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Boris’s big gamble

Written By: - Date published: 12:14 pm, September 3rd, 2019 - 57 comments
Categories: boris johnson, conservative party, Europe, uk politics - Tags:

It seems pretty likely that the United Kingdom will soon head to the polls.

Boris Johnson has set out a very clear message, either Parliament backs him or it is off to the polls. 

From the Guardian:

Boris Johnson has issued a final Brexit ultimatum to rebel MPs by pledging to call a snap general election next month if the House of Commons pushes ahead with a bill tabled by a cross-party group of backbenchers seeking to block no deal.

In a carefully choreographed sequence, Johnson held an emergency cabinet meeting, addressed Conservative MPs at a Downing Street reception and then made a live television address outside No 10 to say there were “no circumstances” under which departure from the EU would not happen on 31 October.

Johnson said in his televised address, which was punctuated by chants from protestors at the gates of Downing Street, that he did not want an election. But No 10 briefings openly threatened one on 14 October if rebels did not back down.

Johnson said the backbench bill, signed by the former chancellor Philip Hammond, the ex-justice secretary David Gauke and others, would “chop the legs out” from the UK’s Brexit negotiations.

The bill, which the MPs hope to push through parliament at high speed if they seize control of the Commons timetable on Tuesday, would mandate Johnson to extend departure until 31 January, unless MPs backed a deal or approved no deal.

It appears that Johnson thinks that he can get a better deal out of the EU if the clock is ticking down and he can practice his particular form of brinkmanship.    Proroguing Parliament, even for a short time, intensifies pressure and reduces Parliament’s ability to stop him.  But the two things he wants, removal of a hard boarder around Northern Ireland and cancellation of the penalty the UK has been assessed to pay do not seem resolvable.  Again from the Guardian:

The prime minister is insisting that the EU removes the Irish backstop from the withdrawal agreement but the UK government is yet to offer any alternative plan for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit.

The prime minister has instead claimed that the British government will not pay its £39bn divorce bill unless a new deal is negotiated and ratified.

The EU responded that such move would stymie any hope of talks on a free trade deal in the foreseeable future.

Schallenberg said: “We expect – and I underline this in triplicate – that the United Kingdom will fully meet its financial obligations as a member, whether or not there is a hard Brexit.

“The UK will also have to consider what kind of signal that would be for future contractors outside the EU if it ignores its obligations as soon as things get tough.”

That will work.  Sign up to a treaty with a penalty provision, withdraw, and refuse to pay the penalty. 

I must admit struggling with the whole idea of Brexit.  I appreciate there is a strong vein of left wing thought that thinks it is a good thing.  For me I am with George Monbiot, it appears to me to be a proposal that has disaster captialists rubbing their hands in glee.

The next few days are going to be very interesting as Parliament and the UK executive go head to head …

57 comments on “Boris’s big gamble”

  1. Andre 1

    Any halfway competent political leader in opposition should easily be able to look like a thoroughly attractive alternative to this government clusterfuck.

    What's Corbyn doing? Just adding to the all-around omnishambles?

  2. JohnP 2

    Corbyn wanted to no confidence Johnson, put a caretaker govt in and then extend Article 50 and call a General Election. If Labour had won they’d renegotiate the deal and have a second referendum, Remain v Labour’s Deal. Lib Dems said no, because they can't stomach Corbyn as PM.

    Now Johnson wants a General Election and Corbyn's saying 'bring it on', but the Lib Dems don't want one and some of Labour don't either 'until Brexit is resolved'.

    This ignores that since the 2017 election, parliamentary arithmetic has been a key factor in nothing actually being sorted out. Only one way to change that. An election.

    • weka 2.1

      Aren't the Conservatives set to win that?

      • JohnP 2.1.1

        A General Election? Polling says so, but polling put May's Tories 20 points up on Corbyn in 2017 – and Johnson might be about to purge his own party of MPs who disagree with him and go into a campaign on the back of nearly a decade of austerity.

         

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Snap elections are generally laden with chances for more instability. An opportunists delight. 

    Mr Corbyn is up against it. How does he present a positive “for the many not the few” MkII Campaign, in such a scenario? If he can achieve a Labour Govt. in this chaos, with sections of his own supporters ok with Brexit, then he will join the ranks of all time political miracle makers.

    • JohnP 3.1

      Labour's plan since at least 2017 has been pretty clear, despite them being accused of not having one.

      It's this;  ‘We voted to leave, so we should get a good deal. If we don’t get a good deal (that protects workers rights etc) then we won’t vote for it, but will take action to prevent No Deal – preferably a vote of no confidence to force a General Election and then attempt to renegotiate the deal with new ‘red lines’ and then put that deal to a public referendum with the Deal vs Remain being the option.’

      The Lib Dems have plumped for: ‘We must have a second vote, even if No Deal is an option on the ballot’ which has increasingly become hard remain and ignore what doing that would mean electorally – a Brexiteer backlash of huge proportions.

      Tories under Johnson: 'No Deal is the deal'

      Corbyn's aim is to give Brexit voters a deal they can vote for, and an option for Remainers to vote for – rather than the Tories ignoring the 48% who voted Remain or the Lib Dems ignoring the 52% who voted leave (yes, I know those numbers will hve shifted). 

      By Labour taking a nuanced position the Liberal Democrats and their outriders have labelled them pro-Brexit because their best outcome involves presenting a deal to the public in a referendum, which ignores that the Liberal Democrats are willing to end up with No Deal by accident in their desired referendum. The Conservatives and Brexiteers label them Remainers who are trying to prevent Brexit by offering a second referendum, but also that they’re trying to make No Deal happen by voting down Theresa May’s deal.

      In an election, hopefully things become a little clearer, as they did in 2017.

       

       

      • Andre 3.1.1

        That Labour position, paraphrased: We'll faff around ineffectually a bit more just like May did. Then we'll go to a referendum. Y'know, coz we don't have any confidence we'll get anything better than May did.

        • JohnP 3.1.1.1

          Except, of course, that Corbyn isn't held hostage by the DUP or the ERG like May was over negotiations and his meetings with Michel Barnier indicated there could be progress in a Brexit deal with Labour's approach which would focus on workers rights etc

          The backstop, the financial settlement – all the things Johnson is trying to renegotiate without presenting any solutions, that's all down to the Tory Party's internal problems. The prorogue of Parliament, all of that, is aimed at making Europe believe he wants No Deal and making changes to the things they have repeatedly said they will not change. Madness.

          Yet at the same time, the ERG and Cummings etc – they want No Deal. They really want it.

        • Gabby 3.1.1.2

          Well they probably wouldn't get anything better dredre.

  4. weka 4

    One good thing I can see from Brexit is that it might slow the British economy in ways that drop GHG emissions meaningfully. I don't expect that to be pretty though. If Brexit doesn't happen and the UK continues with green BAU, the planet burns.

    As for Boris, I don't get the agenda here. Is he after a fiefdom with a greatly increased underclass and power consolidated in a contracted ruling class?

    • greywarshark 4.1

      Boorish hasn't decided yet.    Being Leader and having a goal of whatever is enough to keep him feeling vital and manly, and shouting follow me or else you can join all the other losing w…rs.     It is about strutting and shouting and winning all the toys and filling all the possible niches where people might retire for thought.

    • SHG 4.2

      The recycling centres and rubbish-combustion power plants are on the EU side of the channel, and after Brexit those doors will be closed. Within a few months Britain will be drowning in rubbish.

      • weka 4.2.1

        Good incentive to stop producing so much and to shift to closed loop cycles.

      • Peter Christchurh nz 4.2.2

        Yes, as always, the world is just about to end.

        No. Reality is GB will, after a year of turmoil and adjustment, flourish, as it will have the entire.world to trade with rather than being tied to the sop of the EU.

        Why on earth are so many on this site always preaching that the end is near? Adaptability is the strength humans have.

  5. Stuart Munro. 5

    Well I hope Corbyn gets in – Milton Jones needs to sue Boris for stealing his trademark disheveled hair, and he'll get no justice under the Tories.

  6. bwaghorn 6

    Corbyn should just grow a pair and make it all about Brexit if it comes to an election 

    A Vote for labour is a vote to cancel Brexit. 

  7. ianmac 7

    Gordon has a point:

    In the face of Boris Johnson’s latest provocations, the best response for Remainers and Tory rebels alike would be… to do nothing at all. Everyone needs to step back and let Johnson have his ‘no deal’ Brexit, since that’s the only way of making sure that the current Tory leadership gets to wear the consequent turmoil.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1909/S00001/gordon-campbell-on-ensuring-boris-gets-blamed-for-brexit.htm

  8. Wayne 9

    Seems to me an election is the only way forward. The Conservatives have been unable to pass any bill that has a deal. Too many Conservatives and virtually all of Labour voted against the deal that May did. The current parliament won't vote for any sort of deal. There is no majority for anything, except delay.

    Boris looks like a guy who is prepared break the deadlock by going to the people. Hopefully a new parliament would produce a government (left or right) with a practical working majority. Boris will certainly make the election all about Brexit. Corbyn will think he can repeat 2017 and do better than the polls currently indicate. Maybe he will, though I don't think so.

    Boris just seems to be a fundamentally better campaigner than Corbyn. Labour and Corbyn have been all over the show with Brexit. At the moment it seems to be a new referendum. So a general election campaign to have a referendum. Ridiculous. At least people know what Boris stands for, and that is an exit from the EU. So will the public back Boris and end the deadlock? We will probably know within 6 to 7 weeks!

    • Anne 9.1

      Labour and Corbyn have been all over the show with Brexit. At the moment it seems to be a new referendum.

      On the 18th November 2018 this is what Corbyn had to say:

      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2018/nov/18/an-option-for-the-future-corbyn-on-second-brexit-referendum-video

      It seemed like an eminently sensible approach and not too different to what he is saying today.

      I think JohnP knows what he's talking about. Corbyn has consistently been misrepresented by the British MSM since the moment he was elected to the Labour leadership. I'm reminded of the Cunliffe hysteria in NZ in 2014 – a pack of baying MSM wolves mindlessly baying away at a fictitious moon. 

      Thanks for the heads up JohnP.

      Edit: and I note Corbyn was accused by his enemies in Labour of… being a closet brexiteer at the time of the first referendum and that has proven to be false.

      • JohnP 9.1.1

        Kia ora for that Anne.

        I wouldn't say that Corbyn has been consistently misrepresented by the media (not all of the time), but the reporting on Labour 'not having a plan' stems from the fact that his plan involved recognising that parliamentary arithmetic was against him and that any plan needed to involve both Remain and Leave voters.

        Compare that to;

        Theresa May's 'this is the deal, vote for the deal, even though it's bad'

        Liberal Democrats 'we want a referendum' / 'Bollocks To Brexit'

        Brexiteers and Farage 'Any Deal is a bad deal'

        Johnson ‘If we don’t try and do no Deal the EU won’t shift on the things they have repeatedly said they will not renegotiate’

        And opposition parties kept insisting their single sentences were the simple solution to a hideously complex problem – and that Corbyn didn't have a position on Brexit because the position wasn't a campaign slogan, it was a series of decisions that would have to be made in the process of exiting the European Union that were decided on by Labour Conference in 2017 and 2018. He's literally doing what the membership instructed him to.

        The bigger problem is that the Lib Dems and Tories and Brexit Party all attacked Corbyn for having no policy, when it's pretty clear that May failed, the Liberal Democrats have demonstrated they're more willing to let No Brexit happen than to bring down the Government from Opposition, and the Brexiteers don't care about consequences – they want a Brexit and damn everything.

         Corbyn's plan is the one left standing for Remain. Brexiteers want to antagonise and infuriate Remain and push ahead, Lib Dems want to risk having No Deal on a second referendum ballot (which could go horribly wrong).

        Labour's policy is to renegotiate a deal from Government and then give every single voter a say on the outcome – Remain vs Labour's Deal. That way if the Brexiters want Brexit, they can vote for it – but not in a way which utterly wrecks the country. Equally Remainers and those who have changed their mind since 2016 will have the chance to vote for Remain. 

        The biggest issue with criticising Corbyn's policy since 2017 is that if he hadn't made up a 20 point gap in the 2017 election, May would have had a big majority and her Brexit deal would have sailed through Parliament. Even if she hadn't called the election, she could have passed the deal.

        The reason Brexit hasn't happened is the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn swiped the Govts majority and then voted against the terrible deal it negotiated consistently, while always maintaining it would prefer to seek a General Election to fix the problem of post-2017 parliamentary arithmetic which meant there has not been a majority for ANY Brexit outcome in over 2 years.
         

         

      • The Al1en 9.1.2

        He wasn’t just a closet Brexiteer, he was decidedly anti EU. He even voted against Britain joining in the first place.

        • Anne 9.1.2.1

          He may well have done so Al1en but at some point he changed his mind. He voted to remain. Watch my link @ 9.1.

          And btw, he has made no bones about the fact some things need to change.

          • The Al1en 9.1.2.1.1

            He's a social Chameleon, he'll change to suit the people around him.

            It's just one of the reasons voters won't vote for him, even the missing 20% of labour voters.

            • JohnP 9.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes, he's both a social chameleon who cannot be trusted and a stuck in the same ideas he's had for thirty years who cannot be trusted.

              • The Al1en

                No, he'll say, eventually, what he thinks people want to hear, but as usual with Corbyn, you can just piss it off. 

                If labour voters don't rate him, and at 20 odd percent, there's loads of traditional voters who don't, then all you're left with is wishful thinking over fact. There's absolutely no reason to vote for his party, and no hope in hell he'll convince a majority to do so.

                As a former labour voter, I'd vote lib dem this time. Not only because it's tactical in my old constituency to get the tories 1 seat down, but equally because Corbyn's a total fail and untrustworthy for top office.

                • JohnP

                  Good luck with that, the Liberal Democrats are doing what they do best and are organising to not stand candidates against Remain Tories which could well deliver a Tory majority and a No Deal Brexit.

                  Swinson helps Remain Tories win seats.

                  Tories win majority because of this.

                  Boris does No Deal Brexit anyway.

                  Five year Tory Government with the Remain Tories post-Brexit turning back into the Tory MPs they are.

                  Lovely stuff from them: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/general-election-lib-dems-draw-up-target-list-for-local-pacts-with-remain-tories-d7bx9ptjn

                  • The Al1en

                    The lib dems are the only party capable of beating the conservatives in Richmond park, so if I could vote there, which sadly I can't, it wouldn't be wasted, and with 1 tory seat less, I'd have done my part.

                    Shame the same can't be said of the failure 'leading' the labour party. No point blaming others for the crap job Corbyn has done in guiding the opposition to defeat. That’s the home ground of the blinkered.

                    The worst, most divided tory party in memory and he still can't lead his way out of a paper bag. #useless.

        • Stuart Munro. 9.1.2.2

          I expect that much of Corbyn's refusal to take a side early on was that he was genuinely loathe to overturn a referendum. We saw the same thing with the Blairite Labour/Tories he tolerated until he could no more.

          • The Al1en 9.1.2.2.1

            More likely waiting to see if it all fell into his lap without having to make the hard decisions, but your version of history could also be true.

    • cleangreen 9.2

      Interesting times eh Wayne?

      I think that Boris is playing the game that will force an election for sure and done the numbers that show Brits want change as we did when we wee hoodwinking into voting for John Key as the way forward so maybe Brits are in the same boat now as they saw how Greece was bullying into submission for not following the 'EU rules' and got their country mostly now sold out after deciding to staying inside the EU.

      My Son just came back from a holiday in Greece and says it is now a torn nation half bitter half happy. 

      Will UK want that or a better outcome?.

       

       

  9. Macro 10

    You have to wonder at the intelligence of English politicians and the hard right Brexiteers who insist on this stupid affair. They take no cognisance of the situation in Ireland and the fragile peace so hard won with the Good Friday agreement. All that effort will go up in smoke. Even now there has been a bombing close to the Border.  The majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted to remain – why because they foresaw the huge pot mess that was involved in the UK leaving the EU. Those north of the border in Scotland also can't believe that the are being forced to leave the EU by the arrogant English – who can only think of themselves.

    If Brexit goes ahead the United Kingdom will soon become the Disunited Kingdom. Even now the Northern Irish are looking across the Border to Dublin, and the Scots are drawing up a second referendum to give England the boot.

    As the Irish Border so telling says:

    "I'm not a fan of Brexit – But I do admire its ability to divide a country"

  10. SPC 11

    An election without an arrangement between LD and Labour would be a disaster for both.

    They would be better advised to 

    1. overturn BJ's no deal Brexit  deadline

    2. block a no deal Brexit. 

    3. oppose an early election.

    4. form a new government with rebel Tories, SNP etc to realise a deal with the EU. Someone not head of any party as caretaker PM (such as one of the former Labour MP's in the breakaway or a rebel Tory).    

    5. send that deal to the people in a referendum (an important issue is that the WTO is losing judicial oversight because Trump is blocking the appointment of new judges to undermine its ability to constrain his bullying of other nations – thus staying in the single market is becoming more important).

    6. only hold a new election afterward.  

  11. Seems to me like a centrist, united Germany against the Brits…truly what has changed since 1914?

    The Cranberries – Zombie (Official Music Video) – YouTube

    • But the center of Europe isnt Germany… its Russia… hence the reason for hedging in Russia against the west… its always been that way, meanwhile thousands suffer , and die.

      This is western capitalism , not some glorious British Empire pursuit, plain and simple.

      And thats what this is all about, nothing more, nothing less.

      • cleangreen 12.1.1

        Bloody well said WK, you have hit the nail on the head there.

        My Son just returned to Germany after 'a week in Ireland and another week in Greece' both a free society by comparison to Germany, and he is feeling 'down' after being free in  a less 'controlled centrist  political country as Germany is.

  12. Michael 13

    Corbyn seems to be Boris' best ally.

  13. JohnP 14

    Well, Johnson has become the first PM to lose his first Parliamentary vote since 1895.

    He wants a General Election, but Corbyn has refused until the anti-No Deal legislation has been passed.

    20+ Tory MPs voted against Johnson and now he's got to remove the whip, reducing his party size to 289.

    Oh, that's after his majority of 1 was turned to a -1 today by one of his MPs literally crossing the floor while he was speaking to join the Lib Dems.

     

  14. joe90 15

    BoJo had a bad day.

    Johnson was the first prime minister to lose his first Commons vote since 1894. His attempt, in alliance with his advisor Dominic Cummings, to bully parliamentarians into submission, had fallen apart. 

    https://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2019/09/03/historic-rebel-victory-parliament-moves-to-stop-no-deal

    • Anne 15.1

      Excellent link. Sums up the chaotic mess in a nutshell.

      Mr. Rees Mogg on behalf of the Johnston government said:

      We should recognise that the people are our masters and show us to be their lieges and servants, not to place ourselves in the position of their overlords.  As we come to vote today I hope all members will contemplate the current constitutional confusion and consider the chaos this concatenation of circumstances could create.

      What a load of piffle. What was he even talking about?

      About on a par with this:

      All credit to the Tories who put sanity and principles first. They are the ones who will be remembered when the film hits the theatres.

  15. joe90 16

    Johnson's been sacked more than once for lying.

    Boris Johnson secretly agreed to suspend parliament in mid-August, explosive court documents reveal – nearly two weeks before denying the plan existed.

    An email was sent to the prime minister and Dominic Cummings, his chief aide, entitled “Ending The Session”, which says “we should prorogue” from 9 September.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-prorogue-parliament-brexit-dominic-cummings-email-court-scotland-a9089911.html

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    6 days ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    1 week ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    1 week ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
    Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • National supports slavery
    Meanwhile, while the government is planning to restore voting rights to prisoners, National is promising to turn our prisons into US-style slave-labour camps:The Opposition is proposing compulsory education, training or employment for prisoners who are serving sentences of two years or more. [...] On Sunday, National Party Leader Simon Bridges ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Erasing the infamy
    Last year, the Supreme Court confirmed that National's prisoner voting ban - a law so shoddily passed that it brought Parliament into disrepute - breached the Bill of Rights Act. This year, the Waitangi Tribunal added that it also breached the Treaty of Waitangi. And now, the government has finally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Trade unions that never fight the sex industry bosses
    Excerpts from Being and Being Bought, by Kajsa Ekis Ekman Spinifex Press, 2013. Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book. This is the second part of a synopsis and brief commentary of the book by Daphna ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • A Team Approach to Tackling the Psychology Replication Crisis
    Dalmeet Singh Chawla In 2008, psychologists proposed that when humans are shown an unfamiliar face, they judge it on two main dimensions: trustworthiness and physical strength. These form the basis of first impressions, which may help people make important social decisions, from who to vote for to how long a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership
    Claas Kirchhelle, University of Oxford; Adam Roberts, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and Andrew Singer, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Antibiotics are among the most important medicines known to humankind, but we are running out of this crucial resource. Decisive action is needed if we are to retain access to ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • A new opportunity for Ngāpuhi collective and regional negotiations
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