http://www.youtube.com/v/GWIw-sC45Ko?version=3&f=videos&app=youtube_gdata Read the article: Elizabeth Warren Pushes Feds For Answers on Big Banks
http://www.youtube.com/v/PuDeoIig1vk?version=3&f=videos&app=youtube_gdata More here: Should students pay the same interest rates as big banks?
In this tradition, elected MPs in the House of Commons are ‘summoned’ to the House of Lords to hear the Queen announcing the government’s forthcoming plans. But a lone voice has broken the silence to challenge the feudal juggernaut that is Queen Elizabeth II’s unelected authority.Left-wing Labour MP Dennis Skinner, ‘the beast of Bolsover,’ never fails to come up with a witty quip, and never fails to strike a nerve. Take his taunts of the government’s proposals to sell off the national postal service to the highest bidder: “Royal Mail for sale. Queen’s head privatized.”The nerve he struck there is the unprincipled epidemic of privatization that has run through all colors of British government blood since the 1980s. Though it’s long been known to deliver a worse deal for the Treasury, and the public, it still ploughs on regardless – when you have no morals or principles, money talks.It is not just the loss of empire which gives the state opening a puffed-up appearance, it’s that the establishment’s unofficial policy is looting what is left of the family silver for them and their friends, before the national economy and credibility go up in flames, as all dying empires do.Like the Russian oligarchs, enormous profits come to establishment cronies when they get their private hands on the national infrastructure. If you own a service everybody needs, you charge what you like, and that impresses the shareholders. The fact that it impoverishes the weak, the poor, the disabled and divides the electorate doesn’t matter to those who only care about the bottom line.Before he won the 2010 election, Prime Minister David Cameron called this lobbying “the next big scandal.” He solemnly promised to end the “far-too-cozy relationship between politics, government, business and money,” pledging for those that voted Conservative a compulsory register to make firms reveal their clients.But lobbyist-turned-personal adviser to the PM Lynton Crosby has reportedly persuaded Cameron to leave the lobbyists be. Given a free rein, possibly seeing their number may soon be up, the lobbyists have been busier than ever.So this was the big promise that helped Cameron get elected, which he has now dropped like a stone. A double betrayal, because two weeks ago after much private healthcare lobbying, every part of Britain’s crowning glory, the free National Health Service (NHS), was opened up to private bidders – something he had expressly promised not to do.Meanwhile, at the sharp end, European arms manufacturers, including the former state owned BAE Systems, have been in talks with the Ministry of Defense to take ownership of UK defense procurement. Yes, managing the process by which public money is spent on – wait for it – the country’s own military hardware.Now the foxes really are inside the henhouse. Might BAE Systems turn themselves down when contracts worth billions for defense equipment are handed out? Perhaps not.Bribery is a strong term to use, but British members of parliament are not only available to be hired by fair-weather friendly firms with their beady eyes on public assets, but by anyone in the world who has the requisite cash, no questions asked. Even if you represent a regime Amnesty International’s cited as one of the worst human rights abusers in the world? Well, yes.On April 3, Conservative European MEP Daniel Hannan tweeted, “I’m not comfortable with the way they’ve [the Saudi royal family] have bought so many MPs and officials involved with defense.” Presumably, he was referring to a recent trip by Plymouth MP Oliver Colvile and Bristol MP Jack Lopresti – with the blessing of the UK Defense Forum – to Saudi Arabia.Public beheadings in Riyadh were postponed as the heir to the British throne Prince Charles lunched, toured and dined in the Kingdom earlier this year, but public executions and punishment by ‘medical paralysis’ continue in this ‘friendly’ Gulf state.No questions asked this time by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) which has an inglorious track record of kicking Saudi Al-Yamamah and SangCom bribery investigations into the long grass. No one will care or perhaps even know if large sums of money end up in the personal pockets of the deal-breakers who have armed unelected tyrants to the teeth.So, the British state’s opening of parliament, rather than being a proud tradition, has become the sort of wooden self-parody portrayed by British author Mervyn Peake in his ‘Gormenghast’ Gothic horror novels. Like a Harold Pinter play, more significant for promises that uncomfortably remain ignored and unsaid.Like the ruined castle of a failed line of despots, today’s ritual threatens to dominate and suffocate all life within the once-proud kingdom, as young men are sent out to die in wars for the nation’s unspoken paymasters the lobbyists.As the arms companies grow in influence, the danger increases. Inch by inch, yard by yard, Britain creeps closer than we dare believe to George Orwell’s diabolical sham of a democracy portrayed in 1984.As the British establishment reasserts its ‘God-given’ right to pawn off the nation’s wealth, today we can thank that same God that at least one voice rings out for justice to be done. One who pokes fun at the pomposity of an establishment that demands the penniless pay for its failings and quietly sells off its reputation to the highest bidder, no questions asked. …
On Wednesday night’s edition of “The Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert lashed out at his home state of South Carolina for failing to elect his sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch to Congress, and re-electing former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to the congressional seat he held before running…
Spain boycotts Jubilee over Gibraltar 17/05/2012 06:03 CET
Andrew Morton on Europe’s royals 24/04/2013 15:07 CET
Marchers call for new Spanish republic 14/04/2013 19:08 CET
Spain’s monarchy in crisis 05/04/2013 11:18 CET
Britain’s Queen in hospital for a ‘couple of days’ 04/03/2013 05:45 CET
Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, carries an aura of power even though her role is a ceremonial one. She is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states, known as the Commonwealth realms, and head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations. The British prime minister consults her opinion weekly, but her main function is to reinforce national unity and identity. Some 70 percent of the British support their monarchy, by far the longest-standing in Europe.
The Dutch royal house has also been on solid ground for the past two centuries. The Netherlands’ monarchy has the approval of around three quarters of the population. Beatrix as Queen had a real political role till just last year, in the formation of governments. Her son King Willem-Alexander, to whom she recently ceded the throne, under a new reform, will not exercise the same influence but will carry on the weekly chats with the prime minister.
Belgium’s monarchy has retained limited powers. The king is entrusted with helping to form governments for parliament to approve. Here too, prime ministers come to see him, and heads of the opposition. He signs off on federal legislation, among his duties, as well as acting as a unifying force in a multicultural democracy. As is the tradition, Albert II is known not as King of Belgium but of the Belgians.
Spain put a king back on the throne at the end of the Franco dictatorship, becoming a parliamentary monarchy. King Juan Carlos I is the symbol of constitutional national continuity in a country made up of many largely autonomous parts. The royals’ popularity here has recently fallen to 37 percent, scandals having hurt their standing.
This shows up the main vulnerability of kings and queens today: the tolerance margin for moral slippage is thin. Public opinion can quickly turn against them if they are not seen to be fulfilling their responsibilities, which are essentially to represent the people and proud traditions.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
In her annual speech to parliament, Queen Elizabeth II began by saying the government’s priority is to “strengthen Britain’s economic competitiveness.” She also announced a cap on social care costs and a single state pension of £144 a week, in contrast to the cuts which have dominated government policy since coming to power.However, there was no mention of changes to Chancellor George Osborne’s controversial austerity program, despite comments on Wednesday from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) that the UK is facing a “lost decade of growth.”The Gracious Speech – as it is also known – takes place every year in Britain, and is part of the official State Opening of Parliament. It allows the government to set out its proposed bills and the problems it wants to address for the next parliamentary session. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were also present, which is seen symbolically as a sharing of the Queen’s duties now that she is growing older.In this year’s Speech there were a number of new measures aimed at curtailing immigration to the UK, especially from poorer EU nations such as Romania and Bulgaria.Private landlords will be required to snoop on their tenants and report those that do not possess the documents required to live in the UK. Landlords who do not will face fines running up into the thousands of pounds. The proposal has prompted criticism that ordinary people are being made to police the immigration system where the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has failed.There will also be measures enacted to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining driving licenses and to make it harder to access the National Health Service (NHS) for those who aren’t entitled to use it, by making EU member-states pay for their citizen’s medical treatment.There will also be a six-month restriction to the jobseeker’s allowance, which will apply to all EU nationals who are not actively seeking employment and are unable to show they have a genuine chance of getting work.There will also be a new residence test requiring residents to have lived in the UK for at least a year before they gain access to civil legal aid.An immigration bill was also announced that will make it easier to deport criminal and terrorists, such as Muslim preacher Abu Hamza. Home Secretary Theresa May, who has been unable to deport Hamza despite repeated attempts, will make it impossible for such figures to use Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to family life – to stay in the UK.May believes only a full change in the law will persuade UK judges not to defer to the Human Rights Act in cases such as Hamza’s. “We want to attract people who will add to our national life, and those who do not should be deterred,” the Queen announced.Other proposed bills include a cap in social care costs, a raise in state pensions from £107 to £144 per week, and the scrapping of means-tested top-ups.Preliminary funding of the second stage of the HS2 high-speed rail link between Birmingham and Leeds and Manchester was also announced, allowing funding to be made available for the early design stages.A bill to monitor mobile communications was dropped due to objections from the Liberal Democrats, the government’s coalition partners.Plans to impose a minimum charge on alcohol and to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes were also left out, although this does not mean they will not become law at a later date.Euroskeptics on the rise?The new laws designed to curb immigration will be viewed by many as a reaction to the rise of UKIP and their recent successes in local elections. However, the Speech was written before polling day.Cameron will also hope that the new tougher measures on immigration will help to quell the growing clamor in his backbenches for a referendum on EU membership in this parliament. Cameron has said this would be impossible because he has an agreement with pro-EU Liberal Democrats not to hold a referendum on the issue, although he has promised to hold one in the next parliament if the conservatives win the elections in 2015.The Prime Minster vowed he will be able to secure real changes in Britain’s EU membership terms by negotiating with the body. “I want to give people a proper choice between Britain remaining in a reformed EU or leaving that EU,” Cameron said on Tuesday at a London conference on the future of Somalia.The festering issue was given game-changing status by the intervention on Tuesday of 81-year old Lord Lawson, Margaret Thatcher’s longest-serving chancellor. In the Times, he urged Britain to completely quit Europe, saying it was a “bureaucratic monstrosity” which damaged the interests of the City of London. No-growth BritanniaIn a further blow to Chancellor George Osborne’s unwavering austerity program, the TUC warned the government that they are facing a “lost decade of growth,” and that the UK is lagging behind its rivals. A recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that Britain was experiencing a slower economic recovery than 23 of its 33 rival economies.The TUC report comes as the IMF visit London on Wednesday for their annual report on the state of the UK economy. …