the anti-Corbyn elements of Labour have converged so determinedly? The initial thing to understand is that the Labour right is composed of two distinct traditions, whose main organisers are currently committed to co-operating with each other, but who actually have very little in common. These two groups - the Blairites and the traditional Labour right rooted in the Labour bureaucracy - have their own distinctive reasons for wanting to promote the idea that the radical left is inherently anti-Semitic.

The Blairites

 The notorious Blairites, organised mainly by Progress, have a negligible organisational base in the party membership or the unions, and are not even particularly strong within the Parliamentary La...

00:01

FP April 14 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

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FP April 14 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

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Friday, 13 April

22:43

Have you been watching porn? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We champion digital rights at the same time as we champion sexual freedom because we know that the two are perilously entwined.

Credit: London Porn Film Festival. All rights reserved.

Last night, we opened our doors and welcomed the queer and curious crowd to the Horse Hospital for the second installment of the London Porn Film Festival. We were extremely proud to open with Local Heroes, a selection of shorts either made in the UK or produced by British pornographers.

Last year we began this festival in a climate of fear and anxiety; we were emulating the Berlin Porn Film Festival, with the hope that we might foster a kind of mini-Berlin on these shores. But we also did it because of the Digital Economy Act 2017, a set of regulations that formed part of the governments digital strategy which included age verification for adult websites, and which received royal assent shortly after the festival.

Age verification essentially means that in the future, you will need to provide proof that you are over eighteen before you can access adult websites. This is to prevent children stumbling across pornography while looking for Pokmon. The technology to enforce this policy was going to be handed over to a large corporation called MindGeek.

Who are they, you might ask, and what right do they have to assume so much power over who can access pornography? MindGeek are the worlds largest internet porn company, owning hundreds of streaming sites and studios, and the plan was that they would develop the age verification technology and in so doing keep a detailed record of the porn-surfing habits of millions of Britons, directly linked to their personal informationnot only on their own sites but also on thousands of others.

Besides the blatant invasion of privacy, risk of data leakage and problematic surveillance involved, what alarmed us about this bid to save the children was how it compounded other pieces of legislation: the Audiovisual Media Act of 2014 (which spawned face-sitting protests outside of Parliament) and the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, which obliges your internet ser...

Have you been watching porn? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We champion digital rights at the same time as we champion sexual freedom because we know that the two are perilously entwined.

Credit: London Porn Film Festival. All rights reserved.

Last night, we opened our doors and welcomed the queer and curious crowd to the Horse Hospital for the second installment of the London Porn Film Festival. We were extremely proud to open with Local Heroes, a selection of shorts either made in the UK or produced by British pornographers.

Last year we began this festival in a climate of fear and anxiety; we were emulating the Berlin Porn Film Festival, with the hope that we might foster a kind of mini-Berlin on these shores. But we also did it because of the Digital Economy Act 2017, a set of regulations that formed part of the governments digital strategy which included age verification for adult websites, and which received royal assent shortly after the festival.

Age verification essentially means that in the future, you will need to provide proof that you are over eighteen before you can access adult websites. This is to prevent children stumbling across pornography while looking for Pokmon. The technology to enforce this policy was going to be handed over to a large corporation called MindGeek.

Who are they, you might ask, and what right do they have to assume so much power over who can access pornography? MindGeek are the worlds largest internet porn company, owning hundreds of streaming sites and studios, and the plan was that they would develop the age verification technology and in so doing keep a detailed record of the porn-surfing habits of millions of Britons, directly linked to their personal informationnot only on their own sites but also on thousands of others.

Besides the blatant invasion of privacy, risk of data leakage and problematic surveillance involved, what alarmed us about this bid to save the children was how it compounded other pieces of legislation: the Audiovisual Media Act of 2014 (which spawned face-sitting protests outside of Parliament) and the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, which obliges your internet ser...

20:37

Some poignant words from the Russian ambassador to the UN "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Some poignant words from the Russian ambassador to the UN    The US shouldnt assume it has friends, only countries unable to disagree.   Everywhere you go, everything you touch, you leave behind only chaos.    Were not begging you for friendship. We want normal, civilized relations which you arrogantly refuse, disregarding basic courtesy.   Your so-called friends are

19:36

Is symbolic politics an impediment to economic equality? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The politics of representation are mostly symbolic. In Canada, we have seen over the past two years such a politics of representation at work in the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.

lead Jagmeet Singh at the Ontario Federation of Labour Convention, November 2017.Wikicommons/ OFL Communications Department. Some rights reserved. Let me begin with a heretical proposition: anti-racism may contribute not to combatting racism but to actually deepening it.

How could this be possible? One of the key elements of anti-racism is the politics of representation which is meant to challenge not only the structures of white supremacy but also other systemic imbalances of power such as those between the genders. 

One clear example of the politics of representation was the election of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States in November 2007. More recently, in Canada we have the more recent example of the first Sikh leader of a federal political party, namely Jagmeet Singh who was elected last fall leader of the New Democratic Party. The politics of representation or recognition are by no means inconsequential. It is surely not insignificant that African American children can today imagine themselves occupying the highest office in the land, and that with the ascension of Jagmeet Singh, South Asian children can imagine themselves a genuine contenders to be Prime Minister of Canada.

However, thinking that simply having an African-American President or possibly an Indo-Canadian Prime Minister, will in itself address racism, would be a fatal error. That Obamas presidency was materially damaging for most African-Americans has been is well documented. Indeed, the conditions of socio-economic inequality only deepened under Obama who, in the midst of the financial crisis of 2007-08, famously bailed out the banks whom he deemed too big to fail, while ordinary Americans black and white lost their houses and family fortunes. This, in part, laid the groundwork for the election of Donald J. Trump.

In th...

Is symbolic politics an impediment to economic equality? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The politics of representation are mostly symbolic. In Canada, we have seen over the past two years such a politics of representation at work in the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.

lead Jagmeet Singh at the Ontario Federation of Labour Convention, November 2017.Wikicommons/ OFL Communications Department. Some rights reserved. Let me begin with a heretical proposition: anti-racism may contribute not to combatting racism but to actually deepening it.

How could this be possible? One of the key elements of anti-racism is the politics of representation which is meant to challenge not only the structures of white supremacy but also other systemic imbalances of power such as those between the genders. 

One clear example of the politics of representation was the election of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States in November 2007. More recently, in Canada we have the more recent example of the first Sikh leader of a federal political party, namely Jagmeet Singh who was elected last fall leader of the New Democratic Party. The politics of representation or recognition are by no means inconsequential. It is surely not insignificant that African American children can today imagine themselves occupying the highest office in the land, and that with the ascension of Jagmeet Singh, South Asian children can imagine themselves a genuine contenders to be Prime Minister of Canada.

However, thinking that simply having an African-American President or possibly an Indo-Canadian Prime Minister, will in itself address racism, would be a fatal error. That Obamas presidency was materially damaging for most African-Americans has been is well documented. Indeed, the conditions of socio-economic inequality only deepened under Obama who, in the midst of the financial crisis of 2007-08, famously bailed out the banks whom he deemed too big to fail, while ordinary Americans black and white lost their houses and family fortunes. This, in part, laid the groundwork for the election of Donald J. Trump.

In th...

17:01

The Future of Referendums: What Role Should They Play and How Should They Be Conducted? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Referendums are now established as part of the UKs political landscape.  They are widely seen as necessary before some fundamental constitutional changes are made.  Politicians will continue from time to time to find it useful to manage conflicts by proposing to put certain decisions to the people.

Yet, despite their importance, there has been little concerted thinking recently about how referendums should be conducted.  Two inquiries conducted in the 1990s by the Nairne Commission and the Committee on Standards in Public Life led to the creation of some basic rules, laid down in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.  But these rules were always incomplete: for example, they say nothing about who can vote in a referendum.  They are also now two decades old.

Much has changed in the intervening years not least through the rise of the internet and social media.  And four major referendum have been held on Welsh devolution (2011), the Westminster voting system (2011), Scottish independence (2014), and EU membership (2016) from which lessons can be learned.  Many observers have been dismayed by the conduct of those referendums, whether they agreed with the results or not.  A careful review is overdue.

That is the task of the Independent Commission on Referendums, established by the UCL Constitution Unit to examine the role and conduct of referendums in the UK and consider what changes might be desirable.  Comprising twelve eminent individuals with diverse perspectives on referendums, including current and former parliamentarians, journalists, regulators, and academics, the Commission is due to report in the summer.  Keen to hear diverse views, it is holding seminars in all the UKs capital cities.  The Belfast seminar, co-hosted by Queens University, takes place on 26 April.

The questions being considered by the Commission include the following:

  • What role should referendums play in democracy in the UK? Should they be held more or less frequently than at present, or do we have the balance about right?  On what sorts of issues are referendums desirable or even necessary?  Are there issues on which referendums ought not to be held?...

14:57

A new defendant in the Russian anti-fascist case "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

A terrorism investigation into Russia's anarchist and anti-fascist community has already taken eight defendants. Now there's a ninth. 

Yuly Boyarshinov. Source: personal archive. Moscows Taganka district court has ruled in favour of a lawsuit by Roskomnadzor to block the Telegram messenger service. We ourselves have a channel and a legal bot on Telegram. It is very simply to get round the blocking! There are two fantastic links on this from Aleksandr Litreyev: this one or, even simpler, this second one. After clicking on the link, Telegram suggests that you set up a web proxy. This is secure, but you must do it on all your devices.

The authorities continue to hype up the case of the so-called Network terrorist group. Earlier, a number of those accused in this case alleged they had been tortured.

  • - Yuly Boyarshinov, from St Petersburg, has been named as a new defendant in this case. We tell the story of how Yuly came to be one of the accused in this case, about pressure that was put on him in pre-trial detention, about a single cell with 150 people, and about the anarchist symbol drawn on the dusty glass of a cell window. If you want to share this story with your friends abroad, here is an English translation.

  • - First of all they tortured the son, now they are dealing with the mother: in Penza the investigator and journalists fr...

A new defendant in the Russian anti-fascist case "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

A terrorism investigation into Russia's anarchist and anti-fascist community has already taken eight defendants. Now there's a ninth. 

Yuly Boyarshinov. Source: personal archive. Moscows Taganka district court has ruled in favour of a lawsuit by Roskomnadzor to block the Telegram messenger service. We ourselves have a channel and a legal bot on Telegram. It is very simply to get round the blocking! There are two fantastic links on this from Aleksandr Litreyev: this one or, even simpler, this second one. After clicking on the link, Telegram suggests that you set up a web proxy. This is secure, but you must do it on all your devices.

The authorities continue to hype up the case of the so-called Network terrorist group. Earlier, a number of those accused in this case alleged they had been tortured.

  • - Yuly Boyarshinov, from St Petersburg, has been named as a new defendant in this case. We tell the story of how Yuly came to be one of the accused in this case, about pressure that was put on him in pre-trial detention, about a single cell with 150 people, and about the anarchist symbol drawn on the dusty glass of a cell window. If you want to share this story with your friends abroad, here is an English translation.

  • - First of all they tortured the son, now they are dealing with the mother: in Penza the investigator and journalists fr...

14:38

Whatever the USS vote, can we maintain inter-generational unity and restore our universities? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The unprecedented university strike has highlighted deeper issues about how casualisation and commercialisation damages the experience of all staff and students. What now?

Image: Leeds students supporting the #USS strike, February 2018. Rights: Alarichall, Wikicommons, Creative Commons.

If members of the University College Union (UCU) vote down the latest deal from Universities UK (UUK), the strike at over 60 British universities might go on through June. By the time it ends, students at the affected universities will have experienced disruption on a scale never seen in British higher education.

Academic staff are fighting changes to their pensions changes that will mean a dramatic drop in the benefits that all staff, and especially newer and younger ones, can hope to receive from the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). But the strike is about more than that, or at least it should be. British universities have changed in profound ways over the last thirty years. Students pay more for their education, employees enjoy less job security and stagnating wages, and the whole sector operates on (rather inefficient) business lines.

The militancy of younger academics is due as much to these wider changes as it is to the pension dispute. They are the ones who most consistently and successfully - mobilised against the first deal offered by UUK on March 12. They are the ones most militantly opposed to the second deal offered on March 23, which calls, amongst other things, for an expert panel to investigate the valuation of the USS fund, for a guaranteed pension broadly comparable with current arrangements, and leaves open the possibility of alternative scheme design options. With the slogans #nodetriment or revise and resubmit, they reject the deal as insufficient. They either want clarification of its many ambiguous clauses and terms what, for instance, falls under the heading of broadly comparable? or the complete abandonment by UUK of all proposed changes.

Junior and senior academics stood together on picket lines and remained united against cha...

14:30

Shooting Lula "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Developments in Brazil show that the fight against corruption can coexist with a weakening of democratic and republican values, in a climate of social revenge and advancing inequality. Espaol

Image: Nueva Sociedad. All rights reserved.

As expected, the Supreme Federal Court of Brazil rejected the writ of habeas corpus presented by Luiz Incio Lula da Silvas lawyers after he had been sentenced by two different courts of justice to 9 years first, and then to 12 years.

The offense attributed to him is that of having improperly received a three-floor apartment on the beach from the Brazilian construction company OAS in exchange for certain advantages while in government. Five judges were for and five against Lulas appeal, so it was for the president of the court to break the tie and she sided against Lula.

Five judges were for and five against Lulas appeal, so it was for the president of the court to break the tie and she sided against Lula.

The debates were broadcast live on TV - a peculiarity of the Brazilian court system for hours on end, during which several types of arguments - legal, historical and political were put forward and the decision to maintain the 2006 jurisprudence prevailed.

The public character of the hearings obliged the judges to argue in favor and against Lulas appeal. Presumption of innocence and impunity were the two poles between which they had to decide whether Lula should go to prison any time soon or later on.

However, as reflected in the judges interventions, the decision had to be taken in a tense environment, beleaguered by pressures, and in the context of a dangerous shift in Brazilian politics towards...

13:59

All-out war or economic war: why Chilcots playbook needs to be given a chance "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The Iraq Inquiry warned that we must exhaust all peaceful options before dropping bombs and that hasnt happened.

Putin and May. Image, Kremlin.ru

Moscows warning that any Trump-led coalition which launches air strikes on Syria could escalate to all-out war, should bring the playbook drawn up by Sir John Chilcot into service. After seven years examining the run-in and fall-out from the 2003 Iraq invasion, one of Chilcots Inquiry conclusions specified that the peaceful alternatives to war had not been exhausted before Tony Blairs decision to unconditionally side with George W Bush against Saddam Hussein.

Without knowing the full strategic details of what the United States is planning   as most of Congress, the State Department and even the US Defence Secretary dont know either and cant predict what Donald Trump will do next the UK cabinet has unanimously agreed on the need to take action against the Assad regime. They also agreed that the use of chemical weapons could not go unchallenged.

Inquiry lessons

Chilcots findings were not intended to be a how-to guide to future conflict. His expensive inquirys efforts to identify mistakes, deception and miscalculations by Downing Street were laid out to ensure that lessons could be learned. Some of those key lessons are now being ignored by Theresa May.

Blair never gave his cabinet the full picture, and the House of Commons was told even less. How much the current cabinet were told before they fully backed the prime minister remains unclear. But on the current timetable, it seems likely that MPs will have no say before military action takes place over Syria, alongside the US and potentially France.

The author Salman Rushdie said that war was no longer something you casually watched from the top of a hill. He said we now have total war, where everybodys...

12:40

Why its our own use of social media thats partly to blame for gang crime "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The head of the Met recently blamed gang crime on a violent online culture but theres another social media problem thats contributing, and its one that we can all do something about.

Image: Airbnb

In all the news pieces about the spate of young people killed in fatal stabbings and shootings, one piece stood out. It was by retired chief superintendent Victor Olisa. He talked about a divide between the haves and the have nots. 

Access to mental health, cuts to youth services, policing practices and cuts to policing are all factors, of course. Social media is often held up as playing a key role, too. And it does but not in the way weve been hearing.

The head of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, recently accused social media sites of driving violence, telling the Times they rev people up and normalise violence. Certainly, WhatsApp and other instant messaging apps allow users to communicate free from state sponsored snooping, making it difficult for police to track deals.

But none of this gives the full picture. The problem with crime and social media is more nuanced and many of us are guilty.

Perhaps even more than Facebook, Instagram which allows users to post photos and comments is popular with companies who use it to advertise through a different medium. Crucially, Instagram has been used to successfully market the idea of spending money and showing off about it. Twenty years ago, telling people how much you spent on your clothes was considered shameful. But today we unashamedly share with the rest of the world our Zara jeans, expensive trainers and a face of makeup that possibly cost more than the jeans and the trainers put together. We all knew the serial bragger who just had to tell everyone about his third holiday of the year and we couldnt stand him. In fact, we probably made fun of him. But not anymore. Now, we have bragging rights on each coffee we buy and t...

12:06

In the bad guys lair - AKS Zy and their alternative football "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Players, managers and supporters of AKS Zy in Poland take their sport seriously and know that winning is the best way to show that an alternative way of playing football is possible.

lead The 'Bad Girls' of AKS Zy are also doing well this season, 2018. All rights reserved.It's a sunny Saturday afternoon in mid-August and fans crowd the Don Pedro Arena of Kawczyska street. Thirty minutes ahead of the preliminary round of the Polish Cup, the 200 tickets printed for the first match of the season of the home team have already sold out. On the proudly uncovered stands of the little stadium sit a heterogeneous mix of people. We're in Warsaw in the former working district of Praga by the eastern bank of the Vistula River. It's on this peripheral football pitch, nestled between social housing blocks and an abandoned factory, that AKS Zy play. 

The Don Pedro Arena sits one and a half miles from Warsaw's National Stadium as the bird flies. It's in the parking lot of this stadium that on November 11, 2017, up to 60,000 Poles gathered to celebrate Poland's National Independence Day. Thousands among them did so by marching behind banners and flags of far-right European movements (from Poland's ONR to Hungary's Jobbik and Italy's Forza Nuova) as well as chanting anti-Islam slogans. It was a show of force of local nationalists believing in an all-white, catholic, no-LGBT, migrant-free country.

First half

The 'Alternative Sport Club Zy (meaning 'Bad') is miles away from such discourses. Our history began in August 2015 with twenty football enthusiasts who wanted to create their own independent club, Dominik known as 'Ariel' and among the founders of Zy says: In doing so we took inspiration from supporters-managed clubs such as AFC Wimbledon in England and HFC Falke in Germany. We met with the founders of the latter, saw how they ran it and came back to Warsaw to try the same.

At the call-up for the two teams 60 men and 30 women showed up. First the founders of Zy checked the financial sustainability of the club, then they registered both teams to the Polish...

10:55

VIDEO: Why the power of finance is rooted in ideology "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Addressing challenges such as climate change and inequalities means not only challenging the power of finance, but also tackling the ideology that underpins it.

Laurie Macfarlane speaks to Finance Watch about how addressing today's major challenges such as climate change and inequalities means not only challenging the power of finance, but also tackling the ideology that underpins it. Watch the full video: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJaF2kNjlQE[/embed]

Rights: 
CC by NC 4.0

09:22

SDLP to hold special conference on abortion in private "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

From John Manley in the Irish News;

The SDLP has confirmed that next months special conference to review abortion policy will be held behind closed doors.

The party will hold a conference on Saturday May19 dedicated entirely to abortion policy after it was decided that there would not have been adequate time to discuss the contentious issue at last weekends annual conference in Belfast.

An hour had intially been earmarked to debate a number of motions relating to abortion at last Saturdays conference.

Next months special conference will take place six days ahead of the Republics May 25 referendum on the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, which protects the rights of the unborn child.

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Thursday, 12 April

23:52

Documentary Pasaiako Badia screening on Saturday the 28th of April "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

In 1984 Spain and especially the Basque country are in the middle of big struggles: strikes, terrorist attacks, economical crisis, factories being shutting down and drugs hitting the poorest neighbourhoods of the nation. The socialist Spanish Government is acting against anyone who fights back. One of the most known groups would be GAL, which under [...]

23:49

I have no ideological objection to Sinn Fin being part of a government. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

AFTER months of denials that FG would contemplate a coalition, heres an interesting and telling story breaking today in Dublin

A Fine Gael minister has denied he was slapped down after declaring no objection to Sinn Fin in government, adding that many of his party colleagues share his view.

Jim Daly said he spent two hours with Leo Varadkar on Wednesday and the purported controversy over his comments that Sinn Fins mandate was legitimate was never raised once by the Taoiseach.

In an interview with Hot Press magazine the Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People said: I have no ideological objection to Sinn Fin being part of a government.

The interview prompted Mr Varadkars spokesman to deem the comments inappropriate and absolutely rule out any coalition or confidence-and-supply deal between Fine Gael and Sinn Fin.

But Mr Daly rejected any suggestion he was slapped down, saying the issue wasnt even mentioned during his lengthy meeting with Mr Varadkar.

It certainly wasnt raised as an issue, good, bad or indifferent, he told RTs Today with Sean ORourke.

Mr Daly added that he doesnt speak for the government, and made his remarks about Sinn Fin during an interview about his personal life and personal views.

But I would also make the point that a lot of my colleagues would share the view that I have,

Of course he cites the residual differences between the two parties, but it is a long way from the insistence of FGs press operation last autumn that Fianna Fil would be first to weaken. It doesnt quite look like that now

20:45

UUP Advisor recalls how the party eventually backed the Good Friday Agreement "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

More here

11:57

Not-voting is not revolutionary "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

  
The 2018 local elections are looming and the "don't vote" brigade are once again out in force. I don't actually have anything against the concept of not voting, the people who annoy me are the ones who go around actively propagandising for other people to not-vote, as if they're participating in some kind of heroic anti-establishment revolution.

Not-voting isn't wrong in itself

Back in 2013 a friend of mine received their local election postal ballot but found that the only two candidates were a Tory (part of the coalition government they despised) and a Lib-Dem (part of the coalition government that they despised). I think their choice to tear the ballot paper into little pieces and send them off in the return envelope was perfectly justifiable.

The problem I have is with people who utter sub-Brandian platitudes like "if only everyone stopped voting then ..." because the huge glaring fault with this kind of assertion is that it's an exercise in extremely juvenile wishful thinking.

It's profoundly annoying that so many people keep repeating this kind of ludicrous appeal for everyone to "stop voting" based on the idea that revolutionary political change can be achieved through a vague hope that the powers that be will suddenly take notice if we all begin protesting against them by ... err ... doing nothing.

The PCC elections

A look at the results of the utterly farcical 2012 PCC elections in England demonstrate why this idle wish for mass non-participation doesn't have a hope of succeeding.

The average turnout for these ludicrous elections across the whole of England was just 15%, yet not a single one of the "winning" candidates refused to take up their cushy 65-95,000 per year salaries because of their appalling lack of a democratic mandate. Several of the PCCs actually took up their positi...

10:00

Whats happening to our health service? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Director of Communications for the health and social care system David Gordon shares his thoughts after six months in the job

So where do you start when describing health and social care here?

Serious problems are in the news almost every day.

It would be wrong to ever downplay those problems.

And yet they are not the full story.

Great care is still being delivered by great staff every single day. The most recent Health Survey showed compliments from the public far outnumbering complaints.

That chimes with what we so often hear anecdotally praise and gratitude regularly voiced after personal experiences.

The most pressing challenges facing the system can often involve delayed access to care rather than the quality of care received.

Ive witnessed up close not just the dedication of staff, but an unwavering drive to innovate and find new and better ways to deliver services.

Thats right across the Health and Social Care (HSC) system from those who deal directly with the public to those working behind the scenes.

Improvements in care keep coming too.

Yet alongside that, there are deep and worsening problems.

Far too many people are on unacceptably long waiting lists.

Emergency departments have been under severe stress for many months now.

Pressures are also faced by GPs, the ambulance service and in domiciliary care, while staffing gaps across the system are adding significantly to challenges.

None of this sadly should come as any surprise.

The Bengoa report welcomed across the political spectrum detailed how an outdated system would increasingly struggle with increasing demand. Professor Bengoa likened it to standing on a burning platform.

None of the serious problems should be seen in isolation. They are all symptoms of that underlying burning platform reality.

The Department of Health Twitter account @healthdpt will be highlighting some key statistics today and tomorrow. They illustrate both the growing pressures facing the HSC, and the increased activity rates that have still been achieved. Lets not forget this has also occurred in a period of squeezed finances.

A lot of the growing demand for care is down to an amazing success story of health care longer life expectancy.

Thats a huge reason to celebrate, but it brings some of the most significant long-term policy challenges facing society.

This is far from being a Northern Ireland only problem. Health systems are under serious stress in many countries.

The detail...

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Wednesday, 11 April

21:12

12 things you should know about the Tory "Dear Mr Fuckingjoking" letters "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


How can the Tories expect us to believe that they can run the country when they can't even send vile propaganda-ridden begging letters to pensioners without screwing it up by addressing them to "Youmustbe Fuckingjoking".

The blunder obviously came about because the Tories used "Youmustbe Fuckingjoking" as the default Addressee on their mailing list, then forgot to change it when they input the address.

The Tories have admitted that the offensive letter was sent out by their propaganda arm and apologised for the sweary piss-taking, but there's plenty of other concerning stuff within the content of the letter that the Tories did not bother to apologise for.


See the full letter here (credit: Laura McCormack)

Begging pensioners

Why are the Tories begging pensioners for cash when they're almost completely bankrolled by mega-rich donors, including the kinds of Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies who can afford to pay 160,000 for a game of tennis with Boris Johnson?

Instead of begging for 52 - 160 per year from pensioners, surely the Tories could just ask one of their hedge fund mates or Russian oligarchs for an extra half million or so and let the pensioners keep their cash.


A Britain fit for the future?
...

20:31

Hear My Voice a cinematic companion piece to Colin Davidsons Silent Testimony "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Hear My Voice is a cinematic companion piece to Colin Davidsons Silent Testimony, a 2015 exhibition of 18 portraits of people who suffered loss during the local conflict, developed in conjunction with the WAVE Trauma Centre. The paintings are back in the Ulster Museum until Sunday 22 April and the exhibition is well worth a visit.

Brendan Byrnes short film slowly pans across the surface of the oil paintings which were hung in Riddels Warehouse, showing off the thick texture of the layers of paint and giving glimpses of the faces and features framed by beams and railings in the derelict building that is set to become home to the RUA (Royal Ulster Academy).

The original paintings and the textual descriptions are devoid of labels and community tags. Introducing the gala screening this afternoon, Senator George Mitchell spoke about visiting the paintings and said that while the eyes are windows to the soul, [they are also] the messengers of our sorrows.

In the spirit that a portrait is worth an inestimable number of words, Brendan Byrne has not overburdened his film with commentary. The portrait sitters are heard a couple of sentences at a time, giving colour about their loss but never detail. Much of what is said happens in the silence.

Twenty three minutes long, the lingering shots of the square canvases are eventually interrupted by a few scenes of archive footage in the aftermath of attacks, before returning to the faces and their piercing eyes. The audience catch glimpses of a few of the sitters at home or out for a walk, but their mouth never move. The emphasis is on being heard in the sense of being acknowledged rather than making statements.

The beauty of the brushwork contrasts with the tragedy of the stories held by the sitters.

Hear My Voice is a beautiful piece of restrained film-making. The soundtrack by Brian Byrne (no relation) adds moody piano and deep bowed strings without ever competing for attention with the imagery. Together with Richard Kendricks sharply focussed cinematography and the editing of Greg Darby, Hear My Voice is an artwork in itself.

Produced by Fine Point Films and funded by Northern Ireland Screen and BBC Northern Ireland, Hear My Voice will be screened during May in the Queens Film Theatre as well as at film festivals worldwide during the rest of 2018 before it is br...

19:22

To catch a mackerel, inshore east coast fishermen gain permanent 1000 tonne quota "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

By Russell Bruce

In the last article on fishing I covered an overview of the industry, the diversity of boat types and sizes. Different parts of the industry have different interests.

The Scottish government has announced the 1000 tonne handline mackerel quota for boats under 10 metres in size will be made permanent, benefitting smaller boats from Eyemouth to Shetland. A trial has been running for 4 years followed by consultation with the industry in November last year.

The permanent quota for handline mackerel catch is a system of fishing that delivers a sustainable regular income catch for inshore small boats. Faster and fresher to market these catches command a premium over the bulk mackerel land of larger vessels operating in the North Sea. Handline also permits fish species caught, but not wanted. to be returned to the sea live.

By volume, mackerel landings in total account for 166m or 30% of the landings from Scottish waters. Making permanent the 1000 tonne quota for the mackerel handline catch will benefit the majority of boats operating in the North Sea on the east coast of Scotland and provide a continuing stable income stream for boats that do not enjoy the multi-million income of the big, over 40m pelagic vessels.

Responses to the consultation

Responses to the consultation were overwhelmingly positive. On question 1: Do you agree that the allocation of mackerel to the non-sector, 10mu pool should continue? 93% of respondents agreed although this is not too surprising as under 10m boats make up the majority of east coast licensed vessels.

Inshore fishermen in Eyemouth will be able to travel south along the coastline into English waters in block IVb, which straddles Scottish and English waters. The permanent inshore quota from Marine Scotland is only available to Scottish registered boats. The removal of all handline Mackerel Entitlements associated with licences ensures an open access fishery, as is the case for all other quotas for the under 10m sector.

One of the respondents to Q1, Tommy Poleson, said: It has been an excellent boost to small boats. Businesses who fabricate fishing equipment have benefited greatly from making new and improved systems for skippers. It has allowed young aspiring fishermen like myself [to] find a relatively low cost stepping stone into the industry that hadnt previously existed.

On question 7: Should all non-sector vessels (under and over 10m in length) have access to the inshore mackerel fishery? the response was resoundingly No. Larger vessels, particularly in the North East command the dominant share of the mackerel catch.

Tommy Poleson commented: It will probably lower the value of the catch for smaller boats as they w...

15:51

For me and my mum, Belfast was a sanctuary. And we have the Good Friday Agreement to thank for that "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Last night, as I sat with my fellow council colleagues listening to President Clinton and Senator Mitchell being awarded the Freedom of the City for their part in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, I thought of my mum. Seventeen years ago in Zimbabwe, we were down to just two (my brother, sister and father all living in different countries) and I was at boarding school. My mum had heard rumours that after weeks of shortages there was petrol arriving in Marondera, the small farming town we lived not far from. After queuing for several hours, when she got to the front of the queue it had run out. She drove home late that night on the last of her tank, only to arrive to a house where there was no electricity. Despondent and alone she picked up the phone to hear the voice of another person, and the phone lines were dead. She decided in that moment it was time for us to leave. Ironically the reasons they had left Belfast in the 1980s were the very reasons for the return: Zimbabwe then a newly independent country and there was an optimism that enticed my mother, the daughter of anti-apartheid activists. Now the hope for a better life for her child, for (relative) political stability, for opportunity for peace, lay in Belfast.

We had that opportunity to leave, something our socio-economic privilege afforded us, and I have always known that we were the lucky ones.

We arrived in Belfast in August 2000. The previous year had not been an easy one, the father of children I went to school with had been murdered and many others lived in fear the same would happen to their families. On our first trip to Tescos my mum and I spent 20 minutes in the refrigerated section just staring at the yoghurts (in Zimbabwe you had the option of 3 flavours), it wasnt like this in the 80s my mum would marvel. Nor was the lack of army presence or the sound of bombs or being searched each time you went into the city centre she would say, but for me and many of my age that is something we are still not quite able to imagine, and we are the lucky ones.

I went away to university with not much intention of coming back, I had felt safe in Belfast but I had also felt foreign. It was a surprise to me then that every holiday I would come back I would feel an overwhelming sense of relief. I realised that this was now my home, that Belfast is where I belong.

I am under no illusion of the severity of the issues and differences which still exist, for four years working for Anna Lo I would listen to the debates in the Assembly and wonder how anything worked. Even now with the Assembly collapsed, and generosity of spirit urgently lacking, somewhere in the back of my mind is always Zimbabwe, and as election after election was rigged, I have held on to my hope.

My life has been very different to what it could have been and I am grateful for that. I did not live he...

15:25

Framing Public Memory: What if a play park was to be named after Michael Stone, Wesley Somerville or Lenny Murphy? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Growing up I was very conscious of my nationalism. It wasnt that I came from a very political family but my grandfather had nurtured in me a love for History, especially Irish History which I retain to this very day. I grew up with pictures of James Connolly, Patrick Pearse and Robert Emmet adorning my bedroom walls.

My contemporaries had the Bay City Rollers and all the regalia that with that, Id no comparative regalia so I fastened a tricolour to my blazer. Id promised myself that my first three boys would be James, Emmet and Pearse. I grew up and realism replaced my romanticism.

Many of our young people share that romantic view of our past. They might have Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness as their heroes. Perceived as Freedom Fighters who risked their lives for Irish Freedom.

If you think about it its easy to see them as such when not confronted with the reality of their struggle, on the surface theyve rejected violence and chose the path of constitutional republicanism and yet paradoxically claim their path of violence was legitimate.

I am a constitutional Republican; I cant think of a more apt way of describing myself. So why then do I not support Sinn Fein? Its very simple: Ive always been a constitutional republican.

I do not nor have ever condoned the use of violence particularly the sort that targets innocent people. I could never support a party that still legitimises that violence.

Unlike some republicans I was more drawn to Wolfe Tone the would be reconciler of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter as opposed to Tone the revolutionary.

As a young person I too was filled with passion and idealism but there was a constant streaming of the realities of the troubles coming through our television on an almost nightly basis that moderated my republicanism and attracted me to the true advocates of peace, the SDLP.

Under current international law, civilians are never legitimate targets in war. During the Troubles over 2000 civilians were killed, quite often targeted because of their religion like the horrific incident at Kingsmill, or the shooting of the Reavey brothers, also on many occasions collateral damage as the detonation of bombs became a common tactic of the IRA.

These are war crimes in my opinion. Carried out often by young recruits whose passions had been harnessed and utilized by very shrewd men who stayed in the background and kept their own hands clean.

Young men like Raymond McCreesh were used by the IRA, they were their cannon fodder, a replaceable soldier that would further their cause. McCreesh like many other young volunteers are still being used, they were used in life and are being used in death.

They say that History is written by the winners,...

13:42

Peter Robinson speaks to Nolan about Jim Wells comments "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Just a quick catch up on this story;

Mr Wells accused party leader Arlene Foster of not standing by him.

Peter Robinson made the commitment that I would return, the South Down MLA said.

Then Arlene took over as leader and Arlene, as leader of the party officers, ignored my two written requests for that commitment to be honoured, he added.

Former DUP Leader Peter Robinson spoke to Nolan today about the topic which is worth a listen and analysis from Allison Morris and Malachy ODoherty

 

13:23

Political ferment is reflected in the GFA junketings, but no sign of a breakthrough "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Will the DUP and Sinn Fein pay any attention to the eloquent pleas of the elder statesmen to return to the Executive?  On the surface the answer appears to be no, unless something is going on behind the scenes we dont know about. Local politics suffers from elder statesperson fatigue. This generation has learned how to take in their stride the high sounding generalities from popes, presidents and prime ministers past and present.  The shock of the new wore off long ago. The eloquence had a flavour of fighting the last war about it.  Nobody wanted to get down to detailed analysis for fear of spoiling the party.

As for the British and Irish governments, it is hard to imagine them being able to agree a programme of action on the future government of the North unless the border problem is sorted or at least disarmed as an incendiary device by October if not by June. I see no possibility at all of Theresa May and Leo Varadkar taking the bold lead  that Blair and Ahern are urging on them unless they can wrap  the restoration of  Stormont into a border agreement which sounds great but unlikely. Weak UK government internal coordination  is exposed when Brexit secretary David Davis insults Varadkar  in London while at the same time Karen Bradley the NI Secretary exchanges warm words with foreign minister Simon Coveney in Belfast.

After the embarrassment she suffered twice at DUP hands in jumping the gun over agreements on Stormont and EU withdrawal terms, this  normally  most  cautious  of prime ministers is unlikely to make the same mistake a third time.  While the outlines of a dual deal are faintly visible, Banquos ghost in the shape of EU 26 would be the spectre at a purely bilateral feast and they would have to be fully involved.

For me the most interesting comment came in an off- the- cuff answer to questions at the Lyric Theatre from foreign minister Simon Coveney.  It came in a report by Amanda Ferguson in the Irish Times under the headline: Tainaiste would like to see Fine Gael in North election in the future. She fed him the line so it could be clarified later as other statements of  Coveney have been. But she writes:

Michel Martin said recently that standing in Northern elections is a target for Fianna Fil.

When asked whether Fine Gae...

11:36

Happy birthday Agreement. May you be brought back to health and may you take us all on the road to peace and reconciliation once again "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Twenty years ago this month my wife and I had a child- our first child. As all parents are, we were absolutely jubilant at the birth of our son. Wow! We had created this wonderful, if fragile, thing together! We adored (and still adore) him.

A year or so later, I got a call to my work to say that my son was ill. He had a tummy bug and was vomiting. I was asked to come and get him from childcare and take him home. I did so at some haste. I took this wee sick child home and did all that I could: I held him in my arms and cradled him in my lap as his wee limp body with his white face just lay there feeling awful. Even though I knew that this was not a very serious illness, I was upset. Why, I asked myself, is this happening to this precious creation? I was even (and irrationally) angry at. well, I didnt really know who to be angry at.

Over the next few days, my wife and I took turns to take time off work to sit with our son. We stayed up at night and we cleaned up when he was sick. We ended up tired and feeling poorly ourselves, but he was worth the sacrifice. We cared enough for him to reassess our priorities and to sacrifice the time and energy it took to bring our precious child back to health. Thankfully, he made a full recovery. But so vulnerable was he, that without our intervention- both the support of us, his parents and the wider family- he would not have done so.

Twenty years ago, here in Northern Ireland, another fragile and wonderful thing came to life- the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. It had many parents and many extended family members. At this time of its birthday, the Agreement is sick. It is vulnerable. It is in real danger. Are we, its parents and extended family members, able to reassess our priorities in order to give it the chance to recover; the chance of further life? This will mean devoting time and energy to it and to its principles of shared and equal citizenship; of compromise and companionship; of non violent and genuine political engagement.

Are we up for it?
Are we up to it?
Do we even care?

When our eyes are on the Westminster prize or on the long game of island unity only (nothing wrong with either of these things as long as they dont supercede the fragile health of the Agreement) we neglect what was so hard to be brought to birth in 1998.

When we accept relative peace as being the real deal or we adopt a voter apathy approach to politics, we neglect the child we brought into life 20 years ago.

When we sit back and dont get involved in living out its ideals, we forget the benefits the Agreement brought us.

Happy birthday Agreement. May you be brought back to health and may you take us all on the road to peace and reconciliation once again.

09:13

Ireland and slavery, then and now, free event "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We know that Ireland like most countries in Western Europe got caught up in the 18th-century slave trade and Irish merchants could benefit from the produce of the West Indies.

Belfast was not exempt. The wealthy businessman Waddell Cunningham had a plantation in the Caribbean (called Belfast !) to take just one example.

However there was a formidable opposition to slavery among the citizens of the growing late-18th century town, often involving radically-minded women and a welcome was given to Ouladah Equiano, the freed slave and author who visited Belfast, staying with Samuel Neilson who would go on to be a key United Irishman.

The abolition of slavery within the British Empire that followed in the 19th century is mired in controversy over the vast compensation paid to slave owners but even more pernicious was the continued existence of a slave-owning culture in the South of the USA, an evil which as we know precipitated the American Civil War.

So where does the Reverend Isaac Nelson, Presbyterian minister come into the story- a man who has a church named after him on the Shankill and is buried in Shankills ancient graveyard?

Nelson was a vehement critic of those church leaders in Ireland and Scotland who refused to condemn those fellow-Christians in the USA who not only owned slaves but justified the practice from their reading of the Bible. Furthermore, Nelson was a keen and vocal supporter of Frederick Douglass on his trip to Ireland.

Douglass was an escaped slave and a powerful leader of the abolitionist cause. In the 1840s Nelson shared local platforms with him amidst a whirlwind of controversy. The relationship of Douglass and Daniel OConnell is well known but not the deep and committed sympathy of men like Nelson who was both an Evangelical Protestant and an opponent of human rights abuse in no certain terms.

His Evangelicalism did not stop him criticising the Ulster Revivalism of 1859 which he regarded as having American origins compromised by slavery.

The short conference on slavery and anti-slavery in Shankill Library and the adjacent former Nelson Memorial Church is appropriately located. But we will focus not just on local stories like Nelsons but our own responsibilities with regard to enslavement in todays troubled world.

slavery

Post written by Philip Orr

00:26

Winning Here "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

0BC563C7-00F1-4254-A995-6EFB48B87F6DFor more than two decades, Chris Rennard was the Liberal Democrats campaign guru, masterminding successive by-election wins and astounding many media professionals by being able to predict results with uncanny accuracy (sometimes winning himself some useful cash with judiciously-placed bets at the same time). But as his memoir Winning Here (Biteback, 25) makes clear, he was something of a political anorak when he was barely out of short pants (and an orphan), cutting his teeth in the not always friendly environments of Liverpool and Leicester. His talents were soon recognised at the HQ in London, where he graduated from being a one-man campaign band to be the head of a team of 20. Ah, those were the days. Under his stewardship (later with the starring role of Chief Executive) he nurtured the growth of the Party until it won 62 seats in the 2005 general election, post-Iraq War, with Charles Kennedy as party leader. Willie Rennies by-election win soon after was the cherry on the top, taking the LibDems to an unrivalled 63 in the House of Coomons (and a hefty contingent in the House of Lords, too, including Chris Rennard himself).  But the wheels were beginning to come off the LibDem bandwagon, with Charless imminent resignation because of unchecked alcoholism, Simon Hughess sexual orientation confusion and Mark Oatens walk on the wild side. The book ends there, on a note of triumph, but with...

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Tuesday, 10 April

20:19

Look which way the praise is going "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Nick Griffin is the forgotten man of extreme-right politics. Not only was he deposed as the leader of the BNP, that whole party has now completely collapsed into oblivion after UKIP nicked all their support. But despite the UK political landscape being better off without him, mainstream media hacks have suddenly propelled him back in the limelight after he said he supports Jeremy Corbyn's opposition to airstrikes in Syria.

Interestingly just the day before Griffin's comments, it was revealed that actual members of the Tory party youth organisation Activate had been praising the likes of Britain first and the former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, and plotting to use their divisive hate-mongering tactics to win votes for the Tory party.

Any idiot can see that in the case of Activate the praise was coming from inside the Tory party, and being given to disgusting neo-fascist hatemongers who have inspired at least two deadly extreme-right terrorist attacks, and that Nick Griffin's praise was coming from outside the Labour Party.

But somehow one of these things was splashed all over the mainstream news, and the other was only covered on a couple of independent left-wing blogs.

Aside from the fact that it's grotesque for mainstream media hacks to resurrect Nick Griffin from the politically dead solely for the purpose of smearing Labour, there's a massive hypo...

18:31

Clinton: Keep the cranes up. Keep the voices free. Keep the votes fair. Youll figure it out. #GFA20 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Political leaders of old and today gathered at Queens University, Belfast for a day of events focussed on the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

In the morning Conor Murphy, Liz ODonnell, Lord Empey, Mark Durkan and David Andrews gathered to talk with Tim OConnor to unpick some of the machinations behind the design of the Agreement.

After lunch, the focus moved to those who had been leading the negotiations in the years up to 1998 and those who are guaranteeing the Agreement today.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley MP described the Agreement as a moment when politics triumphed over division and politics.

An Tnaiste Simon Coveney TD said that a new faith in politics and in each other took root when the Agreement was signed on Good Friday in April 1998. He spoke around the themes of needing to remember, to renew and to reconcile.

We need to keep in mind what it was like before the Good Friday Belfast Agreement and the remember why we felt such joy and optimism 20 years ago The evidence of the conflict is social, physical and psychological

On the need to reconcile, he finished his speech saying: We have a further chance and we should take it.

Senator Ge...

17:47

Post Conference Retreat "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Dominic OReilly is a SDLP Member and attended the partys recent conference

I am a mess of contradictions! Some years ago I took the decision to join a political party. Meanwhile for the last fifteen years I have been actively involved in youth ministry within the Church. To the extent that some eight years ago I entered studies for the diocesan priesthood. While I did not see this through to completion it was an incredibly fruitful time and period of growth for me.

Part of my work within youth ministry involves the facilitation and delivery of retreat programmes to young people in primary and post primary school. I love retreat days. Ive been on day retreats, weekend retreats, weeklong retreats, silent retreats and more. I love the experience of facilitating a retreat and getting to know the people I am privileged to minister to and to see how such a person can change within the course of an afternoon or series of days. A retreat day exists within a bubble of sorts. The act of retreat is one of coming away from your usual day to day activities, to reflect on your life and direction, to ask questions of those facilitating the day and hopefully being able to walk away from the day with a sense of purpose, having gleaned some truth that you can bring into your future. Ultimately at the end of the retreat day one should be able to move ever closer to those around them whomever they may be.

Having joined the SDLP approximately five years ago the spring conference is a day I rather enjoy. In some ways the conference day is like a retreat day. We have input from a variety of speakers, the day is facilitated by a number of spokespersons, there is opportunity to ask questions and at the end of the day the delegates/participants leave (hopefully) with a renewed sense of purpose in their political direction and interest. It must be noted though that the conference also exists within a bit of a bubble. We the delegates are among like minded folk who have made the conscious decision and effort to be there. Each of us is there out of conviction. No one is forced to be there and just like a retreat day; you get out of the day what you are willing to put in.

Of course the day is filled with much social media interest as we tweet and Instagram our favourite moments of the day. At my first conference two years ago I absolutely plagued my followers and Facebook friends with post after post of how fantastic the day was. This year I limited myself to a few posts and took a more concerted effort to participate actively in the day through voting on the various motions, hearing where other people are coming from and eventually getting up to speak on a particular motion; something I did not anticipate doing. There is a fantastic buzz about the conference days; we have the opportunity to discuss great ideas. There are new ideas generated in the mind and we c...

16:37

I think we must also recognise that there are real economic reasons why people have played up the issue of the Irish border "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Played up is right.  Labour Party front bencher, the shadow trade secretary, Barry Gardiner, a former NIO minister, has apologised for informal remarks in a meeting last month, in particular, that his use of the word shibboleth in its sense of password or test of membership gave the impression that I thought the Good Friday Agreement was in any way outdated or unimportant. I absolutely do not.  Which is fine.  But his recorded comments, last month, during a Q&A session after a speech at a think-tank in Brussels still represent the most accurate description of what is actually going on when we hear of dire threats to the 1998 Belfast Agreement from Brexit.

Here are a selection from the various reports

The Guardians Anne Perkins reported

Barry Gardiner, the shadow trade secretary, has described the Good Friday agreement as a shibboleth that was being played up in the Brexit negotiations for economic rather than political reasons.

Answering questions at a thinktank session in Brussels last month, Gardiner suggested there was no reason to fear that a border with customs controls would lead to a return of paramilitary activity.

He also said: I think we must also recognise that there are real economic reasons why people have played up the issue of the Irish border and the need to have the shibboleth of the Good Friday agreement. And that is because it is hugely in the Republic of Irelands economic interest to make sure that there is no tariff and no external border there.

The remarks, from one of Labours inner group of Brexit decision-makers, strike a markedly different tone to the partys existing policy. Jeremy Corbyn restated Labours opposition to the re-emergence of a hard border as a principle of the future relationship in a keynote speech in February.

In the key passage, which also signed Labour up to staying in a customs union, the Labour leader said the Good Friday agreement, whose 20th anniversary falls on Tuesday, was a great achievement. We must continue to support the restoration of the Northern Ireland assembly and to ensure we maintain the situation of no hard border in Northern Ireland, he said.

...

15:49

Tory supporters are dangerously detached from reality "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


It's becoming increasingly obvious that huge numbers of Tory supporters are dangerously detached from reality, inhabiting a make believe world of ludicrous economic fairy stories and bizarre displays of fantastical thinking.


The Home Secretary Amber Rudd made the latest ridiculous Tory appeal to fantastical thinking with her claim that there is no link  between the huge austerity-driven Tory cuts to the UK police force since 2010 and the soaring rates of violent crime. But this kind of bizarre Tory fantastical thinking has been going on for several years.

Take the typical Tory's willingness to accept all kinds of bizarre reality-reversing economic fairy stories, when the economic evidence says that they're all complete rubbish.

Take the common Tory myth that the Conservatives always clear up Labour's economic messes, which is completely contradicted...

14:37

Profile of REAL British antisemites: right-wing, anti-Corbyn, pro-Brexit, love Daily Mail, hate Muslims too "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

I know it doesnt fit the narrative, but real antisemitic activists in the UK are NOT Labour Party or Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

In fact, our investigation into thirty of the most active British anti-semites on social media show they are overwhelmingly strongly OPPOSED to Jeremy Corbyn.

And all are on the far-right of the political spectrum, not the left.

Real Jew-hating, anti-semites exist in the UK. Our investigation into the online presence of the most active anti-semitic activists on Twitter and Facebook, reveals anti-semites pretty much speak with one voice when it comes to their beliefs and policies.

British antisemites are overwhelmingly right-wing and pro-Brexit, they hate Jeremy Corbyn, Labour and the Left in general, they LOVE Katie Hopkins, Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and the Daily Mail,  sharing their posts very often and they also hate Muslims and black people just as much as they hate Jews:

antijewantimuslim

Is anybody really surprised that people who hate Jews are right-wing and that they also hate Muslims or people of other religions, nationalities or races?

But dont take my word for it see for yourself. These peop...

12:30

Forgotten rights in the Good Friday Agreement? #Agreement20 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

This is the fifth in a series of posts from this weekends #Agreement20 conference in Manchester, an external antidote to the recollections and analysis of talks process insiders who will attend events organised by QUB and the British Council this week in Belfast.

One of three parallel panel sessions on Saturday morning looked at the Good Friday Agreement and responses to alternative identity concerns.

Dr Claire Pierson (University of Liverpool) delivered a talk about Gendering peace in Northern Ireland: The role of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

We need to provide a framework for the inclusion of women in peacebuilding in NI and the UN peace and security framework [can be used] to tackle gender-based violence and gender security issues in NI. At the same time we need to use a heavily contextual approach to look at the structures that are impeding women at participating in peace building otherwise we simply have the idea that women have the right to participate in peace-building and its their duty to include themselves.

Dr Fiona Bloomer (Ulster University) spoke about Abortion in NI: the forgotten rights issue in the Good Friday Agreement. As well as summarising the legal and medical situation in NI, she referred to how the language of politicians in the NI Assembly has changed when they refer to...

11:10

A Further Shore (Lyric Theatre) #GFA20 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Im not a big fan of poetry. It requires far too much concentration to parse the phrases, summon up the imagery and look into the often obtuse mind of the poet in order to get any understanding out of the words. All that sustained effort rather kills what joy might have been encapsulated into the original stanzas.

But last nights A Further Shore event at the Lyric Theatre wasnt a chore or hard work. The medley of spoken word and song used a range of work which remembered incidents and ways of living during the Troubles and gradually worked up to the negotiations and the 1998 Agreement.

Instead it was a nuanced and at times moving remembrance of past times. Not so balanced to become boring, but carefully seeded with surprise and honesty in the many perspectives it opened up to the packed theatre audience and those watching RTEs live stream.

Alan Gillis Progress began the process of time travel, followed by words from John Hewitt, Seamus Heaney, Gerald Dawe, Grinne Tobin, Colette Vryce, Ciaran Carson, Rita Ann Higgins amongst many others as atrocities and attitudes were explored and the book of the dead became fatter and fatter.

Directed by Lynne Parker and produced by Poetry Ireland for the Government of Ireland, A Further Shore featured Irish actors few of whom are strangers to the Lyric stage who performed the snippets of work: Cathy Belton, Richard Clements, Ellen Cranitch, Niall Cusack, Peter Hanly, Darragh Kelly, Frankie McCafferty, Abigail McGibbon, Neil Martin, Eleanor Methven (who devised the show), Carol Moore, Tara Lynne ONeill, Stephen Sexton and Francis Tomelty joined by Linda Ervine.

Kevin Doherty and the Telegraph Band added warmth and a gentle rhythm to the reflections, playing a handful of songs dotted throughout the two hour programme, with And the Band Played On a particularly apt finale. When are they next back playing in Belfast?

How far back would we want to wind the clock back to avoid the conflict? asked the narrator, veteran journalist Olivia OLeary. Her monologues deliberately left questions at the doors of previous Irish or British governments.

Projected press photographs and images of paintings accompanied the words. Be careful not to patronise the Irish was sung wit...

09:30

Negotiation theory, conflict humour and understanding the resolution of Crumlin Road parades #Agreement20 "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

This is the fourth in a series of posts from this weekends #Agreement20 conference in Manchester, an external antidote to the recollections and analysis of talks process insiders who will attend events organised by QUB and the British Council this week in Belfast.

Attendees at one of three parallel panel sessions on Saturday afternoon heard three papers that were bunched under the title of Dealing with the Past (and the Present).

Professor Sara Dybris McQuaid (Aarhus University, Denmark) delivered a paper titled Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed: institutionalising radical disagreement and dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.

In negotiation literature, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed is meant to be this creative platform where you can air any crazy idea you have and theyre not binding until you agree that they are binding. However, often in negotiations, certainly in Northern Ireland, it becomes this mutual construction and deconstruction talks [where] you add all your issues to whatever package to have it agreed and this is what has happened to dealing with the past where welfare reform has been attached.

Dr Katie Markham (Newcastle University) looked at sick jokes and gallows humour in troubles tourism. [28 mins from start of video] With a literary context the intersection between comedy and conflict has been well-observed but while she acknowledged that the 2012 Belfast Comedy Festival programme included a seminar on comedy and conflict in N...

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Monday, 09 April

16:56

HOW DOES ONE GO ABOUT TAKING OVER THE WORLD? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Every so often the phrase most powerful man in the world is bandied about, invariably referring to the American President. Such falsehoods typify the medias appalling standards but then misleading the public is what its all about. The mere notion the President can do as he pleases is naive to say the least. Of course we know where the real problem

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Sunday, 08 April

19:25

Caw canny with the jungle drums "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

By Russell Bruce

I remember my dad joking, if there was a couple you did not like then give their kid a drum. Im sure he never did follow up on such an act of twisted generosity.

It is inevitable that we will all speculate on the date of the coming referendum. The jungle drums are working overtime and stretching to fever pitch, matching the

Gene Krupa

crescendo of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich as they went head to head on the Sammy Davis show in the most famous drum battle of all time. The Krupa Rich battle was not adversarial but a joyous celebration of their art, shared with an enthusiastic audience.

The timing of the referendum multi drum banging is getting somewhat overheated. It is not the joyous celebration of the objective we shared in 2014.

If I was a unionist strategist I would be watching and rubbing my hands with glee. Many of these articles are well written and argued. There is a lot of talent on the independence writer/blogger scene. It is just getting a bit hot under the collar and will not contribute to persuading former NO voters that they face the greatest threat to their future since 1314 with Brexit and remaining in the UK.

We are falling into the most fatal mistake of all arguing amongst ourselves.

It is what voters hate most. The Tories shield their disunity behind empty rhetoric. Their drums are soulless, boring and more tuned to a funeral march, yet somehow act as a unity tarpaulin to cover up their own deep dissensions and policies so damaging to our own societal aims.

As writers, we should concentrate on making the case for a better future and there is plenty to write about to motivate our readers. I have waited 50 years to see Scotland become an independent country. The strategy of the banned 79 group is playing out by delivering in government and gaining powers, some of which are now at risk.

Speakin o madmen and shootin at bishops, said Lauder, I hae a mind tae visit the Bass. I was speirin ma guidfaither aboot it earlier. James Mitchel is the man I want tae see.

Eleis raised his eyebrows. Caw cannie, man, he said.Caw canny

James Robertson The Fanatic

It is not for me to tell anyone what to write and what not to write. I simply want to raise a concern that the debate over timing is becoming ever more unproductive.

I have my own thoughts on when the referendum may be but I am not going to add to the chorus of divergent opinion. Perhaps two positions set out by our First Minister should be remembere...

08:32

What was Alan Sugar ever doing in the Labour Party? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


In case you missed it, the unelected Peer Alan Sugar has been having a massively undignified meltdown on Twitter that must surely be making people wonder how on earth such an angry, arrogant, bile-spewing anti-socialist ever ended up making his home in the Labour Party in the first place.

Sugar's meltdown began when he posted an absolutely vile photoshopped image of Jeremy Corbyn alongside Adolf Hitler. After a sustained barrage of criticism over this crude undignified smear-job he eventually deleted the tweet, but he didn't stop there. His next piece of anti-Labour propaganda was a widely ridiculed "poem" about how much he hates Jeremy Corbyn.

Sugar's pathetic "poem" prompted John Prescott to retort with a satirical Tweet proposing a Sugar Tax of 10,000 every time Alan Sugar posts a stupid Tweet or says something ridiculous.



This is where Alan went into full-meltdown mode, posting a bizarre series of abusive tweets in reply to Prescott and numerous other people who criticised his behaviour.

Sugar's vile Twitter rampage included repeatedly using insults like ...

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Saturday, 07 April

17:38

Een avond met anarchist en onderzoeker: Andrej Grubai "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

[ 24 april 2018; 19:30 tot 22:30. ] Dinsdag 24 April Aanvang 19:30 start 20:00 * Na afloop is er een drankje In boekwinkel Fort van Sjakoo * Jodenbreestraat 24 Amsterdam De presentatie zal in het Engels zijn. Anarchist history from an Anarchist Perspective This talk has has two aims: the first is to speak about histories and cultures of the anti-statist mutual aid movements of the 20th [...]

17:22

Conservative councils deliver failure "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


The Tory party social media presence is absolutely repulsive. It's not jest the fact that they spread so many misrepresentations, smears, and outright lies, it's the disgusting way that they do it, and the sick elitist mentality of the Tory strategists who believe they can lie like this with total impunity because the general public are too thick and gullible to see through their deceptions, even when they've resorted to reality-reversing Orwellian propaganda tactics.

In this article I'm going to critique one Tweet from the @Conservatives Twitter account, but the problem is obviously wider than just a single Tweet. The @Conservatives account continually pushes misleading and downright dishonest political propaganda alongside multiple other misinformation accounts such as the vile @CCHQ account, and dozens of others.


Local elections are about local issues

The most convincing lies always have a kernel of truth about them, and in this case it's the perfectly valid assertion that "local elections on May 3 will decide how your local services are run and how much you pay for them. Things like street cleaning, rubbish collection, road repairs and helping the elderly".

...

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Friday, 06 April

20:10

Ruth Davidson's self-disproving lie "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson is a ridiculously brazen person, but on April 6th 2018 she truly excelled herself by posting a self-disproving lie on Twitter.








Even after all of this utterly brazen behaviour Davidson's latest effort is truly astounding. She's sent out a Tweet claiming that Scottish Income Tax payers earning over 26,000 will pay more tax under the SNP.

Not only is this claim a lie, it's actually contra...

14:23

The extraordinary lies that Tory activists are spreading on social media "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Tory activists on Twitter are so desperate to turn the social media tide against Labour that they're spreading a barrage of outright lies, including extraordinary claims that Labour were responsible for some of the most unpopular Tory privatisations of the Thatcher and Major era.

I'm going to look at the output of one particular Tory social media activist in particular. The "Sarah Adams" account.

One of Sarah Adams' most commonly occurring claims is that Labour privatised British gas, electricity, water, and railways.

I'm sure that everyone knows that these were Thatcherite privatisations, and that the fantastic 2017 Labour Manifesto pledged to bring a lot of this stuff back into public ownership, but here are the links for the avoidance of doubt,
  • ...

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Thursday, 05 April

22:32

Welcome to the 21st Century "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

There is no American justice. What we are all seeing is Israeli justice! Since our politicians allow Israel to commit land theft, incarceration without trial, child kidnapping for the purpose of organ theft & mass-murder; since we fight wars only Israel wants; since the West unconditionally supports this nation even though it is the greatest violator of international law by

15:54

Full LibDem Slate for Tower Hamlets "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

THLDs 1Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats are running a full slate of borough council candidates for the election on 3rd May, for the first time since 2010 (when I was the parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Poplar & Limehouse). Elaine Bagshaw is our Mayoral candidate. This time Im standing for Council in my home ward of Mile End, along with Richard Macmillan and Tabitha Potts. As in much of the country, the local party was hit badly by the fallout from the 2010-2015 Coalition government with the Conservatives (despite the fact that several positive LibDem policies were introduced during that time, including the pupil premium, a substantial rise in the personal tax allowance and same sex marriage). However, in common with most other London borough local parties, Tower Hamlets LibDems have experienced a great surge in members (now well over 700) and keen young activists. Many of these have been motivated by the shock of the 2016 EU Referendum result (for which London as a whole did not vote Leave, Tower Hamlets markedly so) and the linked fact that under the leadership of Vince Cable the LibDems have firmly established themselves as the party of ExitFromBrexit, in sharp contrast to Theresa Mays Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyns Labour. That is a message that is going down well on the doorstep, not least among the thousands of (non-UK) EU citizens many of them married to or living with Brits who are alarmed by the threats to their situation post March 2019. Of course, EU citizens can vote in local elections (but not in n...

14:14

If anyone is Vladimir Putin's "useful idiot", it's Boris Johnson "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


We're well and truly through the looking glass now guys. 

It was bonkers enough to witness the incoherent (and quite obviously anti-Semitic) "wrong kind of Jews" vitriol that was spat at Jeremy Corbyn over the weekend for spending the Jewish religious festival of Seder with young politically engaged Jews, instead of shopping like Theresa May was, but this Boris Johnson stuff is getting truly Orewllian.

Boris Johnson scored a massive own goal  against his own government for Vladimir Putin by lying about what the British chemical weapons experts at Porton Down had said.

Whatever the British government says now, the Russians can retort with 
"look at the way the British Foreign Secretary and Foreign Office lied about Salisbury", and they've actually got a point, and it's all Boris Johnson's fault.
...

10:28

BBC newspaper review: scrutiny of the government is treason "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


One of the classic propaganda tricks used by tyrannical authoritarian regimes all throughout history is to attack any criticism or scrutiny of the government/ruling class as treason.

This kind of tactic is common in Putin's Russia, as well as various other dictatorial regimes, but this dangerously authoritarian propaganda technique is now being used by the British establishment to undermine scrutiny of the government, even when they've been caught out lying.

What's even more worrying than the fact that Boris Johnson has used this grotesque propaganda tactic to derail criticism of his Porton Down lies, is that the BBC is using it too.

Take a look at this clip of the right-wing Daily Telegraph columnist Jane Merrick on a BBC Newspaper review. She actually claims that "Jeremy Corbyn is taking the word of the Russian government rather than the British government." 
...

09:17

If Boris Johnson wants to talk about facts, let's talk about facts "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Boris Johnson's response to trapping himself in a ridiculous lie about the Salisbury nerve agent was to play the "but Corbyn ..." distraction card.

Of course a load of obsequious Tory sycophants in the mainstream media played along with his game by uncritically repeating Johnson's crude anti-Corbyn smears instead of addressing the alarming fact that the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom lied about a national security issue, but surely most people have the ability to see through this farcical deflection strategy?

Anyhow, I'll go through the 8 key facts I've identified in the article header image to provide evidence, links and analysis.

Key fact 1: Boris Johnson lied

There's no doubt about it. Boris Johnson's account of what the Porton Down experts told him about  nerve agent is absolutely contradicted by what the Porton Down experts have actually said.


Key fact 2: The Foreign Office Twitter account lied


...

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Wednesday, 04 April

17:40

The Porton Down statement tells us way more about our own government than it does about Russia's "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


There seems to be an awful lot of confusion about the meaning of the Porton Down announcement that they've been unable to prove that the Salisbury nerve agent was produced in Russia.

The announcement in no way indicates that Russians weren't responsible for the attack, it just means that the scientists who analysed the nerve agent couldn't conclusively prove that it was produced in Russia.

What the announcement does do is expose the fact that Boris Johnson lied. He lied when he said that Proton Down experts told him that there was "no doubt" that the nerve agent was produced in Russia, and the Foreign Office lied when they issued (a now hastily deleted) Tweet blaming Russia for the production of the nerve agent.

the announcement also vindicated Jeremy Corbyn for his calm evidence-seeking approach, and those who suffered a huge onslaught of vitriol and abuse for daring to ask questions about the government line, and specifically Boris Johnson's claims about what the Porton Down experts had told him.


It's absolutely clear that anyone trying to make out that the Porton Down announcement absolves Russia of blame is stretching way beyond what was act...

12:13

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski @ ResearchGate

 

 

I have had many articles, papers, reports, presentations and teaching documents at Academia for some years now. But for the last year I have built up my collection of papers, articles etc. at ResearchGate.

You can find these documents at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Glenn_Rikowski

Here are direct links to a few of my papers and articles:

Education Crises As Crises For Capital (2018) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322642418_Education_Crises_As_Crises_For_Capital

Privatisation in Education and Commodity Forms (2017) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322144355_Privatisation_in_Education_and_Commodity_Forms

Capitorg: Education and the Constitution of the Human in Contemporary Society (2011)...

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Tuesday, 03 April

23:22

Anti-Semitic claims against Corbyn, Labour exaggerated: Poll "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

I feel its up to us to let Jeremy Corbyn know the vast majority of Brits are right behind him. This is the last thing the media will do. Along with letters & emails supporting Corbyn we have to bombard media outlets telling them were onto them & that they WILL pay a heavy price for lying to us. While

22:45

Guido Fawkes linked to the BNP: Gas them all, Gas them all "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Guido Fawkes AKA Paul Staines has been trying to smear Jeremy Corbyns Labour with fake news about anti-semitism.

But Staines has some secrets he would probably prefer to keep secret.

When he was a student, Staines was chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students at Humberside University.

And while he was in that position, he proposed a pact between the Conservatives and the neo-Nazi British National Party, saying I share a lot of your objectives.

Heres a transcript of a now deleted article from the Guardian in 1986:

Tory student leader in racist party link
The Guardian, 31 May 1986

Paul Delarie-Staines of Federation of Conservative Students attempts to form pact with British National Party in Hull

A leader of the Federation of Conservative Students wrote to an organiser of the British National Party proposing joint direct action to disrupt the meetings of leftwing students.

Secrecy, he emphasised, was essential: The Reds would simply go wild if they got to hear of a BNP-FCS link. I would personally be in danger of being expelled from the C...

13:02

Playing 'good Jew - bad Jew' to delegitimise Jewish people you disagree with is blatant anti-Semitism "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


One of the most extraordinary things about the anti-Semitism furore is the way that Jeremy Corbyn's right-wing opponents are prepared to issue blatantly anti-Semitic statements in order to attack him as an anti-Semite, but they repeatedly get a total free pass from the mainstream media.

First we had Theresa May using the grotesque "self-hating Jew" trope to attack every single Jewish member of the Labour Party as tolerant of anti-Semitism, then we had the Tory government minister Sajid Javid hiding behind parliamentary privilege to smear hundreds of Jewish Labour activists as supporters of the fascist ideology that resulted in the genocide of their forefathers!

Incredibly, right-wingers have tried to argue that silencing and delegitimising Jewish voices you don't agree with by smearing left-wing Jewish people as "self-hating Jews" and "neo-fascists" is somehow not anti-Semitic behaviour!


Now the right-wing (and non-Jewish) Labour MP John Woodcock has gone even further by slamming Jeremy Corbyn for celebrating the Jewish Seder festival with a left-wing Jewish group called Jewdas.

Apparently Corbyn is still an anti-Semite for attending and participating in a Jewish festival, because the people there are somehow the wrong kind of Jews.

Using grotesquely divisive 'good Jew - bad Jew' shit to delegitimise and dismiss Jewish voices you disagree with is about as clear an example of anti-Semitism as it's possible to see. But Woodcock didn't just get a free pass on it, his vile comments were uncritically repeated all over the mainstream media, including the oh-so-impartial BBC.


...

12:58

The Mystery of Shopping "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Mystery ShopperSpam emails tend to come in waves, I find. One will be bombarded for days with offers of cheap Canadian medicines, only for that wave to recede and be replaced by weight loss cures. The only constant things are the notifications of huge sums of money that people wish to transfer to my account from a bank in Burkina Faso usually allegedly from the daughter of the late Libyan dictator, Colonel Mouammar Kadhafi. But over the Easter weekend a new rash of emails arrived, inviting me to become a mystery shopper, for a quite attractive fee. Doubtless phishing spam, nonetheless. But somehow I felt the suggestion was an affront: do they really think that I am the sort of person who would enjoy going to Oxford Street or Westfield to pretend to be on a shopping outing, comparing prices and judging service? I cannot bear shopping. In fact, I loathe it almost more than anything other than friends funerals. Of course I do have to go to the supermarket to buy in food from time to time, and when a jacket or a pair of trousers starts to fall apart, I brace myself and sally forth to find a replacement usually after a stiff drink. Perhaps my allergy to shopping has something to do with my childhood, growing up in a dysfunctional and sometimes abusive adoptive family who owned department stores, though I dont think that is the whole answer. I am just not wired into consumer gratification in the way that most people apparently are, driven on by TV and other advertising. Descartes famous...

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Monday, 02 April

18:04

How anti-Corbyn programming works "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"



The Guardian has hosted an article by the deputy editor of the New Statesman Helen Lewis that contains a highly deceptive piece of anti-Corbyn programming.

The title of the article suggests that it's broadly sympathetic to Corbyn and his supporters, but the content clearly gives the game away as an effort to shift public opinion against Jeremy Corbyn and anyone who supports him.

A one-sided article attacking Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Guardian should hardly come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with their track record of supporting every Blairite attempt to undermine him and oust him as leader, but one particular section of this article in particular is quite extraordinary.

Lewis brings up the fact that three people have been jailed for hurling grotesque anti-Semitic abuse at the Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger, but somehow forgets to mention that all three of these people were extreme-right fanatics, presumably in the hope that readers would associate her graphic description of extreme-right anti-Semitic abuse with Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left who are clearly mentioned in the initial sentence of the paragraph.

The cases of the three jailed extreme-right trolls can be read about here, here, and...

14:26

The Tories are plotting to turn schools in deprived areas into military indoctrination centres "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"



They announced it on April Fools Day, but it's no joke: The bumbling former fireplace salesman with no military experience Theresa May has put in charge of our armed forces is plotting to militarise schools in deprived neighbourhoods.


For the last eight years the Tories have been routinely ignoring teachers and education experts who have argued that better funding and more modern teaching methods are fundamental to an education system that is capable of producing adults with the skills and aptitude to cope with the rapidly changing modern work environment.

The Tories ignored them in order to concentrate on their ideological agenda of giving away thousands of state schools, for free, to unaccountable private sector pseudo-charities (many of them owned and operated by major Tory donors), reverting to old fashioned rote learning methods, and then inflicting the largest cuts to the education budget in decades.

It's not just teachers and education experts who have been complaining about the devastating impact of extreme Tory budget cuts. ...

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Sunday, 01 April

18:41

Modern imperialism goes on trial & is found guilty by Neil Clark "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster & blogger. He has written for several newspapers & magazines in the UK & abroad. Hes a regular pundit on RT, Press TV & the Voice of Russia. Hes also appeared on the BBC & Sky News. Hes the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be

11:09

Why I'm giving up on Jeremy Corbyn "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Have you read the newspapers recently? It turns out that we may have missed a trick and that Jeremy Corbyn isn't quite the guy his supporters have been trying to fool us into believing he is.

I've tried to remain loyal to Jeremy Corbyn, but it's totally impossible given the way he's been stooging for Putin's Russia. I mean how could anyone trust a man who has been pushing for Magnitisky economic sanctions against Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies since way before the Skripal poisoning. If  Corbyn had any integrity at all then surely he'd take 800,000+ in donations from these oligarchs and Putin cronies and then obstruct Magnitsky powers at every turn like Theresa May has been doing?

It also turns out that back in the 1980s Jeremy Corbyn was a spy for the communists in Czechoslovakia! Some people have tried to cast doubt on the source of the claims and point out that there is no documentary proof of the claims whatever in the Czech archives, but who could possibly doubt the testimony of a man who personally founded Live Aid as a communist plot to overthrow the West?

Then there's the fact that Corbyn met members of Sinn Fin during the 1980s. Yes his supporters will point out that the Thatcher government was having secret negotiations with the actual IRA ter...

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Saturday, 31 March

16:45

Esther McVey wants to make teenagers carry the can for Brexit "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


The Tory DWP minister Esther McVey has announced a bold new policy for mitigating the economic fallout from Brexit; she wants teenagers who were too young to even vote in the EU referendum to carry the can.

The exodus of EU workers is already harming various sectors of the British economy including health and care services, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, and the agricultural sector.

The number of nurses coming to work in the NHS from the EU has collapsed by 90%; the hospitality industry are projecting a huge post-Brexit recruitment crisis; and millions worth of fruit and veg are already being left to rot in British fields ... but Esther McVey thinks that the solution is to get British teenagers to plug the gaps by getting Saturday jobs!

It's not just that these youngsters are being robbed of their right to live, study, and work in any of 27 other European nations as the result of a referendum they weren't even able to vote in, they're now being told by out-of-touch Tory millionaires that they should carry the can for the economic fallout of this decision too.

In a way this approach does kind of make sense from a rudimentary greed-based, pro-corporate, hard-right agenda. Why should corporations pay European Union workers full minimum wage of 7.83 per hour to pick fruit and veg or work in the hospitality industry, when they could get a bunch of British teenagers in and p...

16:38

Will Israel Nuke the entire Planet? Google the Samson Option "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Whether Standing Order 11110 was the catalyst for his assassination or the fact the great man stated under no circumstances should Israel acquire nuclear weapons, one thing Id bet my life on herein lies the reason JFK was murdered. Anyone who thinks an American President can be taken out by any Tom, Dick or Harry is totally barking up

08:47

This is the abuse I got when I revealed my Jewish family were murdered by Nazis. From ANTI-Corbynites "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Revealing on social media that members of my family were murdered in a concentration camp for being Jewish wasnt an easy decision to make.

It still feels a bit like Im using family tragedy for petty politics.

But even after experiencing the rough and tumble of writing about politics on social media for over 8 years, I was still surprised at the amount of abuse I received.

And all because I happened to also mention that I like Jeremy Corbyn which obviously goes against his opponents false narrative and vile smears that he is anti-semitic.

Anti-Corbynites reacted with fury for mentioning my fathers family were murdered by the Nazis.

They called me a twat, they called me pathetic, told me I was blind, crass, snide, pretentious, a bullshitter and that I was belittling the fight against antisemitism by talking about my family history.

One rabid anti-Corbynite told me that the fact I have family who died in the Holocaust doesnt give you a free pass to be a dick.

Twat, pathetic, blind, pretentious, bullshitter, crass, dick.

Anti-Corbynites actually seem to think the best way to fight anti-semitism is to abuse someone whose Jewish family were murdered in a Nazi concentration camp.

Interesting strategy

Of course, this proves the anti-Corbynites are not at all interested in defeating anti...

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Friday, 30 March

15:12

Easter in Rome "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

D0E180F4-0506-45E5-8BAD-FD50B5A051DEHaving spent more than half a century travelling around Europe most of it for work, including eight years based in Brussels (the subject of my next memoir) Ive been just about everywhere, except Kosovo since it declared independence. But of course there are some experiences I still have to have not exactly a bucket list, but nonetheless things that it would be nice to have notched on my belt before I pop my clogs. So here I am in Rome for Holy Week, the Easter palomba cake on the kitchen table at my friends flat off the Piazza di Spagna. Id expected the city to be super-crowded, but apart from the occasional crocodile of Chinese chugging down the pavement, this part of town is relatively manageable. The Piazza del Popolo at the end of the street was packed on Wednesday for the funeral of the  much-loved TV presenter Fabrizio Frizzi, but otherwise I have been able to wander and when the mood takes me, to sit in the Spring sun on a cafe terrace. Mind you, I have kept well away from the Vatican, which I imagine will be heaving, especially as the Easter weekend progresses and the Pope appears. I shall leave that to the devoted, as I abandoned organised religion decades ago. But a priest is coming to a fish supper at the apartment this evening, so we are sort of entering into...

12:12

What the mainstream media don't want you to know about anti-Semitism "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


Nobody denies that there are problems with anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry within the Labour Party. Given that anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry are shockingly commonplace in wider society, any organisation of the size of the Labour Party is bound to have a few horrible people kicking around.

The problem is the way the mainstream media insist on presenting the anti-Semitism debate as if it's a Labour-specific problem that's getting worse under Jeremy Corbyn, when the actual evidence shows that anti-Semitic views are very much more common from Conservatives, and that rates of anti-Semitism have actually fallen dramatically amongst Labour supporters since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015.

Falling Labour anti-Semitism

Comparison of two YouGov surveys in 2015 and 2017 shows that rates of anti-Semitism amongst Labour supporters has fallen dramatically, while the same polls show that anti-Semitism rates amongst Tory supporters is barely falling at all.

In 2015, 22% of Labour voters agreed with the statement that Jews chase money more than other people, whilst in 2017 the number of Labour voters agreeing with the statement had declined to 14%.

These results compare with 31% of Conservative voters who agreed with the statement that Jews chase mo...

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Thursday, 29 March

19:10

Phantom Thread ***** "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

10915E47-725E-4134-9207-12EFA7BEE9D7I have never had the slightest interest in womens fashion, so was a little tardy in viewing Paul Thomas Andersons Phantom Thread, but of course one doesnt need to be engaged with haute couture to understand what a very special film this is. Daniel Day-Lewis, in what he says is his swan song as an actor, although only 60 years old, employed all the skills of method acting to become the lead character, Reynolds Woodcock handsome and superficially charming until his total self-centredness and obsession with his work comes to the fore, buttressed by his icily supportive sister and collaborator, Cyril (a brilliant piece of character acting by Lesley Manville). But the person who pierces Reynolds carapace is a German waitress encountered by chance at a hotel in Yorkshire, Alma an apt name, as it is her spirit as well as her beauty which captivated him. But like a butterfly collector who seizes a spectacular specimen and pins it to a board, so Reynolds tries to exert complete control over Alma as model and muse, belittling her whenever she shows any sign of individuality or passion. But Alma (captivatingly portrayed by the relative newcomer from Luxembourg, Vicky Kriep...

13:50

Those calling the shots today will stop at nothing to stay in control. Its up to us to stop them "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

What happens when pathological liars are found out? They keep lying in an attempt to cover their tracks. With credibility & reputation finally shot, these people either end up in jail as fraudsters or have no option but to move on to fresh pastures. The lies continue & so on. The very best con artists manage to do this for

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Wednesday, 28 March

23:15

The Tories have just swallowed fishermen whole and spat them out "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

By Russell Bruce

Coastal communities are being exploited by a band of hard Brexiteers who care nothing about the future of fishermen and the media are doing little to explain the consequences of a hard Brexit on the fishing and processing industry.

Scotlands hard Brexit Tories threatened a revolt to bring Mays government down. The rebellion died in 10 minutes because they know fish are not the real story just as 350 million for the NHS was just another fishy tale to deceive voters and divert them from the real agenda.

As Mandy Rhodes, Editor of Holyrood Magazine, and one familiar with the fishing community on the Moray coast put it in her weekend article Scottish fishermen have been done up like kippers:

What was more surprising to me was that fishermen, who so loathed the Common

Mandy Rhodes

Fisheries Policy, were prepared to put their faith in the same Conservatives that took them into it, to then take them out of it with no equivalent pain.

They were expendable then and they are expendable now.

The Tories real concern is what will happen to the UKs important financial sector employing 1,100,000 people. May has acknowledged that the UK will no longer have passporting rights to sell financial products in the EU after Brexit. Fishing is worth just 0.05% of UK GDP and most of that is from Scottish waters.

...

22:19

Does John Woodcock have less integrity than bloody Ukippers? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"



The right-wing Labour MP John Woodcock is one of the most duplicitous wreckers in the entire party. Whenever there's an opportunity to attack Jeremy Corbyn and the hundreds of thousands of Labour members who support him, Woodcock is always at the forefront slinging as much political abuse as possible.

Now it turns out that Woodcock has been going around threatening to quit the Labour Party in order to inflict as much damage on the party as possible before the local elections.

The reasons he gives are the usual stuff. The Corbyn's a "Russian stooge" smears (despite the Tories taking 800,000 in donations from Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies and Labour taking 0 since Corbyn took over) and the anti-Semitism smears (despite the fact that Jeremy Corbyn can point to a track record of opposing all forms of racism and bigotry all the way back to before he became an MP in the 1980s).

Woodcock is also whining that the Labour MP Dan Jarvis is being asked to stand down as an MP if he wants to become the mayor of the Sheffield region, because of the Labour Party policy of no double-jobbing.

Jarvis is trying to claim he should be allowed to do both jobs, but the pr...

20:25

British democracy is under threat and Tory Brexiteers are trying to shout down the warnings "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"



The Speaker of the House of Commons was forced to intervene when a braying and jeering mob of Tory MPs attempted to shout down a vitally important question from the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Once order was more-or-less restored Lucas asked her question, and staying true to her usual tactics, Theresa May waffled on about a completely different issue in reply.




The question Caroline Lucas asked was about the urgent need to update Britain's electoral rules for the digital age in order to defend democracy from unscrupulous anti-democratic practices, but Theresa May blatantly evaded answering the question in order to waffle on about data protection measures.

Anyone who paid attention to the testimony of the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris W...

19:35

Sajid Javid just baselessly called hundreds of Jewish Labour Party members "neo-fascists" "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


The Tory government minister Sajid Javid has just stood up in parliament and accused the Labour activist group Momentum of being "neo-fascists"

Aside from the fact that it's the political left who have always stood in solidarity with the Jewish people to fight against actual fascists from the political right (as at Cable Street where they beat the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, when they beat back the rise of the National Front in Lewisham in the '70s, and the regular criticism of modern neo-Fascist hate groups like Britain First from the political left), there's also the well-known fact that the leader of Momentum is a Jewish guy called Jon Lansman.

Now if we know anything at all about anti-Semitism then surely we know that it's deeply anti-Semitic to baselessly resort to calling Jewish people Nazis just because you disagree with their political views.

So where is the tide of outrage about this hard-right government minister deliberately and offensively tarring hundreds of peaceful anti-fascist left-leaning Jewish people with the vile ideology that resulted in the mass genocide against their ancestors? ...

16:46

Surely Londoners aren't gullible enough to blame Sadiq Khan for the consequences of Tory austerity dogma "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


By now surely we're all familiar with the Tory strategy of blaming others for what they're guilty of themselves.

The way opportunistic Tory MPs gleefully jumped on the Labour anti-Semitism furore in a week in which their own party has been rocked by one outrageous bigotry scandal after another is a clear example of this, but perhaps the clearest example of all is the right-wing fixation with attacking the Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan for the consequences of devastating Tory cuts to the London police budget.

After 26 year old Abraham Badu became the tenth murder victim in just twelve days in the capital, a flood of right-wingers have been desperate to cast the blame onto Sadiq Khan and the Labour Party instead of turning their attention to the unprecedented Tory cuts to police services in London.

Here are some of the facts about the devastating impact of Tory austerity dogma on London policing since 2010.
  • The Tories have slashed 600 million from the London police budget since 2010, and intend to impose another 400 million in cuts by 2021.
  • As a result of these unprecedented austerity-driven cuts the number of London police personnel has collapsed by 30% from 14,330 to 9,985.
  • Tory austerity cuts have also resulted in the loss of 65% of London's police community support officers, a reduction from 4,607 to 1,591.
  • Tory austerity dogma has resulted in the closure of 120 police buildings across the capital, and the elimination of almost all of the capital's police count...

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Tuesday, 27 March

23:15

Why are the mainstream media giving Theresa May an easy ride over her endorsement of homophobic bullying? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"



As a result of his decision to blow the whistle on Brexit campaign cheating Theresa May's aides revenge outed the whistleblower as gay (putting his family in Pakistan in danger). Not only did Theresa May refuse to apologise to the victim, but she actually expressed her "full confidence" in the perpetrator!

Just try to imagine the storm of mainstream media outrage if a Labour employee had done this, and then Jeremy Corbyn had actually endorsed such grotesque homophobic bullying by refusing to apologise to the victim and actually issuing a statement of confidence in the perpetrator.

The mainstream media reluctance to call out this ridiculously clear cut demonstration of Theresa May's tolerance towards the use of bigoted homophobic bullying tactics is one of the reasons that so many people have completely lost faith in professional journalism.

There is absolutely no way Theresa May should be getting an easy ride over this from the mainstream press, especially given that the subject of bigotry in politics has been deliberately pushed to the forefront of political debate as a means of stopping the public from talking about the way toxic Tory austerity dogma has completely ruined local government services up and down the country and left numerous councils in a state of de facto insolvency. ...

16:54

Why are the mainstream media ignoring the shocking Tory bigotry and bullying scandals? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


The mainstream media are absolutely desperate to assist the Labour right-wingers in their plot to reduce Labour's vote at the local elections by amplifying their anti-Semitism smears, but the huge story they're ignoring is the very real problem of bullying and bigotry within the Tory party.

Just two weeks ago the Tories relaunched their youth movement with the disgraced Tory Vice Chair Ben Bradley at the forefront of the launch.

Bradley is a guy who promoted the forced sterilisation of poor people and got caught spreading totally outrageous lies on Twitter, but somehow the mainstream press didn't bother to ask how this odious man is still in his job, let alone why such a bigot is being entrusted with the Tory youth movement.

Another question they didn't bother to ask is why the Tory youth movement needed to be relaunched. The answer of course is that it was shut down after a young Tory activist was bullied so badly that he was driven to suicide.

The Tories had to close down their youth movement because they actually bullied someone into suicide, and then they had the cheek to cry victim that right-wing young people are supposedly being told (by unspecified persons) that "they have to be Corbynistas"!

Bigotry and bullying have always been part of the right-wing Tory agenda,...

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Monday, 26 March

17:47

Implausible, inconceivable, astonishing utilisation of the word whether & a lesson in controlling the red mist "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Yesterday I posted a petition calling for a debate in the UK parliament regarding whether Israel has improper influence over British politics. Considering nearly ever Tory MP is a member of what can only be described as an illegal pressure group Conservative Friends of Israel & since almost 100 Labour MPs belong to the corresponding group Labour Friends of

16:10

The Tories are courting the most anti-Semitic demographic of all whilst smearing Labour as anti-Semites! "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"


One of the most incredible things about right-wing propaganda is the extraordinarily contradictory nature of it.

Take the resurgence of the anti-Semitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party as an example.

We all know that these kinds of smears are intended as distraction tactics because the Tories have lost the argument completely when it comes to actual policies, so they resort to smears.

A few weeks ago they were smearing Corbyn as a communist Czech spy, then he was supposedly a Putin stooge for capitalist Russia, then he's a hard-left Marxist again, then he's a Stalinist for demonstrating the leadership skills that Theresa May so badly lacks, and now it's back to anti-Semitism again.

One of the big problems with the right-wing using accusations of anti-Semitism to attack Jeremy Corbyn is that these very same people were perfectly happy to use anti-Semitic tropes to attack Ed Miliband when he was Labour leader.

When anti-Semitism is useful to the Tory purpose of defending the interests of corporations and the mega-rich they're perfectly happy to use it as a weapon to attack a Jewish leader of the Labour Party, but when they're feeling afraid because Jeremy Corbyn's centre-left policies are so popular, they use accusations of anti-Semitism agai...

11:47

Some of my family were murdered in a Nazi concentration camp, so do not accuse me of anti-semitism for supporting Jeremy Corbyn "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Jonathan Arkush the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews   is smearing Jeremy Corbyn with lies about anti-semitism.

But why would he do that?

Well, you see, what Arkush and the mainstream press is not mentioning, is that  is more than a tiny bit biased when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn.

Because Arkush is a Tory. A right-wing one.

Heres Arkush praising Theresa May and her exceptionally warm and friendly DUP coalition partners in the Jerusalem Post:

...

00:18

Parliament debate whether Israel has improper influence over British Politics "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

IMPROPER INFLUENCE? Dont make me laugh. WEVE VIRTUALLY SURRENDERED OUR INDEPENDENCE TO THESE BASTARDS! Israel breaks more international laws than any country yet we lick their putrid arse all the time. WHY? Because they control everything that matters, even Parliament itself. The proof is in the pudding name one Tory election promise thats been honoured? You cant because every single

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Sunday, 25 March

12:20

Tories paying to move police officers from poorer areas to police their own well-off boroughs "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Q. Ever been puzzled why Tory voters in well-off areas dont seem to be overly worried by rising crime across the country because of Theresa Mays cuts to front-line policing?

A. Well maybe thats because theyve been paying for extra police officers to be taken away from poorer areas to police their own areas.

Heres a tweet from the leader of extremely well-off Tory London Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames:

And heres Davis openly boasting about how his wealthy borough has paid to move police officers from other areas to police Kingston:

To pay for extra Police What we said and what we did

So to sum up. The government is allowing police officers and resources to be moved to well-off boroughs full of their own supporters, while leaving poorer areas to suffer rising crime, in order to protect themselves and their supporters from the effects of their cuts to front-line services.

In a country with a fully-functioning, unbiase...

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Saturday, 24 March

22:59

Its not RT; its not Russia. The integral reason were in such a mess is mainstream media. Here is our enemy. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

We know what the media is supposed to be a service to keep the public informed as to whats occurring nationally & globally. With several outlets vying for a piece of the action, journalists need to maintain a high standard. Those accurately reporting & presenting stories quickest will in all likelihood attract the most viewers & readers. Better still

15:56

From Russia with Love "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

SIFFA UKThere isnt much love between the UK and Russia these days, in the wake of the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, but while the war of words continues between the two governments, at a cultural level there is a determination to keep things friendly. So there was a good turn-out and no embarrassing demonstrations at the gala UK premiere of Artyom Mikhalkovs 2016 film, Betting on Love, at the Soho Hotels screening room in Soho last night. The event was all part of the London end of the Sochi Film Festival Awards (SIFFA) a relative newcomer to the film festival circuit, based in the Black Sea resort that hosted the Winter Olympics four years ago. There were drinks and awards of various kinds before the Soho screening, with a great many bouquets of flowers. Stephen Frears who collected a certificate, along with one for an absent Dame Judi Dench was so festooned with blooms he could have opened a stall in Columbia Road market. Artyom Mikhalkov was on hand to receive his own Sochi gong. His film was a romantic comedy that made many nods to the rom-coms of the 1960s and 1970s, with a bit of James Bond thrown in. The hero was a diminutive Armenian waiter working in a sushi restaurant who nonetheless has the chance of winning the hand of a fair maiden. There are some nice gags about Russian mafiosi as well as armospheric location shots in Las Vegas, but the film was as frothy as whipped cream in a can and everyone kissed, made up and paired off at the end.

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Thursday, 22 March

11:54

25 Years of the National Literary Trust "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

gruffaloLast night I was at the Plaisterers Hall in the City for a fundraising dinner celebrating the 25th anniversary of the National Literary Trust. This is an independent charity working with schools and communities to give disadvantaged children the literacy skills to succeed in life. Its a shaming part that in some of the poorest parts of Britain hundreds of thousands of primary school children are unable to read or write, which severely handicaps their chances in later life. Parents and the home learning environment have the greatest effect on how a child develops language and literacy skills. So much of the work done by the Trust focuses there. The charitys Patron is the Duchess of Cornwall, who gave a short unscripted speech last night, and was joined by three dozen successful writers, including Tony Bradman, Chair of the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), on whose table I sat. My own engagement with the National Literary Trust has been through the Ruth Rendell Award for the promotion of literacy, as I have been one of the judges choosing the winner in the first two years of the awards existence. As one might expect from the location, there were a lot of financial high-flyers at the dinner last night and with the help of an auction including pictures of the Gruffalo drawn on the spot by Axel Sheffler, 175,000 was raised...

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Tuesday, 20 March

17:20

Call for participants: Middle East Forum "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

openDemocracy .

openDemocracy is looking for participants for the Middle East Forum.

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Call for participants: Middle East Forum "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

openDemocracy .

openDemocracy is looking for participants for the Middle East Forum.

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11:41

15th anniversary of the Iraq War: transcript of Jeremy Corbyns 2003 stop the war speech "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Even the haters have got to admit it.  He was right, wasnt he?

Jeremy Corbyn, 2003:

Thank you to every single person thats here today, in the biggest-ever political demonstration in the history of this country.

And today there are six hundred and more demonstrations in cities all around the world. Every country, every continent, everybody in the world has a chance today to say no, absolutely no, to war on Iraq.

Well surely the message today in London, in Glasgow and ordinary people on the streets of this country is this: why are we spending three-and-a-half billion pounds on a war that nobody wants, when there is an AIDS pandemic sweeping Africa, when a quarter of the worlds children die in poverty and starvation? And we say there isnt money sufficient for our own public services?

Thousands more deaths in Iraq will not make things right. It will set off a spiral of conflict, of hate, of misery, of desperation that will fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression and the misery of future generations.

Our message our message today here in London a million and more strong is this. We want to live in a world free from war. The way to free us from the scourge of war is to free ourselves from the scourge of injustice, of poverty and the misery thats associated with that.

This movement this movement is giving that message to the British government: stop now or pay a political price.

Thank you very much.

...

11:03

Brexit Can Be Stopped "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Stop Brexit 1There is a glaring paradox at the heart of Britains Conservative government at the moment. On the one hand, the government is criticising Russia and accusing it of various kinds of interference in British life (including attempted murder) while on the other hand it is pursuing a course that will facilitate one of the Kremlins main aims, namely Brexit. It now seems highly likely that Russia campaigned anonymously through social media in favour of a Leave vote in 2016, and weakening the EU (which Britains departure will undoubtedly do) is a key Russian foreign policy goal. The Paradox I mentioned earlier is personified by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, who has castigated the Russians for trying to conceal the needle of truth in a haystack of lies and obfuscation (rather a good description of himself, incidentally) while being a prominent cheerleader for Brexit. However, the wheels are beginning to come off the Brexit bus as it becomes ever clearer that the British public were grossly misled about what Brexit would mean in practice. We were not told that it would make us poorer, that many of our rights as European citizens would be taken away, that we would be leaving the customs union as well as the single market, or that some sort of border controls might have to be introduced between Nor...

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Monday, 19 March

21:20

Why do Zionists hate Russia. 1000s of Jews live in Russia. Is it because of Syria? "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Today I tried answering a comment on my website from Yvan Poulin which seemed more like a $64,000 question. Why do Zionists hate Russia Thousand of Jews live in Russia this is weird Is it because of Syria?   From the jump I went into a rant about how actually no one is spared; they hate everyone

19:12

2017 sees further increase in sixth form student research. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

The steady rise in Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) entries in Englands sixth forms suggests that student research is increasingly valued. 8% of all advanced sixth form completers in publicly funded sixth forms are entered for it, however many are studying Continue reading

18:58

Tory NHS cuts force sick kids to be separated 100s of miles from parents "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Whole counties are now so overstretched they are forcing sick children into NHS hospitals hundreds of miles away from their parents.

Debyshire is the latest area to announce there are no beds available in the whole of the county for children under 18 in this case for children whose mental health condition means they need specialist round-the-clock care:

Children in Derbyshire with severe mental health problems will now be placed in hospitals anywhere around the country meaning they will be separated from their parents.

Obviously most parents have to work and will not be able to live and travel regularly to see their children.

But Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt whose savage cuts to frontline NHS services have produced this crisis will no doubt have private healthcare for his family, and Im sure he will be able to grant himself sick leave were he ever to be unfortunate enough to have a seriously sick child in his...

11:48

BEST WORKERS IN THE WORLD 2. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

In the previous article Best workers in the world, I drew attention to the re-emergence of authoritarian, nationalist, one-nation ideas which are being promoted and implemented by various right-wing political parties throughout Europe and beyond. I used some of the ideas expressed by Donald Trump in his speech at Davos, to the US Senate and his State of the Union speech to demonstrate this, for three main reasons. First, because Donald Trump is currently one of the most prominent and widely followed international politicians; second  because the ideas he has expressed are particularly clear examples of this re-emerging trend, and third;  because given the common experiences of working people internationally this type of post-neoliberal thinking has made these ideas increasingly attractive to many working people. 

However, as yet such ideas have not been attractive to large majorities of working people in their struggling communities.  Perhaps this is only because, as yet, they are being uttered by right-wing extremists and therefore, by this association, are suspect.  Here is just a reminder of one example from Donald Trump; We must invest in our people. When people are forgotten the world becomes fractured. Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all (Trump at Davos)...

11:35

Syria Seven Years On "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Syria destruction 4 largeSeven years ago, as the Arab Spring swept across North Africa and the Middle East, demonstrations began in Syria. By chance I was there when the first manifestations occurred, in Deraa, before they spread to other cities especially after the violent way the authorities cracked down on the early protesters. This was hailed by enthusiasts as Syrias Revolution, with the major commercial centre Aleppo mainly coming under rebel control. But how badly things subsequently went wrong. Seven years on, the revolution that turned into a civil war is still going on longer than either the First or Second World War hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced and much of the country is in ruins. Bashar al-Assad and his mafia-like clique are still in charge and indeed since the Russians and Iranians piled in are increasingly with the upper hand, pounding and moving in on remaining rebel strongholds such as eastern Ghouta.

Last night I took part in a debate on Orient News TV, a Syria-focussed TV station based in Dubai and Amman, discussing the seventh anniversary. I was asked why Europe failed to get as deeply involved in Syria as the Russians have and explained how Britain in particular was scarred by the negative experience of the Iraq War...

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Sunday, 18 March

20:15

Protest bij Schoonmaak Support BV Amsterdam "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Vandaag, zondag 18 maart hebben we met enkele mensen van de Anarchistische Groep Amsterdam en Vrije Bond leden uit Amsterdam een kort protest gehouden bij het kantoor van Schoonmaak Support BV. Het kantoor bevind zich op Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 330, voorheen zat hier de linkse uitgeverij van Gennep gevestigd. Met een tiental personen hebben we folders [...]

19:24

Pathologically wrong: Humours and Miasma. "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Humours and Miasma: Science in Society 8. Humoral theory and miasma theory: two long-lasting medical paradigms now consigned to the history of human error but which shaped our ideas about health and disease and the development of medical practice and Continue reading

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Saturday, 17 March

20:40

Theresa May & Maria Zakharova: Difference in quality & ability as wide as the Grand Canyon "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Taken from a piece I wrote on 25 September 2014   Syria Crisis: The Sixth Stage of A Pre-9/11 Conceived Plan   It is for this reason I say Putins attempt to bring about an end to the plan to take out Syria & Iran, admirable as it was, was wishful thinking. In previous articles Ive stated IF NO ONE

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Friday, 16 March

00:45

Boekpresentatie vrijdag 23 maart 2018, 17.00 uur Murray Bookchins boek Sociale ecologie en politiek "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

Boekpresentatie vrijdag 23 maart 2018, 17.00 uur Murray Bookchins boek  Sociale ecologie en politiek Van harte welkom op de presentatie van Murray Bookchins Sociale ecologie en politiek in het Fort van Sjakoo op 23 maart 2018. De Amerikaanse politiek-filosoof Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) is een van de belangrijkste politieke denkers van de 20e eeuw. Er is echter weinig van [...]

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Wednesday, 14 March

21:38

RT: The UK suddenly feels sorry for spies while the US is just gagging to add Syria to the list of nations Israel wants destroyed "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

When Israel commits targeted assassinations, media & politicians alike not only unconditionally accept Israels pathetic explanation but they fall over themselves to say Israel has the right! OH BUT WHEN RUSSIA ALLEGEDLY ASSASSINATES A SPY & THEREFORE SOMEONE WHOS COMMITTED TREASON, AN OFFENCE PUNISHABLE BY DEATH BY OUR LAWS. all hell breaks loose. Anyone would think the West gives spies 5

12:36

On Memoir "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

RSL On MemoirLast night at the British Library the Royal Society of Literature put on an evening On Memoir, moderated by Rupert Christiansen. Its a genre that held little appeal to me when I was young devouring 20th century novels at a rate of several a week and in my 40s and 50s history and biography took centre stage. But perhaps in ones 60s one becomes more reflective, more introspective, mulling over ones life, what one did and what one might have done. And in fact my own last book, Eccles Cakes, was a childhood memoir. I found it was very therapeutic writing it, so I was interested to hear Sigrid Rausing at the RSL event say that writing her account of having a brother and sister-in-law who were drug addicts, Mayhem, was cathartic. I loved her memoir and was pleased to take part in a book group discussion of it immediately before the RSL evening. Interestingly, the group split almost exactly down the middle between those, like myself, who really empathised with the authors experience and others who felt quite alienated by it. In the evening discussion, Sigrid Rausing was joined by Aida Edemariam (interviewed by James Naughtie in a recent BBC World book show) and Philippe Sands. Aida Edemariams book, The Wifes Tale, is based on interviews with her now deceased Ethiopian grandmother, whereas Philippe Sands East West Street traces not only the footst...

Monday, 12 March

20:38

Russia: pro-Putin PR organisation was created by Tory Party donors and approved by David Cameron "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

A 2013 article on the website of Russian State News Agency TASS claims that not long after a close friend of Vladimir Putin, Vasily Shestakov met David Cameron at a Tory Party fundraiser, the former Tory leader approved of the creation of a pro-Russian PR organisation created by two pro-Putin Tory Party donors, Timothy Lewin, David Burnside:

Russia takes new steps to improve its image abroad

MOSCOW, July 9 (Itar-Tass) 

Recently, the Russian authorities have been taking new steps to improve Russia image abroad. Thus, the Positive Russia Foundation has been established in London with the aim of creating a positive image of Russia in Great Britain, Izvestia daily said in Tuesdays issue, quoting Duma MP Vasily Shestakov-one of the head officials of the new foundation, as saying. This organization was registered in London in the e...

20:13

Story of why David Icke met an anti-terrorism officer and a council anti-extremist co-ordinator "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

There can be no question, behind closed doors Zionists & Jews are going out of their way to shut David Icke up. One can go on arguing the toss about censorship, freedom of speech, whos right & whos wrong but at the end of the day it boils down to this.   If David Icke was talking a load of

14:54

Husband of anti-cannabis UK Drugs Minister grows cannabis "IndyWatch Feed Politics.eu"

This is Tory MP Victoria Atkins MP, the UK minister responsible for drugs policy:

Atkins strongly and totally opposes the use of cannabis for either medical or recreational use and supports the governments hard-line position that there is no therapeutic value in cannabis.

For example, Ms Atkins spoke out forcefully against deregulation of cannabis in Parliament in July 2017:

I declare an interest: I used to prosecute national-level drug barons. We are talking about gun-toting criminals, who think nothing of shooting each other and the people who carry their drugs for them. What on earth does my hon. Friend think their reaction will be to the idea of drugs being regulated? Does he really think that these awful people are suddenly going to become law-abidi...

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