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Politics and Economies

Since 1997 with the election of the Blair/Brown double act, the UK has increasingly become subjected to presidential-style politics, centralisation of message and a centralised campaign and control that would make Lenin jealous.

Leading that has been the Labour party which has mobilised so-called social media with actual people doing the work that was so effectively performed by e.g. twitterbots in the recent US campaign.

(first published at www.jeffersongalt.com)

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The power of one individual to cause massive disruption by the abuse of a religious slur has been demonstrated by loss of an estimated GBP100,000 in just one month by BATA, Malaysia. It's just the latest in false or ludicrous accusations in the country by a small minority claiming to be protecting Islam and causing division, dissent and a major sense of humour failure.

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We've had the Arab Spring and we've had various anarchist and anti-globalisation, anti-capitalism and even anti-wealth protests around the world in the past ten years but there is a new, culturally valid, development. It would be wrong to call it a movement but there is a discernible trend: protests against corrupt governments. It started in Malaysia with the Bersih movement but it has gained traction when, in South Korea, the demonstrators were highly influential in removing President Park. The latest country to see such protests is Russia. The most fascinating aspect is that the protests are cross-party, combine left and right: they are true people's movements, carefully targeted.

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Part two

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Part 1

Précis

Refresh for updates, most recent first.

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Long before his inauguration, US President-Elect Trump telegraphed a view of ethics and corruption that many consider contrarian. Is the Trump way of doing business to allow tacit approval of under-the-table deals or is it simplifying the legislative regime, putting corruption on the same footing as any other financial crime? There is justification for his abolition of the Rule requiring minerals companies to report large payments to foreign governments: it was under the wrong Act and it didn't go far enough. Perhaps inadvertently, Trump has just set the stage for the first true test of his character. Also, there is another shock that biased reporting has not made clear...

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A Parliamentary Bill in the UK goes through several stages: first the knockabout (if MPs are awake) in the House of Commons. Then it goes to a Committee Stage and then to the House of Lords. Although those bodies cannot, in effect, cancel the Bill, they can send it back to the Commons for various purposes. With cross-party support, the Bill passed with 498 votes to 114. That was closer than many would have liked.

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While much of US President Trump's first days in office have been signing off on relatively easy to accomplish Orders delivering on some campaign promises, his big things remain protectionism and the Mexican Wall. He's found a way to deal with both in one way after Mexico told him that his plans to make them pay for a wall would hit, well, a wall.

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Those who think that the people who brought the action and the Judges who found in favour of the Complainants simply do not understand: if they want to blame someone, blame whoever stuffed up Bill that provided for a Referendum.

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People who turn up at US embassies around the world and want to see the Ambassador are in for a long wait: many ambassadors appointed under Obama have had the call from Trump's people. They said "you've been fired."

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Following on from Part 1 of our analysis of Theresa May's Brexit speech last week, here are the highlights from and comments on the next part of her plan. And how the plan does not reflect the wishes of the people as recorded in the Referendum.

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We continue our look at Theresa May's speech setting out her position and plan for the UK to leave the EU.

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It's taken Theresa May months to pop her head up and make clear statements about the UK's exit strategy for separation from the EU. There have been hints, partial statements, but there have been no clear policy statements or expressions of exactly what the plan is. This week, she changed that.

And she demonstrated that, at last, she "gets it" so far as the LEAVE vote is concerned.

In this first of a series of highlights from the speech, we explain, with comments, where, on the May plan, the UK, the EU and much of the rest of the world is going.

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Diplomats are expert at couching hard truths in soft language, a trick that leads to ambiguity. There's not much of either in the letter Sir Ivan Rogers left for his staff when he left his post several months early so that he was no longer there when negotiations for the UK to leave the EU start in earnest. In Whitehall, this morning, there will be more bloody noses than pulled punches - but Whitehall has a treacle-like approach to criticism. Standard operating procedure is to hang-around until the fuss dies down, then carry on as before.

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There are few people who do not believe that man is causing harm to the planet and that global warming is a significant part of the problem. However, the specific causes of both global and localised warming are hotly debated, even though some of the results are now beyond doubt. The problem might not be the message: it might be the messengers.

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