Why B1185 Must be Stopped [Op-ed]

Yesterday, Solidarity added yet another piece of legislation to their swelling repertoire with the reading of B1185 – otherwise known as the Prisoner Eligibility to Vote Bill. The legislation, put forward in the government’s name, would return Britain to the aberrant pre-2019 period in which, in a stark departure from the judicial history of this country, those found guilty of the most grievous crimes were still entitled to vote.

The legislation would undo the provisions of the Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill 2019, thereby returning the franchise to those serving prison sentences in excess of six years. It is a bill that can be described as nothing short of galling. It would empower those who have not only found themselves summarily incapable of upholding the law to vote but would give those who don’t know the meaning of human decency, those who have committed crimes so monstrous the full details of them cannot be printed in this paper, more democratic responsibility than your mature teenager.  

B1185 would entitle to make the law those who cannot stop themselves from breaking the law in the most depraved and unconscionable way and is particularly objectionable in a country that for hundreds of years withheld the privilege of the franchise from its most disturbed and disturbing citizens.

The bill would see the likes of Rosemary West, perhaps England’s most notorious living female murderer, voting in the same elections as the average, law-abiding Briton. West was convicted of sexually abusing and brutally killing 10 women and girls at her home in Gloucester, on the now infamous Cromwell Street, with her husband Fred West – who killed himself in 1995 while waiting to stand trial for 12 murders.

Another monster, Michael Adebolajo, will be enfranchised by this act. Adebolajo, now in his thirties, horrified the nation when he hacked to death the British Army fusilier Lee Rigby on the streets of London. The Government claims that this legislation will make the UK a “beacon of democracy” – how will allowing this hateful coward to participate in elections make the UK a “beacon of democracy” in any way, Ministers?

And to top it all off, Levi Bellfield, the so-called “Bus-Stop Stalker”, will see his vote count as much as yours under the terms of this bill. Bellfield, aged 52, killed 2 women in sexually motivated attacks and seriously injured another. After he was convicted of these heinous crimes, Bellfield was arrested by Surrey Police on suspicion of killing a child, whom he abducted on her way back from school. He was found guilty of this appalling crime, making him not just a serial killer, but a child killer too. 

This publication speaks not for the victims or the families of the victims of these tragic and abhorrent crimes – that goes without saying. Instead, we react as we as humans, sickened, on a human level, by the unutterable cruelty of the crimes committed. It is not apparent to us, in any way, shape or form, how allowing these people to participate in England’s elections would deliver any democratic improvement whatsoever. Put simply, those who cannot abide by the law should not be given a role in shaping it – let alone these heartless, vicious monsters. To open up our elections to the likes of Levi Bellfield, Michael Adebolajo, and Rosemary West – those who are guilty of the crimes that shook Britain and united us in horror and heartache – would corrupt our cherished democratic processes unforgivably. That cannot be allowed to happen.

A Sit-Down with Labour Leadership Contenders

With the resignation of Labour leader Youma, the leadership contest to head one of Britain’s great two political titans is underway. However, this time any future leader will be under pressure. Despite being in two successive governments the party has continued to drop in the polls now ending up the 4th largest party in the Commons. It has been supplanted as the traditional home of the left by the rising Solidarity and their path back to power seems doubtful if not impossible. Thus the Telegraph has interviewed the leading contenders in the upcoming leadership race. 

Imaredditaccount5

First have imadearedditaccount, former Leader of the Scottish Progressives, and current SoS for NI. Though to new Labour they are a veteran operator, especially in the devolved nations. 

First, please introduce yourself and tell us why you want to be Labour leader?

I am Avery, current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Labour peer and leader of welsh labour. I’m running to be labour leader because quite frankly labour needs someone who is willing to step up, revive the party and produce results.

While the other candidates are great for example viljo has been in party leadership throughout our decline, Rohan having led Scottish labour also through a decline and also a lack of experience and I cannot comment on maro. I on the other hand am a fresh voice who has produced results by leading the Scottish progressives to a record result and streamlining how welsh labour is run which I believe I can replicate in the national party.

What makes you the most qualified to be a leader? Aside from you the other candidates seem to be more senior and experienced so why are you the best choice?

Well as mentioned before I have a lot of experience particularly in leading the Scottish progressives who I grew from a party with very little presence in Scotland to a major party with a big voice in government. I have also been part of government leadership in westminister during the Phoenix coalition where I served as leader of the house and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In addition to this I also led the IPP in Northern Ireland and served as deputy leader of the SDLP after the merger.

I want to state that I have the utmost respect for all the candidates and all would be great leaders in my opinion however again as mentioned before most have some flaws such as viljo who has been in leadership through a record election defeat and a nose dive in polls, Rohan who isn’t very experienced in leadership and has led Slab through another poll free fall although one could argue this was inevitable.

Now in government with solidarity the government has had a number of controversies: mishandling the nationalization, leaks such as the Osaka accords. What is your response to these events especially the leaks, and if you become leader how will you improve the party and governments functioning ?

As a member of the government I have to say I was disappointed both at the leaks and at the response. I don’t think deleting cabinet minutes was the right way to go about it at all as it sort of just made it seem like we had something to hide which to my knowledge we did not. I believe it’s important to grow trust both between leadership and cabinet and between the government and the public. In my view this means further transparency on both accounts as well as better communication and such. It’s important leadership shares plans and ideas with cabinet as soon as it is practical and it is also important that any plans are made public as soon as possible.

Did you ever express disagreement at the move to delete cabinet minutes?

I believe it’s important labour step up and take a more active role in government. With recent polling it’s clear not only are the public noticing that solidarity are pulling a lot of the weight but it is also clear the public are turning away from the government because of this. In the beginning my first action will be reaching out to labour members of cabinet and working with them to accomplish the goals set out in the programme for government in regards to their portfolio. Mainly it’s just a matter of getting the labour frontbench motivated.

Labour despite being in government for two terms has continued to fall in the polls, where do you see the future of Labour and what plans do you have to turn the party around?

I see the future of labour truthfully as a third party in British politics. I personally think it’s unrealistic to aspire to be first place again at least for the foreseeable future however I do believe that if elected I will be able to turn around are free fall. 

I believe first of all that it’s important to not pile work on people. Less is more and if an mp or frontbench member has too much to do they simply won’t do it and get burnt out. We need to start spreading the workload away from a few key people at the top and get lower members involved. 

This is tied in with my plan to both make labour a more transparent party and also to make labour more decentralised as atm most of the power is vested in leadership rather than other key party officers such as the chief whip or the press officer. I also hope to revive our press game by assisting in bringing back labour weekly.

Soldarity has had a great rise in popularity and now you are junior partners to them. Seeing their success should Labour turn more to the left ?

You already said that you see labour as a third party,  so where is the future of the solidarity Labour relationship going, is Labour resigned to be a junior party in governments now?

As someone solidly on the left of the party I do think turning towards the left would be something I believe would be beneficial however it is important that we don’t go to far. I believe strongly in the values of compromise and working together for the greater good as can be seen by my coalition with the tories in Scotland during my time in the Scottish progressives. With solidarity on the left and pwp towards the centre it is important for labour to occupy that middle ground between the two.

I wouldn’t say we are resigned to being a junior party. However it is quite clear that at the moment solidarity is immensely more popular with the British public and I believe it’s fairly rational to assume we will be the junior partner in any government with solidarity for at least another term.

That’s not to say we expect to remain so forever and a lot can change in a few terms as we saw with the rapid rise of solidarity in the first place. 

Labour was also a third party last term and still led a government so it’s entirely possible that is on the table also.

Labour has been blamed for having a string of poor leaders who have left abruptly and have largely failed to revitalize the party, how would you be a more effective leader ?

Having served under lily as a junior coalition partner and under youma as a labour frontbench member I can say both were excellent leaders who deeply cared about their party however I recognise the argument could be made they didn’t go far enough. As to how I would be more effective well as said before I believe transparency, reviving our press, good communication and ensuring not to overload people with work will go a long way in revitalising the party for the better. This has worked for me before both in Scottish progressives where we saw rapid growth in the polls and members who genuinely enjoyed working for the party and welsh labour where we have curbed the drop in polls and also have an ms and frontbench team who enjoy being in the party and don’t feel overwhelmed with work.

Any final message or anything else you want to say?

Yes. This labour leadership election is one that could make or break the party and it is absolutely vital that membership elects the person they think will be able to lead the party out of this dark time. Obviously in my opinion that person is me but ultimately it is up to members to decide who they think will be able to do that. It has been a pleasure speaking with you.

Rohanite

Rohan is a new face to Labour but has had a rapid descent up the party ranks, currently serving as the leader of Scottish Labour and the party’s press officer.

First, please introduce yourself and tell us why you want to be Labour leader?

Hi, I am Rohanite272 but just call me Rohan, I am currently the leader of Scottish Labour and the Press Officer for the Labour Party. I am running for the position of Leader of the Labour Party because I have a positive new vision for the Labour Party and will try my hardest to return it to its old levels of success and I represent a new generation of Labour members.

What makes you the most qualified to be a leader? Aside from you the other candidates seem to be more senior and experienced so why are you the best choice?

Whilst I may not have been around for the same amount of time as other candidates I believe I have proven myself as qualified, I have written a large number of bills for Scottish Labour and have been doing a lot of debating for Scottish Labour in the Holyrood. And yes, whilst Scottish Labour has been falling for the past few months, the damage hasn’t been nearly as bad as it could’ve been, I believe that the decline could be much worse and that I have managed to control it. Now on Labour’s press, it is true that our press hasn’t been as active as it could be but part of that is that the rest of the party has been quite busy over the last few weeks, as have I, which means that we haven’t been able to produce as much press as I would’ve liked.

Now in government with solidarity the government has had a number of controversies: mishandling the nationalization, leaks such as the Osaka accords. What is your response to these events especially the leaks, and if you become leader how will you improve the party and governments functioning ?

On nationalisation, that was a mistake by the government that I would make sure wouldn’t happen again. With the Osaka Accords, that was something carried over from the previous government which we are only just starting to look at and try to fix. Leaks are also obviously hard to control and are a risk to national security so there really isn’t much I can realistically do to stop that, however I will try to do my best to control them. On party functioning, there are various things I will do to help with that, like redoing the parties discord to enhance communication and various other things.

So with the Osaka Accords, when you say you trying to fix it, why do you think it was it leaked before it was fixed, is this a sign of unhappiness with the accords and govt ?

No, it’s not a sign of unhappiness throughout this govt, it could suggest that one person might be unhappy but that is there problem, and if they want to risk national security for that then that’s there prerogative but they are not free from the consequences of leaking and risking national security.

So it was leaked from the government but it was just one person Not a reflection of the whole cabinet or government.

That’s my understanding yes

If you were to be leader how would u steer labour in govt and the direction of the govt as whole?

I would try to keep Labour as the left wing Social Democratic Party it is now whilst having a re-examination of some of our more specific policies, I would also try to change the parties internal view of itself from thinking that we are one of the two major parties, which we aren’t anymore but people in the party still talk about the party like that, to we are a large party that needs to focus on growth.

Labour despite being in government for two terms has continued to fall in the polls, where do you see the future of Labour and what plans do you have to turn the party around?

The Future of the Labour Party, isn’t necessarily going to be us becoming one of the two largest parties again, but one where we are kingmakers and influence policy, I will work to do this by encouraging new and old members to become active in Labour and stay active through a new updated beginners guide and by making it easier to talk to those of us higher up in the chain

Soldarity has had a great rise in popularity and now you are junior partners to them. Seeing their success should Labour turn more to the left ?

You already said that you see labour as a third party,  so where is the future of the solidarity Labour relationship going, is Labour resigned to be a junior party in governments now?

Yes and No, we fit within the niche of the centrist lib dems and the left wing Solidarity, we need to appeal to both left wing lib dems and more right wing Solidarity members

Any final message or anything else you want to say?

I may not be the most senior candidate, but I believe that I have shown that I can do the job well and can put Labour into a strong and sustainable king-making position, and I will fight hard for a responsible progressive vision for the future of the country.

Maro

Last is Maro, Leader of the House of Lords.

First, please introduce yourself and tell us why you want to be Labour leader?

I am Maroiogog, current leader of the House of Lords, and long time Labour member. Things I may be known for include being a former Deputy Leader of Labour, Turning Point Surrey and having been Northern Ireland Secretary during Sunrise.

What makes you the most qualified to be a leader? Aside from you the other candidates seem to be more senior and experienced so why are you the best choice?

Firstly, I have plenty of experience being in Leadership from the few months I was in Leadership during Sunrise, which was undoubtedly one of the more traumatic times for our party and difficult to manage. I had a crucial role in managing the after effects of that going in GE13. I have proven in the past that I can lead the Party successfully.

Most importantly though, I have not been involved with the running of the Labour party for slightly more than a year now. In that time I have had the time to observe, talk to people, explore things and gain valuable experience from sides of politics that I had not explored or understood in the past. I think it is now appropriate for me to put this experience I have gained to good use.

Now in government with solidarity the government has had a number of controversies: mishandling the nationalization, leaks such as the Osaka accords. What is your response to these events especially the leaks, and if you become leader how will you improve the party and governments functioning ?

Yes there have been. In general I will try to be present and aware of the bigger picture of ongoing discussions in the cabinet and the departments. Communications could be made better between people and between departments and I would try and see how my colleagues feel about changing some of the arrangements in our communications systems so that more people can see more things and be more involved.

I think some of the bumps there have been on the road so far would’ve been hard to avoid, of course I very strongly think leakers should be nowhere near the cabinet but catching them is a lot easier said than done. Making sure everyone is happy with what is going on seems to be the only real preventative measure.

As for internal to our party I want to streamline processes and remove unnecessary barriers to participation that we have put in place. Anyone should be able to have their say and contribute to our press output, to our policy and to our legislation output. I want our party culture to be more tightly knit and one where people are encouraged to focus on what they really like within politics, which could be legislation, local campaigning or one of the devolved assemblies. It is a lot easier to do things when you actually enjoy doing them.

Is the leaking a sign of unhappiness in Labour over being in a govt with solidarity ?

No, especially cause we don’t know where it’s from and we think there are different leakers.

So you think there’s multiple leakers in cabinet?

I suspect so.

Labour despite being in government for two terms has continued to fall in the polls, where do you see the future of Labour and what plans do you have to turn the party around?

I think most of it is down to our inability to translate our energies into concrete action. For example, last term we only managed to pass one bill. I think that is a tremendous failure for our party. My main goal as leader would be to see Labour become a party that gets stuff done again, a Party that has a tangible impact on the legislation, on the press and in the chambers of parliament.

Personally, I would much rather be remembered as the party leader that managed to pass important left wing reforms that our country so desperately needs rather than a leader that managed to gain a few points in the polls. I strongly believe that if the country sees in us an energetic force that gets things done they will be interested in voting for us.

In terms of how I would do it my plans are relatively simple, I plan to overhaul our bloated internal communication systems and simplify our party structure somewhat. We have lost members, we are a smaller party and we need to adapt to that whether we want to or not. This means everyone needs to have a say in things like our press, policy and legislation output and get involved with it. Parties with small memberships succeed when they are efficient and hard working, that is the ideal party Labour should be right now.

Soldarity has had a great rise in popularity and now you are junior partners to them. Seeing their success should Labour turn more to the left ?

You already said that you see labour as a third party,  so where is the future of the solidarity Labour relationship going, is Labour resigned to be a junior party in governments now?

I think Labour should turn more to the left yes, but this belief of mine is not caused by what Solidarity is doing, I simply stand to the left of where our party has stood in recent times. 

I hope the Solidarity-Labour relationship keeps going forward as strong as it has been so far. I believe Solidarity is our natural partner and our alliance has been a very fruitful one so far. There have been some hiccups along the way but I can honestly say working with them has been pleasant and I would be fully committed to continue this Government.

I do not know if we are resigned to be a junior party in perpetuity. Of course I hope not, and I will do all I can to ensure we are not stuck in this predicament, but the answer to that question is only determined by Labour’s leader to a certain extent.

What I can say for sure though is that I do not have any hard feelings nor any desire for a “revenge” of sorts on Solidarity. I wouldn’t have in mind the particular goal of becoming the highest polling left wing party again. At this moment in time we are blessed with very strong and favourable allies and I would like it to continue this way. 

Labour has been blamed for having a string of poor leaders who have left abruptly and have largely failed to revitalize the party, how would you be a more effective leader ?

I am not here to point fingers. I know for a fact every leader we have had recently has put a lot of honest work into this party and my sincere thanks go to them. The personal reasons why they left were also out of their control, so nobody should hold it against any of them.

I agree our party needs to be re-energized. I believe the first thing a leader should do at the moment is lead from the front, which is why I have taken the initiative, helped negotiate large sections of the coalition agreement, took up a cabinet spot and have written a couple of bills thus far this term. That will very much be my style of Leadership: active, present and visible in parliament, in cabinet and in the press. If we want an energetic party the leader must be the first person to be energetic.

Having experience having already administered the party in the past I am confident I can hit the ground running and start doing so quickly.

Ohprkl

Ohprkl the current Party Chairman and apparent frontrunner in the race did not respond to a request for an interview. 

Written by Tres Commas special reporter.

Cabinet Sources describes Opposition’s anti-China positions as “anti-communist” and “racist

Following the leak of the Osaka Accords to the press there has been many questions regarding the documents and the future of British foreign policy. Once the news broke the Osaka Accords came under scrutiny and criticism. Other parties quickly highlighted the bureaucratic nature of the organization which mirrored aspects of the EU and UN, the spending requirements, and the democracy index which relied on the Economist’s rankings which would see several key founding members being downgraded. To gain more clarity on the Accords, Tommy2Boys of Coailtion submitted an Urgent Question on the subject to Parliament. 

Despite the criticism of the Osaka Accords, Foreign Secretary, ARichTeaBiscuit, stood by the accords saying that “I am currently in the process of formalising the agreement” and “I believe that the Osaka Accords will provide the world with a valuable tool to use to strengthen democracy and fight back against the tide of authoritarianism. I think it will strengthen the rule of law and Britain’s place in the world and I hope that the Conservative Party will come around to support it.”

However, now statements from a senior government member suggest that there is unrest regarding the accords from inside the government. When asked their thoughts on the Accords they answered  “I think that the Osaka accords are mainly one: counterproductive.” They acknowledged the threat posed by China and the need to combat them but dismissed the Osaka Accords as the right way to do that saying “The People’s Republic of China is a nation that has committed countless crimes and countless breakings of human law. However, pushing China into a corner won’t help – pressure only spawns counterpressure.” The solution they proposed instead rest “relaxing the relations to China to establish productive cooperation of our nations,” and instead we should use trade embargoes and work with NGOs to “fight of a democratic and socialist future for China.”

They blamed the Tories and other parties saying that they didn’t “care about China’s human rights abuses” and said “the Conservative party and certainly a number of other parties like it, the current Regime would be replaced by just another right-wing libertarian, capitalist and possibly authoritarian government. The Conservatives don’t care about China’s authoritarianism; they care about China’s socialism and how it is a seen threat to the current way of life in Britain.” The Osaka Accords they said was a product of this belief and that “The Osaka Accords are an effort to emphasize the struggle between “democratic” capitalism and “authoritarian” socialism.”

They said they believed the anti-China sentiment was rooted in “in a fervent anti-communism, but also in racism.” When asked what the UK should do instead they answered that we should not support “right-wing groups like Fulan Gong and but instead larger populist movements.” Also, they said the Osaka Accords should be stripped of its military aspects and just focus on trade and cooperation with NGOs.” They finished by saying they didn’t support the Accords and if given the chance would vote against it. It would seem despite Foreign Secretary’s support for the Osaka Accords internally government support for the Accords is in doubt.

Written by Tres Commas Special Correspondent for the Telegraph

National Polling Reveals Strong LPUK as Labour and Lib Dems Lose Ground

This week Telegraph has received results from our national polling conducted in 6 constituencies across the country by a joint Telegraph/YouGov team. Overall the results paint a picture of a strong standing LPUK that leads in key seats followed by a Consertative Party who though weakened maintain a good position in several seats. Labour however appears key with them running the risk of losing seats and eroding support as traditionally more left-leaning voters turn to the rising Solidarity which has recently outplaced as the third-largest party in national polling. Labour will need key Liberal Democrat and Solidarity endorsements to remain competitive and stand a shot at remaining competitive in the seats they currently hold. 

Surrey

The results for Surrey are not surprising with the long-time LPUK MP for Surrey, cthulhuiscool2 commanding a nearly unbeatable lead polling at 38.70%, with an edge of 22 points over the next highest competitor. The next highest party are the Tories polling at 16% followers by Solidarity at 13.97% and Labour in only 12%. As the election approaches it can be safely said that Surrey will remain Purple for the foreseeable future. 

Merseyside

Merseyside was one of the tightest and continuously fought seats in teh last election and it seeks to continue that tradition. Last time former Labour leader Akko fought off a very aggressive LPUK campaign for the seat, winning the election on a razor margin. However, now with Akko having left Labour for Solidarity, the seat stands to flip. The LPUK have recently doubled their efforts to gain support in the region with them hosting their party conference in Liverpool. Perhaps thanks to that effort and their gain in national polling now the LPUK sit at 31% to Labour’s 28%. If the LPUK manages to secure a Tory endorsement who currently in Merseyside it seems it will be dire for Labour indeed. Solidarity and the Liberal Democrats poll at 9.59% and 6.78% respectively, meaning even if Labour manages to secure both of these endorsements it will still be a tough fight. Of course, such endorsements are not guaranteed by any means with the possibility of a challenge from Solidarity’s seeking to retake their former seat. 

Birmingham, Solihull, and Coventry

This seat currently held by the Liberal Democrats looks like it might run away from the grasp. The LPUK are polling at 29%, with Labour and Lib Dems polling behind equally at 17%. No doubt the Liberal Democrats’ performance here has been hurt by their fall nationally with the party dropping in the single digits. In order to retain this seat, the Liberal Democrats will need at least a Labour endorsement to fight off the LPUK, and potentially backing from Soldarty as well if the LPUK secure a Tory endorsement. Also making this seat interesting the strong polling from Coalition at 10%, whatever party they choose to endorse here might end up with the final edge on election day. 

North Yorkshire

One of the tighter races this election cycle as the Conservative incumbent Shadow Chancellor /u/ToastinRussian finds themselves within touching distances of the Libertarian Party, with both parties polling at 27.78 and 26.50 percent respectively. Overall the Telegraph believes that the outcome of this race will be determined by third-party endorsement as none of the left of center parties has a shot at winning this one if this round of polls is to be believed.

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

Currently, a LibDem seat however come election day that is highly likely to change, with the LPUK polling at a commanding lead of over 29% putting them 6 points ahead of the Conservative Party, while the Liberal Democrats find themselves in fourth place behind Solidarity. It could be a three-way horse race with the LPUK, Tories, and Liberal Democrats running. If the LibDems secure key endorsements from Labour and other smaller parties they may be able to hold on but if the race gets more complicated and these parties decide to run instead, the LibDems might stand no chance in Bedfordshire. The Liberals could be in real trouble should this constituency be a sign of things to come.

Upper Severn 

Up last is the only truly safe Conservative constituency in this round-up with the Conservative Party holding a comfortable 7 point lead over their Libertarian competitors rank 2nd at 19.5%. Of note is the Solidarity party in third place at 13%. This seat again might be a competitive three-way race if Solidarity or one of the other parties manage to secure endorsements from each other. However, in the case that no party secures endorsements or one of them goes to either the Tories or Libertarians, it looks to be an open and shut case. 

Overall the picture across the country seems to the portrait of a gaining LPUK and steady Tory who have settled in a secure second place. The LPUK led in 4 of the seats we polled with the Tories leading in the other two places. This also means a grim situation for Labour has LPUK make inroads into traditionally ground Labour seats while they continue to lose more left-leaning supporters to Solidarity. Labour will need key endorsements from the Liberal Democrats and Solidarity to remain in contention for key swing races. Solidarity also stands in a strong position to give endorsements and secure their own races with the potential to capture many list seats. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile stand in a similar position to Labour but a weaker one with their collapsing public support and recent scandals which have hurt their reputation as the party that can be trusted. 

Link to full results

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1P_b9YqxeNDyYadaOP9JC8l3ChSJ_B2oKmAywr3JUAGs/edit

“The DPM Did Little to Convince Us To Stay” – Behind the Scenes At the D12

Following South Korea’ shocking decision to leave the D12, a South Korean source at the Foreign Ministry gives a detailed account of the events that lead to the ultimate breakdown of relations and departure of South Korea from the organization.

Yesterday saw the decision by South Korea to exit the D12, a move which is a significant knock to the recently formed alliance. This unexpected shakeup puts the future of the body and calls the course greater geopolitics within the region into question. In order to understand the rationale and timeline of South Korean withdrawal, the Telegraph reached out to our sources within South Korea. We were able to secure communication with an anonymous source within the ROK Foreign Ministry who was able to provide us with a first-hand account of what happened behind the scenes in the weeks before the decision became public. 

First off, we asked our source when exactly did their country start having doubts over the D12. While they were unable to give an exact date on it, they confirmed that definitely by December rumors and doubts were coming to circle in Seoul and among the senior staff in the Foreign Ministry. South Korea’s position in the D12 apparently became more unclear after former PM lily-irl referred to the situation in Xinjiang as a genocide. This did not please the South Korean government who saw this statement as a sign of drastic action and instead wished to use the D12 for a more slow and long-term solution regarding China. 

When asked about the pressure South Korea faced from China our source downplayed the impact of such pressure. We asked if the November visit by top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi to South Korea saw any pressure from China. Our source responded by saying: “There was perhaps slight pressure, but we are not easily intimidated. This was a decision made in the best interests of the Republic of Korea.”

Instead, more of the reasoning behind Korea’s withdrawal was placed on the UK’s government response or rather lack of response to South Korean concerns. The South Korean government reached out to the British government and talked to the Deputy Prime Minister. The South Koreans wished to talk about the agenda for the upcoming D12 summit. During this conversation, the South Korean’s wished to take a long-term approach and they learned from the DPM that they intended to demand immediate access to detention camps in Xinjiang. When they asked the DPM what action would be taken if China denied such access as they presumably would the DPM did not have a clear answer. This seems to be more complex and nuanced reason than the original government statement regarding South Korea’s withdrawal which was attributed to Parliament ruling the events happening in Xinxiang a genocide.

Ultimately the South Koreans felt that the UK did not understand the need to take a long-term view to deal with China and their wishes felt ignored by the British government. When they told the DPM that China would not grant access to the camps in Xinjiang and this would require an escalation by the D12 the government refused to change course, as our source told us “The DPM did little to convince us to stay.” Faced with a refusal to change course, SK felt they had to leave. 

Then they focused on today’s press conference held by the DPM. The South Koreans were taken aback by the comments made by the DPM, with our source saying “the comments were not well received and the implications unfair.” The DPM’s specific comments saying that South Korea’s priorities “The Republic of Korea has felt that their priorities were in conflict with our priority of keeping people safe and preventing future human rights violations” was not well received. The South Koreans felt that the statement which implied South Korea did not place a value on human life misrepresented their position and the UK failed to understand the reality of the threat posed by China to South Korea. While South Korea does not share a direct border with China, the PRC supports North Korea and has pressured South Korea in the past such as when US THAAD defenses were placed in South Korea by using a boycott to put pressure on Korean businesses. They remarked such comments especially in a public statement shocked them. 

It is clear there will be much discussion in Seoul both about their departure from the D12 and what they feel as unfair comments about South Korea made by the Deputy Prime Minister. When asked what this meant for the future of UK-SK relations our source did not wish to speculate but told us their government found the UK’s “implications to be unfair and they oversimplified our reasons for leaving.” With South Korea’s withdrawal from the D12 and their offense at the DPM’s comments, it is not an understatement to say that relations between the countries will be strained. 

In stark contrast to a few months earlier when Foreign Secretary Seimer landed in Seoul and secured South Korea’s membership in the D12, now the nation has retreated from the D12 and been hurt by the UK. With such an important ally in the Asia-Pacific leaving, the future of the UK’s and the entire West’s approach to combat China is called into question. Furthermore, especially in light of the offense caused by the DPM’s comments on South Korea, strained bilateral relations call into question the future of the UK-SK relationship and any potential for a free trade deal. 

Tres Commas is a special correspondent for the Telegraph.

Op-ed – “Why Labour Can’t Win the North”

Recently, Labour Shadow EPW Secretary KalvinLokan penned an article on Northern England focused on how the North had seemingly been fooled by the center-right politicians from the LPUK and Conservatives. He claims that the people of the North “have found themselves subject to attacks [and] abandonment.” Going on, he then lays the main part of the blame for the continued existence of this inequality at the feet of the Tories and the LPUK because apparently despite many LPUK MPs being voted into Parliament to represent Northern constituencies with large majorities do not care about the people they represent. 

The next part of his response seems to be firmly grounded in denial and disillusion because he reflects back on the “heavy damage” Labour took back in August. The General Election in August saw Labour take their most devastating loss in modern history as they were beaten by the LPUK to become the 2nd largest party in the Commons. Rather than taking the sensible approach for what might be behind the defeat like the fact the LPUK’s vision and message resonated with voters more than Labour’s manifesto which was riddled with typos, contradictory policies, and hordes of uncosted spending;  Kalvin instead makes the decision for Northern voters saying they were fooled by “the parroting of lies” by the LPUK. This type of thinking indicates exactly why Labour has failed so horribly in the recent election because instead of taking their loss at the polls as a reflection of the changing wishes of the electorate, they instead choose to blame their defeat on the smooth-talking lies from the opposition. 

Secondly, this mindset looks down on voters, especially on those in the North by saying that they are incapable of objectively analyzing party policies to decide what they want for themselves and if they choose to vote for the LPUK over Labour it must be because they were fooled by the LPUK’s lies and not due to Labour’s shortcomings in connecting with the public. More so, as an MP who personally represents part of the North, I must take offense at the statements made by KalvinLokan because I have done my best to represent the people of Manchester North. Let’s make clear that the inequalities that exist between the North and South have existed for centuries and were not simply created by the policies of the LPUK or the Tories. Furthermore, I would say the rise of the LPUK particularly in the North was fueled by the failure of the left. Why look at my seat Manchester North, which before my victory was a stronghold for the left, with the Green Party winning it in consecutive elections. It was the total failure of the Green Party and their fellow partners on the left which helped me win. Why the Green MP for Manchester North barely showed up to vote in the Commons and had one of the lowest voting turnout rates in Parliament. I can’t blame the people in my home for being frustrated with such terrible representation in Westminister. 

Also when one looks at the facts we can see that the LPUK has undertaken specific policies to help the North which is probably the reason for our continued strong support in the North. The LPUK has continued to keep taxes low so ordinary working families in the North can keep more money in their pockets, we took action to combat homelessness, we committed to plans to combat the housing crisis in cities like Manchester. Overall instead of blaming the LPUK and the Tories for Labour’s defeat, I would urge KalvinLokan and his fellow Labour peers to take a hard look at their own policies. To end off, KalvinLokan claims “Any party could have achieved what pittance Thatcher did”, well if that’s true I wonder why Labour couldn’t win a majority to defeat Thatcher? Maybe they were also too busy like the current Labour leadership with blaming the right to take a critical and honest look at their own failures.

/u/ThreeCommasClub is the LPUK MP for Manchester North

Breaking: Clegg Deal Reached by Tories and Liberal Democrats

In what will no doubt come as a blow to Labour, it seems that the Tories and Lib Dems have also negotiated a coalition agreement in direct opposition to the Phoenix agreement. This move will come as a departure from Prime Minister Brain’s earlier comments on the collapse of the Burple Government where he indicated that he would lead the Tories to the opposition benches and did not intent to actively seek government. It seems now that the Tories have reversed course and chosen to negotiate a deal with the Liberal Democrats. The Telegraph has secured an exclusive copy of the document and will be breaking it down.

Taken as a whole the coalition contains many similar policies compared to the Burple agreement and the original Tory-Lib Dem deal created at the start of this term. On the economy, the agreement promises to decrease LVT by 5% and freeze VAT. Income taxes are also slated to frozen not taking into account the planned NICphase-out. They also intend to separate the NIT from the personal allowance. In addition, while the agreement says the coalition government will heed the GDP to debt ratio the deal makes no concrete plans to cut the nation’s debt or limit new borrowing. 

On foreign policy, the deal, for the most part, is boring with promises to work with the D12 to stand up to aggressive actors such as China. They also intend to look into Taiwan’s participation in organizations that dont require formal recognition of statehood and accept Japan into the Five Eyes. Perhaps the most interesting part of their foreign policy section is the noncommitment of any action on Chagos. In what will come as a low to more liberal Lib Dems the manifesto simply promises to review the situation in the Chagos Islands by 2036 effective washing all responsibility for the islands from the Clegg government and all but ensuring that no action will be taken at least in this term. 

On defense, it seems that the Clegg government will hold course, committing to investing a further 11 billion pounds into the armed forces. Perhaps more interestingly is the policy to create an international treaty concerning cyber warfare in order to define and regulate the use of such attacks in the realm of cybersecurity. The deal also mentions talking with other NATO members to consider cyber-attacks part of Article 5 a move sure to heighten tensions with nations like Russia and China and call into question what defines an attack on the nation given that thousands of cyberattacks are carried by nations both in NATO and outside of it.

In the Department for Business, Digital, Energy, and Industry the deal promises continue to guard against security threats and continued to develop the skills wallet. The deal further promises government investment into 5G infrastructure but does not mention the Liberal Democrats Celluar Infasycture bill which aims to nationalize cell networks and increase investment of 5G tech to the tune of over 50 billion pounds. On the topic of international trade, the deal promise sot negotiates free trade deals with the European Union but has zero details on a Brexit deal or policy, perhaps hinting at the fact that they failed to reach a consensus on the issue. 

On education, it seems that the Liberal Democrats have backtracked from several of their stances. The deal promises to continue streamlining Universal Childcare and support teachers. Most notably on education, the Liberal Democrats who were vocal on opposing the Burple government push for grammar schools seem to have retreated. Despite being first in line to oppose grammar schools, the Clegg government document promises to lift the restrictions on new grammar schools and seeks to promote school choice on if they wish to be an academy or LEA run. Moreso, failing schools will be encouraged to become academies according to the coalition document as well.

On the environment, it seems further concessions were made by the Liberal Democrats with the Clegg government promising a carbon-neutral date of 2050 far later than the date of 2030 or 35 that the Liberal Democrats had previously pushed for. They further will not support a ban on diesel cars until 2035 but will mandate carbon-neutral homes by 2028. The Clegg deal also plans to scrap fossil fuels subsides expect for heat rates. This section does not mention a ban on off-shore drilling or fracking leaving those two in uncertainty. 

On transport, the government promises to not fund any more projects that are not sustainable. HS2 will continue ahead and the possibility of a Northern Powerhouse Railway shall be examined in what is sure to puzzle some observers. However, privatization of the rail sector is to steam ahead, with a planned runway expansion at Heathrow airport, with the possibility of more expansions at Gatwick. 

Furthermore, the Clegg government plans to repeal the Direct Democracy Act in a move that is sure to opposed by the LPUK and Labour. With what seems to a sizable part of the Commons if not a majority opposing the repeal it seems such an effort will be vain and it will share the same fate of the previous B1102 which has already failed.

Regarding the composition of the cabinet, the split seems to be Burple but with the Tories taking more of the Grand 4 in the form of Foreign Secretary and with the addition of the Secretary for Intl Development which shall be held by the Liberal Democrats. Obviously, Brain will become Prime Minister and Lib Dem Leader shall be DPM. The Tories will take Home Secretary, Defense Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Intl Trade, Justice, Environment, and Transport. The Lib Dems will get the Exchequer, CMS, Education, Business and Energy, Wales, and Scotland. With a split of 20-10 for the Tories, it seems the Lib Dems got short-changed with regards to cabinet in terms of a sheer number of positions and the assignment of prominent roles.

Also of note is that while Lib DL NorthernWomble was a signatory to the Phoenix Deal, he is not signed off on the Clegg deal perhaps incitation of drift within the Liberal Democrats regarding this deal. Having seen the cabinet split, and concession made by the Liberal Democrats it seems to be seen if this deal will be passed by the Liberal Democrats. Overall for British politics, it shows that Tories don’t intend to sit out of government for the rest of the term making Labour leadership a bit nervous about the results of their own deal. The ball is now with the Liberal Democrats: which deal will they pick and are they internal drifts on the Clegg deal? The fate of the next government hangs in the balance.

Tres Commas is a senior writer for the Telegraph

Op-ed: “Labour’s Stance on the Youth Wage is Flawed”

Recently the Official Opposition, backed by the Green Party, tabled motion M534 calling for all workers at least 18 years old to receive a set living wage exceeding 10 pounds. The motion which was written by Labour Party lily-irl on the surface seems like a good policy but unfortunately fails to understand the rationale behind having a lower wage ceiling for younger workers and adopting the policy advocated by the motion would only harm younger working right now those on the job hunt.  

First off the main reason for having a lower minimum wage floor for younger workers is to protect employment. A body of evidence from studies and even from the Low Pay Commission itself shows that higher wage floors for younger workers disproportionately negatively affect employment. Thus the whole point of a lower minimum for younger workers is to ensure we can have the highest possible competitive for young workers without risking their job prospects. If we were to adopt the policy proposed by the motion those directly affected by the increase would be those working part-time. Younger workers are much more likely to be part-time workers compared to older workers, and at the same time, female part-time workers would gain disproportionately be negatively affected. In reality, Labour’s policy would only harm the very people they seek to protect.

Further analysis shows that negative employment effects for younger workers are most adverse in times of recession. So by pushing the wage higher in time of recession when jobs are lost we will younger workers again being adversely impacted at a larger scale than we would have otherwise. Now the defenders of the policy might say such negative effects can be controlled, expected, or only exist in the short term. The issue with that line of reasoning is that the negative impact on younger workers we will see when we push a higher wage will be long-term and perhaps even life-long. The more time young-workers spend out of work which will happen as a result of pushing a higher wage, the larger ripple effects in the form of lower wages decades into their career. One analysis from the University of Bristol shows that this “scarring effect” can have a negative effect of 12 to 15% in form of lower wages even at the age of 42.

But even the backers of the motion fail to the fact that the current needs of workers are being taken into account as time passes. The last major piece of legislation the Commons has passed on the subject is B775 which requires the Low Pay Commission to submit an annual report outlining their recommendations to change the minimum wage for all workers. On top of that, the Secretary of State is required to bring forth proposals in line with what the Low Pay Commission suggests in their report. This has worked well for the country so far and there is no need to try and mess with this system when no apparent shortcomings exist, certainly, the author of the motion has not mentioned any arguments against this system in their speech. 

Now we examined the negative effects the proposed policy would have, but the backers of this motion also fail to understand the current job market and its relation to wages. The leader of the opposition in her opening speech proclaims that “The labor of young people is not inherently worth less than that of older people.” The truth of the matter is that is already the reality in the job market. A survey by the Low Pay Commission showed that less than 10% of workers 16-24 were paid at the relevant youth wage rate. In fact, a survey of employers found that rather than use age as a rigid structure for wages, most employers based their pay on a number of factors such as flexibility in hours, competition, and affordability. The fewer than 10% of youth workers who are paid the relevant rate are likely to be paid that that level due to a number of factors like their experience and flexibility rather than being pigeonholed into a lower wage simply due to their age. 

Thus in practice, we will see that the motion’s proposed policy would have little positive effect has around 90% of youth workers are paid more than the wage floor currently set. Those who are making at the wage standard will be the ones who see the brunt of the negative effects possibly losing their jobs and having decades of their wage growth ruined. The Leader of Opposition closed her speech by saying “That a Briton who works full-time should not have to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.” If we adopt Labour’s plan young workers may soon find themselves without any jobs at all.

No Consensus Found on Lords Reform

Yesterday Labour introduced bill B1105 to Parliament, authored by the Rt Hon. Dame lily-irl Leader of the Opposition. This bill, also backed by Solidarity would abolish the House of Lords, the upper chamber of Parliament. While there has been some national debate on the future of the upper chamber, this bill which would effectively abolish the upper chamber without any plans for a replacement chamber is a departure from most mainstream thoughts concerning the Lords. Despite the bill being authored by the Leader of the Opposition herself, it seems that internally the bill may not perhaps have the full confidence or backing of the Labour party.

In recent months the Labour Party has been marred by internal turmoil. They have had internal party fractures leading to the new Solidarity Party, constant weekly reshuffles of their shadow cabinet, and leadership which has been criticized for their shortcomings. Thus to most political analysts, it was no surprise that the latest set of national polls saw a 4% decline in support for the Labour leaving them in 3rd place just barely a percentage point ahead of the Liberal Democrats. Despite their falling poll numbers, Labour leady lily-irl gave a speech just hours after the polls were released expressing their decision to stay on as leader. However, just yesterday lily-irl appointed DL /u/BoredNerdyGamer as an acting leader due to personal reasons. 

It seems the new acting leader already has a situation on their hands as prominent Labour frontbencher Frost_Walker expressed their opposition to the bill. Frost_Walker has risen through the ranks of Labour during their internal turmoil holding 4 different frontbench positions showing how the Labour Party has struggled to fit quality candidates to even fill their cabinet. Frost_Walker is currently the Shadow Minister for Equalities, shadow Secretary of State for Communities, Culture, Media, and Sport, Secretary of State for Education, in addition to being their chief whip. However, it seems that Labour brass was not even able to reach a consensus on their new bill with even their Chief Whip.

Frost_Walker gave a speech in the Commons saying that despite he “had foreknowledge of this bill being presented” they cannot support the bill and would be raising concerns inside the party. The bill has also been panned by almost every other party in the Commons from the Tories, Liberal Democrats to the PPUK. Other MPs brought up concerns that scrapping the House of Lords would remove checks on the Commons and that complete abolition was not the answer. Adding onto their criticism MPs opposing the bill pointed out the fact that Labour and Solidarity have a number of members in the House of Lords and posed the question that if the Parties would remove their members from the Lords if they truly believed in their motion.

Solidarity Spokesperson /u/chainchompsky1 who spoke in favor of the bill also criticized the Labour Chief saying that their party provided more stability. They went on saying that the Cheif Whips approval on any bill before submitting was essential and that “If labour isn’t seeking the input of the person in charge of whipping people in favor of this, it has zero organizational capacity and operates more as an independent grouping.” Harsh words from a person who once held the same whip office inside Millbank Tower.

When asked to comment on if Labour members had discussed the bill prior to it being tabled the Party said they had indeed and no members have expressed any displeasure. When pressed on what way the party would whip the answer was more unclear. Chief Whip Frost_Walker said the whip certainly wouldn’t be against or abstain, hinting at the possibility of a free vote or aye.

On the other side, some showed support of the bill, /u/SoSaturnistic expressed their views saying that the Commons provided enough scrutiny on legislation and that they saw no wrongs with countries with only unicameral legislative bodies. However on the Labour side aside from Frost_Walker, no other Labour member has spoken on the bill and it remains to be seen what the party will do. 

Tres Commas is a senior writer for the Telegraph covering Westminster politics.

TikTok Trend Sweeps the Nation


A new trend on social media app ‘TikTok’ has swept the youth of the nation in the wake of the massive 70% off sale at Potenhams. The trend involves placing a pot on each of your hands and doing a dance from Vantage Interactive’s hit battle royale game ‘Age of Centuries’ known as the ‘Victory Pot’.

The dance – a common pose after winning a round – was common prior to the Potenhams sale. Taking advantage of the significantly reduced prices, however, TikTok users sought to expand on the fad and take it to a whole new level.

Pot Central Inc CEO, Jack Jayson, made a public statement on the success of the sale at Potenhams previously and reversed the significant sale. However, the trend appears to have taken hold regardless.

Pot Central Inc, the owners of Potenhams, have declined to comment on the trend specifically, and though they insist that their supply chain is up to the task they admit that “it is unlikely the sale will return to the levels we originally set it at.”