Tomás Ó Flatharta

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Archive for the ‘British Tory Party’ Category

Outrage as UK Tories attack Trans Rights and Scottish Devolution

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Unpopular British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – whose Brexit Tory party is around 20 per cent behind the opposition Labour Party in most credible opinion polls – has picked a fight with the Scottish Parliament over a minor administrative reform which improves the human rights of transgender people.

Across the British state, writes Mike Picken, there is a growing opposition to the Conservative UK government’s unprecedented blocking of a Scottish Parliament legislative Bill on transgender rights passed last month – the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

After weeks of misleading propaganda about what the Bill says and its implications for UK wide legislation, on 17 January the Tory government at Westminster announced they were going for the so-called ‘nuclear’ option of blocking the Bill using a ‘section 35 order’.

The ‘section 35’ mechanism is part of the 1998 legislation that created the Scottish Parliament and was only ever intended to be used as a last resort, if there was a grave threat of the Scottish Parliament trampling over other rights across the UK. During the passage of the 1998 legislation it was dubbed the ‘Governor-General’ clause, a reference to the British Empire’s colonial controllers, as it gives total discretion to a government minister to overrule democratic decisions. It has never been used before now and the legal basis presented by the UK government has been widely described as completely flimsy.

‘Section 35’ is being used to overturn the Scottish Bill as a political move by a reactionary government against progressive legislation, not because of an infringement of rights.

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster Parliament Blocks Scottish Parliament Transgender Law Reform – British Labour Leader Keir Starmer Surrenders to the Union-Jack Far-Right

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Rishi Sunak’s governing Tories at Westminster have blocked a minor administrative human rights reform adopted by the Scottish Parliament which protects the rights of a very small minority, transgender people. It is an easy-peasy issue for all people on the liberal/social-democratic spectrum in Ireland – ranging from the entire left into significant sectors of the big right wing parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

In Scotland a similar liberal/social-democratic spectrum includes the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), the SNP’s government coalition partner the Greens, and the Scottish Labour Party.
The Scottish Parliament voted for this minor reform – which is less favourable to transgender people than the existing law in the 26 county bit of Ireland – by 86 votes to 39. This huge majority followed a very long drawn-out debate.

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster Government Blocks the Scottish Parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform legislation – A “constitutional nuclear ☢️ option”

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster government is using a “constitutional nuclear ☢️ option” (see Financial Times report below) to block a Scottish parliament gender recognition reform.

Financial Times, January 16 2023

This Changes Everything

Mike Small reports on the Scottish Bella Caledonia blog : https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2023/01/16/this-changes-everything-2/

Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, has confirmed that the British government is using article 35 to block the Scottish government gender recognition reform bill. This is unprecedented and represents a full-on attack on the devolution settlement. It’s a desperate escalation and dramatically ups the stakes for not just the British government but also the Labour and Scottish Labour party. Will Anas Arwar simply over-turn his parties own position? It is billed as an attack on the SNP but it is actually an attack on the Scottish Parliament where the legislation received cross-party support after years of delays, amendments and debate.

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“Humanity isn’t losing anyone special” – English Queen Kicks Bucket

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Irish-American Activist Mary Scully reports :

Betty Windsor finally kicked the bucket today. She died peacefully in her bed surrounded by her mutant feudal offspring of free-loaders & supremacists. We’ll spare the moment of silence in respect to the millions of human beings who were/are terrorized, brutalized, tortured, dismembered, raped, bombed by agencies of the government which Betty represented for 70 years.

Judging from the crocodile tears on Twitter, many people–& not just Brits–either had a mummy thing going with her or identify with British colonialism in a way they don’t normally admit to. Her death has brought out the worst in them. The chorus of bereavement crescendoes by the hour until now it resembles nothing so much as the braying of jackasses.

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The Brexit Disaster – Have British Voters Rejected It?

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Traffic jams at the English port of Dover are telling us why many voters who ticked the Yes to Brexit box in the 2016 British State Referendum have changed their minds. Anti-Brexit critics, such as the brilliant left-wing comedian Mark Steel, are taking full advantage. So, why are so few British left wing organisations failing to queue up on the winning anti-Brexit side? There is one notable exception : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/nato-expands-kurds-betrayed/

It is starting to look like a no-brainer. The latest reliable data indicate that a new Brexit referendum in the British state would produce a 55 to 45 per cent rejection of a right wing exit from the European Union.

https://whatukthinks.org/eu/questions/if-a-second-eu-referendum-were-held-today-how-would-you-vote/

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“Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go” Is British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the way out?

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I asked an interested comrade living in England – how long will Boris Johnson last? The first reply :

He’s clearly in serious trouble, and the Tories are scouting around their stable of horrors for a replacement.

Oscar Wilde’s Verdict “Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go”

The drama is receiving continuing attention in the Irish mass media. The RTÉ Morning Show hosted by Claire Byrne covered the Downing Street Pantomime. First boxer on the stage was Mr Andrew Bridgen (MP for Hard Brexit) [Bridgen is a competent anti-Johnson backbencher who may ascend to ministerial ranks if Johnson resigns]. Sir Tony Blair’s ex handler, Alistair Campbell (Iraq Dodgy Dossier) was in the opposite corner. Campbell started OK, concentrating on Boris Johnson’s CV – saying partygate is predictable once you knew the CV. Campbell went all Roy Keane after that – take out the player, never mind the ball – once Bridgen mentioned Campbell’s Iraq War Deadly Dossier. Lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” helped cause a hideous imperialist war – millions of innocent civilians dead and injured. Campbell’s behaviour contributed to the hounding of a courageous whistleblower, Doctor David Kelly, who died via suicide. Prime Minister Johnson lies about partying while the mother of a likely child abuse criminal (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew) was grieving over the death of a dangerous driver husband (Prince Philip). Is this an episode in an ongoing drama – the strange death of Brexit Hard Right Britain?

Sources and Images :

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s Stormont-Westminster Double-Job Stroke Shot Down

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RTÉ, Censorship, and Irish Unity – Kieran Allen demolishes identitarian gibberish promoted by the Dublin Establishment

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In a recent Tomás Ó Flatharta Blog post – RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell – https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/03/22/rte-broadcaster-claire-byrne-censors-joe-brolly-who-criticised-the-reactionary-politics-of-dup-westminster-mp-gregory-campbell/ “Identitarian Gibberish” is targeted. This is part of a “distinct agenda” promoted by the management of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ. The inevitable result is censorship of people promoting a vision of post-partition Ireland which can destroy the “carnival of reaction” created by the 1922 Treaty ending the heroic 1919-21 War of Independence. Writing in “Rebel News” the author and activist Kieran Allen adds extremely useful context. His article is reproduced in full here.

When RTÉ puts on a special programme about a united Ireland, you know that big changes are underway. The partition of Ireland is now under question. RTÉ, however, has a distinct agenda and that was exemplified in one dramatic incident. http://www.rebelnews.ie/2021/03/23/rte-censorship-irish-unity/?fbclid=IwAR1vMTLrz5rsPP2awNgaLDDN1Qycb1Z1PtfpcNbHUgUOgB48vKgrvyBvcIY

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“The Royal Navy will only be deployed to assist with fisheries protection and enforcement activities if requested to do so by the Northern Ireland Executive” – Political Dynamite in Laps of Sinn Féin Stormont Ministers

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Will the Stormont Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill authorize the British Navy to attack Irish and EU Fishery Vessels after Brexit on January 1 2021? Far-fetched? Hypothetical? Scare-mongering? Think again, dear reader.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) “told the Belfast Telegraph that gunships will only be deployed around Northern Ireland if requested to do so.”

British Royal Navy gunships cannot patrol Northern Irish waters without Stormont permission

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/brexit/stormont-can-request-royal-navy-to-protect-fishing-waters-39859236.html?fbclid=IwAR1m25RBgxqvVQ162DA4pTj8KxIumOQ__jLsJHQVLx3ig7AZHwq_AwNLDdI

“The Royal Navy will only be deployed to assist with fisheries protection and enforcement activities if requested to do so by the Northern Ireland Executive as this is a devolved matter,” stated an MoD spokesperson.

Here’s that political dynamite question again. A simple answer is needed.

Will the Stormont Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill authorize the British Navy to attack Irish and EU Fishery Vessels after Brexit on January 1 2021?

Let’s demand a categorical answer : NO!

Update : the position in Scotland and Wales :

The Scottish government has ruled out any participation in UK ‘sabre rattling’ over fisheries. See related post: https://www.celticleague.net/news/scottish-government-distances-itself-from-use-of-force-over-fishing/. The Stormont government needs to follow the excellent Scottish example.

The Welsh devolved government is also responsible for UK fisheries policy – hopefully it will follow the excellent Scottish example and rule out deployment of the Royal Navy after January 1 2021. https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-01/180717atisn12396doc062.pdf

“Michelle O’Neill says No to Arlene Foster” – a refreshing thought

Say No to Royal Navy attacks on Fishermen and Fisherwomen in Stormont Waters

Charlie McConalogue (Fianna Fáil), the Dublin Government’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is anxious. The Donegal TD hopes the problem will go away, urging “the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to ensure that UK access to the single market is conditional on continued access share for EU fleets to British waters.” https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2020/1215/1184623-fisheries-brexit/

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Scottish Salmon farmers tell Boris Johnson to seal Brexit deal

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Scottish Salmon farmers tell Boris Johnson to seal Brexit deal

This Financial Times report neatly summarizes a Scottish Salmon Fishing Catastrophe created by Boris Johnson’s Brexit.

Scottish industry group says PM needs to decide whether he is on the side of business or politics

Mure Dickie, Edinburgh, December 15 2020

Mr Scott told the Financial Times that even with a deal fish farmers faced greater difficulties because of increased bureaucracy in getting shipments to the EU, which accounted for more than 64 per cent of the UK’s £250m salmon exports in the year to October.

Boris Johnson “needs to get his act together” and seal a trade deal with the EU to prevent major disruption to sales of farmed salmon, the industry group for the UK’s biggest food export said on Monday.

The comments from Tavish Scott, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, were the sector’s strongest intervention yet on Brexit and reflect rapidly deepening concern about the consequences of a no-deal end to the transition period on December 31.

Mr Scott told the Financial Times that even with a deal fish farmers faced greater difficulties because of increased bureaucracy in getting shipments to the EU, which accounted for more than 64 per cent of the UK’s £250m salmon exports in the year to October.

“Boris Johnson needs to get his act together . . . He’s got to decide what side he is on: is he on the side of business or is he on the side of politics?” Mr Scott said of the UK prime minister. “A deal is really important because the alternative is disruption to trade lasting, I think, not just weeks, but potentially a long, long time.”

The UK and Brussels on Sunday extended trade talks into this week but Downing Street said on Monday that a no-deal outcome was still the most likely.

Scottish farmed salmon was the UK’s largest food export in 2019, worth a record £618m, and the sector’s reliance on the EU market has increased this year because of a slump in sales to more distant markets, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Scott, a former Scottish transport minister and Liberal Democrat member of the parliament in Edinburgh, welcomed UK government plans to prioritise shipments of time-sensitive seafood exports across the English Channel. But he said such plans were unlikely to be enough to shield the salmon sector and wider UK economy in the event of a no-deal end to the transition period.

The boxer Mike Tyson had once said that pre-fight plans rarely survived a punch in the face, Mr Scott said, adding: “I think we will get hit in the face.”

Without a trade deal, exports of chilled whole salmon would be subject to EU tariffs of 2 per cent and those of smoked salmon to 13 per cent. But Mr Scott said a bigger worry was the potential for delays in getting fish across the Channel to EU customers.

“The really significant danger is at the pinch point that is the Channel,” he said. “With a no-deal Brexit that blockage would be appreciably worse than if there is a deal.” Freshness is a major determinant of price for premium fish and any delay to that schedule could have a dramatic impact on the value of salmon to EU customers. The Increased paperwork and tighter customs and health checks could be compounded by the potential for action by French fishermen who would lose access to UK fishing grounds.

“The really significant danger is at the pinch point that is the Channel,” he said. “With a no-deal Brexit that blockage would be appreciably worse than if there is a deal.” Freshness is a major determinant of price for premium fish and any delay to that schedule could have a dramatic impact on the value of salmon to EU customers. The Increased paperwork and tighter customs and health checks could be compounded by the potential for action by French fishermen who would lose access to UK fishing grounds.

“If there is no deal, I think it would be fair to assume that French fishermen are not going to be very happy about life,” Mr Scott said. “And French fishermen’s approach to these things may be fairly militant.”

Asked about the salmon sector’s concerns, the UK government said: “Leaving the EU means we can take advantage of the growing global demand for great British produce.”

Asked about the salmon sector’s concerns, the UK government said: “Leaving the EU means we can take advantage of the growing global demand for great British produce.”

The government was intensifying public campaigns to let businesses know “exactly what to expect”, it said.

You could not make this up! Brexit is creating havoc, undermining the British State’s grip on Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The British Labour Party leadership flounders.

What’s happening? “Britain will do a Brexit Deal on Europe’s Terms” V Boris Johnson’s gunboats will put Johnny Foreigner in his place

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Britain will do a Brexit deal on Europe’s terms, Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, December 15 2020

A correspondent, Gregor Benton, asks : “War at sea? Johnson should think twice about what he pretends to wish for”.

Johnny Foreigner is not frightened.

Mr Johnson insists that the UK and the EU are “sovereign equals” but, as long as the EU maintains its unity, they are not equals in terms of power. And that is what has mattered in these negotiations. It is why Britain has made a series of painful concessions over the past four years – most notably by agreeing a separate status for Northern Ireland, which will see customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea, effectively dividing the United Kingdom

Gideon Rachman, Financial Times (See Above)

A few questions : If the British Navy attacks French Fishery Vessels 🚢 in the seas of Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 what will Admiral Macron do? Turn the other cheek? Grin and Bear It? Impose punitive tariffs on Scottish Fish 🐠 intended for tummies in France 🇫🇷? 80 per cent of fish 🎣 caught in seas “owned” by the British State currently are exported to the European Union, I am informed. The fish companies will quickly have warehouses full of unprofitable food. The Brexiteer capitalists could, we guess, dump the fish after a few months into the gullets of starving Brits for free. Is this the “Oven-Ready Brexit” promised by Chef Boris?

Boris Johnson’s Brexiteers are like cornered rats – so far they are throwing shapes at the EU crafty cats, Ursula of Germany and Michel of France. If Boris is only a play-acting jingo admiral, more passengers on board the doomed tory Titanic will jump ship. Warning signs are already flashing – Brexit is rejected by large majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland. But what if desperate gambler Boris goes for broke, and attempts a repeat of something like his hero Margaret Thatcher’s Falkland Islands adventure? That’s unlikely, but good strategists plan for possible futures, including the improbable ones.

What should the left in Ireland and Britain say and do? It is a no-brainer :

“”I can’t imagine any Brexit deal emerging that will protect the jobs and livelihoods of my constituents, that will protect our rights and the environment. I believe Labour should have nothing to do with this Tory deal and vote against it”. British Labour MP John McDonnell.

https://mobile.twitter.com/another_europe/status/1337775362353328129?ref_url=file%3A%2F%2F%2Fvar%2Fcontainers%2Fbundle%2Fapplication%2F6309570d-0cdf-4c60-93eb-32b35d92e01e%2Fwordpress.app%2Fwordpressshared.bundle%2F&fbclid=IwAR3Vwa0KgN6NvqAON6yqsQ2d1xDX74kXEFdDDErp6UrGKD_LNm42WVu7Ehc

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