Items tagged with: uk
Although Thomas Paine wrote the Rights of Man in 1791, the English upper-classes were determined never to have a constitution built on citizen’s rights, like revolutionary France and America – where written constitutions aim to protect citizens from the machinations of the corrupt, rather than protect the elite. Ever since Magna Carter, Britain has been ruled by an increasing complex patchwork of conventions aimed at keeping the establishment in power.
The sovereignty of Parliament – which the Vote Leave campaign, led by Johnson, told us was what Brexit was seeking to restore – is the only solid part of the UK’s unwritten constitution, but it is effectively built on sand.
Nowhere is more riddled with conventions than Parliament, with much of its arcane procedure driven by them. Importantly, they are meant to constrain the behaviour and ethics of governments. But Boris Johnson’s Government is flouting these norms like never before – and there is little to stop it.
All we are left with are a few unrelated parts of constitutional law such as the Parliament Acts, which limit the powers of the House of Lords. And, as the unlawful prorogation of Parliament in 2019 showed, the very functioning of it is vulnerable.
The most important convention governing the behaviour of all public servants has been found in recent years in the seven Nolan Principles, named after the first chair of the Public Standards Committee set up in 1994 to advise the Prime Minister. The current Government appears to have broken or pushed all of these to the point of no return.
We seem to have arrived at ‘post-Nolan’ British politics – breaking the pact between our representatives in Parliament and the electorate that the truth will be told.
The case of Priti Patel is perhaps the most obvious example:
“The bullying allegations made against the Home Secretary were investigated by the Cabinet Office but the outcome of that investigation has not been published, though completed some months ago,” observed the current chair of the committee, Lord Weardale. “There may be legal complexities underlying this but those have not been made clear and this does not build confidence in the accountability of Government.”As one of the most senior public servants, Patel should follow the Ministerial Code. However, although the Prime Minister has an advisor on minister’s interests, he can only advise and Boris Johnson himself has the ultimate power in such situations. He exonerated Patel of the bullying claims against her and sacked his advisor.
Whilst ministers being appointed from those who sit in the House of Lords is an established convention, it has been stretched by Johnson, who used it to flagrantly to retain ministers he lost in the 2019 General Election, such as Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith. Indeed, David Frost, a bureaucrat who has never been elected, led the final stages of the Brexit negotiations.
If Johnson’s Government has killed convention, is the rule of law and the judicial system the saviour of Britain’s political system?
Unfortunately, probably not. This Government has an 80-seat majority in the Commons so it can easily pass the laws it wants – including weakening the right of citizens to bring judicial reviews of its decisions,, which has been used to great effect during the pandemic by the Good Law Project and others.
This Government’s success at breaking conventions might have hastened its downfall. For hundreds of years, the establishment was careful to keep conventions within acceptable limits while its elite members used them to maintain and strengthen their position. Now, those conventions appear to have been destroyed. Where this leaves Britain’s ruling elite and our democracy in the future remains to be seen.
Full story at the Byline Times
Offshore-Operationen verschwenden Steuergelder u. zerstören Menschenleben. #Australien gab 2016 über £200.000/Pers.+Jahr für Offshore-Operationen aus. @MichaelBochenek, @hrw
Links to Twitter in this posting were replaced by links to the Nitter instance at https://nitter.net
It's funny how this incredible DELTA mutation has spread across the whole world despite all of the travel and other regulations still in place. Amazing! Like we didn't already know that viruses constantly circle the globe unaided by humans. They are everywhere inside and outside of our bodies. May as well face it. That's how the world works!
#FakeComments #UK #ForcingLockdown with fake polls
OpenUK's latest report: It's the foundation for established vendors even when their products are proprietary, and it is the toolbox enabling entrepreneurs and startups
Figures shared in the report, which surveyed 273 randomly sampled UK companies of varying sizes and across numerous sectors, would appear to back that up. OpenUK has reported that an impressive 97 per cent of businesses surveyed use some form of open source software, with 48 per cent having increased their use in 2020 compared to the year before.
The report found a split between business sectors, particularly when it came to use of open-source operating systems such as Linux and the BSDs: While 90 per cent of technology, media, and telecommunications companies and 93 per cent of banking, insurance, and financial service sector companies reported using open-source operating systems, just 63 per cent of companies in the public sector, health, and pharmaceutical markets reported the same. Why is government lagging behind the private sector? Too much taxpayer funds?
See OpenUK's latest report paints a rosy picture of open source adoption
#technology #opensource #UK #innovation #startups
Might be nice if a few more of those adopters turned to contributors, though
Just as our unwritten constitution relies on good chaps being in power, so too our political campaigns are premised on gentleman’s rules.
If someone lies or cheats, the Westminster political apparatus doesn’t hold many tools in its armoury. The shame of behaving inappropriately is supposed to act as an invisible barrier to fake news, hate and hostility – and, before 2016, by and large, it did.However, the success enjoyed by Trump and Brexit exploded the moral fabric of politics on both sides of the Atlantic. One campaign called Mexicans rapists and downplayed sexual harassment; the other whipped up fears of a migrant invasion and mass benefits fraud. Their victories signalled the death of the gentleman’s agreement – and the evaporation of the rules that governed political conduct.
The Conservative Party may have perched on the sidelines in Batley and Spen, but Boris Johnson is the chief practitioner of Trumpism with a posh accent. He has no qualms about sacrificing the truth on the bonfire of his political ambitions. Throughout his career, as a journalist and now a politician, the Prime Minister has treated facts as inconveniences – and he is now the beneficiary of an environment that rewards his inviolable pursuit of self-glory.
In the rump Trumpocracy, Boris Johnson is emperor.
Ultimately, this is a quandary for the Labour Party and its leader Keir Starmer, who appears to be operating in a past political era, when truth and decency mattered. His morality is a burden that prevents him from laying a glove on the fleet-footed, conscience-free Prime Minister.
Biden won in 2020 because America became sick of Trump’s ignorant, arrogant posturing – and his corrupting influence on the nation and its political system.
Such weariness has not yet been witnessed in England, even despite its leadership’s brazen imitation of the populist playbook.
Full story at the Byline Times
#Transport #Rail #UK #Hitachi
Plan called on to resolve Hitachi Class 800 cracking and network disruption
UK government calls for action plan following Class 800 train cracking and subsequent disruption
The UK Rail Minister has requested a comprehensive plan from Hitachi to identify the extent of cracking found on some Class 800 Series trains, and has asked the rail industry to urgently set out a strategy to resolve prolonged passenger and network disruption.
hitachi class 800 gwr
It was announced on 8 May 2021 that, following maintenance checks on the Hitachi Class 800 Series trains in the UK, cracks were identified on part of the chassis of some trains, resulting in the vast majority of Great Western Railway (GWR) and a significant number of London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and TransPennine Express (TPE) trains to be taken out of service to undergo further inspection.
A spokesperson for Hitachi Rail has said: “Safety is our number one priority and, as a precaution, the decision was taken to halt the entry into service of our intercity fleets pending inspection. We understand the frustration caused, and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to passengers and operators. Having been cleared for service, some trains are now running again across the network. We are working as quickly and safely as possible to investigate the issue across the remainder of the fleets.”