August 22, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

Can the nation somehow unite around the values represented by Money Saving Expert, NSPCC, TK Maxx and M&S?

Our esteemed editor, Caron, returned yesterday from a very well earned holiday and, revitalised by sun-soaked walks on Rosemarkie Beach, underscored the party’s need not to “go wobbly on the EU“. She concluded:

The future prosperity of our country depends on us winning these hearts and minds and we need to get on with it. We need to provide the glue that helps this very divided country to come back together and solve the problems it faces.

According to research based on years of mass polling by YouGov, uniting the country could boil down to somehow responding to the common themes represented by four brands: Money Saving Expert, NSPCC, TK Maxx and M&S.

Based on affinities identified in the polling, Emily James, chief strategy officer at advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R says that the brands that are most likely to determine whether someone voted Leave or Remain in the referendum are: Continue Reading →

August 22, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

What happened with Paul McCartney and John Lennon in the Seventies?

Radio 2’s “Sounds of the Seventies” with Johnnie Walker this week features an interview with Richard White, who has written “Come Together: Lennon and McCartney’s Road to Reunion“. The interview is a must-listen for anyone interested in the Beatles and what happened with the “Fab Four” after the great band broke up. There are some very interesting historical perspectives which don’t necessarily fit the narrative in the media at the time. For example: Did Yoko Ono break up the Beatles? – No it was probably Alan Klein. Were McCartney and Lennon at each others’ throats for the seventies? – Well no, the truth (based on interviews with a shedload of people who were close to the quartet for many years) seems a little more nuanced than that.

You can listen to the show via BBC iPlayer here for the next 29 days.

August 22, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

Caller to C-Span admits racism and is gently advised on how to improve his view of black people

On C-Span’s Washington Journal, Demos President, Heather McGhee listens patiently to a caller who admits their racism towards black people. Her calm response is very refreshing and positive. She thanks the caller for his honesty and advises ways in which he can rebalance his view of black people.

I’ve created this clip on C-Span, which shows the exchange:

August 17, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

While Brexit remains a mystery, ministers indulge in empire building and turf wars

The Guardian reports:

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, made an attempted power grab on key areas of Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office, writing to his colleague and the prime minister, Theresa May, in an effort to wrest control of Britain’s overseas economic policy, a leaked letter has revealed.

Tensions have been escalating between the Foreign Office and Fox’s Department for International Trade, but the former defence secretary’s suggestion has apparently been given short shrift by No 10, the Sunday Telegraph reported. Continue Reading →

August 10, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

Owen Smith fishing with his ‘rich Tory friends’ – when Twitter gets rather silly



The tweet above, and others like it, caught my eye.

Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith is pictured on a fishing trip with rich Tory MPs Richard Benyon and Charles Walker. “Not much socialism there” was one tweeted comment.

So, the inference is that Owen Smith has lots of rich Tory chums and goes on fishing trips with them. So he can’t possibly be a socialist, or even a true “new Labour” man. Continue Reading →

August 10, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

What will the Presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump be like?

In the US, the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates has proposed three televised Presidential debates in September and October.

It is fascinating to imagine how these will go. On the one hand we’ll have the ultimate cool-headed policy wonk in Hillary. On the other we will have the hot-headed, insult-firing Trump. Continue Reading →

August 10, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

Invoking Article 50 could be a disaster for the UK

With the exception of the overseas French territory of Saint Barthélemy, no country has ever left the European Union. Greenland left its predecessor, the European Economic Community, in 1985. Exit negotiations, in that case, took more than 100 meetings over three years. Given that the EEC was a slimmer organisation than the EU, that negotiations were mainly over one subject – fish – and that Greenland has a population smaller than Bracknell or Bury, this should set alarm bells ringing for the UK. Continue Reading →

July 25, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

Great film about President Lyndon Johnson

All the way is a brilliant film about the first year of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s presidency, from just after the assassination of JFK until the re-election of LBJ.

Bryan Cranston is great as the irascible and passionate president. The film particularly shows how he was the ultimate Capitol Hill fixer – particularly as he gets the Civil Rights Act through despite stiff opposition from Southern Democrats.

This is definitely worth a watch – and you can do so via Sky Atlantic for the next few days.

July 25, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

Brexit: The invocation of Article 50 can be reversed

In May, the House of Lords select committee on the European Union published a detailed document on the process of withdrawing from the EU.

Among other things, the committee concluded that:

…we have no reason to believe that the requirement for legislative consent for its repeal would not apply to all the devolved nations.

-That is, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The committee also concluded that, once Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty has been invoked, it can be reversed before the end of the two year negotiating period: Continue Reading →

July 25, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

Brexit: How we could be in the single market with greater control over immigration – the Adam Smith Institute

The words of President Hollande on Thursday reinforced the UK’s apparent dilemma:

It’s the most crucial point… Britain will have to choose: stay in the single market and accept free movement or have another status.

I have banged on about this since the referendum. There is a halfway house – that of being in the EEA and EFTA. Continue Reading →

July 24, 2016
by Paul
1 Comment

The Labour party becomes a debating society

It appears as if Jeremy Corbyn may win the leadership race in the Labour party.

So it seems that the Labour Party has decided to become a debating society rather than a proper parliamentary force. That’s fine. Being a debating society is perfectly respectable. But it is not what established the NHS, founded the Welfare State, implemented the minimum wage, put in place equality laws, abolished the death penalty, legalised homosexuality, established the Open university etc etc.

And this excellent luxury of being a debating society could allow (if UKIP and the right wing of the Tory party get their way) the UK to break up amidst economic carnage with mass job losses, reduced wages and rising prices.

July 21, 2016
by Paul
0 comments

Brexit: The betting on what will happen next

CGP Grey is an Irish American You Tuber and podcaster. He’s done some excellent animated YouTube videos which explain complex issues very quickly. I recommend viewing his masterpiece on what would happen if the USA’s presidential electoral college is tied, and his corker on the Canadian-USA border. They are both priceless.

CGP Grey has now turned his attention to the Brexit options. He talks very fast on this following video. In fact, I don’t remember him talking this fast on any of his previous videos. He talks faster than the actors on West Wing. In 6’57” he beautifully explains the Brexit scenario and the post-Brexit options. It really is brilliant. Continue Reading →