Is the new UK government breaking it’s no new oil and gas licences commitment?

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Rishi Sunak on stopping Rosebank says that any chancellor can stop his huge 91% subsidy to build Rosebank, that Keir Starmer is as bad as him for sucking up to Murdoch and other plutocrats and that we (the plebs) need to get organised to elect MPs that will stop Rosebank.
Rishi Sunak on stopping Rosebank says that any chancellor can stop his huge 91% subsidy to build Rosebank, that Keir Starmer is as bad as him for sucking up to Murdoch and other plutocrats and that we (the plebs) need to get organised to elect MPs that will stop Rosebank.

I think that the relevant section of Labour’s manifesto at https://labour.org.uk/change/make-britain-a-clean-energy-superpower/ says

“We will not issue new licences to explore new fields because they will not take a penny off bills, cannot make us energy secure, and will only accelerate the worsening climate crisis. In addition, we will not grant new coal licences and will ban fracking for good.”

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/UK-Government-Denies-Claims-Ed-Miliband-Has-Banned-New-North-Sea-Oil-Licences.html

UK Government Denies Claims Ed Miliband Has Banned New North Sea Oil Licences

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has denied reports that Ed Miliband has banned the North Sea oil regulator from issuing any outstanding drilling and exploration licences, calling them “a complete fabrication”.

Earlier today, The Telegraph claimed that the new energy security and net zero minister had overruled his officials to stop the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) from issuing new licences, even those that were in the final round of approval with the regulator.

But Miliband’s department hit back at the claims, telling City A.M.: “This piece is a complete fabrication – it invents meetings and decisions that have not taken place.

Were Miliband to have withdrawn the licences, it could have left some North Sea oil firms millions of pounds out of pocket having prepared bids before the general election was called that were in the final throes of being approved.

It would appear that they are incompatible positions: The manifesto says “We will not issue new licences to explore new fields … ” but yet it’s a complete fabication that Ed Miliband has banned the North Sea oil regulator from issuing any outstanding drilling and exploration licences and licences yet to be approved are going to be granted? So, which is it?

Continue ReadingIs the new UK government breaking it’s no new oil and gas licences commitment?

Some light Christmas reading

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A few politics articles for light Christmas reading …

Why are taxpayers spending £60m on a bridge for Joanna Lumley?

The bridge has been sold as a new public right of way by Johnson. In reality it is anything but. TfL’s business case suggests that just 0.03% of all those using the bridge will be people making new trips. The rest will be either tourists or others already on the Southbank.

So who will benefit from this bridge? Well according to the business plan, the biggest benefit of the bridge will be to “residential property values”. Incredibly, they estimate that the bridge will raise local property values by an estimated £84 million.

So excellent news for the tiny number of wealthy property owners in central London. Not so good news for the millions of people struggling to afford the cost of their monthly travelcard to work.

TfL bury Boris bike fare hike under the Christmas tree

Bullingdon Tory idiot Boris Johnson

The cycle hire scheme, perhaps Boris Johnson’s most notable achievement as mayor, has so far been serially underused, with a complex hiring mechanism turning potential users away.

Promised “at no cost to taxpayers” it remains substantially subsidised to the tune of millions of pounds a year.

A poor value-for-money sponsorship deal with Barclays and a complex hiring mechanism, means that it has so far failed to generate anything like enough revenue to cover its costs.

Iain Duncan Smith to meet Universal Credit target in 700 years’ timeImage of IDS Iain Duncan Smith

Ian Duncan Smith promised that more than a million people would be signed up to his universal credit scheme by April 2014, with twelve million signed up by 2017.

However, new figures released today reveal the DWP currently have just 17,850 people on their caseload.

This means that at the current rate of progress, it will take them almost 700 more years to meet their original target of twelve million.

Christmas cannot be captured in fairytale endings, Archbishop warns

[T]he true spirit of Christmas cannot be captured in fairytale endings, the Archbishop of Canterbury will tell the faithful.

Life-size cardboard Ed Miliband cutout ‘held HOSTAGE’ after being ‘stolen’ from County Hall

A statement from Worcestershire County Council read: “We are aware that a life-sized picture has gone missing out of the Labour room within County Hall.

“Staff and elected members are working closely to ensure that it is returned and this situation is concluded.”

The cut-out is the same height as the Labour leader – at 5ft 9in.

It is alleged that prior to its disappearance, some staff members turned the cardboard Ed around so people walking past could only see his backside in the window.

Continue ReadingSome light Christmas reading

ISIS, Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria

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http://www.vox.com/cards/things-about-isis-you-need-to-know/sunni-shia-conflict-ISIS

Perhaps the single most important factor in ISIS’ recent resurgence is the conflict between Iraqi Shias and Iraqi Sunnis. ISIS fighters themselves are Sunnis, and the tension between the two groups is a powerful recruiting tool for ISIS.

The difference between the two largest Muslim groups originated with a controversy over who got to take power after the Prophet Muhammed’s death, which you can read all about here. But Iraq’s sectarian problems aren’t about relitigating 7th-century disputes; they’re about modern political power and grievances.

The civil war after the American invasion had a brutally sectarian cast to it, and the pseudo-democracy that emerged afterwards empowered the Shia majority (with some heavy-handed help from Washington). Today, the two groups don’t trust each other, and so far have competed in a zero-sum game for control over Iraqi political institutions. For instance, Shia used control over the police force to arbitrarily detain Sunni protestors demanding more representation in government last year.

So long as Shias control the government, and Sunnis don’t feel like they’re fairly represented, ISIS has an audience for its radical Sunni message. That’s why ISIS is strong in the heavily Sunni northwest.

http://www.vox.com/cards/things-about-isis-you-need-to-know/maliki-sunni-shia-tension

ISIS would be able to recruit Sunni fighters off of the Sunni-Shia tension even if Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki hadn’t held office until mid-August, but his policies towards the Sunni minority have helped ISIS considerably. It remains to be seen whether the new PM, Haider al-Abadi, will be an improvement.

Maliki, a Shia Muslim, built a Shia sectarian state and refused to take steps to accommodate Sunnis. Police killed peaceful Sunni protestors and used anti-terrorism laws to mass-arrest Sunni civilians. Maliki made political alliances with violent Shia militias, infuriating Sunnis. ISIS cannily exploited that brutality to recruit new fighters.

When ISIS reestablished itself, it put Sunni sectarianism at the heart of its identity and propaganda. The government persecution, according to the Washington Institute for Near East Studies’ Michael Knights, “played right into their hands.” Maliki “made all the ISIS propaganda real, accurate.” That made it much, much easier for ISIS to replenish its fighting stock.

 

Continue ReadingISIS, Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria

Cameron, Clegg and Ed sneak in a snoopers’ charter by the back door

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A snoopers’ charter by the backdoor: One day until Drip is forced through

by Ian Dunt

Privacy campaigners are frantically trying to brief MPs about the implications of the data retention and investigatory powers bill (Drip), before it is forced through all of its Commons stages tomorrow.

The more experts look at the bill, the more convinced they’ve become that it provides authorities with the spine of the snoopers’ charter, but without any of the public debate or parliamentary scrutiny which were supposed to accompany it.

The charter – known as the draft communications bill before it was killed off – would have forced internet service providers and mobile operators to keep details of their customers’ behaviour for 12 months.

Analysis of Drip, which was supposed to only extend the government’s current powers for another two years, suggests it forces through many of those requirements on internet firms without any of the political outrage which derailed the earlier effort.

Clause four of the bill appears to extend Ripa – the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (basically Britain’s Patriot Act) – so that the UK government can impose severe penalties on companies overseas that refuse to comply with interception warrants. It also lays out situations in which they may be required to maintain permanent interception capacity.

Clause five then provides a new definition of “telecommunications service”, which includes companies offering internet-based services. That seems to drag services like Gmail and Hotmail into the law, and very probably social media sites like Facebook too.

The government insists the extraterritoriality clause merely makes explicit what was previously implicit. It’s tosh. As the explanatory notes for the legislation – released very quietly on Friday night – make clear, overseas telecommunications companies did not believe they were necessarily under Ripa’s jurisdiction.

“Regarding the amendments to Ripa, in view of the suggestion by overseas telecommunications service providers that the extra-territorial effect of Ripa is unclear, it is considered necessary to amend the legislation to put the issue beyond doubt,” it reads.

“This includes clarifying the definition of a ‘telecommunications service’ to ensure the full range of telecommunications services available to customers in the United Kingdom are included in the definition.”

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband insist Drip merely extends their current powers for two years. That’s nonsense. These two clauses, which have nothing to do with the purported aim of the bill, provide the spine of the snoopers’ charter.

They also appear to provide a legal basis for programmes like Tempora, the project revealed by Edward Snowden to allow GCHQ to tap into transatlantic fibre-optic cables and stored data.

Notably, Privacy International, Liberty and others are taking the government to a tribunal this week on whether Tempora is legal, even though the government won’t even admit its existence. Drip could make the tribunal ruling irrelevant.

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Continue ReadingCameron, Clegg and Ed sneak in a snoopers’ charter by the back door