Dialect and heritage-November 5, 2022

In 1956, 300 locations were selected by the University of Leeds for a nationwide survey of dialect.  How did people use language and what were the …

Dialect and heritage
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Many Jamaicans are nervous. Guess why?-Petchary’s Blog-October 31, 2022

It’s more than ironic that on Halloween, more eyes and minds in Jamaica are focused on what seems to be violence spiralling out of control. The reposted blog by Emma Lewis echoes many feelings and fears. It’s reflected, too, in a similarly reflected column by Dr. Garth Rattray, in today’s Gleaner:

We can speculate where the Jamaican situation may go sooner rather than later. One scary scenario is that things deteriorate to replicate what is now the anarchy in Haiti. That’s a truly terrifying prospect.

This is not a comfortable thing to write about, but I must. Because it is about our everyday life, our way of life. How Jamaicans manage, daily, on this beautiful island. It was Twitter that got me thinking. One tweet recently observed that there is a dark and heavy atmosphere. This, despite the COVID era […]

Many Jamaicans are nervous. Guess why? — Petchary’s Blog

Rishi Sunak’s first Cabinet-October 26, 2022

Lots of old faces from both the recent Truss and Johnson Cabinets are back around the table, which seems to fit his idea of “continuity”: “We now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together,” notably, ‘he retained several of Truss’s appointed ministers including Treasury chief Jeremy Hunt. He kept several senior figures in place, including Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Suella Braverman as home secretary (interior minister)’:

Here is the list of Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet Ministers:

  • Jeremy Hunt Andrew Mitchell has been appointed a Minister of State 
  • Hon Robert Jenrick has been appointed a Minister of State (Minister for Immigration) 
  • Gavin Williamson CBE has been appointed a Minister of State 
  • Tom Tugendhat MBE has been re-appointed as a Minister of State (Minister for Security) 
  • Johnny Mercer has been appointed a Minister of State (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs)
  • John Glen has been appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury 
  • Mark Harper has been appointed Secretary of State for Transport 
  • Jeremy Quin MP has been appointed Paymaster General, and Minister for the Cabinet Office
  • Victoria Prentis has been appointed Attorney General 
  • Lord True CBE has been re-appointed Lord Privy Seal, and Leader of the House of Lords 
  • David TC Davies has been appointed Secretary of State for Wales
  • Alister Jack MP has been re-appointed Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Chris Heaton-Harris has been re-appointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 
  • Michelle Donelan has been reappointed as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Kemi Badenoch MP has been re-appointed Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
  • Michael Gove has been appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
  • Steve Barclay MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
  • Thérèse Coffey MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Mel Stride MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 
  • Gillian Keegan has been appointed Secretary of State for Education
  • Penny Mordaunt has been re-appointed as Lord President of the Council, and Leader of the House of Commons 
  • Grant Shapps has been appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Suella Braverman KC has been appointed Secretary of State for the Home Department
  • Oliver Dowden has been appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 
  • Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed Minister without Portfolio.  
  • Ben Wallace has been re-appointed Secretary of State for Defence 
  • James Cleverly has been re-appointed Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
  • Simon Hart has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury

The first Cabinet meeting was held today, and then it was on to Prime Minister’s Question Time:

Many of the UK press have been gentle, so far:

Early political assessments in the left-leaning media are lukewarm to negative:

Sunak talked about “bringing integrity back” but appointed four MPs who’d had to resign, previously, because of scandals. Well, politics is the art of the possible:

Most notably, Suella Braverman is back as home secretary! ‘Sunak has brought the sensationally low-competence, low-calibre Suella Braverman back as home secretary. What has she ever achieved, bar “annoying all the right people”?’, Marina Hyde wrote. This appointment will shock and baffle many, though the simple logic may be that she embodies current Tory Party thinking on immigration issues.

This seeming ethical self-contradiction may be a thorn that keeps pricking.

As the reality of leading comes to apply pressure, the Chancellor’s fiscal statement delayed from October 31 to November 17, and been upgraded to include the UK’s medium term fiscal plan to “put public spending on a sustainable footing, get debt falling and restore stability”:

As asides, it’s remiss to not lampoon some of the resignations; that from Jacob Rees-Mogg is a pure gem that is pure buffoonery:

St. Crispin is the patron saint of shoemakers, cobblers in other words 🤣😳🤔

Finally, you have to not lose sight of what government has lost: Nadine Dorries, this is (not) your life! 😳🤔🤣🙄

Rishi Sunak, new UK Prime Minister, who warns of “profound economic crisis”-October 25, 2022

Earlier today, the UK got another new PM-its 3 within 2 months!-(he’s had his audience with King Charles around 11am UK time), after Liz Truss tendered her resignation last week (demitted office, formally, in an audience with the king) and the Tory Party set a short timetable to nominate a new leader.

Only one person met the threshold of 100 supporters (publicly over half of the nearly 360 Tory MPs were said to be supporting him.

That’s even though ripples were made by a former PM, Boris Johnson, who came back from his Caribbean holiday to cause tongues to wag furiously, over the weekend. But, he withdrew on Sunday, saying the 57 supporters known publicly really represented 102 backers. As one wag quipped, 57 is 102 in base 19 🤔😂

The only other declared candidate, Penny Mordant, withdrew during Monday. Her declared support was well below 50.

What will he bring, as a former chancellor of the exchequer, especially over areas other than economics and finance? As he’s said, and all Brits know, “these are trying economic times”.

He’s got lots of other big issues to tackle, early on, including those with the EU and the Northern Ireland protocol. But, there’s also the matter of trade deals, including with India. But, Mr. Sunak has no political credentials in foreign affairs. He also is untried in the political arena on most matters.

Much will be made of the possible advance in multicultural aspects of British life.

Sunak’s grandparents left India and went to East Africa, and he’s now the first PM of British-Asian origin. He’s a practising Hindu, and it was ironic that he got the nod, yesterday, the same day as Diwali began (a holiday for Hindus, Sikhs and some other faiths).

He’s the youngest PM in modern times, at 42, since Lord Liverpool in 1812.

He has so far not crowed about ‘I told you so’ about the disaster that may be called ‘Trussonomics’, but he did predict what such policies would bring in.

Can he do what’s necessary to unite the country and his party?

Amazingly, Liz Truss never contacted the first ministers of Scotland or Wales during her brief tenure!

General election demands swirled, as opposition parties smelt blood near the crashing and burning Truss administration, and the obvious question arose about what real public mandate the Tories had to run the country.

His (multi-millionaire) and his family’s (billionaire) wealth was and will be a topic of discussion, for some. For me, it’s a non-story for the leader of a party linked historically to wealth and privilege.

Liz Truss was defiant to the end:

Sunak’s first speech as PM was a bit better than his first as leader, yesterday, hitting good sombreness and laying blame gently on his predecessor:

Never have we ever! Liz Truss goes from “I’m a fighter not a quitter” to quitting within less than 24 hours…another u-turn. UK political chaos-October 20, 2020

Liz Truss resigns, after 44 days in office (September 6-October 20) becoming shortest-serving prime minister in UK history.

The jokes were rolling out faster than leaves falling from sycamore trees, and will likely keep rolling for a long time:

As one BBC commentator noted, Liz Truss will likely be a feature of pub quizzes for all time.

Well, they said a day in a long time in politics!

The Brexit effect, FT film-October 19, 2022

Watch this new film for a full understanding of how the UK’s economic prospects have been shredded:

Cost of the Negril Sign: A Simple ATI Story-October 11, 2022

Thanks, to Sue Goffe, for ploughing her furrow, as usual. Of course, the essence of this could and should have been shared with the public from the outset, instead of blustering propaganda. Local media’s inability or unwillingness to dig deeper is again in view.

I have serious doubts about any Jamaican politician’s sense of information-sharing as a simple public good.

In early September 2022, news came that a new and “iconic” sign had been built in Negril. There was much public discussion about the sign – its …

Cost of the Negril Sign: A Simple ATI Story

Ministry of Health & Wellness Ends Daily Covid-19 Updates: A Few Comments & Concerns-October 3, 2022

Some excellent observations by Susan Goffe.

Last week Wednesday (September 28, 2022), the Ministry of Health & Wellness (MOHW) announced that it would be discontinuing its daily Covid-19 …

Ministry of Health & Wellness Ends Daily Covid-19 Updates: A Few Comments & Concerns

The UK’s economic policy has it sitting in the naughty corner-September 27, 2022

In a swift set of reactions, international opinion about the UK’s recent mini-budget has shifted from adverse market sentiment, to critical assessments from international agencies:

First, the IMF has criticized, clearly, the “untargeted” fiscal policy underlying the budget:

The UK Treasury response to the IMF (below), doesn’t really say anything:

Next, Moody’s rating agency gave a harsh warning about future borrowing costs:

Sterling takes a pounding as the world thinks the UK’s budget is Kwesi-ness-September 26, 2022

It doesn’t take much to cock up economic policies. However, most countries have a solid cadre of economic and financial technocrats to stop ministers or other policy decision makers from getting it really wrong. Sadly, the UK, which would normally be a good example of this, has put itself on a bad path.

First, the new government headed by Liz Truss, sacked the aptly-named, Tom Scholar, as permanent secretary at The Treasury, on the first day in office:

Scholar had more going for him, you’d think, having seen the government’s economic policies through financial crises over three decades. Well, so long, farewell, Tom!

Fast forward. The new chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister), Kwasi Kwarteng, announced a so-called mini-budget, last Friday, which seems destined to do maximum damage in a short time. It’s main pillar was a massive tax reduction favouring the richest, with the kicker that more tax comes will come in a full budget. Markets haven’t taken to it well:

It’s a bit like telling the world that the barn has been set alight, and more fuel will be added to the blaze soon. The pound sterling got dumped across markets, over the weekend into the new week, hitting an all-time low against the US dollar, of $1.03, in Asian trading:

The main opposition Labour Party have jumped all over the budget, and it’s clear snub to the majority of Britons, languishing under rising inflation and energy costs spiralling. Those woes wont get better soon.

It’s said a day is a long time in politics. Well, the weekend may seem like an eternity, and the new week may soon seem like a year. Good luck!

Before you shed too many tears, though, remember the defeated ledership candidate, former chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister), Rishi Sunak, warned about “fairy tale” economics:

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