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Emrys

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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 5,616

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Ministers veto reappointment of two women to Channel 4 board

Decision not to renew Uzma Hasan and Fru Hazlitt was made against advice of Channel 4 and Ofcom

The government has vetoed the reappointment of two women to Channel 4’s board of directors, including one of only two women of colour, in a sign ministers are continuing to assert their authority over senior media appointments.

The decision not to renew the boardroom positions of Uzma Hasan and Fru Hazlitt at the state-owned but privately funded broadcaster was made against the advice of both the Channel 4 board and the media regulator, Ofcom.

Both women were recommended for another three-year term on the broadcaster’s board, sources told the Guardian, with such reappointments usually waved through by the government. However, ministers have instead decided to seek new candidates, as part of a wider push that has led to the appointment of Conservative allies to leading media roles.

Last year, the Tory donor Richard Sharp was appointed chairman of the BBC, while Ofcom is recruiting a new chair, with the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and the former Tory minister Ed Vaizey in the running.

Although Downing Street has no formal role in the appointments process, sources suggested the decision was influenced by officials working in No 10. The government is increasingly blocking reappointments to public sector roles to bring in new individuals to organisations.

The intervention is also set to renew the debate over a possible privatisation of Channel 4, which has been a favoured proposal of the broadcasting minister, John Whittingdale, for many years. The Guardian understands the reason given for the surprise decision not to renew the two women’s terms in office was the need to fill a “finance” skills gap on the board of directors.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/apr/14/ministers-veto-reappointment-of-two-women-to-channel-4-board


The Tories' near-unopposed degradation of the BBC, especially its news services, extends to the channel that hosts what many feel to be the most trustworthy TV news programme, Channel 4 News.

Given the rightwing slant of most of the print media and their reluctance to pursue issues such as the ongoing PPE purchase scandals and any number of other issues that would be giant headlines if another party perpetrated them, it's little wonder that so many are looking elsewhere - for better or worse - to try to find out what's going on in the country and the world.

Islamophobic incidents rose 375% after Johnson compared Muslim women to 'letterboxes', figures show

Perpetrators abusing Muslim women in the street ‘directly referenced’ MP’s comments, report finds
...
Monitoring group Tell Mama said the Daily Telegraph column written by the now-prime minister was followed by the biggest spike in anti-Muslim hatred in 2018, as his words were repeated by racists abusing Muslims on the street and online.

In the three weeks after the article was published last August, 42 per cent of offline Islamophobic incidents reported “directly referenced Boris Johnson and/or the language used in his column”, a report said.

Many were directed at visibly Muslim women who wore the niqab or other veils, who were called “letterboxes” and “ninjas”.

Online abuse reported to Tell Mama repeated the same words or incorporated them into pictures and memes that were sent to Muslims online.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/boris-johnson-muslim-women-letterboxes-burqa-islamphobia-rise-a9088476.html


This report's from 2019, but in the wake of the "independent" report on race in the UK, this finding will have come as no surprise to many of us, but may serve as a wake-up call to those who ever claimed that Johnson was merely giving vent to a Prince Philipian sense of humour and was simply misunderstood.

Prince Philip has died

https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily/status/1380475865323212800

The Royal Family
@RoyalFamily

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.





I've just enough class not to speak ill of the very recently dead. All I'll say is that no doubt the bereavement and accompanying ceremonies and retrospectives will serve as a handy distraction from everything else that's going on.

Women's anger at 'abuse of power' during Bristol police raids

Two protesters claimed they were subject to terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers

The police have been accused of an abuse of power by using anti-terror style tactics against protesters after two young women claimed they endured terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers.

The women were caught up in a series of undercover raids by Avon and Somerset Police as part of the force’s high-profile investigation into a fortnight of the “kill the bill” protests in Bristol. So far 50 people have been arrested in connection with clashes during protests against the government’s police and crime bill, which will give the police wide-ranging powers over demonstrations.
...
Katie McGoran, 21, who left the first “kill the bill” demonstration on 21 March before any trouble broke out, claimed she was mistakenly arrested after a male officer dressed as a postal worker tricked his way into her shared student house in north Bristol five days later. She says the disguised officer and at least three other male plain-clothed officers followed her flatmate up the stairs before revealing they were police with a warrant. They then burst into McGoran’s bedroom and handcuffed her while she was only partially dressed.
...
The same day the police are said to have used similar tactics to raid another all-female shared student house in the city. The family of Grace Hart, who is 16, claimed she answered the door twice to a male officer pretending to be postal worker with a package for her flatmate. Her father, Paul Hart, said she became suspicious so she started to close the door. The officer, he claimed, then barged in along with a group of at least three other plain-clothed male officers shouting “police” and pointing Tasers at her.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/apr/03/womens-anger-at-abuse-of-power-during-bristol-police-raids


[X-posted by request from United Kingdom (Group): https://www.democraticunderground.com/108820418 ]

Women's anger at 'abuse of power' during Bristol police raids

Two protesters claimed they were subject to terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers

The police have been accused of an abuse of power by using anti-terror style tactics against protesters after two young women claimed they endured terrifying ordeals at the hands of male officers pretending to be postal workers.

The women were caught up in a series of undercover raids by Avon and Somerset Police as part of the force’s high-profile investigation into a fortnight of the “kill the bill” protests in Bristol. So far 50 people have been arrested in connection with clashes during protests against the government’s police and crime bill, which will give the police wide-ranging powers over demonstrations.
...
Katie McGoran, 21, who left the first “kill the bill” demonstration on 21 March before any trouble broke out, claimed she was mistakenly arrested after a male officer dressed as a postal worker tricked his way into her shared student house in north Bristol five days later. She says the disguised officer and at least three other male plain-clothed officers followed her flatmate up the stairs before revealing they were police with a warrant. They then burst into McGoran’s bedroom and handcuffed her while she was only partially dressed.
...
The same day the police are said to have used similar tactics to raid another all-female shared student house in the city. The family of Grace Hart, who is 16, claimed she answered the door twice to a male officer pretending to be postal worker with a package for her flatmate. Her father, Paul Hart, said she became suspicious so she started to close the door. The officer, he claimed, then barged in along with a group of at least three other plain-clothed male officers shouting “police” and pointing Tasers at her.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/apr/03/womens-anger-at-abuse-of-power-during-bristol-police-raids


[X-posted in Women's Rights & Issues (Group): https://www.democraticunderground.com/113812257 ]

Boris Johnson 'a clown' with no diplomacy skills, says ex-deputy in diaries

Ex-Foreign Office deputy Sir Alan Duncan says PM mistakes regular headlines for political power

...
Sir Alan Duncan, the MP for Rutland and Melton from 1992 until the last election, said the prime minister was “a clown, a self-centred ego, an embarrassing buffoon, with an untidy mind and sub-zero diplomatic judgment”.

“He is an international stain on our reputation,” Duncan added, in diaries that have been serialised in the Daily Mail.

The diaries, made into a book titled The Thick of It, cover his final four years in parliament during Brexit and Johnson’s move to Downing Street. Duncan served on the Conservative frontbenches for 18 years and was a former minister for international development.
...
Duncan also claimed he had had a row with Johnson over a press report about diplomats treating him as an “international joke”.

Johnson is said to have asked: “Why don’t they take me seriously?” Duncan claims he replied: “Look in the f***ing mirror!”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/apr/03/boris-johnson-a-clown-with-no-diplomacy-skills-says-ex-deputy-in-diaries


With this appearing in the likes of the Mail, I can't help wondering whether the Tory grandees and backers are growing rather tired of Johnson now he's more or less served their purposes.

UK government won't deny censoring LSE report showing independent Scotland could be economic success

Westminster refuses to deny it pushed academics to delete blog on indy Scotland
...
The post, published on the London School of Economics British Politics and Policy website, was co-authored by Geoffrey Chapman who advises the Department for International Trade on economics.

He and co-author Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott, of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, wrote that: “Scotland satisfies all the international legal criteria for statehood, with one exception: it lacks the formal authority to enter into foreign relations, even though it has the literal ability to do so.”
...
The article stated: “With modest population growth alongside good GDP growth, supported by stable participation in international trade, it seems Scotland is in a far better initial condition than either the Czech or Slovak Republics, and can therefore expect similar (if not better) post-independence outcomes.”

A UK Government spokesperson previously told The National: “This is not the view of the Department for International Trade or the UK Government, and the matter is being looked into."

https://www.thenational.scot/news/19208021.westminster-refuses-deny-pushed-academics-delete-blog-indy-scotland/


The post which was taken down can be accessed here via The Wayback Machine: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/scottish-independence-cost/

Its conclusion reads:

Regarding the available trade data between 2002 and 2018, Scotland’s export shares are relatively stable. In 2002, Scotland exported 23% to the EU, 18% to non-EU, and 58% to the rest of the UK. The rest of the UK’s share peaked in 2007 at 67%, when the EU received 16% and non-EU 17%. However, the rest of the UK’s share has tapered off since and as of 2018, was standing at 60% (with the EU receiving 19% and non-EU 21%). Since 2007, counterbalancing the downward trajectory of the rest of the UK’s share has been an increasing trend in Scotland’s non-EU trade, rising from 17% to 21% in 2018. Scotland’s top five international export destinations accounted for £15.1 billion of all exports in 2018, with the top five markets being the US, France, Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The US remains Scotland’s top international export destination, accounting for an estimated £5.5 billion in 2018.

Moreover, Scotland’s exports to the EU grew by an average of 4% per year over the last five years, and since 2010, growth to the EU outpaced growth to the rest of the world and the rest of the UK by a significant margin. Scotland is not only becoming more economically integrated with the EU (see here), but seemingly also with non-EU partners. Scotland’s historic economic performance has been strong, which bodes well for a small, open and independent Scotland. With modest population growth alongside good GDP growth, supported by stable participation in international trade, it seems Scotland is in a far better initial condition than either the Czech or Slovak Republics, and can therefore expect similar (if not better) post-independence outcomes.

In light of long-run economic growth and stability, it might be worthwhile for Scotland to attempt entering into foreign relations with other states and international organisations if there was no cooperation from the UK to take forward another referendum result favouring independence. A key factor is that if the UK did not respect any future referendum result favouring independence, unilateral Scottish secession would become more legitimate, meaning international recognition of Scotland as an independent state would arguably be more likely. Although the UK currently respects the right of Scots to self-determination, this would no longer be the case if the UK did not take the appropriate steps to implement a referendum result favouring independence.

With regional stability in the interests of all parties, any referendum favouring Scottish independence should be enacted through a staged approach to secession in compliance with constitutional law to minimise the economic cost on the UK and Scotland. The rule of law should be at the heart of any Scottish secession to allow for the best possible economic outcomes for people in Scotland and the UK. Such a process also depends on the politics between the UK and Scottish governments being cooperative, open-minded, and transparent. Nevertheless, although political amicability between the UK and Scotland is preferable, it is not indispensable for Scotland to become independent and continue prospering thereafter, particularly if Scotland negotiates access to the EU single market.

Considering Scotland has all the necessary machinery in place to become an independent state, we see no obvious reasons why Scotland would not succeed economically if it were to do so, especially if achieved within the bounds of the law. Although our findings might be controversial to some, we hope to show that Scottish independence, while not inevitable, is far more nuanced a matter than many have claimed. There exist several options worth pursuing for the parties to this debate.


A note on the LSE website reads: "Update 2 April: We have been asked by the authors to take this article down temporarily. We will be making it available again as soon as we are able to and apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Jennifer Arcuri admits four-year affair with serial love cheat Boris Johnson

WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Arcuri reveals all about her four-year affair with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, including sexy pics and trips as the PM faces a probe over his conduct

...

The businesswoman says they slept together at the flat where she had a pole dancer’s pole.

She says they met up once a week at the height of the affair, she sent arty topless pictures and admits: “I loved him. I adored him.”

Jennifer reveals a mutual “physical and intellectual attraction”. They shared a love of Shakespeare, she codenamed him Alexander the Great, and she says he loved her body and mind and “couldn’t keep his hands off me” on their first tryst.

But ultimately, she says, he was a “cowardly wet noodle” for not standing by her in the row over her presence on foreign trade trips.

Probably MUCH more than you ever wanted to know here: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-affair-jennifer-arcuri-23798478


Politicians' sex lives seldom interest me much unless they're guilty of hypocrisy or some sort of violence. Johnson's involvement with Arcuri is more germane because it reflects his behaviour as Mayor of London and financial questions that have been raised before now. The controversy over foreign trade trips in the last sentence above is one example, and the article later comments: "The Greater London Authority probe will examine whether he breached the Nolan Principles of Public Life. It will examine whether he behaved with 'honesty and integrity', whether Jennifer was given 'preferential treatment' and if there was any conflict of interest which should have been declared."

Arcuri seems to feel wronged in a variety of ways, criticizes Johnson for not being willing to be upfront about his personal and business relationship with her, and basically labels him a wimp for not being man enough to brazen the situation out.

Will this sum up to anything more than another glitch for Johnson? Probably not. He already has a reputation as a bit of a cad, and like the rest of his party, seems like Teflon when it comes to accusations of financial shenanigans, of which there are many, and many much more serious than those touched on in this article.

Still, it'll no doubt liven up many a Sunday morning as we all groggily come to terms with the annual ritual of robbing us of an hour's sleep.

Just had my first COVID shot

My wife had hers a couple of weeks ago because she has (well-controlled) asthma. I'm in my early 60s, so it's evidently the turn of my age group round here (west of Scotland, near Glasgow). We've both been given the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

In both cases, we received a phone call from a practice nurse a couple of days beforehand and fixed up a time slot. We were advised to check the practice's Facebook page before setting out in case there'd been a problem with the supply of the particular batch.

The village health centre car park was as full as I've ever seen it. Everything was well organized. I was booked in for 11.15 am and was out by 11.18. Like my recent flu vaccine, the shot itself was painless. They asked me to sit in my car for five minutes afterwards in case of any immediate reaction, and handed me a card explaining possible side-effects - soreness and redness around the injection site, a day or two's fever etc. My wife suffered no serious ill effects from her jag, just some residual soreness in her arm, so here's hoping.

I don't know how this experience compares to others elsewhere in the UK. I hope any of you, whether you have special need of the vaccine or not, have been able to access it with no delays or problems.

Meteor sighted across UK (tweet-heavy thread)

At least 60 fireball sightings have come in from southern Scotland to Cardiff and London tonight:

https://twitter.com/TomMunns1/status/1366181407488368641

https://twitter.com/benrdavisuk/status/1366218738052268032

https://twitter.com/Mixmasterxl/status/1366217134964097025

https://twitter.com/tictacsir22/status/1366185507865165825

Some folks were a bit spooked:

https://twitter.com/cherrytreats/status/1366170152086228995
https://twitter.com/cherrytreats/status/1366178977841360903


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