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The nuclear deal is about buttering up the biggest bully in the playground, not economics.

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Just months ago, Tiananmen Square brimmed with adorned foot soldiers, stomping in unison, followed by the latest missiles and tanks, in a parade described by The BBC as, ‘a display of global power.’ At that time, British journalists and the established order more widely, thought of the Chinese, or should I say Xi Jinping, as more of a potential foe, than a friend. This was especially so, since Chinese officials were seen to be extending the hand of friendship to the North Koreans during their own little foot-stomping, display of might, in Pyongyang earlier this month. So, why now have our government decided roll out the red carpet and cow tow to leaders that the West has so long sought to avoid becoming close to? Is it about good economics and trade or is it, as is more likely, about building a good relationship with biggest bully in the global playground?

Over the last few weeks a deal has been finalised. The state owned, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) is to have a one-third stake in a new, nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point. Together with French partners, EDF, the Chinese plan to provide us with 24 billion pounds’ worth of infrastructure. Now, this all sounds lovely, to be welcomed even. However, as tends to be its approach to most large, oligarchical, economic institutions (i.e. the banks post economic crisis), the government has pledged to, effectively, financially guarantee this new build.

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‘It IS all about the money, money, money…’, just admit it doctor.

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Last weekend, Mary Dejevsky wrote quite a mean spirited column in the Independent. It concerned the junior doctor contract debacle. She surmised that any opposition to Jeremy Hunt’s new contracts, under the guise of #notsafenotfair, was all about the money and little all else.

Dejevsky, of course, found herself a target, following her column’s publication. Junior doctors and Mothers of junior doctors all wrote in, to give their two cents, to condemn poor Mary for making such a vile assertion. Upon first reading her piece I too, like the doctors, felt that Mary was being a little harsh in her analysis. Now, having witnessed a few too many junior doctors put forward their case on television and via print media, I myself have begun to feel rather less sympathetic towards the doctors and, what does seem a little like, “an inflated sense of entitlement masquerading as concern for patients”. Well, that’s how Mary put it.

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EU Referendum: No mention of the real ills of Europe

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If you were sad enough (as I am) to have perused the Vote Leave campaign website, you would notice their launch video. It has one message: You, the taxpayer, are contributing to Europe to the tune of £350 million a week, £18.2Bn yearly, and as a consequence of this the UK is unable to lower taxes or spend money on other things. The video, a mere 1 minute and 54 seconds long, plays out like a strategy computer game akin to command and conquer. A thunderous military dirge plays as we are all told how this spending on the EU budget is ensuring that, ‘our’ railways and, ‘our’ hospitals are lain to waste by preventable cuts.

The tone of the video is gold dust for satirists abound, however, comedy aside, one would imagine that in putting forward such a simplistic argument, the campaign would at least use strong statistics. Unfortunately not. Firstly, although in 2013 the UK’s contribution to the EU budget (it’s largest to date) stood at £14.5Bn, this is much less than £350 million a week. Secondly, the video also fails to mention that the UK receives a large proportion of its contribution back as a rebate. In 2013 this was £6.3Bn.

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Corbyn needs to realise that the public are warmongering royalists

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I appreciate this vision of a ‘new kind of politics’ that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have willed, this ‘straight talking politics’. But it is unachievable.

By the very fact of the phrase having been batted back and forth endlessly by journalists, and regurgitated again and again by Jeremy’s rather uncooperative cabinet, the sound bite, the idea, is somewhat undermined. It has, as has every other ‘new’ idea in modern politics, been absorbed into the furore of competing voices in the existing system of politics. Taken from the perspective of my sofa, I would be likely to think this ‘new kind of politics’ was just an exercise in spin, like the ‘northern powerhouse’ or the ‘big society’. However, Jeremy has made a real go of being ‘straight talking’.

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