Netherlands Vol.4 (Coalition)

Excerpts are on our own.

People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (@VVD)
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA; @cdavandaag)
Democrats 66 (@D66)
ChristianUnion (@christenunie)

The polarised nature of the Dutch party system and the volatility of the electorate ensure that any ‘victory for the centre’ is likely to be short-lived.

Dutch parties agree coalition government after a record 208 days (09/10/2017) | Jon Henley @guardian

Dutch coalition partners agree on government deal, seek party backing (09/10/2017) | Cynthia Kroet @politico

Dutch coalition government formed after seven months of talks (10/10/2017) | @rte


Rutte forms Dutch government 208 days after election (10/10/2017) | Mehreen Khan @ft
… likely to side with Germany in many aspects of eurozone reform, in a blow to French …
… will shift rightward after Dutch Labour, a previous coalition partner …
… support for a eurozone budget …

Dutch Move Closer to New Government After Longest Coalition Talks Since WWII (10/10/2017) | Joost Akkermans @bpolitics

Trust in the future: the coalition agreement main points

… cutting the number of tax bands from four to two from 2019
… earning 40,000 by 1,200 a year, but middle and high earners will benefit most. …
… 37% on earnings up to ?68,000 and 49.5% for all income above that. …
Work and benefits
… Freelancers will have to earn at least ?15-?18 an hour to be classed as self-employed …
Paid paternity leave to be extended from two to five days in 2019 …
Child benefits will go up by a total of 1bn …
… will be reduced in four stages of 3%, so that by 2023, home owners will be limited to a 37% deduction. …
… Home owners who still have a mortgage to pay an extra tax (eigenwoningforfait) every year …
Asset tax
… increasing the tax-free limit from ?25,000 to ?30,000. …
Other taxes
… cut the basic rates of corporation tax from 25% to 21% while a tax rate of 16% will be levied over the first 200,000 in profits …
Employers with up to 25 members of staff will only have to pay one year of sick pay, rather than two, as at present …
The 15% tax paid by firms on the dividends they pay out to shareholders will go in an effort to make the Netherlands more attractive to foreign firms …
Other measures

Dutch Tax Reform: Reduction in Corporate Tax Rate and Abolishment of Dividend Tax (13/10/2017) | Wouter Paardekooper @bakermckenzie @lexology

Highlights from Dutch Parties’ Coalition Agreement

The new coalition loves him, so just who is the ‘normal, ordinary Dutchman’? (13/10/2017) | @Expatica

The Dutch government confirms plan to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 (10/10/2017) | @FredericLambert @ElectrekCo

Netherlands announces pension reform that would move country to a DC system (11/10/2017) | PAULINA PIELICHATA @pensionsnews

After 200 Days of Negotiations, Netherlands Forms Government But Excludes Populist Wilders (11/10/2017) | Chris Tomlinson @BreitbartNews

Are drawn-out Dutch coalition talks a harbinger of tough days ahead for Germany? (28/09/2017) | @thelocalgermany
… Rutte’s business-friendly Liberal VVD, the progressive D66 and two Christian parties, the pragmatic CDA and more conservative Christian Union.
Formed in the swinging 1960s, D66 is pro-abortion, pro-gay and lesbian rights and wants the country’s euthanasia programme to be extended so all people – not just the terminally ill – can decide to end their lives.
The Christian Union bases its policies on the Bible and opposes abortion, same-sex marriages and euthanasia. …

Dutch coalition talks have not yet touched on the future of Europe


Dutch coalition talks collapse again (24/05/2017) | PETER TEFFER @euobs

Why the Dutch need three months to form a government (30/03/2017) | Nik Martin @dw
… Since World War II, Dutch governments have taken an average of 72 days to be decided, compared to four to six weeks for a typical German coalition. The Dutch record is nearly seven months in 1977…
… environmental concerns, income inequality and a more humane refugee policy.
GreenLeft is likely to be offered the ministry of environment portfolio and could win extra cash for green innovation, said Koole. But its would-be coalition partners are unlikely to concede on the latter two issues, having spent the election campaign trying to outdo Wilders’ hard-line on immigration, along with promises to reduce public spending.
“If GreenLeft enters a coalition with the right-wing parties, it could meet the same fate as the Labour party, which lost enormously in this election because voters saw it participating with a mainly right-wing government,” Koole said. …

Dutch election results at a glance (16/03/2017) | @JuliaRampenMM @NewStatesman

3 biggest Dutch election myths (13/03/2017) | NAOMI O’LEARY @POLITICOEurope

What’s at stake in the Netherlands’ elections? (13/03/2017) | Jan van der Made @RFI

What to expect from the Dutch elections in six charts (10/02/2017) | Aleksandra Wisniewska & Billy Ehrenberg-Shannon @ft

Too many parties and not enough influence spotlighted in political system report

Going Dutch (11/10/2017) | Darrell Delamaide @handelsblatt
… Belgium, managed to go 541 days without a new government after the 2010 election. …

Dutch mayors don’t like the idea of being chosen by public vote (04/10/2017) | @Expatica

King’s speech forecasts ‘flourishing economy’ for the Netherlands (19/09/2017) | @BelTel

Interview – Shell Netherlands CEO: More large wind projects wanted (05/10/2017) | Toby Sterling & Stefano Berra @reuters

Spain Vol.2 (Catalunya Vol.2)


Germany Vol.3 (German Federal Election 2017)

Here is information on the election.

German elections 2017: full results (Interactive) | @guardian
Constituency seats won by party GermanFedElec2

German election polls 2017 | @ft

Election of Members of the German Bundestag | Deutscher Bundestag

Bundestagswahl 2017: Electoral cartograms of Germany (09/25/2017) | Benjamin D. Hennig @ViewsofWorld

Election Resources on the Internet: Elections to the German Bundestag | Manuel Alvarez-Rivera
The Electoral System
The Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) consists of a lower house, the Bundestag, whose members are directly elected by universal adult suffrage, and an upper house, the Bundesrat, composed of representatives appointed by the Lander. The two bodies are not coequal chambers, with the Bundestag being the more powerful of the two.
The Bundestag is composed of 598 members elected for a four-year term of office. …
The composition of the Bundestag is determined by the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system – also known as personalized proportional representation – which combines elements of the single-member constituency plurality system with PR. Under this system, the country is divided into a number of single-member constituencies (Wahlkreisen) equal to half the total amount of seats in the Bundestag. There were 248 of these constituencies between 1957 and 1987, 328 between 1990 and 1998, and 299 since 2002. These constituencies are allocated among the Lander in proportion to the size of their populations, and seats are filled by the plurality or first-past-the-post method, under which the candidate obtaining the largest number of votes in each constituency is elected.
However, in addition to nominating individual candidates for the direct mandate (Direktmandate) elections at the constituency level, political parties set up lists of individuals at the Land level (Landesliste). Each German casts two votes, namely a first vote (Erststimme) for a constituency candidate, and a second vote (Zweitstimme) for a party list. Party lists are closed, so electors may not choose individual candidates in or alter the order of such lists. Of the two votes, the second vote is the most important, since it is the one that determines the composition of the Bundestag.
In order to participate in the proportional allocation of Bundestag seats, a party must receive at least five percent of all valid second votes cast; however, this requirement is waived if a party wins three or more constituency seats. …
…in 2013 Parliament passed a new electoral reform which introduces additional adjustment seats (Ausgleichsmandate) to achieve a fully proportional allocation of Bundestag mandates among qualifying parties, thus neutralizing any disparities resulting from the allocation of overhang seats.
Under the reformed system, all 598 Bundestag seats are allocated among the Lander in proportion to the size of their German population. Then, a non-binding allocation of seats among qualifying parties is carried out in each Land by the Sainte-Lague/Schepers method of PR; if a party wins more constituency seats in the first vote of a particular Land than the number of seats it would be entitled to according to the result of the second vote, it keeps the overhang seats. The nationwide seat total obtained by each qualifying party after adding up the results from all sixteen Lander is the minimum number of mandates the party is entitled to receive, and the size of the Bundestag is adjusted accordingly, so that each qualifying party secures at least its corresponding minimum seat total, but in a way such that the distribution of seats equals the nationwide allocation of mandates in the expanded Bundestag by the Sainte-Lague/Schepers method.
From this point forward, the system generally operates in the same way as before: the mandates obtained by each party are allocated at the Land level in proportion to the number of votes received by their Land lists; the direct mandates won by a party at the constituency level of a particular Land are then subtracted from the total number of seats allocated to that party’s list; and the remaining seats are filled by the candidates on the Land list in the order determined before the election. Nonetheless, if a party wins more constituency seats in the first vote of a particular Land than the number of seats it would be entitled to according to the result of the second vote, the distribution of seats among the party’s Land lists is adjusted so that each list is allocated at least its corresponding number of constituency seats, without changing the party’s nationwide seat total.


German Election | @bpolitics

German election | @dw

GERMAN ELECTIONS 2017 | @politico

German election 2017: All you need to know about the vote (22/09/2017) | @HollyEllyatt @cnbc

German Election 2017 | @spiegel

What to watch in Germany’s election (09/24/2017) | @economist

GERMAN ELECTIONS 2017: THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM? (25/09/2017) | Alan W. Cafruny @ValdaiClub

German election results: AfD enters parliament with record-high 12.6% as Merkel’s alliance gets 33% Live updates (24/09/2017) | @rt

All Eyes on Germany ? Federal Election 2017 | @gmfus

Germany election 2017 | @reuters



German federal election 2017


The German Federal Election: Will Angela Merkel Stand Her Ground? (w Video) | @cfr’s Election Forecast | @zweitstimme_org

GERMAN FEDERAL ELECTION 2017? VOTE BY MEME (22/09/2017) | Willem Van Boxtel @tnf_webzine

The myth of the ‘boring election’: Populism and the 2017 German election | Fabian G. Neuner & Christopher Wratil @LSEEuroppblog

Germany federal election 2017: The final countdown | @SBS

2017 German Federal Election | WORLD ELECTION FORECAST


What to know about Germany’s general election on Sept 24 (09/22/2017) | @STcom

Delimitation of constituencies | @Wahlleiter_Bund
Map of constituencies for the elections to the 19th German Bundestag (PDF) | @Wahlleiter_Bund

New Zealand Vol.12 (General Election 2017)

Here is information on the election.


A better visual breakdown of the 2017 election results (09/24/2017) | Stephen Beban @TheSpinoffTV

2017 General Election – Preliminary Count | @ElectoralCommNZ

Election 2017: Results at a glance | @nzherald

Electorate profiles | @NZParliament
Electorates ( ) = Census Usually Resident Population Count 2013
Auckland Central (60,204)
Bay of Plenty (64,890)
Botany (63,540)
Christchurch Central (65,175)
Christchurch East (64,761)
Clutha-Southland (65,448)
Coromandel (65,865)
Dunedin North (62,034)
Dunedin South (60,828)
East Coast Bays (59,574)
East Coast (94,875)
Epsom (61,875)
Hamilton East (71,157)
Hamilton West (70,992)
Helensville (60,312)
Hunua (64,653)
Hutt South (69,117)
Ilam (61,332)
Invercargill (63,975)
Kaikōura (63,021)
Kelston (63,096)
Mana (69,162)
Māngere (66,018)
Manukau East (64,929)
Manurewa (72,618)
Maungakiekie (67,581)
Mt Albert (63,606)
Mt Roskill (61,401)
Napier (70,668)
Nelson (63,354)
New Lynn (61,266)
New Plymouth (68,814)
North Shore (64,149)
Northcote (64,344)
Northland (83,568)
Ōhāriu (60,186)
Ōtaki (64,044)
Pakuranga (61,827)
Palmerston North (66,558)
Papakura (73,359)
Port Hills (64,986)
Rangitata (63,897)
Rangitīkei (68,523)
Rimutaka (69,159)
Rodney (62,274)
Rongotai (63,459)
Rotorua (77,529)
Selwyn (59,232)
Tāmaki (59,850)
Taranaki-King Country (67,542)
Taupō (74,565)
Tauranga (63,870)
Te Atatū (67,890)
Tukituki (73,407)
Upper Harbour (66,162)
Waikato (73,833)
Waimakariri (59,097)
Wairarapa (67,005)
Waitaki (64,671)
Wellington Central (62,940)
West Coast-Tasman (62,385)
Whanganui (72,243)
Whangarei (73,149)
Wigram (60,207)

Hauraki-Waikato (94,539)
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti (85,299)
Tāmaki Makaurau (89,160)
Te Tai Hauāuru (97,788)
Te Tai Tokerau (96,273)
Te Tai Tonga (122,298)
Waiariki (83,361)

Balkan Vol.3 (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia)

former Yugoslavia
Bosnia & Herzegovina




UK Vol.95 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.24)

Here are articles on Brexit.

Statement by the European Council (Art. 50) on the UK notification (w Video & PDFs; 29/03/2017)

Now that Article 50 has been triggered, reality will start to bite (31/03/2017) | @ConUnit_UCL

The white paper on Brexit: a wish list disguised as a strategy (02/02/2017) | Dan Roberts @guardian

What the Brexit white paper says (and doesn’t say) about trade (02/03/2017) | Maria Garcia @ConversationEDU

Article 50 triggered – but is a Brexit deal really possible in two years? (29/03/2017) | @RGWhitman @ConversationUK

The Great Repeal Bill could prove costly | Professor Robert Lee, Head of @bhamlaw

How rupture with mainland Europe caused Britain to falter for hundreds of years (28/03/2017) | Stephen Church @ConversationUK

Brexit – The UK’s greatest transformation project (04/10/2016) | Ross Dawson

Carmakers eye more UK suppliers to handle hard Brexit (10/03/2017) | @CPitas @ReutersUK

Despite Brexit fears more companies have been set up in Cornwall in 2016 than in previous years (06/02/2017) | @Oli_Vergnault @CornwallLive

Theresa May’s meeting with Angela Merkel at EU summit is cancelled (03/02/2017) | Peter Walker & Daniel Boffey @guardian

Pound plunges amid fears over Brexit delays (09/06/2017) | @jilltreanor @guardian

Brexit with Dr Serena Kelly (w Voice; 18/01/2017) – Summer Days with Jesse Mulligan @radionz

Brexit and the People of Wales: What Do We Know? What Could We Know? (29/03/3017) | Professor Roger Scully @cardiffuni

SNP offers to abandon independence referendum if Theresa May lets Scotland stay in the European single market (14/03/2017) | Charlotte England

Scotland heads towards a second independence referendum (14/03/2017) | @craigmcangus @ConversationUK

NORTHERN IRELAND: POST-BREXIT (29/03/2017) | @QueensUBelfast

Brexit may hinder local Government co-operation – UCC centre director says Northern Ireland could move away from various EU directives (08/03/2017) | Barry Roche @IrishTimes

Brexit Insights: Lords INTERVIEW with Lord Jonathan Hill and Minister Eoghan Murphy | @matheson

Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.20

Here are tweets which include free papers, reports/articles (citing others), et al.

Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.19

Here are tweets which include free papers, reports/articles (citing others), and videos.

Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.15

Here are our RTs which include free papers, reports/articles (citing others), videos, et al.

UK Vol.87 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.16: 2017 General Election – Conservative Party Manifesto)

Here is FORWARD TOGETHER: THE CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO (issuu or PDF) in May 2017. Excerpts are on our own.

…build a Great Meritocracy…

Strong and stable leadership
… Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, we have seen confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations. …
Five giant challenges
1. The need for a strong economy.
2. Brexit and a changing world.
3. Enduring social divisions.
4. An ageing society.
5. Fast-changing technology.
Governing from the mainstream
… Rather than pursue an agenda based on a supposed centre ground defined and established by elites in Westminster, we will govern in the interests of the mainstream of the British public. We will get on with the job and take Britain out of the European Union. …
…there will be no ideological crusades. …
We will govern in the interests of ordinary, working families
We believe in the good that government can do
… If we want to overcome Britain’s enduring social divisions, we will need to give people real opportunity and make Britain the world’s Great Meritocracy. That will require government to take on long-ignored problems like Britain’s lack of training and technical education, as well as long-lasting injustices…
Our principles
… Because Conservatism is not and never has been the philosophy described by caricaturists. We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality. We see rigid dogma and ideology not just as needless but dangerous.
True Conservatism means a commitment to country and community; a belief not just in society but in the good that government can do; a respect for the local and national institutions that bind us together…
A vision of a stronger Britain and a prosperous future

p.12 Summary
p.13 A strong economy is the basis for everything we want to achieve as a nation.
Sound money and responsible public finances are the essential foundations of national economic success.
Keeping taxes as low as possible
Paying your fair share of tax is the price of living in a civilised democracy but politicians should never forget that taxes are levied on businesses that employ people, and individuals who work hard and face tough decisions about how they spend their money. …
By 2020, we will, as promised, increase the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000. We will continue to ensure that local residents can veto high increases in Council Tax via a referendum. And we will not increase the level of Value Added Tax.
Corporation Tax is due to fall to seventeen per cent by 2020 – the lowest rate of any developed economy – and we will stick to that plan, because it will help to bring huge investment and many thousands of jobs to the UK. …
Increasing trade
…we want to negotiate a new deep and special partnership with the EU, which will allow free trade between the UK and the EU’s member states. As part of the agreement we strike, we want to make sure that there are as few barriers to trade and investment as possible. Leaving the European Union also means we will be free to strike our own trade agreements with countries outside the EU.
We will ensure immediate stability by lodging new UK schedules with the World Trade Organization, in alignment with EU schedules to which we are bound whilst still a member of the European Union. …
We will create a network of Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners to head nine new regional overseas posts. These commissioners will lead export promotion, investment and trade policy overseas. We will reconvene the Board of Trade with a membership specifically charged with ensuring that we increase exports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England, and that trade policy is directly influenced by every part of our United Kingdom. …
Effective regulation
…we will continue to regulate more efficiently, saving £9 billion through the Red Tape Challenge and the One-In-Two-Out Rule.
… We will therefore examine ways in which the regulation of utilities and transport infrastructure can be improved to deliver a better deal for customers and sharper incentives for investment efficiency.

Conservatives believe that if you value something, you must be prepared to reform it in order to conserve it.
Guaranteeing a decent wage
…now receive a minimum of £7.50 an hour. A new Conservative government will continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings…
Rights and protections in the ‘gig’ economy
…the government commissioned Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, to review the changing labour market. We await his final report but a new Conservative government will act to ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected.
Stopping tax evasion
… We will improve HMRC’s capabilities to stamp down on smuggling, including by improving our policing of the border as we leave the European Union. We will also take further measures to reduce online fraud in Value Added Tax.
Protecting private pensions
… A Conservative government will act to tighten the rules against such abuse, and increase the punishment for those caught mismanaging pension schemes. We will build on existing powers to give pension schemes and the Pensions Regulator the right to scrutinise, clear with conditions or in extreme cases stop mergers, takeovers or large financial commitments that threaten the solvency of the scheme. …
Reforming rules on takeovers and mergers
… We shall also take action to protect our critical national infrastructure. We will ensure that foreign ownership of companies controlling important infrastructure does not undermine British security or essential services. We have already strengthened ministerial scrutiny and control in respect of civil nuclear power and will take a similarly robust approach across a limited range of other sectors, such as telecoms, defence and energy.
Fair corporate pay
… Senior corporate pay has risen far faster than corporate performance, and the gap between those paid most and those paid least has grown from 47:1 in 1998 to 128:1 in 2015.
The next Conservative government will legislate to make executive pay packages subject to strict annual votes by shareholders and listed companies will have to publish the ratio of executive pay to broader UK workforce pay. …
Better corporate governance
… To ensure employees’ interests are represented at board level, we will change the law to ensure that listed companies will be required either to nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director. …

Our modern industrial strategy is designed to deliver a stronger economy that works for everyone – where wealth and opportunity are spread across every community in the United Kingdom, not just the most prosperous places in London and the south east.
… We will spend more on research and development, to turn brilliant discoveries into practical products and transform the world’s industries – such as the batteries that will power a new generation of clean, efficient, electric vehicles. … We will build on the success of world-beating sectors such as car and aero manufacturing, financial services, life sciences, digital technology and our creative industries… We will deliver the infrastructure – the road, rail, airports and broadband – that businesses need.
Increasing innovation
University investment funds
National Productivity Investment Fund
…a new £23 billion… This will include £740 million of digital infrastructure investment, the largest investment in railways since Victorian times, £1.1 billion to improve local transport and £250 million in skills by the end of 2020. …will take total spending on housing, economic infrastructure and R&D to £170 billion during the next parliament.
Future Britain funds
…backing British infrastructure and the British economy. We anticipate early funds being created out of revenues from shale gas extraction, dormant assets, and the receipts of sale of some public assets. …
The skills we need
… We will therefore ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the government about how the visa system can become better aligned with our modern industrial strategy. …
…we will double the Immigration Skills Charge levied on companies employing migrant workers, to £2,000 a year by the end of the parliament, using the revenue generated to invest in higher level skills training for workers in the UK.
Backing small businesses
The Conservative Party is the party of enterprise and of the entrepreneur. …
…we will ensure that 33 per cent of central government purchasing will come from SMEs by the end of the parliament. …
…we will use our buying power to ensure that big contractors comply with the Prompt Payment Code both on government contracts and in their work with others. …
Supporting industries to succeed
Our modern industrial strategy is not about ‘planning’ the economy. …
…advanced manufacturing, such as aero and automotive engineering…
Other industries, like the oil and gas sector, are transforming. The North Sea has provided more than £300 billion in tax revenue to the UK economy and supports thousands of highly-skilled jobs across Britain. …
… Life sciences, for example, employs 175,000 people and many of the world’s top medicines have been developed in the UK. We will continue to support research into the diagnosis and treatment of rare cancers and other diseases, including Genomics England’s work in decoding 100,000 genomes. …
Competitive and affordable energy costs
… Our ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses. So as we upgrade our energy infrastructure…
A diverse energy mix
…while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities.
Natural gas from shale
We will set up a new Shale Environmental Regulator, which will assume the relevant functions of the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This will provide clear governance and accountability, become a source of expertise, and allow decisions to be made fairly but swiftly.
Finally, we will change the proposed Shale Wealth Fund so a greater percentage of the tax revenues from shale gas directly benefit the communities that host the extraction sites. …
Investing in transport
We are working through one of the largest-ever investment programmes in our roads and railways, putting some £40 billion into transport improvements…
…our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport…
… We want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it. …

Prosperous towns and cities across Britain
… We will hold a Great Exhibition of the North in 2018, to celebrate amazing achievements in innovation, the arts and engineering. We will support a UK city in making a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. And in this 70th Anniversary Year of the Edinburgh Festival we will support the development of the new Edinburgh Concert Hall, reaffirming Edinburgh as the UK’s leading festival city and a cultural beacon around the globe.
Our countryside communities
… We will help Natural England to expand their provision of technical expertise to farmers to deliver environmental improvements on a landscape scale, from enriching soil fertility to planting hedgerows and building dry stone walls. …
We will continue to take action to improve animal welfare. We will implement our proposed reforms on pet sales and licensing and will make CCTV recording in slaughterhouses mandatory. …
…decide the future of the Hunting Act.
…a comprehensive 25 Year Environment Plan…
Our coastal communities
… To provide complete legal certainty to our neighbours and clarity during our negotiations with the European Union, we will withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention…

p.30 Summary
p.31 The United Kingdom is embarking upon another era in our centuries-old story.
We are a United Kingdom, one nation made of four – the most successful political union in modern history.
…the 2012 and 2016 Scotland Acts…
… The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union but some would disrupt our attempts to get the best deal for Scotland and the United Kingdom with calls for a divisive referendum that the people of Scotland do not want. We have been very clear that now is not the time for another referendum on independence. In order for a referendum to be fair, legal and decisive, it cannot take place until the Brexit process has played out and it should not take place unless there is public consent for it to happen. This is a time to pull together, not apart. …
… Building on the City and Growth deals we have signed across Scotland, we will bring forward a Borderlands Growth Deal, including all councils on both sides of the border, to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland. We will protect the interests of Scottish farmers and fishermen…
…The 2017 Wales Act…
… We will build on the Cardiff Capital region and Swansea Bay City region deals, and bring forward a North Wales Growth Deal… …such as linking economic development between Cardiff, Newport and Bristol. …
…S4C…the Welsh language…
Northern Ireland
…the 1998 Belfast Agreement…
A Conservative government will continue to work for the full implementation of the 2014 Stormont House and 2015 Fresh Start Agreements. This includes new bodies for addressing the legacy of the past in fair, balanced and proportionate ways which do not unfairly focus on former members of the Armed Forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. …
Shared institutions of Union
United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund

… In her Lancaster House Speech, the prime minister laid out the twelve principles she intends to follow in seeking a new deep and special partnership with the European Union. We have explained our approach in the White Paper on the United Kingdom’s Exit from, and a new relationship with, the European Union, during the passage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act, in the prime minister’s letter to the president of the European Council invoking Article 50, and in the Great Repeal Bill White Paper.
Repatriating EU law to the United Kingdom
…the rights of workers and protections given to consumers and the environment by EU law will continue to be available in UK law at the point at which we leave the EU. … Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses, as will the devolved legislatures, where they have the power to do so.
… We will not bring the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law. We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament.

… We will continue to champion British values around the globe: freedom, democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. …
British leadership in international institutions
Global partnerships and alliances
…our proposed deep and special partnership with the European Union… …our existing special relationship with the United States… …our close links with our Commonwealth allies…
A global champion of free trade
Promoting British culture around the world
Leading the world in development
…we will maintain the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on assistance to developing nations and international emergencies.
Reforming asylum
… Wherever possible, the government will offer asylum and refuge to people in parts of the world affected by conflict and oppression, rather than to those who have made it to Britain. We will work to reduce asylum claims made in Britain and, as we do so, increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions. We will continue to work with other countries in Europe, and the United Nations, to review the international legal definitions of asylum and refugee status. …
Protecting the global environment
…the Paris Agreement. We were the first country to introduce a Climate Change Act, which Conservatives helped to frame, and we are halfway towards meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by eighty per cent from 1990 levels.
… We will work with our Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection in their precious waters, establishing the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world.
Modern slavery
… As home secretary, Theresa May brought forward the Modern Slavery Act, the first of its kind in Europe, appointed the world’s first anti-slavery commissioner and set up the Modern Slavery Taskforce to bring together the heads of MI5, MI6 and the National Crime Agency to coordinate our response to criminal gangs operating across the world. …

… We will retain the Trident continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our security.
We have the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in NATO. We will continue to meet the NATO commitment to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence and we will increase the defence budget by at least 0.5 per cent above inflation in every year of the new parliament.
The finest servicemen and women
… Under a Conservative government, British troops will in future be subject to the Law of Armed Conflict, which includes the Geneva Convention and UK Service Law, not the European Court of Human Rights. We will strengthen legal services regulation and restrict legal aid for unscrupulous law firms that issue vexatious legal claims against the armed forces. …
The best equipment for our armed forces
We plan to invest £178 billion in new military equipment over the next decade, creating high-skilled jobs across the whole country. For the first time in a generation the Royal Navy is growing. …
…HMS Queen Elizabeth…HMS Prince of Wales… Alongside our new Type 45 destroyers, we will build eight Type 26 anti-submarine frigates… We shall also deliver five Offshore Patrol Vessels.
For the Army we will deliver AJAX armoured vehicles, Apache attack helicopters, new drones, new missile and bomb systems, and better equipment for the Special Forces. The Royal Air Force will receive, with the Fleet Air Arm, the Lightning II strike fighter, as well as new Maritime Patrol Aircraft. …
Supporting our veterans
…the Armed Forces Covenant. …a one year holiday on Employer National Insurance Contributions… …a Veterans Board in the Cabinet Office.

…collective faith in our democratic institutions and our justice system has declined in the past two decades. …
A flourishing and secure democracy
… We will continue with the current boundary review, enshrining the principle of equal seats, while reducing the number of MPs to 600, similar to other Western democratic chambers. We will retain the first past the post system of voting for parliamentary elections and extend this system to police and crime commissioner and mayoral elections. We will retain the current franchise to vote in parliamentary elections at eighteen. We will repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. …
Celebrating public service
… We will continue to fund schemes to get graduates from Britain’s leading universities to serve in schools, police forces, prisons, and social care and mental health organisations. These programmes are now some of the UK’s largest graduate employers, taking the brightest and best from our universities and using their talents to tackle entrenched social problems. …
Reforming the justice system
Standing up for victims
…the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme…
Strengthening the police and security services
… We will create a national infrastructure police force, bringing together the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Ministry of Defence Police and the British Transport Police to improve the protection of critical infrastructure such as nuclear sites, railways and the strategic road network. We will strengthen Britain’s response to white collar crime by incorporating the Serious Fraud Office into the National Crime Agency… …the National Cyber Security Centre…
Punishment and reform
… The £15 billion annual cost to society of reoffending shows we have so much more to do to make the penal system work better. …
We will invest over £1 billion to modernise the prison estate, replacing the most dilapidated prisons and creating 10,000 modern prison places. …

p.48 Summary
The greatest injustice in Britain today is that your life is still largely determined not by your efforts and talents but by where you come from, who your parents are and what schools you attend. This is wrong. …
More good school places
… There are still 1 million children in primary and secondary schools rated by Ofsted as ’requires improvement’ or ’inadequate’. If schools across the Midlands and north of England had the same average standards as those in the south, nearly 200,000 more children would be attending good schools. …
… We will replace the unfair and ineffective inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths and none would be prepared to send their children to that school. We will work with the Independent Schools Council to ensure that at least 100 leading independent schools become involved in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools in the state system…
A knowledge-rich curriculum
… To maintain progress as children go through secondary school, we will improve schools’ accountability at key stage 3. We will expect 75 per cent of pupils to have been entered for the EBacc combination of GCSEs by the end of the next parliament, with 90 per cent of pupils studying this combination of academic GCSEs by 2025. …
Supporting teachers
… We will increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022, representing more than a real terms increase for every year of the parliament. We will continue to protect the Pupil Premium to support those who need it. …
World-class technical education
… We have already introduced high quality apprenticeships that can reach to degree level and beyond for the 200,000 young people who choose to enter full-time vocational study after their GCSEs each year. …
We will start by replacing 13,000 existing technical qualifications with new qualifications, known as T-levels, across fifteen routes in subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science. We will increase the number of teaching hours by fifty per cent to an average of 900 hours per year and make sure that each student does a three-month work placement as part of their course. …
… We will deliver our commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020 and in doing so we will drive up the quality of apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the skills employers need. …
Career learning
More people in work
…we will offer a holiday on their employers’ National Insurance Contributions for a full year. …

Controlling immigration
…with annual net migration standing at 273,000, immigration to Britain is still too high. …
Integrating divided communities
…help women in particular into the workplace, and teach more people to speak English. …
Defeating extremism
a Commission for Countering Extremism

To make Britain the world’s Great Meritocracy…we must look beyond divisions in educational opportunity.
The gender pay gap
… We will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish more data on the pay gap between men and women. …
The race gap
The mental health gap
…since 2010 we have increased spending on mental health each year to a record £11.4 billion in 2016/17, with a further investment of £1 billion by 20/21…
The disability gap
…the landmark Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. …
Preventing domestic violence
Reducing homelessness
…full implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. Our aim will be to halve rough sleeping over the course of the parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027. …

Fair markets for consumers
… As Conservatives, we believe in markets as the best means to bring about prosperity and innovation, but we should act firmly and fast when a market works against the interests of consumers. Since 2010, we have capped the cost of credit for expensive payday lenders and will shortly ban letting agent fees. …
… We will strengthen the powers of consumer enforcement bodies to order fines against companies breaking consumer law and deliver redress for wronged parties. … We will strengthen the hand of online consumers. …
… A Conservative government will reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly. We will crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents. We will also improve protections for those who rent… We will make billing for telecoms customers fairer and easier to understand… We will reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by cracking down on exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims. …
Fair energy markets
… First, we will ensure that smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020…
… We will introduce a safeguard tariff cap that will extend the price protection…
… We will improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, especially for the least well off, by committing to upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030. …
Fair debt
…a “Breathing Space” scheme…

p.62 Summary
… Conservatives believe in balancing the books and paying down debts – because it is wrong to pass to future generations a bill you cannot or will not pay yourself. …

Guaranteed annual increases in the state pension
A decade ago, pensions were in crisis and poverty blighted the retirement of many older people. It was wrong and it has been a Conservative government that has helped to put it right. By introducing the Pensions Triple Lock and the new State Pension, we have lifted the incomes of millions of older people, reducing pensioner poverty to historically low levels. …2020, and when it expires we will introduce a new Double Lock, meaning that pensions will rise in line with the earnings that pay for them, or in line with inflation – whichever is highest. …
… We will promote long-term savings and pensions products, including the Lifetime ISA, to encourage and incentivise more people to make provision for long-term needs, including a house purchase and retirement.
A long-term plan for elderly care
… We have already taken immediate action, putting £2 billion into the social care system and allowing councils to raise more money for care themselves from Council Tax. …
Under the current system, care costs deplete an individual’s assets, including in some cases the family home, down to £23,250 or even less.
First, we will align the future basis for means-testing for domiciliary care with that for residential care, so that people are looked after in the place that is best for them. This will mean that the value of the family home will be taken into account along with other assets and income, whether care is provided at home, or in a residential or nursing care home.
Second, to ensure this is fair, we will introduce a single capital floor, set at £100,000, more than four times the current means test threshold. This will ensure that, no matter how large the cost of care turns out to be, people will always retain at least £100,000 of their savings and assets, including value in the family home.
Third, we will extend the current freedom to defer payments for residential care to those receiving care at home, so no-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care.
the Dilnot Report
…our forthcoming green paper will also address system-wide issues to improve the quality of care and reduce variation in practice. This will ensure the care system works better with the NHS to reduce unnecessary and unhealthy hospital stays and delayed transfers of care, and provide better quality assurance within the care sector. …
…we will meanstest Winter Fuel Payments, focusing assistance on the least well-off pensioners, who are most at risk of fuel poverty. …

The money and people the NHS needs
First, we will increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years…
Second… Last year we announced an increase in the number of students in medical training of 1,500 a year…
Third, we will ensure that the NHS has the buildings and technology it needs to deliver care properly and efficiently. …
Fourth…we will recover the cost of medical treatment from people not resident in the UK. … And we will increase the Immigration Health Surcharge, to £600 for migrant workers and £450 for international students…
Fifth, we will implement the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review to make sure that patients get new drugs and treatments faster…
Holding NHS leaders to account
…NHS England… …the Five Year Forward View. … We will also back the implementation of the plan at a local level, through the Sustainability and Transformation Plans…
…in time for the start of the 2018 financial year, we will make non-legislative changes to remove barriers to the integration of care.
We will introduce a new GP contract to help develop wider primary care services. …
We will also help the million and more NHS clinicians and support staff develop the skills they need…
Exceptional standards of care, wherever, whenever
…we will make clinical outcomes more transparent so that clinicians and frontline staff can learn more easily from the best units and practices, and where there is clear evidence of poor patient outcomes, we will take rapid corrective action. …
…we will give patients, via digital means or over the phone, the ability to book appointments, contact the 111 service, order repeat prescriptions, and access and update aspects of their care records, as well as control how their personal data is used. …
…waiting times data for A&Es… …our National Diabetes Prevention Programme…
… Already 17 million people can get routine weekend or evening appointments at either their own GP surgery or one nearby, and this will expand to the whole population by 2019. …
We will retain the 95 per cent A&E target and the 18-week elective care standard…
… We will extend the scope of the CQC to cover the health-related services commissioned by local authorities. …
In cancer services, we will deliver the new promise to give patients a definitive diagnosis within 28 days by 2020…

pp.70-72 HOMES FOR ALL
… We will meet our 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and we will deliver half a million more by the end of 2022. We will deliver the reforms proposed in our Housing White Paper to free up more land for new homes in the right places…
…maintaining the existing strong protections on designated land like the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. …government building 160,000 houses on its own land. …
We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. …
…sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants… We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. …
…we will continue our £2.5 billion flood defence programme that will put in place protection for 300,000 existing homes by 2021.

High-quality childcare
…a Conservative government will introduce, this year, thirty hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds for working parents who find it difficult to manage the costs of childcare… …we will immediately institute a capital fund to help primary schools develop nurseries where they currently do not have the facilities to provide one…
Children’s and young people’s health
… We are seeing progress: smoking rates are now lower than France or Germany, drinking rates have fallen below the European average and teenage pregnancies are at record lows. …
… Half of all mental health conditions become established in people before the age of fourteen. … A Conservative
government will publish a green paper on young people’s mental health before the end of this year. …
Protecting vulnerable children and families
… Placing a child under the oversight of social services and taking a child into care are amongst the most serious duties the state may discharge. We will demand all local authorities be commissioners of the highest-quality family support and child protection services, removing these responsibilities from the weakest councils and placing them in trust. We will ensure that councils provide consistency of care and cannot relocate vulnerable children far from their home when it is not in their best interests to do so. We will review support for Children in Need to understand why their outcomes are so poor and what more support they might require, in and out of school.
Finally, we shall explore ways to improve the family justice system. The family courts need to do more to support families, valuing the roles of mothers and fathers, while ensuring parents face up to their responsibilities.

p.76 Summary
p.77 … These new technologies provide us with new and faster ways to communicate, learn, travel, have fun and do business. They accelerate the pace of change – ushering in new norms in the space of years rather than decades; challenging our laws and regulations to keep pace.
The best place for digital business
…our world-leading Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme… …open new offices of the British Business Bank in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport… When we leave the European Union, we will fund the British Business Bank with the repatriated funds from the European Investment Fund.
… By the end of this year, 19 out of 20 premises will have access to superfast broadband and our Universal Service Obligation will ensure that by 2020 every home and every business in Britain has access to high speed broadband. … We will introduce a full fibre connection voucher for companies across the country by 2018 and by 2022 we will have major fibre spines in over a hundred towns and cities, with ten million premises connected to full fibre…
… By 2022 we will extend mobile coverage further to 95 per cent geographic coverage of the UK. By the same date, all major roads and main line trains will enjoy full and uninterrupted mobile phone signal, alongside guaranteed WiFi internet service on all such trains. …
The safest place to be online
… We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm. …
… To create a sound ethical framework for how data is used, we will institute an expert Data Use and Ethics Commission…
…we will bring forward a new data protection law…to ensure the very best standards for the safe, flexible and dynamic use of data and enshrining our global leadership…the National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care on a statutory footing…
We will continue with our £1.9 billion investment in cyber security and build on the successful establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre…
A free media
…the Leveson Inquiry… We will repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014…

… We will therefore create a new presumption of digital government services by default and an expectation that all government services are fully accessible online, with assisted digital support available for all public sector websites. …local issues and public transport…roadworks, planning applications and bus routes… …’schools maps’…
…central and local government will be required to release information regularly and in an open format, and data will be aggregated and anonymised where it is important to do so. We will incubate more digital services within government and introduce digital transformation fellowships…
…we shall roll out Verify, so that people can identify themselves on all government online services by 2020, using their own secure data that is not held by government. … …the ’Once-Only’ principle in central government services by 2022 and wider public services by 2025. …
Digital infrastructure
… We are leading the world in preparing for autonomous vehicles and will press ahead with our plans to use digital technology to improve our railways… Smart grids will make the most efficient use of our electricity infrastructure and electric vehicles, and we will use technology to manage our airspace better to reduce noise pollution and improve capacity. …
Digital land
…the property development industry… …we will combine the relevant parts of HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the Hydrographic Office and Geological Survey to create a comprehensive geospatial data body within government…

Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree. …
An international settlement
…a framework for data ethics…


UK Vol.86 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.15: 2017 General Election – Labour Party Manifesto)

Here is THE LABOUR PARTY MANIFESTO 2017 in May 2017. Excerpts are on our own.

… Every election is a choice. What makes this election different is that the choice is starker than ever before. …
Britain is the fifth richest country in the world. But that means little when many people don’t share in that wealth. Many feel the system is rigged against them. …
Britain needs to negotiate a Brexit deal that puts our economy and living standards first. That won’t be achieved by empty slogans and posturing. We cannot put at risk our links with our largest trading partner. Instead we need a jobs-first Brexit that allows us to upgrade our economy for the 21st century.
Labour will invest in the cutting-edge jobs and industries of the future that can improve everybody’s lives. Which is why this manifesto outlines a fully costed programme to upgrade our economy. …
…this election is about what sort of country we want to be after Brexit. …
So let’s build a fairer Britain where no one is held back. A country where everybody is able to get on in life, to have security at work and at home, to be decently paid for the work they do, and to live their lives with the dignity they deserve. …

… Labour understands that the creation of wealth is a collective endeavour between workers, entrepreneurs, investors and government. Each contributes and each must share fairly in the rewards.
… Britain is the only major developed economy where earnings have fallen even as growth has returned after the financial crisis. Most working people in Britain today are earning less, after inflation, than they did ten years ago. …
… Our National Transformation Fund will deliver the investment that every part of Britain needs to meet its potential, overcoming years of neglect. …
…our Fiscal Credibility Rule…
…our Tax Transparency and Enforcement Programme…
But we will not ask ordinary households to pay more. A Labour government will guarantee no rises in income tax for those earning below £80,000 a year, and no increases in personal National Insurance Contributions or the rate of VAT. …
… Our Fiscal Credibility Rule is based on the simple principle that government should not be borrowing for day-to-day spending, but that future growth depends on investment. …
…a strengthened and truly independent Office for Budget Responsibility… the Kerslake Review of the Treasury.
… We will take advantage of near- record low interest rates to create a National Transformation Fund that will invest £250 billion over ten years in upgrading our economy. …
A Labour government will complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, and then into Scotland, consulting with (and, where necessary, compensating) communities. We will link HS2 with other rail investments, such as Crossrail of the North (tying together our great northern cities) and on to the Durham Freight Centre. We will build a new Brighton Main Line for the South East.
In London, to ensure our capital continues to prosper, we will build Crossrail 2.
To harness the economic potential of new technologies and science, we will complete the Science Vale transport arc, from Oxford to Cambridge through Milton Keynes.
… We will improve 4G coverage and invest to ensure all urban areas, as well as major roads and railways, have uninterrupted 5G coverage. On day one we will instruct the National Infrastructure Commission to report on how to roll out ‘ultrafast’ (300Mbps) across the UK within the next decade.
… The first missions set by a Labour government will be to:
1. ensure that 60 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030
2. create an innovation nation with the highest proportion of high- skilled jobs in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by 2030. We will meet the OECD target of 3 per cent of GDP spent on research and development by 2030.
In order to create a fertile ground for businesses to achieve these missions Labour will take action across the areas we know are necessary for business and industry to grow:
• Skills – by creating a National Education Service for England.
• Infrastructure – by investing £250 billion over the next ten years.
• UK supply chains – by targeting government support where there are gaps.
• Trade – by negotiating a new deal with Europe that puts jobs and the economy first.
• Procurement – by requiring the best standards on government contracts.
• Research and development – by committing extra research investment.
• Energy costs and security – by capping costs and investing in new publicly owned energy provision.
…the highly successful Automotive Council… …a Digital Ambassador…
… Following the successful example of Germany and the Nordic countries, we will establish a National Investment Bank that will bring in private capital finance to deliver £250 billion of lending power.
… We will take a new approach to the publicly-owned RBS, and launch a consultation on breaking up the bank to create new local public banks that are better matched to their customers’ needs. And we will extend existing Stamp Duty Reserve Tax to cover a wider range of assets, ensuring that the public gets a fairer share of financial system profits. …
… Labour will amend the takeover regime to ensure that businesses identified as being ‘systemically important’ have a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners when a company is taken over. Labour will also legislate to reduce pay inequality by introducing an Excessive Pay Levy on companies with staff on very high pay.
… In order to provide the support many small businesses need, a Labour government will:
• Mandate the new National Investment Bank, and regional development banks in every region, to identify where other lenders fail to meet the needs of SMEs and prioritise lending to improve the funding gap.
• Introduce a package of reforms to business rates – including switching from RPI to CPI indexation, exempting new investment in plant and machinery from valuations…
• Scrap quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000.
• Developing a version of the Australian system of binding arbitration and fines for persistent late-payers for the private and public sectors.
…water bills have increased 40 per cent since privatisation, and our private energy providers overcharged customers by £2 billion in 2015. …Royal Mail has increased stamp and parcel charges, and failed to meet its customer service obligations, while its owners trade shares at significant profit.
… One in ten households are in fuel poverty, yet the Competition Markets Authority found customers are overcharged an enormous £2 billion every year.
… Homeowners will be offered interest- free loans to improve their property. For renters, Labour will improve on existing Landlord Energy Efficiency regulations and re-establish the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance to encourage the uptake of efficiency measures.
… We will support further nuclear projects and protect nuclear workers’ jobs and pensions. There are considerable opportunities for nuclear power and decommissioning both internationally and domestically.

We will end Theresa May’s reckless approach to Brexit, and seek to unite the country around a Brexit deal that works for every community in Britain.
We will scrap the Conservatives’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union – which are essential for maintaining industries, jobs and businesses in Britain. Labour will always put jobs and the economy first.
A Labour government will immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain and secure reciprocal rights for UK citizens who have chosen to make their lives in EU countries. …
It is shameful that the Prime Minister rejected repeated attempts by Labour to resolve this issue before Article 50 was triggered. …
Labour recognises that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. …
…Horizon 2020… …Euratom and the European Medicines Agency… …the Erasmus scheme…
The EU has had a huge impact in securing workplace protections and environmental safeguards. But we all know that for many Brexiteers in the Tory Party, this was why they wanted to Leave – to tear up regulations and weaken hard-fought rights and protections.
… Eurojust and Europol… …European Arrest Warrants…
… In particular Labour will ensure there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and that there is no change in the status or sovereignty of Gibraltar. …
…the Forced Marriage Unit…
… Our National Education Service…
For areas where immigration has placed a strain on public services we will reinstate the Migrant Impact Fund and boost it with a contributory element from the investments required for High Net Worth Individual Visas. …
… Labour will set out our priorities in an International Trade White Paper to lead a national debate on the future of Britain’s trade policy. …
The EU accounts for 44 per cent of our current exports and will continue to be a priority trading partner.
… We will develop an export incentive scheme for SMEs based on international best practice, and we will ring-fence Tradeshow Access Programme grants to help SMEs reach new customers around the world.
…we will actively support international negotiations towards an Environmental Goods Agreement at the WTO. …

…Labour will create a unified National Education Service (NES)…
…English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses. …


… As the Conservatives abandon their commitments to older people, Labour will guarantee the state pension ‘triple lock’ throughout the next Parliament. It will rise by at least 2.5 per cent a year or be increased to keep pace with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.
… The pension age is due to rise to 66 by the end of 2020. Labour rejects the Conservatives’ proposal to increase the state pension age even further. …

… Labour will establish a new Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis… We will overhaul the Homes and Communities Agency to be Labour’s housing delivery body, and give councils new powers to build the homes local communities need.
…our National Transformation Fund…
… We will guarantee Help to Buy funding until 2027 to give long-term certainty to both first-time buyers and the housebuilding industry. …
… We will also empower tenants to call time on bad landlords by giving renters new consumer rights. Renters are spending £9.6 billion a year on homes that the government classes as ‘non-decent’. Around a quarter of this is paid by housing benefit. A Labour government would introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’ and empower tenants to take action if their rented homes are sub-standard. …
…starting by making available 4,000 additional homes reserved for people with a history of rough sleeping. …

… We will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours. By properly resourcing the NHS, Labour will stop the routine breach of safe levels of bed occupancy, and we will end mixed-sex wards. We will deliver the Cancer Strategy for England in full by 2020, helping 2.5 million people living with cancer. And, by properly resourcing ambulance services, we will end the scandal of slowing ambulance-response times. …
… We will increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need. And we will halt pharmacy cuts and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities.
…PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)…
Public health
… Labour will implement the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the ‘sugar tax’.
…a Tobacco Control Plan…
NHS Staff
NHS Funding
…we will introduce a new Office for Budget Responsibility for Health to oversee health spending and scrutinise how it is spent.
Labour will halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, which are looking at closing health services across England, and ask local people to participate in the redrawing of plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances. We will create a new quality, safety and excellence regulator – to be called ‘NHS Excellence’. …
…one in ten people reaching the age of 65 have faced lifetime care costs of over £100,000…
… Around 1.2 million older people have care needs that are going unmet. …
…Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England.
… We will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This will be enough for providers to pay a real living wage without cutting the quality of care they provide. It will allow implementation of the principles of the Ethical Care Charter, already adopted in 28 council areas, ending 15-minute care visits…
…the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)…

… We will establish a National Refuge Fund and…
Security and counter-terrorism

… Labour will end the closure of Crown Post Office branches, which play a major role in serving their communities. We will also set up a commission to establish a Post Bank, owned by the Post Office and providing a full range of banking services in every community. …
Labour will support tourism at the heart of government. The tourism industry represents 9.6 per cent of UK employment, 4.9 per cent of export and 9 per cent of GDP, but its importance is too often forgotten. …
The Conservatives have failed to provide a clear, ambitious or sustainable vision for the future of the farming, food and fishing industries.
We will expand the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure suppliers and consumers get a fair deal. …
… We will introduce a Public Ownership of the Railways Bill to repeal the Railways Act 1993 under which the Conservatives privatised our railways. …
A Labour government will complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester… (see the above INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT of CREATING AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL)
We will continue to upgrade our highways and improve roadworks at known bottlenecks. The A1 North, the Severn Bridge and the A30 provide essential connections and require our urgent consideration. We will work with the Welsh Government to scrap the tolls on the Severn Bridge. …
We will introduce a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to upgrade our existing cultural and creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age and invest in creative clusters across the country, based on a similar model to enterprise zones. Administered by the Arts Council, the fund will be available over a five-year period. It will be among the biggest arts infrastructure funds ever, transforming the country’s cultural landscape. …
We recognise the serious concern about the ‘value gap’ between producers of creative content and the digital services that profit from its use, and we will work with all sides to review the way that innovators and artists are rewarded for their work in the digital age.
… Labour will hold a national review local media and into the ownership of national media to ensure plurality.
To protect democracy and media freedom, we will take steps to ensure that Ofcom is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of media ownership…
… Labour will ensure the Premier League delivers on its promise to invest 5 per cent of its television rights income into the grassroots game to help the next generation of players and coaches…

… We will reduce the voting age to 16. At 16, you are eligible to pay tax, get married or even join the army. You deserve a vote. …
… Labour will create a role for a Minister for England, who will sit under the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government…
… We will establish a Scottish Investment Bank, with £20 billion of funds available to local projects and…
… We will build on the Development Bank of Wales using more than £10 billion from Labour’s new National Investment Bank. …
…the Good Friday Agreement…

… Unlawful maternity and pregnancy discrimination is now more common in Britain’s workplaces than ever before, with 54,000 pregnant women and new mothers forced out of their jobs in 2015. …
A Labour government will reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010…
… Black and Asian workers still suffer a massive pay gap. By introducing equal pay audit requirements on large employers, Labour will close this pay gap. …
…the Parker Review recommendations…
… Currently 4.2 million People with disabilities live in poverty in Britain, and the disability employment gap remains stubbornly high. …

Unlike the Conservatives, Labour believes Britain’s foreign policy should be guided by the values of peace, universal rights and international law. Today, these values are being tested. As we leave the European Union, keeping Britain global is one of our country’s most urgent tasks. …
… Labour is strongly committed to reducing human suffering caused by war. We will publish a strategy for protecting civilians in conflict, setting out detailed plans for work on conflict prevention and resolution, post- conflict peacebuilding, and justice for the victims of war crimes. Labour has created a Minister for Peace and Disarmament to lead this work.
…we also acknowledge its shortcomings, particularly in light of repeated abuses of the veto power by some permanent members of the UN Security Council. We will work with our international partners to build support for UN reform and make its institutions more effective and responsive. …
… Cyber security will form an integral part of our defence and security strategy and we will introduce a cyber-security charter for companies working with the Ministry of Defence.
… The scrapping of Nimrod, HMS Ark Royal and the Harrier jump-jets have weakened our defences and cost British taxpayers millions.
Labour’s commitment to spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence will guarantee that our Armed Forces have the necessary capabilities…
… Labour will publish a Defence Industrial Strategy White Paper, including a National Shipbuilding Strategy to secure a long-term future for the industry, workers and UK defence.
…the Forces Help to Buy scheme…
…the Armed Forces Covenant…
…a Homes Fit for Heroes programme…
…the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…
… Africa’s economies alone lose more than £46 billion annually through corruption and tax evasion – more than 10 times what they receive in aid. …
… We would reinstate the Civil Society Challenge Fund to support trade unions, women’s associations and other civil society organisations which are the most effective forces in winning human rights and workers’ rights.
… We will establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage, providing global partnerships, support and encouragement to countries that want UHC…

Additional Resources

France Vol.3 (2017 French Presidential Elections)

Here are a part of articles on the 2017 French presidential elections.

Speech by M. Emmanuel Macron, President-elect: “Let’s love France” (w Video; 7/5/2017) | @FranceintheUK

How is the President of the French Republic elected? | @FranceAustralia
France localFrPrEl9

Emmanuel Macron is elected as the next president of France (7/5/2017) | @TheEconomist

Macron Decisively Defeats Le Pen in French Presidential Race (w Video; 7/5/2017) | ALISSA J. RUBIN @nytimes

Emmanuel Macron wins presidency as France rejects far-right (w Video; 7/5/2017) | James Masters & Kara Fox @CNN

Macron victory in France sends euro to 6-month high (5/8/2017) | Mark Thompson @CNNMoney

Macron Vows to Heal France’s Divisions After Victory Over Le Pen (8/5/2017) | @HeleneFouquet @JohnFollain @gviscusi @MarkJDeen @business
FiveMaps That Show Why Macron Beat Le Pen (8/5/2017) | @andretartar, @cedricsam & Samuel Dodge @business

How the Election Split France (4/23/2017) | @nytimes

RESULTS: Full breakdown of how France voted in the first round (23/4/2017) | @TheLocalFrance

Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next French President (w PDF; 4/2017) | Thomas GOMART, (ed.) , Marc HECKER, (ed.) , Alain ANTIL, Marie-Claire AOUN, Christophe BERTOSSI, Corentin BRUSTLEIN, Alice EKMAN, Sébastien JEAN, Tatiana KASTOUEVA-JEAN, Barbara KUNZ, Frédéric MONLOUIS-FÉLICITÉ, Laurence NARDON, Françoise NICOLAS, Julien NOCETTI, Céline PAJON, Michel PÉBEREAU, Vivien PERTUSOT, Dorothée SCHMID, John SEAMAN, Hans STARK, Matthieu TARDIS @IFRI_

All in play as France prepares to tear up political playbook (4/20/2017) | PEPE ESCOBAR @asiatimesonline



Central Asia Vol.3


cf. Uzbekistan country profile (12/14/2016) | @BBC   Uzbekistan: Economy | @ADB_HQ   Uzbekistan | @StateDept   Uzbekistan | Observatory of Economic Complexity @MIT   Trains in Uzbekistan    UZBEKISTAN AND KAZAKHSTAN: A TALE OF TWO TRANSITION PATHS? (PDF; 2004) | Asad Alam and Arup Banerji @WorldBank   Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan Deploy Troops In Dispute Over Border Mountain (3/23/2016) | @pragpete @RFERL   Public health risk assessment and interventions – Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (PDF; June 2010) | @WHO   Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan map (PDF) | @FAO   Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Flights Loom, And Prices Soar (2/1/2017) | Kamila Ibragimova @EurasiaNet   Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan | @WWF   Uzbekistan’s View of Security in Afghanistan After 2014 (PDF) | Matthew Stein @ Foreign Military Studies Office   Uzbek Railways awarded new Afghan operations and maintenance contract (3/22/2015) | @andrew_grantham   Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran Combined Tour 23 days | @NasrinInfo

(Excerpts are on our own.)

Brothers Again: Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana. (3/24/2017) | Catherine Putz @Diplomat_APAC   … Nazarbayev, a long-time proponent of regional integration initiatives, never quite found a receptive partner in Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov. … Nazarbayev said that the two leaders would sign 75 contracts worth nearly $1 billion at a Kazakh-Uzbek business forum on March 23. … Uzbekistan has the population advantage, with more than 30 million to Kazakhstan’s 17 million; but Kazakhstan has had the economic advantage with a GDP of $184.4 billion in 2015, to Uzbekistan’s $66.7 billion. …

Dammed or Damned: Tajikistan and Uzbekistan Wrestle Over Water-Energy Nexus (4/2/2013) | Shavkat Kasymov @WorldPolicy   … Tajikistan consumes an average of 39,000 barrels a day, mostly from Uzbekistan… A main point of contention is a controversial hydroelectric project, the Rogun Dam, in the works since the 1960s. The project has been advertised by Tajik leaders as a path to energy and economic independence, but Uzbeks claim it will stop their share of the flow of the Vakhsh River, a resource that is crucial to its cotton monocrop economy. … The bulk of it is consumed by the Tadaz aluminum plant, a major source of revenues for the state budget. …

Afghanistan, Uzbekistan Trade Relations Strengthened (1/3/2017) | @TOLOnews   … “When we import goods from Pakistan, it takes nineteen days, but when we import from Uzbekistan, it takes nine days,” said Rasa. …construction materials will be imported from Uzbekistan and that Uzbek companies will invest in road construction, bridges and railways in the country. …

Uzbekistan, key to Afghan war drawdown, to ban foreign military bases (8/30/2012) | Abdujalil Abdurasulov @csmonitor   … When Pakistan closed the main NATO supply route in November, the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a route that relies on Uzbekistan, took up the slack – about 75 percent of all non-lethal cargo was shipped through the NDN supply route mostly via Uzbekistan. … Uzbekistan is trying to send a message to Russia and its neighbors that Tashkent is not going to make a U-turn and host US bases on its territory. … Tashkent-based political analyst Farkhod Tolipov says Uzbekistan’s ban is in an effort to prevent militarization in the region. “Any new base will only lead to a geopolitical competition.” …

Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan: Staying Away (PDF) | S. Frederick Starr @SilkRoadStudies   … Uzbekistan has the region’s largest military force and Turkmenistan one of the smallest. And Uzbekistan inherited from Soviet times the largest establishment of heavy industry, while Turkmenistan began with the smallest. … No sooner did the Uzbeks arrive in Central Asia in the thirteenth century than they began settling in the region’s ancient cities, with their capital at Bukhara. … In gestures directed against what they openly call Russian colonialism, both Latinized their alphabets (the only states in the region to do so) and have marginalized the Russian language. … With respect to Turkmenistan, it can push Iran to seize the initiative in supplying Pakistan and India with gas; create access problems at Turkmenistan’s expanded Black Sea port of Turkmenbashi… Russia can easily invent and apply other restrictions to prevent Uzbek goods such as fruits and vegetables from entering its market. Considering that Russian-Uzbek bilateral trade reached $7 billion in 2013… Russia has already begun to play the “water and electricity card” against both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. …Kambarata hydropower plant and effectively controls the Toktogul reservoir and power plant, both in Kyrgyzstan. …democratization and human rights. … Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are the main bellwethers for stability and instability in Central Asia as a whole. …they value their trade with Russia, which for each country is valued at approximately $7 billion per annum. …unclear whether Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, too, will be drawn into the Eurasian Economic Union, remain outliers constantly under pressure from Moscow, or become beacons of sovereignty, self-determination, coordination and cooperation in the region…

Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.5

Here are @_WorldSolutions’ RTs which include free papers, reports, podcasts, video, et al.

Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.2

Here are @_WorldSolutions’ RTs from February to late January 2017 which include free papers, reports, podcast, et al.

Free papers, reports, et al. Vol.1

Here are @_WorldSolutions’ recent RTs which include free PDFs of papers, reports, et al.

UK Vol.81 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.14 – Theresa May calls for a General Election to be held on June 8th)

Here are articles on UK PM May’s seeking a snap general election. Excerpts are on our own.

Tories can win 100-seat majority, analysis from poll of polls suggests (w Videos & Maps; 18/4/2017) | @benrileysmith @Telegraph
… @WhatScotsThink @UniStrathclyde …
… Labour marginal seats in the West Midlands, on the edge of Northern cities and in London suburbs are believed to be the most likely to fall to the Tories. …

We need an election now to deliver Brexit as rebels are trying to subvert will of the people ‘every step of the way’, Theresa May says in exclusive chat with The Sun – The Prime Minister also laid down the gauntlet to her own rebel Tory MPs to sign up to her Brexit plans, or ship out (w Videos; 18/4/2017) | @tnewtondunn @SunPolitics
…there is very clear potential for voting against the legislation to implement the leaving of the EU, and against the final deal – trying to stop us every step of the way.”
She added: “It became clearer that the next stages of the process – the Great Repeal Bill – would become more difficult.
…not waiting for constituency boundary changes to be enacted in October 2018, which would have given the Tories an extra 20 seats. …
The PM also rejected SNP boss Nicola Sturgeon’s claim that an election victory in Scotland for her party would count as a fresh mandate to hold another Scottish independence referendum. …

The key questions posed by Theresa May’s call for a snap election (w Videos;19/4/2017) | @APLhack @SkyNews
Firstly, it is important to remember the Prime Minister has not called an election, but has signalled her intention to hold one.
Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act…
…able to call an election before then if it is backed by two-thirds of MPs or if there is a no confidence vote in the Government. …

… The Prime Minister is seeking a vote in Parliament tomorrow. …
First, it will lift the threat of possible by-elections that could be triggered by the ongoing police investigation into allegations that the Conservative Party systematically over-spent in the 2015 election and far exceeded legal restrictions on election expenses in more than 10 seats. …
In Northern Ireland, the election compounds the political turmoil, …the subsequent inability of the unionist and nationalist parties to come to a new agreement. …

Good for the Conservatives, bad for the country: Four reasons why a snap election is a bad idea (18/4/2017) | @adefty (@unilincoln) @LSEpoliticsblog
…simply not necessary
…will not alter the reality of the referendum result
…unlikely to change the fundamental divisions across the UK and may accelerate the break-up of the Union
…distraction from the Brexit negotiations

Theresa May seeks House of Commons backing for early general election (w Video; 19/4/2017) | @itvnews
… Overnight Mrs May spoke to US President Donald Trump who “wished the British people the best of luck in their electoral process”, the White House said. …
… @PlymUni’s Professor Colin Rallings (in the video)…

Election 2017: No TV debates this time (18/4/2017) | @GaryGibbonBlog @Channel4News
… Theresa May is not a huge fan of these sorts of encounters and her team think they open up risks that don’t need to be taken. So the 2017 general election will make the 2015 one look like “access all areas” as far as the Tories are concerned. …

Jeremy Corbyn blasts chicken Theresa May for refusing to take part in general election TV debates – Labour’s leader branded the PM’s behaviour “strange” and the Lib Dems said her “attempt to dodge scrutiny shows how she holds the public in contempt” (18/4/2017) | @benglaze & @mikeysmith @MirrorPolitics
… They believed the victory in Cumbria opened the door to a raft of seats the party would never have previously targeted.
Tory high command believes central and western areas of the North are now seen as particularly vulnerable for Labour. …

Theresa May ‘rules out taking part in TV debates’ ahead of snap election (18/4/2017) | SEAN MORRISON @standardnews
… A BBC spokesman said that it was too early to say whether the broadcaster would seek to stage a debate ahead of the election on June 8.

Labour MPs announce they are standing down as Theresa May calls for a snap general election – Tom Blenkinsop says he cannot ‘in good faith’ run for re-election while Jeremy Corbyn is leader while Alan Johnson decides to retire now rather than wait for 2022 (w Video; 18/4/2017) | @cjmortimer @Independent
… Middlesbrough, in North Yorkshire, is considered part of the traditional Labour heartland but voted for Brexit in the referendum last year. …

‘Crush the saboteurs’: British newspapers react to general election – The Daily Mail has an air of menace and the Sun and Telegraph trumpet Tory triumph, while the Times and Guardian see bid for political strength (19/4/2017) | @janemartinson @guardian

General Election: May pledges to ‘strengthen UK’s negotiating hand’ as Brexit talks loom – THERESA May claims a Conservative victory in June’s General Election will give Britain “the best possible negotiating position” as she hopes for national “stability” while negotiating Brexit. (19/4/2017) | WILL KIRBY @Daily_Express
… She said: “If we’re negotiating at a point that is quite close to a general election, I think the Europeans might have seen that as a time of weakness when they could push us. …

Pound shoots higher but FTSE 100 dives 2.5%, as Theresa May calls for snap General Election (18/4/2017) | Mark Shapland @DailyMailUK
… Sterling had dropped 0.3 per cent this morning on news of a surprise announcement by the Prime Minister, falling to $1.251, but as she gave her speech it recovered and then shot up to trade higher at $1.276.
In contrast with the pound, the FTSE 100 stock market index, which was already trading down this morning, did not bounce back. At the close it was down 181 points, or 2.5 per cent, at 7,147.5. …

Theresa May calls snap election in bid to strengthen hand in Brexit talks – Sterling climbs on expectation of bigger Tory majority and ‘softer’ EU exit (18/4/2017) | @GeorgeWParker @henrymance @PickardJE @FT
…privately some fear they could be exposed to a strong challenge from the Liberal Democrats, who are promising a second referendum on any final Brexit deal. …

Ireland Vol.24 (Munster Vol.2 – Kerry, Cork)


cf. County Kerry: Kerry is more than a mere county – it’s a Kingdom | @GoToIrelandUS   Kerry Group is a world leader in the food and beverage industry | @kerryfoodgroup   Zoning and Landscaping Maps | @countykerry


cf. An Economic Renaissance in Cork? (1/30/2014) | @davidmcw   Cork as a Business Location | @CorkChamber   Cork County Council supporting film production in Cork | @Corkcoco   Enterprise | @corkcitycouncil   Research Overview | @UCC

Cf. April 18, 1949 – Ireland Leaves the Commonwealth of Great Britain | @LawLegalHistory    Ireland | @edpearce080759    Republic of Ireland Act of 1948 | William Karr    The Republic of Ireland Act, 1948 | ISB    The formulation and consequences of the Republic of Ireland Act, 1948-49. (w PDF; 1990) | James Ian McCabe @LSELibrary


Caucasus Vol.1 (Armenia)

cf. Stuck with each other: A Russian ally rues its dependence upon Moscow (3/20/2015) | @TheEconomist    Armenia’s Russia problem (12/13/2016) | CHRISTINA GATHMAN @thehill (@IntelTrak)

Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process: Stage Two | @Armenia_Turkey    Armenia and Turkey: From normalization to reconciliation (2/24/2015) | Andrew Moffatt, Fiona Hill, and Kemal Kirişci @BrookingsFP

The potential and obstacles to Armenia-Iran strategic relations (3/16/2016) | Eduard Abrahamyan, The Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center    Christian Armenia and Islamic Iran: An unusual partnership explained (1/14/2013) | HAROUT HARRY SEMERDJIAN @thehill … Its border with an often unstable Georgia remains open to the North as well as a tiny 22-mile Southern border with Iran – termed as a “lifeline” for the culturally-rich yet resource-poor country of 3 million. …northern Iran is inhabited by over 15 million Azeris (double the population of the Republic of Azerbaijan), driving Iran’s concern of a potential… Two seats in the Iranian Parliament are appointed for Armenian representation and northern Iran, once a part of several Armenian kingdoms… Russia remains Armenia’s strategic ally and Armenia has very warm and developing relations with the United States and the EU. …the United States should assist Armenian integration in regional economic and transportation projects and to energize U.S.-Armenia economic relations via a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. …

The world’s first Christian country? (4/6/2017) | Amanda Proença Santos & Rodolfo Contreras @BBC (via @ARAMAC_DC)

Central Asia Vol.2


cf. Why are Russians Leaving Kazakhstan?   A quarter-century later… Ethnic Kazakhs…now represent nearly 70 percent… …the Kazakhstani government’s broader struggles at retaining the country’s ethnic minorities… …putatively Russophobic sentiments in Kazakhstan could incur a response from an expansionist Moscow…

Political map    The Migration Landscape of Kazakhstan’s Uyghur: A Historical Perspective    Kazakhs striving to prove Genghis Khan descent   Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan Economic Relations Make Progress    Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan: Competitors, Strategic Partners or Eternal Friends?    Delimitation of state border of independent Kazakhstan. Turkmenistan.

Balkan Vol.2 (Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania)





Baltic States and Finland

US Policy Changes Vol.63 (Deregulation/Reform/Inequality Vol.7)

Here are articles on inequality, financial reform, tax, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

America on the Brink of Oligarchy (8/23/2012) | Paul Starr (@WilsonSchool) @NewRepublic
The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy
By Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, and Henry E. Brady (Princeton University Press, 693 pp.)
By Jeffrey A. Winters (Cambridge University Press, 323 pp.)
The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy
By David Karpf (Oxford University Press, 237 pp.)
… Americans in the top fifth in socioeconomic status (a combined measure of income and education) are “roughly twice as likely to go to the polls as those in the bottom quintile” but about eight times more likely to make a political donation. …
… In research cited by Schlozman and her co-authors, Martin Gilens of Princeton University analyzed nearly two thousand questions in public-opinion surveys about proposed national policies from 1981 to 2002. On issues where opinion varied by income, he found that the policies finally adopted were strongly related to the preferences of upper-income people, and not at all to what the poor or even middle-income Americans wanted.
…twelve thousand organizations listed in the Washington Representatives directory. Contrary to a widespread misunderstanding, only a small proportion of groups represented in Washington (12 percent) are associations made up of individuals. The majority are corporations, governmental bodies, and associations of institutions. By sheer numbers, “representation of business is dominant.” In contrast, most workers who are neither professionals nor managers have no group in Washington representing their occupational interests, unless they are unionized—and only 7 percent of private-sector workers are now unionized.
The Unheavenly Chorus estimates that union members accounted for 25 percent of political activity in 1967 but for only 18 percent in 1990, and for just 11 percent in 2006. Meanwhile, corporations and the wealthy have been busily converting “market resources into political advocacy.”
… When C. Wright Mills wrote about “the power elite” in the 1950s, he was specifically referring to decision-makers at the pinnacle of corporate, military, and civilian bureaucracies. Winters rejects elite theory as a “detour,” and reaches back to an older tradition of thought stressing the distinctive role of wealth as a foundation of power. He traces his theory of oligarchy to Aristotle (“whenever men rule by reason of their wealth, whether they be few or many, that is an oligarchy”) and to Machiavelli, who was concerned with the means by which a republic could limit the power of wealth. …
… If a Michael Bloomberg decides to run for office, Winters points out, it is not because he is trying to keep his wealth safe from rivals or necessarily to advance his material interests. In a civil oligarchy, rather than seeking out the spotlight, the superrich can use their money to exert political influence, and they can hire the busy “worker bees” of what Winters calls the “Income Defense Industry,” including banks, investment advisors, and law and accounting firms. …particularly to the creation of tax shelters so costly that they are available only to the ultra-rich. …oligarchs have an interest in pushing tax obligations down to the mass affluent through a lower threshold for the highest tax bracket, which deflects some of the burden and may win the super-rich more allies in opposing higher marginal rates.
…the “lion’s share” of recent gains in income and wealth have gone “to a sliver of the population,” the top “1/10th and even 1/100th of the top 1 percent of households.” If political participation were the key, economic gains should at least have been diffused more widely among the mass affluent. …market-generated returns have also diverged because of changes in technology and the global economy, and although aggressively egalitarian policies might have limited the breakaway gains at the top, those policies were blocked by a conservative ideological resurgence that cannot be reduced to the influence of big money.
… Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation pays a tax rate of only 9.8 percent (compared with the statutory rate of 35 percent), because 90 percent of its earnings come from hotels and casinos in Singapore and Macao. Obama has proposed ending the deductions and credits that enable Sands to shelter billions in revenue from taxes. Adelson is also facing a Justice Department investigation of potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in his Macao dealings. Another big GOP donor, the Texas financier Harold Simmons, has used political contributions to win favorable legislation in his own and other states advancing his nuclear-waste business…
…David Karpf’s The MoveOn Effect… …@dailykos @DFAaction @BoldProgressive…
… In recent decades, while conservatives developed into a strong and cohesive political force, the rise of specialized, issue-based progressive advocacy led to a proliferation of separate agendas. So the rise of politically oriented “issue generalists” on the liberal side is a welcome development. In addition, the new groups are cheap to run, and they easily scale up to large dimensions.
…to suggest that the Internet is a “weapon of the strong” is to miss a crucial point: online organization does not depend on patronage by the wealthy. The new low-cost methods of organizing are especially important at a time when one of the central threats to American democracy is the entrenchment of oligarchic power. …

A Wasted Crisis?: Why the Democrats did so little to change Wall Street (7/12/2013) | Paul Starr (@WilsonSchool) @NewRepublic
…political changes have undermined whatever dignity and respect members of Congress once had. …
… But financial reform posed a difficult test for several reasons—the political power of the industry, the complexity of the issues, and the complicity of leading Democrats in the policies that helped to bring about the crisis.
…@OpenSecretsDC, which tracks political donations, “the financial sector is far and away the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties.” Thanks in part to federal policy, finance has become the dominant sector of the economy, increasing its share of total domestic profits from 15 percent in the early 1980s to 41 percent in the early 2000s. The financialization of the economy promotes the financialization of politics, as money finds its way to power. …
… The ultimate basis of finance’s power is structural: if governments adopt policies that genuinely threaten financial markets, capital will migrate elsewhere, credit will tighten, and economic growth will suffer. But the more complicated the markets become, the more difficult it is to know where the danger point lies. Complexity amplifies the industry’s influence in discussions about alternatives, because its CEOs and lobbyists can make inflated claims of perilous repercussions from change that legislators do not know enough to discount. …
… Removing those barriers did exactly the opposite. …Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut…
… Robert Kaiser’s Act of Congress is a step-by-step, journalistic narrative of the legislative process from the eruption of the financial crisis in September 2008 through the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010. In Kaiser’s telling, Congress overcame special-interest pressures and partisan obstruction, worked through complex issues, and enacted substantial and intelligent legislation. In stark contrast, Jeff Connaughton’s The Payoff is a burn-all-bridges memoir of a longtime lobbyist who became a top aide to a liberal Democratic senator and says that Dodd-Frank was shot through with holes as a result of special-interest pressures and the connivance of both Dodd and the administration. And in the most weighty and analytical of the books, Political Bubbles, the political scientists Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal argue that 2008 was a “wasted crisis” because American democracy failed not only in the run-up to the bailouts, but also in the aftermath. Dodd-Frank, they say, exemplifies a long historical pattern (except for the New Deal) of weak and often counterproductive governmental responses to breakdowns in the financial system.
… Frank and Dodd shared…the practical wisdom required to get things done. …
“Dodd’s personal attributes were even more important,” Kaiser writes. Not as brilliant as Frank but “bright enough,” Dodd was popular with other senators and shrewd in dealing with them, always looking for ways to address the “substantive concerns of his colleagues, especially Republicans.” In a memorable episode…
… Frank agreed to two concessions: a limit on the supervisory authority of the new agency that the law would establish to protect consumers, and a change in the formula for assessments paid to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which would shift more than $1 billion in annual fees from the community banks to the big banks. Wall Street would not like it, but by peeling off the hometown banks, Frank reduced local pressure on the Blue Dogs and other representatives to oppose the bill.
… Social scientists distinguish among three dimensions of power. Who wins and who loses in overt conflict is only the first dimension. The second dimension is control, often implicit, over what gets on the agenda and the issues and alternatives that never even come up for discussion. The third dimension involves the terms of debate, the ways of thinking about problems. …
… The industry opposed the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created under the law as well as other provisions, such as a watered-down version of the Volcker Rule…
…Jeff Connaughton…
… Dodd, whom Connaughton describes as “Machiavellian,” readily made concessions to Republicans who were not going to vote for the bill, while ignoring his own Democratic colleagues. …
In Political Bubbles, McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal… “We favor a strong set of simple rules rather than regulatory discretion,” they write. “The thirty-seven pages of Glass-Steagall are much to be preferred to the nearly three thousand pages of Dodd-Frank.”…
… “Washington rushed to bail out the commercial and investment banks and American International Group (AIG), but did little to relieve small debtors” and Congress passed Dodd-Frank, which “leaves ample opportunities for future bubbles.”
… Institutionally, the key development has been the increased use of the filibuster in the Senate. Together, the growth in ideological polarization in Congress and the exploitation of institutional choke points have led to gridlock, blocking legislative adjustment of policies as conditions change. And in the case of finance, that failure to update policy has effectively meant deregulation, because of the creation in recent decades of new financial products not envisioned under the New Deal regulatory regime. …
…a consumer coalition in 2009 announced it would raise $5 million to support financial reform; in comparison, the lobbying expenditures by the finance industry in 2009 and 2010 totaled around $750 million.
… Dodd-Frank’s establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the ACA’s insurance reforms and expansion of coverage. As a result of those provisions, I wouldn’t say that Dodd-Frank was a “waste” of a crisis or that the ACA was a mistake—but both laws leave key interests undisturbed and therefore do not deal with critical problems in either finance or health care. …
Yet the battles over financial reform and health care differed in at least one way. Financial reform never had the public’s attention the way health care did. According to McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal, “it was not because the public was divided, even along partisan lines, over the causes of the crisis or the need to reregulate the financial services industry.” In their view, skepticism about government’s ability to restrain Wall Street and confusion about what ought to be done dampened public engagement.
… During the debate over Dodd-Frank, neither Obama nor congressional leaders even tried to arouse public concern about Wall Street and build support for a stronger bill. Ironically, anger over Wall Street and the bailouts found its expression in the Tea Party in 2010. …
… Connaughton’s memoir is a reminder about such deceptions as Goldman Sachs’s sale of derivatives to customers who didn’t know that those derivatives had been designed to go bust, and Lehman’s shift of liabilities off its balance sheets before it went broke, and the tower of speculation built on liar loans and other subprime mortgages. Millions of people have lost their homes, whole communities have been devastated, but somehow the government does not have the ability or the will to prosecute the executives…
The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It, Anat Admati and Martin Hellwig… …the debts of the five biggest banks in the United States as of March 2012 totaled $8 trillion, a figure that they say would have been higher under European accounting standards. …

What Is Hillary Clinton’s Agenda?: She’s had so much to say on so many issues that voters may not know what she wants to accomplish. (6/20/2016) | Paul Starr (@WilsonSchool) @theprospect
… In 2010, congressional Democrats and the president prevented the extension of the tax cuts for the rich enacted under George W. Bush, increasing the top marginal income tax rate back to its level during the Clinton administration (39.6 percent) and reducing tax cuts on investment income and estates. When these changes went into effect in 2013, the top 0.1 percent paid $50 billion in taxes more than they would have paid under the previous rules. Partly as a result of a provision in the ACA, the tax rate on capital gains has gone from 15 percent to 23.8 percent. …

US Policy Changes Vol.52 (Miscellaneous Vol.7 – Values, National polity)

Here are articles on values, national polity, policies, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

Trump Could Turn Western Values Into a Facade: In an interview, Harvard professor Joseph Nye warns that Donald Trump’s “America First” posture could undermine the liberal world order. (12/8/2016) | Alexander Görlach & Constantin Weiss @SaveLiberalDemo @TheWorldPost
… The question that has changed is how we will use that power. … The maintenance of alliances and institutions ― the liberal international order ― is not clear.
…which incidentally led to the economic chaos in the 1930s. Since World War II, the U.S. has been the most significant international actor and whether that will continue under Trump is unclear.
No question, Merkel and Germany are great defenders of Western values. But… it’s essential that these values are backed up by power.
… Without U.S.-imposed sanctions, Putin surely would have gotten away with it much easier and perhaps would have continued seizing territory.
…we should not over-interpret the American election. …
…the younger voters were not in favor of Brexit at all. …the young vote didn’t embrace Trump. …we need to closely look at these numbers and realize what they represent.
…old white males. … As younger people, with higher diversity and better education, go to the polls in the future, this populism should decrease significantly.
Immigration is a much more universal problem in the international sphere. The question is how you combine native culture with immigrant culture to prevent polarization of societies. …
… Trade is driven not by agreements but by commercial entrepreneurs. We may see less large-scale trade agreements, but I don’t think protectionism will resurface.
… But again, Trump is unpredictable. …
…Western policymakers… They need to have policies that take into account the inequalities that result of trade and technological change but also need to address cultural issues. Even if you are a protectionist economy, your jobs will still be taken over by robots!
…investment in infrastructure here in the U.S., and I am a supporter of this. …
…the coal industry… …he will struggle immensely with adapting the labor market to long-term technological change…
…may surprise us with something completely unexpected. …

What Will the Next Four Years Bring? (w Video; 1/3/2017) | @whartonknows
… According to @garrett_geoff, future U.S. leaders including Trump face two big challenges. One is to “increase growth rate from 2% to north of 3%, back to where it has been historically since World War II,” and the other is to ensure that “the benefits of that growth are more widespread.” …
…@Dean_Ruger… …if Trump were to be reelected for a second term, “we might see some real doctrinal shift,” he added, referring to the possibility of three more vacancies that could arise over the next eight years.
According to @PennEngineers dean Vijay Kumar, one area that could see unkind cuts is federal funding for R&D in science and technology. He noted that such funding has been falling steadily even with the 2008 stimulus by President Obama. Further, he pointed out that federal funding for R&D is currently only 0.6% of GDP, a far cry from the 2% during the “Sputnik Era” of the 1950s through the 1970s…
Infrastructure Investments
… First, he suggested there should be a balance between public and private sector investments.
Second, Garrett emphasized the need to focus on longer-term productivity gains and not just on job creation in the short-run. … Third, he had concerns about how the Trump infrastructure plan would be funded. …
Health Care, Immigration Reforms
… After a statute is passed to change the ACA, the government might allow a two-year period for people to continue to get health insurance from state exchanges before an alternative system is put in place, predicted Ruger.
… Many companies try to game the system and corner as many as possible of the 65,000 H-1B visas the U.S. issues annually to foreign workers…
Climate Change and Reality
… The cost of energy generation will be less than the cost of energy distribution, which means we will all produce our own energy.”
… EPA regulations have been codified and have gone through formal rule-making processes, and they can be undone only with another round of formal rule-making…
Engaging with Asia
Trump has blamed international trade agreements for U.S job losses, but the role of technology is three times as important as globalization in its impact on lower skilled jobs…
Understanding Job Losses
… “Manufacturing productivity over the last 30 years has gone up by a factor of two, both as a fraction of the GDP and in terms of the overall value created in society.” …
… “At the beginning of the last century, every farmer fed three other mouths. At the end of the century, every farmer was feeding 200 other mouths.”
Learning from the Election
…the Democrats haven’t won the white male vote since 1968, and the Republicans haven’t won the female vote since 1988. …
…@MauroFGuillen…while real wages for Americans across all segments of the income distribution rose steadily in the 30 years between 1970 and 2000, they had flattened between 2000 and now.
Tempering Action
…the framers of the U.S. Constitution such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton infused a healthy dose of “cynicism and distrust” that helped avoid a concentration of power with the President and shared powers between the executive branch, Congress and the Supreme Court. …
Ronald Reagan Part II
…the Penn Wharton Budget Model, which predicts that Trump’s tax plan will boost the economy in the short run but also increase debt in the long run.
…an increase in the number of people with coding skills would reduce the supply-demand mismatch for good jobs…
… “Think about expanding the pie. Of course, you have to think about how the pie is divided, but everybody is better off [if] the size of the pie [is bigger].”
In order to get there, the emphasis must be on higher education, vocational skills and training, said Garrett. Countries like Sweden, Germany and Norway have adopted that approach to good effect. …

Is America at its greatest what Trump has in mind? (12/29/2016) | David Ignatius @washingtonpost
… Americans are optimists, by birth or affirmation. We pledge allegiance to a country that is “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We believe in “And the Fair Land,”…“We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world.”
… President-elect Donald Trump proposes radical changes welcomed by his supporters but feared by many who voted against him. He won’t succeed if he drives the country to the breaking point.
This coming year, the United States will face the severe strains that accompany change and political division. We’re a soft target for our adversaries right now…
… We’ll find out in 2017 how healthy our body politic really is, and whether our democratic institutions remain resilient. …

Conservatism: What now? (w Video; 11/29/2016) | @arthurbrooks,@JonahNRO,@RichLowry,@RameshPonnuru @AEI

Everything you need to know about a presidential transition in three easy charts (12/12/2016) | @EKamarck @BrookingsInst
…as the inside-the-beltway saying goes, “personnel is policy.” …
…“Presidential Transition Guide”… …Paul R. Lawrence and Mark A. Abramson…“Succeeding as a Political Executive”… Figure 1…but these 4,115 positions (some of which are support positions only) are but a small fraction of the 4,185,000 people who work for the federal government and who are not hired and cannot be fired by the President.
Figure 2
Figure 3


A reality check on 2016’s economically marginalized (11/16/2016) | @JohnHudak @BrookingsGov

Has a presidential election ever been as negative as this one? (10/18/2016) | @EKamarck @BrookingsInst

Should you believe the polls? (9/22/2016) | Liz Sablich @BrookingsInst

US Policy Changes Vol.51 (Miscellaneous Vol.6 – inequality and democratic responsiveness)

Here is an academic paper: Inequality and Democratic Responsiveness: Who Gets What They Want from Government? (PDF; Aug 2004) | Martin Gilens @PUPolitics @HarvardWCFIA. Excerpt is on our own.

Previous research
Quantitative analyses of the link between public preferences and government decision making have taken three main forms… The most prevalent approach, often labeled “dyadic representation,” examines the relationship between constituency opinion and the behavior of representatives or candidates across political units… This work typically finds strong correlations between constituents’ preferences and legislators’ voting behavior.
A second approach examines changes over time in public preferences and the corresponding changes (or lack of changes) in public policies. …fairly high levels of congruency between the direction of change in opinion and the direction of change in government policy, especially for salient issues or cases with large changes in public preferences.
Finally, using a third approach… …public preferences for policy change expressed at a given point in time with subsequent changes (or lack of changes) in government policy… …substantially higher levels of consistency between public preferences and government policy for issues that the public deemed more important… …an extremely strong influence of public mood on policy outputs…

Limitations of research on democratic responsiveness
… Even if individual legislators’ votes strongly reflect the preferences of their constituents, actual policies may not coincide with aggregate preferences. … policies are shaped by the complex interactions among multiple units of government, by the congressional committee system, by the degree of autonomy granted to the various federal agencies, and by many other characteristics of our governmental structure. …
The second approach… For example, if public support for increasing environmental regulation declined from 90% to 75% over some time period, we might conclude that support for environmental regulation weakened. But if actual regulation was reduced during this period, it would clearly be contrary to, not consistent with, the preferences of the public.
The third approach… …the possibility of spuriousness. … Increases in defense spending following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan may have coincided with increased public support for defense spending. But lawmakers were likely responding to some combination of public preferences and real-world events, and it is extraordinarily difficult to assess the relative importance…
Finally, it is important to acknowledge that surveys of public preferences are at best imperfect measures of what the public wants from government. One important limitation is the willingness of respondents to express opinions even about issues on which they have no clear or consistent views. … …government responsiveness to public preferences is much lower for questions which elicit large numbers of “Don’t Know” responses.
… First, public opinion may be “uncrystalized” about a new or unfamiliar issue. …latent opinion represents something like “what the public would prefer after having considered the issue more fully.”
A second… For example, the public might express support for humanitarian intervention abroad. But… A policy maker attempting to respond to public opinion would need to take both current expressed support, and latent potential opposition into account.
… For our purposes, it is important to recognize that democratic responsiveness is a subtle phenomenon and that…

Assessing inequalities in democratic responsiveness
…an aspect of democratic responsiveness largely ignored in previous work: whose preferences are influential in shaping government policy.
While the notion of “equal representation” is a central element of normative democratic theory, there are good reasons to expect that different sub-groups of the population will be more or less successful at shaping government policy to their preference. …

The current project
…further explore biases in government responsiveness to public preferences asking how successful different population sub-groups are in shaping government policy and how such differences have changed over time, across issue-area, or in response to changing party control of national political institutions. …


Imputing preferences by income, education, or age level
Because the surveys employed were conducted by different organizations at different points in time the demographic categories are not always consistent. …

Consistency versus influence
… For example, a policy change opposed by 51% of the public and one opposed by 99% of the public would both be inconsistent with public preferences, but the latter clearly represents a greater failure of policy to reflect public preferences.
Overall relationship between preference and policy
… A strong status-quo bias is evident among these 754 proposed policy changes: even policy changes favored by 90% of Americans occurred only 4 times in 10…
Salient and non-salient issues

Policy agreement and disagreement across income levels
… Consequently, the association between government policy and the preferences of poorer Americans may arise not due to these citizens’ influence on government outcomes but to the fact that poor and wealthy Americans share policy preferences most of the time. …
On the other hand, among the 300 questions where preferences differ more strongly by income level, policy outcomes are unrelated to preferences among the poor, and highly related among the rich…
…poor people might hold attitudes that consistently differ from those held by middle-income or wealthy Americans, and if so the lack of responsiveness to their preferences might actually reflect a well-functioning democracy. Middle-income respondents might better reflect the preferences of the median voter on most issues and the responsiveness of government policymakers to the preferences of these Americans might therefore serve as a more appropriate test of biases in representation. …

Economic policies
“Pure” economic policies. …rich and poor in the aggregate appear to express preferences that reflect their groups’ differing economic self interest.
Foreign economic policies. … On free trade… rich Americans express solid support while the poor are mildly opposed.
…U.S. aid to developing countries and to Russia and the former Soviet Union. On these questions, the rich expressed solid support while the poor were equally strong in their opposition. …
Health care. … The poor, for example, were strongly supportive of tax funded national health care (in the abstract at least), employer mandates, and government guarantees of universal health care. The rich were only mildly supportive these first two proposals, but shared the poor’s enthusiasm for the last. …
Social security. …the two reform proposals with the clearest redistributive implications (increasing the tax on Social Security benefits of higher income retirees and raising the retirement age) produced no differences in support between rich and poor. On the other hand, directing the government to invest part of the Social Security surplus in the stock market was strongly opposed by poor Americans while the rich were evenly split. …
Welfare reform. …rich and poor expressed equal (and enthusiastic) support: work requirements, job training, child care, and time limits for welfare recipients. The rich were supportive of cutting overall spending in contrast to the poor (who were evenly split), while the rich similarly expressed solid support for eliminating increases in benefits to women who have additional children while on welfare (the poor were again split on this proposal). …

Social issues
Civil rights. … The rich and poor differ most dramatically when asked about affirmative action for individual hiring, promotion, or college admissions. …
Homosexuality. …rich Americans expressed somewhat higher levels of support for gays and lesbians including a slight tendency toward allowing gays to serve in the military, somewhat stronger support for extending legal protections (for example, against job discrimination), and somewhat lower levels of opposition to gay marriage than poor Americans. …
Abortion and school prayer. Rich Americans expressed substantially greater support for abortion and less support for school prayer than did the poor. …
Campaign finance reform. … Rich Americans differed more substantially from the poor over public financing of elections, expressing mixed views in contrast to the solid opposition of the poor.

Summary of divergent policy preferences
… Without exception, when differences between the rich and poor did emerge, the rich favored more conservative policies. However, it is important to point out that rich Americans did support many policies that would be expected to disproportionately benefit the poor. …
… Many other policy areas in my data set produced few systematic differences between the preferences of the rich and the poor, including defense policy, drug policy, education, gun control, terrorism, and crime. …

Causal inference
… The link between public preferences and government policy might arise through some combination of (1) the influence of the public’s preferences on political decision makers’ actions, (2) the influence of decision makers’ statements on the public’s preferences, and (3) the response of both decision makers and the public to “real world” events and conditions. …
… If the cross-state association between high income constituents’ views and senators’ votes is due primarily to the influence of the public on elected officials rather than the other way round, then the broader association between the public’s preferences and government policy outputs is also likely to reflect the influence of high income Americans on elite decision makers.
… If the primary path of influence is from public preferences to government policy, we might expect income to be the stronger moderator… …if the primary causal path is politicians shaping the public’s preferences or attentive citizens responding to changing conditions and events, we might expect education to be the stronger moderator…
…the association between policy outcomes and the preferences of high income Americans declines only modestly when we control for the preferences of those with high levels of education… …biases in government responsiveness across income groups primarily reflect something other than interest in or attention to politics.
For example, a study of donations to congressional candidates in 1996 found that four-fifths of donors who gave $200 or more had incomes in the top 10% of all Americans… Since not only the propensity to donate but the size of donations increases with income level…
…a government that is democratic in form but is in practice only responsive to its most affluent citizens is a democracy in name only. …
Most Americans think that public officials don’t care much about the preferences of “people like me.” Sadly, the results presented above suggest they may be right. …

UK Vol.65 (Post-EUref Vol.11 – including UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech)

Here are articles on Brexit including scholars’ analyses, UK Prime Minister’s speech, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

I was wrong on Brexit (12/12/2016) | Niall Ferguson @BostonGlobe
The three words you are least likely to hear from an academic are “I was wrong.” Well, I was wrong to argue against “Brexit,” as I admitted in public last week. …
…Europe became the world’s most dynamic civilization after around 1500 partly because of political fragmentation and competition between multiple independent states. …the rule of law ? and specifically the English common law ? was one of the “killer applications” of western civilization.
…the costs of Brexit would outweigh the benefits. …the doom-laden projections of a post-Brexit recession from the International Monetary Fund, the Treasury, and others. …
…Americans since the 1960s have wanted the Brits inside the EU to counterbalance the French…
… First, the warnings I and others gave about European monetary union back in the 1990s have been wholly vindicated.
Second, Europe’s supposedly common foreign policy has been a failure. …
Third, the EU institutions mishandled the financial crisis. …
Nor is that all. Last year EU leaders… Finally, they utterly misread the mounting public dissatisfaction ? not only in Britain ? with the consequences of unfettered free population movement.
… His mistake was to accept the risible terms that the European leaders offered him back in February on EU migrants’ eligibility for benefits, instead of marching out of the conference room and announcing that he would campaign for Brexit. My mistake was not to urge that.
… Many “Remainers” have dug in deeper and waste their time dreaming up ways of derailing Brexit. The Brexiteers meanwhile are dividing like 19th-century Protestant sectarians over how “hard” Brexit should be. …

Key points from May’s Brexit speech: what have we learned? (w Video; 1/17/2019) | @jonhenley @guardian
The single market
…her top two Brexit priorities are controlling EU immigration and withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the European court of justice.
… Single market membership, she said, would mean accepting the EU’s four freedoms – free movement of goods, services, capital and people – and “complying with the EU’s rules and regulations that regulate those freedoms”.
…Britain will seek “the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement”.
The customs union
…goods from outside the area are charged a common external tariff to cross its border and enter it; goods already within it can circulate and cross borders freely.
…she did not want Britain to be bound by the common commercial policy and the common external tariff.
But she also said she wanted tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade there to be “as frictionless as possible”…
… Car parts, for example, cross EU borders dozens of times before completion, and customs checks would be disastrous…
Parliamentary involvement and article 50 timing
… This deadline may be problematic if the supreme court rules, as expected, later this month that parliament must vote on the formal article 50 notification to the EU, and it could also be delayed by elections in Northern Ireland.
… “I can confirm today that the government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and the EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament, before it comes into force.”
Controlling EU immigration
…while wanting to continue to attract “the brightest and best to study and work in Britain”…
… She has previously rejected the idea of a point-based regime, and ministers have hinted at the possibility of work visas, but no new system has yet been formally announced.
A transitional deal
…a “cliff-edge”: …with no future relationship defined.
…“implementation period”…
But she is opposed to the kind of interim arrangement favoured by some who want a lengthy…
Status of EU citizens in UK and UK citizens on continent
…“negotiating capital”. …the government wants to guarantee their rights – and those of British citizens on the continent – “as early as we can”. …
The EU budget
…“some specific European programmes… …it is reasonable that we should make an appropriate contribution.”
The EEA option
… “We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries.”
… Britain did not want “partial membership…or associate membership…
Ireland and the union
…maintaining the pre-EU common travel area between Britain and Ireland… …avoid a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
…describing the union between England, Scotland and Wales as precious. …
…“I want us to be … the best friend and neighbour to our European partners,”…
…“an act of calamitous self-harm for the countries of Europe. …
…“no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain”…

Theresa May’s Brexit speech in full: Prime Minister outlines her 12 objectives for negotiations: Britain is leaving the Single Market but will still cooperate in other areas (1/18/2017) | @independent

London Mayor Sadiq Khan in stinging attack on Theresa May’s Brexit plans, warning they could ‘rip Britain apart’ (w Videos; 1/18/2017) | @PippaCrerar @standardnews

How a British Court Ruling Could Delay Brexit Negotiations (w Podcast; 11/9/2016) | @whartonknows
… Olivier Chatain, professor of strategy and business policy at the HEC Paris business school, and a senior fellow at Wharton’s Mack Institute of Innovation Management, and Michelle Egan, a professor at American University’s School of International Service…
More Uncertainty
Economic Impact
Finding Common Ground
Brexit Referendum Will Stand
A Brexit Bill

Oxford academics warning of Brexit ‘disaster’ (1/11/2017) | @seanjcoughlan @bbc
A “hard Brexit” would be the “biggest disaster” to have hit the UK’s universities for many years, a university head told MPs.
‘Culturally allergic’
‘Manchester Utd problem’
Research funding
Unanswered questions

Can Brexit Be Achieved with Minimal Damage? (w Podcast; 10/7/2016) | @whartonknows
American University’s Michelle Egan…

How Brexit Could Boost the European Union (9/21/2016) | @whartonknows
Size Matters a lot
Then There Is Regulation
Talent Is Key
Real Investments
Yet More Uncertainty
Opportunities for the Rest of Europe
– Big is beautiful? promote it
– Boost the single market? but shift the focus to direct benefits for people
– Smart integration? do things that could not be done before
– Bring over banks, corporates and the ecosystem? make it appealing to move
– Leverage investment opportunities? follow the money
– Attract the leaders of tomorrow? EU-27 as the place to be
– Make it appealing for skilled workers to move back
– Finally, it is all about trust, stability and the reduction of uncertainty

Amid Brexit and Spotify threats, Stockholm adapts to remain globally competitive (9/20/2016) | Elizabeth Patterson and Marek Gootman @BrookingsInst

What Comes Next for Europe? (6/27/2016) | @DBachYSOM & ANDREW METRICK @AdvancedMgmt @YaleInsights
Andrew Metrick:… The bigger concerns are long run. … With the UK exiting, it’s the first time we’ve seen any significant pullback from this project, which had mixed success, but certainly kept alive its noble ideals. …
… Uncertainty discourages people from making long-term investments. …
David Bach:… Three million EU citizens live and work in the UK, and 1.5 million UK citizens live in Europe. …the European Union has to think, on the one hand, about how to manage this exit in a way that protects the interests of the stakeholders in the 27 continuing EU countries…
…at least three different groups within the “Leave” camp. You have conservative, neo-liberal types around Boris Johnson and others who feel that EU regulation was stifling business and want to control their own sovereignty. The second camp is around Nigel Farage and the UK Independence Party—the nativists who are anti-immigration. And then you have a third group, trade unionists who felt that Europe was too pro-business, and they want to go back to a model of greater protection. …
Metrick:… Northern Ireland is really tricky. It is the case that they’ve had no borders with the Republic of Ireland for a while, but I don’t know whether the religious issues that made this split in the first place are going to be any less potent.
Bach:… The presumption was that if we used Article 50, it was going to be some small Eastern European nation that couldn’t keep up with the regulations. …
Metrick: No one believes the optimal size of government is everybody under one government. There are always going to be certain things we want local control over. This is a battle we have a lot of experience with in the United States, and we fought a civil war over it. …

Ivan Rogers and the great British Brexit pantomime (1/4/2017) | @RGWhitman @ConversationUK @UKandEU

Scottish independence: Decapitate Britain, and we kill off the greatest political union ever (9/8/2014) | Boris Johnson @telegraph

US Policy Changes Vol.20 (Foreign Policy Vol.2 – International Politics)

Here are articles on US foreign policy and international politics (world politics). Excerpts are on our own.

How Trump Can Save the Liberal Order (12/1/2016) | @RHFontaine ‏@ForeignAffairs @CNASdc
… Its creation was a response to the destructive wars, economic depressions, and rise of dictatorships that marred the first half of the twentieth century. Since then, the world has seen the longest period of great-power peace in modern history, the largest number of people ever pulled up from poverty, and an unprecedented expansion of democracy. To paraphrase British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the liberal order is the worst form of international organization — except for all the others.
… Trump should likewise work to extend the order’s reach to cyberspace, where there are no norms governing international behavior. …

On foreign policy, Donald Trump is no realist (11/21/2016) | Robert D. Kaplan @postpolitics @CNASdc
… Realists like myself should be very nervous about his election.
Realism is a sensibility, not a specific guide to what to do in each crisis. And it is a sensibility rooted in a mature sense of the tragic — of all the things that can go wrong in foreign policy, so that caution and a knowledge of history are embedded in the realist mindset. Realism has been with us at least since Thucydides wrote “The Peloponnesian War” in the 5th century B.C., in which he defined human nature as driven by fear (phobos), self-interest (kerdos) and honor (doxa). …
… A sense of history comes mainly from reading. That’s how we know in the first place about such things as our obligations to allies and our role as the defender of the West. …
Realists know that while the balance of power is not a panacea, maintaining an advantageous balance of power with rivals is generally in a nation’s interest. …
Realists know that because values follow interests and not the other way around…
Realism is about moderation. It sees the value in the status quo while idealists only see the drawbacks in it. …
… the United States is the most well-endowed and advantageously located major state on Earth. … Realism is about utilizing such power to protect allies without precipitating conflict. It is not about abandoning them and precipitating conflict as a consequence. …

An Open Letter on Donald Trump’s Vision of U.S. Foreign Policy (7/26/2016) | @Ali_Wyne @Medium
An Open Letter on Donald Trump’s Vision of US Foreign Policy (7/19/2016) | @Ali_Wyne @aminterest
Trump’s 19th Century Foreign Policy (1/20/2016) | @thomaswright08 @POLITICOMag
… In sum, Trump believes that America gets a raw deal from the liberal international order it helped to create and has led since World War II. He has three key arguments that he returns to time and again over the past 30 years. He is deeply unhappy with America’s military alliances and feels the United States is overcommitted around the world. He feels that America is disadvantaged by the global economy. And he is sympathetic to authoritarian strongmen. Trump seeks nothing less than ending the U.S.-led liberal order and freeing America from its international commitments.
… With his background and personality, Trump is so obviously sui generis that it is tempting to say his views are alien to the American foreign policy tradition. …particular echoes of Sen. Robert Taft, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in 1940, 1948 and 1952, and was widely seen as the leader of the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Taft was a staunch isolationist and mercantilist who opposed U.S. aid for Britain before 1941. After the war, he opposed President Harry Truman’s efforts to expand trade. Despite being an anti-communist, he opposed containment of the Soviet Union, believing that the United States had few interests in Western Europe. He opposed the creation of NATO as overly provocative. …
…a President Trump’s foreign policy…: “He would believe very strongly in extreme military strength. He wouldn’t trust anyone. …
… As the world’s only superpower, one of America’s most important functions has been to ensure open access to what are called the global commons—the oceans, air and space. The U.S. Navy guarantees the openness of sea lanes for civilian trade, for example.
… Well, in 1988, he told Oprah Winfrey that Kuwait should pay the United States 25 percent of their oil profits because the United States “makes it possible for them to sell it.” … In his 1987 letter, he wrote, “Tax these wealthy nations, not America.” … It is excessive tribute in exchange for protection. …
… He wants to slap tariffs on other countries — again harking back to 19th-century protectionism — and negotiate bilateral deals. Most economists believe this would create a downward spiral in the global economy, but Trump does not seem to care.
… In 1990, he told Playboy… Asked whether that meant he favored China’s crackdown on students, he said, “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government…put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. …”
… China would offer President Trump an extraordinarily preferential economic deal and in exchange he would leave China alone to do as it wished in the South China Sea and East China Sea. After all, it would help American workers, at least in the short term. …
…virtually no chance that he would “tack back to the center” and embrace a conservative internationalist foreign policy. …he would do his utmost to liquidate the U.S.-led liberal order…
After his election, other countries will immediately hedge against the risk of abandonment. There will be massive uncertainty around America’s commitments. …
… Trump may well see such uncertainty as a positive. Putting everything in play would give him great leverage. But by undoing the work of Truman and his secretary of state, Dean Acheson, it would be the end of the American era.
… In 1971, faced with inflation and stagnation, he canceled the convertibility of the dollar to gold without consulting his allies. This brought a dramatic end to Bretton Woods. Nixon and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, were also famously comfortable with strongmen and authoritarian regimes.
But Trump is no Nixon. …
To understand Trump, in the end, we have to go back to Taft and Lindbergh. The difference is that, unlike Trump, Taft was not outside the mainstream of his time. Many people believed…that it did not matter who ran Europe. Also, unlike Trump, Taft was boring… Lindbergh led a national movement that was divisive, xenophobic and sympathetic to Nazi Germany.
The reason we must revisit 1940 is that Republicans have struggled to find a new north star after Iraq. … Cruz seems to have thought little and said even less about America’s global role outside the Middle East. …
… Internationalists will have to explain all over again why the United States flourishes and benefits from a healthy international system. Taft and Lindbergh lost before, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the messenger this time.

Why George Washington Would Have Agreed With Donald Trump (5/5/2016) | Michael Hirsh @POLITICOMag
…already shaping up to be a debate over America’s global role of the kind we haven’t had for decades, perhaps since the last “America First” movement of the late ‘30s.
…should abandon the “dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western democracy.” …he wants them to “prove” they are our friends…
Trump does appear to be giving short shrift to — and perhaps does not fully comprehend — a lot of the history that underlies America’s modern approach to the world. He doesn’t always make sense when he talks about foreign policy, calling at once for steadiness and unpredictability, a military buildup and a major war on ISIS but also restraint in the use of U.S. force overseas. …
But Trump is also correct in suggesting that the current global system is an aberration in American history, and he is persuasive in arguing that it may not be sustainable forever under current conditions, and America should focus more on fixing our own economic house for a long time to come… “Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we’ve lacked a coherent foreign policy,” Trump said in his speech. This is also arguably true. …
… “The world must know we do not go abroad in search of enemies.” The line was an allusion to the famous injunction of John Quincy Adams in 1821 that America “does not go in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” …
… Princeton scholar John Ikenberry, author of Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order, says that starting in 1946, the United States added a new ally — a nation with which it had some kind of security relationship — every five years or so. Today, it has a total of 62 permanent allies, including many from the former Soviet bloc. …
…a quarter century after the Cold War, the U.S. still has no real challenger as the lone superpower on earth, and U.S.-created global institutions…provide layers of multilateral cover that serve to take the raw edge off American hegemony… That is highly unusual in the history of great powers, which in the past have always provoked new rivalries and alliance-building against them. … Everyone inside this international system gets richer and stronger, while everyone outside it grows relatively weaker and poorer. Even Russia and China appear to realize this…
… Maybe this vast, expensive global order was necessary against Hitler, and later Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev…
Translated, what Trump is calling for is nothing less than a return to an American normalcy that frankly has always been somewhat isolationist…
…Exceptionalism. …that America was conceived, uniquely in history, as an idea — an apotheosis of the best ideas about the rights of man coming out of the Enlightenment — and that God blessed the new nation with the luxury of conducting this grand experiment on its own continent with two broad oceans to protect it. As Thomas Paine wrote in “Common Sense” in 1776: “We have it in our power to begin the world again.” Abraham Lincoln…in 1837: “…All the armies of Europe and Asia could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. …”
… Trump is exploiting much of the self-doubt already set into motion by the launching of a completely unnecessary war in Iraq, which seriously damaged the postwar alliance-and-trading system by grossly abusing America’s position within it. …
…Bill Clinton, who was known in his time as the “globalization president.” (“There is no longer a clear division between what is foreign and what is domestic,” he said at his first inaugural in 1993, and reiterated the point in his final foreign policy address in 2000…
… Suppose, with the end of the Soviet Union, America had mysteriously disappeared as well, or more realistically had retreated to within its borders…
… But most data show that globalization has created a far wealthier (if unequal) world overall. …
… There are limits to how much change a president can really effect, and inevitably even a Trump administration would probably maintain most of Washington’s now-entrenched role of global overseer. But it’s worth asking how much he would be able to pare it back or disrupt it—and whether a badly divided America can, or wants to, sustain this role forever. …
… For most of America’s first century of existence, U.S. policy abroad was constrained by the Monroe Doctrine… That began to change with Teddy Roosevelt… TR was intent on becoming the first true internationalist American president… Initially, he confined himself to reasserting the Monroe Doctrine, mainly in an effort to secure the new Panama Canal for trade and to rid the New World of lingering European claims in Cuba and Latin America…
… He presciently predicted Japan’s victory over troubled Czarist Russia in 1905… Worried about the rise of the Japanese in the Pacific, TR stepped in and negotiated the Treaty of Portsmouth between Japan and Russia. It was a first foreshadowing of the U.S. president’s arbitrator-in-chief role that would become familiar to later generations.
In 1917…the notorious Zimmerman Telegram, in which Berlin pledged to help Mexico regain the American territory it had lost in 1848 in return for an alliance, was a key trigger. Bolshevized Russia also represented for the first time an ideological threat. That led Wilson to turn exceptionalism on its head… Ikenberry points out that the “paradox” of Wilson’s agenda was that “he wanted to avoid involvement in European politics, so he pursued a vision that entailed the utter transformation of European politics.”
… But out in the heartland, and among their representatives in Congress, many Americans continued to believe that John Quincy Adams was still right. …his League of Nations went down to defeat in the Senate when Henry Cabot Lodge, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, refused to sign off on Article 10, which obligated all League members to intervene in the event of aggression against other members. …
… “We have torn up Wilsonism by the roots,” Lodge crowed after Harding won in a landslide. …other abject failures of international law, especially of the 1929 Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war. …
… Americans after the war, wrote historian Robert Divine, “yearned for a magic formula which would permit them to live in peace without constant involvement abroad.”
… Thus the global system we have today is truly a kind of accidental American empire. …

US Presidential Election 2016 Vol.5 (articles on policies)

Here are just a part of articles concerning the two candidates’ policies. Excerpts are on our own.

2016 US elections Scenario One: A new female face in the White House but same old gridlock in Washington | Michael Moran @Control_Risks
…while Clinton is not the economic nationalist that her rival Trump is, her presidency marks the end of an era in which Democratic presidents championed free trade accords. With Republicans, too, now unwilling to make the case for free trade publicly, January 2017 in effect ends the post-war era of US leadership on global trade liberalization.
Clinton presidency in nine lines…
Clinton presses new rules on the financial services sector, proposing a follow-on to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reforms aimed at preventing further consolidation in the banking industry, imposing a ‘risk fee’ on large financial institutions, imposing new capital and reporting requirements on broker-dealers and examining the break-up of systemically significant banking institutions after new, vigorous stress testing.

2016 US elections Scenario Two: Trump wins | Michael Moran @Control_Risks
…Trump, without need to consult Congress, could use executive powers to repeal a host of Obama-era regulatory schema in the financial services, energy, mining and corporate sectors. With Congress, he would seek to push through a modified austerity plan that includes sweeping cuts of the public sector workforce, the elimination of the federal departments of Labour, Energy and Education, and steep cuts in corporate and individual tax rates. @OxfordEconomics, our macroeconomic joint venture partner, reckons Trump’s plan would lead to a major shortfall in government revenue…
In keeping with his campaign promises, Trump would launch new complaints against China at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that amount to ultimatums, and would impose new tariffs on China, Mexico and other low-wage nations. He would have the ability to withdraw the US from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but again, will use that threat to demand changes in the terms of trade that add to the cost of items imported from Mexico. The resulting retaliatory incentives would threaten a general downturn in global growth. …

Analyzing the 2016 election: Insights from 12 @MIT scholars | @MIT_SHASS

Surreal Politics: How Anxiety About Race, Gender and Inequality is Shaping the 2016 Presidential Campaign (w Video) | Dean Brady, Prof @JackGlaserPhD, Prof Sarah Anzia & @_jonathanstein @GoldmanSchool @uctelevision

Bill Clinton is right about ‘crazy’ Obamacare | @johnrgraham @FraserInstitute

What could we expect in terms of foreign policy from Pres Trump or Pres Clinton? Watch @stephenWalt assessment | @carnegiecouncil

The Superpower Cyber War and the US Elections | @GabiSiboni & David Siman-Tov @INSSIsrael @CSS_Zurich

Russia-US cyber tensions show the true threat of cyberwar | Petr Bohacek @risk_insights

Challenges for the Next President: The Crisis with Russia | @HarvardIOP

Trump and the Pope: ‘I’ vs. ‘We’ Visions | E. J. Dionne & Catherine Brekus @HarvardDivinity

The Next Four Years: The Middle East | @MikeatPrinceton & @brosehuber @WilsonSchool

Admiral @stavridisj: The Iran Paradox | @Time

Syria in Crisis: A Secondary Thought | @aronlund

The 2016 presidential campaign and the crisis of US foreign policy (w PDF) | @LowyInstitute

Refugees, Immigrants, and the Polarization of American Foreign Policy | A. TREVOR THRALL @CatoInstitute

Michael Mandelbaum on US Foreign Policy | @DavidAndelman @OUPPolitics @WorldPolicy

NAFTA’s Economic Impact | James McBride & Mohammed Aly Sergie @CFR_org

Trumping Trade (w PDF) | @SMerler @Bruegel_org
– What’s at stake: Trade is a central topic in the US presidential campaign, with both candidates expressing some degree of criticism about past trade policy. But while Hillary Clinton’s position could be described as a cautious scepticism, Donald Trump’s trade plans are more openly protectionist. His proposals include high tariffs on imports, renegotiating trade agreements and possibly US withdrawal from the WTO. After the first presidential debate, we review economists’ reactions and their assessment of Trumps trade policies.

Trump’s outdated trade policy | @clingendael83

Germany Prepares for Possible President Trump | @holger_stark & @schultchristoph @SPIEGELONLINE

TRUMP’S MUSE ON U.S. TRADE WITH CHINA | @adamdavidson @newyorker

Possible Presidents and their Possible Justices (PDF) | Lee Epstein, Andrew D. Martin & Kevin Quinn

Must America become more like Scandinavia? A long-read Q&A with @stanveuger | @JimPethokoukis @AEI

Xi Jinping might delay call on a successor, defying script | @ChuBailiang @TT_Features

Nuke or No Nuke? Japan’s Long Dilemma | Yo-Jung Chen‏ @Diplomat_APAC


Donald Trump and the Implications for Australia | Michael Clarke & @anthonyricketts @WorldPolicy

Hillary Clinton and the Implications for Australia | Michael Clarke & @anthonyricketts @WorldPolicy

Why is Trump better than Clinton for Arabs? | Mamdouh AlMuhaini @AlArabiya_Eng
…he may turn out to be better than the polished but somewhat artificial Hillary Clinton.
In order to see Trump in the right perspective, it is important to understand the answers to three questions: Why do Americans hate him or, to be more specific, why is the American media united against him? Why is Trump resorting to this controversial method that shocks us? Finally, and most importantly, what is the impact of Trump’s policies on our region? …
…Hence we find many Americans – due to their hatred of Trump – turning into “political Salafists” and dreaming about a glorious past. It is also an elitist and arrogant attitude because the president must be a good orator, mobilizing the masses during crisis situations and making them laugh on light-hearted occasions. …
…Trump presents himself as a horse – or a bull if you like – a wild new horse that was not affected by politicians’ corruption in Washington. He refuses to be controlled and used for their interests. He represents a new persona that was not trained but yet can change the lack of action and break the inertia in the US capital and its politicians who have been corrupted by money and interests.
With this dynamic uncontrollable character, Trump has been able to break old traditions and touch the heart of the white middle class Americans that were forgotten, during the past eight years, when a black president was in power. …
…Famous thinker Samuel Huntington wrote an oft-quoted article before his death, in which he warned about the Latin invasion of America. Huntington called for the imposition of conditions that would push the Latin community to be integrated into American society, including the need to learn English and believe in Protestant values, which has characterized the American spirit since the beginning.
It would be stupid to believe that Trump did not understand this predicament and did not know how to cleverly exploit it, even though his words make us laugh. Trump says these sentences includes special symbols and codes. When he said that he would imprison Hillary, he was not naïve; he wanted to say that he will help the weak and the marginalized and would waive the immunity of the corrupt political class, in order to ensure justice.
… What is more important than the above-mentioned factors is Trump’s Middle East policy in comparison to Hillary’s approach. In the most important two areas, Trump seems much better than Hillary. He rejects the Iranian nuclear deal, which is strongly supported by Hillary, and strongly criticizes political Islam, which is also backed by the Democratic candidate (Clinton believes that the Muslim Brotherhood can tame the monster of terrorism and provide a new alternative that is more moderate).
Trump has threatened Iran in Syria and has repeatedly criticized the nuclear agreement, stressing that it is a failed agreement. He pointed out that the sanctions would have overwhelmed the regime in Tehran. He was right when he criticized political Islam saying that it was a source of terrorism. This is a valid point that we (Arabs) understand more than others do. …

Why the U.S. President Needs a Council of Historians | Graham Allison & @nfergus @TheAtlantic
…“almost no administration’s leading figures know the history of what we have done in the Middle East.” Neither do they know the history of the region itself. In 2003, to take one example, when President George W. Bush chose to topple Saddam Hussein, he did not appear to fully appreciate either the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims or the significance of the fact that Saddam’s regime was led by a Sunni minority that had suppressed the Shiite majority. He failed to heed warnings that the predictable consequence of his actions would be a Shiite-dominated Baghdad beholden to the Shiite champion in the Middle East—Iran.
The problem is by no means limited to the Middle East or to Bush. President Obama’s inattention to the deep historical relationship between Russia and Ukraine led him to underestimate the risks of closer ties between Ukraine and Europe. “I don’t really even need George Kennan right now,” President Obama told The New Yorker for a January 2014 article, referring to the great Cold War–era diplomat and historian. By March, Russia had annexed Crimea. …
…We believe it is time for a new and rigorous “applied history”—an attempt to illuminate current challenges and choices by analyzing precedents and historical analogues. We not only want to see applied history incorporated into the Executive Office of the President, alongside economic expertise; we also want to see it developed as a discipline in its own right at American universities, beginning at our own. When people refer to “applied history” today, they are typically referring to training for archivists, museum curators, and the like. We have in mind a different sort of applied history, one that follows in the tradition of the modern historian Ernest May and the political scientist Richard Neustadt. Their 1986 book, Thinking in Time, provides the foundation on which we intend to build. …

The U.S. Vice President and Foreign Policy | @MastersJR @CFR_org

US Presidential Election 2016 Vol.2 (Who won the vice presidential debate? | @CNNPolitics)

Here are our excerpts of Who won the vice presidential debate? (w Video) | @CNNPolitics.

@David_Gergen: Pence Lifts GOP Spirits
Governor Mike Pence did not change the underlying dynamics of the campaign Tuesday night, but he did provide a significant service to Donald Trump: he gave fresh heart to Trump supporters and may have stopped the downward spiral of their campaign.
Democrats and many journalists argue that Pence succeeded only by throwing Trump under the bus, refusing to defend his boss from repeated attacks. But they miss the point: voters rarely scrutinize debates line-by-line, instead making their judgments on the overall tone and performance of a candidate. Pence will not fare well with fact checkers, but his poise and polish played well with voters. For better or worse, style counts a lot in these debates.
Tim Kaine had a much sharper mastery of policy but was forced to play attack dog, a role that doesn’t fit his personality. His frequent interruptions didn’t help, either — he seemed less Rottweiler than fox terrier. And by the way, who screwed up his camera angle, so that he was often looking off into space instead of talking directly to viewers? That wasn’t fair to him or the audience.
With a CNN poll showing a Pence victory, Republicans finally have reason to cheer again. Trump himself should see how much preparation paid off for his running mate. But now it is up to the candidate to show he can win at this game, too: the upcoming debate this Sunday in St. Louis is make or break for Trump.

@sallykohn: Mike Pence is living on an alternate planet

@errollouis: Pence gives lesson on how to defend Trump

@secupp: Kaine gave tone deaf, unhinged performance

@tarasetmayer: Debate won’t move needle
… Kaine was at his best when he listed many of Trump’s controversial statements and then challenged Pence multiple times to defend them, which he didn’t for the most part. However…

@timothy_stanley: Pence delivers pleasingly banal performance
Now, that was the kind of polite and intelligent debate we used not to watch. Yes, the VP encounter was feisty, but never personally offensive — and its substance also felt incredibly old fashioned. The separation of church and state, a subject never mentioned in Trump v Clinton, was tactfully addressed; memories of 9/11 were invoked; both candidates agreed that Russia is a strategic threat. In fact, Mike Pence’s performance was so old school Republican that he seemed unaware of the reality of Trump’s iconoclastic campaign. …
Kaine gave a spirited performance that was, to his detriment, wholly negative. If he couldn’t say “But your candidate said XYZ!” then he wouldn’t have had much to say at all. Pence defused the antagonism with the wry smile of a genial old man humoring a simpleton — and won most rounds. …
So effective was his performance, so pleasingly banal, that many Republicans will be calling for the ticket to be switched. They do so forgetting that Trump’s radicalism deflects but does not diminish Pence’s: He was once considered a politically incorrect conservative himself, and any other year would have been regarded as a risky choice for VP.
So this debate reinforced the impression that while the Democrat ticket is weak and unlikeable, the Republican one is eccentric. Pence, undeniably effective, won in large part by not being as bizarre as his running mate. …

@nayyeroar: Kaine, Pence and the battle for white voters

@BuckSexton: Tuesday night a sign of what’s to come Sunday?
… As for the head-to-head aspect of it, Pence won the debate against Kaine. In tone and style, he came across as more measured, poised and statesmanlike. Pence also made a much more coherent case against Hillary Clinton — both on her record and her judgment — than anything Trump pulled together in the first debate. Pence had much more difficulty defending Trump’s record, however, as he often was left shaking his head without a response when asked about a specific Trump quote. …

@FridaGhitis: Pence smooth, but can’t defend Trump
… Governor Pence, Trump’s choice for running mate, presented some interesting policy proposals to the public. They just didn’t sound very much like those of his current boss, Donald Trump.
The most startling of all was Pence’s talk about Vladimir Putin, “the small, bullying leader of Russia,” as Pence called him.
… That’s the same Putin that Pence claims his team wants to forcefully take on.
On Syria, Pence outlined a policy that does not resemble any of what Trump has said. Trump has spoken of attacking ISIS and leaving in place the dictator Bashar al-Assad, responsible for far more deaths than ISIS. By contrast, Pence declared that American leadership requires it protect vulnerable citizens, including the children of Aleppo. Compare that to Trump’s tone on Muslims in general.
Pence did make an effort to defend his running mate, but it was a bizarre tactic. When his challenger, Governor Tim Kaine, quoted Trump’s own highly offensive words, Pence repeatedly shook his head as if saying no, and laughed, appearing to deny the quotes that were almost all quite accurate. Then, when his turn came to speak, he did not refute Kaine’s statements citing Trump’s own words.
But then, at one point, he did refute them. Kaine listed a series of Trump insults that all Americans have heard; attacks against a Mexican judge, disdain for John McCain being captured in Vietnam, and others. Incredibly, Pence seemed to deny the words everyone has heard. “If Donald Trump had said all the things you said he said in the way he’s said them,” he said, it would still not compare to Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables.” …

@hsmoghul: Pence’s dishonesty is spiritually toxic, socially radioactive
… I am, however, arguing that we can get an insight into what happened to Mike Pence by seeing how great writers explore the effect of power on the human soul.
Sen. Tim Kaine repeatedly cited Trump’s most egregious comments, but all Pence did was deny Trump ever said any such thing. We have a non-focus grouped term for that. Lying. Pence may have lied more than Trump did, and that’s a historic achievement.
So whether Pence loses the debate in the court of public opinion is secondary. Whether he becomes vice president almost does not matter. Pence’s dishonesty is not just spiritually toxic, but socially radioactive. If the top of your ticket indulges anti-Semitism, moots war crimes, mocks veterans, shames women, and mines Breitbart for campaign direction, then you’re no different. …

@lanheechen: If Pence had been at the top of the ticket…

@ruthbenghiat: Pence won, but Americans could lose
… Pence’s astonishing ability to deny everything perfectly expresses the GOP leadership’s refusal to acknowledge what they have unleashed in America by nominating Trump. It helps to soothe the consciences of Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator John McCain, and all others who refuse to retract their endorsement of this rogue individual, no matter what he says or does. …
@angela_rye: What was that?
… There were so many missed moments starting with the moderator: if she was fact checking, Kaine wouldn’t be the only one cutting Pence off.

@RaulAReyes: Governor… please
… Kaine was fiercely on-message tonight. He did a good job in laying out the stark differences between Clinton and Trump on immigration, calling Trump’s plan “Deportation Nation.” He crystallized the complicated abortion issue into one simple question, asking Pence why he didn’t trust women to make their reproductive choices themselves.
Still, Kaine failed to bring up one of Pence’s vulnerabilities — his history of anti-LGBT legislation cloaked as religious freedom. At a time when marriage equality is the law of the land and most Americans — especially young people — support LGBT rights, this was money left on the table. Kaine also missed the opportunity to mention the fact that Pence has accepted the Medicaid expansion in his state under the the Affordable Care Act — something at odds with Trump’s opposition to “Obamacare.”
For his part, Pence struggled to explain how the Trump tax plans would benefit all Americans. …

@julianzelizer: The start of Pence 2020?
… Most importantly, Kaine forced Pence into the uncomfortable position of being challenged to defend Trump’s most outrageous, polemical and insulting comments about women, Mexicans and Muslims. Mostly Pence side-stepped the points Kaine made.
“I’m just saying facts about your candidate, and you can’t defend him,” Kaine said when Pence complained about their “insult-driven” campaign.
But Pence achieved his goal in this debate, which was simply to provide some positive coverage for the Republican ticket and offer an image of the ticket that differs from everything Trump has conveyed. …
… Pence was able to express some of the major lines of Republican criticism against Clinton’s policy record, something that Trump has mostly failed to do. He brought in the attacks on whether voters can trust Clinton without letting the issue overwhelm his argument.
Pence scored some points by responding to the claims about Trump’s insults by pointing to Clinton’s line about half of Trump’s supporters being in the basket of “deplorables”. …

@iamroxannejones: Pence is polished, but Is that enough?
When you know it’s wrong, just be quiet and move on. That was the strategy adopted by Governor Mike Pence at Tuesday night’s …
… Clearly, Pence does not believe in everything Trump is selling. No matter how many times Senator Tim Kaine tried to bait Pence, he stood firm, opting to defend his own conservative legacy and reputation instead of getting mired in Trump’s drama. Smart move.
Kaine, who it turns out, isn’t just a mild-mannered nice guy, was a breath of fresh air. He came into the debate armed with information and talking points on Hillary, ready to pounce. …
… Integrity matters. The win goes to Tim Kaine, by an edge.

US Presidential Election 2016 Vol.1

Here are a part of articles concerning US Presidential Election 2016. Excerpts, et al. are on our own.

Has The American Public Polarized? (w PDF) | Morris P. Fiorina @HooverInst
p16 Maybe We’re Not Polarized Yet
… As social media, personalized search, and other technological “advances” proliferate, concerned observers have expressed the fear that Americans will isolate themselves in “ideological silos” or “echo chambers” that reinforce their views and insulate them from the views of the other side. Given these technological trends, is there a serious danger that Americans will balkanize into two non-overlapping universes, each of which has its own facts and its own interpretations
of reality? …
p19 … if Fox News had been removed from cable TV in 2000, it would have reduced the vote for George W. Bush in the average county by 1.6 percentage points …
p20 … although ideological segregation on the Internet is higher than in offline media, it remains low in absolute terms and is considerably lower than in people’s face-to-face networks. Part of the reason for the failure of the segregation hypothesis is that people with extreme views “tend to consume more of everything, including centrist sites and occasionally sites with conflicting ideology. Their omnivorousness outweighs their ideological extremity, preventing their overall news diet from becoming too skewed. …
p21 … Moreover, since the focus was the segregation hypothesis, people would have to visit “opinion” sites for their views to be affected. … Only a few Americans are even occasional readers of a Paul Krugman or George Will column. Although the trace element of those who visit opinion sites does show ideological segregation, the researchers conclude that the numbers are so small that the fears encapsulated in the segregation hypothesis are largely unwarranted.
… Twitter networks tend to be fairly heterogeneous politically, in part because many of those in them are connected by only “weak ties.” Contrary to the fears expressed by those worried about ideological segregation, social media actually may lessen people’s tendency to live in echo chambers …
p22 … “Ideologically one-sided news exposure may be largely confined to a small, but highly involved and influential, segment of the population. There is no firm evidence that partisan media are making ordinary Americans more partisan.” To which one can add, no firm evidence exists that ideological media are making ordinary Americans more extreme. …

The Divided States of America | @leedrutman @nytimes
cf House | @CookPolitical, Senate | @CookPolitical

The right’s Trump phenomenon: Why the left won’t spawn a policy-free demagogue any time soon | @SeanMcElwee @Salon
… @DouthatNYT challenges the progressives who have argued in favor of #NeverTrump. He claims that the decision is harder than it initially seems for conservatives, writing, “Asking Rs to vote for Hillary is a little like asking Ds to vote for Newt Gingrich running on Ted Cruz’s platform.” The analogy isn’t entirely accurate. …
However, there are structural, ideological and demographic reasons to believe that Trumpism is a phenomenon unique to the GOP. After all, Trump doesn’t have an ideology, and throughout his career has preferred whichever party is most expedient to him. …
… how the rise of Trumpism is rooted in structural differences between the two parties… @MattGrossmann and @DaveAHopkins… show that we can expect “Republican politicians to discuss policy in broad strokes and Democratic politicians to emphasize particular policies aimed at each constituency.” On the right, candidates are rewarded for commitment to ideology, while on the left candidates are rewarded for policy achievements. …
… differences in views about governance and compromise in the parties. Democrats are consistently more favorable toward compromise than Republicans… Democrats are also more likely to say they want party leaders to move in a moderate direction (rather than a liberal or conservative direction). Trump’s bullying, uncompromising stance plays far better with Republicans than a similar stance would with Democrats.
… how the Democratic coalition is an interest group network politicians must navigate. To win a Democratic primary… a candidate has to win over and woo a number of interest groups: abortion rights groups, labor, the NAACP, and others. On the right there isn’t a network of interest groups but rather a few powerful donors driven by ideology…
… ideologically, the Republican Party has moved dramatically right, while the Democratic Party has moved only modestly to the left… the Democratic moves to the left have largely coincided with public opinion …
… @LeahRigueur has argued, though the GOP has recognized its failure to win black voters for half a century, it has only dug itself deeper in a hole, ignoring dozens of reports suggesting ways the party could change.
… the GOP has remained incredibly white, even as the country has become more diverse. As political scientist @mtretail shows, Trump’s primary coalition was far more racially resentful, opposed to immigration and colder to Muslims than the Romney and McCain primary coalitions. Trump’s rise is rooted in white backlash to the Obama presidency…
… @DouthatNYT wants to imagine a Democratic Trump. However, the causal factors that give rise to him simply can’t be replicated on the Democratic side. …
… Trying to defeat Trumpism without ameliorating the structural causes that created him will only entrench the problem. …

Who Will Be President? | @jshkatz @nytimes

Theories of the Race: How Solid Is Hillary Clinton’s Lead? | @Nate_Cohn @nytimes

Watching the 2016 presidential debates | Patrick A. Stewart, Jack Groutage

Anxiety about terrorism advantages Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump | @AlbertsonB2,@sgadarian @MisOfFact @voxdotcom

Loewen: Voters may not be as smart as we think (or hope) they are | @PeejLoewen @SPPG_UofT @OttawaCitizen

Voting for a Better US Political System | JEFFREY FRANKEL @ProSyn

Presidential debates and their effects: An updated research roundup | @ShorensteinCtr

@jprollert Shares Lessons from the 2016 Presidential Campaign | @HarvardEXT

Clinton or Trump: Who does China Want? | @ChathamHouse
– In Beijing’s eyes Clinton is no friend, but a Trump victory would open a new era of uncertainty, writes @nivincent
… There’s a reason for such hostility. Clinton’s advocacy of female leadership in the West has irritated many in China in the past two decades. In 1995, she declared in Beijing that ‘women’s rights are human rights; human rights are women’s rights’… And in 2010, her reiteration of the US’s right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea provoked lingering anger in China.
Even after she stepped down as President Obama’s Secretary of State in 2013, she continued to cause controversy. For instance, when President Xi Jinping co-hosted a UN meeting on women’s rights last September… ‘shameless’.
In response to this remark, the Communist Party tabloid, The Global Times, claimed the Chinese people ‘despise her a little’. ‘It looks like Hillary is in a panicked frenzy, her eyes have turned red… She has started to copy Trump’s speaking style and allowed herself to become a fierce big mouth,’…
… ‘On a geopolitical level, if American allies in the region, namely Japan and South Korea, refuse to shoulder more financial responsibility for US military protection, it might provide China with a strategic opportunity to expand in the region.’…
And Trump as US president could also give the Communist Party a morale boost, Sun said. ‘On a domestic level, Trump’s controversial rise might reaffirm Communist Party leaders’ belief that China’s cadre selection process has more merit… it’s at least good for domestic propaganda.’ …

Talk “Like a Man”: The Linguistic Styles of Hillary Clinton, 1992–2013 (17 August 2016; w PDF) | Jennifer J. Jones @CUP_PoliSci @UCIrvine