Politics

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Gurbir Grewal Takes Helm as SEC Director of Enforcement, Breaking BigLaw Stranglehold

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 27/07/2021 - 1:55am in

The new SEC director of enforcement takes up his post today, the first in this position since 2005 to enter without strong recent corporate ties.

Samoa’s first female prime minister takes helm three months after former leader refused to concede defeat

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 11:44pm in

A court ruling ended the impasse on Samoa's political leadership

Originally published on Global Voices


Samoa's new Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa. Source: Screenshot from YouTube video uploaded by
Talamua Media

Fiame Naomi Mata’afa will be Samoa's first female prime minister after the country's Court of Appeal released a ruling on July 23 acknowledging her victory in the April 9 election. The election was followed by months of controversy after two candidates claimed victory.

The ruling Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) won 25 parliament seats while the opposition Fa’atuatua I le Atua Samoa ua Tasi (FAST) Party, led by Fiame, won 26 seats. HRPP came to power in 1982 and its leader, Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has been prime minister for the past 22 years. The loss signaled the loss of public support for the incumbent prime minister who was confident about another landslide election victory.

Tuilaepa and HRPP refused to recognize FAST's victory and brought the matter to Samoa's constitutional court. Fiame and other elected members of FAST were forced to hold their swearing-in ceremony on May 24 on the lawn outside the parliament building after the building was locked by HRPP allies.

Tuilaepa has dismissed the swearing-in as illegal and assumed the role of caretaker prime minister while the court debated the issue. The court finally made its decision on July 23 which ended the impasse in the country’s leadership.

Fiame held a meeting with her Cabinet members the following day. In a public address, she vowed to prioritize the passage of the government’s budget:

My administration is committed to returning this country to the special place dreamt of by our forefathers when they grabbed the mantle of independence almost 60 years ago.

Today, I and Cabinet met with key officials to begin transition of our new government into office.

At the earliest opportunity next week, Parliament will convene to carry out its first order of business to pass a budget to ensure the ongoing operations of Government.

For his part, Tuilaepa described the court order as “unconstitutional and disrespectful” but he has started vacating his office.

Samoa Observer newspaper published an editorial urging the new government to move forward instead of being bogged down by vindictive politics:

…our focus on a nation should be on moving forward and making progress not giving into the base and tribal instincts of politics.

The best answer to her critics will be for Fiame to govern well.

And if her administration is able to identify past instances of money lost through improper or negligent practices then imposing new standards will significantly boost her progress.

The court’s surprise retrospective installation of a new Government is a fittingly unexpected end to the highly convoluted story of Samoa’s April election of 2021.

Having Samoans unite and come together in spite of everything that has brought us to this point would be the ultimate conclusion.

The Samoa Observer also interviewed several residents about the court decision. Theresa Grace Finau was among those who witnessed the swearing-in ceremony in May:

I was there under the tent where the swearing in ceremony was held by FAST party. It was nothing unlawful and even if it was under a tree or whatever if it's time to convene parliament then let it push through. I would like to congratulate our first female Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa. All the best with the new Government of Samoa.

The court ruling was welcomed by many countries and institutions across the Pacific. One of the Pacific leaders who greeted the victory of Fiame was New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern:

It was such a pleasure to speak this morning with Samoa’s Prime Minister-Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, and congratulate her on behalf of New Zealand on her election victory. This is such a historic moment for Samoa’s democracy.

Samoa’s new parliament will convene this week.

Censorship Is Now so Broadly Defined as to Mean Anyone Disagreeing with Me Is Censoring Me

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 10:30pm in

Tags 

Politics, Media

Photo credit: Lightspring / Shutterstock.com _____ Newspapers and magazines and any kind of media in printed form have always, and...

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Book Review:  The British Prime Minister in an Age of Upheaval by Mark Garnett

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 8:19pm in

In The British Prime Minister in an Age of Upheaval, Mark Garnett explores the role of the British Prime Minister post-1979, offering insightful characterisations of modern British Prime Ministers and providing a political history of the office. This accessible and engaging book is a very worthwhile contribution to the literature on the British Prime Ministership and will be of interest to anyone studying political leadership and British parliamentary politics, writes Chris Featherstone

The British Prime Minister in an Age of Upheaval. Mark Garnett. Polity. 2021.

Find this book (affiliate link): amazon-logo

The British Prime Minister in an Age of Upheaval is a book that is particularly well-timed to contemporary UK politics as Mark Garnett explores the role of the British Prime Minister. In a book that provides insightful characterisations of every post-1979 Prime Minister from Margaret Thatcher to Boris Johnson, Garnett questions and engages with the office of Prime Minister. What is the role of the PM? Is the role necessarily flawed to the point of impossibility? Garnett argues that ‘unless the prime ministerial role is reconsidered’ (13), the position of Prime Minister is unfit to deal with the issues that are confronting the UK.

This book moves away from debates over the core executive and presidentialism in considering the role of the UK Prime Minister, instead arguing that the prominence of the PM is a key dynamic that is under-scrutinised. Written in a very accessible way, the structure of the book is both thematic and chronological, meaning that it is also an insightful political history of the role of the Prime Minister post-1979. It is also timely in how up-to-date this work is, having been completed in November 2020.

Garnett’s characterisation of the role of PM is split into six areas: majority leader; cabinet-maker; policy-maker; communicator-in-chief; speaker for Britain; and election winner. ‘Majority leader’ refers to the relations between the Prime Minister and the House of Commons, and the Prime Minister’s role as leader of the majority party in the Commons. ‘Cabinet-maker’ refers to the process by which the Prime Minster sets out the ‘final team-sheet’ (49), allocating positions in cabinet to available personnel. Garnett argues this reflects both the Prime Minister’s view on available people and the political context.

The ‘policy-maker’ chapter scrutinises the ‘“hollowing out’’ of the British policy-making process’ (76), focusing on the Home Office. ‘Communicator-in-chief’ refers to the relationship between the Prime Minister and the media, while the ‘speaker for Britain’ classification refers to the Prime Minister’s role in representing Britain. The chapter on the ‘election winner’ classification analyses the Prime Minister’s role in achieving electoral success.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Garnett presents a useful means of categorising the role of the Prime Minister, and a framework for assessing how particular Prime Ministers have performed this role. Equally, the framework that Garnett uses means that the reader can easily focus on a specific aspect of the role of PM, making this a useful reference book. In scrutinising the role of the Prime Minister in relation to the House of Commons, the cabinet, policy, media representation, the presentation of Britain internally and externally and elections, there are some areas that Garnett does not cover by his own admission, such as prerogative powers, devolution and the deployment of nuclear weapons. These are disappointingly dismissed off-hand, with the limited justification that they can be covered by ‘other scholars’ (13). A brief engagement with these topics, or a greater explanation of the reasons why these topics were not incorporated, would have been an interesting development for this work.

This book can also be read as a political history of the role of the British Prime Minister from 1979. The reader is taken through complex issues such as the ’hollowing out’ of government ministries with clarity and ease. Each chapter proceeds chronologically, and each is littered with anecdotes and stories from the premierships of every PM from Thatcher to Johnson. These stories, drawn from academic works and memoirs, make every chapter accessible to readers from a general audience to students and academics. They also inform many of the insightful characterisations that Garnett makes of different Prime Ministers’ styles, such as his observation that ‘[David] Cameron was a ‘‘mood music’’ man rather than a policy entrepreneur’ (118), or that ‘[Theresa] May’s sense of public duty was palpable and almost painful’ (231).

However, this book is intended to be more than a political history. Contextualising the modern Prime Minister, Garnett argues that political prominence is a zero-sum game for the Prime Minister and other government ministers. The more attention the Prime Minister receives, the less prominence is available for other ministers, and this is despite ministers having a greater contribution to governance in Garnett’s view.

This argument that the key under-scrutinised dynamic of the role of the UK Prime Minister is prominence is an interesting one. However, a more explicit exploration of this would be beneficial. Despite writing on prominence, Garnett’s argument is not particularly prominent throughout the book. The argument is given a paragraph or two in the introduction, and is then rarely explicitly referred to in the main body of the text. Given that the book is written accessibly with witty comments throughout making each chapter very readable, the under-playing of the argument is a little disappointing. A direct link for each chapter that differentiates Garnett’s argument from previous conceptualisations would be a useful addition to the work.

This book constitutes a very worthwhile contribution to the literature on the British Prime Ministership. Anyone who is interested in political leadership in the UK, parliamentary politics and British party politics would benefit from reading this pithy and insightful book. It may be Garnett’s final paragraph that offers his most perceptive insight into the problems in the role of Prime Minister:

the role of the Prime Minister is now characterised by excessive political prominence, rather than power in any constructive sense. It is both a symptom, and a significant cause, of a dysfunctional system of government: a serious nuisance which should be abated in the interests of the unfortunate individuals who seek the role of governing a fast-fracturing country (251).

For undergraduates, the book outlines the role of the British Prime Minster, demonstrating how each part of the role – majority leader, cabinet-maker, policy-maker, communicator-in-chief, speaker for Britain and election winner – can impact the others. For a postgraduate student, this book is a repository of anecdotes to be called upon to support their own arguments. The book is also written in a way that is accessible to a general audience as well as speaking to undergraduates, postgraduates and academic researchers.

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. The LSE RB blog may receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through the above Amazon affiliate link. This is entirely independent of the coverage of the book on LSE Review of Books.

 


Hubert Horan: The Airline Industry Collapse Part 7 – Domestic U.S. Travel Picks Up but International Demand Remains Crippled

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 6:07pm in

Hurbert Horan explains how major airline operators are still engaging in magical thinking.

What are the issues I need to be writing about?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 5:51pm in

It’s summer. The economy is collapsing. Covid is still rampant. The climate crisis is developing rapidly. Democracy is in peril, but what the heck? It’s as if the media, Opposition, and world at large no longer want to talk about such things. We have a few weeks of the silly season ahead of us.

So, I have asked how to use this summer’s blogging time. It seems that in response to the fairly successful threads I have been doing on money there are dimensions to this that people think need development.

Particular themes that seem to be requested include:

  • The limits to money creation
  • Money creation and inflation
  • What types of inflation can be controlled
  • Tax and controlling inflation
  • Money creation and full employment
  • Money creation and the exchange rate
  • Who owns the national debt
  • What would happen if the national debt was repaid
  • Why we might need a national debt
  • Money creation, saving, debt and taxation
  • The multiplier
  • Why interest is not an issue of concern
  • Why QE need not be unwound - and won’t be

I suspect there are more themes, and some of these obviously overlap, but I am keen to know what the questions are. I have time to dedicate to these issues, and it would be good to know what people want.

Might you let me know? There are no promises as to when these things might be done - writing a thread takes a lot of thinking before my fingers ever hit a keyboard - but I want to plan this now. So, if you have a request, lob it in.

And remember, non-money themes are possible. Tax, the Green New Deal, accounting and other issues are all possible too.

Beware of World Economic Forum/Gates UN Food Systems Summit Trojan Horse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 5:46pm in

The Gates Foundation and the WEF are steamrolling normal UN processes as part of a campaign to discredit sound agroecology practices.

Tax justice should meet the tax gap in 2021

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 4:01pm in

The tax justice movement has come a long way in the eighteen years or so it has been going, but there is still a long way to go. This, the third in a series of videos, discusses one of the issues that the tax justice movement now really needs to embrace and understand, which is the nature of the tax gap.

The tax gap is the difference between that tax that might be paid on a tax base and the actual amount paid, taking into consideration no less than five reasons why tax paid might not, for both officially sanctioned (but maybe inappropriate) as well as varying illicit reasons, be less than anticipated. Understand the tax gap, I suggest, and you know a great deal of what needs to be achieved to deliver tax justice.

So why is tax justice ignoring it?

For more on the tax gap read this.

Earlier videos in this series are here, and here.

PM Assures Jen And The Girls That His Creepy Mate Is Not That Bad Of A Bloke

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 8:43am in

The Prime Minister has spent the weekend assuring his wife Jen and their girls that his work mate, George Christensen is not that bad of a bloke. Despite the Member for Dawson encouraging and participating in the weekends anti-lockdown rallies.

”Jen is usually a pretty good judge of character but in the case of old mate Georgey boy I think she is off the mark,” said the PM. ”I mean sure, he does spend a lot of time in the Philippines and he does talk almost incessantly about table tennis.”

”But, you know, he says he has my back and what more could you want in a mate?”

When asked why he would not condemn Mr Christensen for his participation in anti-lockdown protests, the Prime Minister said: ”I reject the premise of your question.”

”Australia is a free country and as long as you vote for me you are free to do as you wish.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to talk to the Philippino President about opening up a travel bubble and getting my good mate Georgey boy some diplomatic immunity.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

We’re also on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/theunoz

The (un)Australian Live At The Newsagency Recorded live, to purchase click here:

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When it’s a good time to be a criminal it is evidence of government failure

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/07/2021 - 8:41am in

Johnson’s recent article in the Sunday Express, which is also likely to be the subject of a speech on Tuesday, received short shrift from the Secret Barrister who pointed out: Johnson’s idea that “making this country safe is the single best and most effective way of levelling up” is empty rhetoric when you fail to... Read more

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