UK Vol.93 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.22: 2017 General Election – results, et al.)

Here are articles on the general election results, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

Election 2017 – UK results | @BBC

Interactive map: Britain’s general election 2017 – Live election results reported here, seat by seat | @economist

UK general election 2017 | @YouGov ElectionCentre

Election results 2017: full list and map | @FT
GE2017uk 649results

General Election 2017 (incl London interactive) | @standardnews

Live Now: U.K. General Election Results | @bpolitics

General election 2017: expert comment and analysis from @UCLPublicPolicy


Ungovernable  Hung Parliaments are so 2010 (27/5/2017) | @robfuller91 @medium

Corbyn, and an election surprise (26/5/2017) | @openDemocracy

Media coverage of the 2017 General Election campaign [report 3 – covering 18th-31st May inclusive] (w Video; 2/6/2017) | @lboroCRCC

Why do our party leaders tour the country? And will it affect Thursday’s election result? (4/6/2017) | @MiddletonAlia @PSABlog

2017 General Election live opinion poll | @gritdigital

UK Snap General Election Polling Results 19th April 2017 (PDF) | @opinion_life

UK general election 2017 poll tracker: All the latest results as Conservatives battle Labour Polls are a crucial part of the election wallchart – even if they’ve got a bad rep. Here are the latest results and analysis of what it all means (8/6/2017) | @mikeysmith,@taylorjoshua1,@danbloom1 @MirrorPolitics

We are becoming segregated into young and old communities without realising (5/6/2017) | Albert Sabater, Elspeth Graham, Nissa Finney (@univofstandrews) @ConversationUK

The Young Vote in 2017: Stat Attack (11/5/2017) | @bennosaurus @PSABlog

An economist views the UK’s snap general election (5/6/2017) | Jan Toporowski @OUPEconomics
… On 11 May the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney reassured the markets that the ‘good Brexit deal’ would stabilise our economy after 2019, and the markets were duly sedated. …
… For the Europeans, this will be the fourth ‘deal’ that Britain will have secured: the first on entry in 1973; the second under Margaret Thatcher in 1984 when ‘we got our money back’; the third obtained by David Cameron in 2016; and the fourth that is to come resulting from our exit from the European Union.
… Indeed the more our politicians demand that we give them ‘a strong negotiating position’ with Europe, the more they are hedging their electoral promises with the alibi that, if they do not deliver, it will be because we did not give them a sufficiently ‘strong negotiating position’, or they were taken advantage of by the Europeans. …
In this respect the election is not needed at this moment, in particular for the Brexit process which leaves our government only 21 months to settle the complex questions arising out of Brexit. Out of these questions, the more obviously insoluble conundrums are Northern Ireland…

Dr Jonathan Leader Maynard discusses what more can be done to prevent UK terrorism (6/6/2017) | @Politics_Oxford

Observer editorial: There has been a shameful lack of leadership from all parties. But we can no longer tolerate Theresa May’s agenda for post-Brexit Britain (4/6/2017) | @guardian
… She has provided no further detail about her Brexit negotiating strategy, sticking to her disastrous mantra that no deal is better than a bad deal. She has signalled immigration control will be her top priority, even though securing it will mean leaving the single market, jeopardising everything else voters care deeply about – jobs and growth and the future of our public services.
There are echoes of Ed Miliband’s social democratic priorities in parts of her manifesto and she should be applauded for signalling that unfettered free markets are not the route to social and economic justice. She sets out proposals for greater state intervention in markets that stack the odds against consumers and workers and unfairly, and often obscenely, advantage CEOs and senior executives. Dropping the commitment to the triple lock on the state pension is a tentative first step towards recognising the need for intergenerational rebalancing.
But her manifesto is thin on detail and May is no stranger to adopting contradictory rhetoric and positions. …
But Corbyn’s ability to run a decent election campaign cannot be taken as a sign he would make a competent premier. Last summer, he failed to win the support of 80% of his MPs in a confidence vote. Many had vowed to give him a chance but withdrew support on grounds of competency, with stories emerging of a chaotic operation. …

The Conservative manifesto and social care: policy-making on the hoof (22/5/2017) | @MelanieHenwood @LSEpoliticsblog
… The publication of the Conservative Manifesto unexpectedly outlined a change of direction when Theresa May seemed to dismiss the ‘capped cost’ model of funding which was brought into legislation by the Coalition Government in the 2014 Care Act, and implementation was delayed by the incoming Conservative government in July 2015 on the grounds that it would give local government longer to prepare and to have adequate resources. The manifesto made no reference either to the Care Act, or to the capped cost model, but remarked that “where others have failed to lead, we will act”. Further detail will follow in a green paper, but the sketchiness of the proposals has already proved a major flaw.
The manifesto lamented the costs of caring for older generations, “borne by working people through their taxes” and proposed a way forward that would be “more equitable, within and across the generations.” Except, it hasn’t quite played out like that. Some might think that ditching legislation that has not yet been fully implemented is disingenuous; others may see it simply as May’s blatant attempt to stamp her own brand of conservatism all over policy and political doctrine, and distance herself from her predecessors. What this episode reveals more than anything is political naivety, poor judgement, and lack of understanding of the complexity of social care. …

Theresa May, Borrowing from Labour, Vows to Extend Protections for Workers (15/5/2017) | @_StephenCastle @nytimes
Since emerging as prime minister from the political wreckage of last year’s vote to quit the European Union, Theresa May has told Britain’s voters little about what she believes, aside from stressing her desire for a clean break from the bloc.
But with an election looming, Mrs. May is promoting some strikingly centrist social and economic policies, reaching out across the political divide to traditional supporters of the opposition Labour Party, many of whose incomes were squeezed after the financial crash. …
“We are seeing a willingness to think of intervention that would have been seen as anathema by hard-core Thatcherites,” said @ProfTimBale , professor of politics at @QMPoliticsIR. …
… May’s main election strategy is to argue that she is better placed than her less popular Labour rival, Mr. Corbyn, to provide the “strong and stable leadership” which has become her mantra. …
Analysts ascribe the intellectual basis of Mrs. May’s brand of conservatism to Nick Timothy, one of her two closest aides. Mr. Timothy was raised in Birmingham, one of Britain’s industrial heartlands, and is a admirer of the type of municipal politics practiced by Joseph Chamberlain, who transformed the leadership of the city in the 19th century and whose legacy has also been cited as an inspiration by Mrs. May. …

The political economy of the Conservative Manifesto: a hallucinatory celebration of the state (24/5/2017) | Abby Innes @LSEEI
… As Hans Werner Sinn notes, since governments have stepped in when markets have failed historically, it can hardly be expected that a reintroduction of the market through the backdoor will work. More problematically still, supply-side reforms assume that if you bring businesses into the state, you get the best of states and markets and not the worst of both regimes: a lean and more efficient bureaucracy and not an informationally and organisationally fragmented state increasingly beset by conflicts of interests; the dynamism of competitive enterprises and not the financially extractive practices of low-performing public service industry monopolies.
The challenge that faces the next government is that these reforms have failed in the terms by which they were justified. Ruth Dixon and Christopher Hood find that reported administration costs in the UK have risen by 40 per cent in constant prices over the last thirty years despite a third of the civil service being cut over the same period, whilst total public spending has doubled. Running costs were driven up most in the outsourced areas and failures of service, complaints, and judicial challenges have soared. Government has attempted to resolve these self-inflicted market failures with regulatory oversight to codify tasks – consider teaching or medical care – un-codifiable in their most important aspects. Bureaucratic monitoring at levels un-dreamed of in the 1970s has joined informational and structural fragmentation, professional demoralisation and increased costs. …
A voter could not tell from this manifesto whether a Conservative government would restore the integrity of the state or follow along the path of its supply-sider predecessors whose striking achievement has been a creeping corporate extraction of public authority and funding. It is worth remembering that their putative goal in theory was the night-watchman state of libertarian fantasy: a state that protects only contract, property rights and sovereignty and that has never existed in the history of capitalism, let alone democratic capitalism. The evidence of May’s current administration is that she endorses the supply-side diagnosis. The Conservative leadership is waving Disraeli’s hat but it is still wearing Milton Friedman’s trousers.

The Hard Brexit road to Indyref2 (14/3/2017) | @IPR_NickP @UniofBathIPR
… Two factors explain Nicola Sturgeon’s decision: the intransigence of Conservative-Unionism and the weakness of the Labour Party. Intransigence is in part an artifact of the Prime Minister’s governing style, which combines “personal animus and political diligence”, as David Runciman has written. She sticks to a position doggedly and keeps things close to her in No10. She is capable of ruthless revenge, to the point of petulance, as Michael Heseltine recently discovered. It is a statecraft that has served her well until now. It is not one that is suited to sharing power in a process of negotiation and compromise across a fractured union.
Her choice of the hard route to Brexit has also narrowed her scope for flexibility. …
History is in danger of repeating itself. The last time the United Kingdom was challenged by the aspirations for greater self-determination of a significant proportion of one its nations was during the long struggle for Irish Home Rule. Conservative-Unionists met that challenge by suppression, not accommodation. It didn’t end well.
The second factor is the decline of the Labour Party. …
Labour’s vacillation on Europe means that it is currently largely voiceless in the national debate on Brexit. It is shedding votes to the Liberal Democrats as a consequence. It fears a further loss of support to UKIP and the Conservatives if it backs membership of the single market and customs union in the Brexit negotiations. But the prospect of the breakup of the UK, the unstitching of the Northern Irish settlement, and economic decline in its heartlands should give it cause to consider the national interest, not just the party interest. …

Agricultural policy after Brexit (23/5/2017) | @Dieter_Helm @OUPEconomics @pixabay
… The CAP pays the bulk of the subsidies as a payment for owning land (called Pillar I). The economic effects of Pillar I subsidies are obvious: increasing the revenues per hectare raises the price of a hectare. Land prices capitalise the subsidies, creating barriers to entry. As a result, the CAP has also now established a fund to help young farmers get into the industry, in the face of the obstacles the CAP itself creates. The rest of the subsidy goes on rural development and environmental schemes (called Pillar II). These are often poorly designed.
…the first option is to shift some of the subsidy from paying to own land towards more spending on the environment – i.e. shifting the balance from Pillar I to Pillar II.
The second is more radical, switching to a system of paying public money for public goods. …

Local elections 2017: Six key lessons for the general election (5/5/2017) | @JohnCurticeOnTV @BBC

Local election 2017 results in England, Wales and Scotland – and what does it mean for the general election? (6/5/2017) | @Ashley_J_Kirk,@Patrick_E_Scott @Telegraph_Data,@Telegraph

UpVote episode 6: Labour’s surge and the secrets behind Brexit – Professor Paul Whiteley (@uniessexgovt) simulated the Brexit referendum a million times – and Remain won 66 per cent (w Voice; 1/6/2017) | @rowlsmanthorpe @WiredUK

Why Britain voted to Leave (and what Boris Johnson had to do with it) (4/5/2017) | Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley @lsebrexitvote
… Though Leavers were divided on how to deal with immigration, our findings also point to the important role of ‘cues’ from leaders, specifically Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. Johnson had a particularly important effect –if you liked Boris then even after controlling for a host of other factors you were significantly more likely to vote for Brexit. Farage was less popular among the professional middle-classes but he was more popular among blue-collar workers and left behind voters, underlining how these rival messengers were able to reach into different groups of voters. …

Why immigration was key to Brexit vote – Brexit reflected ‘a complex and cross-cutting mix of calculations, emotions and cues’ but anxiety over immigration was the dominant factor (15/5/2017) | Matthew Goodwin @IrishTimes
… Where did Remain go wrong? David Cameron and the Remainers recognised that many voters were risk averse and concerned about the economic effects of Brexit. “Project Fear”… Although a plurality of voters felt negatively about both sides, a larger number saw Leave – not Remain – as more positive, honest, clear about their case and as having understood people’s concerns. While more than twice as many people saw Leave rather than Remain as representing “ordinary people”, more than twice as many saw Remain rather than Leave as representing “the establishment”. …

The level of economic optimism within a country may be a key factor in determining voter turnout (1/11/2014) | Troy Cruickshank @LSEEuroppblog

P.S. 10 June


UK Vol.92 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.21: 2017 General Election – Manifestos of UKIP, Green Party)

Here are manifestos of United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Green Party. Excerpts are on our own.

——- UKIP Britain Together: The UKIP 2017 General Election Manifesto (issuu or PDF)
3 Britain Together: Paul Nuttall, UKIP Leader
5 Introduction to the 2017 UKIP Manifesto
• Raise the threshold for paying income tax to £13,500, cut taxes for middle earners, abolish the TV licence and cut VAT on household bills
• Scrap tuition fees for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine students
• Provide up to 100,000 new homes for younger people every year
• Maintain all pensioner benefits and the pensions Triple Lock
• Protect disability and carer’s benefits
• Spend a genuine two per cent of GDP on defence, plus £1 billion every year
• Fund 20,000 more police officers, 7,000 more prison officers, and 4,000 more border force staff
• Revive our coastal communities and fishing villages
• Cut Business Rates for the smallest businesses
• Commission a dedicated hospital ship to assist our armed forces and deliver humanitarian medical assistance worldwide
6 Brexit Britain: The Key Tests
THE EU PLAN TO STOP US LEAVING
Article 50 is not just a two-year process, as it makes provision for negotiations to extend for an indefinite time beyond that. We are likely to find ourselves facing protracted and tortuous negotiations with a recalcitrant, bullying EU for quite some time. The EU has no incentive to negotiate a ‘good deal’ for the UK because it does not want us to leave.
The UK has massive exposure to the liabilities of the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, and various other ‘financial mechanisms’ of the EU so long as we remain a member. We will be expected to contribute to any Eurozone bailouts. The EU will also have to plug a huge financial hole of some 12 per cent of the gross EU budget when Britain leaves. These are just two very good reasons for the EU to keep us dangling on the hook for as long as possible.
The longer the EU can keep Britain in, the greater the opportunity for a new government to reverse the referendum decision, or sign up to some kind of associated membership agreement which, to all intents and purposes, will be just like EU membership.
RESTORING BRITAIN’S FISHING INDUSTRY
… The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was cobbled together in 1970 as Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the UK were on course to join the then EEC. Together, these countries held 90 per cent of Western European fish stocks. 80 per cent of those stocks were British. …
THE 1964 LONDON CONVENTION ON FISHING
UKIP will repeal this little-known convention, an agreement between twelve European nations and the UK, which recognises the historic fishing rights of vessels from the contracting parties to fish in the band of waters between six and twelve nautical miles from the UK coast.
When the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy ceases to apply, the UK will automatically establish control of a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone giving our fishermen sole access to the seas within 200 miles of the UK coastline, or at the mid-point between two countries’ coastlines. However, the existence of the pre-EU 1964 Convention could offer a back door to continued EU fishing in British waters, as vessels belonging to signatory nations could cite this legislation and claim ‘historic rights’ to fishing within the 6 to 12 nautical mile band around the UK. …
SECURING THE FUTURE OF OUR FISHERIES
…it could be worth as much as £6.3 billion to the UK economy in net-to-plate income alone. …
The British Passport
10 Sound National Finances, A Lower Cost of Living
UKIP has always made the case for lower taxes and an end to wasteful public spending programmes. We will scrap white elephant vanity projects such as HS2, replace the out-dated Barnett Formula with a fair funding formula based on need, reduce foreign aid to 0.2 per cent of Gross National Income, and end our financial contributions to the EU budget.
These savings will provide us with £35 billion to fund our public service priorities. By keeping taxation low and incentives for wealth creation high, we will unleash the hardworking, entrepreneurial instincts of the British people. …
13 Backing Business and Investing in British Jobs
BACKING SMALL BUSINESSES
Britain’s 5.5 million small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, making up 60 per cent of the jobs in the private sector, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. UKIP will support small businesses by:
• Cutting business rates by 20 per cent for the 1.5 million British businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000
BACKING BRITAIN’S SELF-EMPLOYED STRIVERS
… There will be no quarterly tax returns, and no increase in Class IV National Insurance or taxes for our self-employed strivers. UKIP’s goal is to keep taxes and red-tape to the minimum necessary.
15 Creating Coastal Enterprise Zones
16 Solving Britain’s Housing Shortage
Successive governments have failed to meet the housing needs of an increasing population. Of the 140,000 homes due to be built this year, 80,000 will be absorbed by population growth, exacerbated by immigration, so at best only 60,000 will begin to address the current chronic shortage. …
UKIP is the only party being realistic about what can be done to increase the housing supply and putting forward a viable solution: a bold policy to roll out high quality, low cost factory-built modular (FBM) homes, affordable on the national average wage of £26,000. …
HOW UKIP’S MODULAR HOMES BUILDING SCHEME WILL WORK
… UKIP’s proposal will bring up to 100,000 extra truly affordable homes onto the market every year. Combined with a traditional home building programme, we could build another one million homes by 2022. In addition, the FBM model would also make it feasible to deliver substantial numbers of new Council houses that have been promised, while traditional methods do not.
A REVIEW OF HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS
… Housing associations manage 60 per cent of the socially rented sector and have received £23 billion of Government funding in the past 14 years, but UKIP is not convinced they are benefiting either tenants or the taxpayer. We will launch a review into their operation.
18 Defending our National Health Service
… NHS Trusts are in deficit to the tune of £2.5 billion… UKIP will provide NHS England with an additional £9 billion a year by 2021/22. An additional £2 billion for social care will fully utilise the savings we will make from the foreign aid budget.
GIVING NURSES THE RESPECT AND RECOGNITION THEY DESERVE
… We will discontinue the one per cent pay increase cap for frontline NHS workers earning less than £35,000 (Band 6).
REMOVING BARRIERS BETWEEN THE NHS AND SOCIAL CARE
35,000 bed days are lost every month because of delayed transfers of care, and legal barriers can make it difficult to pass information between the two systems. …
A NATIONAL, NOT AN INTERNATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
Treating those ineligible for care costs British taxpayers around £2 billion every year. …
ACCOUNTABLE MANAGEMENT
… We will limit the amount that can be spent on an external management consultancy contract to £50,000. The annual £589 million cost is far too high.
BANNING LABOUR’S DODGY NHS DEALS
… These Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals financed £11.8 billion worth of new build but will ultimately cost the NHS £79 billion. 75 per cent of the syndicates involved are based offshore, so they do not even pay UK taxes on these enormous profits. …
21 Britain’s Challenging Mental Health Crisis
… UKIP will increase planned spending on mental health services by at least £500 million every year. This sum could fund 6,000 clinical psychologists to see 500,000 more adults and young people every year. …
CHALLENGING MEDIA STEREOTYPES
Elsewhere in this manifesto we condemn alien practices that oppress women, but we are not blind to our own failings. The ‘lad culture,’ which treats young women as sex objects and the ‘red circle of shame’ in celebrity magazines that hold women to unattainable levels of physical perfection are just two examples. Boys too are increasingly developing eating disorders and body image issues. …
ON-THE-JOB EDUCATION
To give students a head start into a job, UKIP will introduce a scheme similar to Germany’s Dual Vocational Training system, in which students attend classes at a vocational school and receive on-the-job training at a company. …
RIGHTING WRONGS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
… The politically motivated decision to increase university places has deceived and blighted a generation. UKIP will stop paying tuition fees for courses which do not lead at least two thirds of students into a graduate level job, or a job corresponding to their degree, within five years after graduation. …
24 A Brighter Future for Our Next Generation
27 Caring for Young Children; Supporting Families
29 Meeting our Responsibilities to the Elderly and the Disabled
GROWING OLD TOGETHER
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services calculates £4.6 billion has been cut from social care budgets since 2010. The number of adults eligible to receive social care has plummeted by 28 per cent. …
…6,800 such patients every day cannot be discharged, so ambulances queue up outside A&E and planned operations are cancelled. This inefficiency costs the NHS approximately £1 billion a year, and it could get worse. …
Last year, research by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours found 59 home care companies had already handed unprofitable contracts back to local authorities, and that one in four care homes may go out of business within three years. The Better Care Fund was supposed to improve liaison between the NHS and local councils and ease pressure on hospitals, but the Public Accounts Committee found it was ‘little more than a ruse.’ The freedom to raise council tax by two per cent to fund adult social care is of least help to councils in the poorest areas, who have less income from council tax, but the most pressing care needs.
The only answer is to reverse the cuts to care budgets. UKIP will put back money the Conservatives have removed, investing up to £2 billion every year into social care. …
INVESTING IN DEMENTIA RESEARCH AND TREATMENT
PROTECTING CARE AT HOME
In January, campaigning organisation Disability United exposed clauses in Continuing Healthcare policies that stated home-based care would only be provided if costs do not exceed residential placement costs by a certain percentage, generally ten percent. …
AN END TO UNFAIR BENEFIT CUTS
ENDING THE INJUSTICE OF PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENTS
Personal Independence Payments, or PIPs, are replacing the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Without a PIP, disabled people cannot access other benefits such as Carer’s Allowance or the charitable Motability scheme to get a powered wheelchair or accessible car. …
Some 300 people a day who have their benefits cut following reassessments are appealing against these new decisions, at a cost of £1 million a week to the taxpayer. They are right to appeal, as six out of ten appeals are successful, but while they await the outcome of their appeals, many are falling into debt, and have vital support or equipment taken away from them. 50,000 people have had accessible vehicles removed since PIPs were introduced. …
32 Fair, Balanced Migration
LABOUR’S GREATEST FOLLY
TORY IMMIGRATION FAILURE
BALANCED NET MIGRATION OVER FIVE YEARS
UKIP will establish a Migration Control Commission and set a target to reduce net migration to zero, over a five-year period. …
FAIR, EQUITABLE IMMIGRATION
To make immigration fair and equitable, we will introduce a new Australian-style points-based system, and a work permit system. Both will apply equally to all applicants, save for citizens of the Republic of Ireland, with whom we will maintain our current arrangements.
To give working class people in particular a chance to find employment, we will place a moratorium on unskilled and low-skilled immigration for five years after we leave the EU.
We will also operate a seasonal worker scheme based on six-month visas to support those sectors, such as agriculture…
A NEW INTERNATIONAL VISA SYSTEM
1. WORK VISAS
Highly skilled workers with a job offer sponsored by companies paying them a minimum of £30,000 per annum will have priority.
2. TOURIST AND VISITOR VISAS
…for up to twelve months.
3. STUDENT VISAS
4. FAMILY REUNION VISAS
We respect the right of British citizens to form relationships with non-British citizens; however, we will abolish the European Economic Area (EEA) family permit scheme and reinstate the primary purpose rule. …
ACCESS TO WELFARE AND THE NHS
All new migrants to Britain will be expected to make tax and national insurance contributions for at least five consecutive years before they become eligible to claim UK benefits, or access non-urgent NHS services, save for any exceptions stipulated by the Migration Control Commission, or if reciprocal healthcare arrangements are in place with their country of origin. All new entrants to the UK must have and maintain comprehensive private medical insurance for the duration of their stay, as a condition of their visa.
BRITISH CITIZENSHIP
Those arriving on Work Visas may apply for British citizenship after five years, provided they have worked, paid tax here, and maintained their medical insurance throughout that time. …
THE RIGHTS OF EU NATIONALS
UKIP will allow law-abiding EU citizens living in the UK before Article 50 was triggered the right to stay here indefinitely. We expect the same concession to be granted to British citizens living overseas within the EU.
EU nationals who entered the UK after 29th March 2017 will not have the automatic right to remain…
35 Britain United Under One Law for All
ONE LAW FOR ALL
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL WOMEN
STANDING UP FOR WOMEN IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
OTHER ‘CULTURAL’ CRIMES
SHOW YOUR FACE IN A PUBLIC PLACE
ENDING ISLAMIST EXTREMISM IN OUR SCHOOLS
39 Policing, Prison, Punishment
… Our approach to criminality contrasts starkly with that of the other parties. As Home Secretary, Theresa May was soft on crime. She went the way of the Labour party, putting the human rights of offenders before those of their victims, tiptoeing around even the most hardened criminals, instead of concentrating on protecting the public. …
… We will train and deploy 20,000 more police and employ 7,000 more prison officers.
STOP AND SEARCH
In 2014, Theresa May weakened Stop and Search, saying it was undermining relations with ethnic minority communities. UKIP warned this would lead to an increase in knife crime and, sadly, we have been proved right. …
THE 2003 LICENSING ACT
This Act relaxed opening hours for pubs, bars and clubs and increased the number of establishments able to serve alcohol. The social consequences have not resembled the ‘continental-style café culture’ Tony Blair claimed it would. A survey of emergency workers carried out in 2015 by the Institute of Alcohol Studies revealed 52 per cent of paramedics, 42 per cent of A&E doctors and three-quarters of police officers have been attacked in the course of their duties by people who were intoxicated. …
42 Britain’s New Role in the World
… UKIP will work constructively with President Trump. We value the special relationship between the UK and the US, and do not believe gesture politics from establishment politicians seeking to demonstrate their disapproval of his administration is helpful to our national interest. The values shared between the US and the UK will always outlast individual political administrations in either country. We are confident the Trump administration’s positive attitude to Britain will lead to a swift free trade agreement bolstering our common interests. …
UKIP supports the recent tradition of consulting parliament before our forces are committed to combat situations. We are proud of our pro-active role in opposing British participation in the planned bombing of Syria in 2013. …
… We see Russia as a potential important ally in the struggle against Islamist terror, and believe Russia should immerse itself in global rules-based relationships instead of seeming to glory in renegade status within the international community.
44 Defending Our Nation, Supporting Our Veterans
REBUILDING OUR ARMED FORCES
US President Theodore Roosevelt said the key to success in foreign policy was to “speak softly but carry a big stick.” In the modern era, British politicians have all too often shouted loudly while carrying a matchstick. …
THE ARMY
THE ROYAL NAVY
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE
A GENUINE COMMITMENT TO OUR NATO OBLIGATIONS
DEFENCE PROCUREMENT …
47 Trade, Not Aid
ETHICAL TRADE WILL ERADICATE POVERTY
… African farmers, for example, may export raw cocoa beans to the EU without paying any tariffs, but if they want to export chocolate, tariffs are high. It is the same with coffee. In 2014, the whole of Africa made just under £1.6 billion from raw coffee bean exports, but Germany alone made £2.6 billion just by exporting roasted beans, despite not growing a single coffee crop. …
THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER
Of all the insults thrown at the Leave campaign by the Remain camp, one of the most ludicrous was the ‘little Englanders’ taunt. The polar opposite is true: those who voted for Brexit could see a brighter, more global and economically successful future outside the confines of a contracting and ever-more protectionist EU.
For decades our EU membership has been a factor in our diluted economic growth, flat-lining wages, and diminishing influence on the world stage. In future, we shall have wider and easier access to overseas markets. For British consumers, choice will increase, prices will fall, and we will not be so reliant upon monopoly suppliers. Increased competition is likely to fuel innovation and offer opportunities for the transfer of expertise and technology, which in turn means more jobs, and a stronger economy.
Leaving the EU is not about becoming ‘little Englanders,’ it is about putting the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain. It is about embracing new trading markets in all seven continents of the globe.
Naturally, we should like to agree a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, and continue to trade on the same basis as at present. As the UK is the EU’s largest single export market, the EU should want to reach a swift and sensible trade deal with us. …
In circumstances where the EU continues to insist Britain pay a huge ‘divorce’ settlement of up to €100 billion, or continues to demand we accept the on-going jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and allow the free movement of people, trading with the EU within the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would be the far better option. …
OUR TRADE PRINCIPLES
Post-Brexit, UKIP’s aim is to establish the UK on the world market as a low tax, low regulation economy. The UK will contribute to the World Trade Organisation’s aim for trade to flow as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. We will reduce tariffs wherever possible, unless initiating anti-dumping measures, and oppose the establishment and continuance of protectionist customs unions such as the EU. …
50 Transport: Keeping Britain Moving
UKIP WILL SCRAP
HS2 Rail travel is essential but HS2 is not. This High Speed Rail project is unaffordable, requires massive borrowing, will blight people’s homes, and destroy valuable habitats. Spending £75 billion just to save a few minutes between London and Leeds is ludicrous and, we think, unethical. …
ENDING ROAD TOLLS
DEFENDING DIESEL DRIVERS
SAVING RURAL BUS SERVICES
AIR PASSENGER DUTY
LONDON AIRPORTS AND THE SOUTH EAST
THE BRITDISC
52 Protecting Our Environment
PROTECTING OUR ANCIENT WOODLANDS
Current legislation does not go far enough in protecting natural woodland habitats. We will amend the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to give ancient woodlands ‘wholly exceptional’ status, putting them on a par with listed buildings, registered parks and gardens, and World Heritage Sites.
Major infrastructure projects will be required to give much more respect to irreplaceable natural habitats. HS2 is a prime example of this: we will scrap HS2 and ensure no infrastructure project will ever again be allowed permission to wreak such catastrophic environmental damage. …
CREATING SMALL GREEN SPACES
GENERAL ELECTION DAY IS WORLD OCEANS DAY
54 Food Production and Animal Welfare
… UKIP will continue to make available to the agriculture sector funds that would normally be paid to them via Brussels. We will introduce a UK Single Farm Payment (SFP) that operates in a similar way to the present EU system.
The major difference will be that UKIP’s SFP will be more ethical. It will end EU discrimination in favour of larger, intensive farms, and support smaller enterprises. Subsidies will be capped at £120,000 per year and, to make sure payments reach farmers, not just wealthy landowners, we will pay only those who actually farm the land.
Anti-Microbial Resistance is a problem for society as a whole. …
56 Our Future Energy Security
… UKIP will repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro, as well as other renewables when they can be delivered at competitive prices. We will also withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, to enhance our industrial competitiveness. …
CUTTING DOMESTIC ENERGY PRICES
…2.3 million households are living in fuel poverty, meaning they spend more than 10 per cent of their total income to heat their homes to an adequate standard of warmth.
In addition to removing VAT from domestic fuel and scrapping ‘green’ levies to reduce household bills by an average of £170, we will review the ownership and profits of British utilities and the impact on consumers of steadily rising prices. We will not hesitate to table legislation to address any excesses we uncover. …
CUTTING THE COST OF INTENSIVE ENERGY USE
… Energy policies pursued by Labour and the Tories are arguably increasing global emissions and causing Britain to lose jobs and investment. They have created a lose-lose situation…
INVESTING IN SHALE GAS
58 Real Democracy
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION
All votes should matter, so we will introduce a voting system that genuinely reflects the will of the people as a whole. In the 2015 general election, UKIP got 12.6 per cent of the vote but only one seat, while the SNP won just 4.7 percent of the national vote but took 56 seats. The current First Past the Post (FPTP) system we use for electing MPs to our national parliament is bad for voters, bad for government, and bad for democracy. …
SCRAP POSTAL VOTING ON DEMAND
ABOLISH THE HOUSE OF LORDS
… The average cost of each peer is £115,000 per year.
A FAIR DEAL FOR ALL FOUR NATIONS
A SMALLER HOUSE OF COMMONS
THE CITIZEN’S INITIATIVE
61 Keeping it Local
… UKIP is the only party to operate a ‘no whip’ system, so our councillors can always vote in the best interests of residents in their wards, because they are not bound by party politics.
We oppose the ‘cabinet’ system of local governance, which puts too much power in the hands of too few people. We advocate a committee system, which brings more openness and transparency, and facilitates cross-party collaborative working. …
UKIP believes in keeping Council Tax as low as possible. …
62 UKIP’s Five Year Fiscal Plan

Wales Into The World: Wales Manifesto – General Election 2017 (PDF)
2-3 Preface
6-7 Democracy
… UKIP believes that existing powers exercised by the EU over agriculture; fisheries; environment; and transport should pass to the National Assembly for Wales. We also want to see control over business taxes including rates and corporation tax devolved to Wales.
UKIP also recognises the cost of government bureaucracy has grown to levels unimaginable in 1999 when the National Assembly for Wales first came into being. The “Yes” campaign stated the annual cost of devolution to Wales would be in the range of £10-20million. In reality the cost of Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government administration has swelled to nearly £500million annually. In addition, Wales has retained twenty-two local authorities, each employing a highly-paid management team headed by a Chief Executive earning, in some cases, more than the Prime Minister. …
8-9 Economy
… Wales has been totally abandoned by mainstream politics. For many life can be tough. Many of our communities offer no stable decent work and, outside Cardiff, the idea of a metropolitan utopia that offers highly-paid professional careers is an alien concept to most. … UKIP would:
1. Raise the personal allowance to £13,500 so people can earn enough money to cover their basic living costs before they have to pay income tax. This will take those on minimum wage out of tax altogether.
2. Raise the threshold for paying 40% income tax to £55,000.
3. Ensure Brexit negotiations give us complete control over VAT. This means we can, and will, remove VAT completely from hot takeaway food, sanitary products and energy bills.
4. Restore British tax sovereignty, which we lost when we signed-up to the EU. We will end the practice of businesses paying tax in whichever EU or associated country they choose. Our membership of the EU enables companies to avoid paying some UK taxes with impunity and we will close this loophole.
5. Establish a Treasury Commission to monitor the effectiveness of measures designed to reduce tax avoidance and recommend further measures necessary to prevent large multinational corporations using aggressive tax avoidance schemes.
6. Support the devolution of Business Rates and Corporation Tax to the National Assembly for Wales. UKIP want to grow the Welsh economy and create a business-friendly environment which produces high-paying jobs for this and future generations. We need to move away from a publicsector and subsidy-based economy. We need a vibrant private sector. We need our own silicon valleys in Wales.
7. Allow the National Assembly for Wales to lower taxes on business, particularly in areas such as the Welsh valleys and deindustrialised communities. The focus would be on bringing investment to Wales. Investment in new high-tech jobs and skills.
10-11 Education
12-13 Energy
2. Support innovations such as the tidal lagoon project proposed for Swansea Bay. This offers a great opportunity for Wales and the wider UK. It is truly British in nature and is an example of UK design and innovation at its best. UKIP would give this pilot project the green-light to proceed to the build-stage and work with the industry to see its potential maximised across the UK.
14-15 Farming & Fishing
1. Introduce suitable and sustainable funding for farming, financed by the £10 billion annual savings from Britain’s membership of the European Union. For every £5 UK agriculture receives from the EU, British taxpayers have already contributed £10.
2. Support hill farming, a sector of the industry dominant throughout Wales. Hill farmers should receive additional headage payments on livestock within World Trade Organisation rules.
5. Oppose any move towards greater restrictions on cattle movements, which are already some of the strictest throughout Europe. It is our view that a new approach should be established to deal with the threat of Bovine TB by adhering to the advice offered by the British Veterinary Association and farming unions.
16-17 Health
…we do not believe a public service should have a monopoly on public expenditure to the detriment of all other services. The NHS cannot be a monetary black hole and the managers appointed to run it should not be permitted to continue to blame their failure to perform on a lack of funding. …namely that a scandalous proportion of NHS resources are being swallowed up by senior doctors and managers earning, in some cases, as much as £375,000 per year in overtime alone. …
18-19 Housing
1. Incentivise local development, bringing brownfield sites and derelict homes back in to use, so that they can be released for affordable housing.
3. Encourage new and innovative ways of building affordable homes, such as modular housing units, and houses built using sustainable materials.
4. Prioritise local people when allocating council and social housing. …
6. Scrap the punitive fees charged by letting and management agents so that tenants who choose to rent a home are better able to afford to do so.
8. Ensure developers create adequately-sized homes with parking provision and room to live. …
20-21 Security
UKIP believes that security should be the number one priority of any government. Sadly though, other parties disagree. For years police forces have seen their budgets slashed in real-terms and struggling to cope under pressure from an increased threat of terrorism, extremism and anti-social behaviour.
Of course, security is not solely the responsibility of our brilliant police officers, but jointly shared with the MOD, the security & intelligence services, HMRC and the Border Force. The introduction of highlypoliticised Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) has also failed to improve policing as intended. The argument that PCCs have a democratic mandate is also challengeable, considering that all Welsh PCCs were elected on turnouts of less than 50% of the electorate. …
22-23 Trade
Wales exported more to the EU than it imported in 2015. Wales does not need EU membership to trade with it. Moreover, Wales does not need a trade agreement with the EU in order to trade with it. The USA, China, Japan, India, Brazil and Russia are amongst the top ten exporters to the EU but they are not shackled to an agreement with it. They successfully trade directly by proactively using their seat at the WTO.
UKIP fully supports the UK reactivating its seat at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where we can negotiate as a free and independent member unshackled from the EU. This will enable us to establish free trade agreements across the globe in the best interests of Wales and the UK. It will also enable the UK to work directly with the WTO, where necessary, to prevent vexatious actions by potential trading partners.
Less than 12.5% of the UK economy is accounted for by trade with the EU. Only 5% of UK businesses trade with the EU; the other 95% trade within the UK or outside of the EU. However, 100% of Welsh businesses will be shackled to EU regulations if we remain in the EU and may still be shackled to them if it signs up to a poorly negotiated variant of EFTA or EEA membership.
Wales does not need to accept free movement of people, nor any modified variant advocated by the Labour-Plaid Coalition of Losers’ recent white paper, to trade with the EU or access EU markets. Indeed, of the four existing EFTA countries, only two – Norway and Iceland – kept a free movement of people clause. The other two EFTA countries, including Switzerland, are not currently committed to any such clause. …
…it would be in the interests of many of the EU countries who export to the UK, to negotiate a bespoke agreement to reduce the unfavourable tariffs that they may otherwise be left with.
24-25 Transport
… This is only likely to get worse as our population increases and we lack a credible national plan for road improvement. …
… Anyone who travels to Europe, North America or Asia would know how much cheaper and more reliable passenger travel is outside of the UK. …

UKIP, GreenParty

——- Green Party The Green Guarantee – The Green Party For A Confident And Caring Britain – (PDF pages / various formats)
4 / A GREEN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE
• Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income, including a government sponsored pilot scheme, as a means to increase security and avoid the poverty trap.
• Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid, and increase the minimum wage to reach a genuine living wage of £10 an hour by 2020.
• End the gender pay gap, and require a minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards to be women.
• Reform taxation to include a wealth tax on the top 1% of earners, investing in more staff at HMRC so they can work more effectively, and reinstate the higher level of corporation tax for large businesses.
• A Robin Hood tax on high value transactions in the finance sector, and inheritance taxed according to the wealth of the recipient.
• A phased in abolition of the cap on employees’ national insurance so that the wealthiest pay more.
• Support and promote small businesses, co-operatives and mutuals, and the roll out of high speed broadband.
6 / PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
• A public works programme of insulation to make every home warm and investing in flood defences and natural flood management to make every community safer.
• Active ongoing cooperation with businesses and other countries to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees and aiming for 1.5 degrees.
• Introduce a one-off fine on car manufacturers who cheated the emissions testing regime and create a new Clean Air Act, expanding and funding a mandatory clean air zone network.
• Strong protection for the Green Belt, National Parks, SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
• Tough action to reduce plastic and other waste, including the introduction of Deposit Return Schemes, with a zero waste target.
8 / MEMBERSHIP OF THE EU
• A referendum on the detail of whatever deal is negotiated for Britain’s departure from the EU, with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU.
• Protect freedom of movement, press for remaining within the single market, and safeguard vital rights for people and the environment.
• Immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens in the EU.
10 / OUR NHS AND PUBLIC SERVICES
• Roll back privatisation of the NHS to ensure that all health and dental services are always publicly provided and funded, and free at the point of access, via the introduction of an NHS Reinstatement Act. Scrap NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
• Close the NHS spending gap and provide an immediate cash injection, to ensure everyone can access a GP, hospitals can run properly, and staff are fairly paid.
• Bring energy, water, railways, buses, the Royal Mail and care work back into public ownership to give communities real control of the public services that has been lost over the past 30 years.
• Increase funding for local authorities so they can provide good quality public services and invest in our communities, creating thousands of jobs. A single budget covering health and social services, to make life easier for people who need to access several types of service.
12 / EDUCATION FOR ALL
• Bring Academies and Free Schools into the local authority system, abolish SATS and reduce class sizes.
• Scrap university tuition fees, fund full student grants and greater public investment in further and higher education.
• Restore Education Maintenance Allowance and enable apprenticeships to all qualified young people aged 16-25.
• Address the crisis of teacher workload, with measures such as abolishing Ofsted, and reforming the curriculum so that it is pupil-centred, freeing up teachers to teach.
14 / OUR PROMISE TO YOUNG PEOPLE
• Protect young people’s housing needs by reinstating housing benefit for under-21s, stop Local Authorities declaring young people “intentionally homeless”, and invest in community house-building projects to provide affordable, secure housing options for young people.
• … Guarantee the rights of young people to study, work, live and travel in the EU, including through schemes like Erasmus.
• Reject the xenophobic Prevent strategy and pursue community-led collaborative approaches to tackling all forms of extremism instead.
• …removing VAT from sanitary products and ensuring that they are provided free of charge to those in extreme financial need.
• Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship, as well as lowering the voting age to 16.
16 / A PLACE TO CALL HOME
• Giving tenants a voice by supporting the development of renters’ unions.
• A major programme to build affordable, zero carbon homes, including 100,000 social rented homes each year by 2022.
• End mass council house sales and scrap Right to Buy at discounted prices.
• Abolish the cruel and unfair bedroom tax.
• Action on empty homes to bring them back into use and a trial of a Land Value Tax to encourage the use of vacant land and reduce speculation.
• Help first-time buyers by aiming for house price stability – axing buy-to-let tax breaks, and backing community-led approaches to building affordable homes.
• Significantly improve housing choice for D/deaf, disabled and older people by requiring all councils to appropriately plan for their housing needs…
18 / A SAFER WORLD
• Cancel Trident replacement, saving at least £110 billion over the next 30 years.
• Increase the overseas aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 1.0% of GDP.
20 / A CITIZENS’ DEMOCRACY
• Introduce proportional representation (PR) for parliamentary and local elections, and votes at 16.
• Increase diversity in representative politics, with job-shares, a 50/50 Parliament, and replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber.
• Defend the Human Rights Act and UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, and reinstate funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
• Action to tackle racism and discrimination on the basis of faith or disability, real equality for LGBTIQA+ people, equal rights for mixed gender couples to have a Civil Partnership.
• Give power to local communities by allowing for 40% of the local electorate to secure a referendum on local government decisions or to recall their MP.
• End the sale of personal data, such as health or tax records, for commercial or other ends.
• Protect the BBC and tighten the rules on media ownership so no individual or company owns more than 20% of a media market, protecting against anyone having too much influence or undermining democracy.
• Give Parliament a vote on any new trade deals.
• Revive the role of democratic trade unions.
• Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship.
22 / A PEOPLE’S TRANSPORT SYSTEM
• Return the railways to public ownership and re-regulate buses, investing in increased bus services especially in rural and other poorly served areas.
• All public transport should be fully accessible and step-free with a phase-in of free local public transport for young people, students, people with disabilities, and older people.
• Invest in regional rail links and electrification of existing rail lines, especially in the South West and North of England, rather than wasting money on HS2 and the national major roads programme.
• Cancel all airport expansion and end subsidies on airline fuel.
Invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling…
• Help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads.


UK Vol.89 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.18: 2017 General Election – Liberal Democrats Manifesto)

Here is Liberal Democrats Manifesto in May 2017. Excerpts are on our own.

Europe (w Video)
Liberal Democrats are open and outward-looking. We passionately believe that Britain is better off in the EU. We will fight against the Conservatives disastrous hard Brexit – their choice to make the UK a poorer place.
We acknowledge the result of the 2016 referendum, which gave the government a mandate to start negotiations to leave – but we believe the final decision should be made by the British people, not by politicians.
Giving the people the final say
Liberal Democrats are open and outward-looking. We passionately believe that Britain’s relationship with its neighbours is stronger as part of the European Union. Whatever its imperfections, the EU remains the best framework for working effectively and co-operating in the pursuit of our shared aims. It has led directly to greater prosperity, increased trade, investment and jobs, better security, and a greener environment. Britain is better off in the EU. …
…a Hard Brexit. This means leaving the Single Market, ending freedom of movement, and abandoning the Customs Union – even though these choices will make the UK poorer and disappoint many leave voters who wanted a different outcome. …
Fighting a hard Brexit
• Protection of rights for EU citizens and UK citizens
• Membership of the Single Market and Customs Union
• Freedom of movement
• Opportunities for young people
• Defending social rights and equalities: Many important protections such as the right to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and rights to annual leave are currently based on EU law, and many of these rights have been upheld at the European Court of Justice. …
• Maintaining environmental standards
• Law enforcement and judicial co-operation: Europol, the European Arrest Warrant and shared access to police databases have helped make Britain’s streets safer. …
• British Business and Jobs: … The City of London is Europe’s financial capital and must retain its full rights in EU financial markets.
• Science and research funding: … We will campaign against any reduction in investment in UK universities and for their right to apply for EU funds on equal terms.
• Travel and tourism: … We will strive to retain traveller and tourist benefits such as the European Health Insurance Card, reduced roaming charges and pet passports, all of which are at risk by leaving the European Union.
• Respect for the interests of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

Economy & Business (w Video)
Britain needs an economy that creates jobs and opportunities. The Conservative’s actions risk our future, relying on debt to prop up growth. We will build an economy that works for the long term: prosperous, green, and fair.
Responsible finances: Investing in Britain’s Future
… The Conservatives have failed to take advantage of historically low interest rates to borrow for the investment that would create jobs now and prepare us and our economy for the future.
Liberal Democrats will therefore commit to a responsible and realistic £100 billion package of additional infrastructure investment. …
• New direct spending on house-building to help build 300,000 homes a year by 2022. …
• Significant investment in road and rail infrastructure, including a continued commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification. …
• £5 billion of initial capital for a new British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank, using public money to attract private investment for these priorities. …
• Increasing spending on the NHS and social care, using the proceeds of a 1p rise in Income Tax. … There will be a commensurate 1p increase in dividend taxation which is a UK-wide tax. …
• End the 1% cap on pay rises in the public sector, and uprating wages in line with inflation.
Fair taxes
• …should be removed. These include reforms to Capital Gains Tax and Dividend Tax relief, and refocusing Entrepreneurs’ Relief. We would reverse a number of the Conservatives’ unfair and unjustified tax cuts, including: – The cutting of Corporation Tax from 20% to 17% – Capital Gains Tax Cuts – Capital Gains Tax Extended Relief – The Marriage Allowance – The raising of the Inheritance Tax Threshold
• Take tough action against corporate tax evasion and avoidance, including by: – Introducing a General Anti-Avoidance Rule… – Reforming Corporation Tax to develop a system that benefits the smallest companies… – Reviewing the Business Rates system, prioritising reforms that recognise the development of the digital economy, lessen the burden on smaller businesses… …Land Value Taxation. …
Supporting entrepreneurs and small business
• Expand the activities of the state-owned British Business Bank… …
• Reform the Regulatory Policy Committee…
Innovation, science and new technology
• Protect the science budget, including the recent £2 billion increase… …Horizon 2020…
• Build on the Coalition’s industrial strategy…
• Develop the skilled workforce needed to support this growth with a major expansion of high-quality apprenticeships including Advanced Apprenticeships, backed up with new sector-led National Colleges. …
• Invest to ensure that broadband connections and services to be provided before 2020…
• …retain coding on the National Curriculum in England.
• Support growth in the creative industries, including video gaming, by continuing to support the Creative Industries Council and tailored industry-specific tax support…
Helping everyone earn a decent living
• Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a genuine Living Wage across all sectors. …
• Modernise employment rights to make them fit for the age of the ‘gig’ economy, looking to build on the forthcoming Taylor Report. …
Helping everyone to share in prosperity
• Encourage employers to promote employee ownership by giving staff in listed companies with over 250 employees a right to request shares…
• Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation on remuneration committees, and the right for employees of a listed company to be represented on the board. We will change company law to permit a German-style two-tier board structure to include employees. …
• Reduce the reporting requirement for disclosure of shareholdings to 1% in order to increase transparency over who owns stakes in the biggest companies.
It is a scandal that in Britain today there are 1.7 million people without a bank account, 8 million experiencing problem debt and 40% of the working-age population who have less than £100 in savings. …
Spreading opportunities to every part of the country
… The prospect of Brexit, including the loss of £8.9 billion of European Structural and Investment Funds, is only likely to make the problems faced by disadvantaged areas worse. …
• Give the immediate go-ahead to Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.
• Encourage Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to work in partnership with existing business, Universities and other business hubs…

Health and Social Care (w Video)
Saving the NHS and social care
… Social care is facing a funding blackhole of £2 billion this year alone and more than a million older people are missing out on the care that they need.
… Nearly two-thirds of NHS Trusts ended the last financial year in deficit.
Yet Labour and Conservative politicians refuse to be honest with the public…
…five key steps…
1. An immediate 1p rise on the basic, higher and additional rates of Income Tax to raise £6 billion additional revenue which would be ringfenced to be spent only on NHS and social care services.
2. Direct this additional investment to the following priority areas in the health and care system: social care, primary care (and other out-of-hospital care), mental health and public health. …
3. …commission the development of a dedicated Health and Care Tax on the basis of wide consultation, possibly based on a reform of National Insurance contributions…
4. Establish a cross-party health and social care convention, bringing together stakeholders from all political parties, patients groups, the public, and professionals from within the health and social care system…
5. Introduce a statutory independent budget monitoring agency for health and care, similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility. …
Valuing the NHS and social care workforce
Equal care for mental health
Home not hospital: joining up health and social care
The number of family carers is rising, including in the ‘sandwich generation’ who find themselves trying to care for their children and their parents at the same time. … We will: …
• Finish the job of implementing a cap on the cost of social care, which the Conservatives have effectively abandoned. …
• …tariffs that encourage joined-up services and promote improved outcomes for patients and better preventive care. …
Better access to community services
Helping people stay healthy
…40% of NHS spending is on diseases that are preventable…
• Publish a National Wellbeing Strategy…
• Implement the recommendations of the O’Neill report on antimicrobial resistance…
• Make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention available on the NHS.
• Support effective public awareness campaigns like Be Clear on Cancer and learn…
• Develop a strategy to tackle childhood obesity including restricting the marketing of junk food to children…
• Encourage the traffic light labelling system for food products and publication…
• Introduce mandatory targets on sugar reduction for food and drink producers.
• Reduce smoking rates, introducing a levy on tobacco companies…
• Implement the recommendations of the Keogh review to regulate cosmetic surgery…

Education & Young People (w Video)
Education is at the heart of the Liberal Democrat agenda. …
Stop the education cuts – fair funding for every school
…the Conservatives’ flawed approach to the National Fair Funding Formula…
• Reverse all cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protecting per pupil funding in real terms.
• Introduce a fairer National Funding System with a protection for all schools, so that no school loses money per pupil in cash terms.
• Protect the Pupil Premium which targets extra help at disadvantaged children.
Over the Parliament, this means an extra £7 billion for school and college budgets.
Quality really counts in early years
• Increase our Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000 per pupil per year.
• Raise the quality of early years provision and aim for every formal early years setting to employ at least one person who holds an Early Years Teacher qualification by 2022.
Teachers – our biggest asset in education
• End the 1% cap on teachers’ pay rises.
• Guarantee that all teachers in state-funded schools will be fully qualified or working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from January 2019.
• Introduce a clear and properly funded entitlement to genuinely high quality professional development for all teachers – 25 hours per year by 2020, rising to the OECD average of 50 hours by 2025.
• Support proper long-term planning of initial teacher training places, prioritising close partnerships with higher education and specialist routes such as Teach First in order to recruit the highest-quality teachers in shortage areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths.
• Tackle unnecessary teacher workload, including by:
– Establishing an independent Education Standards Authority to pilot, phase-in and resource future policy changes in consultation with professionals and experts.
– Reform Ofsted inspections so that they include a focus on longer-term outcomes and sustainable improvement as well as teacher workload, sickness and retention.
– Support the establishment of a new, independent Foundation for Leadership in Education, working under the umbrella of the Chartered College of Teaching, to promote high-quality, evidence-based leadership and help the best leaders into the most challenging schools.
• Continue to work with the Education Endowment Foundation to establish a comprehensive evidence base on what works in teaching.
Driving up school standards
• Scrap the planned expansion of grammar schools and devolve all capital monies for new school spaces to local authorities. …
Curriculum and qualifications
• … Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). …
• Prioritise primary progress measures instead of floor thresholds and work with the profession to reform tests at 11, preventing curriculum narrowing in upper Key Stage 2. …
• Improve links between employers and schools, encouraging all schools to participate in employment and enterprise schemes that promote regular experiences in business. …
Getting children and families ready to learn
• Establish a new online Family University, supported by leading organisations such as the BBC and Open University…
A world class university sector, open to all
… In government, Liberal Democrats established a fairer system such that that no undergraduate student in England had to pay a penny of their tuition fees up front or pay anything afterwards until they earn over £21,000 per year. …
• Fight to retain access to Horizon 2020 and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions funding. …
Lifelong opportunities to learn
• Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds…
• Identify and seek to solve skills gaps such as the lack of advanced technicians by expanding higher vocational training like foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher Apprenticeships. …

Families and Communities (w Video)
Help with childcare costs
… In government, we were proud to introduce Shared Parental Leave and increases in free childcare but there are still gaps in the system. …
• Provide 15 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two-year olds in England. We will then prioritise 15 hours’ free childcare for all working parents in England with children aged between nine months and two years.
• Commit to an ambitious long-term goal of 30 hours’ free childcare a week for all parents in England with children aged from two to four years, and all working parents from the end of paid parental leave to two years. …
Helping people find work
• Encourage people into work by reversing the cuts to Work Allowances in Universal Credit…
• Improve links between Jobcentres and Work Programme providers and the local NHS…
Treating people fairly
… We will reinstate the legally binding poverty targets of the Child Poverty Act. We will: …
• Help young people in need by reversing cuts to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds and increase the rates of Job Seeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit for those aged 18-24 at the same rate as minimum wages.
• Reverse cuts to Employment Support Allowance to those in the Work-related Activity Group.
• Increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area, ensuring that LHA is enough for a family to pay their housing costs no matter where they live.
• Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’, while seeking to achieve the aim of making best use of the housing supply through incentivising local authorities to help tenants ‘downsize’.
• Scrap the discredited Work Capability Assessment and replace it with a new system, run by local authorities according to national rules, including a ‘real world’ test that is based on the local labour market.
• Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%). We will retain the free bus pass for all pensioners. …
Saving for and enjoying your retirement
• Maintain the ‘triple lock’ of increasing the State Pension each year by the highest of earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5% for the next Parliament. …
Building more and better homes
• Directly build homes to fill the gap left by the market, to reach our house-building target of 300,000 homes a year, through a government commissioning programme to build homes for sale and rent. …
• Create at least ten new Garden Cities in England…
• Set up a new government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank with a remit including providing long-term capital for major new settlements…
• End the Voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off Housing Association homes and the associated high value asset levy.
• Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of Housing Associations…
• Enable local authorities to: – Levy up to 200% Council Tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas. … – End the Right to Buy if they choose.
Buying and renting
• …a new Rent to Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years. …
• …a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30. …
• …the Database of Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents. …
Investing in the transport we need
• … We will continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.
• …establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern Rail and Govia Thameslink…
• …HS2, HS3, and Crossrail 2…
• … We will:
– Shift more freight from road to rail …
– Deliver the Transport for the North strategy to promote growth, innovation and prosperity across northern England
– Develop more modern, resilient links to and within the South West peninsula to help develop and diversify the regional economy
– Complete East West Rail, connecting up Oxford and Cambridge and catalysing major new housing development.
– Ensure London’s transport infrastructure is improved to withstand the pressure of population and economic growth.
– Support the takeover of metro services in London by London Overground.
– Encourage the swift take-up of electric and driverless vehicles.
• … We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary and will focus instead on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester. …
Local communities working together
• Drastically reduce the powers of central government ministers to interfere in democratically elected local government.
• Remove the requirement to hold local referenda for Council Tax changes, ensuring that councillors are properly accountable for their decisions by introducing fair votes.
• Aim to increase the number of Neighbourhood, Community and Parish Councils and promote tenant management in social housing. …
Sustainable rural communities
• Ensure that every property in the UK is provided, by 2022, with a superfast broadband connection with a download speed of 30Mbps, an upload speed of 6Mbps, and an unlimited usage cap. …
• Set up a £2 billion Rural Services Fund of capital investment to enable communities to establish a local base from which to co-locate services such as council offices, post offices, children’s centres, libraries, and visiting healthcare professionals. …
• Commit to preventing Post Office closures and protect Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation to deliver across the UK for the same price. …
Access to culture and sport

Environment (w Video)
Clean air and green transport
Air pollution in the UK is a killer. It contributes to 40,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS £15 billion. …
…will pass a Green Transport Act, introduce an Air Quality Plan…
Low-carbon energy and green jobs
In government, we championed green energy, and oversaw the trebling of renewable electricity generation. But the Conservatives have repeatedly cut support for green energy producers… We will:
• Pass a Zero Carbon Britain Act to set new legally binding targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2040 and to zero by 2050.
• Set up a British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank…
• Expand renewable energy, aiming to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030…
Greener homes, lower energy bills
At over £1,200 a year, the cost of heating and lighting an average home in the UK is too high… We will:
• Pass a new Green Buildings Act to set new energy efficiency targets, including a long-term ambition for every home in England to reach at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035.
• Ensure that at least four million homes are made highly energy efficient (Band C) by 2022, with priority given to fuel-poor households.
• Restore the Zero Carbon Standard for new homes which was set by Liberal Democrats in government…
• Continue to back new entrants to the energy market, aiming for at least 30% of the household market to be supplied by competitors to the ‘Big 6’ by 2022.
Protecting nature
• Establish a £2bn flood prevention fund…
• Pass a Nature Act to put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory footing…
Farming, food, and agriculture
… For agricultural products outside the EU, tariffs average 22.3% – putting Britain’s £18 billion of food exports in danger. …
• Introduce a National Food Strategy…
• Increase the powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator…
Despite reform, the Common Fisheries Policy has failed to deliver the economic or environmental objectives necessary…
Cutting waste, using resources wisely
…the so-called ‘circular economy’…
• Pass a Zero Waste Act, including legally-binding targets for reducing net consumption of key natural resources…
• Establish a statutory waste recycling target of 70% in England and extend separate food waste collections to at least 90% of homes by 2022. …
• Establish a coherent tax and regulatory framework for landfill, incineration and waste collection, including reinstating the Landfill Tax escalator and extending it to the lower rate and consulting on the introduction of an Incineration Tax. …
…we will establish a Cabinet Committee on Sustainability, chaired by a cabinet minister, establish an Office for Environmental Responsibility to scrutinise the government’s efforts to meets its environmental targets…

Rights (w Video)
… We will continue international security co-operation – combatting organised crime, terrorism and child sexual exploitation.
Rights and Equalities
… Our society is only strong once it includes everybody – regardless of their background. …
• …an ambitious goal of a million more women in work by 2025.
• …pushing for at least 40% of board members being women in FTSE 350 companies and implementing the recommendations of the Parker review to increase ethnic minority representation.
• Extend the Equality Act to all large companies with over 250 employees, requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps. …
…Show Racism the Red Card, the Anne Frank Trust UK, and Kick It Out. …
• Decriminalise the sale and purchase of sex, and the management of sex work – reducing harm, defending sex workers’ human rights, and focusing police time and resources on those groomed, forced, or trafficked into the sex industry. …
• …streamline and simplify the Gender Recognition Act 2004…
• Increase accessibility to public places and transport by making more stations wheelchair accessible, improving the legislative framework governing Blue Badges, setting up a benchmarking standard for accessible cities, and bringing into effect the provisions of the 2010 Equality Act on discrimination by private hire vehicles and taxis. …
Liberty
Liberal Democrats believe that we should all be free from an overreaching state and that the individual freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act are central to a free and democratic society. …
• Introduce a Digital Bill of Rights…
• In light of the press’s failure to engage in effective self-regulation, seek to ensure delivery of independent self-regulation, and commence Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry as soon as practicable.
• End the Ministerial veto on release of information under the Freedom of Information Act, and take steps to reduce the proportion of FOI requests where information is withheld by government departments.
• Order Ofcom to launch an immediate full assessment of media plurality in the UK, including a review of the ‘fit and proper persons test’ and whether the communications regulator, and the Competition and Markets Authority, have appropriate powers to deal with concentrations of power in the digital economy.
Crime and policing
• Increase community policing in England and Wales by giving an additional £300m a year…
• Maintain, as part of our fight against Hard Brexit, cross-border co-operation in combating serious organised crime…
• Require all frontline officers to wear body cameras on duty, protecting the public from abuse of power and police officers from malicious accusations. …
• Replace Police and Crime Commissioners, elected at great expense in elections with very low turnout, with accountable Police Boards made up of local councillors.
• Build on the success of crime maps to use data more effectively to reduce crime and improve policing, including exploring the feasibility of mandatory reporting of fraud losses by individual credit and debit card providers.
Criminal Justice
• Introduce a presumption against short prison sentences and increase the use of tough, non-custodial punishments including weekend and evening custody, curfew, community service, and GPS tagging. …
Civil and Family Justice
Terrorism and Violent Extremism
• Permit intercepts where justified and permit surveillance of those suspected of serious crime and terrorism with proper judicial oversight.
• Scrap the flawed Prevent strategy and replace it with a scheme that prioritises community engagement and supports communities in developing their own approach to tackling the dangers of violent extremism. …
• Oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption. …
Combatting the harm done by drugs
• Break the grip of the criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis. We would introduce limits on potency and permit cannabis to be sold through licensed outlets to adults over the age of 18. …
Immigration and Asylum
• Continue to allow high-skilled immigration to support key sectors of our economy…
• Ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students. …
• Work with universities to ensure a fair and transparent student visa process…
• Establish a centrally-funded Migrant Impact Fund…
• End indefinite immigration detention by introducing a 28-day limit. …

International Affairs (w Video)
Liberal Democrats are internationalists – working with our European and global partners to champion human rights…
We are patriotic, optimistic and progressive. …
Working for peace and security across the world
• Improve control of arms exports by:
– Implementing a policy of ‘presumption of denial’ for arms exports to countries listed as Human Rights Priority Countries in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual human rights report.
– Enforcing end-user certification on all future arms export licenses with an annual report to Parliament on this certification.
– Creating a public register of arms brokers. …
• Suspend UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to their consistent targeting of civilians, in breach of International Humanitarian Law, in Yemen. We will work with international partners to re-commence the peace process in Yemen.
• Promote democracy and stability in Ukraine and neighbouring countries against an increasingly aggressive Russia. We will work closely with European and other international partners to exert maximum economic and political pressure on Russia to stop interfering in the affairs of sovereign Eastern European nations, and will stand by our obligations under the NATO treaty in the event of threats to NATO member states.
Our armed forces and security services
• Commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence. …
• Build on the framework for defence co-operation that is already well-established with France, the Netherlands, Germany and other European partners, and promote European defence integration where appropriate by enhancing European defence industry co-operation. …
International development
• Maintain our commitment to spend 0.7% of UK Gross National Income…
• Invest to eliminate within a generation preventable diseases like TB, HIV and malaria…
• Provide greater resources for international environmental cooperation, particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory, and fish.
• In light of the US government’s dangerous and anti-science attacks on international programmes of vaccination and family planning, which impact disproportionately on the health of women and children, seek to protect global spending on these essential provisions.
Standing up for Liberal values
• Support free media and a free and open Internet around the world, championing the free flow of information. …
• Campaign strongly for the abolition of the death penalty around the world.
• … We will implement outstanding commitments made by the British Government at the 2016 Global Anti-Corruption Summit.
• Maintain funding for the BBC World Service, BBC Monitoring and the British Council. …
• Appoint an Ambassador-level Champion for Freedom of Belief to drive British diplomatic efforts in this field, and campaign for the abolition of blasphemy, sedition, apostasy and criminal libel laws worldwide…

Constitutional and Political Reform (w Video)
People should have power over their own lives and how their country is run. We would revitalise our political system – so it works for everyone – with fairer votes and more devolution.
Better politics
• Introduce the Single Transferable Vote for local government elections in England and for electing MPs across the UK. …
• Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate. …
• Strengthen Trade Union members’ political freedoms by letting them choose which political party they wish to support through the political levy. …
• Mandate the provision of televised Leaders’ Debates in General Elections based on rules produced by Ofcom…
A decentralised United Kingdom
… We will deliver Home Rule to each of the nations of a strong, federal, and United Kingdom.
…we will therefore establish a UK Constitutional Convention, made up from representatives of the political parties, academia, civic society and members of the public…to report within two years. …
Scotland
…the Smith Commission to bring Scotland’s five biggest parties together to agree what further powers should be assigned to the Scottish Parliament. …
The Scottish Parliament will raise in tax half of what it spends in its budget. A Scottish welfare system will allow the Scottish Parliament to change the benefits regime where there is specific Scottish need or priority, with a starting budget of around £3 billion. …
Wales
We welcome the new Wales Act, which is intended to implement the St. David’s Day agreement secured by Liberal Democrats in government – but it does not go far enough.
Liberal Democrats will deliver proper Home Rule for Wales and a Welsh Parliament by implementing the remaining Silk Part 1 proposals on financial powers and the Silk Part 2 proposals to devolve powers over transport, youth justice, policing and, other justice powers. …
…Network Rail…
Northern Ireland
… We will work constructively with the political parties in Northern Ireland and with the Irish Government to secure the political stability of the Northern Ireland Assembly and other institutions of the Belfast Agreement and the implementation of all the recommendations of the Report on Disbanding Paramilitary Groups.
• Maintain the Common Travel Area and freedom of movement. …
England
Devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has implications for the UK Parliament and its dual role in legislating for England as well as the federal UK. …
… We will therefore introduce Devolution on Demand, enabling even greater devolution of powers from Westminster to Councils or groups of Councils working together – for example to a Cornish Assembly or a Yorkshire Parliament.
Funding
… The Barnett Formula is the mechanism used to adjust spending allocations across the UK.
We recognise the findings of the Holtham Commission that the current formula underfunds Wales…

CHANGE BRITAIN’S FUTURE – LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MANIFESTO 2017 (PDF)
Contents
3 Your chance to change Britain’s future by changing the opposition
7 Protect Britain’s Place in Europe
13 Save our NHS and Social Care Services
23 Put Children First
33 Build an Economy that Works for You
45 Keep our Country Green
55 Support Families and Communities
67 Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities
79 Make a Better World
87 Fix a Broken System


UK Vol.88 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.17: 2017 General Election – a long-term plan for elderly care and the war on terror)

Here are articles on #DementiaTax (a long-term plan for elderly care) and #WarOnTerror (Manchester bombing, London attack, et al.). Excerpts are on our own.

A long-term plan for elderly care
‘Fake claims’ v U-turns: who is telling the truth on social care, May or Corbyn? (22/5/2017) | @alantravis40 @guardian
… It is true the Labour leader initially got some of the detail of the policy wrong…: What the Conservatives are doing is to put a £100,000 cap on social care which actually goes nowhere near meeting the needs of somebody with extreme conditions can easily spend £50,000 a year on their care. It’s completely unrealistic, what they’re doing. We will make sure social care is properly funded.
This was wrong. The Conservatives were not putting a £100,000 cap on social care costs. They were planning to make people pay for care in their own home unless they have assets of less than £100,000 including the value of their house. …
… Their plans mean that the value of your home will be used to assess whether you are eligible for state funded care in your own home. …
… The Conservative @bowgroup described it as “the biggest stealth tax in history”. @TheKingsFund called the plans “deeply disappointing”. The Mail on Sunday and the @FT had front-page headlines calling the policy a “death tax”. May appeared to be dismissing all this as “fake claims”. They were not. … Corbyn was correct…
The manifesto promised a “floor”, a maximum £100,000 that people would be allowed to keep when the bill for their care costs has to be paid. But it did not propose a cap, a maximum amount that people would have to pay.
The manifesto also clearly rejects the proposal for a cap, saying the social care costs plan would be “more equitable within and across the generations” than the Dilnot report – which proposed introducing a cap on costs because that would “mostly benefit a small number of wealthier people”. Dilnot put the cost of a £72,000 ceiling at an extra £3bn.
cf. pp.64-66: A long-term plan for elderly care
… The manifesto explicitly rejected Dilnot’s solution of introducing a cap on social care costs. The prime minister has now announced that a limit will be introduced, albeit not exactly the same as Dilnot’s. …
… The prime minister is also disingenuous about claiming the detail of the “dementia tax” was clearly subject to a green paper consultation in the manifesto. …
…the health secretary @Jeremy_Hunt dispelled them on the @BBCr4today programme on the morning of the manifesto launch: “If you have that cap that was his proposal [Andrew Dilnot’s] … and we couldn’t be clearer because … not only are we dropping it, but we’re dropping it ahead of a general election and we’re being completely explicit in our manifesto that we’re dropping it, and we’re dropping it because we’ve looked again at this proposal and we don’t think it is fair.” …
… May has made a U-turn because the manifesto explicitly rejects Dilnot, saying it would “mostly benefit a small number of wealthier people”. …

Corbyn challenges Theresa May over ‘dementia tax’ (w Videos; 3/6/2017) | @Alan_McGuinness @SkyNews
… Labour claims the Conservative plan to means-test winter fuel payments could affect up to 10.8 million pensioners, while people who need social care could face spending up to 42% of the value of their estates if the cap was set at £100,000. …
The party would introduce a new guarantee that nobody’s assets will be depleted below £100,000 because of care costs, more generous than the current floor of £23,250. …
But after the changes attracted criticism and were dubbed a “dementia tax” by critics, Mrs May performed a u-turn and committed to a cap on the total costs people would face.
The level of the cap will be decided after the election. …
The party also suggested that if the social care cap was set at £100,000 then a person with a house worth the national average of £217,500 and savings of £20,000 would face having 42% of their estate going towards care costs.
If the cap was set at the previously proposed £72,000 limit, care costs would wipe out their savings and then result in a 24% charge – £52,000 – on the value of the home. …
The Lib Dems have also hit out at the policy, claiming the reforms could cause financial difficulties for councils, saying local authorities will be spending an additional £1.3bn each year on deferred payment agreements. …

General Election 2017 polls – who will win as Theresa May’s lead over Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn slips to 5 points (3/6/2017) | @em_lake,@impaulharper @TheSun
Theresa May’s top 9 flip-flops (26/5/2017) | @Hugodixon @InFactsOrg
Election 2017: Charts explain why Labour is just five points behind Tories in the polls (26/5/2017) | @willrworley @Independent

War on Terror
London, ‘reeling’? The city that weathered Nazi bombs pushes back against fear. (6/4/2017) | @peterjholley @griffwitte,@karlaadam,@rick_n @wapo
… Prime Minister Theresa May blamed the attack on the “evil ideology of Islamist extremism” and promised a review of Britain’s counterterrorism laws. …
…@OwenJones84… …terrorism’s success is dependent upon its impact.
Jones said he was sharing a drink with friends when “three hate-filled murdering terrorists” attacked his city. As news of the attack spread, he wrote, people continued for many hours to laugh, chat, drink and dance. Not because they didn’t care, he pointed out, but because they intended to carry on their lives after checking on their loved ones. …
@RichardAngell, who was in the Arabica bar and kitchen in Borough Market during the attack, returned to the restaurant Sunday to pay his bill and tip the staff, according to @guardian. …

London attack: Seven killed in vehicle and stabbing incidents (w Videos; 4/6/2017) | @BBC

“WAR ON TERRORISM IS SIMPLY NOT WORKING” SAYS JEREMY CORBYN (26/5/2017) | @denilucs @Denisaurus_UK
… @jon_bartley… “If we’re going to beat terrorism we need both adequate security measures at home and a look at how Britain’s role in world affairs can have serious unintended consequences which lead to greater insecurity.” …
A report by the Tory dominated foreign affairs committee criticised David Cameron’s Libya policy.
The report titled Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options Contents…
“This policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.
“By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya.
“The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa. Through his decision making in the National Security Council, former Prime Minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy.

What Does It Mean When ISIS Claims Responsibility For An Attack? (w Voice; 5/24/2017) | @gregmyre1,@camilareads @npr
…@Rita_Katz,@siteintelgroup… “Despite the fact that they are a terrorist organization, they want to provide their followers and supporters with authentic information.” …
… @thomasjoscelyn,@LongWarJournal said ISIS will credit “a soldier of the caliphate” for an attack, regardless of whether it was planned by ISIS or just carried out in the group’s name.
“The way they issue claims mixes and mingles different types of operations,” he said. Groups of ISIS-trained operatives have carried out ISIS-planned bombings. ISIS handlers in Raqqa, Syria, have guided untrained people in Europe through online communications. And at the far end of the spectrum, there are “lone wolf” attacks planned and carried out independently, based on ISIS propaganda.
“You can have somebody who had no direct ties to ISIS whatsoever, at least that we’re aware of — someone who was inspired by the Islamic State but not actually directed by them at all,”…
ISIS is equally willing to claim them all. The distinction seems to make no difference. …

How Islamic State called for ‘all-out war’ on West during Ramadan (w Timeline; 4/6/2017) | @Josiensor @Telegraph


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.

FOREWORD pp.4-5
…build a Great Meritocracy…

FIVE GIANT CHALLENGES pp.6-10
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

1. A STRONG ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE pp.11-27
p.12 Summary
p.13 A strong economy is the basis for everything we want to achieve as a nation.
pp.13-16 THE FOUNDATIONS OF A STRONG ECONOMY
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.

pp.16-18 NEW RULES FOR A CHANGING ECONOMY
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. …

pp.18-24 A MODERN INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
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. …

pp.24-27 STRONGER COMMUNITIES FROM A STRONGER ECONOMY
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…

2. A STRONG AND UNITED NATION IN A CHANGING WORLD pp.29-45
p.30 Summary
p.31 The United Kingdom is embarking upon another era in our centuries-old story.
pp.31-35 OUR PRECIOUS UNION
We are a United Kingdom, one nation made of four – the most successful political union in modern history.
England
Scotland
…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…
Wales
…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

pp.35-37 LEAVING THE EUROPEAN UNION
… 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.

pp.37-41 GLOBAL BRITAIN
… 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. …

pp.41-42 STRONG DEFENCE IN AN UNCERTAIN 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.

pp.42-45 THE HOME OF DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW
…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. …

3. THE WORLD’S GREAT MERITOCRACY pp.47-60
p.48 Summary
pp.49-54 A COUNTRY FOUNDED ON MERIT
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. …

pp.54-55 A COUNTRY THAT COMES TOGETHER
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

pp.55-58 CONFRONTING BURNING INJUSTICES
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. …

pp.59-60 CUTTING THE COST OF LIVING
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…

4. A RESTORED CONTRACT BETWEEN THE GENERATIONS pp.61-73
p.62 Summary
pp.63-64 DEALING WITH THE DEFICIT
… 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. …

pp.64-66 AN AGEING SOCIETY
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. …

pp.66-70 OUR NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
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.

pp.72-73 CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
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.

5. PROSPERITY AND SECURITY IN A DIGITAL AGE pp.75-83
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.
pp.77-80 A DIGITAL CHARTER
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…

pp.80-82 DIGITAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SERVICES
… 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…

pp.82-83 A FRAMEWORK FOR DATA AND THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
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…

CONCLUSION p.84


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.

FOREWORD
… 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. …

CREATING AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL
CREATING AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL
… 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…
A FAIR TAXATION SYSTEM
…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. …
BALANCING THE BOOKS
… 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.
INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
… 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.
UPGRADING OUR ECONOMY: LABOUR’S INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
… 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…
TRANSFORMING OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM
… 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. …
A NEW DEAL FOR BUSINESS
… 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.
WIDENING OWNERSHIP OF OUR ECONOMY
…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.
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
… 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.

NEGOTIATING BREXIT
NEGOTIATING BREXIT
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. …
IMMIGRATION
…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. …
INTERNATIONAL TRADE
… 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. …

TOWARDS A NATIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE
TOWARDS A NATIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE
…Labour will create a unified National Education Service (NES)…
SKILLS
…English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses. …
HIGHER EDUCATION

A FAIR DEAL AT WORK
A FAIR DEAL AT WORK
RIGHTS AT WORK
SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS

SOCIAL SECURITY
SOCIAL SECURITY DIGNITY FOR PENSIONERS
… 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. …
DIGNITY FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT WORK

SECURE HOMES FOR ALL
SECURE HOMES FOR ALL
… 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…
HOME OWNERSHIP
… We will guarantee Help to Buy funding until 2027 to give long-term certainty to both first-time buyers and the housebuilding industry. …
PRIVATE RENTERS
… 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. …
COUNCIL AND SOCIAL TENANTS
HOMELESSNESS
…starting by making available 4,000 additional homes reserved for people with a history of rough sleeping. …

HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
NHS
… 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’. …
TOWARDS A NATIONAL CARE SERVICE
…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…
MENTAL HEALTH
…the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)…

SAFER COMMUNITIES
POLICE AND CRIME
… We will establish a National Refuge Fund and…
Security and counter-terrorism
BORDER SECURITY
FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES
JUSTICE
PRISONS AND PROBATION SERVICE

LEADING RICHER LIVES
LOCAL COMMUNITIES
… 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. …
TRANSPORT
… 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. …
ENVIRONMENT
ANIMAL WELFARE
CULTURE FOR ALL
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.
MEDIA
… 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…
SPORT
… 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…

EXTENDING DEMOCRACY
EXTENDING DEMOCRACY
… 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. …
ENGLAND
… Labour will create a role for a Minister for England, who will sit under the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government…
SCOTLAND
… We will establish a Scottish Investment Bank, with £20 billion of funds available to local projects and…
WALES
… We will build on the Development Bank of Wales using more than £10 billion from Labour’s new National Investment Bank. …
NORTHERN IRELAND
…the Good Friday Agreement…

A MORE EQUAL SOCIETY
WOMEN
… 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. …
LGBT EQUALITY
A Labour government will reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010…
DIVERSE COMMUNITIES
… 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…
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
… Currently 4.2 million People with disabilities live in poverty in Britain, and the disability employment gap remains stubbornly high. …

A GLOBAL BRITAIN
A GLOBAL BRITAIN
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. …
DIPLOMACY
… 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. …
DEFENCE
… 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…
DEVELOPMENT
…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
LABOUR’S FISCAL CREDIBILITY RULE (PDF)
ALTERNATIVE MODELS OF OWNERSHIP (PDF)


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
FrPrEl7

Macron Decisively Defeats Le Pen in French Presidential Race (w Video; 7/5/2017) | ALISSA J. RUBIN @nytimes
How France Voted (5/7/2017) | GREGOR AISCH, MATTHEW BLOCH, K.K. REBECCA LAI & BENOÎT MORENNE @nytimes
FrPrEl14

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
FrPrEl5FrPrEl6

How the Election Split France (4/23/2017) | @nytimes
FrPrEl10FrPrEl11FrPrEl12FrPrEl13

RESULTS: Full breakdown of how France voted in the first round (23/4/2017) | @TheLocalFrance
FrPrEl8

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_
FrPrEl16
FrPrEl17
FrPrEl18
FrPrEl19
FrPrEl20
FrPrEl21
FrPrEl22
FrPrEl23
FrPrEl24
FrPrEl25
FrPrEl26
FrPrEl27
FrPrEl28
FrPrEl29
FrPrEl30

All in play as France prepares to tear up political playbook (4/20/2017) | PEPE ESCOBAR @asiatimesonline
FrPrEl15

cf.

paperliFrancePresElec


Central Asia Vol.3

Uzbekistan

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.1

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


Good Friday (& Agreement)

Here are articles on #GoodFriday & the Good Friday Agreement (the Belfast Agreement).  Excerpts are on our own.

When is Easter weekend 2017? Key bank holiday dates and facts for Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter: Monday Why does the date for Easter Sunday change every year according to the lunar calendar? We’ve got all the answers to your questions (13/4/2017) | Ian Leonard & @jondeano @DailyMirror     Good Friday vs Easter: We Don’t Always Have to Win (5/4/2015) | @jontylangley @HuffPostUK

When is Good Friday in 2017 and is it a Bank Holiday? Easter celebrations and Christian festivals – here’s all you need to know: The important date in the Christian calendar is a national holiday (13/4/2017) | @LittleBitSoph @TheSun   … Good Friday is commemorated because the date marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. Accounts of the Gospel state that it was the day that the son of God was betrayed by Judas, before he was sentenced to death. The date falls during Holy Week on the Friday before Easter Sunday, and sometimes coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover. Experts believe the event has been coined “Good Friday” because the word “good” means pious or holy. …

Who, What, Why: Why is Good Friday called Good Friday? (18/4/2014) | @BBCNewsMagazine   … according to Fiona MacPherson, senior editor at @OED, the adjective traditionally “designates a day on (or sometimes a season in) which religious observance is held”. The OED states that “good” in this context refers to “a day or season observed as holy by the church”… According to the Baltimore Catechism – the standard US Catholic school text from 1885 to the 1960s, Good Friday is good because Christ “showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing”. … It also says that the day is known as “the Holy and Great Friday” in the Greek liturgy… Karfreitag (Sorrowful Friday) in German.

UK government committed to Good Friday agreement, says NI secretary: James Brokenshire said government supports re-establishing power-sharing devolved authority after assembly elections (17/1/2017) | @henrymcdonald @guardian     Northern Ireland’s system of government is broken. We must review the Good Friday Agreement (18/1/2017) | @lrobertsonmp @Telegraph

The Good Friday Agreement and today: The Good Friday Agreement is the cornerstone of our commitment to peace and stability on this island. It was agreed on 10 April 1998 and overwhelmingly approved in 2 referendums in both parts of Ireland in May 1998. | @dfatirl   Northern Ireland Assembly, North South Ministerial Council, British-Irish Council; St. Andrew’s Agreement (2006), Hillsborough Agreement (2010), Stormont House Agreement (2014), A Fresh Start – The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan (2015)

Good Friday is Ireland’s Brexit talks ace card (31/3/2017) | Jim Power @irishexaminer   … The optimal outcome would be a smooth process that would placate the UK and, thereby, set the scene for a decent trade deal once the UK has formally exited the system in two years. For Ireland, the potential challenges are obviously immense. We clearly have a special relationship with the UK from a political, economic and cultural perspective. Some 800 years of history cannot be eroded overnight, nor should it be. I have always been sceptical about the willingness of the EU to treat Ireland as a special case and do us special deals, but the Good Friday agreement is very definitely Ireland’s ace card. There is a strong realisation in Brussels of just how important that process has been in delivering peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland, and one assumes that the EU would not want to undermine that. This should be the central plank of Ireland’s approach to the EU meeting on April 29. …

Britain ‘will never be neutral’ on Northern Ireland, says Theresa May Jeremy Corbyn backs NI assembly’s right to hold border poll on a united Ireland (29/3/2017) | @reuters,@IrishTimes   … “We are of course, within that, fully committed to ensuring that the unique interests of Northern Ireland are protected and advanced as we establish our negotiating position, and our position has always been clear that we strongly support the Belfast Agreement, including the principle of consent that Northern Ireland’s constitutional position is a matter for the people of Northern Ireland to determine. “But as our manifesto made clear, we have a preference that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom, and we will never be neutral in expressing our support for that. …

Good Friday Agreement: 10 April 1998 | @BBC   … A personal assurance from Tony Blair to UUP leader David Trimble smoothed these last ripples of discontent. … The Belfast Agreement (or Good Friday Agreement as it would become known) contained proposals for a Northern Ireland Assembly with a power-sharing executive, new cross-border institutions with the Republic of Ireland and a body linking devolved assemblies across the UK with Westminster and Dublin. … Referendums were held on the same day in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In the north, voters were asked to ratify the deal. In the south, they were asked to approve a change to the constitution of Ireland. All sides agreed a credible majority was required if the deal was to survive. While most nationalists and republicans were clearly in favour, a unionist and loyalist majority was far from certain. … In Northern Ireland, 676,966 people voted in favour of the deal, while 274,879 voted against. The ‘yes’ vote was 71.12%. Turnout was a record 81.10%. In the Republic the recorded ‘yes’ vote was 94.39%, with 1,442,583 people voting in favour and 85,748 voting against. …

Good Friday and the wait for a new politics in Northern Ireland (15/4/2015) | David Mitchell @openDemocracy   … For unionists, it was simply a pragmatic response to ensure that pro-Union voters did not lose out in the “winner takes all” Westminster system. … A pall of negativity has rested on the Northern Irish political scene at least since the Belfast City Hall flag protests began in late 2012. There has been failure to make substantive progress on the three issues which are symptomatic of the underlying and ongoing identity conflict: flags, parades and the past. … According to the 2013 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey the proportion of people who think relations between Protestants and Catholics are better now than five years ago has fallen from sixty-five percent in 2007 to forty-five percent in 2013. …

The Troubles Are Back (5/10/2015) | Eamonn McCann (@IrishTimes) @nytimes   … Yet the deal delivered by Senator Mitchell contained the seeds of its own destruction. In effect, the Good Friday Agreement assigned every person in Northern Ireland to either the unionist or nationalist camp, and the decision-making institutions it created, the Northern Ireland Assembly and its accompanying Executive, were designed to be balanced between the two camps. The plan was not to eliminate sectarianism, but to manage its manifestations. …


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)

https://twitter.com/SupportArmenia/status/850904469466382336


Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania

Macedonia

Kosovo

Montenegro

Albania


Kansas Vol.2


Romania, Bulgaria


Washington Vol.1

cf. Manufacturing… @RentonTech #aerospace


Texas Vol.3

cf. Texas Vol.2 (@UTAustin #EnergyPoll #EnergyWeek)   Texas Vol.1 (@RiceUniversity researchers solve long-standing mystery about hemophilia protein)


Baltic States and Finland


US Policy Changes Vol.57 (National Security Vol.4 – nuclear ideas)

Here is a report: 10 Big Nuclear Ideas (PDF; Nov 2016) | @TomCollina & @GeoffTWilson @plough_shares. Excerpt is on our own.

@SenMarkey – Reduce, Reform, and Restrain: a Nuclear Agenda for the 21st Century
The diverse perspectives in this report are united around a common vision, one that Ploughshares Fund has embodied and promoted with exceptional clarity — if we want future generations to inherit a safer world, we must end our misguided approach to nuclear armament.
If we want other countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals and restrain their nuclear war plans, the United States must take the lead.

@TomCollina – Big Ideas for Big Challenges
Nuclear weapons are still vastly overvalued in U.S. defense policy, with missions they cannot achieve and budgets they do not deserve.

@ValeriePlame – Break with Cold War Thinking
Dear 45th President, welcome to the White House. You now have an opportunity to make a lasting impact on national and international policy. But whatever your priorities may be — national security, education, immigration, the deficit or the environment — one issue can trump them all: nuclear weapons. Unless you make a definitive break with Cold War thinking, you may undermine everything else you and so many others are striving to accomplish.

@Gen_Jcartwright – Reduce the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal, with or without Russia
Speaking in Berlin in 2013, President Barack Obama offered to reduce U.S. deployed strategic nuclear forces to about 1,000 warheads, or one-third below the limits of the 2010 New START Treaty. This is sound policy, as the U.S. military has determined that it can ensure the security of the United States and its allies at this lower level. But the president made the offer contingent on gaining agreement from Russia to follow suit. Moscow balked, and no agreement was reached.

@SecDef19 – Phase Out America’s ICBMs
Russia and the United States have started rebuilding their Cold War nuclear arsenals, putting us on the threshold of a new and dangerous arms race. But we don’t have to replay this drama. The U.S. plan to rebuild and maintain its nuclear force is needlessly oversized and expensive, expected to cost about $1 trillion over the next three decades. This will crowd out the funding needed to sustain the competitive edge of our conventional forces, and to build the capabilities needed to deal with terrorism and cyber attacks.
As we learned the hard way, there is only one way to win an arms race. Refuse to run.

@SenFeinstein and @RepAdamSmith – Cancel the New Nuclear Cruise Missile
The Defense Department has proposed to build a new, powerful nuclear cruise missile called the Long-Range Standoff weapon (LRSO). In our opinion, this weapon is unnecessary, incredibly expensive and would move the United States closer to actually using a nuclear weapon — an unthinkable action.

@KennetteBene – Add Democracy to Nuclear Policy
The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign has, among other things, reminded the public that the president has the sole authority to launch a nuclear attack. While public discussion focused on the temperament, judgment and character of the person occupying the office of the presidency, it has also raised the larger question about the democratic legitimacy of a single person being able to launch a nuclear war. As William Broad and David Sanger of The New York Times put it, “is there any check on a president’s power to launch nuclear arms that could destroy entire cities or nations?” Their answer is no, not really.
When it comes to nuclear weapons then, the conduct of war lies wholly outside the social contract between citizens and their government.

Steve Andreasen (@NTI_WMD) and @isabelle_nti – Bring Home U.S. Tactical Nuclear Weapons from Europe
In the United States, anything nuclear is inherently presidential. Any change in nuclear policy requires presidential leadership and sustained engagement. Moreover, decisions to pursue new initiatives must be made early in a new administration, and then executed over a number of years. Coming late to the nuclear policy party — or just stopping by — is usually a recipe for frustration and inaction.

@TyttiE – Press Pause on Missile Defense in Europe
The Iran nuclear accord, concluded in July 2015, has fundamentally improved the outlook for European security. Iran is now much less likely to obtain nuclear warheads, and its missile programs are proceeding more slowly than expected. As a result, current U.S. plans to build additional interceptor missiles in Poland should be placed on hold.

@suzannedimaggio – Learn from Iran, Engage North Korea
Since official relations between Washington and Tehran were severed in 1980, five American presidents spanning a period of three decades — from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush — have struggled to figure out how to deal with Iran. As a candidate for the presidency in 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama indicated that if elected he would take a different approach from his predecessors and “engage in aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. “For us not to be in a conversation with them doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Principled and pragmatic diplomacy in the absence of trust is hard, but it’s not impossible.

@frankvonhippel – Ban Production of Highly Enriched Uranium
The continued production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for any purpose poses a significant threat to international security. Nations that want to acquire nuclear weapons could seek to do so under the cover of HEU production for civilian research or naval propulsion. While it is essential to strengthen ongoing efforts to secure existing stocks, the next U.S. administration also should make it a priority to ban the production of HEU worldwide. Such a ban would greatly reduce the risks of nuclear terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to new states.

@BeaFihn – Support a Global Ban on Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear weapons continue to be one of the most serious threats to international peace and security around the world. They are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent and hazardous radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons. A single nuclear bomb detonated over a large city could kill millions of people. The use of tens or hundreds of nuclear bombs would disrupt the Earth’s climate worldwide and cause widespread famine.


UK Vol.66 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.12 – Theresa May’s Trump visit)

Here are a part of articles on the visit. Excerpts are on our own.

Theresa May: UK and US cannot return to ‘failed’ interventions (w Videos; 1/27/2017) | @BBC
…@bbclaurak…
BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins said it was a hugely significant speech, arguably the biggest by a UK PM in the US since Tony Blair’s 1999 speech in Chicago advocating armed interventionism against dictators – something repudiated by Mrs May.
It followed comments by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to a House of Lords committee earlier that Bashar Assad should be allowed to run for election to remain in power in Syria – a complete reversal of UK foreign policy. …
Mrs May said: “We should not jeopardise the freedoms that President Reagan and Mrs Thatcher brought to Eastern Europe by accepting President Putin’s claim that it is now in his sphere of influence.” …
Mr Trump said: “When they’re shooting, when they’re chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they’re chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when Isis (IS) is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since Medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? …
Under British law and policy, the UK military and intelligence agencies cannot join operations where someone is being tortured – or officers believe there is a risk that it may happen. …

Theresa May: America and Britain will ‘lead together again’ after Brexit and election of Donald Trump (1/25/2017) | @peterdominiczak @Telegraph
… Mrs May will present Mr Trump with an engraved Quaich – an ancient Scottish artefact – and give his wife, Melania, a hamper full of produce from Chequers including Bakewell tarts. …
The Prime Minister on Wednesday confirmed that she intends to publish a detailed Brexit White Paper after demands by Conservative Remain supporters who had been planning a Commons rebellion over the issue.
Labour was again in chaos over the issue, with suggestions that Jeremy Corbyn could allow Labour MPs to oppose the Government’s Brexit Bill in the face of a rebellion by his front bench despite he himself last week saying he would force MPs to vote for Article 50. …

Theresa May To Praise Donald Trump As She Declares Britain And US Can “Lead Together Again”: PM moves to woo Republican Congress as well as White House (1/26/2017) | @paulwaugh @HuffPostUK
… Ahead of her visit to the White House on Friday, May will use a speech to the Republican party’s Congressional ’Retreat’ conference in Philadelphia to underline historic links as well as future opportunities for cooperation on trade and security. …
“The United Kingdom is by instinct and history a great, global nation that recognises its responsibilities to the world.
“And as we end our membership of the European Union – as the British people voted with determination and quiet resolve to do last year – we have the opportunity to reassert our belief in a confident, sovereign and Global Britain, ready to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike.” …
No.10 was furious when President Obama ended his term in office by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and praising her as his “closest international partner” throughout his eight years in power. …
Opponents of Brexit feared that Britain would have even less influence in the world…
However, the UK’s status as a nuclear power and one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as its crucial intelligence and military expertise, are all being used by ministers to push for a strong global role.
Downing Street revealed that on Friday morning May will visit Arlington Cemetery in Virginia…
The PM will present the President with the gift of an engraved silver Quaich, an ancient Scottish drinking cup that is a deliberate nod to Trump’s mother and her Hebridean roots. …
Her trip to the biannual Republican event is not without controversy and some Democrats complained that it would be a “partisan visit” and a “breach of standard protocol” not to meet their party leaders too. …

How Donald Trump, Theresa May are the 2017 version of ’80s power couple Reagan-Thatcher (1/26/2017) | @khjelmgaard & @janeomara @USATODAY
… Trump spoke to nine other world leaders in the 24 hours after his election before conversing with May. The trip helps put to rest concerns within May’s ruling Conservative Party that former U.K. Independence Party chief Nigel Farage could get in the way of a strong relationship between the prime minister and Trump.
Trump had suggested shortly after his election that the anti-establishment, anti-immigration Farage should become Britain’s U.S. ambassador, an idea quickly rejected by May. …
… “Obama appeared to spend the first four years in office forging relationships with everyone else. Now we have an opportunity to reinstate what we once had.”
…Conor Burns, a Conservative Party lawmaker. …who got to know Thatcher late in her tenure, cautioned against drawing too many comparisons between Reagan-Thatcher and May-Trump. …
…Quentin Peel @ChathamHouse… “She has few friends because of her determination to push ahead with Brexit… And Trump is also, quite deliberately, alienating the world with his ‘America first’ talk.”
… Trump, too, wants a trade deal with the U.K. so he won’t be presented as this ‘terrible protectionist’ who only wants to pick fights with people.” …

Theresa May to seek special deal with Trump in White House visit: PM will shrug off concerns about new president as she pledges to rekindle special relationship and ‘lead, together, again’ (1/25/2017) | @GuardianHeather & @rowenamason @guardian
… Global trade experts have warned that Britain may gain little from a bilateral trade deal with Washington. …
May also hopes that by establishing a close relationship, she can persuade Trump to stick to his pledge of pursuing a bilateral trade deal with the UK that could be put into effect after Brexit.
But trade experts are sceptical that a deal can be negotiated quickly – and warn that the US may take advantage of its superior bargaining position as a much larger economy to force open Britain’s markets to US firms.
@AdamPosen @PIIE said: “It would require an enormous, transformative relationship with the US to make up for the decline in trade with the EU.
“For 70 years, since the second world war, the US, beyond very narrow intelligence-sharing, has always treated the UK as subservient, or wanted it to be subservient.” …
Namali Mackay @EEF_Insights said while there might be opportunities for British firms from a bilateral deal, average tariffs between the US and the EU were already low, at an average of 2%. …
Peter Mandelson…said any deal was unlikely to bring rapid benefits for the UK. …
The source emphasised the government’s belief that there was big potential for British dairy farmers and cheese-makers to export more. …@dairyuk, said its members had identified the US as a prime target market for dairy exports outside the EU – and that with 19.7% of the UK’s dairy exports to non-EU countries by value, the US is currently the most important non-EU market. However…

Theresa May suggests UK health services could be part of US trade deal – PM insists Government remains ‘committed to an NHS that is free at the point of use’ (1/26/2017) | @JoeWatts_ @Independent
Theresa May has left the door open for the greater involvement of US corporations in British healthcare as she arrives in America to lay the groundwork for a future trade deal. …
A Number 10 spokesman said later: “The NHS will never be part of a trade deal and will always remain free at the point of delivery.” …
Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said: “The public were told Brexit would mean another £350m a week for the NHS, not that our health service would be opened up to US firms. …
cf. the full transcript of Ms May’s speech

Theresa May urged to confront Donald Trump over ‘return of torture’ when she flies in for talks: The President is poised to lift a ban on overseas CIA ‘black site’ prisons – as the Prime Minister prepares to meet him in America for trade talks (1/26/2017) | @Rob_Merrick @Independent
… She said Ms May had been “very clear” on the issue, adding: “We don’t condone torture or inhumane treatment in any form.”
However, the spokeswoman declined to say whether the Prime Minister would take the opportunity to raise the issue, adding: “There are going to be issues where we differ in our approach and view from President Trump.”
… Ms May declined to discuss details of her hopes for her trip to Washington, instead saying they were to “increase prosperity and bring growth”.
…“It is very simple – we want to achieve an arrangement that ensures the interests of the United Kingdom are there and are put first.”
…“I can ensure the right honourable gentleman that, in doing that, we will put UK interests and UK values first.”

Theresa May refuses to rule out private US firms taking over NHS services – Prime Minister faces repeated questions over the potential threats to public services and food standards, ahead of her talks with President Trump later this week (1/25/2017) | @Rob_Merrick @Independent
… And the SNP raised fears that such a deal will open the door to British supermarkets being stocked with meat produced in unhygienic ways currently outlawed across the EU.
The price of freer transatlantic trade will include the sale of chickens washed with chemicals – a practice in the US – critics say. …
And Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, urged her to take along British scientists who could convince the President that climate change is “not a hoax invented by the Chinese”. …
Nick Clegg said Joe Biden, the former US Vice President, told him the US would not agree to “anything that the chicken farmers of Delaware don’t like”. …

Theresa May seeks price of Trump friendship – Five diplomatic tensions to watch for as the British prime minister visits the US. (1/26/2017) | @TomMcTague (@CharlieCooper8) @politico
… The embassy did not want May to only address the Republican gathering, worrying it would seem partisan, the source said, but it was overruled by Downing Street. The prime minister will meet Democrat and Republican members of Congress at an embassy reception Thursday evening. …
Trump’s White House sees Brexit Britain as its number one ideological ally in a world of hostile powers and multilateral stitch-ups…
…the cost of cooperation with the most unpredictable president in post-war history is unknown.
From the future of NATO to Russian relations, ISIS, global warming, trade barriers and the use of torture, Trump’s new regime may pose significant problems for the U.K.
… Here are five diplomatic tensions to watch out for during May’s trip.
Too special relationship?
…— and the disruption of a cosy elite it symbolizes for them — than May, who campaigned to remain in the EU. In Trump, May might find a friend urging her to go further than she is comfortable to.
… Wigmore joined Farage and millionaire British businessman Arron Banks…
Personal chemistry
… Above all, May is pragmatic. She kept her head down during the Brexit referendum campaign as everyone else lost theirs, and has been conspicuous since becoming prime minister in keeping her counsel on the U.S. election, despite widespread criticism in the press. …
Republican retreat
…her understanding that whatever the U.S. president says about free trade, Congress has the final say. …
… All it takes is a rebellion by a handful of Tory MPs representing rural constituencies and the trade deal could peter out into something of very little substance. …
Sir Christopher Meyer…
“I don’t think Theresa May is a naïve person, nor are the people around her,” …
NATO, Russia and ISIS
… May this week reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty in its battle with Moscow. …
The real danger is not being left out in the cold of a Russian reset, but being dragged further back into the mire of the Middle East in Trump’s ramped-up war on ISIS. One of May’s co-chiefs of staff, Nick Timothy…
Nigel Farage
… He does not get why they don’t like Nigel. …

Theresa May: Brexit Britain and Donald Trump can lead the world TOGETHER – BREXIT Britain and Donald Trump-led America can lead the world together, Theresa May will declare. (1/26/2017) | MACER HALL @Daily_Express
… And Mr Trump is to show Theresa May the bust of Winston Churchill that has been returned to the Oval Office on his instructions in a symbol of his regard for Britain. …


US Policy Changes Vol.44 (National Security Vol.3 – Terrorism, Budget, Nukes, IS)

Here are articles on terrorism, budget, nukes, IS, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

How to fight terrorism in the Donald Trump era (12/30/2016) | @dbyman @TheNatlInterest @BrookingsInst
… First, job loss in manufacturing derives primarily from technological change, not from trade. Manufacturing’s share of U.S. production is quite stable, but its share of employment has declined at a steady rate because productivity growth in manufacturing is higher than in services. …
Hence, there would be a one-time shift of capital and labor from services to manufacturing. Then, the trend decline of manufacturing employment would continue as long as productivity growth in manufactures is faster than that in services. …
Second, the broadest measure of the trade balance, the current account, is equal to savings minus investment. Countries with a trade deficit, like the U.S., are borrowing from the rest of the world to support investment. …
… The 1970s and 1980s saw far more attacks than there were in the post-9/11 era. Recent years have seen horrendous attacks, like the 2015 shootings and bombings in Paris that killed 130 people—but 1988 saw 440 people die, most of whom perished when Libyan agents bombed Pan Am 103.
… Lebanon suffered a calamitous war in the 1970s and 1980s where Palestinian terrorists and Hezbollah were important players. Jihadists in Algeria fought a vicious civil war against the regime in the 1990s, where over one hundred thousand people died. Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sudan, and other countries in the region have long endured civil wars. … Terrorists have contributed to and exploited civil wars that have killed more than one hundred thousand in Afghanistan, tens of thousands in Pakistan, tens of thousands in Nigeria, thousands in Yemen, thousands in Libya, and hundreds of thousands in Syria.
… The first, of course, is the real risk to American lives and those of U.S. allies. In absolute terms, these are small in the United States and only slightly larger in Europe. The average American is more likely to be shot by an armed toddler than killed by a terrorist.
The next danger is political. … it also means defending American values, including being a home to peaceful people of all religions, and welcoming refugees. In Europe, the politics are even nastier as xenophobic movements gain notable strength. …
The biggest danger, however, is to U.S. interests in Muslim parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Stability and governance have collapsed in many countries and are under threat in others. In addition to the human cost, this threatens the stability of U.S. partners…with countries like Saudi Arabia intervening in Yemen and otherwise ratcheting up regional tension in competition with Iran. The danger also allows U.S. allies like Egypt to resist the pressure to democratize…
… In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States faced an array of national-liberation and left-wing movements… In the 1980s, Hezbollah killed hundreds of Americans, but focused its violence on American troops and diplomats overseas—not civilians at home. … Iran recognized that if it crossed too many lines it might lead to a devastating U.S. reaction. …
… European governments did not make direct concessions to left-wing groups, but pro-union policies and political parties that favored social freedoms that impressionable youth embraced often took the wind out of the radical Left’s sails. Spain granted considerable autonomy to the Basque region, and the British government showered development spending on Northern Ireland while drafting a political deal that ensured Catholic rights. In the Middle East, however, the radical constituencies do not want political reform and are likely to exploit any relaxation of police states to expand their operations.
… Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (al-Qaida’s Syrian and most important affiliate, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra), recently announced it was severing ties with al-Qaida and would not attack the United States in the hopes of working more closely with, and eventually uniting, other Syrian opposition groups.
…al-Qaida and the Islamic State have local allies—what the Islamic State would call “provinces”—throughout the Muslim world. … Al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate, for example, almost succeeded in downing a U.S. passenger plane in 2009, while the Islamic State’s province in the Sinai downed a Russian plane in 2015, killing 224 people.
…Hezbollah even operates a television station. … Such technology has also enabled the Islamic State to aggressively employ so-called “lone wolves”—individuals not directly under its command, but inspired by its message—to strike at the United States and Europe.
… Hamas controls Gaza, Hezbollah has de facto sovereignty over much of Lebanon, al-Qaida affiliates like al-Shabaab in Somalia rule over parts of their country and, of course, the Islamic State at its peak in 2014 ruled lands roughly the size of Great Britain. …
… Americans are in no mood to accept that small attacks are difficult to prevent, that diplomats should be stationed in dangerous areas, and that low levels of terrorism at home are a sign of success, not failure.
…part of the reason that al-Qaida and now the Islamic State turn to lone wolves is because it has proven difficult to use more organized terrorists to strike the United States.
… Although the United States can and should push technology companies to hinder egregious terrorist recruitment and operations, protecting the right of free speech and the proliferation of communications technologies remains a boon for groups that cannot be avoided. …
… America needs more competent good guys—or at least less-bad guys—to support in the Middle East and other danger zones. …
… Ending civil wars must feature centrally in future counterterrorism policy.
… When the Islamic State took Mosul in June 2014, some thirty thousand well-armed Iraqi forces fled the city in the face of one thousand Islamic State fighters… The Islamic State’s expansion occurred, in part, because Iraqi military forces were primarily Shiite and had little interest in defending local Sunnis… In Sunni areas such as Mosul, residents often regarded the army as a puppet of Iran. The Iraqi officers did not command the respect of their troops and lacked professionalism. …
… Some might be better left to allies: France, for example, could continue to take the lead in parts of North and West Africa. …
The first is institutionalization. …
… One branch of government, perhaps the most important in the long term, has been AWOL under both Democratic and Republican leadership: the U.S. Congress. …
…even small attacks like the Boston Marathon bombings paralyzed a major city.
Finally… In contrast to Europe, the American Muslim community is far better integrated and regularly cooperates with law enforcement.
… Ideally, the new president should press state and local officials to work with Muslim communities, not just to stop radicalism in their ranks but to protect them from right-wing extremists. …
… In spite of failures, inefficiencies and hard lessons, it has accomplished its primary objective for the last fifteen years: averting another 9/11. …

Right-sizing the Trump defense buildup (12/28/2016) | @MichaelEOHanlon @USAToday @BrookingsFP
… Yet in framing defense choices, it is important to understand our starting point. The U.S. armed forces are not a disgrace, and their readiness is not in shambles. With the annual federal deficit already on track to top $1 trillion again next decade, even without counting any Trumpian plans for big defense buildups, infrastructure initiatives, or tax cuts, we need a measured defense buildup, not a massive one. Unit by unit, today’s armed forces are strong; the main problem is that they are just somewhat too few in number. …
Consider a few basic facts:…
… For example, instead of adding 70,000 soldiers to the active-duty Army, Trump could add 20,000 to 30,000. That would be enough to shore up new deployments that NATO is beginning in the Baltic states, among other needs. It would restore the Army to its size from the late Bill Clinton/early George W. Bush years. Rather than grow the Navy to 350 ships, Trump could aim for a fleet in the low 300s—10 percent larger than it was several years ago, and still enough to sustain a 2-to-1 advantage over China in fleet tonnage (as well as a big advantage in most types of technology). …

The Donald and nukes, again (12/22/2016) | @steven_pifer @BrookingsInst
U.S. STRATEGIC FORCES
… According to the latest data exchange mandated by the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), as of September 1 the United States had 1,367 deployed strategic nuclear warheads on 681 deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers. The vast bulk of these are warheads on ballistic missiles, which can be launched in a matter of minutes. The warheads have yields ranging from 100 to 455 kilotons (the bomb that devastated Hiroshima had a yield of just 14 kilotons).
In addition, the U.S. military has several thousand other nuclear warheads, making up a total stockpile of about 4,500. And that does not count another 2,000 to 2,500 weapons that have been retired and are in the dismantlement queue. …
THE RISK OF EXPANSION
… As of February 2018, the United States and Russia will each be limited by New START to no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on no more than 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers. Current Pentagon plans call for U.S. strategic forces at precisely those levels.
Expanding U.S. nuclear capabilities thus could mean busting out of New START. …
A SMARTER APPROACH
…to maintain New START and seek to do a deal on further nuclear arms cuts with Mr. Putin. …

The limits of air strikes when fighting the Islamic State (12/6/2016) | @dbyman @lawfareblog @BrookingsFP
… After years of surviving largely underground, in 2014 it took over vast swaths of Iraq and Syria, and it has established so-called “provinces” in Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and other countries.
… A poll taken in August showed that only 42 percent of Americans favored deploying a significant number of ground troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State, though a slight majority is comfortable with limited numbers of special operations forces.
… Yet air power, if not used carefully, runs all the risks of a one-night stand: it can create false expectations, drag America into unwanted relationships with flawed partners, and winds up meaning little in the long-term.
… Perhaps most important, adaptation in response to air strikes renders terrorists less effective. A tip sheet found among jihadists in Mali advised militants they could avoid drones by maintaining “complete silence of all wireless contacts,” “[avoiding] gathering in open areas,”… The indirect effects also matter. Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been laying low since U.S. military operations began, diminishing his charismatic presence from Islamic State propaganda and, presumably, disheartening his beleaguered troops. Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, the spokesman who headed the group’s external operations, was also charismatic…
Air power is particularly valuable when it can be yoked with local allied fighters on the ground. In Afghanistan after 9/11, the rag-tag Northern Alliance quickly turned the tables on the Taliban after the U.S. Air Force entered the fray. NATO airpower stopped Gadhafi’s forces at the gates of Benghazi and then helped the Libyan opposition…
Yet air power has real limits.
… Bombers need bases near the conflict zone and access to the battlefield. … But to maintain a sustained battlefield presence, aircraft must be able to get to and from the conflict zone quickly and easily. Allies, of course, don’t provide access to their bases for free: they expect favors in return. …
Nor does air power address the biggest long-term challenges in fighting the Islamic State: governance. …
The trouble is that local allies are often themselves flawed instruments…

Saudi Arabia and terrorism today (9/29/2016) | @dbyman @BrookingsFP

What’s beyond the defeat of ISIS? (9/27/2016) | @dbyman @lawfareblog @BrookingsFP


US Policy Changes Vol.40 (Foreign Policy Vol.6 – Israel-Palestine, Iran)

Here are articles on Israel-Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Excerpts are on our own.

Dump UNRWA, vote on 2008 peace agreement? (1/2/2017) | @mrubin1971 @TheNatlInterest @AEI
…declaring Israel’s settlement policies to be the chief impediment to Arab-Israel peace. “The two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,”…
…for example, the negotiated agreements rejected by the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ refusal to negotiate during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s previous settlement freeze.
…erased much off the progress made since the 1993 Oslo Accords.
He might, however, have unintentionally opened a new door to opportunity. …not by repeating past diplomatic mistakes but rather by setting them aside.
The first Intifada—Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule—occurred between 1987 and 1993. It was a largely grassroots movement. The Palestine Liberation Organization was in exile in Tunisia and had become increasingly irrelevant to events in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. …
It is time to reverse that gamble on dictatorship over democracy. Abbas, now in the 12th year of his four year presidential term, violated the basis of the Oslo Accords repeatedly by bypassing bilateral negotiations to seek unilateral redress at the United Nations. …
… If a Trump administration puts a Palestinian state to a vote, it would empower the Palestinians to achieve their dreams without being held hostage to their corrupt leadership or pressures from an Arab rejectionist block of a newly-empowered Islamic Republic of Iran.
… Today, its annual budget is $1.4 billion. If the Trump administration pushed for UNRWA’s dissolution more than six decades after its mandate was supposed to expire and channeled the US contribution instead to host the referendum among those currently living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestine could be independent in a year. …
… Palestinians have historically received more assistance per capita than any other people and, even in Gaza, they have a higher standard of living than many Turks, Brazilians, fellow Arabs, and Africans.
Money dumped on the West Bank and Gaza could be better spent on Yemenis, Syrians, Rohingya Muslims, Turkey’s Kurds, displaced Ukrainians, or others. … So if the Palestinians vote no, it is time to declare the Oslo era—and the Palestinian Authority upon which it was built—over, give Israel an open hand to secure its borders as it sees fit, and write the Palestinians off until they reconsider.

Is a peace deal possible if Israelis and Palestinians simply don’t trust each other? (1/3/2017) | @braunold & @SarahEYerkes @BrookingsFP
MIND THE GAP
… Throughout the Obama administration, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided $10 million a year in funding reconciliation programs between Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians. …
BALL IN TRUMP’S COURT
– Senior level advisors, including the new advisor for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, meeting with not just the parties, but civil society groups privately as well publically;
– Inclusion of the USAID people-to-people reconciliation grant program into the federal budget; and
– Leveraging U.S. dollars off those of the rest of the international community in the creation of an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, which currently enjoys bipartisan support, that can provide the necessary bandwidth and budget for a systemic approach to the trust deficit.

Obama’s record on Israeli-Palestinian peace: The president’s disquieting silence (10/6/2016) | @elgindy_ @ForeignAffairs @BrookingsFP

What JASTA will mean for U.S.-Saudi relations (10/3/2016) | Bruce Riedel @BrookingsFP

What Jeff Sessions as attorney general will mean for the Iran Deal (12/16/2016) | @aaron_m_arnold @BulletinAtomic
While the attorney general does not have any big role to play directly in terms of the Iran deal,… …the Justice Department’s actions can carry a ripple effect.
…the attorney general decides if and when the department should undertake investigations or prosecutions related to currently existing Iran sanctions?regarding things such as Iran’s conventional missiles, its sponsoring of terrorism, its possible human rights violations…
…enforcement of the laws relating generally to export controls and sanctions regarding Iran could have an impact on the deal…
…should increase pressure on Iran’s ballistic missile program with sanctions and aggressively confront any violations of the deal…
… To be fair, however, he has remained somewhat quiet about the deal…
…the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)…
… Between the year 2000 and July of 2016, the Justice Department pursued approximately 293 IEEPA criminal violations. …
…during the nuclear negotiations with Iran, and in the months thereafter, the Obama administration took a decidedly cautious approach to seeking criminal charges against Iranian procurement agents and sanctions violators. …
…US enforcement agencies were hesitant to seek extradition requests or conduct lure operations…
… Sessions’ approach will depend on his relationship with the White House. …
…the 981(k) statute, named after the corresponding section of the USA Patriot Act. Under this rule, the attorney general can seize assets that are not technically held in US bank accounts. …
… Because these methods depend on leveraging the role of the US financial system in international banking, overuse can potentially damage business relationships and the international standing for US banks…
…any member of the agreement can bring a dispute to the Joint Commission, which then has 15 days to resolve the dispute. If not resolved by that time, the matter is referred to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and then the UN Security Council for a vote on continuing sanctions. …
… If the United States does not first use the dispute resolution mechanism, Tehran may view Washington as acting in bad faith.
… Tougher penalties for IEEPA violations, for example, could send a strong signal to Iran, China, and North Korea. …

The 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Elections and the Future of Domestic Politics under the JCPOA (w PDF; Dec 2016) | Payam Mohseni @BelferCenter
p8 Figure 1 Classification of Iranian Political Factions
p12 Figure 2 The Alliance of the Theocrats: Ahmadinejad, 2005?2013
p15 Figure 3 The Alliance of the Right: June 2013?February 2016
p17 Figure 4 Power Triangle of the Rouhani Coalition: June 2013?February 2016
p19 Figure 5 Tension of Right Alliance vs. Republican Alliance, 2016 Parliamentary Elections
p21 Figure 6 Republican Alliance vs. Theocratic Alliance: 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Lists
p26 Table 1 National Factional Seat Shares (%) by Election Rounds in the 10th Iranian Parliament
p27 Figure 7 Total Factional Seat Shares (%)
p29 Figure 8 Round Two Factional Seat Shares (%)
p34 Figure 9 Participation Rate
p34 Figure 10 Voting Population
p35 Figure 11 Qualified Candidates
p37 Figure 12 Incumbency Rate for the Iranian Parliament
p41 Table 2 Iranian Provinces by Voter Turnout (%)
p42 Table 3 Top Provinces by the Three Main Faction
p43 Table 4 Iranian Provinces by Factional Seat Share (%)
p44 Table 5 Top 10 Largest Cities by Factional Seat Share (%)
p46 Figure 13 Total Top-10 Cities by Factional Seat Share (%)
p47 Figure 14 Total Top-10 Cities by Factional Seat Share (%) – Excluding City of Tehran
p51-52 Conclusion: The Future of Iranian Politics under the JCPOA
… With theocratic forces split over the key foreign policy issue defining Iran’s relations with the international community, Rouhani was able to barely edge to victory in the first round of elections, trumping five other rivals.
… The next presidential elections, in 2017, will therefore reflect the ability of Rouhani to preserve and manage the power triangle between the republicans and the modern theocrats to hold on to the government and Majles. … If the U.S. unilaterally undertakes antagonistic actions against Iran, the entire political platform of Rouhani’s coalition will collapse and a reconfiguration aimed at reintegrating the theocratic left will likely emerge.
… At a minimum, together with the unrealized economic benefits expected to follow the JCPOA, the theocrats will gain a stronger bargaining position with Rouhani. However, it could also be an electoral strategy to highlight economic inequality under Rouhani with an eye to the 2017 presidential elections. Either way, the re-election of a weak Rouhani or a theocratic victory is a win-win scenario for the Supreme Leader. …


US Policy Changes Vol.36 (Foreign Policy Vol.5 – Israel-Palestine, Russia, Iran, Syria)

Here are @BrookingsInst’s articles on foreign policy (Israel-Palestine, Russia, Iran and Syria). Excerpts are on our own.

President Trump’s options for Israeli-Palestinian dealmaking (12/1/2016) | @Martin_Indyk @BrookingsFP (Big Ideas For America)
…three possible approaches to negotiations—a provocative, high-risk “top-down” approach that would focus on the contested status of Jerusalem; a more measured “bottom-up” approach that would work with regional players to change the situation on the ground; and a summit-driven “outside-in” approach that would establish internationally supported terms of reference for negotiating a two-state solution. …
INTRODUCTION
…but he would be the first real estate developer to try to reach for the “brass ring,” and his experience with making land deals as well as his unconventional, disruptive approach to diplomacy might just generate new possibilities when all other efforts have failed. However, President Trump would be taking on the task at a uniquely difficult moment when neither side trusts in the peaceful intentions of the other or believes in the possibility of a peace deal based on the establishment of a viable Palestinian state living alongside the Jewish state of Israel in peace and security.
This “two-state solution” has been thwarted by two abiding realities… The first is the power of the Israeli settler movement and its supporters in…right-wing coalition government. They regard all West Bank territory as part of the Land of Israel and firmly reject the two-state solution. Consequently, they are pursuing apace an effort to annex the 60 percent of the West Bank that remains under complete Israeli control (known as “Area C” in the Oslo Accords…)… attempting to legalize some 50 outposts that are illegal under Israeli law, and preventing any Palestinian development of the land.
The second reality is a politically and physically divided Palestinian polity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip… Hamas remains dedicated to the destruction of Israel and is consolidating its grip on Gaza while building its influence in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Fatah…has left its leadership preoccupied…
… The alternative of forming a more flexible centrist coalition with the Labor Party would leave him dependent on parties to his left while his rivals to his right robbed him of the support of his natural constituency. Meanwhile, Abbas’s electoral mandate expired some six years ago, and he no longer feels he has the legitimacy to make compromises over what his people believe are their inalienable rights. …
…current circumstances do not permit the achievement of a negotiated resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and yet failure to pursue that resolution now will make it even less possible to achieve it in the future. …
1. “Jerusalem first”
… One of the basic rules of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is that the status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be left until all the other issues are resolved. …
…neither side accepts the legitimacy of the other’s claims. Arab east Jerusalem was annexed to Israel in 1967, and since then every Israeli government has claimed undivided Jerusalem as “the eternal capital of Israel.” … Conversely, Palestinians claim all the area of east Jerusalem that Israel occupied in 1967, including the Old City, as the capital for their state, and view the Jewish suburbs built there as illegal. …
… The area bounded by the walls of the Old City, which contains the sites holiest to the three great religions…would be declared a special zone where neither side would exercise their claims to sovereignty… However, such rational compromises have not proven remotely acceptable to either side.
… Hamas might resume rocket attacks from Gaza, but because of fear of an Israeli response they would more likely seek to stoke the fires of violent resistance in the West Bank and Jerusalem. …
Alternatively, in parallel with moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the president could also announce that he has decided to establish a U.S. embassy to the state of Palestine in east Jerusalem…
To ensure that both sides negotiated in good faith, President Trump could declare that if they fail to turn up or fail to reach agreement, the Quartet, Egypt, and Jordan would resort to a UN Security Council resolution setting out the parameters of the rational solution on Jerusalem, in effect threatening to impose it on the two sides. …
2. Bottom-up
… In his first two years, he would instead focus on arresting the negative dynamics on the ground in the West Bank and work with Egypt and Jordan to promote a united Palestinian leadership with a mandate to negotiate peace with Israel.
Under this option, he would need to insist at the outset that Israel stop all construction east of the security barrier… Construction in east Jerusalem could also continue but on a 1:1 basis for building in Arab as well as Jewish suburbs. There could be no construction in E1 or other sensitive areas…
… In return, the building of state institutions and the development…should be boosted by a new injection of funds from the United States, the Arab states, and the international community.
3. Outside-in
…might consider taking up “outside in” approach, which would involve Trump convening the leaders of the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the EU, and the UN) and the Arab Quartet (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates)… …to draw on the collective will of the international community to jumpstart direct negotiations based on these agreed principles.
-…end the conflict, end all claims, and establish two states living side by side in peace and security.
-…the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.
-…ensure that Israel can defend itself against any threat…
-…the shared capital…
-…UN General Assembly resolution 181…
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
… Neither Israelis nor Palestinians at this moment believe that peace is either possible or desirable because the costs seem too high and the benefits too small. For both leaders, the status quo is quite sustainable, even as outside parties fret that the two-state solution is being buried in the process. …
… Likewise, Palestinian weakness makes it particularly difficult to move them since, like a business venture that is close to bankruptcy, they can always threaten collapse if they are forced to compromise. Meanwhile, the Arab states are all preoccupied with other more serious threats to their security and stability. They will be reluctant to risk Palestinian ire or, for Egypt and Jordan, the unhappiness of their Israeli security partner, to assist the president…
President Trump will therefore have to be prepared to overcome all the local resistance that is now baked into the situation. He will also need to resist the advice of his experts…
… Despite all the friction with the Obama administration, Russia has been fully supportive of Secretary Kerry’s efforts, so President Trump can easily find common ground with President Vladimir Putin. Similarly, he will find a willing partner in the EU, which believes that the failure to solve the Palestinian problem exacerbates the other Middle Eastern conflicts that threaten stability in Europe. While the Arab states will be more reluctant to take risks, President Sissi and King Abdullah both strongly believe in the importance of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for their own well-being. The Gulf Arabs are less persuadable, but will be attracted by the ability to engage openly with Israel…

Draw red lines on Russia (11/30/2016) | @steven_pifer @TheNatlInterest @BrookingsFP
… Part of the problem is that domestic political factors drive much of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy. With a stagnant economy, he cannot base regime legitimacy on rising living standards, as he did in 2000–2008. He instead has turned to nationalism at home and the restoration of Russia as a power-player abroad. …
– Reaffirmation of NATO’s decision to modestly boost its military presence in the Baltic states and Poland in the face of Russia’s more aggressive stance, coupled with an offer to explore ways to reduce tensions between the alliance and Moscow. …
– Support for Ukraine and the German-led effort to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine. …
– Readiness to cooperate on areas where U.S. and Russian interests converge. …beyond the New START treaty.

Why small steps on Russia are better than attempts at a grand bargain (11/30/2016) | Angela Stent @TheNatlInterest (@CarnegieCorp) @BrookingsFP
… First, every U.S. administration since 1991 has come into office seeking to improve ties with Russia and each of these resets has ended in disappointment… Second…a reprise of the Yalta agreement that divides the world into spheres of influence and does not challenge what he considers are Russia’s legitimate interests. …
… It might involve recognizing Crimea as part of Russia and lifting the economic sanctions on Russia imposed after the launch of a war in the Donbass that has claimed 10,000 lives so far. …

Trump could gut the Iran deal—but it was vulnerable all along (11/17/2016) | @MaloneySuzanne @BrookingsFP
TRUMP’S IRAN OPTIONS
…@RNephewCGEP…described Trump’s election as “the end game for the deal,” noting the centrality of the executive branch in implementing American obligations—specifically, waivers that provide for U.S. sanctions relief that is required by the JCPOA. …
On the other side of the spectrum are those—including the Iranians themselves—who highlight that the deal was negotiated by seven states and the European Union (not to mention endorsed by the U.N. Security Council)…
ESCALATION AHEAD?
… Serious Republican national security figures such as Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker…recognize the dangers of alienating U.S. allies, most of whom are deeply committed to preserving the nuclear deal (with initial opponents like Israel and Saudi Arabia grudgingly accepting its utility). …
… Senior Republicans on the Hill have pledged to reverse Obama’s contentious efforts to go above and beyond the deal’s requirements for sanctions relief in hopes of preserving support for the deal within Iran. …
… New sanctions could stymie Iran’s efforts to attract foreign investment and rebuild trade ties with Europe and Asia. Even better, from the standpoint of the Republicans, they might prompt Tehran to abrogate the deal, since the Iranian leadership maintains—inaccurately, but with a voluble echo chamber in Europe and the United States—that any American sanctions contravene the nuclear deal.
… Finally, he has pledged to respond forcefully to any future Iranian provocation, such as harassment of American naval forces in the Gulf…
… With an impulsive and unschooled American president, counseled by a constellation of trigger-happy ideologues, the prospect of a military confrontation between Washington and Tehran…
A LEGACY IN PERIL
… Since last week, a range of Iranian officials have insisted that the JCPOA—and its more important byproduct, Iran’s international rehabilitation—are “irreversible.”
… Many of the red flags of the Iranian nuclear program—the Arak plutonium reactor, the stockpiles of near 20 percent enriched uranium, the industrial-sized enrichment capability—have been demobilized in a fashion that will take time to reconstitute. …
HOUSE OF CARDS
… However, the deal’s architects failed in one difficult but vital task: ensuring the agreement’s sustainability beyond the administration’s lifespan. …
…the deal incorporated sufficient ambiguity on sanctions to ensure that every future application of American pressure on Iran would be strenuously contested by Tehran—and that concerns about eroding Iranian commitment to the deal would compromise Washington’s vigilance in enforcing the residual measures. …
…the deal’s success never really rested on the terms and provisions…but rather in the ambitions that the agreement embodied.
This is in large part a consequence of the way that leaders on both sides framed the deal to generate domestic support. …
…the influx of capital remains sluggish—in part because of residual American sanctions as well as low oil prices…

Should we work with the devil we know against the Islamic State? (11/21/2016) | @dbyman @lawfareblog @BrookingsFP
…Ryan Crocker…
… Bashar Assad and his father before him imposed a brutal order on the country in the past. Assad the elder killed thousands during a civil war from 1978-1982, leveling parts of the city of Hama, a key opposition hotbed, as a lesson to those he defied him, particular Islamists tied to Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood. Both he and his son ruled as dictators, where torture and other human rights abuses were common. But say what you will, the jihadist problem in Syria was largely contained…
…Assad is pragmatic—for example, in 2013 he agreed to rid himself of chemical weapons in a successful effort to avoid U.S. air strikes (though…his regime reportedly used chemical weapons in the battle for Aleppo earlier this fall). …
… Diplomatically, U.S. allies like Turkey and Saudi Arabia would strongly oppose this policy and would probably work to undermine it. … Saudi Arabia has proven a major source of terrorist recruits and financing, while the Syria-Turkey border was a major crossing point for Islamic State recruits. …
… Russia and Iran are loathed in the Arab world because of their embrace of Assad, and a U.S. alliance with Syria and these powers would “prove” to already-suspicious Sunnis that the United States seeks to subvert their traditional dominance of the Arab world and encourage Iranian influence to spread. …terrorism is justified because the United States is at war with Sunni Muslims.
Additionally, although U.S. air power and other support would help Assad’s forces advance, the regime would be unlikely to pacify all of the country, at least in the near-term, given the size of the opposition. …even with support from the Lebanese Hezbollah and Shiite fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan…
…an Assad victory would be widely, and correctly, seen as a triumph for its biggest friend—the clerical regime in Iran.
Most important, morality matters. It is one thing to ally with Stalin against Hitler when engaged in a total war; it is another to make such a devil’s bargain in a lesser conflict when the U.S. enjoys overwhelming power. …
… The United States can continue the incremental but steady efforts to work with local factions in Iraq and Syria to shrink the Islamic State’s haven and put pressure on the group. It can continue the global intelligence effort…


US Policy Changes Vol.26 (National Security Vol.2 – Key posts, Europe…)

Here are articles on national security including Eastern Europe. Excerpts are on our own.

Donald Trump’s national-security team takes shape (11/26/2016) | @economist
… Despite General Mattis’s nickname, “Mad Dog” (earned for his aggression in combat and a talent for cheerfully menacing quotes), he is regarded as combining military dash with intellectual seriousness.
Moreover his views, expressed during his time spent as a scholar at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think-tank, contrast with Mr Trump’s zero-sum, transactional concept of foreign policy. “Like it or not, today we are part of this larger world and must carry out our part,” he said in testimony to the Senate armed services committee in 2015. “We cannot wait for problems to arrive here, or it will be too late; rather we must remain strongly engaged in this complex world.”
Generals Flynn and Mattis do have one other thing in common, in addition to their military service. Both were dumped before they were due to retire by the Obama administration. General Mattis was relieved of his command of CENTCOM…
General Mattis has continued to be a critic of Mr Obama’s foreign policy which, he believes, has emboldened Russia, China and Iran, who have exploited the president’s reluctance to apply America’s military power. If appointed, he would attempt to steer Mr Trump away from isolationism and deals with Vladimir Putin.
General Flynn is likely to push in the opposite direction. “We’re in a world war against a messianic mass-movement of evil people, most of them inspired by totalitarian ideology: radical Islam,” he wrote in a book published earlier this year. “But we are not permitted to speak or write those two words, which is potentially fatal to our culture.” In another passage, he asks: “Do you want to be ruled by men who eagerly drink the blood of their dying enemies?…There’s no doubt that they [Islamic State] are dead set on taking us over and drinking our blood.” …
General Flynn believes he was fired from his post as director of the Pentagon’s Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 2014 because of pervasive political correctness within the Obama White House, which disliked his conflation of Islam with terrorism. It was also infuriated by his insistence that the war against jihadists was being lost, even as Mr Obama was trying to put it behind him.

Who is Monica Crowley, Trump’s latest national security team addition? (12/16/2016) | @storyhinckley @csmonitor
… Lt. Gen. Kellogg and Crowley will serve under the council’s previously announced leaders: retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and K.T. McFarland as deputy national security adviser. …
As director of strategic communications, Mr. Rhodes ran the Iran-deal messaging campaign and negotiated the reopening of American-Cuban relations. …

Web of deals compromises Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn (12/17/2016) | @davidkski @smh
…FIG – by adding one senior executive whose firm does extensive cybersecurity work for government agencies and another who was soliciting defence department aviation contracts.
… In 2014, he founded his company with Bijan Kian, a prominent Iranian-American banker who served on the board of the Export-Import Bank, was a senior fellow at the US Naval Postgraduate School and a member of the White House Business Council. …
FIG worked as a lobbyist for Inovo BV, a Dutch company with close ties to Turkish President Recep Erdogan. When that arrangement was reported last month by The Daily Caller, Flynn responded by having FIG leave the field of lobbying and said he would “sever ties” with his company. …
He was re-elected to his paid position on the board of Drone Aviation on December 6…
…Jordan Libowitz @CREWcrew…

Michael Flynn, Trump’s new national security adviser, loves Russia as much as his boss does (11/21/2016) | @yochidreazen @voxdotcom
…. Democrats would have lashed into Flynn because he broke with the longstanding tradition of retired officers avoiding direct criticism of presidents they had served. Republicans would have pressed Flynn about Trump’s stated Russia policy, which is predicated on building closer ties with Putin despite the Russian strongman’s human rights violations and annexation of Crimea.
Republican lawmakers would also likely have grilled Flynn about his decision to do a paid series of events in Moscow…
During his July 9 2015 confirmation hearing to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. said, “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security” and “could pose an existential threat to the United States.” ISIS was fourth on his list, behind China and North Korea.
… “The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam,” Flynn wrote in an op-ed in The Hill. “We should not provide him safe haven. In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.”

Trump Picks General “Mad Dog” Mattis for Secretary of Defense (12/5/2016) | Patrick Martin @CRG_CRM
… Though this requirement was immediately waived to allow for the appointment of General George Marshall in 1950, no former general has occupied the post in the past 66 years.
There is, however, no commitment to the basic democratic issue of civilian control of the military within the US political establishment. There is little opposition in Congress, in either party, to the passage of a waiver for Mattis.
… Within these circles, Mattis—who has differed with Trump on Russia—is seen as a counterweight to any tendency of the incoming administration to move away from the anti-Russia policy.
The only real concern expressed by the Times is “whether General Mattis intends to roll back military personnel policy changes adopted during the Obama administration, including opening all combat roles to women, allowing openly gay troops to serve and accommodating transgender troops.” …
US imperialism has been at war for most of the past 25 years, and continuously since 2001. Barack Obama, when he leaves office next January 20, will be the first president in American history to have been a wartime commander-in-chief for an entire eight years in office. It is not an accident that under such conditions, the military has come to play such a decisive role in national-security policy.

How Defense Secretary James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Will Remake The Pentagon (12/5/2016) | @lthompsonlex @Forbes
… Mattis is one of the most gifted warfighters of his generation, a highly decorated officer who has led troops in every major U.S. military campaign conducted since the new millennium began. That includes the occupation of Afghanistan, where he was the first marine ever to command a Naval Task Force in combat, and the invasion of Iraq, where he led the 1st Marine Division and then went on to command in both battles of Fallujah.
… He not only has an unsurpassed understanding of combat, he actually enjoys engaging in it. …James Mattis is the closest thing in modern America to the hard-charging General George S. Patton of World War Two fame…
… The NSC was originally conceived as a venue in which the most senior officials in the cabinet could meet to discuss security matters, not an independent player. …
… It’s a longstanding tradition in American politics to select service secretaries and other senior appointees with an eye to shoring up domestic political constituencies…
… Much of the time, congressional involvement in managing the Pentagon consists of thinly-veiled efforts to assist district-level interests at the expense of warfighters and taxpayers. …
…none of the “leap-ahead” technologies being discussed would have made much difference there, but cultural and language training would have helped a lot. …
… He will be more inclined to see air power and sea power as means for supporting the primary battle on land, rather than as alternatives to ground combat. …
… He knows Europe is mostly an Army theater, but the handful of Army units that would face an invading Russian army are so lacking in force protection, air defense, electronic warfare and the like that they are an invitation to aggression.
… Mattis knows that preparing for war is the most effective way of keeping the peace. … “No better friend, no worse enemy.”

Putin’s Russia seeks to project power with modern military (12/6/2016) | ‏@visachenkov @washingtonpost
… While all men aged 18 to 27 still face a mandatory year of military service, Russia increasingly is attracting volunteers for at least two years and building a culture emphasizing the military as a career.
While conscripts are paid a paltry 2,000 rubles ($31) a month, those signing contracts for longer tours of duty receive 10 times the starting pay and extra privileges. Promotion to sergeant could mean a monthly paycheck of around 40,000 rubles ($620), better than average civilian wages.
… At the start of the decade, the Kremlin pledged to spend 20 trillion rubles (more than $300 billion) on defense through 2020…
Last year alone, Russia spent a record 3.1 trillion rubles ($48 billion) on defense, 25 percent higher than in 2014 and more than a fifth of Russia’s entire budget. Russian forces received 35 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, more than 240 warplanes and helicopters, and nearly 1,200 tanks and other armored vehicles — a growth in Russia’s arsenal unseen since Soviet times.
… @DmitriTrenin said the prospect of personal rapport between Trump and Putin “could mean a better way to manage a fairly difficult relationship.”
… (Pavel Felgenhauer) “The Russian military,” he said, “has a vested interest right now in having more and more confrontation with the West.”

Finland walks a 1,300 kilometer fine-line with Russia (10/30/2016) | @herszenhorn @POLITICOPro
… Finnish officials said they shared a desire for greater cooperation, but that joining NATO was not an imminent consideration and that they also planned to keep up their good relations with the big neighbor next door.
…Finland’s defense minister, Jussi Niinistö, said he would refrain from offering any specific advice, either to the West or to Ukraine…
Niinistö, however, said he believed NATO’s increased presence was helping, especially in calming nearby NATO members unnerved by Russia’s recent moves.
“Yes, we have relatively good relationship with Russia and Finland’s view on this enhanced forward presence is that we think it’s good for the security of the Baltic Sea region,” Niinistö said. “We hope it calms things down and there will be no escalation.”
… Niinistö said it was important for countries to remember that being a partner of NATO is not the same as being member of the alliance, which carries the protection of the common defense clause — Article 5 of the NATO treaty. …

Poland: Russia seeks ‘new empire’ in Europe (11/25/2016) | @apsyrtus @euobs
…Witold Waszczykowski, the Polish foreign minister… said the fall of the Soviet empire “to an ever greater extent appears to have been a temporary situation, and not a definitive end in history”.
He said Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and of Ukraine in 2014 showed that “Russia is ready to resort to military force against her neighbouring sovereign states”.
…@iiea…
… Flanagan, the Irish foreign minister, said Polish relations had “grown hugely in recent years” and that “the Polish community is an extremely valued and integral part of Irish society”.
Ireland and Poland also have special ties with the US. …

What are Moscow’s expectations for Slovakia and the EU? (7/9/2016) | Ruslan Kostyuk @Russia_Direct
… Even before the voting in the UK, the center-left government of Slovakia announced four key priorities of its future EU presidency…
The first of these priorities is the promotion of investment and the future economic development of the EU. … For this purpose, in particular, it is important to strengthen the European fund for strategic investments and activities, and move more quickly towards a common banking union.
Secondly… the formation of an Energy Union within the EU and the launch of a single digital market. The third… the immigration agenda.
The fourth priority, called “Europe, fully integrated into the global environment,” to a greater extent than the other priorities, should be of particular interest to Russian diplomats.
While the first three priorities are at least tangentially linked to the domestic political goals of the Slovak government of Robert Fico, the prime minister of Slovakia, the foreign policy direction of the Slovak presidency has almost no specific goals.

… As Grigoriy Sejnikov, head of the Slovak Institute for Social Problems, noted, “Slovakia is part of the integration system created by NATO.” Therefore, the position of the foreign policy program during Slovakia’s presidency of the EU seems quite clear: The Slovak presidency will help strengthen the strategic partnership between the EU and the U.S.
…a few months before Slovakia assumed its new role in the EU, Alexey Ulyukaev, the minister of Economic Development of Russia, said that Moscow is expecting to improve relations with the EU during the period of the Slovak presidency.
… According to historian Yulia Tscherbakova, Slovakia “is of great importance to Moscow, in terms of the transit of Russian energy resources directly to the West.” This is true, but then again, Slovakia itself is almost 90 percent dependent on Russian supplies of oil, gas and nuclear fuel. …
Many Slovak businessmen, politicians and parliamentarians agree with Fico’s point of view – that sanctions are counterproductive for Russia, as well as for the entire European Union.
At the same time, the current president of Slovakia, center-right politician Andrej Kiska, is a firm supporter of maintaining the sanctions regime against Russia, considering that the Baltic countries and Ukraine are in need of protection by the “collective West” against the aggressive encroachments of…

Shootout raises fears over Russian ties to Hungary’s far right (11/27/2016) | @aqbyrne @FT
… What was less well known was the far-right militia’s multiple ties to Russian secret services. “We don’t believe this attack was a plot orchestrated by the Russian government,” said Peter Kreko, director of Political Capital, a Budapest think-tank. “But there are strong suspicions…
… “It’s not about classical espionage, but rather manipulation of the press, the public and the political system,” he said, arguing that groups like the MNA can be used to destabilise politics. “The Russians are using totally different weapons to create an alternative reality. …
… Russian support to militants had been known for years but the government’s strong political links with Moscow and fears of an economic backlash had… Hungary’s heavy reliance on Russian gas and the €10bn in Kremlin funding to build two Russian-designed nuclear reactors in Paks, by far the largest investment in Hungary in years. Prime minister Viktor Orban, who enjoys cordial relations with Russian president Vladimir Putin…
… Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign minister, said he would await a full report from authorities before making any formal diplomatic complaint. …

EU should recognise Romania as bulwark against Russian expansionism (12/8/2016) | @NTenzer (@CERAP_Paris) @EurActiv
… First of all, the new cabinet must reaffirm Romania’s willingness to remain faithful to NATO and the EU. …
We should not forget that Russia now encircles Romania with new puppet presidents and that Russian troops stationed in Crimea are just 250 kilometres from Romania’s Black Sea coast.
Secondly, the future cabinet must ensure that its economic program is ambitious enough to give hopes to Romanians suffering through low wages and pensions, without undermining the budgetary balance. …
Thirdly, the new cabinet should be truly committed to pushing forward European and liberal values. Any complacency on populism and illiberalism…
Fourthly… Romania should show a true concern to push for a sustainable reform of the EU in the context of Brexit and the threats to media freedoms and the values of tolerance and openness being aired in Hungary and Poland.
… Romania will chair the European Council’s rotating presidency in early 2019, exactly when the UK and the EU are expected to finish Brexit negotiations. …

Pro-Russian candidates win presidential votes in Bulgaria and Moldova (11/14/2016) | @RolandOliphant @telegraph

The new presidents of Bulgaria and Moldova are less pro-Russian than advertised (11/14/2016) | @economist
… Victoria Bucataru of the Foreign Policy Association, a Moldovan think-tank, suspects that Mr Dodon and Mr Plahotniuc had “a secret alliance” to stop Ms Sandu and her reform agenda. …
Mr Radev was supported by Bulgaria’s ethnic Turkish community, whose main party has close links both to domestic oligarchs and to Russian businesses. Bulgaria’s Socialists are supported by conservative pensioners and the Moscow-linked Orthodox Church. Yet in previous governments, the party assented to hosting American military bases in Bulgaria and embraced NATO membership.
Dimitar Bechev of Harvard University says the country “can have its cake and eat it too,” by remaining a loyal member of the EU and NATO while reaching out to Russia… “Until recently, I flew a Soviet jet fighter. I graduated from an American academy. But I am a Bulgarian general. My cause is Bulgaria.”
… But the reality is that politics in both countries is driven by domestic forces, most prominently oligarchs’ efforts to secure their financial interests. Their leaders are well versed in the art of playing the West and Russia against each other. …

us-policychanges-nationalsecurity-2


US Policy Changes Vol.11 (National Security Vol.1)

Here are articles on national security. Excerpts are on our own.

Cyber
Security News This Week: What Trump’s Win Means for Cybersecurity (11/12/2016) | @a_greenberg (@lilyhnewman) @wired
A man…who even reportedly eavesdropped on calls between guests and staff at his Mar-a-lago hotel, would control the world’s most powerful surveillance capabilities.
– Silicon Valley Is Worried Trump Will Demand Their Data
– Rudy Giuliani Eyes Cybersecurity Post in Trump Administration
– Russian Hackers Follow Trump’s Win With More Cyberattacks
– How to Protect Yourself Online in Trump’s America
– Trump Will Inherit Surveillance Powers Enshrined By Obama

NATO
Trump’s national security adviser wants to water down U.S. NATO commitments. Here’s what that means. (11/20/2016) | @JimGoldgeier @monkeycageblog
… NATO is a 20th-century model and needs to be retooled for 21st-century threats that we collectively face, you know cyber is one of them. …
In the 1949 Washington Treaty that established NATO, Article 5 stated, “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” …
Since the end of the Cold War, the alliance has gone to war not to defend a member state from armed attack but for the purpose of humanitarian intervention, first in Kosovo in 1999 and later in Libya in 2011. …
… NATO accepted the Bush administration’s request to assume leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in August 2003. … Nearly 50 nations, including Azerbaijan, Finland and the United Arab Emirates, sent troops to Afghanistan in support of ISAF’s mission.
… But Russia’s intervention also produced anxiety in the Baltic countries and in Poland about the certainty of NATO’s collective-defense commitment. …
… NATO increased sea patrols in the Baltic and Black seas and stepped up its air defense over its eastern territory. …
… Russia has made its aggressive posture toward Europe clear, and its invasion of Ukraine has undermined the bipartisan effort over the past quarter-century in the United States to build a Europe “whole, free and at peace.” … Uncertainty may be a great form of leverage in a business negotiation but is disastrous for maintaining a strong alliance. …

Brexit
The US President-elect Donald Trump is a real gift to Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations – The Sun columnist argues that with the president-elect on your side, Britain is now in a stronger position than before (w Video; 11/12/2016) | @JGForsyth @TheSun
… Brexit’s critics used to claim that quitting the EU would leave this country isolated on the world stage.
But you can’t claim that when the President-elect of the most powerful country on Earth is in favour of it.
… Gone is all the talk about Britain going “to the back of the queue” after Brexit, to be replaced by warm words about Trump’s desire for a spectacular relationship with the UK.
Mrs May has a chance to create a strong relationship with Trump before other European leaders even start trying.
French and German elections next year mean their leaders will use Trump as a domestic punch-bag. …
… This isn’t about liking Trump or endorsing his views. It is simply being realistic: He is the next US President and Britain has to deal with him.
After all, working with Trump is far less compromising than cooperating with the undemocratic Chinese government.
… If the US starts backing away from its obligation to defend other Nato members from attack then Britain’s nuclear deterrent and military forces will become far more important than before to Europe’s security.
“If you’re the Baltics, you’re more concerned than ever to have a relationship with the UK post-Brexit that maintains security cooperation…

Europe
How President Trump Could Actually Reduce Danger Of War In Europe For The U.S. (11/21/2016) | @lthompsonlex @Forbes
… Russia’s military would have so many advantages in a regional conflict that the West might have to resort to using nuclear weapons to avert defeat. It might also have to attack targets inside Russian borders, which under Moscow’s current military doctrine could result in its own use of nuclear weapons. With only one working missile-warning satellite, Russia could easily misinterpret NATO moves. If Trump bolsters U.S. conventional forces while also scaling back commitments, that could slow the drift toward an uncontrollable nuclear exchange.

Russia
Michael Flynn & Russia: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know (11/17/2016) | @dsl89 @Heavysan

Turkey
Trump must properly assess YPG threat to Turkey: expert – Incoming US president needs to realize PYD/YPG threat for better relations with Turkey, think thank leader says (11/22/2016) | Esra Kaymak Avci @anadoluagency
…@InsightTurkey…
… The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and EU, but Washington does not consider the PYD/YPG as a terrorist entity but a “reliable partner“ in Syria to fight Daesh. …
… According to Kanat, the Obama administration emphasized that Daesh was a bigger threat to Turkey than the PYD/YPG and underestimated the significant threat terrorist groups posed to Turkey’s national security.
…the experts agreed Trump would push for the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) ringleader Fetullah Gulen’s extradition from U.S. in an effort to foster better relations between the two countries. …

Syria
What will Trump do on Syria?: Trump’s “America first” is likely to make him cooperate with Putin on Syria. (w Video; 11/11/2016) | @ramikhouri @AlJazeera
… Trump also has not explicitly criticised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, suggesting that he might be comfortable with returning to a Cold War-type unofficial agreement on spheres of influence for the two great powers.
…his preference to refrain from criticising human rights violations in increasingly authoritarian regimes in the region and to keep the US out of local conflicts that only destabilise countries (such as Libya, Yemen, and Syria).
… His main aim seems to be to resume some calm in war-torn lands in a manner that allows the US to withdraw its troops from them, even if this means maintaining regimes such as Assad’s and ceding big power influence there to Russia.

Iraq
Will Trump bring better future for Iraqis? (Nov 2016) | @AliMamouri @AlMonitor
… Once the announcement came that Trump had won, many Iraqi politicians and citizens expressed joy. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi…
Iraqi President Fuad Masum and parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri…
The government-funded Iraqi Media Network…
Muwaffaq al-Rubaie…
…Maliki insisted that a number of US troops remain to ensure security…
…@Nahren707…

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia contemplates Trump (Nov 2016) | Bruce Riedel @AlMonitor
… The royals’ longtime connections to America’s two family dynasties, the Bushes and the Clintons, were on the wrong side of history. … The Saudis are nervous about what they see as rising Islamophobia in America.
… Riyadh would like to see more aggressive moves against Tehran. The United Nations-endorsed nuclear deal with Iran is not Riyadh’s priority; instead, the Saudis want international attention and sanctions focused on Iranian subversion. They will welcome calls for regime change in Tehran and efforts to de-legitimize the Islamic Republic.
… (King) Salman will press the incoming administration to get more deeply involved in getting rid of Assad. The Saudis believe Damascus is the place to upset Iranian influence in the region. … Assad, not the Islamic State (IS), is the top priority for the kingdom.
… The king and his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman argue that they have prevented Iran from getting a foothold on the Arabian Peninsula by going to war against the pro-Iranian Zaydi Houthis and the loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but they recognize the war is increasingly costly. …
… Another attempt at a cease-fire collapsed this week. A sudden crisis in the war could be an early test for the new US administration in February 2017.
… Salman is a strong defender of the Islamic identity of Jerusalem. He has been involved in fundraising for supporting the Palestinian cause in Jerusalem since 1967…
… The congressional override of President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) means our oldest and strongest ally in the Arab world is going to be the target of what Saudis believe to be unnecessary and dangerous lawsuits. …

Israel
Jerusalem said to welcome Trump’s ‘pro-Israel’ security picks (11/19/2016) | @TimesofIsrael
… @RepMikePompeo has been one of the leading critics of last year’s deal with Iran that traded sanctions relief for a nuclear rollback, aligning him with much of the centrist and right-wing pro-Israel communities.
… Unlike the majority of Republicans, who single out “Islamists” or “radical jihadists” or some variation thereof, @GenFlynn emphatically targets the entire faith. In August, he spoke at an event in Dallas hosted by the anti-Islamist group Act for America, calling Islam a “cancer” and a “political ideology” that “definitely hides behind being a religion.”
… Flynn reportedly has alarmed intelligence officials who have blamed cyberattacks on Russia. Flynn has been paid for a speech in Moscow and attended an official dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The closeness of a national security adviser to a regime that has joined Iran in a loose military alliance with the Assad rule in Syria is sure to rattle some in Israel’s security establishment.
… Flynn’s consulting firm has also done work for Turkish clients.
… Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing, pro-settler Jewish Home party, said that Trump’s win was also a chance to end of any possibility of a Palestinian state.

Egypt
Egypt’s Sisi is first leader from Arab world to congratulate Trump: Trump previously told Sisi that ‘the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on’ (11/9/2016) | @MiddleEastEye
… Egypt is in talks to allow Russia use of military bases across the country, including an air base on the Mediterranean coast close to the border with Libya, Russian media reported last month.
Russia is especially keen to renovate an ex-Soviet naval base in the coastal town of Sidi Barrani, which was used until 1972 to monitor US warships in the Mediterranean, Russian foreign and defence ministry sources told local daily Izvestia. …

Libya
Trump’s challenge: Can he sort out the mess left in Libya? (w Videos; 11/9/2016) | @NicRobertsonCNN @CNN
… Egypt wants to gain strategic depth in eastern Libya, and it has the support of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in backing the former internationally recognized government’s military commander General Haftar in the east. …
… Europe and the US, on the other hand, are backing the UN government…
Can Trump fix this in the first term?
No, for many reasons. If Libya was Trump’s number one priority, one term could be enough to put the country back on track, but it is not. … Egypt will be a big player in fixing Libya, but that country’s relations with the US are not the best…
…Libya would require not just massive diplomatic heavy-lifting, but also the development of a powerful national security force.

Yemen
Trump and the War on Yemen (11/22/2016) | @DanielLarison @amconmag
Michael Brendan Dougherty…
If there is one thing that seems to unite Trump and his various advisers, it is hostility to Iran. The Saudis and their allies have sold the war on Yemen as an intervention against supposed Iranian “expansionism,”… Maybe if someone explained to him that the war has strengthened Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), he would see how U.S. support for the war is undermining our security and that of the region…
If Trump saw U.S. backing for the war as a bad deal, perhaps he could be persuaded to cut off the Saudis and their allies anyway, but there doesn’t appear to be anyone in Trump’s circle that views it this way. …

Iran
Trump’s National Security Picks Are No Fans of Iran or the Nuclear Deal (11/21/2016) | @patrickcnsnews @cnsnews
…from… assurances to Iran on the tightening of the U.S. visa waiver program; to… “delayed and weak” response to Iran’s ballistic missile launches; to secret “side deals” between Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog; to the administration’s transfer of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran.
Last January… rejected claims that it amounted to a “ransom,” saying that the money, plus another $1.3 billion in cash paid later, was settlement of a long-outstanding Iranian legal claim.
…Federica Mogherini, who serves as overseer of the JCPOA… pointed out that it is a multilateral deal, enshrined in a U.N. Security Council resolution. …

Afghanistan
President Trump and the War in Afghanistan: What You Need to Know – A situation report on the current terrain. (11/21/2016) | Shawn Snow @Diplomat_APAC
…political complacency could turn the region into a hotbed for al-Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) offshoots and potentially waste more than $600 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars spent to rebuild Afghanistan.
… According to a recent report published by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), “approximately 63.4 percent of the country’s districts are under Afghan government control or influence as of August 28, 2016, a decrease from the 65.6 percent reported as of May 28, 2016.” However, according to General John Nicholson, commander of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, those districts under Afghan government control contain the majority of the Afghan population, roughly 70 percent.
… The new administration has the ability to capitalize on some of Afghanistan’s progress by maintaining support to the Afghan military, engaging key stakeholders, and spearheading Afghanistan’s international efforts to cultivate shared economic interests with its neighbors, ensuring the landlocked nation does not revert back into a cycle of warlordism, instability and a safe haven for terrorist groups. Now is not the time to abandon Afghanistan.

India
India-Pakistan ‘tinderbox’ to test Donald Trump’s foreign policy (11/20/2016) | @Siddhantmt @WashTimes

East Asia
Donald Trump likely to ask Australia to send ship to South China Sea: ex-Defence official Peter Jennings (11/17/2016) | @SabraLane @ABCaustralia

Japan Stands Firm on Senkaku Islands in East China Sea (9/15/2016) | Michael Hart @GPMonitor

Homeland
A Trump hopeful’s homeland security plan includes a Muslim registry and changes to voting laws (11/21/2016) | @ananya116,@HeathaT @qz

Donald Trump’s team is reportedly considering plans for a registry of Muslim immigrants (11/16/2016) | @ismat @qz

Intelligence
DONALD TRUMP HOPES TO ABOLISH INTELLIGENCE CHIEF POSITION, REVERSE CIA REFORMS (11/18/2016) | @matthewcole,@JennaMC_Laugh @theintercept
…the DNI was never a solution to the 9/11 attacks.
…removing the wall between analysts and spies, putting them together in mission centers, rather than geographic divisions, as had been the organization since the agency was created. The new structure was largely modeled after the Counterterrorism Center, which had become the agency’s dominant section after 9/11. Critics from inside the agency complained that it weakened the core skill of the agency — human espionage — and removed expertise. …
It’s a law… part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act; …they would have to pass a new law unwrapping all the things in that law.

Budget
US Budgetary Costs of Wars through 2016: $4.79 Trillion and Counting (PDF; Sep 2016) | @netaxt @WatsonInstitute
… As of August 2016, the US has already appropriated, spent, or taken on obligations to spend more than $3.6 trillion in current dollars on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan,Pakistan and Syria and on Homeland Security (2001 through fiscal year 2016). To this total should be added the approximately $65 billion in dedicated war spending the Department of Defense and State Department have requested for the next fiscal year, 2017, along with an additional nearly $32 billion requested for the Department of Homeland Security in 2017, and estimated spending on veterans in future years. When those are included, the total US budgetary cost of the wars reaches $4.79 trillion. …

DoD
Top Trump Military Advisers Detail GOP Candidate’s Defense Plan (10/30/2016) | @CavasShips,@reporterjoe @Defense_News
Sen. Jeff Sessions: Trump’s views are that the United States should advance peace through strength. He believes that the military has been degraded. It needs to be rebuilt. …
Trump’s first commitment militarily is the destruction of ISIS. He said he would have his military produce a plan within 30 days. It would involve military action, cyber, financial, ideological and diplomatic efforts to focus on the destruction of ISIS. …
He indicates and has said repeatedly he is proud of the American way. He will not apologize for that around the world, but will celebrate our achievements. …
Specifically with the Defense Department… He proposes that the Army should be sustained at 540,000 troops.
… He just believes that we should have a Navy that is capable of providing American presence in different areas of the globe. …
Rep. Randy Forbes: … we are going to have an international defense strategy that is driven by the Pentagon and not by the political National Security Council. …
…will not create the military strategy…
… President Trump is going to return the direction on our capacity and capability so that president has more options. …
Sessions: … He also was very explicit and strong about missile defense with Iran and North Korea. And North Korea with nuclear bombs and Iran able to get them in a short period of time. …
… But we need to attempt to, because Russia – if you look at it in a realist approach. Look at it according to what our national interests are. The United States and Russia should be able to be far more harmonious than we are today. But things have really deteriorated. China is also asserting itself dramatically. The Japanese have been having to launch aircraft to intercept Chinese aircraft. They are very close to Japan on a regular basis at record levels. …
Forbes: … Because one of the things Mr. Trump realizes is you don’t build your national defense on what you think the other players’ intent might be. Intent can change in 48 hours. You build it on capacity and capability.
Sessions: … The world needs to know that we are not going to be a second-rate military power. You are not going to surpass us. I think that kind of strength allows us to do a better job of maintaining peace in the world.
Sessions: Well, we are going to need to continue our ballistic missile defense system. We already have the technology to put in a much better guidance system for those missiles. …