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In HG Wells' "Men Like Gods" (1923) the Five Principles of Liberty which govern life in Utopia are:
* privacy
* free movement
* unlimited knowledge
* truthfulness
* free discussion

Written nearly 100 years ago for a fictional parallel universe, those principles should apply to our present day real world.

Graffiti seen in Edinburgh, 2020.

Credit: Sam Alexander

Worldwide deaths ~100,000
UK deaths ~10,000
UK daily death rate now ~1,000 per day

So, the UK now accounts for 10% of worldwide deaths. The mismanagement of this situation by the UK government is staggering.

In 1956, singer and political activist, Paul Robeson was banned from travelling outside of the USA, due to McCarthyism. When testifying at HUAC he claimed his 5th Amendment rights, and refused to reveal his political affiliations. Consequently, his movements were restricted.

The following year, to get around this ban, Robeson performed his first Telephone Concert, where he entertained 1,000 concert goers in London, from his base in the USA.

My first politics prediction of 2020 was almost entirely correct:

Starmer wins the Labour leadership election, and Long-Bailey is second, but it wasn't a run-off.

Who's up for creating a new independence party?

I'm mostly not joking.

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I haven't listened to Nicola Sturgeon's speech (I was in a meeting). Judging from online reaction it was even worse than I feared.

Ms Sturgeon is a very competent manager, but she is not a leader. Nothing I can do about it, as I'm not even an SNP member.

The year 2020 isn't getting any better.

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Anyone know what the big "independence" announcement is going to be at 09:30 to-morrow, in Edinburgh? Something is happening at the Dynamic Earth venue.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up... they have been dashed before.

To-day the EU Parliament has ratified the UK Withdrawal Agreement. That makes the UK's exit from the EU official from both sides.

I think this song is appropriate under the circumstances (although maybe not all the lyrics):

"The people of Scotland are sovereign..."

There is some more to that quote from the Scottish Greens, but that first part says it all.

Christine Keeler was at the centre of the 1960s Profumo affair. John Profumo was Secretary of State for War. He initially denied he had a sexual affair with Keeler, but later admitted it. Following this he resigned from the government, and Parliament. In addition, there were allegations that Keeler simultaneously had an affair with a Soviet naval attaché.

The resulting scandal nearly brought down the government, and probably led to the Tories losing the 1964 General Election.

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Summary of Boris Johnson's position on the US - Iran situation:

Bombing cultural sites - naughty, don't do it.
Illegal killings - just dandy, go ahead.

I agree with Iain Macwhirter.

"Scots did not vote to leave the European Union. They did not vote to lose their EU citizenship, with all the protections that brings. They did not vote to cut EU immigration; did not vote to accept trade deals with the United States; did not agree to the diminution of environmental standards; and did not vote to be subjected to untrammelled Tory rule from Westminster.

That’s really all the SNP need to say. Voters will do the rest."

It is being reported that the Iraqi PM said that General Soleimani' was their guest, and the US strike was illegal. Calls also being made for the US embassy in Baghdad to be closed & troops to be removed from the country

Trump has managed to unite Iraq and Iran. Quite amazing.

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Footage of General Qassem Soleimani's funeral in Iran, earlier to-day.

To say he was popular would be an understatement.

From the "you could have knocked me over with a feather" department:

"Defense-sector stocks rose Friday on Wall Street after the United States killed Iran’s top military official and braced for escalated conflict in the region."

UK PM Margaret Thatcher won her most decisive General Election victory in 1983, credited in a great part to the successful outcome of the Falklands War.

Other world leaders will know that a "good" war helps win elections.

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