May’s EU Approach to Censorship

Theresa May believes in promoting online censorship to fight terror and extremism. In doing so, she falls nicely in line with her EU counterparts.

Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron choose online censorship in their war on terror.

During her first foreign trip since performing dismally in last week’s general election, PM May and French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday announced further crackdowns on extremist content online.

Of course, dealing with recent terrorist atrocities in both Britain and France were high on the agenda for May and Macron’s meeting, So they chose to counter those horrific by assaulting Facebook and Google.

Mrs May said at a joint press conference that the UK is already working with internet companies “to stop the spread of extremist material that is warping young minds”.

A joint statement with Macron further announced intentions to create a new legal obligation under which web firms would be fined if they didn’t “abide by their social responsibility to step up their efforts to remove harmful content”.

EU censorship project

However, there are ongoing concerns from independent media organisations and freedom advocates that such laws may instead be used to suppress critics of European Union policies, such as indiscriminate immigration from Middle East and North African countries. Continue reading

Electorate Drawn and Quartered

Britain’s General Election was won by no one. The result, as we now know, was a hung parliament – and an electorate rendered drawn and quartered.

I said here yesterday that the contest was a choice of the least worst. The election result bears this out as no party managed to pass the magical 326 out of 650 seats on offer. At time of writing, the Tories have 318 MPs and Labour 261.

The Tories snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Recall that just over a month ago they were demolishing Labour in local and mayoral elections across the country, reducing their power base in town halls almost to a rump.

However, May is visiting Buckingham Palace today to ask Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s permission to form a government. She will pin her hopes on a possible coalition with the highly conservative Democratic Unionist Party which now controls 10 of Northern Ireland’s 18 parliamentary seats.
Continue reading

Least-Worst Election

It’s half past eight here on this sunny Prague morning and thousands of polling stations opened just over 30 minutes ago in Britain.

Despite living, for now, in the Czech Republic, I could have voted today but chose not to.

Sure, it’s clearly vital to know who will manage brexit, manage the national economy and provide appropriate responses to a Europe terrified from both within and without.

But no party standing today ticks more than one of any of these boxes, if any. They offer only a choice of who might be least worst if elected.

The offerings are below pitiful, despite the country facing its most important set of crises since World War II.

  • Theresa May and the Conservatives want to police the internet more tightly in the name of “fighting extremism” and “hate speech”. This effectively means doing little about religion-based violence on our streets while stifling dissent and criticism of government online. It’s also odd that a party dedicated to small government is actually incubating a police state.
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has neither held down a real job nor even completed a college education in his life. But he has consorted with terrorists from Hamas, the IRA, et al. Labour’s team of would-be ministers have never failed to embarrass themselves when questioned about any detail in their manifesto pledges.
  • Leader of the Liberal Democrat rump party is Tim Farron. His constant evasions and filibustering suggests a man who’d rather be somewhere else entirely. With eight MPs in the previous parliament, Lib Dems stand no chance winning.
  • No other party is worth comment.

Schools closed for the day, community centres and town halls form temporary polling stations where people will visit until 10 o’clock tonight. All venues will surely be on highest alert after very recent terror attacks in London and Manchester.

But it only takes one nutter with a kitchen knife, one lunatic behind the wheel of a car, or a martyr wrapped in explosive belts. Lord knows there have been plenty of volunteers so far, committing atrocities right across Europe and beyond.

And when I return to England soon, for I must, will I find a nation begging for martial law in response to daily terrors? Or will Great Britain have transformed into a socialist utopia modeled after Venezuela?

I’ll find out soon enough. We all will.

Beyond Trump’s EU climate gambit

Will US President Donald John Trump’s taking America out of the Paris Climate Agreement cause wider problems for European Union elites?

Beyond Trump's EU climate gambit

As you’ve doubtless already heard, Trump announced yesterday that the US is pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord: Something in the Matrix just changed, and big-time.

To anyone paying attention, Trump’s cuts to the US Environmental Protection Agency budget, announced in March, gave an advance signal of the skeptical President’s disdain for the climate change lobby. He particularly didn’t appreciate its crippling implications for US jobs and industry.

So whether or not you like the Donald, this is a HUGE game-changer in world geopolitics. And this is only the start.

Indeed, newly elected, Vichy-style French President Emmanuel Macron reacted swiftly to the announcement by inviting pro-warming scientists to seek exile in France. Whether “97% of all scientists” in the US will leave for France’s budding caliphate is yet to be seen. Continue reading

Brassed Off with Terror

Respecting victims of a terror attack by performing music is a lovely gesture, but is it enough after a declaration of war?

Pioneering journalism by Russell Cavanagh!

There was a brass band concert in Manchester on Saturday where the ensemble played a hymn dedicated to victims of last Monday’s terrorist atrocity in the city.

The hymn was, appropriately, called Manchester, It was played at the end of a previously scheduled performance held at the Royal Northern College of Music, itself based in the city. The idea was, according to the website, to pay “tribute to all those caught up in the events, and raise money for the victims’ foundation”.

As everyone knows by now, the attack targeted very young girls who were watching a pop idol perform live. So far, 22 of those girls, and some family members, have died, with many remaining critically injured in hospital. ISIS later claimed responsibility.

The banding community is a particularly close one, despite fierce rivalries when contesting. It often pulls together right across Britain (and sometimes beyond) to help causes for individuals suffering extreme ill-health as well as various charities. These are kind folks with big, harmonious hearts, and RNCM produces many of the movement’s finest young players.

There will have been many in the audience at that concert, as well as sat on the stand, who felt poignancy at a hymn to the fallen being played in the wake of such horror. (Perhaps no coincidence that brass bands play regularly right across the country in large cities and small villages every Armistice Day. Banding really does come with a conscience.)

However, is it ever enough merely to pay tribute to the victims of terror? For example, what difference does it really make lighting a candle, or changing an avatar on one’s social media account, other than signal that one cares – even if feeling helpless, or perhaps reluctant, to do much more about a matter involving an ongoing slaughter of innocents? Continue reading