Oh dear. It begins. The inevitable backlash of women defending men. Lena Dunham has accused a woman of lying about rape. Don’t believe the hype in her retraction. Dunham, in a published statement said: “Our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year … We stand by Murray and this is all we’ll be saying about this issue.” Well, obviously, it wasn’t all they were going to say once the hail of women’s justifiable fury started raining down on this dangerous and cruel statement.
When commentators claimed that 313,000 Labour members and affiliates were holding British politics hostage, they meant that so long as they sustained their support for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, British politics would remain a one-party game. It turned out differently. In fact, it turned out worse. Labour are not holding British politics hostage, they are keeping it in a fantasy land. Two simultaneous events occurred on Monday night. BBC Two screened The Summer That Changed Everything, a documentary clearly commissioned with Labour’s demise in mind. The film turned out to be a moment when Corbynistas could relive their moments of vindication when the pundits called it wrong.
President Trump, in Manila on the last leg of his tour of five Asian nations, only briefly touched on the question of human rights with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has waged a deadly extra-judicial war on drugs that has left thousands dead. Duterte's brash demeanor and untempered language have earned him the nickname "Trump of the East." Trump, in turn, has praised Duterte — telling him in an April phone call that he was doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem." Duterte took the stage for an impromptu duet with local pop star Pilitia Corrales, which he later said he had done "upon the orders of the commander-in-chief of the United States."
The Budget speech used to be a grand occasion. Political titans over the years such as Gordon Brown, Geoffrey Howe, Benjamin Disraeli and Willian Gladstone used the event to both steer the economy and bolster their own positions. With the opportunity to speak uninterrupted for anything from 47 minutes to five hours (Disraeli in 1852), the Chancellor has had a unique opportunity to delight his (yes, always a man) supporters and frustrate his opponents by pulling rabbits out of his hat. A tax cut here, extra spending there — soon he could be talking about serious money. This week’s Budget is unlikely to feature in the list of the great orations. With just 16 months until Britain leaves the European Union with or without a trade deal and with the final exit bill still not settled, Chancellor Philip Hammond has little room for mano
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.