HONEY McBEE’S MEDIA BUZZ: “MARXISM’S MR COOL”

CUBA LIBRE:  For children of the 60s, the death of Fidel Castro is a sharp reminder of immortality. Way back when no bedroom was complete without a Che Guevara poster, it seemed the Cuban revolutionary would go on forever…

Which perhaps explains the BBC’s Fidelfest over the weekend (taken to task by Charles Moore in yesterday’s Telegraph), and the eulogies from many who choose to ignore, as Andrew Marr in the Sunday Times pointed out, the shooting, imprisonment and breaches of human rights they condemn in others.

For those of you who are not yet middle aged and are wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s a further small selection from the commentariat…

Tim Worstall for the Adam Smith Institute attempted to explain how Castro got under the Left’s skin. You can get a flavour of what he means from the obituary in the Observer  and the riposte from Andrew Roberts in the Spectator , wondering Why are left-wing dictators always treated with more reverential respect when they die than right-wing ones, even on the Right? The deaths of dictators like Franco, Pinochet, Somoza are rightly noted with their history of human rights abuses front and centre, but the same treatment is not meted out to left-wing dictators who were just as monstrously cruel to people who opposed their regimes.”

Pin-up Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s comment on the death caused quite a stir on the Twitterati, as did that of Michael Higgins, President of the Irish Republic. Yesterday’s Guido Fawkes posting had Castro fun at the SNP’s expense.You pays your money…

 

POST-BREXIT TRUTHS: As Marmite politicians go, Tony Blair is up there with the best of them. Or worst – depending on whether you feel a period of silence would be welcomed.  Euan McColm in Scotland on Sunday did indeed welcome the former PM back into our lives – a voice for the centre, an end to division. As did Alan Cochrane, who’s back writing for the Telegraph. Nigel Jones in Saturday’s Telegraph suggested the future of the country lies in entirely different hands…

Nearer home, Iain Martin in Reaction returned to a favourite theme – the competence, or lack of, of the SNP government; Brexit, he argues, demands a rethink, as powers will be returned to Scotland which the administration will struggle to handle. From, we suspect, the opposite side of the political spectrum, Gerry Hassan in last week’s Scottish Review is also disillusioned; for him the SNP has been too timid.

Marianne Taylor in yesterday’s Herald foresaw dire consequences for the whole devolution process arising from Brexit – there might be no Scottish government in future. For the legal eagles amongst you, Alan Trench is back with his assessment of the need for legislative consent from the devolved administrations for Article 50.

And still on the subject of SNP competence, Kenneth Roy, also in Scottish Review last Wednesday, looked back at the awarding of the ScotRail contract to Abellio. All the warning signs were there, Roy argues, why weren’t they heeded? Could the Scottish government run a nationalised railway? Ian Macwhirter says anything would be better than what we have now.

 

SO, FAREWELL THEN, Nigel Farage: Some hope!  But at their second attempt this year, UKIP has a new leader in Paul Nuttall, MEP, former history lecturer and Question Time habitué. Nuttall is from Merseyside, thus well placed to take on Labour’s previously shoe-in seats in the north of England and their majority Leave electorate. Here’s initial reaction from the Guardian, the Telegraph [£], and warning from Adam Bienkov on politics.co.uk. Labour’s criticism, reports the Spectator, is off like greyhounds in the slips. Nige meanwhile is off to the US for a rest – as a tourist…

 

OUT, BUT NOT DOWN: That’s it then. Ed Balls, People’s Champion, bit the Strictly dust at last, and all over a cha cha cha. If you missed it, catch up here in yesterday’s Guardian. This, said Suzanne Moore, is how the public will remember him, not losing his seat or glowering at Osborne across the despatch box.  “He laid down his inhibitions for the sake of sublime silliness. And for us. The nation responded with an affection that most politicians can only dream of…”

 

AT HOME …

There’s a surprise:  According to SoS, the OBR is forecasting that Land and Buildings Transaction Tax [and Stamp Duty down south, to be fair] won’t raise as much as was thought.  Can politicians not think more than one move ahead?    What did they think people would do faced with paying thousands extra when they moved house? Cue Derek Mackay having to re-think his coming budget…

A step too far:  Chris McCall in Scotland on Sunday reported the disquiet felt in rural Scotland over the review of constituency boundaries. MP for Argyll & Bute Brendan O’Hara told McCall that plans to include Lochaber mean “If I came out my front door in Helensburgh and turned right towards Glasgow Airport, I could be in New York almost as quickly as I could reach the outer extremities of the constituency at Canna.”  Quite.

Getting the basics right: Since Glasgow has been discussing something similar, it might be interesting to look at Canada’s thoughts on a basic income to the poor. Thanks to the BigThink website for the posting.

Vodaphone to the rescue: Ryan O’Hare in Friday’s Daily Mail explained the research in progress to discover why seals in the north and east of Scotland and Orkney are dying in such large numbers.  GPS tracking technology is pointing the finger at toxins in red algae in harbour waters, eaten by fish and in turn ingested by seals…

 

AWAY…

No such thing as free money:  How ordinary people desperate for money can be duped. Courtesy of Saturday’s Quartz, here’s the Reuters investigation into how the shell companies of Consett, the north of England former steel town, deal in porn and gambling…

Some corner of a foreign field:  if you thought the colonial wars were over, think again. The International Business Times reported on the legal battle – so not quite a war yet – between the former UK mandate, so English-speaking, Southern Cameroons province and French-speaking Cameroon. Lawyers and academics are challenging the need for French to be the official language and police repression isn’t helping. To save you reaching for an atlas, it’s next to Nigeria on Africa’s west coast…

 

AND FINALLY…

It’s Cat Power:  Yo, Larry!  Yesterday’s Telegraph reported that Chancellor Hammond’s two pooches, Rex and Oscar, have to be locked up in No 11 to keep them out of the claws of No. 10’s chief mouser. Apparently, George Osborne’s bichon suffered the same fate.  Rex, it appears, is willing to take Larry on over 100 yards, but Oscar, poor wee soul, is more likely to end up in Larry’s dinner bowl. Altogether now, Aaah…

 

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