Terrorist attacks UK parliament

640px-Houses.of.parliament.overall.arpA terrorist drove through a crowd of pedestrians on London’s Westminster bridge, killing 2 and injuring 20.  He then ran into the Parliament building where he stabbed a police officer to death.  He was then shot and died in the hospital.

Prime Minister Theresa May was just 40 yards from the attacker.

The attack came one year after the terrorist attack on Brussels.

UPDATE:  The death toll has risen to 5.  The terrorists was driving at an estimated 70 m.p.h.  Authorities confirm that the motive was Islamic terrorism.  See this for more details, including information about the police officer who was killed.

UPDATE:  The death toll has been revised back down to 4, including the terrorist.  The injured now are numbered at 29, including an American in critical condition.  The terrorist was driving on a sidewalk.  He had been investigated earlier for terrorist ties.  Authorities have arrested seven (some sources say eight) additional suspects implicated in the attacks, which are being described as “ISIS-inspired.”  See this for updated details.

UPDATE:  Now the death toll is 5, after a hospitalized victim died.  The number of injured is now given a 50.  The terrorist was a Muslim convert.

Photo of UK Parliament buildings by Adrian Pingstone (talk · contribs) – Self-photographed, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=327144

[Read more…]

Trump vows trade deal with UK

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

In an interview with the London Times [subscription required], Donald Trump promised a quick trade deal with the UK, thus helping its Brexit transition.  (British prime minister Theresa May and other Brexit supporters were delighted at the news.)

He also gave other indications of what his new foreign policy would be like:  He said he supported NATO, though he considered it “obsolete,” saying only five NATO members are paying their dues.  He also said he might suspend sanctions against Russia in exchange for a nuclear arms cut.

The EU is alarmed because it had been planning to punish the UK economically for pulling out of the union.  Furthermore, if Trump is going to reward UK for breaking away from the European Union, will that encourage other member nations to do the same? Trump’s NATO talk also has Europe worried that they may have to go it alone militarily without the US.

If a free trade pact with the UK were to be extended to other countries that break away from the EU, that could create a new bloc of nations, dominated by the US.  Or maybe Trump’s deal could be extended to other English-speaking countries, such as Canada and Australia.  Throw in India, with its vast population and emerging wealth, as an alternative to China.

Whatever happens, Trump is going to remake American foreign policy, for better or worse (or some of both). [Read more…]

Australia notes:  Guy Fawkes Day

On Saturday night, here in Australia, fireworks started going off everywhere.  It dawned on my daughter the lines “Remember, remember/the Fifth of November.”  It was Guy Fawkes day!

The old boy is burned in effigy and explosions are set off in commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot, in which a band of Catholic terrorists packed the basement of Parliament with gunpowder with the idea of blowing up the English government and killing King James. [Read more…]

What if England seceded from the UK?

Scotland voted to stay in the United Kingdom.  But now some of the English are thinking maybe they should secede.  The other members–Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales–have their own parliaments and can vote on their own local issues.  England, though, just has the one centralized UK Parliament in London.

That means the Scots, the Irish, and the Welsh, all of whom have big representation in London, can vote on measures that affect England, but not vice versa.  For example, Scottish lawmakers in London voted to impose university tuition costs on England, though, thanks to the Scottish parliament, tuition is free in Scotland.   Some are calling for a separate English parliament, creating something of a federalist system.  Others are suggesting that the UK Parliament allow English-only votes on English-only issues. [Read more…]

Great Britain will decentralize its government

In response to the near secession of Scotland from the United Kingdom, the British government is promising to decentralize, giving more power to regional and local governments.  (Not just Scotland but Wales and Northern Ireland already have their own parliaments.  England hasn’t, being content to rule all of the others, but now England itself may become more like a state in the larger United Kingdom.)

The desire for weaker central governments seems to be a world-wide phenomenon and is exactly what American conservatives have been calling for.  But the British have always put on the best Tea Parties. [Read more…]

Scotland votes to stay in Great Britain

The United Kingdom remains united, as Scotland voted not to secede.  The final vote was pretty decisive, with 55% of Scots voting “no” and 45% voting “yes.” [Read more…]