Mike Vickers' Blog

April 30, 2019

An Alliance Made in Heaven?

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa may — derryvickers @ 9:04 am

Well perhaps not!

A Heavenly Alliance

April 26, 2019

There’s a Hole in my Bucket Dear Theresa

Filed under: Brexit, Politics, Security, Theresa may — derryvickers @ 10:46 am

“The Huawei 5G row took a very serious turn yesterday after Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill (pictured above) wrote to all ministers, special advisers and officials to demand answers on who was responsible for the leak. In what looks like the inverse of Murder on the Orient Express – “none of us did it!” – all those Cabinet ministers who were said to have raised concerns at the Chinese firm’s role (Williamson, Javid, Hunt, Fox, Mordaunt) have now put out categoric denials that they were responsible for the breach of confidence.”

“One Tory MP told me the UK’s industrial strategy should now focus on how to help Huawei’s rivals like Nokia.”

Read Paul Waugh at PAUL WAUGH <dailybrief@huffpost.com> for 26 April 2019

April 24, 2019

Nancy Pelosi on Brexit: why Irish-US diplomacy is a powerful force in border talks – Liam Kennedy

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Good Friday Agreement, Ireland, Politics, USA — derryvickers @ 6:00 pm

Nancy Pelosi on Brexit: why Irish-US diplomacy is a powerful force in border talks – Liam Kennedy

““Let me be clear, if the Brexit deal undermines the Good Friday Accord, there will be no chance of a US-UK trade agreement.”

For the full article

https://flipboard.com/topic/nancypelosi/nancy-pelosi-on-brexit%3A-why-irish-us-diplomacy-is-a-powerful-force-in-border-tal/a-w_Ey6CIET_CQgimrtlY0Vw%3Aa%3A2815871887-ff4a09e83f/scotsman.com

Lyra McKee, A Funeral and the Good Friday Agreement for Hope in Ireland

Filed under: Brexit, Good Friday Agreement, Ireland, Politics, The Troubles — derryvickers @ 1:55 pm

One can but hope for Northern Ireland

Remember the Good Friday Agreement 22 May 1996

A catholic reporter’s funeral service in a protestant church

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/apr/24/theresa-may-to-attend-lyra-mckee-funeral

“Northern Ireland’s political parties have called a de facto truce in the region’s toxic, dysfunctional politicking. Sinn Féin and DUP leaders appeared together in Derry after the killing, drawing praise and encouragement to start talks on restoring power-sharing.”

Let’s just hope it’s a stimulus for Power Staring to begin again on 22 May 2019.

You can find more of a eulogy to Lyra McKee and the Good Friday Agreement at

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/21/killing-lyra-mckee-derry-shows-how-hard-it-is-for-wars-to-end-sinead-oshea

The Last Supper Then and Now

Leonardo's Last Supper

Greta Thunberg talking with Caroline Lucas and Jeremy Corbyn at the UK Parliament on 23 April 2019.

Greta Thunberg should be encouraged to speak to the UK Parliament as a whole.

In any case, if Trump is allowed to speak to the UK Parliament in June (and I hope Bercow succeeds again in stopping him) then Greta should be invited to follow immediately afterwards.

 

April 21, 2019

To Focus on a Brexit Resolution

Filed under: Europe, Good Friday Agreement, Ireland, Jeremy Corbyn, Politics, Yeats — derryvickers @ 9:45 am

I did not know how to comment on the murder of Lyra McKee in Derry last Thursday but Brian Wilson showed the way in Saturday’s Scotsman.

https://www.scotsman.com/lyra-mckee-s-murder-shows-danger-of-no-deal-brexit-in-n-ireland-brian-wilson-1-4911924

I particularly welcome: “This is not just “one issue among many” but – as I have repeatedly argued over the past couple of years – the one that must condition the whole negotiation. You cannot have a hard border within Ireland. Full stop.”

And his conclusion: “While there is no ideal solution to Brexit, there are certainly lessers of evil. There are many good reasons for real leaders to act on that principle and Irish peace is one of them.”

I am repeated reminded of Yeats ‘A Second Coming’

Let’s hope that the Good Friday Agreement remains intact.

April 15, 2019

The Strange Case of Julian Assange

Filed under: Assange, Europe, Jeremy Corbyn, Patrick Cockburn, Politics, Social, USA — derryvickers @ 2:15 pm

Assange had pleaded political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the last seven years.

He was eventually expelled last Thursday and arrested by the Met.

Since then many have come to his defence and an equal number have attacked him because

Julian Assange is wanted on two counts:

  1. Hacking and Leaking US military information principally on its war in Iraq
  2. Accused of rape in Sweden

You can read more about Hacking and Leaking in

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/julian-assange-wikileaks-chelsea-manning-war-democracy-a8867816.html

Cockburn believes that leaking / whistleblowing is essential in this increasingly authoritarian world and finishes his article with:

Assange is likely to pay a higher price than Ellsberg for his exposure of government secrets. The Pentagon Papers were published when the media was becoming freer across the world while now it is on the retreat as authoritarian governments replace democratic ones and democratic governments become more authoritarian.

The fate of Assange will be a good guide as to how far we are going down this road and the degree to which freedom of expression is threatened in Britain at a time of deepening political crisis.’

In his and Jeremy Corbyn’s view the UK Government should reject any US request to expatriate Assange to the US.

But to the Rape Charge, so far one case has been closed but the other is still open and the Swedish Government has yet to request expatriation. If the Swedish Government does ask for Assange to be repatriated to stand trial then the UK Government would find it difficult to refused, we are currently still part of the EU with Sweden.

Dani Garavelli in the Scotsman on Sunday:

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/dani-garavelli-assange-apologists-make-light-rape-case-1-4906997

‘Labour backbenchers, including Diana Johnson, Stephen Kinnock, Stephanie Peacock and Stella Creasy, signed an open letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid seeking assurances that every assistance would be offered to Sweden should it make an extradition request.

Garavelli noted that:

‘In the end though, as so often, it was Emily Thornberry who nailed it. “Why weren’t the Swedish authorities told in advance of Assange’s ejection from the Ecuadorian Embassy as the US clearly was? Our priority should be the alleged two victims of sexual violence in Sweden and not a ruse to get him extradited to the US as a whistleblower,” she wrote.

And that sums up the main difference between the two potential charges: A clear court case as to whether Assange did or did not rape two ladies in contrast to the undoubted leak of US extremely dubious human rights violation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At present of course Assange is in UK custody and the UK government will have to decide whether to expedite Assange to Sweden if asked, or to the US. In my view the UK should expedite to Sweden, but I don’t know if the UK Government can successfully seek a clause in the agreement to so could prevent Assange there after being expedited to the US.

Just to finish for the time being; it looks clear that the Ecuadorian Embassy was pleased to get rid of their visitor after seven years

‘I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy,” [Jennifer Robinson, Assange’s lawyer] said’

https://www.scotsman.com/news/assange-s-lawyer-claims-ecuador-made-smears-to-justify-arrest-1-4907277

Post Script:  I have now read a similar view to my collection above. See

https://labourlist.org/2019/04/labours-response-to-the-arrest-of-julian-assange-doesnt-cut-it/

April 10, 2019

Una fotografia di un buco nero

Filed under: Black Holes, Brexit, Italian, Politics, Space, World Class — derryvickers @ 2:55 pm

Lo trovo affascinante.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/apr/10/black-hole-picture-captured-for-first-time-in-space-breakthrough

Un’impresa magistrale!

Per maggiori dettagli tecnici si veda:
https://eventhorizontelescope.org/

Trovo difficile capire che si vede il buco nero stesso non oscurato da gas caldo, ma accetto la spiegazione che è un effetto di gravità attorcigliata intorno al buco.

Scusa se è una deviazione inutile dalla Brexit.
Ma per me è un piccolo gettone che le persone possono e lavorano in cooperazione in tutto il mondo.

PS

Prendo nota del Corriere della sera

La prima (storica) immagine di un buco nero: in Rete i paragoni più ironici, dal tortellino all’occhio di Sauron

April 3, 2019

May to work with Corbyn – after 2 years

Filed under: Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn, Politics, Theresa may — derryvickers @ 9:47 am

Two contrasting views of the same eventful day 02/04/19

Paul Waugh in Huffington Post

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/theresa-may-finally-tries-to-break-free-of-her-brexiteer-prison-but-will-jeremy-corbyn-help-her-escape_uk_5ca3df58e4b0ed0d780dfd4d?95d&ncid=newsletter-ukThe%20Waugh%20Zone%20030419&utm_campaign=newsletter-The%20Waugh%20Zone%20030419&guccounter=1

and John Crace in the Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/series/the-politics-sketch

Both say in their individual styles that May is running a serious risk in finishing the Tory Party by inviting Corbyn to assist and Corbyn will be taking a serious risk that the Labour heartland will abandon them.

If the outcome is a joint recommendation to vote on a soft Brexit it could be worth it as a stay of exit from the EU for another 18 months but no more. But I do have my doubts that May and Corbyn are anything of the calibre of Churchill and Atlee.

I can only hope that the Bill before the UK Parliament today tabled by Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin to prevent the UK leaving the EU without an agreement is successful.  A real Stake in the Ground.

April 2, 2019

Richard Ashworth’s Valedictory Speech to the European Parliament

Filed under: Europe, European Parliament, Politics, Westminster, World Class — derryvickers @ 8:44 pm

Richard Ashworth had the Tory Whip withdrawn  in 2018 and is now an Independent member of the European Parliament.

Here is his excellent valedictory speech to the European Parliament as his time is coming up and as the matter stands there will be no further UK representatives in the European Parliament.

I particularly draw reader’s attention to the paragraph in italics below; I cannot emphasise it more widely.

__________

[Richard Ashworth] welcomed the comments made by European Council President Donald Tusk, who had called on the MEPs in Strasbourg to be open to the UK participating in the Parliament’s next term in the event of an extension.

 ‘I want to say thank you’
Richard Ashworth said Brexit serves as a ‘cautionary tale’ for Europe. (Photo: EP)
He said: “President Tusk, on behalf of a million people on the streets in London, on behalf of 6 million people who have signed the petition, and on behalf of 63 per cent of the British population who did not vote for Brexit, I want to say thank you. “I want to say thank you to this house for the support you’re showing, and I want to reassure you that Nigel Farage does not speak on behalf of that 63 per cent of the population.

“May I add as a comment to the European people that, for over 25 years now no British Prime Minister ever explained to the British people what Europe did, what are the benefits, and why it matters.
“They never defended against the untruths which were spoken, and they never took ownership of the decisions that they took in Council. “Because of that, the British press ran a 20-year campaign based on populist mistruths, lies and deceit.”
‘Divided like never before’
He warned that the current divided state of the UK should be a “cautionary tale” to other Europeans, saying: “The consequence of that, we see today in Britain, is a sad nation, divided like never before, and a House of Commons in crisis.

“So let Brexit stand as a cautionary tale to the people of Europe. To the people of Europe, I say this; You are the generation who have lived through the longest period of peace and the greatest level of prosperity ever.

Never take it for granted. Value it. Fight for it. Defend it every day.”

[Ashworth’s] speech received a standing ovation in the chamber and was subsequently shared many many accounts across Europe.

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/brexit/simon-ashworth-mep-speech-brexit-donald-tusk-video/

 

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