Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the category “China”

Can Democracy Survive the Internet?

The internet was at one stage hailed as a major democratic tool – allowing us “voters” to have a direct input into the democratic purpose (beyond that of putting an “X” on a piece of paper every few years).

But now we are not so sure. Read more…

Reasons to be Fearful – 1,2,3

  1. Putin
  2. May
  3. Trump

Possibly in that order! Read more…

Steeling ourselves for industrial collapse

Administrators from PwC have been appointed to run some parts of the Caparo group empire. …

Steel giant Tata is expected to announce major job losses on Tuesday. Recently the UK’s second largest steelmaker, SSI, went into liquidation. …

Matt Hammond, lead administrator [of Caparo] and partner at PwC, said: “This is a significant business with a wide range of interests across steel, engineering, vehicles products and technologies. Its scale and reach into significant customers and its importance to suppliers cannot be understated. We will be rapidly assessing all options for the businesses through this week and beyond.”
BBC News website, 19 October 2015 : Caparo steel goes into partial administration

There are numerous reasons for the problems, but there seems to be only one reason for the collapse of this industry; Read more…

Is work the be all and end all of success?

… speaking to Times columnist Danny Finkelstein at a fringe meeting at the Conservative conference, Mr Hunt [Health Secretary] said: …

“My wife is Chinese and if we want this to be one of the most successful countries in the world in 20, 30, 40 years time there is a pretty difficult question that we have to answer which is, essentially, are we going to be a country which is prepared to work hard in a way that Asian economies are prepared to work hard, in a way that Americans are prepared to work hard?

“And that is about creating a culture where work is at the heart of our success.”
BBC News Website, 12 October 2015 : Tax credit cuts promote hard work, says Jeremy Hunt

This all depends on how you measure success and what you are prepared to do to achieve it. Read more…

Gideon, I’m so proud of you

UK Chancellor George Osborne has been praised by Chinese state media for focusing on business ahead of human rights during his visit to Xinjiang.

The Global Times said he was “the first Western official in recent years who focused on business potential rather than raising a magnifying glass to the ‘human rights issue'”.

Mr Osborne has spent the past five days in China to boost trade links.

He has said he raised human rights privately during his visit.
BBC News Website 25 September 2015 : Osborne praised for ‘not stressing human rights’ in China

I mean money trumps everything, doesn’t it? Read more…

Globalisation and insecurity

Recent events have highlighted what a connected world we live in. Current orthodoxy seems to be to accept free trade and globalisation either as a force that cannot be resisted or as a “good thing”. Dissident views seem to be isolationist.

Whilst I see some interconnection as a good and useful thing, too much connectedness can hamper us – as we see in European nations’ reluctance to take action against Russia in protest against the situation in Ukraine. Most European nations seem to be convinced that Russia’s soviet ambitions are behind the Ukrainian unrest (and the “apparent” shooting down of the Malaysian Airliner). However they also know where their energy supplies come from. So they are rendered supine – huffing and puffing but not doing a lot.

We need to be more discerning about our alliances and who we associate with and who we do business with. Globalisation can lead to insecurity at the national level as well as at the individual level. Read more…

Weather-Vain: Pots and Kettles

I wrote recently about a spat between our (UK) Prime Minister, David Cameron and European Commissioner, Laszlo Andor.

Cameron felt that Andor was going beyond his remit in suggesting that if Cameron’s “immigrant control plans”, (mainly anti-Bulgarian and anti-Romanian) took root, Britain was in danger of being seen as a “nasty” country.  Cameron said Andor was speaking beyond his remit:

Commissioner Andor shouldn’t say that, his salary is paid in part by British taxpayers, and I expect better behaviour in the future.

Now I see that the EU think that Cameron is going beyond his remit. Read more…

Chinese to place nuclear devices around Britain

Brian Wheeler Political reporter, BBC News, asks: Is it a good idea to allow China a stake in UK nuclear? (BBC News Website 17 October 2013).

It is 57 years to the day since the Queen threw a lever to start electricity flowing from the world’s first civil nuclear power plant, at Calder Hall, in Cumbria.

If you had told any of the dignitaries present that day that Britain would one day surrender control of its nuclear industry to foreign powers, losing in the process the ability to build its own reactors, they would have thought you were mad. Read more…

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