If Ireland Can Get Out Of Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/08/2018 - 11:00pm in

On Thursday, July 12th, a small, rainy island in the North Atlantic proved it was on the right side of history. The Republic of Ireland passed a bill to divest its $370 million worth of investments in around 150 fossil fuel companies within five years. Should the bill pass the Irish Senate in September, which it is expected to do, Ireland will become the first country to fully divest from fossil fuels. This action marks a huge step forward. For years now, neighborhood climate activists have pressured cities, universities, and governments to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies. The idea is to defund and denounce the industry that contributes the most to climate change, funds climate denial, and prevents climate action. With its divestment bill, Ireland will join a group of almost 900 cities, universities, and governments that have collectively divested over $6 trillion from the extractive fossil fuel economy.

Ireland Considers Pauline Hanson’s Visit An Act Of War

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 25/07/2018 - 8:18am in


Politics, ireland

The Irish Government has released a statement condemning Australia for sending Pauline Hanson over on a visit and has indicated that they consider it an act of war.

“By sending this toxic hate filled individual to our country we take it as an attack. I mean why else would she be here,” said a Spokesperson for the Irish Government. “Every 5 minutes she’s either asking us to please explain, tell us we are in danger of being swamped by everything from Asians to spaghetti monsters or approaching our beggars on the street and asking them if they want to run as a candidate for One Nation.”

“Please make her go away or at least don’t ever let her travel with Cunard again or F’n Cunard as she pronounces it.”

When reached for a comment on her holiday Senator Hanson was seemingly oblivious to the hostility her trip has caused saying: “I’m having an absolute ball everyone here is so friendly and so white, it’s fantastic.”

However when talk turned to her Candidate in the Longman by-elections shady past Senator Hanson was not so enthused saying: “Longman by-election, I’m sorry you’re breaking up can’t hear you…it’s a really bad line….I’ll call back…..”

Mark Williamson

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Ireland’s playing games in the last chance saloon of tax justice

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/07/2018 - 5:51pm in

The collective denial of tax abusers is one of the things that characterises their behaviour. It does not really matter which of the three parties to tax abuse - clients, advisers or facilitating governments - is considered, the ability to deny the reality of their actions is a consistent characteristic.

The latest example comes from Ireland. There the Irish Times has reported that:

Legislation that aims to tackle once and for all the “emerging international view of Ireland as a tax haven,” has been introduced in the Dáil.

Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton said there was a need for a standing commission on taxation to deal with tax loopholes and other controversies.

She added that the growing international view and recent academic studies showing Ireland as a tax haven “have to be addressed definitively”.

Ms Burton was speaking as she introduced the Tax Law Reform and Codification Advisory Committee Bill, which would establish a taxation commission.

She claimed that “as a country we are drinking in a last chance saloon with how we participate in international tax justice and progress” and the “vital infrastructure” in the Bill was about this.

And then, as the report notes, she went on to say that problems with the exploitation of loss reliefs by banks and construction companies as well as the excessive cost of research and development allowances would be high on the new Commission’s agenda.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am sure these issues are important and need to be addressed. I therefore welcome the move to do so. But at the same time no one should pretend that this does in any way address the issue of tax justice and Ireland.

That issue is, as I once described it on Irish television, the fact that Ireland has made itself an international tax doormat where multinational companies can come, wipe a little dirt off their feet to leave a stain of economic activity, and then move on vast quantities of profit into tax havens almost entirely untaxed on their way through the Republic.

One quarter of Irish GDP is profit flowing through the country for this reason. That is why Ireland is a tax haven. That is why there are tax justice concerns about it. And that is why this Commission is just another sticking plaster.

Ireland knows how to stop being a tax haven. It has to firstly to raise its corporation tax rate to be in line with OECD smaller state averages. At least 20% is required. Then it stops advertising that it is a tax haven.

Then it has to have an effective tax administration. That is one that tries to collect tax from multinationals. It has not had such a thing for many years. That is because you cannot simultaneously advertise low tax as the main advantage of your country and then  try to collect tax from companies exploiting the advantages you offer. You destroy your whole economic policy if you do.

Third, Ireland has to become tax transparent. Local subsidiaries of multinationals must always be required to file their accounts on public record, which is not the case at present. Ireland is not just a tax haven at present, it is also a corporate secrecy jurisdiction.

And fourth, Ireland has to change its international spots, where it always opposes tax justice measures. We will know things are changing when Ireland calls for public  country-by-country reporting so that we can truly understand what happens there and in its relationship with the multinational tax community.

But most of all, Ireland needs to reform its whole structure so that profits simply cannot flow through it. This requires technical and admin changes which are wholly unrelated to bank losses but would create effective rules that ensure Ireland can no longer pretend that it can exist by routing financial flows from the world into tax havens, which is what it does now.

Finally, the minister needs to stop playing games. If Ireland is in the last chance saloon on Tax Justice it is time to take the issue seriously. There is little sign of that really happening.

Author Interview: Q&A with Sharon Crozier-De Rosa on her book, Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash: Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/06/2018 - 10:28pm in

In this author interview, we speak to Sharon Crozier-De Rosa about her new book, Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash: Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920, which examines the use of shame as an emotional tool in this highly divisive period for gender politics in and across these three countries. In the piece, she discusses the colonial and transnational dynamics of anti-suffrage movements, women’s militancy, her archival research in the Women’s Library and the continued significance of shame to understanding feminism today. 

Author Interview: Q&A with Sharon Crozier-De Rosa on her book, Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash: Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920 (Routledge, 2018)

Find this book: amazon-logo

Q: Could you introduce your new book Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash?

Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash is a transnational history of emotions, (anti-)feminism and nationalism. It is a study of the emotional tactics used by women in the attempt to prevent their own enfranchisement. In particular, it is an examination of the use of shame as an emotional tool in the highly divisive realm of gender politics in and across Britain, Ireland and Australia between 1890 and 1920.

The phenomenon of women opposing their own political advancement is puzzling. As such, it is often misunderstood or, given the eventual success of the ‘votes for women’ campaign, dismissed as irrelevant. In this book, I look not only at the reasons why anti-suffrage women assumed the position they did – a stance that placed them on the losing side of history – but I also examine the emotional strategies they adopted.

Published in the year that sees Britain and Ireland celebrate the centenary of the granting of the female franchise, the book casts light on the women who feverishly opposed organised feminism. It showcases the diversity of the politics of womanhood. It is compelled by questions such as: why were women leading such a vitriolic backlash against the campaign for women’s advancement? What had they to gain from participating in this very public, very bitter campaign? What emotional tools did they deem appropriate to police womanhood? And why was shame a tool in gender politics?

Q: What is sometimes obscured in histories of the suffrage movement is the imperial context in which it emerged and developed. Could you discuss some of the colonial and transnational dynamics that your book draws out in their complexity?

The politics of empire shaped the experiences of suffragists and anti-suffragists alike in all three sites examined in the book. Imperial ties connected women across Britain, Ireland and Australia, and women in each country referenced each other’s campaigns, whether such connections were welcome or not. Whether loyal or disloyal, each group of national womanhood had to frame their aspirations by referencing existing assumptions: for instance, about their country’s position on the hierarchical imperial spectrum or about the nature of British or non-British values.

For example, women at the centre of a vast imperial network were under pressure to represent imperial values, such as ‘civilisation’ and ‘respectability’. Publicly aping the habits and duties of men threatened Britain’s reputation as global upholders of those values. In the far-flung peripheries of empire, reluctant women voters – those who had opposed their own enfranchisement – were dedicated to voting in a way that upheld Australia’s reputation as a loyal member of the empire’s family of nations. In an increasingly fervent anti-colonial nationalist setting, Irish women were embroiled in vitriolic debates about whether or not to ‘beg’ the virulent British coloniser for a right to vote in an enemy imperial parliament.

Shame politics connected each site but were manifested differently in each country. Whereas Australian women worked to deflect any accusations of shameful conduct on the part of their young, white, aspiring nation, women in Britain felt that to bring shame on the relatively insignificant colonies meant something very different to dishonouring the centre of a vast imperial network. Irish women, on the other hand, struggled with the burden of whether or not joining their British sisters in demanding the vote in an enemy British parliament would bring more shame to a colonised Irish manhood and Irish nation.

There have been a number of fabulous studies that have examined suffrage politics in their transnational settings, whether from the point of view of the imperial centre, the perspective of those involved in feminist campaigns in the Antipodes or in tense anti-colonial sites like Ireland. My experiences as an historian of nationalist, imperial and gender politics, born in Ireland, now working in Australia, have inspired me to look for connections between diverse groups of national womanhood, while also respecting the uniqueness of different gendered cultures. This book, rather than collecting essays on different groups of national suffragists or plotting one national group’s interactions with the international movement, examines three groups of political women, connected by virtue of their opposition to the female franchise and their relative positions on the British imperial spectrum, to see if they forged emotional strategies that were national or transnational in character.

Image Credit: Anti-Suffrage Postcard (LSE Library)

Q: The granting of suffrage is often narrated as an outright triumph for women. But your scholarship underscores the extent to which many women felt ambivalent, apathetic or even hostile towards their enfranchisement. Is it important to underscore this complex, perhaps uncomfortable, diversity to challenge the notion of suffrage as being experienced as an unequivocal victory?

I remember first encountering passionately-articulated female opposition to suffragism that I was extremely uncomfortable with a number of years ago. As I read through the novels of an extraordinarily successful late Victorian and Edwardian female writer, Marie Corelli, to complete my PhD thesis on bestselling fiction and a history of women’s emotions in the early 2000s (subsequently published as The Middle Class Novels of Arnold Bennett and Marie Corelli, Mellen, 2010), I could not help but be disturbed by the glaring anti-feminist sentiment infusing her writing. Her books cast light on a world where feminist shaming, and sometimes woman hatred, were accepted and well-practised customs.

I was driven at the time to investigate why an eminently successful, independent, professional woman felt the need or desire to issue such vehement condemnations of female suffragists, and more generally why prominent women employed emotional tactics in such a reasoned and calculating way against other women.

In examining the views of women labelled ‘anti-feminist’, I wanted to help broaden current understandings of the sheer diversity of late Victorian and Edwardian conceptions of female citizenship – all from the point of view of women writers and activists participating in that mass public debate.

Q: Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash draws on archival research carried out in the Women’s Library based here at LSE (previously at London Metropolitan University). What role did the Library play in your research and did you discover any particularly memorable objects?

This book could not have been completed without the invaluable collections housed in the Women’s Library, one of the world’s preeminent collections of women’s archival materials.

In the first place, anti-suffragists lost the war on suffrage. As such, they are frequently overlooked by historians – their passionate campaigns, including their cutting attacks on suffragists, often act as an embarrassing reminder of an archaic, obsolete and ultimately failed movement. Yet, those compiling what became the Women’s Library did not overlook the contributions of these women to the highly volatile gender politics of the early twentieth century. Therefore, in a trip to London from Australia in the early 2010s, I was able to access preserved copies of the official organ of the National League for Opposing Women’s Suffrage (NLOWS), the Anti-Suffrage Review, which has been invaluable for my study of the British anti-suffragist mindset and political strategies.

Secondly, the Women’s Library has been a fabulous source of suffragist materials, including some intriguing ephemera. I have been able to access everything from flyers by constitutional suffragists condemning the actions of militants to a copy of Florence Claxton’s The Adventures of a Woman in Search of her Rights, complete with Claxton’s original drawings.

I know that throughout its existence the Women’s Library has struggled to survive, given the funding pressures placed on educational resources, but I am so happy that LSE has stepped in to save the collection. And now it is housed in an area of London renowned for its physical connections to the suffrage campaign, especially its militant side!

Q: Thinking about militancy, something your book discusses is the shame surrounding the figure of the violent or revolutionary woman, especially in the case of nationalist women in Ireland. Do you think any of the women in your book forged a ‘feminist ethics of violence’?

This is the issue that my book ends on. It is more of a question posed than answers given! It is also explored in greater detail in a book that I have co-written with Vera Mackie, due to be published in a few months, entitled Remembering Women’s Activism (Routledge, 2018). In sections of that book, we look at how militant women in various global suffrage and nationalist campaigns are remembered publicly, and according to the changing prerogatives of their respective nation-states.

The thing about constructing what might be termed a feminist ethics of violence is that the notion of women perpetrating acts of violence divides the feminist community almost as much – if not more – than the community of those not subscribing to feminist views. Violent women, then, fought on many fronts.

On the issue of whether or not militant or violent women affected any long-term transformation of gendered emotional norms, I find it useful to look at how Constance Markievicz has been remembered in postcolonial Ireland and in the state north of the border, Northern Ireland.

Constance Markievicz mural, West Belfast, Northern Ireland

Markievicz was a nationalist, socialist and feminist politician and a soldier. She was a vocal advocate of women arming in defence of their country. She argued that British notions of sex segregation, enforced through the colonising process, had eroded Irish notions of gender equality – equality in militant as well as non-militant spaces.

Constance Markievicz statue, Dublin, Ireland

However, I argue that, through her militancy, Markievicz did not succeed in transforming gendered emotional regimes. Instead, she and other women like her who persisted in fighting for a Republic on the whole island of Ireland have been perceived as a shameful and embarrassing reminder that the postcolonial Irish man once had need of his revolutionary sisters to help him win his war against the British coloniser. This can be seen via the ‘Poppet’ statue, for example. In 1998, a statue of Markievicz and her dog, Poppet, was erected outside a fitness facility in Dublin. It is a very tame, feminine portrait of the revolutionary with her domestic pet. Disarmed and domesticated – in the same year that the Northern Irish state that Markievicz had fought against was disarmed via the signing of the historic 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement – the Poppet statue provides no evidence that its central subject has ever been anything but a sentimentally popular local heroine.

Go north of the border where a simmering sort of peace reigns and the need for the potential of the revolutionary woman still exists. As such, Markievicz and her warrior sisters continue to adorn the walls of West Belfast estates. We look at the many other ways Markievicz has been (mis)remembered in Remembering Women’s Activism.

Q: Your research explores shame as a ‘versatile political tool’ in the debates around women’s suffrage. Do you see shame as operating in notable ways in contemporary feminist battles too?

Yes, certainly. Shame is, in effect, the fear of being judged defective by an individual or group to whom one attaches value. It is the fear of doing something that causes that group to exclude or ostracise you. Therefore, as scholars of the emotion attest, shame is always present because as humans we always fear being excluded – of not belonging.

In November 2016, I wrote a piece for The Conversation that examined why feminists felt that it was OK to shame Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the US Presidential Election. Clinton was shamed as every form of bad feminist. She was a bad pacifist feminist. She was a bad intersectionalist feminist. She was a sexist wife who joined in the slut-shaming of Monica Lewinsky after her affair with Bill. In that article, I asked if all this feminist in-fighting demonstrated that gender solidarity did not trump all, as many have triumphantly claimed. My response was: no, I think it confirms the opposite.

Woman shaming reveals – as it has since the earliest women’s rights movements – that the issue of gender solidarity is at the heart of the matter. Much of this shaming of women voters and women candidates, such as Clinton, is not about denying the notion of gender solidarity. Rather, it is about women attempting to construct a relevant and workable model of twenty-first-century feminism. In the case of Clinton and global feminist aspirations, it was about women trying to reach a consensus about what a female president should look and sound like. It was about defining the community of womanhood – and/or of feminism – to which women wanted to belong.

What I concluded in that Conversation piece was that if American women had had 44 female presidents to represent them, as men had had, then they would not have had need of this one woman – Hillary Clinton – to embody all facets of what has always been a highly diverse and fractured community of feminist womanhood.

Whatever we think about the desirability of feminist shaming, one good thing that has resulted from this campaign is the passionate body of debate centred on twenty-first-century feminist values – a body of debate that is reminiscent of that taking place a century ago!

Sharon Crozier-De Rosa is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Wollongong. She is the author of Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash: Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920 (Routledge 2018) and Remembering Women’s Activism, co-written with Vera Mackie (Routledge 2018, currently in press). She also publishes on emotions, nationalism and imperialism, and violent/militant women. Sharon is a past National Convenor of the Australian Women’s History Network (AWHN), past recipient of the AWHN’s Mary Bennett Prize, ongoing Editorial Board member of the AWHN’s journal, Lilith: A Feminist History Journal and current Co-Convenor of UOW’s Feminist Research Network (FRN). Sharon blogs at The Militant Woman. Follow Sharon on Twitter @S_CrozierDeRosa.

This interview was conducted by Dr Rosemary Deller, Managing Editor of the LSE Review of Books blog. The images of the Constance Markievicz mural and statue were kindly provided by the author, Sharon Crozier-De Rosa. 

Note: This interview gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

Booked: James Connolly’s Irish Socialism, with Shaun Harkin

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/06/2018 - 1:06am in

James Connolly’s legacy is often wrongly shrunk down to that of a martyr for Irish freedom. A new collection of his writing aims to correct this record and reclaim him for the left.

Book Review: Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Countering Crisis by Muiris MacCarthaigh

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/06/2018 - 8:28pm in

In Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Countering Crisis, Muiris MacCarthaigh focuses on the unprecedented public sector reform agenda of the Irish government introduced to counter the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This book provides a valuable, ‘thick’ academic analysis of cutback management by studying the case of Ireland, one of the most badly affected states. Yao Han appreciated its contribution to research on state retrenchment and reform from the perspective of the reformers.

Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Countering Crisis. Muiris MacCarthaigh. Palgrave. 2017. 

Find this book: amazon-logo

Beginning in late 2007, the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) exposed many states with fiscal imbalance and creeping public debt. In his new book, Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Countering Crisis, Muiris MacCarthaigh explores how the Irish government embraced the opportunity brought about by the crisis and retrenched the state.

The GFC pushed states to reform their public sectors. MacCarthaigh seized the rare chance to study state retrenchment in response to the GFC in 2011. His interest in the ambitious reform agenda met the desire of Robert Watt, the Secretary-General at the new Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (PER or DPER, pronounced ‘deeper’), to record all of the experiences and lessons of reform, allowing MacCarthaigh to go behind the doors of the Irish government to document and analyse the process primarily between 2013-15, with some follow-up data gathered up until 2016. The arguments throughout the book are supported by detailed evidence based on interviews with officials. Hence, Public Sector Reform in Ireland invaluably contributes to the study of state retrenchment as a response to the GFC from an insider perspective.

MacCarthaigh notes that although Ireland had reformed under New Public Management (NPM) principles since the early 1990s, the measures and changes introduced had not really reflected the essence of NPM, which emphasises efficiency and market-based objectives. The financial crisis created an opportunity for the Irish public sector to truly engage in NPM concepts through deep state retrenchment. The DPER was created to undertake the Irish reform. It led this by strengthening the coordination between individual sectors, which could be explained in accordance to the Post-NPM model which advocates ‘a strengthening of coordination through more centralized or collaborative capacity’ (Lodge and Gill 2011, 143). In particular, the new Minister Brendan Howlin, Watt and senior officials were empowered and legitimised to initiate a wide-ranging, whole-government public reform agenda taking advantage of the window created by the crisis, which corresponds to John W. Kingdon’s (1995) model of a policy window.

Image Credit: Government Buildings, Dublin (Gian Luca Ponti CC BY SA 2.0)

A newly established department does not necessarily have the de facto power to make other departments obey its orders or fulfill its expectations to reduce spending. But DPER did it successfully. MacCarthaigh nonetheless shows the frictions during the process. For example, the people inherited from the old department were very defensive when DPER was introduced. Some large spending departments – which remain anonymous within the book – felt that the public expenditure control was very difficult and that DPER did not understand them well. One Secretary-General of a department mentioned that DPER did not know operations and did not listen to people who did.

The author also shows how successes occurred. The window of opportunity offered by the crisis played a key role. The common atmosphere created by the GFC and the tiresome work of fighting against the crisis meant that resistance was not high. The DPER also reorganised institutional structures to meet its objectives. One example is the annual ‘away days’ held by DPER, which provided a platform for those at middle-management levels and above to hear from the outside and communicate public responses and media coverage about the reform. This helped the new department obtain feedback and adjust its strategies accordingly, which minimised the cost of the reform. It also fostered a bottom-up approach and brought in more opinions from diversified sources across levels. A new culture was thus able to form when time and space were created for the once-isolated top civil servants and the rank-and-file members to communicate and debate.

MacCarthaigh documents and analyses the organisational reform and rationalisation to reduce the size and cost of the public sector. Decentralised and individual sectors can make more efficient decisions pertaining to their specific functions or contexts. However, the advantage of shared services is also recognised by the reformers. The detailed description by MacCarthaigh shows the evolution of organisational forms, especially the incubation and birth of new offices such as the National Shared Services Office and the Office of Government Procurement, as well as regenerated offices such as the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, previously the Centre for Management Organisation and Development. The establishment of DPER and related offices can be understood as the formation of hierarchies and networks initiated by the reformers, with these new levels and links helping to promote and facilitate the reform.

MacCarthaigh points out that this book contributes much to the academic analysis of state retrenchment. In fact, it also contributes much to studies of government growth – not in terms of spending but in terms of bureaucratic size. To retrench the state, new departments and offices were established and officials and officers were renewed generally. During the reform, the number of staff in DPER grew from 300 at the end of 2011 to almost 900 by the end of 2014. It is also noted by MacCarthaigh that a number of interviewees expected DPER to reduce its staff like the other departments, but DPER did not. Hence, when MacCarthaigh documents the government shrinking, he is also revealing a process of resource and power reallocation.

The general result of the Irish public sector reform was critical to Ireland and has been deemed to have saved Ireland in time. However, MacCarthaigh argues that overall assessment of the reform is almost impossible as reform success varies across issues. For example, MacCarthaigh shows how the cuts to pay and pensions evolved: at the beginning, pay and pensions were cut for officers of lower pay; after reaching agreements based on negotiations, pay and pensions were cut for all levels of officers, with a lower reduction rate for lower-ranking staff and a higher reduction rate for higher-ranking staff. Though not emphasised by MacCarthaigh, this sets a good example for other countries to reduce public expenditure in a vertically equal way.

The Irish government also took advantage of the opportunity to reform the public sector regarding ‘openness, transparency and accountability’. For example, the government made their data and performance information available through Irish public service bodies, though this did not receive sufficient media attention according to MacCarthaigh’s analysis. These reforms might be useful for countries that have heavy burdens in supervising government or business activities.

As it takes time for specific strategies to show their success, the analysis leaves room for future research to evaluate the performance of these and to explore the politics behind the specific decisions where there were alternatives. For example, when disposing of state assets, four assets were finally decided upon to be sold: the company Bord Gáis Energy (BGE, the customer supply and distribution part of the state company Bord Gáis Éireann); some of the non-strategic assets belonging to the electricity company Electricity Supply Board (ESB); forestry rights belonging to the state forestry company Coillte; and the state’s minority shareholding in the former national airline Aer Lingus. The process of how those four assets were decided can be further studied. Selling the assets to gain money in the short-term was a strategy reluctantly adopted by the reformers. Hence, the long-running impacts of this project are still to be evaluated.

In all, Public Sector Reform in Ireland documents and analyses the complexities of whole-of-government reform to counter the financial crisis using the single case study of Ireland. Cutbacks are always tough work. MacCarthaigh shows how the Irish government reduced its spending and reformed its public sectors. These successful experiences can be adopted by other countries after adaptation to their specific context. The findings can also be compared to cases in other countries to generate some common knowledge about cutback management studies.

Yao Han, PhD in Quantitative Social Sciences Program, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, 2017; Researcher, Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin, 2012-17; Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, February – May 2017; Research Fellow, Dublin European Institute, June 2017 – . Currently she is a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University. She wishes to thank Dr. Rosemary Deller for her edit. Twitter: @hanyao_sara. Read more by Yao Han.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

RT: One Year Since Snap Election, 365 Days of Shambles

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/06/2018 - 6:30pm in

This is another short video from RT, that terrible Russian propaganda network undermining righteous Conservative Britain and making us all like Putin. At just over two minutes long, it catalogues some of the failures of this government since they called the snap election last year.

These are:

The dodgy deal with the DUP, which May concluded in order to support her minority government. The video states that most people were left unimpressed by the £1 billion deal.

Hindering Brexit talks, policy and approval ratings.

Grenfell Fire, which left at least 72 people dead. The video shows the angry crowd of local people, that formed to protest at Theresa May when she decided to visit the scene.

Brexit negotiations – May has suffered 15 defeats from the Lords over her EU withdrawal bill. The party has been rocked by revolts, and the continued delays have made the public apathetic.

Crime rates – for the first time ever, London has surpassed New York City in murder rates. More than 60 moped crimes are reported per day in the capital.

It’s not an exhaustive catalogue of the government’s failures, but it is a damning one. Get them out!

Stella Creasy Attacks Government over Abortion and DUP

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/06/2018 - 6:13pm in

This is another great video from RT, although it’s only 47 seconds long. It’s of the Labour MP Stella Creasy tearing into the government for their refusal to allow the women of Northern Ireland vote on the issue of abortion, because of their need to retain the support of the far right DUP.

Creasy begins her speech by asking if the government will really require rape victims to come forward to give evidence in open court, in order to get an open declaration and force them to act. She then asks whether they, as MPs, responsible under the Good Friday Agreement for the human rights of all citizens in Northern Ireland, are going to pretend that they’re doing their job if they allow the government to go through with this. She states that the women of Northern Ireland deserve better; they deserve control over their bodies, they do not deserve to be forced to go to court to talk about these issues in order to get the government to listen.

And then the punchline: They deserve the kind of control that Arlene Foster has over this government.

May’s Popularity with Tories in Negative Figures as Corbyn Beats Her at PMQs

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/06/2018 - 5:36am in

Earlier today, Mike put up a piece commenting on a report by Evolve Politics and a tweet by Robert Peston that the Tories are finally losing patience with Theresa May’s spectacular lack of leadership. According to Peston, a former supporter of Tweezer said that they can’t go on with her for much longer, as her lack of leadership and inability to make decisions was creating a vacuum which allowed the Remainers to run riot. After the votes are in next week, she will have to go. The article in Evolve Politics commented on this tweet, and pointed out that only 48 signatures are needed for force the Tory chairman Brandon Lewis to hold a vote of no confidence in Tweezer. And the latest revelation of her plunging popularity means that the figure could be easily reached.

Mike himself went on to suggest that her days as PM could be numbered, and possibly in single digits at that, particularly after Corbyn scored points against her and her government again and again at Prime Minister’s Questions today. He attacked Tweezer Brexit, and her failure to publish a White Paper on it, or to negotiate it properly with the EU and also the ridiculous buffer zone idea for Northern Ireland. The Labour leader commented that her government had produced more cancellations and delays on Brexit than Northern Rail.

Mike’s article ended with another tweet from Dazza, who said that May wants to be put out of her misery. They should call another general election, which the public will use as a second referendum.

This came after the Conservative Home website published its ‘league table’ showing how popular May and various members of her cabinet were. This was reported by RT in the video below. For some reason, Gove is in the lead, with an approval rating of 72.5 per cent. Just behind him is Sajid Javid with 70.4 per cent. Tweezer is in minus figures, -9.5. But there is someone even more unpopular than she is: Jeremy Hunt with -25 per cent.

So much for Theresa May, and the Tory party’s attempts to brand her as Margaret Thatcher Mark 2, and all that rubbish last year about her being ‘strong and stable’. Instead, as Mike pointed out in a series of articles on his website, she’s very weak and wobbly indeed.

Quite why Gove should be the favourite amongst the Tory faithful is still a mystery, however, as he’s as stupid and incompetent as she is. It was Gove, who managed to get Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sentence increased by the Iranians when he came on TV to bail out his equally incompetent chum, Boris Johnson, who’d also managed to get her sentenced increased through his wilful ignorance. Gove declared that the government didn’t know what the poor woman was doing in Iran, which played into their hands and allowed them to claim that she had been spying. She hadn’t; she’d been there on holiday, and had taken her daughter to meet her Iranian relatives. This shabby incident shows how absolutely unfit for leadership Gove is. He is, after all, the man, who managed to run down the British educational system when he was minister for it a few years ago. If he looks better now, it’s probably only because ‘Thicky’ Nicky Morgan, his mad-eyed successor, was even worse. Nevertheless, the Tories seem to love him, at least for the moment. According to Chunky Mark, one Tory donor has even called on the party to ditch May and put Gove in No. 10 instead.

For the rest of us, this wouldn’t change anything. All of the Tories are incompetent and malign. The best thing that could happen for us is that they hold a vote of No Confidence, and then collapse amid a frenzy of backstabbing and infighting, leaving Corbyn to enter No. 10.

Ireland Just Legalized Abortion. What About the Rest of the World?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/06/2018 - 5:00pm in


Abortion, ireland

From Rachel Dukes.