Skip to main content

Posts

My #Remainer's Diary Day 300: constitutional crisis is coming

My #Remainer's Diary Day 300: I mull over a joint statement from the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland, Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon about the repeal bill. It says: “We have... put forward constructive proposals about how we can deliver an outcome which will protect the interests of all the nations in the UK, safeguard our economies and respect devolution.  “Regrettably, the bill does not do this. Instead, it is a naked power grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution and could destabilise our economies.”  So a constitutional crisis that was latent ever since 23rd June 2016 is due to be thrashed out in Westminster debates.  A spokeswoman for the Maybot said she was not aware of a contingency plan for what might happen if Scotland or Wales refused legislative consent.  That is apart from the rows there will be about the bill's Henry VIII clause powers and putting human rights in doubt.  As the clock ticks, businesses act to protect themselves.  EasyJet announced…
Recent posts

My Remainer's Diary Day 299

For 298 days I have kept my #Remainer's Diary on Facebook. Two nights ago my FB account became inaccessible without explanation. So I'm back on Blogger.
Diary Day 299: the UK's Office of Budget Responsibility published its first Fiscal Risks Report, a 312-page tome, in accordance with a requirement introduced by Parliament in October 2015 that the OBR must produce a fiscal risks report at least once every two years. It is freely downloadable by anyone.  Fiscal is a fancy word for pertaining to government finances. Derivation: 16th century, from Latin fiscālis concerning the state treasury, from fiscus public money, the public purse. It is about government income and spending.  The Fiscal Risks Report refers to a wide range of "fiscal pressures", and says that the risks posed by Brexit "do not supplant the possible shocks and likely pressures that we have already discussed, but they could affect the likelihood and impact of many of them."  It states that imp…

ELDR news from Palermo

Here is my report back to Liberal Democrats who directly elected me (thank you!) to the party’s delegation to the European Liberal, Democratic and Reform Party (ELDR). The second Council meeting of 2011 (there are two annually) and the annual Congress took place in Palermo, Sicily on 23-25 November at the invitation of the Italia dei Valori (Italy of Principles) Party. There were resolutions and emergency resolutions proposed by member parties, too many to summarise here, of which the most significant was, I think, one from the UK Liberal Democrats on the prospect of war with Iran. The gist is that it expresses concern at military rhetoric, top-level consultations between military and political leaders and the stationing of military assets off the Iranian coast pointing to the possibility of pre-emptive attacks being launched by Israel and the USA against Iran., and it calls for steps to be taken in Europe to dissuade them. When the US military are still engaged in both Iraq and Afgha…

Mendel, the great modest man, and his magnificent idea

Today, or what's left of it, is Gregor Mendel's 189th birthday, and as he is one of my heroes, I feel the need to shout about it. Mendel was one of those people who led a modest life, saw and observed the same world as the rest of us, but did it so much better, more insightfully, more thoughtfully, and came up with an idea that is so simple, profound and right that the rest of us will spend the rest of time thinking: how come no one had thought of that before? In his case, it was a few rows of peas (round, wrinkled, etc) sown annually and the produce patiently counted and re-sown, plus maths, that revealed the solution to the bit Charles Darwin hadn't solved: how, from generation to generation, did heredity happen? The nuts and bolts of it? Nowadays we witter on about genes, DNA and all the rest of it, as though these ideas had always been there, but in Mendel's time hardly anyone had so much as a clue, and then Mendel wrote a clue. Some say he tweaked the maths, but e…

On blogging (and grammarians)

The Hansard report on bloggers a week or so ago got me thinking why I don't blog that often. Someone intimated that I did it all wrong, I didn't react quickly to events and it wasn't a proper blog unless it was a weblog, a daily (or more frequent) diary. So I was duly put down, until I asked myself: who are these people who set themselves up as experts on how blogging should be done? Like 6th century Latin grammarians. Good grief, it's only just been invented. So I will go on doing it the way I like, when a posting has ripened enough to be a fruit that someone somewhere might think worth picking.

The dystopia that awaits us all?

After takeoff, as the aircraft gained height, Metro Manila gradually came into view: a grey jumble of human habitation punctuated by clustered skyscrapers, intersected by meanders of a noxious-looking, mustard-coloured river, sprawling across an enormous plain bounded on the west side by the sea and in other directions not at all, further than the eye could see, eventually obscured by pollution haze and clouds.

Making life bearable in this monster megacity is just one aspect of the problems faced by President Aquino's government. Already it is home to upwards of 15 million people and it is growing all the time as the burgeoning Filipino population drifts to the cities in hope of making a living. As it grows, so do the problems.

Is Metro Manila a premonition of things to come for our species? If global population growth proceeds as forecast, then yes. Population growth threatens to render all our efforts to tackle individual basic needs – food, water, housing, air fit to breathe, d…

Thoughts from Manila about remarkable people

Even to me, a foreigner, here in Manila the significance of President “Noynoy” Aquino’s government having made today a national holiday to mark the 150th anniversary of José Rizal’s birth is obvious. Rizal was a man of many talents and republican convictions who opposed colonial rule until executed by Spanish firing squad in 1896. The current President’s father Benigno (“Ninoy”) Aquino was the Liberal Party leader who returned from exile in 1983 to oppose US-backed dictator Ferdinand Marcos, only to be assassinated as he arrived at Manila airport. I suspect that for ordinary Filipinos both murdered men have hero status bearing comparison with President John F Kennedy for Americans.

The current President took a little time off from affairs of state to welcome Liberal delegates from around the world to his palace last Saturday and give the keynote speech of Liberal International Congress. He seemed to me an unassuming man, and my impression is reinforced by reading that when asked what h…