In a widely expected result, Richard Leonard has been elected as the leader of the Scottish Labour Party. Yorkshire-born Leonard - a GMB trade union organiser who entered the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in 2016 - defeated former deputy leader Anas Sarwar with 56 percent of the vote. The Glaswegian Sarwar was described as the centre-left candidate, but both MSPs praised Jeremy Corbyn and promoted him as a future UK Prime Minister. Leonard is considered a Corbynite but he refuses to be pigeonholed as such. Upon his victory Leonard praised Sarwar and in the spirit of unity pledged that his adversary will play a “vital role” in his leadership. Leonard is taking on a tough job.
Talks between officials from Britain and negotiators for the European Union have progressed slowly, and are now at a near-stalemate. The EU has given Britain a deadline of two weeks to agree on a figure for the so-called "divorce bill" -- the money May's government must pay into the EU budget as part of its membership obligations. As negotiations with the EU reach the crunch point, May's government is finding itself in ever-deeper trouble over its attempts to push through the legislation that will allow leaving the EU to happen at all. Lawmakers from all parties have put forward hundreds of amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, and debates and votes are expected to take a month.
A narrative has formed over the last few months. Theresa May spends her time clinging to the curtain rails of 10 Downing Street, in permanent fear that one day a metaphorical pearl-handled revolver will be delivered and she will be told to do her duty. Michael Gove and Boris Johnson have formed a government within a government; the same Johnson is a diplomatic without the powers of diplomacy nor compensating decency; the Chancellor of the Exchequer is at loggerheads with just about everybody; the EU - already exasperated at Brexit chaos - is preparing for Theresa May to fall. They do not just have rebels, they have mutineers! That is how bad they are. This is the worst government ever.
“The great financial crisis is still wreaking havoc through our politics and democracy and still costing households dearly. It’s deeply disturbing to see through this research how our system is still woefully exposed to shocks that could be even more cataclysmic. “With the vast uncertainties of Brexit on the horizon, consumer debt rising, and wages failing to keep pace with inflation, just such a shock seems ever more likely. And our financial system is simply not ready for that. “We need to see stronger regulation by the Bank of England to protect our financial system from over-exposure to risk. We also desperately need a more diverse banking system that invests in people, productivity and jobs and is responsive to the real needs of the different regions of the country.
Russia wants Britain to leave the EU - and it would be delighted if more countries would follow. It is easy to see why. The Kremlin has long viewed the union as an existential threat, one that has empowered Russia’s former satellites and substantially reduced Russia’s own sphere of influence. To a country that still sees the world in terms of ‘great powers’ and the need for national prestige, it should not be surprising that there is a lack of harmony between Russia and the EU. Along with NATO, the EU is one of the main players that have thwarted Moscow’s ambitions by arguing and promoting sanctions. After Russia’s the illegal annexation of the Crimea, it was the EU that took the lead in travel bans, asset freezes and restrictions on investment, financing and trade with Russia.
It hardly needs saying, but there are changes afoot in the political economy of the world. Where there is globalisation, there are globalisation protestors. This is nothing new, but it is becoming mainstream. The antithesis of globalisation, nationalism, and the pursuit of your own country’s interests over those of everyone else, has bubbled back up in Europe. And it’s not just Europe, of course. In the US, president Donald Trump is (among other initiatives) rethinking the American commitment to free trade. In the rest of the world, the experience of globalisation shows it creates some winners and some losers. This varies geographically and in different economic fields, and is shown in different aspects of our lives.
This Week on Planet Trump: A Year On from His Election, Democrats Enjoy Their Own Upsets while President Tours Asia
Even though 26 people were gunned down at a church in Texas Sunday, there was to be no change to President Donald Trump’s scheduled golfing and negotiating in Asia. Trump was two days into a five-country trip when an armor-clad gunman walked into First Baptist Church in the rural town of Sutherland Springs and fired an AR-15-style assault rifle, killing 26—around half of them children, including one as young as 18 months—and injuring at least 20 more. The largest gun-rights lobbying group, the National Rifle Association, was the biggest outside donator to Trump’s campaign for president. And, in stark contrast to his predecessor, Trump has rejected any calls for even a debate about gun control in the wake of mass shootings.
Dai George was born in Cardiff in 1986 and studied in Bristol and New York, where he received an MFA from Columbia University’s writing programme. He has had poems and criticism published in The Guardian Online, The Boston Review, New Welsh Review, Poetry Review and others. His poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including the Salt Book of Younger Poets and Best British Poetry 2011 and 2013. His first collection, The Claims Office, was published by Seren in October 2013. He is an editor at Prac Crit and a funded PhD candidate at UCL, where his thesis will examine the role syntax played in American poetry's postmodern turn. He is currently finishing a novel about the Gunpowder Plot, with the playwright Ben Jonson as the central character. Dai's fiction is represented by Georgina Capel Associates.
No one remembers who really came up with the idea, but it was taken up by the new government with enthusiasm. It dealt with an epidemic that had been growing for years, and did it in a way that kept the addicts both comfortable and out the way of the masses, while still allowing their families a certain level of access to them. Gambling had been getting out of control, mostly amongst men between the ages of 25 and 65, and up until that point no one had suggested a workable solution outside of more regulations and more taxation. The gambling lobby simply would not have it: casual gamblers, they said, who genuinely gambled only on occasion for a bit of “light fun”, would suffer due to the excesses of immoral disreputables and the unfeeling iron gloved hand of the nanny state.