Judge: “Did you issue the fine in the water?” – Burkini Ban Suspended By France’s High Court

The decision of some French towns (it is not a decision of France’s national government) to ban head-to-toe Burkini swimsuits is clearly a mistake.  A free society is one in which people can decide for themselves what they want to wear.

The justification offered by the Mayor or Nice that after terrorist attacks by people who say they are Muslims, Islamic dresses causes people fear and should be banned is wrong.  If every wrong-doing resulted in interference in the basic freedom of entirely innocent people, who happen to share a religion or other characteristic with the wrong-doer, none of us would have very …

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What would you do if you were Mayor of Nice?

Nice is still in shock. It’s just about a month and a half since the appalling attack which killed 84 people. That sort of carnage happening on your doorstep takes some getting over. People experience a huge range of emotions from anger to fear. What should the authorities be doing to help people through this time?

They should be reassuring people. They should be helping the whole community stand together in solidarity.

Instead, their headline response has been to pick on innocent women because of their attire on a beach. I have rarely been more annoyed by anything than the sight of a sleeping woman on a beach being surrounded by armed police and being forced to remove clothing. All this in the name of protecting women from oppression. I’m not quite sure how that works as a logical explanation.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 4 Comments

WATCH: What does Hillary Clinton think of Nigel Farage?

Not a huge amount. Watch this video from ITV News.

Many of us will have found the sight of Farage speaking at a Donald Trump campaign rally pretty distasteful. Let’s hope that the American people keep turning away from Trump as they seem to be doing at the moment.

My worry is that as the campaign intensifies after next weekend’s Labor Day, Trump’s campaign will simply go after Hillary in every way that they can. They can’t win a clean campaign so they will fight as dirty as possible.

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Renationalising the railways is trendy but not smart

Virgin trainWho should own the railways? Both contenders for the Labour leadership, Owen Smith and Jeremy Corbyn, believe it should be the public sector. They point to rising ticket prices., widespread industrial action and a lack of seating (or so Corbyn claims.) as evidence that privatisation has failed. The public seem to agree, with 62% now in favour of renationalisation. But is it worth it?

It certainly wouldn’t be progressive. Households in the highest real income bracket make up 43% of yearly rail journeys, with those in the lowest income bracket making up only 10% of journeys. Nationalisation would mean that low-earners who very rarely use the train would be funding through their taxes reduced ticket prices and the maintenance of rail travel for the highest earners in the country. Such large amounts of public sector finances would be far better spent on services which low earners need most.

Nor would nationalisation eradicate large scale industrial disputes. Look no further than across the Channel: in the run up to Euro 2016 the French railways endured huge strikes. Even under a Socialist government the railways were not immune from clashes with the unions.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 45 Comments

Nicola Sturgeon appoints controversial Brexit Minister

In the immediate aftermath of the EU Referendum, Nicola Sturgeon played an absolute blinder. She seemed like she was the only grown-up in power. She was calm, she was reasonable and she put up a massive big tent that allowed all parties to unite. Well, not the Tories, but who cares about them in Scotland, anyway?  Given the chaos they have inflicted, as Brexit gets underway, I suspect that their good performance in the Holyrood elections will turn out to be a high water mark.

Within days of the result, the Scottish Parliament debated and passed a motion which authorised the First Minister and the Scottish Government to look for a way to preserve Scotland’s relationship with the EU. It was not, Nicola Sturgeon told Parliament, about independence.

However, let me be clear that if the Government concludes that the best or the only way to protect Scotland’s place in the EU is through a referendum on independence, we will return to Parliament with that judgment and it will then be for Parliament to decide. I am emphatically not asking Parliament to endorse that step today. A vote for today’s motion is not a vote for a referendum on independence.

I was glad to see that the Scottish Liberal Democrats backed Nicola Sturgeon’s efforts. Everyone seemed to be working together well with the SNP even removing wording from the motion to make sure it was  something all the parties except the Tories (who ultimately abstained) could sign up to.

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Are party consultations with members worth the paper they’re written on? 

At Liberal Democrat autumn conference party members will have the opportunity to debate a Federal Policy Committee policy paper and an accompanying motion laying out an overall vision for the social security system – the first such policy paper on the subject for over a decade. Sadly, however, the contents of the paper and motion are scandalous in their blatant disregard for the views of party members.

As part of the process of writing the policy paper, the working group which wrote it ran a members survey which included a question about which model should be used as the basis for social security.

Posted in Op-eds | 41 Comments

We shouldn’t criticize Jeremy Corbyn for finally doing a bit of reasonably clever “media”

Jeremy Corbyn is getting a bit hammered, particularly by Richard Branson, for a video of him sitting on the floor of a Virgin Train.

You can read the ins and outs of “Traingate” elsewhere.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 42 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 27th Aug - 8:58am
    @grahame lamb 'The train-operating companies are in the private sector so why is tax-payers money being transferred to them.' Government gives tax-payers' money to an...
  • User AvatarPeter Kemp 27th Aug - 8:51am
    PS I was on the beach in Cannes in June, woman wearing all manner of clothes, bikinis, T-shirts/shorts, one piece swim suits ... what they...
  • User AvatarPeter Kemp 27th Aug - 8:49am
    In response to JamesG above ... yes, maybe some Muslim woman are forced to wear clothes they do not want to wear. This would be...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 27th Aug - 8:33am
    @Stevan Rose ' Manchester Airports Group is a fantastic success story for public investment returning profit to local councils but competing with and beating private...
  • User Avatargrahame lamb 27th Aug - 8:28am
    The train-operating companies are in the private sector so why is tax-payers money being transferred to them. Is the tax-payer to be asked to subsidise...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 27th Aug - 8:22am
    One of the problems with wholesale nationalisation of the railways is that it would apply the same processes to those parts of the industry that...