Politics

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Dutton Reminds Journo’s That He’s Tortured Kids As Well

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/06/2021 - 8:06am in

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Politics, refugees

Australia’s Minister for the Dark Arts Peter Dutton has issued a press release to remind the Nation that he too as Minister for Home Affairs was involved in torturing kids in off shore detention centres.

”The Dark Lord is rather miffed that there’s all this talk of the kids on Christmas island being tortured and he’s getting none of the credit,” said a Government Insider. ”Sure, Morrison is the one that put them there but the Dark Lord used to visit the island when he was in charge and poke them with a stick.”

When asked why a Minister would want to be associated with locking up Children, the Government Insider said: ”To show that unlike the Labor party the Coalition is strong on protecting our borders from young children.”

”Can you imagine an Australia over run with children, it would be awful. All that laughter and happiness, it would kill Lord Dutton.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sharpen the Dark Lord’s stick so he can go and pay the little girl in hospital a visit.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

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New York Senate Confirms Pro-Cop District Attorney to Highest Court

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/06/2021 - 6:50am in

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Politics

The New York Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nominee, Madeline Singas, giving the Nassau County district attorney a spot on the Court of Appeals and entrenching the bench’s conservative stronghold. Singas, a prosecutor who opposed bail reform and declined to prosecute police officers who viciously beat a Black man, will now serve a 14-year term as one of seven judges on New York’s highest court.

Singas joins six other justices — including Judge Anthony Cannataro, whom the Senate also confirmed Tuesday — who have all been nominated by Cuomo. In addition to a potential impeachment trial against Cuomo over sexual assault allegations and underreported Covid-19 nursing home deaths, Singas will now have the power to adjudicate some of the most vital criminal justice reform cases in a state with an incarceration rate four times that of Canada and where Black and Latino residents are disproportionately put behind bars.

Some progressives have seen Cuomo’s decision to nominate Singas as a calculated political choice. Along with the Senate, the Court of Appeals would rule in Cuomo’s impeachment trial if the state legislature votes to impeach him, and Singas appears to have a connection to the governor. Singas has called the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, Janet DiFiore, a “friend” and “mentor.” DiFiore, meanwhile, has been an ally to Cuomo for years: The governor appointed DiFiore to two gubernatorial positions before nominating her as chief judge and requested in February that Attorney General Letitia James work with DiFiore to find a lawyer to investigate Cuomo’s sexual assault allegations. (James declined.)

Andrew Cuomo’s office strongly denied the claims that Cuomo nominated Singas for his own political gain. “She came from a list from a judicial screening committee that found her qualified and the merits of her qualifications were vetted and ultimately approved by the state senate,” spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said in an email to The Intercept. “That’s the process and if you want to print dumb conspiracies from ill informed members of the advocacy industrial complex that’s up to you.”

Singas has a history of fighting progressive criminal justice reforms as Nassau County DA, most notably when she led the charge against the state’s 2019 bail and discovery reform laws, some of the most progressive in the country. The sweeping legislation, which went into effect in 2020, eliminated cash bail for most nonviolent offenses and allowed defense attorneys to access and review the prosecution’s evidence without having to submit a written request.

The reforms aimed to level the playing field for defense attorneys and for defendants unable to afford to pay bail. But Singas argued that the changes would allow repeat offenders to commit more crimes.

“I was one of the most vocal opponents against many of these changes,” Singas said in 2019 after the bill’s passage. “We implored legislators to put in standards so that prosecutors could argue to judges about public safety. That was wholeheartedly rejected and now we’re in the situation we’re in.”

Even after Singas lost that battle, her assistant district attorney and general counsel began giving presentations to prosecutors across the state on ways to hold a defendant on bail after they were charged with a non-bailable offense — effectively skirting the new laws, critics argued.

As a member of New York’s highest court, Singas could play a role in shaping the legislation she’s spent two years fighting against. Cases regarding the implementation of the new bail and discovery reforms have swirled in lower-level courts since the legislation went into effect in 2020, and these questions could soon make their way to the Court of Appeals.

“Those are going to get up to the court pretty quickly because they’re the nuts and bolts of litigation,” said Amanda Jack, a public defender who was part of a group of attorneys and activists in opposition to Singas’s nomination. “Every Democrat should be against [Singas’s] nomination because she’s going to undo the landmark legislation they passed.”

Singas will also have a say in an upcoming decision that could have monumental implications for the state’s undocumented immigrant community. On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit referred a question to the New York Court of Appeals over whether “petit larceny,” also known as simple theft or shoplifting, is a crime “involving moral turpitude.” If the court rules in the affirmative, then simple theft and shoplifting could become deportable offenses, threatening hundreds of undocumented immigrants and potentially violating New York City’s “sanctuary city” policies.

In addition to Singas’s stance on bail and discovery reform, progressives have blasted her pro-cop track record as Nassau DA. In 2019, Singas declined to prosecute police officers in Freeport, New York, who beat, tased, and cursed at Akbar Rogers, a 44-year-old Black man, while arresting him. She defended the decision, claiming an “independent expert found the level of force used to be justified by law and policy.” The case drew the attention of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who voiced support for activists’ demands to launch a state investigation, though that never materialized.

Singas’s confirmation arrives amid nationwide calls by progressives to nominate more public defenders as judges, since the overwhelming majority of those serving on the bench previously worked as prosecutors or corporate attorneys. Some of these calls have been heard: President Joe Biden has notably nominated more public defenders to the high courts than his predecessors, Alliance for Justice’s Amber Saddler noted in a blog post in April.

Activists and some lawmakers staged a campaign to oppose Singas, pointing to her punitive approach to criminal justice as a district attorney and her lack of judicial and appellate advocacy experience. The New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, which issued recommendations on the seven candidates recommended to the Court of Appeals, did not recommend Singas, arguing that her experience didn’t extend beyond criminal prosecution and thus wasn’t adequate training for the state’s top court.

“She lacks many of the kinds of experiences one would hope for among nominees to the state’s highest court. For example, she has no judicial experience or significant personal experience as an appellate advocate,” said Alan Lewis, the chair of the group’s judicial screening committee.

On Tuesday, five Democratic state senators made a last-ditch effort to encourage their colleagues to vote against her confirmation, releasing a joint statement Tuesday morning that read: “In a moment when our state and country are experiencing an unprecedented and long overdue racial justice reckoning, it is especially harmful to appoint a judge who has shown an active resistance to an equitable criminal legal system.”

“A year after George Floyd was murdered by the police, sparking an unprecedented national and state-wide reckoning with the ways in which the criminal legal system has too often served to sustain systemic racism, it is disappointing that the Governor would nominate D.A. Singas, whose entire career has been as a prosecutor,” said New York Sen. Julia Salazar, who signed Tuesday morning’s statement.

Despite the opposition, more moderate Democrats expressed support for the district attorney. State Sen. Anna Kaplan’s office said: “In regards to those who would draw conclusions about Madeline Singas based solely on the fact that she has had a distinguished career as a prosecutor, Senator Kaplan believes those individuals should get to know Madeline better, examine her accomplishments and record, and not put her in a box based on expectation and assumption.”

A spokesman for the Nassau DA’s office refused to comment on criticisms regarding Singas’ limited experience and pro-carceral track record, and instead directed The Intercept to past comments in support of Singas’ confirmation from Scott Banks, the attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society in Nassau County, and Oscar Michelin, a criminal defense attorney and member of the Long Island Hispanic Bar.

Even though Singas has been confirmed, progressives will have another shot at shaping the court soon, when Justice Eugene Fahey reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 on December 31. The next opening after Fahey will most likely come in 2025, when Chief Judge Janet DiFiore turns 70.

The post New York Senate Confirms Pro-Cop District Attorney to Highest Court appeared first on The Intercept.

“Economics is the method – the object is to change the soul”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/06/2021 - 6:31am in

I’ve just listened to Radio 4’s Moral Maze on tax. Amazingly even Ash Sarkar, a recent left wing addition to their panel, is as clueless about money and tax as everyone else. Carys Roberts of the IPPR suggested that tax was capable of shaping society but having encountered her before, where she ignored questions about... Read more

Liberal Party accusations on Premier Andrews’ spinal injury

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/06/2021 - 4:56am in

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Politics

The Victorian Liberal Opposition has been clutching at straws for some time – witness their landslide loss at the last election – but now they are now sinking into desperate measures with this latest attack on Premier Daniel Andrews.

Premier Daniel Andrews has been off work after damaging his spine in an accident at a holiday home. As with much politics these days the accident has unleashed a barrage of  conspiracy theories and rumours disseminated by word of mouth and social media.

Now the Shadow Treasurer, Louise Staley has sought to weaponise the rumours by publicly demanding the answers to 12 questions. The questions are carefully framed in a way to draw attention to the  rumours.

There is, however, one variation on the usual approach in Staley’s demand that Andrews pay back any money he has earned as Premier while on sick leave (“because he is not doing the job”), although Staley was silent on various Federal Liberal Ministers who temporarily stepped down from their posts. The ploy has all the usual characteristics of a smear campaign. First, you make unfounded allegations, then you demand ‘answers’ to your claims. This is normally a general call for answers, although sometimes specific questions hint at an intended conspiracy theory as do those raised by Staley.

Then, as Staley’s leader the hapless Michael O’Brien did, you chime in with the cry that if there is nothing wrong why aren’t you answering the questions? One element of this affair is that Staley’s actions have been so crude and beyond the norm that they have generated deep and sincere rage and disgust in Labor ranks. These days most outrage is synthetic – but not in this case.

There is of course nothing new, despite Donald Trump making it seem there is, in conspiracy theories like these. Richard J. Evans in his ‘The Hitler Conspiracies’ ranges over the Protocols of Zion; the stab in the back theory; the Reichstag fire; why Hess flew to Britain; and did Hitler escape the bunker. If you think you are familiar with the theories read the book and see the extent to which Evans explores the astonishing and contradictory versions of them all.

 

The period before and during the French Revolution was a peak period for conspiracy theories and salacious claims. Robert Darnton’s work, ‘The Literary Underground of the Old Regime’, recounts theories and claims which make Trump and Staley look like pikers – although not in the French revolutionary sense.

 

Lindsay Porter’s ‘Popular Rumours in Revolutionary Paris’ extends Darnton’s work into the revolutionary period itself as she examines a range of pornographic propaganda particularly about Marie Antoinette. In the post- Revolutionary period, the most famous rumour was regarding the purported survival of the Dauphin although there was never a specific candidate for the role as with Anastasia.

This is not to deny that there have been real conspiracies – successful and unsuccessful. We marked for years one of the real ones – Guy Fawkes night – although it is doubtful that all participants knew precisely what the day was about. But it was the French revolutionary rumours which are most appropriate to us today. They were dubbed ‘libelles’.

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Right and left: Dumb and Dumber

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 10/06/2021 - 4:55am in

Tags 

Politics

When it comes to thinking, progressives do it better than conservatives do. Progressives embrace novelty, nuance and complexity, while social conservatives struggle to process complex tasks. A decade of brain scans suggests why.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. W B Yeats.

So, who do you want running the country and determining your future? Dumb? Or Dumber? Now is the time to choose. There’s scientific consensus on a long understood – but ever so delicate – matter. On average, when it comes to thinking, progressives do it better than conservatives do. A decade or so of brain scans confirms it.

Why weren’t we told? More to the point, why, when we found out, did we keep mum? A decade ago,in The Guardian, George Monbiot was livid about the left’s silence. Political niceness, he said, had progressivism by the throat: “The conceptual stupidities of conservatism are matched by the strategic stupidities of liberalism.”

What are the left’s “strategic stupidities”? Basically, many progressives embrace harmony at the expense of solidarity. In focusing on being nice, they fail to say what’s wrong and why and how to fix it. Niceness abhors the very things democracy is about – dissent, debate and disagreement.

The research consensus is that political conservatives have relatively low-level cognitive skills. Of course, there are exceptions; it’s about averages. On average, conservatives struggle to process and plan complex tasks. In contrast, progressives are more comfortable with novelty, nuance and complexity. And, because progressive arguments are relatively complex, conservatives have difficulty processing them. The right literally doesn’t get what the know-it-alls are on about. For conservatives, complex progressive ideas evoke feelings of being under threat.

What are the main research findings? Compared to progressives, the thinking skills, emotional regulation and moral competence of conservatives are not the best. Conservatives have a higher desire for security, predictability, authority, order, closure, and certainty. They are overly cautious and scientifically less literate.

Conservatives have relative difficulty processing evidence even at a perceptual level. They tend to think about the world in black and white terms and are more drawn to authoritarian ideologies – because they simplify the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that conservative minds are prejudiced minds. What the research says is that conservative minds are drawn to simplistic ideologies. The prejudice is in these black-and-white ideologies. Conservatives are simply more prone to adopt the add-ons.

What’s going on in the brains of conservatives and progressives that affects their political orientation? On average, says the neuroscience, progressive brains have a larger volume of grey matter in an area that helps detect errors and resolve conflicts (anterior cingulate cortex). In contrast, the fear centre of the brain (amygdala) is enlarged in conservatives. This would explain why conservatives have a heightened sensitivity to fear, threat and disgust. And why their hackles go up so readily. What matters to them is whipping up real fear and rage among their viewers. Of course, says Monbiot, not all conservatives are stupid, but they long ago gave up high-minded conservatism in favour of appealing to the “basest, stupidest impulses”.

To recap, science is telling us that the cognitive abilities of conservatives are relatively modest. So,why have the supposed smarty pants kept mum about it? Mute, while 75 million Americans vote for a clinical sociopath. Buttoned up while Australia votes for a daddio who’s unmoved by the climate crisis because Jesus is already on the Midnight Special.

Yes, you guessed it, not just social conservatism, but religiosity, is tied to poor thinking skills. Don’t get me wrong. I know it sounds like I am, but I’m not against conservatives. The ones who avoid extremist positions are generally well-meaning, honest and generous. All I’m against is voting them into powerful positions where they are out of their depth. In place of thought, they just market stuff. You might almost think they’re thinking, but it’s all just practiced spin.

No doubt, Monbiot is still livid about the left’s silence: “As the social vivisectionists of the right slice up a living society to see if its component parts can survive in isolation”, he said, progressives “will not shout stop. Doing so requires an act of interruption… for which they no longer possess a vocabulary”.

So, why haven’t the latte-sipping clever clogs shouted the decades-old news from their inner-city rooftops? Too nice? Scared of losing ‘likes’? Afeared of falling off their high horse?

Well, here’s where niceness is taking us: Over the period 1974-2006, self-identified conservatism among Americans increased by a third. And, across the global north, intelligence scores, after rising steadily for most of the 20th Century, have been falling since 1975.

Would the clever dicks please stop being dummies? Failing that, we can only hope the Midnight Special pulls in soon.

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Book Review: Women’s Political Activism in Palestine: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and Survival by Sophie Richter-Devroe

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/06/2021 - 8:22pm in

In Women’s Political Activism in Palestine: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and SurvivalSophie Richter-Devroe explores how Palestinian women have practised creative and often informal forms of everyday political activism and resistance. This rigorous, lively and thought-provoking text sits among the finest social scientific works on contemporary Palestine in recent years, writes Mark Griffiths

Women’s Political Activism in Palestine: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and Survival. Sophie Richter-Devroe. University of Illinois Press. 2018.

For writers on contemporary colonised Palestine, there are basic issues to address. First, the issue of positionality is fraught. If you are an ‘outsider’, colonial violence is forcibly present but always at one remove; this is crucial for situating claims made on the workings of power. Second, there is the question of framing. Life is not reducible to political formations, but nor is it divorced from political context. One thus cannot write about contemporary Palestine without addressing the brutal violence of Israel’s occupation; one should not over-determine Palestine as (passive) object of that violence. Third, accounts must speak with and through Palestinians. For a population in continual struggle for political visibility, it is imperative that authors do not replicate the silencing of already-marginalised voices.

At least by my reckoning, these issues are key for ethical and credible writing on contemporary Palestine. It is a matter of political urgency that writers pay careful attention to each and that representation itself affirms a potential for something other than the current and deleterious ‘status quo’ maintained by Israel and its security infrastructures.

Sophie Richter-Devroe’s Women’s Political Activism in Palestine: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and Survival not only engages but also advances these issues, placing them front and centre of a rigorous and lively text that does not relent in its critique but – just like its fully-formed protagonists – does not submit to the awesome power of the colonising force. Richter-Devroe’s prose portrays rounded characters who are agential, thoughtful political actors – ‘these women are not victims’ (1), we learn at the very outset.

This is reinforced from the quick-paced but carefully written introduction through the book’s three substantive chapters: the first focuses on women’s peacebuilding, and in particular the shortcomings of the liberal agenda for dialogue and empowerment. The second takes us to the alternatively stymied and rousing involvements of women in Palestinian popular resistance. The third moves into the ways that women live – every day – resistance through humour, relaxing, enjoying, negotiating, ‘getting by’ and remaining steadfast (sumud) even in the most oppressive political conditions.

Image Credit: Cropped and brightened version of ‘PalFest 2010 Day 2: Al-Quds University’ by PalFest licensed under CC BY 2.0 

Women’s Political Activism in Palestine is remarkable for its attention to detail that is skilfully pitched to appeal both to readers with interests in women’s activism more generally and to those with a deeper regional knowledge specific to Palestine. This is evident in the thorough documentation of important governance contexts such as the UNSC Resolution 1325 (Chapter One) to the typology of political mobilising mechanisms (78-79) and the meticulous phenomenology of sumud (Chapter Three) that manages to reclaim something of its subtle anti-colonial dynamism. For scholars at different career stages, from student to professor, the text will prove a valuable resource for both teaching and research.

It is in the book’s third chapter – where the ‘infrapolitics of sumud’ are brought to the fore – that its most notable contributions lie. Sumud (most usually translated as ‘steadfastness’) has become something of a staid political concept in recent academic commentary on Palestine: its over-use can be the product of (often Western) scholars’ eagerness to tap into localised ideas, its romanticisation often betrays more than a hint of Orientalism and its commonplace glorification somewhat contradicts its subtlety.

But for Richter-Devroe the question of sumud is none of these things. It is instead addressed with and through her long-term Palestinian interlocutors, ones whose alternatively hopeful, angry and jovial agency is set in relation to (but not determined by) the ‘destruction, death, and frustration they are caught in’ (121). We thus come to know well-formed (pseudonymised) protagonists: Najla enjoys changes of scenery in different West Bank cities at weekends (118), Amal (somewhat unusually!) visits illegal Israeli settlements to relax (119) and Karima goes through the motions at peacebuilding events precisely so she can then visit the beach (121). These women’s activities and activism are at once courageous and mundane, and this is the tenor of resistance in the quotidian that forms the basis of the book’s main and convincing claims.

On the one level, as Richter-Devroe points out, this is a ‘tragicomedy’ in which Najla, Amal, Karima and other women included in the narrative see more than a little irony in their pursuits. On another level there’s some important political work going on here: mobilities are reclaimed, time becomes one’s own and space is re-made in an image other than that imposed by the coloniser. It is politically important, Richter-Devroe insists, that a Palestinian woman can re-purpose the tools of colonialism to the ends of sustaining her own agency.

The second struggle faced by Palestinian women (and women everywhere) is against patriarchal forms that can often complement and be accentuated by colonial impositions. Women’s Political Activism in Palestine does not shy away from this notoriously difficult question, documenting occasions when women’s resistance must be intersectional as they project voice into the masculinised discourses of Palestinian politics and refuse racialised liberal peacebuilding claims to ‘save local women’ (139). All adds up to a persuasive yet prudently cautious claim that we are witness to the emergence of ‘new provocative and hybrid female political subjectivities’ as part of ‘alternative subaltern counterpublics’ (88) in Palestine. The ‘personal is political’ is thus revitalised to (quietly) dismantle patriarchal and colonial forms alike.

There is hope, then. But given these emerging politics, and pushed to offer criticism: that Richter-Devroe persists so long in dialogue with Jürgen Habermas (and Nancy Fraser) without fully turning to writers more specifically focused on the point where women’s agency meets colonialism and patriarchy leaves questions to be further explored. How does Palestinian women’s activism move from ‘under Western eyes’? Can a ‘subaltern counterpublic’ prise itself from a colonial textuality? These questions, at least by my reading, are immanent to the cases at hand and left open for future research on the topic of women and colonialism.

This is more provocation than criticism, owed to a thought-provoking text that sits among the finest social scientific works on contemporary Palestine in recent years. It provides foundational lessons in writing as ‘outsider’; in portraying both colonial violence and the vibrancy of life; and in narrating alongside and through marginalised voices. Women’s Political Activism in Palestine presents a valuable contribution to the study of power in a context where anti-colonial movements – whether subtle or revolutionary – must be platformed and better understood towards the dismantling of Israel’s violent occupation.

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 and Political Science. 

 


Well said Gareth Southgate – and for blowing his knighthood

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/06/2021 - 6:20pm in

Tags 

Ethics, Politics

Gareth Southgate has won many plaudits for the letter he has written to English football fans in anticipation of the Euro 2020 finals. I offer another. I think these comments  well worth sharing:

Why would you choose to insult somebody for something as ridiculous as the colour of their skin?

Why?

Unfortunately for those people that engage in that kind of behaviour, I have some bad news. You’re on the losing side. It’s clear to me that we are heading for a much more tolerant and understanding society, and I know our lads will be a big part of that.

It might not feel like it at times, but it’s true. The awareness around inequality and the discussions on race have gone to a different level in the last 12 months alone.

I am confident that young kids of today will grow up baffled by old attitudes and ways of thinking.

For many of that younger generation, your notion of Englishness is quite different from my own. I understand that, too.

I understand that on this island, we have a desire to protect our values and traditions — as we should — but that shouldn’t come at the expense of introspection and progress.

Regardless of your upbringing and politics, what is clear is that we are an incredible nation — relative to our size and population — that has contributed so much to the arts, science and sport.

We do have a special identity and that remains a powerful motivator.

In a funny way, I see the same Englishness represented by the fans who protested against the Super League. We are independent thinkers. We speak out on the issues that matter to us and we are proud of that.

Of course, my players and I will be judged on winning matches. Only one team can win the Euros. We have never done it before and we are desperate to do it for the first time.

Believe me.

But, the reality is that the result is just a small part of it. When England play, there's much more at stake than that.

It’s about how we conduct ourselves on and off the pitch, how we bring people together, how we inspire and unite, how we create memories that last beyond the 90 minutes. That last beyond the summer. That last forever.

I think about all the young kids who will be watching this summer, filling out their first wall charts. No matter what happens, I just hope that their parents, teachers and club managers will turn to them and say, “Look. That’s the way to represent your country. That’s what England is about. That is what’s possible.”

If we can do that, it will be a summer to be proud of.

There are three reasons for sharing that.

First, it is very rare for anyone to offer a view of what it is to be English, excepting those who use the term to bully or harangue others. So Southgate’s open minded view is welcome.

Second his candour  on racism is so very welcome.

Third, to note the implicit rebuttal of those in the government who use their positions to bully and harangue those opposed to racism.

We know not being a racist is not good enough now. We know that we have to be anti-racist. It’s not left or right wing to be so. It’s definitely not Marxist. It most certainly is Christian. But our government opposes anti-racism. Which makes it racist. Southgate is calling them out. Good for him I say.

He will deserve a knighthood after the Euros, whatever happens and however soon England lose. It will be for services to the community. I think we can be sure he will not get it.

There is a clear rise in hospital admissions in the UK, which could increase still further very rapidly

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/06/2021 - 5:44pm in

This thread on Covid spread by John Burn-Murdoch from the FT, who has always been very reliable on data on this issue - is well worth reading,. and worrying about.

It gives rise to just one question. Why is the government not reacting now?

Worry.

The G7 deal did not set a target corporation tax rate for the world – but the right wing is claiming it did

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/06/2021 - 5:37pm in

Tags 

Politics

The G7 tax deal, signed at the weekend, had the aim of ending the 'race to the bottom' in corporation tax rates, which has seen them fall considerably in recent decades, with the resulting tax burden being shifted onto working people.

The 'bottom' when it came to corporation tax was zero per cent - the rate offered by the likes of Jersey, Catman and the other UK linked tax havens.

15% was meant to set a floor over that low rate below which rates should not fall. But this move has now been seized on by some right-wing campaigners - in Denmark, Finland and Australia so far, and no doubt spreading to the UK soon - to say that 15% is now the desired global tax rate - and that they must cut their domestic corporation tax rates to suit.

This is not true. The G7 said:

We strongly support the efforts underway through the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework to address the tax challenges arising from globalisation and the digitalisation of the economy and to adopt a global minimum tax.

They added:

We also commit to a global minimum tax of at least 15% on a country by country basis.

They set a minimum tax rate. They did not set a desirable tax rate.

They got the minimum wrong. It is far too low. It would be dangerous for use in the UK given the amount of tax avoidance it would give rise to, being way below our income tax rate.

I hope the repercussions are not too serious, but no doubt Sunak will be talking 15% as a target very soon.

How big is the tax hit on banks from the G7 tax deal that Sunak fears really going to be?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/06/2021 - 5:28pm in

Tags 

Banking, Politics

I have been asked by a journalist to look at how big the tax hit on banks might be from the G7 tax deal.

I chose to look at Barclays. It made a pre-tax profit of £3,065m in 2020 in turnover of £21,766m. That's a margin of 14%. It is in the range of the G7 tax adjustment.

However, a 10% margin is not adjusted. Only the excess over that is. And then just 20% of that is reallocated to the places where profit is earned. So, Barclays is at risk of 0.8% of turnover being reallocated, or £174 million. The UK could (but may well not) lose tax on this.

But how big would the adjustment be, overall? Barclays declared current tax in 2020 of £1,286m. There are many questions to resolve on whether this is the right figure. See here. But let's assume it right for the moment. That is a current tax rate of almost 42%, with a  significant deferred tax offset it must be said.

Is it likely that there will be a major adjustment with a 42% tax rate? No, is the simple answer.

So, Sunak is fussing about not a lot. This so-called Pillar 1 adjustment is not the big deal from the weekend. The big deal is that the 15% global minimum tax rate is much too low. Suinak has yet again spectacularly missed the point.

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