International

  • A Double Dealer? French trade and a Persian peace July 7, 2017 This week saw a momentous victory for the leadership of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his argument that in opening up to the West on Iran’s own terms, the nation could isolate the US as opposed to being isolated. For now, things seem to be going in his favour and will give the president much-needed respite following increased tensions between himself and the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Total the French oil and gas giant settled a $4.8bn deal which could see Iran’s oil revenues, in theory, grow by $84bn in 20 years. Not so much an immediate flow of oil wealth but long term investment for stability, prosperity and leverage. Volkswagen and Peugeot also have announced today (4 July) that they intend ... Read More
  • They Just Don’t Get It … July 7, 2017 I had not planned to address the ridiculous piece of health ‘care’ legislation under consideration by the Senate again just yet, but my hackles were raised this morning by a story in Think Progress about the new party line floating around on Capitol Hill.  The headline read: Republicans Argue Anyone Who Loses Coverage Under Trumpcare Really Doesn’t Want It According to the article, this is the ‘talking point’ these days in the halls of Congress.  The philosophy being that once the mandate to purchase insurance is gone, some people will simply choose not to have insurance.  With reductions in coverage, higher rates, and state’s ability to choose not to cover pre-existing conditions and essential services, the Congressional Budget Office estimates some 22 ... Read More
  • British ‘Smart Warfare’ and the Invention of Irexit July 6, 2017 Ireland has become one of Brexit Britain’s last viable bargaining chips, and so Theresa May has started the ball rolling on an Irish media manipulation strategy by which she hopes to bully Ireland to Britain’s side against the EU. Our neighbours in Ireland are wakening up bemused at the news that “Irexit” – a Brexit-like Irish exit from the European Union – has become a thing. “Irish diplomat” Ray Bassett has published a 41 page policy document, After Brexit, Will Ireland be Next to Exit, outlining the “necessity” of an Irish departure from the EU in the wake of Brexit. There are, however, a number of problems with this piece of Irish policy advice; beside the fact that it is neither ... Read More
  • Orange Culture is Culture July 6, 2017 Some of our neighbours have taken to the streets to “remember” a battle they never fought; in a country they’ve never visited. This is Orangeism, a hilariously anachronistic but highly dangerous slice of Ulster-Scottish antiquarianism. Since before the weekend, what with an Orange Order parade scheduled for Glasgow on Saturday, Scottish social media has been a riot over Ulster and Scottish loyalists claiming cultural status for their hideous bonfire and Battle of the Boyne commemorative antics. Apparently we and the other communities of Northern Ireland are to accept the burning of flags and Catholics in effigy, racist, bigoted, and sectarian slogans and songs, and ancient hatreds as “culture.” Members of the Orange institutions and the unionist establishment in Scotland and Northern ... Read More
  • The End of the Beginning – Iran & the Kingdom survey the Mosul chessboard July 3, 2017 Last week, the Iraqi government and its armed forces declared victory over Daesh in Mosul claiming to have won back the last vestiges of the ancient city of Mosul. Three years and nineteen days after the capture of the northern Iraqi city by the self-styled “Islamic state” the brave fighters of the Golden Division, special operation forces, Iraqi counter-terrorism, the popular mobilisation units assisted by American and Iraqi airpower ended their fierce battle with an enemy which has seen its territory shrink by over 60 per cent over a matter of 2 years. Of course, the Iraqis themselves know more than anyone that the work is not finished. While politicians in the West have been using loosely affiliated attacks to extend ... Read More
  • What’s Behind The Smokescreen??? July 1, 2017 Smokescreen:  a cloud of smoke created to conceal military operations; a ruse designed to disguise someone’s real intentions or activities. Smoke and Mirrors … Trump’s most recent rude & crude tweets appear to have taken over the internet, airwaves, and every other communication venue.  I will address those in a later post, as I, too, have much to say about them, however … those tweets are NOT the most important news of the day.  In my last post, I informed you that your voting history is about to be made public information by the Trump administration, and now I have more news … All week long, the big news has been the Senate’s so-called ‘health care’ bill, written by America’s #1 Obstructionist, ... Read More
  • There were more Scottish Limited Partnerships set up last year than in a preceding century June 25, 2017 I share this press release from Transparency International, which I think is really important, whilst adding that this is not within the control of the Scottish government: 24th June 2017, London – The UK’s failure to reveal the true owners of Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs), has so far left the UK open to corrupt money launderers. By seeking to reveal who the real owners of SLPs are, the UK is making a positive step towards ending its role as a safe haven for corrupt money, as well as meeting a key EU deadline. The Government had been expected to miss the June 26th deadline, but has instead bypassed parliamentary rules that requires a 21 day period of parliamentary consideration, to push through ... Read More
  • If Brexiteers Did Indy June 20, 2017 “For now we see through a glass, darkly” – The Bible, 1 Corr 13:12   Yesterday was the first meeting between the UK Brexit delegation and the EU delegation and, by many accounts, it has fallen far short of the UK’s expectations. David Davis spent months drumming up the “Strong and Stable” approach which would see both the divorce deal and the subsequent post-Brexit trade deal negotiated simultaneously. He was told on every front that this wouldn’t happen and simply brushed off the warnings. And then, when push came to shove…he finally accepted that he’s have to negotiate the divorce deal first. This is just the latest in a long string of failures and ineptitudes over the course of the UK’s handling ... Read More
  • Theresa May allies call Auschwitz murder camp a “great lesson” to defend against immigration June 15, 2017 In 2009, the UK Conservative Party left the mainstream right-of-centre grouping in Europe the European People’s Party to join with a grouping of far-right extremists called the European Conservatives and Reformists. The Tories’ main allies in the grouping include the party of the present Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo – who today came under fire for defending her party’s anti-immigration stance by bizarrely PRAISING the Auschwitz murder camp where an estimated 1.1 million people were murdered by the Nazis. Szydlo tweeted: “In today’s restless times, Auschwitz is a great lesson showing that everything must be done to protect the safety and life of our citizens”. The tweet comes after the EU criticised Poland for not taking in its quota of refugee families and children fleeing from the ... Read More
  • Hard v soft: should we be given the choice? June 14, 2017 I was discussing Brexit last night. My co-discussant made a good point that is worth sharing. Eighty  five per cent of votes cast in the general election were for parties saying they would take us out of Europe. Like it or not, that debate appears to be over. The difficulty that remains is in finding anyone with a shred of credibility to negotiate a deal. In that case is a referendum back on the table again? Suppose it was agreed now that there would be a referendum in late 2018 on the deal available, with the alternative being hard Brexit; that is, the no deal option. So this would not be a “do we stay after all?” referendum because that option has gone. But ... Read More