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Democracy and freedom in Portugal

Democracy and freedom in PortugalAmid declining democratic freedoms across the world, international studies have placed Portugal very highly for its level of political rights and civil liberties.

Gale`s Westminster View - still from isolation – October 2020

westminsterOctober. It seems like and is a long time ago but there was a virtual Conservative Conference with virtual fringe meetings, virtual speeches from Priti Flamingo, Dishi Sunak and Mayor Boris, virtual enthusiasm but no virtual laughter or applause.

Gale`s Westminster Viewed from isolation – September 2020

GALE`S WESTMINSTER VIEWED FROM ISOLATION – SEPTEMBER 2020September. Six months into the Covid 19 pandemic, policy plagued by contradiction and confusion, a hokey-cokey of advice, in-out -in of lockdowns as the second wave hits, a less than `world-beating` test-and-trace system that cannot keep pace with demand; the shifting sands of quarantine restrictions placed upon overseas tourist hotspots as the resurgence of the virus spreads and holidaymakers again try to flood home to beat self-isolation restrictions; the starting and stopping of primary and secondary education as schools go back to try to work in socially-distanced groups ; university `Freshers` weeks spent in on-campus  bubbles leaving students with the collegiate experience of having to find food without access to shopping facilities.

Gale`s Westminster View - Recess – August 2020

Gale`s Westminster View - Recess- August 2020August. A silly season of localised lockdowns, `staycations` and chaotic exam results. The steady flow of channel-crossing inflatable craft carrying people-trafficked migrants continues. Mayor Boris finally publishes a dissolution honours catalogue that makes Marcia Falkender`s legendary `lavender list` almost modest. “Build, build, build” is the order of the month and Mr. Secretary Jenrick pulls a Planning White Paper that reads like a developer`s charter out of the “Communities and Local Government” hat .

Gale`s Westminster View July 2020 - still viewed from afar!

Gale`s Westminster – still viewed from afar!  July 2020July.` Liberation Day`  for some but not for Leicester. Stanley `Uncle Bulgaria` Johnson heads for the hills in Greece while his little boy has a masked ball engaging  in a weight-loss campaign. Many lose their jobs including Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill but his exit is only mildly Covid-related.

Gale`s Westminster Viewed from a distance – June 2020

westminsterJune. Covid 19 continues to dominate Government, parliament and everyday life. And death as the toll of victims passes the forty-thousand mark. The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparks a firestorm of protest internationally. Back lives do matter. So does the maintenance of law and order. Putin`s neo-Soviet Union rigs a `referendum` , the Chinese flout the treaty to impose rule from Beijing upon Hong Kong and The Tramp receives a  bible-belting  in Washington.  

Gale's Virtual Westminster View – May 2020

westminsterMay. Too many Cummings but no Goings. Thousands wait for package holiday refunds as the travel industry goes into meltdown. The Home Office does the Hokey Cokey over quarantine  while the Home Secretary herself struggles to get a handle on the largest number of illegal migrants to cross La Manche in a single month. Though to be fair she is not assisted by the escort for rubber dinghies helpfully provided by M.Macron`s matelots.  The Salford Broadcasting Corporation is on the rack over editorial bias.  “Infamy,  In For Me…..”etc but Covid 19 is no left-wing plot. Furlough is costing the Treasury £8 billion and rising and the Chancellor says that we face the worst recession for 300 years.

Gale's Virtual Westminster View – April 2020

westminsterApril. The new June. Sunshine, flowers, birds nesting, butterflies flitting, native wild animals thriving. Pity about the Covid 19 but you cannot have everything can you? Her Maj  addresses the nation for only the fourth time in her sixty-eight years on the throne – apart from the Queen`s Christmas speeches, of course. We celebrate The Big Night In with the Heir to the Throne and a cast of other minor celebrities. The churches are closed for Easter but, hey, Archbishop Justin will offer us a homily from his homely kitchen and the Bishop in Canterbury, Rose Hudson Wilkin, will sermonize wonderfully from her own socially-distanced  mount. Old dogs have to learn new tricks.