Twelve bits of Christmas politics

Impact Features' political columnist Christopher Sturtivant takes a look at some (not so) Christmassy bits of news
  1. The Grinch Who Stole Your Internet Freedom: net neutrality in the US and how it affects us. This phrase, coined by Columbia professor Tim Wu in 2003, is the idea that – funnily enough – all internet providers and governments should treat all data equally: basically, no-one should switch up what sort of internet access (speed, data, services etc.) any one person can use – they shouldn’t charge more for better services or limit what people can see online. It’s a big deal. Obama, in his presidency, set up the Open Internet Order to uphold this concept.On the 14th, the (supposedly) independent Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal these laws. Already facing backlash for this poor decision, attention is now being drawn to our own net neutrality, something upheld by EU laws; when we finally leave the EU, will these laws continue to be maintained in order to prevent internet companies reducing people’s internet freedom for their own ends? Ofcom says there is no issue ‘regarding the openness of the internet in the UK’. We’ll have to see. With a prime minister who sinisterly wants the UK to become ‘the global leader in the regulation of the use of personal data and the internet’, I am not feeling quite so confident.
  2. This video of our prime minister proving the only thing she has in common with Christmas is being ice cold
  3. Trump’s visit: Santa is now the only old, wealthy and plump man in a bad suit that will be paying us a visit in the next month or so. Trump’s controversial retweets of anti-Muslim, non-credible Britain First videos provoked May to condemn the retweets, and have his state visit in January cancelled. A very nice move in protest of Trump’s alignment with the alt-right (but also slyly used as means of making the right in the UK seem moderate and making our supposed ‘British Values’ seem at odds with racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and bigotry – although I’m not so sure they really are).
  4. A nice surprise. Hopefully. May has promised that in talks in the coming week she will ensure that UK universities will be able to remain as part of the Erasmus scheme until at least 2020, despite the scheduled Brexit (Christ, I am sick of that word). No long term guarantees yet, but this is certainly something positive.
  1. Riding through the snow in a one horse open sleigh: the government has finally moved onto the second stage of Brexit talks, with a document outlining how the two year transition period will work, as follows below.
  2. First, the UK will stay under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (a temporary hurrah for human rights and trade). We will also have to allow freedom of movement of people (hurray for human rights).
  3. All agreements on the divorce bill and any EU & UK citizens must be ‘respected’ and put down in law as quick as can be.
  4. And, for now, we will keep following EU Trade Policy until we leave the single market and the customs union. So start stockpiling on nice French wine while it’s still cheap.
  5. Nigel Farage has claimed he is ‘skint’ as a result of all his supposed hard work for the regrettable Brexit. A truly lovely gift to see that a politician, whose laughable career is built off disregard for other people, could experience legitimate difficulty.
  6. Except, he’s actually not. Earning over £80,000 a year and with a net worth of roughly £2 million, his claims seem more than a little off. Hardly surprising considering his previous claims about money – such as in the leave campaign.
  7. Tory rebels undermining Theresa May. 11 Tory MPs obstructed the passing of her Brexit Bill – a bill which would outline how EU law and UK law in the future would be separated, transferred and organised post-Brexit. It’s bad for May as it left her authority more than shook on what was her first defeat in the process of Brexit, but it’s probably good for us – the government needs greater time and attention to be paid to the details of this bill and how UK law will work in future.
  8. Something nice among all this stuff: some people, unlike Farage, genuinely are suffering this Christmas. So instead of thinking about nasty racists and poorly skilled politicians, donate what you can to people worse off. Here are some charities you could donate to: Crisis CharityNottingham Refugee ForumShelter.

Christopher Sturtivant

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Image courtesy of Nick Webb on Flickr.


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