Tag Archives: UK

Brexit: The Chequers White Paper

An embattled Theresa May made the proposals in this paper to her cabinet and her Brexit Secretary, David Davis, resigned. Then Boris Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary to humiliate her further. Trump gave an interview to the Sun trashing May’s proposals and said that Boris Johnson would make a better Prime Minister. He said that he told May how to do Brexit but she would not listen to him. But the catty Mrs May was able to pull one back and Trump repeatedly held hands with her during their joint press conference commending the prime minister as a “terrific woman” and saying that he would want her as a friend and not an enemy and that she was “doing a fantastic job” . The Chequers White Paper and press conference are below. Prior to these events Trump had played disrupter-in-chief at NATO and accused Germany of being a Russian pawn because of its reliance on Russian gas.

Brexit: Theresa May’s Florence Speech

Prime Minister Theresa May has used a speech in Florence to set out the UK’s position on how to move Brexit talks forward. With further negotiations planned next week, what did her speech tell us about the sort of Brexit deal we might end up with? Reality Check correspondent Chris Morris has been scanning the speech. The BBC’s report is extracted below.


Future of the EU

What’s the significance? It’s worth noting that a lot of Brexit supporters in the UK jumped on Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the European Union speech last week – in which he set out an ambitious agenda of greater integration – as an example of why they wanted to leave in the first place.

The PM picked up on this – we’re getting out of your way while you move in a different direction that we’ve never felt entirely comfortable with.

That’s good for both of us she implied. It slightly ignores the fact that many EU leaders wouldn’t agree with Mr Juncker’s proposals – but it’s a point that will go down well on the Tory backbenches.  Continue reading

Rereading Primo Levi

Primo Levi’s If This is a Man at 70 was published in the Guardian. Philippe Sands explores the lessons of Levi’s humanity-filled holocaust memoir: was 19 when I first read If This Is a Man, and the book filled a gap created by the shadows cast across an otherwise happy childhood home by Auschwitz and Treblinka: my maternal grandparents, rare survivors of the horrors, never talked about their experiences or those who were disappeared, and in this way Levi’s account spoke directly, and personally, offering a fuller sense of matters for which words were not permitted.

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His has not been the only such book – there are others, including more recent works such as Thomas Buergenthal’s A Lucky Child, Göran Rosenberg’s A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz, and Marceline Loridan-Ivans’s But You Did Not Come Back – but it was the first. He was a messenger of detail, allowing me to see and feel matters of dread and horror: waiting for a deportation order; travelling in a cattle cart by train; descending a ramp for selection; imagining what it must be like to know you are about to be gassed and cremated; struggling for survival surrounded by people you love and hate.

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British Deputy High Commissioner Karachi Belinda Lewis Visits PIIA Library

Belinda Lewis is the British Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi. Like PIIA chairman Dr Masuma Hasan, she is a Girtonian. She visited our library on 6 April 2017. A former banker, she has also worked in cross-border law enforcement cooperation for the Department for Constitutional Affairs and has also advised the US Department of Homeland Security on bilateral and other data sharing arrangements. She has also worked for the UK Home Office. She has worked for the Ministry of Justice and also in Afghanistan. She was the former UK Deputy Ambassador to Iraq and in June 2016 she became DHC Karachi and UKTI Director for Pakistan.

Noting that annual bilateral trade between the UK and Pakistan is $1.5bn, in her article entitled The future of UK-Pakistan trade (9 April 2017) Belinda argues that:

With Pakistan, we have a shared history, a common language, similar consumer tastes and the same eye for quality: it’s no coincidence I chose to have my wedding dress made here in Pakistan. Our shared history paves the way for a stronger, closer future trading relationship to the mutual benefit of both of our countries.

Some pictures of her visit to the PIIA can be found below

New Syria Ceasefire

As reported in the news, the US and Russia have agree to enforce new Syria ceasefire. A new deal between the US and Russia to enforce a ceasefire in Syria has been reached, with the cessation of hostilities set to come into force on 27 February. A report by diplomatic editor of the Guardian is extracted below: The ceasefire, subject to the agreement between the warring parties, would exclude Islamic State, al-Nusra Front and other groups deemed to be terrorist organisations. Scepticism about whether it can be enforced will be widespread after a previous planned ceasefire failed to take place. Instead, Russia continued its bombing campaign, sieges of starving towns were never lifted and other confidence-building measures ignored. Continue reading

Syria: Partial Ceasefire Agreed

As reported, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, says the partial Syria ceasefire agreed at talks in Munich ‘will apply to any and all parties in Syria with the exception of the terrorist organisations Daesh and al-Nusra’. However, the Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR) on Syria conflict finds that in all, 11.5% of the country’s population have been killed or injured since the crisis erupted in March 2011. The number of wounded is put at 1.9 million. Life expectancy has dropped from 70 in 2010 to 55.4 in 2015. Posts on Syria’s war are available on Pakistan Horizon here, here, herehere and here.

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Julian Assange and the UNWGAD Decision

Is the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Decision on Assange ‘So Wrong’? by Dr Liora Lazarus is probably one of the best things written on Julian Assange; or in his defence. She concludes that the decision on the deprivation of Assange’s liberty, A/HRC/WGAD/2015/54, is not as retrograde as made out by most politicians and media pundits. As reported today, Swedish prosecutors are working on new bid to question the WikiLeaks founder over sex claims. Earlier on, the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond called the decision “ridiculous” but after looking at the law and facts in very great depth, Dr Lazarus concludes otherwise and exhorts us that: To argue that Assange’s conditions are a ‘deprivation of liberty’ is not to argue that this deprivation is necessarily ‘arbitrary’. More is needed to show this. On this question, the UNWGAD was persuaded that the confinement was arbitrary. The most compelling grounds were those based on proportionality. Continue reading