You could be forgiven from thinking as you watch and read the UK media that the altruistic desire of the Brits and US to protect civilians in Syria has been cruelly thwarted by Russians determined to maintain a naval base on the Mediterranean. With the noble exception of Channel 4 News there has been little attempt to tell the truth about the positions of the various actors. It was healthy to spend last week in Johannesburg and hear some perceptive criticism of Western dishonesty. [Read more…]
There are clearly two schools of thought on whether David Cameron’s uncorking of the EU referendum genie at the weekend was a blunder or a cute strategic move, but there can be little doubt that it is going to be the defining UK political issue from now until the next UK election. Steve Richards concludes in today’s Independent that “(t)he Conservatives will almost certainly go into the next election pledging a referendum on membership of the EU.” [Read more…]
It was in many ways appropriate that the unionist parties chose George Orwell’s birthday for the launch of the pro-union Better Together campaign. Big Brother would have been impressed with the BBC coverage of the launch. Alistair Darling who presided over the failure of regulation which led to the UK banking disaster was presented as a man who “made his name saving banks.” [Read more…]
It was obvious 12 months ago that sentencing human rights defender Abdulhadi Alkhawaja to life in prison after torturing him and subjecting him to a show trial before a military court was a sign of weakness and desperation from the side of Bahrain’s rulers. They were frantically trying to construct a conspiracy of foreign subversion even as all the world could see that the truth was bloody repression of peaceful protests. They even detained, tortured and prosecuted medical professionals who had had the affront to tell the truth about those who had been tortured and killed. The attempt at a cover up was a pathetic failure in spite of millions spent on Western PR agencies. [Read more…]
“The key aim of the Code is that a broadcaster’s coverage of all elections and referenda is fair, objective and impartial to all interests. Coverage should be undertaken without any expression of a broadcaster’s own views on an election or referendum or on election parties or candidates.” [Read more…]
Gordon Brown was the last Scottish Prime Minister of the UK. Ever. Even if we do not win independence in 2014 there will never be another Scottish PM of the UK. It is inconceivable that an MP representing a Scottish constituency could lead a UK Government which mostly legislates on matters which do not effect Scotland. It is highly unlikely that someone perceived to be a Scot, even if they represented an English constituency, could aspire to the office. [Read more…]
No salmon involved but if you have a sense of adventure… [Read more…]
Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is very much the favoured interlocutor of the West and is promoted as “reform minded.” Indeed he was the person who attempted to negotiate with protesters last spring, which may have reflected a genuine interest in seeking rapproachment at the time. However, he was demonstrably marginalised when the decision was taken to send in Saudi troops and forcibly clear Pearl Square. In spite of his international media appearances at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and yesterday’s meeting with Hillary Clinton, there is no indication he is able to exert significant influence. [Read more…]
Great to see François Hollande proclaim his explicit commitment to action on equality in his victory speech. And a clear commitment to reshaping the European project towards growth and control of the speculators.
He is described in the English press as France’s John Smith. It is partly a comment on his (attractive) lack of style. But also his rejection of the New Labour fetish for market solutions and his stolid determination to pursue pragmatic policies for the betterment of the poorest. [Read more…]
A better deal for Rangers, the taxman and Scottish Football
Everybody is tired of the long running mis-administration by Duff & Phelps and the elaborate courting dances of the alleged prospective purchasers. All of the bids depend on doing a deal to payback only part of Rangers debts. All are complicated by the fact that the Big Tax Case has not yet been resolved. Could there be a better way for Rangers, Scottish Football, HMRC and other creditors?
The following is a political argument. I am not going to apologise for misuse of legal/financial terminology. If the political argument is valid we can tidy up the terminology.
The reality is that HMRC own Rangers, that means we own Rangers (whether we like it or not). The level of debt Rangers owe to HMRC is already greater than their assets and could climb higher. [Read more…]