Major changes, both sides of the Atlantic


Yesterday afternoon in the UK the news came through that assuming that the US legal system can agree, that Joe Biden is to be their next President which has many very positive aspects and inevitably for some people some concerns. I confess that prior to a few months ago I was not very aware of Joe Biden since the days when he was Barack Obama’s deputy. Even then it is always very challenging to know what the Vice Presidents do with rare speeches. It is fascinating that if one checks out the references to him in the “They Work for You” website, that although his name is referred to 45 times in Parliament, that in fact 19 of those references were in either in the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly. In addition one of those 19 references was on the 9th March 2011 in the Scottish Parliament as part of a Time for Reflection by Father Willy Slavin from Glasgow. I have reproduced the first part below as it has a great deal of relevance to the people who have claimed that Donald Trump is the one person who has a religious connection. As it happens, Joe Biden has been a Roman Catholic all of his life.

Anyway the 44 references that are political only took place in Westminster 26 times. The first being in 1991 was by Jack Cunningham and then in 1999 a reference was made by Charles Clarke and both of them referred to what apparently Joe Biden has done in the past which is reproducing other peoples speeches. He was also referred to in 2003 and again in 2005 in his concern about the involvement in Iraq by the US (and UK). Then in 2006 regarding his concerns about Kosovo and in 2007 about Pakistan. After that all the other references up until July this year were in connection of his Vice President role which of course ended in early 2017.

His reference in July was from a crossbench Peer commenting on the Agricultural Bill and referring to “Nations around the world are beginning to set net-zero targets, following the UK’s bold lead. I note that Joe Biden recently targeted net zero for the United States by 2050, which will include carbon-neutral food and farming.” All of the references since then were in connection to our Governments Internal Market Bill and the prospective change of US President. The one that relates to the Internal Market that seemed worth repeating came from the MP for Durham, Mary Foy who stated as part of a much longer speech

It is not just Opposition  Members who are concerned. As we have heard already, presidential candidate Joe Biden said recently: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit. Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.” We should remember, too, that the Good Friday agreement was not just an agreement between most of the political parties in Northern Ireland and the Irish Government, but was given consent by the public across the island of Ireland in a referendum. It is crucial that we stick to its principles and values for the sake of future security in Northern Ireland and for its people.

It is interesting that there does not seem to have been any reference to Joe Biden from any of the Conservative Party in any of these 26 cases. The last time he was mentioned was on Wednesday during the Prime Minister Questions when Stephen Farry from Northern Ireland pointed out

If every vote is counted in the US election, it is likely that Joe Biden will be the victor. The Prime Minister has a major challenge to build relationships with any incoming Administration. Therefore, in the light of Joe Biden’s entirely correct analysis of the impact on the Good Friday agreement of the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, how quickly will the Prime Minister recognise the inevitable and remove those clauses from the Bill?

Even then Johnson did not mention the mans name or refer to his potential role in any way. Now of course there have been many references to Donald Trump in the last few years and so it would be very hard to carry out a meaningful assessment in such as short document. However as Jacob Rees-Mogg states above, he was the key part of the Conservative Party’s response to Brexit and now he has gone, it would seem as if there will need to be a major reconsideration of whether Brexit is realistic. It would certainly seem as though the US election of Joe Biden, has placed our nation and our Government in a very vulnerable position based on all that has happened since last December. Let us hope that our Parliament will step back from Brexit and see if there are some alternatives. Whilst many people will be considering that, this is the starting part of the comment by Father Willy Slavin 9 years ago.

On this day last year—Ash Wednesday 2010—the Vice-President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, took his weekly press conference with his forehead clearly daubed with ashes in the shape of a cross. Some were impressed and said that it was good for a politician to be seen wearing even a semblance of sackcloth and ashes. Others were not so impressed and said that they would have liked more convincing evidence of repentance from such a powerful person. Of course, it is not only politicians whose dreams have turned to ashes. All of us who have taken any part in public life have hoped to achieve more than we have, but politicians have tried harder, or at least more publicly, than most of us, so you may feel your disappointments more acutely. That you cannot even confess that lest unforgiving media take advantage of you is not least among the crosses that you have to bear.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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