This is just an open thread to focus discussion on the breaking news of the day. The last day of the first month of 2020 is shaping up to be pretty busy.
Today is the day. Nearly four years after the referendum, the UK might actually be leaving the European Union. The coverage of this is veering between the nauseating triumphalism of the Leave side, and mawkish sentimentality of Remainers.
28 countries. 23 languages. Far left, far right, christian democrats, centrist dads, even Nigel Farage. It should never have worked. And yet it did. Thank you, friends.pic.twitter.com/pnKFBJqv2E
— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) January 29, 2020
It’s a battle between two realities that don’t really exist.
The UK isn’t going to suddenly go back to the Glory Days of the Empire. We won’t have proper fish and chips and those old Hovis adverts and win the world cup again just because we’re out of the EU. The Tories are still in power, and the neoliberal economics that have gutted the country aren’t going anywhere.
But, likewise, Europe isn’t some bulwark of civilisation and progress. We’re not leaving some utopia. Austerity was (and is) an EU policy, and the EU is just as much enslaved to the IMF and World Bank as the UK and US are. The EU defers to the US/NATO on foreign policy just as much as the UK does. The EU still wants censorship, mass surveillance and all manner of authoritarian limitations on individual liberty.
Look at Spain, Greece and France to see how life in the EU is developing. The whole place is a powder keg.
A potential Corbyn-lead socialist government was the only way Brexit could potentially have improved life for ordinary people.
With Johnson in power, and “no deal” off the table, the question isn’t “will Brexit be a success?”. but rather, “Is anything really going to change?”
It’s looking like this may be the final day of the interminable charade that is Trump’s impeachment trial. Just as Russiagate before it, the impeachment seems to be a surface-level attempt to de-legitimise Trump and give the press and Twitterati something to talk about (but also a way to spare Biden’s blushes when it comes to the very real corruption in Ukraine).
The key vote on Friday will be whether or not to allow witnesses to testify. If the Senate votes “no”, then Trump could be formally acquitted by the end of the day.
That’s the opinion of some Republican senators anyway:
The Democrats had their choice, had their time. They could have called — they wanted Bolton. They could have called Bolton back in the House, and they decided not to do it. So, I don’t think we’re going to vote for witnesses, and I think we’ll finish this up tomorrow night.”
If the Senate votes to allow witnesses, we’ll get some more “drama” as John Bolton testifies and further ingratiates himself to “The Resistance”, who will embrace any pro-war lunatic (or “dedicated patriot”), provided they criticise Trump.
If the Impeachment goes the way of Russiagate and falls completely flat, what does that mean for the 2020 Presidential Election?
Are the forces that so obviously switched allegiance from Hillary to Trump is 2016 still behind the President? Does a failed impeachment crush any chance the Democrats have of winning the vote? Seeing as there’s only maybe two democratic candidates with even a pretence of wanting to change things, will it matter?
WHO has officially declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a “global health emergency” (which is good news for Diagnostics Co.).
The first cases have been reported in Italy, Sweden, the UK and Russia. Putting the number of affected countries at over 20, and global cases at ~9,700. The number of fatalities sits at 213 (a death rate of 2.2%, and likely much lower due to infected people who are symptomless or only minorly ill).
For reference sake, since the start of 2020 roughly 1700 people will have died of flu. Every day.
Rather than focus on the realities of the situation – meaning, so far, this is a fairly minor disease outbreak – the Western press are alternating between stoking up panic, and then calling that panic racist.
Is there reason to be concerned about this? Is it a real emergency?
If not, is there an agenda at work? What could it be?
As always, discuss below.