British Election exit polls point to hung parliament

Caaaaled it.

Just saying. Anyway, it looks like the conservative party has lost the majority, needing 326 seats to maintain control of parliament and requiring a coalition government to now lead Britain(ha!). At this stage it looks likely that Labor, having gained at least 33 seats from this election, along with the Scottish Independence Party are likely contenders for this coalition, though it must be said that the lib-dems are insisting there will be “no deals, no coalitions” cause reasons. I don’t know, pride?

Also, Comey has finished his latest senate hearing, and confirmed a few things:

  1. Trump is still, as far as Comey is aware, not under investigation (which he did inform Trump of three times)
  2. Trumps actions, his attempts to force a loyalty pledge, and his attempts to shut down the Flynn probe are what concerned Comey and encouraged him to write his notes.

He also insisted that all of Trump and his teams attempts to disparage him and blame him for any concerns within the FBI are “lies, plain and simple”.

So, this may lead to a potential obstruction of justice case, though by itself it is not enough, Britain is looking at a hung government, we’ll see how that goes, and Russia remains a looming concern/threat, not only for Trump but for the US and abroad. After all Comey did say they interfered with the election, and that they will be back. I’m inclined to take him at his word.

Last Thoughts on Brit election

Just a last thought before the British Elections, regarding polls. A lot of people have been saying that basically there’s no chance of a Labor victory, that may will win no matter what, the polls are saying between one point and 12 yadda yadda.

Now, quick question: does anyone remember Brexit? Or Trump? Cause I do, and I remember those polls being pretty clear too, and people saying all the time “there’s no way anyone would do that, they couldn’t vote for this or that”.

Having opinions is fine, it’s what this whole blog is based on after all, but don’t mistake an opinion for fact, and don’t presume that polls are unquestionable. We’ve been wrong before, is all I’m saying, and Corbyn’s drawing some pretty big crowds.

Sound familiar?

So, there’s an election coming up.

The British Election is a weird thing. The last three that I’ve gone into detail about were in many respects considered much more serious, problematic and representative of a possible far-right, alt-right populist upswing in politics. Turkey, France, the Netherlands, all had or have problematic leaders, concerning ramifications and well, were much more interesting.

Britain’s not. Not really anyway.

Regardless of who is elected, be it a minor Conservative win or a coalition led by (most likely) Labor, Brexit will continue, there will most likely an economic downturn, and the leader will grapple with continued terrorist threats and domestic struggles relating to the above concerns. Neither May nor Corbyn seems to have that much of a grasp of the situation, and regardless of what either candidate might say, have far less influence and control over Brexit and its consequences than they might like.

The reason this is less interesting, to me anyway, is the lack of uncertainty. Regardless of who wins these are the most likely outcomes for whoever wins, no dramatic vote, no power struggle or autocratic power grab, just more British politics, with different faces. Of course, I’m also not British and I won’t really be dealing with the fallout of the Brexit deal in whatever form it takes so some of the urgency for them may not be available to me.

I’m not used to politics being boring. This is very weird.

 

Citation:
Bloomberg: UK election Winner Saddled with Lousy Economic Outlook 

Elections loom in Britain after third terrorist attack

On Saturday there was yet another attack on Britain, in London. Once more people were hurt and killed by the cruel, the malicious, and the senseless. Britain grieves, and the world mourns with them.

And yes Trump made an idiot of himself.

In the wake of a third attack, many people are turning towards the Election coming up and questioning both major sides of the debate. On one hand, it is the conservative party, May and her Tories, which led the country during these attacks: have they done enough, have they failed in some way, and why should they be trusted if so?

On the other Labor, under Corbyn, has proven adverse to conflict in all forms, and isn’t known for directly responding to any question regarding terrorism. It’s not suprising, to me at least, that people might question if he has the strength to combat terrorism, at home or abroad.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers and I don’t know how this election will go. At this stage it looks to me that either the Conservatives will eke out a win, or Labor, the Social Democrats and the Scottish Independence Party will form a coalition, though how that will work in practice is anyone’s guess.

Also the UK Independence party is imploding. Should I be pleased about that? (well I am anyway, so meh)

There’s no easy answer to Terrorism, no matter what we might wish. best of luck to the victor I guess.

 

Citations:
The Atlantic: The Latest on the London Attack 
Bloomberg: Voters Grill Corbyn and May

Trump left the Paris Agreement.

With the withdraw of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Trump has confirmed the fears of the environmentally conscious, the business focused individuals focusing on the developing renewable energy markets many of his own people. But, is this really a bad thing?

Bear with me for a minute this needs some unpacking.

First, Trump has announced his intent to leave the Paris Agreement, the US can’t officially leave until November 4 2020, a day after that years presidential agreement. What this really means is that the US will no longer functionally be involved with the agreement, implementing no ideas or priorities and having no influence on other nations (that is the other 199) involved.

Secondly Trump has said that he is willing to negotiate the agreement if they can reach better terms for America, which I would assume to mean either fewer requirements, or benefits for their own trade and income. Somehow I don’t see that happening.

So, the US is not involved and cannot interfere in any other nations interactions with the Agreement, unless negotiations go there way, which many of the chief nations involved most likely won’t want to happen, either because of mistrust (currently) or ambition (read: China and India). This could actually be a good thing, for one primary reason: The US has a Veto.

And they cannot legitimately use it now. SO, Trump cannot stymie, prevent or block further developments of the Agreement, attack other nations through it, or prevent action with the agreement in some attempt to benefit his nation, somehow. I don’t know. By removing a potentially disabling actor from the agreement, Trump may have inadvertently saved it from a slow death, and that would have been far worse for work against Climate Change than America leaving for now.

This might not be such a bad thing.

Coms Director Leaves Trump Administration

Trumps Communication Chief Dubke has resigned from his role, following Trumps return from his overseas trip. Allegedly this was not forced by the Trump administration or the president himself, but at this stage this departure is being labelled as the begging of a reshuffle of the Administration. Given the nature of the role it isn’t terribly surprising that Dubke would choose to leave, as many communications directors do, former President Obama went through four officials, and one acting, communication directors throughout his tenure. However, it must be noted that departing this early in this administrations duration is unusual, and whether that is due to the unusually high demands of this role in this particular time, or due to the complaints by the current president are unknown.

If there is a cause for concern it is due to Dubkes deposition, the man was known for being a mild-mannered individual who did not fit into any one camp or faction, allowing him to cooperate with all members of the Administration, potentially at any rate. Individuals like this are rare in this white house and more would always be preferred to the divided factions that currently populate it. At least for Trump that is.

At this stage I don’t know how far any potential shake up could be, or even if it may occur, regardless a new communications director will be needed and that will be an unimaginably difficult role to fill with this administration, and this president, coordinating the recruitment. My guess, it’ll either be Spicer, already claiming he will be handling fewer daily press briefings, whether that will mean he takes this role or is responding to criticism from Trump is not yet known. Alternatively, Trump himself may take the role, seeing as he doesn’t let anyone else speak for him.

 

Citation:
Bloomberg: Trump Communications Chief Dubke Leaving, White House Says

My problem with charter schools (a rant)

I Struggle with Charter Schools.

The concept confuses me as a start. The idea of a private group controlling something as vital to someones future as education alone raises my eyebrows, primarily because the inherent disconnect between a private enterprise and a public good. Private companies focus on the bottom line, it is a profit based construct. Fine, that’s all well and good when we’re dealing with retail or services or something, they provide a service and get paid for it. Makes sense.

Here’s the issue: education isn’t a private thing. It’s a fundamental requirement to function and succeed in today’s world. If you don’t have an education you aren’t going to succeed it’s that simple. As such there have to be guidelines, rules and above all requirements for a school to fulfill. we’re talking about peoples futures after all. Now there are things called private schools these are separately managed institutions that operate on an isolated (mostly basis). I don’t mind these for two reasons: first they do not receive public funding. That on it’s own can be a serious impediment to succeed, which leads to point two: to thrive they have to be competitive i.e. good even without funding.

It works, so I accept it, very simple. So here’s my problem: Charter schools receive public funding. That is, private institutions un-beholden to any authority that is required to follow the rules and standards of any form of government, and as such beholden to the people, is given public funding.

This in turn precludes my second point regarding private schools, if you get public funding you don’t need to compete. 

I’m sure there are plenty of people with faith in a capitalist system, the obligations of an organization to appeal to a perspective buyer i.e. parents to choose there school/ product, to do well. This is supposed to be the competition that will embolden the Charter Schools to thrive or fail, being that surplus choice will eventually leave only the strongest choices available to the parents in the country. I disagree, for a very simple reason: why would any charter school, even and especially a failing one, willingly give up on the cash cow that is the federal government? They wouldn’t, it’s to profitable which is exactly the problem.

School, and healthcare and infrastructure (roads, bridges and the like) for that matter, should not be considered economic sectors, you shouldn’t focus on making money in these areas. That encourages cutting corners, prioritizing money over quality and as has often been the case resulted in failing schools that make a lot of money for the owners and produce substandard results. I’m sure there are successes, there has to be to provide examples for this nonsense but frankly? Private institutions shouldn’t receive public money. You want to educate on your own terms?

Do it privately, with your money – not everyone else’s.

That money should go to the public institutions, they have to succeed and do well according to the people, not according to a bottom line. It is not a perfect system, but it is a damn sight more accountable. Businesses have their place, as do public institutions. Don’t bring the two together.