Displaying items by tag: Politics
Moments before he went into Downing Street for the first time as prime minister, Rishi Sunak said ‘this government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.’ Three months later, he confronts issues challenging these promises. No PM wants a reputation for harbouring fixed penalty notices gathered whilst in office but being fined for not wearing a seatbelt was his second offence after his one as chancellor during the pandemic. The deputy prime minister has reportedly had 24+ civil servants make complaints against him. Nadhim Zahawi, the Conservative Party Chairman, is determined to stay in post despite many unanswered questions over a £5m fine that was paid over a tax dispute while he was chancellor and that the prime minister knew about the whole thing.
A Wagner mercenaries Serbian-language video showing Serb volunteers training to fight alongside Russian troops in Ukraine has outraged Serbia's president Vucic. He said, ‘Why do you, Wagner, call Serbians when you know it is against our rules?’ So far, Serbia has prioritised Russian friendship over ambitions to join the EU, but now Belgrade lawyers and anti-war groups have filed criminal complaints against Russia’s ambassador and Serbia's state security and information agency for recruiting Serbians for Wagner. Vucic said, ‘Serbia’s path is towards the West, not towards invading Ukraine. Serbia consistently voted in favour of resolutions at the UN, condemning Russian hostility.’ That stance does not impress MEPs because Serbia refuses to impose sanctions on Russia. MEPs have called for ending Serbia membership negotiations until they agree to sanctions and forego cheap Gazprom gas from Russia.
There is a move to change Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act, and the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) has recommended removing the right of Christian schools to exclusively hire Christian teachers. They released a Report containing 46 recommendations, four of which relate to religious bodies, one of these recommendations would narrow the 'genuine occupational requirements' so Christian schools cannot require all staff to be Christian. Only certain roles would meet that criterion, like the principal or chaplain. A science teacher, for example, would not be required to be a Christian. This dramatically undermines a Christian school’s ability to fulfil their ethos. Christian schools are places where students practise their faith along with teachers and staff. The idea that staff are not required to live according to the school’s religious ethos is at odds with faith-based learning. The Australian Christian Lobby is encouraging Australians to write to their MPs and the Minister for Education to express their concerns.
Despite MPs having voted overwhelmingly to reject measures to legalise assisted dying in 2015, and in 2021, due to mass opposition from fellow Peers, activists are again pushing for the law to allow doctors to ‘help’ terminally ill patients end their lives. Ahead of the pending debate, MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee in Parliament are now conducting an inquiry, asking for the views of the general public into assisted dying/assisted suicide, to help shape their recommendations to Government, regardless of what, up to now, has been a clear and settled opposition to any such proposal. This debate will not go away until activists get what they want. Like water dripping relentlessly on a stone, after each defeat the campaigners return, with the same demands. The Bible says life is the gift of God for man made in His own image.
Train drivers, teachers, lecturers and civil servants will walk out on the same day and a senior minister urged them to reconsider the industrial action and think about the impact it will have on working people across the country and on the economy saying. We know times are difficult. What we don’t want to see is the economy damaged by self-harm strike action that makes it harder to get to work, cross the border and of course to get access to crucial public services.’ The walkouts take place amid union bosses' anger over anti-strike laws making their way through Parliament that would curb the impact of walkouts by requiring minimum service levels. The RCN said, ‘We have extended an olive branch, actually the whole tree, to government to meet us halfway, so now come on.’ The education secretary will talk to teachers about money but stopped short of promising to review pay. see also
Nicola Sturgeon plans to take legal action after Rishi Sunak blocked her controversial gender reforms allowing 16 year olds to change their legal gender without the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has written to the First Minister declaring he will veto the Bill, warning of ‘significant complications’ if Scotland and England have different legal frameworks for gender recognition, potentially allowing someone to be male in one country and female in the other. He intends making an order under section 35 of the Scotland Act to prevent the Bill from proceeding to Royal Assent. Ms Sturgeon accused Westminster of a ‘full-frontal attack’ on the Scottish Parliament and its ability to make its own decisions on devolved matters. The Christian Institute and Scottish Catholic bishops have both called for the Scottish Government's Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill to be scrapped.
Christine Lambrecht was widely criticised for failing to improve Germany's notoriously ill-equipped armed forces despite the provision of €100bn (£88bn) for that task following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. She was mocked for announcing Germany was supporting Ukraine by sending 5,000 military helmets and has resigned following a series of blunders. Ms Lambrecht was due to meet other defence ministers from Ukraine's western allies at the American military base in Ramstein to discuss further support for Ukraine. Berlin is under rising pressure to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks - which Ukraine considers vital to defeat Russia - or at least approve their delivery from countries such as Poland. Warsaw signalled its intention to supply the battle tanks but requires permission from the country of manufacture. Germany’s Vice Chancellor recently said his country would not stand in the way of other nations sending Leopards.
Following the instalment of the most religious and hard-line government in Israeli history, over 80,000 protesters rallied in Tel Aviv against plans by the new right-wing coalition to overhaul the judiciary. The reforms will make it easier for parliament to overturn Supreme Court rulings, among other things, and protesters said changes are an attack on democratic rule. Rallies were also held outside the prime minister's Jerusalem residence and the northern city of Haifa. Critics say the reforms would cripple judicial independence, foster corruption, set back minority rights and deprive Israel's court system of credibility. If it passes into law, the plan could make it easier for the government to legislate in favour of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank without worrying about challenges in the Supreme Court. Israel has previously highlighted the power of the court to rule against it, as a way of blunting international criticism of such moves.
At the time of writing, 19th January America is about to hit their debt limit, meaning the government is not allowed to borrow any more money - unless Congress agrees to suspend or change the cap, currently almost $31.4tn (£25.4tn). Since 1960, politicians have moved to raise, extend or revise the definition of the debt limit 78 times - including three just in the last six months. But Republicans recently took control of the House of Representatives and are calling for spending cuts, raising concerns that politicians will delay acting this time - leading America to intentionally default for the first time in its history. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has estimated that special measures can buy time for the US until at least June, at which point the government will no longer be able to pay its bills. A true economic catastrophe - unpaid defence contractor payments, Social Security cheques, received by retirees and salaries of government employees, including the military, will all be affected.
Britain is considering becoming the first country to send Western tanks to Ukraine in what would be a major stepping up of international support. Last week foreign secretary James Cleverly said Britain was open to sending Ukraine Challenger II battle tanks and ‘will continue to evolve our support as Kyiv readies the next phase of their self-defence’. The remarks were a shift in the Government’s position, with No 10 previously being in step with other Nato allies in being reluctant to supply heavy armoured vehicles. Any pledge by the UK could be made at the next meeting of the US-led Ramstein Contact Group of international supporters of Ukraine, due next week. Defence sources said the UK could supply Volodymyr Zelensky with the British Army’s main battle tank to encourage other Western allies to follow suit and stop the war.