Brexit trouble, on Ireland's marine border

A UK-EU fisheries agreement must protect the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). It's easy to overlook the fact that Ireland has a marine border with the UK, not just a land frontier. 
Michael Gove, a senior UK minister & joint chair of the committee for the Ireland Protocol, has said “we will ... extend control of our waters up to ... the median line between ... Britain and Ireland”. Gove’s statement means Irish vessels could be excluded by UK forces from fishing in Northern Ireland waters, where Irish vessels have always been free to go. The issue is most acute in Lough Foyle & Carlingford Lough, both bisected by the marine border. 
Gove is a senior minister in London & one of the driving forces behind Britain’s exit from the EU. UK govt is enacting legislation to allow it to break international law & treaties, including the Withdrawal Agreement, negotiated in 2019, & the GFA. Gove published a document repudiating the GFA, in 2000, long after it was ratified by …

Health service dilemma

Dr Mohsin Kamal is an experienced medical doctor, originally from Pakistan, working in Ireland for over 4 years as a hospital Paediatrician, along with many dedicated doctors and healthcare workers from numerous countries.

Qualified & experienced medical professionals like Dr Kamal are desperately needed but they face obstacles because of rule changes which treat them like inexperienced novices, which is clearly wrong.

Rule changes, in Ireland, require overseas personnel to go back and do Basic Specialist Training (BST) before they can progress, even after years of clinical practice, as if their experience & service count for nothing.

The UK & other countries give experienced practitioners exemption from these requirements and offers training directly at advanced level for experienced & highly trained people like Dr Kamal.

It doesn’t make sense to work as registrar for few years then to apply for Basic Training despite being seriously overqualified. This is wasteful …

Tory Covid19 phrasebook

Tory Covid19 soundbite BS, translated

Totally committed; Couldn’t care less

Working flat out; Calm down dear, it’s only a virus

Working relentlessly; Chillaxing

Tireless efforts; Chillaxing in Mustique

Top priority; Not my department

Test, test, test; Rest, rest, rest

Ramping up; Yeaaah, what’s the problem?

250,000 tests a month; In your dreams

Support the NHS; Flog it

Mild symptoms; Dodging awkward questions

Bail-out; Taxpayers’ cash for Tory tax-dodgers

BBC journalist; Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...

Secretary of State; Useless, clueless turd

End of the age of distraction

Politics & government in UK & USA are dominated by people who’re skilled in the arts of communication, persuasion & distraction & little else. Persuasion skills are useful when campaigning for election, to persuade voters to think a certain way & vote for certain policies. Persuaders have had a good run, convincing people to vote for Brexit, Trump & the CONservatives. Trouble sets in when the persuaders have to engage with reality, assuming responsibility for events in the real world, confronted with tricky facts and unpredictable risks.

Distraction techniques can’t obscure reality forever. Covid19 pays no attention to anonymous briefings, slogans or meaningless announcements. It must be confronted quickly and credibly by capable leaders grappling with complex issues & the messy details of real life. Trump, Johnson & their camp followers can’t conjure up slick answers for the Covid19 virus, nor for the tricky details of Brexit trade agreements & tec…

Fear we ago again, another financial crisis looms

The Covid19 pandemic is the 2nd major crisis in 12 years. Many businesses & people have just about recovered from the financial crash of 2008. Another major panic, so soon after the last encounter with disaster, forces a rethink of priorities in all aspects of life.
The financial crisis of 2008 was followed by a “top down” tsunami of money issued by central banks, for capital markets, bondholders & institutions. This largesse was deliberately targeted away from ordinary people, for fear of undermining incentives for work & enterprise.

The benefits of the wall of money were supposed to trickle down to the population from increased spending & investment by holders of financial & asset wealth. In practice there is a limit to how much of everyday goods & services anyone can consume. Wealthy asset-owners splashed their cash on classic cars, art-works & real estate. The value of expensive assets rose to stratospheric levels while workers, citizens & small bu…

Brexit Britain destroying the rule of law

Brexit is a contest between a majoritarian system of government, in which a simple majority can enact any law, regardless of the impact on individual citizens’ rights, and a constitutional system in which the fundamental rights of citizens can only be changed through broadly-based consent.
The lack of robust constitutional defence for citizens’ rights is a recurring theme in various legal challenges in the UK courts since 2016. English courts have delivered a consistent view that Parliament is the sovereign power. It alone can decide on whatever course of action it likes and anyone whose rights are threatened or diminished has little choice but to accept this, or move elsewhere.
Most modern democracies, including the USA and the EU states, have written constitutions, defining citizens’ rights and the limits of government power. The UK’s unwritten constitution imposes few limits on government action. EU law offered a proxy for constitutional stability, during the years of UK membership…
Extract from a work in progress, © Copyright, follow @j_g_fitzgerald on TW for further extracts;

1 The vision

Great change begins with small events, signs and omens of seemingly little significance. Later, when people recall the turning points, patterns appear in hindsight. Obscure words and trivial happenings acquire meaning and are elevated in memory. People who may have attracted little attention in their own time are revealed as authors of a new, uncharted future.
Kathleen Daly paused in the elevated stone entrance of a church. She pushed open the heavy oak door and stepped into the dark interior. A shaft of light swung into the deep silence. A hint of incense lingered, like disturbed spirits, in the air. An old man stood with his head bowed, praying in front of a statue of Saint Anthony, illuminated by candles flickering on a wax-encrusted stand. Two elderly women knelt with their heads bowed, clasping rosary beads, whispering sibilant prayers.
Kathleen wasn’t especially devou…

Defend EU citizens, reject the WA

Citizens of EU states are threatened by a loss of lawful rights and liberty under the flawed Withdrawal Agreement. EU citizens who live in the UK must now apply to stay in their own homes, with an uncertain future. Citizens in Northern Ireland will lose their fundamental rights under EU law and will soon face barriers and restrictions on their freedom to do business and live where they chose. UK citizens living in the EU face the loss of healthcare and new rules concerning income and eligibility for residence in their homes. Millions of citizens made significant life choices, within EU and national laws, but they are now threatened with serious and, in some cases, life-threatening disruption.
UK government ministers have stated they want to use EU citizens as “bargaining chips”, for leverage in future negotiations. The UK government plans to diverge from EU law. UK courts will be free to make judgments eroding citizens’ rights, with no right of appeal to the European Court of Justice.

Time's up for Tory Brexidiots

In the storm of Brexit confusion one thing is clear; a majority of voters and MP’s, including many staunch Brexiters, agree that Britain needs to agree a future working relationship with the EU. Anti-EU bluster, threats & lies serve no purpose other than making it more difficult to agree a way forward.
Tory Brextremists, including #LiarJohnson, have spent years telling lies & whipping up resentment against the EU. Deluded & contradictory Brexit promises, by Leave campaigners in 2016, make it very difficult for a bitterly divided Tory govt to agree on a future relationship with the EU.
The biggest barrier to a future relationship between Britain & the EU is irrational Tory anger, supported by overseas interests. #LiarJohnson is totally unconvincing when he talks about “our friends & partners in Europe”, having built his career on promoting anti-EU lies.
It’s very unlikely a Tory govt can negotiate a mutually beneficial relationship with the EU. The feuding Tories …

EU must reject Bozo's posioned "offer"

The proposals launched at the Tory conference have no chance of acceptance by the EU or Ireland, for several reasons, clear to most observers but seemingly unknown to the dimwit UK govt. Tory ministers have miscalculated their relative position at every step & are now poised to turn a crisis into a disaster for Britain.

1) creating new customs & regulatory barriers to cross-border trade in Ireland would be a fundamental breach of the GFA. Ireland & the EU are strongly committed to the GFA & take their responsibilities seriously. There is no possibility of the EU approving the UK govt’s irresponsible breach of the GFA. UK will be rightly condemned for this reckless breach of a fragile peace treaty & will, one way or another, pay a heavy price for disregard for the rule of law.

2) The GFA was incorporated into Irish law by a constitutional amendment. Any material change to the terms of the GFA would require a further constitutional amendment. Even if there was any…

Undeliverable Brexit

Brexiter leaders have a problem. They persuaded millions of people to vote to leave the EU by promising nothing would change, massive new funds would flow to the NHS, UK could have its cake & eat it & they would enjoy the "easiest trade deal in human history".

Brexiters promised UK citizens they would still enjoy the benefits of EU membership, without the responsibilities, despite clear statements from EU leaders that "cherry picking" wouldn't be allowed. Brexiters claimed EU leaders & experts were peddling "project fear". "We've had enough of experts", “we’ll hold all the cards”. (M Gove). Three years after the referendum, the truth is out.

The EU27 can never offer better terms for a non-member than for members. The cost of Brexshit will devour any savings, the NHS will be harmed, not helped & UK will have inferior trade terms compared with EU membership. The promises made to voters in 2016 can't be delivered. Leav…

Eurosceptic autism

Tory Eurosceptics consistently fail to define a workable Brexit strategy because they’re afflicted with a kind of political autism, a profound inability to see events from others’ perspective. Tory ministers have failed in negotiation & they’ll continue to fail until they begin to understand what they’re dealing with.
Conservatives cling to a false view that EU’s treaty framework and fundamental principles are negotiating positions to be bartered away in a late night haggling session. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The EU is a partnership of sovereign nation states, voluntarily co-operating within a framework of shared principles and ideas.
These fundamental principles and the treaties in which they are expressed are the glue that holds the EU states together, allowing them to share resources when necessary and to go their separate ways at other times.
The shared principles holding the EU together, such as the four freedoms, are of fundamental importance and they cannot…