20 March 2020

Is Coronavirus a wake-up call not to eat exotic animals?

The practice in Asia of keeping live animals alive at market because some people like to buy "warm meat" is the probable cause of the pandemic. The market trader of wild animals slaughter and butcher the creatures there and then, which runs a risk of contamination. These zoonotic viruses then become human viruses, just as measles started in animals. In a global world we have to change how we farm and eat meat. Coronavirus is a wake-up call and thankfully, with a the death rate at 2%, it's not as great a health risk to humans as some others, e.g. Ebola which has 50% death rate or Nipah virus that kills 70% of those exposed to it.

Hopefully lessons will be learnt from the Corona experience and humans will now think twice before eating wild animals.

Referencing: Professor Andrew Cunningham (expert in zootonic diseases) after listening to him on the BBC Monday 16th March 2020.

14 October 2019


1. Take Remain off the table

2. Take No Deal off the table

3. Lock MPs in Parliament for 7 days with packed lunches until they do their job and decide what to do

4. If they can't agree then replace the all MPs with a general election

5. In the even of another Hung Parliament Repeat stages 1 - 4 until a deal is agreed

6. Put the deal to EU

7. If the EU agree to the deal


8. If EU are unable to agree - walk away without a deal and do deals after Brexit

13 June 2019

Why the Conservative Party needs Rory Stewart

Since David Cameron bailed after the EU referendum the Conservative Party has been clinging onto Theresa May for fear of something worse. That something worse, however, is not so much the larger than life character Boris Johnson, but the knowledge of what happens to the Conservative Party once Boris is anointed Britain's Prime Minister.

If Boris Johnson is telling the truth and he will leave the EU “Come what may”, then the instant that No Deal is credible threat to the UK economy, the pro-Europeans in the Conservative Party, backed by the Confederation of Business and Industry and the opposition parties, will force a general election. From a Conservative perspective, therefore, that something worse is a self-inflicted Labour Government and, probably, no Brexit at all.
    The other option is to pick out another Remainer to replace Theresa May, but choosing Jeremy Hunt, is also a risk for the Conservative Party, because deep down the leave voters upon which they rely may find a more permanent home in the Brexit Party.  
Far from being the failure her colleagues have portrayed her to be, Theresa May, in terms of delaying the UK's exit from the EU, for Remainers a least, was a tremendous success, but the majority in the country expect the Conservatives to deliver Brexit so their leader has to make that happen. 
    So what is the Conservative Party to do?  If they pick Boris Johnson and he sticks to his No Deal guns, then there’ll be an election by Christmas.  On the other hand, if they pick Theresa May’s right-hand man in the Foriegn Office Jeremy Hunt, then the party risks prolonging the Brexit impasse and, at the same time, exacerbate the threat posed to them by the clarity and strong leadership offered by Brexit Party and Nigel Farage.
    Having not voted Conservative since John Major in the 90s I am perhaps a surprising advocate for Rory Stewart, but, as I see it, it is only he that can square the hellishly difficult dilemma of how to deliver Brexit without collapsing the UK economy, diminishing the country's international status, or dismantling the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
Rory Stewart is the only Conservative candidate with a chance of achieving a satisfactory Brexit outcome for the British people.  Quite apart from believing that this person actually cares about the big issues, climate change, fairness and wants to overhaul social care, his strategy on Brexit, in the particular parliamentary circumstances the country finds itself, is the only candidate that is able deliver a sensible Brexit.
    So how will Rory do it? Well, first, as PM, Rory Stewart will immediately take No Deal off and Remain off the table. There will be those that will baulk at this idea, imagining that our Prime Minister should be somehow negotiate an International Treaty as like a company Sales Director.  As the last three years have established, trying to do deal with 27 other countries is not something you can just walk away from and hope for the best and to deny this is to accept further excruciating and damaging delay.   
    Because of the awful reality of a No Deal Brexit the EU know, as do a majority of the UKs MPs, that a NO Deal is so remote a possibility that it ceases to be the bargaining chip, all the other candidates say that it is.  In my view No Deal is not a credible threat and will not work in international diplomatic and political circles. 
Threatening Germany and France with No Deal may be an effective tactic for the US with its military and economic might, as it may have been for Britain in the 19thcentury, but it is naive  to imagine that the UK can negotiate so aggressively with 27 EU countries, with the level of power it is able to wield today. 
    For me personally the Conservative leadership contest is a win-win situation. If Boris Johnson wins we’ll have a general election and Labour Government sooner rather than later, but if Conservatives have the wisdom to vote for a candidate with the brains, negotiating skill and the humility to do a deal with the EU and without condemning millions of our poorest UK citizens to poverty by ushering in a No Deal Brexit, then in Rory Stewart Conservatives should be allowed one more chance to safely deliver a grown-up Brexit deal, and at the same time, do the right thing for Britain. 

21 March 2019

The forgotten arguments since Boris's hollow Brexit bus.

To make a decision on Brexit MPs have the unenviable task of weighing two incompatible realities:
  • Leaving the EU gives back to the UK electorate the right to hire and fire those that govern them.
  • Leaving the EU will cause years and years of economic disruption on a scale that we have not seen since the 1920s.
Below: Tony Benn puts the democratic case for leaving the EU

More on the EU:

31 January 2019

Is philanthropy just a guilt-trip triggered by avoiding taxes?

Is it fair to argue that philanthropy is a psychiatric solution adopted to alleviate the guilt within those that live off other people's labour.   And, is it true that people who give money away volunraily use their vitue to justisfy employing people cleverer than themselves to help them avoid their share of tax? 


In this video the historian, Roger Bregman, argues that philathropy is "bullshit" and suggests that the conference should focus on taxes, but I particularly admired the speech by Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam, who, in response to a question defending the economic status quo (that encourages/allows and results in widespread tax avoidance) by citing  record US employment. Winnie Byanyima made the point well that the questioner was "counting the wrong things" she then explains that it's not the level of employment that matters to people, but the quality of those jobs.  I couldn't agree more. 

In the UK, as in the US, it is true that there is currently high levels of employment. However, both Republicans and the Conservative governments, frequently cite this as a universal success. What the Republican and the Conservative governments don't tell us, is that the drop in unemployment is on the back of in-work poverty, the need for in-work benefits, the explosion in the need for food backs, insecurity at work, a lack of union representation and a rise in zero-hours contracts.  

Is it any wonder that billionaires and the government's whose support upon which they rely to perpetually increase their weath, prefer to judge the performance of the economy on the levels of economic growth and the levels of employment, and irrespective upon which that growth is based and quality of the jobs that the system provides.  Is is not time, when deciding which economic policy is best to measuring the well being of the majority and respect and reward better the workers that create the nations wealth. 

Another article like this

30 January 2019

Is Labour's call for a full-blown Customs Union the UK's last chance to avoid a No Deal Brexit?

Business leaders must have been squirming on the golf course yesteday as the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave Theresa May's government a lesson in what's best for the UK economy.

So why isn't the Conservative Party trying harder to help business?  After all, it's they that claim to care about business and finance and by failing to embrace a nationwide Customs Union, rule out a No Deal Brexit, or at the very least, consider a second referendum on the final deal. The Conservatives are, as it were, biting the hand that feeds them.

The answer, however,  is not as simple as it might seem. The problem the government faces, is that, because it has no overall majority in Parliament, its ability to compromise on any EU deal is difficult, not only by the need to maintain the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), but also a much larger group of hard-line Conservative Brexiteers who favour a clean break from the EU, or No Deal.

The DUP's position is confusing, but, in a nutshell, the DUP is adamant that they will not accept a deal that treats Northern Ireland differently to other UK countries. It follows that, without a UK-wide Customs Union, or a No Deal Brexit, the DUP, along with 100s of others in Parliament, find it impossible to vote for May's deal, a deal which centres on the so called Irish Backstop.  For those who find the notion of a Backstop difficult, all it really is is a political mechanism designed to make special arrangements through a natonwide Customs Union that keep the EU border between Northern Ireland open to trade and people.  If the Backstop were permanant the DUP would, because it's nationwide, accept this, however, to Conservative Brexiteers, an Irish Backstop that leaves the EU in control of when the border between the EU and the UK can be lifted, is unacceptable and feels to them like being half-in Europe.  


Given the history of Northern Ireland and an appreciation of the DUP's stated position to preserve the Union and remain inextricably linked to the UK, the DUP's attitude to the Irish Backstop shouldn't have been a massive surprise to the May Government.  Preserving the integrity of the United Kingdom is a purpose the DUP share with the Conservative Party, which, alongside supporting the owners of property, wealth and the monarchy, have developed to protect the Union of countries which now make up the UK. This, of course, is why the DUP has the word Unionist in it's name, why the Tories have the official label of The Conservative and Unionist Party and why the DUP insists on being welded to the UK
So, despite the perception of the Conservative Party as the natural party of business, the Theresa May government appears to be marching the UK towards an economically suicidal No Deal Brexit and, in the process, risk damaging the business community they exist to protect.
It follows that remaining half-in the EU via a Customs Union, whether that be a Custom's Union negotiated separately with the EU, or one part of a permanent Irish Backstop, is, by far, the best comprise for UK business.  Some will say that, if we have access to the Single Market through a Custom's Union, then we may as well, in economic terms at least, have voted Remain? I understand that, and have written about it on this blog, but the point I'm trying to make here is that, if the Conservative Party remains the champion of business and truly believes in the integrity of the United Kingdom, then they must now work with Labour and the majority in Parliament, to jettison a No Deal and put in place Customs Union so that the UK can, at last, wriggle free of this appalling political impasse.

Brexit could take 10 years and might not happen at all. (Written the day after the 2016 IN-OUT EU referendum 

16 January 2019

Student Guardian | Top employers flock to the National Careers and Internship Marketplace

On February 6th 2019 twelve-hundred student job hunters are expected to arrive at the Glasgow University Union where students and graduates will be able to meet with around fifty of the UK's most sought after organisations looking for new recruits.
The Careers & Internship Marketplace 2019 is a free national event organised by University's of Glasgow's Careers Service in conjunction with The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Service (AGCAS) and open to students and graduates from all universities.
Graduate and student job seekers from any university across Britain will get the chance to hook up with employers from a wide range of industries and at the same time find out more about opportunities tailored to meet today’s competitive jobs market.

Employers from top business organisations in key UK employment sectors from technology giants Dell and software developers Turnkey, to the global accountancy and professional services practice KPMG will be there, and all of them will be looking to recruit talented new graduates into both the private and public sectors. Some of Scotland’s Top Universities will be attending: University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt University along with the highly regarded University of Bath.  The Civil Service Fast Stream will also be looking for the brightest and best, as will, Save the Children, professional services multinational and Times top-ranked graduate employer, PwC and of course, the events main sponsor, Morgan Stanley the world famous US investment bank.

This year students can:
  • Pop along to the Professional Pitch-it Zone area where employers will provide useful information, hints and tips.
  • Get career advice from Glasgow University’s team of Career Managers.
  • Update your professional profile picture.
  • Meet stylists from high street fashion retailers Slaters and Marks & Spenser for some style advice that could give you the edge at interview.
  • This year there’s also a chance to have a caricature of yourself done that you can use as a fun profile picture and there’s also the chance to win prizes, tons of freebies and more...
There’s such a lot happening at Glasgow University Union at the Careers and Internship Market Place this year so make sure you get there early to make the most of what promises to be an incredible day.
The event will take place on Wednesday 6th February, across the whole of the historic Glasgow University Union. Doors open at 11am until 3pm and there's no need to register until you arrive on the door.

Don’t miss this great opportunity. Entry is FREE.

For more information and a full list of potential employers exhibiting visit: University of Glasgow's Careers Service

Keep in touch using the #UofGCareers,  or why not download our App from the App Store, or Google Play - it's easy just search Careers Fair Plus

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