Weekly Wrap-Up, 01/03 – 08/03

Happy International Women’s Day!

As predicted, it’s been considerably slower this week on the Brexit front, with the tension slowly ramping up before what will be a monumental showdown next week. Seriously, next week will be massive – a bull elephant on steroids let loose in the House of Commons would still cause less damage to British politics than what could happen after the votes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

While it’s all very well and good to laugh at the ridiculousness of Brexit, the only other major story of this week is considerably more serious – the arguments across the government about knife crime. The recent spate of horrific stabbings and killings has resulted in a pretty pathetic game of passing-the-buck between senior politicians, but at least the reality of knife crime is now, at least, seemingly being addressed.

Jolly stuff. Happy Friday, everyone.

Let’s re-cap the week, then get our drank awhn.


Cox and Balls-Up?

I couldn’t resist.

Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, has been carrying out negotiations over the backstop with the EU this week ahead of next Tuesday’s vote over May’s deal.

  • Reaching a concession over the backstop is vital for the deal getting support, a majority, and being passed.
    • The deal, as it stands, will be voted down again as it was January, because politicians from all corners believe that the backstop will lock the UK into the EU’s customs union.
  • Negotiations will carry on over the weekend.
    • The mood from both sides of the negotiating table is reportedly “pessimistic,” however. No change there, then.
  • May will attempt to put pressure on the EU today by blaming them for not conceding to our demands.
    • This is the political equivalent of throwing a strop when you don’t get your ice-cream.
  • Gaffes from May’s Cabinet will not have helped matters.
    • In a superb demonstration of ineptitude, three cabinet ministers made colossal gaffes yesterday.
      1. Karen Bradley, Northern Ireland secretary, said that killings by troops during the Troubles in Ireland were not a crime (13 civilians were killed on Bloody Sunday by the military). Remember, we are currently at loggerheads with the EU over issues with Ireland and are negotiating directly with the RoI.
      2. Amber Rudd, work and pensions secretary, called Diane Abbott ‘coloured’ while actively trying to defend her against hate crimes.
      3. Andrea Leadsom, Commons leader, believed that cases of Islamophobia, which have recently seen 14 Conservative Party activists sacked, should be directed towards the Foreign Office, suggesting she believes that it is not an internal issue.

Sometimes you really do have to just sit back and admire the majesty of such utter incompetence from our ruling class.

Knife Crime – Where Does Responsibility Lie?

After a number of high-profile stabbings in London and across the country, debate has been raging about how to tackle the issue, which has been described as a ‘disease’ by Sajid Javid, the home secretary.

  • Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner and winner of ‘Best Name In Policing’ by Juvenile Sense-of-Humour Weekly, said that there was a link to increasing violent crime and falling police numbers.
    • Theresa May disagreed with this seemingly obvious statement.
    • It is not surprising that she did, however, given that under David Cameron, she was the home secretary and annihilated police budgets.
    • Those chickens are arguably coming home to roost.
  • One new line of inquiry is considering whether rising school exclusion rates are also responsible.
    • 25% of children who said that they carried a knife in the last year had also been expelled or suspended from school.
    • However, this correlation may be coincidental when compared to rising child poverty, issues around mental health and increased numbers of ‘at risk’ children.
  • Increased stop-and-search powers and police funding are being discussed as means to tackle the issue.
    • While a welcome deterrent, many campaigners have argued that simply tackling it as a case-by-case issue will never prevent the underlying causes from being tackled.
    • To get thoughtful, insightful and nuanced views on this, I would recommend watching any interview with rapper and author Akala.

The issue is certainly divisive, and while it is excellent that more proactive measures are being taken, it is still disheartening to see that all too often our governments try to tackle huge issues with short-term impact as the overarching strategy.

It takes bravery to tackle issues around crime at grassroots, which would show little immediate benefits but would be far more effective long-term. Instead, we mostly see increased arrest statistics to show that a government is “tough on crime,” which is always a popular message for voters.

And The Rest

  • Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman who has been jailed in Iran for over three years, has been given diplomatic protection by Britain.
  • The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has said that it was considering launching a formal investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party.
    • This is a highly damning indictment of the actions of Labour, claiming that it might have broken the law by ‘unlawfully discriminating against Jewish people.’
  • The Independent Group has announced that it is taking the steps necessary to become a political party.

A REQUEST

We at Between the Lines have had a ball getting it up and running and are looking to expand our readership over the coming weeks. While you can follow us on Twitter @BTLpolitics, we would be eternally grateful if we could spread the word to any friends, family or colleagues – only if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, of course!

Word of mouth will always be the best form of advertising, so any help that our wonderful readers could give us would be hugely, hugely appreciated. Many thanks to all in advance.

Either way, we will be back on Monday to see what on earth Brexit can throw at us.

Only 21 sleeps to go!

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