Thursday, 30 June 2016

From Serial Liar to Escapist

I read this, today, ideally I should have been happy that the Former Mayor of London whose only claim to fame was successful conduct of Olympics with an exorbitant budget and overseeing the housing in London skyrocket, increasing transport fares after promising to decrease; I should have been glad that this liar decided to not become the Prime Minister of a G-8 nation.

A picture speaks a thousand words

But then, now  that we think of it, when Cameron announced the referendum in February, 2016, Johnson was yet to pick a side even though he had Eurosceptic leanings. At least, with regard to Farage or Gove, whatever my disagreements are with them, I knew where they stood with regard to issues but with regard to Johnson, he has been pro immigration, pro single single market and at the same time, decided to campaign against the membership. Yet, after announcing that he was going to campaign for leaving the EU, he made strong statements about taking measures to curtail immigration, such as introducing points system; even though evidences have suggested that such measures have in fact increased immigration; like in the case of Australia, where in Victoria, a majority of them have at least one parent born outside the country. He spread further lies about how he would save 350 million pounds a week and spend it on NHS instead, a figure which was confirmed as misleading and now, after the vote, Farage confirmed that it can't be guaranteed.

It was evident that Boris Johnson had no plan as to what to do after leaving the Union, not that he ever had plans about anything, his absence at the House of Commons since the 'no vote' has not gone unnoticed, considering he might be asked to express a plan if he goes to Westminster, if not at the house, by the media when he walks out. So, when his close ally, Michael Gove decided to run leadership himself, our lad Boris pulls out saying; 'I am not that person who could give the country that direction'; I fail to understand how he believed he was the person to lead a campaign but not after the campaign.

Boris Johnson was the face of the campaign that spread the lies, now has created the mess, the 350 million that he promised has perhaps already been lost with the pound plunging and the markets crashing and after creating this mess, he has decided to chicken out and let someone else handle the mess that he has created. For once, I genuinely wished he had become Prime Minister, own up for his false campaign and accept responsibility for the mess that he has created. Boris Johnson steered the ship to unknown waters and now that the ship is too deep into it, he has ended up becoming the first person to run away from it, leaving the ship directionless.

Michael Gove, the likely alternative, is no commendable person either, while Boris promised more spending on the NHS, the Lord Chancellor has been sceptical not just about the EU, but also about the NHS. Moreover, he also had similarities with the other members of his campaign, when it came to spreading lies, when he claimed support of the former England football player John Barnes, only for Barnes to deny and pledge support for the Remain campaign.

It is unfortunate that UK are being placed under such uncertainty, owing to the petty politics and ego of the Tories where a serial liar manipulated the people into voting for a particular choice and now that it has gone disastrous, he has turned into an escapist. One can only hope that things become better with time.

Have a nice day,

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

David's Delusion

As Britain is set to be in limbo for the next three months, the man currently at the helm chooses to do nothing.
I was watching the House of Commons session live, yesterday, the first session since the vote to leave the European Union, the Union that had given the continent peace and stability for seven decades. With that said, I was observing David Cameron answer questions posed to him by the various MPs. While I appreciate the gracefulness with which he has accepted the defeat of his campaign to remain in the EU, I couldn't help but observe three things:

1. A Labour MP (not a very commendable one, a geriatric Eurosceptic himself) had addressed Cameron as 'Dodgy Dave' in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal which led to the MPs suspension from the house. However, David Cameron, yesterday, was in every way, being dodgy, evaded every difficult question saying that it was for the next government to decide, which won't be in place for another three months and yes, the only thing about changes in the UK, the best answer he had was that at present, UK is still a member of the Union and there would be no change till then and the negotiations have to be carried on by the new government. 

2. Nobody but Cameron could make as many contradictory promises totally incompatible with each other; the last time the Brits did such a thing, I recall was with regard to Palestine, with a plan to capture it for themselves in an agreement with the French, a promise to the Arabs provided they revolt against the ruling Ottomans (which they did) and also to the Zionists. Alas, such contradictory promises led to disastrous results. Some such promises made yesterday included the following:

  • A particular MP had stated that there were a lot of EU citizens in his constituency and they are worried about their future for which the PM assured a retention of the status quo. 
  • However, another MP, a Eurosceptic, who cited the same thing and said now that the country voted to leave, steps must be taken by the Prime Minister to contain the number of immigrants in his constituencies to which also, he agreed. 
  • While the Leave camp was largely sceptical about the so called regulations imposed by the Single Market, Cameron asserted that he'd actively try to ensure that Britain has its place in the single market. 
  • Agrees that no contribution would be made to the EU budget but still wants to be part of single market while agreeing that no country exists as of today, which does not contribute to the EU budget but has access to the single market. 
I can go on but I would stop here with regards this aspect. 

3. Cameron, promised that there would be no consequences to Brits living in other parts of the EU, UK would still have access to the single market, and no tariffs would be imposed on British goods despite staying out of EU membership. Imagine if Cameron says he is leaving No. 10 this September but still would do everything to retain all his powers and privileges as Prime Minister; the above promise is as absurd as that, I mean, why would the EU agree to all the demands of a non-member Britain? As such, the EU has made it absolutely clear that Britain got the best deal that they could offer and if they opt to vote out, they would not be treated with kid gloves. 

What I also understood from yesterday's discussion that the Leave campaign has no plan as of now, as to how to take the country forward, and in fact a Leave campaigner is known to have said that they had plan and it was No. 10, who was supposed to have had one. Moreover, the 350 million more towards the NHS, the nonsense which was being publicised by the Leave Campaign; the poster boy of the campaign, Nigel Farage, has already distanced himself from the claim that he can't guarantee that. Be that as it may, regarding the Leave campaign's lack of planning; Cabinet Minister Priti Patel, when she was asked about how she'd use the excess money, she said 100 million towards the NHS and had no clue as to how she'd use the rest. Well, this 350 million number (false) was probably the one that probably put the Leave campaign 4% ahead in the referendum and after everything is over, Farage is callous enough to admit that they lied and the people aren't even given a second chance or a second thought. 

Britain has succumbed to the opportunism of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage and from what I can anticipate, France would do their best to make Brexit terrible for Britain so that they would be able to keep the far right movement in their own country at bay. The French were probably dreaming of the days when the British would be at their mercy and it is ironic that finally, the British have given it themselves, without any effort from the French (Le Pen's insignificant voice is not considered). 

While it is senseless to expect Britain to go back on this stupid referendum, and even worse, the future of Britain is uncertain for the next three months as Cameron promises to do nothing till the next government takes over and of course, the to be new government, as of today, have no clue what they are going to do anyway while the Pound is on the run and the FTSE is on a free fall. 

All I would say is, I hope that Europe doesn't return to its dark ages yet again.

Have a nice day,

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Sentiments over sense

Traffic signals are a menace and we all know it. We hate waiting those few seconds and feel that the entire system is programmed against you to make you stop everywhere. You find that a lot of them are there at an unnecessarily short distance and find the system in place has some flaws and frustrated over them, you gather a band of people who agree with you and start a movement. The movement would obviously grow in size, because, naturally, a lot of us hate it though none of us know what would happen with the lack of it. So yes, the movement grows in size, politically becomes a menace, and finally, a referendum is agreed, that depending on people's vote, they would abolish the system altogether.

So, the campaign starts, and those in favour of retaining them talk about the problems that one would face in the absence of it and the people from the movement immediately shun in saying that those in favour are running a fear campaign, their thoughts are filled with hate, while we are having a positive approach to the whole thing. When such an argument is used, those in favour are stumped and someone who has not made up her / his mind might think that it is a valid point but just to go a little deeper into it, there is no other way to campaign for status quo except for explaining the consequences over the lack of it; for, the benefits of its existence are being experienced by people any way. If somebody is being swayed by this 'negative' campaigning accusation for a referendum is downright stupid.

So, with that said, the vote comes, and with this negativity assumption, the movement manages to sway the undecided voters and finally, by a narrow margin, get the law to abolish all traffic signals. Fine, it is a revolution but is that a right way ahead? We all know the mess it would create without them, with gridlocked traffic, increased accidents and a lot of other problems. Yes, a majority of the people wanted to get them out of the way but then, just because a majority voted; is that the way forward? That is when a sensible government should issue a statement as to why they reject the narrowly passed popular vote and do what is best for the people. After all, a successful organisation in business is the one that delivers its customers what they want even though they might not know that they want them.

With that said, enough of allegories, think of it with the recently concluded referendum over Britain's membership with the EU. The European Union is a body that has achieved something; an idea which somebody would have laughed at even last century - six decades without war. Yes, Europe, after the second world war, saw extreme stability, thanks to the Union that brought it in. I fail to understand as to how, the older electorate, those who had their childhood ruined by the war could actually vote to leave the Union that has given their grandchildren a peaceful childhood.

The EU definitely has its flaws, but the hate campaign that Leave carried out with regards immigration, I fail to understand why all blame has been placed on the EU when immigration was happening all across Europe even in the 19th and 20th (pre EU era) centuries and in fact, the UK has benefited more from the free movement of labour and capital from other European nations. But still, people had certain sentimental opposition that Brussels holds a lot of power, a judgement by the Crown Court being potentially overturned at Luxembourg which they had problems with, these are all purely sentimental reasons and when you choose sentiment over sense, things don't go very well.

Worse things beckon for the UK, with Cameron set to resign (who wasn't a great PM himself),  Boris Johnson is likely to take the post; a politician from whom I have never heard a single original idea or implement any great reforms as the mayor of London and in fact, during his tenure, the housing markets skyrocketed for which he barely took any steps to control other than blind rhetoric. Johnson, in fact, unlike Gove or Farage, had not even picked a side till the date of the referendum was announced and merely saw this as his quickest route to Number 10, after all, he doesn't hold any ideas or views other than opportunism. He holds traits similar to Trump wherein, throughout the campaign, he has contradicted himself multiple times and with such ultra nationalism on the rise, I shall not be surprised if Trump actually becomes the president of US. After all, if Boris Johnson can become Prime Minister in October, Trump may very well become President in November.

Farage said that if Remain went through, they'd push for another referendum in the future; would he agree to concede a membership referendum in the near future? I doubt it, which shows the extreme hypocrisy of this campaign.

A majority voted for an exit, yes, a slender majority of 4%; but is that the right decision? Even if a majority of people are misled to believe and vote for something, it doesn't necessarily that it is right, sometimes it might be downright ignorance and miscommunication leading people to believe otherwise and the saddest part of the whole affair is, a majority of the young people voted to stay in, but thing have gone against them and they would be the ones facing the consequences of not being in EU.

The larger consequence I fear is the collapse of UK as a political union with yet another referendum in Scotland, where, every local council voted to remain in the Union but are being forced out. In fact, one of the issues for discussion during the earlier Scottish independence referendum was, in fact, EU membership where the Better Together swayed voters to their side with the argument that an independent Scotland would have to go through the process of applying for EU membership and won't be granted automatically. But now that they are out of it and circumstances have changed, the vote might yield a very different result now.

Frankly, a lot of issues spoken about during the referendum (the consequences - the negative campaign!) had a lot of financial aspects involved which I couldn't have appreciated much if I didn't have a finance background.

With that said, I have a great respect for the democratic process and believe in democracy, and choosing the right leader and government to provide direction but not on all technical matters because, there shouldn't be a case where sentiment prevails sense and thereby, going against the interests of the people; which is ultimately against the very foundation of democracy.

Have a nice day,

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Erdogan's (Mis)judgement

TLDR: Erdogan barely sees ISIL as a threat since he finds it an effective counter against Kurdish nationalism. At the same time, he cracks down on trivial stuff like social media, having banned Twitter and Youtube multiple times (I am able to recall; immediately after the Istanbul protests and the Ankara blasts) and sometimes, even Facebook. Everything went out of hand when he called for the prosecution of a German poet Jan Boehmermann when he read out a poem criticising Erdogan. 

Hence, the focus in Erdogan's total lack of judgements regarding the threats to the country; going soft on ISIL despite the L expanding to Levant which includes Turkey's own Hatay province. 

With that said, I have great respect for Turkey and their secular values but not their current president.

'Art is a blast!' - Deidara (Naruto)

Not the best quote to start a series of new posts but it was apposite to the current series. Since my artistic skills aren't up to the mark, I also have to give commentary on the same and here you go! Whether art is a blast or not is not what I want to talk about but then, I decided to talk about art about blasts.

Despite living in a country so far away from Turkey, I can't help but notice the antics of their current president and former prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. While I always admired Turkey for being a model state built by Kemal Ataturk for the rest of the countries in the neighbourhood (being a secular democracy), in came Erdogan with a landslide victory for his Justice Party (AKP) in 2003 and has held the top office since then and step by step, undoing the work of his predecessors by becoming intolerant to dissent (which was seen during the recent sacking of Prime Minister Davutoglu), sucking up to extremists among other things; a state that had once been a model state for its eastern neighbours is now moving towards the models adopted by their eastern neighbours, thanks to the man at the helm. 

This cartoon primarily tries to focus on his judgemental capabilities, considering the mess he is creating in the Syrian Civil War, at present, reports have often suggested that Erdogan doesn't consider ISIL as their primary threat and in fact, largely ignore their expansion seeing them as an effective force to combat the Kurdish militia in Syria; owing to the fear of a possible pan-Kurdish movement with the success of the Peshmerga in Iraq and the political success of Selahattin Demirtas' HDP in the recent elections. 

Anyway, I fail to understand why Turkey goes soft on ISIL; despite their expansionist goals throughout Levant and by that, it means Turkey's own Hatay province is very much included under Levant and still sees Kurdish militia as a bigger threat than ISIL; despite all the recent attacks in Ankara and Istanbul; what was once an exotic tourist destination, people are now afraid of a potential attack. 

The first part of the cartoon's entire focus is on Turkey's soft corner towards ISIL and the latter is on Erdogan's misplaced priorities and his extreme sensitivity towards any dissent is sometimes bordering on being hilarious. For instance, he has banned Twitter multiple times, once during the Istanbul protests and then again, after the Ankara blasts, this time, even Facebook and Youtube (and I hear Youtube has faced a ban multiple times); totally unbecoming of a free democracy. 

The next instance where he took it a little too far was when he demanded the arrest of a German poet; Jan Boehmermann, for merely reading out a poem on TV criticising Erdogan; where the latter even ended up finding some obscure 19th century German law that deemed mocking leaders of other sovereign states a criminal offence and Germany ended up sucking to Erdogan's stupid demand since EU needed his help in handling the refugee crisis and agreed for his prosecution. 

It is sad to see Turkey in this shape, and Erdogan is turning more and more autocratic, trying to consolidate more power into his hands by transforming the country into a presidential republic to end up being president for life, similar to the models of the other Turkic nations (Azerbaijan - Ilham Aliyev, Kazakhstan - Nursultan Nazarbayeev, Uzbekistan - Islam Karimov) and I hope, before things turn too bad, Turkey manages to come out of this menace caused by the current president. 

With all this said, I wish to clarify that I have great respect for Turkey but not for their current President. 

Have a nice day,