Tag Archives: Great Britain

UK to have general elections December 12th

The British parliament has voted 438 to 20 to approve prime minister Boris Johnson’s demand that they hold general elections on December 12th in exchange for getting an extension to remain in the European Union until the end of January.

Though polls suggest that the public supports Johnson strongly in his effort to leave the EU, an actual election is something completely different. We shall now see if it will really happen.

Personally, I am pessimistic. The opposition to Brexit, like the opposition to Trump in the U.S., has never accepted the results of their previous defeats. I doubt any who voted against Brexit then have changed their mind since, while their unrelenting effort (like the resistance to Trump) has likely worn down its support.

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British parliament passes Johnson’s Brexit deal while pushing for more delays

The British parliament yesterday finally for the first time passed a deal for leaving the European Union (EU), but then rejected the timetable created by prime minister Boris Johnson to complete that exit by October 31.

The PM [prime minister] did tonight what Theresa May was unable to do in three years – get a majority in the Commons to actually leave the EU. Boris this evening said it was “joyful” that MPs had finally “embraced a deal”.

But minutes later the PM tonight lost his vote 308 – 322 on the crucial timetable motion, leaving his promise to get us out of the bloc by Halloween in tatters. Furious MPs had claimed they didn’t have enough time to look at the 100 page bill.

The PM revealed he would put the Brexit Bill on ice and hit “pause” while the EU consider what to do.

Whether Johnson will have the UK leave at the end of the month, deal or no deal, remains unclear. It increasingly looks like the EU will not give an extension, so if parliament sticks to its guns on rejecting the timetable then the exit will occur on October 31st with no deal. Johnson in turn might also trigger a general election in response.

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Parliament rejects Johnson’s Brexit deal

A coalition of leftists and former Tories (dumped from the party for being what conservatives in the U.S. call RINOs) today teamed up to reject the deal prime minister Boris Johnson had proposed for leaving the European Union by October 31, as demanded by the voters.

According the vote, Johnson is now required to request a further extension, something he said today he will not do. Instead, reports say he will call Parliament back on Monday to vote again.

Bottom line: The citizens of the UK voted to leave the EU. Parliament is defying the will of the majority by its intransigence and by its effort to water down the exit so much that it will be meaningless. Johnson in turn appears to be trying to represent that majority, which should give him and his now unified Tory party an advantage in the next election. The closeness of the vote, 322 to 306 for rejection, strongly reinforces this conclusion.

UPDATE: Johnson has sent three letters to the EU, one meeting the requirements of the law by asking for an extension but unsigned by him, a second covering letter stating that the first letter was from Parliament, not the prime minister, and a third letter bluntly disavowing the first letter to state that he absolutely does not want an extension.

The article notes that there is now a very good chance the EU will not agree to an extension, which will further benefit Johnson’s political position.

The article also has an interesting side note about how anti-Johnson protesters screamed and threatened an MP and his 12-year-old son as they left parliament, requiring police protection. These protesters are thus allied with the same leftist protesters in the U.S. that have abused Trump supporters. They don’t like democracy, and have repeatedly exhibited a blunt willingness to use force to gain their ends if they lose in the ballot box.

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Boris Johnson strikes Brexit deal with EU

Boris Johnson has made a deal with the European Union for Great Britain’s exit, but the deal’s approval by the UK’s parliament remains in doubt.

Johnson now needs to secure the votes needed at an extraordinary session of parliament on Saturday. But the arithmetic is not easy or straightforward for him.

The Northern Irish party that Johnson needs to help ratify any agreement, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), has refused to support it, saying it is not in Northern Ireland’s interests. The head of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said he was “unhappy” with the agreement and would vote against it. Labour has said it wants any deal to be subject to a public vote, but as yet has not indicated whether it will back any move for a second referendum on Saturday.

Johnson appears intent on presenting parliament with a stark choice — the deal he has struck or no deal — in the hope of securing enough votes to get approval. “The PM’s position is that it’s new deal or no deal but no delay,” said a senior British government official.

The main issue is Northern Ireland, which now has open borders with the rest of Ireland, as part of the peace deal that settled decades of unrest. Leaving the EU requires some sort of border control, since Ireland is in the European Union. Northern Ireland politicians oppose any border controls.

Johnson’s deal calls for limited border controls. If Great Britain exits with no deal, than full border controls would be imposed. Since Johnson seems very intent on honoring the voters’ decision to leave, one way or the other, we shall have to see which option Parliament chooses.

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Foreign elections: UK, India, France, Italy, Israel

Foreign elections in the past week all suggest that Trump’s victory in the U.S. is no accident, and that our so-called betters in the elitist class in DC had better recognize this or they will find themselves out of work.

In Europe supporters of the European Union generally got crushed:

Turn-out was up across the board, which with these victories for the populist parties also indicates the public favors them, and wanted to give them victories. As one would expect, the press has routinely labeled the winners here as “far-right,” a slander aimed at discrediting them.

The European Union was without doubt a good idea. Sadly, its implementation by the elitists in Europe was terrible, as bad if not worse then the terrible job the U.S. establishment has done for the past three decades, failing to do anything right while simultaneously drowning the country in debt and stifling regulation.

Meanwhile in India, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi came away with a landslide victory. In many ways Modi’s win mirrors the European elections. Overall, Modi has worked to shift India away from the centralized socialist/communist policies that dominated its government in the last half of the 20th century, policies that are very similar to the policies followed by the ruling EU parties. In India those centralized policies worked as badly as they have in Europe and the U.S., which is why they experienced a political collapse.

Modi’s shift to private enterprise has resulted in a booming economy and great prosperity, so much so that it has allowed India to expand its space program significantly.

Finally, in Israel, the victory several weeks ago of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition has not yet resulted in a new government. It appears Netanyahu is having trouble forming a government.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he would meet with the leaders of the prospective coalition parties in the coming hours in a final effort to save the new government and avert new elections. “I am now making my last-ditch effort to form a right-wing government and to prevent unnecessary elections. I gave the partners a proposal for a solution. It is based on the principles that the army has established and on the data that the army has established – there is no reason to reject it, “Netanyahu said.

It appears that the conservative haredi religious parties that normally ally themselves with Netanyahu’s Likud party have been playing hard ball, preventing an agreement. In other words, the demand is that the government shift even more righward, a pattern comparable to Europe.

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UK lawmakers reject all Brexit deals

The British parliament today rejected for the third and probably last time the deals negotiated by prime minister Teresa May in connection with her country’s exit from the European Union.

Right now it looks like the UK will leave the European Union on April 12, with no deal. While this possibility is causing heartache and terror among establishment politicians in Europe and Britain, it would honor the will of the voters, who voted to leave, period. The deals that have been offered have generally been a maneuver to nullify that vote.

Those establishment politicians have offered several new options to nullify the voters’ choice, including delaying the exit by a year to allow time for new negotiations, or offering a do-over election. Right now it looks like neither will happen, and Great Britain will leave.

Will an exit be good or bad? It is hard to say, but my sense is that it will be generally good for Great Britain, with most of the suffering focused among the establishment, who have used the EU as a means to power. An exit will strip them of this.

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UK health system considers banning surgery for smokers and the obese

Coming to a single-payer plan near you! Great Britain’s nationalized health system has proposed banning surgeries for anyone who smokes or is overweight.

In recent years, a number of areas have introduced delays for such patients – with some told operations will be put back for months, during which time they are expected to try to lose weight or stop smoking.

But the new rules, drawn up by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire, say that obese patients “will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight” at all, unless the circumstances are exceptional. The criteria also mean smokers will only be referred for operations if they have stopped smoking for at least eight weeks, with such patients breathalysed before referral.

East and North Hertfordshire CCG and Herts Valleys said the plans aimed to encourage people “to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, wherever possible, freeing up limited NHS resources for priority treatment”. Both are in financial difficulty, and between them seeking to save £68m during this financial year. [emphasis mine]

This is what happens when you centralize control of an industry into the hands of government. Rather than compete and find ways to better serve their customers while saving money, as the competitive private market does, a centralized top-down government operation rations services so that fewer people can get them.

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New astronaut crew to ISS, including Brit

A Russian Soyuz rocket today successfully launched a new crew to ISS, including Great Britain’s first official astronaut.

Tim Peake is not the first Brit in space, but he is the first paid for by the British government. The first British citizen to fly in space, back in 1991, was Helen Sharman, whose flight was a publicity stunt mostly paid for by the Russians themselves.

The crew is expected to dock with ISS later today.

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Great Britain space agency calls for an increased space effort

The competition heats up: The United Kingdom’s space agency has issued its proposed future strategy, focusing on a renewed involvement with ISS and the European Space Agency.

Following a public consultation and lengthy discussions across government, the new strategy, published today, concludes that continued involvement in the ISS and other programs via ESA membership is the best way to involve U.K. scientists and industry in human spaceflight. The document says the government will consider bilateral projects with other space agencies but fears always being the junior partner since the United Kingdom has no launchers or space stations. It does not think that the commercial launch industry is sufficiently mature for the United Kingdom to buy services commercially. The report also states: “The Agency will also consider its role in human exploration missions beyond Earth orbit, especially where this complements science and technology goals for robotic exploration.”

I wonder if the newly elected conservative British government agrees with this strategy. It appears to me that it was researched and written prior to the election.

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Tory victory in UK even better than predicted just yesterday

The final tallies of the election in Great Britain have given the conservatives an outright majority.

They don’t have to form a coalition with anyone to form a government. Moreover, this is after months of listening to pollsters and pundits insisting they would at best achieve a tie with the left, and most likely get kicked out of office.

Read it all. The results strongly suggest that, except for the separatist movement in Scotland, conservatives rule Britannia.

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Tory Party unexpectedly wins big in Great Britain

The rage builds: Conservatives in Great Britain have won a much larger victory in today’s election than polls or pundits had predicted.

The article attributes the surprisingly big win to a variety of factors. Yet, this election reminds me of the Israeli election, which the polls and pundits all said would be a tie, or go to the liberal parties. Instead, Netanyahu’s rightwing party won big.

Both elections, plus other recent elections in the U.S., suggest to me that there is a growing disconnect between the electorate and the intellectual class who makes these predictions. With such a disconnect, don’t be surprised if the candidate who wins the election in 2016 is the one who is least liked by that pundit class.

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Britain narrows its competition for spaceport

The competition heats up: The British government has down-selected its choices for a future spaceport in Great Britain to six airports, two of which have already said they are not interested in taking on the job.

The remaining four sites include two in Scotland, and one each in Wales and southwestern England. If I had to choose just based on orbital mechanics, the English site would win, as it is farther south thereby capable of putting more payload in orbit for the same fuel. However, politics and pork will certainly be a factor in any final decision, as this spaceport location is being decided not by private companies but by the British government.

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Great Britain’s proposed suborbital spaceport locations

The competition heats up: More information was released today describing Great Britain’s suggested spaceport locations.

These spaceports are specifically aimed at the suborbital space tourism market, for American companies like Virgin Galactic or XCOR, or for the developing British company Skylon.

It is interesting that 6 of 8 are located in Scotland, which might very well not be part of the United Kingdom after a vote on separation this fall.

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A spaceport for Great Britain?

The competition heats up: The government of the United Kingdom today outlined its intention to build its first spaceport by 2018.

The announcement listed eight potential sites, six of which were in Scotland, which is presently threatening to break away from the United Kingdom. This announcement I suspect is less a call for British space exploration and instead a political effort to encourage Scotland to remain in the UK.

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Great Britain’s first official astronaut has been picked for a five month mission on ISS in 2015.

Great Britain’s first official astronaut has been picked for a five month mission on ISS in 2015.

Astronaut Michael Foale was born in Britain, but he flew on Mir as an American. Britain meanwhile had banned spending any government money on space exploration in the 1960s, and hadn’t changed that policy until about two years ago. If the reaction to Canadian Chris Hatfield’s ISS mission is any guide, this mission will liven things up a bit for space exploration in the old country.

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New research has found that from 20,000 to 7,000 years ago Great Britain was surrounded by a vast area of dry land that reached as far as Denmark.

New research has found that from 20,000 to 7,000 years ago Great Britain was surrounded by a vast area of dry land that reached as far as Denmark.

The research suggests that the populations of these drowned lands could have been tens of thousands, living in an area that stretched from Northern Scotland across to Denmark and down the English Channel as far as the Channel Islands.

As the ice age ended and sea levels rose, this land was slowly swamped and engulfed by the North Sea.

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An eco-terrorist was arrested in Great Britain on Sunday for breaking into an agricultural research facility and trying to destroy a test crop of genetically modified wheat.

Attack of the ignorant: A protester was arrested in Great Britain on Sunday for breaking into an agricultural research facility and trying to destroy a test crop of genetically modified wheat.

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“Science in the service of politics.”

Climate scientist Richard Lindzen of MIT spoke before a public meeting of the House of Commons in Great Britain yesterday. You can read his entire speech here [pdf]. Please do. He know his stuff. More important, he begins his presentation by immediately accepting these points:

  • Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere.
  • There is a greenhouse effect.
  • There has been a doubling of CO2 in the past 150 years.
  • There has probably been a warming of about 0.8 degrees Celsius in the past 150 years.
  • Increasing CO2 alone should cause some warming.

He then notes that while none of these points are controversial among serious climate scientists, none of these facts are a cause for alarm.

The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest. [emphasis mine]

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The savage barbaric murders of Jewish children by Islamic killers

On March 11, a Palestinian terrorist (nothing more than a savage if you ask me) broke into the Jewish home in the West Bank and brutally murdered two adults and three of their children, aged 11, 3, and 1. When the news reached Gaza, there were celebrations, with candy being handed out to children.

On March 13, Melanie Phillips, a blogger in Great Britain, decided to comment on these horrible and barbaric murders by Islamic killers.
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