Opinion – A sartorial scandal in French Parliament? The far-left members refuse to wear ties. – The Washington Post

"The Storming of the Bastille", Visi...

“The Storming of the Bastille”, Visible in the center is the arrest of Bernard René Jourdan, marquis de Launay (1740-1789), Watercolor painting; 37,8 x 50,5 cm Español: “Toma de la Bastilla”, En el centro se apreciaba el aresto del marqués de Launay Português: A “Tomada da Bastilha”, no centro se vê a prisão de Jourdan de René de Bernard, marquês de Laundry (1740-1789). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tired of Trump, the Washington Post is poking a bit of fun at President Macron’s consollidation of power in France. It reports that Far-Left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his allies go without neckwear for a political protest.

Source: A sartorial scandal in French Parliament? The far-left members refuse to wear ties. – The Washington Post

Let me make two observations.

Firstly, as a long-standing Francophile, it’s established practice for the French to go off on family holidays in the summer to return to industrial unrest in the Autumn. Macron has a political mandate to reform France but so did other presidents. Let’s wait to see how Macron fairs with the unions – democracy is one thing but street protest goes back to the French Revolution.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post needs to stay focused on President Trump. There are still unanswered questions about links with Russia – no doubt we shall be reminded this weekend, at the Hamburg G20, when Trump meets Putin for the first time. In terms of political leadership, Trump is under attack both domestically and internationally.

Perhaps the Washington Post should be reminded that France chose democracy over right-wing populism? Or if the Post is out of news this summer, it could focus on the UK where conservatives are frightened of left-wing populism bringing the first Marxist government to the UK?

Ukraine prepares to steal Russian gas legally – English pravda.ru

English: Cathedral of Christ the Saviour over ...

English: Cathedral of Christ the Saviour over Moscow River. Moscow (Russia). Français : La Cathédrale du Christ-Sauveur de Moscou, en Russie. Polski: Cerkiew Chrystusa Zbawiciela nad rzeką Moskwą. Moskwa (Rosja). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is an important article from Pravda, Russia’s leading newspaper. Check it out!

via Ukraine prepares to steal Russian gas legally – English pravda.ru.

This article is important for both what it says and what it doesn’t to its audience, ordinary Russian people likely to be suffering increasing privation from sanctions this winter.

The article looks hastily drafted and paints a complicated pattern, blaming the Ukraine for a possible collapse in Russian gas exports. Energy is Russia’s most important industry and further Western sanctions will have a disastrous impact Russia’s economy.

Secondly, the article, and the wider paper, gives little coverage to the incursion of Russia’s troops to the Ukraine, nor the increasingly strong language from Western leaders.

This is the fourth blog on Ukraine today. As well as Moscow, we have opinions from London, Beijing and Washington. Perhaps not surprisingly, they are vastly different.

Some weeks ago, there was hope that Angela Merkel might broker a solution but since that time Russia has sent troops across the border into Eastern Ukraine, in an incursion or invasion, depending upon your viewpoint.

Personally, I see the West’s political leaders as deeply divided over an increasing number of hot spots in the World and I am seriously worried about the consequences of increased sanctions from the West – increased sanctions will likely cause Putin to retaliate.

Most important of all, given the risk of escalating sanctions and perhaps war in Europe, I am alarmed by the European Commission’s absence of an effective energy strategy, with a published risk register?

Perhaps, China will be an effective broker here?