Category: Politics (page 1 of 9)

Nadhim Zahawi

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi spoke out last night against Trumps muslim ban as he feels he is now banned from visiting America and his kids are in the US studying. Another tragic example of how the Trump policy splits families apart and harms the innocent. Zahawi was on Andrew Marr today and said the Trump policy was cruel. Couldn’t agree more. Zahawi feels discriminated against. Of course he does. Think of the refugees – quite right, we always should do.

However it’s hard to feel too much sympathy with Zahawi as he supported the Vote Leave campaign and hammered home why freedom of movement endangered the UK. Be careful what you wish for.

Week One

So Trump’s first week has passed and what a week it was. He was exaggerating during the campaign they said. He won’t do things like the wall they said. There will be a replacement for Obamacare they said. There won’t be a muslim ban they said.

They were wrong.

In his first week Trump and his team wrote executive orders that have reset America’s position in the world.

Trump’s First Six Executive Orders

  • Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal: This executive order attempts to loosen financial elements of Obamacare.
  • Expediting environmental reviews and approvals for high profile infrastructure projects: An order to quicken environmental assessments of U.S. infrastructure projects.
  • Border security and immigration enforcement improvements: The contentious order to construct a wall between Mexico and the U.S. southern border. Trump has repeatedly vowed that Mexico “will pay” for the wall, which the country has denied. This executive order led Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a meeting with Trump.
  • Enhancing public safety in the Interior of the United States: Trump ordered more resources for immigration officers to crack down on undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and to limit funding for sanctuary cities.
  • Protection of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States: An order that suspends the U.S. refugee program for four months to weed out “radical Islamic terrorists” from entering the country.
  • Order to grow military: On Friday, Trump signed an order to spur “a great rebuilding” of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Trump’s First Eight Presidential Memoranda

  • Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies: An decision to pause any federal regulations put forward under the Obama administration until Trump’s team can review them.
  • Mexico City Policy: An order to revive Reagan’s anti-abortion policy.
  • Regarding Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement: An order to scrap negotiations regarding the TPP, a massive international trade agreement negotiated under Obama but not yet ratified by Congress.
  • Regarding the Hiring Freeze: A decision to halt hiring of new federal workers, excluding military jobs.
  • Construction of American Pipelines: According to this move, new pipelines should only be made with American-made materials.
  • Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline: An early approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The gesture seen as a pre-emptive measure since firm plans for the project have yet to be formally approved. Since the executive action, TransCanada has submitted a new presidential permit application for the pipeline’s approval.
  • Regarding Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline: The controversial pipeline project in North Dakota, where protesters have been camped out for months, has been prioritized by Trump.
  • Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing: Under this action, Trump has asked for a plan to make the permitting process simpler for American manufacturers.
  • As if those weren’t bad enough…lying about the inauguration crowd size. Banning government agencies from talking on Twitter unless they go through the White House team first, leading to many rogue twitter accounts being setup allegedly by employees fighting the order. Resisting from within.

    Worse is the power that Nazi sympathizer Steve Bannon, currently in charge of American foreign policy, wields within the White House. Bannon who runs the right wing Breitbart got named to the National Security Council. He is setting America’s immigration policy. He’s a fucking Nazi. In the White House. On Friday the White House released a statement to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day with no mention of Jews, Judaism or antisemitism. The reason – Trump’s administration “took into account all of those who suffered”. Nazis.

    The muslim ban seems to have been the final straw for many not just in America but around the world. World leaders are openly condemning and rejecting Trumps policy. Tech leaders are finally openly condemning the ban as well, although not all. Unfortunately Theresa May and the Conservative government found themselves on the wrong side of the argument. Worried about trade deals and with Brexit pushing her into a corner she eventually blurted out “The United States is responsible for the United States’ policy on refugees, the United Kingdom is responsible for the United Kingdom’s policy on refugees.” Cards marked.

    Many hours later and after many countries had made their objections against Trump clear, May came out with a weak statement. Prime Minister Theresa May does “not agree” with Donald Trump’s refugee ban and will appeal to the US if it affects British citizens, Downing Street says. Does not agree is pretty weak but just a few hours earlier it was a matter for the United States. May was caught out or maybe it was her true colours.

    Trump has also lost his first legal challenge thanks to the ACLU. Their blog post on their win makes for sobering reading but also has a great quote:

    The United States is a nation governed by the rule of law and not the iron will of one man. President Trump now has learned that we are democratic republic where the powers of government are not dictatorial. They are limited.

    However it looks like the government will enforce the new ban despite the ruling. For those who think the muslim ban makes sense, some facts. No doubt there will be alternative facts presented at some point but you need to believe the data and not your racist views at some point.

    The scary part is that agencies in America are following through on these executive orders without it seems much questioning. What happens when an executive order is written that you are against? What then? Sit back and take it? Those involved in the legal case are already being victimised on social media and being threatened, just like brexit in the UK. The parallels are clear.

    So what to do? Fight. Resist. You don’t just have to accept which is repeatedly what the leavers tell the UK. If recent votes had swung a couple of percent the other way would the right wing have sat back? So why should everyone else. Thanks to Richard here’s Roger Waters nailing his colours to the mast.

    Donate to the ACLU, help bring Hamaseh Tayari home or sign this petition to prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom. Best of all, don’t bury your head in the sand or ignore what is happening no matter how bleak it seems.

    Fuck racism, bigotry, and hate no matter where it happens or who does it. And fuck Trump and his Nazi staff.

    Believe the Experts

    Thankfully the Euro referendum is only a few days away. While both sides of the campaign have stretched claims to the extreme the one thing that really bugged me (apart from the blatant racist campaigning) was Gove and the Leave campaign insisting that everyone was fed up with experts. Stop listening to them. Why would they suggest such a thing? Is the electorate now more knowledgable on economics, immigration and law so as to make a reasonable choice of remain or leave?

    Of course not. It’s because the experts are siding with Remain, the economic arguments don’t stack up and the Leave campaign is high on populist rhetoric, low on actual reasoned evidence.

    I stumbled on this video today on Twitter by Professor Michael Dougan on the EU Referendum and it was a great 25 minute watch. No matter which way you are leaning it’s well worth some of your time.

    I’d rather trust an expert than any politician. What about you?

    Decision Time

    This has been one of the most interesting general elections for a while. Despite the millions spent by all the parties trying to convince the electorate to vote for them the opinion polls have shown little variance over the last 5 weeks. By all accounts it will be a hung parliament and deals will be done to form then next government or someone will have enough seats to form a minority. Only time will tell but the stench from the parties already around what are legitimate deals and what aren’t is telling. If you are still undecided, here’s a few links to help:

    • Vote for policies – what matters to you? This helps get behind the personalities and focusses on what each party has put forward as policy in this election. Of course, how much will still remain if a coalition is formed?
    • Your Next MP – Who’s standing in your area? This has taken a lot of work to keep up to date with the UKIP withdrawals.
    • MP Report Card 2015 – see how your MP has performed. If you can’t decide based on the policies of each party has your current local MP done enough to justify your vote?
    • They Work For You – more stats on what your MP has done over the last few years
    • Want to vote tactically? Buzzfeed has a postcode driven tool to help you decide where to place your vote, The Guardian has a guide for Labour and Conservative supporters and the Daily Mail gives a detailed guide on how to keep out Labour. Twats.

    I’m already surprised at how many are tweeting tonight of voting tactically rather than for their party of choice and that they have switched today, so it will be very interesting to see just how accurate the polls have been. In Scotland it looks like almost total wipeout for Labour and it’s not hard to see why. For the first time I’ll be voting SNP tomorrow and that won’t gift the election to the Tories – I voted Labour last time and still got Cameron. If Labour hadn’t spent the last 5 weeks telling everyone a vote for the SNP is a vote for the Tories and what they were actually standing for it could have been a slightly different story. Not much, but better than where they seem to be today.

    Just one last thought…no matter your viewpoint I hope you make the effort to vote. It’s too important a decision to leave to others.

    New World Order

    So Scotland voted no, we can all get back to normal and the parliaments can focus on dealing with day to day issues again rather than trying to win the referendum. But what is normal? I always thought the days after the referendum would be volatile but it’s safe to say that things will never be the same again.

    I’d predicted a Yes vote based on the mood around Glasgow and also on the Yes campaign which was pretty fantastic. You couldn’t escape the Yes campaign in Glasgow. Travelling between Central and Queen Street stations on a drizzly Monday night before the vote I walked by three groups of Yes campaigners who were still out fighting for votes. The Better Together campaign was nowhere. Stalls in Byres Road and Anniesland, Yes stickers everywhere and so many windows with Yes posters so it was no big surprise that Glasgow voted Yes overall. It was also generally a positive campaign from the Yes team both in the flesh and online. There was definitely more antagonism online from Yes campaigners but both camp’s had their loons.

    However the Friday and Saturday after the vote took a decidedly nasty turn. I could understand frustration from the Yes campaign that they had lost by 10% especially as they had ran a long passionate campaign but I thought the claims of vote rigging, miscounts and clamouring for a revote were pretty desperate. The worst event though was the orange loyalists descending on George Square which up until that point had seen great celebrations for Yes campaigners. The behaviour and violence was disgraceful and in total contradiction to the events of the last few weeks. The Glasgow Commonwealths felt like a generation ago while watching the Youtube video’s from George Square. The Police should have done a lot more to defuse it but it was shameful how the events were reported by traditional media reporting it was Yes and No casuals fighting. I’d love to say heads in the sand but it was lies, pure and simple.

    Also lies were the many many tweets that said No voters had voted for the trouble in George Square and this is what you get for voting No. Oh dear. Equally the vast majority of No voters were not conned by ‘The Vow’ but I guess it makes the loss easier if there is something to target. I didn’t expect Salmond to quit but Nicola Sturgeon is more than capable of filling his shoes and I think will also make the SNP more appealing to voters.

    A few other notable points from the campaign:

    • The two TV debates between Salmond and Darling. In the grand scheme of things I don’t think they had the impact that was expected. I was surprised that Darling narrowly ‘won’ the first debate, but Salmond kicked his butt in the second. What changed? Salmond more prepared, more on the offensive?
    • Better Together was awful. Complacent, negative, lacking in idea’s and to be frank they looked desperate after ‘that’ opinion poll. I’m still surprised that the Yes campaign up against such poor opposition and having a dream year for events in Scotland failed to deliver a Yes vote. Tell’s me that there is a real core of Scot’s that do not want independence.
    • For all the Yes campaigns posturing about a fresh start away from Westminster and old broken politics, their cosying up to Rupert Murdoch must leave a sour taste in many an independence campaigners mouth. I still think the YouGov poll 2 weeks before the referendum was ‘questionable’. Online only, a different polling firm than The Times used before or afterwards and leaked by Murdoch who wanted to be seen to be influencing. Nasty.
    • The lack of answers from both sides was disappointing. Vote Yes and we’ll spend the next 18 months sorting out what that really means. Vote No and you may get some extra powers that we’ll spend the next 6 months sorting out. Considering the amount of money spent on the referendum there was a distinct lack of clarity from both camps.
    • Who woke up Gordon Brown? If only the No campaign had shown this sort of passion in the months leading up to the referendum.
    • A week before the vote and Cameron, Miliband and Clegg descend on Scotland. That didn’t annoy me as much as Salmond saying he and the Yes campaign were for ‘Team Scotland’ while everything else is ‘Team Westminster’. Utter bollocks and that stance annoyed many many people, just like the Yes campaign claiming the Saltire as theirs.
    • Funniest moment? Matt Lygate and ‘Bow down to your imperial masters!’
    • Bernard Ponsonby was by quite a distance the best political journalist throughout the campaign. The BBC by contrast looked fairly toothless.

    The next few months will be very interesting. What new powers will Scotland get, what the future vote share will look like in Scotland and how will Nicola Sturgeon change the SNP going forward? I’m amazed at the number of sign-ups the SNP have got, almost at 70,000 now which is almost two and a half times the number they had pre referendum vote. I can see this being a real challenge for Sturgeon as almost all the SNP hierarchy have said that the vote was a’one in a generation’ opportunity yet the majority of the new sign-ups are demanding at the very least another vote if not independence if the SNP return a majority to the Scottish Parliament. It’s a nice problem to have for the SNP, but a problem none the less.

    As for me I have no idea who I would vote for at the next general election. Thinking through my options:

    • Conservatives. Never.
    • Labour. Not the way they are carrying on at the moment. Matching Tory austerity budgets? Miliband is hard to like but worst of all was standing on the same ticket side by side with the Tories during the referendum. Labour should have stood for the No campaign on their own. I can see it being a generation before they get back in power in Scotland, if not longer. As for Westminster, it should be English votes for English laws and Miliband again looks lost when it comes to this issue. Many in Labour should be ashamed.
    • Liberals. No backbone, lost their principles as soon as power became a realistic option.
    • SNP. I agree with much of what the SNP stand for, except for Independence which is a bit of a deal breaker.
    • Greens. Might be closest to my ideals?
    • Others? Cranks and racists. No thanks.

    Scottish politics has changed for the better and we have a generation that is active and energised. If the mood of the people of Scotland spreads throughout the UK we could see the most unpredictable general election for years. The beginning of a New World Order or just a small blip? Only time will tell.

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