UK Local elections 2021: Scottish PM Nicola Sturgeon pushing for a second independence referendum
Nationalist pro-independent SNP fell short of an overall majority by one seat gaining: 64 seats. Sturgeon said in order for the timing of the independence referendum to be approved it "shall be decided by a simple majority".
London, 9 May 2021 - The electoral victory of the SNP in Scotland at yesterday’s British Local Elections emboldened the leader Nicholas Sturgeon to relaunch a new independence referendum. This, in case of victory of the independentists, would bring Scotland back into the EU. Brexit, in fact, dragged Edinburgh away from the block against its will.
When in 2014 (two years before the Brexit) the independence referendum was held and the remainers-unionist won, the winning anti-independence campaign was based on the fact that, in itself, as independent nation Scotland would have been automatically out of the EU. This was the main argument persuading the electorate to stay in the UK.
But when two years later England’s pro-Brexit prevailed (though narrowly) in the referendum, Scottish felt, and actually were, betrayed: out of EU without their consent.
The anti-England, anti-Boris, anti-Brexit, anti-British nationalism sentiment become overwhelming.
The risk of ‘secessionism’ from Holyrood is incumbent. After the vote result, Sturgeon warned if Westminster will oppose a new Scottish independence referendum "that will demonstrate conclusively that UK is not a partnership of equals and astonishingly that Westminster no longer sees it as voluntary union of nations. That in itself would become the most powerful argument for Scotland becoming an independent country". Scottish PM also set the path for the approval "All the SNP and the Scottish Greens stood in a clear commitment to an independence referendum within the next parliamentary term and all are clear that the timing for a referendum shall be decided by a simple majority".
UK - Local elections 2021 - Sadiq Khan re-elected Mayor of London
London, 9 May 2021 - In his acceptance speech Sadiq Khan thanked not only Labour Party voters but also "non Labour voters" stressing he will be the Mayor for all and also for all those who did not vote for him.
A number of London constituencies, represented in the British Parliament by a Conservative MP, did confirm their trust in Khan, voting the person and not the party, the successful results of nearly five years of City Hall administration.
In the Mayoral contest the opposition candidate, Shaun Bailey, a Caribbean origin young man of working class origin whose family belongs to the Windrush generation, gained 44.8% .of the votes making the final result, at the second round, unexpectedly narrow. Electorate turn out was low this time at 42% .
A strategic choice from the Conservatives who tried to conquer the hearts of the haves not, of BLM supporters, of the victims of the Windrush scandal generation and their descendants, of those ethnic minorities excluded from high level schools, qualified jobs, discriminated and marginalised. This does not mean Tories are changing their stances and that they are going for social democratic ideals; it's simply a well premeditated and strategically delivered campaign where who the candidate is and look like has nothing to do with what he stands for.
Khan wins against chameleonic Tory strategy
An unexpected 55.2% narrow result secure Mayor of London his City Hall seat
London, 1 May 2021 - There’s something in the Kill the Bill protest that makes the British establishment, and not only the government in charge, particularly concerned.
The massive reaction against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (which gives the police more powers to curb any kind protests and rallies) in fact merges in solidarity many and diverse movements as it puts into question the definition itself of right to protest: Black Lives Matter, Sisters Uncut, Extinction rebellion, Stand up to Racism, plus Socialists and Corbynites (former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke at the rally in London).
It is not by chance that all those who silently watch us from behind screens and cameras push to limit civil rights after such a dangerous pandemic which impoverished people, exposed not only the poorest, but also the middle class to unemployment, eviction, debt, uncertainty of the future, undermined families with many not able to afford food, hit the hardest those who cannot afford to live alone and catch the virus in crowded houses: the virus exposed the roots and the wide extent of social injustice.
UK: The rally, the bill, the establishment behind the scenes:
thousands speak loud against anti-protest upcoming law
London, 9 April 2021 - Beloved by the British people, and not just by them all. World media announce today on their front pages the breaking news.
Never a shadow figure, he bared on his noble shoulders decades of serving duties: 22.000 solo engagements with over 5.000 speeches as Queen's husband, is the longest serving British consort.
The Duke of Edinburgh supported over 800 charities from 1952: he was patron of the Shakespeare's Globe for more than 40 years.
Born in the island of Corfu on 10 June 1921 as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, was exiled with his family from the country when he was only one and a half years old. He married Elizabeth II in 1947.
Despite the windy and cold weather today people are flocking to Buckingham palace and near Windsor Castle to lay flowers.
Prince Philip dies at 99. Queen Elizabeth II announces with "deep sorrow"
Photo credit @ajplus
London, 17 March 2021 - The trial of the police officer who brutally kidnapped and killed the 33 years old Sarah Everard will start next 25th October. A hearing to enter a plea is scheduled the 9th July.
Yesterday the murderer, an old British man who was in charge as parliamentary and diplomatic protection officer at the MET police, appeared at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London to confirm his name and date of birth: Wayne Couzens born in Dover, Kent, in 1972.
Investigations are still ongoing and though, the body has been found in woods near Ashford, searches are also ongoing in the little town of Sandwich, in Kent.
More charges, therefore, could be added to the ones of kidnap and murder as the investigations proceed.
His wife, is also accused of being involved in the murder as “assisting an offender”: Elena Sukhoreba, an Ukrainian origin scientist, has been released on bail after being arrested.
A second post-mortem examination is being carried out on Sarah Everard's body after the first proved inconclusive, police have said.
The second post-mortem comes ahead of an inquest which is expected to take place in Maidstone on Thursday 18 March. (BBC report)
London - 15 March 2021 - Protesters against Police outside New Scotland Yard (photo credit Stand Up to Racism
London, 15 March 2021 - Liberty and freedom aren’t values belonging to Britain anymore.
At few days from the brutal murder of the 33 years old Sarah Everard at the hands of a MET police officer and after the violent intervention of police at the vigil for the victim in Clapham Common on Saturday, the Conservative government is trying to approve the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: the bill is to be considered as a substantial eradication of those civil liberties Britain has been regarded as a democracy around the world.
If the bill is passed, the MET police will be able to fine or arrest not just groups, but also a single person protesting and making noise with a fine of £2500 even if the protest is peaceful.
The new law also sets ‘noise’ as a partial and ambiguous parameter applying its limits to a wide range of circumstances, practically making the intervention of police always justifiable and allowing officers to break down events based on sound impact.
UK - Violence against women: shut up! Here it comes the bill.
Second reading for an Act that erases British heritage of freedoms
Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi
takes the helm of Italy
New Italy's PM Draghi talks to the nation addressing Covid and economic crisis as main challenges
New PM Mario Draghi called to drive the country out of the crisis and ensure the administration of 222bln euros European Recovery Fund.
Draghi's 'conditional acceptance' will become fully operative after constructive talks to rebuild a working majority in the Parliament.
“The idea is to get in somebody competent to draw up the government and get the recovery on the right track. It is rightly seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay the groundwork for economic recovery”, said to the New York Times Federico Santi, senior Europe analyst at think tank Eurasia Group.
"Investors applauded his appointment. Italy’s borrowing costs were heading for their biggest daily fall since June while the Milan bourse blue chip index rose 2.5%. However, there was no guarantee that the highly respected economist would be able to muster sufficient support, with the largest party in parliament, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, immediately ruling out its backing", Reuters explains .
"It's a difficult moment", started Mario Draghi in his first speech to the nation after accepting the mandate of PM from the Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
"Defeating the pandemic, completing the vaccination campaign, giving answers to citizens' daily problems, relaunching the country: these are the main challenges we are called to face".
As former ECB head, Draghi made clear the massive EU Covid funds give Italy "the chance to realise a lot, with a keen goal to the young generations' future and to strengthen social cohesion".
The appointment puts an end to a political manoeuvre in the Senate by a minority ally of Giuseppe Conte's government, Italia Viva led by Matteo Renzi who is also Conte's predecessor.
Conte, who has a wide popular support, resigned with the hope to rebuild a stable majority, but after days of consultations and power politics among the leading majority groups (moderate socialists/populists 5SM, dems PD and left Leu), on the one side and the right and far right asking a short transition government and new elections asap, the stance for a stability prevailed and a EU technocratic model and a champion of political balance prevailed.
"I trust that from the dialogue among political parties and parliamentary groups and with the social representations, will come out unity along with the ability to give a responsible and positive answers to the President's call".
While the former majority supports Draghi, it's not clear as to whether Giuseppe Conte is going to accept any role in the new government.
US President Joe Biden - photo © Copyright wtop
Before the unfortunate advent of Donald Trump, calling in a inaugural presidential speech Americans to unite, act together to safeguard democracy, recalling the words of the Founding Father of US Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, would have sounded an outdated rhetorical cliché. But Joseph R. Biden Jr understands well that America, after four years of poisoning and dividing nationalism, now needs to restore and rebuild the true, common, sentiment of belonging, that tolerance making fifty States acting in the spirit of a wider community.
“Today on the same sacred ground that just few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we had for more than two centuries”.
Applause and emotion from the crowd of a small official ceremony constrained by the Covid rules and controlled by FBI and riot police.
While the way out of the man who first provoked the pro-Trump violence was led by the 21 cannon shots, an unusually quiet celebration paved Biden’s way into the White House: the new president bares on his shoulders the dangers inherited from the previous one: “a rise of extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat. To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: unity. Unity. In another January in Washington, on New Year’s Day 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the President said, and I quote, 'If my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act and my whole soul is in it.' My whole soul is in it. Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together".
In Biden’s intent to restore the common ground for a progressive and peaceful society, to righteously draw the line between the values of the American Civil war and the grim opportunism of the ‘uncivil war’, Trumpism is revealed for what it has actually been: an interruption of democracy reducing the US from nation to a “state of chaos”.
As the world was watching the new American President saying "We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again; we will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example", we put our whole souls in that promise.
Ditching America first', for the good of all
Operation 'Broxit'; UK prepares for the worst
amid chaos and propaganda
Trucks on M20 Highway, Kent, UK
Royal Navy deployed four gunboats to protect UK fishing waters as no-deal is the most likely outcome
London, 12 Dec. 2020 - While talks in Brussels are crashing into a no-deal, the final act of the Brexit tragedy ends with the worst case scenario: the provocative deployment of the Navy ships patrolling the Channel and the frantic preparation of the 'operation Brock barrier': a set of possible new paths for trucks coming from the EU to avert bottle necks on Kent's highways: with the introduction of custom checks thousands of import-export trucks are going to get stuck in long queues.
All is set in the dark, with last minute manoeuvres that perfectly reflect British government's confusion, lack of plan and dependence on pure political propaganda: Navy's imperial style move, after all, brings votes; that political consensus of the millions increasingly poor and de-potentiated by the Covid crisis who project on establishment the need to have power to act, to be independent, while in the tragic reality of a deepening economic crisis, are increasingly dependent on state aid.
The aggressive 'Navy move' by the way, only provoked strong opposition even within the Tories: Tory MP Tobias Ellwood described it as "irresponsible":
"Global threats increasing, Navy overstretched. Here we are squaring up to a NATO ally as beneath the same sea increased Russian sub/ drone activity goes unchecked. Our friends (US) watch in dismay. Our foes (China/Russia) in joy. Let’s raise our game & get a deal", he wrote in a tweet.
London - The future of EU citizens in the UK and British in the Union is at stake; today more than ever. Maike Bohn, co-founder of The3million, the largest campaign organisation for the rights of EU citizens in Britain, warns that "with no-deal Brexit any hope of continuing social security and healthcare coordination for all has gone up in smoke, which means that it will be much more complicated for the smaller group of 3.6 million EU citizens in the UK to get those rights in practice".
She talks in exclusive with Talkeurope on the sad day EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier stressed the unwillingness from the UK side to reach an agreement.
"No deal also means any lingering hope that our friends British in Europe might have had of still securing their rights in EU member states other than their own is definitely gone- Maike Bohn explains - they will lose Freedom of Movement and only be allowed to live and work in their current country of residence: a huge blow to the many cross-border workers".
The Home Office stated the vast majority of EU citizens have been given Settled Status and just few thousands a pre-settled status is that true? What sort of help is available to EU citizens who have lived in the UK for decades and instead have been given pre-settled status only?
"It is not true to say the vast majority of EU citizens have been given Settled Status – current grants of pre-settled status are over 1,4 million. That is more than the high estimate of 1.4million, and much more than the low estimate of 0.9million anticipated in the EUSS Impact Assessment the Home Office itself published in March 2019.
Maike Bohn, co-founder at The3million
The no-deal catastrophe
Maike Bohn (The3Million): "first signs of discrimination, but the real problems will start in January 2021".
British young are asking end of systemic racism. In Bristol a symbolic toppling to change culture and course of history
London, 7 June 2020 - Today protesters in Bristol toppled a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston who killed 19,000 African origin people and enslaved 60,000, and then threw it into the harbour while some went up replacing the bronze monument calling for a 'revolution' with a megaphone.
It is the step forward from protest to revolt against the British racist and divisive system which through petty legal cheating makes it impossible to report and denounce discrimination based on race and nationality and finally seek justice.
Many of the signs of the thousands who on Saturday rallied by the Supreme Court of Justice in London, asked a fair and equal education and justice system. Beyond George Floyd, as the trial for his murder at the hands of Minneapolis police is starting on Monday, the whole British new generation, not just African origin and BAME, want to bury colonialism and imperialism derived racism, right the culture and ideology promoted by Tories and British business ruling class.
"Black history mandatory in schools", "Stop militarization of police", "Black is beautiful", are some of the messages in the endless sea of signs in Parliament Square and the nearby area of the Supreme Court where the chant "Black Lives Matter" and "Justice for George Floyd" marked the rhythm of low-sounding drums.
Nearly all are young, all backgrounds, all races and make clear "this is not a trend" but a determined commitment to achieving justice and equality.
For the second time on Saturday police intervened in the Downing Street area at the very end of the protest: mounted police have been reported dispelling the crowd. We can report until 6.30 the protest was absolutely peaceful.
Thousands take to the streets in London to protest George Floyd's murder and ask end systemic racism in UK
Photo copyright © TalkEurope.org 2020
London - It’s now proven scientific evidence surgical masks reduce Covid-19 infection rate by over 50%.
“The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge,” said yesterday Hong Kong University microbiologist Dr Yuen Kwok-yung showing the outcome of the experiment he conducted with his team on 52 hamsters, the rodent with the immune system similar to humans.
The experiment is three-folded:
1) two cages put close, one with infected hamsters and the other with healthy ones: infection rate after 10 days is 67%, two thirds of the hamsters became infected.
2) two cages, one with infected hamsters protected by a surgical mask-like barrier and the healthy ones’ cage with no protections: infection rate falls to 16% ...
Wearing surgical face masks works
Hong Kong University study demonstrates infection rate reduction
Should MET officers be monitored 24/7?
The murder of Sarah raises questions on how police select and monitor cops
Scottish independence: voters looking at the EU
Sturgeon, short of one seat in Holyrood, said for the approval of the referendum a simple majority will be enough