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Westlake Legal Group > Emmanuel Macron

Johnson’s August 1) He must spend some time in Scotland

It is now overwhelmingly likely that Boris Johnson will be the next Conservative Party leader and become Prime Minister.

He may well face a no confidence vote in September, and the Brexit extension expires at the end of October in any event.

So he and his new team will have to hit the ground running in August. We open today a brief series on what he should do during that month and late July before the Commons is due to return on September 3.

– – – – – – – – – –

Today’s papers suggest that the new Prime Minister will visit Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron – it apparently isn’t yet decided in what order – and seek to visit Donald Trump early in search of a UK – US trade deal.

He will also have to go to Dublin to make personal contact with Leo Varadkar – testing and perhaps fruitless though such a trip may be.

One can begin to see from the number of journeys that Johnson will have to make from Downing Street that he will need a strong team, with perhaps a Deputy Prime Minister or First Secretary of State in place, and certainly a capable Minister at the Cabinet Office, to run much of the Government’s new domestic policy in his absence.

The new Prime Minister shouldn’t be out of London more than is absolutely necessary – after all, the Iran standoff may suddenly flare up, in the manner of August foreign policy crises – but he will surely have to find time for a trip to Scotland.

There is evidence that his ratings in Scotland are weak; much of the Scottish Conservative Party will have voted for Jeremy Hunt; Ruth Davidson is not a fan, the SNP would undoubtedly use any No Deal Brexit to make a new push for Scottish independence – and Scottish Parliamentary elections are due in 2021.

In short, the threat to the Union “hasn’t gone away, you know”, and the new Prime Minister must seek to head some of the trouble off.  His main downside seems to be that he is seen in parts of Scotland as quintessentially English figure.

But the same could be said of almost any Tory successor to Theresa May, including Jeremy Hunt.  And some Scottish MPs and MSPs have broken for the front-runner.  Ross Thomson, Colin Clark, Douglas Ross and Andrew Bowie are now signed up.

The last is May’s PPS, and will be a useful guide to Scotland for the new Prime Minister.  Thomson is a long-standing supporter.  One of Johnson’s first decisions will be what to do with David Mundell, the experienced Scotland Secretary, who along with several of his colleagues backed Michael Gove.

Three MSPs  – Michelle Ballantyne, Margaret Mitchell and Oliver Mundell – are also doing so, though they are very much in a minority in their group.  Mundell explained his reasons recently on this site.

Johnson has dropped his original wish to recast the Barnett formula, and will now seek to be styled Minister for the Union as well as Prime Minister.

But he will need to do much more than that if he is help bolster the Union early – and rebuff claims of indulging in mere Red-White-And-Bluewash.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The farcical horse-trading of the EU’s top job is a stark reminder of why we must leave

Well, it’s been a nail-biting race from start to finish. The polls have swung back and forth between the hopefuls. Each one has laid out their manifesto and vision of the future for the people to scrutinise. The hustings and debates – oh, the debates, so full of vim and energy, with candidates for the very highest office presenting their character, experience and proposals, to vast public interest.

Who are you backing? Frans Timmermans (#TimeforTimmer)? Manfred Weber (#ManfredsTheMan)? Or perhaps you’re mad-keen on late entrant Ursula von der Leyen (#WouldILeyToYouBabyWouldILeyToYou)?

Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of any of these people, they’re only fighting it out to run the EU Commission, and thereby wield sizeable power running the executive of what the President of the European Parliament openly referred to as a “country” this morning. As such, there’s no particular reason why you should know who they are, or ever have encountered anything they might believe or desire. Indeed, they’ve no particular interest in talking to you about it, either – because neither you nor any other voter anywhere in Europe will ever have a say on whether they get or keep this job. Hence why there’s no public campaign at all.

EU-enthusiasts rarely choose to talk about the way the organisation’s institutions work, and the process for picking a successor to Jean-Claude Juncker shows exactly why. The whole thing is stitched-up in grubby horse-trading behind closed doors, from a field of candidates with next to no profile among the hundreds of millions of people they seek to govern over, and with no interest in or opportunity for meaningful public scrutiny or accountability.

Commissioners, remember, may be nominated by Member States but are expressly forbidden from acting in office as a representative or servant of their country or its people. Instead, they are charged with responsibility to the EU project itself – so disregard for the interests or concerns of the people, any of the people, is a deliberate feature of the job, not an oversight. (That hasn’t stopped Angela Merkel getting herself into trouble by irritating her allies by trying to dish out the top jobs in a way that might help with her domestic political troubles, but as ever in the ‘rules-based’ EU, there is one rule for some and one rule for everyone else.)

It’s the task of identifying exactly what the interests of the EU project currently are which has thrown the whole process into chaos this time round. Not only has Merkel’s EPP kicked back against her self-interested approach, but the Visegrad countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – have started to throw their weight around more assertively than in the past, after years of feeling marginalised by France and Germany. At the same time, the Euro elections watered down the traditional dominance of the major party groupings, some of whom are struggling to adjust to the changed circumstance. And the continued presence of the UK in the EU, and therefore Brexit as a topic, has further complicated the decision – the new Commission President will have to navigate potentially choppy waters soon after taking office.

This farce has flowed back and forth for quite some time, and today’s tide is reported to be flowing in the direction of von der Leyen. Readers will of course know that she is currently Germany’s defence minister (overseeing a military which was last year deemed officially “not deployable”), but they might not be acquainted with some of her views on the desirable direction of travel for the EU.

She wants “a united states of Europe – run along the lines of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the USA”. She argues that “Europe must be able to defend itself” with “a European army”, which she says “is already taking shape”. And in the midst of the Eurozone crisis she urged the EU to demand gold reserves or state industrial holdings as collateral for bailouts to Greece – something others warned might drive the already stricken Euro member to outright default.

It sounds as though she’ll fit right in. Now, can we get out, please?

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Stephen Booth: Meanwhile, in Brussels, there are rumours of movement from the EU on the backstop

Stephen Booth is Director of Policy and Research at Open Europe.

The only issue that really matters in the Conservative leadership contest is Brexit. It is impossible to predict what will happen because there is no silver bullet available to the new Prime Minister, who will remain at the mercy of events in Westminster and Brussels.

The European elections demonstrated that there isn’t a stable majority for either leave or remain, and it’s still the case that the impasse can only be resolved in one of three ways: No Deal, negotiated exit or Remain. Sam Gyimah, who has pulled out of the race due to insufficient support, was the only potential candidate offering, via a second referendum, the Remain option. The debate now is whether the priority should be leaving the EU by October 31st , with or without a deal, or getting a Brexit deal ratified by Parliament. Some advocates of a negotiated exit appear to be completely ruling out leaving without a deal, others have not.

While these are important dividing lines, the most significant question for our would-be Prime Ministers is not “What?” but “How?”. It has been noted elsewhere on this site that the new Prime Minister is no more likely to be in control of events than Theresa May and will have to contend with similar roadblocks in both Westminster and the EU.

First, it is extremely unlikely that it will be in the Prime Minister’s gift to ensure that we exit on October 31st  in the absence of a deal. This House of Commons, aided by its Speaker, appears no less determined to prevent this outcome than it has to date. It has already successfully forced extension after extension and a no confidence vote is clearly conceivable. Second, it is just as unlikely that a new leader can successfully steer the current Brexit deal through Parliament, merely by force of new personality. The deal’s opponents are too dug in.

These immovable obstacles seemingly point in only one direction: a general election. Indeed, insisting on a hard deadline could precipitate one. But neither is this much of a plan. Realistically, only a sizeable Commons majority would break the deadlock. Given the parlous state of the Conservatives’ poll ratings, the rise of the Brexit Party and the resurgence of the Liberal Democrats, an election would be an immense gamble to take, from which the Party might struggle to recover.

So, the likelihood is that, one way or another, the EU will have a big influence on how Brexit plays out from here to 31st October and, potentially, beyond.

Ironically, the individual with the most power to force a No Deal exit could be the French President. Emmanuel Macron had misgivings about granting the UK a long extension at the last time of asking and he might, might just be prepared to veto another or set a timetable, effectively forcing the UK to make a choice.

Implicitly, this appears to be the hope of some candidates. This choice might include a deal or be between No Deal and revoking Article 50. However, it appears the rest of the EU really doesn’t have the stomach for No Deal and would baulk at imposing a firm deadline on the UK. So, on balance, the EU is more likely to kick the can, but this cannot be taken for granted.

Meanwhile, before we get to October, a new Prime Minister is bound to attempt to revisit the Brexit deal. The EU is sticking to the script that the deal cannot be reopened and that the negotiations have finished. But, unless it is seriously prepared to entertain No Deal, the EU will have to engage, however reluctantly, with demands to renegotiate the current package. After all, it was the failure to pass the existing deal which cost May her premiership.

Rewriting the Political Declaration with greater emphasis on “alternative arrangements” would be relatively easy but is unlikely to cut it in Westminster. There is growing media speculation, from those on the ground in Brussels, that there could be movement on the backstop. There is talk of a long time-limit or a firm timetable to phase out elements of it. This is not entirely inconceivable, but one would expect this to be at the very outer limits of what the EU might consider.

However, the challenge for any leader in delivering a new package will not only be to tread carefully in Brussels, and above all Dublin, but to find the numbers in Parliament to back a deal. It probably means getting the Democratic Unionist Party back on board because the Tory No Deal faction could well increase after this contest. Securing the votes of Labour rebels has proven fruitless so far but might be helped if Jeremy Corbyn finally embraces a second referendum. The point is that the space to land a deal now appears to be vanishingly small.

Ultimately, every candidate’s Plan A requires defying the odds. It would be brave to bet against further drift.

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Nick Hargrave: How Johnson became Prime Minister, cut a Brexit deal, won an election – and triumphed. For a bit.

Nick Hargrave is a former Downing Street special adviser, where he worked under both David Cameron and Theresa May. He now works at Portland, the communications consultancy.

The least becoming habit of the columnist is to be ironclad in one’s convictions. When we do this, we tend to make fools of ourselves.

In recent years there have been many examples of unravelled truisms from the political class. We were told that the Coalition wouldn’t last six months. That Jeremy Corbyn didn’t have any shot of power. That the status-quo always won in referenda. That Theresa May was an unassailable leader.

These assumptions had rational evidence behind them.

But politics is not science. There are structural trends that drive the tide. Being a successful politician has a human layer on top though: a melting pot of charisma, cunning, coincidence, calculation, opportunities taken and moments missed by others.

The latest example of conventional wisdom in this leadership election is that a Boris Johnson premiership is doomed to end in disaster. He faces the same immovable headwinds at home and abroad as May when it comes to getting a Brexit deal over the line – and his failure to rule out No Deal means he will eventually end up succumbing to a chaotic general election before Brexit is implemented. Either that, or he will end up delaying like his predecessor and pay the price.

The logic behind this thesis is compelling. Indeed, I think it is overwhelmingly likely. Not least because the path of a second referendum as a device to Leave – rather than a device to Remain – has been so categorically ruled out.

But we are foolish – and letting our world view colour our thinking – if we do not recognise that there is still a small chance of a successful escape by Johnson and his Teflon qualities.

The account that follows is necessarily abridged. I doubt his team have planned so far ahead and there are a thousand points where the chain breaks down.

But none of it is impossible and, if there is a common thread, it is the self-interest of MPs in avoiding an election at all costs before Brexit, the fact that the DUP and the hardest Brexiteer Tories are not actually aligned on strategic goals – coupled with the capacity of a gambler to surprise.

The choice that Conservative MPs must make is if they can foresee a better political outcome with a statesman rather than a gambler. If they can, then they should vote for the statesman. If they can’t then a five per cent bet is better than a zero per cent bet. Consider at all points what you are gambling with – and remember that there is no perfect ending in any scenario.

1. Johnson is elected Leader of the Conservative Party and becomes Prime Minister in late July.

He speaks behind a desk in Downing Street setting out his intentions. He does not want to leave without a deal and says that renewed energy and respect can find a solution to the backstop. Plans will be escalated for no-deal in case the talks are unsuccessful, but no one wants that outcome. His team keep the press occupied with 48 hours of unifying Cabinet appointments.

2. Moderate Conservative MPs bottle it

The EU say that the Withdrawal Agreement is not open for negotiation, they are open to constructive dialogue – but  they too are ready for ‘no deal’ as a sensible precaution. . Labour table a vote of confidence. Nervous Conservative MPs on the brink of voting against the Government meet Johnson privately and are asked to wait until September. The Prime Minister gives a tour-de-force opening the debate in the Commons and gets the benefit of the doubt.

3. The ball gets rolling on legislation and then August happens

The current Withdrawal Agreement Bill is put down on gov.uk in draft form with a steer that the backstop provisions will be amended once a settlement is reached with the European Union. ERG and DUP figures this time give him the benefit of the doubt. Everyone agrees to go on holiday for August because the sun-lounger is more attractive than the stump. Other stories dominate the news.

4. September comes and the Commons returns to paralysis

It’s back to school for a drama filled but unproductive month. MPs panic and predict impending doom – but the fear of the apocalypse election again prevents them from exercising the ultimate sanction. Cooper Letwin Mark 2 passes with the help of the Speaker but a new, pliable Attorney General issues advice that the legislative cannot bind the executive in this way.

5. Johnson gives a rousing speech to the Conservative faithful in Manchester at the beginning of October.

The Prime Minister breaks the habit of a lifetime and engages with his speech early. The delivery surprises by its statesmanlike qualities. He invokes the spirit of Thatcher and Churchill and implores the nation to hold its nerve. He once again plays down the chance of no-deal but he needs it in his back-pocket. As was the case for May’s speech last year, the hall goes away uplifted and wanting to believe. A daily catalogue of parliamentary drama takes place over the next ten days with the same results as before.

6. The EU Council of 17-18 October dawns

The markets go haywire across Europe as analysts predict whether the gambler is bluffing. This drives behaviour. With a fortnight until exit day – and the European Commission a lame duck entity until November – a meeting in the margins of the Berlaymont takes place between Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Johnson and Leo Varadkar. Convention of unanimity is broken and the original proposal of a Northern Ireland only backstop is re-floated. It is heavily sugar-coated by words on a Stormont Lock and the Belfast Agreement where Northern Ireland will never diverge from the rest of the UK without further democratic consent in a restored assembly. Non-legally binding words are issued about the Super-Canada Plus Plus Plus deal that the EU stands ready to get on and discuss with Johnson with every effort made to find new technology.

Johnson thinks about the union differently to Theresa May. With one eye on a post-Brexit election, where he will be less reliant on the DUP, he gambles on gut to go for it without consulting civil servants.

7. The DUP go apoplectic– but tired politicians make deals

Sammy Wilson cuts off his eyelids. But with the door open to a Johnson-led Canada deal it becomes clear that the DUP pact with the ERG is no longer 100 per cent aligned. The backstop is also popular among Northern Irish businesses. Billions to the province are pledged. A frank and long meeting takes place with the Chief Whip where the Stormont Lock is emphasised, and it is agreed that the DUP will abstain rather than vote against the Government in the vote of confidence that will surely follow; the alternative being a Prime Minister Corbyn who avowedly wants a united Ireland. The DUP numbers matter less anyway on the day of the debate, because of the abstentions of self-interested Change UK offshoots for whom an election would be existential.

8. The Withdrawal Agreement legislation is passed with a short technical extension of days

No one quite knows how it came together in the end. But a combination of weariness, momentum in the media, fear of the alternative by Conservative MPs, peerages for elderly northern Labour MPs in Leave constituencies and a slew of abstentions gets the legislation over the line.

9. A triumphant Prime Minister Johnson basks in strong approval ratings and then goes for a general election

He uses the next few months to trail a crowd-pleasing, austerity busting agenda to appeal to both sides of the Brexit values divide – and then goes for a general election in spring 2020 seeking a mandate to unite the country

He wins a modest 15 seat majority after a professional campaign by his long-standing consultants but with Remain-minded younger voters still culturally alienated. A win is a win though.

10. But the honeymoon period doesn’t last long

Twenty-four hours later the ERG submits a letter of demands on priorities for Canada -style trade deal and the reality of the trade-offs begin to dawn. Johnson begins the path to be the fifth Conservative Prime Minister to be consumed by the vexatious issue of our relationship with the European Union.

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The day that saved the world: Leaders mark 75th anniversary of D-Day

Westlake Legal Group macron The day that saved the world: Leaders mark 75th anniversary of D-Day The Blog Emmanuel Macron donald trump d-day

Seventy-five years ago today, more than 4400 Allied soldiers gave their lives to free Europe from the grasp of a madman. The greatest invasion force ever launched spelled the end for Nazi Germany, but not before a lot of young men made the ultimate sacrifice for victory. With most of D-Day’s veterans gone and more leaving us every day, this will likely be the last milestone anniversary to honor them directly, as well as their fallen comrades.

Leaders from all over the world gathered today in remembrance and gratitude:

“France does not forget all these fighters to whom it owes its freedom,” French president Emmanuel Macron said in French, but later switched to English. “We know what we owe to you veterans,” Macron said in an emotional conclusion. “On behalf of my nation, I just want to say thank you,” he said, turning around to salute the veterans gathered behind him:

Donald Trump also saluted the veterans and the Allies, calling the site “freedom’s altar.” Trump called the US veterans “the glory of our republic,” and noted that they “did not just win a war,” but “won a future for our nation.” Notably, Trump called the invasion “a great crusade,” a phrase that had been downplayed in recent years after the 9/11 attacks:

It’s really not a day for partisan considerations, and thankfully the heads of government gathered there and most of the media understood that. Mika Brzezinski complimented Trump on “a really good speech” at this memorial:

Macron’s heartfelt thanks captured the spirit of the day. France does not forget, and neither should anyone else. Not the nations that the invasion helped free from the grasp of genocidal totalitarians, and not the aspirational madmen who think that civilized nations have forgotten why we needed the sacrifices of D-Day. The men who charged those beaches on that day were our greatest generation, but liberty produces such men and women when the need arises.

From the bottom of our hearts to those who died and those who lived on D-Day: Thank you for the liberty we still enjoy.

The Washington Post has a complete video of the three-and-a-half hour event below.

The post The day that saved the world: Leaders mark 75th anniversary of D-Day appeared first on Hot Air.

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New Zealand Seeks Global Support for Tougher Measures on Online Violence

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand will attempt this week to use the terrorist attack that killed 51 Muslim worshipers in Christchurch mosques in March to demand that the biggest internet platforms do more to stamp out violent and extremist content.

Ms. Ardern will be in France with President Emmanuel Macron to sign an agreement they crafted called the “Christchurch Call” that asks the social media giants to examine the software that directs people to violent content, and to share more data with government authorities and each other to help eradicate toxic online material, according to officials from New Zealand and France involved in drafting the proposal.

The accused gunman’s use of social media to live stream his rampage in New Zealand and to share a hate-filled manifesto crystallized the vulnerability of internet platforms to extremist and violent views.

Ms. Ardern’s effort adds momentum to a global push to curb the power of the world’s largest internet platforms.

But even as policymakers agree that something needs to be done, there’s little consensus on what to do. From London to New Delhi, governments are drafting laws with differing approaches to regulating the internet, raising concerns in some quarters that the rules may, in some cases, go too far and hinder free expression.

Ms. Ardern has argued that a coordinated global approach is needed. The signing of the Christchurch Call was organized around a meeting of digital ministers from the Group of 7 nations this week in Paris.

Representatives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are among those scheduled to attend the summit on Wednesday hosted by Mr. Macron and Ms. Ardern. Facebook said it would sign the pledge. Google, Microsoft and Twitter declined to comment on their position.

A number of nations are expected to sign on to the nonbinding pledge, including Britain, Canada, Jordan, Senegal, Indonesia, Norway and Ireland, according to officials involved in drafting the accord. The United States, which has been reticent to regulate the internet out of concerns it will harm free speech, is not among the expected signers. Nor is Australia.

The pledge does not contain enforcement or regulatory measures. It will be up to each country and company to decide how to carry out the commitments, according to two senior New Zealand officials involved in the drafting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the exact wording of the pledge was still being finalized.

Social media companies will be left with the thorny task of deciding what constitutes violent extremist content, since it is not defined in the accord.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_152295636_a8b5e07c-4700-47ad-a3cb-3bd37a405b9a-articleLarge New Zealand Seeks Global Support for Tougher Measures on Online Violence Social Media New Zealand jacinda ardern France facebook Emmanuel Macron Christchurch shootings

A makeshift memorial near Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, where an Australian man is accused of killing dozens of Muslim worshipers in March.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

“We share the commitment of world leaders to curb the spread of terrorism and extremism online,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs, said in a statement. “These are complex issues and we are committed to working with world leaders, governments, industry and safety experts at next week’s meeting and beyond on a clear framework of rules to help keep people safe from harm.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, was in France last week to meet with Mr. Macron to discuss internet regulation. France has proposed laws that would appoint a new government regulator to oversee internet platforms and punish companies for hosting hate speech and violent content.

Ms. Ardern has been attempting to build a global consensus on reining in violence and extremism social media since the March 15 attacks, in which the Australian man accused of the shooting — who faces dozens of murder and attempted murder charges — broadcast part of the massacre live on Facebook.

Earlier this month, she said she wanted action that went beyond “takedown policies that are enforced through government regulation.”

“So much of what we’re trying to do is about preventing these platforms being used in that way at all,” Ms. Ardern said.

While the pledge isn’t enforceable, Ms. Ardern and Mr. Macron hope an accord tied to the Christchurch massacre will prod the internet companies into action. If improvements aren’t made, the officials said, tougher mandatory regulations loom.

The pledge asks for several commitments from technology companies, including robust enforcement of their terms of service, reducing the risks of live streaming and sharing research about the software that flags objectionable content. Versions of the gunman’s video have remained on Facebook and Instagram since the attacks.

The social giants must also promise to re-evaluate their algorithms that direct users to extremist content, and commit to redirecting people looking for extremist material. Instagram has deployed that measure to help users searching images of self-harm.

Under the agreement, governments must promise to adopt and enforce laws that ban objectionable content — as New Zealand did in the wake of the attacks by making the possession or sharing of the gunman’s video a crime — and to set guidelines on how traditional media outlets can report terrorism without amplifying it.

New Zealand officials visited the United States for meetings at the White House and the State Department to urge the administration to join the pact. Officials also visited the headquarters of technology companies, said a senior New Zealand official who attended the meetings.

Concerns from American officials included how the pledge would affect First Amendment rights to free speech, several officials said. Ms. Ardern has said she was deliberately avoiding a broader debate about hate speech to focus the pledge narrowly on violent content.

“This isn’t about freedom of expression; this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online,” she said last month. “I don’t think anyone would argue that the terrorist had a right to live stream the murder of 50 people.”

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Stoked by Donations for Notre Dame’s Restoration, Yellow Vest Protest Explodes in Paris

Westlake Legal Group stoked-by-donations-for-notre-dames-restoration-yellow-vest-protest-explodes-in-paris Stoked by Donations for Notre Dame’s Restoration, Yellow Vest Protest Explodes in Paris yellow vests Uncategorized socialism protest Paris Notre Dame International Affairs Front Page Stories France Featured Story Emmanuel Macron Economy Allow Media Exception

Westlake Legal Group yellow-vest-protest-spray-SCREENSHOT Stoked by Donations for Notre Dame’s Restoration, Yellow Vest Protest Explodes in Paris yellow vests Uncategorized socialism protest Paris Notre Dame International Affairs Front Page Stories France Featured Story Emmanuel Macron Economy Allow Media Exception



On Saturday, Paris was a battleground. Police fought Yellow Vest protestors, raging in the aftermath of the Notre Dame fire (here).

The Antifa-like blackhoods set trash cans, scooters, and a car on fire. They also threw rocks at police.

Fox reports the melee came in response to efforts toward Notre Dame:

Many protesters are frustrated that the international effort to help Notre Dame has drawn more attention than their five-month-old Yellow Vest movement against wealth inequality, The Associated Press reported.

Many protesters were deeply saddened by the fire at a national monument. But many are angry at the [donations] that poured in from tycoons while their own demands remain largely unmet and they struggle to make ends meet.

5,000 officers were unleashed on the rallying hoodlums, and by early afternoon, 126 people had been arrested.

Spot checks were made on the more than 11,000 people attempting entry into the capital.

At a march, tear gas was fired. Firefighters had to respond to set-ablaze barricades and burning branches.

But this isn’t their first rodeo; the Yellow Vests have been demonstrating for months over a growing economic struggle.

According to Reuters, next week, the country’s president — Emmanuel Macron — will announce a new campaign to deal with the rallyers, who are in their 23rd week of protest.

They appear to be nuts, but are they right?

Forbes puts it this way:

Macron and the government have contributed to triggering the Yellow Vest protests – but the root issues lie far deeper than this presidency.

The accumulation of measures with direct, individual impact (increase of the carbon tax, abolishing of wealth tax and increase of the general social security tax (“CSG”)) which Macron implemented in the first six months of his presidency were the last straw for those who would become the Yellow Vests: Macron’s “President of the rich”-policies contributed to a broader perception that the standard of living was falling for many French. Multiple comments the president made were perceived as being completely detached from the reality of the average French, nourishing the sentiment that the political elite does not understand their problems.

Lawlessness, arson, and violence in the streets cannot be tolerated in a civil society. At the same time, France’s leadership is clearly failing a lot of people (see streiff’s coverage of the situation here and here).

The country is in desperate need of change. If the land of Quiche Lorraine and Crème Brûlée doesn’t get it together, the whole place is gonna be in the soup. And I don’t mean French Onion.



Myelevant RedState links in this article: here

See 3 more pieces from me:

This Hilarious 1986 SNL Sketch Absolutely Nails The Left’s Portrayal Of Donald Trump

YOU HAVE TO SEE IT: Data Company Creates Brown-Pinned San Francisco Poop Map In Honor Of 118,352 Piles Reported

Alyssa Milano Humiliates Herself By Tweeting Out Breaking News That Happened Before She Was Born

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The post Stoked by Donations for Notre Dame’s Restoration, Yellow Vest Protest Explodes in Paris appeared first on RedState.

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Iain Dale: Why shouldn’t the Conservatives welcome back the Kippers?

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

The fire in Notre Dame on Monday was a tragedy in so many ways – but one which unusually didn’t involve any loss of life. In a slightly twisted way, it’s probably an event which will work to the political benefit of Emmanuel Macron.

His popularity ratings are at an all-time low. Just 27 per cent of the French people approve of the job he is doing. They think he’s getting increasingly regal – not unknown for a French President (think Chirac, Mitterand) – and they have no confidence in his economic reforms. They see the havoc wrought by the Gilets Jaunes each weekend for the last six months, and realise that their President not only in large part caused these protests but also has no idea how to quell them.

Politicians are often judged by how they react to national tragedies and disasters. They present a real opportunity to either fall flat on your face if you strike the wrong tone, or capture the mood of the nation if you get it right.

Macron lost little time in visiting the scene. I suspect his presence wasn’t exactly welcomed by the ‘Pompiers’ who were still trying to douse the fire, but he would have been damned if he hadn’t turned up promptly…and was no doubt damned anyway for turning up with what some saw as indecent haste.

It will be interesting to see whether the Gilets Jaunes decide to cancel their protests in Paris and around the country this weekend. If they do, it could provide some much-needed respite for the beleaguered President.

– – – – – – – – – – –

One consequence of the fact that Britain will now have to take part in the European elections is that Nigel Farage can’t present his LBC show for the next seven weeks.  Under OfCom rules, candidates are not allowed to present radio or TV shows during the campaign. So bang go my weekends – as I’ll be covering for him on Sunday mornings, while Eddie Mair will cover his weekday 6-7pm hour.

Last Sunday, I had Anna Soubry in the studio for an hour doing a 30 minute interview and then taking calls for another 30 minutes. She was in typical robust formm but was rather skewered by the final caller who asked her if it was true that one of her reasons for wanting to remain in the EU was because she wanted to reform it from the inside. Yes, she said. That was certainly the case.

The caller then said: “Well why haven’t you applied the same principle to remaining in the Conservative Party, Anna?” All I could think of was why hadn’t I thought of asking her that question! And that’s why phone-ins are the perfect example of the concept of “Wisdom of Crowds”. #BackInMyBox

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According to Guido Fawkes, the number of Conservative Party members has increased by 30,000 in recent months to 150,000. Some fear that is proof that there is “entryism” from people who have only joined because they want a vote in the coming leadership election.

If many of these people are ex-UKIPers, can they really be described as ‘entryists’, given that they were almost certainly Conservative supporters before they defected to UKIP. Surely the party should be embracing them with open arms and welcoming them home?

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The Conservative leadership contest is well and truly underway – though, for all we know, it could last for the rest of the year. This week, Sajid Javid has made an impact with his speech on crime.

The more personal part of his speech, where he claimed he could easily have been drawn into a life of crime, really hit home with a lot of people. Some say that he lacks the emotional intelligence to be a political leader, but this speech did a lot to address that. Expect him to do much more to show his personality and character over the coming weeks.

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On Wednesday, it was announced that I’m doing a show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. It’s called Iain Dale – All Talk… and I’ll be doing ‘In Conversation’ style interviews with all sorts of people from the world of politics and the media.

My guests will include: Nicola Sturgeon, Sadiq Khan, Kirsty Wark, Christiane Amanpour, Sayeeda Warsi, Sarah Smith, Johnny Mercer, Heidi Allen, Layla Moran, Alan Johnson, Fi Glover, Sarah Smith, Jacqui Smith, Louise Casey, Jess Phillips and John McDonnell. It will runs from 31 July-11 August at 4pm each afternoon at the Gilded Balloon. Tickets are available from the Gilded Balloon website.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Notre Dame lives!

Westlake Legal Group notre-dame-lives Notre Dame lives! The Blog Paris Notre Dame fire Emmanuel Macron Catholic Church

Westlake Legal Group cnn-notredame Notre Dame lives! The Blog Paris Notre Dame fire Emmanuel Macron Catholic Church

“A symbol of defiance in the gloom” is how CNN’s anchor described the illuminated cross above the altar in Notre Dame cathedral. Both survived, as did the cathedral itself after what looked like a total loss yesterday. Almost 400 Parisian firefighters rescued one of the great Catholic churches of the world and one of the most powerful icons of French national pride.

The first images of what was rescued came from Reuters’ Philippe Wojazer:

USA Today reports that many of the cathedral’s irreplaceable cultural icons were rescued as well:

Some of the Notre Dame Cathedral’s most priceless treasures, including a relic known as the Crown of Thorns many believe was worn by Jesus Christ, have been saved from the massive fire that ripped through the world-famous church, French authorities said early Tuesday.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a tweet that historically significant artifacts and sacred items have been recovered, apparently without damage. French police also confirmed the items are safe.

“Thanks to the @PompiersParis, the police and the municipal agents, the Crown of Thorns, the Tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place,” Hidalgo tweeted, along with a photo showing many of the artifacts carefully preserved in storage.

Thankfully, no one was killed in the inferno, although at least two firefighters and a police officer were injured. Notre Dame still suffered a tremendous amount of damage from the fire, and it will take an enormous effort to restore the cathedral. Two French billionaires have already come forward with donations totaling nearly $340 million dollars, while French president Emmanuel Macron pledged to commence the rebuilding project as soon as it was safe to do so. One major question will be how weakened the stone structure may be after the intense fire, and whether that will require additional support before any interior work can be accomplished.

What caused the blaze? It may have been the renovation effort currently underway at Notre Dame. The fire started in the attic, where centuries-old timber for the roof would have been like kindling.  At least for now, Parisian investigators are discounting arson and terrorism as causes, France 24 reports today:

The Paris prosecutor’s office said it had launched an inquiry into the devastating blaze, with investigators working on the assumption for now that the fire was accidental.

“We are favouring the theory of an accident,” prosecutor Remy Heitz told reporters, adding that fifty people were working on a “long” and “complex” investigation. …

Investigators are focusing on whether the fire spread from the site of ongoing reconstruction work on the roof of the cathedral, which was covered in scaffolding, a source close to the investigation said.

Construction workers were questioned on Monday night, even as firefighters battled to contain the fire that was threatening the entire structure, some perched on cranes tens of metres off the ground.

Fire is a risk of renovation and restoration, even in more modern buildings. It’s a more likely cause than deliberate arson under any motive, especially given that it appears to have started where the work was being done. It’s best to avoid jumping to conclusions on breaking-news stories in general, and perhaps more so in this particular case.

What has been lost in the fire — especially the beautiful Gothic spire — is a tragedy for Paris and the world. We should be grateful for what has been saved, and what can once again be restored to its former glory. It may never be the same as it was a couple of days ago, but it has hope of restoration to something just as remarkable. Yesterday afternoon, it looked certain that the world had lost one of its great religious and cultural treasures for good. Today, it looks very much like a miracle that Notre Dame still lives.



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The Cabinet must tell May to go

In Theresa May’s perfect world, the Withdrawal Agreement would have been carried through Parliament by Conservative votes.  It has failed to pass the Commons three times.  So she has turned to Jeremy Corbyn.

In her next best place to this ideal world, the Agreement would somehow be supported by the bulk of both the main parties.  Labour would settle for a customs union which isn’t called a customs union but really is a customs union – in addition to the customs union already written into the Withdrawal Agreement, at least as far as any future Unionist government is concened.

Meanwhile, Corbyn would stop pushing for what he can’t have – namely, guarantees that Labour-style future employment and environmental policies will be proofed against a fundamental of our unwritten constitution: that no Parliament can bind its successors.  Instead, the Prime Minister would offer vague assurances.  Meanwhile, Corbyn would block his party’s push for a second referendum.

May would thus be able to wangle a short extension from the EU at this week’s emergency summit – having persuaded Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron that she and Corbyn would shortly combine to drive the Withdrawal Agreement through the Commons.  This would then happen.  A Bill based on the Agreement would pass swiftly.  Plans for British participation in the European Parliamentary elections would be scrapped.  Britain would leave the EU before May 23.

Her Party would then forgive her for preparing for those elections; for whatever losses emerge from the local elections on May 5, and for all the trials, U-turns, humiliations, defeats and tribulations of the Brexit negotiation process.  She would thus have room to execute a swift reshuffle in which her most likely successors would be moved sideways, marooned or sacked.  There would be talk of bringing on a new generation of leadership candidates – to reinvent the Party for the future, along the lines which Onward and others are floating.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister would move on from the Withdrawal Agreement to the Political Declaration.  She would kick off the Brexit talks, Part Two, by reviving parts of her Chequers plan.  She would enjoy a last hurrah at the Conservative Party Conference, before December arrived with its prospect of a confidence ballot.  But by then she would have so befuddled her critics and confounded expectations that the ballot might not take place at all.  She would be able to stay on for just a little longer…

But it takes only a moment’s though to perceive all this as the fantasy that it is.

May will surely not be granted a short extension.  If the EU does not somehow plump for No Deal – which is improbable – she will be given a long one, with terms approved by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.  British participation in the European Parliamentary elections will loom.  Corbyn is unlikely to come to her rescue.  If he does, the logic of her turning her back on her own Party, and approaching Labour instead, will work its way to completion.  Most Labour MPs would vote for the Withdrawal Agreement.  Many Conservative MPs would not.

Whether it passes or fails, the Parliamentary stage would be set for further seizures of power by the Letwin/Cooper axis, aided and abetted by John Bercow.  The natural drift of the Commons would then be towards a second referendum.  There is an outside chance that some form of Norway Plus scheme may revive.  We would be on course for a softer Brexit, or else for No Brexit at all – unless the voters seem ready to put two fingers up to Britain’s pro-EU ascendancy.  In which case, expect talk of revocation to grow louder.

This takes us to the crunch.  Ten Conservative MPs voted in favour of cancelling Brexit at the start of this monthEight backed a second referendumA hundred and eighty-seven opposed an extension in March: that number represented two-thirds of the Parliamentary Party, and included six Cabinet Ministers.  In these circumstances, confronted by revocation or a second referendum or even Norway Plus, the Tory Party could split altogether.  It is not impossible to imagine Corbyn winning a no confidence vote and the election that followed.

There is an alternative, but it is neither pleasant, easy, nor guaranteed to work.  In a nutshell, it is to use any long extension to remove Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party, and hold a leadership contest that would conclude after those wretched European elections.  (Since were that new leader in place for them, he or she would get off to the worst possible start.)

In the event of the Withdrawal Agreement having failed to pass, this new leader would want to begin all over again.  He would propose a policy based on that set out in the Brady amendment – the only Brexit policy option for which the Commons has recently voted – and built on in the Malthouse Agreement by Nicky Morgan, Steve Baker, Damian Green, Simon Hart and others.

Whether the Agreement had passed or not, he would back a lower alignment rather than a higher alignment policy for the second stage of the Brexit talks.  In the event of it not having done so, it would make sense for the backstop to be put in place for a limited period while “alternative arrangements” are thrashed out.  This is more or less what the recent legal elaborations agreed with the EU imply.

If the EU rejected this approach, there would be No Deal.  You will point out that there is no clear majority in the Commons for it.  This is correct.  Which is why this new leader would have to prepare for a general election later this year in any event.

Yes, such an approach risks some Tory MPs peeling off to the Independent Group – though, as we say, an approach based on the Brady amendment makes sense, since the whole Parliamentary Party, pretty much, was able to unite behind it.

But the alternative risks a bigger split, both in the Commons and among the grassroots, in any event.  Expect soon to hear a new form of that old talk about a Conservative-UKIP alliance – this time round, of a Tory-Brexit Party pact.

Furthermore, there is even more at stake than the future of the world’s most venerable political party: namely, whether the referendum verdict of 2016, carried by the largest vote in this county’s political history, is to be upheld or dishonoured.

You will have spotted the fly in this unpalatable ointment.  Namely, that the Prime Minister is unwilling to go.  The 1922 Committee Executive has presented her with the obligatory glass of whisky and pistol.  She has refused to pick them up.

Furthermore, there is no formal means of expressing no confidence in her leadership until December.  The habit of suggesting indicative votes in catching on.  But the 1992 executive is doubtful that these could produce a resolution.

That leaves the Cabinet.  Its members are divided on policy, dogged by personal ambition, and daunted by the scale of the challenge before them.

To ask this dispirited band to come together, tell the Prime Minister to step down as Party leader, and stay in Downing Street until the ensuing leadership election is concluded – particularly when the options are so grisly – is a very big ask indeed.

But the driver of the car is taking it towards the edge of the cliff.  True, it may crash if the Cabinet attempts to wrest control from her.  But if they don’t, it is set to career into the void, in any event.

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