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Kate Mannes Down Girl describes the origins of a punitive social system that keeps women in their place by rewarding compliance and punishing resistance.
The #MeToo movement has brought unprecedented attention to sexual harassment and assault. Its revealed just how many women feel besieged by sexually predatory behaviorespecially in the workplace. The wave of women coming forward has shown that sexual harassment is the rule in many institutions.
And #MeToo has only revealed a small piece of a much larger problem. Although the most high-profile #MeToo stories have focused on celebrities or executives, most victims are disproportionately young, low-income, and minority women. Also less evident in the #MeToo movement have been cases of sexual violence: where shaming, trolling, threats, and unwelcome advances have given way to rape, physical violence, and even forms of tortureof which choking is the most common.
In its most extreme cases, it can literally be a matter of life and death, and yet sexual harassment and violence remain largely hidden by an elaborate system of denial, gaslighting, and retraction of accusations by women. Meanwhile, unrepentant abusers are often comforted or excused while victims are blamed.
How did we get here? Moral philosopher Kate Mannes book, Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, helps explain. Thanks to Manne, the undue comfort that men receive now has a name: Its called himpathy. And, together with how she defines misogyny, Manne provides a useful framework for understanding not just the present #MeToo moment, but what came before.
For Manne, misogyny is not simply men who hate women. Thats far too simplistic, she says. Rather, its a far-reaching, punitive social system that keeps women in their place by rewarding
Himpathy, a term destined to become part of the feminist vocabulary, names a problem previously unrecognizedand perhaps thats the first step in solving it. Manne defines himpathy as the excessive sympathy sometimes shown to male perpetrators of sexual violence, in the attempt to preserve their reputation, power, or status. Accused men, especially those with privilege, are broadly treated with deference by the media and the public, and if theyre brought to court are given lenient...
Will more time do it for Theresa May and the rest of us? The option of a longer transition is intended to provide more reassurance that special measures would not be needed to avoid a hard border even if the UK and the EU fail to implement a new trade deal by the end of 2020. Because the EU is mildly encouraging, the chorus of opposition in Westminster is all the louder. Remainers are as dead against as Leavers at the suggestion of a take it or leave it motion to approve any withdrawal agreement that might yet be struck before the end of the year. The 250 or so middle of the roaders fear deadlock and collapse the longer it stretches out.
But Danny Finkelstein, shrewd veteran campaigner, sees strengths in Mays weaknesses and a homely precedent in how to square circles over the backstop remember the diamond table?
I will never sit down with Gerry Adams, said the founder of the Democratic Unionist Party in 1997. Then, in 2007, Ian Paisley did. Which produced another problem. Where should the two men sit?
Tony Blairs negotiator, Jonathan Powell, relates that a crucial meeting, which ten years of talks had been building up to, was nearly scuppered by a dispute over where the two men should sit opposite each other (Paisleys demand, to show they were still rivals), or next to each other (Adamss demand, to show that they were equals).
Finally an official had a brilliant idea: a diamond-shaped table. The two men could sit at the apex, both next to each other and opposite each other at the same time. The meeting went ahead.
On Mays strengths
The Brexiteers cant get rid of her. The hardliners are perfectly well aware that if they did get (enough MPs letters to force a leadership challenge) Mrs May would win the resulting vote of confidence. In other words, the sword of Damocles hanging over her is made of rubber.
If they did get rid of her it wouldnt make any difference anyway.
If there isnt a deal, there may not be a Brexit. This is leverage over the hardliners ironically provided to Mrs May by last years terrible general election result.
Parliament might force either a second referendum or a general election if the alternative is a no-deal exit that arises entirely from the stubbornness of the Brexiteers. This appreciation underpins Michael Goves decision to back the prime minister, and may shift other hardliners as the threat to their project becomes apparent.
Four. There is a dilemma ahead for Labour MPs. If Mrs May secures a deal, Labour will want to vote it dow...
New analysis shows that groups that traditionally disagree are now on the same side against reforming the Gender Recognition Act.
There is no evidence that they are actively working together. But our analysis of responses to a Scottish consultation on potential reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) found that opposition came from these two groups.
Roughly half of the anti-reform submissions came from Christian conservative groups, which traditionally oppose abortion and same sex marriage; the other half were submitted by womens groups that fight for these rights.
Some of their arguments in response to the consultations questions were also markedly similar: that reforms would threaten women-only spaces, marriages, families, and the safety of women and children.
The UK government is considering reforms to the 2004 law, which enables people to change their gender on legal documents, after a survey found the current process too bureaucratic, expensive and intrusive.
A public consultation on these reforms in England and Wales closes on 19 October. A separate consultation in Scotland earlier this year attracted an avalanche of more than 15,500 submissions.
Our analysis of more than 150...
There are jitters everywhere. Some, but not all of it, driven by the proximity (or otherwise) of a Brexit deal. The Eurosceptics are talking up the possibility of a no deal. John Redwoods interview on Morning Ireland welcoming the prospect wont have done anything to calm southern nerves.
Domestically, the Irish government had a torrid time, losing an independent member of the cabinet over failures in the rural broadband tender process. With Dr Michael Harty saying withdrawing support of the governments finance bill, its majority is now razor thin.
However, Micheal Martins offer of support until the Brexit process is completed (whenever that will be) has pulled the government out of the oven. It was a necessary minimum to get the Republic through and an offer the Taoiseach could hardly refuse.
Underneath, theres little complacency and some considerable concern that the backstop arrangement stuck before last December may block a deal. Brexit sceptical lawyer/commentator, David Allen Green wonders if relying on a clause with no legal force may turn out to be a miscalculation:
There is a powerful case to be made that the backstop was a reasonable request, given the impact Brexit would otherwise have on the Irish border. There is certainly force in the contention that the UK had shown it may renege on commitments and it was right to tie down Britain on this. There should be no sympathy for UK ministers who supported the joint agreement without knowing or caring what the document said.
The UK has agreed to this backstop and should not complain now. But all this said, if the price of the insistence on a backstop is a disorderly Brexit, then normative or accusatory arguments do not have much traction. Nor is the fact the UK once agreed to it a complete answer. Even the contention that a backstop arrangement is necessary in some form does not mean it has to be part of this exit agreement.
The brutal truth is that the EU27 may now fail in their objective to strike a withdrawal agreement in time for the UKs departure, because of this one matter. If the backstop was something the EU had insisted on from the beginning, then perhaps it should have been a non-negotiable demand.
But it was not it was a proposal adopted some way in to the process and was adopted as a means to an end, rather than an end itself. [Emphasis added]
And he notes:
in view of its sheer importance, a backstop should be a distinct agreement between the UK, Ireland and the rest of the EU, and not something shoehorned into an agreement intended for exit issues...
It sounds like a distasteful joke, but Brazilians are on the verge of electing a far-right president (Jair Messias Bolsonaro) and it is difficult to estimate what this means to progressive forces in Brazil. Espaol
It sounds like a distasteful joke, but Brazilians are on the verge of electing a far-right president. After winning the first ballot on 7 October, candidate Jair Messias Bolsonaro (Social Liberal Party) now leads the polls for the second ballot enjoying 58% of voting intentions (considering only the valid votes). It is difficult to estimate what this means to progressive forces in Brazil.
Much more than a controversial figure, Bolsonaro has become famous for expressing openly homophobic, unapologetically misogynist, shamelessly racist and hysterically anti-communist views. The presidential candidate represents the ugliest and most violent face of the global far-right movement, currently on the rise in all corners of the world.
Bolsonaro stands out as the messiah of what many have dubbed a conservative counter-offensive in the making after decades of leftist governments.
A former military officer Bolsonaro remained a marginal figure within Brazilian politics for the good part of his 27 years as a congressman. Only recently has the far-right candidate experienced a stratospheric rise in notoriety. Bolsonaro stands out as the messiah of what many have dubbed a conservative counter-offensive in the making after decades of leftist governments.
His radical anti-leftist rhetoric (accusing progressives of corrupting Brazilian democracy) and hyper-liberal agenda (in defence of property and minimum state interference) seems to be especially appealing to those who were never left behind by anything: the well-educated, male middle clas...
Business as usual is bad news for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, arguably the greatest human endeavour ever attempted to create just, equal and sustainable societies.
This years United Nations General Assembly had its usual share of highs and lows. Headlines contrasted between the drama, nervous laughter and pessimism of US President Trumps speech and hopes of a new kind of political leadership offered by New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern who urged renewed commitment to gender equality and multilateralism.
Now that the motorcades have departed, its back to business as usual at the UN.
But business as usual is bad news for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, arguably the greatest human endeavour ever attempted to create just, equal and sustainable societies. As is the norm, several new initiatives were launched by billionaire philanthropists and the UNs leadership.
Decision makers and technocrats still appear to be stuck in a Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) mindset, albeit on steroids.
Notable among these is a new partnership initiative involve youth in Agenda 2030. Nonetheless, decision makers and technocrats still appear to be stuck in a Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) mindset, albeit on steroids. Too many of them continue to see poverty and exclusion as economic problems to be solved rather than as governance failures and grave human rights violations.
Conspicuously, three th...
This year, something has changed about the way we talk about abortion. You can feel it on the street, on Twitter, in the media.... Something has changed, and theres no turning back. Espaol
This year, something has changed about the way we talk about abortion. You can feel it on the street, on Twitter, in the media.... Something has changed, and theres no turning back.
In May, the vote on the Irish referendum to legalize abortion filled me with hope. Thanks to the energy of young Irish people, a major victory was won for womens rights.
The causes are many, but the effects are the same in countries where abortion is outlawed. Poor women die from unsafe clandestine abortions, while rich women go to clandestine abortion facilities or travel abroad to get abortions in private clinics.
A few short months later, the decision by the Senate of Argentina, the country of origen of my family, plunged me into a state of mourning and disbelief. How could 38 senators fail to grasp the impact that a lack of access to safe and legal abortion has on the lives of women and their families?
Womens rights advocates know all too well the consequences of decisions like that of the Argentine Senate. We see it again and again in countries where abortion is outlawed or access to abortion services is limited. Simply put, when women lack access to safe and legal abortion, they die.
In Ireland, those who voted to overturn the ban understood that the choice is not between abortion and no abortion, but between safe abortion and unsafe abortion. Between life and death for thousands of women.
And yet there are still so many people,...
The first prerequisite of fighting imperialism is to fight the imperialist relations at home.
Anti-imperialism comes in various shapes and forms in Iran, ranging from hard-nosed to soft-bellied. However, with the rise of reactionary forces, the history of anti-imperialism in post-revolutionary Iran has been the triumph of the latter. The 1979 Revolution in which the religious forces seized the power and tried to redirect the anti-imperialist discourse, brought the long-term Iran-America honeymoon to an end. It led to a misconception among western intellectuals that the Iranian government is at the forefront of resistance against American imperialism. There were also some people among the secular Iranian intellectuals who endorsed this anti-imperialism most importantly Tudeh Party (Party of the People) that was the admirer of imperialist discourse of the Islamic Republic, until the regime imprisoned and executed its main leaders in 1983.
The hostage crisis in 1979 marked a turning point in Iran-United States relations. It derailed the leftist anti-imperialist discourse and turned it into shallow rhetoric against the so-called Great Satan with the unifying slogan Down with America.
Thirty years later, when Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad took power, even some western intellectuals fell for a misleading vision that considered him a leftist fighting against the dominant global system.
In order to understand the history of anti-imperialism in Iran, a retrospective reflection on the 79 Revolution is necessary. To cut a long story short, the Revolution happened at the dawn of the neoliberal counter-revolution, which brought Thatcher and Reagan to powe...
The Bucharest-based Kajet journal was founded to challenge cliches about eastern Europe a region that can be more than a sheer pile of debris awaiting reconstruction.
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 postsocialist space, interviewing editors who are trying to make spaces for alternative journalism, political commentary and reporting.
For the generation of western European journalists writing about post-Socialist Europe after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, eastern Europe was a often exotic land of hopeful optimism.
Twenty-five years and dozens of tabloid headlines about Romanian immigrants later, much of the regions exoticism to western European audiences has disappeared and in post-Socialist Europe, so has a great deal of the hope. Today, this Europe is making headlines again, whether as a testing ground for illiberal democracy or a battleground between Russian and the EU/NATO. Yet the region is still written with as the same paradigms (a Europe in imitation that is struggling to become Normal) or as the frontline between liberal democracy and revanchist Putinism.
Some eastern Europeans are speaking out against this binary between the west and the rest, and seek to salvage the regions post-socialist identity as a potential source of transformation. Take the editors of Bucharest-based Kajet Journal, who flaunt an unapologetically post-socialist identity and put western cliches about the region under a microscope. The journal, which has just released its second issue, is the brainchild of Founding Mother Laura Naum and Founding Father Petric Mogo.
Naum is a writer and graduate in Cultural Economics from the Erasmus University of Rotte...
From the population decimation of the first colonies to the recent murders of environmental activists in Honduras, the arithmetic of cruelty and destruction is still unfolding.
The consequences of colonialism and imperialism, in all their forms and across all their epochs, defy our imagination. Unspeakable cruelties were inflicted, their scars and agonies are unspeakable.
Colonialism was, and remains, a wholesale destruction of memory. Lands, the sources of identity, stolen. Languages, ripped from mouths. The collective loss to humanity was incalculable, as cultures, ideas, species, habitats, traditions, cosmologies, possibilities, patterns of life, and ways of understanding the world were destroyed. Countless ecological traditions involving diverse ways of being with nature were swept away.
As formal colonialism came to an end, the process of erasing its crimes from public memory and effacing history began. The forces of forgetting crafted and promulgated mythological narratives of innocent imperial greatness, unblemished by enslavement or genocide. When forced to give away the Congo, King Leopold took to burning all documents associated with his brutal rule. I will give them my Congo, but they have no right to know what I did there, Leopold said. His palaces furnaces burned for eight days (1).
There are many such shredded chapters that we will never reconstruct. Every death count, every statistic, every fragment of history, is bitterly incomplete. But the preliminary arithmetic of cruelty is enough to illustrate the sheer magnitude of destruction.
So catastrophic and widespread was the decimation of human life in the Americas that nine-tenths of its original population was extinguished through war, epidemic diseases, enslavement, overwork, and famine (2). Most of us have heard the simplistic story of a genocide by germs, where populations were wiped out by diseases to which they had no immunity. But the vulnerability of communities to maladies was not just a product of biological misfortune. Malnutrition, exhaustion, ab...
A new book sheds light on the early warning signs of illiberalism and gives some modest hope for the future.
On the eve of the 30th anniversary of 1989, one could be forgiven succumbing to pessimism following the news coming out of Eastern Europe. Apart from the alarmism about a resurgent and aggressive Russia, it is the rise of illiberalism, for instance, in Hungary and Poland, or instability in the Balkans that has captured the imagination of media commentators and political scientists.
Students of the regions history can read about that we-the-people moment in which the nations of eastern Europe took to the streets demanding freedom and democracy. In a seemingly ironic twist of history, merely a generation later, conservative, populist and far-right parties are capitalising on the same we-the-people slogan to advance nativist and xenophobic policies. What has gone wrong? is the question now asked about a region once thought by some to have heralded the end of history.
John Feffers Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europes Broken Dreams is a book that ventures into this question from a unique perspective. Based on an impressive number of in-depth interviews collected over nearly a quarter century and spanning a geographical scope from the Baltic coast to the Balkans, Aftershock unlocks a plethora of personal stories and experiences from the region, showing the complexity of the post-1989 transition and political trajectory of eastern Europe.
Its a movement that shuts shit down but it really isnt hypermasculine. And I think, in many ways, that is a factor in its sustainability.
The openMovements series invites leading social scientists to share their research results and perspectives on contemporary social struggles.
Grassroots activism is widely considered a vital element in societys shift to becoming more just and ecologically balanced. However, it is clear that in some places, movements are more active than in others. What is it about certain places/cities that makes them more conducive to the emergence and sustainability of environmental activism?
To address this question, our research at Keele University for the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) project compared two British cities: Manchester and Bristol. Both have a long tradition of environmental activism and still provide fertile grounds for the development of grassroots solutions to environmental crises, such as projects around food and energy.
But while Manchester has in recent years seen a sharp decline in resistance-oriented environmental activism (protest, civil disobedience, direct action), Bristol has, despite some decline, maintained a more vibrant resistance scene. To understand why activism can develop so differently in two cities with comparable histories and challenges, we spoke to 43 activists in both cities.
One of them was Yaz Brien, an experienced Bristol-based activist who, since 2006, has seen activism develop in Bristol through her involvement in groups like No Borders, Rising Tide, Camp for Climate Action, Bristol Queercaf, and the Kebele social centre (now BASE).
In late 2017 and early 2018, I travelled to Bristol several times to get a feeling of its famous alternative scene and to inter...
An iconic building is erased, together with the successive faces it has worn as Turkey hurtled from secular modernity via Gezi Park, to the latest experiment in religious nationalism.
The openMovements series invites leading social scientists to share their research results and perspectives on contemporary social struggles.
Atatrk Cultural Center (Atatrk Kltr Merkezi in Turkish and AKM in short) was an important example of 1960s architecture and a physical focal point in Taksim Square in the Beyolu district, a major transport hub where crossroads connect the various multicultural neighborhoods of Istanbul. The square gives onto Istiklal Street, a street long synonymous with social and cultural events, eateries, bars, pubs, and entertainment around the clock. Being a popular spot for more than a century, it went through several architectural changes in its lifetime.
India led by you would never think of undoing the Partition. Your party depends on Pakistan for its existence. A secret letter accessed by the author.
Jai Sri Ram!
Since this letter is for your eyes only, I can greet you in the name of Lord Ram. This is called blasphemy in Pakistan.
I am very grateful to you for cancelling the talks between our foreign ministers. You saved me from being called a stooge of India and from political death.
I understand fully well that the cancellation of the bilateral talk will ensure your victory in the coming elections. Had the talks been held, the Congress would have sent you bangles to wear. Your party had done that to the Congress Prime Minister! A photo of the bangles going viral would have subverted your election campaign.
The photo of the two foreign ministers shaking hands would have sullied your masculine image. In every Indian city and village, you would have been called spineless. Moreover, some of your party men would have attacked your woman minister for shaking a mans hand!
I am glad you kept your diplomats out of drafting that cancellation statement. Their polite words would not have served our common purpose. By insulting me in that official statement, you raised my political stock. I am now seen as a strong leader and you are seen as a hero for calling me names.
You will recall that your sudden visit to a corrupt Pakistani Prime Ministers home gave me a big boost. My party won the election by calling Nawaz Shariff a stooge of India. You are a true friend! Hindutva helps me as much it helps you.
My Spiritual Guide-cum-wife understands politics in our countries. She has asked me to help you just as you helped me. So, I will launch an anti-India tirade before your elections next year. That will bring you victory. The rabid communalists in our two countries can keep both of us going for years.
Your continuation is in Pakistans interest. The rabid communalists in our two countries can keep both of us going for years....
It remains to be seen if Mexico will allow this new caravan to pass safely through their country as they did last April, and what the United States will do to their children when they get there. Espaol
Theyre gathering in the early morning hours of Friday 12 October 2018 outside the city. At least a hundred, nursing mothers and motherless teens, a man on crutches and another pushed by his brother in a wheelchair. Someone holds up a sign that reads, We are not leaving because we want to. Were fleeing violence, poverty, unemployment (No nos vamos porque nos guste. Huimos la violencia, pobreza, desempleo). Its daybreak in Honduras and a new caravan has formed, about half a year after an earlier group successfully reached the U.S. border, and its moving north.
By the time they get to San Pedro Sula, recently named the most violent city on earth, their numbers have grown to almost five hundred. Handwritten notes taped to the walls of the main bus station organize them into groups by their cities of origin. Choloma Corts. El Progreso. La Ceiba.
We hope they give us free passage to travel through Mexico to the border, a 49 year old man says.
An eighteen year old from Santa Barbara cradles her friends infant in her arms as she sits on the curb, her feet clad only in pink socks and white plastic slides. A HCH TV reporter asks her if shes afraid of Donald Trump. No, I believe in God. God is greater than anyone on earth. Theyre going to cross into Guatemala, and then on to Mexico. We hope they give us free passage to travel through...
Queda por verse si Mxico permitir que esta nueva caravana de migrantes atraviese su territorio de manera segura, y qu harn los EE.UU. con todos sus nios cuando lleguen all. English
Es Viernes 12 de octubre de 2018. Un flujo continuo de gentes se va congregando, desde primera hora de la maana, en las afueras de la ciudad. Son al menos un centenar, entre los que se encuentran madres de lactantes y adolescentes solos, un hombre con muletas y otro en una silla de ruedas, empujado por su hermano. Alguien sostiene un letrero que dice: No nos vamos porque nos guste. Huimos la violencia, pobreza, desempleo).
Amanece en Honduras. Aproximadamente medio ao despus de que un grupo anterior alcanzara con xito la frontera de los EE. UU. Se ha formado una nueva caravana, y se est dirigiendo hacia el norte.
En el momento de llegar a San Pedro Sula, recientemente nombrada la ciudad ms violenta de la tierra, son ya casi quinientos los caminantes. Unas notas manuscritas, pegadas a las paredes de la estacin principal de autobuses, los organizan en grupos por sus ciudades de origen: Choloma Corts; El Progreso; La Ceiba Una joven de Santa Brbara de dieciocho aos acuna al beb de su amiga en sus brazos mientras se sienta en el bordillo: calza calcetines de color rosa y chanclas blancas. Tienes miedo a Donald Trump?, le pregunta un reportero de la HCH TV . No, responde. Yo creo en Dios. Dios...
Nativist, Islamophobic websites are flourishing in Sweden as politics takes a hard right.
Barbro Sjstrand, a 77-year-old psychiatrist working at a child and adolescent psychiatry centre in Stockholm, was searching for opinions on immigration online when she found Ledarsidorna. The right-wing populist website, read by 8% of Swedish internet users each week, gave her exactly was she was looking for: a stream of news stories and op-eds vehemently opposed to Swedens famously welcoming attitude towards refugees and progressive immigration laws.
Despite voting for the centre-right Moderate Party at last months general election, Sjstrand believes that the Sweden Democrats (SD) are more trustworthy than any of the mainstream parties and expressed an interest in their hardline anti-immigration policy. The anti-EU, nationalist, socially conservative party won 17% of the vote: less than was expected but enough to cement their place as the third-largest party in parliament. Sjstrand believes that websites like Ledarsidorna, which are supportive of the SD, are more open-minded than legacy media outlets. If I say something controversial at work, most people around me become silent, said Sjstrand over Skype one Sunday, but if we dont talk with each other, we have no democracy.
Sjstrand is part of a growing number of Swedes now visiting hard-right websites for news and opinions. According to a 2018 report from Reuters Institute, the four most popular Fria Tider, Nyheter Idag, Ledarsidorna and Samhllsnytt each reach around a tenth of Swedish internet users every week; by comparison, the online news sites of national newspapers and public service broadcasters are read by between 15% to 46% of Swedes. These sites tap into anti-immigrant sentiment with stories focusing on crime committed by immigrants and refugees and their perceived damaging impact on Swedish culture....
Yesterday Deloitte launched their State of the State 2018-2019 Northern Ireland Report. Sir Malcolm McKibbin, former head of the civil service who has found a new home in the warm embrace of the private sector was on hand at the event to answer awkward questions from the assorted hacks and bloggers.
The key buzzwords at the launch were Strong leadership and innovation, digital transformation and impending cliff edges in public sector services.
From the Press release:
Northern Ireland must rethink how public services are delivered to overcome the challenges ahead
Strong leadership and innovation are both needed to materially improve quality of public services
New technology and smart cities are examples of proven options for the future
Here is a flavour of the type of content:
The NI economy has not grown over the past four quarters compared with growth of 1.5% in the UK and 8% in the Republic of Ireland (ROI).The NI Composite Economic Index (NICEI) shows that economic activity has actually decreased by 1.0% over the year from Quarter 1 2017 to Quarter 1 2018. It also shows that the UK has had a shorter downturn and a faster recovery than NI. Productivity growth also remains significantly below the UK average (17%) and is the lowest in the regional rankings alongside Wales.
The report generally has lots of sensible rational ideas. The issue is we dont tend to do sensible and rational very well in Northern Ireland. Emotion and inertia are more our thing. Take the Strong leadership and innovation message, these are not terms you would normally associate with our political or public sector leaders.
The report is also heavy on the cliff edge for public services warnings. I know where they are coming from but Nor...
In single interviews its entirely appropriate for the presenter to play the devils advocate role. But in a long and pressing interview this morning on Radio 4s Today programme with Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney, John Humphrys showed I believe a basic lack of understanding of the EU/Irish position of the backstop which partly explains why its such a conundrum. Im pretty sure it was more ignorance than tactic. All Humphrys could do to fill the time was to keep repeating the UK position, that you surely cant expect us to divide our country etc., and playing down the significance of the commitment the UK has already signed up to, on the grounds that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. At his best Humphrys finds a clever point to undermine the case hes challenging. In this case, the only one I can think of is to ask: So theres a straightforward clash between traditional British ideas of sovereignty and the Good Friday Agreement ( even though the GFA states that the sovereignty of both states is unaffected)? Its unsolvable isnt it? and force Coveney to face the dilemma or seem intransigent.
Coveneys case for the backstop rested on the perceived need to protect the rights of Irish /EU citizens in the North which the GFA explicitly introduced. The trouble is, nobody contemplated that either party would ever leave the EU at the time of the Agreement. The citizenship provisions seemed little more than warm- hearted recognition of the two identities and the right to hold either passport, or both. All familiar stuff. But now to their horror, English MPs and others not only hardline Brexiteers and probably including Theresa May are discovering that the right to opt for British, Irish or both citizenships has created a Trojan horse. That would explain the increasingly strident and simplistic rejection of the backstop, which has been meat and drink in the Irish debate ever since the referendum and partly accounts for Brexiteer accusations of ulterior motives from Varadkar and co. The Daily Telegraph suggests today that on the essentials the Irish are unlikely to budge.
Since the June European Council, UK sources say that Dublin has become visibly more constructive in the talks process, even according to a report in the Financial Times letting it be known that it would support an all-UK customs union in the backstop agreement.
Unfortunately, this is where Irish trade interests and the European Unions desire to defend the integrity of the single market start to conflict. The EU has now refused to grant this to the British side, raising the risks of a hard no deal Brexit.
The annual State of the State report has been released by Deloitte with some fascinating observations about the challenges facing a potential future Executive in Northern Ireland.
On the lack of an Executive;
The lack of an Assembly and Executive means that decisions have not been made on reform and transformation of public services, on economic and social policies or on major planning decisions since early 2017. In that time, ambitious health reforms have slowed, the economic gap between Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK and the Republic has grown without intervention and longterm infrastructure plans have stalled. In addition, in the absence of local ministers, the devolved Assembly has not been able to directly exert its influence in the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
The report did contain some praise for how the Northern Ireland Civil Service has operated since the collapse of power-sharing and recognises the limits on their decision making power;
The civil servants we interviewed for The State of the State were determined to continue to implement the programmes for which they have relevant authority, acting under legal advice. However, the Arc 21 ruling on a planning decision for an incinerator has put a spotlight on the limitations of their powers, introducing further uncertainty and ramping up concerns over the viability of continued devolved government without ministers.
Believe it or not our fiscal position has actually worsened, making decisions around public services all the more difficult for a future Executive;
In the time since the Assembly and Executive were last in place, Northern Irelands fiscal position appears to have worsened. Several public sector leaders we interviewed told us that costs and demand are rising faster than their funding. One argued that ministers, if they returned, would need to reprioritise spending to core citizen services above their own areas of policy interest.
Some of the mounting problems that we are facing our outlined in pretty stark terms by the various policy-makers that were interviewed for the report.
The report lists suggestions about some changes that could be made in public service delivery which are worth reading in full but some recommendations include;
We want these important films to reach a new audience in Belfast and promote discussion about the things that affect womens lives here and around the world every day.
Belfasts feminist film festival WANDA proudly presents a second edition of exciting, diverse, new and retrospective films directed by women.
Over four days the festival will feature films, panels, and a quiz at locations across the city such as Queens Film Theatre, Black Box, Beanbag Cinema, and the Accidental Theatre.
WANDA runs from Thursday 1st Sunday 4th November, with sponsors including by the Belfast Film Festival and Film Hub NI. The festival features as its closing film this year the Irish premiere of Rafiki by Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu. Banned in its country of origin due to its depiction of a lesbian relationship, Rafiki is a stunning and nuanced film with a cracking female-led soundtrack.
Launching the festival today, Laura OConnor said We are excited to present our new programme, which explores some of Northern Irelands leading debates, discussing abortion on screen and the fight for equal marriage rights. We want these important films to reach a new audience in Belfast and promote discussion about the things that affect womens lives here and around the world every day. The festival will include a fundraising event for the newly formed Rape Crisis NI.
Co-directer Rose Baker said Building on the back of last years successful approach of positioning older films with new works both politically motivated and of local interest our hope is this years programme continues to find an intergenerational, engaged and enquiring audience. We felt film and film theory and practice was the perfect way to open into wider conversations about reproductive rights, domestic labour and the telling of womens stories and giving space to womens voices.
The full programme and tickets are available at www.wandabelfast.com and on location.
Rose Baker & Laura OConnor.
In A room of ones own, Virginia Woolf wrote that, for centuries women had served as mirrors with the magical powers of portraying men as being double their real size.
These mirrors, fundamental to violent actions, explain the insistence of certain characters, such as Mussolini, to make women smaller than men, because if they could be shrunk, men could not stop growing.
Almost a hundred years later, unfortunately the mirror allegory is still a valid tool to explain male supremacy. This is especially true in the Brazilian political arena where the hate speech of leading Presidential candidate Jair Messias Bolsonaro is directed against women and other vulnerable groups.
As a former Army captain, his violent discourse illustrates how politics can be turned into a battlefield by fabricating enemies and playing upon peoples built-in prejudices.
Women, portrayed as less than men in Bolsonaros speeches, constitute the majority of Brazils population: they surpass men by 4.5 million, according to the Brazilian official data base (IBGE).
He once said to a colleague and congresswoman, for example, that he would not even rape her because she was ugly. This speech seems to fit in to a country that registered an increase in the number of rapes in 2017, with an average of 164 cases per day.
If one considers that most of the rapes remain unreported, the amount could easily reach 500,000 cases per year.
Women, portrayed as less than men in Bolsonaros speeches, cons...
The day Somebody McSomebody put a gun to my breast and called me a cat and threatened to shoot me was the same day the milkman died, begins this strange and intriguing novel that tackles the Northern Ireland conflict from the perspective of an 18-year-old girl with no interest in the Troubles writes the Guardian reviewer .
Except it isnt about Belfast, not specifically. Neither place nor people are named in Milkman. Ive just started reading it. This is a dystopian society about character rather than characters. The absence of familiar points of identification makes it a tough read, like looking at an abstract painting you dont quite understand. Orwellian, Kafkaesque, Pinteresque even at times Biblical; you name it. Belfast people will identify the Waterworks off the Antrim Road. But If you usually fall in into the familiar trap of trying precisely to identify scenes and types, I advise you to give up early. Itll break your heart.
Our heroine is a daily runner in the park. As she runs she reads, a distinctive feat in itself. Running and reading are at once her escape and an irresistible challenge in a gangland community which is both sentimental and brutalised. That rings a bell straight away. Her detachment from family and friends gives her not only the allure of mystery but rare and highly literate powers of observation and introspection. The Milkman is not a milkman but is always up to track her early run. Whats he up to, seduction or another sinister purpose? But she is no chick to be blown in the wind. She dominates more than she complies
Every weekday, rain or shine, gunplay or bombs, stand-off or riots, I preferred to walk home reading my latest book, she tells us. This would be a 19th-century book because I did not like 20th-century books because I did not like the 20th-century. I suppose now, looking back, this milkman knew all of that as well.
What exactly is it that the Milkman a predatory paramilitary knew? That she walked home alone, or that she was steeped in the 19th century? The latter, when you stop to think about it, is the creepier.
Welcomed as a novel that will help people think about Me Too, it has also been praised for a unique first-person voice rich i...
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