1. UK election- May kicks an own goal
The BBC has the results – it’s a hung parliament.
Theresa May did a Malcolm Turnbull, by calling an election to strengthen her position, and scraping back in by the barest of margins.
To do the arithmetic, she should need 326 seats out of 650. However, Sinn Fein own 7 seats, which they don’t take up, I believe because they refuse to stand up for the Queen. So allowing for a speaker, the real pass mark this time is 322. May with 318 has done a deal with the Irish Democratic Unionist Party, who have 10, to support her on supply and no confidence motions.
Here’s how the votes changed:
Here’s the main changes in seats:
I think that’s now +30 for Labour, as the last seat went to them.
The youth vote surged to 66.4%, up from 43% in 2015.
Jeremy Corbyn achieved the biggest improvement in Labour’s vote since 1945, and will stay leader as long as he wants. May leads a weakened and divided party into Brexit talks in 10 days time.
BBC has neat interactive maps if you want to follow how the vote went in the various parts of the UK.
2. Some random developments on terrorism
First, Theresa May is probably grateful that a report of an investigation into who is funding Jihadi groups in the UK was not published before the election and probably never will be. Those who are in the know say it’s the Saudis, to whom the UK sells a lot of arms.
Secondly, the Saudis along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain are trying to diplomatically and physically isolate the tiny but wealthy Gulf state of Qatar. As part of that they are demanding that Al Jazeera alters its editorial policies. Al Jazeera has been under cyber attack for some time.
Something distinctly unpleasant is going on. Rex Tillerson is saying to Saudi Arabia et al, ease off, give them space, they are trying to expunge the funding of terrorism from within their borders. (Would that Saudi Arabia was doing the same.) Trump is urging the five-nation group to go for it. Qataris are in his mind bad people.
Muzzling Al Jazeera doesn’t seem to me part of the solution.
Thirdly, Iran was hit by a terrorist attack (and Trump said they had it coming). IS has claimed responsibility, and the Saudis and IS may be competing to show who can lead the attack on the Shiites. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say it was Saudi Arabia supporting ISIS. Who knows?
However, wherever you look Trump seems to be leading the Saudi Arabia cheer squad. He may do well to remember that most of those involved in 9/11 were Saudis.
Fourthly, at home there was interesting commentary on the source of Jihadi redicalisation and how it can be combatted. Counter terrorism academic and Labor MP Dr Anne Aly, talking to 7.30, believes the profile of the would-be terrorist has changed:
- Now I would say your typical actor is somebody who is young, who probably hasn’t been connected to religion very much, doesn’t have an ideologue, doesn’t really, isn’t really immersed in the ideology, and comes to that through violence. (Emphasis added)
Aly is saying, and she’s not alone, that a propensity to violence itself is often a precondition of radicalisation, and understanding of Islam by those radicalised is pathetically shallow.
Ali Kadri of the Brisbane Holland Park Mosque says teaching those vulnerable to radicalisation about Islam is in fact the best weapon against terrorism.
3. Trump v Comey
It may be true that Trump does not intentionally tell lies. It’s just that he doesn’t deal in truth vs lies, just in what is and is not in his own interest.
We can now choose between Comey, the former chief spook, and the narcissistic bully the US has for a president.
I haven’t been following this one closely apart from the considerable amount I’ve heard on the radio. Here’s the Vox take:
- One clear message shone through like a flash of lightning from James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday morning: Hillary Clinton was right about Donald Trump.
His testimony painted a picture of a president who neither understands nor respects the norms and values that underlie the constitutional order, lacks the information necessary to do his job properly, and doesn’t have the humility to seek or accept appropriate advice about how to get better. Comey knew it from his very first meeting with Trump.
Losers are Trump. Attorney General Jess Sessions, and the Republican Party.
An analysis of how the media has handled reporting of Comey’s testimony:
it’s clear that right-wing news sites encourage their readers to view information as a means to a partisan end — or to view it as their political opponents trying to skew the truth for their partisan ends.
4. Margaret Court keeps digging
>When you are in a hole, stop digging. That was the early advice Margaret Court refused to take.
She lost me when she said gay people were the work of the devil. If the stadium is renamed it will be pretty much her own doing.
I liked John McEnroe’s comment:
Saudi soccer team upsets everyone
In other strangeness, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation decided their players would not participate in one minute’s silence for the Manchester victims, because such gestures were “not in keeping with Saudi culture”.
Saying sorry just doesn’t quite cut it somehow. What is done can’t be undone.
Apparently our players covered their tattoos when playing in Saudi Arabia recently, and a woman on our team covered up out of respect.