The 'Hostile State'

Captain Black's picture

Question Time?

"She will say: "From agriculture in Ukraine to the tech sector in Belarus - there is a huge amount of potential in the Eastern neighbourhood that we should nurture and develop. "But we must also be open-eyed to the actions of hostile states like Russia which threaten this potential and attempt to tear our collective strength apart. "This summit highlights the crucial importance of the European countries working together to protect our shared values and ideals. "The UK may be leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe, and we are unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe's security."

'The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.'

'"Something exciting happened in the world of online mothers’ forums this week, and it wasn’t a list of 10 new ways to spy on your nanny... In August, two members of the group had their lawyers send four other members a cease-and-desist letter ... "in spite of the heat of the debate, nothing on those pages fell outside even the strictest general user standards. There were no apparent trolls at work, no threats, no swearing, no violence, no straying off topic into lurid fantasies of what one hoped might happen to those whose views one disagreed with. The fight in this Mommas group was about as civil as a forum can get on the internet, without being devoid of meaningful exchange."

Fascinating: "If we are multiplicities, it should be no more surprising that people with “good” politics are capable of doing “bad” things than Stalin having an appreciation for Balzac."

"Brexit is not on the official agenda but Mrs May will meet Mr Tusk for talks, weeks before the next EU summit in December. At that summit, EU leaders will decide whether enough progress has been made on issues like the financial settlement, the Irish border and citizens' rights to move on to the next phase of Brexit talks - on trade and a potential transition deal. Earlier this week, the cabinet agreed that the UK should offer to pay more money to the EU - thought to be up to £40bn - but not before the EU agrees to begin talking about a new trade deal.  Last week Mr Tusk said the EU was "ready" to move onto the next phase of Brexit talks at the summit on 14 and 15 December but the UK must first show more progress on the outstanding issues.  The UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016, and served the EU with formal notice of Brexit in March 2017. This began a two-year countdown to the UK's departure day which will be in March 2019."

'... This isn’t the week to tell women to toughen up, but still: it seems a shame that what had been a vibrant and interesting group crumbled because adults can’t tolerate hearing other adults express passionately held counter-views."

'Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.'

“We are in danger of losing not just one but getting on for two decades of earnings growth,” he said. “We will all have to get used to the idea that steadily rising living standards may be a thing of the increasingly distant past.”

'There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.'

No Deal.

La Comedie humaine ...

"via Twitter. MP John McDonnell commented that it “just shows what can be done when people get angry. We must build on this;” while fellow party member MP Alex Cunningham tweeted: “Well done our students – thousands outside the office getting stuck into the LibDem / Tory government.”



Captain Black's picture

Neckclothitania (1818)

"George III is widely remembered for two things: losing the American colonies and going mad. This is far from the whole truth.

George's direct responsibility for the loss of the colonies is not great. He opposed their bid for independence to the end, but he did not develop the policies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend duties of 1767 on tea, paper and other products, which led to war in 1775-76 and which had the support of Parliament.

These policies were largely due to the financial burdens of garrisoning and administering the vast expansion of territory brought under the British Crown in America, the costs of a series of wars with France and Spain in North America, and the loans given to the East India Company (then responsible for administering India).

By the 1770s, and at a time when there was no income tax, the national debt required an annual revenue of £4 million to service it."

'live in the land of the possible'

Captain Black's picture

Social Engineering

"..the commission warned that isolated coastal communities and post-industrial towns in regions like Yorkshire were at risk of becoming “entrenched social mobility coldspots” as geographical divisions continue to “spiral”.

This is in contrast with deprived inner-city boroughs like Tower Hamlets and Hackney, many of which are now outstripping wealthy rural shires on the social mobility scale...

"This year’s findings show London in particular is pulling away when it comes to improving opportunities for young people, while areas like Scarborough and rural West Yorkshire are being left further behind.

London boroughs account for 20 of the top 35 hotspots, while five areas in the Yorkshire and the Humber region are listed among the bottom 35 coldspots.

The commission claims these divisions have become a “self-reinforcing spiral”, pointing to poor transport links and a historic imbalance in regional spending as contributing factors."

Benefitz Betty's picture

Ironing Out the Rough Spots

"Labour is facing the biggest crisis in its history as the leftwing pressure group Momentum tries to purge it of moderate MPs and councillors in a systematic takeover of the party, former deputy leader Roy Hattersley has warned.

His dramatic intervention comes as details can be revealed of a vicious power struggle between moderates and leftwing forces in Momentum and the Unite union that now threatens to split the ruling national executive committee (NEC) and reopen party divisions.

The row, over the selection of Labour’s parliamentary candidate in the marginal seat of Watford, has led local party officials to launch an official complaint to the NEC after they were ordered to place a Momentum-backed senior official of Unite on their final selection shortlist, days after having rejected him at interview.

In a letter leaked to the Observer, members of the Watford party who sit on the selection committee claim that party democracy is being subverted..."

"Claims that Momentum is attempting to purge anyone who is insufficiently supportive of Jeremy Corbyn in its strongholds across the country intensified last week after a string of councillors in Haringey, north London, were ousted in selection contests, or chose to stand down, in what has been described as a coup attempt by Jeremy Corbyn’s “revolutionary guard”..."

Benefitz Betty's picture

To Woo, Not Whack ..

"“He believes passionately that the liberal left and the media are out to destroy him. The way he got here is fighting back and counterpunching.

“The problem he’s going to face,” Mr. Graham added, “is there’s a difference between running for the office and being president. You’ve got to find that sweet spot between being a fighter and being president.”...

"Only occasionally does Mr. Trump let slip his mask of unreflective invincibility. During a meeting with Republican senators, he discussed in emotional terms the opioid crisis and the dangers of addiction, recounting his brother’s struggle with alcohol.

According to a senator and an aide, the president then looked around the room and asked puckishly, “Aren’t you glad I don’t drink?”..

Other aides bemoan his tenuous grasp of facts, jack-rabbit attention span and propensity for conspiracy theories."

Oh, OK: -0

Keep digging.

Benefitz Betty's picture

City Metric

"Stepping on to Hastings Pier provides a sublime immersion in that liminal world between land, sea and sky. Under a canopy of sulking cloud, the eau de nil, blue, and grey palettes of the English Channel can feel like being enveloped within a sea view painting. The sense of vast stretching space evokes a sense of reverence, awe and respect, not only of the sea, but lifts imagination to the world beyond our own shores.

In acknowledgement of one of the finest public driven architecture projects of our time, London based architecture firm dRMM were awarded the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize for their stunning contemporary design of the traditional English seaside pier. It’s a design which captures the original intentional essence of piers – that of standing on the deck of a ship surrounded by sea.

Yet mere weeks after receiving this accolade came the devastating news that Hastings Pier Charity has fallen into administration. The charity which runs the pier failed to secure backing from its key stakeholders – Heritage Lottery Fund, Hastings Borough Council and East Sussex County Council – for its three-year business plan. The Heritage Lottery Fund have agreed to provide interim financial support next year, while the future of the pier is decided. The fortunes of Hastings Pier prove a poignant reminder of the vicissitudes of Britain’s seaside towns – their rise to glory in an age of great optimism and engineering, and their subsequent spiral into decline, right through to their ongoing struggles for survival, with aspirations of regeneration and renewal. ..

"The pier is a “platform from which to view the horizon, allowed people to reflect upon themselves, other places and other times”. This contrast between the hurly burly and the quiet, restorative nature of the sea reflects an ongoing tension and expectations of what constitutes a good seaside town and its offer.

Delve a bit further into history, and the layers of class and taste slide distinctly into play. Still resonant today in towns like Hastings, the pier has provided a platform for these tensions to be played out. Some locals complained vehemently that the pier was empty, missing the usual seaside attractions of arcades and fairs, and felt it had been designed for the cappuccino-drinking middle classes...

"The seaside has always been as much about the side as the sea. These piers were often crammed with side attractions: stalls, salons, reading rooms and libraries, games, and telescopes. More recently, amusements, cafes, ice cream parlours, and confectionary outlets have arrived.

John K. Walton, the doyen of British seaside historians, also distinguished this contrasting view between the reflective, romantic and sometimes solitary pleasures of resorts, with the more communal and noisy activities of seaside associated with bawdy pleasure. Away from the everyday of work and home, authority seems diluted, constraints of behaviour suspended, and pleasure impulses given free rein.

Indeed, seaside towns still remain characterised by conflicting attitudes of respectability and licentious behaviour. The tension between the genteel, twee view of the seaside, and the tacky, over-sexed, boozy weekend getaways is reflected in how particular resorts have become associated with class and taste. Think how perceptions of Southwold, Whitstable and St. Ives – all stylish and desirable destinations to middle classes – contrast with ideas of Blackpool, Clacton and Skegness as traditional working class destinations, down-at-heel in their fortunes.

The Victorian penchant for landscaping means that seaside towns often still have some of the most substantial public space, including Esplanades, oriental gardens, seafront promenades, not to forget the beach itself. Notions that the public space of the seaside brought people together from all walks of life, rubbing easily along together, proved idealistic and erased over class tensions...

"With the enlivening potential that regeneration offers, there’s also a real danger that big cultural asset projects come to be seen as a fix-all, and ongoing arguments attest to the uncomfortable acknowledgement that cultural regeneration can leave behind the poorer communities most marginalised in small towns. There’s little doubt that lasting economic and social change needs a much broader base than just arts and culture to build on, and must benefit the wider communities who live in seaside towns. Rather than dampen the possibilities and vitality that new projects can inject, it needs to be a vital part of regeneration conversation and thinking...."


Benefitz Betty's picture

Wolf Whistles

"Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL, had won contracts with the US State Department and was pitching to the Pentagon, and Wylie was genuinely freaked out. “It’s insane,” he told me one night. “The company has created psychological profiles of 230 million Americans. And now they want to work with the Pentagon? It’s like Nixon on steroids.”

"Mercer is a brilliant computer scientist, a pioneer in early artificial intelligence, and the co-owner of one of the most successful hedge funds on the planet (with a gravity-defying 71.8% annual return)."

"AggregateIQ holds the key to unravelling another complicated network of influence that Mercer has created. A source emailed me to say he had found that AggregateIQ’s address and telephone number corresponded to a company listed on Cambridge Analytica’s website as its overseas office: “SCL Canada”. A day later, that online reference vanished.

There had to be a connection between the two companies. Between the various Leave campaigns. Between the referendum and Mercer. It was too big a coincidence. But everyone – AggregateIQ, Cambridge Analytica, Leave.EU, Vote Leave – denied it. AggregateIQ had just been a short-term “contractor” to Cambridge Analytica. There was nothing to disprove this. We published the known facts. On 29 March, article 50 was triggered."

"This is not just a story about social psychology and data analytics. It has to be understood in terms of a military contractor using military strategies on a civilian population. Us."


Thou must not stockpile 'snow' ..


“Solar Lunar Action Technique”




Benefitz Betty's picture

Hostile, How & Now

"In particular, the poorest and most vulnerable members of society are affected. Ask any charity volunteer about how the roll-out of Universal Credit has affected people and they will tell you that it has created a “hostile environment” in which pleas for help and understanding go unheeded.

John Nicholson, chair of Greater Manchester Law Centre, agrees that the two categories in this country who have been most demonised are migrants, who have been called bogus, and benefit claimants who are denounced as cheats and scroungers: “The way in which they are treated legally is very similar… it is a very similar arrangement that is taking place here for people who are seeking migration and people who are seeking social security, just the ability to live and survive.”

In other words, the harsh territory created by the hostile environment reminds us only of the yawing chasm that exists between certain Westminster politicians and the people they are paid to represent."

The next installment of Universal Credit to roll out in the Borough is May 2018.

Ah, so ...

Universal Credit explained ;-)

"The collision of 14 galaxies, which occurred more than 12 billion years ago has been detected 90% of the way across the observable cosmos.

In effect, astronomers have been able to look back in time to when the universe was about a tenth its current age and have recorded the formation of a galactic protocluster, a precursor to the type of enormous galaxy clusters that are the largest-known objects in today's universe.

Designated as SPT2349-56, the protocluster has a mass about 10 trillion times greater than our sun and according to conventional wisdom should not have existed until much later in the universe's formation.

It was observed from the Atacama telescope array in Chile.

Astrophysicist Scott Chapman of Dalhousie University in Canada said: "We were staggered by the implications.

"Yes, conventional wisdom was that clusters take a lot longer to build up and assemble. SPT2349 shows us it happened much more rapidly and explosively than simulations or theory suggested."

I'll be back.

Benefitz Betty's picture

The Charge of the Light Brigade

"“They’re going to create jobs and employ people that we don’t need. It’s a waste of time and there’s a lot of people in Whitby who feel this way.”

John Freeman, owner of an art gallery on Market Place added: “When you look at how they’re going to spend this money, 26% will go to advertising and promotion. The last thing we need in Whitby is more publicity.

“14-17% will go towards administration costs and 3% will go to the council for collecting the money so nearly 50% has already gone before you’ve even started.

“To me, that’s not value for money.”


"Jeremy Corbyn is ready to take over as Santa Claus of a minority government on Wednesday morning if MPs reject Theresa May's Brexit deal, Labour has told Sky News.

A party spokesperson vowed to "reset" negotiations with Brussels and "take the country forward" should the prime minister be defeated in parliament.

It came as Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng insisted the crunch vote would go ahead on Tuesday, amid reports it could be pulled to spare the government a large loss."

"But no PM since the war has served longer than 11 years. In contrast, the consequences of this week’s “meaningful vote” on May’s deal, and of its constitutional and diplomatic aftermath, will be with us for decades. Columnists, like judges, love to cite precedent as a means of contextualising current events and puncturing the hysterical rhetoric of the politicians they write about. In this case, there really is no relevant precedent...

"One cannot fault her sheer cheek: the PM presents a shambolic rupture from the world’s largest single market as the continuity option. Of course, this through-the-looking-glass argument is psychologically necessary for her to complete what she regards as the defining task of her premiership: the implementation of the referendum result that compelled her predecessor to resign. But every other MP has a political, constitutional and moral duty to think more deeply..."

"So, on the face of it, Mrs May is being wildly reckless when she insists that she will press ahead with the parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal this Tuesday even though no one thinks she can possibly win it. She faces defeat partly because her deal has very little appeal to anyone. The report of the all-party select committee on Brexit, published today, joins the chorus denouncing the withdrawal agreement as the worst of all worlds...

We have reached a point in the Brexit derangement where charging into the mouth of hell is perhaps not crazy at all, but the sanest thing that Mrs May can do for herself and her country."